I received an email from Daniel over at DanielFoodDiary early July, asking me if I would be keen to participate in the #CookForFamily initiative he was starting for bloggers.
The idea behind #CookForFamily?
Most would agree that eating together with the family brings indescribable joy, along with bonding, quality time together and better relationships. And as what most moms would say, “Home-cooked food is always healthier”.
However, many have moved from cooking and eating together at home, to eating out because we are just too busy.
The #CookForFamily is a bloggers-for-bloggers initiative. No competition, sponsors, or hidden agenda involved. It is created with a simple objective of getting more bloggers, and hopefully their fans and followers, to start cooking and bonding with their families.
I read with interest what I had to do in order to be part of this initiative. Basically, all I needed to do was to:
1) Pick any day in July to cook a meal for my family. (Hmm.. I had just started work but I should be able to whip up at least one meal for the family over the weekend.)
2) The meal needn’t be fanciful, as long as it is cooked from the heart. (I could do this!)
3) Take photos of my cooking. If possible, members of the family only if they are not shy. (Photos of my food – definitely, no problem. The latter criteria might be a little tough.)
4) Blog about the cooking experience. (Sure, why not?)
Sounds pretty do-able, so I replied Daniel with a ‘Yes, I want to cook for my family!’ sealing my participation in this bloggers-for-bloggers initiative. I obviously thought I had time to think it through and plan thoroughly what to cook for the family. But the weekends passed by swiftly and by the third weekend, I was seriously panicking. I had no idea what I wanted to cook for the family!
I also had grand plans to invite my side of the family over to be part of this. I recalled when we were living in Japan and my family came over to visit, I cooked them a meal. My mom cried as I put together a simple meal for that was the first time I ever cooked for the family.
But the little sister just started work and weekends are usually a little tougher because my parents take care of the little nephew and he’s afraid of Sparky. So dinner at our place would be a challenge. I guess I would have to try cooking them a meal another time then – perhaps in their home. The Man obviously sensed my nervousness for this blog-initiative because for days, I would be babbling on car-rides home; wondering out loud whether I could really pull this off by myself.
But, we did!!! It was a joint effort to pull off this project. The Man gamely chipped in and helped plan the menu for the family. It was nothing grand – just a simple salad, roast beef and potatoes served for 4.
I took care of the salad while the Man took care of cooking the mains. He was fixated on making the perfect roast beef at home. This time round, he was determined to get it right! As for me, whipping up a salad? That can’t be too difficult. Honestly, all I needed to do was to get the greens, throw in olive oil and some balsamic vinegar – viola, salad is done!
But, I didn’t do that, of course. Instead, I decided to make this Bruised Salad – a recipe by Alvin Quah (Masterchef). My cousin made it for me once and I enjoyed it loads, so I thought this salad would be a hearty and appetising start to the meal. I’ll share my version of the recipe the next time.
I thought I’ll put the spotlight on the Man who prepared the main for the meal. I’m not being lazy for shirking my ‘responsibility’ but I’m really thankful for him stepping in and helping me with this little blog-project. Plus, who says it needs to be an individual effort? Us joining efforts and cooking for the family makes this little blog-project extra special – from planning, shopping, cooking and putting the entire meal for the family.
You’ll notice that all the pictures that I’ve taken is of food and none with our faces in it. We don’t look very ‘glam’ while slaving in the kitchen and prepping the food but I guess that’s what a home-cooked meal is all about, just the feeling of being relaxed and enjoying a meal in the the comfort of your home with loved ones.
Prep time for the roast beef took all of 10 – 15 minutes. Cooking time on the other hand took much longer. 40 minutes to roast the 750gm beef. That’s not all, even after taking the roast out of the oven, we had to wait another 10 minutes for the meat to ‘rest’ before taking a slice at the roast. Thankfully, hunger pangs were kept at bay as we munched on the refreshing salad that I had made earlier.
Having attempted making roast beef twice before and failing at both attempts, we were naturally worried that it would be either under or over-cooked. We stood round the tiny roast and nervously watched as the Man sliced the roast right in the middle. All fears were put to rest when we saw the gorgeous pink cut.
The Man also made some oven-roasted potatoes to be accompanied with the roast beef. We all agreed in unison that these potatoes were delish!! Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. And it was pretty simple to make too! Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, sea-salt and pepper. Pop them in the oven along with the roast beef and take them out when the roast beef is about done.
Ta-dah, our meal for the evening. A salad by yours truly and the mains cooked by the Man. The mom-in-law and the helper were of course very happy with the meal. Western meals are very rarely cooked in our home for the mom-in-law who typically cooks most of our weekday meals prefers Chinese cuisine. So, this steak dinner is definitely a little out of the extraordinary and a treat for them both.
Happy smells and laughter filled the air as we drank wine and enjoyed this home-cooked meal. As I looked around and watched my family merrily chomping on their cuts, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief for having complete this little ‘blog-challenge’ but more importantly for bonding with the family through this simple meal.
I guess the only other person in the family that wasn’t too happy would be this little fella. Poor guy kept circling our table hoping to sink his teeth into the roast. We conveniently ignored his requests of course. He gave up minutes later. Hehe..
Before I end off, I like to thank Daniel for inviting me to be one of the 100 bloggers in this #CookForFamily blog initiative. It certainly was rewarding coming together to bond with the Man through cooking but also with the family as we enjoyed the meal. And if you are reading this, I hope that my post has inspired you to cook for your family too.