Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Posted on

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

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

Posted on

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 ward off vampires.  But if you eat too much of it, its distinct pungent aroma keep 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

Posted on

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 help 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 in to my simmering chicken adobo. Read more

Bangkok’s Lemongrass Chicken Stir-fry

Posted on

I find this recipe like a quick version of Thai’s chicken curry. A Bangkok style it is, perhaps it’s a dish expected to be found along the city’s roadsides.

I’ve never been to Thailand yet, but I heard much about its street food – as to how affordable, generously portioned, insanely delicious Bangkok street food is.

If I get a chance to visit Thailand, I will surely navigate Bangkok for its best food alleys. In the meantime, thanks to adorable Asian supermarkets in Belgium, I can satisfy my Thai cravings in the comforts of my home.

Cooking Diaries: Bangkok’s Lemongrass Chicken Stir-fry

Cooking Diaries: Bangkok’s Lemongrass Chicken Stir-fry


  • 2 tablespoons canola or soy oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallots or onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 pound boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • Thai chile or chile flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (salt may be used as a substitute)
  • 1 pinch ground white pepper
  • 25 fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced (lime zest may be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • steamed jasmine rice
  • stir-fried fresh vegetables (such as baby carrots, mushroom, bell peppers, squash and Thai, Japanese or domestic eggplant)


  1. Preheat wok or saute pan over medium high heat; add oil. Add shallots and garlic. Saute until light brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add chicken all at once. Stir and separate chicken slices. Add chilies and lemongrass. Continue to stir. Just before chicken is cooked through, stir in coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce and white pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings and spiciness. Toss in Thai basil, lime leaves and lime juice. Serve immediately with steamed rice and fresh vegetables.

Recipe from


Have you been to Thailand? What do you think? What are the street food dishes I should try? Read more

Spring Soup Series – Tom Yum Goong

Posted on

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

Posted on

This is the fourth recipe from my SPRING SOUP series.

Apart from the green trees and flowers blooming all around at springtime, everyone in Belgium excitedly looks forward for 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, a 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