Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Leftover Ham Soup

It's the day after Christmas and we are still eating food from the Noche Buena feast! The roast chicken has been deboned and sauteed with celery and red bellpeppers, the cheese we are still eating while having our family tradition of watching The Lord of The Rings trilogy extended dvds. What to do with the ham...I decided to slice it into thin pieces to store in containers inside the chiller. But the bones...hmm what better way to make use of it than in a soup! We received a basket of organic fresh vegetables and I made good use of it in this soup. Carrots, celery, onions...and there were some black beans in the pantry and oh, there was a bag of Penne Rigate that I also decided to use because I had no elbow Macaroni which would have been better suited to this kind of soup. At the last moment my sister requested the addition of milk to make it more like the Filipino sopas that we have not eaten in a long time.


2 tablespoons Lauric Oil

5 pieces Carrots (small), diced

1 piece Onion, minced

2 stalks Celery, peeled and diced

2 pieces Ham bones

2 pieces Bay leaves, dried

1/2 cup Beans (I used black), soaked overnight

1/2 cup dried small pasta (I used Penne Rigate but elbow Macaroni is better)

Enough water to cover

Salt and Pepper to taste

Milk (optional)

Preheat pot with oil and saute carrots, onions and celery until soft. Add ham bones, water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then add in the beans and the pasta. I cooked this for about 30 minutes at a hard boil, then I turned down the heat and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

When it was cooked I added about 1/4 cup of milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes before turning off the heat. Serve hot.

It was a hearty addition to lunch today, and I think I found a new way of making use of ham bone! So how about you? What do you usually do with your Christmas leftover food?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

KULINARYA COOKING CLUB DECEMBER 2011--Ensaimada for Noche Buena

"Huli man daw at magaling, naihahabol din"

I got so caught up with the Christmas holiday season this year that I completely forgot the kidding. So sorry to my fellow Kulinarya Cooking Club-bers, but here is my post for this month's theme. I've always been thinking and planning Christmas Eve Dinner or Noche Buena as we Filipinos call it, but I noticed that it was always the savory items that I prepared...desserts took the backburner maybe because someone always gave leche flan or the ubiquitous fruit salad. But this year I have decided to start giving dessert the attention it deserves on the Noche Buena table. So I tweaked this recipe I found because after baking and tasting, it reminded me of ensaimada, which is a sweet bread that is also part of Christmas in the Philippines. It came out with a tender crumb and the sweetness was just right, not cloyingly sweet as some recipes of ensaimada turn out.


1 teaspoon Instant Yeast

1/4 cup Fresh Milk

1/4 cup Water

3 Tablespoons Sugar

1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons Salt

2 Large Eggs, beaten

3 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour, sifted

Combine milk and water, and heat until lukewarm (I usually do it in the microwave, 30 seconds), set aside. In a clean bowl, combine flour, sugar and yeast. Dissolve the salt in the lukewarm milk-water mixture and whisk in egg, pour mixture into flour and knead with the softened butter for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm place to rise until double in bulk (it took me 1 hour).

3/4 cups Cashew, chopped roughly

1/2 cup Raisins

1/3 cup All-purpose Flour

3 tablespoons Sugar

6 tablespoons Butter, softened

Combine ingredients in a clean bowl mixing well. Refrigerate.

Punch down dough and knead for about 2 minutes. Roll out dough into a rectangle. Place filling in the middle of dough and roll up starting from the long side, pinch edges to seal. Slice down the middle and lay on the worktable with the cut side up with the filling and braid the bread, tucking down the ends. Put on a greased baking sheet. Leave to proof (rise for a second time) for 20 minutes. Brush with a beaten eggs and bake in a preheated 350 degrees farenheit oven for 30 minutes.

I baked a batch of this bread and gave it to some friends as Christmas gifts and got rave reviews. I will also bake another batch for our Noche Buena and experiment with Majestic Ham for filling. Thank you Joy and Sherilyn for hosting this month's theme! Maligayang Pasko!
Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

If you are interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our food blogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks’ December, 2011 Challenge: CHA SUI & CHA SUI BAO

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!
I was very excited when I read this month's DC challenge, making Cha Siu from scratch...awesome! However I didnt want to use maltose and artificial coloring for my Cha Siu so I chose Sara's alternative recipe and it came out tasting great!
CHA SIU (Cantonese BBQ Pork)
1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon (3 gm) ground white pepper
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine
1 teaspoon (3 gm) five spice
*(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)
Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half. Place in container that you will be marinating them in.
Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I find it is best left to marinate overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge. You will use this as a baste when cooking the pork.
Follow the desired cooking method.
*There were several cooking methods suggested and I chose to sear the cha siu on a hot pan and then roasted it in a preheated 350 degrees farenheit oven for about 20 minutes.
Makes 20 Servings

Filling Ingredients:
350 grams Cha Siu (finely diced)

2 Shallots (finely diced)
1 Tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce

1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1 teaspoon Cornflour
1/2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Heat vegetable oil in wok or pan. Saute shallots for one or two minutes until soft. Add diced cha siu to wok/pan and stir. Add oyster sauce, dark soysauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture. Stir fry for one minute. Mix cornflour and stock together and add to pork mixture. Stir well and keep cooking until mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove mixture from work/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.

Bun Ingredients:

1 cup Milk, scalded

1/4 cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Oil
2 1/2 teaspoons of dried yeast

3 cups plain Flour
Scald milk and stir in sugar, oil and salt. Leave to cool until it is lukewarm. Once it is the right temperature, add the yeast, leave until yeast is activated and it becomes frothy 10-15 minutes. Sift flour in a large bowl. Add yeast-milk mixture to flour. Mix flour mixture together with your hands. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is doubled in size. This will take 1-2 hours depending on the weather condition. Punch dough down and divide into 20 equal portions. Roll each dough into a 7-8 cm round. Place one tablespoon of filling in the middle, gather the edges together at the top and place on an 8 cm square of baking or wax paper. Repeat until all dough is used up. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes. Place buns in steamer, leaving space between the buns. Heat water in a pan or wok and place steamers one on top of each other. Place lid and steam for approximately 12 minutes.

I made a simple sweet-salty sauce for my cha siu bao. Everyone at home liked them. Thank you Sara for this awesome challenge! Do check out the other Daring Cooks' versions, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

I have a confession to make, I didn't make the Sans Rival because I was so pressed for time, November and December is very hectic for me and instead of skipping this month's challenge, I opted to make bibingka and another Filipino dessert that was easier to make than Sans Rival.

So what exactly is Bibingka? Bibingka is traditionally served during Christmas. It’s similar to other Asian desserts that use rice flour as the base, like mochii. The traditional method of preparation is to line a special clay pot with banana leaves, pour in the batter, top with banana leaf, and then sit it in coals to cook. It is served with a shredded, mild, white cheese and slices of salted egg on top for favor contrasts.



2 cups (480 ml) (320 gm) (11.3 oz) rice flour

1/2 cup (120 ml) (80 gm) (2.8 oz) glutinous rice flour

1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) baking powder

3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm) (6 oz) sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2⅔ oz) unsalted butter melted

1-1/2 cup (360 ml) coconut milk

6 pieces banana leaves cut into 8-inch (20 cm) circles

1 salted egg, sliced into 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick slices

Butter, salted or unsalted, for brushing the tops

1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) white granulated sugar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) grated coconut (optional)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) grated Edam cheese (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.

2. Line six tart pans or ramekins with banana leaves and brush the leaves with butter

3. Combine rice flour, glutinous rice flour, baking powder, and sugar together in a bowl. Beat eggs in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add butter and coconut milk and mix well. Add the flour mixture and blend well until smooth

.4. Pour the rice batter equally into the six pans or ramekins. Lay a slice of salted egg on top and bake until the cake is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Take the cakes out of the oven and brush the top with butter. Turn the broiler to low and broil the cakes to brown the top for about two minutes
5. Serve the cakes warm. Brush the cakes with butter and sprinkle with sugar, grated coconut, and grated Edam cheese.
Cooking notes from Jun:
• For the rice and glutinous rice flour, I recommend using the Thai brand commonly found in most Asian grocery stores.• Use either tart pans or ramekins lined with banana leaves cut into circles. The cakes baked in 6-inch (15 cm) pans more closely resemble the traditional ones. The cakes baked in 4-inch (10 cm) ramekins are thicker and take longer to bake.• Instead of a sliced salted egg, the cakes can be topped with slices of Edam or Gouda cheese.• When using frozen grated coconut let the grated coconut thaw then place the thawed coconut on paper towels to soak up the extra moisture. Place them on a baking tray and lightly toast them for about a few minutes with the broiler (griller) turned on low. Use grated coconut and NOT grated young coconut.

Instead of Sans Rival I chose to make Brazo de Mercedes which is also made of meringue but is not as time consuming to make. I used this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks KULINARYA (A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine) which is authored by several well known Filipino chefs.

Rolled Meringue with Creamy Filling
1/4 cup (60 grams) butter
1 cup (120 grams) All-purpose flour
8 eggs
1/4 tsp (1 gram) Cream of Tartar
!/2 cup sugar (100 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
1 Lemon
1 1/4 cups (350 ml) condensed milk
1/4 tsp (1ml) vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 250 degrees farenheit.
Grease, line and grease again a 9 x 13 inch pan. Dust with flour, making sure the whole surface is covered. Discard extra flour.
Separate the eggs.
Beat the eggwhites with cream of tartar until fine bubbles form. Add the sugar gradually to the egg whites until resulting meringue is stiff but not dry.
Spread the meringue on the prepared pan mao king sure the ends slightly overlap the edges of the pan because the meringue will shrink a little during cooling.
Meanwhile, dust a clean cloth measuring approximately 12 in. x 12 in with half of the powdered sugar, set aside.
Grate the lemon rind to produce 1/2 tsp. zest. Set aside.
Bake the meringue in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Invert baked meringue on the cloth dusted with powdered sugar. Roll up the meringue into a cylinder and set aside.
In a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon zest and vanilla essence. Over medium heat stir continuously until the mixture thickens and is of piping consistency.
Unroll the meringue. With a pastry bag fitted with a plain round piping tube 1 inch in diameter, pipe the filling along the center of the meringue. Roll the meringue.
*Instead of piping the filling, I spread it on the unrolled meringue.
Serving suggestion: Dust the top lightly with the remaining powdered sugar. Slice crosswise into 1 1/4 inch thick slices.

Thank you Catherine for this month's challenge and for a chance to showcase Filipino Desserts. For the other Daring Bakers' versions of Filipino Desserts click here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Daim Bars

What could be more satisfying than candy? A dessert made from that candy that's what! One of the things I really liked about living in Singapore was that IKEA was just a bus away. I didn't go there just to buy things but I would go there to eat...and have a Daim cake for dessert. I first came across this dessert in IKEA Beijing and totally fell for it, and the rest is history. And then I came back home to the IKEA, no Daim cake! Then one of my friends gave me a bag of Daim candies...and I had the brilliant idea to recreate one of my favorite desserts. But then I totally forgot about it until this week. So here is my version...Daim Bars!
I googled a lot of recipes for Daim cake, there were some but I wasn't satisfied with most of them so I made my own. Pastry cream sandwiched between two layers of almond meringue and topped with chocolate ganache and chopped daim candies...yum!
3 eggwhites
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sugar

Using the whip attachment of your mixer, beat eggwhites until frothy, carefully pour sugar. Whip until stiff peak. Fold in chopped almonds and spread on a parchment paper-lined jelly roll tray. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees farenheit oven for 20 minutes.
Invert the cake onto another tray with parchment paper and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Set aside.
1 cup Fresh Milk

3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon All-purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
2 tablespoons Butter
Scald fresh milk. In a clean bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch making sure it is smooth and there are no lumps. Carefully pour scalded milk while whisking it so that the eggs don't get scrambled. Pour back mixture into pot and cook over medium heat, while continuously stirring mixture. Pastry cream is cooked when it is the consistency of custard, take out of heat and mix in butter.
1/4 cup Cream
100 grams Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
8 pieces DAIM chocolate candies, chopped
Put bittersweet chocolate and cream in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir mixture until smooth.
ASSEMBLY: Slice the meringue layer in half. Spread the pastry cream on one layer and cover with the other half. Refrigerate until firm. Spread the chocolate ganache on top and garnish with the chopped Daim candies. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
I know that I wrote refrigerate until read to eat...but I cheated and tasted or rather ate one piece just to test if it tasted like the Daim cake from IKEA. I dare say it tasted quite close to the real deal!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Our theme for Kulinarya Cooking Club for this month is ARROZ CALDO which literally means hot rice in Spanish. Arroz caldo which is like the Chinese congee or porridge is the ultimate comfort food for most Filipinos. Everytime someone is sick and it really doesn't matter if it's fever or stomachache, he/she is bound to be fed with arroz caldo. But it doesn't mean it's served only for that purpose, it's also standard fare for the colder weather which we are supposed to be experiencing now--but it seems like summer is trying to make itself felt in the middle of November...

The basic Arroz Caldo is flavored with chicken, which is what I decided to cook. I was deadset on using risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli) to make it more interesting but at the last minute, I saw brown rice...
1 medium Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1/4 kilo Chicken breast
1 cup Brown Rice, uncooked
1 liter Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fish Sauce (Patis) to taste

To Make Chicken Stock: Debone chicken breast, set aside in refrigerator. In a pot place chicken bones, peeled and sliced carrots (1 piece), 1 onion, 1 stalk celery (with leaves), 2 cloves garlic, a few peppercorns and 2 dry bayleaves with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Turn down hear, skim the scum from the surface and simmer for another hour. Chicken stock is usually simmered for 3 hours but this was just for one serving so I adjusted the time accordingly. Strain stock through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth. Reserve liquid.

Preheat a clean pot with a tablespoon of oil, add onions and garlic, cook until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add the chicken breast, cook for 3 minutes, or until golden. Add rice and chicken stock. Cook until rice is soft, take out the chicken breast. Flake chicken meat and set aside. Continue cooking rice and stir to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. You can add more liquid as needed. Season with salt, pepper and fish sauce.

Fill bowls with hot arroz caldo, top with flaked chicken and garnish with sliced spring onions. Serve with calamansi and hardboiled eggs.

Using brown rice for my Arroz Caldo was a good choice. It added more body to this filling dish. And the addition of the egg made it a complete meal for me last night. Thank you Joy for choosing Arroz Caldo for this month's theme.
Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.
If you are interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our food blogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quick Escape

Brother: Achi (elder sister in Chinese), do you know any nice resorts that are reasonably priced in Batangas?

Me: Yes, I know a few...why?

Brother: My friends and I are going on can come if you want.

Me: Yay!!! Yes I'm going with you and I'm going to call for reservations now!

(stumbles upstairs to laptop for list of Batangas resorts)

This was how it started, one of my brothers decided to go for a quick getaway with his friends to Batangas and I decided to tag along. Nevermind that all of them are more than 10 years younger than me (haha). I needed a quick escape from city life.

Thursday dawned bright and clear in the city but as soon as we exited to the Star Tollway going to Batangas, it started drizzling and the clouds got darker and heavier. Oh please...let us have sunshine! But the weather didn't dampen our mood, we arrived at La Luz Resort in San Juan Batangas.

La Luz Resort is situated at the quiet end of a long stretch of resorts, it's a good place to go if quiet relaxation is what you want. They don't accept walk-in customers and you have to deposit 50% of your total bill and reserve ahead of time. They also have rooms you can rent if you want overnight accomodation.
How cool is this? While having a relaxing massage in our cabana, I happened to look up and see this...horses! I spent the day relaxing...after the massage (I nearly fell asleep) one of my sisters and I spent a little time sunbathing even if the sun was a bit shy and kept hiding behind the clouds. We played some beach volleyball but most of the kids were just relaxing in the cabana where they watched a movie on the laptop one of them brought (kids these go the beach and they stay indoors..tsk tsk!) And then it was time to eat...again.

The day tour rate (PhP 750.00) included lunch and snack. I wasn't able to take pictures of the lunch buffet, the food was simple Filipino fare but it was really good. The snack buffet wasn't disappointing either, was it really that good or was I just hungry?

Even before we went to this resort, I was already planning an overnight stay but I'd have to think it over again because one thing that I was disappointed with was the beach. It was rocky, or stony--I mean instead of sand, the beachfront was full of small stones, and that was important to me...I want real sand!

The drive back was longer because of the traffic but I didn't mind. It was a relaxing quick escape and I was recharged when we finally saw the big lights of the city.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Sara of Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks' hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

I was surprised when I read this month's challenge at the forums because I had just finished taking pictures of my sister's current obsession...making tea eggs! So instead of making my own tea eggs...I'm just going to post this picture of what she made and the recipe she used for it which she adapted from Jaden Hair's blog Steamy Kitchen.


6 eggs
3/4 cup soy sauce

2 tea bags of Earl Grey

1 teaspoon sugar

Place eggs in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove eggs, leaving water in the pot and gently tap eggs with back of spoon to crack the shell all over. Return eggs to the pot of water and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately lower heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Cover pot with lid and let steep overnight.

*When the liquid is cool enough, we transfer them to containers and store them in the refrigerator.

And another surprise...I actually have Sara Perry's book in my collection. But instead of following recipes there, I decided to get creative and follow in the footsteps of my fellow Daring Cooks Oggi and Pia in using tea for Filipino dishes and here is what I came up with.

GINATAANG KALABASA AT SITAW (Squash and Yard Long Beans Cooked in Coconut Milk)

1 Tablespoon Lauric Oil

1 medium Onion

2 cloves Garlic

1 bundle Yard Long Beans

1/4 of a small Squash

1/4 kilo Shrimps

1 cup grated Coconut or 1 cup Coconut Milk

1 bag of Earl Grey tea

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fish Sauce (Patis) to taste

To Make Coconut Milk: Pour 1 cup hot water over grated coconut. Let cool and squeeze grated coconut. Strain liquid and discard squeezed coconut. Set aside the liquid in the refrigerator if not using right away.

Peel and devein shrimps, set aside.

*I made shrimp stock by boiling the heads and shells with water and celery leaves.

Peel and mince onion. Peel, crush and mince garlic. Wash beans and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Peel squash and Cut into small wedges. Open the tea bag and pour contents in coconut milk.

Preheat pan with oil, saute onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the squash and the shrimp stock (just enough liquid to almost cover the squash pieces). Cook for about 5 minutes. Add cococonut milk and beans and let simmer until vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Add the shrimps and toss to coat with the mixture, cooking for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and fish sauce. Serve hot.

*This is the first time I've tried incorporating tea into a Filipino dish but I think the addition of Earl Grey tea to the coconut added a new dimension to the taste. I was tempted to add shrimp paste to make it more tasty but it might overpower the tea so I decided against it.

Thank you Sara for this month's challenge, it is indeed unique! For other Daring Cooks tea recipes click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


First of all, I'd like to say I'm so glad to have participated in this month's Daring Cooks' challenge because Shelley and Ruth are two of my favorite bloggers...I always read their posts and comment on their blogs. And secondly, I love anything Eastern/Asian because I am Asian..duh. So I knew that I couldn't and shouldn't miss this for anything in the world!
The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.
Hmm, interesting challenge...but what exactly is Moo Shu? According to our hosts...
Simply put, Moo Shu is a stir fry, containing thinly sliced or shredded vegetables, meat (traditionally) and scrambled egg. It is usually served on flat, thin, steamed pancakes, and is accompanied by a complementary sauce.
I decided to make Moo Shu Tofu as filling for my thin pancakes but I wasn't able to make my own Hoisin sauce so I just used the store-bought variety.

2 blocks TOFU, sliced

Handful Mung Bean Sprouts

1 cup Fresh Bamboo Shoots, boiled and strained

2 pieces Eggs

Spring Onions, sliced

1 tablespoon Soy Sauce

a few drops Sesame Oil

Black Pepper, ground


Preheat pan with oil, pan-fry sliced tofu until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, set aside. On same pan, saute spring onions until fragrant, add bean sprouts, bamboo shoots. Add beaten eggs and stir fry with the vegetables. Season with soy sauce, ground black pepper and a few drops of sesame oil to finish. Top with tofu. Use as filling for pancakes.
Makes 24-30 pancakes
Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
4 cups (960 ml)(560 gr) ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
About 1 1/2 cup (300 ml) BOILING WATER
1 teaspoon (5 ml) VEGETABLE OIL
DRY FLOUR for dusting
1. Sift flour into mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Lightly dust the surface of the worktop with dry flour. Knead dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dishcloth to keep from drying out.
3. Roll each piece into a ball, then using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6-8 inch (15cm-20cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
4. Place an ungreased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes one at a time, in the pan. Remove when light brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.
To assemble: Lay the pancake and spread a bit of Hoisin. Top with the Tofu Stirfry, roll the pancake, tucking in the bottom to prevent filling from spilling. Enjoy!
Thank you Shelley and Ruth for this month's wonderful challenge! I had so much fun making the pancakes and filling and eating them as well!
For the other Daring Cooks Moo Shu click here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Of Rice Terraces, Hanging Coffins, Waterfalls and Perfect Breakfasts...

I can officially cross out backpacking to the Mountain Province from my list of Things to Do... and I had fun doing it, okay not everything was fun (more than 24 hours on a bus isn't something I'd classify as fun). But most of it was really fun and adventure-packed. A friend once told me that I should visit the Mountain Province and experience spelunking (what?) hmmm...the official definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary is the hobby or practice of exploring caves, I wasn't too crazy about it, but hey I ended up liking it!

But of course this post isn't just about the sights of Sagada, which is the town we explored but more importantly the food. Sagada is still a sleepy mountain village with yet-unspoiled sights and the air was really cold, like 15 degrees colder than Manila. So instead of the usual shorts-shirts-bathing suit we had to pack jackets and scarves. I think the cold weather made us hungrier than usual, and we found a perfect place to hang out. The food was delicious, the waitstaff and the family who owned it were very nice and the price was not bad. Oh and did I mention they served perfect breakfasts?

Look how gorgeous and perfectly cooked the fried egg was! This is LONGSILOG which stands for Longganisa-Sinangag-Itlog (Homemade sausage-Fried rice-Egg). We ate all our breakfasts on their terrace with the morning sun warming us from the cold air while the town wakes up.
This was my first breakfast, Banana delicious and filling. Perfect with a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee...yum!
So what else did we do in Sagada aside from exploring the caves (spelunking)? We also visited the famed Hanging Coffins. We walked to Echo Valley, shouted to our hearts content and walked some more. We visited about two more burial caves and then we hiked until I thought my lungs were going to burst...and my legs were about to give way.

We hiked to see the Bomod-ok Falls which was hidden by mountains. We had to hike to a village and then through the Sagada Rice Terraces...who knew this things were so huge. I thought they were just steps...and then we crossed a river, my thought bubble was this better be worth it.

When we finally arrived at our destination, it was awe-inspiring to say the least. It was huge and the water was so strong, it felt like it was raining. But we didn't stay too long because it started to rain, and we got worried that we might get stuck so we hiked all the way back across the river, through the rice terraces and the village again.
Sagada was a pleasant surprise for me but I don't think I would go back right away, not until they find a way to make the trip shorter. But it was a welcome breather from work and the heat and smog of city life. It's not hard to fall for the charms of Sagada...

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Yes I know I'm late for the Daring Bakers challenge this month...but as they say--better late than never! I actually finished them about a week ago but I went on a backpacking trip and then I came home to a fierce storm which meant my internet connection wasn't so good...etc...etc...but enough of that.

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

I've long admired Julia Child and more so after watching the movie Julie & Julia. So I was really excited when I read this month's DB challenge. I won't be shy and admit that it wasn't easy, first of all croissants take a LOT of time to make, as in 12 hours. And then there was the issue of butter which we had to incorporate and fold into the dough, hey this is the Philippines where the average humidity is in the 80's!

I wanted to put off doing it as long as I can but I had to tackle it before I left for my backpacking trip, so I made one recipe but it didn't produce the honeycomb effect that was one of the characteristics of a good croissant. Hmmm I wonder what I could've done wrong.

But I have to tell you Julia's recipe produced delicious tasting croissants! I couldn't resist eating one croissant slathered with organic berry jam...yum! It made my day!
I wasn't going to give up easily, so I made another batch the next day. It looked a little better when sliced crosswise but it's still wasn't very honeycomb-like. It still tasted consistently good though.

Thank you Sarah for this month's challenge! Please visit the other Daring Bakers for more of these delicious croissants.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nomama Artisanal Ramen

Like what I said before, I don't really post entries about restaurants unless I really liked the food there and the whole "experience". So this is one of those few-and-far-between entries...I first saw Nomama last Saturday September 10 and I thought it looked very nice from the outside so I made a mental note to check it out, I called them the next day which was Sunday but no one was picking up so we drove to the restaurant and found out they were closed *sigh*.

Fast forward, one week of my friends was celebrating her birthday, so we decided to have lunch here. The first thing I noticed when I went in was the interiors, I really liked it, clean and simple, concrete floors and ceilings with lots of natural wood bathed in natural light.

The server approached us and gave the menu card/board which was very nicely done. The restaurant was awash in natural light thanks to the glass walls, which made the place look more airy and spacious.
It was a very simple and straightforward menu and I almost ordered one from each menu category but I wasn't too hungry, so I thought against it. We started off with a salad...the Soft Shell Crab Salad was very interesting sounding so we ordered it. I usually love crab but I didn't like this too much, I am not sure if it was really the salad or it was me. The dressing was very good though and the presentation was so pretty.

Soft Shell Crab Salad PhP 260.00

Crisp soft shell crab, dairy buttermilk dressing, tomato and cucumber, greens

Of course I had to order a bowl of healthy Edamame, one of my favorite Japanese side dishes. They are actually immature soybeans in their pods. I can finish one bowl of this all by myself but the three of us shared this.

Edamame PhP 90.00

Steamed edamame beans with lime salt

The birthday girl chose the Nomama Ramen which we had to try because this was a Ramen place after all. I wasn't too keen on the soft boiled egg which was done perfectly but the soup was delicious and she polished it off in minutes.

Nomama Ramen PhP 290.00

House pork stock, special miso sesame blend, chashu, tamago

I couldn't decide which ramen I was going to order but in the end, the Ox Tongue and Chili Tofu sounded too good to pass up so that was what I ordered. Oh boy, this one's really good! The soup was delicious and the combination of the flavors was amazing! The braised ox tongue was so tender...yum! I am still dreaming about it.
Ox Tongue and Chili Tofu Ramen PhP 290.00

Braised Ox tongue, chili tofu sauce, house pork stock

My other friend ordered the Prawn and Red Curry Noodle StirFry, it looked delicious but I'm not very fond of noodles without soup and besides...this was a ramen place. The combination of Thai and Japanese flavors are intriguing though.

Prawn and Red Curry Noodle Stir Fry PhP 290.00

Prawns, red Thai curry, fresh noodles, eggplant, mirin, sake

And finally for dessert we had the Kitkat Bar, the server was recommending the Wasabi Whoopie Pie but I was craving for chocolate. This dessert was the perfect foil for the savory lunch we just had. It was just a bit disappointing that they didn't serve coffee because it would have been perfect.

Kitkat Bar PhP 175.00

Homemade peanut butter and chocolate bar with raspberry paint

I will defintely go back to Nomama, not only because it's so near my place but also because I want to try every item on their menu (I know I sound greedy--but it's that intriguing!) So next time...I will be ordering the Thai Green Curry Ramen and the Wasabi Whoopie Pie and the....well you get the point.

Nomama Artisanal Ramen

G/F FSS Bldg 2, Scout Tuazon cor. Scout Castor Streets,

Quezon City Philippines



Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cooks September 2011 challenge, "Stock to Soup to Consomme". We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consomme if we chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

This month's challenge has brought back sooo many memories from culinary school! I remember stressing and memorizing terms and staying up late in school waiting for the beef stock which we were cooling after cooking it for 8 hours and then properly storing it for the next day's class. Oh and how can I forget when my raft broke and I thought for sure my consomme won't clarify, but wonders of all wonders it did! Ah...those were the days! I making sense here? Stock? Raft? Consomme?

What am I talking about? According to Peta's definition "Consomme is usually and traditionally made by adding eggwhites with ground meats or fish (no bones) and/or vegetables for flavor to a base of good quality stock. These solids form a floating mass called a 'raft' which is caused by the proteins in the egg whites adhering to each other forming a fine matrix with many cavities..." Hmm but I didn't make consomme, I skipped that part of the challenge because it was optional. But you get the point...

The mandatory parts of this challenge was to make a stock which you have to make into a soup and an accompaniment for that, which could be crackers, dumplings or in my case...bread. Here in the Philippines, we don't usually eat bread with our local soups but I wanted to make a FIlipino bread to go with it so I made Pan de Sal which is THE bread here. All the bakeries sell it and almost everyone here likes it with their morning coffee slathered with butter or jam.



INSTANT YEAST 1/2 teaspoon

SUGAR 1 Tablespoon

SALT 3/4 teaspoon

VEGETABLE OIL 1 Tablespoon

WATER, room temp 3/4 cup (this is variable, you could add more or not use everything)


In a bowl combine flour, instant yeast, sugar and vegetable oil. Stir the salt into the water to dissolve. And pour it slowly into the flour mixture. Like what I said beforehand, water is plus or minus depending on the appearance or feel of the dough. Use about half of the water first and then knead your dough, if it looks dry add the rest. Sometimes you might need to add more water but you have to it carefully or you might end up with a gooey mess and start all over again. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until it's smooth. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise until double in volume about 1 hour in a warm place. Punch down the dough to release the gases, and knead it, shaping it into a log. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cut the log into even sized pieces with a bench scraper or a sharp knife. Place cut dough pieces on a lightly greased baking sheet cut side up and sprinkle with more bread crumbs. Let it rest for another 15 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375 degrees farenheit oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. Best enjoyed when hot!

I chose to make a soup which in our house we call Sotanghon because of the noodles used, but when I looked it up, apparently it's actually called Almondigas. I used this recipe from The Filipino-American Kitchen cookbook written by Jennifer M. Aranas.



Shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 cup

Ground Pork 1/4 kilo

*I used ground beef

Garlic, minced 2 cloves

Japanese panko breadcrumbs 2 Tablespoons

Spring Onions, finely chopped 1

Chop the shrimp into small pieces, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Form into balls, place on a tray. This can be done a day ahead. I put the meatballs in a covered plastic container and froze it. In the morning I thawed them in the refrigerator before using them for the soup.


Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon

Shallot or Red Onion, chooped 1 piece

Red Bellpepper, sliced 1 piece

Tomato Paste 2 Tablespoons

Beef Stock 5 cups

Soy Sauce 2 tablespoons

*I also added a little bit of Salt and Pepper to taste

Bean Thread Noodles 1 bundle (soaked in warm water)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots/onions and red pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir it well. Pour in the beef stock and soy sauce. Bring soup to a simmer. Carefully drop meatballs into the pot. Simmer for another 10 minutes, the meatballs will float to the surface. Remove bean thread noodles from soaking liquid, and add to pot. Discard soaking liquid. Season soup with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with Spring Onions.

That was a long post wasn't it? But it was worth it. The meatball soup and the pan de sal went well together. Perfect for the rainy season we are now experiencing.

Thank you Peta for this wonderful challenge! For Peta's recipes click here. Oh and please do drop by the other Daring Cooks blogs, who've made all sorts of delicious soups and accompaniments.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Breakfast by the Beach and Dinner on the Roofdeck

Davao is both familiar and unfamiliar to me, I've been going there (work-related) since 2009 and I think I've sampled some of the more popular eating places there. But on a recent trip (last week, actually) I was reminded of how much I really like going there because it's a city, hey Ayala's Abreeza Mall just opened with TGIF (Fridays), Italiannis, and finally a Starbucks outlet but at the same time, it has retained a laid-back vibe, breakfast by the beach anyone? Which was what we did...the drive was about 5 minutes from the hotel to a small port where boats awaited (PhP 120.00 for a group of 8) for a 10 minute ride to Paradise Island.'s not exactly paradise (not like Pearl Farm) but after a toxic workload, it was very relaxing.
We ordered Fried Bangus, Daing with Salted Egg and Tomatoes and this Beef Tapa (above) that was so delicious!
This was my friend's little girl's haul from the sea. Sea shells!
Oh and of course we had dinner at the Polo Bistro of Marco Polo Hotel. It was almost 9:30 P.M. when we got there and I wasn't too hungry so instead of a US Angus Tendeloin steak I ordered Grilled Atlantic Salmon...yum!
I forgot to take pictures of my other favorite restaurant Marina where they serve the freshest seafood and where we had our Durian fix...which I think deserves a separate post!