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Authentic Bicol Express Recipe

Here’s another super easy to make at home dish. If you like rich, creamy and spicy pork curry this one is for you! Try the recipe and let me know what you think, also check my youtube link for a quick recipe video for this dish!

Bicol Express Ingredients:

700 g Pork Belly, cut into cubes or slice thinly

1 can coconut milk

2 Capsicum, sliced

10 green chilling haba and 5 pcs birds eye chillis

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 bulb of garlic, crushed

ginger, about 10g

Plum tomatoes, 2 each

1 broth cubes

2 tbsp to 3 tbsp shrimp paste or bagoong

Soysauce, patis, brown sugar, salt and pepper To Taste

COOKING METHOD:

  • Boil the meat first by doing this you are removing the impurities at the same time tenderising the meat as well. You can also add mirepoix to enhance the flavour of the meat. Try adding onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme as if you are making a stock but actually you’re not 🙂
  • When the liquid evaporate and the meat is fork tender leave it for another 5 to 10 minutes just for the meat to brown in its own rendered fat. Set aside
  • Add 2 table spoon palm oil and saute onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes until the tomatoes are soft and cooked.
  • Add the meat into the pan, bell pepper, chillis and shrimp paste. Saute for 3 minutes and then add the coconut milk. leave it to boil until the coconut milk is cooked.
  • The coconut milk has to come out creamy and oily, add your seasoning let it reduce a bit more then taste again. If you are happy with the taste then your meal is ready! Best serve with rice!

Bon appetit!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE RECIPE VIDEO!

MERCI!!

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What Kind of Bread Can Be Used For French Toast?

BRIOCHE is the most common or typical bread used for french toast as it is rich and buttery. However this bread is hard to find here in Manila, we have basic breads and the bread loved by the locals, our pride and joy, pandesal! Pandesal french toast it is then!

This is how I like my mixture! Remember that a recipe is just a guide, you can alter or adjust it to your preference.

Ingredients:

2 Eggs, whisk

1 cup of milk

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

a Pinch of salt

1 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Butter a knob plus extra for the pan

3 large Pandesal Bread (look for the 7 pesos ones)

  1. Whisk the frenchtoast batter and cut the pandesal bread in halves.
  2. Soak each pandesal in the egg mixture for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a non stick pan over medium heat, place about 75 g of butter, let it melt and brown to develop a nutty flavour.
  4. Carefully add the bread and fry it until you get a nice golden brown colour on both sides.
  5. Finish the rest of the bread. Serve with any toppings you like and sprinkle with powdered sugar or in my case I made caramelized banana and cheese.

Caramelized Banana:

2-3 Bananas sliced

4 tbsp Honey

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp vegetable oi

Peel and slice the bananas. Sear until golden brown. Add sugar and honey. let it caramelize, once done top the bananas on your french toast and drizzle with sauce. Cheese is optional

and voilà!! Pandesal frenchtoast is serve!!

I hope you enjoy this simple and easy recipe.

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Spaghetti, Comfort Meal Recipes

Two beautiful and delicious recipes to try at home. Step up your game by making these homemade pasta dishes! The pesto sauce itself is so good you would want to make your own homemade pesto whenever you crave pesto pasta. I do like the idea of making and using fresh pastas but store-bought pasta is not that bad at all. In reality if you work in restaurants unless its a Michelin Italian kitchen, store-bought is always a time saver production wise. For me they are equally good, sauce is what will make or break any type of pasta you are cooking.

Here we are using spaghetti, some doesn’t like spaghetti because it’s plain long and just boring in shape. A smooth pasta never really take up so much sauce, the sauce will only cling and coat well a pasta if it has enough surface area. Anyway this spaghetti from a trusted brand is exemplary, let’s cook it al dente.

PESTO SPAGHETTI

400 g spaghetti freshly made or dry

pesto sauce 3 tbsp

50 g parmesan cheese, grated and extra shaved for topping

garlic 1 clove. minced

olive oil 2tbsp

COOKING METHOD:

Boil spaghetti in a pan according to packet’s cooking instruction. Drain water and set aside. saute garlic in a pan over medium high heat, add pesto sauce cook for 2 minutes. Add pasta and grated parmesan, toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Serve!

HOMEMADE BASIL PESTO RECIPE:

5 cloves garlic, peeled

200 g fresh basil leaves

4 tbsp pine nuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine and blitz ingredients in a food processor. Emulsify olive oil until well combined.

Let’s move on to Crab Spaghetti dish! This recipe is one of my favourites. Crab serves as the key ingredient here therefor it”s very important to find good quality and fresh crab meat. Never settle for less.

CRAB SPAGHETTI:

4 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, dice

3 cloves of garlic, slice thinly

red chilli or chilli flakes 1 tsp

sugar 1 tsp, to balance and bring out the flavour of the dish

cherry tomatoes 400 g

butter 115 g

spaghetti 200 g

salt and pepper to taste

crab meat white and brown 210g

Basil leaves handful

COOKING METHOD:

  • Boil pasta according to package instruction.
  • While pasta is cooking, saute shallot, onion, chilli flakes and tomatoes. Add crab and butter. Cook for another 3 minutes, season and check on your pasta!
  • Cook pasta al dente, drain off the liquid and pour into the pan cook for 2 more minutes to incorporate flavour, add butter if you desire, season and serve!

AND VOILÀ! Two easy and simple recipes to add to your menus!

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Creamy, Rich Chicken Curry

Who doesn’t love a coconut rich and creamy chicken dish? Here is my version of the famous chicken sa gata Bicolano dish and by far the best version I made:) Bicol is a region in the southern part of Luzon island of the Philippines, famous for the majestic Mount Mayon, scenic places and pristine beaches, and the undeniably delicious dishes mostly cook in or with coconut milk.

This creamy chicken curry is one of the many signature dishes Bicolanos are so proud of food wise, second to the most popular laing, a staple dish in every Bicolanos home. It’s very simple and easy to cook, ingredients are usually ready and available at the back garden.

THE INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS DISH ARE LITERALLY WHAT YOU SEE ON THE IMAGE ABOVE! SIMPLY DELICIOUS!

500g chicken thigh ( marinated adobo style)

300 ml coconut milk or cream

300ml chicken broth

Green papaya 300g peeled and sliced thinly

1 whole onion, dice

10g Ginger, sliced thinly

1/2 bulb of garlic, crushed or minced

a stalk of lemon grass

salt and pepper to taste

fish sauce to taste

a squeeze of lemon juice

and lots of birds eye chillis

a handful of chilli leaves or spinach

METHOD:

  1. Sear and brown the meat on both sides. Place the milk/cream in a pot with onion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass and bring to a boil.
  2. Add back the chicken along with the green papaya and simmer until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the papaya is nice and soft.
  3. Add the seasoning, maybe more salt and pepper?
  4. once the sauce is thick and creamy, add the leaves, mix well. Remove from the heat and SERVE!!

I have worked in different kitchens internationally, but I have never worked in the Philippines so the culinary industry here is a bit new to me. Being a Filipina, it is my duty to learn and represent the food of my country. There is beauty in local cuisine and many unknown dishes waiting to be rediscovered.

My rules in cooking are to simplify complex international dishes and to elevate what we have here locally. Food is all about the flavour more than the visual, for me it is disappointing to eat something beautiful but its lacking flavours.

Et voilà!!! A hearty, full of flavour dish for the entire family. Try it and let me know what you think.. ENJOY.

You might want to check another Bicolano recipe. This is also a signature dish my hometown is known for! BICOL EXPRESS!

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The Classic, Authentic Pad Thai

Authentic Pad Thai in Manila? why not! I used to eat Pad Thai almost every weekend at this very cute, Thai Food shack at Le Bouveret, Switzerland. Le Bouveret is a small village of Port Valais at the southern part of Lac Leman or Lake Geneva.

Living in Switzerland, the cheese capital of the world, I couldn’t be happier being able to eat something very Asian every time I crave Asian food. It felt like home in a way. The Thai place was 3 minutes walk from CAA where I spent some time studying culinary arts.

It was so good I thought that up until now, years later the taste still lingers in my mouth. I’ve had Pad Thai in so many places but none of them is or was as good as the one at Port Valais. I decided to recreate the dish, taste and flavour base on what my mouth remembered. A lot of experiment and cooking happened and I think I am close to getting the exact taste of that especial pad Thai en Swiss!

This was the first take!

It took a lot of efforts and eating 🙂 Finally here is the final recipe.. for now!

cc FFM

PAD THAI INGREDIENTS:

Shrimps 250g, 2 eggs, Rice stick Noodles 14 oz, Beans sprout a handful, Spring Onion a handful, 2 tbsp of crushed roasted peanut, lime for garnish, red bell pepper 50g, Chicken 250g, Shallots, Garlic, 6oz water, chilli flakes.

For the SAUCE:

2 tbsp Sriracha, 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp peanut butter (my personal choice), 1 tbsp brown sugar, juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp soy sauce.

  1. Soak the noodles for 15-20 minutes. Cut the veggies, spring onion into 2 inches long, red bell pepper julienne and beans sprout trimmed.
  2. Cut the chicken into thin slices, trim and devein shrimps. Bring pan into mediam high heat, brown shrimps on both sides, season, remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Saute shallot, garlic, then add chicken, add egg and cook. Add noodles, bell pepper, bean sprout and the pad thai sauce with 6oz of water. Cook until the noodles are soft and the vegetables are cook but still crunchy.
  4. Add the spring onion and cook for another minute, TASTE to adjust seasoning. Plate up, sprinkle with chilli flakes and peanut. Garnish with lime wedges and serve!

ENJOY!!!

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How to cook Frittata

I was craving for some good frittata this weekend, i checked online some interesting recipes to recreate at home.. and voilà … Frittata à la moi!

I recreated this but without the ricotta cheese

Frittata is the Italian version of omelette nothing fancy. Just like the omelette you are free to add anything you like ingredient wise, never get scared to innovate and experiment!

For my version of Frittata the ingredients are listed below, nothing like chef Gordon Ramsay’s but I’ll try my best to get there! Haha

4 Large eggs

2 King mushroom

1 White Onion and 1 green chilli for an added kick.

1 clove Garlic

25g Butter for an added fat

20g Baby Potatoes or large potatoes

Spinach or in my case Basil leaves because I work with what I have on hand.

Vegetable Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

Very simple to make, slice white onion and potatoes thinly as well as the mushroom (whatever mushroom you have in hand). You want to saute the veggies first in a hot pan with oil and 1 tbsp of butter, then off the pan.

Beat the eggs, season with salt and pepper. Mix the veggies into the egg mixture and very quickly place back into the same hot frying pan. Cook for 3 minutes on each side or place in the oven 300 degrees C for 5 or just until the top becomes crispy and brown. Garnish with basil leaves.

ENJOY!!!

Pandesal, A Taste of Home

Pandesal is probably the most simplest and common bread in the Philippines. Made of simple ingredients (flour, egg, yeast, sugar, salt) yet it is beloved by every filipino and found in every Panaderia (Boulangerie/Bakery). It’s popular for Breakfast or afternoon Merienda, a typical way of eating Pandesal is by dipping it into a cup of steamy coffee, very filipino! It can also be eaten with peanut butter spread, margarine, jam or plain as it is. 

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Filipinos came up with a wide variety of Pandesal now, from the simplest formula to Ube(purple yum) Pandesal, Pandan and even Red velvet flavour Pandesal. Like a lot of recipes people innovate over time and these innovations are not bad at all but let’s stick with the very basic one here.

A NO JOKE very easy to follow Pandesal Recipe:

Ingredients: 2 1/2 tsp Yeast, 5 cups AP Flour(includes extra for counter dusting), Salt to taste, 1 cup of Milk, 1 cup Sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 cup bread crumbs( to coat each roll before baking). Yield: Depends on the size of your roll

Warm the milk up to 100F, add the yeast and sugar, set aside let the yeast activate(around 10 mins). Meanwhile mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, once the yeast is foamy combine it with the dry ingredients mix and knead for 15-20 minutes. Set aside the dough and leave it to rise for about an hour or so.

Start setting up your sheet trays for baking, line it up with parchment papers. Deflate the pandesal dough divide and portion it into 45 to 50 grams per dough ball. Next step is to coat each balls with bread crumbs, place the coated ones on your lined sheet trays (make sure they do social distancing), cover with a kitchen towel and leave it to rise again for around 15 minutes. Finally for the last step, bake your doughs in a pre-heated oven (280-300 degrees C) for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy your freshly baked pandesal, oh and a cup of coffee too!!

I did half with cheese filling..soft and very delicious!

SUMAN, A Filipino Delicacy

In Filipino cuisine Suman is a traditional delicacy serve as breakfast, merienda or dessert. It’s a steamed or boiled cake made of root crops wrapped in banana leaves. Suman come in different shapes and flavours and are usually found in parties and very special occasions like Christmas or Fiesta. Most filipino households make it to a point to have suman on their tables because every celebration is not complete without suman as part of the meal. It is also very easy and fun to make.

To make suman bilanghoy(cassava as base, you could also make suman using glutinous rice), you need the following simple ingredients below:

Yield: 65 pcs. 8kg Grated cassava, 1 medium size butternut squash (boiled and mashed), 1kg to 1.5kg brown sugar (add accordingly), 2 tbsp vanilla extract, salt to taste, 3 cups coconut cream/milk.

Add any flavouring of your choice.. example: you can add chocolate or mix it with purple yum, anything you can think of that blends well with cassava. As much as you want to keep the original taste you can also experiment a little its not a crime. Innovation is key in cooking.

First step is to grate the cassava, squeeze out the unhealthy and toxic liquid from it. Freshly grated is always better than frozen store bought ones. Here we have 8 kg of grated cassava and about 3 cups of half coco cream half coco milk. Mix in sugar, salt and vanilla extract.. the sweetness is all up to you. When the mixture is ready, wrap it up using trimmed banana leaves. Banana leaves also add a minty flavour to the suman hence why it’s commonly use as packaging or as disposable plates.

Boil or steam for 40-45 minutes. In the province, many households have their outdoor wood fire kalan/makshift stove. Food cooked using wood results in a much nicer flavour. I prefer the kalan more than the gas stove when it comes to cooking my favourite suman.

Suman is best paired with black coffee for merienda and breakfast. Enjoy!!

My Unique Culinary Journey in Switzerland!

Becoming a Chef was never my dream! I dreamt of being a teacher when I was in grade school, I wanted to become a mechanical engineer when I became a bit older, then I ended up taking midwifery course hoping to become a nurse which was something that I didn’t really like but during that time it was a hit in the Philippines. 

Learning different type of herbs

Cooking big batches of food

Life moved on, I took photography training, I really enjoy taking photographs mostly portrait up to now. The technical aspect became my weakness 😦 Sad I know! Before that I was already cooking and making meals for very special people, I had short work experiences in small coffee shops during my teenage years.

Then food became very interesting, it fascinates me how you can make something beautiful out of very ordinary ingredients. This, of course, includes the art of plating etc.. Wait! Being a pilot also interest me at some point but then I had very bad marks in Physics and Math and again it is very costly, college seemed out of reach so did culinary school!

We did cooking demo for promotional purposes

Detailed lesson about baking a Black Forest Cake and more.

Beef Carpaccio

A great opportunity came around, very grateful for the people who believed in me, I was lucky enough to get to study in Switzerland. I studied cooking food, variety of food, international and local cuisines, history of food and so much more. I met new people and some special ones that changed and became a part of my life forever. The school taught me the basic to more advance cooking techniques.

Fine dining event

We studied theory and a lot of practical classes to apply everything we learned in the classroom. During weekends we visited public markets, beautiful sceneries and did other outdoor activities such as mountain climbing, picnics etc. Also being able to hangout by the lake after class during sunset was always the highlight of my day. 

img_4142Friends and school-mates on an after-school “tea party” by the Lake ( Lake Geneva)

Time flies,  the moment arrived.. It was time to leave the nest, goodbyes were said or maybe it was more of see you around. Time to get real-life experience in the kitchen – the beginning of my career.

Always grateful for the love and support of the people who have made this possible for me and for those who have dreams, never give up on your dreams. Also merci to my Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland for this very unique experience. 

 “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”

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Meanwhile keep yourselves safe at home, always sanitise and be mindful of what’s happening. This pandemic will come to pass! 

x R

Spicy Chicken Adobo with Homemade Pineapple Jam

A simple but very delicious adobo lies in the process, freshness of ingredients and its regional twists as well. Each region has their own version so I might as well try experiment my own. This time I want to make it spicy and a little sweet at the same time.

Finally a spicy adobo recipe with a twist! I think it is a common knowledge that adobo in the Philippines is considered as the national dish of the country.

Sugar is usually added to any adobo dish to balance the saltiness of the dish. A lot would use pineapple as substitute, caramelising pineapple first before adding the meat and the rest of the vegetables. In my experience the dish become sour if you add it raw. That’s why I wanted to try use a jam instead and luckily it worked! Its sweet and the fruity flavour is there but not sour at all.

To make pineapple jam is easy, all you need is 1 cup pineapple, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup water and a squeeze of lemon. Cook until pineapple is soft and the entire mixture is thick.

Adobo Recipe:

Birds Eye Chillies 8 pieces, 2 potatoes, 1 large carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple jam, soy sauce, cane vinegar, bay leaves, black pepper, one whole chicken into chunks and seasoning. Best thing to do is always marinate the meat overnight or more.

Enjoy!

Another dish to try!

WHITE BEACH, PUERTO GALERA MINDORO!

Hello everyone!

I came home to the Philippines after 2 years of culinary school and Internship both in Europe and in the United States. It was a tough one lol but I can say it changed my life for the better. While It is summer over here, I took the opportunity to explore my own country!. I have lived and been to a lot of beautiful places outside the Philippines but I have not been able to explore my own. Now having the opportunity to do so, for my first trip I went to Puerto Galera.

Puerto Galera is the closest beautiful island beach destination in Manila, I travelled with my sister over one weekend. To get there was very easy, we took the public transport to Batangas Port where you ride the ferry across the Island of Mindoro. It took only 45 minutes to sail over and voilà you have beautiful beaches to yourself! Well, not really as it was a bit packed with tourists.

Having Taho is like reliving my childhood days. Taho is a snack made of fresh tofu. Sweet, warm and silky served with tapioca pearls. yum!
Fresh coconut water by the beach is lush! Better than a mojito or Moscow mule! yum, yum, yum!

We spent our entire time at White Beach, It took roughly 10 minutes drive from port to White Beach making it easy and accessible for us. We swam, sat and eat by the beach during the day and towards the evening we enjoyed the nightlife they have to offer. It wasn’t too bad with music and a few shows.

Fire dance
Massage by the beach too!

A lot of fun activities were offered, offered because the people come and sell it to you at the beach, they have snorkelling, diving, parasailing and more. We didn’t really try any of those as what we really wanted was only to be able to relax and enjoy by the beach, a lazy kind of day by the beach sort to say. Food and drinks were delicious, but we had to be extra careful of where and what to buy. I ordered mainly à la carte to be on the safe side. A lot of food stalls has cooked meals to sell, but I was doubtful.

When you get properly educated about food handling, food safety and HCCAP suddenly you become aware of how people can easily get sick by food contamination, food spoilage especially under hot weather which can lead to food poisoning.

Anyway the trip was after all a beautiful and successful trip. I will definitely go back. Up next is El Nido, Palawan. xoxo