Friday 30 December 2011


As always, the holidays has been a whirl. After all the preparations, it is only half gone. Now we have to welcome the new year with a blast. I know that everyone's already tired by now so nice food made with the minimum effort is probably the best thing to make.

Wednesday 28 December 2011


I know that we are all fastidious about stocking up for Christmas. It is better to have extra food than be caught unaware when unexpected guests pop around. The downside is that we end up with a lot of Christmas leftovers. I don't like wasting anything so I freeze whatever can be frozen. 

Monday 26 December 2011


Now that Christmas is over, we look forward to celebrating the coming of the new year. In the Philippines, it is again a very big celebration. We are very superstitious folks and we believe in beckoning luck through observing certain rituals. As with Christmas, the table is groaning with food on new year's eve. We call the new year's eve meal Media Noche which simply means midnight. A table full of food on new year's eve is believed to bring abundance throughout the following year. Twelve kinds of round shaped fruits should be on the table to bring prosperity for the next twelve months. Noodles are also served for long life. 

Thursday 22 December 2011


Bûche de noël is a traditional Christmas French dessert which originated from the Celtic tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. On this shortest day of the year, they would search for a large trunk of oak, beech, elm or cherry and burn it as a symbol of the rebirth of the sun. In the middle ages the youngest and oldest member of the family would carry a decorated log to the hearth and set it alight. This was believed to protect the family from illnesses and evil spirits.

Monday 19 December 2011


Smoked salmon and gravlax are the favourite festive appetizers that make life a little easier for the host or hostess. Although making smoked salmon is best left for the experts, gravlax (gravad lax or lox) can be made at home quite easily. In the Scandinavian language, grav means "grave" or "to dig" and lax means "salmon". This word was coined because the fishermen used to salt salmon before burying them in the sand to ferment.

Saturday 17 December 2011


It is that time of the month again when we, at the Kulinarya Cooking Club, get to celebrate our Filipino cuisine by having a virtual potluck of our beloved dishes. This month's theme is special not just because of Christmas but because we get to present a special dish that we usually cook for Noche buena

Thursday 15 December 2011


Come Christmas, an assortment of desserts at the end of the meal provide a fitting finale to the celebratory meal. Although we are spoilt for choice with the assortment of desserts at the supermarkets, nothing is nicer than a homemade one. I always prepare a few contrasting desserts to suit everyone's taste. This one would be a great alternative to mince pies. It is easy, can be done the previous day and the kids can help make it.

We all love crispy crust on pies but sometimes that doesn't happen when there is a juicy fruit in the filling. Baking blind helps to give the crust a crispy start but I did not want to bake 12 little pastry cases blind so I pre-cooked the filling instead. I thought that filling the pastry with a thick filling rather than a wet mixture would prevent that soggy pie bottom. That did work out quite well. The pastry came out perfectly crisp and flaky.

They were delicious, too, by the way. How can you go wrong with apples, caramel and pecan. The pastry tasted good too as it had cream cheese in it.

Ingredients for the crust:

1 cup flour
1/2 c. butter, cut into cubes
1/2 c. cream cheese (4 oz.)
1 egg yolk plus 1 tbsps. milk for glazing

Pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until the butter pieces are pea sized. Add the cream cheese and pulse again until the dough clumps together into a ball. Wrap the pastry dough in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 1/4 cm. thickness. Cut into 12 rounds and line  a 12-hole muffin tin. Crease the pastry to fit the muffin holes. This will make a nice rustic look to the pies. Cut out decorative shapes with the rest of the pastry. You can also make a lattice top crust. 

Fill the pastry cases 2/3 full with the cooled filling. Top with the cut-out pastry shapes but leave gaps for the steam to escape. Brush pastry tops with the egg yolk glaze. 

Bake at 350° F/ 180° C for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 300° F/ 150° C and cook for a further 20 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before taking out of the molds.

Ingredients for the filling:

1/2 c. condensed milk
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. corn flour
3 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced thinly
1 egg
6 tbsps. butter
1/2 c. roughly chopped pecans

In a pan, mix the corn flour and brown sugar together until well combined. Whisk in the condensed milk and egg. Put the pan on low heat and add the apples and butter. Stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the pecans. Take off the heat and leave to cool before filling the pastry cases.

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Monday 12 December 2011


The Christmas celebration in the Philippines is long and elaborate . Being predominantly Catholic, the festivities revolve around the religious significance of the occasion. Family and friends all join in to celebrate together. What better way is there to celebrate than with food.

Friday 9 December 2011


I come from the town of Marikina in the Philippines and so did my forebears. In fact, I can not trace any root other than this place. It is well known as the shoe capital of the Philippines. A new addition to the list of things to see in my town is the Shoe Museum which houses Madam Imelda Marcos' famous collection of shoes, some of which were made there.

Tuesday 6 December 2011


Eating your food by the spoonful takes on a new meaning when it means eating the spoon, too.

They sell nifty pastry spoons for appetizers at the supermarkets. Just for fun (or self torture, more like), I tried to make some just to see if they were do-able at home. They definitely were. Although a bit rustic looking, they looked decent when filled. I'm sure daintier hands can make neater ones. 

Sunday 4 December 2011


These moreish bars are called food for the gods but us mortals can have it as a treat. These bars are very popular in Philippine bakeshops but, judging from the ingredients, they are surely of foreign origin. They are so delicious but can only be had as a treat because both dates and walnuts are not grown in the Philippines and therefore not cheap. They are in fact sold as little bars wrapped in cellophane_taster or teaser portions.

If you don't want to make fruit cake, these bars are a worthy substitute. These treats are actually very easy to make. They are ideal for Christmas gift giving, wrapped individually in cellophane or baking paper or put them in a nice gift box. 

I have brushed some with edible gold dust for an opulent Christmas look. Wrap a band of unbleached baking paper tied with jute string if you are going for a rustic look. Anyway it's packaged, I'm sure it will be warmly received.

This recipe was adapted from The Best of The Maya Kitchen cookbook.


1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3 medium sized eggs
3 tbsps. brandy
1 1/4 c. sifted flour
1 c. pitted and coarsely chopped dates
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts


Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/180° C. Line a 13"x9"x2" rectangular baking pan. 

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. 

Add the sugars and blend well. 

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the  brandy. Set aside.

Put the flour in another mixing bowl. Add in the chopped dates and mix very well. Separate the pieces and make sure that they are all coated with flour. This will keep them suspended in the batter when baking. 

Add in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and walnuts and mix very well. 

Add this mixture into the creamed mixture and fold until blended. 

Bake for 10 minutes. 

Lower the temperature to 300° F/150° C and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes. 

Run a knife around the edges. Cool slightly before cutting into bars. Leave to cool completely before wrapping or storing.

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Friday 2 December 2011


When I was a kid, it was a happy day when my mother cooked fried chicken. We all loved fried chicken. Fried chicken is an ordinary food that has a special taste. 

Tuesday 29 November 2011


Banana ketchup is a staple Filipino dipping sauce. It is probably more popular and more consumed than tomato ketchup. A lot of Filipino dishes are best eaten with this sweet condiment.

Friday 25 November 2011


Yang Chow or Yeung Chow fried rice is a rice dish that is more simply as listed special fried rice in restaurant menus. What's special about it is that it is a complete meal in itself although it may also be eaten with other dishes.

Tuesday 22 November 2011


Thanksgiving is not a big event here in England, even if the pilgrims who started the tradition of Thanksgiving are English. The turkeys here are probably celebrating in secret, thankful that they are not to be eaten...yet. Turkey and trimmings is the traditional English Christmas dinner so the celebration will be short lived.

Turkey is such a big bird and it is no mean feat to go through the rigours of preparing and cooking it. If you don't want to go through all that or have only a few guests and don't need a whole turkey, turkey portions are a wise option. This very easy but really delicious turkey saltimbocca recipe makes a festive dinner in no time. It is traditionally made with veal but also done with pork or chicken. So why not turkey? 

Whoever thought of this recipe was so right in giving it that name. Saltimbocca literally means "jump in the mouth" in Italian. When you taste the first mouthful, you'll understand why. The dish is so delicious that those words were probably uttered as an involuntary plea to the food. The prosciutto and sage transforms the flavour of the turkey altogether. A sweet glaze of marsala and balsamic vinegar balances the salty flavour of the prosciutto and adds another dimension to its flavours. You won't believe that a handful of ingredients and a few easy steps will result to an amazing meal. Now, that is one good reason to celebrate.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! 


1 turkey breast
2 tbsps. lemon juice
1 tbsp. flour
4 slices of Prosciutto di Parma (parma ham)
8 sage leaves
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. Marsala wine
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsps. sugar
ground black pepper


Make 4 thin diagonal slices from the turkey breast. 

Sandwich each slice between two sheets of baking paper and flatten with a meat tenderizer (using the smooth side) to make thin escalopes. 

Season the turkey with lemon juice. Sprinkle sparingly with the flour. 

Cover each escalope with a slice of proscutto, then arrange two sage leaves on the top. Secure the sage leaves with cocktail sticks. 

Heat up the butter and olive oil in a pan. On medium heat, fry the escalopes with the turkey side down for 2-3 minutes or until light brown. Turn over and fry for another 2 minutes. 

When all of the escalopes are done, transfer them to a serving dish. 

Deglaze the pan with the marsala and balsamic vinegar. Season with pepper and sugar. Simmer for a few minutes until syrupy. Use as glaze for the saltimbocca before serving with potatoes, polenta or orzo.

All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011. 

Please support Adora's Box by making your and (use the code STMMMS55174) purchases from this site. Click on their respective banners to proceed to their websites. It will not cost you a single cent more but will help sustain this blog. Thank you.

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Friday 18 November 2011


The healing and comforting properties of chicken soup is legendary and is known and accepted worldwide. Each country has their own kind of chicken soup. It is one dish that is best when home made. The love and care that went into making it is what makes it taste so delicious.

Tuesday 15 November 2011


Memories of summer is now in the distant past. The air is once again cold and damp. The trees are leafless and the ground full of fallen leaves waiting to be cleared. Our barbecuing days are over, at least for now. Warming stews and soups are what's best to eat at this time of year.

Friday 11 November 2011


Before I met my husband, my knowledge of Malaysian cuisine was at an absolute zero level. He introduced me to this wonderful cuisine that was so different and quite the opposite of Filipino cuisine. Tasting the strong spices for the first time was a bit of a shock to my unaccustomed palate. After getting used the heat and spices, I found that it was a very exciting and interesting cuisine and one that would leave you pining for it.

Tuesday 8 November 2011


Yum yam! Yams, the delicious orange coloured tuber that takes the spotlight on Thanksgiving are actually sweet potatoes. These vitamin packed sweet spuds are very abundant and well loved in Southeast Asia. The more common ones are starchy unlike the more common moist fleshed, orange coloured variety. They are eaten all year round simply steamed as a snack or used as an ingredient in recipes. 

Friday 4 November 2011


It is Guy Fawkes night in here in England on November 5. The story goes that in 1605, a group of people conspired to overthrow the King by blowing up the Parliament. Luckily, the attempt was foiled when hints of the plot was leaked to authorities. A certain guy called Guy Fawkes (yes, that's his real name) was caught in the cellar of the parliament building with 36 barrels of gunpowder. To celebrate the happy turn of events, people lit up bonfires. From then on, November 5 was called Bonfire Night and people celebrate with fireworks and bonfires where they burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. 

Tuesday 1 November 2011


Chicken wings have always been very popular street food in Asia. They are one of the inexpensive munchable snacks eaten on the go. There is no denying that they are fun to eat. Because they have a lot of bones and skin, they are extra tasty, too.

Friday 28 October 2011


It's Halloween once again. The celebration here in the UK is very quiet compared to America. Although of late there are more Halloween stuff in the shops, the trick or treating is not a happy affair. There are just a handful of kids going around. I still prepare sweets though, so as not to disappoint those who knock at our door. 

Tuesday 25 October 2011


One of my favourite Southeast Asian flavouring is the pandan leaf. It adds a very fresh, aromatic twist to both sweet and savoury dishes. When added to steamed rice, it imparts a very fresh, newly harvested scent and taste.

Friday 21 October 2011


Not the usual pancake from IHOP. This is a savoury and exciting pancake with mussels. This pancake has all the exciting flavours of the Orient. The best feature is a whole egg in the middle. Eggs feature a lot in Oriental cuisines, often in fried form. Everything seems nicer when served with eggs. Fried eggs are so seductive when the liquid yolks ooze out, don't you think so? If in doubt, just add fried eggs. That seems to be the running culinary motto.

Wednesday 19 October 2011


After using 8 egg yolks for the leche flan, I was left with a lot of egg whites. I know it is the other way around for the macaron bakers but since they are no where near me, I can't donate my egg whites to their awesome cause. On the first try, the egg whites were made into meringues and unsuccessful macarons. This time I decided to make angel food cake because it is dead easy and it is one of my favourite simple cakes.

We decided to reunite the yolks with the egg whites by eating the cake together with the leche flan. They tasted so great together. Why not? Isn't floating islands egg whites with egg yolk sauce? The caramel sauce on the flan was the best part though and it just made this good dessert fantastic. 


1 1/2 c. egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond essence
2 tbsps. of corn flour + plain flour to make 1 c.


Pre-heat the oven to 380° F/ 180° C. Put the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar together in a mixing bowl. Beat until soft peaks form when the mixer is lifted up. Add in the almond extract. With the mixer running, add in the sugar a little at a time. Sift the flour and corn flour over the egg whites then fold in until combined. Pour into an ungreased 9-inch tube pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Invert the pan and leave to cool. Run a sharp knife along the sides and tube of the cake pan to loosen the cake. Serve on its own or with custard, fresh fruits or, best of all,  with the previously made leche flan.

All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011. 

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Monday 17 October 2011


Leche flan or creme caramel bridges the gap between all taste borders. It is loved by all people no matter where they are from. No matter how different the food from counries are, there always is a flan of some sort.