I had been thinking about buying a slow cooker for a long time.
Sometime last year, PN asked me why I did not cook more frequently. I told her that I was too lazy and the time spent on cooking seems unjustifiable given that I was just cooking for one (i.e. feeding myself). So she suggested that I buy a slow cooker, set the timer-up so that I get freshly cooked meals each time I return home.
Then earlier this year, when my cousin's wife visited, she made the same suggestion as PN. At the same time, she also shared verbally with me her Traditional Chinese Medicinal recipe for turning white hair to black. [Yes, my cousin's wife does not have any white hair despite being in her late-40's!] The beauty secret tempted me, but still I felt that since I am on a "student budget" I should not buy anything that is "non-essential".
Early in August, I mentioned to a friend in Singapore about my cousin's wife's recipe for regaining black hair. My friend was interested to try it, so I obtained the recipe again form my cousin's wife. Thus I am tempted once again to buy a slow cooker to boil that "magic potion".
So I asked the universe for a "sign" that I should spend that money on my health. Yeah, I am kind of thrifty on the non-essential purchases at the moment given that I had already spent my part of my annual fun budget on the trip to Banff, Alberta.
Last week, the temporary house-mate monk nagged at me about the state of my health. He told me to make 四神汤 ["4 gods soup"] and listed the ingredients for me.
I acted as if I knew nuts about herbal soups and did not quite understand the monk's instructions mainly because I have learnt from previous interactions earlier that week that he wanted to feel wiser* than me. [*Note: More about that, perhaps in a future post.] In any case, his recipe for 四神汤 ["4 gods soup"] is slightly different from my mother's, so I was somewhat confused and had to check the internet. [Apparently my mother has a modified recipe.] The monk did not know that, being Cantonese, I have grown up drinking herbal/medicinal soups; and for a period during my mid-teens and early 20's, my sister and I had to cook for our entire family of 7 -- soup, 2 to 3 dishes and rice daily.
Coincidentally, there was a sale on slow cookers in a shop, so I did some price comparison and online research. Finally I bought a slow cooker last Wednesday.
My new slow cooker
Have you watched the classic Spider Man where Peter Parker designed his own mechanical web-shooters and suddenly he is up for the challenge? Yeah, it feels a bit similar for me with my new slow cooker. Suddenly, so many of the food that I grew up with seems within reasonable reach. E.g. I no longer have to sit next to the stove for 2 hours just to get that nicely creamed Cantonese congee.
My first experiment
Cantonese congee with medicinal ingredients
The next day, I woke up to Cantonese congee with medicinal ingredients. For the following few days, my neighbouring house-mate thought that the monk was cooking mushrooms when he smelled the fragrance of mushrooms in the air. [It was me braising shitake mushrooms with the cooker in my room.] As it is, I have pre-cooked and froze/refrigerated most of my meals for this week. It is really nice to be able to cook specifically to my own taste and also to share good food with friends.