Homemade Ginger ale

Homemade Ginger Ale

150 g ginger pulp
4 – 5 tbsp. muscovado sugar
3 lemons (zest and juice)
1 L sparkling mineral water
fresh mint

Chop ginger in food processor (or grate on a coarse grater).
Put the ginger (pulp and juices) into a bowl and mix in muscovado sugar.
Using vegetable peeler remove rid from lemons and add it to the mixture. Bash the mixture with a pestle (or something heavy) for 10 seconds.
Add the lemon juice and mineral water. Mix well. Allow to sit for 10 minutes so that the flavors combine. Strain the mixture. Add ice and mint and serve!

Filipino dinner at Pepeton’s

Kapalmuks, deep fried pig’s head

There is a huge stone in my stomach this morning. I’m to old to eat deep fried pork and Filipino chicken barbecue for dinner. Top that with barbecued squid, fried pig’s ears, fried fish, bangus belly, fried tofu, pancit bihon and two San Miguel Light. Ok I did have one spoon of Gising Gising, spinach stalks with chili cooked in coconut milk.

Fried pig’s ears

Barbecued pig’s ears

Kapalmuks, or thick face in Tagalog is the name for fried pig’s head. It’s tasty, crunchy and it is heart attack waiting to happen.

Everything good in life is either Illegal, Fattening or Bad

Ihaw Ihaw, chicken and pork barbecue on a stick has a sweet taste. Surprise, surprise, on one stick I noticed chicken stomachs. I get to eat them only in my father’s kitchen, and only if I specially order them. They are unhealthy for so many reasons, and I love them very much.

Filipino style barbecue

Barbecued chickens stomachs, Filipino style

Everybody else at our dinner table were like: yuck, that’s discussing. But passion is a passion so I ate both sticks. My husband was tearing the Kapalmuks with bare hands. We were chewing and eating like it’s our last day on this planet.

And something sweet for the end: Plantains (cooking bananas) with vanilla ice-cream

We were in a great company of our Filipino friends. Reuben told me, eat as much as you can, once you hit 45 years you can forget about this type of food. He’s so right. But! After dinner we were laying in our bed, not able to move, feeling like we have committed a mortal sin. Discussing the possibility of starting a diet! What a crazy idea, our brains were supersaturated with trans fat!

Pepeton’s Grill Resto Bar & Catering Service, Quezon City, Philippines

Okra Coo-coo

Okra Coo-coo or Okra cuckoo is traditional Barbados dish usually served with fried fish.
Slimy okra was a bit of a challenge in our kitchen. My husband and I, we both like the taste, but every recipe witch we have tried turn out to be a small disaster. Ok, except frying it in tempura. Until we discovered this dish.
I really do not know is this true – original – traditional recipe and maybe we cook it completely wrong. Who cares anyway?! I’m not from Barbados and I can’t tell the difference.

10 – 15 okras (depending on the size)
1 cup cornmeal (medium to coarse consistencies)
5 cups water
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp. salt or to taste
freshly grated white pepper

Soak the cornmeal in 2 cups of water. Stir it well so that the cornmeal is wet throughout. Set aside. Wash the okra and cut off the tops and point of the bottoms. Slice them crosswise about 1 cm thick. Set aside. In a saucepan heat the butter and gently sauté onion and garlic until soft and nicely smelly. Add okra, salt and remaining water. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes on low heat or until okra is cooked.

Add wet cornmeal. To avoid lumps: pour out half of the okras and the cooking liquid and set aside. Return the pot to a very low heat and pour in the wet cornmeal in a slow steady stream. Stir constantly to break up any lumps. Use wooden spoon. Then add reserved liquid and okras slowly, again stir in constantly. Cook, until cornmeal is cooked. If you are using fine consistency cornmeal few minutes will be enough. I like to use medium or coarse cornmeal and cook it for 10 – 15 more minutes on very low heat, stirring now and then. It will splatter if the heat is too high. Oh, who am I kidding? It will splatter. It always does, keep it partly covered with a lid. If the consistency is to dry and the cornmeal is not cooked yet add some water. When done, taste, season with white pepper and more salt if necessary.  Let it rest for few minutes with a lid on. Spread little amount of olive oil or butter in ramekins and pour in Coo-coo to shape it.

Our favorite way to eat this this is all the way vegetarian. Coo-coo Okra served with Sauté Zucchini.

Easy pasta with nuts and herbs

a handful almonds, shelled
a handful pine nuts
a handful pistachios (shelled)
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
handful fresh mint leaves
200 g pasta
1/3 – 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 orange zest
splash olive oil

Toast the pine nuts and almonds. Put all the nuts and herbs in the food processor and whiz up. The mixture should be fine, but not completely pulverized, it should still have some texture. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain. Toss in a bowl with the nuts and herb mixture, add olive oil, parmesan cheese and grated orange zest. Garnish with fresh mint or parsley leaves and serve immediately.

I just love the recipes with simple measurement scale: a handful, a pinch, a splash. My father’s favorite sentence was: I don’t know darling, you just cook it until is’s done. Cooking it’s easy, you just need empty stomach and no fast food solution nearby:-)

Another BINGO form Chef Laura Calder.

Beef tenderloin with barbecue gravy and gnocchi

400 g beef tenderloin
splash of olive oil
1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tbsp. black peppercorns

In a mortar crash mustard seeds and peppercorns add salt and mix. Rub the tenderloin with the mixture. Heat the pan, add olive oil and pan sear the meat 5 minutes on each side. Remove the meat from trepan and let it rest of 10 minutes until you make the gravy.

gravy preparation
1 small onion
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup cream

In the same pan add chopped onion and fry until golden. Deglaze the pan with the wine and add bay leaf and thyme. Cook until the wine reduce and then add cream. Cook for few minutes on low heat until the cream reduce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. remove bay leaf and thyme steams. Mix with immerse blender.

Cook the gnocchi. Potatoes – ricotta – semolina flour gnocchi are great choice!

Cut the meat, add gnocchi and pour the gravy over it.

Berry vinaigrette

1/4 part red wine vinegar
3/4 parts everything else (1/4 olive oil, 1/4 frozen berries and 1/4 maple sirup)

Mix with immerse blender, pour over salad eat with the person you love.

Salad: mixed greens, celery, watercress, basil, coriander, parsley, mint, pomelo, grapes and berry vinaigrette!

Beef Stew with light gnocchi

500 g beef stew meat (cut into 2×2 cm chunks)
1 kiwi
1 chorizo sausage (cut into bit size pieces)
4 red onions (chopped)
3 carrots (cut into bit size pieces)
4 stalks celery (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2/3 cup red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
2 cups of water
spring of thyme
splash of olive oil

Mash the kiwi fruit and spread all over the meat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. After this marinade the meat is softer. Remove from refrigerator, wash and pat dry the meat with kitchen towels.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and caramelize the meat. Remove the meat from the pan and add chorizo, fry for several minutes, remove and add onion. Sauté onions until soft and add garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add fennel seeds, sauté for one more minute and add tomato paste. Also sauté until you feel the smell of tomatoes, for about 1 minute. This will remove staleness from tomato paste and fennel seeds.
Deglaze the mixture with red wine. Add bay leaf, thyme and water. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat partially covered for 2 – 3 hours, until the meat is super tender. If necessary add more water.

Light gnocchi
400 g potatoes
200 g ricotta
100 – 150 g semolina flour
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1 egg
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 egg
pinch of nutmeg

Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash them, Allow them to cool. Pass ricotta through a course sieve into potato, then add remaining ingredients, season to taste and mix until combined. Divide dough into smaller pieces and roll each on a lightly floured work surface to a 1.5 cm thick cylinder. Cut into 2 cm lengths.
Cook, in batches, in a large saucepan of boiling salted boiling water until gnocchi float to the surface (1-2 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon, add to the beef stew.

No deep frizzing for this gnocchi! I have frozen half of the gnocchi I have made and plan to use them next week. And next week came and the sauce was ready, we were hungry and I put the gnocchi in boiling water, and they just dissolved. Next time I’ll use half of the ingredients, which is more than enough for lunch and light dinner for two.

Gambas al Ajillo

200 g fresh prawns tails
1 tbsp. lemon juice
splash of olive oil
6 cloves garlic (minced)
1 small piece finger pepper (sliced)
salt and pepper

Season prawns with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sauté garlic and finger pepper in olive oil. Add shrimps and cook until pale orange.

This recipe is the best with fresh prawns.

Remaining heads and shells are great for prawns stock, just cook them 30 minutes with onion, celery, garlic and carrots.

Tuna steak with Zucchini Spaghetti in a Thai red curry and sweet carrots

Great lunch. Truly worthily of the efforts, and the dishes. Spectacular!

This is our new version of Zucchini Spaghetti in a Thai red curry. We found new improved recipe for the Thai red curry paste and because of the excitement forget to put all the ingredients which usually goes to this recipe. Nevertheless it was great. Different and more complex version you can read here: Zucchini Spaghetti with Scallops in a Thai red curry!

First prepare sweet carrots and then zucchini spaghetti and at the end fry tuna steak.

Sweet carrots preparation
250 g sweet red carrots
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. muscovado sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup water

Slice the carrots into halts or quarters. Blanche them in boiling salty water for 3 minutes. Put them in a sauté pan with the butter, salt, sugar, and water. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced to a glaze.

Zucchini Spaghetti preparation

500 g zucchini (cut with a mandolin in a spaghetti strips)
splash olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a wok over moderate heat, add zucchini strips to the wok and sauté, tossing gently for about 1 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and immediately remove from heat, but keep them warm.

Thai red curry preparation
1/2 can coconut cream
2 tbsp. Thai red curry paste

Add 1/2 cup coconut creme into a wok over high heat, bring to boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce to medium heat and add Thai red curry paste and cook stirring frequently for another 2 minutes.
Cover Zuchini Spaghetti  with a Thai red curry mixture just before serving.

Tuna steak preparation
350 g tuna steak
salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat the large frying, heavy bottom pan, when hot, add olive oil and fry tuna stakes, 7 minutes on each side. So that they stay nice and moist and little red inside.

Assembly and enjoy!

Thai red curry paste – new improved version

3 lemongrass stalks
10 fresh red chilies (seeded and sliced)
115 g red onions or shallots (chopped)
4 garlic cloves
1 cm piece fresh galangal (peeled, sliced and bruised)
stems from 4 fresh coriander springs
1 – 2 tbsp. grape seed oil
1 tsp. grated citrus rind
1 tsp. shrimp paste (wrapped in foil and warmed in a frying pan)
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. salt

My darling did this recipe old school style, with a mortar and a pestle. You can use food processor for making this paste. Also you’ll need nut grinder or mortar for making a powder of coriander and cumin seeds.

Slice the tender, lower portion of the lemongrass stalks and bruise them with a cleaver. Put them in a large mortar and add chilies, onions, garlic, galangal and coriander stems.

Grind with a pestle, gradually adding the oil until the mixture forms a paste. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add the citrus rind and the shrimp paste. Mix well.

Dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan.  Grind them to a powder in nut grinder. Stir the powder into the spice paste, add the salt. Mix well.

Use the paste immediately or scrape into a glass jar. Cover with clear film (plastic wrap) and airtight lid, then store in a refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Recipes and inspirations:
Zucchini Spaghetti with Scallops in a Thai red curry