Friday 29 April 2011


The whole of Britain is all agog. Today, Prince William weds Catherine Middleton. This is the beginning of a new chapter in royal history. As the throngs of loyal subjects lining the streets unfurl their union jack banners and crane their necks to get a glimpse of their new princess, I will be comfortably sitting on the sofa watching the festivities up close on TV. 

Tuesday 26 April 2011


It was scorching hot the past few days and we were taking advantage of being able to cook on the barbecue. It can, however, be too hot to eat hot food. Here's a compromise: aromatic, zesty, spiced grilled pork patties on cold rice noodle salad. 

This is my take on the Vietnamese bun cha, the next most popular dish in Hanoi after pho. I used lean minced pork for the patties but added peanut butter to the mixture to give it an added richness and nutty taste. The seasonings include brown sugar which makes the patties develop a caramelized glaze when grilled.

Friday 22 April 2011


It is Easter time and this is my 100th post. Time flies. I always wonder what people would like to see in my blog. To tell you the truth, after 100 posts, I still don't know. The recipes that I hesitate to post prove to be the popular ones. Still, in all, I am really grateful to all the readers, followers and supporters of this blog. May you never tire of reading my posts.

Tuesday 19 April 2011


When I was growing up this was one of the few vegetable dishes I knew and liked.  I found it fun to pop the green peas in my mouth one at a time. 

Saturday 16 April 2011


Leche flan (creme caramel) always evoke memories of town fiestas. Although the ingredients are just eggs, milk and sugar, it is always part of the array of special fiesta fare. I don't really know if you can make just one leche flan as the recipe always makes at least two. 

Thinking about it brings a flashback of kitchen memories: stacks of flaneras (flan molds) being lined with caramel syrup in readiness for the egg custard, steamers billowing steam clouds ready to be loaded with the uncooked flans, and the best pressed glass platters being prepared to serve the flans. As a child, I always wanted to be in the hub of the preparations. I loved watching people cook. I loved being handed little morsels to taste. What I loved most was to sneak out a prepared flanera, crack the caramel at the bottom and eat the shards. What joy!

I have never lost my taste for leche flan but never get to eat a lot of it. It is because I want to reserve it for special occasions. The Kulinarya Cooking Club's theme for April is a memorable and decadent Filipino food. The theme in itself is one mouthful. So I decided to bring to the table a concoction that embodies everything I like.

I injected a touch of decadence to the classic leche flan by adding cream cheese to the flan mixture and using a sponge cake as a base. It is cross between a cheesecake and a custard cake. It has all the goodness and creaminess of an all egg yolk leche flan, mixed with cream cheese instead of just pure milk and flavoured with lime zest and vanilla. The base is soft and light vanilla sponge cake instead of biscuit crumb. The two together has an uninterrupted creamy and voluptuous texture. Caramel syrup contrasts with the cheese cake and crowns the dessert. It gives a toasty accent  to this creamy concoction. 

Note: I have made this cake several times with success and this is the recipe I've used. However, I do apologize, that because of a typographical error, the recipe fails. This has now been corrected, additional instructions supplied and the amount of caramel reduced ( to temper the sweetness).

The sponge is not as moist as regular sponge. I have tried other cake bases but this is the lightest one so far and is the only one that floats on the cheesecake base. I have seen similar cakes (called flancocho) that uses yellow cake mix as one of the ingredient for the base but I didn't use that because it comes with a warning that the cake mixture may sink into the cheesecake mixture.

This is the recipe for the above cheesecake shown in the picture and I hope you give it a try.

Ingredients for the cream cheese leche flan:

3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsps. water
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. cream cheese (about a cup)
6 egg yolks 
1 tsp. vanilla
grated zest of 1 lime

Pre-heat the oven to 325°F /170° C. Prepare a 9" diameter cake pan. 

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan. On low heat, melt the sugar while stirring. When the sugar melts, stop stirring, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook on medium heat until the syrup is a deep golden brown. Do not overcook.

Brush the sides of the pan downwards with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. 

When ready, pour into a greased 9" diameter cake tin and swirl to coat the bottom. Set aside. 

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside. 

Prepare the cake batter.

Ingredients for the sponge cake:

3 whole eggs, room temperature
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flour

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and light coloured. The mixture should leave a trail when drizzled on its surface. Sift the flour over it and fold with a metal spoon.


Pour the cream cheese flan mixture into the caramel syrup coated pan. This step is important so that the cake batter doesn't sink: pour the cake batter on the back of a big spoon into the flan mixture. The batter will float on top of the flan mixture. Do not stir. 

Bake au baine marie: Fill a baking tray that's big enough to accommodate the cake pan and fill with water to reach up to a quarter of its side. Make sure that your cake pan is tight. Wrap the bottom and sides with foil to be sure. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Test with a cocktail stick. The cocktail stick should feel sticky when the flan at the bottom is cooked.

Leave to cool in the pan. Refrigerate. Run a sharp knife around the sides of the cake pan before inverting into a serving dish to serve. If you find it difficult to unmold. Sit the bottom of the cake pan in pan of hot water.

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This post is  for the KULINARYA COOKING CLUB theme for April 2011:    Decadent Filipino Food. 

See the posts of the other members by visiting their blogs.

You might also like
Condensed Milk Leche Flan

Easy Lime Cheesecake
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Tuesday 12 April 2011


The days, thankfully, are once again sunny. It's time to dust the trusty barbecue and wake it from its hibernation. It's been dormant for long enough. 

My husband and I just love cooking in the barbie and miss it so much in the winter months. Our barbecue is strategically located next to our kitchen. I mean, really next to our kitchen. It is a gas fired barbie with lava rocks. It lights up instantly and heats up in a few minutes. The lava rocks give the food cooked on it a delicious chargrilled flavour. Even if still a bit cold, we can fire it up, put something on it, then seek refuge in the kitchen and watch through the window. We are such barbie fanatics.

Friday 8 April 2011


I look forward to going to the market after my school run once a week. It is a no frills market done in a local car park on Friday mornings. It is not one of the beautiful markets we see in travel shows, far from it.

Wednesday 6 April 2011


Pancit palabok is a very popular Filipino rice noodle dish which has a prawn gravy and a variety of toppings such as pork, prawns, chicharon (crispy pork rinds) and fried tofu among other things. Because of the myriad ingredients, people choose to eat this in restaurants or buy in shops specially devoted to selling only this noodle dish. It is so delicious and I just love it. 

Saturday 2 April 2011


Adobo is the legendary Filipino dish that is as much Filipino as the people themselves. We Filipinos eat it at least once a week. As time wears on, the popularity doesn't waver but does quite the opposite. On bread, wraps, salads, they are equally good. There will be more new ways to eat adobo in the future, I'm sure.