About TFC



I am an Anglican clergyman with the aforesaid title who enjoys cooking for his family and friends.

Why this title? It was first proposed by a food-blogger friend, who eats, shoots and posts. It also reflects my growing interest in food photography. Most of the photos here were taken with a S90 and in later posts, 600D.

This food blog has been a long time in coming. I have always wanted to write one in memory of my late Mum, or Auntie Ruby, as she was affectionately known to many. She has always been generous and ever ready to share her recipes or pass on some cooking tips. Unfortunately, not many recipes were written down and in the years since her passing away, I had to find various ways to experiment and get them on the table again.

Like father like...

Some of her dishes are amazing, like Hakka Yong Taufu, Assam Laksa, Java Mee, Char Siew, Curry Chicken, Prawn Mee, Sambal fish, Nasi Lemak and countless number of the everyday dishes found in Malaysian homes or streets. From Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese to Malay and Indian, she has made them all. She was also good with special breakfast or desert dishes like yam cake, unbelievable "Sang Yoke Pau" (pork meat buns -  which I doubt I can ever replicate), lor mai kai etc. Even her curry puffs, as many of my friends have said, is about the best that one can find. And if there is a need to cook Chinese restaurant 'fine dining' dishes, she will be up to the task - that list is long and each of them amazingly special.

She has indeed cooked her way into the hearts of many and won many friends along the way. It is a God-given talent and she lived it out to the last of her days, using it generously, joyfully and ever so humbly. Other cooks love to learn from her and apprentices hardly feel intimidated as she was always encouraging and made them feel that cooking can be easy and fun.   

A typical CNY spread.
I have some regrets and one of them is that I did not cook with her often enough nor carefully document the recipes. Memories, however, especially collective ones of my siblings and friends; can be a helpful guide. And along the way, inevitably, I will have to concoct my own recipes as I work with the many contemporary and wonderful ingredients easily available here in Singapore today. The best from our neighboring countries do find it's way here. 

We had some amazing prawns for CNY dinner...my brother is on the right, who is quite a cook himself too.
I have friends who are surprised that I am "that deep into cooking." Then perhaps you should know this.

My mum was a cook by profession. You can say that a large part of her life was spent in markets, kitchens, canteens and restaurants. That was the world I grew up in. Even though we did not have much financially, I learnt that simple and cheap ingredients, cooked the right way can yield amazing dishes. She used to drag me out of bed early in the morning to follow her to the Sungei Way wet market. She bought lots of  foodstuff and it was my job to carry them back to the car. I helped my mum in her huge commercial kitchen in myriad of ways. I can recall holding the 'wok chan' (spatula) and helping her to fry some dishes in the giant wok. I pitched in to help make kuih banket, love letters, peanut cookies and 'bak chang' (dumplings).

My dad loved to cook too. Even as a young teenager, he taught me a few dishes, including his Sunday favorite, lamb chops and pork ribs. He was a grumpy and impatient teacher. And having learned it, henceforth I had to cook the dish for him. Learning the basics of cooking at an early age gave me a good headstart.

This blog expresses a little bit of the world I grew up in. I share my Mum's hobby but of course, not her profession.

These days, I get to cook for my family and in-laws about once or twice a week. And occasionally for friends and church functions. Perhaps, I will get to blog a dish or two weekly. It will be occasional but I trust, enjoyable reading and helpful. It will be light-hearted and sometimes, downright silly (and that, by the way, is an Auntie Ruby trait!). It will be a refreshing change from the more serious stuff I write and preach about in my work (which by the way, I love immensely).
Kidding around with her grandchildren...she is always funny and silly
I hope this blog can keep alive some of the traditional cooking styles of yesteryear. Blogging the recipes also helps me to improve on the consistency of my cooking. Your feedback (and corrections) are also welcomed as I hope to learn from the experience of others as well. Do email me and I would love to hear from you on your experience in using the recipes here.

And I end on this note: I am thankful for my Mum who is to us, a special gift from God. We envy the angels whom I am sure, get to sample her 'heavenly dishes'.

In God's timing and in the way of Christ, we shall share the same table again.