Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MasterChef Australia is Back!!!

With all the commotion about My Kitchen Rules dying down, and everyone is tuning in on the latest Underbelly series; Food takes center stage once again. Yes, the original show that put Food back on everyone's minds and in everyone's mouths is here again. MasterChef Australia returns to Ten for a new season with more enthusiastic energy from the contestants, the judges, and even the viewers. Both Poh and Julie have moved on to be successful in their own rights. Poh now hosting her own cooking show on SBS. And Julie's book about to come out. Their lives have been surely changed for the better by the show. I guess the question on the back of everyone's minds now is, who will be the next MasterChef.
The show has a refreshed format in that it jumped right away into the top 50 tackling different challenges daily. The show is now into it's 3rd episode and people are getting more excited than ever. Everyone know's that the first season of the show generated a lot of raves from nearly everyone. Even my kids mention that they were discussing MasterChef with classmates at school. Now the office cubicles are abuzz again with the latest MasterChef updates. Cooking and Food is back on the map.

I admit, I still hold a place in my heart and "stomach" for the original MasterChef on Lifestyle food; but the Australian format is surely a holistic format. It appeals more to the whole family. I can't say more. It gets my kids excited about Food and recipes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beef Nilaga in Summer!!!

In the Philippines, Beef Nilaga (Beef Soup) is Add Imageusually cooked during a cold and rainy day. Well here in Melbourne, I've decided to try cooking one of favorite soup dishes in the summer. It was of course a welcome treat for all of us since it's been a while since we've had this. Basically, it's a soup with very simple ingredients. You've got beef. It's best to use cheap cuts. I usually use a combination of cheap cuts and osso bucco. This makes for a more flavourful soup. I then include a bunch of vegetables like bok choy, carrots, potatoes, and an onion.

So here the steps:

  • Place the Beef in a pot and cover it with cold water.

  • Bring this to a boil and simmer for about an hour per 500 grams or until tender. During the simmer, I add a few whole black pepper corns.

  • Once the meat is tender, add in a quartered onion, the potatoes, and carrots.

  • Of course, you will need to add salt to flavour this. I usually use Fish sauce for this.

  • Once the potatoes and carrots are tender, add in the bok choy.

  • Continue to simmer for a minute or two and then serve with rice and more fish sauce.

Monday, November 23, 2009

More Baking

Baking is now a regular routine for myself. My wife and kids are just requesting me to bake them a few treats every now and then. Also, activities at school demand me to bake more goodies for my kids to bring.

Proud to say that I've managed to contribute a few muffins in a few bake sales at school. It is a bit difficult to compete with a lot of the moms at school, who regularly bake. I admit that the stuff that I bring up are not up to scratch with what they can whip up; but it's still good enough for my family.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Lobster Mystery

Before we came to Australia, there are foods that I just dreamed of serving to my family. Roast beef, Roast duck, Alaskan Snow Crab, and even turkey are just a few on my list. One that is on top of my list is the Lobster.

A Lobster was a mystery to us before we came here. There were a lot of things that I thought it would taste like. Firstly, I thought that it would taste like chicken. I also thought that it would taste like shrimps or crabs. Back in the Philippines, we couldn't afford to buy a Lobster. It was way too expensive back then. Actually, it is still expensive here; but relatively, it is more affordable than back in the Philippines.

So I could happily say that the Lobster mystery has been solved here, and I was able to serve it to my family. My kids didn't like it much, but the wife just loved it. It didn't really take like chicken; but resembled more of the shrimp and crab.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Veggie Night

I admit that my kids are a bit picky with their food, but thank goodness we've manage to instill in them that having a well balanced diet is important. We try to tell them what any parent would tell their children: 'Eat your vegetables!!!'. So to ensure this, we try to adopt an all vegetable night. Our kids aren't usually happy about this, but they end up loving any dish that I whip up anyway.

One of a regular Filipino dish that I cook for these night is the Chopsuey. It's basically vegetarian stir fry. There are different variations of this dish, and can be combined with beef, chicken, pork, and even shrimps; but for these night, I would just include Shitake mushrooms and or tofu.
The basic ingredients of the dish are cabbage, carrots, onions, green beans, snow peas, and the mushrooms. Alright. I admit that there are shrimps in this instance. I have to make sure that my youngest eats too you know. But anyways, majority of the stuff is vegetables. There are just a few steps to this recipe. Just sautee the onions, the shrimps, and the mushrooms. Then add the rest of the vegetables. To season, you can choose from a variaty of asian sauces. For my version, I normally use soy sauce and oyster sauce.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My First Cake

Like I said before, I would definitely end up baking my first ever cake. So I did, but this time with a little help from my wife's Russian friend. She gave us this idea for a simple Carrot Cake. The recipe was indeed simple, and only required a few ingredients, but being the creative chef as I am, I decided to do my own twist. Finally, I had my very first cake.
I called it moist carrot cake. Actually, it was very moist.
I used the following ingredients:
Grated Carrots - preferably organic. This is what our friend recommended.

2 Eggs - preferably grain fed. This is what our friend recommended.

About 250 grams of butter. Our friend recommended plain vegetable oil.

Flour - about 2 cups. Of course, I used organic as well.

One cup of milk. Any variety will do. Full cream will give the best results.

2 teaspoons of baking powder to give the cake a lift.

Do the following steps:
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

I then blitz all the ingredients together (except for the carrots) in the food processor.

I then pour the batter onto a mixing bowl, and add the grated carrots.

I then lined a bread pan with baking paper, and poured the ingredients into it.

Place the pan in the middle of the oven, and lower the heat to 180 degrees C.

Cook the cake for about 20-25 minutes.

There you have it, my very first cake; and it's a healthy one.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Shrimp and Peas

One of the challenges of working 8 hours a day is having time and the brain capacity to whip something quickly for a family dinner. So I usually try to be invented as I go. I just try to pick up anything in the fridge and whip up a dish that my family will scarf down. It was actually in one of those days when I invented this dish which has now become a regular for us. It was quite easy, and very tasty too.
It all started with the idea of just coming up with a dish that had 3 ingredients only. So here they are: Shrimps (preferably peeled ones and cleaned), frozen peas, and tomatoes (the mini Roma variety is best with this). All you need to do is microwave the peas for a couple of minutes. This is just to defrost them and partially cook them too. You can also boil the peas if you prefer. Cut the mini Roma tomatoes in half. They are small enough to be bite size, so cutting them in half would be fine. Then stir-fry the shrimps with a little salt and garlic powder. Add the peas and tomatoes when the shrimps are cooked. Let the peas and tomatoes cook for a while, and then the dish is ready to serve.