Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Newbie Cook #2 : A month of cooking

It's been over a month since I first came back to Netherlands and took the role of the homemaker, and it has also been a month of my cooking adventure.

A real Dutch person normally only eat bread or sandwich for breakfast and lunch. I know, it was so strange for me also, coming from a culture of eating substansial meals 3 times a day! But Dutch people are always so busy and have tight schedule through out the day, that having quick breakfast and lunch just makes things easier. That said, it makes it easier for me as well, since I only have to cook once a day!

The challenge for me is to stick to a budget. While we're not too strict with budget, we're aware that we can't buy the best cut of meat everytime or buy whatever veggie we want regardless of the season. We'd look on the weekly promotions of the local supermarket, try to get some of our produce or meat that are on discount, and work out the week's menu around it. I think this is something that a lot of homemaker out there can relate to.

Another challenge with meal planning is trying to cook different meal every night, with what we have in our fridge. This is good for a Newbie Cook like me, because it kinda 'forces' me to browse for recipes and really expand my cooking horizon ;). And so far I'm happy to say that we haven't had any exact same meal in a month.

It's not like I cook entirely different meal all the time, really. With the simple Chinese inspired cookings, for example, the basic seasoning are usually similar: soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, garlice, shallot, onion. So I make sure I always have them in stock. All I need to do is to vary the produce and the protein, and there I have a 'different' meal!

What I also try to vary everyday is the carb. Being Indonesian, I'm very much used to eating rice everyday, even 3 times a day! While traditionally Dutch people eat a lot of potato. Good thing that K and I like many kinds of carbs, so I try as much to vary between potato, rice, pasta, noodle, and occasionally some kind of bread such as pita bread. Except for the occasional bread, we also keep good stock of those carbs. And those are my strategy to have variety of meal everyday!

Anyway, I have not made pictures of every meal we've had the past month. Most of the time I just forgot, or the meal was not too successful that I didn't feel like taking picture of it. Being the newbie cook, it happens more than often, hehehe ;). But I wanna show some of the more "succesful" ones here. Sorry for the low quality pics, as I shot some of them with my phone's camera.
  • Stir fry Kangkung with ground beef, which was served with rice. This is an example of the easy cooking that can easily be transformed with different veggie (such as Kai Lan or Bok Choy) and protein (chicken or fish). This one is actually one of my first solo cooking in NL!

  • Fried noodles, one of my favorite dish of all time. There are so many variations of recipe in the internet, from the Indonesian "mie goreng" to the Chinese "chow mein". I'll never get bored of this dish! :)

  • Spaghetti bolognese. Very classic. I'm proud to say that I made the bolognese sauce from scratch! Hihihi :).

  • Macaroni with zucchini, tomato, meat and feta cheese. Very easy, and the feta cheese made it taste so good!

  • Pasta with kale, carrot, and chicken. This is the first time I cooked and ate Kale. Must say I like it a lot!

  • Pasta with tuna, andive, olive and feta cheese. Actually K cooked this dish, I just sat there and be pretty :P.

Allright, back to meal planning!

Sharing with : What I Ate Wednesday,

White Lights on Wednesdays


  1. Love all of the veggie recipes! Perfect for this month of WIAW :)

    Looks like you are doing great with your budget. Keep up the awesome work!

    1. Thank you! I try to have veggie with every dish, but can't say it's been a balanced portion compared to the amount of carb and protein :P.

  2. Way to go with all your dishes- the noodles look so good! New reader via WIAW. Cheers- great photos too :)

    1. Always love noodles! Thanks for visiting! :)

  3. I just discovered kale recently too. I have a daily cooking blog at if you're looking for more inspiration.