Living in London for more than two years now had taught me a lot of things about myself and in life. I can say that this is really an independent living. It’s in a different country, different continent and away from my comfort zone. And this is one of the best decisions or experience I had made in my life so far. Living far away from my family has taught me a lot of things about life. It widens my perspective and exposed me to a lot of wonderful things at work, about managing people (as seen from my manager on how she handles her people) – one thing that inspires me and that what I’ll do when the time comes that I will need to go back to the Philippines.
Aside from budgeting, time management, knowing my priorities, doing household chores (like laundry, doing my grocery, cleaning my room, throwing my garbage, ironing my clothes, organizing my room) and setting aside one day during my days off to do all of them. Because the last thing I want to see after a tiring shift from the hospital is a messy, dirty and disorganized room. So I always dedicate one day to do all the household chores. And knowing me, I am a homebody. I like staying at home, reading books, writing blogs, shooting videos for my vlog and just relaxing in my room. That’s why a tidy room is really important to me.
Aside from becoming responsible in organizing my room, another thing that I learned from living independently in the UK is learning how to cook using the oven. Yes, 90% of the time I use the oven to cook my food. Because when cooking chicken, instead of adding oil to fry the chicken, when I roast it in the oven, the oil is being extracted from the chicken and pork and when I eat them, I separate the oil and discard it.
One more thing, the food is healthier, more delicious and so much cheaper when you cook it at home. Because one meal costs £5 (Php 354) in the hospital’s cafeteria, or if you will order a pizza in Domino’s, it will cost £12 (Php 828), if you will eat in a fine dining restaurant, it usually costs £30 (Php 2,070). I think of how much I could save if I do a grocery of £20 (Php 1,380) which will last me a week. That £20 grocery already has fruits, coffee, bread, milk, vegetables and meat/fish. I rarely buy chips or crisps, ice cream, dessert or sweet cakes, I only do when I crave but it’s very very rare. I do not buy chocolates because I’m not a fan of sweets. I only eat chocolates whenever a patient gives chocolates to the ward and if it’s opened in the nurse station, I grab one, or two or three pieces which gives me glucose during a tiring long day shift.
So these are the dishes that I was able to cook in the past 2 years and I am posting it here to remind myself, that if the time comes that I will feel lazy to cook or if I can’t think of anything to cook anymore, I can say, “Hey! You can cook. Try cooking them again!”
These are some of the dishes I cooked or I learned to cook here in the UK.
1.Chili garlic praws with asparagus – I brought this in the Hen Party (Bridal Shower) of my colleague 2 weeks ago. I got this recipe from the Youtube Channel of @HungreeCat, a Filipina Youtuber (please check out her Youtube Channel). This is very easy to cook and so healthy.
2. Chicken Tinola with Sweet Corn
Back in the Philippines, I have been cooking Tinola but when I watched the Youtube Channel of Judy Ann Santos, she added Sweet Corn in her Tinola and it complements with the soup, it’s so delicious. I used Spinach leaves for the greens. So nice to have this hot soup during winter season.
3. Roasted pork shoulder with vegetables
Not really a fan of pork meat because it’s not tender (not soft) to chew. But I used the pork after a day and cooked it with squash and beans. I made ginisang kalabasa with bagoong.
I like eating vegetables.
3. Baked salmon, asparagus with mediterranean rice
I like salmon as it tastes so healthy to eat. I sprinkled salt, pepper, lemon juice and added olive oil to the salmon and baked it for 20 to 25 mins. Then I wrapped the asparagus with bacon / pancetta, sprinkled it with salt and pepper to taste and baked it on the same oven for 5 to 10 mins.
For the mediterranean rice, it’s pre-packed. I bought it in the grocery store, Aldi. It’s cooked, seasoned and a combination of wheat beans, quinoa and some seasonings. I just warm it in the microwave for 2 minutes. It’s so healthy.
4.Wrap ala Pret-A-Manger
This is inspired by the wrap that I ate in the cafe called, Pret-A-Manger. I searched online for the recipe and I found this. This isn’t exactly the cafe’s recipe but it tastes almost the same. I bought a wrap, then added baked chicken, cheese, red beans, corn, tomato sauce and coriander leaves. Then I folded the wrap into four. I grilled the wrap in my griller for 5 minutes just to warm it and eat it right away. It’s so delicious!
5. Sweet Style Spaghetti
This is what the Filipinos like in a spaghetti, a sweet sauce. I used minced pork, sauteed it with onion and garlic, placed spaghetti sauce and added white sugar. Put it in a cooked al-dente spaghetti noodles and then topped with cheese. As easy as that.
6. Vegetable Okoy
One time, I bought a squash and I only used half of it. I wondered what to do with the remaining half. I searched on Youtube and found the recipe of Okoy. I’ve been craving of this dish at that time and for it to be dipped in a vinegar with chili sauce. I shredded the squash and because i like eating vegetables, I also added shredded green beans, I mixed flour, eggs and sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste. Fried it and it turned out to be vegetable okoy. I dipped it in vinegar with chili sauce, just how I wanted it to be.
7. Crab in Oyster Sauce
I now forgot how I cooked this. But what I can remember is that I boiled the crab using Sprite to make the crab taste sweet. Then I made the sauce. I sauteed garlic, onion, ginger, added oyster sauce, soy sauce and a little bit of salt, pepper, and sugar to neutralize the taste. I transferred the crab in the same pan and cooked for another 5 to 10 mins.
8. Chicken and mushroom casserole
I learned this dish from watching the Youtube Channel, Natasha’s kitchen. This is so creamy and delicious, something that you can bring to a friend’s party or serve during a special occasion at home.
For the step by step cooking, here’s the video in her Youtube Channel. Guys, try it. It’s very easy to make but absolutely delicious.
9. Baking a Banana Bread
I learned the easy recipe of a moist and easy Banana Bread of Sadia from Pick-Up Limes. Sadia is vegan, so all the ingredients from this banana bread is plant based. And it’s one of the most delicious banana bread I’ve eaten. If you want to know the recipe, check out Pick-up Limes in Youtube and searched Vegan Banana bread.
10. Baking a muffin
And so, I turned the banana bread into muffin. Yes, it’s the same exact recipe. The only difference is that I placed the mixture into the muffin mold.
These are some of the dishes I learned to cook here in London. Dishes that I don’t want to forget. I want to cook this for my family in the Philippines and for my future family. Home-cooked meal is still the best. The best bonding time with the family is eating delicious food at home.
As you noticed, I learned the majority of these recipes from watching Youtube. My favourite past time is watching Youtube videos about cooking, personal vlogs, inspirational and motivational talks. I have learned a lot from watching Youtube and I think Youtube is a great platform to share ideas like recipes, life experiences, to inspire, influence and motivate a person to learn something new that can be applied in real life.
More dishes to share in the part 2 of this blog post.
Have a great day! I need to rest now for I have work later, a night shift. Bye!