quinoa with leeks and shiitake mushrooms

Quinoa with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms

I’ve actually heard about this latest food craze from my health-conscious Filipina friend. Even the UN gave this superfood an international year to commemorate its awesomeness. My friend also swears by it as a great alternative to rice, which we Filipinos can hardly live without.

But since I moved here in Europe, I’ve already started eating rice occasionally, once or twice a week as a matter of fact. I’m now chowing down more on other carbs such as potatoes, pasta, or noodles.

Yet in a few occasions too, I’d just simply eat salad or vegetables. So coming across this new grain (or seed) did give me another healthier option.

Quinoa is originally grown in South America and basically part of staple diet of local Andean population in Peru, Chile and Bolivia for already thousands of years. Read more

Pancit Series – Canton

The term pancit is actually derived from Hokkien Chinese word, pian i sit (便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí). So obviously, it’s the Chinese who introduced noodles to us and since then we have adopted these into our local cuisine. With over 30 variations of pancit available all over the country, you’ll also never run out of finding these panciterias or shops specializing in noodles.

Interestingly, like rice, we Filipinos can eat pancit at any time of the day. We can chow it down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Like me, most would eat pancit as it is, but for others, they would even mix it with rice, or with some leftover dish, or simply with dried fish and pickles. Read more

Pancit Series – Bihon Guisado

Pancit is perhaps amongst the easiest Filipino dishes that I can cook while living here in Europe for several years now. For one, it’s very easy to find noodles of different kinds – vermicelli noodles in particular – in most Asian grocery stores.

Pancit is a very traditional and popular cuisine found in majority of Filipino restaurants, and certainly at dinner tables of Filipinos everywhere. Filipina mothers would whip up pancit for family gatherings.

Most especially during birthday celebrations, it has to be sure that the pancit noodles are kept long; for it’s been superstitiously believed that it represents long life and good health. In most Chinese restaurants in the Philippines, they often have “birthday noodles” as part of their special menus. Read more

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

It’s pretty obvious how I like pasta very much, and it’s amongst the dozens of reasons why I was eager to visit Italy.  The kind of pasta I enjoyed much as a kid however, is not as the same as the Italian’s.

Pinoy pasta is quite different.

Our version of spaghetti bolognese has the usual ingredients, yet we add some extras like hot dogs, sugar and banana ketchup that all in all, give a bit of sweet taste.  My favorite carbonara has a creamy white sauce topped with ham and bacon; a balanced mix of all-purpose cream, cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk defines it.

Now here I get a very meaty spaghetti bolognese, sans the sweetness and the ‘tender juicy hotdogs.’  And the carbonara?  Well, it’s still as creamy as the one I would have back home.  Until my trip to Rome, I came across the real carbonara for the first time.  Less creamy, but boy oh boy, it was divine! Read more

From Witloof with Love

Known as witloof in Flemish, which literally means white leaf in English, Belgian endive is a small head of ivory-colored, bittered leaves that are cultivated from chicory root. The technique for cultivating endives was discovered by accident in the 1850s in Belgium. An interesting story my husband shared, it happened when a farmer hid his chicory crops in his barnyard from tax collectors – by burying them under the ground! After several days, the farmer discovered these blanched leaves sprouting out from the soil.

I came to notice these salad leaves for the first time whenever my husband would prepare our salad. “It’s too bitter for my taste,” I admitted. Obviously I didn’t like it, but the Belgians do. When I spent some time in Flanders, I started noticing how often the endives are being served. For some time though, it did disappear in our vegetable stack at the kitchen; good thing that my hubby hadn’t complained! Yet I see more and more endives in the supermarket now, I got tempted and finally, I decided to give it another chance. My hubby was convincing enough too, after telling me that I can rather prepare it in a certain way that would make it less bitter. I did what I had been told, and it’s true then – it was remarkably good! Read more

Almost IKEA Meatballs

I hardly visit IKEA these days. It’s been awhile indeed, that one time I started to crave for their meatballs. Köttbullar as it is most likely called, these Swedish meatballs are typically made with a mix of ground beef, pork or veal; and traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam and fresh pickled cucumber.

I was just randomly seeking for some new recipes when I came across to this one. I realized then that I didn’t need to visit IKEA anymore, since I can already enjoy these meatballs (w/o the gravy) at home. This Swedish meatball recipe is also somehow healthier. The meatballs are oven-baked, while it also suggested to use low-fat pork sausage, and there’s no gravy sauce as side recipe. It’s such a fitting meal for followers of Atkins or South Beach diet. Yes, you can count me in as one. Read more