Category: Legumes, Rice, Pasta & Noodles

Congee With Dried Anchovies

Congee with Dried Anchovies, photo by PH Morton

Congee With Dried Anchovies

When we stayed at the Armada Hotel, in Malate, Philippines for almost a whole week, everyday, I started by breakfast with congee or lugaw topped with crispily fried dried anchovies or dilis.

It was strange at first as I have never had dili in my lugaw before but I quickly developed a taste for it.  It sets the day right.

Now back in London, I am missing this little treat.  Thank goodness it is pretty easy to make at home.

Here is the recipe –


  1. 3 tsp sesame oil
  2. 1 small onion, chopped finely
  3. 1/2 cup long-grain rice (uncooked)
  4. 4 cups vegetable stock or 3 vegetable cubes dissolved in 4 cups of hot water
  5. 1/2 ” piece of ginger (grated finely)
  1. 2 tbsp chili oil
  2. 2 tbsp dried anchovies, fried until golden and crispy
  3. 1 egg (boiled)
  4. 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely and then fried until golden brown
  5. 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
  6. Fish sauce
  7. Calamansi or lemon, juiced



  1. Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and fry until translucent.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook for a couple of minutes until well covered with the oil.
  4. Pour in vegetable stock, add the ginger and bring to a boil.
  5. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer but ensure to give it a stir once in a while.
  6. When the rice had softened and absorbed most of the liquid and has a porridge-like thickness, then it is cooked but if a more runny consistency is wished, add more hot water.


  1. Fry the anchovies in wok or frying pan with a little oil.  Stir for 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy all over.
  2. Ladle a good portion for one in a bowl. Add a bit of fish sauce to the congee.  Sprinkle with the fried garlic and chopped spring onion then add the chopped boiled egg and dried anchovies.
  3. Finally drizzle with the juice of calamansi or lemon according to taste.


Rice – Asia’s Staple

Jar of Basmati Rice, Photo by JMorton

Rice – Asia’s Staple

The above is an Indian basmati rice.  If you do not have a kitchen hero like the rice cooker, basmati rice is the easiest to cook, using an ordinary pan, among the various types of rice.  It is almost full-proof as long as you follow the packet’s instruction.

Just over a week ago, I found out from my sister that rice can cause diabetes.  Apparently the carbohydrates in rice can be converted into glucose in the body.   So if you are rather partial to rice at every meal, then train yourself to regularly exercise.  Sweat out that rice carb before it turns into glucose!

Noodles for Longevity

Spaghetti Bolegnase, Photo by PH Morton

Noodles for Longevity

I was watching an episode of Father is Strange last weekend when there was a scene where the family insisted Joon-Young, who finally passed his civil service exam after many tries, to slurp the whole of the noodle strands rather than biting into it.

I was intrigued enough that I googled what it meant.  🙂

Apparently it is a Chinese tradition (or superstition), which seems to have a widespread effect that neighbouring countries had adapted it.  I know in the Philippines, eating noodles is a must during birthdays.  The long strand means longevity of life.  I was not aware though that you had to slurp the whole thing into your mouth and then chew, rather than biting a bit of it as you chew.

Anyway, it is encouraged to slurp the strand in all its length so that one does not cut off one’s span of life.

Thank goodness, this superstition is applied only on birthdays and other milestone celebrations.

I couldn’t be going to restaurants, especially posh ones, and slurping my pasta down my throat. It would be unethical and extremely embarrassing.  LOL


Aglio Olio with Shrimp Recipe

aglio olio with shrimp, photo by Crissa Mercado

Aglio Olio with Shrimp Recipe


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 garlic cloves minced (more or less according to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon rock/sea salt
  • 1 big pinch hot pepper flakes (make it spicy 🙂 )
  • 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 300 grams spaghetti
  • 3 heaps tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch spinach leaves, stalks trimmed


In a large pasta pan or casserole pan, bring a salted water into a boil.  Tip in the spaghetti and cook according to the packet’s instruction. Drain when ready.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over low heat (extra virgin olive oil tend to burn if heated on high heat).

Saute the garlic while adding the salt and hot pepper flakes, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 15 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and golden. (Burnt garlic leaves a bitter taste.)

Turn up the heat to medium temperature.

Add the shrimps and drizzle with the lemon juice and stir-fry for at least a couple of minutes or until they are lightly pink.

Toss in the spaghetti and spinach leaves.

Finally add the chopped parsley.

Serve with buttered crusty bread and a dish of pitted olives.

Buon Appetito!

Tutte De Mare Recipe

Tutte de mare, photo by Carol Elep

Tutte De Mare Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, slice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup clams, shelled
  • 315 grams linguine (like a flattened spaghetti 🙂 )
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup mussels, shelled
  • 1/2 cup shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 120 grams calamari, cut into thin rings
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped


    1. Cook the linguini according to the packet’s instruction.  Ensure to add a generous drop of oil and salt to the cooking water to prevent the pasta from sticking together at the same time, they can absorb the salt from the water. Drain.
    2. Heat oil in a large casserole pan over medium heat.
    3. Sauté the garlic until it starts to brown and fragrant.  Don’t not burn as it will leave a bitter taste.
    4. Add red pepper flakes to taste (more or less according to amount of heat you can take.)
    5. Pour in the wine and let it boil for a few minutes.
    6. Add tomato sauce.
    7. Stir in the clams, shrimps, mussels and calamari.  Cook for at least 3 minutes.
    8. Toss in the linguine.
    9. Check the seasoning by adding (or not) salt and a generous twist of freshly ground black pepper.
    10. Finally sprinkle the chopped parsley and serve with freshly buttered slices of baguettes.


Buon Appetito

Creamy Beef Tagliatelle

Beef Tagliatelle, photo by JMorton

Creamy Beef Tagliatelle


  • 500g Minced Beef
  • 500 g Tagliatelle pasta
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 heaps tsp capers
  • 50 g Tomato Purée
  • 400g Chopped plum tomatoes, run through a sieve)
  • 1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
  • 30g butter
  • 6 cloves garlic (more or less according to preference)
  • 100 ml Double Cream
  • 6 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp of dried or fresh Herbs, combination of Basil, Oregano, Parsley
  • Salt to taste

    Method of Preparation:

  • Boil the pasta according to the packet’s instruction. Add a little oil and a little salt to the tagliatelle while cooking.  The oil will prevent the pasta sticking together and the salt will be absorbed.
  • Using a large casserole, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until softened and fragrant.
  • Add the minced/ground beef and stir until brown all over. Transfer the beef into a plate and set aside.
  • Make up the sauce using the same casserole pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the rapeseed oil over medium heat.
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, which should be run through a sieve to remove any solid bits.  Slowly bring it to a bubbling point. 🙂
  • Stir in the double cream and tomato puree.
  • Sprinkle the oregano, parsley and basil.
  • Add the capers.  I find that the sourness and saltiness of a pickled capers complements the richness of double cream sauce.
  • Season with salt.
  • Return the cooked minced beef into the casserole and stir in the sauce.
  • Add the parmesan sauce.
  • Drain the tagliatelle pasta and mixed it into the creamy beef sauce.  Leave to heat for at least 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately with salad and buttered sliced baguettes.


Pancit Bihon Recipe

Pancit Bihon

Pancit Bihon Recipe

Bihon is a fine Philippine rice noodles.


2½ lbs Bijon noodles
1 cup sliced pork
1/2 cup shelled shrimps
3 cups vegetable broth (or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes dissolved in 3 cups of hot water)
1 large onion, chopped roughly
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 slabs tokwa (tofu), cut in fairly large cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into long strips
100 g string beans, topped and tailed and cut in 2 inches length
1 small napa cabbage, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 tbsp dark soy sause
1 tbsp fish sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Method of Preparaton:

Heat the oil using a wok..

Stir fry the pork until golden all over.   Add the tokwa (tofu) and brown all over.  Remove both pork and tokwa from the wok and set aside.

Saute the garlic and onions in the wok until deliciously fragrant.  Add the shelled shrimps.

Return the pork and tokwa back into the wok.

Pour in the vegetable broth, cover to cook for 8-10 minutes.

Drop in the string beans, carrot, cabbage and bell pepper.

Bring to a boil, then add the bijon noodles (pull the ‘nest’ apart as you drop the strand into the wok).

Pour in the fish sauce and season with the soy sauce.  Do not all the soy sauce all at once.  Do a taste test.  If two tablespoon is enough according to your taste then that should be enough 🙂

sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Cover the wok with a suitable lid and simmer until the bijon is cooked.

Enjoy!  Delicious afternoon tea time snack!  A merienda a la Filipino!

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