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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Pan Fried Sea Bass with Puttanesca Sauce
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Friday 24 May 2013


Blue food is supposedly revolting. I remember hearing of an experiment where chicken was painted with blue food colouring. People who tried them found their taste off-putting and nothing like chicken at all.

I am a curious sort of person and, although I have never been good in science, I like doing experiments in my kitchen. The most popular post on this blog is the red velvet cake I like it so much and I believe that a good thing is worth repeating. Following the process of the red velvet cake recipe, I experimented on making a blue velvet cake: a velvet cake that's blue in both colour and flavour. 

Wednesday 22 May 2013


Chorizo is one of my favourite ingredients. It is one of the ingredients that make Filipino food special. We used to buy chorizos in tins, coated with bright orange lard and labelled chorizo de Bilbao (referring to Bilbao, Spain). I wonder if it really originates from Bilbao as we have the propensity to label food with place names even if they don't really connect.

Monday 20 May 2013


Summer swings our moods to a high level, thanks to the good weather and plenty of sunshine. It is the perfect and perhaps the only time we can do our barbies and picnics. Although some summer food such as fruits, salads and grills are healthy, there are also those that aren't but we can't help but eat.

Thursday 16 May 2013


I am a doubting Thomas when it comes to trying new recipes. Not that I doubt the recipe. I doubt my skills at following recipes. Sometimes though, there are recipes that I just have to try to make because they look so delicious. 

I love pouring custard rather than cream on chocolate cake so when I saw this recipe I knew this was something I'd like. Not only did it have chocolate cake and custard, it also had caramel. Just by the looks of it, I could tell how delicious it was. 

Monday 13 May 2013


If there is one dish that a Filipino should learn how to cook, it should be adoboIt is the quintessential Filipino cuisine. It is a very simple dish with only a few ingredients, yet every adobo is as different as the person who cooks it.

Thursday 9 May 2013


Whenever there is a special day coming, I feel pressured into doing something big to mark the occasion. I don't mean to be a snarky spoil sport but seeing adverts showing what we should do makes me feel railroaded into doing something I do not want to do. We all know that the noble meaning of the occasion is lost in marketing strategies.

It is Mother's day on Sunday and the second one for me this year (UK Mother's day is in March). The true meaning of the occasion is to appreciate Mums, what they do and the role they hold. It is not about buying something for her at all. Buying her an I MUM mug (again) is not the way to make her happy.

Saturday 4 May 2013


Quinoa is a relatively new grain but is in everyone's shopping trolley and store cupboard. What's the deal in quinoa? 

The food and Agricultural Organization of the UN has declared 2013 as The International Year of the Quinoa. It is actually a seed rather than a grain, is low in carbs, high in protein, has neither fat nor cholesterol content and is gluten free. These tiny, tiny seeds are touted as the new superfood. The list is long and very scientific and I get muddled by that sort of thing so I'll just say that it is really good for you.

Thursday 2 May 2013


Gyoza, jiaozi, giaozi all refer to pot stickers, a crescent shaped Chinese dumpling. Pan fried, boiled or steamed, it always makes you want more and more of it.