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. 

This was one of the classic dishes in Chinese restaurants. It wasn't served in a potato nest but in a footed dish, the standard serving dish in Chinese restaurants then. People simply called it Green Peas. 

When I came to London, I was disappointed that this dish wasn't in the restaurant menu. They, in fact, haven't heard of this dish at all. Luckily, my mother used to cook it at home, so I have learned to prepare it myself.

There's only a few ingredients in this dish and the ingredients are variable. You can omit or replace some. I've used a mixture of carrots, green peas and water chestnuts but you can also use turnips or cut up baby corn.

Ingredients for the potato nests:

4 potatoes, shredded
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. corn flour
oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together, except for the cooking oil. 

Heat the cooking oil in a wok. 

Dip a medium sized metal sieve into the hot oil. Take out of the oil and add a quarter of the potatoes and pat along the sides to form a bowl shape. 

Fry on medium heat, turning the sieve around and spooning fat on the potatoes if not completely submerged in oil. Fry until crisp. 

Push the bottom of the sieve to pop out the potato nest. 

Repeat with rest of the potatoes. Set aside.

Ingredients for the vegetables:

1/4 c. whole cashew nuts
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 1/4 c. frozen green peas
1 c. diced carrots, parboiled
1 small can of water chestnuts, each piece quartered
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tsps. light soy sauce
1/2 c. cooked frozen small prawns
1/4 c. stock or water
1 tsp. corn flour
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
12 quail eggs, cooked


Heat up 2 tbsps. of cooking oil in a wok. Stir fry the cashew on low heat just until it turns golden. Take out of the wok and set aside. 

On high heat, in the same pan and using the same oil, sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the green peas, carrots and water chestnuts and stir fry for 2 minutes. 

Add the prawns, oyster and light soy sauce and stir. Disperse the corn flour in the stock or water and add to the vegetables while stirring. When the sauce has thickened, the dish is cooked. 

Add the cashews and sesame oil. Give it a quick stir before turning the heat off. Divide into four and serve each portion on a potato nest. Top with 3 quail eggs each.

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You might also like

Courgette Fritters with Ginger Soy Dip
Bamboo Shoot Lumpia in Chive Wrapper
Vietnamese Style Pancake and Lettuce Wraps

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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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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.

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 usually go to the market after my school run on Fridays. It is a no frills market done in the local car park on Friday mornings. It is not the one of the beautiful markets we see in travel shows, far from it. It is basic but provides a lot of the ingredients I need in one stop. The best thing I like about it is the fresh produce and the wide variety of fresh fish. We like eating fish but can't depend on the supermarkets for supplies. They are just not fresh enough. 

Today, the fishmonger had fresh and kicking. All female! He actually couldn't tell the difference. I had to teach him how. In case some are wondering, the ones with rounded flaps on their bellies are female and thus have crab roes (my favourite part of the crab). The ones with pointy flaps are of course male. They were all alive and I had to rush them home and cook them quickly to capture their peak of freshness. They were good...really good. I stewed them simply in coconut milk, added some aromatics such as lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. I also added some spinach so I that I won't need to cook a separate vegetable dish. Rice completed the happy picture. 


3 medium crabs
1 c. crab stock (from the liquid used for parboiling the crabs)
1 can coconut cream (400 mls.)
1 2"x2" knob of ginger, sliced thinly
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 lemon grass stalk, cut in half and smashed
1 tbsp. bagoong , shrimp paste or anchovy paste
1 tbsp. of fish sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 green finger chilli
2 bunches of spring onions, cut into 2" lengths
a bunch of spinach


Put the crabs in the fridge while you preparing the ingredients to put them to sleep. 

Boil some water in a wok or pot and add the crabs. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Take the crabs out of the liquid. Save 1 c. of the stock and discard the rest. Chop the crab into two pieces each and set aside. 

Put the stock and coconut cream together in the pot or wok. Add the ginger, lime leaves, lemon grass and chilli (cut a slit in the middle, lengthwise if you want the sauce to be spicy). Season with the bagoong (or shrimp or anchovy paste), fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the crab pieces and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the spring onions and spinach and simmer for another 2 minutes. The dish is now ready to enjoy.

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.

You might also like
Crabs with Spring Onions and Ginger
Steamed Sea Bass

Baked Spicy Prawns 
Thanks for dropping by. It would be nice if we could meet up on FACEBOOK or TWITTER

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. 

One of my favourite Malaysian dishes is a prawn noodle soup dish called prawn mee. It has a very rich prawn stock with egg noodles (mee), king prawns and greens. I decided to infuse some of the aspects of this Malaysian dish into the pancit palabok. I used a rich prawn stock cooked Malay style as a soup base for the egg noodles. I added the signature sprinkles which are the essence of the palabok. Crushed chicharon slightly thicken the soup and chicharon chunks sop up the broth. The characteristics of the two dishes are still identifiable but have combined and blended well in one bowlful of comforting goodness. 

This recipe serves 4.


4 c. of fresh egg noodles
500 gms. shell on prawns
6 c. water
3 tbsps. fish sauce
4 belly pork rashers
4 pieces of fried tofu, cut into pieces
6 smoked bacon rashers, cut into lardons
1 pack of chicharon, crush half and chop half
spinach leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c. spring onion rings, green parts only
1/4 c. of parsley, chopped
1 poached or soft boiled egg per person
cooking oil
lemon wedges and chilli slices to serve


Shell the prawns. Set the prawn meat aside and use the shells and heads to make the prawn stock. 

Heat up 3 tbsps. of oil in a pot or wok. Fry the garlic until light golden brown. Skim the garlic off and set aside. 

Fry the prawn shells in the same oil until toasted and the oil turns orange in colour. Add the water and the fish sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes until you have a rich prawn stock. Pass through a strainer. Use a spoon to press all the juices out of the shells. Set aside. 

Boil the pork rashers until tender. Set aside to cool. Add the pork broth to the prawn stock. Fry the pork on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool, then fry again in very hot fat until the skin is blistered. Chop into pieces. 

Cut the bacon into lardons and fry until crisp. Blanch the noodles and the spinach leaves separately. 

To assemble:

The recipe makes 4 servings. For each serving, put one cup of egg noodles in a bowl or deep dish. Add 1 1/2 c. pork and prawn broth mixture (bring back to a boil before using). Sprinkle with the crushed chicharon, fried garlic, spring onions and parsley. Top with the tofu, pork pieces, chicharon chunks, bacon, a few spinach leaves, and some prawn meat. Serve with a poached egg, lemon wedges, chilli slices and extra fish sauce.

The toppings.

You might also like

Fried Ho Fan with Pork and Prawns
Mixed Noodle Stir Fry with Crispy Pork
Catalan Fideua
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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.