Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here's to getting everything we wish for 
for the new decade...

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Almost New Year's Eve and still no clue...

Tanigue Grill

Still have not decided what to cook. Roast turkey with stuffing? We made a good one last year thanks to a recipe I found which called for turkey sausage and dried cranberries. Although we did forget to take out the giblets, plastic package and all, while the turkey roasted for hours in the oven. I was thinking of doing a remake. At least this time, I know where they keep the giblets. The preparation time is a bit of a deterrent though. I am feeling a little under the weather and I did not want to fall asleep from exhaustion before midnight.

For a change, let's think along the lines of easy to prepare yet special, quick yet delicious. A couple of New Years back we grilled sausages and before that we had cold cuts. Redoing either would make preparation a breeze. But I don't eat pork anymore... I should at least add stuff to that I can actually eat. 

While we are on the subject of grilling, meats to grill that can be marinated beforehand do sound nice, like chicken kebabs or steak or prawns.

Or both pasta and one type of grilled meat. (Not all because I might as well have gone with the turkey.)

Argh. The clock is ticking and I still am not decided.

Wish you guys are doing better than I am.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lemon and Herbs Roast Chicken by Solraya's Sunshine Chicken

Lemon and Herbs Roast Chicken

At the Mercato Centrale launch, I met one of my students' mom. When he told me his mom was there, I had no idea that he was talking about the lady behind Sunshine Chicken. I have been reading about Solraya's Sunshine Chicken ever since I started this blog but I have never gotten the chance of trying one of her much talked about "grass-fed, free-ranged, naturally grown" chicken. At one point, I even thought about growing free-range chicken in our backyard- How cool is it to have chickens puttering away right outside your door or to get fresh eggs from your own back yard?- Okay. So I still do.

Chicken Liver Pate

So, imagine how absolutely thrilled I was when I introduced myself to Solraya. Thrilled. Absolutely. I really really was. She had me try her new chicken liver pate- robust flavor, wonderful texture, very good on lightly toasted pan de sal. I could not get enough of it.

Finally, I got my Sunshine Chicken, too. I had my brother, the family's second in command in roasting chicken (my dad being the first), roast it in the oven. He did a great job keeping it juicy, by brining the chicken first before roasting. My contribution was suggesting poking holes in the whole lemon to be stuffed in the chicken, an idea I got from Jamie Oliver.

Lemon and Herbs Roast Chicken

1 free-range chicken, brined
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Fresh ground black pepper
3 sprigs Rosemary
3 sprigs Thyme
1 whole lemon, pricked all over with a fork

Follow the steps for brining chicken here:

After rinsing the brined chicken under cold running water and letting it air-dry for at least an hour in the refrigerator, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Rub the chicken with butter and black pepper, inside and out. Stuff the chicken with the rosemary, thyme and lemon. Place chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast the chicken at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F.

Roast for another 30 minutes. A few minutes before the end of roasting time, check the chicken temperature (insert thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh). If it registers 170 degrees F, then it is done.

Solraya's Sunshine Chicken 
Contact Information:

Address: Quirino Highway cor. Regalado, Fairview, Quezon City

Phone: (0917)847-2639; (02)417-1800
Fax: (078)682-3758

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Mother's Callos Recipe

Filipino Callos

One of the reasons why I started this blog is that I wanted to write down and share my mother's recipes of the food I grew up with- my family's heirloom recipes, as it were. My mother's callos is one of them. Sure, there is always the discussion about putting in less garbanzos (chick peas) and raisins (which are part of my mother's original recipe), if not omitting them altogether (because I am not too crazy about them), but I love this dish nonetheless (I can always just pick out the chick peas and raisins in mine after all).

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Lunch

Christmas day. Had a very late lunch. But it was worth the wait.

Kinilaw na Talaba

Angus Ribeye Roast Beef

A little over a kilo and a half of USDA Choice Angus Ribeye, this was a ridiculously beautiful roast. To think that we almost didn't get one because I am thinking that everybody has had too much roast beef of late. My sister, however, insisted that we have roast beef on Christmas day, so on the 23rd, we braved the mad Christmas rush to go to the supermarket and get our roast. I so am glad we did.

I was planning on getting striploin, like the one we got the last time, but they were all out. (In fact, this chunk of beef, I almost lost to another lady.) Without the cheaper alternative, this particular roast sang to me. It's by Tender Bites- my favorite beef purveyor because of their excellent selection of premium grade meats- from Makati Supermarket in Alabang Town Center. A bit pricey at Php1,599 per kilo, but it was worth every centavo.

Besides, it's Christmas. Live a little. ; )


Recipe for the roast beef and gravy here. I chose a rib eye roast with no bone this time. To act as a rack, I got some potatoes, wrapped them in foil and lined my roasting dish with them so that the roast is sitting on the potatoes. The idea is not entirely mine, by the way. Mostly my brother's.

To ramp up the flavor, I threw in a whole onion (peeled and with the top and bottom sliced off) and whole garlic (outer skin peeled and with the top sliced off) to the roasting dish.

Adding the onion and garlic to the fray really does wonders for the gravy and the mashed baked potatoes (my recipe below)- my favorite roast beef by products.

Mashed Roast Beef Baked Potatoes

8 small  (or 4 medium) baked potatoes (I used the potatoes that served as the rack for the roast beef)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Mash the potatoes with the skin on. Heat the milk with the butter in a small sauce pan until the butter is melted. Do not let the milk boil. Add half of the heated milk and butter mixture to the mashed potatoes and blend well. Mix in the parmesan cheese. Add more of the milk and butter mixture to the potatoes until the desired consistency is attained. Season with salt and pepper.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Osso Buco Milanese with a Twist

Osso Buco Milanese

The first time I ever thought about trying to make Osso Buco was when I chanced upon one of Tyler Florence's cooking shows. He made it look so easy. That was about three years ago. I think... The point is, I only made it a couple of weeks ago this year. That's me, the procrastinator. But I have an excuse! Every time I tried to make this dish, I stop dead in my tracks when I realize that it may not be as easy as how Tyler Florence made it look on TV. Well, after a few false starts, I finally did it. I added a little twist to the original recipe though to make it more acceptable to the discerning Pinoy palate of my family. My sister, for instance, though tolerant is not too fond of wine in her food.

My Osso Buco wasn't perfect, I must admit. I used my mom's trusty old pressure cooker to cut down the cooking time and I think I have not added enough water. I actually burnt a portion of it. Hahaha. But most was salvaged, and what was left was, quite surprisingly, edible. Quite good, actually, considering. I will definitely try my hand at it again. I already bought the shanks. Hmm, maybe for lunch later.

Just a tip: do not skip the gremolata. Apart from being colorful garnish, it takes the flavors and aroma of the Osso Buco to a sublimely higher level.

Osso Buco Milanese

1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 pieces veal shank with bone, cut 3 inches thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 cup dry Marsala
2 cups veal or chicken stock
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
80 g (160 g) Del Monte Quick n Easy Mechado Sauce

Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 orange
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

In a large shallow platter, season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal shanks in the mixture and tap off any excess. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, over medium flame, heat the oil and butter. Sear the shanks on all sides, turn bones on sides to hold in marrow. Add more oil and butter if needed. Remove the browned veal shanks and set aside.

Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves and parsley to the pan and cook until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high, add the wine and deglaze the pan. Return the shanks to the pan, add the stock and tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender. Baste the meat a few times during cooking. Remove the cover, stir in the Del Monte Quick n Easy Mechado Sauce and continue to simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guordo's Shop 'Til You Drop Grand Sale

My mother has started doing her annual holiday giveaway shopping at Living Well. She bought quite a bunch of stuff there- some umbrellas, soaps, a couple of microwaveable storage containers, pitchers (these ones I particularly wanted for myself if I had my way), and scented candles. For herself, she bought a few pots and pans (I love love love shiny new pots and pans!) and a second Swing Away can opener...

The Swing Away Can Opener

Let me tell you about the Swing Away can opener. I bought one a few months ago upon the suggestion of one of Living Well's sales persons after I lamented about how all the can openers we ever got at home rusts up and falls apart after just a few uses. (It was partly due to my mom's insistence that those all metal cheap ones work best, never mind that they get rusty and fall apart after just a few uses...) Anyway. I must admit I was apprehensive at first since it is pretty cheap at less than Php200 and works on the same principle as one of those can openers I swore I would never touch with a ten foot pole with. But the sales person assures me that it's tried and tested having been using one himself. That clinched it for me and, well, I am never doubting him again. After having used it for the past few months, I can confidently say that the Swing Away can opener is the best can opener I have ever had. It works like a dream and is tough as nails. I swear by it. Now, my mother does, too.

About my mother's shopping spree-- She looked like she really enjoyed her time picking out her gifts at Living Well. She got quality, useful and best of all unique gifts and got amazing deals on her purchases. Plus, the sales people there were very helpful and knew their products very well. Me, I helped out with the gift wrapping by throwing in my free gift wrapping coupons from my stash of Guordo's passport boarding passes.

A few days later, I found myself in Guordo's Alabang Town Center, this time helping out my brother shop for his holiday giveaways. (See, shopping at Guordo's shops has become a family affair.) He got a bunch of mugs which were painstakingly wrapped and bagged individually by the sales people. (See what I mean by helpful?)

Now, with their 10th year anniversary sale, I'm sure we'll be hauling more stuff from Guordo's or Living Well until the end of the year. Good thing I am not done with my own Christmas gift shopping yet. I'm sure my mom can use a few more gifts from there as well.

What: Shop Til You Drop Grand Sale
Where: All Gourdo's Incorporated stores- Gourdo's, Living Well, and Sleepcare (see list below)
When: December 1 - 31, 2010

The Fort
Gateway Mall
Alabang Town Center
Glorietta 4

Living Well Home Store
SM Mall of Asia
The Podium

Sleep Care 
Glorietta 4
Shangri-La Plaza
Alabang Town Center

Gourdo's World Market
Greenbelt 2
Alabang Town Center

Monday, December 6, 2010

Striploin Roast Beef

Home-cooked Striploin Roast Beef

Last November 27, we celebrated my father's birthday. We invited over some relatives/neighbors and I was the one who took on the responsibility of cooking the birthday dinner. On the menu was roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes, some steamed Japanese sweet corn, and Kalbi Jim with stir-fried bean sprouts and kimchi. There was rice, of course, and my brother's iced tea (brewed black tea with lemon was the flavor of choice).

Roast Beef, because my brother chanced upon this beautiful chunk of striploin at Makati Supermarket- already tied up and ready to party a couple of days before. (Thank you, Tender Bites!) Kalbi Jim, because my mom insisted on it despite my protestations to the contrary. (Chicken or some seafood would be good. But another beef-based main course?! ... You see where I am going with this?) 

I slaved away in the kitchen for the better half of the day to prepare that spread. But all the hard work was worth it because everybody looked like they enjoyed the food. While I thought we prepared too much for a small party of 12, I was pretty much proven wrong at the end of the night.

My roast beef recipe I first used on prime rib, but it worked fine with the striploin, too. The original recipe was from and I have since tweaked it a bit- choosing to use fresh thyme over dried and adding fresh rosemary to the fray. It smells phenomenal while roasting in the oven.

Striploin Roast Beef

1 (5 pound) striploin roast
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra vigin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Leaves of 3 sprigs fresh thyme
Leaves of 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced

Place the striploin with the fatty side up in a pan 3 inches deep. In a bowl, mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Rub in the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, and let the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).

Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C), and continue roasting for an additional 60 to 75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 145 degrees F (53 degrees C) for medium rare.

Allow the roast to rest for 10 or 15 minutes before carving so the meat can retain its juices.

Roast Beef Gravy

3 tablespoons roast beef drippings (left in the bottom of your roasting pan)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Knorr liquid seasoning (adjust amount according to taste)

Heat drippings in a sauce pan. Dissolve flour in water and slowly add to the drippings. Stir with wire whisk to avoid lumps. Add in liquid seasoning. Let simmer until desired thickness is achieved.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not Just Great Food at Bistro Ricco Renzo

Buffalo Chicken Fillet
Fried chicken thigh fillets tossed in a tangy buffalo sauce
Whether I am at Bistro Ricco Renzo for a hearty dinner or just for some drinks and entertainment, I always look forward to the Pepper Crusted Tuna Sashimi. The tuna is excellent, perfectly seasoned and seared. Drizzled with the sweet and tangy raspberry wasabi vinaigrette, the combination is just heavenly. Another mouthwatering appetizer is Bistro Ricco Renzo's Buffalo Chicken Fillet. I can eat a whole plate of it on my own. I will not claim to be an expert but I know good Buffalo wings. Bistro Ricco Renzo's interpretation gives me the same qualities I love about the original without the fuss of bones. The sauce is lip-smacking good and while the chicken is coated generously with it, I am amazed by the fact that it still holds its crunch. Yum! Our other favorites for pica-pica fare at the bistro are the Tuna with Anchovy Sauce and Four Cheese Pizza.

Pepper Crusted Tuna Sashimi
Pan seared pepper crusted tuna sashimi with
raspberry wasabi vinaigrette
Tuna with Anchovy Sauce
Seared tuna loin sticks with anchovy
and olive oil sauce
Pumpkin Soup
Pureed pumpkin and cream soup
Four Cheese Pizza
Parmesan, sharp cheddar, white cheese, and mozzarella

There is much to love at Bistro Ricco Renzo- the chic yet cozy interiors, the friendly and efficient service, the interesting and awe-inspiring art pieces, the magnanimously talented artists who provide the live music, and, closest to my heart of course, the amazing food. Not just delicious,  they also come in generous portions which is perfect for me because I am the kind of girl that when I like the food, I tend to eat a lot of it.

Come to think of it, who doesn't? 

Fifteen Spice Chicken
Grilled fifteen spice rubbed chicken thigh fillet served with mashed potato
Osso Bucco Milanese
Beef shanks braised in wine and stock served with rice pilaf
Ricco Renzo Burger
Grilled one hundred percent pure beef with marinara sauce,
mozzarella cheese and seared bacon

Salmon Fillet
My friends and I were at Bistro Ricco Renzo for November Opera Night which was held at the gallery on the second floor of the bistro. (The main dining area at the ground floor was reserved for a party that day.) Wonderful music, good friends, fantastic food on a laid back Friday night out, what else can you ask for? 

Strawberry Cheesecake
Mossy found her Fifteen Spice Chicken absolutely delicious and unique. I must admit it is quite unlike most grilled chicken which tend to taste all alike after a while. Mike, the self-proclaimed burger aficionado, is impressed with the Ricco Renzo Burger. It is not just a huge burger, it is big in taste, too. The Osso Buco Milanese on the other hand, was Robin's choice- tender and with a rich sauce, it is one hearty meal. I got the Salmon Fillet which was served with pasta and greens. I like the salmon on its own, which was cooked just right, but with the sauce- the whole thing is just divine. For dessert we got the Strawberry Cheesecake which we all shared. We were unanimous in remarking that unlike most cheesecakes, this one does not kill your palate after just a few bites. Truth be told, we actually got another slice after we finished one in a jiffy.

November Opera Night at Bistro Ricco Renzo 
2 Tenors / 2 Sopranos (November 26, 2010)

Ricco Renzo Galeries & Cafe is located at G/F LRI Design Plaza, 210 N. Garcia Street, Bel Air II, Makati. For table or event reservations, catering information, and other inquiries, contact Bistro Ricco Renzo at (02)898-2543 or 45.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

At the Mercato Centrale

Speaking of the Ultimate Taste Test 5.0-- it was at that event that I first learned about the newest weekend market in Bonifacio Global City called Mercato Centrale. When I was reading the Mercato Centrale flyer, thoughts of more hard to find food products and all things home made and home baked instantly flooded my brain, and I just knew I had to be there, too. As if the gastronomic feast laid out in the tent that night weren't enough. 

For me, there is a fine line between curiosity and gluttony. I would like to think that I have not crossed it. But I am sure as heck walking right on it.


Days later, thanks to Anton and Spanky I received an invite to the launch of Mercato Centrale by email. "Of course I will be there. Are you kidding me?" Was what I told my computer screen as soon as I opened the email. So, on December 2, 2010, I got out of bed as early as I could  (That's a Sunday, take note.) and prepared for another day immersed in... food.

When we got there the place was packed. Both with food merchants and hungry folks.

I felt excitment in the air and the fact that it was the grand launching of the weekend market, I think, was only a small factor. The place was literally bursting at the seams with so much gastronomic possibilities- from organic herbs and chicken to home-cooked gourmet meals and home-baked desserts. I instantly knew that it is the place to be for those who love to cook as well as for the gourmands with palates that are always hungry for new and exquisite cuisines.

Apart from the food, I appreciated the live music that the organizers provided especially for the event. That together with their efforts at making the place well-ventilated and providing an eating area with tables and chairs, all in all the Mercato Centrale experience made for a worthwhile Sunday morning. There really was no dull moment there for me that day. Even when I have hunkered down to a table to nibble on my smokehouse Jamaican Jerk Chicken sandwich.

"Inspired by the outdoor markets of Mercato Centrale in Florence and the Boroughs Market in London, Mercato Centrale at Bonifacio Global City is an innovative weekend lifestyle market with unique, great tasting food finds that you won’t find anywhere around the metro! Mercato also has an extensive selection of healthy and organic fruits, vegetables and livestock, all located in a clean, comfortable, well-ventilated and organized setting.

On top of a fantastic food selection, Mercato will be full of fun activities, cooking demonstrations and live entertainment that will keep your family coming back for more every weekend. The weekend market will also have Sunday mass. Organized by the same people who brought to you the highly successful Ultimate Taste Test and the Mommy Mundo events, Mercato Centrale promises to be THE destination for foodies from all over Metro Manila.

The market will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 6am to 12 noon." (

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