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30 May 2014

Grilled Mochi Skewers with Salted Caramel Sauce


One bite and the past came rolling back in. I remember how crazy I was about the buchi in the Philippines. It is a round rice cake made from rice flour with sweetened red bean paste filling and sesame seed coating. And fried. That was the only drawback of that wonderful dessert. Delicious but heavy.

25 May 2014

Prickly Pear Salad with Pomegranate Syrup


I only saw and tasted prickly pears when I moved to Italy. Locally known as fichi d'india, egg-shaped and colored so vividly in green, red, yellow and orange, they were impossible to resist. I loved them at the first try and I was not even bothered by the innumerable seeds in the fruit. With all the seeds involved, you'll just love it or hate it.

23 May 2014

10-Minute Pan-Seared Scallops with Champagne Sauce


There are two things that I love about these scallops. They are unbelievably quick and easy to prepare and they are absolutely delicious. I can have dozens of them in one sitting if you don't stop me. So please do stop me if I am next to a plate of them. The flavors cut to the chase and hands you the principal tastes of the ingredients. After all, it's a no-fuss 10-minute recipe. 

21 May 2014

Avocado, Green Tea & Almond Ice Candy: Philippine Ice Pops


For the past days, my mind had been flying elsewhere. It's hard for me to concentrate in writing (even now) and think of recipes when there is something that is foremost in my thoughts right now. You see, after two years of laying our old dog to rest and after swearing that he will be our family's first and last dog (my husband & kids' first while I grew up with the company of different pet dogs), we, or rather I, opened the door again for another possibility to have a furry family member.

20 May 2014

Pan Fried Brandy Chicken and Potatoes with Balsamic Vinegar


With my son out with his Boy Scout troop the whole day and my daughter staying with her nonna (grandmother), my husband and I found ourselves alone on a beautiful Sunday morning. Because free days are rare for us, we treat those days with special things to do. Like going to food fairs or dining out where we can have the luxury of tasting our food without gulping down everything. When the kids are young, you develop this skill of swallowing the food in 3 seconds without even realizing what you just ate. Then as they grow older, those 3 seconds become longer and a window of tasting the food opens when your tastebuds start working again. Hello food!

18 May 2014

All-in-One Breakfast Skillet


When my 4-year old daughter excitedly tried to catch my attention to show me her find at the vegetable section, I was completely surprised. She was showing me the section of the violet potatoes. Didn't I want them, she asked. I didn't need them at the moment but with such a hopeful question posed to me, I couldn't leave behind the violet potatoes that she so wanted me to buy.

15 May 2014

Rum Raisin Pancakes with Rum Syrup


There are times when I wake up in the morning with an intense craving for pancakes. And since the craving lasts long until the middle of the day, I sometimes end up sitting down with my pancakes in the afternoon. It takes more time and work in making them than eating them but that is what the real joy of eating is. Creating the food from scratch and finally looking at the beautiful plate of joy in front of you.

14 May 2014

3 Easy and Inexpensive Egg Roll-Ups


There are so many things we can do with eggs, whether they are sweet or savory. I can't imagine life in the kitchen without having them handy when I am cooking. They have to be always there, just like how I need tomatoes, lemons, extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano to be present in their designated spots. Don't get me wrong. I don't use eggs everyday but they are just one of those ingredients that are quite important to have. 

12 May 2014

Grilled Pork Belly with Chicken, Asparagus & Harissa Fried Rice


In the morning of the day before Mother's Day, my husband and I tried without succeeding in booking a restaurant for us and the kids for a celebratory lunch. All our choices were closed for lunch. The last straw came when my son declared that he didn't feel like eating in a restaurant and sit down for hours over the different courses. I understand that it can be arduous for kids to sit still throughout an entire meal. Usually, they just have enough patience for one course then they start becoming antsy. That's when iPads come in handy.

09 May 2014

Fruit Sushi


Fun. That was what I was thinking of when I was thinking of making them, while I was making them and after I made them. I love sushi so much and recreating them in mock fruit versions had been fulfilling. Since I develop recipes full time, working becomes redundant at times but there are some recipes that lift me out from the monotonous daily routine like these fruit sushi.

07 May 2014

Agretti & Asparagus Nest with Eggs


When agretti (other names: barba di frate, friar's beard, saltwort, salsola soda, Russian thistle & barilla plant) starts to appear among the usual vegetables, it's an affirmation that spring is here. Asparagus comes in early too so these two were among the first spring vegetables that I cooked at the start of the season. This is the first recipe where I put them together in one dish. I was hesitant because both are strong in flavors, thinking that they might clash with each other.

06 May 2014

Boozy Banana Rum Raisin Smoothie


There were only two fruit shakes that I loved when I was growing up. Mangoes and bananas. Mango shakes are always in the restaurant menus but bananas rarely come out in the list. For that reason, I make them at home with very little milk, just a drop if you may, because of my aversion of dairy milk, and a lot of ice. Different varieties of bananas are indigenous to the Philippines and there was a particular one that I specifically used for my banana shakes, never the others. I recall its name as se├▒orita. It is smaller than the other varieties, very sweet and quite creamy in taste. In short, I would say that it's the best banana I know. 

05 May 2014

Margherita Pizza with Rice Crust


Because rice is foremost in my daughter's very limited gastronomic selection, I always had to think rice. She got both sides of her heritage with her favorite choice of food. She loves white rice which she got from her Philippine side then sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil which shows her Italian side. It's a fight at times to make her try other kinds of food but like all kids, even us at that age anyway, food choices are erratic. One day we love eggs and the next day we cannot even look at them. I am just waiting for that day to arrive like it did with my older son who now has matured in his choices of food and doubled the quantity he eats!

Georgia on My Mind: Hotels & Sights at the Kakheti Region (Part 2)

Qvevris at Ikalto Monastery
As the bus rolls away from Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, I sat excitedly on my seat and kept up with the animated mood inside. The 6th Annual International Wine Tourism Conference has concluded with a big cheer for its next host for 2015. Elisabet Vidal of La Champagne, France gave quite a preview of the next venue for IWINETC while we drank glasses of one of La Champagne's pride, Mumm

03 May 2014

3 Fruity Kid-Friendly Mocktails for Summer Sipping


We finally started fixing outside the house again. Winter is officially finished, even if at times, even today, I found myself wrapped in my winter jacket. Everyday, the temperature changes from hot to cold and vice versa giving me the chance to take my time in switching the winter clothes to lighter ones. I still haven't done that work yet and I am dreading it! I know that once I do that herculean job of putting away the heavy clothes for cottons and linens, I would search for those light wool sweaters again.