Monday, January 4, 2010

Home made pasta!

Hi guys. I just recently bought a pasta machine and wanted to try it out. I found out that you could save a lot if you make your own pasta and the best thing is that anyone can do it! It may take a little practice at first to knead the dough but after the first or second try I'm sure you'll be surprise on how easy it is.

For the pasta dough recipe, there are tons of recipes with different flours and measurements. Some use semolina flour, others all purpose, some may also use both and even some would use whole wheat etc. But just a tip to those who do not really make pasta that often (or haven't made any yet), the simplest recipe for pasta dough is: 300g all purpose flour + 2 medium eggs. Just make a well at the center of the flour then stir the eggs inside until the flour and eggs combine. The next step is kneading. Click Here for a simple kneading video. Kneading helps develop the gluten in the flour and makes the dough elastic. After kneading, let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then roll the dough flat and put in the pasta machine. The outcome will be like lasagna sheets. You can now make different shapes of pasta! The nice thing about making home made pasta is that you can make ravioli which can never be bought in any supermarket (unless you want one ready-made with all the stuffing and sauces in a can).

1. Do not add salt to the pasta dough. Only add salt to the water when cooking pasta.
2. Do not use eggs from the chiller.
3. Fresh pasta cooks for only two minutes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

a delicious memory....looking forward to 2010

Happy New Year!

I stumbled upon an old picture a while ago. It was a picture of a dish but it wasn't just any ordinary dish. The dish was cooked by me and my friends from Bacolod who gave it their best to come up with a savory meal for a competition.

We had much fun learning the ropes back then and never did we lose interest in our dreams and goals on becoming great chefs. Despite all the hardships in and out of the kitchen, despite all the drama, we marched proudly on graduation day. Childish as it may seem to have "dreams", I say that no one is too old or too young achieve one's desire! The world is ours and we are only limited by our own self-imposed limits!

To everyone - Have a great year! Keep your goals in mind and hold tightly to them. A toast to wealth, success, good health, prosperity and abundance!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Back from the holidays

I'm back! Holidays are hell days for chefs! The truth is that chefs work overtime on holidays. Sad but true, but exciting as well.

Yesterday we celebrated my grandpa's birthday with a dinner at our "clubhouse". My aunt requested me and my cousin (who is currently an apprentice at Aubergine, the fort) to cook for dinner. We were also celebrating the arrival of one of my cousin's in-laws from Manila.

Our menu:

Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb
Spanish Rice
Gratin Potatoes
Pesto Pasta

My cousin made the perfect gratin, my best so far. The potatoes came out very soft and flavorful and a bit creamy with a hint of rosemary. As for the lamb, we roasted it for 4 1/2 hours which made it very tender and moist. It was my first time cooking whole leg of lamb but I was surprise how easy it was to prepare. Moussaka which is a Greek dish of ground lamb, eggplants, artichokes and tomatoes topped with mornay and breadcrumbs was also a hit. For the spanish rice, I sauteed onions and bell peppers in butter then added tomatoes and tomato juice before adding the rice. It was a really flavorful dish. Pesto and gambas are regular dishes that I make for parties, nothing much to say except that pesto is my favorite sauce in the world!

Cheers to you guys! Hope you have a great new year! more dishes to come!

P.S If you want to ask for recipes just email me or

Monday, December 14, 2009

Away from home

Hi guys...just to let you know I might not be able to post a lot of stuff this week. I'm in Manila and our house here still doesn't have internet :(( plus there are a lot of businesses I have to attend to. Anyway I promise to come up with something for you guys. There are lots of places to eat around here and I hope to satisfy my pallet while hopefully making yours drool lol.

Good night!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dim sum for dinner anyone?

I love dim sum! Chinese eat them for breakfast. I ate a lot every morning when I was in Hongkong. Consider it one of the best breakfast items. But today, just about 6pm when I arrived home, I was told that we were not eating out this time. Panic rushed through us (me and the my 2 helper assistants in the kitchen) coz we didn't have any main ingredient to cook with. All there was in the ref were some veggies and left over stuff. No meat, fish, seafood or chicken. Not even rice. NONE!It was a good thing that my sister hasn't come home yet and mom just left for the spa but they expect to see food on the table when they arrive. "Think think think" I said to myself. "What can I cook with veggies?" I didn't want the ordinary baked vegetables or buttered vegetables. "C'mon a little creativity please" said my mind. Then it hit me- I could try making some dim sum!(siu mai specifically). But the problem was there wasn't any wrapper for the dim sum (and I have never attempted making dim sum wrappers before!).

This wrapper thing did not change my mind about making dim sum. In fact it motivated me to continue. I always found it exciting to do stuff I haven't done. So the challenge was to make the dough for the wrapper, prepare the stuffing and cook. Easy right? Hell no!

I found this old 1970's book on Chinese cuisine and followed a recipe on dim sum wrappers. Making the dough was fun but tiring (I just came from 2 hours of basketball, give me a break!). There was flour everywhere on the table and we mixed, kneaded, rolled and shaped the wrapper. It took us about 30 minutes to finish the dough. As for the stuffing, remember when I said I found some veggies? Eggplants, carrots, squash, cabbage etc. you name it! Peel, slice and dice lol I then pre-cooked them with some spices I found on the rack. Stuffing and shaping the siu mai was easier than making the dough although i had some difficulty on the shaping. Cooking was the easiest procedure, only a few minutes on the steamer and the siu mai was ready.

My first ever hand made siu mai! Far from perfect but I think I get a passing grade. As for my mom and sis, they were surprise that I found time doing all the stuff. It seemed all was well until mom checked the kitchen - it was a total mess (signal number 3 typhoon just hit! haha) but I think the food was good enough for her not to give me a homily this time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

my new pet Lobster

Last week I came across a shop near our place that said "Live Seafood for Sale" so I went in to take a look. Turns out that they had what I have been looking for - Lobster!! My heart went 1000 beats per minute! I've been searching for lobster during the past year but without success. These little creepy crawlies from the sea are hard to come by and very VERY expensive. I bought only one medium size 2 lbs lobster (I kept him alive of course).

The reason why I wanted to try out lobster is 1.) It is a delicacy. The meat, cooked to perfection, and combined with a good butter sauce is heavenly! 2.) Honestly speaking, I have never processed (kill, gut and cook) lobster my whole life. That's party because these critters as I've said are hard to come by and very expensive but there's always a first time for everything right?

On to cooking!! I searched for some recipes to best prepare my lobster and I choose to grill it. I found a very helpful video on youtube on grilling lobster tails. I only added a few ingredients like lemon juice, salt and black pepper. I basically followed the how part of the video and before I knew it BOOM! There in front of me was my first ever lobster dish. I could smell the buttery sauce that coated the lobster as well as the roasted garlic. I took a bite and that "ohhhh man it's perfect!" thought went into my mind.... The lobster first of all was cooked perfectly. I don't mean to brag but I was proud of the outcome. The sauce that was spooned over the lobster was also perfect! It seemed that lobster + butter = a heavenly eating experience. So how did it really taste? the dish melted in my mouth! It felt that no fine dining restaurant could satisfy me with any other lobster dish lol but of course they always come up with better stuff (and I hope they do).

For the guys: If you guys wanna impress your beautiful date or special someone try making lobster! Accompany it with a perfectly grilled steak and garlic mashed plus some fine wine and music. Trust me this is "shock therapy" level that will have the ladies calling on you and not the other way around!

For the ladies: Have your guy cook lobster for you period. LOL

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Starting with Thai....

I'm back from my "break" on this blog. From now on I'll post stuff here every week! I'll do my best to give you guys a piece of my mind when it comes to one of my favorite topics ( and hopefully yours as well) -- FOOD!!!

OK! to start things off, today I tried out an old recipe given to me by a friend. I also wanted to practice this savory dish for an upcoming Christmas party. This "Chicken Pandan" dish is authentic Thai cooking and guys if you have never eaten Thai before you're missing a lot! Thai cuisine is packed with powerful flavors from strong spices and herbs that gives life to your pallet ( as compared to the boring cream and butter stuff, no offense).

Making this dish is easy. Anyone can do this. For my recipe I used boneless chicken thighs which are then portioned in to 4 pieces ( pleeaaaseeee leave the skin on, unless of course your on diet or a health buff coz chicken skin as I've heared is 80% fat! whoa!). I prefer thighs because they're "juicier" and softer. I then marinate the meat for about an hour with chopped cilantro (leaves and stems are good), chopped garlic, black pepper, sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, fish sauce, and a little coconut milk (optional). I also prefer to put a little amount of white vinegar and chili flakes but this is only my preference. For the dipping sauce-I simmer water, soy sauce, sugar, small chunks of ginger, bits of cilantro stems, chili flakes and toasted sesame seeds in a pot until thick. Adding a little salt and pepper is ok.
Now for the cooking part......method: deep fat frying. Yes! its deep fried. Please don't think about calories, cholesterol, fat or anything related now LOL. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the authentic way of doing it so if you try any other cooking method then yes it MIGHT work but I dare not call it Thai Chicken Pandan anymore :) ( although there is also a recipe that calls for steaming, the chicken is still fried after being steamed!) First, wrap a portion of chicken in a pandan leaf and secure with a toothpick to ensure that it doesn't break apart during cooking. You can do any design on the leaves just make sure the chicken is "wrapped" inside. Fry the pieces in oil until cooked through, drain in paper towels and serve!
How to eat this wonderful creation? Unwrap the bird, take a mouthful slice, dip it in the sauce, open your mouth, chew slowly while closing your eyes!!! LOL!!!

Fragrant, Juicy, Hearty, Full of flavor, and a world famous dish!...proudly presenting Thailand's Chicken Pandan!