Friday 22 November 2013


Alright, those who make fun of brussels sprouts, you may stop now. A lot of people wrinkle their noses at these Lilliputian cabbages but still eat them nevertheless. Brussels sprouts are now officially a trendy vegetable. They always appear at the celebratory table for some reason; they are delicious. 

Tuesday 19 November 2013


This is the stuff that great turkeys are made of. The debates are numerous, sometimes big and at times heated. What stuffing goes in the turkey? There are a million and one ideas but not all are good, unfortunately.

Wednesday 13 November 2013


If you are not a tofu lover, this dish will turn you into one. It was love at first taste for me.

Wednesday 6 November 2013


To some people, bacon is a powerful word. It elicits a strong response when it is heard. It evokes a strong emotion when it is said, pausing briefly, making a mental drumroll, before letting the word cascade with a heavy breath.

Thursday 24 October 2013


You'd think that warm climes would equate to cooling food but it is quite the opposite. When in Asia, we eat hot food even in the sweltering heat.

Thursday 17 October 2013


It's happy hour. Cheers. Roll out the barrel. All these words ring hollow to me.

I can't join in the merrymaking. I can't enjoy a tipple. Instead of getting drunk, I itch. I am one of those who can't even drink on a social level. I fancy the hip cocktails with twirly picks or minute parasols and wish I could nurse one and feel in with the crowd. But I am not one of those. I am not hip, not fancy, am old and can't take alcoholic beverages. I'm a total geek.

Thursday 3 October 2013


The Philippines culinary icon, Nora Daza, passed away peacefully on the of September 13. Millions will mourn her passing, yet also celebrate the wealth of her culinary contributions. Her valuable legacy is the knowledge and passion for cooking that she selflessly shared. 

Ms. Daza was a gourmet chef, restaurateur and a bestselling cookbook writer.
Her recipes are lifesavers for the newlyweds who need to know all the basics of cooking and baking. It is also for homemakers who are always in search of new recipes. It also caters to the avid party giver who likes entertaining with grace but with minimum effort.

She makes the recipes straightforward and easy to follow. I always turn to her cookbook first before anything else because I am confident that it is the first step to doing things right.

Thursday 19 September 2013


Coconut is the cheap and cheerful ingredient that we use a lot in Filipino cooking, both sweet and savoury. Coconut milk is more used than dairy milk and is so versatile. It can be reduced, curdled to render the oil, baked into cakes and mixed into sauces.

Coconut jam is the very common spread used to fill breads. It is made with coconut milk and sugar and reduced to a very thick paste. It is sweet, really sweet. It is in fact a sweet remedy for mouth ulcers.

Thursday 12 September 2013


Menudo is a simple and very well known Filipino dish served by and to the common people. It is served at the roadside carinderia (eatery), in school and office canteens and as an everyday dish in people's homes. 

Thursday 5 September 2013


Prawns are for suckers. Although the creamy flesh is very tasty, most of the rich flavour has to be sucked out of the head and shell. This recipe makes the most out of the best part of the prawns.

Prawns have a lot of God given taste. You don't have to do much to make it delicious. The worst thing that can be done is to do too much to it. Although I like them simply boiled or steamed, I am quite partial to fried prawns.

Sunday 1 September 2013


I still have to find out how almond extract smells unlike the almond nut. Nevertheless, I love almonds in both in forms

Almond jelly is one of the few desserts on the Chinese restaurant menu and the one that I like best. Slivers of soft set almond flavoured jelly is served with fruits and more almond flavouring. It is a very simple concoction, yet the taste is so perfect.

Thursday 29 August 2013


Bulgogi has been listed as the 23rd among World's 50 most delicious foods readers poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011. It is usually made with beef but pork or chicken is equally good made with the same recipe.

Wednesday 28 August 2013


The one thing that I like best about Korean cuisine is the myriad accroutrements that come every dish. Although each one is delicious, it is the bean sprouts salad (sookju namul) that I like best. The bean sprouts are blanched before being mixed with a dressing. It's simple taste makes it the perfect side dish. Although it is best served with Korean dishes (like bulgogi), it can be served with anything. 

Thursday 22 August 2013


Lamb, although already full of flavours, can withstand the addition of seasonings without losing its own taste. Lamb goes so well with a lot of herbs and is so delicious when made into Mediterranean burgers. Just add fire and it turns into a perfect meal.

Monday 19 August 2013


We all need a fresh spark on our usual menu from time to time. Sometimes a little change in the details is all it takes. Before you grab the jar of mayo yet again to slather on something, imagine how much more flavour a simple dressing like this would give to your food.

Wednesday 14 August 2013


I am so happy about the weather. I can't believe how hot it is here in London. It has become a rare occurrence in the past few years that I have resigned to keeping my summer clothes in permanent storage.

Thursday 8 August 2013


General Tso's chicken is a Chinese dish that is probably more popular in Western countries than in China. It has been speculated that it is probably a Western invention as it is unknown in its supposed country of origin.

It was in fact introduced in New York City as an example of Hunan cuisine. The difference from the original dish is the addition of sugar to make it more appealing to the Western palate.

General Tso's chicken is very similar to a lot of Chinese dishes; it has the characteristic sweet and tangy taste that is so desired in Chinese cuisine. A slight twist, the addition of hoisin sauce, gives it a slightly different flavour. 

The most distinct feature of General Tso's chicken is the amount of heat in both spice and temperature. This gives it an exciting edge that makes one want more of it. Aside from chilli paste or oil, dried chillies are added to the glaze. The former gives a uniform heat to the dish while the dried chillies gives spurts of extra heat and spice. General Tso's chicken is very appetizing and only needs steamed rice to make a satisfying meal.

Adapted from Apetite for China's recipe for General Tso's Chicken.

Ingredients for the chicken and marinade:

1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 egg white
1 tsp. corn flour (corn starch)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 c. corn flour (corn starch)
cooking oil for frying


Mix the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, egg white and 1 tsp. of corn flour in a mixing bowl. Add in the chicken pieces and mix well.

Leave aside for 10 minutes. Prepare the rest of the ingredients in the meantime.

Dredge the chicken pieces in the corn flour.

Heat up a frying pan and add oil for shallow frying (about 1 1/2inch deep). Fry the chicken pieces, a few at a time until crisp and golden, about 4-5 minutes. 

Ingredients for the sauce:

1/4 c. chicken stock or water
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. of hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. of chilli paste (or chilli oil)
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsps. of honey
1 tsp. of corn flour (corn starch)


Mix all of the ingredients together and set aside.

Stir fry ingredients:

1 tbsp. chopped garlic
2-4 dried chillies, halved
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsps. sliced spring onions (green parts only)


Heat up a clean wok and add in 1 tbsp. of oil (you may use the oil previously used for frying the chicken). When hot, add in the garlic, chillies and fry for a few seconds.

Add in the sauce mixture. Bring to a boil while stirring until thickened.

Add the fried chicken pieces and toss until all the pieces are coated with the sauce.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.

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Thursday 25 July 2013


Our house is a mere 15-20 minutes drive from Ikea. We go there quite often, just to have coffee, a meal or just to meander around crockery, candles and flat pack furniture. The last stop is always the food shop where I get my stash of gravy mix, lingonberry jam, crab paste and the occasional pack of frozen meatballs. Yummy stuff those. I have heard that people smuggle them on the plane to bring to Ikea-less countries.

Tuesday 9 July 2013


Bananas have been branded as boring by some. The lack of fruit choices, except for bananas, have been bemoaned too many times.

In fairness to bananas, I'd like to dispute the fact that they are boring. They are the perfect comfort fruit. Its custardy taste, creamy texture and non-acidic flavour is the perfect baby food, grown up snack or faddy eater bribe.

Bananas are a good standby fruit. They are friends with ice cream and peanut butter. If they go past their prime, then they can be made into pancakes or loafs. If by chance you find someone still unconvinced, surround it in rich custard and put it in a pie shell. Whip some cream and dollop on top to seal the deal. 

I am a bit OCD about bananas. I like them at a perfect stage of ripeness. I have to catch them at their peak, just as they emerge from being under ripe and before they go too soft and too sweet. This is when they are perfect for pie.

I like the traditional banana cream pie but I was thinking of a custard enriched with more egg yolks and condensed milk. I love using condensed milk because it gives a gooey texture and caramel like flavour to desserts. This dessert sets just so that when sliced it remains gooey.

Ingredients for the biscuit base:

1 1/2 c. of digestive biscuit (about 13 biscuits) or graham cracker crumbs 
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted


Tip: It is easier to take a cheesecake out of the pan if you put the base the wrong side up.

Line the bottom and sides of a spring form pan. Secure the paper to the pan with clips so that it doesn't move while filling.

The easiest way to make the crumbs is in a food processor. Add in the melted butter and sugar and give it a whizz to combine. 

Put the crumbs in the lined pan. Using the flat bottom of a measuring cup press the mixture firmly and evenly into the base.

Ingredients for the filling:

1/3 c. of plain flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tin of condensed milk
1 tin of evaporated milk
6 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsps. butter
4 ripe bananas, sliced into 1" thick chunks
1/3 c. whipping cream, whipped


Put the flour and salt together in a heavy pan. 

Mix the condensed and evaporated milk in a bowl together with the egg yolks.

Add this mixture a little bit at a time to the flour while whisking until a smooth lump free mixture is achieved.

Put the pan on low heat and cook the mixture while stirring. Cook until very thick and leaves a lasting trail when drizzled on itself. Add the butter and vanilla and blend in.

Transfer to a dish and cover with a piece of baking paper. Leave to cool until just warm.

Spoon about 1/3 of the filling into the prepare crust. Arrange half of the bananas on top of the custard. 

Repeat the layers ending with the custard. Swirl the top. Chill in the fridge. 

Top with the whipped cream just before serving.

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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. Thank you.

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Brazo de Mercedes
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Wednesday 3 July 2013


Colonel Sanders must be the most popular American, next to Uncle Sam. His name is a byword worldwide. His face is in every street corner. Millions of people are addicted to his world renowned fried chicken. 

Thursday 27 June 2013


I am happy to see tubs of good quality crab meat at the supermarkets. In the pre-convenience food days, crabmeat came from actual crabs which had to be cooked first before painstakingly picking the meat from the crevices of the crab. It was a whole lot of work and the yield is not that much. I think it is cheaper to buy crab meat than fresh crabs.

Thursday 20 June 2013


Who doesn't like chicharon (pork scratchings)? I know that east and west unite in their want to eat these babies. 

These munchables are a cross between chicharon (pork scratchings) and lechon (roast pork) crackling.

Saturday 15 June 2013


All the holidays seem to be tumbling forward at a very fast pace and I can't keep up; yet Father's day is rather special and is never ever to be missed. 

Saturday 8 June 2013


Filipinos love barbecue and are lucky enough that the weather allows them to barbecue all year round. The two most popular have very generic names: barbecue chicken and barbecue pork. Everywhere, they are seasoned similarly unless otherwise stated.

Monday 3 June 2013


As a Filipino, I thoroughly connect to the taste of Jambalaya. Apart from the herbs and spices, it could have been a Filipino dish. We like all-in-one rice dishes like this because all the ingredients contribute to making the rice very flavourful.

Thursday 30 May 2013


Filipinos are nationalistic people; we have a "national" everything. Bangus or milk fish is our national fish. Although it is full of fine bones and is fiddly to eat, we just love it.

It is the height of summer in the Philippines around this time of the year. Although it is terribly hot, it is also incredibly fun. It is the time for fiestas and picnics. 

Going on a picnic is a whole day outing, usually with family or friends. The more rustic the setting, the better. The highlight is always the sumptous lunch. Everyone brings out their food and lines them up on banana leaves lining the table. Rice is always the main feature of a Filipino picnic. Everything else revolves around it. 

There would almost always be charcoal grilling involved. Pork, chicken and fish are usually on the menu. If bangus is grilled, it is always stuffed with onions and tomatoes. Bangus has a fatty belly but the flesh is very lean. Stuffing it gives it moisture and of course, more flavour. In a more local setting, It is usually wrapped in just banana leaves and grilled until the leaves char and fall off.

I like my bangus done just right, moist and with a good amount of filling. It isn't easy to do all these at the same time. Sometimes the fish is overcooked and dry by the time the stuffing is cooked. My solution to that is to pre-cook the stuffing before using. That also jumpstarts the cooking process as the filling is already hot.

Food like this are major rice magnets; they are so appetizing and so good with rice that you tend to eat a lot of it. It would have been a lot nicer to eat this if there were bamboo trees swaying and warm breezes blowing, and if it's not too much to ask, a gurgling brook. 


1 bangus (this can be substituted with sea bass)
juice of 1/2 lime or 2 calamansi
2 tsps. light soy sauce
4 tsps. olive oil
ground black pepper
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1/3 c. chopped red onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. fish sauce


Season the bangus with the lime or calamansi, light soy sauce, 2 tsps. of olive oil and a pinch of black pepper.

Mix the tomatoes, onions, garlic, sugar, a pinch of black pepper, 2 tsps. live oil and the fish sauce. Microwave on full power for 1 1/2 minutes.

Drain the excess liquid then use to fill the bangus.

Wrap in a piece of banana leaf, then in foil. Grill for 10 minutes on each side. Remove the foil, leaving the banana leaf on, and grill for 5 more minutes on each side.

For the dipping sauce:

1/4 c. vinegar
1/2 red onion
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. sugar

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve as a dipping sauce for the bangus.

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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. Thank you.
Pan Fried Sea Bass with Puttanesca Sauce
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