Dinuguan "Pork Blood Stew"

There has been an abrupt silence in my blogsphere. It is not because of my perennial indolence nor my blogging mood that picks up from time to time to be blamed for this. It is also not because that we are still enjoying a warm sunny weather here in the South that pushed me into quasi-hiatus. No nope, I was not sunbathing reading my favorite novel all this time.

I hope that was really the case, but no. My daughter was sick for a week. I think this is hardest part of being a parent. When you see them suffer and all you can do is to force them to take their medicine against their will. Every medication time is a non-stop wrestling, a pinch in parents' hearts and liters of tears from the little one.

She's doing great now and so are the parents. It is true indeed that on trying times like this we could seek comfort from our favorite dishes. It's been a decade seen I tasted a bowl of dinuguan (pork blood stew) one of my auntie's speciality. My version was still far from her but every spoonful of it was a bed of roses.

I am sending this to Laura of Spiced Life for her October Family Recipes, blog event. You have until October 31st to send in your best family recipes. I added up some of our latest Sunday promenade in the woods.

Dinuguan "Pork Blood Stew"

This Filipino dish normally uses pork innards and fresh pork blood. My version used only pork and Boudin Noir (pork blood sausage) we could find easily in French butcher shops.

half a kilo of pork tender part cut in small cubes
2 Boudin Noir (pork blood sausage)
2 garlic pounded
1 onion sliced
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of apple vinegar (you can use any type of light vinegar)
half a cup of pork broth

In a casserole, sauté garlic, onion and ginger with olive oil. Add you pork. Continue stirring until the pork has changed color. Peel your boudin noir, smash it with fork and add it in your casserole. Continue stirring. Pour your pork broth and let it simmer for fifteen minutes. Before turning off the fire, add your vinegar, pepper and salt to taste.

Chocolate Strawberry Tiramisu and Locked up Gummy Bear

I know you love tiramisu enough to know that this recipe is not even close to the real thing. However, if you want to make good use of what's left in your kitchen and that will get your children's attention 100% this is the tiramisu for you.

I have been cleaning up the fridge and the kitchen cabinet when I suddenly had this "eureka" feeling of making this recipe, and the rest of the story was to attract my daughter's attention. I am sending up this easy to make tiramisu recipe over at Mansi of Fun and Food Cafe for her Sweet Celebration Recipe Contest. For more details please check the link.

Chocolate Strawberry Tiramisu
6 ounces (1 container of ) mascarpone
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
half ounce of semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup of orange juice
24 ladyfinger cookies
1 jar of strawberry preserves
for decoration:
Dark chocolate shavings
some chocolate fingersticks( you can use Mikado even better)
some gummy bears


In a mixing bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form then set it aside. In another bowl beat the mascarpone then add the sugar and the melted chocolate. When smooth, fold in about half of the mixture into the whipped cream. Arrange your ladyfingers in your glasses and drizzle with orange juice. Put some strawberry preserves then spread some of the chocolate mascarpone mixture. Top it up with the rest of the mascarpone mixture.Chill for at least 3 hours or until ready to serve. When ready to serve, decorate with your shaved chocolates, chocolate finger sticks and gummy bears in the middle.

Chocolate Almond Soft Caramel Muffin

Would you ever believe that my passion for cooking emanated from childhood cleverness of sneaking into the kitchen for food behind my mom's watchful eye . Well you see I was always hungry and we weren't allowed to eat candies and junk foods in between meals so my only solution was to ransack what was chopped on the table. My parents discouraged us to be in the kitchen for simple reason that they find it dangerous for children. And I agree with that sans hesitation.

Now that I am a mom myself seeing my little girl's antic for food in the kitchen is a deja vu situation! After all history repeats itself. I thought that since my daughter love being in the kitchen might as well teach her to participate in cooking simple stuffs. Yesterday, after her long day in school we spent a bonding moment of cooking and playing and we both loved it. I was planning only to bake a simple chocolate almond muffin but her playful move made a soft caramel candy she was chewing to fall innocently on the muffin pan. Well the result was amazing and we'll definitely doing it again.

Here's my entry to this month's Heart of the Matter: Seeds and Things a healthy food event created and hosted by Michelle of Accidental Scientist, and her co-host Ilva of Luccullian Delights.

Chocolate Almond Soft Caramel Muffin
for 6-8 muffins

125 g of flour
100 g of almond meal
75 g of sugar
half a teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 egg
20 cl of milk
10 cl of peanut oil
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
100 g of choco chips
soft caramel candies (any brand even home-made :-)

Preheat the oven at 210°C. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients: flour, almond meal , sugar, salt , cocoa powder and baking powder. Then add the egg, milk and oil. Mix them well. Fold into the mixture your chocolate chips. Put soft caramel candies at the bottom of your buttered muffin pan and laddle your muffin mixture. Fill them only 3/4 the way if you want to have pointed tip muffin. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Pineapple Toasted Almond and Rhum Cupcake

How do you cope up with creativity exhaustion?

For the past few weeks my jobs are filling up: marketing materials to make, FB application to develop, shots to take, articles to write, recipes to cook..sigh :-( my deadlines are ticking and I'm inching like a snail. I normally just listen to some upbeat music and eat a bar chocolate to give me some vigor and inspiration but it's not working lately.

I am hundred percent sure that I have some deep seated issues to deal with before getting back on my track. In the meantime enjoy this Pineapple Cupcake my entry to this month's Sugar High Friday Toasted edition hosted by Rivka of Not Derby Pie . SHF is that sweet event created by Jennifer the Domestic Goddess . For the round-up and details please check the link.

Pineapple Toasted Almond Rhum Cupcake

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of toasted almonds
1 medium sized fresh pineapple( peeled and cut in cubes)
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 jigger of white rhum
cream chantilly (for decoration)

In a pan caramelize the cut pineapple with butter and sugar, once you have that brownish golden color deglaze it with some white rhum. n a large bowl, combine baking soda, flour, sugar and salt. In a measuring cup or small bowl, beat together the eggs and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fold in the cooked pineapple and toasted almond. Be sure to leave some for decoration. Preheat the oven at 180° celsius. Grease your cupcake pan. ake 15 minutes or until the cupcake looks "ready" and bounces back to touch. Cool on a wire rack. You can decorate your cupcake with some pineapple buttercream but I opted for a faster version I used some cream chantilly.

Tuna Lasagna Rocket Salad

"Don't talk when your mouth is full"

If there were two things I have learned about food from my parents, that would be loving and respecting food. My dad was the type who would do anything in the name of food, a real gourmet that is. He would planned weeks in advance if there's a special recipe he's concocting and he wouldn't mind crossing rivers and mountains to get his hands on the freshest ingredients or food he's craving for. But oh boy, oh boy I dolefully admit that his excessive "amour
" for food caused him his health. He eventually had diabetes, anyways anything that is out of proportion is definitely not good.

My Mom on the otherhand, is the type who doesn't care if the food is not as tasty as long as it is cooked well with nutrients still intact and chewed slowly appreciating every spoonful. Mom is not as a good cook as was Dad but she always reiterated the value of choosing well what we serve on our table. It is from her that I have learned loving vegetables. Believe me she looks young for her age.

Though I cannot blame my Dad for being so for who doesn't love food and eating? We are all guilty of that. But our society is now confronted with a growing number of overweight individuals and obesity issues. We cannot just neglect this for a lot of health problem stems from this. I know it goes beyond what we put on our plate for this involves a change of lifestyle too. But we can already start from something small, like preparing healthy meals everyday. And who said that healthy food are not always delicious. Believe me it just requires a little bit of imagination.

It's true that there's definitely a lot of factors that's fattening our society; our stressful environment, bad eating habits and a lot more. But I only have one solution to that: nothing beats a good sinful scrumptous but a good dose of exercise and happy thoughts! I definitely feel lucky to have grown up with such extremities of my parents when it comes to food for their difference gave me the balance in enjoying food to the right limit.

This is my participation to Hank Cardellos' Stuffed Nation October event on "STUFFED: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat" a hand in hand event with Jenn the "queen" of FoodieBlog Roll. I also added up some photos of the my sister in law's green wedding, hope you like them!

Tuna Lasagna Arugula Salad
Ingredients (4 people):

8 sheets of lasagna noodles
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
400 g tuna in brine drained
65g rocket (arugula)
4 tablespoons home-made pesto sauce


Cook the lasagna noodles. Drain and put them in the covered pan to keep warm. Heat olive oil in a skillet and fry zucchini and red pepper. They must keep their color. Remove from heat and gently mix the tuna and arugula. Place a little of the tuna mixture on 4 plates and cover with a sheet of lasagne. Add the rest of the tuna mixture and cover the remaining lasagne sheets. Add pepper and garnish generously with pesto.

Home-made Calisson

If you have never been yet to Southern France it is likely that you are not familiar with Calisson. These are actually candies or sweet treats that are made of candied fruit like melon, orange and apricot glazed with royal icing on the top and baked slowly in the oven. It is synonymous as the city of Aix en Provence for this has been invented in this place. It was created by the royal chef exclusively and for the first time served during the wedding of King Rene (when southern france was once a separate country under Italy) to the Queen Jeane after the royal dinner and it was an immediate success among the guests. Legend says that eating calisson also protected the kingdom and the villagers agains the great plague and that is the reason why on some areas they celebrate a feast for calisson.

But if you have been to Southern France already, these are the lozenge shaped yellow and white overly priced candies for the tourists. I always get mixed reaction to people who tasted this food for the first time, some like it a lot while others think that they are overly rated. In our family we always have a box of calisson in the kitchen for we never know if someone drops by for a chit chat and good cup of hot tea or coffee, calisson is always very impressive.

I have three important tips to share when making your home-made calisson:

1. Don't ever plan to make one when your son/daughter is sick.

2. Do not start preparing them when your son/daughter is sleeping. Wrong again, they could wake up and you will end up in a mess.

3. Do not persist in making them if you lack one ingredient you assume is not really important in making the candy.

Now that my three tips are complete what rest for me to do is to send a box of this freshly baked Calisson over at Meeta and Aparna for the Monthly Mingle. Check out the link for my details.

Home-made Calisson
for about 50-60 pieces

250 grams of sugar
300 grams of almond powder/meal
100 of melon confit or orange confit
100 g of apricot jam

Royal icing:
1 egg white of a large sized egg
150 g of icing sugar

three or more sheets of edible paper (azyme) you can find them in some special stores for patisseries and candies

Start by mixing the first four ingredients in a bowl. You can pass in a mixer the fruits before mixing with sugar and almond to be sure that it will be smooth and delicate. Put the mixture in a pan and continue mixing in a low fire to help the liquid evaporate for 7 minutes. When the mixture becomes dry, they are sticking to your wooden spatula turn of the heat. Spread it over evenly to your edible paper sheets using a rolling pin about 2mm thickness. Let it cool and dry for another hour. Prepare your royal icing by whisking the egg and adding the icing sugar. Spread over the glace and cut them the shape you want; heart , square, round, diamond, etc. Let it dry for another hour. Pre-heat the oven at 150° celsius and bake it for five minutes. Do not serve them immediately they get better as day pass. Perfect to serve them with hot coffees or teas.

If you want to have a perfectly shaped calisson do this with the edible paper, for they are really difficult to cut if you do them without.

Nectarine and Peach Salad

It's good to be connected.

...... and one day you will be chatting virtually with friends that you haven't seen for fifteen years or more. If you are lucky probably even exchanging photos and happy memories of your long lost childhood. Laughing ridiculously in front of your computer, alone. You keep abreast each other by twitting up or hanging out in FB.

The next thing you know things get even better in being connected, you discover new friends never in your wildest imagination will cross your path. And these reel friends become real. Your friendship with them gets deeper, for they are genuine people. Next thing you know, you meet up, have lunch. And things get even better, you chat, you laugh but you are no longer alone.

Here's a glimpse to that colorful afternoon spent with my blogging friends Haze, Makis and Cathy. I'll be sending some of this delectable Nectarine and Peach Salad over at charming Susan the Well Seasoned Cook our host for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, that event created by Kalyn now in the hands of Haalo of Cook Almost Anything.

From top left to right, table set up, red wine by Makis, a slice of decadent chocolate cake, my wire whisk still unwashed, pile of left-over rosemary pork barbeque and what's left of my famous rice artichokes salad.

Express Peach and Nectarine Salad
3 yellow peaches

3 yellow nectarines

about 250 g of mache salad

about15 pieces of cherry tomatoes
one small block of feta cheese

vinaigrette sauce
3 tablespoons of olive oil

some salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Peel the nectarines and peaches. Cut them into bitesize pieces. In a salad bowl, toss the tomatoes, peaches, nectarine, feta and mache salad with the vinaigrette sauce.

There is always a beautiful rainbow after the rain

The wind has finally slowed down, and the rain has stopped from falling. The typhoon is gone but leaving behind an unforgettable and painful experience to everyone. Lives were taken, some people are still missing, houses damaged, certain areas are still underwater but people's morale has never been so high. For the calamity has brought out the best in everyone. Help from all over the world pour out from different walks of life and it was really admirable!

I was extremely happy to get reassuring news from all my friends that they were fine although most were still fragile sharing their near death experiences. Kudos to my goodfriend and her staff for spearheding our own little outreach activity few days ago in one of the striken calamity area in Manila. Clothes, medicines, goods and some hot soup were distributed. Again we would like to extend our gratitude to all the donors and to all the people who contributed in their own little way in helping out the victims.

To my friend, I may not be there but thank you for making me a part of this.