Saturday, 29 December 2007

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding in oven
This was intended as an entry for the SHF #38 with a theme of pudding. I thought the deadline was end of the month I forgot that this is a Friday event. Duh! So I missed it again as I always do ... arrrgggghhhh!

Nevermind, I still want to include this in my list of recipes here as a reference for moi. For I have found my ultimate sticky toffee pudding - at last! I first sighted this in the Good Food magazine as far back as 2006. I have made this before but just forgot (there's that word again) to take a picture. So Christmas dinner this year provided the perfect excuse to indulge in our most favourite of all puddings.

Among the commercial varieties the only one that pass my family's finicky taste is Marks & Spencers. My husband buys only their sticky toffee pudding when he occasionally hankers for one. The rest of the store-bought ones didn't get enough points for us to buy a second time.

This type of pudding is typical of traditional British ones. Though upon research I found out that it was anything but ancient. There is controversy regarding its origins. Some say it's from a Lake District hotel some say it's from somewhere else. In any case, hats off to whoever it was for inventing a totally addictive pud.

When I was making this I realised that the most important bit is really the toffee sauce. Once you get the right balance of the ingredients for the sauce, it does not matter whether the pudding itself does or not have any dates in it. Actually I think even if you have just plain sponge as a base but have the perfect toffee sauce then it is all well and good exactly like the better store-bought ones.

The recipe is very good and easy to do. My only gripe is the black tracle in the toffee sauce causes it to turn a slight greyish tint when it cools off which can be a little off-putting for some people. So I'm recording that down as optional. I highly recommend this especially when served warm with cream or custard. Yum!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

200 g  pitted and chopped dates
2/3 cup boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
175 g  self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
85 g  butter - softened
140 g  demerara sugar
2 tbsp black treacle or dark molasses
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
cream or custard to serve

*Toffee Sauce:
175 g  light muscovado sugar
50 g  butter
1 cup double cream
1 Tbsp black treacle or dark molasses (optional)
  1. Pour the boiling water on the dates in a bowl. Let soak to soften for at least 30 minutes. Mash the dates with a fork or puree with a liquidiser. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Butter and flour seven small pudding molds or cups (about 200 ml in size).
  3. Mix the flour and bicarbonate of soda well. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for several minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
  6. Beat in the vanilla extract, then the black treacle.
  7. Using a large metal spoon, fold in one-third of the flour mixture alternately with half of the milk while making sure not to overmix. Repeat until all the flour and milk are used.
  8. Add in the mashed dates and stir until just incorporated.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among the seven pudding molds. Place molds on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes then loosen them by running a butter or pallet knife on its side. Turn out from the molds to cool completely.
  11. While the pudding is baking, make the sauce by combining the sugar, butter and half of the double cream in a saucepan.
  12. Bring to boil in medium heat while stirring all the time until sugar has dissolved.
  13. (Optional) Stir in the black treacle if using.
  14. Let it simmer away for about 2 minutes while stirring from time to time making sure it does not burn.
  15. Remove from heat then stir in the rest of the double cream.
  16. To serve, pour the sauce over the upturned pudding in individual plates or bowls with cream or custard.

*Note: The pudding will taste even better if it sits in the sauce for a day or two. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with some of the sauce. Sit the upturned puddings on the baking dish and pour the rest of the sauce over it. Cover with a loose tent of foil so it will not smudge the sauce.

To reheat, you can put the covered baking dish in a 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F oven for 15 minutes. Though I prefer to microwave the individual puddings because baking tends to dry out the sauce a little making it a tad sweeter than I would like it to be.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Fish Fillet with Broccoli

Here's a recipe for fish fillets with a healthy dose of veg. The sauce is mild and not overpowering at all. Such a nice detour from the usual spicy or strong flavoured dishes we do with fish fillets. I got this from my good 'ol favourite Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su-Huei.

Fish Fillet with Broccoli

500 g  white fish fillet
1 Tbsp cooking wine
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 egg white - beaten lightly
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
oil for frying
1 green onion - cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 slices ginger root - julienned
250 g  broccoli - cut into small florets

1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp sugar
dash of black pepper
dash of sesame oil
5 tbsp water
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  1. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Steam the broccoli for about 3 minutes or until just cooked. Set aside.
  3. Score the fish fillet lightly in criss-cross pattern.
  4. Cut the fillets in bite-sized pieces.
  5. Add cooking wine and salt. Mix well.
  6. Add in egg whites - mix.
  7. Add the cornstarch - mix again. Set aside for a few minutes.
  8. Heat a non-stick pan with about 1 1/2 Tbsp oil.
  9. Before frying add 2 Tbsp oil into the fish mixture and mix well.
  10. Once the pan and oil is hot, fry the fish fillets in batches until cooked.
  11. In a wok, heat about 2 Tbsp oil.
  12. Stir fry the green onion and ginger for about 30 seconds.
  13. Add in the broccoli. Stir fry for about 30 seconds until heated through.
  14. Add the fried fish fillets and the sauce.
  15. Turn the heat to high and stir quickly to mix.
  16. Remove from heat and dish up.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Lasang Pinoy 21: Pancit Bihon Guisado

The 21st edition of Lasang Pinoy is brought to you by Bryan of Fire Water Husband (blog under renovation) who has this great idea of Cooking for Heroes. It's just as well that our current logo features the exact hero I want to cook for - Andres Bonifacio.

Even in my elementary school days I feel our dear old Andy Boni got a raw deal. I do believe he should be our national hero for he started the Katipunan, he started the ball rolling to begin the revolution and break free from the colonial masters. And what did he get for all his heroism and troubles? He got salvaged (executed) for being a rival party in the election for the head honcho of the revolutionary government. Then he lost out again almost a hundred years later in being a national hero. If that's not a raw deal I don't know what is.

It's no use arguing now about his place in history but what is undeniable is his courage, heroism, and his love of his country and fellow Filipinos. To you Andres, a big lambanog toast for being a real Pinoy! Thank you for all the things you have done for us.

What I have in mind to cook for him is something that can be considered essentially Filipino and at the same practical and nutritious for a revolutionary who had to eat on the go. And I thought why not our classic pancit. It's a complete meal in itself. It's got carbs, protein from the meat, and some wholesome veggies thrown in the process. Sounds like a good idea to me. :)

Pancit Bihon Guisado

For the pancit recipe itself, this is the culmination of several years of my family's sacrifice of eating pancit as soggy and undercooked or dry and a bit tough or almost tasteless (prompting lots of toyo and lemon juice heaped on it). It took me awhile to get the hang of cooking the noodles just right. There is also the case with the oil, I used to put as little oil as possible while at the same time wondering what makes my mother's pancit well separated and really nice. Well I increased the oil exponentially with each batch - et voila! The oil is crucial! (I bet my doctor's not happy about this.) Too little will make it dry (obviously) and will tend to make it clump together. I also took my mother's advice of cooking the veggies separately to prevent it getting soggy. So like most dishes, cooking pancit successfully has a lot to do with timing. One revelation as well is that the richer your stock the better tasting your pancit will be. That my friend is guaranteed. :)

Pancit Bihon Guisado

250 g  thin or medium rice noodles (bihon)
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion - sliced
1/3 cup jullienned carrots
1/4 cup sliced celery (optional)
15 pieces mangetout (sitcharo)
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup sliced meat - chicken, pork, shrimp or combination of these*
1 1/2 cups rich stock
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
additional stock or water
  1. Soak the noodles in tepid water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Using scissors, cut into desired lengths. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a wok, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in medium heat. Saute half of the garlic and half of the onions.
  3. Add the meat and stir fry a little. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add about 1/4 cup stock or water and simmer until done. You may have to add a bit more stock from time to time to keep it from drying out.
  5. When the meat is done, add the carrots, mangetout, and celery. Stir to combine. There should still be some liquid in the wok if not add about 2-3 Tbsp stock and then cook under cover for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the cabbage, stir fry for a few seconds and cook under cover for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from heat and transfer to a dish. Set aside.
  8. Using the same wok (no need to wash unless there's some burnt crust in the bottom), heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil on medium heat.
  9. Saute the remaining garlic and onion until onion is translucent.
  10. Tip in the stock and any sauce drained from the meat and veg mixture.
  11. Add the soy sauce and season with black pepper.
  12. Bring to boil then add the noodles. Cover and bring to boil again then lower heat to medium-low.
  13. Once the sauce starts getting absorbed by the noodles (about 5 minutes), toss and stir the noodles (preferably with large forks for easier tossing) until all the sauce is absorbed and the noodles are fully cooked. The tossing also make sure that the strands are separated and do not clump together. Don't worry if the bottom is getting a bit crusty. At the end there should be no sauce left but the noodles should still be moist, cooked but not soggy.
  14. Add half of the meat/veg mixture and toss to mix.
  15. Dish up and transfer to a dish. Top with the rest of the meat/veg mixture. Serve with calamansi or lemon on the side.
*Note: You may use precooked meat in which case add it in at the same time as the carrots and mangetout.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Prawns with Peas

Prawns with Peas

The short-lived summer here UK is only alleviated by the onslaught of fresh seasonal vegetables. One of my favourites - green peas - is a very much welcome addition to our table anytime. I tell you frozen peas is no match to the sweetness of fresh green peas especially if it's freshly picked right off your garden. I'm still trying to find the numerous ways of cooking it though this marriage with prawns is not bad at all. In fact, it's more than good because in all its simplicity I love it! This is adapted from my all-time trusted Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su-Huei.

Stir-fried Prawns With Peas

250 g  raw prawns or shrimps - shelled and deveined
1 tsp cooking wine
1 Tbsp egg whites - slightly beaten
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 green onion - cut into 1-inch pieces
6 slices of ginger root
1 cup green peas - precooked
oil for frying

1 tsp cooking wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
ground black pepper
  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a container. Set aside.
  2. Place prawns in a bowl and season with salt.
  3. Add cooking wine, egg whites, and cornstarch. Mix well.
  4. Heat a wok then add about 2 Tbsp oil. Swirl the wok around so the oil coats it well.
  5. Fry the prawns in medium heat for about 3 minutes. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  6. Put 1 Tbsp oil in the wok, heat up and stir fry the green onions and ginger over medium heat.
  7. Add the prawns, stir fry for a few seconds.
  8. Add the sauce, turn heat to high and stir fry quick just enough to mix.
  9. Dish up and serve.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Peeling Pineapples (Piña)

In my first few months here in UK (back in the mid-90s), I missed Asian food so much that I was always scouring the aisles of our local supermarket for anything mildly Oriental or Southeast Asian. You could just imagine my delight when I saw a stack of fresh pineapples (pinya or piña in Tagalog/Spanish) in our local supermarket. What's more, it's got a sign saying that they will peel it for free. I thought that would save me a lot of effort and time so off I went and bought one. The lady on the counter got my pineapple, chopped off the top and bottom, sat it on a metal contraption with a big lever. Then she got hold of the lever pulled it down in one big motion - whoosh! Out came my pineapple in a perfect cylindrical shape with a hole in the middle looking exactly like what you get from cans. Well, at least it was done in no time at all but I have to lament the large amount of wasted pineapple! I'm one person who hates waste and I was just flabbergasted with how much was taken off it.

As an alternative I'll show you how pineapple is peeled in the Philippines wherein you can get the most out of your 'multi-eyed' fruit. See the series of pictures below on how you can peel your pineapple. It may take a bit more time but the satisfaction of having a more aesthetically pleasing and less wasteful way of doing things will surely encourage you to try this.

[Click on the pictures for a bigger view]

First off you start with your pineapple. Have a chopping board and a sharp knife ready.

how to peel pineapples
Chop off both ends. If you're using this as a centre-piece in a buffet table, don't take off the leafy end to make it more interesting and exotic looking plus making sure that the bottom is level.

how to peel pineapples
Now slice off the skin from top to bottom taking off just enough to expose the flesh.

how to peel pineapples
Once you have peeled off all of the skin you will be left with just the 'eyes' or 'dots' that go deep into the flesh. We're now ready to connect the 'dots'. The idea is to remove the eyes without cutting out too much of the flesh. If you have a melon baller you can scoop out the eyes one by one thereby making it even less wasteful. But if you only have knife read on ...

If you notice the eyes are arranged by nature so that they have natural diagonal alignments. The lines they form are either slanted left to right or right to left. Choose one of the lines to follow (I usually take the less slanted one). Now, connect the eyes along the line that you chose by making a V-shaped canal with your sharp knife (usually you connect two eyes at a time).

how to peel pineapples
Do this for all the eyes until you get a nicely patterned fruit as shown above.

how to peel pineapples
To serve, slice vertically along the core of the pinapple into wedges. Best served chilled with a little salt on the side. Yum!

Friday, 28 September 2007


An easier tag I have from Stel had me quickly tapping on the printscreen key. Here is my/our current desktop screen ... well actually the picture changes every 4 hours. See we got this neat Magentic software that provides these great background pictures and screensavers. We highly recommend it and the best bit of all is it's free!


The icons I usually click above are Mozilla and iTunes. How's that - music while surfing. :)

I like colourful and calming or funny pictures as my wallpaper on screen hence this Zen-like peaceful image.

Gee, I'm supposed to tag five other people but I don't have any energy left to bloghop around. So if any of you bloggers reading this want to show your current screens, consider yourself tagged.

My Desktop Free View Instruction:

A. Upon receiving this tag, immediately perform a screen capture of your desktop. It is best that no icons be deleted before the screen capture so as to add to the element of fun. :glasses-slip:

You can do a screen capture by:
[1] Going to your desktop and pressing the Print Scrn key (located on the right side of the F12 key).
[2] Open a graphics program (like Picture Manager, Paint, or Photoshop) and do a Paste (CTRL + V).
[3] If you wish, you can “edit” the image, before saving it.

B. Post the picture in your blog. You can also give a short explanation on the look of your desktop just below it if you want. You can explain why you preferred such look or why is it full of icons. Things like that.

C. Tag five of your friends and ask them to give you a Free View of their desktop as well.

D. Add your name to this list of Free Viewers with a link pointing directly to your Desktop Free View post to promote it to succeeding participants.

English Patis
Dom Lawrence
Blue Panjeet
Revolution Motion
A Dialogue With K
Tales Of A Melodramatic Moron

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Organic Food Festival 2007

Organic Food Festival 2007 
Heavy traffic in the M5 motorway nor the generally overcast weather did not deter me and my family to visit the 2007 Organic Food Festival in Bristol last weekend. It was held at the harbour side of the city. A perfect backdrop to some ethically and pesticide-free food and products available in the numerous stalls. Although I have noticed that, excepting the big-name companies, most of the stallholders are from the Southwest England. Hmmm ... I thought this would be a food festival that would encompass all organic producers from the whole of England. Oh well, it doesn't matter much to me as long as I have my fill of high-quality organic produce from whatever farm it came from.

Here are some pictures from that family outing (click on the picture for a larger view):

After paying our reasonably priced entrance fees, we each got tagged with a red wrist band. J3 said she felt like a pigeon (maybe a homing one at that).

Organic Food Festival tag 

The Soil Association is the organiser of this whole extravaganza.

Soil Association 

Here's a view of the harbour and foot bridge at the back of the festival ground.

Bristol Harbourside 

The one stall I forgot to take picture of is an umbrella-shaded wheeled cart with a young lady giving free Yeo Valley strawberry yoghurt. My daughters loved it so much that we kept coming back to get more from the patient lady. Between us we might have consumed more than a dozen sachet tubes! Other big organic companies were in attendance as well:


There are of course more of smaller producers represented in the different stalls:

Organic Food Festival Bristol 

One of the most favourite stall (it certainly was mine) is Green & Black's chocolates. They were giving out whole chocolate mini bars in big volumes! They were not even breaking them up in little pieces. You should see how they disappeared once the staff laid down one plateful of these gorgeous chocs.

Green & Black's 

My husband and youngest (J3) love cheese so it's just natural that they gravitate to the cheese stalls. One such interesting stall is Villanova Food where J3 particularly requested for a chunk of Grana Padano to buy.

Villanova Food 

I took the opportunity to buy some organic sirloin steaks at a discount (they were doing a buy 2 get 1 free promotion). And Brown Cow's steaks did not disappoint at all. We cooked them on a stove top grill right after we arrived home. It was one of the best I've tasted ever, very tender and flavourful. My only regret was I only bought three thinking my kids won't finish theirs like they normally do. But as it turned out everyone enjoyed it very much that all had clean plates. :)

Brown Cow 

There was also a kitchen demonstration tent where the likes of Sophie Grigson and Darina Allen did some cooking demos.


Besides food stalls, there are also other non-food organic stalls that were promoting or selling things like plants and herbs, toiletries, clothes, cleaning products, etc.


It's good that they provided entertainment as a minor distraction from all the wonderful food around. Here is the band The Courgettes dishing out funny food-related adapted songs like 'Beat It' which turned out into 'Eat It'. I must say they were good.

The Courgettes 

A different type of music were performed by the Bollywood Brass Band at the main Millenium Square stage.

Bollywood Brass Band 

We had a good day out that Saturday despite the overcast skies. I just wish the delicious organic food and produce were all more affordable. Well, just goes to show you can't have the best of both worlds.


Friday, 31 August 2007



Early this year my good blogger friend from Boston gave me Mario Batali's Molto Italiano a real gem of a cookbook. Stella must have known that we're a big fan of Italian cooking and what a great gift it is. Full of authentic Italian recipes, you know, the kind that Italian women traditionally cook at home for their families.

My son was nagging me to make this and since I have a batch of lasagna pasta to use up I decided to give it a go. Just a few modifications and alterations later I could say we've successfully adapted Mario's recipe. Actually my favourite of the whole lot is the basic tomato sauce which I like so much I froze the leftovers for use another day.

First you make the basic tomato sauce and beschamel sauce:


Basic Tomato Sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion - diced
4 cloves garlic - sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
3 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 x 400 g  cans of plum tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
  1. In a big saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent - about 6-7 minutes.
  3. Add carrot and thyme; cook for another 5 minutes or until carrot is soft.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower heat and simmer until thick - about 20 minutes. Season with sea salt.
  6. This can be stored in the fridge up to 1 week or frozen up to 6 months.

Bechamel Sauce

1/4 cup plain flour
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp ground sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat then add butter to melt.
  2. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Continue cooking until light brown while stirring. This will take about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the milk 1 cup at a time. Bring to a boil while whisking constantly until smooth.
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes or until thick while still whisking constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and season with the salt and nutmeg.
  6. Let cool completely. You may transfer to another container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


(Cannelloni al Forno)

1 Tbsp butter
250 g  minced pork
250 g  minced veal or beef
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp flour
1 large egg - beaten
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
black pepper
lasagne pasta sheets
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup bechamel sauce
  1. Cook lasagne pasta sheets according to instructions. Drain and lay flat on kitchen towels.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter on high heat.
  3. Add the meats, cook stirring to break up any lumps until browned.
  4. Add salt and a little stock. Bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. At the end of 20 minutes there should be very little juice left in the pan.
  5. Stir in the milk, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and flour. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover to simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  7. Add the egg, season with nutmeg and black pepper. Set aside.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/fan 160°C.
  9. Put about 3 Tablespoonful of meat filling along the long side of a cooked lasagne sheet. Roll up the pasta around the filling to form a log or cylinder. Repeat with the rest of the pasta and fillings.
  10. Spread about 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a wide baking dish. Arrange the cannelloni 'logs' seam side down in the single layer in the baking dish.
  11. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and then with the bechamel sauce. Finally sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top.
  12. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the sauces are bubbly and the pasta edges are crisp and brown. Serve hot.


Sunday, 12 August 2007

Garlic-Black Beans Pork

I was wondering to do different with a slab of pork belly. I could always impose an adobo on it but where's the fun in that? So a quick scan among my posse of oriental cookbooks yielded this very easy stew. The ingredients are easy to source, too. Nothing exotic nothing out of the ordinary but resulted in a very good and tasty pork stew great with steamed rice. This is adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly's Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook.

Garlic-Black Beans Pork

750 g  pork belly - chopped in serving-size pieces
1 Tbsp fermented black beans - roughly chopped
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp cooking wine
2 Tbsp water
  1. (Optional) Heat the oil in a pot or wok and brown the pork pieces for a few minutes.
  2. Combine pork, black beans, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce in a pot.
  3. Pour enough water to cover the pork.
  4. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour 10 minutes or until meat is tender.
  5. Add a little hot water from time to time if it is drying up too much. But at the end of the cooking there should be only a little sauce left.
  6. Combine cornflour, wine and water. Stir into the pot and simmer until sauce thickens - about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Lasang Pinoy 20: Lumpiang Sariwa

The current theme of the 20th edition of Lasang Pinoy blogging event is called binalot or 'wrapped-up'. Mita of The Unofficial Cook, who is hosting it this time, announced this blogfest a few weeks ago.

I already knew what I was going to make and dutifully called my mother and aunt at the weekend to get the recipe right. This is my very first time to make Lumpiang Sariwa so please give me some slack if you think it looks a bit far off from the traditional.

Lumpiang Sariwa literally means 'fresh springroll'. Well it's not exactly all fresh because the filling is fully cooked although that lone leaf of raw lettuce would probably qualify it for freshness. I guess it's called 'fresh' as opposed to the usual fried lumpia. The traditional wrapper for this is the same one that you use for the fried lumpias. But in the recent years it became more crepe-like in size, taste and texture.

The recipe is a medley of my family's and my sister-in-law, Ate Eva, in Toronto. And I just remembered (it's been years since I ate one of these) as I was taking a bite that I really don't like camotes or potatoes in it. I much prefer it with just veggies and whatever meat is included. I also found the wrapper quite rich so next time I'm gonna reduce the eggs and probably add a little salt to make it more savoury. The sauce or paalat reminded me that fresh minced garlic is preferred over crispy fried ones. Well, like most first time attempt of mine these are just a few from a litany of changes I plan to make next time I make it besides the fact that I should really make the size of the lumpia smaller.

Lumpiang Sariwa

Lumpiang Sariwa
(Fresh Springrolls)

100 g  pork belly - thinly sliced
200 g  shirmps or prawns - roughly chopped
2 cups julienned sweet potatoes
3 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups shredded green beans (bitchuelas)
1 cup shredded water chestnut (apulid)
1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup stock
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion - sliced
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
  1. Put sliced pork in a pot and add salt and just enough water to cover it.
  2. Bring to a boil then simmer until all the water evaporates. As soon as it starts sizzling add the oil and fry the pork until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Saute garlic and onion until the onion is translucent.
  4. Stir in the shrimps and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the stock. Add the oyster sauce. Bring to boil.
  6. Add the sweet potatoes; cover and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Add the carrots, beans and water chestnuts. Cook under cover for another 2 minutes.
  8. Add the bean sprouts and cabbage. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat. Cool and drain in a colander for several hours. Reserve drained liquid.

3 eggs - beaten
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 1/4 cups flour
  1. Mix eggs, water, and butter.
  2. Add flour and beat until smooth and lump-free.
  3. Gently heat a 10-inch wide non-stick pan (a crepe pan would be best). Brush it with a little butter.
  4. Once hot enough pour in 1/3 cup of the batter. Swirl quickly to cover the bottom of the pan completely.
  5. Cook on low heat until the edges start to peel off the pan. Turn over and cook for a few seconds more. Dish up and repeat.
Note: I usually put butter for the first wrapper only.

*Sauce (Paalat)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water
  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Set aside.
  2. Take the liquid drained from the filling and add enough stock to make up 2 cups.
  3. Put this in a saucepan and add brown sugar, soy sauce, and salt. Bring to boil.
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to boil again. Remove from heat.

*To serve:
2 Tbsp minced garlic
roughly ground roasted peanuts
fresh lettuce leaves

Lay the wrapper on a plate. Put a lettuce on top then put about 2 Tablespoonfuls of the filling. Sprinkle some ground peanuts on top.

Lumpiang Sariwa 
Fold the wrapper to enclose the fillings.
Serve with the minced garlic, ground peanuts and the paalat sauce.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Leather Lane Market

I was on a 1-week training course in the Holborn area of London the week before. Whenever I think of Holborn, the image conjured was a vast expanse of tall office buildings virtually desert-like in terms of foodie shops. How wrong I was!

The training house I went to was in the Rosebery Avenue-Clerkenwell Road area. While doing a walk-about after our usual sandwich lunch, I discovered a small market in Leather Lane which is parallel to the jewellery centre of London - Hatton Gardens. See the pictures below, to see more closely click on the pictures for an enlarged version.

Leather Lane has the usual low-priced stalls for you name it - books, clothes, bags, shoes, jewelries, flowers, etc.

But what made my eyes widen with delight are cafes, delis, food stalls, and restaurants that offer interesting food that are not of your usual fastfood chains.

First, let me show you some of the cafes:

This one serves not only burgers and chips but also kebabs, doners, and other Middle Eastern delights.

As the name suggests, they do nice bagels plus curries, couscous ... more Middle Eastern fares.

Oasis is of healthy-organic food genre. You should see their offerings - they looked so delicious.

Here is one of a few juice bars in the market. They looked pretty busy on the day.

Now we come to the curry kiosks. The one on the left is the Indian variety and on the left is the Thai variety. Goodness, just smelling the waft of spices from these stalls made my mouth water even though I've just eaten my lunch at the time!

This is probably the kiosk with the longest queue, one that offers authentic-looking Mexican food.

There must be quite a number of Mediterranean residents here as gleaned from the number of cafes and restaurants offering the cuisine like this one ...

... and this one.

There are also authentic Italian delis in the area like Terroni & Sons in Clerkenwell Road.

This one is on Theobald Road which is about 2 minutes walk from Leather Lane.

Above is just one of the authentic-looking Italian restaurants in the area which together with the delis and an Italian Catholic church nearby suggests a high concentration of Italian immigrants in the place.

Leather Lane Market
Leather Lane
London     EC1

Opening times: Monday-Friday 10:00AM - 3:00PM
Nearest tube station: Farringdon or Chancery Lane