Saturday, November 21, 2015

Potato Gratin

A rich and creamy potato recipe with just a tinge of nutmeg that will have anyone digging for more. It goes wonderfully well with steaks, Sunday roast or even stews.
We enjoyed it with pan fried sirloins and green salad last Sunday. Kids and oldies alike.

Kartoffel Gratin ala Emily
Serves 6

1.2 kg potatoes, preferably medium to large sized
45 g butter
3 tbsp. flour
300 ml hot milk
400 ml cream
60 g grated Parmesan cheese
150 grated Gruyere /Emmental/ Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
white pepper and salt to taste

1. In a small sauce pan, heat butter until melted. Stir in flour , keep stirring under  medium low heat . 

2. Pour  milk, bring to a gentle simmer. Add in  cream. Once mixture boils, add in the grated Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Season generously with pepper and salt. Take sauce pan out from the heat . Set aside.

3. Peel potatoes and slice thinly. 

4.Arrange a layer of sliced potatoes in a well buttered baking dish.

5. Pour half of cream mixture over the potatoes. Spread evenly. Top with half of the grated cheese.

5. Repeat...Cover baking Dish with aluminium foil.

6. Bake covered , in a preheat oven ( 180° C)  for about an hour. Then remove aluminium foil, increase temperature to 200 °c and bake for 20 more minutes until sides are bubbling with thickened cream and the top is crusty deep brown in color.

Allow to cool for few minutes before  passing judgement. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cervejaria Ramiro, Lisbon

The restaurant , Cervejaria Ramiro,  is not the place for  first dates.  It's place when you have to be at ease while  sucking tasty innards of a shellfish out of their husk, get your hands dirty and probably licking it at the end of the meal, smashing your  dinner with a mini hammer , splattering foods all over you mascara or probably your neighbours' and be okay with it.

It no your typical fine dining place, but you will dine, really really fine, if you catch my drift.

The whole restaurant is already buzzing with activity when we arrive at 6:30 in the evening. The queue outside wasn't long...yet. FF and I were seated after 5 minutes. The air is tinge with gustatory excitement and anticipation, I could almost taste it. Diners patiently waiting to be seated or served, eyes roving over tables , silently ogling those who already are immensely enjoying themselves.  Men in uniform are seen carrying plates containing seafoods  cooked simply but perfectly.

There's a sense of orderly chaos in the air,  it's a loud and lively room filled with odd sounds of quick steps, dull hammering, loud conversations and even  louder laughter that's usually comes with abundant food and booze. There's no impressive interior, the light is bright , seating arrangement quite pack and cozy, allowing as much diners are the place could offer. Sea creatures adorned the entire place, swimming and still alive on one side, and well, dead and for the taking on the other .

Service is quick and almost brusque , somewhat hurried. They are however, quite attentive. Do not expect a warm and engaging conversation, they will hand you an iPad where you can simply point on the pictures ( if you don't speak Portuguese) and they will be back rather quickly to take your order. FF wants to have some white wine, our waiter whips up a bottle and pour him a glass  and putting the bottle beside him he could finish his sentence. I don't drink, so FF was unsettled at the thought of drinking the entire stuff alone and how much it would cost us.

Soon after that our foods came and his worries, gone.

The shrimps in garlic is served first. We've eaten a lot of shrimps while in Portugal, most of them cooked really , really well. This one however, was the best! It came sizzling and  smelling so divinely garlicky. We used the pillow-soft garlic  butter bread to scrape the tasty morsels at the bottom of that pan.

Next to follow were the tiger shrimps, so huge it overcrowd the plate.  No garnishing or extravagant plating, the shrimps were simply cooked in boiling water, and drizzles with butter and served with half a lemon.

Cervejaria Ramiro don't use too much herbs and spices in their foods. The seafoods were so fresh, it stand out on their own. A drop of lemon is all this shrimp needs! It's sweet  and juicy and so delicious !

 We had a blast hammering this gigantic hairy crab. My husband who hates touching his food with his bare hands, totally forget his aversion and was fishing out crab meat like a pro.

Just when I thought I had enough proteins, FF ordered a Prego, a steak sandwich cooked medium and very, very well. No dessert could be fitter than this!
Our first meal in Lisbon was fantastic, the best part is, all those fresh seafoods, huge streak sandwich, 2 servings of garlic bread ,  an entire bottle of relatively good white wine and my non alcoholic drink cost us less than 90 euro! Life is good at Cervejaria Ramiro!

We close at Mondays.
    Address: Av. Almirante Reis nº1 - H, 1150-007 Lisboa, Portugal
    Sunday12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
    Tuesday12:00 PM – 12:30 AM
    Wednesday12:00 PM – 12:30 AM
    Thursday12:00 PM – 12:30 AM
    Friday12:00 PM – 12:30 AM
    Saturday12:00 PM – 12:30 AM
Open:     12:00
Closed:   00:30

Located in Lisbon, one of the most beautiful European cities, it is a great pleasure that we will inform you where we are and how you can find us.

Find us at:

N38º 43.210’


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Oxtail kare Kare Recipe

Filipinos love having friends and family around them. We enjoy company and food so much  we practically celebrate any occasion known to man.

Birthdays..  Wedding.. Reunion...  Having a baby? Got yourself a new car, house or kitchen? Did your kid finished high school ? Did you passed an exam? Got a visa somewhere? Someone working abroad is coming back home.. Manny Pacqiao in the ring beating somebody into a pulp.. Err death anniversary of someone you know? Yup, we celebrated both life and death.

FF and I were invited to a baptism  weeks ago. So what happen when few Filipinas get together? Loud talk and hysterical laughter are shared over abundant foods . Then, between main dish and dessert , date and place for the next get together is discussed and set. Another party! Yay!

So I came to this party carrying a large serving dish containing Kare Kare . A peanut -based stew, usually using oxtail, tripe or beef and is usually  served with sauteed shrimp paste as a condiment.  Compare to the typical tomato based stews in the Philippines, this one taste different and  unique, laborious in making thus considered by many  , quite special. 

Oxtail Kare Kare ala Emily
 ( good for 10)

1.5 - 2 kg oxtail
3 large onion
2 cups of chopped celery stalk
5 bay leaves
1 tbsp. whole peppercorn
1 whole garlic head
1.5- 2 L water ( simply eyeball the amount)
olive oil.
1/2 cup powdered glutinous rice
2 tbsp. annatto/ Atsuete powder
100 g toasted peanut, ground
4 tbsp. peanut butter
2 -3 large eggplant
300 g green beans
500 g baby bokchoi
salt and pepper
Alamang Guisado ( Available in many Asian stores)

Cooking Instructions: 

1. Wash Oxtail under cold running water. Put in a big pot. Pour enough water to so oxtail is submerged in liquid. It may depend on how wide/big your pot is. I used almost 2 L of water. Bring water to a boil, skim off fat using a ladle.

2. Peel onion and cut into quarter , wash and coarsely chop celery stalk, peel about 5 garlic gloves and smash. Add everything to the pot along with peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and lower heat to gently simmer . After about an hour, save about a cup of broth. You need it later. Cook for another hour or more until meat is tender. 

 3. Put glutinous rice in a pan and heat until it's slightly toasted and changes color to light brown or ocher. Put aside.

4. Once the oxtail is tender, fish out the meat from the pan and set a side. Pour the contents if the pot in a bowl through a colander.

 5. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Saute one finely chopped ,large onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Put oxtail into the pan. Stir and season with salt.

6. Dissolve 3 tbsp. Annato/ Atsuete powder in the oxtail broth. Pour it back to the  oxtail meat.

7. Spoon peanut butter and ground peanut. Bring to a boil.

8. Remember that cup of oxtail broth? Cooking instruction number 2. Use it to dissolve the toasted glutinous rice flour. Cooking instruction number 3.

9.  Pour that mixture into the pot. The starch will help thicken up the sauce. Cover and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Give the sauce a try, season with salt and pepper as need.

10. Cut eggplant into serving pieces. Arrange on top of the oxtail meat. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes. Add in green bean, cook for another 5 minutes.

11. Wash and put baby bokchoi over beans and eggplant.  Cook for 3 more minutes. To keep vegetable green and crunchy, you can simply blanche the bokchoi and serve on top of the stew.

Serve with Alamang and enjoy!

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