Pako Salad, Photo by Ruben Ortega
Pako (Fern) Salad
Back when we were little children in Marag, Philippines, pako became a staple diet. It was in our dinner table at least once a week. We ate a lot of it so much that we kids 🙂 should have grown into goats 🙂 or hated it after a while. But I have always a vibrant and positive memory of pako.
Gathering pako is an adventure for us youngster. We had to roam a dense growth of greens at the mouth of a forest and try to pick the young furling sprouts of pako. Thank goodness they grow profusely together and therefore picking them one by one was not much of a chore.
Pako can be prepared in plenty of ways, it can be blanched and made into a salad, it can be left fresh as it is as a salad as well or cook and added into various kind of inabraw, an Ilocano way of cooking.
Below is another pako salad recipe.
- 1 large bunch pako (fern)
- 2 salted eggs or hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- sprinkling of salt to taste
Method of Preparation:
- prepare the pako by removing any tough stalk.
- Bring a large pot of boiling water. Blanch the pako by quickly dipping them into the hot water. Leave for a minute and drain.
- Arranged the pako on a serving platter.
- Put the tomatoes and onion on top then garnish with the slices of salted eggs.
- Make a typical Filipino dressing by mixing the vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper, sugar and a very little salt. Stir it in thoroughly for the granules to dissolve.
- Pour the dressing all over the pako.
- Serve immediately.
Persimmon, photo by PH Morton
Persimmon (Sharon Fruit)
Fruit Bowl, photo by PH Morton
Our fruit bowl is getting more adventures. Early this new year, we have custard apple, passion fruit, mangoes, kiwi, several types of citrus fruits such as lemon, lime orange, grapefruit and nectarine.
We also have persimmon, which is apparently also called Sharon fruit. Its scientific name is Diospyros Kaki. This fruit is often seedless and sweet. It can be eaten as a whole fruit; there is no need to peel it (but you can of course, if you wanted to.)
Sharon fruit can be eaten fresh, or cooked (in a pie) and even preserved.
Its orange colouring shouts richness in beta carotene and it is actually is a good source.
Fennel by PH Morton
Sliced fennel, photo by PH Morton
Roast Fennel Recipe
This fennel recipe is really delicioous. It bings out the natural sweetness of this aromatic bulb.
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Method of Preparation:
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 180ºC.
- Arrange the sliced fennel into a baking sheet, which is lined with aluminium foil.
- Generously drizzle the olive oil into the slices.
- Follow it up with the balsamic vinegar, which will bring out the fennel’s natural sweetness.
- Put in the middle shelf of the oven and roast for 40 minutes or until the edges start to caramelise.
- Serve immediately as a side dish.
mussels, photo by Ruben Ortega
Mussels with Malunggay and Potato Viand
This recipe is perfect for all kinds of weather but more so during the colder times. It is healthy as well. It is rich in minerals and vitamins.
Malunggay is fast becoming a superfood which contains a lot of nutrients good for the repair and maintenance of body tissues.
- 1-2 lbs. mussels, cleaned of all grits and scum
- 2 inches ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 6-8 pieces each.
- 1 large bunch of malunggay leaves, hard stalks trimmed off and discarded
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 6 cups water
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Method of Preparation:
- In a large casserole pan, bring the water to a boil.
- Drop in the onions and ginger. Cover the casserole pan and leave to simmer for 8 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the mussels and gently simmer for 5 minutes
- Sprinkle salt and ground black pepper.
- Add the malunggay leaves and cook for 5 minutes without covering the casserole.
- Quickly check the seasoning. Add a little bit more salt and black pepper if needed.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with freshly boiled rice and some side dishes.
Super, super yummy.
Chicken feet Adobo, photo by Ruben Ortega
chicken feet, photo by PH Morton
Adidas is the name given to chicken feet. Obviously as a homage to the great trainers brand.
The raw chicken feet photo was taken by Peter during one of our shopping at the wet market of Pritil in Tondo, Manila, Philippines.
To be truthful, I have not really tasted chicken feet before but Peter had. He said it was taste but rather rubbery. I’ll take his word for it. 🙂
- 1-2 lbs chicken feet, cleaned thoroughly
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorn
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp dried chilli
- 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ cups water
Method of Preparation:
- Clean the chicken feet thoroughly and trim all claws. Butchers usually would have trimmed the scary claws already. 🙂
- Heat a large saucepan or a wok and add the chicken feet with the soy sauce, vinegar and water.
- Also add the bay leaves, peppercorn, sugar and half of the crushed garlic. Do not stir. Bring this to a boil and then lower down the heat and leave to simmer for three quarters of an hour. (45 minutes)
- Remove the chicken feet from the remaining liquid. Drain and then set aside the stewed feet. Do not discard the liquid sauce from the wok. Pour in a container and set aside.
- Clean the wok and heat.
- Add the oil. Stir in the remaining garlic and fry until fragrant.
- Add the dried chilli.
- Stir in the fried chicken feet and fry until sizzling hot.
- Pour in the liquid sauce and heat for a minute or two.
- Transfer into a serving bowl and enjoy with a few beers.
Passion fruit, photo by PH Morton
Photo by PH Morton
Passion fruit is sweet with tinge of sourness. It is very seedy. The seeds are soft and edible.
The scientific name for passion fruit is Passiflora edulis. It comes from a vine rather than a tree.
Korean Perilla Leaves, photo by PH Morton
Korean Perilla Leaves
I often see in Korean dramas that they eat their barbecued thin pork or beef slices wrapped in the same leaves as above. Of course they also use the standard lettuce leaf.
Anyway, Peter and I fancied a bit of change for the new year so we decided to create our on table-top barbecue dinner a la Korean. and also a delicious warming hotpot.
But first off, we went shopping for the ingredients. We went to Seoul Plaza in Golders Green, North London. I happened to see these leaves amidst the ready made Korean side dishes. It was about £1.99 for a packet of 20 leaves.
We did our barbecue and duly wrapped pieces of meat with kimchi, radish and sauces into a perilla leaf. It tasted really good. The leaf has an aromatic minty scent with a herby taste. I actually preferred it to the crisp iceberg lettuce. Peter also love the perilla leaves. I think we would use more of it in the future.
Perilla apparently is a member of the mint family. It grows from seed and very easy to cultivate. But where can you get the seeds?!!! If you are from the UK and know when to get them in London, please kindly let us know!!!
bbq pork wrapped in perilla leaf, photo by PH Morton
Pomelo, photo by Ruben Ortega
Pomelo (Suha) – Citrus Fruit
Pomelo is called suha in Tagalog and dogmon in Ilocano.
It is 3 to 4 times the size of a grapefruit and can be as big as a melon. In fact pomelo is the largest citrus fruit that it has acquired a scientific name of citrus maxima or citrus grandis.
Pomelo is closely related to the grapefruit, but I actually prefer suha as I find grapefruit can be rather bitter.
The pomelo tree can grow really tall and when it flowers, the little cluster of white blossoms has the most fragrant smell.
Pomelo is rich in vitamin C. Really juicy and when fully ripen in the tree, it can be very sweet.
But I actually love a pomelo that it still just before it truly ripen. I love the slight sour taste which a little sprinkle of salt will activate the salivary gland. Just thinking of this now makes my mouth water. Actually I prefer when the flesh of the pomelo is left to steep in a dish of slightly salty vinegar. Delicious.
Suha, photo by Ruben Ortega
The juicy flesh here is pink but suha can also be yellowish white.