Monday, March 28, 2011

Cook with Love

Datin Faridah , the chairperson of the Woman's Auxillary. Her involvement began in 1978 but she doesn't count the years. She just keeps coming back

I have a love affair with the cookery classes tucked away in a room at the  Spastic Children's Association of Selangor and Federal Territory, Petaling Jaya. This happens monthly and I mark it down in my diary. Daresay, few people know of the work behind the scenes, a no - frills  cookery demo by guest chefs  that starts with the act of giving, from the heart.

What started in 1966 as a humble effort by some expatriates to raise funds to provide meals, and some basic necessities  for the disadvantaged children who come to the Centre  for therapy, and still continues to this day, under a relatively unknown group of The Women's Auxillary, is highly commendable. Previously many other programmes were tried  out to reach out to a captive public and members. Happily, the proven success lies in cookery. FOOD it is! It brings people together and  is charity  through the stomach. The Committee comprises 14 ladies, helmed by Datin  Faridah  plan the programmes to support the activities at the Centre and help source funds.

That particular morning, it was Chef Nermala with her recipe of  Barbarian  bread to eat with Chicken Stew and Rock and Roll Lasagne recipe. Luckily the rolls of lasagne stayed put on the layer of spinach and button mushroom, held back by a layer of sauce ! I was keen to learn  how to cook the stew ala' Nermala's way. Methinks it harks back to the days in the UK when I was a student. I had my fair share of stews, nice and nifty dishes, if one is innovative enough. After the session was over, all of us got to taste it. Verdict -  you'll certainly polish it up and leave your plate squeaky clean!

Mind you, at the cookery demo one gets to meet some old timers who support the event, rain or shine even if it ain't  totally cookery for them. After all, food and mixing around people makes life  more fun. It is hard for any newcomer to feel out of place for the fellowship just transcends age, status  whatever. In fact, often enough jokes are interspersed in the session. The chef then knows its time to to bring the 'jokers' back into the cooking!

For the entry fee of a mere RM15, arm yourselves  with all the questions you want to ask of the chef and zoom in on his or her  culinary secret  of that perfect dish. There's always a lucky draw. That's when the decibels increase as excitement rises. Needless to say it all adds to the vibrancy of the morning. Little prizes  are given to the lucky winners for the small token of  one ringgit per ticket. It all translates into the sen and ringgit which in turn  brings food  to delight  the hungry ones during break time.

The morning ended with a small sampling of food from the dishes cooked , supplemented by some other dishes contributed by members. When the food was eaten, I couldn't help but feel thankful for whatever was served. For food that is always cooked and served with love.

A room filled to the brim with Chef Nermala introducing  her Western menu
Scooping a tablespoonful of cheese mixture onto the strip of lasagne and rolling it into a tube

Everyone's interested in knowing the ins and outs of cooking
Above the  appetising base of spinach and  button mushroom goes the lasagne with cheese mixture wrapped in it

What's in the name - Barbarian Bread? I tasted it and found it wholesome and decent!

Patience is a virtue when it comes to stews. Wait for it to be ready - you will be amply rewarded.

Participants having a small sampling of the Barbarian bread with some bits of the chicken stew.

Another fund raiser - home made muffins . After this shot was taken, all the muffins were sold!

If you want your number called, increase your chances - buy more and give charitably


  1. Very nice cook lessons :-)

    The muffins looking great (CHOCOLATE... yummiee..)


  2. Keats such a nice monthly event where not only you can learn about cooking but also a place to interact with people of same interest...all for a good cause! Those food look yummy...dont mind learning how to cook them!

  3. Wonderful! I see you are involved in many voluntary work. Jewels like you definitely sparkle beautifully.

  4. Nice cooking class. I like the audience as much as the cooking.

  5. What a grand opportunity for you! It looks like a great class. My husband would love that mushrooms lasagne.

  6. Food and good people! Can't beat the combination!

  7. Like Bossy Betty says, food and good people around, what else you need!
    You seem to be very active - I'm sure you make many people happy!

  8. If I were living there, I'd be sitting right next to you in class!!! yum, and fun!

  9. oh my gosh, look at that stew!! yumzzz! a nice simple event for a great cause. well done to all the ladies!

  10. Dear Keats,
    I didn't know that Barbarians baked bread! I just thought that Barbarians went around plundering villages! Or maybe it's supposed to be Bavarian bread? Who knows? I am not the cook here -- you are! :D The recipes look delicious and the lasagna looks most appetising to a herbivore like me! It is wonderful what The Women's Auxillary does and I wish to support them. Do let me know if there are any fundraisers and if they need any volunteers with a bit of muscle, ahem ahem!

  11. Cooking lesson like this is rare, and wonderful! I would love to learn from traditional cooking or the good old days style specially..

  12. So nice to know about this cooking class. You all seem to enjoy it. I've enjoyed reading about it! Cheers to you, my dear friend!

  13. Fantastic initiative and a brilliant way to support the charity - thank you so much for your message - its great to hear that you a fellow blogger will soon be joining up with Rotary - there is a brilliant international social networking fellowship to connect in with and would be great to share more ideas like the swimarathon with you!

  14. How yummy!!! That chicken stew looks delicious, and the spinach and mushroom lasagna...hmmm... of course I would like to try the bread too, I love bread, all kinds!
    Thanks for sharing this lovely story. As you said, it's a place where fellowship transcends age, status, etc. A place where the ladies cook from the heart.

    And thank you, dear Keats for stopping by my blog, and for your sweet comments.


  15. ah...those food, i should be there :)

  16. Hi Keats! Everything looks gorgeous!!

    I’ll be out next week, but Blogtrotter Two has something new for you... Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend and week ahead!!

  17. Received your email, and voted! Hope you win :-)

  18. Nice cooking lessons, the food looks amazing!

  19. The photos look good enough to eat! :-)

  20. The spinach and the stew look amazing. I felt a pang of hunger when I saw them.

  21. food always brings people together!
    the food shots look very yummy!
    thanks for visiting my blog. Happy weekend!


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