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Archive for the ‘Philippine cuisine’ Category


I haven’t tasted this for quite sometime, and I mean the last time I had it was decades ago. Seldom do I see such flowers here in the city. I remember my lola (grandmother), who used to have this as a regular fare in the family dishes that she used to cook. She was hypertensive and it was through her that I learned of the curative effect of this medicinal plant.

Locally we call these flowers Katuray.

Locally  known as katuray, it has white and pinkish red flowers and are usually grown from seed.  It is also called Sesbania grandiflora or hummingbird tree and West Indian Pea. The flowers are best used in salads and are excellent source of calcium, iron and Vitamin B.

Escabeche is a wonderful dish.  I used slices of  fried mackerel. The tangy, slightly sweet sauce compliments the taste of these flowers.  Escabeche is cooked using vinegar, ginger, onions, garlic, a little sugar and salt and of course katuray flowers.

We call this Escabeche.

Give this a try, I promise it is delish.

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I love sweet potato.  Locally, we call it kamote. Every time we go to the market. I always buy  kilo or two.  I love it any way it is cooked. I usually just boil it to maintain the flavor.

Yesterday, I  had this for breakfast with two medium-sized sweet potato. I made some slices into fritters and the rest I  grated  and mixed it with grated cheese, one egg and  a cup of corn flour with a  pinch of ground pepper. There was no need to add salt since the cheese is flavorful.  Had two spoonfuls of mayo dressing as dip.

Sometimes I add slices of sweet potato to pork or chicken afritada instead of using potatoes. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A.  They are also a very good source of  vitamin C, manganese, copper and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

I planted sweet potato vines here in our small garden which I use for our famous sinigang.  I  harvest the young stems every two weeks.

Do you also eat sweet potato?

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So they call this pancit bato.  It is another noodle type very similar to the usual pancit canton  which I am familiar with. This was made in Bicol, a  town called Bato so you can deduce  why it was named such.  In the vernacular, bato means  something hard or a stone. So  how does this differ from the noodles we usually find in  supermarkets? The texture is harder and drier so one would need extra cooking time.

We’ll have this for dinner tonight. Based on my research, Pancit Bato could be cooked  even without the meat and vegetables  but I prepared it the usual way we cook noodles,  half kilo of pork kasim, carrot, sayote, and fresh green peas.

Pancit could be eaten on its  own without rice of course.  Let’s eat guys.

 

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Last Saturday, Josef and I chanced upon fresh guavas in the market.  They were a bit costly though because I think guavas are not really in season now. But I was longing for sometime, Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas.  You may call sinigang fish stew or soup which may be flavored with sour ingredients like tomatoes, tamarind, vinegar or what have you.  You add green pepper for the taste. Bayabas is guava in Tagalog. Wow, it tasted simply wonderful.

I paired it with  crunchy fried zucchini as appetizer. What a lovely Saturday lunch we had.

I heard  Nate  shout over the phone “Happy Mother’s Day Nonna, Happy Birthday” early morning yesterday I laughed.  Maybe he equates mother’s day with celebrating birthdays too. We were not able to see  each other yesterday because Nissa’s family had lunch with her in-laws. That’s okay though because we will have a late family  celebration  Saturday next. Nate just finished his one-week kiddy training workshop at McDo last Friday and he was awarded a certificate being The Best of the Best. I had it on a separate blog post here. So proud o him. He did it on his own.

I so love weekends.  Family bonding is still the best.

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So summer has  started in the Philippines. Technically PAGASA does not call it summer  but the dry season.  The dry season though starts from the month  of November until March the following year. The hottest months are usually  April and May. Sometimes, rainy days start mid June until October.

It is during these  summer months that we have those summer fruits in season. This morning, I bought a kilo of star apple (kaimito in Tagalog) and fresh bananas.  My mom who is still with us until now loves fruits especially bananas. The variety I bought ripens easily in a day or two. I usually buy the ones which are still green.

  Green and ripe sweet mangoes are in abundance too but they  are still expensive. In the province, mangoes are given free by neighbors during harvest  time and almost every family has a mango tree in the backyard. I love the green ones (which we call manibalang)  better than the ripe ones. They taste so good with alamang  (shrimp paste) and chili peppers. Have you ever tried  freshly cooked shrimp paste as dipping sauce?It is wonderfully yummy with that kick of chili.

Do you know what’s the best time to visit the Philippines?  It is during the cooler weather of December until probably late January or early March. It is during these times that there are so many festivals celebrated in different parts of the  archipelago. Fiestas are also held at these times of the year. These feast are definitely attractions in themselves.  I guess our country celebrate so many feast, a valid excuse to party and to prepare Filipino food too. We have a variety of Philippine cuisine truly unique in the country. Some are fusion of Spanish and American dishes.  Chinese recipes abound in local food courts and restaurants.

We have lovely beaches too. I guess Palawan, Cebu  and Boracay are the best places to be during summer. There are more lovely islands in other areas too. We are not called a country of 7,641 islands for nothing. More than 5,000 islands are yet to be named though.

Come visit us, it is summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thinking of what to prepare tomorrow night for our media noche, to celebrate the coming of  the new year.  Usually, we celebrate a new leaf in the calendar with lots of sweets  like fruit or buko salad, cakes and the usual  food  like pancit, pasta, embutido, lumpiang shanghai, menudo (mostly  Chinese and  Spanish recipes handed down from one generation to the next). The price of buko (young coconut) has significantly gone up over the years. It now costs P35 per piece whereas a year or two ago, it could be bought at P20 to P25.

Celebration of new year here in our country is steeped in tradition. I blogged about this years ago how we celebrate New Year. It is pretty normal that two days before  new year, wet markets and grocery stores are filled with people shopping for fruits and sweets, must items that should be on the table come  media noche.  Tradition says that having twelve kinds of fruits  on the table brings luck, any round fruit will do but some are specific about what fruits to serve on the table. When they are not in season though, they cost sky-high. It is only during this time that you will see so many fruits displayed in the market.  Even lechon  (a roasted suckling pig)  could be bought whole or by the kilo. It’s one of the usual recipes that is served during Christmas and New Year.  I bought some fruits already, half-a kilo each for the small ones, pineapple  and  honey-dew but they are not yet complete. There are only six items  in all but the fruit basket is already filled. m I have to go back to the market tomorrow for the rest.  I am thinking of preparing chicken ala king, menudo, the usual baked ham,  and finger food like lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls). Pasta of course will  not be left behind  or pancit  for long life, so they say.

Attending the New Year’s Eve mass is also practiced by most Catholics here.  It used to be that mass was held at exactly 12am but that was changed over the years since you cannot hear the celebration properly with the sound of fireworks all around.  I don’t know why but they haven’t totally banned the use of firecrackers. It is still a big business particularly in some towns in Bulacan.They pose a serious and environmental health dangers, it’s pollution to the max.  I wonder why some people can’t do away with all these toxic chemicals. We never buy firecrackers,  our neighbors’ display are  more than enough to pollute the air in our village.

How do you greet the new year in your area? Do you have the same traditions like we do here?  May the coming 2017 be a brighter and better year for us. May it always be filled with  faith, hope and peace.

HAPPY 2017 !!!

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Oh my, it seems like months since I last posted here.  Thank you for those visits even if there is nothing new to read.  No valid reason though except the same old one, been busy the past few days.  Blogging took a back seat for a while.

Gardening has been a priority of course. It rains almost every day now so those unwanted weeds sprout like crazy too. Every two weeks, I need to trim our carabao grass, a tall order for aching backs and sore muscles.  The reward though is more than enough to make me smile. All the Portulaca I planted three weeks ago are blooming now in different colors of yellow, white, orange and pink.  They are the most easy to grow annual plants.

Saw this white rain lily in early bloom. Flowers only appear during rainy season bu they are nice grown cover.

Saw this white rain lily in early bloom. Flowers only appear during rainy season but they are nice ground cover.

Yesterday, I attempted to cook my version of Bicol Express  for our lunch.  It’s  that popular dish from the Bicol region where coconut seems to be the main ingredient in lots of their local dishes. And know what, the main ingredient here is not the pork but the sliced green Thai chili peppers that we have plenty of.  The dish is really hot and it requires a lot of rice to go with it. I omitted the shrimp paste since Josef is allergic to shrimp, used ordinary rock salt instead.  It was yummy.

Bicol Express

Bicol Express

Some of my friends are urging me to cook another dish in coconut cream which we call Ginataang Santol.  I asked  my favorite vendor yesterday if they have the Bangkok variety but she told me it is not yet in season.  Would love to cook this again when I find those sweet Bangkok santol in the market.

I was able to transfer all the photos I took on my tab at Photobucket and to my hard drive.  Better be safe than sorry. One  more thing I need to do and it is a hard and dusty undertaking – to clean our book shelves and separate books, the favorites and most important ones from those we just bought on a whim. There are some authors that I have never known before but surprisingly delivers a good  piece of  a story.

Eight books in advance for my 2016 Reading Challenge in Goodreads. Hooray!

 

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