Saturday, June 18, 2005
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.
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, "...how 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
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.
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.