Friday, December 23, 2005

Unlike gifts that come and go,
Or tinsel on the attic stowed,
May the spirit of peace we hold so dear,
Remain with us all throughout the year.

From our house to your house,

Happy Holidays!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fuming about coffee...I roast my own coffee beans, grind them as needed and I do believe that I can make a fairly decent cup of fresh coffee be it from a drip machine or a French Press (plunger). Espresso and Cappucino...this is a different level of coffee making for me although I have made lackluster attempts, but I guess what I really need is a good quality machine and of course, THE PROPER TRAINING. This is a photo of what a perfect cappucino should be! Made with coffee with a thick crema and topped with a DENSE froth of milk. I am appalled at how a lot of coffee bars (including foreign franchises!) here try to pass-off a cup of watery coffee and soap bubble froth as Cappuccino. I know that in some countries, you cannot be a Barista without the proper training and certificate. I wonder if the people behind our coffee counters here even know what it takes to make good coffee or even what it should taste like. I don't think making a good cup of coffee is difficult, you just have to KNOW how to make it.

Bees and Strawberries...

I am not a breakfast person and I've never liked the feeling of a full stomach to start my day. Then I discovered the lovely combination of sweet and juicy strawberries with a creamy vanilla youghurt and a teaspoon of bee pollen. This with a glass of orange juice and a fresh cup of coffee is an ideal sunriser meal for me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Strawberries & Bok Choy

When East meets West......The one thing that has made me love Australia is the diversity of its people and their willingness in accepting things Asian. Greek, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Portugese & Chinese are staples in food courts, presented in so many diverse ways. This photo I took of Strawberries and Bok Choy signify a merging of the East with the West.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Halluuuu! I'm back and look what I have here....Middle Eastern Orange Cake w/ Marmalade Cream. Special occasions call for special food and good food just like good books, just need to be shared and in doing so it makes for good conversation. I made this lovely cake for my daughter's 30th and we loved it. Thanks Meg for this one and you're right, it didn't stay around for long.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hello from the land down under ! Melbourne at daybreak.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Big man in pink crib ........On one of our trips we chanced upon this truck and I just had to share this with you guys. What is going on here ?!  Posted by Hello

Bugnay aka Bignay........It's not often that you find these trees and if you do, now is fruiting season. They grow in grape-like clusters and can be made into wine and some say it has medicinal qualites. I tried making jam last season and it came out good in flavour but a bit to thick in consistency ( overcooking perhaps ). There's a bitter-sourness that I like since I prefer my jams a bit less sugary . It's great on toast or served with panna cotta. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Asian Tapas....... During these trying times, when all newspapers leave nothing much to look forward to, we scrounge for something to uplift our spirits and make us believe that there is still that something or someone who can make us proud to be a Filipino. One such example is this Asian Tapas cookbook authored by Christophe Megel and Anton Kilayko, both of the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore. Kilayko, a very young and much talented Filipino from Bacolod, has been making a name for himself in the international hotel scene. If you're one who likes making small bites, this is for you. It features truly Asian recipes which are accompanied by detailed photos that will make you crave for these delicate and savory "tapas". Even the lowly "kangkong" is given an all new makeover with their recipe for Kangkong Wonton Rolls with Goat Cheese. Alain Ducasse in his foreword says, " happy I am to see a book which so thoroughly embodies the essence and attitude of contemporary cooking". If Ducasse is happy, then I'm doubly happy and proud of Anton Kilayko, who in his own way, gives us a semblance of hope and pride in being Pinoy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Calamansi Pie.......To a lot of gardeners and tillers of the land, the El Nino Phenomenon is synonymous to disaster. But I really believe that nature has a way of putting some sort of a balance into everything. Never have I seen the Flame trees that line our highways bursting with flowers that they look like they're on fire. The scenery reminds me of an Amorsolo painting of the old Philippine countryside. There is an abundance of produce everywhere, even in my own little garden. The Calamansi shrubs are just overflowing with these plump, round citrus fruits that I just had to find some use for it aside from just making juice and using it as a dish degreaser. And so this pie came to be, it's a cloned recipe that calls for lemons but instead I use the juice of Calamansi. It's a cross between a cheesecake and a lemon pie and quite easy to make. I just love the tangy and "pucker-up" sourness that's balanced by the sweet creaminess of the cheese layer.... just like nature.
Calamansi Pie Recipe
Pre-heat oven to 350F (about 175c)
Crust - 1 cup crushed Graham crackers
1/4 cup Butter, melted
2 tbsps. Sugar
Mix together in a bowl and press the mixture into an 8-inch pie pan. Set aside.
Cheese layer - 8 oz Cream cheese
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat till smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until your tester comes out almost clean. Let cool.
Calamansi layer - 1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsps cornstarch
1 cup Water
Dash of salt
2 Egg yolks
3 Tbsps Calamansi juice
1 Tbsp. Butter
In a saucepan, combine sugar, salt, cornstarch and water and mix over low
heat till it starts to simmer, stirring often.
Whisk in egg yolks, then add lemon and butter. When mixture simmers
remove from heat immediately.
Pour over the cheese layer and let cool. When cool transfer to fridge for
several hours before serving.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Strawberries of Baguio........The early months of the year bring an abundance of these luscious red berries. We're lucky to have some of the fresh fruit in our local supermarket even if the price is triple that of the Baguio market. My mom's last visit was timed so that she could spend her birthday with us and so this is the birthday cake that I made for her. A simple pound cake topped with whipped cream and slices of strawberries was just the right dessert to cap our lechon and paella dinner. It reminds me of my daughter's Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch dolls. Posted by Hello

Pitik-Pitik on Betel Leaves........My first adventure into Thai food first begun at Flavours & Spices, and since then I have never looked back. The taste and aroma of food from this country of gentle people has always lingered in my memory bank right next to my Adobo experiences. At one occasion, I had the chance to dine at Martin Boetz' restaurant, Longrain ( Sydney) and I was just plain blown-off by the experience that I just had to order a dish to go and hand carried it over land, sea and air for about 8 hours. This is a starter that I made with Pitik-pitik ( Poor man's lobster ) during one of those moments when I just had to have Thai food. You spoon the filling onto these Betel leaves ( yup, the one's your "labandera" used to wrap their "nga-nga's" in), roll it up and savour. This may not do justice to Chef Boetz, but the mere scent of all the herbs and spices while preparing this brought me back to that cold winter day in Surry Hills.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Crunchy-flaky Empanada........In the island of Negros on the Occidental side is a quaint little town named Silay. A place steeped in tradition and made famous by the prominent sugar barons who settled and built grand houses during the 18th & 19th centuries. Food has always played an integral part in the lives of the people of Silay. There are secret recipes handed down from one generation to the next and one of them is this delicious Empanada made in the kitchen of Emma Lacson. You bite into a crunchy-flaky pastry and then experience a variety of flavours...sweet, sour and salty from the filling. Each piece of pastry dough is painstakingly made by hand with a technique that is in itself an artform. During the Christmas season this is one gift that never fails to elicit ooohs and ahhhs and yummms. Something as scrumptious as this is not sold in shops or delis, you get it the old-fashioned way, by calling the Lacson kitchen and having it made-to order especially for you.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Jiggly Eggs & Sweetcorn Cakes........Brunch is a rarity here at Loney Kitchen and if ever we do have it, Sunday is usually the chosen day. A bit of preparation is required since it's a bit of a special meal for us and eggs are always a staple. A moist and jiggly omelet is good company for spicy country sausage, tocino, San Andres tapa and in this case some crispy bacon with oven-roasted tomatoes and watercress, wedged in between sweetcorn pancakes and served with some grilled crusty bread. This is my version of Bill Granger's recipe which he serves with an Avocado salsa. You simply mix fresh corn kernels (canned will do) chopped onions and cilantro, eggs, flour and some baking powder and fry in a little oil. On a plate, start with a layer of corn cake, then bacon, tomatoes, watercress and top with another corn cake. My daughter taught me that the trick to making fluffy and moist eggs without the extra fat, is to add 2 tablespoons of water for each egg while beating lightly. Be sure to take the eggs off the pan while it's still wet and jiggly. After a meal such as this, all you'd want to do is crawl back in bed and spend the rest of the day in la-la land.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Chorizo Asador........Another slow and quiet weekend calls for some creative thinking. I rummage through my cupboards and find this boat-shaped clay thingy. Now all I need is some of our favorite Spanish chorizo, some decent brandy or rum and of course good company and we're good to go. I chanced upon this little piece of Spanish pottery while walking around a Portuguese community in Sydney. Four elderly men gathered around a table laughing and conversing while one of them was bent over this asador, turning and twirling the chorizo around so as not to burn it and then pouring a jiggerful of brandy into the pot when the flames went out. This is a fun piece to have while having a few cocktails with friends. Roasting the chorizo over brandy flames ( tried using Tanduay rum and it turned out fine too) gives it a flavour and aroma so different from the usual pan-fried way. My favorite part is the end-cut since I get to have more of the crispy skin that's a bit charred and gives off this slightly bitter taste. I like to serve this with some roasted green peppers topped with anchovies and fresh homemade bread with an olive oil-balsamico dip. Please be very careful when pouring the brandy into the pot, never over open flames, I should know, I've got a scorched finger to prove it. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mutant Pineapple........Travelling is one passion I love to indulge in. It doesn't really matter where, as long is I get a comfy bed and a clean toilet and bath at wherever I stay. The smell, feel and even the sounds of being somewhere not home gives me an adrenalin rush that keeps me going . These places never fail to treat me to experiences so alien that I find it hard to say goodbye at times. Normal , doesn't really stimulate me, but seeing some strange looking thing such as this mutant pineapple does. The only clue that it is a pineapple is the "eyes". I chanced upon it during a visit to the Honey Bee Farm in Bohol while waiting for our orders of their delectable Honey-Cheese spread. This is one must-see place when you visit this quiet Southern island, a perfect example of man (or lady in this case) living harmoniously with the land. The owner (sorry but her name slips my memory at the moment) tills her land with the help of only the gifts of nature. Her salad greens are much in demand and she even serves it in her little cafe. How about some corn coffee for an after meal drink? Bohol has so much to offer, it goes beyond Ceasar Montano, Alona Beach and the lovable Tarsiers. It's always the unique and uncommon things that remain in our memory and make us want to go back to a place such as this. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

Mini what we have named these lovely berries. They bring color and beauty to our living room window every year from it's 5-petaled white flowers in February to it's dark purple fruits in July. This year's long and hot summer has brought out much more of the berries than usual. Some swallow-like birds have made nests within it's thorny branches and waxen leaves and would be residents until their little speckled eggs hatch. I have no idea if these fruits are edible at all since none of our feathered bipeds seem to show much interest in them. Does anyone know, because if it is edible, I can make a lot of Mini Plum piesPosted by Hello

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Mangoes...Mangoes! Fruit stalls, markets and roadsides are awash with yellow and green this summer. Not all mangoes are made equal though and nothing beats the sweetness, flavour and scent of a naturally ripened one. We were given a whole basket recently, picked straight from a backyard tree sans any fruit boosters and Chinese newspaper wrappings. really is different! The flavours and aromas bring me back to my childhood vacations at my Lola's in Cavite, when during a windy day you can just stand under a tree and wait for a few fruits to fall. Inay (this is how we called Lola) had 3 different varieties in her backyard Piko, Padera and Carabao. I dug into my recipe collection and made this Mango chicken dish, it's made with coconut cream, curry and some other spices.
Mango Chicken Recipe
1 whole Chook (about 1.5kls) cut up in pieces
2 cups Coconut Cream
1 Tbsp. Turmeric powder
2-3 Tbsps. good Curry powder
2 Tbsps. Garlic minced
1/2 cup Onions minced fine
2 whole Mangoes peeled, seeded & diced
1-2 whole Red Chili Peppers
Coriander leaves for garnish
Oil for sauteeing
In a thick bottomed casserole saute garlic and onions in some oil till tender.
Add Turmeric, Curry, Chili and stir till fragrant.
Add mangoes, stir and saute for about 2 minutes.
Add Chicken, stir and bring to the boil then add coconut cream.
Let simmer covered till sauce thickens, stir occasionally.
Season with salt & pepper.
Serve garnished with Coriander leaves and a Spice Oil (optional)

Spice Oil
In a small pan heat 2-3 Tbsps. oil Add 1 tsp. mustard seeds, 3 whole red chilis & Curry leaves. Give i t a quick stir till fragrant then pour on top of chicken.
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Angel's Trumpets always remind me of mountains, cool climates and of course Baguio. Not wanting to add to the market crowd, I looked around for flowers and I found a couple of them growing in the garden. They start out as tiny yellow green buds and end up with this lovely pinkish-peach color. These are not flowers that you sniff for some good scent though. They only stay upright for a few hours and then they're gone, but then I got them for free. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

May I invite you to view my site and I do hope you get to like it enough to visit every so often and pass it on to friends. I love taking photos of anything that catches my fancy, be it a beautiful sunset, people or a colored beetle. Food has always been at the top of the list of most photographed. With a digi-cam, things became much easier and much more exciting. Allow me to share with you some of my wonderful experiences through this site. Please do leave some comments if you wish. Posted by Hello