Category: Food Facts

Increase Brain Power

It seems brushing one’s teeth is not only for health and hygiene reasons, it is so much more.

Brain Power

Increase Brain Power

There are also some research about the effect of chocolates to brain power.  Apparently the flavanols in cocoa can increase cognitive abilities, allowing for multitasking, i.e. ability to perform two or more tasks at a time.


Hotdog – Filipino’s Red Sausage

Hotdog, photo by Arnold Gamboa

Hotdog – Filipino’s Red Sausage

One of the things that I missed about the Philippines is the red sausage hotdog.

When I first got to London, I was very happy when we went to our local fish and chips shop and saw a red sausage in their warming food counter.  Peter, the hubby, said that those red rolls were called savaloy.  We bought a couple of the savaloy and really looked forward to eating one.

It was nothing like the hotdog I was used to.  Savaloy tasted rather bland and not meaty at all.

When we went travelling to the US, we saw a welcoming hotdog van in Washington DC selling chilli-dogs.  Though it tasted slightly like the Philippine hotdog, it was not the same.

I almost got into trouble in the US immigration coming back to the UK because I inadvertently packed a couple of cans of Vienna sausages into my hand luggage.  The US inspected anything that had liquid on it.  I had to plead for them to let me keep my sausages!  I said I can’t get the same tasting Vienna sausages in the UK.  Thank goodness the US immigration felt my pain. 🙂 and allowed me to keep the cans to take back home with me.

If you happened to find an authentic Filipino juicy and tender hotdog somewhere near yu, then to best prepare it is to slice it in shallow regular cut along one side, see above photo, and then shallow fry until cooked.

Make a delicious spicy sauce by combining a heaped tablespoon of tomato ketchup with half a tablespoon of vinegar and a chopped bird’s eye chilli.

hmmmm ang sarap (hmmmm so delicious) 😉

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

Malunggay, photo by JMorton

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

There have been a lot of studies and testimonials regarding the health benefit of Malunggay or its scientific name of Moringa Oleifera.

Studies have found that malunggay (Filipino/Tagalog name) has a very high nutritional value.  This may be true as a young child in Marag, our diet often included marunggay (Ilocano name for the malunngay).  The tree grow almost everywhere in Marag, thus providing us a microbiotic diet which complements most soupy viands in an almost vegetarian existence.  I supposed as children, we did not get sick, except for malaria, brought about by mosquitoes, which is another story. 🙂

Malunggay is a superfood as well as super-herbal-medicine.

Lactating women are advised to make malunggay soup as part of their diet to produce more milk.

Apparently 1 cup of mallunggay, in terms of nutrients, is equivalent to 10 cups of broccoli.


Every Kind of Nuts


Nuts, iphone photo by JMorton

Shelled Nuts

Every Kind of Nuts

Each year, during Christmas, Peter and I ensure that we have nuts for nibbles. 🙂

Of course, some nuts have hard casing that they need special kind of nut cracking implement. We have this special tool in our kitchen cupboard, they should really.  I say this because it is rather curious; you see them often when you don’t need them during the course of the year – but once they are needed they can’t be found.  (Totally nuts.  An utter nutty sod’s law.)

In desperation, often Peter and I would resort to anything that has a bit of weight to it, from hammer and ornaments.  Time and again, Peter would scold me when he sees me using one of his rock collection (Peter & rock … geddit?) to crack a nut.  He goes totally NUTS 😉 lol

Nuts contains a good source of nutrients; unfortunately some people are allergic to nuts.  Just be aware.

Nuts to be had:

Pistachio nuts



Brazil nuts

Cashew nuts



Macadamia nuts

Pecan nuts

Things to look out for with nuts:


  • They are an excellent source of vitamin E
  • They are also a good source of vitamin B like thiamin and niacin
  • Some nuts like walnut will help reduce the risk of heart disease. 3oz helping of walnuts daily can lower blood cholesterol.

Cons (Beware)

  • They can make you gain that unwanted weight as they are high in calories.
  • Some nuts which are still immature can contain toxic element like cyanide producing compound
  • Peanuts, like rice, are prone to contamination. They should be stored in cool, dry condition to prevent moulding.
  • Peanut allergies can be deadly
  • Children can choke on nuts.

 To prevent nuts from going rancid, due to its high oil content, they should be shelled and stored in a ziplock or airtight plastic bag and placed in the freezer until needed.

Our Home Harvest 2016


Our Home Harvest 2016


When we were both still gainfully employed,  😉 it was hard to maintain our fairly long back garden, where the lawn must be mowed, the bushes regularly trimmed, the pond life fed, the garden furniture repaired, etc., the list went on.  We, therefore,  paved over parts of it, but still kept some smaller flower& plant beds and a good size lawn.

A good idea in any size garden is to use plant pots or troughs to grow plants, flowers and vegetables.

Some of the larger pots are fitted with small wheels (like castors) on the base.

This means that we can easily move large plants, such as the tomato plants, to follow the sun as it moves, to maximise exposure to the light and heat.

This spring, and as in previous years, Jean & I decided to try and grow some tomato plants in three of our large pots.  Tomatoes are quite inexpensive and plentifully sold in shops and supermarket during the summer, but growing your own has its own reward.  You can be sure of the freshness and they seem to taste better 🙂




This year’s weather has been mixed in London & SE England.

A rarely frozen and wet winter was followed by rain alternating with hot sunny days in summer, extending well into September. This combination has resulted in a nice crop of tomatoes. some have ripened and hopefully the others will soon as well.

Our two potted small apple trees have produced their ripe fruit nearly a month early this year.

They are ‘Jonagold’ apples, which are sweet and a little bitter to taste but simply delicious.

We found that If you have two potted apple trees, keep them near each other in order to get at least one good crop, this helps cross fertilisation from the bees etc.

We find each year that one tree produces more apples than the other.

However, this year both tree have a lot of apples, thanks to the weather.

our-pear-treeWe have one potted Conference variety pear tree, near the end of the garden, and as with the apple trees we also need to get another one as this lonely tree only produces a pair of pears each year.

Our wild blackberry bush has also produce a bounty of berries this year too!

We wonder if this year’s winter will be cold and wet again. Snow has not fallen to settle on the ground here in nearly the last two years, much to our grandson’s disappointment who is wishing of building a snowman in the garden!

Dalanghita Vs Dalandan

Dalanghita, photo by PH Morton

Dalanghita, photo by PH Morton

Dalanghita Vs Dalandan

Dalanghita is a Filipino word adapted from the Spanish naranjita, which mean small orange.  The scientific name for this dalanghita is Citrus Nobilis.

Dalanghita is really juicy, perfect for the often hot weather in the Philippines.

There is another variety of this citrus fruit which is called dalandan, scientific name is Citrus Aurantium.  

Most Filipinos would probably find it hard to tell a dalanghita from a dalandan.  These fruits are so similar, they can be often interchanged.  I supposed you can tell one of the other by their size and sometimes, the texture of their peels.

Dalanghita is small with smooth outer skin while dalandan are definitely bigger and has a thicker and pimply or pronounced pores.

Whiles growing up in Marag, we had a dalandan tree which grew so big in our side yard (garden).  During fruiting season, the citrus tree was laden with fruits that the lower branches touched the ground.

It was a joy to eat the fruits straight from the tree.  When it is still young, it can be sour and that is when we have to eat it with a bit of salt.  But when it is ripe, it is so refreshingly sweet.

Our tree was much admired by the whole neighbourhood of Marag.

Dalandan tree, courtesy of

Dalandan tree, courtesy of

Spice: Saffron

"Safran-Weinviertel Niederreiter 2 Gramm 8285" by Hubertl - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons -

“Safran-Weinviertel Niederreiter 2 Gramm 8285” by Hubertl – Own work.

Spice: Saffron

Did you know?

Saffron is the most expensive spice of all.  It comes from the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus or saffron crocus.

To yield a kilo of saffron, you would need between 85,000 to 140,000 crocuses.

It used to be an offense during Henry VIII’s reign to add other ingredients in the making of saffron.  It was a capital punishment to adulterate the manufacture of saffron. 🙁

Alexander the Great apparently used saffron to keep his locks lovely and orange.

The word saffron comes from an Arabic word asfar which means yellow.



TiP:  To draw out the colour, aroma and taste from the dried saffron, the best way apparently was to soak it in slightly warmed orange juice.

Saffron is added to many recipes such as paella, biryani, rice pilau and many more.  The Philippines uses a great deal of saffron in their recipe.  I love congee (lugaw) with a garnish of saffron.