Sunday 31 October 2010


The love of ham and sausages almost reaches cult status and is so apparent in this Xarcuteria where all the choice cuts are so proudly displayed.

The City of Barcelona is a place of exquisite beauty. It is a place where all the arts are in the highest order. Its architecture and arts are like no other and are renowned the world over. The whole place is like a gallery of their artistic heritage. It is also a place where food is showcased in every manner in every part of the city. It is a gourmand's definition of heaven. Food, glorious food, lots of it and everywhere! And so beautifully presented, you can't help but gape and marvel at all the gastronomic delights presented as an art form.
A whole stall dedicated to mushrooms.

The supermarkets have not replaced the traditional markets (Mercat) in Barcelona. The people still prefer their fresh produce and gourmet products to commercially produced ones. They are not tucked away but are located in places of prominence and are one of their tourist attractions. Their markets are like no other_each kind of food is presented with pride in a very  beautiful tableau. You can just walk around and fill all your senses.

Each stall specializes in certain products and they only sell the best of it. I was amazed by the extensive variety of artisan hams and sausages at the Xarcuteria. The high quality of these products are due to the unique conditions  that the Iberian Peninsula provides. The aroma is heady as you approach. Some stalls offer a free taste and some, to my delight, sell little bits of Jamon Serrano in french fries boxes so you can snack on them as you stroll. There were cheeses of every sort, fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, meats and seafood. You can also hop on a bar stool at the seafood shop and let them cook your chosen treat while you watch. If you want to keep walking, there are also lots of pastries, sweets, shakes and fruit salads to eat on the go. There are also tapas bars on site. You can't be more spoilt for choice. It would be such a shame to walk away empty handed.

Dried fruits and nuts.
Candied fruits.

Yummy pastries.


Fresh fruits.

Restaurants abound, most of them serving the renowned tapas. Those tasty  little morsels just aim to please. Even the very simple bread smeared with tomatoes (pa amb tomaquet) is surprisingly delicious. Pastry shops sell traditional specialties. Sweet shops sell their indulgent sweets such as turron, polvoron and yemas. Always, the shop is as beautiful as the wares.  

Fideua, same as paella but uses fine pasta instead of rice
This elegant shop sells turron de almendras,
polvoron, yemas and other decadent delicacies.
Tapas selection.

The place is full of well preserved history yet has all the influences of modernism.  As you walk along the streets, your eyes will be drawn upwards to their magnificent buildings. It is not only the landmarks that are beautiful but the local architecture and town planning as well. The residential buildings are of the old world yet the introduction of modern commercial establishments on the bottom floor does not cause disharmony at all.
A gelato shop.

I thought the locals would observe their siesta, but actually the city never seems to sleep! The streets are busy, morning 'til night. Of course the food is available at all times. 
Beautiful place, exquisite food, Barcelona is totally fantastico! 

All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011

You might like these Spanish recipes

Catalan Fideua
Patatas Bravas
Seafood Paella
Calamares Fritos 


Here in ye ole England, roast and trimmings is the traditional English Sunday lunch. A lot of people look forward to this weekend finale, when the family will partake of this special slow roasted meat that fills their houses with that very special and unmistakable aroma that heralds, "It's Sunday!" It is a happy occasion to sit down together to partake of this special fare, lovingly prepared by the Mum(usually). 

Saturday 30 October 2010


Halloween is not just a time to be spooky. It is also a time when all is allowed to overindulge in sweets. It is nice to nibble on biscuits while waiting for trick-or- treaters or, if feeling generous, offer them some. It takes just a few ingredients to make these treats. I've cut them in Halloween shapes but they can be cut in any shape. In fact, they can simply be rolled into balls and pressed down with the tines of a fork.


1 c. butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 cup skimmed milk powder
2 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and milk powder while beating, until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour. Cover and refrigerate the dough to firm it it up. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. 

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into shapes. I find it easier to roll the dough on a lined (with non-stick liner or baking paper) baking sheet, stamp out the shapes, then peel off the excess. Re-roll dough and cut more shapes. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or the until golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave in the pan for 2 minutes before lifting onto a cooling rack.


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Friday 29 October 2010


Short cut pocket sized apple pies! This is a twist of the classic Filipino snack and street food turon na saging (banana turon) whick is basically cooking bananas with brown sugar wrapped in spring roll pastry and fried. Slivers of jack fruit are sometimes added for a special touch. 

Thursday 28 October 2010


Chicken is the usual suspect when it comes to planning a weekday meal. It is quick and easy to cook, very versatile and super tasty. I am always trying out new chicken recipes so that it doesn't taste like "same old chicken". 

Tuesday 26 October 2010


I only got to eat courgettes (zucchini) when I came to London. It is not a strange taste to me as it is similar to some vegetables we have back home. I love courgettes but only when it is done just right. Underdone or overcooked courgettes taste equally bad to me. If made into fritters they always come out just right.

Sunday 24 October 2010


Pasta is probably one of the quickest meals to prepare. It is a very versatile dish and a lot can be done to make it completely different each time. 

This surf and turf pasta with red pepper pesto will surely excite your taste buds. It's the Spanish tapas favourite prawns and chorizo served on pasta. The pesto is made with roasted red pepper, lemon and ground almonds.  

Friday 22 October 2010


Pineapples are widely used in Philippine cuisine. Although pineapples grow in abundance, it's the tinned pineapples in syrup that are mostly used because Filipinos love that sweet and sour flavour combination.

Thursday 21 October 2010


This is a twist on a classic Chinese dish of steamed minced pork with salted fish. The fish that is usually used is a salted fish preserved in oil that is sold in jars. That being just too pungent for my liking, I used anchovies in oil which has a more palatable saltiness. For those who have access to "tuyo flakes in olive oil" (Filipino dried fish flakes in oil) , I imagine that that would be a very good substitute for the anchovies.


300 gms. minced pork
3 tbsps. light soy sauce
2 tsps. sugar
1 tbsp. cornflour
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. water
1" x 1" cube of ginger, cut into strips
1/2 red finger chilli, slices diagonally
4 pieces anchovies in oil, drained and cut into pieces
4 pieces of water chestnuts, chopped


Season the minced pork with light soy sauce, sugar, water and sesame oil. Mix altogether with the water chestnuts and cornflour. Pat onto a shallow heatproof dish. Sprinkle with the ginger and chilli strips and the anchovies. Steam in a pre-heated steamer for 20 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

A wok may be used as a steamer: simply sit a trivet at the bottom
or two chopsticks across the wok. Add water, wait until it boils,
put your dish in and cover with a well fitting lid. 

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Tuesday 19 October 2010


This is my version of Chinese fried chicken. It is one of those dishes that are so simple to make yet so delicious. It has no flour nor breading so the skin is all toasted and crisp while the meat is succulent and flavourful.

Sunday 17 October 2010


A specialty of most Chinese restaurants, Crabs with Ginger and Spring Onions is a truly delectable dish. The only downside is that it is very fiddly and messy to eat, not a good idea when you are in a more formal dining atmosphere. 

Saturday 16 October 2010


Noodles is another choice for carbohydrate source other than the usual rice and potatoes. It has its own taste and does not need too much effort to make it delicious. This noodle dish is a complete meal in itself. It has fried pork loin steaks rather than the usual bits of meat. My children love this dish although one of them prefers it sans the vegetables. This recipe will serve 4 people. 


350 gms. dry egg noodles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk of celery, sliced diagonally
1 large carrot, split in two lengthwise then sliced thinly diagonally
1 onion, sliced
20 pcs. green beans, each cut into 3 diagonally
200 gms. cabbage, cut in 1"x2" pieces
2 bunches of spring onions cut into 2" pieces diagonally
4 dried Chinese mushrooms. soaked and cut into strips
2 tbsps. oyster sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsps. dark soy sauce
1 egg white
cornflour for dredging
sesame oil
light soy sauce
cooking oil


Boil the egg noodles just until al dente. Drain and set aside. 

Season the pork loins with 2 tbsps. light soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Dredge in corn flour, shake off the excess. Dip in beaten egg white and again dredge in the corn flour. Pan fry for about 4 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness) or until done. Set aside. 

Stir fry the noodles in 1/4 cup of cooking oil and season with 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce and 2 tbsps. of dark soy sauce. Fry for about 3 minutes, then add 1/4 cup of water and stir. Transfer to a serving dish or divide onto four plates for individual servings. 

Heat up 2 tbsps. of cooking oil in a clean wok. Add the carrots, and stir fry for about two minutes. Add the garlic and onion together and stir. Next add the green beans, Chinese mushrooms, 2 tbsps. of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Stir fry for 1 minute then add the cabbage, celery and spring onions. Stir, then add the 2 cups of stock (or make stock cube and water) and bring to a boil. Disperse 2 tsps. of cornflour in a bit of water and thicken the sauce. It's done when the cabbage is done (crisp tender). 

Scoop the vegetables with a slotted spoon onto the fried noodles. Chop the pork loin and lay on top of the vegetables. Spoon the sauce over the pork. It's then ready to serve.

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Friday 15 October 2010


Every day, people wait for the distinctive holler of the vendor: "Taho! taho!". This signals for them to come out of their houses for their daily dose of their beloved comfort food. Both children and adults get excited to get their fix.

Thursday 14 October 2010


Chinese dishes are at their best when cooked very simply. As soon as garlic is involved, the dish comes out great tasting. Sometimes, there is only one ingredient added to garlic and it is a dish already.

Wednesday 13 October 2010


My husband had to go to the Malaysian Embassy last week. When he came home, he brought back a treat that really excites me: nasi lemak! Yes, that excites me.

Tuesday 12 October 2010


Steaks are special treats most reserve to having on special occasions. One's imagination precedes the actual first mouthful and it is then, at that very moment, that we decide whether we are immensely gratified or extremely disappointed. I like my steaks well seasoned, with added extra seasonings that heighten the flavour of the beef without smothering it. This steak recipe is for sirloin steak, which is more reasonably priced than the other cuts. It can be had any day, no need to hold back. You can eat it with potatoes or since it has Asian flavours, with rice or on top of cooked noodles. You can even have it in a buttered baguette with salad greens. No cheese, please.


400 gms.(approx.) sirloin steak, 2 pieces
2 tbsps. sesame seeds
2 tbsps. Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp. sherry
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsps. spring onions, cut in rings
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsps. water
2 tbsps. butter or butter flavoured spread


Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until golden and fragrant. Save 1/2 tsp. of the toasted seeds for garnish. Grind the rest in a mortar and pestle. Mix the rest of the ingredients except for the butter and water. 

Marinate the steaks in the mixture for at least 10 minutes but not longer than half an hour. Heat up a grill pan (may also be grilled in the oven or pan-fried). Scrape most of the marinade off the steaks and reserve for the sauce. Brush steaks with oil and grill on medium high heat for about 4 minutes on each side (or to your preference). Remove and place on a chopping board to rest. 

Meanwhile, put the reserved marinade, butter and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Check for seasoning. Slice the steaks crosswise, at a slant, thinly. Arrange on a platter or plates (for individual servings). Drizzle with sauce and sprinke with more spring onion rings and the toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy.

Monday 11 October 2010


I love aubergines and have made this fusion dish with a minced pork and basil sauce cooked Asian style. The basil leaves perk up the sweet, salty and spicy flavour of the stir-fried pork sauce. Together with the grilled aubergines, it packs a punch when eaten with rice.  It is very easy to make this dish and doesn't take long to cook. Make sure to make extra servings of rice as this sort of dish really gets your appetite going.

Sunday 10 October 2010


Malaysia produces a lot of peanuts, hence peanuts are favourite nibbles as well as ingredient in a lot of dishes. 

I was sorting out my husband's luggage after a trip to Malaysia once when I found a slip of paper in one of the pockets. It was a recipe for crispy peanuts, secretly slipped in by my sister-in-law for me to find. Sweet lady. I tried it one day and, although the original recipe did not exactly produce the expected results, after a bit of tweaking did make yummy, crispy peanuts. This recipe makes quite a lot, so I suggest it be made when expecting company.


500 gms. raw shelled peanuts
2 tsps. salt
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 cup sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. water
cooking oil for deep frying

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the peanuts and cooking oil, into a smooth batter. Add the peanuts and stir until well coated with the batter. Heat up the cooking oil until very hot. 

Drop a spoonful of battered peanuts at a time into the hot oil. Nudge gently with a slotted spoon to separate the kernels. Take care not to stir too much as this will cause the coating to come off.

Fry until golden . Lift with a slotted spoon onto a kitchen paper lined tray to drain off excess oil. The peanuts wil crisp up as it cools.

Store in a clean jar. 

Flavour may be varied by substituting the garlic powder with other powdered seasonings such as curry, barbecue or cajun.

All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011

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Spiced Popped Beans
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Chicken rice is sold everywhere in Malaysia, be it in air conditioned restaurants or in the iconic hawker stalls. It is equally delicious anywhere you eat it. The chicken is gently simmered with aromatics and simply brushed with sesame oil.  Served with the broth in which the chicken was cooked in, chicken flavoured rice and chilli sauce, it is the perfect meal that one can never tire of. 

Saturday 9 October 2010


On busy days,  the easiest thing for me to do is to put something in the oven because you can simply leave it to cook and get on with the other things.

Friday 8 October 2010


My Mom-in-law and I have no language in common. However, our common love for food and cooking helps us communicate perfectly well with each other. We have taught each other recipes that we keep and use constantly. We watch each other cook, and with gestures get our message across. 

Thursday 7 October 2010


Barbecue knows no season where I come from. It is just so sad that we can't barbecue all year round here in the UK. Even the summer can't guarantee sunny weather. I have decided not to let the weather dictate my barbecue activities. When the sun decides to peep, like today, I am always on the ready to wield my trusty barbeque tongs.

Wednesday 6 October 2010


The traditional Filipino Sunday dish called nilaga (soup of boiled meats and vegetables) is usually rehashed as cocido the following day. Cocido is a Spanish dish that has been adapted by Filipinos. It is a hearty stew that includes different kinds of meat and pulses such as beans or chick peas, much like the original dish.

Tuesday 5 October 2010


When there's chill in the air, there's nothing better than sipping a cup of hot soup, right? Well, it can be better. A hearty one-dish-meal with meat and soup and vegetables and chunks of potato would certainly be so welcome to anyone who is badly in need of extra warmth and cheer. 

Monday 4 October 2010


My taste buds are honed to like Filipino flavours. It is the lesser known Asian food and unknown to most, a lot of Filipino food don't have Asian flavours at all.