Friday, 4 November 2011

cooking without a recipe

I have never baked anything without following a recipe closely...the same thing doesn't seem to apply when it comes to cooking...


I don't usually follow any recipes when preparing our daily meals...unless it is a special dish...


While we were heading towards the supermarket entrance I asked my elder child what would he like to have for lunch today, he came back with, "How about pasta salad?"

And so the two us spent the next 10mins picking up the ingredients and we were soon on our way home. I had about 45mins before my younger child came knocking on the front door...the timing was just right, although I would love to take a 15mins rest instead of having to prepare lunch right away.


Here's our simple lunch today...potato macaroni salad with chicken breast, carrots, Japanese cucumbers, and hard boiled eggs. I used two separate pots to cook the ingredients so as to speed things up...the sequence of cooking the ingredients are important when you want to save time. The first two ingredients to be cooked were the hard boiled eggs and the macaroni as there is no preparation required...while they were boiling away,  I diced the carrots, potatoes and the cucumbers. Then I boiled the potatoes, blanched the carrots and cucumbers, and cooked the chicken breast. While these were cooking, I removed the shells of the eggs and cut them into chunks. Everything was drained and placed in a big mixing bowl...I added some salt, freshly cracked black pepper, dried parsley and some mayo, just enough to coat the ingredients. I even managed to clean and tidy up the kitchen counter before my son stepped into the house.

I must say this dish is good to serve as a side...somehow, something is lacking when eaten as a meal on its own. But we still enjoyed our simple lunch...although the younger boy did make a comment that it would be good if I had cooked him some soup, especially when the weather was nice and cooling. Will certainly remember to do so the next time...

23 comments:

  1. I love a simple lunch like this.

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  2. this pasta looks colourful deliciously done

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  3. The pasta salad looks light, colourful and fresh. Am sure ur kids loved it... Though I must agree with you, i can never have a pasta and potato salad as a meal. usually need something to cut the heaviness and slight blandness...

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  4. Your account of you and your kid marketing and discussing what to cook strikes me as most poignant in this post. I think it must be a very special moment for you two.

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  5. HHB,
    I totally agree with you! I don't usually need recipes when doing cooking unless it's a special dish which I'm not so familiar! Or baking. Your simple dish of potato macaroni salad sounds wholesome! I shall give it a try one day. Thanks for sharing it!

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  6. I think most people don't follow a recipe when cooking everyday meal. I like this potato macaroni salad. Simple and delicious. I wish I have kids to discuss about marketing and what to cook. When my son was little, I never cook so I missed that chance. Hopefully can do that with my grand kids someday in the future.

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  7. Hello HHB,

    I'm not very good with blogging at the moment, just started up a blog and I'm very inspired by yours. Could you teach me how to create logos on your images?...the baking glove with the smile on it? did you use flickr or do you have to buy it?

    bluebakeblogger

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  8. Yummy looking! I love this kind of salad, easy to prepare and is healthier. I need to follow a recipe in baking but in cooking I think is more flexible :)

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  9. Hi bluebakeblogger, I created the watermark using MS powerpoint, just using a free clipart and add in the text, and then save the file as a jpg image. I am no expert in software application, I'm afraid I may confuse you...but you can google for it, I am sure there are many links to teach you how to go about it. Actually I find it a total waste of time having to add in the watermark for my photos...but I have came across too many cases of my photos being used without my permission...so I have got no choice to do this extra step.

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  10. A great lunch idea for my and my sister. Thanks.

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  11. Hi HHB - can I ask a favour from you on tofu cheesecake. Would you be able to provide me the recipe in Chinese at your convenience. You may email it to me at yummykoh2009@yahoo.com. Thanks very much.

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  12. Hi Yummy Bakes, the original recipe for the Tofu Cheesecake is in English, I will need to translate it to Chinese from scratch, it will take a bit of time and effort since I am no good at inputting Chinese text. May I ask who will be using the recipe? Will the person be really making it? Hope u understand that I do not want my effort gone into waste...as I will be away once the school holidays begin and wont be back till end of the year, I am now busy cleaning up my place...will not be able to get it done soon.

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  13. My sis-in-law. She tried mine and like it so much. Understand - am no good in Chinese input that's why seeking your assistance. No rush of course. I did try my own translation but I think see more stars!

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  14. Same same. I only follow recipe when I cook dishes that I see in the books and magazines and of cos those will be new dishes that I have not tried before. If I bake without following recipe, I am sure the outcome will be drastic and not edible. Too bad my kids are fussy, if not I hope to have this simple lunch in my menu. Running out of ideas to cook for them liao. :)

    Btw, can I know if your black pepper is hot? My girl sometimes cannot take those dishes that are cooked with black pepper outside but she can take plenty of Mcdonald's black pepper. Do you use grinder for the black pepper? Any recommendations?

    Many thanks in advance.

    p/s : I love to let the kids decide what they want for a meal, save me the trouble and I can put the blame on them if they are not eating. Hehehe

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  15. Yummy Bakes, ok, will work on it, will send it to you soon.

    Sherlyn, I use Masterfoods black peppercorns that comes with a mill/grinder, see here: (http://www.sss-mart.com/en/product_show.asp?id=9765)

    Ground black pepper will not taste as hot as freshly cracked peppercorns, so maybe that is why your girl can take plenty of Mcdonald's ground black pepper (which I find totally lack of flavour). My younger child cannot take too much freshly cracked black pepper, he finds it spicy too.

    I agree, I like to ask my kids opinion too...but sometimes they will ask for the same dish everyday, lolz!

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  16. Thanks HHB. I knew which one you refering to. Not too long ago it is on sales and I am so tempted as it came with the mill but I am afraid it is spicy so I hold on .... If your younger one feels it is spicy, it will be more so for my girl .. Perhaps when it next goes on sales, I will buy one to try .. at least use a bit at a time to let them get use to the spicy taste. I hope the mill is a refillable one :)
    Ya, my kids can ask for spagetti frequently ...LOL.
    Erm .. black pepper = black peppercorns?

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  17. Sherlyn, yes, the mill/grinder can be reused, can just top up with black peppercorns. Yes, I refer black pepper as black peppercorns, whole, not pre-grounded. You can adjust the amount, add extra for your own portion...also, black pepper is best added last, or just before dishing up so as not to loss the flavour.

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  18. Thanks you for this great and simple recipe, i can make it for my kids when i run out of idea to cook for lunch..

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  19. Thank you HHB. Looks like I have alot to learn ...in baking, in cooking as well as all the different ingredients in the world. :)

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  20. I love simple and hearty dishes especially on chilly, rainy days like the ones we've been having all too often these days.

    Love how versatile this recipe is too- I can imagine how fantastic it'll be with a can of tuna, celery and some chili padi!

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  21. Easy to prepare, but looks so fancy and luxurious.

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