Monday, November 22, 2010


Still in the mood for prawns? I saved three pieces for Teenage Son who was home recuperating from surgery, and just scrounged around my pantry to make something quick and easy.

I mixed some Boursin garlic and herb cheese with softened butter and a squeeze of lime, spread this over the butterflied prawns and grilled them until brown, about 3 minutes.

Quite yummy if I may say so myself!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This month Kulinarya Cooking Club celebrates its First Anniversary with a glimpse into one of the festive Filipino Christmas specialties called Relleno, which simply means a stuffing of any variety of meats, seafood, fish or vegetables.

It is time-consuming to make a good Christmas relleno. I remember how my grandmother would start making Galantina, or stuffed Capon, 48 hours before our family Christmas Lunch. The kitchen would be a beehive of activity, from deboning the chickens to dicing the chorizo, olives, pimientos, chestnuts and whatever else went into the minced pork stuffing. After the chickens were stuffed, the cavities were sewn up neatly and wrapped tightly in muslin. These were then left to marinate in the fridge overnight, then steamed slowly the next morning, and left to cool before serving. It was so delicious!

I haven't had a good Galantina since my grandmother passed on years ago, so to this month's challenge, I bravely said Yes, I can do it! But my nostalgia for the Galantina of my childhood stopped at my attempt to debone the chicken. Granny made it look so easy, but after slicing my thumb and nicking my knuckes, and piercing through the all important chicken skin, I gave up.

So instead I made Camaron Rellenado, or Stuffed King Prawns.

Shell and devein 10 King Prawns, leaving the tail end. Butterfly the prawns and marinate in a teaspoon each of soy sauce and lime, plus 2 minced garlic cloves.

While that's marinating, prepare the stuffing by mixing 250 grams minced pork with garlic (1 or 2 cloves), 4 water chestnuts, 2 spring onions, half a carrot, all finely minced. Add one egg and half a teaspoon of salt, and mix thoroughly.

Take the butterflied prawns and spoon some stuffing on.

Wrap a rasher of bacon around the stuffed prawn and secure bacon end with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the prawns.

Heat a pan with enough oil to deep fry the prawns. Before frying, dip the bacon-wrapped prawns in a thin batter of one beaten egg and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Deep fry until golden brown.

Serve with sweet and sour sauce (to which I added some diced pineapple and onion).

Check out Kulinarya Cooking Club members here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For Emily

My niece is probably my blog's youngest follower. Like all the kids in my extended family, she is a foodie. Here's a recipe for one of her requests, easy enough for a budding epicurean to make on her own.

Coconut Banana Muffins

170g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
(usually 3 bananas)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dessicated coconut
(if you omit the coconut, increase flour measurement to 1 3/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 175 deg C. Beat all the ingredients together at high speed with an electric mixer. Line 18 muffin pans and fill with batter, about 3/4 full as the batter will rise while baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Food Fix

There's a Danish grocery that we go to whenever Husband or the Teenagers need their comfort food fix. In a drab and threadbare neighborhood of colorless food stalls and grey industrial supply shops, where cars battle with trucks for parking space, the trip to the grocery is quick. The baskets are soon filled with cheeses, freshly baked and very dense rye bread, crisp fried onions, pickles, chocolates, and sweets.

Christmas is now just around the corner, so the grocery was stocked with bars of nougat and marzipan, which we make into festive Danish petit fours called Nougat-Marzipan Broed. I made my own marzipan base from ground almond meal, icing sugar, and egg whites, inspired by Food and Style's Sienese Almond Cookies, and stuffed these with slices of Danish Soft Nougat, a rich, creamy confection made from Turkish hazelnuts and chocolate.

Nougat-Marzipan Petit Fours

1 3/4 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons white flour
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Odense Bloed Nougat, cut into 1/4 inch squares

Preheat oven to 220 deg C. In a mixing bowl, blend almond flour, white flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and almond extract at high speed until peaks are firm. Add this mixture to the blended flour and fold in with a spatula until just mixed.

Transfer the dough to a piping bag and pipe into silicone moulds. Insert the nougat slices into the dough.

Sprinkle icing sugar on top and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool in the moulds for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Makes about 8 petit fours, which can be sliced into smaller portions to serve.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


There are some days where one thing seems to flow into another and before you know it, the day's over, and you just hadn't had time to think about the next meal. After a morning at a very busy doctor's office (the wait was so long, I was desperately reading classified ads after exhausting all the magazines), I spent my afternoon at a chocolate workshop where we learned the art of tempering, the meticulous process of melting chocolate to a specific temperature, to be used in our truffle making lesson. After a few hours of dipping ganache, nuts, candied orange peel, strawberries and pralines, I had 2 boxes of chocolate heaven to take home. But I didn't have dinner planned, and it was getting late. Thankfully the butcher was still open and I whizzed about, my impromptu shopping list spilling out from memory, to make one of the easiest, but truly delicious chicken dish taught to me years ago by an Italian lady from her kitchen in Hong Kong.

Chicken Fillets with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Take about 12 pieces of chicken fillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry them on medium low heat in a pan with olive oil and butter. Turn over when underside just turns opaque. Spread a thin layer of pesto on top of the fillets, then layer with prosciutto (or mortadella), then a slice of parmesan cheese (or gruyere). Pour heavy cream into the pan, enough to just cover the fillets. Cover and cook on low heat until cheese has melted. Serve with rice or pasta.