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30 June 2013

Plantain Pouches With Nougat & Rum Caramel Sauce

Deep fried bananas wrapped inside spring roll wrappers with melted nougat then drizzled with rum caramel sauce.  Just the sound of it makes me want to run straight to the kitchen and indulge in this sweet goodness.  The idea of creating these plantain pouches came when I had some extra spring roll wrappers that I had to finish.  Since they usually come frozen in Italy, I had to finish the whole pack after I defrost them.  I based this dessert on the traditional spring rolls in the Philippines called turon. I was thinking of using chocolates but when I saw that I had some nougat lying around the cupboard, I melted them then combined them with the bananas.  It was natural for my taste buds to ask for rum caramel sauce.  The combination worked very well and it was an explosion of lovely tastes together.  I love, love these plantain pouches.  

29 June 2013

Stir-fry Broccoli & Carrots With Peanuts

I was brought up in a house with balanced food on the table.  Being an Asian cuisine, rice has its little corner of importance. On the other side of the table, the protagonist, another dish tells us what we will be having for the meal.  It can be seafood, pork, beef or chicken.  But it doesn't end there because there's a need to balance it out.  A vegetable dish that complements the main dish completes our meal.  A big thanks to my Mom who stretched her patience in teaching me to eat my vegetables.  My husband also grew up in his Italian table with the importance of vegetables on the side.  So whether I am preparing Asian or Italian meals, vegetables take part in it.  

27 June 2013

La Chinata Spanish Pimenton de la Vera: Spicy ‘Nduja Rice With Leftover Rotisserie Chicken & Vegetables

Do you ever find yourself stuck with leftover rotisserie chicken?  I do.  When I don't have the time to cook, we order takeout.  There really are not so many choices for takeout food in Italy but if you head to a pizzeria selling pizza al taglio, they sometimes have rotisserie chicken and potatoes alongside the pizza and some other simple dishes to take home.

26 June 2013

Lemon and Orange Risotto With Calamari & Zucchini

This recipe was born after I tried a pasta dish with orange.  Thinking of creating a risotto dish with orange then adding lemon came to mind. Citrus goes very well with seafood so pairing them with calamari came out a good combination and the subtle taste of zucchini gave a healthier touch.  This risotto reminds me of summer even if orange is not a summer fruit.  If you are using oranges, please be sure that they are not sour.  This is a refreshing dish especially with the addition of mint.

25 June 2013

Cold Ginger, Vanilla & Lemon Tea with Tapioca

I discovered tapioca after searching endlessly for sago in Italy.  I thought they were the same, the first being the English term of sago when apparently, sago comes from sago palms and tapioca comes from manioc (cassava).  They look and taste the same so you can't blame me for the confusion I grew up with. 

18 June 2013

Fried Beef and Pork Spring Rolls

Fried meat spring rolls, typical Asian, so many versions and all delectable!  My version comes from my family, passed on to me through a succession of overseas calls and a number of modifications that sits well with my husband and kids. I like the addition of boiled mashed potatoes because it lessens the meaty aspect and gives the spring rolls a more pleasant balanced taste of meat, vegetables and condiments.  Eat them as is or with a variety of dipping sauces that takes your fancy like sweet & sour that you can already buy bottled, vinegar with salt & pepper or even ketchup like how my kids sometimes eat them.

16 June 2013

Brioche Siciliana con Gelato

It's Father's Day in most parts of the world except Italy (and maybe some other countries).  In Italy, it is celebrated every 19th of March for the day of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Day) because it is considered as a religious event to celebrate the life of Joseph, the father of Jesus.  But this doesn't stop me from celebrating it in my home since I grew up celebrating it every third Sunday of June in my parents' home.  Father's Day, as well as Mother's Day were important occasions for my parents.  They were the only special days when we can show our appreciation to them, giving them handmade cards and gifts and moving on to more sophisticated store-bought gifts as we got older.  Years have passed when both of them slipped away from us but these special days remain to be celebrated in my heart. 

14 June 2013

Asian Sautèed Chayote (Ginisang Sayote)

Five years have passed by unnoticed.  I didn't even realize that it has been that long since I've last set foot on Asian soil until I started planning a short trip back to the Philippines a few weeks ago.  While in the midst of booking and orienting myself to the country I left 14 years ago, I found myself at a loss about landmarks, new places, new trends and new addresses that my friends tell me about.  In most cases, the new areas didn't even exist when I was still living there!  It's like they're speaking a foreign language.  The changes can't be that big in just 5 years time.  It seems that the whole area I used to know by heart went through a complete make-over.  And so it did!  I can't wait to get to know this new side of the city I used to call home once. 

Yellow Curry Shrimp

I love curry dishes but I can't have too much of them.  Maybe the spice is too much for me to handle or maybe it's a dish I like to reserve when the craving becomes strong then that's the time when I really enjoy the dish to a great extent.  Like this one.  If only I can tell you how much I loved this Yellow Curry Shrimp. You can't enjoy this Asian dish without a mountain of hot steamed white rice, Basmati or Jasmine if you may.  When I finish my Basmati or Jasmine rice that I reserve for Asian dishes, I resort to the Italian grains like Arborio, Nano Vialone or Carnaroli

12 June 2013

Strawberry Jelly in Chocolate Marsala Sauce

After browsing through a pile of recipe magazines, ideas set in and I execute them in the kitchen with the ingredients that I have.  A life of creating recipes leave my mind bone-dry of ideas sometimes.  There are no fireworks, no light bulbs turning on nor thought bubbles helping me.  It's just me and an empty mind.  But here is a result of something that inspired me enough to create a delicious dessert using simple ingredients and a straightforward procedure. 

Mozzarella and Mushroom Spoon Appetizers

Time is always a problem for busy people who are working, studying, taking care of kids, running errands or whatever it is that's keeping us from slowing down.  Slowing down doesn't even exist in our vocabulary anymore.  Nowadays, it's a priceless luxury to sit on a comfortable armchair and read a book undisturbed for hours on end.  Sigh.

09 June 2013

Asparagus, Chive Flowers & Fava Bean Salad With Apple Slaw

Inspiration is hard to come by at times.  I sometimes draw a complete blank for days when I stare at the computer squeezing my mind for a trickle of ideas or just some thoughts about what I have to do.  When that happens to me, I close the computer, go out and try to live life outside the realm of my blog, my writing and creating recipes.  I take it as a hint to stop and smell the roses.  After all, time will not stand still for me until I come up with a flow of bright ideas while I stay immobile in front of a blaring screen.  The clock continues its ticking and there's no better way to spend it than looking at the real world, touching real things, sniffing the air and tasting new things. I took a little break from blogging, explored Rome, tasted what the city is bragging about and best of all, held the hands of my husband and kids and enjoyed what I usually miss when I am at work. 

06 June 2013

Chocolate Oatmeal and Caramelized Bananas

I don't know with you but I grew up with oatmeal in the morning, sometimes even in the afternoon and well, okay, I admit, also before sleeping.  I just simply love it plain or chocolate-flavored.  My Mom made sure that we were always well-stocked with them because they're the best thing a kid can get addicted to.  It's booming with healthy goodness!

04 June 2013

The Italian Riviera: 6 Fascinating Resorts at The Riviera delle Palme

Along the Ligurian coast, we all know about Cinque Terre.  Its beautiful, rugged and terraced coastline with colorful houses has gained worldwide popularity. But there's more to the Italian Riviera that commands to be enjoyed and appreciated if you go further north, towards France.  There are stretches of sandy beaches with emerald and warm water and outstanding Medieval villages rich in history, culture and gastronomic specialties. And that stretch of the riviera is called Riviera delle Palme (Riviera of the Palms).

02 June 2013

Chinotto and Disaronno Cocktail and City of Savona in Liguria, Italy

Rain was pounding on our bus windows as our travel group left Langhe Hills, Piemonte (see part one of this post) and moved towards the sea, the Italian Riviera in Liguria.  It had been so cold when I woke up in the morning.  I had to put more layers of clothing in cotton and linen because I didn't pack anything in wool.  It should be warm and summery but instead, winter has returned.  Ezio, the owner of the B & B we stayed in showed us the morning paper with a picture of a cyclist amidst a heavy snowfall in Bolzano at the Dolomites.