Monday, May 3, 2010


"Can do at home, look!", nods my Chinese hairdresser. Edward Scissorhands brushes, pulls and blow dries my wet, limp hair with effortless frenzy, and in the time it took me to read why Pamela Anderson was booted off DWTS, I had a sleek, silky bob. ("Cannot do at home!")

"Ahh, First Boy is back!", she says as Son #1 walks into the salon. He arrived yesterday, exhausted from the gruelling 16-hour trip, and I had gone into "nesting" mode: his old room revived with fresh smelling sheets, desk dusted, bathroom sparkling clean; Coke, chips, and chocolates made their way back into the pantry; avocados mashed into guacamole.

And of course, I made one of his favorites, Fabada, a dish originally from Asturias, Spain and adapted by the Spanish colonies into their own version of a bean stew, flavored by ham hock, chorizo, bacon or any other pork product. Unfortunately my butcher ran out of ham hock, so in keeping with the porky theme, I used a slab of ribs instead. This version lacked the smoky richness from the ham hock, but it was still comfort food. Welcome home, First Boy, welcome home.

Spanish Bean Stew

300g Pork Ribs
(for best results use a Ham Hock instead)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Pimenton (Spanish Smoked Paprika)
2 stalks Celery, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
1 small Carrot, peeled and diced
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tomato, diced
1 Spanish Chorizo, casing removed and sliced
2 1/2 cups Water
3 cans Cannelini Beans

Season pork ribs with salt and pepper. In a heavy deep pan, heat olive oil and fry ribs until well browned. Remove and set aside.

Add celery, onion, carrot, and garlic to pan. Sprinkle pimenton. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onion is transparent.

Return ribs to pan, add sliced chorizo and tomatoes. Pour in water, cover and boil for about 30-45 minutes until pork ribs are tender.

Add the beans and boil for another 30-45 minutes until stew has thickened, making sure to stir up beans regularly to avoid sticking to bottom of pan.

Drizzle olive oil on the stew just before serving.


  1. you already know how i feel about your writing so i'll comment on your photography instead - for someone who asked me on tips for food photography, are you sure you're not just being polite? ;)... your photos are well composed, we might need to adjust a bit on contrast and lighting but nothing that photoshop can't tweak :)... i've been meaning to ask you, have you done a photography course before? if you haven't maybe you should consider doing that as well (on top of all the other things you do well) as you definitely have an eye for it.

  2. you are so kind, marie antoinette, coming from a good photographer! maybe it helps that i use a lumix, which is a great camera for a beginner. i am actually reading the manual now to figure out how to use the more advanced features. (and after that i'll check out photoshop...)

  3. That recipe looks like a chore. Kakatamad to prepare. I have always been a lazy cook but when I find a recipe I like, I work on it. Can I just hire you as my personal chef? Hahah.

  4. It does require a bit more steps, Leng, but it's worth it. This is true comfort food!