Sunday, December 26, 2010

Smoked salmon & capers boursin - a recipe from Yummy December 2010

This is an appetizer dish I served for Noche Buena which I got from the pages of my favorite food mag Yummy (December 2010 issue). It's delicious, easy to make and can be prepared ahead. The original recipe called for it to be served with sliced pears, but I bought melba toast instead. Anyhoo, it makes no difference. What matters here is the dip itself

How to make:

mix softened one package of cream cheese and 1/2 cup heavy cream until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients: 2 tbsps. chopped dill leaves, 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, 2 tbsps. rinsed capers, 100 grams smoked salmon and sliced pears (optional).

Transfer the dip to a serving container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Noche Buena 2010

Unlike last year when I was pregnant and feeling woozy, this time around I slaved over the kitchen for our Noche Buena 2010. In choosing the recipes I will make, I searched in the internet and local magazines. In the end, I settled for the following dishes. I wasn't able to make the shrimp bisque already!

Pineapple-glazed roasted spare ribs - trust on pineapple and its juice to make your dish flavorful in an instant. My kids devoured this

Slow-cooked salmon with creamy leeks and red wine butter - a recipe I found on Saveur:)

smoked salmon and capers boursin - appetizer served with melba toast. This turned out to be hubby's favorite.

Green papaya salad, Vietnamese version - a dish I learned to prepare at the Hanoi Cooking Centre

White Chocolate cheesecake - chef Aileen Anastacio recipe

The Noche Buena is what makes Christmas exciting. It's a prelude to the time when the family opens gifts. Holidays are hard to come by in my line of work and this year, my company declared Dec 24 a no working day. I was certainly happy and used the time to go grocery shopping and cooking. I don't know what Christmas will be like next year. Other people make this toxic season bearable by just ordering from restaurants and caterers. I might just do that too:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Japanese beef curry recipe

Here's something I saw from the pages of a food magazine, recreated in my kitchen. This dish is often found in Japanese-style diners and best served over a heaping plate of steamed rice. The Golden Curry brand is something you will see in the Oriental section of major supermarkets like SM. The finished product looks like kaldereta, but tastes like curry. Uber-yummy! ;)


500 grams (half kilo) of beef cubes

one large onion, diced

one carrot, sliced

one potato, cubed

unsalted butter, for frying

2 cubes Golden Curry

about one cup beef stock

salt and pepper, to taste

The complete recipe:

Saute onion in butter and oil until it becomes transparent. Add beef and cook until brown.

Add about one cup beef stock and about two pieces Golden Curry beef curry bouillon cubes. Simmer until beef is tender, about two hours. Put sauteed onions, sliced carrots and potatoes and simmer again until veggies are cooked.

Season with salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings. The Golden Curry cubes will give this dish the flavor.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Warm deep-dish chocolate cookie: recipe from Yummy Books

A new way to enjoy chocolate chip cookie... the only thing missing from this picture is a scoop of vanilla ice cream:) Thanks to my copy of Yummy Books So-Easy Sweets for the recipe. The kids had a blast partaking of slices of this deep dish cookie - thick and made more yummy with the addition of heavenly chocolate chips & chocolate syrup!

Here's the recipe:

1. As always when you bake cookies like these, preheat oven to 325F. Afterwards, proceed to prepare the materials and make the recipe.

2. In a bowl, combine 3 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup quick-cooking oats, 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, cream 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened) and one cup sugar till light and fluffy.

4. Add two eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Stir in 4 tsps. vanilla extract.

5. Add flour mixture to the creamed butter-eggs mix and beat till well combined. Fold in 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips and one cup chopped walnuts.

6. Transfer dough to a baking pan or ovenproof casserole (preferably 10-inch). Spread the dough evenly.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes until edges are done and top is lightly browned.

8. (optional) Before serving, drizzle top with chocolate syrup or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Asparagus with scallops

Asparagus with scallops ( or scallops with asparagus) was one dish I encountered somewhere. I just didn't have the time to look up the recipe online because when I was about to cook this, we had no internet for close to 40 hours due to a typhoon! So what I did was just cook this with a blind eye (read: no recipe). I was pretty confident in the outcome because with seafood + veggies, you just let the natural flavors come out. And it did!

How to cook (blindly):

I cut two bunches of asparagus stems and set aside. Pound xx cloves of garlic and set aside too. Heat a pan and put oil and butter then fry your scallops (not too long or it will become tough). Put aside in one section of your pan. At this point, add garlic. When it browns a little, add your sliced asparagus and cook for five minutes - taking care not to overcook. If you want a little sauce, add a small amount of water, a little Japanese soy sauce and a dollop of sake (or white wine). Season with salt, pepper and/or Magic Sarap. This dish will taste edible in due time :D Serve hot.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Belgian chocolate cupcakes

These cupcakes are totally heavenly. I adopted these from Yummy Books So-Easy Sweets and they turned out to be finger-lickin' good. I followed the recipe to the letter but found the chocolate ganache to be runny. Still, it was good! I wouldn't hesitate to do this again, especially as my children couldn't resist yummy chocolate in any form:)

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients -

1/2 cup butter
100 grams bittersweet Belgian chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk

For the chocolate ganache -

2 cups cream
400 grams bittersweet Belgian chocolate, chopped

How to do:

1. In a small pan, melt butter. Add chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups.

3. In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in cocoa powder and vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until smooth.

4. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Beat until smooth.

5. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.Cool before frosting.

6. Prepare the ganache. Put the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Cook until thick and use to frost the cupcakes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl) recipe

Oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl or chicken and egg donburi) is another staple in Japanese restaurants which you can prepare at home. It's a comfort food for me since I love chicken. There are other ways of doing this dish but here is my recipe, combined from several versions of recipes found on the internet. Please feel free to estimate the ingredients as most of the time I don't measure when I cook. LOL.

How I cook my oyakodon:

Prepare your boneless chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. You have the option of dipping them in flour. Fry the chicken until almost cooked and get rid of excess oil.

Next, saute the onions until transparent. Add soup or chicken stock and slowly simmer.Dashi is preferred, but in its absence, try mixing soy sauce, grown sugar, Japanese sake and mirin in the right quantities to make your stock/sauce. Add chicken pieces and let boil again until flavor of the soup is absorbed.

In the meantime, beat the eggs and add to the chicken mixture. Eggs should still be tender, not overcooked, when transferred to the steaming hot bowl of steamed rice. Top with chopped green onions, if desired.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Katsudon recipe

Japanese food is most people's favorite, but it can get quite expensive. Here is one fool-proof recipe to satiate your craving for katsudon which is one of the most popular Japanese dishes. Veer away from the usual lunch or dinner and serve this on the table. You are likely to elicit praises for a dish which is quite easy to make ;)


Four pork chops, preferably boneless
Black pepper to taste
2-3 tbsps. flour
one egg
1-2 cups panko or breadcrumbs
Cooking oil for frying

One large onion
1 tbsp. sesame oil
four to five eggs
leeks or green onion, chopped
dry seaweed or nori

For sauce:

1 tbsp. sugar
50 ml. Japanese sake
50 ml. mirin
50 ml soy sauce
100 ml. dashi or soup stock


1. Make shallow cuts along the rim of the prok chops to prevent them from contracting. Sprinkle with black pepper and dip in the following order: flour, beaten egg then the panko or bread crumbs.

Deep fry pork chops. Once cooked, cut in serving size while still hot.

2. Slice the onion and fry in the sesame oil until they become transparent. Pour sake, mirin, sugar, soy sauce and the dashi to the onions and bring to a boil. Add the tonkatsu slices and simmer for a few minutes.

3. Lower the fire so the sauce doesn't evaporate. Add the well-beaten eggs and onions. Eggs should not be too cooked.

4. Put katsudon on top of a bowl of steamed rice and heap with more sauce. Serve hot.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sticky date pudding recipe

I used to believe that I am not a pudding person, until I tasted the sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce in Cafe Juanita. It was love at first bite, and I decided to look for similar recipes. I have the Assumption High School Class of '79 Cookbook (Pearl Edition) and found a related recipe for Sticky Date Pudding by Marivic Puyat Limcaoco. Okay, this may not be as moist as the Cafe Juanita version but it's also good. My only problem was finding dates in the grocery ~ good thing the hubby found me a huge jar in the Metro Gaisano grocery in The Fort's Market!Market!

Btw, this cake is great with coffee!

Sticky date pudding

1. Put 170 grams pitted dates in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 tsp. baking soda, pour with about 1 1/4 cups boiling water then set aside.

2. Cream 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar - approximately five minutes.

3. In another bowl, beat together two eggs and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla. Add half of the egg mixture into the butter mixture and beat until fully mixed. Add remainder of the egg mixture and mix well again.

4. When done, add 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour and mix at low speed. (In the absence of self raising flour, substitute with the same amount of all purpose flour, then add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.)
Fold in dates. Pour batter in greased loaf pan, bundt pan or 8-inch round pan.

5.Bake in preheated 360F oven for 25 minutes or until done (insert toothpick in center to check doneness).

6. In the meantime, make caramel sauce by mixing together in a saucepan 1 1/2 cups thick cream, 2 cups packed brown sugar, 250 grams butter and 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract.

7. When pudding is done. let cool and prick all over with a skewer. Drizzle with caramel sauce and return to the oven for two more minutes.

8. Serve pudding warm with caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ricotta blintzes

Ricotta Blintzes

I saw a very attractive picture of Ricotta Blintzes in The Essential Dessert Cookbook (1998, Murdoch Books) and vowed to make them. Problem was, ricotta cheese wasn't readily available in my supermarket. Thankfully, they sold it in Rustan's. I had a choice between buying the imported one and the local ricotta made by this producer called Malagos Farmhouse.I settled for the latter.

According to my cookbook, blintzes are filled pancakes which are Jewish in origin. They are best eaten during breakfast or early dinner. Basically, they are pancakes or crepes filled with cheese mixture and then baked. If you're looking for something new to taste, try it sometime. The husband, who loves cheese, liked it so much ;)

Ricotta blintzes recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 315 F. Sift one cup all-purpose flour. Make a well and in this center, whisk in two eggs and 1 1/4 cups milk (about 315 ml) until batter is smooth and free of lumps. Stir in melted butter, transfer to a container, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

2. In a greased nonstick pan, pour batter and swirl quickly. Cook until set. Invert unto a plate. Stack crepes between parchment paper or anything grease-proof to prevent them from sticking together.

3. Next, mix 2 oz. raisins in a bowl and add 1 tbsp. liqueur (Grand Marnier or Cointreau). Set aside for 30 minutes. Beat 12 oz (375 g) ricotta, 1/3 cup caster sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice for one to two minutes until smooth. Stir in raisin mixture.

4. Heap enough filling on the center of each crepe then fold. Place the crepes, folded side down, in a greased ovenproof dish in a single layer. Brush each crepe lightly with melted butter and put in oven for 10-15 minutes or until hot. Dust with confectioners' or icing sugar before serving.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Beef bourguignon (beef in red wine, a la Julia Child)

I chanced upon a recipe of beef bourguignon and remembered our trip to Coron, Palawan - one of my favorite places in the Philippines. The dish happen to be offered in Bistro Coron, inarguably the best restaurant in the island. The presence of a bottle of red wine in the house made me decide to finally try the recipe, which was adopted from simplyrecipes using Julia Child's version.

I noticed there are a lot of recipes for beef in red wine sauce (I even consulted my French cookbook) but this version is simply SUPERB! Kudos to Julia and simplyrecipes :) Sauteeing the beef in bacon (and bacon fat) and mixing pearlized onions and mushrooms just as the beef stew is about to be cooked makes all the difference.


6 pieces of bacon (I used the smoked variety, local brand)
olive oil
beef cubes
salt and pepper
sliced onions
carrots or baby carrots (I used the latter)
about 2 cups of red wine
beef stock
chopped tomatoes
herb bouquet (in its absence, I just added chopped garlic and bay leaf into the boiling pot)
*better if you have herbs like parsley and thyme

more sliced onions
button mushrooms

1. Blanch bacon in boiling water, drain and dry on paper napkins or towels. Slice bacon into one-inch pieces and saute in its own oil. Add olive oil, then brown beef cubes in mixture of bacon fat and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a Dutch oven or casserole pan.

2. Add sliced vegetables to the pan and deglaze with wine. Pour enough stock to cover the meat. Add tomatoes, garlic and onion.

3. In a separate pan, saute chopped onions in a mix of olive oil and butter. Add chicken stock or water, brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer till the onions have absorbed most of the water. Set aaside.

4. Next, saute sliced mushrooms in olive oil and butter.

5. Fold the onions and mushrooms into the simmering stew. Serve with steamed rice, bread or potatoes.Blanch bacon in boiling water, drain and dry on paper napkins or towels

Friday, May 28, 2010

Savory sour cream pork chops recipe

The picture isn't as attractive as it should be, but hubby definitely considers this comfort food. Super-tender pork chops with savory sauce put on top of steaming hot rice is the stuff weekday dinners are made of.

What is good is that the chops were basically just pan-fried a bit and left to simmer in the slow cooker. Busy wives (like moi) can prepare this in the morning, and then the dish can be ready seven to eight hours later, when you return from work. Thanks to for sharing!


6 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

How to make:

Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then dredge in 1/2 cup flour. In a skillet over medium heat, lightly brown chops in a small amount of oil.
Place chops in slow cooker, and top with onion slices. Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water and pour over chops. Cover, and cook on Low 7 to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
After the chops have cooked, transfer chops to the oven to keep warm. Be careful, the chops are so tender they will fall apart. In a small bowl, blend 2 tablespoons flour with the sour cream; mix into meat juices. Turn slow cooker to High for 15 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve sauce over pork chops.