ABOUT


HOW IT ALL BEGAN

MEET THE AUTHOR

The cookbook that is more than just a cookbook – it’s a book that builds confidence and independence in the kitchen. What a great idea!
— REBECCA BISSET, Editor, Expat Living
The Tagalog translations are an inspired idea. Its glossy pages hold the promise of everyone’s favourites, from chicken pie to mee goreng.
— VIOLET OON, Singapore's Food Ambassador
Why didn’t anyone think of this before?!
— PHILIP CHIN, co-founder PS. Cafe

Frog Michaels has worked as an editor at the BBC and as a food and society columnist for Singapore Tatler. She currently contributes to a number of titles including The Telegraph and SilverKris, Singapore Airlines' award-winning travel magazine.

Frog has lived in Singapore for many years with her husband, whose family is from Singapore, and two children. Her blog, changmoh.com, which charts the musings of an English girl in Singapore who thinks she’s local, was voted one of the country’s top-10 lifestyle blogs.

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK

A Helping Hand is an acclaimed introduction to cooking both Western and Asian dishes. It is intended for anyone who reads English, Tagalog or both. It is a cookbook designed for all nationalities of employers, domestic helpers from the Philippines as well as anyone else looking for a fail-safe culinary introduction.

We are now on our second print run after a sell-out first edition, boosted by a great deal of press and publicity that supported both the concept of the book, and the ethos behind it: to create happy households. As Rebecca Bisset, Editor of Expat Living, commented: “The cookbook that is more than just a cookbook – it’s a book that builds confidence and independence in the kitchen….” It is important to note that the Tagalog versions of the recipes are far more detailed than their English counterparts (they are sometimes twice as long) and come with numbered steps. This makes them perfect for the kitchen novice, but seasoned cooks – who are able to skip some of the explanatory steps – can also use this book.

Many of us, especially in Asia, are fortunate enough to be the employers of hard-working helpers who can generally turn their hand to anything – be it childcare, cooking or cleaning. Whilst nearly all have taken the trouble to learn English, there are a few inevitable occasions when things get lost in translation. After a few such misunderstandings in my own kitchen in Singapore, I thought how great it would be if there were a cookbook that my helpers and I could both understand, word-for-word, without confusion.

And so A Helping Hand was born. Each recipe, including all of the ingredients, has been translated into and explained in Tagalog (with other editions, including Bahasa Indonesia, due to be published in late 2017). Helpers can of course read English but sometimes cooking phrases such as ‘beat’, ‘blind bake’, ‘bind’, ‘braise’, ‘blanch’ and ‘bain-marie’ are not descriptive enough to be helpful, even for native English speakers. 

I have also included tips and remedies in breakout boxes and almost all recipes come with serving suggestions (hidden within the Tagalog sections), as well as approximate preparation and cooking times. There is a detailed ingredients chapter to assist with shopping at the back of the book, and stockists –  in Singapore and beyond – can be found here.

I hope you enjoy using this book as much as I did creating it, and that it becomes a staple in your kitchen and a valuable addition to your happy household. 
 

COOKING COURSES

Photo by PhotoTalk/iStock / Getty Images

This May, Providore will be running cooking courses for helpers based upon the recipes in A Helping Hand. More details to follow.