Welcome to my Kitchen.
I dream of living in the past, when I was a little boy watching my mother cooked in the kitchen that I grew up with. Unfortunately, there was no photo to recollect my memory, except in my own memory itself.
“A red brick bench with two holes on top for the charcoal cooking stoves. I remembered my mother had to use the traditional “Ah Kong” Chinese bamboo hand fan to start the fire and adjusted the intensity of the flame by fanning the burnt charcoal.”
Fortunately, when I visited the Khoo Kongsi in George Town, a UNESCO world heritage site a couple of years ago, I saw this mock up traditional Straits Chinese kitchen which reminded me of the kitchen I grew up in my first family home and had to take a photo for remembrance.
I think the reason I called the “Ah Kong” hand fan was that my grandfather used a similar hand fan almost everyday fanning himself on a hot day. His typical dress code at home was a white collar-less Chinese “Pagoda” singlet with a pair of Chinese boxer shorts. He was a migrant from mainland China, which made me a second generation Malaysian born. I don’t know when my grandfather (my mother’s side) immigrated to Penang. But I do remember that he was a very young man in his early to mid teens, and very handsome. He came to Penang on a boat with 5 of his closest friends from Fujian province in China, called Hui-An. He worked very hard in his young life to give his family a good life. He has a strong and traditional Chinese values. He was very entrepreneur and eventually had enough money to own a rubber plantation and started his own little shop grinding fresh imported coffee beans (during the spice trades) and supplied to the local “kopitiams” (coffee shops). He was considered rich in his time, and his closest friend, Loh Boon Siew who came with him on the same boat became a very well known, generous and successful businessman, a local Penang tycoon and was well known for his charitable generosity.
In reliving a bit of my past, I bought an “Ah Kong” hand fan a few years ago when I was back in Penang. I am glad I still have it here with me. But, never used it because it is not hot and humid enough to hand fan myself.
All the kitchen I had in the past and present is modern in this era. I guess I consider my kitchen as normal, functional and a working kitchen. It is not a showroom kitchen. It is not traditional. Nothing special or nostalgic. But, every house that I have lived in the past, both my partner and I had to renovate the kitchen to suit our taste.
My last kitchen
After: A kitchen makeover of roughly AUD$25,000. I was very happy with the new kitchen and gallery induction cooktop island.
My current kitchen – downsize
The other thing that make my kitchen functional is a set of basic cooking tools – a good sharp knife, a Chinese cleaver, a wok, a stainless steel spatula (I also have a Chinese spatula and a Chinese ladle), a Chinese chopping board, and a mortar and pestle (though I tend to use a small blender which is quicker to make paste).
This Page is dedicated to a collection of what I do best in my little kitchen – my home cooking. You can see and read about my recipes in this Page. If you have read my previous blog, Foodtrail, you will know by now that I do a lot of stir fries and curries. Nine out of ten times I do a stir fry or curry in my kitchen. It is the simplest style of cooking, which I love most. Effective and tasty with no rules to what I can use or add in the cooking.
Over time my cooking becomes more and more simple to suit my lifestyle of a nice and simple quick meal. But, in the weekend I may feel a bit over the top and go a bit further and a bit more extravagant and cook something more elaborate which requires more time to prepare.
This Page is all about working in my kitchen, sharing of my recipes – home recipes that is. Nothing too fancy that you cannot replicate at home in your own kitchen.