Monday, March 31, 2014

Malay Beef Curry

Spices intimidate the bejesus out of me. Pretty normal if one has to deal with something unfamiliar  .  Like, driving a car for the first time, pricking a stranger with a sharp, pointy object as student nurse or  cooking a foreign  ingredient. I wish,  I could say that  I grew up watching my own mother cook or have anybody in my family taught me the ways of the kitchen. But, it was not the case . Numerous cookbooks and food blogs helped me feed my husband through the years. Looking at his and my now- widening girth, I guess, I'm not doing a bad job. But truth remains, I still don't know what herb goes well with what meat. Equally clueless at  what and how much spices I should use in a particular dish. Unlike most Asian cuisines, Filipino kitchen is not as spice laden as its neighbor. We  rarely use cloves, cardamom ,nutmeg and the likes in our cooking, thus making me, an ultimate but average asin (salt) at paminta(pepper) Jane. 

Now, my good Friend Nancy is just the opposite. Being Malaysian, she is expose to the amalgam of her Malay roots, as well as Chinese and Indian influences that are well represented in her country. The contents of her German kitchen is as diverse as her heritage. Glasses are filled with all things aromatic and pungent, spices and herbs she had long mustered and used. She makes impressive curries. Rich, earthy,  very flavourful, enough heat to tickle the palate and  simply über-delicious . It's so good, people ask her a potful of that  for birthdays as a present! 

Her famous Kari Lembu ( Malay Beef Curry) is phenomenal. Secret? Confluencing Malaysian cooking and Indian spices. I have been begging for recipe since I've tried it . Finally,  last month, I was greatly rewarded. I went home with a copy of that recipe, a pack of her Indian curry powder , a bottle of filled with different spices and the widest grin my mouth would allow. My husband was ecstatic ! He loves Indian food and Nancy's curry! 

It was a sunny and warm Saturday but instead of going out and soaking up Vit. D, I was busy in the Kitchen like a woman possessed. FF was breathing on my neck, cutting onions, peeling potatoes, washing dishes and throwing speculative glances on the wok . As the wondrous smell starts to waft  through the Kitchen, he whiffed and sigh looking relieved and hopeful. Hmmm, smells like we're at Namaskaar . Our favorite Indian Restaurant. I grew an inch taller. We ate it for lunch on Sunday, for like all stews, this curry tasted much much better on the next day.We had some home-made , still pipping hot Naan bread and mango lassi with it. This was the very first Indian inspired meal I cooked at home. FF said, it was his best meal at home so far. I grew another mm taller and few inches rounder. Thank you,Nancy!

 Kari Lembu ala Nancy
1 kg beef for stewing, cubed. ( could be replaced with chicken or lamb)
1 stalk lemon grass, crushed and sliced
Spices ( 1 cinnamon stalk, 3 Star anise, 4-5 Cardamon pods, 5-6 cloves)
1 big onion, peeled and finely diced.
5-6 tbsp. Mandras Indian Curry Powder ( mild )
5 tbsp. oil for sautéing 
4 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced
300 ml water
1 small can coconut milk
Salt and pepper
few sprigs of curry leaves
Optional* dried chili's

Cooking Procedure:

1.Heat oil in the pan/wok. Sauté onion and lemongrass until aromatic. Stir in curry powder and the spices. Add chili powder/flakes if using. Be careful not to burn the curry.

2. Add the meat ( beef, chicken or lamb). Stir well until each piece of meat is slathered in aromatic curry. Turn heat to high, keep stirring until meat is thoroughly brown . Add in tomato wedges. Pour water into the meat and spices mixture. Bring to a boil the lower the heat , cover and let the dish simmer gently until meat is fork tender. I cooked my beef for about 2 1/2 hours. Chicken cooks faster. I haven't cooked lamb at home so I can not tell. Stir once in a while to prevent meat from sticking at the bottom of the pan. Add half a cup of water if dish turns too dry.

3. Once meat is just tender, add in sliced potatoes and coconut milk. Cook dish for another 15 minutes . Stir in Curry leaves .Check potatoes for doneness. Season dish with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Malay Beef Curry

Thick, rich, aromatic and so, so yummy!This recipe is a keeper!

Forever 21: The Trinity

It was FF's   birthday celebration. Close family members came over for lunch. Small and intimate, just the way he likes it. Since my husband has been keeping me happy and contented all these years,  I feel like showing him how grateful I am. Since I can't afford the  Glashutte watch he's been watching intently in HongKong last year, nor have I enough money to burn on a Porsche 911, I made something that I know he would appreciate and makes him just as happy. After all, somebody said, that the way to the man's heart,  is thru his stomach. Or so thought a wife, before causing her Husband's Diabetes or Gout. 
Anyway, I am fortunate to have a man who likes and enjoys  simple things. Like a good piece of fresh Salmon filet,  crunchy shrimps  and simple yet delicious desserts.  Since it's his day, he is getting it all. 

Thai Pomelo Salad with Pan seared Prawns served with shrimp and mango Spring rolls

Main Dish:
Pan fried salmon filet wih mango salsa, served with rice and sauteed Brocolli


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pork Longganisa

Sold at every palengke/market back home. Tantalizing, beckoning , often unrefrigerated and exposed to Mother Nature's mercy. Long live Longganisa! Sweet , juicy and unnaturally red. That's sugar, fat and artificial coloring waltzing together and I can't wait to join in! However, before I could I put my dance shoes on , there are some longganisa issues that needed resolve .

Casing/ Skinless:
The mixture of this particular recipe is firm and could hold its shape. Skinless longganisa is less work and in my humble opinion, less messy. However , if you want authentic looking Pinoy breakfast sausage, hog casing is available at many butcher shops, already  cleaned and ready to use. Just run warm water through the casings and you're good to go. You don't need to buy any expensive kitchen gadget either.

Use a funnel and if you don't have one at home, just use any plastic bottles you have at home.Cut plastic bottle and use the upper end where the narrow opening is. Tadaaa! Now there's your funnel.   Sausages in a brisk . You need about 1 meter or probably less of hog casing for every kilo of sausage. 

Our sausages back home are characteristically, if not unnaturally,  red. If you have astuete/annato powder, you won't be having this problem.We love flaming colors in our food.  To give the longganisa its distinct color, use paprika or beet root powder instead. Curing salt also renders reddish hue to the longganisa .

Longganisa should be juicy . To ensure that, the meat must have enough fat in it. Using lean meat would render dry  longganisas.  Brown compact sugar on the other hand, not only gives the longganisa its sweet flavor, but it also its caramelized gloss.


Cure the meat. It makes a big difference. Marinate the minced pork for at least 1 day before cooking it. Let the spices and garlic mingle harmoniously with the meat. Look how this sausage looks after 2 days of refrigeration! Compact, almost glossy and already smellin' so devine!

Longganisa ala Emily

500 g fatty minced pork
7 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 tbsp . of Worcestershire Sauce
80  g of brown sugar
1 tbsp of sweet paprika powder or1 tsp astuete powder
Salt and lots of freshly grounded pepper


1.In a clean mixing bowl, add the meat and seasoning.

2. For Skinless Longganisa : Grease an aluminum foil, shiny side up with butter. Drop about 2 tbsp. of Longganisa mixture on it and shape it into a log. Roll tightly and store in a close container and refrigerate for at least 1 day. After curing the sausage overnight, you could freeze it for the next use.

Longganisa with Casing: Pipe sausage mass into the hog casing. They're are a lot of videos in You Tube that you could follow. I used it as a guide. 

Cooking Procedure:


Left: Skinless Longganisa- Heat a bit of oil in a pan and pan fry sausage under medium heat until fully cooked.
Right: With Casing- Cook sausage in 1 cup of water.  Let water simmer until it fully evaporates. Then prick sausage with the tip of a knife and let sausage cook in its own juice. 
My Favorite Silog!
FF enjoyed these breakfast sausage so much, he even eats it for dinner and have it as snack while watching TV .As for me, I had longsilog for 4 straight days. No, I was not complaining either.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Banana Fritters ala Mode

Okay! Okay! The truth is, it's just Banana_cue,   minus the skewers . But, it looks so sosyal  , it deserves a fancy name. Calling it simply  ''Banana Q'' is almost the banana , that is! I must say, I owe this dessert's upgraded  look to my newest kitchen tool,   the 3,19 euro plastic sauce dispenser. Thank you,  Sponsor !

Married gents could surely   relate to this  and experienced beau, probably too. Many wives/girlfriends developed this particular ailment after saying ''Yes!'' or " I Do. " . An ailment. An abnormal condition that affects the well being of an organism. It's the "Bilmoko" syndrome. Portmanteau for Filipino words, Bili mo ako  ( Buy me this).I  guessIt doesn't take a genius to know what it means   .  Symptoms are collective and  varies from case to case; hence, a syndrome. It's sporadic and in some err patients already, periodic . It  could get as seasonal as the weather. Severity stage starts from mild: Sweets and simple trinket phase to  prove-your-love-by-buying-me-everything-I-could-get-my-claws-on severe . Etiology : Idiopathic but cultural and familiar background are predisposing risk factors . It's not genetic but could be hereditary, after all,    daughters often mimic their mothers. Signs and symptoms may include general fatigue and malaise, mood swings or even depression, loss of appetite , restlessness, insomia and   obvious low sex drive. Possible manifestations: Murmuring , whining , sulking, nagging and dramatizing.  
Kaning Lamig aka Bahaw at your service!
Non treatment may result  to piling of unwashed dishes ,  unfolded socks and getting  kaning lamig. Although non life-threatening, it may cause severe the husbands/boyfriends. It's not infectious but apparently contagious, with 81%  probability of spreading to intimate social circle. Possible carrier: Green eyed microbes. Therapy : Malls and shopping bags. Prognosis depends on the partner's gullibility and monetary capability.

I was having my Bilmoko moment a week before FF's birthday and was embarrassingly whiny . " But! But! I neeeeeed it! " , I probably sound like a bloody 3 year old at Toys R Us,  but can't help it. Bilmoko attacks are  as uncontrollable as Parkinson's tremor . I was pointing my finger at the picture of  squeezable plastic bottle on Amazon as if my life depends on it. "What for?" , FF asked patiently . " To drizzle sauces and to garnish foods! "  . He raised an eyebrow. " Artistically!" , I added. He raised the other  brow. " I'm going to use it on your birthday party! " was already laying the  last card and trying to sound as convincing as I could. He gave up and bought it, probably hates  over sized, overfed looking toddlers especially when they're past 30s . I was a happy, happy wife and I clapped my hands. I don't normally ask FF to buy things for me  , thankfully , I have a sustaining job that enables me to purchase things I later regret buying . But, having a man that spoils you once in while, even in silly little thing like this, could get to one's head. No wonder,  Bilmoko syndrome has chronic and recurrent tendencies. 

Anyway, back to fancy looking dessert. It's simple. Toppings and sauce's just a matter of preference. Chocolate and bananas goes rather well together, however,  you could use caramel, vanilla or whatever sauce   you have in your pantry. I spent less than 10 euros on this dessert and it served 12. It might not look like it bit it was pretty cheap!

1.Peel and slice banana as pictured above. Tip: Don't use over ripe ones. It will get mushy.
2.Heat butter in a nonstick pan. 
3. Fry banana in butter. Once banana slices become golden brown, add in brown sugar. Let the sugar caramelize. There's no exact measurement of  this recipe. Just eyeball everything . Who needs one anyway? Say, each person could have 1 small sized banana.  The bananas one we bought today were  huge. 1 huge banana could serve up to 2 happy campers.
4. Once banana is thoroughly browned and coated with crumbly caramel. Take it out from the pan. 
5.Put banana fritters on the serving plate, top with ice cream, add whipped cream if you like spooning more calories, drizzle with your favorite sauce, garnish with nut brittle, a berry, a cherry or some sugary/ chocolaty decorative and serve immediately!

My artistic skill needs more honing. But everybody on the table was aaahhhing when this  dessert was served. Hmmming once they started eating. Felt like a domestic Goddess. Only the mess of my home says otherwise...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

White chocolate and Macadamia cookie

It's was Friday when FF came home from work looking quite excited. His briefcase is filled with packs of Macadamia nuts and white chocolates. Eyes wide as saucer, he asked me if I could make some cookie out of it. How could I say " No!" to that puppy look? Besides, our cookie jar's been empty long enough .  He was almost skipping around this Saturday , if he had a tail, it would be waggling by now.  The aroma coming out of the oven as the cookies bake was simply divine . We made some tea. Then, we had some cookie ,  two  three okay, honestly,   I lost count  how many we keep on popping in our mouth. It's soft, chewy and so yummy. If you're into white chocolate and macadamia nuts, then this might be for you. It would certainly make your Saturday happy. Actually, make that every day!

Ingredients :

250 g butter, at room temperature
200 g brown sugar
150 g white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla 
3 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
250 g white chocolate chips or chunk 
150 g macadamia nuts, chopped coarsely

1. Using an electric beater, cream together butter and sugar until thick and fluffy. Keep beating for about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla.

2. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Add flour into the butter mixture, using a paddle hook or a wooden spoon, mix everything together .
3.Add in chocolate and macadamia nuts into the cookie dough. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. 

4.Scoop about a tablespoon of cookie and drop into the parchment paper. Leave enough space between cookies.  Bake cookie for about 12 mins max under 190°  c. Let it set for about 5 mins before transferring into the cooling rack.

 Thick, soft and chewy. Like every cookie should be!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bistek Tagalog

I saw a picture of this dish on the Internet last week and  decided to give it a try. The whiff of lime and soy sauce emitting from the kitchen was so comforting.  It felt like I'm back home at my Nanay's kitchen. How I treasure those worry-less days. Nothing but finishing a homework is expected of me.  Mothers are really astonishing creatures. Nobody irritates a growing child more than their constant nagging and fast tract lecturing . My Nanay is renowned for her well developed bronchi. She could out-bellow a howling yeti any day. She's louder than any alarms I know every existed and  I swear, if she were born 2000 years ago, she could have risen Jesus on the second day. My brothers and I used to call her " Ang Kanyon" or  " The Machine Gun "  behind her back.  Yup, artillery,  for we go spread out faster than  any germs, cowering to dodge her booming vocal bullets, every time her infamous alto zooms  our way . Fast forwarding 25 years. Now,  I run my own household, pay my own taxes, settle my own bills, solve my own problems, find my own stuff , clean my own mess and cook for my own family . I somehow misses the time when she shrieks my name when dinner's getting cold and I'm still in my room, reading Tagalog pocket books. Aaahh those were the golden days. Why do we have to grow up and so, so damn fast?


500 g sirloin or tender cut beef, sliced thinly
Juice from 3 limes
5 cloves of garlic, crushed 
1/2 cup light soy sauce , 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
2 large onions, cut into rings
Oil for sautéing
Salt and lots and lots of pepper.

1.Marinate beef in lime juice, garlic, soy sauce and lots and lots of pepper. It's my personal preference by the way. Cover and refrigerate for few hours or overnight. Strain meat, keep the marinade.

2. Dissolve sugar and starch in the soy sauce and lime mixture. Set aside.Heat a bit of oil in a pan. Sauté onion rings until aromatic. Don't let it soften too much. Take out from the pan and set aside.

3.On the same pan, add a bit of oil and stir fry beef  with crushed garlic under high heat. Takes about 3 minutes. Don't overlook the beef otherwise , it turns tough and leathery. Put sautéed  onions back into the pan. Season with salt. Add in more pepper if you prefer it peppery like me.

4. Mix the soy sauce and lime juice mixture thoroughly, then,  add into the pan. Toss and stir. Done!

 Goes well with blanched broccoli and garlic rice. Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pork Binagoongan with Eggplant

OThere will be a battle in my kitchen today. Burns and  blisters are just few of the potential injuries the losing end's going to get. And that would be my end, by the way. On the other side of the ring  wok is a thick, unresponsive slab of meat, obviously long dead. The pork belly. For some reasons, pork hates their own kind. I swear,  it comes back to life , with a furious vengeance when deep fried! Look how it reacts, when laid in hot fat. It sizzles , splatters and spurts angrily everywhere , making sure you're getting a handful, in not  a face full. If you are smart enough to cower in a safe distance, the non-forgiving swine will make sure, you will spend the rest of the hour cleaning up its mess. After that, it will certainly keep its battle in your artery. Ahh this a love hate- relationship  I intend to keep forever.

Pork Binagoongan

To enjoy the crispy belly at its best , I good dose of alamang or fermented shrimp paste is the the way to do it. Yesss! That old, unwashed socks,  pungent smell that would leave your kitchen smelling like shrimps visited it, died and never left! And the smell, almost every Filipinos passionately love as much the Frenchs  revere their Eau de toilette !


500 g pork belly
1 medium sized onion, peeled and quartered
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cups of water
1 whole head of garlic, crushed 
2 bay leaves
pepper and salt
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fermented shrimp paste or alamang
1/4 cup apple vinegar
1 large eggplant,sliced 
oil for frying

1.Bring pork belly, water, half of the crushed garlic, quartered onion, bay leaves, whole pepper corns to a boil. Let it simmer until pork is tender. Takes about 1 -1/2 hours. Once pork is tender. Strain meat, pat dry using paper towel, slice into serving cubes , discard broth.

2.Heat oil in the pan. Pan fry sliced eggplant until fully cooked. Place eggplant on the serving plate. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

3. Heat oil in the wok and deep fry pork belly until crispy. Be warned. This is one messy, messy affair. Drain on kitchen towel. 

4.Sauté 1 small diced onion and the remaining garlic in a pan. Stir in tomato. Add shrimp paste. Toss until well combine. Add in vinegar.

5.Add in the fried pork belly. Stir well until each pork piece is slathered in tomatoey shrimpy goodness. Test taste. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.Alamang could be salty enough, depending on the brand. So, go easy on the salt.

Serve Pork Binagoongan over the pan fried eggplant.

 Eat and eat well.

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