Sunday, August 14, 2016

Arroz Caldo and Tokwa't Baboy

I'm sharing more comfort food recipes for this rainy season. I used to have this regularly either as breakfast, lunch, merienda or dinner. My Mama would always choose pork's cheeks for the Tokwa't Baboy (more cartilage & Papa's request), but I opted for pork liempo or belly since it's always available (leaner, I think).

May these recipes bring you comfort in this cold and wet weather. Enjoy!




1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 inch ginger, thinly sliced

2 tablespoon spring onion, chopped

1 tablespoon fish sauce or patis

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ kilo chicken, chopped

1 cup uncooked and washed rice

8 ½ cups chicken stock

2 hard boiled eggs, shells removed




1.       Heat up oil in a big pot. Saute garlic, onion and ginger for a minute.
2.       Add in the chicken, fish sauce and pepper. Brown the chicken pieces    for  7 minutes.
3.       Mix in the rice, until the grains are fully coated with oil.
4.       Pour in the chicken stock. Stir occasionally. Cook until the rice is soft (it may take 45 minutes).
5.       Season with salt and pepper.
6.       Garnish with sliced hard-boiled egg, chopped spring onion and toasted garlic.
Ingredients for the dressing:
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 red chilies, sliced
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
For the meat
¼ kilo pork liempo, sliced 1 inch thick
2 ½ cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 laurel leaf
1 pack of tokwa (250 grams)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup cooking oil for frying
1.       Boil pork liempo in water with garlic, laurel leaf, salt and pepper.   Cook the pork until tender (might take 45 minutes). Set aside.
2.       Slice the tokwa into 4 big cubes. Fry the tokwa until crispy. Cut the cooked tokwa into cubes.
3.       Combine together the pork and tokwa. Drizzle the dressing on top. Mix well.       


Pansit Molo

Because of the rainy weather and sick mode, I decided to cook a comfort food, such as Pancit Molo. I always think of my mom whenever I get sick. I often times cook from memory. It has a soothing effect. My Mama would always cook this dish every New Year's Eve and whenever we would get tired of the taste of Tinola and Nilaga.  I'd like to share my mom's recipe of Pancit Molo, which I tweaked a bit. I added grated carrots in the filling, so I could make my son eat vegetable. Whenever I cook one of my Mama's recipes, I feel that she's just right beside me.
Passing on my Mama's legacy to my son, and this turns out to be one of Joaqui's most requested dishes.

Homemade Wanton Wrapper
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2-4 tablespoons water
Make a well in flour, drop in eggs and 2 tablespoons water. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Roll out floured board till paper thin. Cut into “3 x 3” squares. Set aside.
Note:  You may use the ready made molo wrappers available in the market.
¼ kilo ground pork
¼ kilo ground chicken
1 medium carrot, grated
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons spring onion, chopped
½ teaspoon liquid seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 large egg
Note: You may use ½ kilo pure ground pork, if ground chicken is not available.
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons spring onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon toasted garlic chips
1.       Mix thoroughly the ingredients for the filling. Wrap in wanton wrappers.  Set aside.
2.       Saute garlic and onion in hot oil. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes.
3.       Pour in chicken stock and drop the stuffed wrapper into the broth.
4.       Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let boil for 15 minutes.
5.       Serve hot garnished with chopped spring onions and toasted garlic chips.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Whenever we would visit Laguna, we would never fail to buy pasalubong, specifically Espasol. I would always reserve a stack of espasol just for me. Hehehe. I've been meaning to try this recipe for quite some time already. It's worth the wait and effort. It may seem daunting, but it's really quite easy to make.
Sharing with you a recipe that I have tweaked, I hope you enjoy cooking it. No need to head to the south just to have a piece of this Pinoy delicacy.



Makes 20-25 pieces depending on the size

Preparation Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 to 30 minutes



2 ¼ cups glutinous rice flour

1 ½ cups coconut milk

¾ cup sugar

¾ teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded young coconut (buko)



1.       Toast the rice flour in a wok until lightly browned. Cool. Set aside ¾ cup.

2.       In a saucepan, combine coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmering. Add vanilla and salt. Stir in buko

3.       Add toasted rice flour all at once and stir continuously until very thick and dry, about 15 minutes.

4.       Remove from fire. Sprinkle the toasted flour, which was set aside, on a baking sheet.

5.       Transfer the cooked mixture to the baking sheet. Flatten into a sheet ¼-inch thick then cut into cylinders. You can also shape it by hand.

6.       Roll the cut cylinders in more toasted flour.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Baked Ziti with Italian Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

During the long weekend, I wanted to cook something different. I got inspired from what I ate in different restaurants and from my favorite cooking shows. It may seems daunting because of the many steps involved, but people could easily follow it. Here is my creation:

For the Italian Meatballs
1/2 Kilo Ground Round
1/4 Kilo Ground Pork
1 Medium White Onion, finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Fresh Milk
1 Teaspoon Liquid Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1  400 grams Penne Pasta
5 liters Water
1 Teaspoon Salt

Tomato Cream Sauce
1 400 grams Crushed Tomatoes
1 250 grams Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce ( I used Clara Ole)
1/2 cup All-Purpose Cream
1 Medium White Onion, finely chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Parmesan Cheese
 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Cheese Topping
1 cup grated Quickmelt Cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (al dente). Set aside.
  2. For the Italian meatballs, mix all ingredients together. Form meatballs according to your desired size. I used a medium ice cream scooper to make my meatballs all of the same size.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (Or you can use an oven toaster, no need to preheat it)
  4. For the Tomato Cream Sauce - Heat a large frying pan on medium-high fire. Once hot, add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the meatballs until brown on all sides. Set aside.
  5. Heat a medium-sized pot (medium fire). Add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and spaghetti sauce to the pot. Mix in the pepper, salt and Italian Seasoning. Simmer (covered) for 10 minutes with low heat.
  6. Add the cooked Italian Meatballs. Stir in the parmesan cheese and all-purpose cream. Cook for 3-5 minutes while continuously stirring.
  7. In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of the tomato cream sauce. Mix the pasta and tomato cream sauce with meatballs. Top with the quickmelt cheese and parmesan cheese. Bake for 12 minutes (350 degrees Fahrenheit) or until cheese is melted.
Happy eating!

Trivia: Ziti is long, narrow hose-like tubes sized smaller than rigatoni but larger than mezzani.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dark Chocolate Champorado

These past few days, I have been looking forward to cooking and eating comfort food. Comfort food is like recovery food for me. So I'd like to share this recipe - Dark Chocolate Champorado. It's an upgrade of our childhood favorite breakfast. 

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes 
Cooking Time: 20 Minutes


1 cup Glutinous Rice/Malagkit
3 cups Water
1 Piece Round Pure Tablea de Cacao
3/4 cup Dark Chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Milk (optional)
Chocolate curls for topping (optional)


  1. Fill saucepan with water. Cook glutinous rice, stirring constantly until the rice is transparent in color and gooey in texture. You may add water if needed. 
  2. Add Tablea, dark chocolate, white sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until the chocolate has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Serve in bowls, topped with chocolate curls and milk, if desired. 

Serves 2-3 persons. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Vanilla Cupcake Bakery

I have visited two branches of Vanilla Cupcake Bakery already - Trinoma and Glorietta 3. In general, the bakery is nice and comfy place. The interiors are a little bit whimsical. It has a certain feel of "Alice in Wonderland." It's a perfect place for people to have tea time or for kids to "play tea." It brings you back to your childhood. 

The Trinoma branch is located in the middle of the second floor near the Mindanao Wing. It is a bit noisy here, since you can hear the throng of people walking/rushing in. There is no real privacy to talk here. It has a limited seating capacity. Maybe that's why they built a new and bigger branch in Trinoma near the gardens. Though I have not visited this new branch in Trinoma, I like the Glorietta 3 branch better. You have more privacy here. There is more space, more chairs and even has its own comfort room. 

From the serving platter, water goblets, pitchers, glass jugs, and down to paper straws, these made their products more dainty and pretty to look at. I must admit I have reservations on food that are too pretty. I have this notion that most of the beautiful and perfect pastries are usually just pretty to look at and not really yummy. 

Their cupcakes and drinks were decorated and presented beautifully. I was in for a surprise. Their goodies tasted really good. They proved me wrong this time around. The cupcakes are moist. The icings have just the right amount of sweetness. It has a wide variety of cupcakes, from nutty, chocolate, cheesecakes, fruit-based cupcakes, pretty pastel frosted vanilla cupcakes, and coffee-based cupcakes. There is a cupcake for everyone. 

My son, Joaqui, loved it here. He wanted to try the different whimsical chairs in the bakery. He finished his chocolate cupcake so fast. If he really liked his food, he would finished it in five minutes or less. He was even offering me to try his cupcake because he said that it was really yummy. 

Vanilla Cupcake Bakery is a family-friendly cafe too. There are a lot of choices for kids and adults. They serve non-caffeine drinks. Our favorites are Smore's and the Very Vanilla drinks. It is a nice place to meet your girlfriends here for an afternoon tea or this could be the dessert/coffee place after lunch/dinner. It is a perfect lounge area for they have free WIFI too. Kids and adults will be entertained here, since they have an open kitchen where you can see and learn how they frost the cupcakes. 

This is a welcome addition to my family's list of favorite places.  =)

Note: The first four photos were taken from the Glorietta 3 branch and the succeeding photos were from Trinoma branch. 

Sticky Rice aka Biko

I have always wanted to learn how to prepare a native delicacy. I want to help in preserving Filipino heritage and family tradition by sharing valuable recipes. When we were kids, my mom used to cook the following native desserts for us: biko, maja blanca, leche flan and ube halaya. I remember that we took turns in stirring these various mixtures. it took a lot of time, effort and love to prepare them. 

I'm glad that my Auntie Becky, my dad's sister (a Kapampangan), taught me how to prepare this sticky rice. Even if she has migrated to the land down under for more than two decades, she still remembers how her mother (my grandma) cooked the sticky rice. 

Thank you, Auntie Becky for helping me on this one. Indeed, food creates wonderful memories for us. 

Let me share this recipe:


2 cans coconut milk (400ml/can) or extract milk from 3 coconuts to get 3 1/4 cups of coconut milk or 800 ml of coconut milk
! can condensed milk (330 ml)
1 1/4 cup muscovado sugar
1 kilo of sticky rice (malagkit)
6 cups of water


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Celsius. 
  2. Wash the sticky rice. Pour it in a big pot, and add 6 cups of water. Let it boil, and stir a little to prevent it from sticking to the pot. Cook until the water is just absorbed (half-cooked). Turn off the heat, and set aside. 
  3. In a bowl, mix the coconut milk and condensed milk. Pour half of the mixture into a saucepan and add the sugar. With medium fire, cook until the sugar is melted and the mixture is slightly thick (caramel). 
  4. Mix the caramel mixture into the sticky rice. For the caramel to be evenly distributed, divide the caramel mixture into two, add half of the sticky rice to pan of caramel. Then, add the remaining mixture and sticky rice. Stir well. 
  5. Transfer the sticky rice into 2 (8 x 12) pan. Flatten the rice and top it with the half of the coconut milk and condensed milk mixture. 
  6. Bake the sticky rice for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.