Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winter Is Coming

It has come, actually.  I just wanted to use the House of Stark motto as title for this post.

It's always nice to be back in Holland for the holidays.  Even though the weather leaves my hands and feet perpetually cold, the delicious food makes it all worthwhile.  Here's what I've eaten for the past week:

Assortment of cheeses, salad spreads, and cold cuts on bread for lunch.

Kipsaté salade (chicken saté salad) on toast, my favorite.

Hagelslag - chocolate sprinkles.  No Dutch household is without these.  Spread butter on bread and sprinkle like there's no tomorrow.

Dutch junk food (yay!): patat, mexicaans, picanto, croquette. 

Bereklauw (bear claw), with saté sauce.  Really good.

Hot chocolate, which I think is the perfect winter beverage.  With a generous mound of whipped cream, of course.

Glühwein.  Red wine with spices; served hot.  Lovely, lovely drink that reminds me of the red wine syrup when making poached pears.

Pistolet - ham and Roquefort cheese sandwich with pesto.

Hutspot met riblap:  meat simmered for hours then served on a bed of mashed potatoes, carrots and onions.  The ultimate Dutch winter comfort food.

Flash-fried steak tartare with onions and mushrooms; roasted baby potatoes; salad.

Time for game!  Slow-roast hare with potatoes and haricot vert. 

Rijste pap.  Milk rice porridge with brown sugar and cinnamon with a pat of butter.  I just love it; I've been having it almost everyday for breakfast.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Olive and Leek Tart

Leftover puff pastry + leeks + olives + Parmesan + Brie = a light, crunchy savory tart for dinner. 

"Light", because about two hours prior we've been eating Anita Li's mini pies, which are absolutely delicious.  I love the mushroom truffle oil pie, and the spicy Italian sausage with bell peppers. These mini pies and other micro pastries are available at Anita Li's cupcakes with attitude kiosk on the 3rd level of The Podium.

Anyway, back to the olive and leek tart.  Simple ingredients that bring lots of flavor, here's the recipe (from Martha Stewart):

  • 15 to 20 baby leeks or 3 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Scant 1/4 cup black olives, pitted
  • 4 ounces soft-ripened cheese (such as Camembert or Perail), thinly sliced (I used Brie)
  1. Cut leeks crosswise into 3-inch pieces; halve each piece lengthwise, then cut into 3/8-inch-thick strips (about 5 cups). Rinse well, and drain; set aside.
  2. Melt butter with oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender but not browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in thyme. Leeks can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before assembling tart.
  3. Cut or roll out pastry to a 6-by-14-inch rectangle; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (reserve remaining pastry for another use). Score a 3/4-inch border. Brush with egg wash; sprinkle with Parmesan. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake pastry until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and press center area with a metal spatula. Arrange leeks end to end in rows within border of pastry. Scatter olives over leeks. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes. If bottom is soft, bake 3 to 5 minutes more.
  5. Remove tart from oven, and arrange soft cheese over top. Using an offset spatula, slide tart onto a wire rack; let cool slightly. Cut into pieces; serve warm or at room temperature. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Side Trip: Bukidnon

I've only known Bukidnon as an elementary school topic in Araling Panlipunan; a province in the Philippines where the best pineapples in the world are grown. 

Until last week, I didn't know of its vast tracts of land leading to horizons which reminded me of parallax scrolling due to the seemingly endless layers of mountains.

Colorful houses on narrow streets dotted with coniferous trees.  Altogether, Bukidnon's landscape is a distinctive part of the country that I haven't seen before.

Photos courtesy of Len Cajucom
Courtesy of Len Cajucom
It's also where Dahilayan Advanture Park is.

Courtesy of Len Cajucom

Now the fun part:  the 850-meter zipline.

Courtesy of Len Cajucom
Courtesy of Len Cajucom

Courtesy of Len Cajucom

The 320-meter zip for sissies:

Courtesy of Len Cajucom

Ah, the brave ones.  Adrenaline junkies taking the 120-foot plunge at the Drop Zone.

Photos courtesy of Len Cajucom

Zorbit at Forest Park, just beside Dahilayan Park.

The Luge.
Courtesy of Bong Teodoro
Courtesy of Len Cajucom
Courtesy of Len Cajucom
Courtesy of Rosevi Belmonte

Of course we were famished from all that screaming and "hiking".  Lunch at Del Monte Golf Club.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy Birds 3.0: Un-acquired Taste

There are three things I haven't gotten an acquired taste for.  Liver.  Ampalaya (bitter gourd).


For this trip I psyched myself to give it another chance; kept an open mind thinking that perhaps, through the years, my palate has changed and was ready to welcome what was once dreadful to me in terms of taste.


Still awful.  Protest all you like, but it still tastes as horrible as it smells; an assault to the senses, really.

I'll just stick to the photos, thank you very much.

On the other hand....she was really enjoying it!

After durian tasting and shopping, we headed to Cheding's, where we bought....more food.  Well, mostly sweet stuff, but their banana crispy hot peanuts are delicious.  Super spicy with sugary bits of banana chips,  one pack just won't cut it.

We struggled back to the car, bags of goodies in hand, silently guesstimating the weight of our luggage for the flight back to Manila.  It had really been a good weekend, because there's nothing like going on a food trip with great friends.  Not only did we share an immense love, and insane amounts, of good eats; we also shared humorous, fleeting regrets that came after every meal.

'Til the next trip.

Photo courtesy of Ricky Moldez

This is the last article of the Lechon Chronicles.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4