As a mother and a wife, I take a full responsibility for the wellness and health of my son and my husband. I realised that health is not only wealth, it is a major foundation of a family’s wellbeing. No matter how busy we are, we shouldn’t give excuses to ourselves for not providing balance and healthy meals on our dinner table. When Alvin and I got married, I could only cook 5 Filipino dishes: Sinigang, Tinola, Asado, Menudo and Adobo. These dishes were served repeatedly for about 2 years.
When we went back for vacation to the Philippines in 2002, I bought a cookbook from National Book Store. With that, I learned new dishes Caldereta, Chopsuey, Pinakbet, Kare-Kare, Mechado, Afritada, Embotido and many more… But learning to cook new dishes wasn’t easy so if you’re learning too, don’t worry if your first trial is burnt or tasted differently from you’ve expected. I remember many mishaps, like my first Maja Blanca turning hard like cheese and my first Caldereta getting burnt. So don’t stop because you’ll learn from your mistakes. If I stopped, then probably aside from the 5 dishes I know, we’d be eating frequently at food courts, McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway and other fast food outlets.
Now, I’m proud of myself that I can cook many dishes from different countries.
This Spaghetti Puttanesca good start for people busy and people who don’t know how to cook.
300g dried spaghetti
1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers, soaked in water and drained
16 mixed olives, pitted and sliced
12 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped (optional if you want it vegetarian)
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 (14 ounce/400gram) can chopped tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Oil and season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
2. Cook spaghetti according to packaging.
3. Fry garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, chili flakes, and oregano in a little olive oil for a few minutes.
4. Add canned tomatoes, lemon juice and roasted tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes until you have a lovely tomato sauce consistency.
5. Remove from the heat, plunge the drained spaghetti into it, toss it over, and cover with the sauce.
6. Drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil.