Category: Special Events Party Food

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
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese


    Fresh Pesto Recipe


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


    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.



    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. 🙂

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


  • 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.


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


• 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


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.


Peach Trifle Recipe

Peach Triple, photo by JMorton

Peach Trifle Recipe

  • 1 slab of madeira sponge cake, sliced
  • Peach flavoured gelatin/jelly
  • 4 ripe peaches, peel and chopped two of the peaches while thinly slice the two remaining
  • 500g carton vanilla custard
  • 284ml carton double cream
  • Almond nuts


The secret to a good trifle starts with the presentation.  Use a beautiful large clear glassware (or small ones if doing individual servings)

  1. Arrange the slices of madeira or sponge cake neatly into the bottom part of the glass bow, then set aside while making the gelatin as per its packet’s instruction.  Leave the jelly to cool but pour into the sponges before it sets. Add the chopped peaches and  put in the fridge until firmly set.
  2. Pour over the custard over the set gelatin, arrange some of the slices of the peaches over the custard.
  3. Whip the cream until it holds its shape then either spoon over the trifle or use a piping bag to decorate the top.  Decorate with peach slices or almond nuts as per above photo, and then leave to chill for up to a couple of hours.

Serve it with confidence and lot of smile!


Kung Hei Fat Choi

Pajeon (Spring Onion Pancake)

Korean Spring onion Pancake

Korean Spring onion Pancake , photo by JMorton

Pajeon (Spring Onion Pancake)

This recipe is of savoury pancake, which is popular in Korea and Korean dramas 🙂  Savoury pancake is a mainstay of Korean celebration and family gatherings.


1-2 bunches of spring onions (choose young thin ones), cut in 3-4 inches, each stalk will provide 3 pieces length

1 cup plain or rice flour

1 cup water

1-2 tsp soy bean paste (depending on your tolerance of spiciness/hotness), this can be substituted by a tsp of salt

1 pinch sugar

1 – 2 tbsp cooking oil

Method of preparation:

Using a large mixing bowl, make the pancake batter by putting together the flour, water, soy bean paste (or salt) and sugar.  Mix together until no lumps are visible.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the oil.

Gently arrange the first batch of spring onions neatly on the hot pan.

Pour  some of the batter over the spring onions, just enough to cover them.

Cook until golden, carefully turn on the other side and cook.

Transfer to a serving dish and continue cooking the other two batches.

Enjoy with spicy dipping sauces!


Avocado Canapés

Cross section of Avocado - JMorton

Cross section of Avocado – JMorton

Avocado Canapés

Party season is coming up!  Avocado Canapés is delicious finger food or something for the buffet table.  It is easy to make and rather exotically healthy.

For the buffet table:


1/2 packet of loaf thick white bread

2 ripe avocados

1 tbsp English mustard

1 lemon



Method of preparation:

You can really use your imagination with the bread by using seasonal cookie cutter such as Christmas tree shape, sledge or any pretty cutter in your cupboard.  Cut the bread slices with abandon :0

Cut the avocados and remove the stones.  Scoop the flesh using a spoon.  Put the flesh into a food mixer together with  mustard, juice from the lemon and salt.  Blend until smooth.

Spread generously the avocado mixture over the shaped breads and lightly sprinkle with paprika.


Lobster Patties Recipe

Lobster Patties Recipe

Lobster Cakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • 1 cup fresh cooked lobster meat or use a good canned lobster, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • olive oil for frying

Mix all ingredients together, except for the bread crumbs and oil,  in a bowl and combine thoroughly.

Add lobster and mix until well incorporated.

Form into 8 small patties, a la fishcake.

Roll the patties in bread crumbs to cover.

Heat oil in frying pan.

Carefully fry the patties on both sides until golden.

Can make 8 servings.

Lovely as a starter but also delicious as a main dish with some salad.

Oxtail kare-Kare a la London

Oxtail kare-Kare a la London, photo by PH Morton

Oxtail kare-Kare a la London, photo by PH Morton

Oxtail kare-Kare a la London

Oxtail kare-Kare a la London, photo by PH Morton

Oxtail kare-Kare a la London, photo by PH Morton

This was terrific, if I say so myself.

I saw an oxtail pack in Sainsburys and bought it, intending to make a kare-kare from it, which was a great favourite of mine.

It was pretty easy to make as all the ingredients required can be easily found in any big supermarkets. The Mama Sita Kare-kare Peanut mix is widely available in any Oriental store or International stores.

The secret to a great authentic kare-kare is the bagoong (shrimp paste) dip, again can be bought in jars in Oriental supermarket.

2 1/2 lbs Beef hocks (you can also use pork or oxtail)
6 tbsp peanut butter
1 bundle long beans or half a packet of string beans (cut 3″ length)
2 bundles bokchoy/pechany
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 medium eggplant (cut into 6 pieces)
1 packet Mama Sita’s Kare-kare Peanut Mix
1 tbsp fish sauce
bagoong or shrimp paste

Cooking Method:

Boil the beef hock or oxtail in plenty of water, until tender. Set aside. Reserve the broth.
In a wok, saute garlic and onion.
Add beef hocks and fish sauce. Cook for few minutes.
Add 3 cups of the beef broth and bring to a boil.
Add the Mama Sita Kare-kare peanut mix. Stir until it has dissolved.
Add the peanut butter. Simmer for 5 mins.
Add the vegetables and cook until tender.
Season with salt to taste.

Kare-Kare is traditionally served with shrimp paste (bagoong) and eaten with boiled rice.