Couples cooking: Our To-Cook list by Fall 2012

The Boyfriend and I are big fans of food. (Who isn’t?) Given that he runs and I swim, we’re burning a load of calories each week and make up for it by indulging in some of the world’s best (and simplest!) dishes. As I come from a country where food is literally part of our national culture, I am always eating and always learning about my country’s food, where each local dish has a special story behind it. In my country’s early years, for example, labourers and fishermen had to live with very cheap ingredients in order to keep themselves full – and these dishes are now the most popular with the current generation. Maybe I’ll write food stories in the near future. That would be fun! For now, the Boyfriend and I are looking forward to cook the following food over the next year, once we both move to the same city in fall.

As I’m not an incredible cook and he’s even worse than me (that he admits), here’s the list, from the easiest looking to the hardest looking dish:

Crêpes and pancakes.

Given that London chills for a good part of the year, this is perfect for winter. I’m notorious at getting out of the bed (there’s an appropriate page on Facebook titled something like “I can’t get up – my bed is possessive of me” which definitely describes my bed!) and the Boyfriend, after downplaying his inability to cook anything decent other than eggs or pasta since the beginning of time, has announced today that he can cook pancakes and crêpes. Additionally, he promised to cook that to get me out of bed… and I think the smell of freshly made pancakes from the kitchen will suffice as a good reason to abandon my possessive bed!

Pasta with garlic prawns

Who doesn’t like good pasta?

The best thing about pasta is that it can be cooked so easily and you can hardly go wrong with it. There was a time when I lived in a hostel in London with an alarming number of Italians (nothing bad about that), and we shared a kitchen for about a month. Watching them cook pasta was a joy; watching them throw salt over their shoulders and onto the kitchen floor is something I wish I’d never seen.

You probably don’t need a recipe to cook pasta with garlic prawns, but here is one easy and delicious looking one that will definitely satisfy anyone’s tastebuds 😉

Disclaimer: We’re not going to make the pasta from scratch because I don’t think we’re up to that kind of standard yet.

Homemade Ice Cream has some of the most extensive list of easy-to-cook recipes I’ve ever seen online. I remember first stumbling onto their site a couple of days ago after a friend introduced me to it, insisting that I look at their cheeseburger macaroni recipe. Yah-ummmm! The fact that you don’t need a million different ingredients, seasoning and machines to cook their food is perfect for novices like the Boyfriend and I. The best thing about their homemade ice cream recipe? Yep, you guessed it – you don’t need a machine. The Boyfriend and I can’t wait to slather good ol’ Nutella all over our ice cream, and maybe even add some oreo cookies to the mix. Thank God for oreo cookies!

Chinese dinner

I love Chinese food. It’s one of my favourite cuisines in the world, up there with French cuisine. Mm-hmm! Usually, people associate Chinese food with roast duck, noodles and rice. Weeeell, it’s a lot more than that. Just like any other cuisine, Chinese food is incredibly extensive, with each region of the Chinese speaking world – be it in China or other parts of Asia – producing their own specialty dish.

I promised the Boyfriend that I will cook him a three dish Chinese dinner in September (or later, depends as we’ve a couple of friends headed to London and can have a dinner party then). He will be my assistant chef of the night. Can’t wait!

Chicken schnitzel with grilled eggplant

After watching people half my age beat me in terms of absolute cooking skill in Junior Masterchef Australia, I’m so inspired to cook. (I said the same thing in January.) But this dish is really easy. Did I say easy? I mean difficult. There! This will explain any disasters we encounter cooking this dish later.

Anyway, chicken schnitzel is actually not complicated to make – you’d just need flour, some eggs and bread crumbs (you can use a food blender to blend stale baguette bread ;)). While sizzling it on the pan, grill some eggplants (lightly salt & season them) and make a simple salad with tomatoes and the mix. Ta-da! It’s done. Simple, isn’t it? The full recipe is here.

Steak & kidney sandwich with pommes soufflé and caramelised onions

I was having a bout of insomnia last night and cooking competition Masterchef Australia was on the TV. It was a Friday, so there was “Masterclass” where Masterchef judges Gary and George cooked some food – like this one. They made it seem easy, but it is probably a little harder than easy. But ohhh, after watching it, I just wanted to eat it! So the Boyfriend got an email pronto about the dish and we’re going to try it as our last dish on our to-cook list. The recipe can be found here.

PS. You’d need a food blender for this dish to make the parsley and spinach puree.

More will be added to the list when we encounter new recipes online. I’ll be posting entries of us cooking once we get down to all these dishes and after we’ve settled in – can’t wait!

Image sources: crepe, pasta, ice cream, Chinese dinner, chicken schnitzel, steak sandwich


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