Fire up your marriage

Make no excuses to avoid cooking with your spouse, says administrative manager Angela Chua-Jew.

Recalling her days as a newlywed eating with her husband at hawker centres, she says: "The younger generation doesn't really know how to cook. They make excuses, say that it is troublesome or that cooking takes a long time."

So while it is common to have either husband or wife preparing meals in the kitchen, she encourages couples to cook together instead in her debut self-published cookbook titled Cook Your Way To A Healthier Marriage.

It features simple recipes for cooking, but the steps are written with separate instructions for husband and wife.

Of course, the roles for any of the recipes can be reversed, says Ms Chua-Jew, who has been cooking with her husband in their six years of marriage. They have no children.

Ms Chua-Jew, 46, is based in Durham, north-east England, for four years as her pastor-husband Reverend Jew Yun Shern, 44, is doing a theology PhD at Durham University.

SundayLife! caught up with the bubbly cook last year when she came back to Singapore to visit.

She is sharing her recipe for ee fu noodles from her cookbook. One half of the couple helps with the preparation of ingredients, while the other cooks.

The mushrooms and chicken can be substituted with other meats or vegetables. And depending on how much sauce you like, the dish can be cooked longer for a drier consistency.

Rev Jew helps out with tasks such as chopping garlic, cleaning and shelling prawns and, most importantly, with cleaning up.

Ms Chua-Jew says with a laugh: "He splashes water all over, but my kitchen is clean. He loves to wash and says I don't clean well enough."

The self-taught cook started baking bread and cakes first, then cooking became a "necessity" after marriage. Now in Durham, she cooks daily. Dishes such as beef bourguignon are a staple during the cold months and Rev Jew also contributes his fair share of recipes such as creamy fish and leek pie.

Her cookbook has also helped her bond with new friends in Britain. "Food is an international language. It helps us build friendships too."

On how cooking together has strengthened her relationship with her husband, she says: "When you cook and eat together, you learn to communicate better. We also spend time updating each other on our lives. Plus, homecooked food is healthier and we can get our meal cooked in under an hour."

Cook Your Way To A Healthier Marriage is sold at all major bookstores at $23. For more information, go to

This article was first published on Feb 8, 2015.
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