Hi, welcome to my blog. Leave a comment and let me know what you think about my posts.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

sweet and sour bola-bola

Actually the title is a misnomer because the bola-bola here is shaped into a log, embutido style and then sliced after frying. But I adapted bola-bola for lack of a better name to give this dish. This is the kind of food that I grew up with. My lola, bless her soul would always make a batch of these meatballs and then steam them before frying. By the time the meatballs are cooked everyone already had a sample before it manages to reach the dining table. I skipped the steaming part. It saves time and there is no significant difference to the end result.

We always have vegies to go with our meal whether it's fish,pasta or meat. The good thing about this dish is that its already got vegies so I don't have to make a salad. Normally I wouldn't put zucchini but it's in the fridge so I'd rather use it than waste it. Surprisingly, it went well with the tangy flavour of the dish.

As always, feel free to experiment with the veggies that you would put in this dish. Generally, the firm and crunchy types like carrot, celery, capsicum and cauliflower are the best ones to use.

sweet and sour bola-bola

5oogms pork mince
1 egg, beaten
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup water chestnut, finely chopped(optional)
dash of sesame oil
1/4 c spring onion, chopped or 1 onion finely chopped
salt and pepper
cooking oil for frying

sweet and sour veggies:
3 tbsp coking oil
1 carrot, sliced
1 small capsicum, sliced
1 small can pineapple pieces(juice reserved)
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 inch ginger finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp vinegar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 1/2 c water
reserved pineapple juice
salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the bola-bola except for the cooking oil. Shape into three logs and deep fry in medium heat until brown. Let it cool before slicing.

Heat cooking oil and stirfry the onion, garlic, ginger and carrot for 2 minutes. Add the capsicum and zucchini and stirfry for another 2 minutes. Lastly add the pineapple pieces

Meanwhile combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour into the pan with the vegies and stir until thickened.

Arrange sliced bola-bola in a platter and top with the sweet and sour vegies.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Beef lasagna

I get my inspirations on what to cook for dinner from the oddest of source. But sometimes I would just stand there in front of the fridge and couldn't decide at all. A cook's block that's what I call it. There are a few mainstay in my freezer. A whole chicken, sausage rolls, frozen pizza dough, beef mince, pork mince, puff pastry, lamb chops and sausages for a quick barbie and some unrecognizable objects pushed at the back which will only be discovered in the next bi-annual fridge clean up.

The idea to make lasagna started with my craving for garlic bread. I thought the garlic bread would be nice to mop a creamy,saucy lasagna. The meat sauce is actually a basic bolognese sauce. The carrot, celery and onion will add a natural sweetness to the sauce. I have a strong aversion to sweet pasta sauce. It makes one ask if he is eating dinner or dessert. It's alright to add a tablespoon of sugar if the passata you use is really acidic but please i beg you... don't use ketchup!

I seldom use butter. If I can get away with it I substitute it with olive oil. My garlic bread is made with olive oil infused with garlic, parsley and basil. You'll never have it any other way again once you tried it. Just brush it on a good crusty bread like pane di casa or french bread or you can use you everyday sandwich bread just like i did. The oil is also good to fry your croutons in to add to caesar salad. But that's for another blog.

beef lasagna

meat sauce:
500gms beef mince
1 700ml passata
1 medium carrot (grated)
3 stalks celery (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
3 cloves crushed garlic
pinch of oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 c beef broth
salt and pepper
1 packet lasagna

Heat half the olive oil in a pan and brown the beef mince in high heat. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil and add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Lower the stove to medium heat. Add the vegetables and let it sweat for 10 mins. Return the mince to the pan and add the passata bay leasf, oregano and the beef broth and season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.

bechamel sauce:
3 c milk
3 tbsp flour
30gms butter
pinch of nutmeg
mozarella cheese

Turn the stove to medium heat. Melt the butter and add the flour in a saucepan and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually add the milk and nutmeg while whisking. Return to the stove and continue whisking until the sauce thickens but in a pouring consistency.

Spread the bottom of a baking dish with 1 cup of meat sauce. Arrange the lasagna sheet then top it with meat sauce then the bechamel sauce. Repeat this procedure ending with the bechamel sauce on top. 3 or 4 layers should be good depending on the depth of the dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake in 190 degree oven for for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Let it set for 20 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Beef with broccoli

Stir fry is one of the easiest and quickest food to prepare second only to opening a can of corned beef. But who wants to eat corned beef when you can make this stirfry in about the same amount of time. Just top it on a steaming bowl of rice and it's good to go.

My son and I love broccoli. I often steam it together with carrots and serve it as a side dish when we have adobo or bistek tagalog. My husband on the other hand will eat almost anything. He is not very fond of stir fries but as I told you he is not very picky. You can substitute broccoli with cauliflower or snowpeas

The secret to stir frying is to wait for the wok/pan to turn really hot. Make sure that all the ingredients are ready before you start because the cooking process takes only a few minutes. I always add sesame oil to stirfries as it gives the dish an oriental flavour.

Beef with broccoli
serves 4

1/2 k beef rump (sliced thinly)
1 medium head of broccoli (cut into florets)
1 onion
1 cm ginger
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
dash of sesame oil (optional)
1 tbsp cornflour (dissolved in 1 1/2 c water
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a wok until smoking. Stirfry the beef until slightly browned. Add the ginger and onions and continue stirring for 1 minute then add the broccoli. Stir until the broccoli is tender. Mix the oyster sauce and soy sauce to the cornflour mixture and pour in the wok. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat when the sauce thickens and add the sesame oil and give it one last stir.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blueberry banana muffin

Of all the cakes/pastries that I've made, muffin is the easiest to whip up. You can add fruits, nuts, chocolate. You can also make a savoury muffin with ham or bacon, cheese,corn and your choice of veggies. This is good for your kids lunch box. I made this muffin last saturday to take to the park. We were meeting with Joshua's new classmate and decided to make this at the last minute. Pretty organized huh! Well blame it on the weather who couldn't decide if its gonna rain or not.

I always make banana muffins when we have overripe bananas at home. This time I have a leftover frozen blueberries so I decided to add them as well since I couldn't add walnuts because Josh's friend is allergic to nuts. The muffins came out light and fluffy and the flavours of banana and muffin blended well.

blueberry banana muffin
makes 12 muffins
2 c self raising flour
3/4 c sugar
2 large bananas (mashed)
150gms blueberries
1/2 c milk
1/4 c canola oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 190 celcius

Mix the flour, sugar,bicarb, salt and set aside. Beat the eggs until frothy then add milk, oil and vanilla essence and pour into the flour mixture. Add the mashed banana and blueberries and fold gently until just combined. Do not overmix as this will make your muffins tough.

Divide the mixture into 12 muffin pans and bake for 15 minutes or top springs back when pressed.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wholemeal Pizza

All three of us in the family loves pizza. Who doesn't?! A friend once jokingly said that it is one of the 5 main food groups. Low fat pizza is probably the greatest oxymoron in this world.So I thought why not make our own pizza. Not the make-your-own-pizza option at pizza hut duh! but really make your own from scratch. That way we can manage what we put in and how much we put in our pizza. So I thought a wholemeal crust will be good, thin of course! With lots of good olive oil and garlic.Then add a bit more veggies and pepperoni for the meatlovers and voila!.....a guilt free pizza.

wholemeal pizza

2 1/3 c wholemeal flour
1 c plain flour
3 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
extra flour to dust

toppings for 1 pizza:
1/2 c grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 c grated tasty/cheddar cheese
1/4 c parmesan cheese
semi-dried tomato
sliced mushrooms
black olives
capsicum (sliced thinly)
crushed garlic
extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle)
dried chilli flakes (optional)
basil leaves(shredded)
1/4 c tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

Mix together the plain flour, yeast and sugar and 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Cover and set aside in a draft free place for about 45mins or until bubbly. Preheat the oven to 230 c. Mix in the rest of the dough ingredients and knead in a clean surface for 10 mins by hand or 5 mins in in the mixer. Dust the dough generously with flour if you are kneading by hand as it will be sticky and hard to handle. Divide the dough into 3. Freeze the other two if you only want to make 1 pizza.
Dust the remaining dough with flour and flatten with a rolling pin to your desired thickness. Make allowances as the dough will rise a little as you are putting all the toppings. Don't be too concerned with its shape as it will add to the rustic touch of your pizza.
Spread the tomato paste then top with the cheddar cheese then follow with the rest of the toppings saving the mozzarella, parmesan, garlic for last then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can add as much or as little toppings as you like.
Cook in the oven for about 20 mins or until the top is brown and bubbly.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bacon and spinach frittata

My husband and son always take their lunch to work and school. This is a great way to save and keep my family eating healthy.
I made this fritata on my son's first day in school. I put two slices in his lunch box plus carrot sticks and he finished all of it. It's an ideal 'baon' because its a complete meal in itself. It has potatoes, bacon, spinach and eggs. I also grated lots of cheese on top and finished it off in the grill to obtain that nice pizza like appearance that is very appealing to kids. The other good thing about this is you can add other meat, seafood or veggies like grated zucchini or carrots, peas, capsicum, corn, prawns or your leftover 'giniling'. This dish is so easy to make that you can prepare it in the morning or as a last minute lunch. A salad of mix greens will complete this dish.

bacon and spinach frittata

  • 500 gms potatoes diced
  • 3 rashers bacon chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 c grated cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
Heat about 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a nonstick frying pan. Brown the bacon and add the onion and cook until transluscent. Add the potatoes and cook until soft but not mushy.
While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the spinach in the pan and mix. Pour the egg mixture in the pan of potatoes and shake to make sure the egg coats everything. Sprinkle the cheese and dried oregano. Place the frittata under a hot grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until brown.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Grilled chicken pesto

My 5 yr old son joshua loves pesto and will eat it anyway i serve it. But the pesto pasta(that's what he calls it) that i make him is just plain and as a growing boy, he needs protein etc. etc.
This recipe is so simple to make. I have a small herb garden in my backyard so i only have to pick the basil leaves and get the rest from the fridge and pantry and i'm all set.
This is not an original recipe and you can find this in most restaurant menus that serves pasta. I used walnuts instead of pine nuts because the oil found in this wonder food is good for your health. Don't be afraid to substitute as long as you agree with the flavour. I use lime when i'm out of lemon. Theres no drama. But please don't substitute the olive oil.

So here is my take on this recipe. Just serve it as it is or with a simple salad and you have a meal pronto! I hope you enjoy it as much as my son did. I got the thumbs up and a kiss!

grilled chicken pesto

1 whole grilled chicken breast ( deboned)

2 cups basil leaves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup walnuts

50gms parmesan cheese (extra to serve)

1 clove garlic

salt and pepper to taste

350gms pasta (any will do but i use fussili or penne)

Make the pesto first because pasta is best eaten right after it is cooked so leave it for last. In a food processor or blender, pulse all the ingredients except for the lemon and olive oil, until it is coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and lemon juice slowly in a stream until it's of a thin paste consistency. Add more oil if you want the sauce thinner.

Meanwhile slice the roast chicken breast across the grain

Cook your pasta of choice according to packet instruction. Drain and toss in the pesto and sliced chicken breast then serve it with more parmesan cheese. Enjoy.