Beginner’s Choice: Homskil’s Flavours of Happiness

The featured image of this post is tiramisu. “Tiramisu” translated to English is “pick me up” or “cheer me up” an appropriate name for a dessert created to cheer you up at the end of a meal.

One of my favourite movies is a Japanese movie entitled: Flavor of happiness or Shiawase no kaori (the Japanese title), which is the inspiration for this article.

“Good food is not about showing off expensive ingredients or of fancy techniques…” is a quote from the movie. The movie is about a young Japanese woman’s love for Chinese family dishes that led her to become an apprentice to a Chinese chef.  There is a lot to be learnt from the movie in terms of culture, character and cuisine.

I agree that good food isn’t about expensive ingredients or fancy techniques. To start with, we should know what food is good for us and how to cook food so that it is palatable. (I write the Beginner’s Choice series on this blog)

Innate culinary skills

Some grandmothers and mothers seem to have innate culinary skills. Most probably didn’t attend fancy culinary courses or had the benefit of online cooking classes. They probably “learnt by acquisition”, watching their grandmothers or mothers cook. They probably remembered the fragrance, the taste, the presentation… All of the memories came together when they started to cook. A lot of cooking knowledge is passed on through tradition. Andrea aptly called her food series on the blog “Family Traditions“.

When culinary skills are not innate

Some cooking techniques have to be learnt through formal teaching. The Asian way of cooking beef steak is very different from the Western way. Carmen learnt to cook pan-fried steak from Elena, who is Homskil’s inhouse expert on culinary matters. Getting the doneness just right is an art and a science.

Good steak is affordable when you buy in bulk. I usually order a carton of frozen beef tenderloin and I share it with friends. The cost, when shared, is very reasonable and you can feed the whole family. Taking the whole family out for a good steak meal at a restaurant might be beyond the family’s food budget, especially if you have a large family with a healthy appetite!

Carmen takes pride in serving good meals at home, and is an expert when it comes to planning and cooking celebration meals. The Three Kings (see earlier post for information on the Three Kings) brought her a special gift this year in appreciation of the meal she designed and cooked on the Feast of the Three Kings. She was so delighted with her gift that she almost shouted with joy.

Homskil would like to pay tribute to home-chefs like Carmen who make home-dining a cause for happiness.

The Magic of Cake

Since we are celebrating an anniversary, cakes come to mind. The most memorable birthday cake of 2021 for me was a homemade Earl Grey ganache cake. Another memorable homemade cake was a strawberry and gold cheesecake. These homemade cakes were precious because they were unique.

When I think of birthday cakes, I always think of red velvet cake. A few years ago, my brother asked me to ask one of the girls I knew who baked well to bake two birthday cakes for a surprise birthday party for his colleague.

Beverly proudly produced two red velvet cakes. My brother sent a photo of the birthday celebrant.  He had the look of a child relishing the moment before blowing the candles. It’s not often that grown-ups have that moment of being a child again. Only a birthday cake can turn back the clock.

Beverly’s Red Velvet Cake

Memorable Moments with family and friends

A toast to all our contributors who have shared their food-photos, recipes, inspirations and articles.

Belinda sent a note about her pumpkin soup: “My ex-landlady first made it (the pumpkin soup) when she heard that my now mum-in-law was in the hospital many years ago…it’s nutritious and healthy.

Contributions from near and far

Siew Hua lives down the road and Rina lives in Vietnam, while Anne-Lise is in London. Marie studies in Sheffield, Len was in Cavite (Philippines) when she sent her photo, Audrey and Laura are in Italy. P’Phew and P’Pad are in Bangkok. Andrea is in Kuala Lumpur.   Soph of Weave the Story Channel (on YouTube), who has sent links to his cooking videos, is in Portugal. Most of contributors are in Singapore.

Judy has been sending photos of Genevieve’s cooking. Genevieve, who cooked the slow-cooked lamb, is Judy’s daughter. Judy grew up in Malaysia and Singapore, but has been living in the UK since her university days. When Judy was last in Singapore, she was looking for ingredients, especially spices, for Genevieve to cook Asian dishes (like beef rendang) from scratch.

Contributors of all ages and from all walks of life

Arianne was our youngest contributor in 2021. She was a competitor in Club 56’s cooking challenge (Primary 5 and Primary 6 category). Allison, Marie, Angela, Pearl, Anne-Lise, Kat and Brenda M are university students. Anastasia is a medical student and Becky is Junior College student.

Siri is a university lecturer. Ferninda and Krizia are young mums. Andrea and Espie are super-mums!

My mum’s contribution was the lemongrass, garlic, pepper and coca-cola pork recipe. I had to cook it for Mother’s day.

Val continues to reign as Amazing Lunchboxes Queen.

Belinda is my former publisher, and she has continued to give support and encouragement, a trait of a good boss.

Angeline is florist, Kelly is a dentist, P’Pew is a dietitian, Val is a nurse, Steph is a teacher…and Rina is a genius (she can understand all the scientific stuff I can’t).


All that’s left for me to say is WELL DONE everyone. Thank you for adding flavours of happiness to HomeBlog by HomSkil.

By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 5 January 2022








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