The hustle and bustle in New York City

Good morning on this sunny Saturday! 

I was in New York a couple of days ago and there, I experienced New York in summertime. Tourists are scattered all over the places, locals trying to live their daily lives along with the tourists, typical New York taxis and tour buses honking here and there, shoppers crossing the pedestrians, moving in a rapid pace, a lot of food trucks and vendors almost in every street’s corner, you see everyone in action in New York City.

The city is indeed a very busy place to be but what a wonderful sight to see! Amid all these, there are a lot of things New York is famous for and why it is a city worth visiting!  First would be the beautiful skyline. You only have to find a spot where you can soak-in the beauty from above although on land is also not too bad. 

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img_1885img_1590img_1091Surrounded by beautiful buildingsfacetune_22-07-2018-11-36-22Grand Central Station’s main concourse – Admiring this beautiful terminal landmark, built in 1903 and one if not the most extra-ordinary station I’ve ever seen! It is in reality a large public space hence the name “grand”where everyone rush to catch their trains, in and out of the city. It has its own character just like Amsterdam Central or London’s King’s Cross, so uniquely beautiful. 

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img_1576-1Time Square is where you’ll find theatres in Midtown west, advertisements on large billboards, and chains of restaurants and stores. Again a place packed with tourists and I believe a place open almost 24 hours. 

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This music hall is an entertainment venue and also considered the showplace of the nation located in Manhattan. A lot of sold out concerts have been performed in this place. 

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The last two photos are the Flatiron building and One world trade centre. On my next post It will be about food and a lot more about New York!

New York what a beautiful city.. 

R x

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Cooking Filipino Dishes

I spent almost half of my life away from home, therefore it has been quite tricky to learn to cook authentic Filipino dishes. But I was surrounded by amazing ladies that cook delicious Pinoy food. I was able to learn a few recipes that are actually typical Bicolano Food, Bicol is a region in the Philippines, South of Luzon where I spent my childhood life. A lot of recipes are also now available online, leaving me with no option but to contemplate and experiment.

Here we have Chilli pork curry or Bicol express. Thin slices of pork belly, cooked in coconut milk along with a whole loads of both green and red chilies with fermented shrimp. Second Image is my favourite, Banana muffin, this is a Mary Berry recipe so I can assure you that at least, this one is very edible 🙂 HAHA!

The third photo is my own version of vegetable spring rolls. A mixture of julienne vegetables, seasoned and sauteed quickly before wrapping into little mini rolls in a thin spring roll pastry sheet. Dipping sauce could be a homemade sweet and sour chili sauce or simply a tomato ketchup 🙂 Last but not least is the plastic noodle dish. Another staple in the Philippines. The main protein could be pork or chicken or both! 

RECIPES

Bicol Express

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  • 1 small jar of plain fermented shrimp (rinse off with plain water) 
  • 1 Coconut Milk 
  • 1 Coconut cream
  • 20 pieces of red and green chilies, seeds removed and sliced diagonally. 
  • Pepper and a bit of salt to taste if not too salty yet
  • 3 to 4 slices of pork belly
  • Garlic Cloves

Start by slicing the meat thinly, sautee in garlic infused oil, just a tiny amount of oil. The meat itself will produce oil as it starts to turn golden brown. The garlic is optional, but I personally love the garlic-ky flavour so I would use about 5-10 garlic cloves (smashed) and believe me it will not overpower the dish as we have the shrimp paste as well. 

When the meat is crispy brown and seasoned remove from the pan and set aside. Pour in the coconut milk and add the chillies. Halfway through add the shrimp and maybe a bit of coconut cream if needed. I always have mine extra rich and creamy. The spicy flavour always balances out the creaminess of the dish anyway that it will not be too overwhelming. Once the taste and texture are well adjusted, fold in the crispy pork meat until it is coated with the sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice or top it up with coriander leaves. It is a dish always serve with rice.


Banana Muffin

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  • 100g Butter,  at room temperature
  • 170g golden caster sugar
  • 3 medium size eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 225g self-raising or plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar together until it is well combined. Add the eggs one at a time and beat again. Incorporate the dry ingredients slowly, when the flour is well incorporated, add the mashed banana with the milk and a pinch of salt run the mixer one last time. Transfer to a cake tin and bake for 45 mins over 180 degrees. Serve with coffee or tea! 


Vegetarian Spring Rolls

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  • A handful of beans sprout, julienne carrots, fine green beans, and cabbage
  • Cooking oil
  • Chopped onion and garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Spring roll sheets (Available at Asian markets) take out of the fridge an hour before to soften. 

Heat the pan to a medium heat, add oil and once the oil is hot add the onion, saute until it is translucent to extract the sweetness out of it, then add the garlic and vegetables. Saute for 5 minutes keeping it still crunchy, season and transfer into a chinois to cool and drain out the moisture before wrapping. Wrapping is simple, lay out a perfectly softened sprint roll sheet, add the veggies but make sure that you do not overstuff the sheet and you have enough space on all sides to be able to fold it into a roll.

Pick and fold the bottom part of the sheet, followed by both left and right sides. Then slowly roll the bottom up to the top corner, finish off by sealing it with water or eggwash. Rest for 10 minutes and start frying. 


Pancit Bihon or Glass Noodles

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Here you can use the same vegetables as the one we had used for the spring rolls. All you need will be: 

  • Oil
  • Onion and garlic, chopped
  • Boneless chicken thigh, cut into strips
  • Soy sauce
  • 2-3 cups Water 
  • Mixed vegetables, cut however you like. 
  • Glass noodles
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Lemon wedges to serve

Saute the meat for 5 minutes, add the vegetables, water and let it simmer almost to a boiling point. Then add the noodles and slowly add soy sauce and adjust the seasoning. Let the noodles cook through but not to a point that it becomes all mushy. It must come out a little al dente. Hope you enjoy!! 

x R

Easy Rhubarb Tart Recipe

This is probably one of the many easy recipes out there. It is undeniably simple and yet the finished product is delicious and elegant. I used to harvest rhubarb myself just from the backyard, and I remember how happy and satisfying it made me feel. I would harvest and bake nonstop until the rhubarb is stemless 🙂 so cruel right? but the stems will age and disappear anyway until the next season. 

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These are field grown, it has a more robust flavour, firm, crisp and a lot greener in appearance. Grows up to 1.5m long, stems are the only edible part here, the leaves are actually poisonous! There are also indoor grown rhubarbs, those that are planted in “hot greenhouses” are more brighter pink or reddish and sweeter than field grown rhubarbs. 

Ingredients:

320g pack rolled puff pastry – storebought
1 tbsp flaked almonds
300g Rhubarb stems, trimmed
1/4 cinnamon ground
Zest of 1 orange
150g ground almonds
2 medium size eggs
120g golden caster sugar
100g salted butter, at room temperature 

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Sprinkle with a bit of white sugar and place in the oven for 8 minutes until the rhubarb is slightly cook and juicy. 

You can prep the tart ahead, it’s easy to make. Here I cheated by using storebought puff pastry.

Go ahead, cream the butter and sugar until you get the right consistency. It should come out light and fluffy. The butter could make or break the finished product, creaming the butter and sugar is not tricky at all. It all depends on the temperature of the butter. A lot of times bakers would cheat and microwave their butter, instead of leaving it out at a room temperature to softened.

Microwaved butters create an oily mixture, creaming a butter straight from the fridge is also a big no. Creaming the sugar and butter the right way will determine how dense, hard, soft or fluffy a cake or a tart will be. Then there’s the whipping timing etc to consider as well.

 That’s why baking is science, it is a lot complicated than we think. 

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After creaming the butter and sugar, add and beat the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Add orange zest and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients and mix well.

Once the mixture is ready, pour a small amount into a pastry-lined baking tin, assemble rhubarb stems, repeat the process until everything is all in.

Sprinkle with almond flakes and bake for 30-40 minutes at 200 degrees oven temperature.  

P.s don’t forget to spray or butter your tins! 

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Et voila! Hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know what you think.

x R