Spaghetti alla Carbonara

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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 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

A Garlicky Menu: Gambas Al Ajillo & Aglio et Olio Pasta

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I somehow believe that the best cuisines in the world share this highly valued culinary spice.  Asian cooking cannot live a day without it.  The Spanish and Italians would agree that the more you use this ingredient wonder, the more delightful your dish will be.

Old mother’s trick has credited its ability to avert diseases.  Folklores claimed it has warded off vampires.  But if you eat too much of it, its distinct pungent aroma keeps the people from coming near to you.

Garlic is indispensable in every cooking.  Love or hate it?  For sure, I love it!

Do you now fancy a full garlicky meal?  Let me share with you these two recipes that you’ll surely enjoy – a quick Spanish shrimp dish and an easy-to-prepare Italian pasta. Read more

Chicken Adobo with Merguez

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All the while I live here in Europe, I always find it challenging to cook pork adobo. Definitely, it’s because pork meats here are lean cuts; either there’s only a thin layer of fat or none at all. Pork bellies, in particular, are almost inexistent. And if ever there is, but without much fat that helps caramelize the sauce, the adobo meat is less succulent. So most of the time, I cook chicken adobo instead.

It was less likely a deliberate cooking experiment. It just so happened that I had to finish the remaining merguez in the fridge, otherwise it will be thrown away (and we don’t like wasting food). I thought of serving these sausages as appetizers, but then I got a better idea. After pan-grilling the merguez, I threw these into my simmering chicken adobo. Read more

Spring Soup Series – Tom Yum Goong

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This is the fifth recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

I fell into a burnin’ ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher,
And it burns, burns, burns,
The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

Johnny Cash seemed to be cheering for us on that last Sunday dinner then, when we had to chow down on these very spicy duck red curry and prawn-vegetables stir fry.

“Is it really hot in here, or is it just me?” saying jokingly to my dinner buddy when we saw burning cheeks and sweat coming out on our faces. Given I’m Asian, he looked more “burned” than I did. It felt like the house is burning down as we see other Thai dishes flying around that looked as spicy as ours.

I love spicy food, that’s why I also like Thai cuisines. My tolerance for hot stuff is really good, quite at par to confidently say so. That night though, it was spiciness at its finest. Read more

Spring Soup Series – Asparagus Soup

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This is the fourth recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

Apart from the green trees and flowers blooming all around in springtime, everyone in Belgium excitedly looks forward to another favorite – the white asparagus. It starts in April when they come out and take over market stalls, supermarket shelves, restaurant tables, and kitchens. While white asparagus is only available for a couple of weeks, everybody wouldn’t stop raving about it. You’d notice that many Belgian restaurants create special asparagus menus, all the way from appetizers to main, and even to desserts!

Known as wit goud (white gold) because it’s expensive and coveted, superb asparagus has a delicate flavor, slightly nutty and bitter with a sweet aftertaste. It is usually boiled and served with a sauce, and sometimes it becomes into a soup or blends to other dishes. Read more

Spring Soup Series – Egg Drop Soup

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This is the third recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

I am always enamored with these white ribbons prettily floating atop. When I started chowing it down, I would find myself comforted with this soup.

Indeed, the simplest foods are sometimes the best tasting foods. Despite its simplicity, egg drop soup is a warm delight.

Eggs, cornstarch, and a flavored broth are the three basic ingredients you’d ever need; or even two if you nix the cornstarch that helps thicken the soup.

Yet you can add some more into it—ingredients like tofu, mushrooms, bok choy, bean sprouts, corn, shredded meat…anything that you can possibly imagine!

That’s just how versatile egg drop soup is.

A few tips to share before trying this recipe out: Read more