learning the art of cooking

When i was still living in my parent’s house, i never cook. My mother does all the cooking. She’s one talented cook. I remembered all the dishes she served us through the years and somehow they served as inspiration when it was time for me to cook for my own family.

Is cooking a talent or a skill? For me it is both. One needs to learn the skill to be able to know the techniques and be talented. While some learns faster and finds it easier some don’t. It is really the love of cooking that inspires us to be better, to try again and to improve our creation.

The need to serve delectable food on the table and my love for cooking made me  a good cook (that’s according to my children).  Over the years, i learned and continue to learn. I never follow an exact recipe but rather relies on inspiration from recipes that i read, or cooking shows that i’ve watched. The problem with recipes or in cooking shows is that either the ingredients are not available locally or just cannot be found or just plain expensive so there is a need to be creative in switching to an alternative ingredient which i do most of the time and that’s where my MAGIC goes to action.

For today, i am sharing my own version of SALMON PASTA WITH MUSHROOM AND SPINACH IN WHITE SAUCE. To put it simply it’s just an ordinary pasta dish with shredded salmon toppings. It is so easy to prepare.

Season salmon with salt, pepper and rosemary. Pan fried in oil (or add butter if you wish) til cooked. Set aside to cool and shred the meat. Then prepare white sauce or bechamel sauce. Put some butter on pan, add a little flour while constantly stirring then pour in milk (or add cream for a thicker sauce) and season with salt and pepper. (My secret ingredient is pork bouillon cube for the sauce flavoring). Add the shredded salmon, mushroom and spinach. Set aside some shredded salmon for toppings. Serve on cooked spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine or any pasta that you like.

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A post would not be complete without kitty photos. Sharing with you Puti’s adventures. She decided to dive into my bag. I’m not really sure what she’s looking for.. “Sweetie, i got no MILLIONS in my bag.”.

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Oh, what did you find? Sorry for interrupting your adventure kitty but mommy’s gotta go. 

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Puti my foster kitty has that habit of going inside of just about anything, bag or shopping bag, plastic bag which i am always closely monitoring for safety, cabinets and drawers. One advise for cat parents, never leave shopping bags, especially plastic ones just lying around the house. They should be kept properly as kitties love them and sometimes get stuck or snagged on their handles.

Happy Wednesday and i hope my kitty Puti made you smile today.

travel theme: big

I searched my archives for “BIG” photos and found mountains, roads, buildings, houses, trees and others. I’m sure that a lot of fellow bloggers would be posting about that so i decided a different approach in interpreting the travel theme challenge.

My “BIG” interpretation would be BIG APPETITE. Well, it has been raining non-stop since yesterday and i’m always being roused from my sleep last night because of the sound of the rain. The coolness of the weather makes me want to just stay in bed a little longer but i have hungry mouths to feed and some more mommy chores to do.

Today, i prepared these for lunch.

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mango kani salad

This salad is a favorite and it’s called the Mango Kani Salad. Kani means crab in Japanese. It only consists of shredded crabsticks, julienned cucumbers and mango. I will be adding kewpie or Japanese mayonnaise to serve. Yum!

For main course, i cooked my own version of Afritada which is ribs cooked in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. I just added some sugar to even out the sourness of tomato sauce. The kids love this dish.

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afritada

I’m sure these could really satisfy their BIG APPETITE.

Hey kids! it’s lunchtime!

Happy Monday to all.

Don’t forget to visit Ailsa’s blog to check out more photos of really “BIG” structures.

snack of the day: rice balls in coconut milk

It has been quite sometime since i posted something about cooking. Today, i’ll be sharing with you our snack of the day.

I spent my childhood days in the province and one of the most popular snacks would be rice balls in coconut milk. Back in those days, sticky rice grains would be finely ground by hand to make rice flour, adding some water to make it sticky enough to form into little balls. As children, we really enjoyed rolling the dough in our palms forming well.. not so perfect rice balls but it’s okay. Mature coconut would be grated by hand too. Hot water would then be added to grated coconut to wake it up, squeeze it to extract coconut milk. So tiring isn’t it?

Thankfully these days, rice balls also called tangyuan are now available in the supermarket and they come in a rainbow of different colors of pink, green and white. Coconut milk is readily available in cans or tetra packs and even in powder form too. No fuss and no worries that i could make this snack anytime. This is my daughter’s favorite snack.

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rice balls in coconut milk

The ingredients are super simple.

1 pack of mini rice balls (as written in the package: do not defrost)
2 tetra packs of coconut milk
sugar to taste

For the procedure, just let the coconut milk boil for a while then add the rice balls and add sugar to taste. Don’t forget to stir it constantly to prevent the rice balls to stick together. It’s quite easy to know when the rice balls are cooked. If you see them rise up and all plumped up then it’s cooked. I usually reserve some coconut milk that i drizzle on top upon serving.

I love the chewy texture of the rice balls as complemented by the creaminess and the richness of the coconut milk.

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rainbow rice ball

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coconut milk

ham and cheese roll

It’s been quite a while since i haven’t posted something about food and recipe. For today, i will be sharing with you my own version of the Ham ‘n Cheese Roll which is great for breakfast or snacks.

The ingredients are simple, most of these you could find in your pantry and fridge and the procedure is very easy.

ham and cheese roll

ham and cheese roll

yummy ham and cheese roll, crunchy on the outside, chewy and cheesy on the inside

You will need:

sliced loaf of bread with edges removed
orange marmalade or any fruit jam
ham cut into strips
cheese cut into strips
1 or 2 eggs beaten
panko breadcrumbs – these are flaky breadcrumbs used in japanese cuisine as crunchy coating for fried foods

Flatten sliced bread using your handy rolling pin or with your palm. Spread orange marmalade and evenly coat the flattened bread. Arrange about 3 strips of ham and a strip of cheese on the side and carefully roll the bread. The marmalade will help keep it rolled and fastened. Then, dip the rolled bread in beaten egg and coat it with panko bread crumbs. Fry until golden brown.

My kids love this so much as much as i do.  I’m sure you will too.

Have a great day!

oven-baked BBQ back ribs

I have always been the type of a person who cooks without any preparation at all.  What i usually do is i just buy a variety of meat, fish, and vegetables in the grocery when i do my weekly shopping then by the time i want to cook i just pick out the ingredients in the fridge.  The type of menu will always depend on what ingredients i have at the moment.

Most often during lunch or dinner, the kids would ask me the name of my recipe and when i say i don’t know, they would have a strange look on their faces.  But even then, its a great pleasure and joy upon hearing them commenting how delicious and delightful my creations are.

When i cook a meal, i would base it on food shows that i see on tv, from what i read and from what i see and eat when dining out.  So, i usually get inspirations from them.

One of my specialties is bbq back ribs or shall i say oven-baked ribs.   Instead of grilling it in charcoal, i cooked it in the oven instead.  For full flavor, i marinated it overnight with bbq sauce and making use of the meat injector so the marinade will really penetrate deep inside the meat.  For the recipe, it’s so easy, nothing fancy and extraordinary.  It’s just a matter of picking out the best brand of bbq marinade at the grocery, make some diagonal shallow or slight slices on the meat, pour out the bbq marinade fully covering the slab , use the meat injector (if you wish) for more flavor to the meat, leave it overnight and the next day, pop it in the oven.  That’s it.

Here’s a photo of my creation.

bbq back ribs

The kids couldn’t wait.  After slicing them in individual ribs, they are gone in a flash.  Everytime my son’s classmates come here at home, it’s always been their favorite .  Just some time later, this is how it looks.

the boys loved it, and this is all what's left