One of the things that I find very therapeutic is to cook or bake. I’m not much of a cooker before I lived alone (even the first two years, because I was living in a dorm), but I have to say I’ve found my ways through it, teaching myself how to cook, thanks YouTube videos and watching my mum and dad cook in the past. I am one of those people who learn from doing and observing, so it was not too bad (and not too disastrous) when I first started cooking.
I have to say I mainly learned how to cook just from watching cooking shows or videos online. Even though they make me hungry, I’ve always find it enjoyable as I loooooveeeee to eat (I mean, who doesn’t). With that being said, I’m no expert in cooking. I casually cook for myself, and occasionally others if they’re around. Whilst cooking was something that I didn’t mind and made myself feel good, baking was not really my thing. I find it stressful having to follow exact measurements, as I like to improvise more, which could be done with cooking and it won’t go too wrong. So, I found baking quite stressful… making the outcome not that great as I always find I cook best when I’m in the mood or when I feel happy and great, it makes my food great too.
This is me a couple years back. I think it was late last year that I’ve decided I’ll attempt baking AGAIN. Keeping it basic, I went for brownies. It’s easy, doesn’t require much tools or ingredients, it’s up my alley! After giving it a shot, I really enjoyed it and it turned out quite well! People that I’ve given them to enjoyed it, so it made me quite happy. So having recently bought a cookbook, I attempted a cake recipe that it had inside.
The cookbook that I got was A New Way To Dinner by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs. I was just at a bookstore down at the city to see if there were any books that was good and interesting and this one caught my eye. What made this book so special is that the way it was written and organised. The recipes given in this book are specifically for dinners and its after meal desserts. They have also given alternatives to which you can use the leftovers of the dinner for lunch the next day. It is also designed for you to cook mostly in the weekends, and have enough throughout the week. This was done to accommodate the busy people out there and to make it easier to organise your meals in the week. They have also done the recipes seasonally, so 2 weeks set of menu from each author for each season. These features are something that I really love about this book because it gives a good variety, good for those who are lazy to cook for multiple days and just want it to be done in one go and you can always mix and match the sets and build what suits your mood. I think it’s an ingenious way to write a cookbook!
This got me really excited and I just wanted to start cooking something from the book. I have to say, a lot of the recipes made to feed a family. And I am on my own… So I had to do a lot of altering in terms of the measurement. I did this only with the cooking, and stuck with the measurements for the baking (in case I get the formula wrong). I’ve done the ‘Red Wine Beef Stew with Parsnips and Carrots’, cut the ingredients to 1/3 and it was good to eat for dinner for 4x. I then tried the ‘Chocolate Olive Oil Cake’ and it was goooood. It definitely made my sweet tooth happy (as well as my bf’s and friend’s), and I still have loads at home.
This is a great cookbook, especially for families, but for those who wants to be hassle free and are lazy to think of their own menu for their week’s dinner! It’s even better if you have more mouth to feed, but it suits just find for those living by themselves (just need to do a bit of math). It’s both delicious and does not leave you feeling sinful after a meal! Let me know what you love to do in the kitchen and how you make your life easier preparing your meals.