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Cooking for one

9 Jul

I have decided I am going to become an amazing cook. If you know me well enough, you will know that when I make a decision like that, I always make it happen. My favourite example was the first time I went to Falls and I told my girlfriends I was gonna hook up with a guy from Canberra so I would have a friend when I went there on high-flying government trips. HA! They laughed…. as if you’d find a guy from Canberra at Falls in Lorne, let alone a guy worth hooking in with. Oh but who was laughing when that I did at 7pm on new years eve?

But as usual I digress. I could cook before I came here, but was messy, wasteful, overly elaborate and trying to cook ayurvedicly, which does not alway equal deliciously. Here, trying to live as the locals do and being in a remote location, I buy what I can find and cook with what I have in the kitchen, plus a surplus amount of beans, quinoa and yoghurt cultures sent to me by my loving mother in my balik bayan box, more food than anybody could ever eat in a year, especially someone who almost never eats lunch because it is way way way too hot.

I’m trying to do it ready steady cook styles, where you just have a couple of ingredients and work with those. Carrie gave me the initial idea of this and then Kezza of course took it to the next level by filming herself narrate her ready steady cook challenge to send to her mum. I feel the icing on my impressive cake will be what I tell you I am working with:

  • A single burner electric stove (dunno what I plan to do when there’s a brownout)
  • A toaster oven
  • A food processor and stick blender
  • A rice cooker (of course!)/steamer (used for steaming way more than rice… I have had rice in my house once since arriving)
  • A kettle
  • A yoghurt maker (thoroughly unnecessary for this climate)
The best thing about this process was acquiring all the necessary tools to become an amazing chef. What?! You mean a dish drying tray doesn’t come with the house? Sorry… WHAT? You mean can openers don’t just appear when you need them? And EXCUSE ME? You can’t buy a sink plug anywhere in Sorsogon and you have to wash your dishes in a bucket with hot water boiled in a kettle?

Haaaaaaayy kapaso! (oh it’s so hard!)

PS I realize these photos would look so much more impressive if I photographed them using my DSLR, but I haven’t overcome the messiness whilst cooking so my hands are always too covered in something to touch my precious Nikon (mwah mwah mwah I love you Nikon)

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Satay tofu

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Italian poached eggs with bell peppers

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Roast vegetable and quinoa salad with sunflower seeds, feta and dukha (made by the lovely Carrie) with felafels and homemade hommous

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Peanut butter and banana smoothie

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Spinach fettucini with garlic broccoli (broccoli is such a treat here!)

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Leftover garlicky, broccoli-y olive oil and since the olive oil is from Australia, absolutely no wasting, so VOILA, garlic bread

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PBBSM smoothie, made to look so much fancier in my new milkshake glasses

To market! To market!

11 May

But definitely not to buy a pig, fat or otherwise.

Friday is market day in Gubat, where instead of merchants selling produce from the farms, the farmers come and sell the fruits (and veggies) of their own labour. The result is beautiful, fresh produce, some freshly dug or picked that morning, straight from farm to kitchen for practically nothing in Pinoy terms and definitely nothing compared to the best greengrocers in Melbs.

I had been scared to go to the market by myself. Everybody told me to walk around and enjoy everything but to keep my mouth shut or else they would know I was a foreigner and immediately hike up the prices. But today my lovely friend Lala accompanied me which meant not only could she guide me through, haggle with the sellers and tell me what everything was, but I had free hands to capture some of the beautiful colour that surrounds me every minute here.