“I wanna learn how to cook!”
Six big words from a serious culinary newbie then got me drawing up a menu for a cooking session. Having been raised knowing, tasting and devouring good food, it wasn’t hard coaching my high school buddy, Lisa Marie Virginia Monique Roa Africa-Carandang (Whew, Lisa, I’m insane having remembered your full name since the late 80’s!).
She was to leave for Tokyo, Japan with hubby, Eric, and kids when she got us to cook together. So, here was how Lisa looked like when we did the lessons:
And she made this:
I thought she was excellent during the session. Now the tougher challenge, doing dishes on her own in faraway Japan. Ha!
Only recently, I was so thrilled getting a recipe from Lisa (which I requested for) plus a photo to match. I could not believe what she just made– bread pudding. Not that I did not believe she could whip upsomething like that but more like– I was green with envy because I cannot, for the life of me, bake!!!! Haha!
Lisa, you are awesome!
Here goes her note and recipe for us:
Hey Caren! Would you believe it’s been exactly a year since we moved to Tokyo…and since our cooking lesson?! The move to Tokyo has been both fulfilling and a challenge for all of us. It truly is a wonderful and dynamic city; a melting pot of cultures. We have been really blessed to have been given the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a society that is so unique, diverse and as rich as Japan‘s.
Living in Tokyo has been life-changing. The biggest one, as you very well know, is cooking! Having been married for over 11 years, not once did I feel the need to familiarize myself with the kitchen, (except for the refrigerator)! I mean, I can’t even cook rice! So, you can imagine the terror when I found out I had to cook!
The first night was a nightmare! We decided to just have spam and eggs for dinner. Albeit simple in theory, it was not easy in reality. Mare, Spam na nga lang…nasunog ko pa! I failed to notice that the knob of the range started with “high” temperature (I.e. to ignite the fire). To save dinner, Eric just decided to cook the eggs himself…lest I burn that too! (Maybe I was subconsciously testing my family’s love for me as my daughter said, “It’s okay Mom, we can just take out the brown parts.“)
There are a lot more “funny” stories along the way, (one of Eric’s favorite is my mistaking vinegar for oil when I was making scrambled eggs and suspecting that the eggs were rotten), but thankfully there are more successful stories to share .
Since then I am proud to say that I have served a variety of dishes including Meatloaf, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Sukiyaki, Kare-Kare, et al. I’ve even ventured into baking simple desserts like Brown Sugar Bars and Bread Pudding! Of course, all of which were products of a lot of trial and error. Even if the ulam is as basic as Adobo or Sinigang, it still took some time before I could perfect the taste and consistency.
The greatest fulfillment of course, is seeing the satisfied faces of Eric and the kids! My kids even talk about my “delicious snacks” to their classmates! They are the best customers I could ever wish for…supportive, not mapili and the most forgiving of critics. Although at times the food does not turn out as expected, they never fail to show their appreciation for the “work” that I put into it.
You were right. Just do it! Stop obsessing with recipes but trust in your “panlasa”…
So yes! I can cook na…finally! Thanks for helping me take out the trauma of cooking. Naturally, I still have a lot of things to learn but at least now I have that peace of mind knowing that…hindi na mamatay sa gutom ang pamilya ko! Hahaha!
Here is the recipe for Bread Pudding. It’s a very simple dish which my kids love to do with me. I found the recipe on the Internet but I made some changes according to my family‘s taste…
BREAD PUDDING RECIPE
Bread Pudding Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups bread, tore into pieces (any bread, although French bread or raisin bread is the best)
raisins (I use about ¼ cup only)
Bread Pudding Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoon butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon flour
dash of salt
1. In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk. Add butter. Stir constantly until butter is melted. Set aside.
2. In a separate container, combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Slowly add milk mixture. Set aside.
3. Place torn pieces of bread on a casserole.
4. Pour batter on top of bread. Sprinkle raisins.
5. Bake at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set.
Bread Pudding Sauce
1. Mix everything together in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour on warm bread pudding.