Andrew: Knowing that one of my greatest joys in life is eating, Dearie has been creatively whipping up many meals for me since we moved into our new home. There is greater joy now in dining because we not only get to eat together, but also shop for our food and cook together. These meals have been rather simple to prepare too!
Jasmine: Yes, and not to mention that all these homecooked meals must meet three criteria in order to satisfy Andrew:
must have meat
We faced teething problems when I first started cooking because when I served healthy salads (see first criterion), Andrew would say they were not filling, but when I switched to pasta and rice dishes, he would say they were not healthy. Hmph!
Andrew: Here are the highlights of our home-cooked meals over the past week:
Andrew: We were still rather ill-equipped to cook at this point, so we cheated on this one and bought a pre-packed Caesar’s salad mix from the supermarket. Boiled an egg and some pasta and this was our first fuss-free, healthy lunch 🙂
Chips compliments of my department retreat – what would a meal with Jazzy be without potato chips? Heh.
Jasmine: I managed to hardboil an egg without burning the house down! (Refer to our wedding montage for the inside joke)
2. Smoked Duck Salad with Dragonfruit
Andrew: This meal was cooked after Jasmine went for a long grocery shopping trip with her mum, which significantly stocked up our fridge.
She bought salad dressings – goma sauce and citrus yuzu sauce and got the smoked duck at a good deal – just 1.95 for a portion that was sufficient to serve 2! I haven’t really tried goma sauce before, but it went really really well with the smoked duck!
Jasmine: The Japanese goma dressing was recommended to Mum and I by my cousin Adeline! The smoked duck was super cheap too… It was a pity we didn’t have coarse black pepper then, else I would have crusted the duck skin with black pepper for more flavour and crunch. The dragonfruit we found in the fridge and decided to use it!
3. Lemon Pepper Grilled Fish with Mango Salad
Jasmine: This was the first meat that I actually cooked. I marinated the cream snapper with lemon pepper overnight and baked it in the oven. I chose lighter accents for the salad, such as citrus yuzu sauce, so that it wouldn’t overwhelm the delicate taste and texture of the fish.
In addition, this was a dish made possible by my mum, who donated the sweet mango and lemon pepper (hard to get hold of in Singapore).
Andrew: This dish was quite a success. The mango and fish went together extremely well. To be more accurate, the fish wasn’t grilled but microwaved.
4. Apple Salad served with Cheese Baked Rice
Andrew: As you can see, we became increasingly more equipped – we cooked this after we were blessed with a rice cooker and a small oven from my mum. Also, at this point, I gave Dearie some ‘constructive feedback’ that I needed more filling meals. Heh. Marriage’s all about adjustment, isn’t it!
Baked rice was simple enough – Boil rice with garlic butter, stir-fry some mushrooms. Put the rice and mushrooms in a bowl, top it with cheese and place it in the oven until the cheese melts nicely.
The salad on the side was an apple salad with citrus yuzu sauce. It was light, refreshing and crunchy – a lovely complement to the heavier main of baked rice.
Jasmine: Yes, and on the side we have Collagen Yakult- our splurge for the week!
I’m quite glad that we invested in the goma and yuzu citrus dressings. From our experimenting, they’re both different in consistency and pair well with different meats- the yuzu citrus is lighter and zestier and goes well with fish and fruit, while the goma has a heady taste of sesame and imparts a smoky flavour to red meats.
5. Sausage Carbonara and Garlic Bread
Andrew: This was dinner on the same night that we prepared the previous dish in. Dearie prepared this based on her mum’s fool-proof recipe – pour the sauce in the pot and stir. Being amateur cooks, we tried adding in milk and water into the sauce, which created varying consistencies that we had to endlessly adjust.
We used Leggo’s Carbonara sauce (recommended by Jasmine’s mum too) and threw in some mushrooms and sausages. The sausages were also bought on offer from NTUC and were pretty good!
Dearie then put a generous sprinkling of various herbs on top of the pasta. She also toasted some garlic bread on the side, but as we were still figuring out how to operate our oven, we charred the bottom of the bread. Heh. Yes, you do notice that the meals are being more carbohydrate heavy.
Jasmine: Yes, meat is so expensive that we usually just end up buying whatever’s on offer at the rotisserie, like the smoked duck and these chicken frankfurters, which were juicy and meaty!
6. ‘Shroom Garlic Butter Rice
Andrew: Butter rice – simply boil the rice with garlic butter and milk, then add in raisins. Boil some mushrooms and toss a simple salad with goma sauce and you have another healthy yet filling meal.
Jasmine: As you can see, I’ve customised both plates to our liking. The plate in the foreground was prepared for Andrew. To meet his requests for healthy yet satisfying meals, I served up rocket with goma sauce on the side and heaped on top a ton of mushrooms that I had sauteed with garlic butter.
The plate in the background is for me: It has a smaller portion size but is far unhealthier- I’ve thrown in two chicken sausages and a hardboiled egg for good measure.
And on weekends we tend to indulge ourselves! Behold our Saturday brunch:
7. Waffle Stack, Served with Acacia Honey, Bananas and Blueberries
Jasmine: This supposed indulgence was actually the invention of necessity. The acacia honey and blueberries were donated by Andrew’s mother, whilst our bananas were fast turning mouldy, hence I decided to make use of them in a nice chunky stack of waffles. (The height does look quite impressive, if I do say so myself- we had to pump up the volume with lots of bananas!)
We however scrimped on blueberries and placed them on the top layer only!
Andrew: This was extremely yummy! After we took the photo, I added in much more acacia honey such that the waffles were drowning in them, then I mopped up the remaining honey with the last bits of waffle. We’ll try ice-cream next time!
And today’s Sunday lunch:
8. Pesto, Herb and Chicken Ham Pasta
Jasmine: Pesto is one of my favourite ingredients (if it can even be called that) because it hardly requires any preparation. Our store-bought pesto tasted a little bland, so I decided to spice it up with freshly-chopped lettuce, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, basil, oregano and ground black pepper. Oh, and I made my very first lemon vinaigrette and drizzled it over the pasta for added zing! (The leftover lemon vinaigrette was mixed into the orange salad, and blended well with the goma sauce.)
Andrew: This simple meal was perfect to balance out the very meat-heavy dinner we’ll be having later. I actually really liked the salad with orange – great blend of sweetness from the raisins, sour, juiciness of the orange and crunchiness of the lettuce. The goma sauce scores once again with its winning blend of sweet and savouriness.
These are our groceries for the week ahead.
Our luxury item for the week – bacon bits!
Am looking forward to next week’s menu – club sandwich and cod!
Thanks Dearie for preparing all the wonderful meals over the past week! I couldn’t have asked for a better wife.