Friday, August 29, 2008

Presto Pasta Night # 78: Sardines Linguine with Capers

My entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Night veers away from any pasta sophistication. It speaks of simplicity, hotness and subtlety. It’s your typical “just a matter of minutes meal”. When I woke up this morning hurriedly preparing for work at the same time tied with the responsibility of leaving the kids with yummy breakfast item, a picture of Sardines Linguine immediately crossed my mind. It is one pasta dish that perfectly fits my morning fix. After a quick check at the pantry and a swift confirmation that all the necessary ingredients are there, I decided to have this dish for our breakfast today. Moments later, I am already plating the pasta even before the clock calls me for work.

Let me share with you my Sardines Linguine with Capers, mildly spiced and hot but scrumptious at the same time. The salty notes of capers and the juicy character of tomatoes make a good marriage of flavours. The tasty Spanish Style Sardines created its distinct appeal. Overall, it’s scrummy and fuss free.

What you need:
250 g linguine (cooked according to package directions, drained and washed in cold water), 425 g whole peeled tomatoes (diced), 6 cloves garlic (chopped), 2 tbsps capers in vinegar, 225 g bottle of Spanish Style Sardines in Corn Oil (Mild Hot), ½ tsp dried ground whole basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tsps olive oil

How to make:
Cook linguine according to package directions and set aside. Sauté garlic in a heated olive oil. Add whole peeled tomatoes and capers. Season with ground dried basil leaves, salt and pepper. Boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce is a bit reduced. Turn off the fire. Add ½ bottle of Spanish style sardines. Mash the sardines in the sauce and mix well. Stir in cooked pasta. Top each individual pasta plate with the remaining Spanish style sardines.
Check out Ruth Daniels' Once Upon A Feast for more must try pasta recipes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eat All You Can Restaurants, worry or worthy?

Quite a long time ago, I received through an e-mail a list of restaurants in the Philippines that are offering an "eat all you can dining experience". Buffets in many restaurants are increasingly becoming popular these days so much so that we often find it difficult to choose among the many options. Here in the South, there are a number of restaurants that joined this trend. In the Paseo de Sta. Rosa compound, in particular, Poquito Mas and Cabalen compete in luring the hungry crowds. Poquito Mas offers an international lunch buffet on weekdays and Mexican dinner buffet on weekends. Cabalen on the other hand, carries in its name the banner dishes of the province of Pampanga. It offers an assortment of Kapampangan Cuisine cooked in many different ways such as fried, "gata" (cooked in coconut milk), grilled, sauted, fire roasted (e.g. lechon) etc. Likewise, the foods/dishes come in various forms. Fish, vegetables, meat, poultry, some rice delicacies and sweets abound the dining table. Both eat all you can buffets in these restaurants are priced at Php 299 per person exclusive of drinks. You may rate your money's worth based on quantity and quality of the food choices.

Whenever I go for an eat all you can, eat all you want dining experience, I can't help but ask my self a question of how worthy is it for the money and for all the calories at stake. Sometimes, we over stretched our selves just to get all our money's worth. Then later, we deal on the guilty feelings. It is well and good if the experience is really valuable otherwise, we tend to contest the concept of an eat all you can, eat all you want buffets. We feel regretful if in the end it became much of a worry rather than enjoyment. Therefore, it's better if we think first before digging into that bottomless serving trays and plates. Afterall, the consequences matters more than the superficial enjoyment.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tuna Pizza (A DIY Pizza)

With the fast phased lifestyle many of us are living, short and quick fix meals are highly in demand these days. Most parents like us or homemakers in particular, are time-strapped yet the desire to give our family yummy treats and scrumptious meal is still ever burning. We all require convenience but at the same time we want our food to have our signature touch into it. For this reason, the need to bridge the gap between well laboured meals and instant foods became so evident. This Tuna Pizza recipe, a DIY (do-it-yourself) Pizza is an example of various food solutions for that specific desire. All you need to do is assemble, add some creativity and you're on your way to your own exciting, gastronomic creation. Apart from that, preparing DIY recipes such as this is a good bonding activity for family and friends. What could be more exciting than preparing your own food and relishing huge servings of good laughs in between? It is said that all good things in life are enjoyed best when shared.
What you need:
2 pcs ready to use pizza dough, 1 small can pineapple tidbits (drained), 1 can of tuna flakes, 1 small red bell pepper (chopped in squares or julienne), 1 small green bell pepper (chopped in squares or julienne), 6 cloves garlic (chopped), 3 large tomatoes (sliced in rounds), extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup mozzarella cheese or quick melt cheese

How to make:
Half all the ingredients. Drizzle each pizza dough with olive oil. Layer it with the rest of the ingredients starting from cheese, then tomatoes, pineapple, bell peppers, garlic and tuna. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts and the side of the dough turns brown or is toasted. You can adjust the amount of all the ingredients if you like. Always remember that when it comes to cooking, you can go by your own taste at all times. In as far as my culinary journey is concerned; this is quite like a mantra to me already.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Taste Throwdown # 2: Cinnamon Cake with Pili Nut

This is the second post for the Taste Throwdown category of this blog. It's this blog's weekly event adapted from Bobby Flay's Food Network show. Check out my initial post about it here. I'm dreaming big about Taste Throwdown. I'd like to see it grow as a food bloggers' event soon. I'm planning to open it to the foodies out there who love to challenge the passionate "Cooks" in them and want to share their culinary gifts. I hope I can design the mechanics properly and roll it out before long. I'll make an announcement when it's done. Meanwhile, let me share with you my take on the recipe of the Coffee Cake preceding this particular post.
Last week, we were again generously gifted with lots of Pili Nuts from the province of Bicol. Incidentally, the husband has long been requesting for a baked goodie but this time around it was specified to be a Cake. A Cake! I repeated to myself. I’ve never tried making any of this kind at home. I would love to but I’m a bit apprehensive on the possible errors I could commit along the way then making it a complete disaster in the end. With little mouths always waiting to be pleased at the dining table and a husband who has such a high threshold for sweet goods, oh no, I can’t afford to offer any form of disappointment at all. Baking a Cake is something that I would leave for the baker or pastry chef to do, with me as spectator gloriously enjoying the scene of the art of baking. I was only technically trained to perceive, taste and evaluate a food but with very minimal experience on baking much less on Cakes. On second thoughts though, there’s absolutely no harm in trying specially in your own kitchen and your own food. So, there’s always this daring instinct that instructs you to do it and just try.

So with much guts and inspiration, I modified Gifts from the Kitchen’s recipe of Coffee Cake and Cinnamon Streusel Topping and had it tangier. I made the cinnamon flavour the overall character and not just a hint that provides an aftertaste. Also, I added the pili nuts which provided the creamy and nutty notes lingering through out the palate. Accordingly, I named it Cinnamon Cake with Pili Nut. If you’re a cinnamon lover, this cake item is for you.

What you need:
1/3 cup butter (softened), 200 g sugar, 2 large eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 tbsps milk, 215 g all purpose flour or cake flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsps cinnamon powder, 125 g pili nuts

How to make:
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Sift flour and baking powder. Add in cinnamon powder and mix together. Cream sugar and butter in a mixer bowl until fluffy and yellow in color. Add milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add in mixture of dry ingredients. Mix until well blended. Using a spoon stir in 3 tbsps of coarsely chopped pili nuts. Add to a greased 9 x 2 inch round tin. Top with the remaining pili nuts. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the center comes out clean when inserted with a tester. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shrimp Linguine with Green Olives & Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

I have two mini cookbooks now frequenting our kitchen counter very often. Surprisingly, even my young tots are busy perusing these books, each spotting his/her own choice of food for request. Simultaneously, I hear cute pleads echoing through out the entire house "mommy, gawa ka nito, mommy gusto ko bake ka nito". Later, these culinary petitions made my weekends busily spent in the kitchen.
Perfect Italian and Gifts from the Kitchen both by Parragon are great foodie companion. They are affordable, handy and rich in delectable dishes to prepare at home. The following recipes were taken from these books but I added some twists to suit the flavor to our palate more.
Shrimp Linguine with Green Olives

What you need:
400g linguine, 1/2 cup green olives, 250 g shrimps (shell removed and deveined), 4 small tomatoes (diced), 500g italian spaghetti sauce, 1 small onion (chopped), 4 cloves garlic (chopped), 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground dried basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste
How to make:
Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain, wash in cold water and set aside. Heat olive oil in a pan. Cook shrimps until just tender. Set aside. In the same pan, sauté onion and garlic until fragrant. Add tomatoes, olives and italian spaghetti sauce. Season with salt, pepper and ground dried basil leaves. Boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cooked linguine and shrimps.

I partenered this pasta dish with a yummy Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping. This is a very easy to prepare baked goodie. It has a mild, buttery taste with distinct cinnamon top note. The chunks of cinnamon and nut mixture sprinkled on top of the cake provided an enjoyable texture. Instead of pecan nuts, I subsituted it with our local Pili Nut. It added a good caramelized flavor and creamy, nutty taste. Perfect for an afternoon nibble!

Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

What you need:
175 g butter, 215 g all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 200 g granulated sugar, 4 tbsps full cream milk, 2 large eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 5 tbsps brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon powder, 100 g coarsely chopped pili nuts
How to make:
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 9 x 2 inch round tin. Sift flour and baking powder. Melt 115 g butter then leave to cool. Cream sugar and melted butter in an electric mixer. Add milk, eggs & vanilla. Gradually add in flour mix. Blend well and pour into the prepared tin. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, pili nuts and remaining butter in a bowl. Mix until crumbly. Distribute chunks of cinnamon and nut mixture over the batter. Bake for 40 minutes or until the center comes out clean when inserted with a cocktail stick or tester. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Cool before serving.

When you run out of a gift idea, home made edible gift such as this is the next best choice. What could be more rewarding than showing your recipient that you went the extra mile by preparing deliciously enjoyable present? Isn't the one especially made for you more heart warming?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pampanga's Best Halo-Halo(s)

When we had a Pampanga Taste Trek some time ago, one of the many great food finds we stumbled upon at this culinary haven, is Halo-halo. The province claims of creamy, rich and tasteful versions of this luscious dessert/snack. If you search Wikipedia, you'll find that Halo-halo is described there as “a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl”. With its recent commercialization and move to go onto the mainstream market, Razon’s currently tops this food category. When I had my first experience of its Halo-halo in Guagua, Pampanga, it easily got an 8 out of 10 sensory rating. It’s made of finely shaved ice crystals with macapuno, langka, leche flan and milk. Taste wise, it’s very creamy and milky. The overall taste is not overpowering with just the right amount of sweetness therefore, you can easily consume one serving. This version's advantage is its use of very fine ice crystals. Because it's so fine, it provides a creamy, smooth mouth feel and the taste of the other ingredients became distinct.
However, Razon’s is just one of the many good tasting halo-halos the town of Pampanga is proud of. There are also Corazon’s and Kabigting’s which are equally acceptable and popular. Corazon’s is made of shaved ice with a mixture of fruits (cooked sweetened banana and beans, corn, macapuno) and milk. It’s also creamy and milky with a noticeable corn top note. It has a thick mouth feel because of the macapuno. It is also rated 8 out of 10.
The third yummy Halo-halo is that of Kabigting’s in Arayat, Pampanga. It is made of shaved ice with sweetened beans that is cooked for hours, carabao’s milk made into pastillas and cream style corn. Likewise, it’s milky and creamy but very rich in taste. It has a slight beany note, not too sweet, thick consistency with grainy mouth feel coming from the beans. We noted that Kabigting’s version of Halo-halo “does not water”. As you consume it, the creamy consistency is retained. That’s why, it’s perceived very rich down to the last gulp. Because it’s very rich, others might find it satiating. But for a big fan of Halo-halo like me, it suits me just fine.
For these wonderful choices, evidently for a mouth-watering taste of Filipino’s most popular dessert that is Halo-halo, Pampanga is simply the place to go!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

THE FASTAURANT (The Italian Fastaurant by Gusto Italiano)

I already had a number of posts on the booming complex of Paseo de Sta. Rosa in the South. And like I said, its growth is unstoppable particularly the chain of restaurants to feast into. Very recently, another newbie has arrived. The Fastaurant by Gusto Italiano opened its spacious dining establishment and brought in an assortment of Italian Cuisine in the South. Barely a week old, everything about the restaurant speaks of its infancy in the Paseo de Sta. Rosa household. From the menu card to the ambiance, down to the foods being offered, you can see that most are still in the works. Nonetheless, the basic elements in fine dining are there. It has a very welcoming atmosphere (especially from the owners) and a fairly fast service. Four out of Five Spoons there. On the subject of their Italian fare, my colleagues and I have mixed evaluations.
Generally, we find their food range still quite limited. There are only 3 types of salads and soups to decide on. Fortunately, my personal choice - Zuppa di Funghi (Mushroom Porcini's Soup) did not disappoint. It's tasty, creamy and less earthy, just the way I like it. So, it's a pretty good start with the soup especially with the complementing crunchy and yummy bread that went with it. Minestrone (Assorted Vegetables Soup) is also acceptable but not as satisfying as the former.
Zuppa di Funghi (Php 185)

Minestrone (Php 150)
For the salads, I wish the scrumptious shots below delivered in taste too. Unfortunately, it didn't. The salad dressing (vinaigrette) is too sour and sharp that it overpowered a luscious salad mix. They have to make siginificant improvements on this specific item since salad is (almost always) a must in any Italian meal. I had to mention though that the grilled chicken in Insalata Con Pollo (mix greens with tomato, carrots & grilled chicken breast) is very tasty.

Insalata Con Pollo (Php 295, sharing size)

Insalata Mista (mixed greens with tomato, carrots, cucumber, mango and grapes; Php 255 sharing size)

For the Pizza, there are a lot to choose from the menu. We had 4 Seasons (vegetariana, fruitti de mare, prosciutto & sardinia) and Frutti de Mare (pomodoro, mozzarella & assorted seafoods). Basically, we find both choices subtle and very mildly flavoured. The taste is not overwhelming which can be good if you're having a complete course of meal. However, if you're used to rich and deeply flavoured pizza, you might find it too short to your preference.

Frutti de Mare (Php 695, 18")

4 Season (Php 695, 18")

Finally for the Pasta, we had the same evaluation as that of the Pizza. Everything is short in character and a bit dry specifically the Rigatoni Forno (Baked Rigatoni in Bolognese Sauce). We're craving for the luscious melange of creamy and juicy flavors in the Bolognese sauce. Nevertheless, the pastas are still acceptable. But like how my colleague had put it, "it's not something explosive" taste wise.

Lasagne Al Forno (Php 355, sharing size)
Gamberetti with Shrimps (we forgot to get the exact name of the dish but this is one of their house specialties worth Php 695)

Rigatoni Forno (Php 295, sharing size)

On the whole, THE FASTAURANT may have fallen short of some of our expectations (judging from the taste experience and the corresponding cost) but I would say that the overall feel is not bad at all. Perhaps I would still consider to get back and try the other available options. I'm still intrigued and I want to see if there are real Italian culinary treasures in their kitchen. On the other hand, if they want to remain competitive in the growing food arena of Paseo de Sta. Rosa, some improvement works have to be considered.

Tokwa't Baboy with Tausi (Tofu & Pork with Black Beans)

Tokwa to Pinoys in the Philippines, Tofu to others, Bean Curd to literally translate it, is a very popular and widely used food ingredient in Filipino Cuisine. Philippines had its own share of Chinese culture and its influence transcends all the way to our plate. That's why, enormous dishes of Chinese origin typically frequents our dining table. Tofu in particular, comes with a variety of delightful chows. If you ask Pinoys (Filipinos) to name one popular local appetizer, without a doubt Tokwa't Baboy (Tofu and Pork) will be the top of mind. It's a dish typically made of strips of fried tofu and pork, bathed in soy sauce and vinegar added with spices like onion and garlic. Another favorite of this kind is Tokwa't Baboy with Tausi (Tofu & Pork with Black Beans). The manner of its preparation or cooking depends on ones own liking. In our case, as taught by my aunt, we like our version to be sweet and generously garnished with Kinchay (Chinese Celery) and spring onions.
Kinchay is similar to Parsley in appearance and taste. But it's more aromatic and flavorful. It also blends well with sweet-savoury dish. While it's plant family is generally hyped as healthy and rich in nutrients, Chinese Celery boasts of other medicinal claims. Read details here. What I particularly love about kinchay is its ability of harmonizing many flavor components in one dish and providing an enjoyable juicy green and herby top note. Enough with the descriptions, let's get the pot in the kitchen steaming with this tasty dish.

What you need:
5 pcs fried tofu (cut into strips), 250 g pork (cut into cubes), 1 small red onion (chopped), 4 cloves garlic (chopped), 2 1/2 tbsps black beans, 3 tbsps soy sauce, 3 tbsps brown sugar, 3/4 cup soup stock (broth), 2 tbsps canola oil, pepper to taste, chopped kinchay and spring onions for garnish,
How to make:
Cook pork in a skillet with small amount of water until it nearly dries up and turns brown. Push to the side of the skillet. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant. Bring the pork in and add tofu strips, black beans, soy sauce, sugar, pepper and soup stock. Boil and simmer for 3 mins. Garnish with spring onions and kinchay.
For more dishes to savour this weekend, visit Dil Se of Divya. She'll make a round up of another great food selections by weekend herb bloggers. A weekly event conceptualized and now made famous by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Presto Pasta Nights #75: Chicken Fettucini with Creamy Tomato Sauce

In view of breakfast items at home, we (my kids in particular) rarely have rice or bread. We usually dig into a plate of pasta or noodle dish. If you’ll ask me why we do not have the typical Pinoy breakfast plate of rice and viand or pandesal with spreads, it’s simply because my kids rule in this particular meal occasion. Also, noodles or pasta dish excites them more than the former options. I consistently stick into this morning meal repertoire because I think noodles or pasta offers more variety in taste and texture. It answers the need to break the satiation factor that is common to kids when it comes to eating. With the same base you can alter the taste and ingredients pretty unbounded.
So for Presto Pasta Night # 75, I'm sharing a recipe that both my toddlers love. Apparently, each has a different preference of sauce for a pasta. The eldest likes the red based pasta and the youngest hearts the cream based one. To satisfy them both, I came up with this fusion of both types which put their appetites into big cravings. I hope you'll feel the same way too when you try it.

Chicken Fettucine with Creamy Tomato Sauce

What you need:

250 g fettucine pasta (cooked according to package directions), 250 g chicken breast fillet (cut into cubes), 425 g can crushed tomatoes, 1 small can of button mushrooms (drained and sliced thinly), 1/2 cup all purpose cream, 1 small red onion (chopped), 4 cloves garlic (chopped), 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground whole basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste.

How to make:

Cook fettucine pasta according to package directions. Drain and wash in cold water. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add chicken and stir-fry until slightly browned. Season with salt, pepper and ground basil leaves. Add crushed tomatoes and mushrooms. Boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in all purpose cream and cooked fettucine. Mix well.

For more Pasta treats, visit Michelle's roound up of Presto Pasta Night #75 at her mouthwatering site Greedy Gourmet.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Taste Throwdown # 1: Tilapia Fish Cake with Sayote Tops & Boiled Egg

I am an avid fan of celebrity chef Bobby Flay's Food Network show called "Throwdown with Bobby Flay". It's a TV program where Flay challenges a Cook of a famous dish or food in a surprise competition hence, the name "throwdown". It's exciting and inspiring at the same time. I always look forward to how Flay will make his own version different and better than the original. Somehow, in someway I see my self in this celebrity chef. Almost always before I try on a particular recipe, I tend to evaluate it first. I scrutinize the list of ingredients, the manner of preparation and plating. These are essential elements that will make or break any food item in as far as its general acceptability is concerned. Besides, we all want to maximize our resources and time for cooking. Thus, it goes without saying that the food must be all worth it.

Inspired by the concept of the show, I thought of adopting it in the blog. And so the first post on Taste Throwdown Our Taste of Life style was born. Basically, it is going to be a weekly instalment of a benchmarked dish. I will create my own take of a particular dish I have encountered either from books, food show, restaurants, wherever food abounds. But it isn't a contest at all (let's just say it's about challenging the daring cook in me). Overall, I will try to tailor-fit the recipe by using local ingredients and making it tastes good and /or better for less (because a good food doesn't necessarily need to be expensive).

On to the initial Taste Throwdown entry, here's Tilapia Fish Cakes with Sayote Tops & Boiled Egg. The benchmark of this dish is "Salmon Fish Cakes with Spinach and Poached Egg" featured in the book How to Cook by Hamlyn. I made a very pinoy version of this dish which is likewise relatively cheaper. I preferred to hard boiled the egg because I have kids who will be my panelists. But you can also opt for poached or soft boiled. If you want an equally healthy and tasty vegetables other than Sayote leaves, Camote Tops makes a good alternative too.

Tilapia Fish Cakes with Sayote Tops & Boiled Egg

Yield 6 cakes

What you need:
1 1/2 cups tilapia fillet (coarsely chopped), 1 small red onion (chopped), 4 cloves garlic (minced), 1/2 cups diced potatoes, 1/2 cups diced carrots, 2 1/2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground whole basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste, 2 small eggs, 2 tbsps all purpose flour, canola oil for frying, 500 g sayote tops (blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, seasoned with salt or fish sauce)

How to make:

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add fish, potatoes and carrots. Season with salt, pepper and basil. Saute for 2 minutes or until fish is tender. Take out from the pan and transfer to a small bowl. Add eggs and all purpose flour. Mix well. Heat canola oil in a frying pan. Drop 2 tablespoons of fish batter and fry 3 minutes on each side or until it turns brown. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Set fish cakes on individual plates, on a bed of sayote tops. Top each one with some sayote tops and finish with the egg.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bakwan (Indonesian Vegetable Fritters)

Last week, an Indonesian colleague arrived from Thailand to work with us. Before she left, we teased her to prepare something authentic in Indonesian Cuisine for an afternoon nibble. Gladly, she yielded to our request. Armed with the necessary ingredients, kitchen tools and a blazing Indonesian spirit, she quickly made our office's pantry smelling with fried, pleasantly browned, crunchy notes. The avid epicures in us were all awakened. We can no longer contain our curiosity and craving. When finally the first batch landed onto the plate, we eagerly dig into it and delightfully rests this crunchy, nicely browned vegetable fritters called Bakwan. It tastes sweet at the same time savoury. The natural sweetness of the vegetables particularly corn, carrots and spring onions lingered all through out rounded with the fried note thus, giving it a complementing savoury twist. Bakwan is a typical Indonesian fritter that can be made with shrimps or vegetables. This is a very flexible dish as you can easily twist it to any way you like. Likewise, it's very easy to prepare. If you're tired with our very own Okoy (fish or shrimp fritters) or the usual omelette, this is an unconventional Filipino option. According to our Indonesian colleague, it's normally eaten with either chili sauce, kecap manis or sambal ketchup. For us, we liked it best with spicy vinegar or "toyomansili" (soy sauce, calamansi and chili).
If you want to try it at home, these are the ingredients and the procedure to prepare it. However, the portions are not indicated because the way I saw it cooked by my colleague was a classic "a dish - a dash style of cooking", you can just play around.
What you need:
carrots, string beans, spring onions (chives), sweet corn kernels, onion, garlic, bean sprouts, eggs, all purpose flour, rice starch, water, salt, sugar and pepper to taste, vegetable oil for frying
How to make:
Prepare a batter mix by combining flour, water, eggs (beaten) and a little amount of starch in a bowl. Mix well. Adjust the amount of ingredients to achieve a not too viscous batter mix. Likewise, do not add too much water so it won't be too oily when you fry it. The more water you put into it, the higher the oil absorption will be. Add all vegetables into the batter. Fry 1 tbsp in hot oil until golden brown on both sides.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Peanut and Raisin Cookies (using Cheding's Peanut of Iligan)

My husband’s colleague who went for a vacation in Cagayan de Oro brought us plenty of Cheding’s Peanuts, the pride of Iligan City. When I went to Mindanao, I remember buying a lot of this particular peanut brand as pasalubong (gift). We love Cheding’s Peanuts for its nice roasted character, strong peanut aroma and mild, creamy taste. We can’t resist munching it over and over. It’s a “sige – sige” experience, once you start you can’t stop. Because we have lots of it, I was enthused to create good chows out of it. From stir-fried egg noodles to snacks and desserts, I was busy sprinkling it onto our dishes. Here’s our Peanut and Raisin cookie with no less than Cheding’s Peanut as main ingredient. Grab a mug of your favourite drink and voila! you have a perfect snack pair. A heart-warming book is all you need to complete a relaxing treat.

Peanut and Raisin Cookies
What you need:

1 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup margarine, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 large egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 cup dessicated cocount, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup cheding's peanuts
How to make:
Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Cream together margarine and sugars in a mixer bowl. Add egg and vanilla extract. Gradually add in mixture of dry ingredients. Mix until well blended. Using a spoon, stir in dessicated coconut, raisins and peanuts. Drop a spoonful of cookie dough 1 1/2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.