Sunday, 30 December 2012

HOT BUTTERED CHESTNUTS



In the Philippines, new year's eve celebrations are steeped in traditions and beliefs. We welcome the new year with a bang, literally. Pyrotechnics of all sorts light the sky from dusk to dawn on new year's eve to ward off evil spirits and welcome the good ones. The noise from the fireworks is deafening almost and visibility is close to zero from all the fumes. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

HAM AND CHEESE TOAST CUPS


Every year I go through a vicious cycle of being relaxed for the first three quarters of the year and go for a mad rush at the last quarter. I have never learned my lesson from the Christmas pasts. It doesn't get any easier no matter how many times I've done it. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

COCONUT MACAROONS


Coconut grows in abundance in the Philippines. Naturally it is used a lot as a cooking ingredient. Although mostly used fresh, dessicated coconut is also used for making sweets and desserts.

We used to make coconut macaroons every Christmas because it is delicious and very easy to make. With the use of a few simple ingredients and a few minutes, yummy little treats can be made. They are perfect for snacks and also as food gifts.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

CHRISTMAS SPICED ROAST CHICKEN


A roast is usually the center of the Christmas table. Here in England, more often than not, the roast is a turkey. 

Turkey is not the easiest bird to cook. Even chefs say so themselves. It is its size that poses a challenge even to experienced cooks. The whole bird has to be cooked throughout, be juicy and succulent and have a well browned and burnished skin. In other words, perfect.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

ROAST POTATOES


Roast potatoes are the tastiest accompaniment to any roast. There is no secret to making them; just a simple straightforward method of parboiling and roasting.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

BREAD AND FRUIT PUDDING WITH BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE


"It's the season to be jolly." Bear that in mind. 

The frenetic activity to make the season jolly sometimes wear me down so I always have to remind myself to choose the easy route. Sometimes less is  more. Less fuss, more fun.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

MINI TOAD-IN-A-HOLE WITH CRANBERRY AND ONION CHUTNEY


A Christmas table is not complete without ham, cheese and sausages. Here in England, small sausages called chipolatas are served with the Christmas turkey. They are also served with drinks and on canap├ęs.

Toad-in-a-hole is a snack or appetizer which consists of sausages baked in yorkshire pudding batter. It usually comes with a caramelized onion gravy. What could be better? 

This is one of those kind of food that is for ordinary days as well as special occasions. It is easy to make and can be made ahead and re-heated before serving. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

BACON WRAPPED EMBUTIDO


The Filipino Christmas table is always groaning with food. As part of the celebration, every one who visits is invited to a meal. It may seem a scene from nightmares to prepare a buffet for an undetermined number of guests but  Christmas in the Philippines won't be the same if not done that way.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

SPICY BACON KETCHUP


We've all heard about bacon jam by now and I thought I'll never catch on with the trend. My son is an avid fan of bacon and he is relentless with the hints so I had to give it a go.

Bacon jam is new fangled condiment usually made with bacon, onions, sugar and vinegar. It is of spreadable consistency and is slathered on bread as a base for other fillings. I like that but I had an idea of adding in tomatoes for a more rounded taste. I also wanted it to be a sauce rather than a spread because sauces are more versatile. They can be used as dips and condiments as well as spreads.

Monday, 3 December 2012

CHICKEN DIABLO


When my children ask me what I'm going to make for dinner, I usually give a generic answer, as in chicken or beef or pork. I am not always prepared with a meal plan, especially in the morning (which is when the question usually pops up). 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

OPEN BEEF AND MUSHROOM PIES



As the seasons change, we also change the way we eat. We need warming food to bolster our bodies against the cold weather. We eat rich and hearthy meals rather than fresh light ones.

Monday, 26 November 2012

CHEESE CUPCAKE


Cheese cupcake was all the rage in the 80's and everyone was making as well as buying them. It has all the flavours that Filipinos like: cheese, butter and condensed milk. Although it is called cheese cupcake, the only cheese in it is the grated cheddar on the top. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

FRIED TAKOYAKI BALLS


My taste buds are honed to love eastern food. I usually cook Asian food at home so my children are accustomed to that taste, too. 

One of the cuisines that has remained unexplored is Japanese cuisine. We love Japanese food but we usually have to eat it in restaurants. The only reason for that is Japanese ingredients are not readily available in our area. Sadly, there is only a small selection in our Oriental supermarket so I can only make a few basic recipes. I also have to forego of ingredients that I cannot use again or those that are too expensive.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

SWEET POTATO DOUGHNUT STICKS (SWEET POTATO BICHO BICHO)


"Bicho bicho! Bicho bicho!". Hollers like this make children (and some grown ups, too) scamper out to the streets. It is the equivalent of the ice cream van's melodies to our Filipino ears.

Monday, 12 November 2012

CAMARON RELLENADO (STUFFED PRAWNS)


As in the west, our celebrations on our side of the globe command cooking of stuffed dishes. Having a lot of ingredients make dishes special. 

Camaron rellenado simply means stuffed prawns. It is actually a Chinese dish but has a Spanish name because, in the olden days, restaurant menus in the Philippines were written in Spanish. 

There are a lot of stuffed dishes like these in Chinese cuisine. It is basically the same mixture used in dumplings but wrapped around or used as filling. There is one ingredient that make it tasty and have a firm texture. It is an ingredient that I don't use because, sorry to say, it is bad for your health. That ingredient is chopped pork fat. You can add that to this dish if you wish but I skipped that part.


This dish is simple and only has a few ingredients. Although headless prawns are usually used, I have kept the heads intact. I think it looks better and I also happen to like prawn heads, especially when fried. If you like crab roe, then the inside of the prawn's head could also be a treat for you. What comes after is the best part. The creamy prawn flesh is encased in a seasoned pork mixture that brings on a distinct flavour of celebrations. I don't think anyone will walk away unhappy after eating this.


Ingredients:

250 gms. of minced pork
2 dried Chinese mushrooms, softened in boiling water and chopped
1 tbsp. sherry
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsps. chopped spring onions
2/3 c. corn flour (corn starch)
6 large shell-on prawns

Method:

Put the minced pork and chopped mushrooms in a mixing bowl. Add in the sherry, soy sauce, salt, sugar, egg yolk, sesame oil, garlic, spring onions, and 1 tbsp. of corn flour. Mix very well and divide into 6 portions. Set aside.

Cut off the antenna and legs of the prawn. There is also a very sharp, saw-like part on top of the prawn's head that you'll need to cut off.

Peel the body of the prawns but leave the head and tail intact.

Cut 3-4 slits in the inner curve of the prawns. This will keep them from curling as they cook.

Dredge the prawns lightly in corn flour.

Wrap the prawns body in a portion of the meat mixture.



Dust again with corn flour and dip in the egg white. Give them a final dusting of the corn flour.

Heat up a pan with enough cooking oil for shallow frying.

Fry the prawns on medium heat, two at a time until crisp and cooked through (about 5 minutes). Drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce or sweet and sour sauce (recipe here).


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You might also like 
Camaron Rebosado
Pork and Prawn Siomai
Stuffed Roast Chicken (Rellenong Manok)
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Thursday, 8 November 2012

THE BEST RED VELVET CAKE


...recipe search is over. That's what I mean. I have tried a few recipes and this is the best one yet. This recipe makes the most perfect of perfect cakes.

My daughter loves red velvet cake and it has been her choice for her birthday for  a few years now. I have been using a different recipe each time I make it because I am still unsatisfied with the outcome. Mind you, it is always "sold out". Maybe I am not a big fan of red velvet cake though I seriously want to be. It is so pretty in looks and in name but the flavour leaves me wanting for  more of something that I can't put my finger on. The vibrant red colour probably fools my taste buds into thinking that it has a red flavour. The cocoa is in such a small amount that it doesn't really come out as its flavour. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP


We are all still shaken by the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. Even though we are oceans away, we are shocked and saddened by the tragic event. We hope and pray that recovery will be smooth and swift.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

ARROZ ALA CUBANA


Rice is so important to the Asian culture so much so that the Chinese greeting "Chifanle meiyou?" directly translates as "Have you eaten (rice) yet?". The concept of food revolves around rice and what can be eaten with it. In the Philippines, it is not uncommon to ask or be asked "Ano ang ulam ninyo?" which means "What  is your viand?" or "What are you eating with rice?". It is not a poking question but, since it is one of the most important daily concerns, people tend to talk about it, much like talking about the weather.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES



I do not bake cookies a lot. I probably like savoury snacks more than sweet ones. This one, though, is one that I really like, and if I am in the mood to bake cookies, this is most often the one I make.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

CRISPY PORK BINAGOONGAN (CRISPY PORK WITH SHRIMP PASTE GLAZE)


One of the most outstanding characteristics of eastern cuisines, that is not present in the west, is pungency. It is probably a food description that some find off putting, but believe it or not, it is that certain taste that makes food umami rich, tasty and, ironically, fragrant.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

FILIPINO STYLE SPAGHETTI


Spaghetti, though an everyday food, brings fond memories of special occasions. Every birthday party probably has spaghetti as one of the dishes served. For me, spaghetti brings to mind Christmas. We always serve spaghetti for Christmas brunch. All the children (as well as the adults) look forward to spaghetti. If we are lucky enough to have leftovers, we look forward to eating pan fried spaghetti for breakfast the next day. The pasta with sauce is heated in a pan with a touch of oil. The spaghetti becomes dry and caramelized with toasty bits of meat and cheese. Super delicious!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

MUNG BEAN, BACON AND ROCKET SOUP




Global warming has changed the weather around the world. When I hear about typhoons that are going to pass through the Philippines, I'm gripped in a sense of panic. A few years ago, torrential rains in proportions never witnessed before caused massive flooding in my hometown. This was unheard of when I was growing up. In fact impending rain gets us kids excited. It means we can play in the cool, refreshing rain. How great it felt to feel the first splash of water on our hot, sticky skin.

Monday, 15 October 2012

FISH SAUCE CHICKEN WINGS


Fish sauce is an ingredient that people either love or hate. The smell is a bit overpowering but the flavour, in tempered amounts, might just be the very thing that would wake up the flavour of any savoury dish. If you have yet to be converted, do read on.

The ubiquitous fish sauce is the tasty agent that sets these wings apart. Recipes that greatly vary from each other are popping up in a lot of food sites and I was just intrigued. After reading the recipe for Ike's Vietnamese fish sauce chicken wings (popularized by the Pok Pok Restaurant in Portland, Oregon), I just had to make it.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

CRISPY BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRITTERS (UKOY)


Inexpensive food that falls within the poor man's budget are the type of food that are usually sold in the streets in the Philippines. One of them is ukoy, a vegetable fritter that's eaten as a snack or a side dish, usually paired with rice congee. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

THAI STYLE STIR FRIED CHICKEN WITH BASIL


I was still enjoying the last vestiges of summer when I heard the countdown for Christmas. Chunks of time seem to have disappeared and I can't remember what happened between the beginning of summer and now. I know that I can't think or move fast enough to make up for lost time but I can surely plan spending every bit of time wisely from now on.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

CARAMEL CAKE WITH SUGARED PECANS


Time flies especially when you're blogging. I've said that before and will say it again. 

Adora's Box is two years old today! I wish to thank all of you readers who regularly visit here. You have contributed to keeping this blog alive. I hope you'll keep on doing so, and as long as you do, I will be here to welcome you with the only way I know how...with food!

Monday, 1 October 2012

CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM ROLLS


When we go to Costco, one of the things we never give a miss is eating at the cafe. Both of my children love their chicken bake which is basically a stromboli filled with a creamy chicken filling. They love it although they do complain that it is quite greasy. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

TOFU PUFFS ON MIXED VEGETABLE STIR FRY


 Some people love tofu, some absolutely hate it. I belong to the tofu loving camp. What's not to like? Some don't like it's simple taste and brand it as bland. It is this simple fresh taste that makes it desirable and so versatile. It can blend in well with most dishes to add bulk, texture and nutrients.

Monday, 24 September 2012

WU GOK (TARO CROQUETTES)


 I know that I've said that making dim sum is best left to the experts. I have to say it again.

I just can't help but tinker with recipes that intrigue. These wu gok or taro croquettes, for example, I wonder how they burst into these flaky, almost feather-like crumbs. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

CARAMELIZED ONION AND MUSTARD CHICKEN


I am sorely in need of more chicken recipes. My daughter said we should only eat meat from four legged animals twice a week. We love fish but fresh fish is not always easy to find. So chicken is the most likely option. 

Not wanting to bore people with the same old recipes, I must aim to create new ones. Nice ones preferred.

Monday, 17 September 2012

LEMON AND CORIANDER HUMMUS


My daughter asked me to buy some lemon and coriander hummus for her at the supermarket. Ok, that won't be hard, or so I thought. Reaching the supermarket shelf, I was faced with a wide variety of hummus and it took me some time to find the one I was supposed to buy. Mmmm, I was such a hummus novice. I thought it only came in chick pea flavour.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

KUNG PAO CHICKEN ON GLASS NOODLES


I love Kung Pao chicken and the exciting buzz it gives when eating it. Kung pao chicken is a classic Szechuan dish of chicken and peanuts in a fiery hot sauce spiked with Szechuan peppercorns and dried chillies. It is that double hit of peppers that make this dish so exciting. The Szechuan peppercorns has a citrusy flavour and a numbing effect in the mouth. The dried chillies has a hint of smokiness and distinct chilli flavour and heat. Although good with rice, I thought adding glass noodles would be a great one dish meal. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

LEMON CURD AND BLUEBERRY CHEESE CAKE


One thing I would never tire of is cheese cake. I just crave for the stuff. I used to be hooked on a very dense and rich cheesecake that is sold by weight at our neighborhood Jewish bakeshop. It was so delicious and satisfying that all it took was a sliver to satisfy my cravings.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

FOOKIEN FRIED RICE


 If this rice sounds Greek to you, you may be more enlightened if I call it Hokkien fried rice. Still doesn't ring a bell? How about house special fried rice? Most restaurants call it that and it was only after a few years of eating it did I know what it was actually called. 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

TURKEY KOFTA KEBABS WITH MINTED YOGHURT


Aren't spinning doner kebabs, shawarma, gyros just hypnotic. I can't stop but stare at them through the restaurant windows. The glistening, charred crust with juices dripping between the layers are just too much of a temptation.

They are not exactly healthy choices because they contain a fair amount of fat. Unfortunately, making them at home is not exactly doable because that upright, spinning rotisserie is not something most people own.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

GRILLED PORK BELLY RASHERS (INIHAW NA LIEMPO)


Filipinos share the love for the pig belly with the Americans. If the Americans love bacon to the max, Filipinos love belly pork in all forms. Yes, we are liempo-maniacs. Liempo is the Tagalog word for pork belly, the most used part of the pig in the Philippines. Be it a soup, stew, roast or even vegetable dish, the ingredient is always liempo. Such is the affliction of liempo-ma: death by pork rather than by chocolate. Pork is so delicious, fatty, addicting and bad for you that it's almost obscene to eat...and there lies its charms.

Monday, 27 August 2012

ASIAN BACON AND SPRING ONION PANCAKE


Pancakes and bacon are a perfect team in any way it is interpreted. This pancake may sound like your usual breakfast grub and the addition of spring onions may raise some eyebrows.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

MELONADE


HSBC's advert with a pretty little girl behind a lemonade stand is so charming. Talk about pushy Moms (why are we always the bad guys?), but it is her Dad who makes her lemonade. It is so sweet that she is so business savvy. It is so sweet that she is multi-lingual at a very young age, such a good foundation for a future business mogul. It is fascinating that though the street is an ordinary residential area, it is the on the tour bus route. It is so clever that none of the neighbours have noticed the business opportunity except this cute little girl.

Monday, 20 August 2012

GRILLED CHICKEN AND PEACH SUMMER ROLLS


When the weather is warm or at least dry, we barbecue. The word barbecue may mean a full blown grilling extravaganza to some but for us who originate from the tropics, it is just a way of cooking. We char grill or barbecue instead of frying or baking or boiling. 

In the Chinese concept of yin and yang, barbecues have yang properties. They induce heat in the body. Salads on the other hand have yin or cooling properties. Made into summer rolls, barbecued meat achieves a perfect balance. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

LIME AND MANGO CHICKEN


Umami is yummy. Simply defined as a meaty savoury taste but it actually comes from glutamate, one of the building blocks of proteins, not necessarily from meat. I know that that still doesn't explain much. But just think of it as extra yumminess. 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

THAI STYLE BEEF SALAD


My teenage daughter had dinner with some friends at a Thai restaurant recently. She loves Thai food and was looking forward to the meal as well as the company. She ordered Thai beef salad and thoroughly enjoyed but said it was a bit too hot for her taste. We are all fans of Thai food but can't hack the heat sometimes. It is the birds eye chillies that they use that can leave bit of sting on the tongue.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

SPINACH CRISPS AND ARTICHOKE DIP


I don't know what to say. After coming up with a recipe, cooking it right and shooting the photos, I hit a blank wall as to what to write to begin the post. This happens a lot of times, not often, but a lot.

Monday, 6 August 2012

BANANA PUDDING TURON


Eating with our fingers is a primal instinct. We first learn about food by touching. By instinct we know how to make our fingers lead food into our mouths. Alas, when we learn the joys of eating with our fingers we are told not to do it.