Category: Seafood

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)

Ingredients

  • 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
Instructions
  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)

Spaghetti with Shrimp Pesto

Spaghetti in Shrimp Pesto, Photo by Arnold Gamboa

Spaghetti with Shrimp Pesto

 The above photo was taken by Arnold Gamboa, a former child matinee idol of the late 70s in the Philippines.
  • 500g Spaghetti (dried or fresh)
  • ½ lb shrimp/prawn, peeled, deveined and tailed off
  • ¾ – 1 CUP PESTO SAUCE
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

    ———————————————-

    Fresh Pesto Recipe

    Ingredients

  • 50g pine nuts
  • 80g basil
  • 50g Parmesan
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves

    Method

    1. Heat a small frying pan over a low heat. Dry fry the pine nuts until golden.
    2. Put the pine nuts into a food processor together with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
    3. Pour the pesto into a jar and cover with a little extra oil, then seal and store in the fridge. It will keep in a fridge for a good couple of weeks.

    —————————————————-

    Instructions

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil and cook spaghetti according to the packet’s instruction.

    No 1 way:  Drain and arrange over a large serving plate as above photo. (then top with the pesto and shrimp)

    No 2 way is to return the pasta back into the pan, adding the pesto and 25g of parmesan. Toss well, then transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan. Then arrange cooked shrimps on top.

    Concurrently, heat a saucepan, add the olive oil, minced garlic, shrimp and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Stir until shrimps are opaquely reddish.  This might take about 5 minutes.

    Once shrimp are fully cooked, add the pesto and stir well.  Use as topping for no 1 way.

    Serve immediately.

    PS  No1 or No2 only differs on how you want to present the dish, both taste the same. 🙂

Sautéed Green Beans With Shrimps

Green Beans , photo by Rosie Reyes- Barrera

Sautéed Green Beans With Shrimps

This recipe is as easy as ABC.  It is a quick stir-fry for maximum taste and goodness.

Ingredients

  • 150g shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 300g string beans, cut into 2 inches length
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil with the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan over fairly high heat.
  2. Saute the onion, tomatoes, and garlic. (onion, tomato and garlic are the trinity ingredients of Filipino saute. 🙂 )
  3. Once the onion turns soft and the tomatoes mushy, add the shrimp and stir fry for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add the string beans and soy sauce. Continue to stir fry for 5 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy with a freshly boiled or fried rice.

Soft Shell Crab Tempura

Soft Shell Crab Tempura, by Arnold Gamboa

Soft Shell Crab Tempura

Soft shell crabs are just the normal typical everyday edible crab.  In a life of a crab, it undergoes some sort of moulting where it sheds its old tough tight casing and develop a new one to grow into. The new casing  is soft and this is when the is crab taken into the kitchen to delight the tastebuds of the gourmets for a soft shell crab

Ingredients

  • 2 soft-shell crabs
  • 85 g  plain flour
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 200 ml carbonated/sparkling water, chilled
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • oil for deep-frying

Method of Preparation:

Make up the tempura batter by mixing the flour with the salt and sugar.  Gradually add the chilled sparkling water.  Stir until there are no lumps.  Don’t go on stirring and daydream. 🙂 Note: over stirring will create gluten, which will make the batter stodgy.

Using a large platter, spread the panko bread crumbs.

Power up the deep fryer and heat the oil to 180ºC

Dip the crab into the tempura batter, ensuring all parts are covered.

Roll in the crab into the platter of panko bread crumbs. Cover every nook and cranny. 🙂

Shake gently and drop the crab into a deep fryer and let it sizzle until crispy all over.  This should take about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully fish out the crab and let it cool over some kitchen paper towels, which will absorb excess oil.

Repeat procedure with the next crab.

Enjoy with some green salad.

🙂

Salt & Pepper Squid Recipe

Salt & Pepper Squid by Rosie Reyes- Barrera

Salt & Pepper Squid Recipe

The texture of cooked squid can sometimes be rubbery but when it is battered and deep-fried they are crunchy and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 350g squid
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  •  vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup potato flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon rock salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper, powdered
  • 1 long hot green peppers (chilli),cut diagonally
  • 1 long hot red chilli cut diagonally
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 stalk spring onion, chopped

Instructions

  1. Prepare your squid by rinsing them thoroughly in cold water.
  2. Separate the bodies from the tentacles and cut into bite size pieces.  Score the bodies with a sharp knife but don’t go all the way through that you cut them separately.  Scoring can make them fry crisply.  Leave them in a colander or over kitchen towels to drain off.
  3. In a frying pan, toss in the black and Sichuan peppercorns and dry-fry until just heated.  Tip them in a mortar and pestle  with the rock salt and pound until they are coarsely powdered.
  4. Mix the powdered salty peppercorn with the potato flour.  Incorporate them thoroughly.
  5. In a large deep pot or a deep-fat fryer, add enough oil so that the level of oil reaches 4 inches up the side of the pot. Heat the oil until the temperature reaches 180ºC.
  6. Dip the squid into the beaten egg and then cover them with the seasoned flour.
  7. Drop the squid carefully into the hot oil and cook until golden and crispy.  You have to cook them in batches for safety reasons and to achieve that amazing crunch 🙂
  8. When every piece of the squid had been fried, set them aside.
  9. Meanwhile, heat up a wok over medium heat.  Add the sesame oil.  To it, fry the ginger, garlic and chilli.
  10. Add the squid to the wok and stir fry quickly in the aromatic mixture for about a minute or so.
  11. Finally transfer into a serving dish and garnish with the chopped spring onions and sprinkle with the white peppercorn.

Serve immediately with your favourite sauces and dips.

Enjoy

Ginataang Kuhol (Escargot in Coconut Milk)

Escargot in Coconut Milk, Photo by Rosie Reyes-Barrera

Ginataang Kuhol (Escargot in Coconut Milk)

I love and miss eating snails!  That doesn’t sound right!  That sounded too full-on with too much yucky factor 🙂 .  I think I would call it with the more exotic French word for snail, escargot, instead.

When I was a young girl living in Marag, we used to eat a lot of escargots, which are called bisukol in Ilocano `(and kuhol in Tagalog).

My memories of bisukol (escargot) is deeply embedded into my happy family nostalgia.  Eating these little critters bring back memories of strong family bonding.

In our province of Marag in Kalinga-Apayao, Philippines, dining with bisukol involves both hand and arms actions.  To prepare the bisukol, prior to cooking, get a fairly heavy ladle or metal spoon and tap to break the bottom of each snail.  This will allow the snail flesh to come out easily.  And the most fun way of eating a bisukol is to pick one up with your right hand ensuring that the snail opening is facing down onto your plate, then banging your right wrist into your slightly extended left wrist a la Psy Gangnam Style (the horsey bit) until the snail meat comes out and drops on your plate.  It was very satisfying watching everyone doing the arm action at the dining table.  LOL

In the West, every paraphernalia seems to be available for most food, exotic or otherwise.  Like with escargot, when eaten in fine restaurant, you will get a snail tong (like the ones with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman) and a two-prong snail fork.

Snail fork or arms action, escargot is exotically delicious!  Below is a very satisfying recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs escargot (kuhol)
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoon ginger, cut into fine strips
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp shrimp paste (1½ tbsp fish sauce)
  • 2 green long chilli pepper
  • Kangkong leaves (Swamp cabbage/ water spinach), cut and trimmed into manageable size for comfortable dining 😉
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Cooking procedure:
  1. Tap each of the snails’ bottom to break, then wash the escargot thoroughly, removing all the grits.  Did you know if you live in the UK, those pesky snails in your garden are edible.  According to Gordon Ramsey,  intrepid gourmets can go to the garden to gather up the snails. As an added bonus, these wild garden snails taste far better than those which are farmed.  However you cannot just put garden snails directly to the pot and eat them.  There are steps to be taken first for health, taste and safety reasons.  First leave the snails watered but without food for two days to get rid of any toxin they might have ingested.  On the third day, give them carrots; watch their droppings.  If they start to poop orange substance, wash them again and put them in a sealed container into your fridge.  when they are soporific, they are ready to cook.  Thank goodness you can get snails, which have been purge and ready to cook.
  2. Heat up the cooking oil in a large pan or better yet a wok (kawali),
  3. Saute the garlic, onion  and ginger.
  4. Drop in the escargots followed by the coconut milk.
  5. Bring to a boil and then lower down the heat and continue to simmer until the coconut milk turns slightly creamy.
  6. Stir in the shrimp paste or fish sauce.
  7.  Add the Long chilli peppers and Kangkong ( water spinach) and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Check and adjust the seasoning by adding more fish sauce or salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Serve with freshly boiled or steamed rice.  Arm wrestle your way to a delicious escargot.  It is fun.

Oysters in Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce

 

Oysters, photo by JMorton

Oysters in Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce

Peter and I had a lovely time shopping and dining at Fortnum & Mason.  We can greatly recommend Fortnum & Mason’s The Wine Bar as a great venue for freshly shucked oysters.  See above photos.  It is fine dining at its best!

Ingredients:

6-12 oysters , 3-6 oysters each
lemon juice

For the Mignonette Sauce

  • ⅔ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons, freshly ground black pepper

Make up the sauce by combining the vinegar, shallot and black pepper together in a clear glass and refrigerate to chill for at least an hour.

The preparation of this delicious recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s Recipe blog. Jamie gave a detailed description on how to choose, clean and prepare oysters, which can apparently be difficult if proper tools are not used. 🙂

Method

Oysters are probably the best-known aphrodisiac and, although they aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, I love them! They’re available year-round, but the best time to eat them is in the depths of winter when the ocean is icy cold and they are plump and juicy. British oysters are fantastic and great value. There are two main types available – rock oysters and native oysters. Both of these would make a great starter to a romantic dinner.

When you buy them, make sure that they are tightly closed and heavy in the hand. Ideally, oysters should be straight out of the sea when you eat them. Give them a rinse in cold water before you start preparing them – this can be tricky so please be very careful!

To open them, you’ll need an oyster knife which is short, thick and quite blunt. Do not use a normal kitchen knife! It’s dangerous and you’ll probably snap the tip of the knife off. A screwdriver is probably a better bet if you don’t have an oyster knife.

Hold the oyster curved-side down on a chopping board with a folded kitchen cloth between the shell and your hand. This is to help you get a good grip and protect your hand.

Look for the hinge between the top shell and the bottom shell, and poke the knife tip into the crack. You need to push quite hard and work it in there but eventually you should be able to prise the top shell off. It’s not always that easy so it might be a good idea to try a few before dinner to get the hang of it. Wear an apron too in case you get a bit dirty.

When you get the oyster open, throw away the top shell. If there is any seawater in the bottom shell with the oyster, try and keep it in there. Pick out any fragments of shell and place the oyster on a plate with a mound of rock salt or crushed ice in the middle.

Season it however you like, then tip that lovely fresh oyster into your mouth!

Tinolang Lapu-lapu (Grouper Fish Tinola)

Tinolang Lapu-lapu, photo by Carol Elep

Tinolang Lapu-lapu (Grouper Fish Tinola)

The Philippines is an archipelago, a cluster of islands surrounded by water and as such, fishing is a major source of living and fish is one of the staple food of the country.

The Filipinos, therefore, have an extensive recipes cook and preserve these lovely fresh delicious fish; many are naive to the country, passed down from generation to the next, some are adapted from international recipes and gave them its own distinct Filipino flavour, and plenty more made up from growing amount of available ingredients in the market.

Tinolang Lapu-lapu is a really nourishing.  It is an all-round season recipe, can be enjoyed by all at whatever the weather.

Lapu-lapu is called grouper  fish in English.  Ask your fish monger to clean and cut the fish.

Ingredients:

1/2 kilo or just over a pound of Lapu-lapu (grouper) fish, cleaned and cut
3 stalks spring onion, cut into an inch length pieces
3 pieces lemon grass, chopped
1 inch ginger (optional), chopped finely
1 vegetable stock cube (knorr or Oxo)
1 small marrow or 2 courgettes
6 cups water
Salt & pepper

Procedure:

Bring to a boil the cups of water in a casserole pan over high heat.

Drop in the spring onions, lemon grass, ginger and stock cube. Give it a stir and then over the pan.

Turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

Add in the marrow or courgettes slices and the fish, continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes in medium heat.

Season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy the taste of the oriental sea at its best!

Chicken Paella Recipe

Paella in Barcelona – Photo by Peter Morton

We had a wonderful meal of chicken paella whilst on holiday in Barcelona.

The dish was so sumptuous that I still think about it today. LOL  I have tried to make my own version and I found Jamie Oliver’s version is a good starting point for a truly delicious Spanish paella.

Below is a Jamie Oliver recipe:

Chicken Paella Recipe

ingredients

• 6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs, preferably free-range or organic, skin on, each quartered
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• plain flour, for dusting
• olive oil
• 100g chorizo, sliced
• 6 slices pancetta or streaky bacon
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 2 litres hot chicken stock, preferably organic
• 2 large pinches of saffron
• 1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
• 500g paella rice
• small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped, stalks chopped
• 2 handfuls peas, fresh or frozen
• 10 king prawns
optional: 500g mussels, scrubbed
• optional: 2 small squid, halved and scored

method

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Season the chicken pieces and dust with flour. Heat a little olive oil in a large deep pan and fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Place the pieces on a baking tray and into the oven for 30 minutes.

Put the pan back on the heat. Add the sliced chorizo and pancetta or bacon and fry until browned and crispy. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Meanwhile infuse half the hot chicken stock with the saffron. Add the smoked paprika, rice and infused stock and leave to cook on a medium heat, stirring from time to time.

After 20 minutes the rice should be nearly cooked. At this point, pour in the rest of the stock along with the peas, prawns, and the mussels and squid if you are using them. Place a lid on the pan and cook for 10 minutes more.

Finally, add the cooked chicken and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.

Oysters a la Guisado

Philippine oysters, photo by PH Morton

Philippine oysters, photo by PH Morton

Oysters a la Guisado

 

It is Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  It is love day.  For total romance, why not cook the love one an aphrodisiac of taste and texture.

The ingredients:

1 tsp chopped garlic
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin or not 🙂
2 cups cleaned and shelled oysters
Salt and pepper to taste

Method of preparation:

Using large frying pan, heat the oil and saute the garlic until golden brown and fragrant.  Don’t burn as  it will leave a bitter taste.

Add the onion and saute until translucent, add the tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the oysters and leave to simmer for a few minutes.

Season with salt and freshly grown black pepper.

Serve with buttered sliced baguette.

Enjoy.