Simple home recipes and food stories

Salmon Caviar and Smoked Salmon on Pasta

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Simple Carbonara

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Trout, Butter, Dill and Lemons

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Scampi (recipe)

By on May 3, 2010


Scampi could be the culinary name for a lobster specie, the menu name for shrimp in Italian-American cuisine or the name of a shrimp dish served in garlic butter and dry white wine.

I found a magic bottle of spices last week! 😀 A mixture of sea salt with dried tomato flakes and dried basil which is perfect for pasta. So off I went to the kitchen and tried it. For this dish I simply put in olive oil, tomatoes, shrimp and basil in a pan, heat them up and serve over pasta.


Here is a recipe more complex than what I had.


* 8 ounces pasta of your choice (fettuccine is preferred)
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cups plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
* 1/2 cup cooking wine
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 4 scallions, chopped
* 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, rinsed, patted dry
* 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 4 tablespoons dried basil
* 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
* fresh basil leaves (optional)


1. Cook fettuccine for 8 minutes or until tender but still firm. Drain well; keep warm.
2. Saute garlic in olive oil in large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes.
3. Pour in vermouth or cooking wine, lemon juice. Simmer 6 minutes.
4. Add scallions, shrimp and red pepper flakes. Cook until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, about 3 minutes.
5. Stir in basil and parmesan cheese.
6. Toss with cooked pasta; top with fresh basil and serve immediately.


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pasta | seafoods


By on April 30, 2010


These past 2 weeks have been a struggle for hubby and I. We were taking care of “coughs and colds” and they loved us so much they wouldn’t want to go away. We’ve been up in the wee hours of the morning barking at each other like rival dogs. 🙁

So I’ve been cooking lots of tomato based dishes for our daily supply of Vitamin C. This is a typical scampi dish but I would post the recipe soon. Happy weekend ya’all!


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Chicken | Lasang Pinoy

Pininyahang Manok (Pineappled Chicken)

By on April 17, 2010


“There are no accidents,” says Uguay the tortoise in Kung Fu Panda…so it was as I was bloghopping yesterday, one mom featured Pininyahang Manok. I still have a whole chicken getting thawed so I thought Pininyahang Manok is the perfect dish for it. I searched online for a recipe and there were many versions. There are those who put evaporated milk instead of coconut milk. Some include tomatoes and lemongrass while others have carrots, potatoes and bell peppers as vegetable additions.

I was not so sure which would be the better recipe so I asked friends over at facebook “evap vs coconut.” Just then, Ces sent a message for this week’s Lasang Pinoy theme….coconut! So here goes my entry, a product of two coincidences…Since there are variations of this dish, I tweaked mine a bit.


1 medium-sized chicken, cut up
1 can pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1/2 cup of coconut milk
salt/fish sauce and pepper to taste
strips of red bell pepper
cubed carrots & potatoes (optional)

Steps for Preparing Pineapple Chicken

-Separate pineapple juice from chunks.
-Marinate chicken pieces in the pineapple juice for five minutes or longer.
-Place the chicken and juice in a pot on medium heat. Wait for the liquid to evaporate abit so that the juice seeps in. Set aside.
-Saute garlic and onions in oil then add the chicken pieces, potatoes and carrots.
-After a few minutes, add the pineapple chunks and coconut milk. Wait for a few minutes before putting in the bell pepper.
-Simmer until the sauce is creamy. Season with salt or fish sauce and pepper. Serve over rice.


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Dessert | food friday

Blueberry cheesecake

By on April 9, 2010


I’m running out of memories to write about…it’s time to make new ones. 🙂 What’s best but making memories of good food along with photographs to make them last. Then again, I remember that blueberry cheesecake is one I often ask a friend to bring me whenever she comes over. Then again, shaking my head, it was a plain blueberry graham sandwich at the least.

blueberry cheesecake 1

There are still a lot of stuff I need to familiarize around the city, on top of this would be the grocery store. 🙂 I get lost in the cheese section a lot! I can’t remember when did I start looking for cream cheese in many stores but don’t recall recognizing them. Sure there’s Philadelphia but I’ve used them always on our sandwiches. I then stumbled on a recipe of cheesecake using Philadelphia and that got me excited. So a day and some more hours of waiting comes this masterpiece 😀 ….my blueberry cheesecake on graham crust!



* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

* 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 graham crackers)

* 2 ( 8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

* 3/4 cup sugar

* 2 large eggs

* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 1 teaspoon lemon juice

* 1 (10 ounce) jar blueberry jam

* 1 cup blueberries

* 1 tsp sugar

* pinch of cinnamon

How to:

Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend first 4 ingredients in processor until graham crackers are finely ground. Add butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool.

filling: In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium high until creamy. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until creamy and well blended.

Pour filling onto prepared crust. Bake for 30 minutes, until set and slightly puffed. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. When cooled, garnish with blueberries

Make sauce by placing blueberry jam, sugar and cinnamon in a small pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce is lightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cool. Cover blueberries with jam then place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to chill completely.

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Asian | Rice | Ruby Tuesday

Khao Phat Supparot

By on April 6, 2010

Another thai recipe for this week! 😉

Growing up, the only sinangag (fried rice) I’ve cooked was traditional Filipino, rice on oil and sauted garlic plus salt. When I’m up to it, I’ll beat in an egg too. On days that I really am in the mood to cook a decent  breakfast, there would be baby carrots, sweet corn kernels and green peas in addition. Then again, we Filipinos almost always eat rice with a viand. Along with fried rice would be a sunny side up egg, bacon, ham or hotdogs. More fancy would be tapa (cured beef) or other marinated meat.

Through the years, I’ve learned to accomodate the different rice variation and recipes other culture has to offer.  Some of the more popular of them would be Spain’s Paella, India’s Biryani, China’s Yang chow, Japan’s many Dons, Greece’s Pilaff and Italy’s Risottos. This was my first time cooking Thailand’s Khao Phat Supparot (stir fried rice and pineapple) – for dinner, honestly I was a bit hesitant and I really thought that the family wouldn’t want to try but lo and behold! They literally cleaned the plates! The only reds I actually have here would be the bell peppers and the ketchup which obviously can’t be seen. Anyway, recipe is below, please enjoy!



* 1 pineapple
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
* 1/4 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
* 1 boneless skinless chicken breast half diced
* 2 eggs
* half red bell pepper, cut into small squares
* 1-1/2 tablespoons crab paste in soybean sauce
* 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
* 3 green onions including 1″ tender green thinly sliced
* 4 cups cold cooked long grain jasmine rice crushed gently to break up any clumps
* 2 tablespoons fish sauce
* Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
* 1 tablespoon fried shallots
*cashew nuts (optional)


-(Optional) Preheat oven to 400. Cut pineapple in half lengthwise. Hollow out each half leaving the shells intact and setting the pineapple pulp aside. Put the shells hollow side up on a baking sheet and bake until the excess moisture has dried out about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set shells aside.

-Meanwhile coarsely chop enough of the reserved pineapple pulp to measure 1 cup then set aside. Preheat a wok over medium high heat. When pan is hot add oil, salt and garlic then stir fry for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high then add shrimp and chicken and stir fry for 2 minutes.

-Crack eggs into pan over the shrimp and chicken and break up the yolks with the tip of a spatula. Cook eggs without stirring until set about 30 seconds. When the whites turn opaque add the crab paste and ketchup then stir once or twice then toss in the green onions, cooked rice and fish sauce.

-Break up any remaining clumps of rice and stir fry to mix and evenly season the rice and to heat it through about 2 minutes. Add the reserved chopped pineapple pulp and bell peppers and cashews then toss and stir to heat through about 1 minute. Transfer rice mixture to the pineapple shells heaping it attractively (if you opt for the shells). Garnish with cilantro leaves and fried shallots then serve immediately.

P.S. Sorry for the confusion, this was not for breakfast but dinner… 🙂


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Baking | Dessert | Fruits | Ruby Tuesday | stock photos

Crema de Fruta – Ruby Tuesday

By on March 30, 2010

How do you make gelatine more interesting and attractive?

Make Crema de Fruta. Sponge cake, custard layer, fruits and gelo are what you need.

Normally, colorless gelatine would do, but red makes it all the more attractive.

My first fond memories of this treat were days spend with my  fave Ninang, she loves baking and Crema de Fruta is one of her more famous specialties.

Fruits used for Crema de Fruta is not limited to a can…of fruit cocktail that is. You can pick your favorite  fresh fruit, slice them thinly before topping your cake. I chose strawberries and peaches this time.

Ok, so this is not an easy one, first you have to bake the spongecake, or if you know of ready made yellow cake that would do.  Bakeshops would sell them unadorned so try going there if you are in a hurry to serve this.

For the cake:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • ———–
  • For the filling (custard):
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ———–
  • For the topping:
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can fruit cocktail, drained and juice reserved
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (I used unflavored red though)

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter a 9×13 inch oval (any shape would actually do, its easier with rectangle lol), glass baking dish.

2. To prepare cake:

Beat 6 eggs until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar until smooth and thick. Fold in 1 1/4 cups cake flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Stir in melted butter. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until center springs back when lightly touched. Let cool 10 minutes in pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Split cake horizontally into two layers (optional).

4. To prepare filling: combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cake flour, 5 egg yolks, water and vanilla in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until thickened, 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

5. To prepare topping:

Place reserved juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in gelatin and continue stirring until completely dissolved. Set aside.

6. To assemble:

Return bottom cake layer to glass dish. Spread half the filling over the layer (if you split the cake). Top with remaining layer and remaining filling. Arrange fruit cocktail on top and cover with gelatin mixture.Make sure the fruits are totally covered, thicker than what you see here is better, I took shots when the gelatine hasn’t chilled yet, so I doubled  the layer later on.

Chill 4 to 8 hours, until set.


There, hope you enjoy this one!

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Dessert | Memoirs | Ruby Tuesday

Panna cotta with sweetened memories

By on March 29, 2010

It seems reminiscing is all I can do lately. It must be the age…I’ve lived half the life my father did and this thought makes me look back more. I miss my highschool friends, being in school and studying (or not), exchanging notes, jokes and laughter with them in between schoolwork and other activities. It’s like everything I look at are memorabilias of the life I’ve lived…but everytime I pick a scene to relive, it’s very clear as though it was yesterday.

I’ve had my share of good food with friends back then. Simple meals and dishes concocted for a country-girl’s palate. In school, some common foodjoint, a special restaurant but mostly at home…friends’ homes. Once in a while, we get treated to something unique and unusual from the fare.  Among the  few desserts there were, Panna Cotta reigns supreme.

Chefs could go wild with variations on Panna cotta, flavoring the cream while it heats. A  little coffee, a fresh bay leaf,  a touch of almond extract or torn mint works well…the possibilities are endless.

Some often dress up panna cotta with complicated sauces too, from caramel to blueberries, raspberries and chocolates or coffee-inspired creaminess. I like it on its own, plain, mouth-watering,  unassuming form. I have, how


ever, known a better alternative for sauces…Jellyace sweetened gelatines…a childhood favorite! Thanks to our  Math teacher (my bestfriend’s mom)…my memories of Panna Cotta are always  perfect and yummy! (Though we knew panna cotta by another name…) Their home was and is always a pleasure to visit. One that always have a welcome-y atmosphere. One that you’d consider your own…especially when food, aromatic as they were would be served like there’s no tomorrow. (Thanks Ma’am and Tito Danny!)

panna cotta with berries

Panna Cotta ((italian) loosely translates to cooked cream. There could be differences in consistency among chefs, but I liked the one that Tita Minda would make for us, greedy it may sound but yes I can finish a whole serving of this… probably 250 grams… 😀 I am still not able to achieve that  perfect consistency, as this is the closest I can get but  hopefully in time and with practice I will. Here is an adapted recipe from an online cooking source. The sauce is a bottled strawberry concoction.


1 envelope of unflavored gelatin (approx. 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk (if you use condensed milk, omit the sugar)
2 1/2 cups heavy cream*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh berries, gently washed, drained, and sweetened to taste**
6 sprigs fresh mint

*Half & half, buttermilk, whole milk, and/or sour cream may be substituted for part of the cream.


Any assortment of fresh, seasonal fruit may be served with panna cotta, but berries are especially nice. To use other ripe, soft fruits, such as cherries, peaches or apricots, just remove the stones and peels as necessary and cut them into thin slices or bite-size pieces. They could be made into jam-like sauces as well.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup milk; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and sugar. Add vanilla extract or vanilla bean. If using a vanilla bean, slice the bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds into cream (add whole bean to cream for additional flavor). Bring cream just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally until sugar has completely dissolved; remove from heat and remove vanilla bean pod. Add the softened gelatin mixture and whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin.



Strain hot cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup with a pouring spout; pour into ramekins or custard cups.

NOTE: Don’t skip the straining step as it removes any bits of undissolved gelatin and insures a nice smooth dessert. Also, don’t let the cream mixture cool before straining. If using a vanilla bean, lightly swirl the cream to distribute the seeds evenly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To unmold and serve, carefully dip bottom of each ramekin in a baking pan of hot water briefly. Run a thin knife around edge of each ramekin to loosen it from the inside of the bowl. Wipe the outside of the mold dry and place on individual chilled serving plate (topside down). Invert the custard onto the plate and carefully lift off ramekin (shake gently to release). Garnish with berries or fruit or a favorite sauce of your choice.

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breakfast | Ruby Tuesday

Apples on oatmeal

By on March 23, 2010


Growing up in a tropical country, I have known mangoes, pineapples, papayas amd soursops earlier than apples, strawberries and oranges. Imagine a row of trees heavy with fruits that some would fall off the ground….well, it’s not so dreamy because it’s a farm, but that’ the kind of life I actually miss. Where I can own a garden and grow roses, tomatoes, forget me nots, basil, cucumber, and orchids. A view of pink, blue, red and vibrant green when I look at my kitchen window in the morning…perfect!

Coming back to reality now,I miss those fruits I enjoyed as a kid, where I am now they are considered exotic as were apples and peaches in my country. The other day, I tried to make this healthy breakfast, oatmeal with cinnamon apples…despite having allergies with the fruit that came about 2 years ago. My throat gets itchy when I eat them, same goes for my 2 older kids. We all have allergies with Steinobst, fruits that have big seeds in them, I think, like pear, peaches, apples, nectarines…and an odd case, kiwi. My daughter’s lips turn red when she eats them…which looks good anyway. 😀


So here’s a recipe I adapted somewhere, which would yield servings for 3.


* 1 cup water
* 1/4 cup apple juice
* 1 apple, cored and chopped
* 2/3 cup oats
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 cup milk


1. Combine the water, apple juice, and apples in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and stir in oats and cinnamon. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until thick, about 3 minutes. Spoon into serving bowls, and pour milk over the servings.

P.S. I did eat a few bites of apples and a few minutes later not only my throat was itchy but my eyes too. It was so good that I forgot about the allergies for a while haha….but I will surely remove the apples next time…. *sigh*

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Baking | Cafe World | Ruby Tuesday

Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

By on March 14, 2010

redvelvet cake
(Cafe World inspired dish # 3)

Patience is not one of my greatest virtue. That was why I was surprised that I found joy in baking this masterpiece.  Although I intended to make cupcakes at first since it’s less the works and I have more chances of success, this project was all worth the effort. It was not only me who waited with anticipation, the kids were there watching the cake with wonder, “is that strawberry cake mommy?”  was  the question repeated for the whole hour.

Red Velvet cake is said to have originated south of the US. There are many speculations but  there’s just nowhere to point, just like other legendary foods that made us wonder and crave…well, go ahead and just eat it, we can research later!

Originally, beets were used to color this reddish treat, but red food coloring has replaced it long ago. Other common ingredients are buttermilk, butter, flour, cocoa and is normally finished off with white icing, usually of cream cheese. I am not so sure about the sweetness of this particular recipe, I didn’t put in buttermilk but it still turned out moist.

redvelvet lighter

Some recipes include coconut flakes for the icing, since my “customers” are kids, I opted for candy sprinkles. For now, I am posting the ingredients of the other Red Velvet cake I’m planning to bake…directions will be posted soon.


Red Velvet Cake:

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup  buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 – 8 ounce  cream cheese, room temperature
1 – 8 ounce  tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup  confectioners’ sugar, sifted

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food friday | pasta

Basil and tomato on pasta

By on March 11, 2010


I find fresh and meatless spaghetti more rewarding to cook. It adds some more minutes into your cooking, yes, but it’s worth the wait. Oh, since this is meatless, then there’s some “minus” minutes too…..Pardon that I forgot to take a photo of the finished product…lol. I remember posting tuna and crabstick on pasta previously and that  that one was as easy as this and that the kids loved it well…


* 1  pasta (original recipe calls for angel hair but you can substitute your favorite pasta)
* 2 pounds tomatoes
* water
* 4 cloves crushed garlic
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* salt to taste
* ground black pepper to taste
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Place water and tomatoes and water in a pot.  Bring to the boil. Pour off water, then replace with water to cover tomatoes. Peel the tomatoes then cut into small pieces.
2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
3. In a large skillet or saute pan, saute the garlic in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Do not brown. Stir in the tomato paste. Immediately stir in the tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat and add basil.
4. Drain pasta, but do not rinse in cold water. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and then mix into the sauce (I usually add some salt and dried basil at this point. Reduce the heat as low as possible. Keep warm, uncovered, for about 10 minutes when it is ready to serve. Garnish generously with fresh Parmesan cheese.

*For those who doesn’t want it meatless, you can of course add ground beef, if you’re a vegan; carrot, zucchini or mushroom is perfect for this dish too.

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