As Salty Fig continues to develop, we are looking for amazing cooks who know what they are talking about in their blogs and can help teach the rest of us how to cook. We are especially interested in those indie voices from all around the world. Rosie Gohres author, teacher and voice of “Flavours of Singapore” aka www.Foodrecipes.eu does all of that; she is located in Amsterdam. We invite you to take a moment and read what she has to share with us as to why she created the blog and her cooking class business.
Salty Fig’s interview with Rosie Gohres:
Q: What is your specialty?
“My specialty is cooking Asian food especially Singapore food. My recipe website is dedicated to foodies, chefs and hobby cooks who share the same passion for cooking. We learn from each other, maybe a technique, a new recipe from each other as most of us come from different background such as a different culture and style of cooking.
Apart from the Foodrecipes.eu website which serves as a recipe portal website, I also teach cooking classes here in The Netherlands so people can learn to cook Singapore food at www.Flavoursofsingapore.nl . Other than that , I appear in food events and festivals and do cooking demonstrations to show the public what Singapore food is all about. The idea of www.FoodRecipes.eu is for people who like to cook, who want to try out something different, a good recipe that they can rely on. People who visit the website can be assured that the recipe is foolproof, tried and tasted and you can cook these recipes at home.”
Q: What is the most popular recipe on your blog?
“Chicken Soto Soup (Singapore Soto Ayam) & Tahu Goreng (Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce Dressing) which is a vegetarian version. These are my favourite recipes too.”
Q: Why did you start cooking? Why are you passionate about it?
“I have always been so passionate about food and cooking when I was a little girl. When I was young, I was not allowed by my mother to actually cook with her but I could help out and watch. I did the little things like cutting and stirring. My mother was strict and quite a perfectionist. What I did was to observe the way she cooked, her cooking steps and method. It was boring but as I grew older into a teenager, I realized I had learned and picked up a lot more by observing my mother cooking when I was young. It was easy for me to just start cooking and produce the same taste just like my mother’s food. In my early twenties, I began to become “critical” about food and the way it taste. I remembered when I was working in the office at that time, I had a pinboard pasted on the wall where I would “rate” the restaurants which I had visited. Thinking back, it was hilarious. In my late twenties, I love organizing food outings for the expat group back in Singapore where we went to French restaurant, Spanish, Italian etc.
From learning when I was a child and growing up experiencing and tasting food in restaurants, street food etc and traveling to other countries I learned a lot about “taste” and how to create and balance the different types of ingredients in a dish. The indulgence into food made me so much more aware of what is available out there. You name it, I love Mexican food, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, Surinam, Caribbean etc. That passion for food has been translated into cooking. I love to cook Mexican food even if it takes hours to prepare just like some Singapore food.
Well I did not end up as a food critic but as a chef who wants to produce good tasty food. It even makes me happy when students during cooking classes are so happy with the results and they tell me “I am going to cook this recipe again at home”.”
Q: What is your favorite food memory?
“Too many to mention The best one was when I had jetlag arriving in Singapore after coming back from my Europe trip. I was hungry in the middle of the night and my husband cooked tuna pasta for 3 consecutive nights because I loved it so much. I ate at around 12 midnight in those 3 days.”
Q: What is your most bizarre food experience?
“The one thing which is still on my top list is eating frog legs and lamb kidneys in a french restaurant in France. The frog legs were not good and the lamb kidneys had the most unpleasant smell. Never again.”
Q: What is one tool in the kitchen you couldn’t live without?
“My food processor. I could not imagine in the old days people use pestle and motar to grind kilos of dried chilies. To think of it, I did that when my mother asked me to do it when I was young. Thanks to modern technology, I am using the food processor.”
Q: What are three ingredients you have to have in your kitchen at all times?
“Most of the dishes that we cook involve using garlic and onion. The smell of browning garlic and caramelizing onions are so fragrant. I love sea salt as it is generally less salty than table salt and it tastes better too.”
Q: When you need a creative food fix where do you go?
“To the wholesale supermarket for restaurants. We have a few of them here and they have everything I need for my cooking.”
Q: Who is your favorite person to cook for?
“My husband! Because he expects 101% from a chef like myself. No shortcuts! I cook much more for my husband since we live in Europe now. In Singapore, it was convenient and easy to step out of the house and dine out. Here in The Netherlands, when he craves for Singapore or Asian food, I’ll cook. There is no Singapore restaurant in Amsterdam… at least not yet ”
Q: What is your biggest flop in the kitchen? Would you ever make it again?
“The first time I made a pizza dough! I was not looking at what was written on the package as it was in Italian language (bought in italy) and I had actually added baking powder instead of dry yeast into the flour. Disaster! Next time I will read the packaging first!”
Q: What is your #1 piece of advice for novice cooks?
“Never give up. Attend cooking classes to learn not only the recipes but the tricks and different techniques that each chef has to offer. Cooking quick fix recipes can be fun and convenient during the week for most people who work but try to learn making your own home made sauces, pasta or tortilla etc. They can be time consuming but these are the ones that will improve your skills, knowledge and they are worth to do. Practice makes perfect. Cooking can be fun and relaxing too. Just imagine having a glass of wine while you are cooking, your favourite music at the background, taking your time to cook and voila a delicious meal on the dinner table with your loved ones.”
Q: What do you think is the biggest mistake people make in the kitchen.
“In my humble opinion, when I look at tv cooking shows or recipes that involve cooking using a paste and coconut milk (like indian curry paste, thai curry paste etc) , the most common mistake steps that people normally do is to quickly add coconut milk into the paste or they add coconut milk first and then paste later.
The best step is when it comes to which goes into the pan first, it will be to fry the paste first with some cooking oil for a few minutes. The reason we do this is to let the raw ingredients in the paste to cook and also to release the aroma from the paste ingredients. But be careful not to burn the paste while frying it. Then the next step is to add slowly in batches the coconut milk.”
Salty Fig is excited to introduce you to an amazing chef like Rosie Gohres, we are proud to have as a partner at Salty Fig; if you have been inspired by her story Please!…..Follow her on Twitter at FlavofSingapore.
Chicken Soto Soup
Have you ever tried Chicken Soup from Singapore?
INGREDIENTSTo blend and purify
3 cloves of garlic
2 medium onions
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
300 grams chicken (chicken with bones such as chicken breast)
2 pieces of cinnamon
2 star anise
1 lemongrass, cut off the top part cut into 2 pieces and the bottom part smash with a pestle
1cm galangal, peel and smash with a pestle
2 eggs, hard boiled
100 grams bean sprouts (taugeh)
1 tablespoon white pepper, powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 litre of water
Spring onions, just a little, finely chopped for garnishing
Fried onions, in a packet, for garnishing
4 tablespoon of sunflower oil
METHODThis is my family recipe for the Singapore Chicken Soto Soup. The traditional way of Soto soup is normally serve with either rice cakes (lontong) or vermicelli or yellow noodles. Once serve with vermicelli or yellow noodles it is no longer a Chicken Soto Soup but we call it Mee Soto. (“mee” as in noodles- Soto Noodles)
First blend and purify the 3 ingredients together garlic, ginger and onion.
Pour into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix well.
Heat a non-stick pot with 4 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add all the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamoms. Fry for 3 minutes on medium heat.
Add all the blended ingredients into the pot and put on low fire so that it does not burn.
Add galangal and lemongrass and stir.
Put on medium heat and stir fry for 10 minutes. Make sure the oil does not dry up and the ingredients do not burn. If the oil dries up add a little bit of sunflower oil.
Add the chicken; stir them together with the content for 3 minutes.
On medium heat add 1 litre of water. Stir well, add salt and white pepper to taste and cover the lid. Check and stir occasionally.
Simmer for 40 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked, take the chicken out from the pot and shred the meat and keep it aside.
Put the bones back into the pot.
When you are ready to serve:
Blanch the bean sprouts (taugeh) in a separate pot for less than 30 seconds.
Put the bean sprouts in a bowl with the rice cakes (lontong) which are cut into medium size cubes.
Add the chicken soto soup into the bowl.
Top it with the shredded chicken. Halve the hardboiled egg and place it beside the shredded chicken. Garnish with a little spring onions and fried onions.
Tip: Serve best with rice cakes (lontong) or noodles.