Blog of Justin Cheuk, home to writing on London, Hong Kong, Studying Abroad, Trains and Travels.

Culinary Exploits of Second Year: the Struggles

Justin Cheuk: When HK Meets UK
Prawn Pasta. Still Pasta.

Prawn Pasta. Still Pasta.

Cooking for yourself can be a chore. I know many people who decided to live in college accommodation simply because you get served a hot meal 3 times a day.

However, as somebody who had endured eight years of canteen food, the prospect of feeding myself was weirdly exciting.

They say potatoes are the staple in your first year, but once you move out of halls pasta becomes the new means of survival. With my re-edition of bolognese and carbonara dominating the plates, I am inclined to agree.

Anxious not to only eat pasta for the year, I was determined to expand the range of stuff that I can make. However, it soon became clear why students live on pasta: unlike many others, it rarely goes wrong.

I had considered myself a pretty good cook, one of those who are comfortable (only) with what they know, and because I could flip food in the frying pan very well. (earning the nickname ‘the flipping tosser’) However, the series of mishap soon taught me otherwise, that ultimately it was the experience in the field that mattered:

Ovens should be straightforward, yet I had a knack of overcooking things. Sometimes because I have completely forgotten about it, only to discover charcoal at the end.

Rice was notoriously difficult. You would think Asian heritage helps, but my first attempt without a rice cooker made me realise that I have racial profiled myself.

Managed to splash beetroot everywhere, turning the kitchen into a heinous crime scene.

The determination to improve was strong and bit by bit I embarked on a course for culinary excellence mediocrity. Fortunately, things were on the up and I’ve learnt to make more proper food!

What has it actually made? That’s for tomorrow. But I can report a lot of continental flavour along with traditional pub grubs.

I made Chinese rice like, once.

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