Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bicol Express

Bicol Express
One of the specialities of the southern Luzon province, Bicol, where we spend a few days on our recent Philippine Trip, is the spicy food. JB from J.B.Jose recommended we try the Bicol Express, which was exactly to our taste buds. It featured on the menu of most of the restaurants we frequented but one of the highlight meals of the trip was on our last day in the area at Kozina Tyche where we ordered Bicol Express along with several other stand out dishes!

Pork Sisig
Along with the speciality spicy pork and chilli, Bicol Express, which wasn't a disappointment, we ordered Sizzling Pork Sisig, a rich combination of minced pork, calamansi juice, served with a soft egg; Chicharon, crispy pork crackling; Crab Relleno, a stuffed crab dish, and Pinaputok na Cream Dory Fish, a beautiful looking dish of fish wrapped in banana leaves, which 

Pinaputok na Cream Dory Fish
The dishes were presented beautifully, looked and tasted delicious, reinforcing that Bicol was a great place for sampling typical local cuisine.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Love at First Bite: Valentine Cheesecake

Valentine Cheesecake
My hubbie loves cheesecake. He doesn't have a favourite flavour or type, just as long as it's cheesecake, so despite pouring over recipes in the run up to Valentines Day looking for a romantic dessert, I couldn't get past cheesecake! Conveniently, I'm confident making them now (after many!) and I love them too!

I've been wanting to try one of the cheesecakes from last June's MasterChef Magazine for a while, so the "Love at First Bite" Blog Hop seemed a perfect time. The Alice In Wonderland Cheesecake looks so impressive it kind of ups the cakes...I mean stakes!

Instead of the Alice in Wonderland theme though, I thought I'd go for a Valentine's theme. I had it pictured in my head, beautiful hearts instead of the raspberry circles of the original. However, the raspberry purée mix seems has a mind of it's own. No matter how heart-shaped I moved the piping bag nozzle in the cheesecake, I ended up with a weird round shape! Oh well, I crossed my fingers that it would taste good. In the end it was a smooth, not too sweet, delicious cheesecake and I worked on the heart shapes again directly onto the plate with the left over raspberry purée.

For my ever so slightly adapted for Valentine's Day recipe (instead of the original Alice In Wonderland Cheesecake) keep reading...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dine with my Valentine

As an old married couple (this was our second Valentine's Day as husband and wife) we now take the opportunity to get some of my hubbie's favourite things to cook at home. After watching countless episodes of Hells Kitchen I wanted to give scallops a go and selected a recipe from Gino d'Acampo's book, Buonissimo: Scallops with matchstick leeks and crispy pancetta. The scallops were served on an onion purée with a sprinkling of crispy pancetta and leeks. The sweetness of the caramelised onion puree was surprising but it went very well with the juicy scallops, beautifully browned in the pancetta fat in the pan.

Next course was duck and mushroom risotto, my husband's two favourite ingredients in one of his preferred dishes. This one seemed to work perfectly with just the right amount of lovingly prepared duck stock. It needed a little more seasoning to really bring out the flavours but we happy to add that ourselves as I was a little concerned I would over season the dish, and once that happens, there's no rescuing!

With a romantic looking dessert (to feature in another post) it was a beautiful dinner in no better setting than our candlelit balcony. Can't beat that for our ideal Valentine's meal!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Let's Get Laud..ico!

Adobo Shitake Mushroom Cappuccino
In Manila we were delighted to be invited to a family lunch at Chef Laudico Bistro Filipino at the Fort to try some modern Filipino cuisine. I loved the idea of the menu as soon as I read it: All you can Eat Degustation. It was perfect for trying all the restaurant had to offer. You could order whatever you liked and it would come it in small portions - allowing you to try many more dishes than had you ordered A la Carte, but with much more flexibility than a traditional degustation. The most daunting, but smart thing was the clean plate policy - we had to eat everything up - but it wasn't too difficult!

Sisig Shooters
One of the signature dishes of the restaurant is the Adobo Shitake Mushroom soup which was served just like a cappuccino but tasted nothing like it! The creamy mushroom flavour was so smooth and flavourful - yum! Another favourite was the Sisig Shooters. The sisig was served in a crispy cup on the top of the shot glass with a quail egg shooter in the glass. Interesting presentation, and whilst I'm not a huge fan of hard boiled eggs, the sisig flavour was delicious.

Crispy Pata
A range of more main style dishes were presented to us at the table: Telapia, Adobo Overload, Crispy Pata, Beef Estofado and it seemed many more plates for us to dig our forks into to try. Then came the desserts. I had a few of the mini dessert offerings, but by far the tastiest was the Yema Balls - donut like balls with custard, to dip in chocolate sauce.

It was a fabulous meal, lots of delicious food, laughter and great times with our Filipino family.
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