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

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shrimp Orzo Salad

A light and tasty pasta salad that would wow anyone, including yourself. Great for serving at parties! 

The first time I tasted orzo was at Aracama's first anniversary. They served it with Gambas Ajillo and the moment it was in my mouth, I fell in love with it's unique texture and flavor. I have seen orzo in some cooking shows but I never bothered with it since you can't easily find it locally. But the great news is it's now available at Rustan's supermarket under the brand Waitrose. This British brand came into the scene very recently I noticed just summer of this year. They have other great products too like grains and liquer essences. If you could get your hands on some orzo, try to make this... you might just enjoy it!

yummy orzo with shrimp, kesong puti, calamansi juice, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, onions and scallions.
Aracama's version. Ummm.... mine's better! hahaha!

  • Orzo
  • Shrimp
  • Scallions/spring onions
  • Red onion
  • Calamansi
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Kesong puti
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Waitrose brand available in Rustan's supermarket

1. Cook orzo pasta in boiling water as instructed. Packaging says 7 minutes but 4-5 minutes is good if you're serving is small (2-3 persons). Add salt and a squirt of olive oil to the water to keep orzo from sticking to one another. Cook w/ lid off and stir occasionally. Make sure pasta is AL DENTE - nobody likes overcooked, mushy and soft pasta.

2. Drain the orzo completely and transfer to a mixing bowl and immediately drizzle with olive oil. Enough to keep the pasta from sticking together. Squeeze calamansi juice over the pasta, again enough to add a citrus and zing (I used 10pcs of calamansi). Season with salt & pepper and using a fork, mix gently.

3. On a pan, saute shrimps with a little olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss in 1/2 of the chopped scallions and 1/2 diced red onion. Keep the rest of the onion and scallions fresh to combine later with the orzo. Note: If you find the taste of fresh onions overpowering, just add the whole lot of onions while cooking the shrimp.

4. Toss everything with the orzo - cooked shrimps with scallions and onions, the rest of the fresh scallions and onions, diced tomatoes and cucumber, diced kesong puti and chopped parsley.

5. Adjust the taste - if it needs a bit of salt, pepper, more calamansi juice, etc. There are no exact measurements. Always measure with your senses.

Tip: You can refrigerate this since this is a dish best served cold. The longer it sits in the ref, the better the flavors will turn out.

load the toppings on the orzo, toss gently with a fork

Monday, July 1, 2013

Beef Shitake Rice with Alfalfa Sprouts

This dish was inspired by one of the meals I was able to try out at Aracama, a Filipino cuisine restaurant at The Fort. Their short rib salpicao with mushroom rice was quite good so I was excited to remake it and tweak the dish to my preference. The key ingredients here are sukiyaki beef, shitake mushroom, worcestershire sauce and alfalfa sprouts. Now alfalfa has a strong foresty/earthy taste so you if you are not accustomed yet to this veggie, I suggest using it sparingly.

served on a bed of lettuce leaf, steamed broccoli and left over squash soup

Want to make this? Here's how:

you will need an onion, some garlic, sukiyaki beef, shitake mushroom, broccoli and alfalfa sprouts.

saute minced onion and garlic w/ a little olive oil.

Add the meat, cook a bit then add the mushrooms. Season w/ salt n pepper.

Add a tbsp of flour/cornstarch mixed in a cup of water, add 1/4 of a bouillon cube and stir until gravy is thick. Add worcestershire sauce - start with a table spoon and add little by little according to preference.

In a bowl, put in steamed rice, beef mushroom topping, alfalfa sprouts and mix gently.

plate the food, add some sides like greens and soup.