Sunday, 6 July 2014

life seems to go faster

Time seems to go faster as I get older. Do you feel the same? That is, only if you are as old as me...

It seems like it was only last weekend when the first school semester ended, and we hopped off to a one week retreat. The days followed just flashed past and before I could complete the first task on my wish-to-do list, the four weeks school holidays were already over!

I was stuck with my children 24/7 during the school holidays. While I enjoy their company, it was not fun having to think of what to prepare for lunch everyday. Whenever they are at home for lunch, I would make their favourites such as pizza, sandwiches, Japanese curry rice, pasta dishes, baked rice, noodles...simple meals that do not require too much preparation, fume free and with minimal cleaning. It is not an exhaustive list, and I got to the bottom of it within two weeks.

It's a blessing that my brain still functions fairly well even though I am getting older each day.

With left over ingredients from making pizza, Japanese curry rice, I came up with this baked rice with Japanese curry. To make it even more wholesome and hearty, I topped it with an egg, very much to my kids' delight as both of them love runny yolks.

This is my serving, smaller portion and without any eggs. I didn't manage to take a picture of those with eggs as my boys were too eager to tuck in. It is a nice change from the usual Japanese curry with rice dish and a new variation to my lists of baked rice dishes.

I read that routines tend to make time flies while new and unique experiences slow down time. For example, the journey seems to take longer when we first travelled to a new place, whereas the return journey (on the same route) appear to be faster, and if you were to take the same route frequently it no longer seems that long to travel to that same destination.

Trying new things, creating unique experiences and engaging in memorable events and moments are some of the ways to psychologically slow down time.  This is quite true for me as I find my days are much longer whenever I went for a holiday trip, away from the routines of endless household chores ;)

While I do not have the luxury to go for holidays frequently (I am definitely not worried that it will ever become a routine), what I could do is, from now on, I shall make it a point to venture further out of my comfort zone to create new culinary experience both for myself and for my family.

Baked Japanese Curry Rice

(makes 4 servings)

200g meat (pork or beef or boneless chicken thigh), clean and cut into bite size
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into bite size chunks
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into bite size chunks
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
50g (3 small cubes) Japanese curry roux* (I used Kokumaro brand, medium hot)
1 tablespoon ketchup

4 cups cooked rice
1 cup broccoli floret
4 eggs
some shredded cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese (or combination of both)

  1. Blanch broccoli with boiling water (add a pinch of salt into the water) for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Saute chopped onions with the vegetable oil in a deep pan until translucent and lightly browned. Add in the minced garlic and meat, saute the meat till lightly browned. Add in potatoes and carrots and stir fry for a couple of minutes. 
  3. Add the water (use enough water to cover the ingredients) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and let it simmer for about 10~15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 
  4. Add curry roux and ketchup, simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickens. Keep stirring to ensure the curry roux is fully dissolved.*Add another cube of curry roux, if necessary, to adjust the thickness of the curry to your preference. 
  5. For each serving, place 1 cup of cooked rice in an oven-proof dish. Place 1/4 portion of the Japanese curry over the rice. Put some blanched broccoli on top. With a spoon, make a slight dent in the middle and crack in 1 egg. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese. Repeat the same with the remaining servings.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degC for about 10~15 mins or until the cheese turn golden brown and the eggs are almost set.