Tuesday, 31 August 2004

J3 & KC's cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last rainy Saturday afternoon, I decided to amuse the little ones by making chocolate chip cookies (or biscuits as they call it around here). Of course, the little angels that they are, J3 and KC decided to "help". It was a bit messy but everything turned out fine. Although I would have wanted the cookies to be more 'raised' (ma-alsa) it was yummy and as they said it doesn't matter if they don't look perfect it will end up in the stomach anyway! This recipe is from The Genuine American Cookie & Muffin Book (ang haba naman!) by Peter Shaffer, lots of good recipes in there. I reduced the baking time because I find the 18-20 minutes in the book too long and gives out cookies too tough to my liking. I like mine a bit soft in the middle but crunchy/brittle on the sides.

[I will try to come up with the volume measurements later for now it's all by weights.]

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

360 gm [2 1/3 heaping cups] plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp fine salt
200-300 gm milk chocolate chips (2 or 3 x 100gm packs)
225 gm dark brown sugar
115 gm soft Demerara sugar
225 gm butter - softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 160C/fan 140C/325F/gas mark 3.
  2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl with a fork or wire whisk.
  3. In another bowl mix butter, sugars, and flavouring. Add eggs and blend well.
  4. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Just mix long enough to combine the ingredients, do not over mix.
  5. (Optional) Put the bowl of dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes or more until easy enough to form into balls without being too sticky.
  6. Form the cookie dough into 1-1/2 inch balls.
  7. (Optional) Put cookie dough balls (you may lay them in a baking sheet) in the fridge again for about 30-60 minutes or until they are chilled and quite firm.
  8. Arrange the dough balls onto a baking sheet about 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for approximately 13-14 minutes for a soft centre cookie.
  9. After taking out of the oven let the baking sheet cool for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack or cool surface.
Notes: [28.08.2008] I found out that chilling the dough before putting it in the oven results in better rise in cookies. This means thicker cookies not like the usual thin, splattered and runny ones I usually have.

Monday, 30 August 2004

The National Dish

Pork Adobo

Here is a standard recipe for M (my friend Precy's daughter). This is probably considered the "national dish" of the Philippines. Very popular as an everyday dish hence there are hundreds of variations. Even I myself have about 3-4 variations - and that's only for the adobo with meat. Like most stews, this is best served a day after making it. The flavour develops and becomes richer. If you are going to make a pork-chicken adobo, add in the pork first and simmer for about 45 minutes before adding in the chicken. This is so that the chicken won't get overcooked. So here is the standard recipe for this well loved Filipino food.


1 kg  chicken or pork - chopped into serving size pieces
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 cloves garlic - minced or mashed
1/2 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp peppercorns
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)

*Method 1:
  1. In a non-reactive pan or pot (glass, ceramic, or enameled), combine the meat, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Pour vinegar on it - do not stir.
  2. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat - simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Stir and turn meat and simmer for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the soy sauce, water and sugar (if you're going to pan fry the meat add the sugar later).
  4. Bring back to boil and then lower heat to lowest setting. Simmer until meat is tender (chicken - 30 mins., pork - 1.25 hours). Add more hot water if you want more sauce or if it is drying out too much.
  5. [Optional] Pan fry or deep fry the meat very briefly just to brown the outside and bring back to the sauce. Add the sugar (if you haven't yet) and simmer the sauce for another 3-5 minutes.
  6. [Optional] Add some thickener like cornstarch dissolved in water to the sauce. Simmer again for a few minutes. Serve.

*Method 2:

Substitute the following procedures for steps 1-4:
  1. Increase soy sauce to 1/3 cup and then combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to boil.
  2. Turn heat down and simmer until meat is tender (chicken - 30 mins., pork - 1.25 hours).
  3. Continue with steps 5 and 6.

Tuesday, 24 August 2004

Heartily Didikitid

The recipe for today is heartily didikitid (dedicated hehehe!) to our friend Precy who has been asking for this for the longest time. This is a standard Tagalog dish made with lots of fresh chopped tomatoes. I remember my aunt used to chop the tomatoes together with the onion and she would do it very very finely almost like it went through a mincer (grinder). Pork can also be used instead of the usual chicken.


1 kilo chicken or pork - chopped to serving size pieces
2 Tbsp oil
2-3 cloves garlic - minced or mashed
1 large onion - chopped finely (about 2/3 cups)
3 large tomatoes - chopped finely (about 1 1/3 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp double concentrate tomato puree (tomato paste)
1 cup water
1 red bell pepper - deseeded and sliced lengthwise
2 medium sized potatoes - sliced into 1/2 inch thick
150 gm french beans - topped, tailed and cut in half crosswise (or 1/2 cup frozen peas)
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Saute garlic and onion for about 2 minutes or until onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes and salt and saute for a further 2 minutes or until the tomatoes are half cooked.
  3. Add soy sauce, mix a little then add the chicken. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes mixing it every once in a while.
  4. Add water and tomato puree. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add bell pepper and bring heat down to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for about 25 minutes (for pork - about 1 1/2 hours) or until meat is done/tender.
  7. Add potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add french beans or peas and simmer for another 5 minutes or until potatoes and beans are cooked. Serve.

Saturday, 21 August 2004


Yesterday we had one my favourite fish dishes - grilled salmon. Marissa, my old elementary school friend, who now resides in Vancouver is credited with introducing me to this very simple yet very yummy recipe. It's up to you to put whatever topping you want here. Last night we used the French onion soup mix (dry) and made them real crispy (almost burned which I like). This of course won't be complete without the accompanying lemon and toyo (soy sauce) dip.

Grilled Salmon

salmon fillets or steaks
spice toppings (French onion soup mix, or finely chopped green onions, or salt & pepper, etc.)
  1. Oil the grill pan a little. Put salmon skin side down on the pan.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on the salmon fillets making sure they are evenly coated. Sprinkle spice toppings on top.
  3. Grill on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until salmon is cooked.
  4. Serve with mixed lemon juice and soy sauce as dip.

Wednesday, 11 August 2004

Baked Pasta

This is originally called Baked Macaroni but since most types of pastas can be used (fusilli, penne, rigatoni, radiatore, rottini, etc.) so I decided to call it 'baked pasta'. I used rigatoni in the picture above. The sauce is quite "Filipinized", i.e., it's sweetish and has hotdogs! You can add or substitute ham for the hotdogs. It's delicious and is a favourite of my kids. It can be used as a spaghetti sauce as well although it's best to reduce the water or thicken it with breadcrumbs towards the end.

Baked Pasta

500 gm pasta shapes (penne, rigatoni, macaroni, fussilli, etc.)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium onion - chopped
1 Tbsp fish sauce (patis)
1 Tbsp oil
500 gm minced beef (or pork)
350 gm hotdog - sliced lengthwise then diagonally
1 Tbsp soy sauce
500 gm passata (tomato sauce)
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 cup grated cheese (reserve 3/4 cup for topping)
1 red bell pepper - deseeded and cubed
1/4 cup milk
  1. Cook pasta as directed in the package. Drain and set aside.
  2. Saute garlic and onions in oil. Add minced beef and brown for a few minutes.
  3. Add patis, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add hotdogs, soy sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup, bell pepper, and water. Bring to boil and simmer for about 1 hour.
  5. Add milk and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Simmer for 5 minutes or more until beef is tender.
  6. Mix cooked pasta and sauce together. Arrange in a baking dish and top with remaining grated cheese.
  7. Bake at 180C/fan 160C/350°F for 20 minutes. Serve.
NOTE: This sauce can be used for spaghetti as well. If the sauce is too thin for spaghetti add a few tablespoons of ground dry breadcrumbs and simmer for a few minutes.

Monday, 9 August 2004

Pad Thai (not sweet)

Ever since I had proper Pad Thai at a nice restaurant I've been looking for a good recipe. I came across one in Delia Smith's How To Cook book. It was good although it didn't have any sugar or sweetness in it which was strange. Anyhow, me and the hubby liked it very much we did not mind the lack of it. A Thai acquaintance told me that Pad Thai without sugar is called "Char Kuey Thieow". Meanwhile I'm still on the lookout for that ultimate Pad Thai recipe.

Almost Pad Thai
150 gm flat rice noodles (ho-fan)
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium onion - sliced
1 red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped (or 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes)
2 Tbsp dried small shrimps (hi-be)
175 gm shrimps or prawns
2 eggs - beaten
2-3 Tbsp fish sauce (patis)
juice of 1 lime - about 2 Tbsp
2 green onions - finely chopped
3 Tbsp fresh coriander - chopped
3 Tbsp peanuts - coarsely chopped/crushed
  1. Pour boiling water over the rice noodles in a bowl and soak for about 10 minutes or until noodles is almost cooked and tender to the bite. Drain and set aside.
  2. Soak dried shrimps in hot water for 10 minutes, drain, set aside.
  3. Mix lime juice and fish sauce in a small bowl. Mix coriander, green onions and peanuts in a container.
  4. Heat a little oil in wok and fry half of beaten egg (as an omelette). Remove from wok and slice into small pieces.
  5. Heat the 2 Tbsp oil in wok and saute garlic and onion until translucent. Add chilli, stir fry for half a minute.
  6. Put in dried shrimps, cook for about a minute.
  7. Add fresh shrimps, cook until it turns pink (around 3 minutes).
  8. Add lime juice and fish sauce mixture. Bring to boil.
  9. Add noodles and mix until noodles has almost absorbed the sauce.
  10. Push noodles to the side of the wok and make a well in the middle. Pour the rest of the egg in the well. Let the egg cook a little and then mix in with the noodles.
  11. Sprinkle about half of the coriander, green onion and peanut mix in the wok. Stir and mix for about 30 seconds.
  12. Transfer into a serving plate and sprinkle more of the coriander mix on top before serving.

Sunday, 8 August 2004

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Saturday, 7 August 2004

First Course

I felt the need to put down on paper all our family favourite recipes mainly because my children are getting interested in cooking and are constantly asking for the recipes. Instead of just typing these in MSWord I thought why not blog about them?

I intend to log here Filipino traditional or family favourites that were handed down from my mother and grandparents and other cooking experiments that are usually from cookbooks and magazines. Recipes/food featured here are not the haute cuisine type of thing. They are usually rustic and are what my family actually eats. So there won't be any of your complicated high fallutin' nosh here - definitely! I'm too lazy for that.

Besides the food influences of my parents and my maternal grandfather in particular, I often scour cookbooks or food websites for recipes that I think would be hits. When I first cook these, (my engineering background usually takes over) I would follow it precisely to the letter even getting the very exact ingredient it requires. Once I get the intention of the chef/cook then that's the time I improvise or adjust. So oftentimes the recipes here would say that it is adapted from this and that cookbook. Ingredients would lean towards what I can source from here in UK. And measurements would generally be in metric (unless I got it from an a US source).

My food preference leans toward Asian food mostly Filipino and Chinese although I am open to all other types of cuisines. So let's blog-a-cook on!