Friday, December 17, 2004

A Taste of Taiwan

taiwan sausage
Originally uploaded by annalyn.
I caught the last day of the World Bazaar Festival last Sunday at the World Trade Center and made one of my most important food discoveries of the year: the Taiwan sausage in choices of pork or chicken. It is simply so yummy that I've been eating it everyday for five days. A dozen cost only P160 pesos and is available in Chinese deli shops like DEC's deli and Shin Tong Yang on Gandara St. Binondo.

ice bar
Originally uploaded by annalyn.
In the same Taiwan booth, I tried their dessert which is called Ice Bar. I found out it was a better, tastier version than the rage of the moment, the Ice Monster. One had a chocolate-mallow topping while the other had cherries and preserved fruits. I heard the distributor is already accepting dealerships so it should be a craze soon. At only P35, the Ice Bar is definitely a treat.

My latest food adventure has aroused my curiosity of Taiwan. My Rotarian buddies were there recently to visit our sister-club and they were also raving about the food (not to mention running naked in the freezing open-air hot spring). Hmm, Taiwan should be on my list of must-visit places soon. If you have anything more to say about Taiwanese cuisine, your comments here would be much appreciated.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Sugar High Friday: Banana Pistachio Crunch

Banana Pistachio Crunch
Originally uploaded by annalyn.
I have just discovered Is My Blog Burning? or IMBB and I like participating in their activities because it gets me in touch with fellow foodies from all over the world who I could learn a lot from. As a result of surfing all the great food sites from Italy to France to California, I have also launched a separate food blog called Munchin' in Manila which is actually just a compilation of my food-related posts here, and then some! (It's a wonder how I make the time). Hopefully, this will motivate me to spend more time in the kitchen; after all Momma's cooked and baked treats are in-demand from the Three Incredibles.

It was great joining Jennifer's cookie swap and now it's time to show our wares for Sugar High Friday # 3 being moderated by Zarah from Denmark. Because of time constraints,I've decided to come up with the Banana Pistachio Crunch which calls for the simple recipe of baking the banana cake spiced up with sour milk and nutmeg. The no-fuss topping of breakfast cereals and pistachios gives this yummy dessert its "crunch."

How-to (as adapted from the Philippines' Food Magazine:)

1. Make the sour milk by combining 1 tbsp. vinegar, 1/4 cup evaporated milk and 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl. Set Aside.

2. Begin making the cake.
Preheat oven to 350F and grease baking pan.

In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup condensed milk and 1 cup mashed bananas. Set Aside.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. baking soda. Set aside.

In a bowl of electric mixer, cream 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the two eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Lower mixer speed and pour in the banana mixture and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with sour milk, ending with the flour mixture.

Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes. (Best to check cake for doneness)

3. Make the topping. Combine 3/4 cup cornflakes (in this case, I used Honey Stars cereals), 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts and 2 tbsp. butter.

After cake is baked, remove from oven and sprinkle the topping mixture on top.

Return cake to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until top is crunchy.

Photo shows what's been left of the cake after the twins lapped it up. Surprise! Surprise! This simple dessert gives extraordinary enjoyment.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Pasta puttanesca for when you feel s-e-x-y

Pasta puttanesca
Originally uploaded by annalyn.
As everyone probably knows, this pasta has a colorful history. Its name was derived from the Italian word "puttana" which means lady of the evening. One folklore has it that fishermen in the southern coastal towns of Italy traded their freshly-caught anchovies for the pleasure of a woman's company when they couldn't afford to pay the money up front. With all those anchovies, members of the world's oldest profession then found a way to make it into the zesty, piquant puttanesca sauce.

From reading, I found out that there are many variations of this pasta. Although some say it's better slow-cooked, I prepare it when I want to come up with a quick,satisfying meal that's a bit different from the usual carbonara and sweet-tasting spaghetti Filipinos often prefer.

Whether slow- or quick-cooked, what's important is that the basic ingredients should remain:

1/2 cup olive oil
minced garlic
1 small can anchovy fillets
fresh, red, ripe tomatoes - blanched & seeded
1 small bottle capers
1 cup pitted black olives (preferably Kalamata)
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tsp. dried or fresh basil leaves
salt to taste
pasta cooked al dente
parmesan cheese


1. Heat olive oil. Add garlic, taking care not to brown it.
2. Add anchovies, mashing lightly.
3.Mix in tomatoes, capers, olives, parsley & basil leaves, stirring gently.
4. Season with salt.
5. Mix with cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.