Category: Food Preparation Tips

Stuffed Milkfish (Rellenong Bangus)

Stuffed Bangus, Photo by PH Morton

Stuffed Bangus, Photo by Arnold Gamboa

This recipe is suitable for special occassion or celebration.  It is extra delicious bursting with goodness.

Stuffed Milkfish (Rellenong Bangus)


  • 1 large sized bangus ( milkfish )
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sized carrot, small cubes
  • 1 box raisins ( optional )
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 raw egg, large
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce (or light soy sauce)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. Flour
  • cooking oil for frying
  1. Ask the fish-monger to clean and remove the scales of the fish or using a knife, scrape fish by going against the scales.   This is fairly easy to do. Gently pound the fish using flat side of a heavy spoon or Chinese knife.  Pounding will loosen meat from the skin. Ensure that the skin is not damaged or broken.
  2. Carefully cut the big bone that run through the fish, from the tail end up to the head. Then pull this out.
  3. Insert a long spoon or spatula through the bangus neck.  Gently prise out meat away from the skin. Scrape as much of the flesh throughout the whole fish but always be aware not to break the skin.
  4. Make the marinade for the skin by mixing the soy sauce and calamansi (lime) juice. In a large dish arrange the fish skin flatly and pour and marinate by pour the soy sauce mix all over.  Leave for 10 minutes or so.
  5. Simmer the fish meat in a little water, once opaque, drain and remove any visible bones as you flake the meat.
  6. Using a wok or frying pan, sauté the garlic until golden brown. Add onion and tomatoes. Stir in carrot, and pepper as well as the fish meat. Season well with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce or light soy sauce.
  7. Add raisins.
  8. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.
  9. Now open up the marinating fish skin and fill  it up with the cooked fish meat/tomato/onion mix.  Stuff until the skin has ballooned into a fish-like shape once again.
  10. Beat the egg and then pour it into the stuffed fish and then roll the fish into the flour.
  11. Finally wrap the fish with banana life or aluminium foil and roast for 30-40 minutes at 180ºC.  If using aluminium foil, remove at the last 10 minutes.  This recipe can also be cooked by deep-frying using a large wok.  There is no need to wrap the fish with anything!
  12. Serve immediately.

Enjoy with tomato ketchup.  Sarap (delicious)

Colander – Kitchen Utensil

Colander, photo by JMorton

Colander, photo by JMorton

Colander, photo by JMorton

Colander, photo by JMorton

Colander – Kitchen Utensil

This folding colander by Joseph Joseph is a fun and colourful addition to modern kitchen.  I saw the colander in John Lewis and I was captivated by how it looks as well as the design.  Very funky looking, and updated version of the 70s Tupperware, much loved by housewives and homemakers. 🙂

A colander is every cook’s gadget in food preparation.  It is a perforated bowl that is useful in straining and draining food like pastas, beans, boiled vegetables prior to cooking and after cooking.  It is also used to drain washed vegetables and salad.

I would love the above colander for Christmas, it would be a lovely addition to my growing collection of Joseph Joseph kitchen utensils.

The above colander is made from plastic but they can also come in metal.  Some come with base and some don’t, which look like a sieve.

Jellied eel – a traditional Eastend Recipe

Jellied Eel, photo by PH Morton

Jellied eel, photo by PH Morton

Jellied eel – a traditional East-end Recipe

Peter had been wanting jellied eel  – made to a traditional East-end recipe, for ages.

On his birthday, just before Christmas last year, he had his wish granted at Manze’s pie and  mash & eel shop (known as shops as opposed to being called a restaurant or cafe). The shop is adjacent to the Chapel Market in Islington North London.

We visit Chapel  Market around Christmas time every year for our fresh vegetables, meat etc., for the festive family meals.

Anyway,  it was rather lucky that Manze had not run out of the eel delicacy yet when Peter enquired as usually eels are off the menu by lunchtime!

Jellied eels are served as a side dish to  pie & mash.

The traditional pie  is normally made of suet based pastry pie containing  minced beef. The  mash  is mashed potato.

The delicious green tinged liquor served as a gravy with pie & mash  was traditionally made using the water kept from the preparation of the stewed eels,  but nowadays mainly from the parsley used with cooking of the jellied eels.

Peter said he enjoyed the jellied eel but I am not too sure as I think I saw his face turned rather green at some point. 🙂

When I was still a little girl, eels were quite a delicacy in our province in the Philippines.  It was fun trying to catch them because they were so slippery; it was almost impossible to catch them without a net. The eels used to live in dykes around our ricefield.

photo from

photo from

The dykes were so clean, that you can drink from them if you are desperately thirsty but we used to go up further afield to the waterfall, which sourced our farm.

With a feat of engineering, my father was able to harness the water directly from the waterfall using a course of bamboos which carried the water not only into the field but to my mother’s huge water clay jars as well, giving us fresh, cool drinking water.  The taste was definitely better than any bottled mineral water that are on sale nowadays.

Anyway, I digress!  When we caught enough eels after much screaming and hilarity, my mother would salt them liberally to remove the slime and then she would cook it with sprouts from vines (not sure of the name of the plant, will find out) growing near our farmhouse which give a very sour taste; perfectly delicious.

Eel is delicious eaten hot but I am not too sure about cold jellied eel.  I couldn’t really comment too much because I turned down Peter’s generosity to taste his eel meal. 🙂

Anyway, he said it was good and that is good enough for me.

If you happen to come across some eel to cook here is the recipe for the jellied eel.

900g eel
1/2tsp Grated nutmeg
Juice and zest from a lemon
handful of fresh herbs such as parley, thyme an coriander, chopped finely
Fish stock – 600 ml (1 pint)
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 small carrot, chopped finely
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
Bouquet garni
15g Gelatine

Method of Preparation:
1. Skin and bone the eels but do not cut them up. Lay them on the table, skin side down and sprinkle with grated nutmeg, a little grated lemon zest and the chopped herbs.
2. Cut the fish into pieces about 4 inches long. Roll up each piece and tie with strong cotton or fine string. Put the stock, vegetables and bouquet garni into a saucepan and bring to he boil. Add the eels and simmer very gently until tender, for about an hour.
3. Lift out the fish take off the cotton or string and place the eels in a basin. Measure the stock and make up to 450 ml (* pint) with water.
4. Add the gelatine to the lemon juice to dissolve the gelatine, then add this to the hot stock. Stir until completely dissolved. Strain this over the fish and leave to set.
5. Turn out when cold and serve with a green salad and sliced gherkins.

IKEA’s Meatballs with Cream Sauce

Swedish Meatballs, IKEA iphone photo by JMorton

Swedish Meatballs, IKEA
iphone photo by JMorton

Swedish Meatballs, IKEA iphone photo by JMorton

Swedish Meatballs, IKEA
iphone photo by JMorton

Below is from a recipe card from IKEA of their famous Swedish meatballs with cream sauce.

The following ingredients will yield about 30 – 40 meatballs enough to feed 4 hungry mouths 😉

IKEA’s Meatballs with Cream Sauce

250 g minced beef
250 g minced pork
1 egg
2-3 dl cream (or milk) and water
2 1/2 tbsp fine chopped onion
1/2 dl unsweetened rusk flour or toasted bread crumbs
2 boiled potatoes, cold
4-5 tbsp butter, margarine or oil
salt, white pepper, (allspice)

Method of preparation:

Heat the onion till golden in a couple of tbsps of lightly browned butter, mash the potatoes and moisten the rusk flour in a little water.

Mix all the ingredients into a smooth farce of the right consistency and flavour generously with salt, white pepper and (optional) a little finecrushed allspice.

Using a pair of spoons rinsed in water, shape the farce into round balls and transfer to a floured chopping board, then fry them quite slowly in plenty of butter.

For the Sauce
1 dl cream
2 dl water or beef stock
Chinese soy
(1 tbsp white flour)
salt & white pepper

Method of Preparation:

Swirl out the pan with a couple of dl boiling water or meat stock.

Strain the pan juices and dilute with cream.

Thicken with white flour if preferred.

Season well, and serve this and the meatballs with freshly boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, a green salad and salted or pickled gherkins.

Meringue, Know the Basics

Meringue, know the basics

Meringue is a taste of heaven.  Crunchy at the outside and can be meltingly soft in the inside.  To make a perfect meringue we have some top tips that can be incorporated to your meringue cooking experience. 😉

The mixing bowl should be 100 per cent totally grease-free.

The eggs should be at a room temperature. Take out the eggs at least 30 minutes from the fridge before beating the egg whites into a froth.  Ensure there is an even a smidgen or trace of yolk into the egg whites.

A tiny amount of salt dropped into the egg whites will make them easier and faster to bring to a froth and will yield a greater volume; the salt will not affect the taste.

A copper bowl is an ideal mixing bowl for meringue.  The copper has a catalytic effect which help the egg whites to fluff up.

Meringue, photo by JMorton

Meringue, photo by JMorton

Tapioca Pudding Recipe

Tapioca Pudding Recipe

I caught a bit of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie and Jimmy Friday Night Feast show on telly yesterday afternoon.  They were cooking tapioca pudding.  I remember how I love tapioca, which is sago in the Philippines.  I love tapioca as part of sago drink as well as an ingredient for my favourite morning snack of all time, the taho.  I love the texture of the little transparent balls.  😉

Luckily enough, Peter also loves tapioca.  He actually eats them ready-made from a can like Ambrosia’s rice pudding as well as semolina pudding.

I remembered that we actually have tapioca pearls at the back of our food cupboard, which I was meaning to cook but always forgot.

Further rummage, resulted in finding a packet of vanilla cream pudding powder.  It was really meant for me  to cook tapioca.

I thought it would be easy but it was not.  It took time to cook the tapioca.  I had been boiling the pearls for more than 40 minutes and it was still far from turning transparent.  It was still as opaque as opaque can be.  Furthermore it began sticking into the bottom of the pan.

So I googled it and apparently, you have to boil the tapioca for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat and leave it covered.  If the tapioca is still uncooked, boil for another 10 minutes and then repeat the procedure until done.

So after the 40 minutes of cooking time already, I turned off the heat and  then covered the tapioca pan and left it for 15 minutes.  It actually worked.  They turned transparent.


1 cup tapioca pearls

4 cups water

I pint custard sauce

Method of preparation:

Boil the tapioca pearls in 4 cups of water.  Boil for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat but leave the pan covered.  Do not drain.  Check that the pearls are now transparent.  If still opaque, repeat the boiling process and then cover.  When they have turned clear, transfer them in a colander and wash in cold water and leave to drain.

Put the tapioca in a big bowl, add the custard sauce and mix.

Divide the tapioca pudding into four pudding glasses and serve.

Below is a custard sauce recipe.

Making the custard Sauce:

  • 570ml/1 pint milk

  • 55ml/2fl oz single cream

  • 1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • 4 eggs, yolks only

  • 30g/1oz caster sugar

  • 2 level tsp cornflour

Preparation method

  • Bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
  • Remove the vanilla pod (wash the vanilla pod, dry and store in jar with caster sugar to make vanilla sugar).
  • Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
  • Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
  • Return to the pan, add the vanilla essence, and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened.
  • Leave it to cool.

Egg Mayonnaise Easy Recipe



spring onion

Spring onion (Scallion)


This recipe is so easy to make.  It can be a spread or filling for a sandwich or eaten with salad.

Egg Mayonnaise Easy Recipe


  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 stalks spring onions (scallions), roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig of parsley, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard


  1. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and roughly chop them.
  2. Transfer to a large dish.
  3. Mix in the spring onions and parsley.
  4. Bind this mixture with the mayonnaise.
  5. Finally season with mustard.

helpful tipsTips for hard-boiled eggs:

1. Boil the eggs for at least 10 minutes.

2. Cool the eggs in iced water (this will prevent the grey layer forming outside the yolk)

3. Peel the eggs under running water.

Five-a-Day Fruits And Vegetables


Vegetables and Fruits by PH MortonVegetables and Fruits by PH Morton 

Five-a-Day Fruits And Vegetables


By eating more fruits and vegetable, you are warding off a lot of diseases by increasing your metabolism and immune system.

Fruits and vegetables are also anti-ageing.  True that fruits and vegetable can be expensive but if you buy those in season, they tend to be cheaper and better.

Things to consider:

  • Try to buy organic food; they are more expensive but they are free from pesticides, fungicides, hormones and antibiotics.
  • If you cannot buy organic food, try to always peel them.
  • Try to buy food that are in season.  Some fruits and vegetable are not in season are forced usually with excess fertilisers and fungicides.
  • Beetroot is a superfood.  It contains a form of nitrate that lowers down blood pressure.  Have some beetroot juice as part of your diet.
  • Berries are also superfood and blueberries are considered the best of them all.  Berries are low in calories but high in nutrients.
  • Instead of adding salt to your food, add herbs and spices instead for flavour.
  • Remember: your everyday dinner plate should be half filled with vegetables.
  • Grow your own; even a few little pots by the window sill or by the balcony are better for freshness than shop-bought!
  • Serve meal with 2 to 3 vegetables or a salad or both.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before use, especially if they are to be eaten raw!


Bulalo Recipe

Bulalo is an extraordinary delicious soup, which is usually prescribed to anyone not feeling very well, i.e. under the weather, those who do not have much of an appetite but needed feeding, and to those who have got the dreaded cough, colds and flu.

And also this soup is a great favourite of nursing Filipino mothers.  Drinking in copious amount of this soup will top up the breastmilk. hehehe

Don’t worry, this soup is for everybody, young and old, female or male; lactating and virgins, 🙂 hungry and not so hungry. 😉

There is a place in the Philippines which is a sightseeing and relaxing destination in the Philippines.  It is called Tagaytay.  It is on top of a hilly mountain (tautology?!!!) and it would sure enable you to see the most majestic panoramic scenery around and down below.

The thin air  of Tagaytay is invigorating and would make you so ravenous, which fortunately can be easily assuage by Tagaytay’s  famous Bulalo.  It is made from beef marrows, which had been boiled to its very dear life until the marrows would fall out and off on their own accord in delicious melt in the mouth jelly like surprise!

This delightful dish is very easy to make.  If you can boil an egg, then bulalo is easy peasy!

Bulalo, Photo by Cristy Miclat

Bulalo, Photo by Cristy Miclat


1kg beef marrow bones

6 cups water

1/2 Chinese/Nappa cabbage chopped roughly

3 heads bok choi/pechay

2 large onions, sliced

2 spring onions, cut in 2 inches interval

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

6 cloves garlic

3 medium potatoes peeled and quartered

2-3 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)

3 whole corn in the cob, each cut into three parts

Salt to taste


Using a large stockpot or stewing pan, bring  the beef, onions, garlic, peppercorns, patis and water to a quick boil.

Skim the foamy impurities off the top when the stock starts boiling.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and leave to cook for 3-4 hours  or until the meat is very tender, falling off the bone.

Once the meat are tender, add the potatoes and corn, cook for a further 15-20 minutes, in low heat.

Season to taste with salt .

Finally add the cabbage, bok choi and spring onion.  Cover the pot/pan and cook for another minute.

Remove from heat but keep the pot covered to fully cook the bok choi and cabbage for a few more minutes or while you are setting the table with plates, bowl, spoons, knives and forks and of course a freshly boiled rice.

Serve the bulalo and feed your body and spirit.


Rock Hard Brown Sugar

I put the kettle on to boil and took a mug for my deserved cup of coffee after doing household chores.  I spooned in the coffee granules and reached for the sugar cannister when I found that we have run out of demerara sugar (brown sugar).  I did not panic immediately, 😉  because I remembered having bought a brown caster sugar for my new passion for baking cakes.  I thought, I should use a bit of it for my coffee in the meantime as I am sure, Peter would remember to buy a packet of demerara sugar on his way home.

Anyway, I was so mortified to find that the brown caster sugar was rock hard.  It defeated my best efforts and my stainless steel spoon to break it down.

Funnily enough I remembered reading a tip on softening hard sugar from a magazine just a few days ago.  Apparently a piece of bread placed on top of the hard sugar, and then kept covered, will do the business.

This is exactly what I did as per the photos below.

I opened up the plastic packet enclosing the sugar.

Placed the sugar in a container.  Added a slice of bread on top.

Covered the container and set it aside for a day.

I found that on the second day, the sugar is not as lumpy or as hard but still needed more refining.

So put back the bread, flipping it on its  other side, and on the third day the sugar is back in its smooth and fine form.  So bread over the hardened sugar does work, it did for me.

Rock Hard Brown Sugar

On that note, let us listen to The Rolling Stones, who seem to have a problem with brown sugar as well.