Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kulinarya Cooking Club February Valentine's Aphrodisiac

The theme for this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club is not so surpising--Aphrodisiac! But it got me stumped for ideas...I mean there are a lot of food that are considered aphrodisiac but I was racking my brain for a Filipino preparation, soup number 5 (made from a bull's testes or penis) anyone? I had so many things to consider-foremost of all is the availability of the ingredients. I don't know if I can get the ingredients for the aforementioned soup at the supermarket near my house and then after I cook it, who would eat it? LOL.

or boiled fertilized egg may be easier to find but I wasn't too keen on eating adobong balut at the moment. So I looked at our host Pia's
helpful links and I settled on banana--banana heart or puso ng saging in the Filipino language.

But before I get ahead of myself, what exactly is an aphrodisiac food? This is how defines it -- " that is believed to stimulate the sex drive or increase sexual can be suggestive rather than cause a physical sexual reaction..." Hmm okay then banana heart it is.

I don't really know how this recipe came by our household but you can be sure that when we have banana heart, this is how it is cooked.

Ginisang Puso ng Saging

Coconut oil 2 Tablespoons
Onion, medium 1 piece
Garlic cloves 4 pieces
Banana Heart 1 piece
Sotanghon 1 Handful
*Vinegar 1 Tablespoon
Salt and Pepper to taste

* I used my favorite Pinakurat vinegar

Fill bowl with water and soften sotanghon (bean thread noodles). Remove the outer leaves of the banana heart, slice thinly and cover with cold water. Mince onions finely. Crush garlic and mince. Heat oil in pan and add onions and saute until translucent, add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown. Drain the sliced banana heart and add to pan. Cook until the vegetables wilt a little. Pour enough liquid (water or stock) just to cover the vegetables. Add the softened sotanghon. Mix until well incorporated. Add in the tablespoon of vinegar, do not stir until it boils. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot and garnish with spicy labuyo. Enjoy!

Kulinarya Cooking Club 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 with their family recipes. 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!

For more of these Aphrodisiac food here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thank You!

A big thank you to Annie of Second Helpings and to Katrina of Lardon My French for the Stylish Blogger Award, which is totally unexpected but very much appreciated!

According to Annie there are 4 rules to accepting this award which are: Thank and link the blogger who nominated you; Share 7 things about yourself; Award 15 new bloggers and tell them about it.

Here are the 7 things that you probably don't know about me:

1. I used to love the beach but when I got older, that part of me was lost. This love affair was recently rekindled when I went to Boracay, one of the best beaches in the world and is located here in the Philippines. Don't you just love that sunset?

2. I come from a huge family. I am the eldest of 7 children: 5 girls and 2 boys. We don't need to invite people over during birthdays because every meal time is already like a party!

3. Travelling relaxes me. I work hard and the only time I ever feel like I'm relaxing is when I am away, walking through unfamiliar streets and absorbing the culture of the place I am in. My favorite places are Munich, New York, Singapore and Thailand...

4. Speaking of which, I totally fell in love with elephants when I took an elephant ride with my sister when we were in Bangkok last January 2010.

5. I am a bit OC (obsessive-compulsive) when it comes to some things. I give my bedroom a general cleaning every Monday or else I feel like everything is dusty. I organize my closet according to use, color and material, and I insist on using only one color of clothes hangers--black etc.

6. I am a voracious reader, I read everything from fiction to non-fiction. My personal favorite at the moment is Ferran, a book about Ferran Adria (the greatest chef that ever lived according to some). I have read the works of JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Peter Mayle etc.

7. We have 8 dogs at home. 3 Chowchows, 2 Huskies, 2 Beagles and an adorable Yorkshire Terrier!

I didn't imagine that I would have so much fun blogging and that I would meet so many friends from around the world. There are just some blogs that I have to read everyday and constantly check for updates. I would like to share the Stylish Blogger Award to them:

Inato Lang Filipino Cuisine and More
Bake in Paris
Tangled Noodle
Latest Recipes
Almost Bourdain
Serenely Full
Testado, Provado e Aprovado!
Mary Mary Culinary
Almost Bourdain
Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives
Joy's Misadventures
Everyday Sweet Notes
My Little World
Pieces of a Wunderkind's Mind
Eats Trixie!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks February 2011 Challenge: Cold Soba Salad & Tempura

It's that time of the month again--time for the Daring Cook's Challenge! I almost didn't make this one but I already bought my soba noodles--green tea soba noodles to be exact and I really wanted to use them so I finally decided to go ahead with it. First the blog checking lines:

The February 2011 Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including,, and

So what exactly is Soba? It's a type of Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour, but for a better explanation, read here. I was just wondering if I should go to the Japanese/Korean grocery store when I chanced upon this pack of green tea soba noodles! And they were being offered at a very low price so I grabbed it. Isn't the packaging cute? I love how the Japanese make everything look pretty!

And here are the cooked soba noodles. They were immersed in ice cold water as soon as I finished boiling them to stop further cooking. They turned out perfect!

Tempura is seafood or vegetables that have been dipped in batter and deep-fried. Here is a better explanation complete with pictures. Initially, I thought about making more vegetable tempura but knowing that somehow it will all be wasted because I try to stay away from fried food nowadays, I chose to keep it simple and decided on eggplants as accompaniment to my prawns.

And here is the completed challenge, Cold Soba Salad and Tempura, really delicious! I ate them all too!

Thank you Lisa for this challenge, it was fun, and more fun to plate and take pictures of, this challenge is so photogenic!

The complete recipes for both the Hiyashi Soba and the tempura are here. Please visit the other Daring Cooks and be amazed at everyone's creativity!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cheese and Leek Hopia

It's been more than five years since I last visited Sonya's Garden. First of all it's located in Tagaytay which is about 2-3 hours away from Manila depending on the speed of the car and the traffic. Secondly, a lot of restaurants have opened up in that area and somehow Sonya's has been pushed back in my priority list of eating places. But then some friends of mine had the brilliant idea of eating a leisurely Sunday lunch at the said place. Sunday was bright and sunny but the traffic was terrible, it seemed like everyone had the same idea of having a short getaway. So after 3 hours and countless sugarless chewing gums, we arrived at our destination. It was a breath of fresh air (literally) and it was like coming home to an old friend, the garden welcomed and soothed us. We had a leisurely lunch and all the traffic was forgotten. Then my friend whispered that we should definitely check if the hopia was available in the panaderia (Filipino for bakery). She said we can't miss the cheese and leek hopia, so we asked the waiter if he could check if it was still available and he came back with the good news. We could hardly wait!
We rushed to the panaderia which by this time was filling up with people on the same hopia-buying mission as us. We jostled our way inside and found spots right in front of the counter, the heat inside which was coming from the oven was enough to make me go right back outside and gulp the fresh air but I wasn't going to leave without my we waited and we were rewarded with still-warm cheese hopia but they said the leek hopia had run out but I spied one sitting on a basket and grabbed it, mission accomplished!

I arrived home with my precious hopia which by this time wasn't warm anymore. I was worried that it would spoil so I kept it in the refrigerator overnight and brought it with me to work in the morning. I heated it for a bit in the microwave and we had it with coffee...the verdict? The cheese hopia is soooooo delicious! I haven't tasted any hopia quite like it. I think they used parmesan cheese for this. The flaky layers just fall off when you bite into the warm cheesy center...yum!
The leek hopia was good but I didn't like it as much as the cheese hopia. Next time I go back I'm thinking I should just buy the cheese flavored ones...definitely worth the trip!

Sonya's Garden
Barangay Buck Estate,
Alfonso, Cavite, Philippines

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chili Con Carne

When I was in primary school, I remember lunchtime being somewhat like a buffet spread among me and my friends. There were 6 of us friends and we would bring out our "baon" or the food we bring from home because our parents wanted to monitor what we were eating. Usually mine would be porkchops and rice, tocino ( sweetened cured pork) and rice, or the leftover food from dinner. But I had one friend who always had the coolest "baon" in my opinion. And there's this particular dish that quickly became a favorite, Chili con Carne. Everyone wanted to swap with her, especially me.

The years have passed, and sadly I have lost touch with my lunchtime buddies but the memory of this dish still remains. I found this recipe online and it came very close to what my friend used to have in lunchbox.

Oil (I use coconut oil) 2 tablespoons
Garlic, minced 2 cloves
Onion, minced 1 whole
Cumin, ground 1 teaspoon
Coriander, ground 1 teaspoon
Oregano, ground 1 teaspoon
Chili powder or cayenne 1 teaspoon
Bay Leaves 2 pieces
Ground Beef 250 grams
Crushed Tomatoes 500 grams
Red kidney beans 200 grams, soaked overnight
White beans 200 grams, soaked overnight
Chicken Stock 1 liter
Corn Kernels, canned, drained 100 grams
Salt, Pepper to taste
Cheese, grated for garnish
Heat oil in a pot over medium heat, add in minced onions, saute until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add beef and the spices. Cook until beef is no longer pink about 5 minutes.
Add in the soaked beans and the crushed tomatoes. Cover with chicken stock and cook until beans are tender, this can take from 30-45 minutes.
When beans are tender add the corn kernels and season with salt and pepper. I prefer to cook it further until the liquid is reduced. Serve hot. Top with grated cheese and parsley.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birthday Girl!

Today is the first day of February and it's also my baby sister's 18th birthday! I could still remember when my mom had her labor pains and I was in the car with them rushing to the hospital--I was praying so hard that my baby sister wouldn't be in such a rush to come out and be born inside the car! Now she is way taller than me and puts make-up more than I do but she still remains the baby in the family, Happy Birthday Myc!

I decided to make an entremet with coffee mousse cake. I used hazelnut flour instead of almond flour and I think I like it better, it makes a nice background for the Happy 18th birthday. The recipe for the joconde imprime can be found here.

All-purpose Cream 2 x 250 ml box
Unflavored Gelatine 2 x 10 gr packet
Water 1/2 cup
Refined Sugar 1/2 cup
Espresso 1/4 cup

Dissolve gelatine in cold water, leave to bloom for about 5 minutes. Microwave for one minute, set aside. With the whip attachment of your mixer, beat cream and sugar together until sugar is dissolved. Slowly pour in coffee and gelatine. Whip until cream is double in volume. Pour on prepared joconde imprime. Refrigerate overnight.

Here's the birthday girl last Christmas with a platter full of lechon :)