Monday, November 19, 2012

Kulinarya Cooking Club November 2012 Challenge: BANGUS SISIG

Our hosts for this month's challenge Frances and Jenn chose Sisig as this month's challenge.  I chose to do Bangus Sisig as a healthier alternative to all the meat I've been eating.  For the uninitiated SISIG according to Wikipedia:
Sisig is a Kapampangan term which means "to snack on something sour". It usually refers to fruits, often unripe or half-ripe, sometimes dipped in salt and vinegar. It also refers to a method of preparing fish and meat, especially pork, which is marinated in a sour liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar, then seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices.
1 whole bangus (milkfish) butterflied and deboned
salt and pepper, to taste
Lauric Oil, for frying
1 medium red onion, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Finger chili, sliced thinly
Bird's eye chili, sliced finely
Knorr Liquid seasoning
Calamansi, 2 pieces
Egg, sunny side-up for garnish
Preheat pan with lauric oil, season fish with salt and pepper, fry until golden brown and crispy about 7 minutes each side.  Drain on paper towel, chop into cubes.  Set aside.
Pour off excess oil and on the same pan, saute onion, garlic and chilies until fragrant.  Add the chopped cooked fish.  Turn up heat, add liquid seasoning and calamansi juice.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Turn off heat and transfer to plate.  Fry egg and garnish on top. 
Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along 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’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!
I must say I really enjoyed this month's challenge because it made roasting chicken or any other meat or vegetable easier and more flavorful.  For the past years that I've been roasting food, I was always mindful that the meats do not turn too dry and yet are cooked enough for food safety reasons.  
According to our host Audax: "Soaking in brine improves the taste and the moistness of all fowl (chicken, turkey, goose, duck and guinea fowl), also it works on lean red- and lean white-meats, fish, most seafood and most nuts and seeds. It is simple, cheap and effective and will ensure that your Christmas roast will be the tastiest you have ever made. All you do is brine your cut of meat and then proceed as normal, you will find that the roast is juicy and the skin has a lovely colour."
There was a holiday this month of November and I decided to test my brined and roasted chicken on my brother and sisters since everyone was home.  I also decided to roast some sweet potatoes and carrots with it in accordance with the Paleo diet which two of my siblings are on. 
It was just as our host said...the roast chicken was moist and flavorful, everyone loved it and I wish I had bought one more free-range chicken. 
And because I wanted to duplicate the moist and flavorful meat in pork, I also brined and roasted pork and it worked!  I just found the perfect technique thanks to our host Audax! 
The all-purpose brine and recommended roasting times are all found here. And please don't forget to check out the other Daring Cooks versions of their brined and roasted food, you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

THE DARING BAKERS OCTOBER CHALLENGE: Layering Up: Mille-feuille/Napoleon

Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!
I was excited for this month's challenge not only because of the recipe but more so because it was hosted by Suz, one of my favorite bloggers!  I've been reading every single blog post of hers ever since I chanced upon it in one of the challenges here a while back and let me say, she really has a way with words, she has the yummiest recipes and she takes really nice pictures!  So...on to the challenge...what is it exactly? 
‘Mille-feuille’ is French for ‘a thousand leaves’ (or ‘layers’), which is very apt, as it contains both layers of pastry (usually three) and layers within each pastry sheet …in short...puff pastry! (insert shudder here)

To tell you honestly, I was a little bit wary of doing puff pastry again because of the hot and humid weather here in the Philippines.  The few times that I made puff pastry, it was really a race against time and temperature.  Even if the dough was refrigerated as often as possible, the butter tended to seep out after a few rolls and this was no exception...but the recipe Suz gave was awesome, I don't know if the weather cooperated today but there was less oozing of the butter today. Here is a link to the whole recipe that was given to us.
The recipe is very straightforward as is the directions.  I just forgot to take out the baking parchment for the last 5 minutes of baking time for the first puff pastry sheet so it was a bit pale but otherwise everything went well.
 I decided not to experiment and to stick to the recipe that was given to us.  So instead of using my fool-proof recipe for creme patissiere I followed the recipe here and didn't have any problem with the setting of the cream.  I made the puff pastry in the morning and the creme patissiere after lunch.  I refrigerated it for 1 hour and it had thickened enough to set properly.
Thank you Suz for hosting this month's challenge, it was indeed a challenge for me!  The resulting product was delicious and everyone at home oohed and aahed at this pretty and deliciously decadent dessert. 
Dear friends, please don't forget to check out the other Daring Bakers versions of Mille Feuille, you won't be disappointed, I promise!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have a confession to make to my Kulinarya friends, this is the first time I made Filipino-style spaghetti in my whole life.  Don't get me wrong, I like it, and there were one or two instances that I drive-thru Jollibee just to get my sweet spaghetti fix.  I remember when I was small, we used to attend children's parties where this dish was never absent.  
So here I am today, making my own version of Filipino-style sweet spaghetti and I was being stubborn at first, because I only bought Del Monte sweet style spaghetti but the taste and color were lacking so I had to give in and fortunately I found a bottle of UFC Tamis Anghang Banana Catsup in the cupboard! And voila, just like spaghetti came out as Pinoy looking and tasting as the ones I remember from my childhood!
 The most important ingredient in Filipino-style Spaghetti...Banana Catsup!

2 Tablespoons Lauric Oil (Coconut Oil)
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium Red Onions, peeled and minced
250 grams Mighty Meaty Hotdog, sliced into rings
500 grams Ground Lean Pork
2 pieces Bayleaf (dried and crumbled)
500 grams Del Monte Sweet Blend Catsup
320 grams UFC Banana Catsup
200 grams Button Mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
500 grams Royal Spaghetti, cooked
Preheat pot with oil, saute onion until fragrant and translucent, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add the bayleaf and the ground pork.  Cook until pork is no longer pink.  Add the catsup, hotdogs and mushrooms.  Add enough water so that sauce will not be dry.  Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  
Serve hot over cooked spaghetti noodles and lots of cheese!
Yummy sweet spaghetti
And there you have it...Filipino style sweet spaghetti just like the ones from my childhood!

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along 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’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Rachel Dana was our October 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge hostess! Rachel brought Brazil into our lives by challenging us to make Feijoada and Farofa along with some other yummy side dishes traditionally served with Feijoada, which is a delicious black bean and pork stew.
According to Rachel :"Feijoada is a famous Brazilian black bean stew filled with meat, mostly pork parts. A really traditional feijoada will have pig ears, feet, nose…this originated with slaves and what was left for them to cook with. I made a more “modern” feijoada, I guess some would say, with sausage and ribs and ham, but this is how my in-laws make feijoada, and I find it easier, in many ways. If you want to add pig ears and such, please try it out.
Though farofa and vinagrete aren’t necessarily a part of everyone’s feijoada meal, they are definitely a part of mine. I think it will be fun to play with these recipes, I would have loved to do a whole challenge only on farofa and vinagrete, but the main component of the best farofa is mandioca flour, and since this isn’t easy for everyone to buy, I figured it wouldn’t work out too well. Fortunately there is farofa made with corn flour and even ground breadcrumbs, called Farofa da Rosca. So I think everyone can manage one of these three.."
This is the first time that I will be cooking and tasting Feijoada although I have heard of it before so with an adventurous twinkle to my eye...I rolled up my invisible sleeves and set out to conquer this latest Daring Kitchen challenge!
Rachel's recipe called for salted meats, and I didn't have any so I decided to use pork ribs instead.  I also substituted chorizo bilbao for the smoked sausages.  Aside from that I followed the recipe...and here is how my final product looked like.

For the Farofa, which was supposed to be cooked with cornmeal I went ahead and used dry breadcrumbs which our gracious host also said we could use. I really liked the flavor of this one...
I had all the ingredients for the vinagrete and I'd have to say this one was really delicious and a perfect foil for the saltiness of the Feijoada.
I didn't have any collard greens or white rice so I didn't make those two.  But thanks to Rachel, I was able to make a dish that is completely foreign to me and we had this for dinner tonight.  I would definitely make this again!
Please don't forget to visit the other Daring Cooks for their own versions of this month's challenge!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Daring Cooks' September 2012 Challenge: PAELLA

It's been a while since I last updated my blog because I've been blessed by so much work, but there was no way I'm going to miss this month's Daring Cooks' challenge just because Paella is one of my favorite dishes to cook and eat!
I grew up eating a "Filipinized" version of paella which my grandmother called "Arroz Valenciana" and I'm guessing that's where my love for paella came from. So without further ado...
Our Daring Cooks’ September 2012 hostess was Inma of la Galletika. Inma brought us a taste of Spain and challenged us to make our very own delicious Paella!
Our hostess was gracious enough to allow us to make whatever paella we wanted so I followed her recipe but I omitted the seafood and made it an all meat version. I also used brown rice instead of white rice and the result was just so delicious, it was wiped out!

2¼ pounds (1 kg) jumbo shrimp (prawns), cleaned & deveined.
1 pound fresh clams (any size)
1 pound (½ kg) pork loin, diced
2¼ pounds (1 kg) chicken breast, diced
2¼ pounds (1 kg) long grain rice (par-boiled)
5-6 Saffron threads *
4 garlic cloves
16 oz. crushed tomatoes
9 oz (250 gm) fresh green beans **
1 bell pepper (capsicum) cut into strips
9 oz (250 gm) peas **
Olive Oil
Salt to taste
3 springs of parsley
Water or chicken broth to boil rice in – ratio is 1 cup of rice = 3 cups of liquid
1 can of sweet pepper (pimientos or roasted red peppers, peeled and sliced), a bunch of parsley and lemons cut into quarters (For garnish)

*Note: You can substitute saffron with “paellero carmencita” or another brand of paellero, you can find it in special stores and it costs much less than saffron. If that option is not easy, you can use paprika but in that case the broth must be excellent.
All vegetables are recommended to be used fresh, although you can use frozen or canned. If using frozen, add to the Paella at the end of cooking, say 10 minutes. If using canned, add at the very end before serving, just long enough to heat through – maybe 5 minutes.

1.Mise en place, maybe this is the most important of all the steps, you have to wash and chop all the vegetables and cut all the meat and remove the skin.

2.In the paellera heat the olive oil, add two garlic cloves diced and remove.

3.Add shrimp, sauté and when it turns pink remove it and set apart.

4.Fry the chicken and the pork

5.In another saucepan boil the clams in salted water. Bring water to just over the clams. Once clams have cooked, remove from water and discard any clams that did not open. Strain the clam broth and set aside.

6.Add pepper to the chicken and pork, sauté. Add salt to taste

7. Add crushed tomato

8. Add broth (or water) to cover the chicken and pork, boil for 30 minutes.

9. Add the strained clam broth. Add the fresh green beans too.

10.At the same time you have to make: “la picada”. In a mortar or a home coffee grinder crush 2 garlic cloves, parsley and saffron. Add a little bit of paella´s broth. Pour it into the Paella.

11.Spread the rice through all the paellera.

12. Add water (per cup of rice add 2 cups of water)

13. Add peas

14.The paella must continue boiling until the rice is dry. Add some lemon drops. Add the shrimp.

15.You have to wait until the broth or water is consumed

16.Turn off the heat and cover with some clean cloth towels. Let rest for 15 minutes.

And voila, the Paella is ready

The finished product!

Thank you Inma for this wonderful challenge! It's great to learn another way of cooking my favorite dish.
Please don't forget to visit the other Paellas that my fellow Daring Cooks have come up with!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Daring Cooks' July 2012 Challenge: Cooking "En Papillote"

Our July 2012 Daring Cooks' host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called "Cooking En Papillote" which is French and translates to cooking in parchment.

According to Sarah "...this cooking method in parchment is also called "al cartoccio" in Italian, it is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from folded parchment paper, but other materials such as paper bag or aluminum foil may be used."

Yay, I love challenges where they give us the freedom of choosing what ingredients and materials...and for this French/Italian method of cooking I decided to go all out Asian or more specifically Filipino. Being a tropical country, we have an abundance of bananas and of course banana leaves so we use these leaves (also coconut leaves) for wrapping food and then cooking them either in grills or steamers. For this challenge I chose to make "Pinais na Bangus" which is milkfish stuffed with vegetables and wrapped in banana leaves and then grilled...doesn't that sound delicious?

The basic ingredients are milkfish, cleaned, scaled and butterflied (as shown above) in which I squeezed lemon juice and seasoned with salt and freshly cracked pepper. I cut lemongrass and finely minced ginger root, these went first and then the chopped tomatoes (2 medium sized) and minced white onion (1 piece).
Doesn't that look awesome? The vegetables are so colorful! I closed (as best as I could) the fish and then wrapped the clean banana leaves and put it on a stovetop grill, this is even better on a charcoal grill.

After 15 minutes on one side, turn the fish so that the other side gets cooked too. I added an extra 5 minutes each, so that was a total of 40 minutes cooking time.

And voila! This is so awesome when you open it, because the banana leaves impart flavor and aroma on the freshly cooked fish. We usually eat this dish with a sauce made of patis (fish sauce), calamansi and crushed siling labuyo (bird's eye chili) and hot rice....Yum...excuse me...but it's lunchtime here!
Thank you Sarah for this awesome challenge, it was really fun and delicious! Oh and dear readers please don't forget to check out the other Daring Cooks' versions of this delicious and healthy method of cooking!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THE DARING BAKERS' JUNE 2012 CHALLENGE: Going Batty for the Jubilee

I was thrilled when I found out that we were going to make a Battenberg cake for this month. It looks really pretty, it was one of those cakes that made me think "How did they do that?" when I was not into baking yet. Also it was a very nice gesture because it is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee...not that I am in the UK, far from it...but my parents were in London when it was her Golden Jubilee 10 years ago and it was really bittersweet watching the Diamond Jubilee on TV because my mother passed away last year and it just reminded me so much of her.

Mandy of What the Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry's techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

So what exactly is a Battenberg Cake? Apparently the first Battenberg cake was made to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Victoria to husband, Prince Louis of Battenberg.

Wow, so how's that for a cake's history? I will never look at another Battenberg cake without thinking of its royal and romantic backstory. We were given freedom by Mandy with flavors and with the covering (marzipan, chocolate plastique etc.) but I decided to follow the traditional recipe which she provided.


3/4 cups unsalted Butter, softened and cut into cubes

3/4 cups Caster Sugar

1 1/4 cups Self Raising Flour*

3 large Eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup ground Almonds (can be substituted with ground rice)

3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Almond extract

Red food coloring (paste, liquid or gel)

To finish:

1/3 cup Apricot jam

1 cup (225) grams Marzipan, natural or yellow


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

2. Grease an 8 inch/20 cm square baking pan with butter

3. Line the pan with parchment paper creating a divide in the middle with parchment paper or foil

4. Whisk together the dry ingredients then combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth.

5. Spoon half of the mixture to one side of the prepared pan

6. Add a few drops of the food coloring to the remaining batter, stir until the color is thoroughly distributed, add more color if needed.

7. Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared pan

8. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula making sure batter is in each corner of the pan

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (it should shrink away from the sides of the pan)

10. Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

11. Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a serrated knife.

12. Cut each colored sponge in half lengthwise so that you are left with four long strips of sponge.
13. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is neat and even as possible

14. Gently heat the apricot jam and pass through a sieve.

15. Brush warmed jam onto strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of the one pink next to one yellow)

16. Dust a large flat surface with powdered sugar and roll out the marzipan (or in my case, the chocolate plastique), roll into an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and completely wrap the cake.

17. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam.

18. Place the cake on the marzipan/chocolate plastique jam side down.

19. Brush the remaining three sides with jam.

20. Press marzipan/chocolate plastique around the cake making sure the join is either neatly in one corner or will be underneath the cake once turned over.

*To make 1 cup of self raising flour=1 cup All purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder +1/4 teaspoon Salt

200 grams good quality Dark Chocolate(70% cocoa content)

1/4 cup/60 ml Light Corn Syrup/Glucose Syrup/Golden Syrup


1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir occasionally.

2. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and cool a bit

3. Stir in corn syrup/glucose syrup/golden syrup it will seize up almost immediately, just keep stirring until mixed and it comes away from the sides of the bowl

4. Transfer chocolate into a sealable bag, spread the chocolate out then seal the bag

5. Leave overnight or refrigerate for about 2 hours until completely firm

6. Turn out from the bag and knead on a surface dusted with powdered sugar, at first it will just break, but as you knead it will warm up and become pliable

7. Knead until it's pliable enough to roll out or mould about 5-10 minutes.

And there you have nice and pretty to look at but actually was quite easy to do. Thank you Mandy for this challenge, it's one of my favorites now! Do check out the other Daring Bakers' awesome Battenberg cakes, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Homemade Marshmallows

I've always been fascinated with marshmallows even when I was a kid...those unbelievably soft, mushy and oh so delicious cubes or balls of sugary goodness. Fast forward to a few months ago when I happened to watch Alton Brown making them on TV, I was suddenly eight years old again craving for them so when I found his recipe, I got the brilliant idea to make them at home.
3 packages unflavored gelatine
1 cup ice-cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Non stick spray
Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer with 1/2 cup water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed, and while running slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows:
Combine confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for up to 4 hours or overnight.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
*I didn't use non-stick cooking spray on the pan, instead I lined the bottom and sides with parchment paper and coated it with the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch mixture. I just used an ordinary sharp knife for cutting instead of a pizza wheel and the results were alright.
So there you have easy and it was tastier than any store-bought marshmallows I've ever tasted. Plus imagine all the flavor variations possible!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Daring Cook's June 2012: Cannelloni

So excited about this month's Daring Cooks' challenge...why you may ask...well just because I made bacon for the first time and I wanted to include it in another recipe. And this month's challenge was perfect! I bought around 1.5 kg of pork belly skin on and followed this recipe. Manu from Manu's Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family's treasured recipes!

100 grams (2/3 cups + 2 teaspoons) All-purpose Flour

1 large Egg


1. Put the flour and egg in a food processor and mix. When the dough looks like crumbs pour it onto the bench top sprinkled with a little flour. Knead well by hand until you obtain a smooth dough. Make it into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

2. Now you are ready to make your egg pasta. Cut out a piece of egg pasta flatten it into a rectangular shape with your hands. Put a little flour on it and begin passing it through a pasta machine. Turn the dial to the widest setting (#1) and starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers. Now fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle then fold the other side over to make 3 layers. Starting with one of the narrower sides of the dough feed the pasta again at the widest setting. Repeat the folding and and rolling technique on the widest setting for at least a couple of times.

3. Now you can start rolling it thinner by turning the dial to the next narrowest setting (#2). Roll the pasta through the machine without folding the dough between settings. Keep reducing the settings until #7. If the sheet of pasta gets too long, you can cut it in half with a knife. To make cannelloni cut out rectangular pasta sheets (10x15cm) or (4"x6").

*You can do this without a pasta machine, just roll the sheets thinly with a rolling pin and cut into rectangles.


2 cups (500 ml) Milk, hot

3 1/2 Tablespoons (50 grams) Butter

1/3 cup (50 grams) All-purpose Flour

1 pinch salt

1 pinch nutmeg


1. Put the butter in a non-stick pot and let it melt. Add the flour and whisk constantly until well incorporated: this is the "roux" let it cook for a minute or two.

2. Now start adding hot milk little by little, while mixing continuously until milk is well incorporated. Do not add more milk unless it is well incorporated, keep doing so until all the milk is incorporated.

3. Add salt and nutmeg and cook it on low flame for 10 minutes until it thickens.
I got Manu's recipes for the egg pasta and the bechamel but I made my own tomato sauce by sauteeing 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 1 minced red onion, 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary and 200 grams of whole peeled tomatoes (canned) for about 15 minutes. I seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper. Then I filled my cannelloni with chopped bacon and mushrooms, rolled them and covered with bechamel and the tomato sauce and sliced mozzarella cheese and baked it in a preheated 350 degrees farenheit oven for 20 minutes.
And there you have it, Cannelloni from scratch! Thank you Manu for this month's Daring Cook's challenge, it was fun to make and delicious!

Please visit the other Daring Cooks and check out all the delicious varieties of Cannelloni that each one came up with, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lechon Paksiw

So summer is officially in the Philippines. But thankfully the rainy season has been flooding yet.

We took advantage of the last days of summer and visited a farm in Bulacan which is about 2 hours or so away from the capital. There was no traffic along the North Expressway, the sun was shining brightly and this was what greeted us...

Don't you just love the green green grass and plants and the blue sky?

This was my favorite part of the farm. the raised vegetable beds and the greenhouse a.k.a. baby plant nursery

Lest you think that this is just a vegetable farm, there were also goats, a few sheep, lots of chickens, some geese and of course native pigs. The people who run the farm are running it without pesticides, herbicides and artificial short, this is an organic farm. They use vermiculture (African night crawler worms) to fertilize the plants, they also do a lot of composting etc.

One of the people there told me we were going to roast a pig, not an ordinary pig but an organic native pig (they're black in color, have less fat and are generally thought of to taste better than normal pigs). So there I was, taking all these pictures while they were preparing the pig. They butchered it before we arrived so they were just cleaning it when I got there. The Filipino way of roasting a whole pig is on a spit over hot coals. The sun was shining and it was so hot but I wasn't going to miss any of it. They used an electric fan to get the flames going (literally "fanning" the flames). While this was going on, the pig was cleaned and stuffed with native bananas we call saba, crushed garlic, lemon grass and spring onions. While it was roasting they were basting it with a mixture of patis (fish sauce), Sprite (yes the soda) and soy sauce. It took about 2 hours for the pig to be fully cooked, and it was so worth the wait!

Roasting a pig the Filipino way

I went home not only with a full stomach but also with a goody bag of freshly roasted native pig! When they asked me if I wanted to bring home some of the left-overs of course I said yes...I already had something in mind for it.

I really love roasted pig or as we call it Lechon Baboy but actually, I love cooking it as Paksiw na Lechon the next day, it just gets better and better.

The traditional accompaniment or sauce of Lechon is called Sarsa, made of pig's liver, spices, breadcrumbs etc. But nowadays we just buy the bottled Mang Tomas Lechon Sarsa which is available in supermarkets. But we didn't use any lechon sarsa for the Lechon Baboy, it was that need for sauces, the taste was just perfect!

I used the Lechon Sarsa for the Paksiw na here is my recipe for one of my favorite dishes.

1.5 kilos cooked Lechon meat

1 cup Mang Tomas Lechon Sarsa

10 cloves of Garlic, peeled and smashed

2 Bay leaves, dried

1 teaspoon Black Peppercorn

1/2 cup Cane Vinegar

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cut the lechon into 2-inch cubes. Put all ingredients in a pot and cover with enough liquid (water or stock) to submerge the meat, let mixture boil without stirring. When it is boiling, stir and turn down the heat, simmer until the sauce thickens.

Serve hot with rice :)

And there it is...the Paksiw na of my favorite dishes!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Posting late for the May Daring Bakers' Challenge:  GUILTY, but I really didn't want to sit this one out just because it was hosted by Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood.  So here's my late post.
May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.
A brief historical introduction:
Challah is a bread of celebration in Jewish tradition. At a time when white flour was considered a luxury, its use was reserved for either the wealthy or for festive events. In Judaism, the Sabbath is a weekly holiday, and therefore is a festive occasion. It was around the 15th century when Jews in parts of Austria and Germany adopted an oval braided loaf from their neighbors to make the Sabbath special. These fancy shaped loaves made with white flour were seen as a fitting way to honor the Shabbat (Sabbath), symbolized in Jewish culture as a queen, therefore deserving of the finest one can achieve. In honoring the Sabbath as a day of rest, two loaves are traditionally put on the table. This is generally seen as a representation of the double portion of manna provided to the Children of Israel on Fridays during their wandering in the desert after fleeing from Egypt. This double portion allowed them to maintain the commandment to not do “work” on the Sabbath.
Another symbolic comparison to the manna eaten by the Israelites is the fact that challah is traditionally covered with a cloth prior to being blessed and eaten. According to tradition, manna was encased in dew to preserve its freshness. Covering the challah with a decorative cloth serves as another reminder of the special quality of the day of rest. There are other explanations given regarding why the challah is covered. The one which I always liked was that we cover the loaves so they will not be “embarrassed” by having to wait while the wine is blessed first. (A traditional Sabbath dinner begins with a blessing over the wine first, followed by the blessing of the bread, after which the meal is enjoyed.)

Easy Challah (from

4 cups (960 ml) (360 gm/20 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) (11¼ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) package rapid rise yeast
½ (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

1. Measure flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) combine water and yeast, allow to sit 5 minutes until foamy.
3. Add 1 ½ cups of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture, beat until well combined. Cover with a dish towel, let stand 30 min.
4. Add two eggs to the dough, beat again.
5. By hand or with your dough hook knead in the remaining flour mixture. Knead approximately 10 minutes.
6. Transfer to oiled bowl, cover, let rise one hour.
7. Punch down dough, knead approximately 3 minutes.
8. Divide dough in two. Shape each half as desired (3, 4, or 6 strand braid).
9. Place loaves on parchment covered or greased cookie sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise one hour.
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
11. Brush loaves with egg wash.
12. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, bake until golden crust forms (about 25-30 minutes).
13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Thank you for this challenge Ruth, I really enjoyed making Challah and I will make it again using the other 2 recipes you gave!
Do check out the amazing Challah bread that all the other Daring Bakers have come up with.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Daring Cook's May 2012:Messieurs-Dames: Boeuf Bourguignon!

Our May 2012 Daring Cooks' hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

I couldn't believe the timeliness of this month's challenge...I've been spending two month's worth of Saturdays taking up French at Alliance Francaise de Manille. So it was really a nice surprise when I read what this month's challenge was going to be and aside from that our hostess Fabi got the recipe from one of my favorites...Julia Child!

We were given the option of making a vegetarian version using tofu which I really wanted to make but didn't have enough time for. So I just went ahead and made the traditional beef version.


200 grams Streaky Bacon

Olive Oil

1.3 kilos Stewing Beef cut into 2-in cubes

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Pepper

3 Tablespoons Flour

720 ml of young Red Wine (Bourgogne of course but Bourdeaux, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Rioja etc.)

1 Carrot, sliced

1 Onions, sliced in julienne (strips)

355 to 475 ml Beef Stock

1 tablespoon Tomato paste or puree

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 teaspoon Thyme leaves

1 Bay leave

The blanched bacon rind

18-24 small onions, brown-braised in stock

1/2 kg mushrooms sauteed in butter (Champignons are perfect for this purpose)

Fresh parsley sprigs to serve


1.Prepare the bacon, remove the rind. Cut the bacon into lardons (sticks 1/4 inch thick and 1/2 inch long)and simmer everything in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry carefully with paper towels.

2.Dry the meat cubes carefully with paper towels.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees farenheit.

4. In a fire-proof casserole or a frying pan, saute the lardons in a tablespoon of olive oil for 2-3 minutes until they're lightly brown. Remove them to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

5. In the same pan, saute the beef until its golden brown. Remove it to the side dish where you keep the bacon and set aside.

6. Still in the same pan, saute the carrots and the onions.

7. Return the bacon and the beef to the pan sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add flour and toss.

8. Place the casserole/pan uncovered in the middle position of the oven for 4 minutes. This gives the meat a lovely crust.

9. Remove the casserole from the oven. Stir in the wine, stock, tomato paste, mashed garlic, cloves, thyme, bay and the blanched bacon rind.

10. Bring it to simmering point on the stove. If you are using a frying pan, discard it and put the stew in an oven-proof dish.

11. Cover the casserole (if it doesn't have a lid, use aluminum foil, and stretch it to the edges of the dish in order to minimize the loss of juices) and place it low in the oven. Adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly, it has to go on for 3-4 hours.

12. While the stew is cooking, prepare onions and mushrooms. For the onions melt 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan and saute the peeled onions until golden brown. Add beef stock until they're almost covered and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until almost all the liquid disappears and they're tender but keep their shape. Set aside.

13. Prepare the mushrooms as well: Wash, quarter and saute them in 2tablespoons butter. Keep in stirring until they're nicely browned. Set aside.

14. When the meat is tender put the stew into a sieve over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the stew to it. Put onions and mushrooms over the meat.

15.Skim the fat off the sauce. Put the saucepan on the stove and simmer it for 2-3 minutes. Skim additional fat if it rises. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. If not boil it until it thickens.

*I cheated on this recipe by pressure-cooking the beef for 30 minutes. Then I did the rest of the procedures.

And there you have it...the final result of a hurried still tasted pretty good, even if I didn't cook it for the traditional 5 hours.
I had to take the pictures as fast as I could because a certain cat number 2 a.k.a. Hopster was eyeing the plate.
Thank you Fabi for such a fab (sorry couldn't resist that) challenge this month! Oh and please don't forget to check out the other versions of Boeuf Bourguignon that my fellow Daring Cooks have come up with.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Breakfast Juicing

This is my recipe for breakfast to help me accomplish the tasks of a very busy, very taxing day...
I made up my own juice with some of my favorite fruits and has to be that way because I drink this every morning...every single day :)

But once in a on Saturdays...I can't resist a slice or two of Bibingka!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Daring Cooks' April 2012 Challenge - Create Your Own Recipe!

Our April 2012 hosts were David and Karen of Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients.

I really like it when we are asked to come up with our own recipes because it brings out everyone's creativity. So what is the list of these ingredients that we can play around? They gave us 3 sets and we had to choose one from each list:

1. Parsnips, Eggplant (Aubergine), Cauliflower

2. Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle Peppers

3. Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas

Along with the list, they also provided some recipes but I decided to completely come up with my own. I chose Eggplant because I haven't seen parsnips around here in Manila, and no I don't really like cauliflowers so eggplant it is. I also have balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in the cupboard so I just came up with a dish utilizing those three: Eggplant, Balsamic Vinegar and Eggplants.

Being the true Filipino that I am...when vinegar is listed as an ingredient--I always think of Adobo. So that is what I decided to cook. Adobo is a dish that is cooked with vinegar and/or soy sauce and garlic. There are as many versions of this as there are many cooks in the Philippines. I was going to make my own version based on my 3 ingredients.
1 kilo Beef Cubes (cooked in the pressure cooker the night before)
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
10 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
2 pieces Bay leaves (dried)

1 teaspoon Black Peppercorn
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Maple syrup
Combine beef cubes, garlic, peppercorn, balsamic vinegar, soysauce and enough water or stock to cover everything in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes (this process is shorter because the meat was already cooked in the pressure cooker). Do not stir until boiling or the vinegar will taste raw. When mixture is boiling turn down the heat and season with salt, pepper and maple syrup. Cook for another 10 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Okay, so what about the eggplant? I cut it into rings, salted and rinsed. Grilled with olive oil (no need to season with salt, they might come out too salty).

And there it is...Adobong Baka with Grilled Eggplants. Thank you David and Karen, this was a wonderful challenge!