Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pork Belly Cuapao

Picked this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Market Manila but tweaked it a bit for simpler preparations.

1/2kg Pork Belly (cut into 0.5" thick strips)
6pcs. Cuapao
Hoisin Sauce
Spring Onions (diced)

1)Marinade Pork Belly in Soy Sauce, Pepper and 3pcs. Calamansi for 1hr.
2)Pre-heat oven for 15mins. Roast meat for 30 minutes over medium heat.
3)Steam cuapao buns until warm.
4)Slice Cuapao Buns in half and spread Hoisin Sauce over one side.
5)Place Pork belly slices and Spring Onions in the middle.

Makes for a filling snack or meal.

Happy eating!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

herb & spice girl

I made Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes for the first time and it turned out quite tasty. I'm glad it was the "pacham" recipe of the day Lana came over for dinner. Much to my delight, she and Tats seemed to enjoy every morsel that I totally forgot to take pictures.

My mouth waters every time I see Jamie Oliver pulling fresh leaves right off his little garden to whip up the most delicious-looking dishes. I've always been threatened of using herbs and spices for cooking, sure I like them in my food but I'm not one to religiously study culinary alchemy and there are just so many species out there that I may never be able to figure out which one should be used for what.But deep inside I know I want a garden too.

Inspired by the success of my Rosemary Chicken, earlier I went into one of the many greenhouses that line the streets of BF Homes and asked if they sell racks on which they place their potted plants. The owner happened to be there, Mrs. Fajardo said she had them custom-made about 15years ago but she didn't mind me taking pictures and so I did. She also told me about her herb garden at home, how boiled Tarragon leaves aid digestion and that the Nim plant is more effective in warding off mosquitoes than Citronella. I take it as a sign... I am meant to have a garden of my own!

Afterall, I did help out my grandfather tend to his vegetable farm, it's one of my most cherished childhood memories. I remember taking some dried seeds, planting them in our backyard and they thrived every time. I also smoked our mango tree in the afternoon to drive away pests and to this day, it never fails to bear fruits that are more succulent than the usual.

I'm giddy with excitement for my new project, i hope to actually get it off the ground!

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Little Kitchen

It was only after we bought a refrigerator and a gas range that we declared our place to be livable. It has been six months since we moved in and our house still needs fixtures for the livingroom, bedroom and bathrooms… but my 2sqm kitchen is pretty much complete.

Tats and I have been married for four years but most of our wedding presents just saw the light of day and found their places in the kitchen like the non-stick pots and pans, electric grill, storage containers, spice rack etc. Cooking has become a task I actually enjoy doing even without househelp around. My culinary knowledge is very limited but I’m quite particular about certain stuff like having only freshly ground pepper (really, what’s the point when the aroma is lost), brown instead of refined sugar and whole wheat instead of white bread.

For a first time homemaker we have pretty decent meals especially when Riza joined our family. She’s a good babysitter and housekeeper but as a cook, she’s quite fantastic! After gorging on her exceptional takes on the classic tinola, nilaga, mechado, adobo, pochero, lumpia and arroz caldo, I just gave her instructions for curries, pastas, omelets and she often hit the bullseye. Riza’s sinaing na isda made by cooking fish over kamias and pork fat on hot coals for at least eight hours until the bones are soft enough to eat, is a much anticipated event which gets costly when we give to everybody asking for some… and so we’ve stopped making announcements and now share our prized treat in batches (in laws this week, friends next week etc).

Following our expanding guts, we started moving out of our comfort zones thus our “pacham” (pachamba = experimental) recipes that we can eat without rice like buffalo chicken wings, fajitas, salads and tortilla wraps. We’re on our first month now and it’s not at all torturous as I expected.

Big sistah, Anne, suggested I come up with a revolving 5-week menu for more efficient planning and budgeting – I did just that and it saves me time, money and tons of neurons. Food prepping has become fun that even Tats has taken to cooking once in a while.

I love my little kitchen not only because it’s where we whip up the food we take so much pleasure in, but also because of the nifty treasures I didn’t know I needed but now wonder how I ever got by without ‘em - gifts from friends who’ve been in the homemaking business longer than I have.