Friday, July 30, 2010

Pork Adobo

Adobo had truly evolved through the years from being the unofficial national food of the Philippines. With millions of Filipinos all over the world, it's now being prepared by hundred and one ways. This is a classic dish that has gone through being a quintessential or local to being glo-cal. Ask a typical filipino housewife who cooks this dish of a standard recipe and really there's none to share. Simply because every household had developed its own version to follow.
For all Filipinos living in a foreign a land, I'm sure cooking this dish every once in a while will somehow connects us all back to our roots. In essence, it can be deemed any Filipino's comfort, nostalgic food. And since the ingredients of the dish are no difficult to procure it can be prepared anywhere else.

The most popular choice of meat for Adobo is pork belly. It has the tasty duo of meat and fat that provides a pleasing mouthfeel, texture and flavor to the dish. In terms of preparation and cooking method, there are different ways to consider. One, is the all-in stewing where the meat is no longer marinated nor fried. Just add all ingredients in a pot and boil the meat to tenderness. The other involves marinating the meat for at least 30 minutes then boiling. The last, includes frying after the meat has been boiled to softness. This is what I consider the most "sinful" version of the dish. It's rich, fatty mouthfeel to high heavens. But the browning of the meat and the caramelized, fried note add an exciting kick to the overall taste of this version of adobo. At home, I usually opt for the second type. I normally just marinate and boil. I skip the frying part unless I'm really craving for a rich and very tasty adobo.

What you need:
1 1/2 kg pork belly (cut in serving portions), 1 cup dark soy sauce, 1 cup cane vinegar, 1 whole bulb garlic (crushed, unpeeled), 1 tsp whole black pepper corns, 5 - 8 cups water, 3 bay leaves (crushed in smaller pieces)
How to make:
Marinate pork belly with all ingredients (except water) in a bowl for 30 minutes or more (overnight for best results). Transfer to a pot and add water. Allow to boil and cook until pork becomes tender. Do not stir nor cover the pot to allow the vinegar to cook well. Adjust the amount of water when necessary until the pork is cooked to its desired doneness.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stir-fried Hongkong Yee Foo Mee with Shrimps & Vegetables

How do you normally prepare your noodle dish? Do you opt for the use of the wet and fresh type or the fried, dried and pre-packed one? I recently found a good brand of the latter in the supermarket -Hong Kong Yee Foo Mee. This is the flat egg noodles that is the counterpart in Chinese of Linguine Pasta. Just like any other noodle, it can be prepared either in soup or dry. Recently, the dinner at home became another one of those days where I simply can't figure out what to stir in the kitchen. A close examine of the pantry lead me to this dish. Again, this is another quick fix meal. No sophistication in ingredients neither any complexity in the preparation. My kids enjoyed the smooth texture of the flat noodles. Likewise, it blended well with the taste of kangkong and dried shrimps. For more variety in taste, mushrooms can be added if you like.


What you need:



200g pack Hongkong Yee Foo Mee (noodles), 1/2 cup dried shrimps (washed with water), 1/2 cup baked or roasted cashew nuts, 1 med size carrots (julienne), 1 bunch of kangkong (trimmed and cut), 1 small onion (chopped), 5 cloves garlic (chopped), 1/2 cup water, 2-3 tbsps soy sauce, 2 tbsp canola oil, salt & pepper to taste


How to make:


Cook noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until done. Drain and set aside. Saute onion and garlic in canola oil until fragrant. Add in shrimps and saute for 1 minute. Add in kangkong and carrots and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add in soy sauce and water. Allow to boil. Season with salt & pepper. Add in noodles and cashew nuts. Stir well and serve.
From our table to yours, this noodle plate will likewise travel to Presto Pasta Night which is being hosted this week by Daphne of More Than Words.

Friday, July 23, 2010

West Coast Seafood : A Complete Chinese Set Meal

There's always something to look forward to when dining at Seafood Restaurants and indulging in a typical Chinese set meal. Be it the complete satisfaction from the whole repertoire or from the food itself, we are normally filled with a good munch of gastronomic proportions. Unlike other cuisines though, I'm still intrigued why dining in a Chinese Restaurant or in this case a Seafood Restaurant, equates to almost always having a whole set of meal. A la carte choice is hardly a second alternative. But come to think of it, that's maybe what a typical chinese dining experience is all about. Needless to say, just like any other set meals, the choice of food that will comprise of the set is key. One wrong choice might end up to satiation otherwise, ruin the entire dining experience. Fortunately, my first West Coast Seafood encounter proved to be a satisfying one.


It's an 8 course meal that started with appealing soup, mix seafood appetizers and the must try roasted pecking duck rolled in an egg wrap. Then on to the more filling dishes of crispy fried fish, cereal cray fish, stir-fried vegetables with mushrooms, a noodle dish and capped with a thick, oily, sweet yet pleasingly tasty dessert. Overall, this was one good set meal to remember.


WEST COAST SEAFOOD
#01-11, 12 West Coast Walk,
West Coast Recreation Center
Singapore, 127157

Sunday, July 18, 2010

FOUR LEAVES' Coco Exotic Cake

Just for the name alone - Coco Exotic, I'm already intrigued what this popular cake of a local bakeshop has to offer. It was recommended by a colleague many times over. Then, finally my palate found its way to sample a nibble. Rich yet far from overwhelming, chocolatey, medium sweet with a playful texture in mouthfeel, this is how I will describe the exotic element of this cake. This heavenly goodie is made up of layers of chocolate chiffon, mousse, cookies with a wafer like crunch and ganache. It's finished with a few chocolate carvings and red berry on top. It's not supremely to die for dessert or sweets but it's sure is one delectable, luscious treat in its own right. The interplay of the overall taste of the cake with an enjoyable texture or bite made it no less one hot item in the glass shelf.


Coco Exotic
S$3.20/pc

FOUR LEAVES' Coco Exotic Cake

Just for the name alone - Coco Exotic, I'm already intrigued what this popular cake of a local bakeshop has to offer. It was recommended by a colleague many times over. Then, finally my palate found its way to sample a nibble. Rich yet far from overwhelming, chocolatey, medium sweet with a playful texture in mouthfeel, this is how I will describe the exotic element of this cake. This heavenly goodie is made up of layers of chocolate chiffon, mousse, cookies with a wafer like crunch and ganache. It's finished with a few chocolate carvings and red berry on top. It's not supremely to die for dessert or sweets but it's sure is one delectable, luscious treat in its own right. The interplay of the overall taste of the cake with an enjoyable texture or bite made it no less one hot item in the glass shelf.


Coco Exotic
S$3.20/pc

Saturday, July 17, 2010

14th Craziest Toys Sale

Since the launch of the GSS island wide, it's indeed supreme shopping madness that I've seen and experienced. Nearing the final stretch, and with few more days to go before the SALE tags are lifted, more cut prices and great finds are being uncovered. We checked out the 14th Craziest TOYS SALE happening at the basement level of Takashimaya Shopping Mall. The goods are absolute bargains! My children feasted on favorite items. There are deals of "3 toys for S$ 5", some are slashed from 30 - 80% off. You can take advantage of this to get your christmas gifts as early as now. Sale is on-going until August 10, 2010.







14th Craziest Toys Sale

Since the launch of the GSS island wide, it's indeed supreme shopping madness that I've seen and experienced. Nearing the final stretch, and with few more days to go before the SALE tags are lifted, more cut prices and great finds are being uncovered. We checked out the 14th Craziest TOYS SALE happening at the basement level of Takashimaya Shopping Mall. The goods are absolute bargains! My children feasted on favorite items. There are deals of "3 toys for S$ 5", some are slashed from 30 - 80% off. You can take advantage of this to get your christmas gifts as early as now. Sale is on-going until August 10, 2010.







Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stir-Fried Vegetables with Quail Eggs & Cashew Nuts

How does food usually entice you? Is it through the aroma, taste or overall appearance? The popular idiomatic expression explain it all right, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". But does this apply to food as well? It's true that people look at things at different angle. And when it comes to food, the differences likewise, won't matter. As we normally coin it "to each his own". The featured dish in this post talks about that. It's so rich in color and appeal that it actually exudes an element of freshness, varying textures and a myriad of taste. Beyond it's vibrant beauty, it has the perfect melding of sweet and savoury. The marriage of the caramelized - wok notes of spices with the inherent sweetness of the vegetables and nuts, brings a harmonious sensory union. What's more, the interplay of the different textures from the medium-softness of the eggs to the crispy-crunch of cashew nuts is another enjoyable tang. Add to that, since it's a vegetable dish, it's healthy too. Thus far, don't you think this is a dish that's a sure bliss to the palate?
What you need:
2 tbsp butter, 1 small chayote (cut into cubes), 1 med size carrots (cut into cubes), 1 tetra pack whole corn kernels (drained), 5 cloves garlic (chopped), 1 med size onion (julienned), 1 cup toasted or baked cashew nuts, 1 small tray (15 pcs) quail eggs (hard boiled), salt & pepper to taste, 2 tsp corn flour dissolve in 1 1/2 cups of water

How to make:
Melt butter in a wok. Saute onion and garlic until fragrant. Add in chayote and carrots, stir-fry until tender. Add in corn kernels and corn flour mixture. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Add in hard boiled quail eggs and cashew nuts. Mix well for 1 minute. Serve.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Comfort Foods: Fish Head Bee Hoon; Creamy Pasta Soup


"Comfort Food" has become the ideal descriptor used by many in association to food that gives lasting satisfaction. Individually, we have our own preferences on the food items that rightfully fit into this culinary genre. Be it a heart warming soup, a nostalgic home-cooked meal, or a familial & authentic feast, all is a delight to a craving palate. In Singapore, it's no difficult to find a favorite of this kind. Surprisingly, I found one from the initially hard to appreciate "packed lunch" at work, the Fish Head Bee Hoon. It's a rice vermicelli soup added with tofu, seaweed, vegetables and fried fish cake all soaked in creamy, milky, rich broth. Ironically, despite it's delectable creaminess it doesn't turn out to be satiating nor overwhelming. Maybe because the ingredients are in right balance taste wise. Undoubtedly, this is a food that is pleasingly hearty.

Fish Head Bee Hoon

At home, we have a similar version called Creamy Pasta Soup. Only, this dish uses meat instead of fish. This is an adaptation of another soup staple, "Sopas", in the Philippines. The typical Sopas is cooked using chicken broth and is added with sausage, vegetables and occasionally with hard boiled eggs. The dish featured in this post is the pork based type.
Creamy Pasta Soup
What you need:
250 g pasta spirals, 250 g lean, ground pork, 1/2 cup sausage or pork hotdog (cut into small, bite size pieces), 1 small carrots (julienned), 1 small onion (chopped), 3 cloves garlic (chopped), 4 cups water, salt and pepper to taste, 275 ml can of non-fat evaporated milk, 2 - 3 tbsp canola oil
How to make:
Saute onion and garlic in canola oil until fragrant. Add in ground pork and saute until it turns brown. Add water and allow to boil. Add pasta and cook until it's aldente. Add in sausage and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust the amount of water if necessary. Pour in evaporated milk and mix well. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes and serve steaming hot.
It's truly comforting that either at work or at home, I am guaranteed to take one soothing sip and delightful slurp every once in a while.
I'm sharing this to Presto Pasta Night which is happening this week at Pam's Sidewalk Shoes. Join us in our table hopping for great pasta dishes. I can guarantee, it's awesome!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Singapore Blog Awards 2010 - Awards Night

The first half of year 2010 has been very good to me. I've been blessed with wonderful opportunities and new experiences. There were just too many to be thankful for. Among the significant ones was the wonderful recognition by the Singapore Blog Awards 2010. To be included in the list of the 10 finests in the Best Food Blog category is already a price to behold. I was elated, honored and humbled all at the same time. Tomorrow is the long awaited awards night. Whoever will grab the prices and the winning trophy, my heartfelt congratulations is sent in advance. Personally, winning is beyond my expectation now. No matter what, I think I've already walked away with a good many recollections. Now and again, I will take on my blogging journey the bits and pieces I've earned out of this acknowledgment. I am encouraged more than ever to do better if not best, to dream big and share more. Thank you to everyone who supported Our Taste of Life, from here and beyond.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Celebrating a Kid's Milestone

It seemed like it was only yesterday that I was laboring through the typical parental worries of sending a child to school the first time. Now, I am battling through the same process again. Only, the subject of my worry is elevated to a notch higher. How can it not be? My kids started a new life in a foreign land ergo, everything has to be learned from square one. The famous cliche said it best, "when in rome, do what the romans do". And apparently, we are no different to that. With my son's initial hesitation to Chinese learning, we, his parents, never forcefully pulled the string to do so. We made our stand the first time and his educators were well informed of that. The element of "pressure" was never and never will be an option at all. I'll let my child test his own water and allow the conditioning process to take its course on its own. I'd rather have him treasure enjoyable learning memories than escape from unwanted school nightmares. In so far as educating our children is concerned, don't we, all parents, wished for that?
Gladly, it did not take long for my son to find his way to appreciate and haul for the new challenge in his life. Before we know it, he's already scribbling words he's earlier hated and alienated from. His hands simply find the courage to go with the contour of it. Way to go Riley! I can never be more proud of this milestone at such a short period of time. This achievement deserves more than just the parental support you needed. Time and again, you will have more in any way we can.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SINGAPORE FOOD FESTIVAL 2010 - Celebrating Culture & Heritage Through Food (Part 1 of 2)


I've been invited to Media Conferences / Food Events / Product Launches a number of times. But for some reasons, I always decline. Until the invite to the Singapore Food Festival 2010 came, I finally yielded. For one, although I've been running a food blog for 3 years now, I still hardly consider myself part of the media. But this particular event caught my interest completely. I simply cannot resist. Singapore holds this annual food festival since 1994. By doing so, indeed, the country lives up to what it is known for, being a steaming pot of gastronomic experiences. And on July 16 to 25, we will all continue to explore, taste and celebrate. This year's theme focuses on "heritage, authenticity, time honored dishes and familial recipes". Rightfully so, the festival will parade the treasures of Singapore Chinese Dialect Foods namely Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese, Hokkien and TeoChew.

I was more than honored to be introduced to these five distinguished cuisines that shaped the eclectic food fare of Singapore to what it is today, by no less than the culinary "guru" of the country, Makansutra himself Mr. K. F. Seetoh. He walked me through the different food booths and generously shared the cultural significance of these Chinese Dialect Cuisines to the food culture of Singapore. Now and again, I was reminded that "every food does tell a story". Must I emphasize too that it's genuinely good and worthwhile one.


"The original Chinese Flavours that had pervaded Singapore for over a century was coloured largely by the early South Chinese Immigrants. They came, mingled with, and adapted the multi culinary concepts of other migrants from India, SE Asia, the Middle East and even from the West.
They naturally gave to this land their comfort food culture from home and it also gave rise to a third flavour, that distinct and iconic Singapore taste which came from a sophisticated melding of that heady range of flavours found here.
This year's Singapore Food Festival is about celebrating not only the vibrant Chinese dialectic flavours our forebears brought here but also what a newer generation had evolved it to today. " - K.F. Seetoh
On July 25, representative dishes of each of the dialects will be relished in five sumptuous buffets to be stationed in Clarke Quay Read Bridge. This mouthwatering line up of foods will mark the end of the festival. Some of the dishes to be featured are the following:
CANTONESE DIALECT
Century Egg Congee
Har Gao
Wanton Noodle
HAINAN DIALECT
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Jian Dui
Lei Cha Rice
Niang Dou Fu
HOKKIEN DIALECT
Fried Hokkien Noodle
Lor Mee
Po Piah
TEO CHEW DIALECT
Bak Kut Teh


Chwee Kueh


Fried Carrot Cake

Undeniably, these foods herald the evolution and depth of the Singapore Food Culture. These are not just timeless food brought by the forefathers of this island. For me, these are secrets to be shared and inherited over and over again.
*Food Shots are official press materials courtesy of the SFF organizers