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Hobby Day No. 2 - "What's Cooking" Challenge

Hobby Day No. 2 - "What's Cooking" Challenge

Following the successful launching of our Hobby Day on the first Saturday of 2019, we decided to quickly follow this up with a second one. For this session, we wanted to upgrade one of our life skills - cooking! Hence, we aptly named this segment "What's Cooking?", which we plan to hold once a month.

If this is your first time reading about Hobby Day, you may want to check out more about the concept here: "Hobby Day" Movement -- more barkada bonding and experience.

Hobby Day 2 in Robinsons Forum - What's Cooking

It's no enigma that all of us love to eat, but we wanted to push this love further by knowing how to actually cook. To further spice things up, we added some mechanics in "What's Cooking". To provide a flow of how it works, I'll be dividing this post into 5 parts: (1) Pairing, (2) Brainstorming + Budgeting, (3) Purchasing, (4) Cooking and (5) Eating.

Let's begin with pairing.

STEP 1 - Pairing for What's Cooking - Hobby Day

STEP 1 - Pairing

All the participants present during this Hobby Day were grouped randomly (by drawing papers). We formed three (3) groups in total, and each team drew from another pile of paper which would assign the course of the meal needed to be prepared -- appetizer, main dish and dessert. Lastly, we also put to fate the cuisine which everyone should abide by. In short, everything is random here in "What's Cooking", and this makes it more exciting for all of us.

Drawing papers for "What's Cooking" Challenge

The results of our draw were as follows:
  • Appetizers - Melle and Renz (me)
  • Main Dish - Jieza and Alvin
  • Dessert - Emil and Almae
  • Cuisine - Italian

Results of the draw for pairing - What's Cooking Challenge

STEP 2 - Brainstorming + Budgeting

All of us assembled first in a nearby supermarket, and from there we were given a budget. For this first run, we allotted P300 each for Appetizers and Desserts, and P600 for the Main Dish. The total budget needed was P1,200.

Before we headed to the grocery, we were given 30 minutes to decide which dish to make, and what ingredients are needed.

I needed to think of an Italian appetizer within P300 budget and can feed a group of 6

For my case, I needed to think of an Italian appetizer within P300 budget and can feed a group of 6. It was really challenging. First, I was not familiar when it comes to Italian appetizers (normally, I just go straight for the pasta and pizza). Second, I was not sure whether the budget can hold. After a few minutes of brainstorming, Melle and I decided to go for Bruschetta.

Pile of tomatoes while doing groceries for What's Cooking - Hobby Day 2

STEP 3 - Purchasing

Now that we were able to pick what we wanted to created, it was time to hit the grocery! Since I needed a good base, I initially searched for a "French Baker" store inside the mall. Unfortunately, there was none. I panicked slightly. I'm not sure whether we can pull off a Bruschetta using a loaf bread from grocery. I set aside the worry, and proceeded first with buying the other ingredients such as the tomatoes, garlic and onion. The budget was tight, so I really needed to carefully pick the ingredients of right quantity and amount.

Almae and Emil - Team Desserts, Hobby Day 2
Almae and Emil - Team Desserts

I haven't fixed the bread problem during that time, but there came another problem - the cheese. I was looking for Parmesan under P150, but I couldn't find anything that will meet the budget. I deliberated for several minutes, and I ended up buying Feta instead (since I found one at P160). I know it's not very Italian, but we were facing a serious budget constraint.

Jieza and Alvin - Team Main Dish, Hobby Day 2
Jieza and Alvin - Team Main Dish

Now, while I was readying myself to get the loaf bread, my peripherals caught some elongated bread which would be perfect for our Bruschetta. I thought my problem was over, until I saw the price -- P140! I didn't have much choice, so I just went for it, and I just shouldered the excess. In my mind I was justifying my decision, "We deserve some semi-legit Italian experience!". The total spending reached P360. Sad.

Renz and Melle - Team Appetizer, Hobby Day 2
Renz and Melle (obviously not in the photo) - Team Appetizer

Maybe, I need to beef up my budgeting and purchasing in our next run of "What's Cooking?"

Due to a lot of deliberation along the way, I was the last one to finish shopping. Others were able to stick nearer the budget. The Main Dish Team spent P20 on top of the P600 budget, while the Desserts Team spent P40 on top of P300. Again, I had the largest excess. Maybe, I need to beef up my budgeting and purchasing in our next run of "What's Cooking?".

Shopping ingredients in Robinsons Forum for Hobby Day 2's What's Cooking Challenge

STEP 4 - Cooking

This part was an ultimate bonding experience, and perhaps the most enjoyable one. All of us were working on something, and we were eager to help around. The teams were giving their best for the dishes, and you can see it on our faces. Halfway, everyone was getting excited as our dishes slowly come to life.

Ingredients for the lasagna main dish - "What's Cooking" Challenge

Let's check out how everyone was so focused giving joy to the dishes.

Almae Dael and Emil Ong working on the sweets, Hobby Day 2
Team Dessert prepping up the cream. 

Melle Tengco preparing the ingredients for the Bruschetta
Melle slicing up the tomatoes and mincing the garlic.

Jieza and Alvin prepping the lasagna, Hobby Day 2
Jieza still figuring out how to cook the Lasagna strips

Alvin Francisco cooking the lasagna strips using a rice cooker
Alvin looking like a lost camper having nothing much to eat

Jieza Varela cooking lasagna for "What's Cooking" Challenge
Jieza halfway through the preparation for lasagna

STEP 5 - Tasting

Okay, I lied. This is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the challenge -- tasting what we all worked hard for! We were very much surprised how all the dishes came out so beautifully. Just check out our amazing "display".

Tiramisu, Lasagna and Bruschetta for "What's Cooking" Challenge

Of course, I'm biased to our own dish. Just look how photogenic our Bruschetta turned up to be.

Amazing Bruschetta by Melle and Renz Cheng, Hobby Day 2

The tiramisu also doesn't look bad either. They also got crafty with the chocolate bars on top.

Tiramisu with Graham + Coffee by Almae and Emil, Hobby Day 2

Of course, everyone had his/her eyes on the lasagna. It was all gooey and dreamy, and we had the best hour of our day! Surprisingly, though we were just aiming to feed all 6 of us, we ended up having excess (enough to feed 3 more).

Gooey cheesy melty lasagna by Jieza and Alvin - Hobby Day 2

Now, this basically wraps up our "What's Cooking" Challenge, and we spent the remaining afternoon watching some episodes of "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo". Anyway, here's another attendance photo of those who were able to take part in our second Hobby Day:

Hobby Day 2 - Class Picture, "What's Cooking" Challenge

If ever you have suggestions on how to further perk up the "What's Cooking" challenge, feel free to share your thoughts under the comments section. See you in our next Hobby Day!

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