Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apple French Tart

My boss took us out to lunch at this lovely restaurant in Pasig, near Tiendesitas, called PANCITERIA DON JACINTO.

We had the most sumptuous Chinese lunch, consisting of El Nido soup, salt-and-pepper spareribs, pancit canton, roast chicken, steamed lapu-lapu, yang chow fried rice, and their specialty, camaron rebosado. THese were cooked in very thin batter and right on top of the tiger prawns are thin, delectable slices of ham. Very good indeed!

TO top off this delicious feast, we had Apple French Tart, and one bite immediately sent us to dessert heaven.

I swear I'm going to find out how this is made.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chicken Cheesemelt

There's this small, family-owned restaurant near my workplace which I and a couple of friends often visit for a lunch-out. My personal favorite dish is their chicken cheesemelt, with buttered vegetables for sidings and a dollop of tasty garlic rice to match.

A few weeks back, I lingered by the tomato sauce and ketchup section of the supermarket I frequent when I chanced upon (serendipity!) a shelf full of canned tomatoes: chopped, crushed, whole, and whatever-else-you-may-think-you-can-do with tomatoes. I immediately thought of the chicken cheesemelt and imagined how I could imitate the dish...

Fortunately, my first attempt was a success. It may not be the exact same recipe, but it sure does taste like the one I buy! And it's the easiest thing to do really. All you need is a can of chopped tomatoes, and you're good to go.

For Myra and Liezl, who were one of my first guinea pigs for this dish, here's:

Monique's Chicken Cheesemelt


6 pieces chicken breast fillets
1 can, chopped tomatoes
Quickmelt cheese, or any other easy-to-melt cheese ;-)
Bread crumbs
2 eggs
Dried basil
Olive oil (though any other cooking oil will do)


1. Clean the chicken breast fillet and pat dry. Since the fillets
may be too thick for frying, you can slice them by the flaps or pockets and
flatten them so they would be easier to cook. Season generously with salt and
pepper. Add a dash of dried basil.
2. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl.
3. Drain the liquid from the chopped tomatoes. You'll only need the chunks
and pulps.


1. Heat a large pan or skillet. Pour 4 to 5 rounds of oil and wait until hot enough.
2. Dip the chicken breast fillets on the eggs and dredge on a bed of bread crumbs. Fry each fillet until crispy and golden brown.
3. Drain excess oil.
4. Top each chicken with the chopped tomatoes.
5. Grate a chunk of cheese on top of the tomatoes.
6. Sprinkle with some more basil.

When the dish is done, I would recommend heating the chicken for a minute in the microwave so that the cheese would easily melt. Also, as it has become a favorite, it goes well with vegetable sidings and garlic rice. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

lack of measurements

I just noticed that the ingredients on the first 2 recipes I featured on this blog didn't have exact measurements. I had been surfing the net and reading some food blogs when I realized how difficult it would be to follow a recipe, especially for experimenting beginners like me, if the ingredients didn't have proper measurements specified on them.

If you've already copied out or tried the Potata a la Ana or Mother's Quail Eggs in Cream of Mushroom, I hope the finished product turned out well. I didn't indicate the amount of ingredients to use because I didn't measure them, either - almost all of them were mere estimates. Now if you're having a difficult time following the recipes and find that you need exact amounts, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

New recipes will be up this week: my talented friend Rogelyn's super-special Empanada, and Devery's equally delicious Humba, a Visayan dish. They cooked up a batch each of their own specialties for Roge's birthday last week and I simply had to feature these recipes here. As early as late August I already arranged for a photo and their permission. Do check back later.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mother's Quail Eggs in Cream of Mushroom

My mother cooks this creamy recipe every once in a while. I love quail eggs, and I love how Mama flavors it the way she does. It's one of my comfort foods, if you will.

The recipe is pretty simple. Here it is:

Mother's Quail Eggs in Cream of Mushroom


Quail eggs, at least a dozen
1 can cream of mushroom
1 small can,
evaporated milk
Diced carrots, green peas, and corn bits (you can get the
pre-packed ones in supermarkets)
Garlic, crushed
Olive oil
Prawns, shelled


1. Boil the quail eggs and remove the shells. Set aside.
2. In a pan, sautee the crushed garlic in olive oil. Don't burn the garlic!
3. Add the mixed vegetables and a small chunk of butter.
4. Mix in the prawns.
5. Pour in the cream of mushroom first, and then the evaporated milk.
6. Finally, add the quail eggs and cook until the cream and the milk thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cream Puffs by Dulcinea

Yup, churros and paella aren't the only specialties offered by Dulcinea. Their cream puffs are also to-die-for, with its delectable cream filling and caramelized honey on top.

Great with a tall glass of iced tea, even more wonderful with a steaming cup of brewed coffee. I could use the pairing just about now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Potato Salad a la Ana

Or, as my friend Ana succinctly calls this bestselling recipe of hers, "Potata a la Ana".

I first had a taste of this creamy potato salad last December, when she brought a batch to another friend's house for our annual Christmas dinner/get-together. Just one bite, and it was enough to make me ask for the recipe.

Minus the basil (the supermarket was scarce of it) and with the excess dash of cayenne pepper, my first attempt to replicate her dish was, well, alright. Considering that Ana's recipe didn't have the appropriate measurements per ingredient, I had to make guesses as to the amount that I had to put in. Considering further that I've had practically zero experience cooking with herbs, I wasn't sure how each one would taste, or what it would do to the dish, so again, I could only cross my fingers and pray that I wouldn't overdo anything. After this first try, I know better.

Want to try? Here's the recipe.



Marble potatoes, boiled and seasoned with salt
Olive oil
Bacon bits (if you can't find the pre-chopped ones, you can always chop them yourself)
Parmesan cheese
Cheddar cheese
Cayenne pepper
Garlic, chopped (lots and lots of it)
All-purpose cream


1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low fire. (You can use two rounds of it on the pan.)
2. Add the butter. A small chunk would do.
3. Sautee the garlic until golden brown, but not burnt. Add the bacon bits until they get crispy. Be careful not to burn the garlic and the bacon.
4. Add the boiled potatoes. You can halve them if you like.
5. Sprinkle some oregano, cayenne pepper, and basil.
6. Pour in the all-purpose cream. Bring to a boil until the cream is almost dry.
7. Grate some cheddar cheese and add a generous helping of parmesan cheese. Cook until the cheese dissolves in the sauce.
8. Add a pinch of salt to taste.

Let me know how it turns out!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Portuguese Egg Tarts

My cousin Kat and I went on a trip to Macau late last year. Aside from taking in the sights - the Ruins of St. Paul, The Venetian Macau, the Macau Tower, and the numerous churches and museums, among others - we also had the time of our lives sampling Macanese cuisine Portuguese egg tarts became our favorite.

These egg tarts are made with a puff pastry casing, with caramelized custard centers. One store which sells them in Macau makes exceptionally good ones, with a very generous sprinkling of cinnamon to add to the flavor. This lovely pastry originated from Lord Stow's in Coloane island in Macau, established by Andrew Stow, a British, who modified the original Portuguese recipe to make the ones which are now commercially sold.

The Lord Stow's branch in Mall of Asia has since then become a haven. Archie is himself a convert. You probably will be, too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Honeyed Squash Muffins

On a recent trip to Bohol, I discovered this unique, tasteful, and organic pastry specially made in Bohol Bee Farm. My friends and I had our first taste when we were each served a piece right after we had checked in. To go with this delectable pastry as our welcome snack was their special blend of lemongrass juice, also a resort specialty.

A friend of a friend, to whom I gave a few pieces when I got back home, liked it so much that she searched the Internet for a similar recipe. I say "similar" because I knew that even if asked, the people at Bohol Bee Farm would never give out the recipe, being a trade secret and all. This friend, however, only managed to get ahold of a zucchini muffin recipe. I told her that maybe she can try to substitute the zucchini with squash, as the recipes would probably have the same concept. Not sure if she'll give it a go but I told her I'm a willing guinea pig, just in case.