Carrot and cucumber salad with mango-kalamansi-ginger dressing

Carrot and cucumber salad with mango-kalamansi-ginger dressing

Last week when I was down with some kind of flu, there were two days when I really couldn’t get up to do the cooking, and we lived on pizza (from Domino’s) and tacos (from Army Navy). I’m sure they were good but to a sick person, everything has that generic cardboard taste. So, the first opportunity that I felt well enough to move around in the kitchen, I cooked a meal that I made sure would taste nor look nothing like cardboard. Deep bold flavors. Lots of colors. Exciting textures. But without too much work. I was, after, still trying to get well.

The meal I could prepare without fuss was lechon kawali. There was a huge slab of pork belly in the freezer which I put in a pan with water, lots of rock salt, a whole head of garlic, a whole onion and a generous amount of peppercorns. I simmered it until tender then into the turbo broiler it went where it grilled for about 40 minutes (it was a large piece of pork) until the rind was puffed and crisp. Yes, that’s how I’ve been cooking lechon kawali in years — no frying.

After grilling, while the pork rested prior to cutting, I made Java rice and a salad. »

Lechon kawali and potatoes with white gravy

pork-potatoes-cream-sauce2

Lechon kawali does not really reheat well because the rind does not go back to that crackling-like crispness that it has right after cooking. How to serve it? Don't capitalize on the rind. Capitalize on the fact that you have a very tasty cooked pork that you can mix with just about anything to make a simple braised dish, a … »

Cream cheese and mango jam breakfast sandwich

cream-cheese-mango-jam-breakfast-sandwich

It is a sandwich. The fillings are cream cheese frosting and mango jam. But I took a photo of it like this so that anyone looking at it can see what the fillings are exactly. Had I spread the cream cheese frosting and mango jam on a slice of bread and topped it with another slice of bread, it would be a little difficult to … »

Frozen yogurt: more pricey than homemade ice cream but easier to make

frozen-yogurt (1)

When frozen yogurt became fashionable a few years back, frozen yogurt parlors started mushrooming in malls and shopping centers. Most of them sold plain yogurt by the scoop topped with whatever the customer chose from a selection that included cereals, crushed chocolate bars, fruits and nuts. I tried a couple of outlets, … »

Discover dukkah and fall in love

dukkah-dip

I remembered it wrong when I said that our meal at Casa Vallejo's Hill Station started with a salad. It didn't. There was a complimentary starter that consisted of bread cubes, olive oil and dukkah. It's a very popular Egyptian hors d'oeuvre and it is delicious -- nutty and spicy in various levels and dimensions.What is … »

No-bake Nutella and cream cheese dessert

no-bake-nutella-cream-cheese-dessert

It's like tiramisu with less coffee taste but with the addition of chocolate with hazelnut undertones (Nutella, what else?). No baking nor cooking required for this beautiful dessert. It's ready in 10 minutes but it really benefits from sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up and for the flavors to blend. … »

Pasta Tinapa

angel-hair-pasta-smoked-fish-vegetables

Between the main dining area and the dessert bar at Casa Vallejo's Hill Station is a stand where preserves for sale are displayed. There were three things I couldn't pass up on and one of them was the jar of tinapa in olive oil. What the two other things are, I'll write about in the coming days.I opened the jar of … »

Steamed okra with garlic and pepper

okra

One of my proudest achievements as a wife is making my husband eat okra. Just kidding. But it isn't a total lie when I say that it makes me feel good to introduce Speedy to food and dishes that he never touched while growing up. And okra is one of them although it wasn't exactly I who made him appreciate it. Up until the … »

Boiled beef and vegetables with sweet-salty soy-flavored broth

boiled-beef-cabbage

Ah, the ubiquitous boiled meat and vegetables that is comfort food in so many cultures. Is the simplicity that makes it appealing? Is the memory of growing up with the dish? Whatever the reason, we love it. I've cooked it in so many ways -- plain, with bone marrow (yes, bulalo!), Irish style, South American style, with … »

Summer heat buster: strawberry lemonade with kaffir lime syrup

strawberry-lemonade

It's the time of the year when that unconscionable power monopolizer Meralco will be raking in so much money again. The heat is upon us, air-conditioners are on full blast and, between mid-morning and dinner time, my body craves for ice cold drinks. For this warm afternoon, a bright, fresh and invigorating summer drink made … »