Thursday, September 12, 2013

Spanish Meal To Make You Go OLE'!

This is a dinner meal that is tasty, filling and comforting. I was inspired by the flavors of Spain when I invented this dish. I hope you can recreate this and make your special ones feel the love. Buon Appetito!

Perfect Roast Chicken 

Marinade chicken parts overnight by sealing the chicken in a plastic bag along with the following ingredients:
  • Olive oil
  • Lime juice
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Oregano powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lots and lots of garlic cloves
Roast the chicken in a pan for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees celsius.

Tomato, Risoni and Vegetable Side Dish

1. In a pot, saute diced onions, diced carrots and diced potatoes with a little olive oil and a pat of butter. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add some water and your favorite canned tomato sauce (ragu). I use canned Del Monte chunky tomato sauces variants.
3. Add 1/4-1/2 of a beef cube for more flavor and some herbs like oregano, rosemary, marjoram, thyme and sage. Let it simmer.
4. Adjust the consistency by adding more water, season as you go along.
5. For the last 5 minutes, add in the risoni and corn kernels. Stir regularly because the pasta has the tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Note: The risoni side dish can stand on it's own as the carb for your meal. You can totally add more vegetables like broccoli, peas, etc. I would have added broccoli if it wasn't so damn expensive this season.

Aside from the risoni side dish, you can also serve steamed rice with the chicken (colored with a dash of turmeric while cooking) for people who would like some rice.

*Risoni looks like rice but it is actually a rice-shaped pasta, similar if not the same to Orzo. San Remo brand is available in Robinson's Supermarkets.

Calamansi Cooler

1. Make your usual calamansi juice sweetened with a spot of honey.
2. Swipe the rim of chilled glasses with calamansi juice and flip them over and coat with sugar (place the sugar in a saucer).
3. Add ice cubes, slices of calamansi fruit and pour over your juice.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pork and Shrimp Siew Mai (Dumplings)

This is authentic Chinese flavor pork and shrimp siew mai (dumplings). Packed meaty filling in silky wonton wrappers, dumplings are a staple order from any Chinese restaurant and are eaten as a snack, a side dish or even as the main dish. Extend the serving by eating it with flavorful yang chow fried rice.

Siew Mai filling:
  • Ground pork
  • Small shrimps
  • Small knob of ginger (grated)
  • Spring onions (sliced)
  • A tsp of sesame oil
  • A tsp of soy sauce
  • A tsp of cornstarch
  • Egg white to bind
  • Salt and pepper
*Wonton wrappers (preferably round but if you get a square shaped, just round of the corners by cutting them with a scissor -cut by batches so you save time.). 

1. Combine above ingredients

2. Using your hand, tuck a wonton wrapper and spoon filling in each

3. Tap the bottom of the wonton wrapper on a flat surface to get even bottoms so they stand when they cook.

4. If you have a bamboo steamer or any other steaming device, that's great. You can easily cook the whole batch. In my case I had none so I made my own using a strainer placed on top of a pot half-filled w/ water. Line cabbages on the bottom to prevent the wrapper from sticking onto it. Cover the pot with a lid to steam the dumplings.

Yang Chow Fried Rice

  • Day old rice
  • small shrimp
  • diced onion
  • chopped garlic
  • chopped Chinese cabbage 
  • an egg
  • a dash of soy sauce
  • sliced scallions
1. In a pan, saute onions and garlic with a little oil.
2. Add in the shrimps to cook
3. Add one beaten egg and let it cook. Break it off in smaller pieces with a wooden spoon.
4. Add in the chopped Chinese cabbage and top with the rice. Cover and bring to a light steam.
5. Add a dash of soy sauce (less than a tsp) and a very light sprinkle of turmeric to color the rice a light shade of yellow. Mix everything together, kill the fire and top with sliced scallions. Cover again and let the residual heat soften the scallions.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crazy For Calzone

An ultimate comfort dish. This is a calzone that will give you a run for your money. Once you've mastered the art of making pizza dough, this is the next most sensible thing to make. Buon Appetito

-3/4 cup warm water
-1 tsp dried yeast
-1/4 tsp white sugar
-2 cups flour
-1/8 cup olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt

1. Combine water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Leave for 5 mins or until mixture is foamy. Stir well.
2. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl, create a well in the middle and pour the yeast mixture and oil.
3. Stir w/ a spoon gently until mixture comes together to become a dough.
4. Using your hands, work into a ball, kneading the dough at the same time.
5. Set aside in a separate bowl (greased w/ oil in all sides and bottom so the dough doesn't stick).
6. Cover the top with clear film  (plastic) and allow to rise (double the volume, about an hour).

Saute the ff. ingredients in a pan altogether, adding tomato sauce, tomato paste and a bit of water at the very end to combine everything and give the ingredients a tomato sauce base...
-green peppers
-Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)
-Salt & pepper to taste

When everything is ready, divide the dough into 2 equal parts, roll out w/ a rolling pin to form individual circles.

Laden the filling and top w/ grated mozzarella cheese. Fold the calzone over and crimp the sides. Create vent slots on top and lastly, give the calzone an eggwash.

Bake for 25-30 mins at 200 degrees C or until golden brown.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Something Exotic

Craving for something exotic? Try this Arabic-Mexican fusion dish of prawn, chicken and fish kebabs.  Coupled with veggies, kebabs are a great way to make a little meat go a long way... It's perfect for serving during cocktails too!


1. Prep the meats (prawn, fish and chicken) by marinading them in olive oil, curry and cumin powder, salt & pepper.

2. Arrange the meats with vegetables (green pepper slices, onion wedges and whole button mushrooms) and grill away.

3. Serve on top of a warmed tortilla and curry rice (just sprinkle curry powder or turmeric with rice). The rice is optional since the kebabs can survive on bread alone.

4. Add a side of whole corn kernels.

5. Lastly, top with a garlic yogurt sauce (yogurt + very little mayo to thicken + crushed garlic clove + salt + coriander)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dulce de Gatas (Caramel Milk)

Simple and sweet sauce to make... perfect as a spread for sweet breads or as a dip for crunchy fruits like apples and pears. Great for gift-giving too!


1. Submerge a can of condensed milk (or as much cans the pot can hold) and let it lie on its side under water. Bring to a boil then set fire at lowest setting and let it simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Make sure the can stays submerged, check every 30 mins to make sure the water level is above the can.

Tip: Since it is gas-consuming (simmering for 2 hours) might as well get a big pot to accommodate 2-3 cans. Do not pile them over each other though.

2. Allow to cool thoroughly before opening.

3. Store in ref or in a cupboard for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kesong Puti Stuffed Meatball Pasta

For this dish, I'm featuring Kesong Puti (soft white cheese made from unskimmed buffalo's milk), which for me, is the top cheese of the Philippines.

I think cheese is best when you can get it fresh or aged (processed/artificial is last option). For fresh, Kesong Puti wins as it is so versatile that it can be used for gourmet meals and desserts. I love to eat it on top of a crusty bread, drizzled with honey or fruit jam. As for for aged sharp cheese, Queso de Bola is the winner (better than parmesan - shaved to top on green salads and grated to top on pasta).

Hope this dish inspires you to use our local cheese w/c honestly is at par with the best cheeses of the world.

Here's how-to:

meatball - combine ground beef, bread crumbs (panko), salt & pepper, crushed garlic and olive oil. I use olive oil to bind any meat (like burger, kebab and meatballs) vs egg since I find egg leaves... well, an egg-y taste.

Add chopped parsley.

form a flat circle and place a cube of kesong puti in the center

Ball it up

Meatball assembly line

Create a golden brown crust by toasting the meatballs on a pan drizzled with olive oil. You need only to create a crust as the meatballs will continue to cook in the sauce later.

Dunk the meatballs in your simmering sauce (I just buy tomato sauce from a can and use it as a base, augment the flavor and add richness by adding sauted onions and garlic, chopped ripe tomatoes, tomato paste, a little water and dried and fresh herbs - Italian mix by mccormick, basil and oregano. Cut the acidity by adding a teaspoon of sugar and season with salt & pepper.
Allow to simmer until meatballs are cooked through.

I am using fetuccine for the pasta but you can use any pasta you like.
Plate up. Add a sprig of basil to pretty it up and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (no queso de bola this time of the year but use that - shaved or grated, when you readily have it in your kitchen).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Soup in a Bread Bowl: Shrimp Bisque

Rich-tasting seafood soup that is actually very light and perfect for the cold weather. As for the bread bowl, save yourself the trouble of making and just buy it (French Baker Php36-39?).

The best part here is eating the bread stuffing with butter! yum!

Here's how to make the soup:

A light but rich tasting soup made of shrimp, carrots, peas and corn

1. Saute the following in a soup pot in order giving each ingredient time to cook:
  • Chopped onions
  • Diced carrots
  • Peas
  • Shrimp
  • Corn kernels
Season with salt & pepper

2. Pour in water and add 1/2 of a chicken bouillon cube to taste (adjust accordingly depending how much soup you are making)

3. Let simmer for a short time and allow to cool a bit, before blenderizing (careful with the blender make sure the cap is tight to avoid flying soup).

4. Ladle soup (warm NOT hot otherwise it will make the bread very soggy) onto the bread bowl (take out the stuffing to create a bowl out of the bread). Top with crab sticks and parsley.

Note: There are many ways to remix the soup. You can add cream or milk to make it rich, or use potatoes instead of carrots to thicken it up, and also add flour to extend the starchiness of the soup.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Paella Party Mix

This is a spin on a paella, only it's made to serve a crowd. Paella, as it is, takes quite an effort to make but if you just use 1 pan and toss everything in increments, then you cut down on time and you've got yourself a party dish. You'll need 3 spices to execute this: turmeric, paprika and cumin.


1. Cook a small pot of rice with turmeric powder to give it a yellow coloring and a slight musky taste.

2. In a big pan, saute the following in order/increments, allowing each ingredient to cook:
  • chopped onion
  • chicken strips
  • sausage slices (I used schublig)
  • minced garlic
  • peeled shrimp (at this point, season the meats with a light sprinkle of paprika)
  • broccoli florets
  • sliced red bell pepper
  • tomato slices
  • peas
Season with salt & pepper as you go along...

3. Mix in the cooked rice adding a squirt of tomato paste for added tomato-ey flavor and two tablespoons (or more) of water for added moisture and to help bind the mixture (and avoid drying out the rice). Season liberally with cumin powder (or according to your preference). Check if you need to season again with more salt and pepper.

4. Top with sliced hard boiled eggs and garnish with parsley.

Note: You can add more meats like shellfish to this dish. Place a slice of lime to each serving/plate to squeeze over on the paella when ready to eat.

French Toast Melba

Better than pancakes and easier to make, french toast takes advantage of 3+ day old breads that otherwise would have turned to waste. Pretty it up with a light dusting of snow sugar and mangoes and banana slices.

a drizzle of honey, sprinkle of cinnamon powder, few drops of vanilla extract, one small egg and a splash of milk
beat with a fork til light and airy and ingredients are incorporated

melt a tbsp of butter in a skillet and let the dipped french bread lightly brown on both sides