Monday, November 19, 2012

Kulinarya Cooking Club November 2012 Challenge: BANGUS SISIG

Our hosts for this month's challenge Frances and Jenn chose Sisig as this month's challenge.  I chose to do Bangus Sisig as a healthier alternative to all the meat I've been eating.  For the uninitiated SISIG according to Wikipedia:
Sisig is a Kapampangan term which means "to snack on something sour". It usually refers to fruits, often unripe or half-ripe, sometimes dipped in salt and vinegar. It also refers to a method of preparing fish and meat, especially pork, which is marinated in a sour liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar, then seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices.
1 whole bangus (milkfish) butterflied and deboned
salt and pepper, to taste
Lauric Oil, for frying
1 medium red onion, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Finger chili, sliced thinly
Bird's eye chili, sliced finely
Knorr Liquid seasoning
Calamansi, 2 pieces
Egg, sunny side-up for garnish
Preheat pan with lauric oil, season fish with salt and pepper, fry until golden brown and crispy about 7 minutes each side.  Drain on paper towel, chop into cubes.  Set aside.
Pour off excess oil and on the same pan, saute onion, garlic and chilies until fragrant.  Add the chopped cooked fish.  Turn up heat, add liquid seasoning and calamansi juice.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Turn off heat and transfer to plate.  Fry egg and garnish on top. 
Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.
If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!
I must say I really enjoyed this month's challenge because it made roasting chicken or any other meat or vegetable easier and more flavorful.  For the past years that I've been roasting food, I was always mindful that the meats do not turn too dry and yet are cooked enough for food safety reasons.  
According to our host Audax: "Soaking in brine improves the taste and the moistness of all fowl (chicken, turkey, goose, duck and guinea fowl), also it works on lean red- and lean white-meats, fish, most seafood and most nuts and seeds. It is simple, cheap and effective and will ensure that your Christmas roast will be the tastiest you have ever made. All you do is brine your cut of meat and then proceed as normal, you will find that the roast is juicy and the skin has a lovely colour."
There was a holiday this month of November and I decided to test my brined and roasted chicken on my brother and sisters since everyone was home.  I also decided to roast some sweet potatoes and carrots with it in accordance with the Paleo diet which two of my siblings are on. 
It was just as our host said...the roast chicken was moist and flavorful, everyone loved it and I wish I had bought one more free-range chicken. 
And because I wanted to duplicate the moist and flavorful meat in pork, I also brined and roasted pork and it worked!  I just found the perfect technique thanks to our host Audax! 
The all-purpose brine and recommended roasting times are all found here. And please don't forget to check out the other Daring Cooks versions of their brined and roasted food, you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

THE DARING BAKERS OCTOBER CHALLENGE: Layering Up: Mille-feuille/Napoleon

Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!
I was excited for this month's challenge not only because of the recipe but more so because it was hosted by Suz, one of my favorite bloggers!  I've been reading every single blog post of hers ever since I chanced upon it in one of the challenges here a while back and let me say, she really has a way with words, she has the yummiest recipes and she takes really nice pictures!  So...on to the challenge...what is it exactly? 
‘Mille-feuille’ is French for ‘a thousand leaves’ (or ‘layers’), which is very apt, as it contains both layers of pastry (usually three) and layers within each pastry sheet …in short...puff pastry! (insert shudder here)

To tell you honestly, I was a little bit wary of doing puff pastry again because of the hot and humid weather here in the Philippines.  The few times that I made puff pastry, it was really a race against time and temperature.  Even if the dough was refrigerated as often as possible, the butter tended to seep out after a few rolls and this was no exception...but the recipe Suz gave was awesome, I don't know if the weather cooperated today but there was less oozing of the butter today. Here is a link to the whole recipe that was given to us.
The recipe is very straightforward as is the directions.  I just forgot to take out the baking parchment for the last 5 minutes of baking time for the first puff pastry sheet so it was a bit pale but otherwise everything went well.
 I decided not to experiment and to stick to the recipe that was given to us.  So instead of using my fool-proof recipe for creme patissiere I followed the recipe here and didn't have any problem with the setting of the cream.  I made the puff pastry in the morning and the creme patissiere after lunch.  I refrigerated it for 1 hour and it had thickened enough to set properly.
Thank you Suz for hosting this month's challenge, it was indeed a challenge for me!  The resulting product was delicious and everyone at home oohed and aahed at this pretty and deliciously decadent dessert. 
Dear friends, please don't forget to check out the other Daring Bakers versions of Mille Feuille, you won't be disappointed, I promise!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have a confession to make to my Kulinarya friends, this is the first time I made Filipino-style spaghetti in my whole life.  Don't get me wrong, I like it, and there were one or two instances that I drive-thru Jollibee just to get my sweet spaghetti fix.  I remember when I was small, we used to attend children's parties where this dish was never absent.  
So here I am today, making my own version of Filipino-style sweet spaghetti and I was being stubborn at first, because I only bought Del Monte sweet style spaghetti but the taste and color were lacking so I had to give in and fortunately I found a bottle of UFC Tamis Anghang Banana Catsup in the cupboard! And voila, just like spaghetti came out as Pinoy looking and tasting as the ones I remember from my childhood!
 The most important ingredient in Filipino-style Spaghetti...Banana Catsup!

2 Tablespoons Lauric Oil (Coconut Oil)
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium Red Onions, peeled and minced
250 grams Mighty Meaty Hotdog, sliced into rings
500 grams Ground Lean Pork
2 pieces Bayleaf (dried and crumbled)
500 grams Del Monte Sweet Blend Catsup
320 grams UFC Banana Catsup
200 grams Button Mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
500 grams Royal Spaghetti, cooked
Preheat pot with oil, saute onion until fragrant and translucent, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add the bayleaf and the ground pork.  Cook until pork is no longer pink.  Add the catsup, hotdogs and mushrooms.  Add enough water so that sauce will not be dry.  Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  
Serve hot over cooked spaghetti noodles and lots of cheese!
Yummy sweet spaghetti
And there you have it...Filipino style sweet spaghetti just like the ones from my childhood!

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.
If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Rachel Dana was our October 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge hostess! Rachel brought Brazil into our lives by challenging us to make Feijoada and Farofa along with some other yummy side dishes traditionally served with Feijoada, which is a delicious black bean and pork stew.
According to Rachel :"Feijoada is a famous Brazilian black bean stew filled with meat, mostly pork parts. A really traditional feijoada will have pig ears, feet, nose…this originated with slaves and what was left for them to cook with. I made a more “modern” feijoada, I guess some would say, with sausage and ribs and ham, but this is how my in-laws make feijoada, and I find it easier, in many ways. If you want to add pig ears and such, please try it out.
Though farofa and vinagrete aren’t necessarily a part of everyone’s feijoada meal, they are definitely a part of mine. I think it will be fun to play with these recipes, I would have loved to do a whole challenge only on farofa and vinagrete, but the main component of the best farofa is mandioca flour, and since this isn’t easy for everyone to buy, I figured it wouldn’t work out too well. Fortunately there is farofa made with corn flour and even ground breadcrumbs, called Farofa da Rosca. So I think everyone can manage one of these three.."
This is the first time that I will be cooking and tasting Feijoada although I have heard of it before so with an adventurous twinkle to my eye...I rolled up my invisible sleeves and set out to conquer this latest Daring Kitchen challenge!
Rachel's recipe called for salted meats, and I didn't have any so I decided to use pork ribs instead.  I also substituted chorizo bilbao for the smoked sausages.  Aside from that I followed the recipe...and here is how my final product looked like.

For the Farofa, which was supposed to be cooked with cornmeal I went ahead and used dry breadcrumbs which our gracious host also said we could use. I really liked the flavor of this one...
I had all the ingredients for the vinagrete and I'd have to say this one was really delicious and a perfect foil for the saltiness of the Feijoada.
I didn't have any collard greens or white rice so I didn't make those two.  But thanks to Rachel, I was able to make a dish that is completely foreign to me and we had this for dinner tonight.  I would definitely make this again!
Please don't forget to visit the other Daring Cooks for their own versions of this month's challenge!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Daring Cooks' September 2012 Challenge: PAELLA

It's been a while since I last updated my blog because I've been blessed by so much work, but there was no way I'm going to miss this month's Daring Cooks' challenge just because Paella is one of my favorite dishes to cook and eat!
I grew up eating a "Filipinized" version of paella which my grandmother called "Arroz Valenciana" and I'm guessing that's where my love for paella came from. So without further ado...
Our Daring Cooks’ September 2012 hostess was Inma of la Galletika. Inma brought us a taste of Spain and challenged us to make our very own delicious Paella!
Our hostess was gracious enough to allow us to make whatever paella we wanted so I followed her recipe but I omitted the seafood and made it an all meat version. I also used brown rice instead of white rice and the result was just so delicious, it was wiped out!

2¼ pounds (1 kg) jumbo shrimp (prawns), cleaned & deveined.
1 pound fresh clams (any size)
1 pound (½ kg) pork loin, diced
2¼ pounds (1 kg) chicken breast, diced
2¼ pounds (1 kg) long grain rice (par-boiled)
5-6 Saffron threads *
4 garlic cloves
16 oz. crushed tomatoes
9 oz (250 gm) fresh green beans **
1 bell pepper (capsicum) cut into strips
9 oz (250 gm) peas **
Olive Oil
Salt to taste
3 springs of parsley
Water or chicken broth to boil rice in – ratio is 1 cup of rice = 3 cups of liquid
1 can of sweet pepper (pimientos or roasted red peppers, peeled and sliced), a bunch of parsley and lemons cut into quarters (For garnish)

*Note: You can substitute saffron with “paellero carmencita” or another brand of paellero, you can find it in special stores and it costs much less than saffron. If that option is not easy, you can use paprika but in that case the broth must be excellent.
All vegetables are recommended to be used fresh, although you can use frozen or canned. If using frozen, add to the Paella at the end of cooking, say 10 minutes. If using canned, add at the very end before serving, just long enough to heat through – maybe 5 minutes.

1.Mise en place, maybe this is the most important of all the steps, you have to wash and chop all the vegetables and cut all the meat and remove the skin.

2.In the paellera heat the olive oil, add two garlic cloves diced and remove.

3.Add shrimp, sauté and when it turns pink remove it and set apart.

4.Fry the chicken and the pork

5.In another saucepan boil the clams in salted water. Bring water to just over the clams. Once clams have cooked, remove from water and discard any clams that did not open. Strain the clam broth and set aside.

6.Add pepper to the chicken and pork, sauté. Add salt to taste

7. Add crushed tomato

8. Add broth (or water) to cover the chicken and pork, boil for 30 minutes.

9. Add the strained clam broth. Add the fresh green beans too.

10.At the same time you have to make: “la picada”. In a mortar or a home coffee grinder crush 2 garlic cloves, parsley and saffron. Add a little bit of paella´s broth. Pour it into the Paella.

11.Spread the rice through all the paellera.

12. Add water (per cup of rice add 2 cups of water)

13. Add peas

14.The paella must continue boiling until the rice is dry. Add some lemon drops. Add the shrimp.

15.You have to wait until the broth or water is consumed

16.Turn off the heat and cover with some clean cloth towels. Let rest for 15 minutes.

And voila, the Paella is ready

The finished product!

Thank you Inma for this wonderful challenge! It's great to learn another way of cooking my favorite dish.
Please don't forget to visit the other Paellas that my fellow Daring Cooks have come up with!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Daring Cooks' July 2012 Challenge: Cooking "En Papillote"

Our July 2012 Daring Cooks' host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called "Cooking En Papillote" which is French and translates to cooking in parchment.

According to Sarah "...this cooking method in parchment is also called "al cartoccio" in Italian, it is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from folded parchment paper, but other materials such as paper bag or aluminum foil may be used."

Yay, I love challenges where they give us the freedom of choosing what ingredients and materials...and for this French/Italian method of cooking I decided to go all out Asian or more specifically Filipino. Being a tropical country, we have an abundance of bananas and of course banana leaves so we use these leaves (also coconut leaves) for wrapping food and then cooking them either in grills or steamers. For this challenge I chose to make "Pinais na Bangus" which is milkfish stuffed with vegetables and wrapped in banana leaves and then grilled...doesn't that sound delicious?

The basic ingredients are milkfish, cleaned, scaled and butterflied (as shown above) in which I squeezed lemon juice and seasoned with salt and freshly cracked pepper. I cut lemongrass and finely minced ginger root, these went first and then the chopped tomatoes (2 medium sized) and minced white onion (1 piece).
Doesn't that look awesome? The vegetables are so colorful! I closed (as best as I could) the fish and then wrapped the clean banana leaves and put it on a stovetop grill, this is even better on a charcoal grill.

After 15 minutes on one side, turn the fish so that the other side gets cooked too. I added an extra 5 minutes each, so that was a total of 40 minutes cooking time.

And voila! This is so awesome when you open it, because the banana leaves impart flavor and aroma on the freshly cooked fish. We usually eat this dish with a sauce made of patis (fish sauce), calamansi and crushed siling labuyo (bird's eye chili) and hot rice....Yum...excuse me...but it's lunchtime here!
Thank you Sarah for this awesome challenge, it was really fun and delicious! Oh and dear readers please don't forget to check out the other Daring Cooks' versions of this delicious and healthy method of cooking!