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29 October 2014

Steamed Ginger Pepper Fish with Coconut Leek Rice

When someone asked me if the basic diet of Asians is really fish and rice, I thought about what we really eat. It's true that rice is staple like bread is in Europe or potatoes in North America. Fish, well, I think that person was thinking more about Japanese cuisine popularized by sushi and sashimi. Whereas in the Philippines, it's inevitable not to have fish because it has more that 7,000 islands and most of the country is surrounded by water. It's a true seafood lover's paradise.

27 October 2014

Orecchiette with Sausages and Peppers

We always have to deal with leftovers. Always. When I pack away the leftover food in containers and put them in the refrigerator, I know that it will go to waste unless I think of a way to revive it again. My kids usually don't like repeats of the same dish so most of the time, I have to find new ways to create a new dish with what got left behind from previous meals. I usually resort to pasta or mixed rice dishes because with them, there are no limitations on what can be put together. The ideas are endless and it's the best way to start with leftovers.

25 October 2014

Filipino Fish Sarciado

Sometimes, while speaking with my sister in an overseas call, we speak about food. Well, the truth is, I always ask her what she's cooking just to torture myself from thinking about the food that I have been missing from my days in the Philippines. In spite of being favorites, there are some dishes that I have already completely forgotten about. Maybe because I don't have anyone to share them with anymore or the ingredients are hard to find in Italy. But there are some dishes that I refuse to forget that easily. After all, they were a part of my life before. Let me start with this awesome fish dish, a traditional Philippine dish recipe born from leftover fried fish.

23 October 2014

Swiss Chard Simple Sautè

I've decided to tackle the dreaded work of going through my kitchen and dining room drawers and cupboards. I had to get rid of the ones that I had been convincing myself I will be using for the past decade but never really touched. I think we are all like that anyway. We keep so many things at the back of our cupboards convincing ourselves that we will be using them one day but they just remain there unused. We reason out that some are too pretty or expensive to use so they are to be used only on special occasions but those occasions never arrive or some are just plain useless and it's a big a shame to throw them away. The bottom line is, we don't use them and they just clog our cupboards. This time I told myself that enough is enough. I'm cleaning up!

21 October 2014

Croque Madame with Roquefort

The first time I encountered a croque monsieur was in college. It was in a simple, small restaurant that was not really the place where you would expect to find a French sandwich. After living and studying in the area for four years, I became a fixture in the restaurant and I have also tried every single entry in the short menu. I liked the croque monsieur and it had also been one of the favorites of everyone but it was just too heavy to eat all the time.

20 October 2014

Asian Coconut Rice with Steamed Vegetables in Soy-Lime-Ginger Sauce

I have trouble in liking steamed vegetables because my palate dictates to me that there's nothing exciting about the taste. Even if I grew up with food having explosive flavors, I know that it is not an excuse not to eat them as much as I should. But the story is different when it comes to my kids. Since the first solids I gave them were all steamed and unsalted, their palates have grown used to mild tasting food and they are accustomed to them. And until now, they are still in the right track of healthy food (until they discovered fast food, but that's another story).

Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder

As soon as I took out my slow cooker and placed it on the kitchen counter, I already knew that one of the first recipes that I would be making would be soups and stews. Just thinking of slow cooking made me think of how good they would be. And for that, I am on my second slow cooker recipe after a delicious Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Chickpeas.

17 October 2014

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Chickpeas

When I received an assignment to make slow cooker recipes, I was stumped. I didn't have a slow cooker. So I Googled my way around the internet to look for shops in Rome that sell them. I found a couple of big shops that were supposed to be selling them but after asking the salespeople, they had no idea what I was speaking about. At the second shop, I was lucky. They had the last one on display. And the salesperson also didn't have a clue about what it was. What is a slow cooker?

13 October 2014

Asparagus with Feta Yogurt Mint Dressing

Today, I decided to have a mother-daughter shopping and lunch date after I picked up my 4-year old daughter from school. Sometimes she's in a grumpy mood and just demands to go back home immediately (sigh) while there are moments when she's in a hyper talkative mood, speaking incessantly for hours. You just need a good pair of earplugs if you can't make her stop and just keep on nodding your head on the right points making sure that your timing is right because she might notice that you are not following her and you will be in big trouble. She caught me a few times and believe me, an angry sensitive 4-year old girl is hard to pacify.

11 October 2014

Grilled Polenta with Caramelized Peaches

It seems that my favorite line lately is "Why not?". When I think of what recipes to create and then I come up with strange combinations, I often challenge myself with why not? Anything and everything is worth a thought and simple planning. It can work or it can also fail. Like what I always say, I welcome failures because that is the only confirmation I have not that what I did was wrong and it is something that I will not repeat, ever, again.

09 October 2014

Peas, Fava Beans & Herb Flowers with Lemon Ricotta Cream

From such a young age, my daughter and I have shared a special kind of bonding in the kitchen. She was barely 3 years-old when she came to me asking to help me shell the small mountain of fresh fava pods that I took home from the market. I obliged, explaining to her how to go about it while I helped her with the more difficult pods that refuse to open. That started our favorite ritual of shelling pods together. We both enjoy our time while we chat about cooking, vegetables and toddler stories. In fact, it has been effective in making her eat her vegetables because peas are the only ones she eats - sandwiched between tiny pieces of bread. Well, we all have our strange ways of eating.

07 October 2014

Berries with Homemade Pomegranate Syrup

What strikes me about this recipe is that all three major ingredients are rich in antioxidants. It is a powerhouse of nutrients! Blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates all rank high in the quantity of antioxidants present in each berry or seed. That is actually what I had in mind when I was putting together this very simple dessert (or breakfast if you want to start your day with it). I also wanted it to be something simple and quick enough to prepare in just few minutes. I have to face it. I already joined the ranks of the mothers whom I see rushing to the school with perennial flustered looks.

06 October 2014

Vegan Mango Almond Milkshake

If I can shout to the world that my favorite fruit in the world is mango, I would. When I was young, being a picky-eater that I am, I would eat loads of mangoes if I didn't like what was on the table. My Mom wouldn't let me off the table with an empty tummy so I would happily oblige to her demands as long as I have some chilled ripe mangoes in front of me. Since the Philippines is a big producer of them, and if I am not mistaken, it is also the national fruit, I literally grew up with gigantic baskets of them in one corner of the kitchen and with the natural mango scent permeating the room. With the heat of summer and cooking, the aroma intensifies. It was how a house in a tropical island should smell like.

05 October 2014

Spaghetti with Seafood Ragù

Time has passed so fast. When you are attending to a lot of things, you just don't notice that the clock is ticking. When I looked at the date of my last entry, the gap of the dates hit me. I should start getting back to the old rhythm of writing even if my mind keeps on resisting. It's hard to do mental work when the brain is clouded with thoughts and sadness. Ideas don't come flowing like they should and I have been trying but to no avail. I just end up blank, staring at the screen for days.