Wednesday 10 December 2014


There is a long running joke about just the one fruit cake making the rounds at Christmas, it being passed around like a hot potato. For the benefit of fruit cake lovers, I would like to debunk the myth. First of all, most fruit cake recipes make at least two loaves because of the amount of ingredients involved in making it. So if the joke were true, there should at least be two fruit cakes going around. Corniness aside, there are a lot of people who take fruit cake making seriously. I must say that I have tasted just a few fruit cakes that I really like. 

Sunday 7 December 2014


The ultimate act of sweetness is giving out sweets as presents for Christmas. All the hype of the season is probably from sugar overload instead of Christmas cheer.

Monday 1 December 2014


It is no surprise that tofu is now appreciated by more people outside Asia. This humble food, although a staple in the eastern countries, remains in the sidelines in the west. While others have grown to appreciate its subtle creamy taste, a lot still query why it should be eaten at all. 

Wednesday 19 November 2014


When it comes to food, being "old fashioned" is a good thing. New trends are churned daily but there are tried and tested classics that we keep turning back to. 

Chocoholics may beg to differ but I like my chocolate cake layered with other flavours. 

Wednesday 12 November 2014


Menudo is as synonymous to Filipino fare as adobo. It is one of the heritage dishes that has remained a classic. It is cooked with regularity in households and served as a staple in carinderias (eateries). 

Friday 7 November 2014


Cooking vegetables, Filipino style is not exactly quick and easy. Ginisang gulay or sautéed vegetables is the most common everyday vegetable dish. The process starts with the Filipino trinity of sautéing ingredients: garlic, onions and tomatoes. Cooked pork (usually belly pork) and shrimps also go in. More often than not, glass noodles are also added. The vegetables are more often than not a mix of different kinds. 

When I miss ginisang gulay, I always cook picadillo. Although it follows the same procedure, the meat used is minced pork so it cooks fast. There is only one kind of vegetable used.

Filipinos are not hot on vegetables and I do understand why. If not properly sautéed, the dish can taste pretty bland.

I always say that the finished product depends on how you start the cooking process. I browned the minced pork first before anything else and that single step alone added a richer taste to the dish already. Sautéing the garlic, onions and tomatoes really well gives the base of the dish a good flavour. Each step should be done with the development of the taste in mind. Your nose is your gauge. The dish should have a fragrant aroma at each step. Also, do not add too much water at any given point. I have seen this done almost always and that washes off the flavour that has already developed. A bit of water, gentle heat and a lid would generate enough heat to cook the vegetables yet keep all of the taste in. 

This dish is so simple yet so satisfying. Although vegetables are usually served as a side dish, picadillo is tasty enough to be served on its own with freshly steamed rice and, to complete the Filipino dining experience, offer a bit of fish sauce on the side.


2 tbsps. olive oil
200 gms. of minced (ground) pork
2 tbsps. fish sauce
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
1 onion, diced
1 c. of chopped tomatoes
6 c. diced marrow, courgettes (zucchini), upo or chou chou (sayote)


Heat up a sauté pan and add the olive oil.

Add in the minced pork, 1 tbsp. of the fish sauce and the black pepper. Sauté until the pork is browned.

Add the crushed garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden brown. 

Add in the onions and sauté until translucent.

Add in the tomatoes, stir and cook until the mixture is reduced. 

Add the marrow and ½ c. of water. Cover, bring to a boil then simmer until the vegetable is cooked. 

Add in the last tbsp. of fish sauce (or more if you prefer).

Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with rice and extra fish sauce on the side.

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You might also like

Mung Bean, Bacon and Rocket Soup
Aubergine with Pork and Basil Sauce
Stir Fried Green Beans Adobo
Lumpiang Sariwa
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Wednesday 29 October 2014


To most of us, sweet and sour pork is synonymous to Chinese food. I remember how it was always a part of family dinners at our favourite Chinese restaurant. The crispy pork pieces were topped with a perfectly balanced sweet and sour sauce mixed with crisp vegetables. It always comes as we expect it and never fails to satisfy. 

Wednesday 22 October 2014


My two kids always order Katsu Curry in Wagamama. The plate comes with a rather large (American) football shaped mound of rice, two crumbed chicken pieces flanking the rice and salad leaves. The brown curry sauce drapes the meat and the rice in a rather unappetising fashion. Nevertheless, the taste speaks for itself and it never fails to satisfy.

Tuesday 14 October 2014


It was love at first bite when I first had Bon Chon fried chicken. The thin crisp crust intrigued me so much. The glaze was delicious but I found that the hot and spicy flavourered wings burn and the soy garlic lacks excitement. The new honey citrus (this is not available in all Bon Chon outlets) is the one for me. The tangy and sweet glaze works perfectly with the crusty fried chicken.

Wednesday 8 October 2014


One dish meals are lifesavers on busy days. Quick and easy is the way to go. There is one rule that I try not to break: Never sacrifice taste.

Saturday 4 October 2014


It has been four years since I've started this blog and it has been a wonderful journey. I thank everyone who often come to visit, those who leave comments, those who cook from the recipe and those who do and come back to tell me about it. The blog has become a big part of my life and I am very thankful for it.

Sunday 28 September 2014


The question of why Philippine cuisine is not as popular as the other Southeast Asian cuisines still remain. There are funny, sometimes insulting answers. I choose not like to delve deep into the matter but I have a few ideas of my own.

Sunday 21 September 2014


The love of pork makes me translate a lot of dishes into pork dishes. While meatballs would almost always equate to beef balls, I chose pork this time. The reason for this is that I want to flavour the meatballs with Asian seasonings and there is no better base for that than pork. The flavour of beef would not let the seasonings stand out as much. Having said that, any meat could be used for this dish and it would also work.

Sunday 14 September 2014


I was lucky to have a good health visitor when I was bringing up my babies. A health visitor, for those not in the UK, is a health professional who guides Mums on how to take care of their babies.

Sunday 7 September 2014


Roasts bring a sense of occasion comes once it's brought to the table. The mood changes at the mere sight of it. The anticipation of the first mouthful brings excitement. 

Tuesday 2 September 2014


The week's dinner menu in my hometown of Marikina is very predictable and limited. When asked about the dinner plans, a Mom would usually say, "something with do". Most of the dishes have the syllable do as in asado, mechado, adobo, menudo. Most Moms' randomly pick any of those dishes when planning what to cook for dinner.

Monday 25 August 2014


Chinese food differs from country to country. The Chinese food on one's plate may differ greatly from another one's on the other side of the globe. In fact, the food that we know as Chinese food is different from the traditional food in China.

Wednesday 13 August 2014


Sticky rice is enjoyed in the east as in the west. Although treated differently, they are usually made into comforting desserts. 

Friday 25 July 2014


Filipinos take breakfast seriously. While a lot skip this all important meal, we take the saying "eat like a king to start the day" to heart. It has been a long tradition to have a full spread at breakfast. In the olden days, this was made possible by the dutiful wife and her staff. It was deemed necessary then to eat a heavy meal early in the morning before setting off to work.

Nowadays, the venue for breakfast is the siloganSilogan is a new slang word coined to refer to eateries serving silogsinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg, served fried) with a choice of tapa, longganisa or tocino. The name of the dish changes accordingly: tapsilog, longsilog or tocilog.

Wednesday 2 July 2014


Most Filipinos inherently have a sweet tooth. Pastries, cakes and sweets are regular indulgences. Over the years, bake shops have become more and more popular and each of them vie to out wit each other. Thanks to social media, what's new in the food world spread like wildfire.

Tuesday 6 May 2014


"To have and to hold, from this day forward…to love and to cherish...'til death do us part." Those beautiful words from our wedding vows are so sweet yet foreboding.

A month before Christmas, my dear husband Francis went on a journey that only he could embark on. My husband of nearly twenty three years has always been so close to me, always by my side and I have never imagined that we wouldn't be together forever. He was not perfect but he was the perfect one for me. I thought being with him was my happy ever after.  

We were both looking so far ahead. We had dreams and plans for the future. We had foreseen how we would be as old people and looked forward to being a part of our children's adult lives. Being apart was never in our plans. 

Unfortunately, destiny has its twists and turns and what comes round the bend is sometimes so unexpected and deeply traumatic.

Francis succumbed to colon cancer a month before Christmas, just two months after being diagnosed. He has always been well, strong and protective. I have never imagined him unwell, much less gone. He has left such a huge, deep, dark space that I cannot fathom at the moment. 

It is so difficult to be so immensely pained, yet obliged to remain strong for the sake of my children. It is not just grief I have to deal with but the sudden drastic change in our lives. 

I thank everyone who prays for me, comforts me and encourages me to be strong. The task ahead is indeed daunting but I have faith in God's infinite plans. Everything that happens happens for a good reason. I trust that Francis dwells in eternal happiness and peace. I trust that there are bigger plans for me and my children, and we will have divine guidance to lead us through. I hope for enlightenment and strength so that I may build a new life for my family. 

I am taking a break from the blog for a while but will resume the posts when I can. Francis and I shared the same passion for food. We had a culinary journey together. Although he is gone, he will continue to inspire me.

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.

Francis' favourites:
Nasi Lemak
Nasi Ayam

Kari Kari
Taho (Soy Milk Junket)
Crispy Pata
Thanks for dropping by. It would be nice if we could meet up on FACEBOOK or TWITTER