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29 September 2011

Salame Inglese (Chocolate Salami)

This mock-sweet salami dessert captivated the life out of me like it did to my husband as he went through his childhood. What baffles me is why it is referred to as English.  I do know that it's Sicilian by origin.  To a few, it's aptly referred to as salame al cioccolato (chocolate salami) but its real name is really salame inglese

28 September 2011

Frittata al Tartufo (Truffle Omelette)

Eggs and truffles.  Truffles and eggs.  I was emptying the refrigerator & cupboards from overlooked ingredients that needed to be cooked.  Dinner was an odd mixture of leftovers. I had 4 eggs and an open miniscule bottle of preserved black truffles that was almost reaching its time limit.   Being preserved, it is incomparable to the fresh ones because of its diminished distinctive taste & fragrance.  For this bit of loss, I am boosting it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil with white truffle essence.  You can smell it as soon as you enter the kitchen. 

25 September 2011

Quince Jam with Port

I thought nature was playing tricks on me when I first saw the unexpectedly colossal fruit dangling from our spindly-looking "apple" tree.   At the beginning, I thought we had an apple tree because that's what we chose in a long line-up of fruit trees, brought home & planted in our garden.  Instead, we mistakenly bought the only tree that was erroneously tagged.  That was even after going through the tedious process of choosing the perfect tree.   Why does that always happen?  It's like when kids touch the only singular item that's potentially dangerous out of hundreds in a room.

23 September 2011

Calamansi Juice with Mint

If there is something cherished that I took with me to Italy, it's this wonderful plant.  Calamondin to most and calamansi to some. In the Philippines, it is called calamansi, sometimes written as kalamansi too. The juice of these small, round lemons is known to be replete with vitamin C.  For that, it is often recommended when you are down with a cold, cough or flu. Coupled with honey makes it a vitamin-packed drink. It is more intense than lemons and a bit more perfumed.  

22 September 2011

Black Tonnarelli with Shore Crab Roe & Shrimp

Locally known as taba ng talangka in the Philippines, it is translated as crab fat which is actually a misnomer because it is not made of fat but of crab roe. This shore crab roe paste is something peculiar that comes from Pampanga, a region bordered by a river which is the shore crabs' habitat. These crabs are very small and to fill up a small bottle takes a big sack of them. But nowadays, the bottles you find are rarely pure. They are already mixed with starch. I never really tasted the ones straight from the crabs themselves anyway so I wouldn't know the difference but this blogger did. 

21 September 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

I haven't completed my year yet (exactly 7 months now) in blogging so that categorizes me as a semi-newbie to this wonderful virtual world of gastronomy.   Food blogging is not a walk in the park.  Behind every post entails a lot of work.  Cooking, food composing, photographing and the work we all like the least, cleaning up.  Then there's also the writing part.  And to receive an award that compensates all these is heartwarming.  So from a fellow food blogger to another food blogger from two countries away, THANK YOU very much Tobias of T and Tea Cake!

19 September 2011

Scialatielli Amalfitani with Salmon & Tomatoes

My family loves salmon but I can't keep on roasting them in the oven or they will lose interest and start looking for my replacement.   My kids are antagonists to leftover meals.  Sometimes, I can push once with some of their favorite dishes but more than that, it's a big drama on the kitchen table that puts any soap opera to shame. 

I just bought a kilo of salmon and cooked it in the oven with mustard & honey just like how the kids love it.  I set aside a portion with pasta on my mind for the following meal.  I do have a delicious fresh salmon pasta recipe that is without a doubt, one of the best I know.  It needs cream though and being a non-dairy person, I don't usually keep them at home.  

16 September 2011

Mozzarella with Anchovies in Truffle Oil

For two years in a row, I spent my birthday rushing in the airports, flying somewhere with two kids in tow.  If you are also a parent, you would understand what it connotes.  Not that my idea of celebrating my birthday is to run around the airport and keep two kids at bay while lugging around a heavy hand luggage containing anything imaginable that can entertain kids.  I am not even tackling the issue of being inside the airplane.  Looking at the wall clock every second is the second main event.  Time stands still when you need it to go faster.   I have this quintessential caricature of two battered-looking parents walking behind two frolicking children.  Parenting can be severely trying but with just one little smile from the kids, well, it's a cliche' but it's true, it melts your heart.

14 September 2011

Schiacciata con Uva e Rosmarino (Grapes & Rosemary)

This is trial number two to the Florentine focaccia dolce con uva fragola, otherwise known as schiacciata con uva fragola.   I still believe the first recipe I tried of the concord grape cake a couple of weeks ago was not a focaccia, for that I renamed it as a cake.  This new recipe I found instead is the real deal and I think it's material to be shared.  

12 September 2011

Round Cucumber & Tomato Salad and Simple Oven-Roasted Codfish Fillet with Soy Sauce

While at a fruit & vegetable market in Sicily, I chanced upon some fruit & vegetables I've never seen before.  One of these curious produce is the round cucumber, which, according to the vendor & my husband's relatives, has a more pleasant taste compared to its cousins, the regular one we all recognize as regular cucumber and another variety I was checking out that's longer, thinner and darker.  Mentally assessing my luggage, the round ones immediately gained space in my already bloating third suitcase.   What is a kilo more of round gourds anyway?  I made sure they are not available in Rome or I would feel so foolish to be lugging around some vegetables fruit that can be found where I live.   Uhhmm, I just found out that tomatoes & cucumbers are actually fruits but mistakenly referred to as vegetables by the majority, like me.


Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks), a rocky cliff formed by marl, a white sedimentary rock.  The name is derived from the frequent raids of the Turks & the Barbary Coast pirates. 

Sicily through the lens of my broken camera.  My third trip to this region would be permanently dubbed with this title.   Being an impromptu trip, we had to rush everything, including my dslr camera sitting quietly in the service center.  We were able to get it at the last minute before leaving and inevitably, it failed me right in the middle of my frenzy of taking pictures of the breathtaking panorama of the Scala dei Turchi.   I....was....unconsolably....shattered.  There is no other word I can put to describe how devastating it is to have your camera break down right in the middle of shooting a fantastic sight.   I relentlessly clicked on the camera even if I was seeing nothing and the sound it was emitting was unmistakably wrong.  I just remembered someone telling me to give it up, it's broken.  Dejectedly, I put it aside and avoided looking at the other point & shoot camera peeking from my bag.  Using it doesn't give me the satisfaction but I can't continue with our vacation without documenting anything at all.  After a little bit of tinkering with the dslr, my husband found a temporary way to make it work.   To take a single picture is painstakingly long and puts my knowledge in manual photography to test - which is technically zero. 

10 September 2011


Our Sicilian vacation has arrived to its conclusion yesterday. We arrived home last night and have not stopped rushing since. First day of school, food shopping, unpacking, washing the clothes & our dog coming back from his own vacation.  Whew!  That we did all in one morning literally zipping all over the place. The transition from a laid back vacation among my husband's relatives then going back to reality was like having a cold pail of water being dumped on our heads. 

04 September 2011

Scacciuni con Capuliatu & Caciocavallo (Sicilian Bagel with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Cheese)

There's no way I can translate the title from Sicilian to English so let me explain what it is.  It's a sandwich that is common in some parts of Sicily.  Scacciuni (even I have a hard time remembering it, much lest pronounce it) means pressed bread.  The bread dough was pressed before being cooked in the oven.  Capuliatu are finely chopped or ground sundried tomatoes that is also common in some parts of Sicily.  Caciocavallo (DOP) is an aged cheese that is made from cow's milk.  It is originally from southern Italy, especially Puglia but Sicily also has its own version that is called Caciocavallo Ragusano (DOP) that comes from Ragusa, the sole area where it is produced.