Want to Eat? Then Let’s Work on it!

This week was a hectic one due to the boys’ school hols for 2 days in a row. I decided to engage them by letting them prepare their own dinner. The time came and the kids were squabbling over the slightest matters. That was when I lost my cool and made my point very clear. They were to stop squabbling and start treating each other nicely while working on their dinner Or go to bed without dinner if they do not work on it. Of course, I wasn’t that coldhearted, I mentioned they would drink their milk and be sent to bed if dinner is not done.

I had a good hunch they would and they did choose the first option since they were hungry and wanted to make their own spaghetti beefballs. I was glad they finally put away their differences and started working soberly and very soon cheerfully! : )


They had prepared their dinners a couple of times in the past, just that this time I mustered enough courage to let them use the chopping knives. I felt that they were ready to handle the full works from washing, chopping to stir frying.

A had wanted to steam his vegetables as he liked what Aunt XY’s vegetable dish of carrots, corn, broccoli and peas. (ok, we totally forgot about the green peas here! hee )

1-2014-10-29 Another side dish was this Golden Straw Mushrooms rolled and wrapped with Bacon. A washed them slice by slice and padded dry with kitchen towels. Boys had rolling good times with them and secured each piece with a toothpick.   I then fried them in a pan and toasted them in my toaster for another 5-10mins till they are brown. I used the leftover liquid from the frying pan, added teriyaki sauce to make the main sauce for the Bacon delight.

1-2014-10-292 Beef Balls Time! 

We did our own version of Beef Balls.

1) Garlic (3-5 cloves)

2) Big Yellow Onion (1)

3) Half tsp Salt, 1 tablespoon of Oil, 2 tsps Brown Sugar,  a dash of Black Pepper,                        1 tbs Corn Flour

4) A packet of Minced Beef

J pounded the garlic and then chopped them up till minced. The two siblings then added the minced Onion (the only item not done by them) and the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of minced beef and mixed them together.

While the boys were busy, the beef mixture was made into balls and shallow fried by my helper as this required more time and oil splattering.


A wanted to shave the corn kernels off the cob for steaming. I left him to do that on his own while J learnt to use the can opener to open the Stew Tomato Can. To save some work, I used scissors, dipped it into the can to cut the bigger pieces of tomatoes into small bits.

A was very keen to help cook the bolognese sauce for the spaghetti. We did our own version as well. Firstly, we sauteed the minced garlic and onion with oil. Then poured the whole can of Hunt’s tomato plum (stewed) and some leftover tomato puree to stir fry. We then added the rest of the sauces and a few dash of Herbs. I read a tip from somewhere to save the boiled starch water that you used to boil the spaghetti for the sauce. When the mixture is simmering, add the starch water till your desired amount. There is no need to add any flour to thicken the sauce since the starch water does the job and gives a good smooth mixture. I was pleased that A did all these with confidence and in good time.

We added the beef balls into the sauce just before we serve to cook them well before serving.

Bolognese Sauce

1) Garlic minced (2-4 cloves)

2) Yellow Onion minced (1)

3) Hunt’s Tomato Stew Can

4) Half a can of Tomato Puree

5) 1-2 tbs HP sauce

6) 1 tbs of Oyster Sauce

7) 4-6 tbs of tomato sauce

8) Sugar (Optional) if you find the sauce too sour for liking

9) Mixed Herbs or Marjoram Herbs (amount desired)

1-IMG_9890 Finally, it was time for their hard earned dinner! They were all so excited to dig into their labour of love and Big brother cheerfully helped serve them.


That evening, I saw faces of contentment and satisfaction from eating the works of their own hands. I must admit, it was pretty tasty and delightful to witness how working as a team had helped soften their manners. Meanwhile, I’ll be searching for manageable recipes to continue this team spirit during the Nov and Dec Hols! : )

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Have a blessed day!


  1. Impressive! I only learnt how to stir-fry in secondary one. I love how you engage your children with hands-on activities instead of chucking them a piece of technology. They are really lucky kids! 🙂

  2. […] On hindsight, I was a bit too ambitious to do everything in 1 day. I could have prepared the muffins the day before to ease the burden of cooking so many things simultaneously. Nontheless, it was all worthwhile when i witness how each child takes up their tasks with much enthusiasm and a joyful spirit! Kids also experienced the time and energy taken to prepare a full meal. I hope with more of such cooking, they will be a hospitable host in their future homes. I started cooking with them since young and they did a bolognese meal then. […]

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