After a long and necessary hiatus, I’m finally back to the blog! Hope you’re all doing fine and can I say that I really missed blogging after being away from it for so long and I hope to be around more often from now on.
Anyway, please forgive me but instead of relaunching with a blast of the usual beauty content, I thought I’d just spend one post easing myself back into the blogging process with a rare lifestyle post.
There will be more beauty related articles soon but I think I’d like this post to be something of a tribute to my dad of whom I have not seen in two years. Miss you so much, dad!
Thanks to Lee Kum Kee and Modern Mavens, I had the chance to attend the Lee Kum Kee Cooking With Celebrities Event recently and I was excited because a cooking demonstration is not something that I’ve ever really watched live before – so yes, this is one to cross off the bucket list now. You should all try it sometime – free food to try, why not? 😉
The cooking demo was an intimate kitchen session for media organised by Lee Kum Kee at the Starhill Culinary Studio and meant to showcase easy dishes prepared with Lee Kum Kee products as well as promote the release of a cookbook by Seashore Publishing, 988 FM and Lee Kum Kee.
The cookbook, 10 Tales of Food and Love, is a collection of recipes celebrating Malaysian men in the home kitchen and contains a host of local male celebrities sharing their heirloom recipes. I’m not the best cook but I think this volume has many practical dishes that even I’ll be able to prepare at home.
It’s the type of user-friendly cookbook that demonstrates that with the right ingredients and quality condiments, good home cooking does not have to be complex or take a lot of time.
Two of the book’s featured celebrities manned the Starhill kitchen and shared a couple of their recipes from the book. They were actually really funny and half the fun came from watching the entertaining volley of witty banter between them and the event emcee.
Meet DJ Chan Fong & actor, Jeffrey Cheng…
DJ Chan Fong kicked off the session by making his delicious Grilled Chicken Wings with Coconut Milk & Oyster Sauce while Jeffrey Cheng then whipped up a decadent but easy Low-Calorie Soy Milk Soup with Scallops.
Every audience member was given a generous serving of both dishes and yes, they were as tasty as they looked but the amazing thing was how they were very easy to prepare using fresh ingredients and Lee Kum Kee sauces. Not hard at all!
With adequate pre-marination, I’d say that each dish took only about 30 minutes inclusive of actual cooking time so these are meals that can be managed easily by a home cook with a tight schedule.
Now, speaking of men in the kitchen, I grew up watching my dad take care of all of the household cooking because my mum was no certainly no cook and if it weren’t for the culinary prowess of my father – my entire childhood might have been spent eating beans and franks out of a tin can.
I’m sorry and I love you too, mum, but you and I both know it was either that or your famous margarine spread on bread combo – your signature go-to ‘dish’ on days when dad wasn’t available to cook.
So, when I think of home cooking and heirloom recipes, it is always with great fondness that I am reminded of the importance of my father when it came to bringing delicious homemade meals to our family table every night.
I live in Asia now where seasonings like oyster and soy sauces are easily had but I didn’t live here as a child and back in the olden days, Asian-style condiments were actually very rare where I grew up.
However, being of ethnic-Chinese extraction, my dad was a real Chinese foodie and especially good at Cantonese-style Chinese dishes so with his two hands, a pan and sometimes only very humble ingredients, dad would turn out some of the most exotic meals ever seen on our suburban street.
At that time in our part of the world family meals were pretty boring and most people lived a ‘meat and three veg’ life so the wafting aromas from my dad’s stove top were always something that would pique the curiosity of our neighbours for, dare I say, the anticipation of extras.
Now, the cornerstone to my dad’s excellent cooking was his shelf of sauces and condiments but back then these seasonings were considered exotic and not available at our local supermarkets so in order for my dad to get his hands on these special sauces, our entire family would have to set out on dedicated road trips to the nearest Chinatown to secure supplies.
The only catch was that the nearest Chinatown was a long and boring drive that was a minimum two-hours each way. And, thanks to the lack of a babysitter, my parents would have to bundle the lot of us sulking, squeaking and frequently-carsick children into the family sedan for these epic Chinatown supply runs. With all the paraphernalia and stress that came with young kids aged zero to six, it was a challenge akin to migration and I pity my parents.
Aside from the arduous car trip, what I remember best about these trips was how my dad would come alive among the grocery store aisles as he assessed and plucked from the shelves some of the special ingredients that were necessary to create delicious wholesome meals for our family to last us until the next road trip.
Certainly, one of his favourite parts of the store must have been the condiment aisle because it was here that he was be able to restock all the beloved sauces that were critical to the success of every dish that came from his home kitchen.
Thankfully, Lee Kum Kee’s sauces are now readily available almost anywhere in the world and my father no longer has to endure a 4-hour journey in search of quality condiments but looking at a bottle of soy sauce or oyster sauce still brings back heartwarming images of my dad – the kitchen hero, at his stove. It also reminds me of the epic lengths Dad would go take to replenish our supplies.
My dad is and will always be a man who has never stopped doing things for his family and to this day he continues cooking his signature dishes for his now-grown family.
I’m proud to say that his dishes and techniques have continued to inspire my cooking life and that is why I never step into a kitchen without first thinking of my dad. What would dad add, is a question I often ask myself when I reach for the next thing to flavour a dish.
Sadly, I now live an actual ocean away from my Dad and can only see the meals he makes in photos from my siblings. I really don’t see enough of him but when I miss my dad and his cooking, I’ll whip up a dish that he would make for us in the way that I remember he would make it.
Each dish then becomes a little bridge connecting our hearts across place and time. Mushy but true!
As with my dad, there is also a row of cooking sauces in our home too and it seems that a kitchen is incomplete when there isn’t at least a bottle of Lee Kum Kee sauce of some type on the counter.
The Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce is the only brand our household uses because when we think of oyster sauce it’s the only brand that comes to mind and unsurprisingly too – Lee Kum Kee have been making it for 127 years so it’s a quality product that has faithfully served generations.
Today it is still a flavouring component that is set deep within the culinary psyche of many home cooks and professional chefs around the world.
Off the top of my head, I honestly can’t think of any other brand for oyster sauce, can you?
However, I was surprised to find out at this cooking event that aside from the Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce that the company is most famous for, Lee Kum Kee also produces more than 200 cooking sauces and related products. That’s a lot of choice and a multitide of flavour combinations for our cooking pleasure, don’t you think?
Thankfully, since the products are widely available in supermarkets and grocers all over the world, many of us no longer have to plan a road trip for a bottle of Lee Kum Kee sauce.
For more Lee Kum Kee product or nutritional information and recipes…here is a handy link to the company website…
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