This is the official blog of Winna Efendi, author of several bestselling Indonesian novels.

Sabtu, 18 Februari 2012


I'm a bit obsessed by cooking lately. I'm not a total newbie at the kitchen, but I'm not a pro either. I'm just someone who cooks for fun, and loves to experiment with exotic ingredients.

Lately I've been cooking more. I'm used to homemade cooking like my mother taught me, from very basic soups to vegetables stir-fry, and occasionally seafood. I love to mix and match ingredients, from corned beef with eggs, different variations to an egg dish or sandwich, and I'm especially fond of dessert though I know nothing about pastry and have never used an oven properly before. One of my favorite recipes are making a brownie using a slow cooker. It takes longer, but it's really simple and yummy to say the least.

I'm not familiar with European dish or Italian. To be honest, the names even get me confused sometimes. But I do like to experiment. I love herbs - the names, the scents, the tastes.. rosemary, cilantro, parsley, mint, and my favorite oregano. Even tried to grow it at home with pots and seeds from Ace Hardware, but they don't grow, I guess because of our weather doesn't suit them that well. I love garlic, and especially love a dash of cut chili or chili powder, and cinnamon and ginger. I don't like the smell and the taste of clove, and lemon basil, but I love to experiment with them nevertheless. I love clear broths in a soup, taking my time to make sure the vegetables are cooked just right. I've done many mistakes with overcooking or undercooking, have had my share with burnt food I fried for too long, I have always been afraid of fire, hot oil and hot water.. but I survive.

The best thing about cooking is when you don't need to do it because you feel it's an obligation. When you cook for fun, for pleasure, or for a reason, you don't see it as a burden. It's lovely to see someone you love dearly tastes your cooking and smile and say it's delicious. And the opposite, it sucks for people to turn away at the sight or the taste and say they'd rather eat something else, or order a takeaway (yes I've had that experience too). But then, no matter what cooking is also a trial and error, and a lifetime of learning. You cannot learn enough to say your glass is full; there is always a new creation for someone to discover. It's creativity, it's focus, it's attention to detail, it's excitement, and it's passion.

Everyone can enjoy and love cooking. Everyone takes and feels a little something differently when they create a dish, or when they cook. It doesn't mean everyone will feel the same way I do, and there's no way I can vouch that I will always be happy when I cook, because it's not true. I've done my grumpy cooking, my angry cooking, my sad cooking and my happy cooking. It's not always a straight line.

But for me, it is indeed therapeutic and always a whole new experience, no matter the end results or the process of cooking. From where I'm standing, I doubt that I'll ever be a great chef or even someone who knows ingredients like the back of her hand. My aim is to be a woman who knows her way around the kitchen, and pleases her loved ones with the food she prepares. Someday, my kids might enjoy bentos with cutely shaped food and have a surprise each day he or she opens the lunch box. One can only hope.

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