Last night, while making dinner for the family, I couldn’t help but grab my watercolour pad, pencil, pen and paints when I saw these items on my kitchen counter – garlic, chillis, and lime. I just finished making the chilli, lime, and garlic sauce that goes so well with the Chicken Rice meal I was preparing, and I felt compelled to sketch while I waited for the rest of the dinner to be ready.
I only really wanted to sketch what I saw and play with my new set of Peerless Transparent Watercolours. After I was done with my sketch, I thought I’d give the sketch a title. Then, before I knew it, I was writing a simplified version of my recipe for the sauce on the paper.
So, without planning to, I ended up with my first illustrated recipe. Simple, but fun.
When I first posted the photo of this crispy pork binagoongan dish, I had a few people asking me for the recipe. Yes, even my non-Asian / non-Filipino friends and contacts seemed intrigued. So, even though I did say this dish isn't exactly for everyone's taste, they said they'd be keen to find out how to make it.
Well, then, I thought now might be a good time to share the recipe to this classic Filipino dish - with a little twist.
You see, I grew up with this dish being called simply 'binagoongan'. We all know that it's usually sliced pork, with fatty bits in it. The pork is just cooked like a stir fry, so no crispy bits.
But, a few years ago, during one of my visits to Manila, I came across some Filipino restaurants that gave classic Pinoy dishes a new twist. That's when I first encountered crispy pork binagoongan. And I thought: That's genius! We love crispy pork. So, why not?
I didn't quite know how to make it exactly, but learned how to hack different recipes I found online. This is a version that I came up with, after making this for myself a few times. Yes, sadly, I am the only one who appreciates this dish at Casa Coggins at the moment. Though my little boy doesn't mind giving it a bit of try, especially when sharing the green mangoes with me (my hubby and li'l girl won't go near shrimp paste!).
Anyway, let me know if you do give this a try!
I love cheese. And, I love pastry. So, every now and then, I try to experiment with eating and/or cooking things that mix cheese and pastry.
A few years ago, I discovered the wonderful mix of spinach and feta cheese. Wrapped in yummy crispy, flaky pastry. I was taken with it.
However, it's one of those things that I like, but I don't want to have too much of. Like wine and cider, I suppose. 🙂
That's why I don't eat or cook this meal a lot. I probably have it only a couple of times a year or so. To my husband's dismay, as he loves it.
Anyway, today is one of those rare moments when I decided that I wanted something out of my usual cooking repertoire. I was already craving for a bit of fillo* pastry a couple of weeks ago. That's why I bought the ingredients for this meal last week. I don't have a permanent recipe for this, as I like trying different things whenever I decide to cook this spinach and feta cheese fillo pie. I guess, I'm still looking for the perfect combination.
However, when I posted this photo on my social networks earlier, I had a couple of friends who requested for the recipe. The one I followed today was actually written on the box of the store-bought fillo pastry I bought. I only used the said recipe as a guide. I didn't follow it too closely, so I'm rewriting the whole thing as I remember what I did. So, feel free to tweak this to your own preference too. Do let me know if you give this a go!
A side note on fillo pastry: This is also known as phyllo or filo pastry. I'm all for making cooking life easy whenever possible, so I don't even attempt to make this from scratch. I find that a good store-bought one can do the job for me.Read More
If there's a favourite icecream flavour from my childhood, it would be the rocky road ice cream. I remember that in the beginning, I picked out the marshmallows and left them aside whenever I devoured my ice cream serves. But, as I grew older, I even learned to love the marshmallows.
However, after I left Manila, I can't seem to find a decent rocky road ice cream that reminded me of the flavour that I loved so much. Everything I have tried just didn't quite cut it.
It also didn't help that my husband was never a fan of rocky road. We don't always get to pick this flavour if we ever need to share a tub or cone of ice cream. So, that's why it was one of the flavours in my "must try" list when I first started making homemade ice cream.
That's why when I found this rocky road ice cream recipe at AllRecipe, I knew I had to give it a try. But, I decided to tweak it a bit for my own use.
And guess what? The hubby was once again converted. Surprise, surprise. 🙂 He actually loved this ice cream, even if he wasn't a rocky road fan. But, I definitely guarded it well. What can I say? I was completely and utterly addicted.
So, for those who might be interested, here's my version of the rocky road ice cream.
When the ice cream is completely frozen, you might want to put it in the fridge section to soften for an hour or so before serving.
The marshmallows tend to float to the top, so you might want to give it a mix halfway through before it is frozen. Or, you might want to hold off putting marshmallows until you serve the ice cream instead.
Prepare to fight off everyone in your household for this ice cream! 🙂Read More
Growing up with Filipino food, I am naturally a big fan of the yummy delights that filled my growing up years in Manila. However, since leaving the Philippines almost 13 years ago, I don't get my fill of Pinoy food. Unlike many Asian cuisines, you see, Filipino food isn't as accessible as, say, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, or Korean food.
A lot of the dishes are either a bit "too exotic" or too similar with other cuisines. That's why Filipino restaurants aren't very common in many countries overseas, unless there's a huge number of Filipinos or Philippine-heritage citizens in the area.
That's why it took a while for my British husband to get used to the idea of eating Filipino food. Sure, he's taken to lechon and inihaw easily because they are basically just roasts or deep-fried meat. He loves lechon manok (roast chicken), just as much as he loves any of his favourite Sunday roast meal from his childhood.
When I first cooked Chicken Tinola (a soup-based chicken dish) for the hubby in our first year of marriage, he wasn't too crazy about it. So, I never cooked it again for him. And, basically, I ended up hardly ever cooking it at all.
A few years later, we attended a pot luck dinner party with a group of Filipinos in Australia. And, one of the couples brought a Chicken Tinola dish. The husband devoured it. Yes, even if it had fish sauce (he often refused to eat anything with a hint of fish sauce). Told everyone he loved it.
I was indignant because I said that I once cooked it for him and he said he didn't like it. He was adamant that he certainly liked that Tinola.
Then, we ended up figuring the main difference: I used sayote (aka chayote or pear squash, amongst other names), as that was one of the ways I cooked it back in Manila. However, the Tinola he loved used the alternative vegetable instead: green papaya (aka green pawpaw).
Since then, I started tweaking the Chicken Tinola recipe that I grew up with into something the husband would love. In fact, something that he now considers as one of his favourite dishes.
Both the kids have fallen in love with this dish too. The boy says Chicken Tinola is his third favourite dish (next to roast chicken and roast pork; yep, he loves his roasts). And, the girl claims this is her favourite dish, even beating lasagna and spaghetti Bolognese (yes, she loves her pasta).
So, here is my version of Chicken Tinola:
Filipinos often love to eat Chicken Tinola with a condiment. Some prefer soy sauce. But, I love it with fish sauce and chopped fresh chili.
This meal is perfect for cold or rainy days. But, since it has become a family favourite, we have it all year round. It usually makes it to our menu every 3-4 weeks.
Many say that Filipino food is an acquired taste or something that you have to grow up with. But, I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does.
As an aside, sharing this recipe is a much-delayed response to Yvonne Russell's request to share a favourite Asian dish two years ago.Read More