Beginner’s Choice: The Long Weekend Challenge

I finally met up with Sandy, a dear friend and former colleague, after more than two years. We kept in touch through this blog. My friends get subjected to my weekly posts!

Sandy and I were colleagues during the SARS outbreak. Somehow we survived SARS without a lockdown, and it ended as abruptly as it began. We had long conversations about life and its fragility, and what we valued most in life.  We said we would never forget it, but we did, as soon as life went back to normal. With Covid, life is not expected to go back to normal, but to move on to a new normal.

When we met up for coffee this week, Sandy and I talked about cooking, something we have never done before. We both found ourselves having to cook during Circuit Breaker (Singapore’s lockdown period). Working from home brought its challenges. Home was no longer a place to come back to at the end of a long day, but the place to begin and end a long day.

I told Sandy that I was going home to cook, as we were going to have guests staying with us over the long weekend. We both agreed that eating out has become so much more expensive, and service standards have fallen due to shortage of manpower.

Sandy and I also talked about the benefits of cooking at home.  We can control the quality of our meals and our intake of food. We can control the amount of salt, sugar and fat that goes into our food.

It’s time for us to focus on our wellbeing, starting with the food we consume everyday. Without consciously planning it, I was having a Homskil’s Homemaking 101 meal planning discussion with Sandy, although I had deliberately decided to take a break from the HomSkil’s Homemaking 101  classes.

When I got home, I cooked a chicken and Chinese sausage stew and I sent her a photo of it. It was the first of the many dishes I would cook for the long weekend. I was surprised that she responded by sending a photo of the broccoli and mushroom dish she cooked.

Sandy’s broccoli and mushrooms

It was encouraging to see Sandy discovering the joys of cooking and finding the time to cook for her family after a long day at work.

Sandy asked me a profound question, which was whether I have found more fulfilment after I left full-time work in the corporate world. My simple answer was that there was fulfilment in every chapter of my life, but having more time for my family and my home has made my life more complete. Moving on to other fields has given me a new perspective on life and an opportunity to discover the richness of life.

I am sharing the photos of some of the dishes I cooked in two hours. Washing up as I cooked made cooking less of a chore and less of a mess.

Chicken and Chinese sausage stew cooked in sweet wine with potato and sweet potato

This is an easy-to-cook dish, and great for cooking for many. Ready in under an hour and not so much mess to clear up. Great with a simple vegetable dish, like blanched lettuce with sesame oil and soya sauce, topped with black sesame. (Featured image)

Other all-time favourites

I managed to cook three dishes in two hours on Friday for the weekend, which gave me peace of mind. I wouldn’t have to run around frantically in the kitchen when guests arrived on Saturday, and I would have time to write a blog post.

Eating out

My cousin wanted to eat out over the weekend and tried to book a table for dinner, but was unsuccessful. She said: ”You have to book three weeks in advance!”  She decided to order food and dine at home instead.

Eating out is still a treat, especially for those who do cook at home and deserve a break.

Holiday bonus

I don’t normally have time to enjoy breakfast, but a long holiday weekend is time to indulge in something special. I made French toast served with cherry pie filling. Simply Special!

A long weekend meant that I had time to make dessert. The easiest and quickest was jelly, of course.

Jelly anytime

A special greeting to friends who are celebrating Vesak Day, may your day be prayerful and peaceful.

Have a great week ahead.

By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 15 May 2022.

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