When I was a kid, I would hover in the kitchen while my Grandmother, aunts and mom cooked. To get me out of the way, I would be bribed with chunks of sugar cane or pieces of dried radish to gnaw on. I accepted the bribes, naturally, but nothing could get me to get out of the kitchen.
Everything about the kitchen fascinated me. I loved watching my Mom and various other female relatives chop up meat or fish or what-nots on the chopping board, add stuff to them and cook them. I was lucky because I got to witness the women-only rituals where huge batches of traditional food were made: bak chang, peng kueh, soon kueh, mackerel fishballs, curries, pineapple tarts…
I remember once, when I was about 5, I stood at the stove to watch my Grandma fry fish. I love fish, and I love the noises and the splattering of oil when the fish hit the oil. In my excitement, I must have gotten too close to the wok, for a huge glob of oil came shooting at me and hit me on the right collar bone. I screamed in pain, and I had a HUGE blister that hurt for days after. But still, that did not deter me from hanging around in the kitchen.
I am really fortunate because I have a mother who was, and still is, really supportive of my love for cooking and baking. Growing up, I could simply take over the kitchen and cooked meals or bake when I wanted to. Now, I discuss recipes with her and we learn from each other.
It was only when I started my teaching job, I think, when I realised that many of my colleagues could not cook. I remember feeling a little baffled when I was asked how to cook really simple dishes – “THIS IS SO EASY, WHY DO YOU NOT KNOW??”
As I talked to more people over the years, I realised that many people do not cook or bake because they find the experience daunting. There are words or terms in cookbooks that really do not mean much to novices – words like julienne, ban marie, water-bath or folding. A friend said to me, “I know the batter was supposed to be light and fluffy, but how light, and how fluffy is right??”
I guess the main reason for writing this blog is to demystify some of the myths that people have about cooking and baking. I try to include as many pictures as possible of each step of the process, and use the simplest words in my descriptions. I also hope to encourage more to pick up the spatula, or the whisk and make something in their kitchens! In addition, I think it is a great way to log the recipes that have been passed down to me, and those that I have picked up and tweaked myself over the years.
Blogging has allowed me to experience so much – I now conduct cooking and baking classes as a full-time career as well as product demo sessions for the various brands I work with. My first book, The Domestic Goddess Bakes, featuring more than 80 recipes, many using Singaporean flavors like Gula Melaka, Bandung, Teh Halia and Bak Kwa, was released in March 2018.
This is a blog of all things I love and am passionate about.
I am Diana Gale, and welcome to my kitchen!