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Posts Tagged ‘appetizer’

Mussel Kinilaw

Mussel Kinilaw

A few years ago I planted a little calamansi fruit tree in our balcony… and then I waited… and waited… and waited some more. My tree never seemed to bear much fruit. If I was lucky, I would get three or four calamansi and I was ready to give up – the tree was taking up space but not giving me much to work with. I was ready to uproot the tree and plant something else.

A few months ago I noticed a few calamansi budding from the branches and so I waited a little bit more (after all, what was another month after waiting all those years) and suddenly the fruit just kept coming and wouldn’t stop! I managed to collect over 3 large bowls of the fruit, much more than I would immediately need so I juiced them and froze them in little ice cubes to be used in the future.

For those who are unfamiliar with calamansi, they are a native citrus very common in the Philippines. When I lived in the PHilippines I used to enjoy an ice cold glass of calamansi juice (sweetened with a little sugar or honey). I’ve also seen some people use it in desserts like a calamansi curd for macarons. Me? I prefer to use it as part of a “sawsawan” or dipping sauce. Usually the “sawsawan” will be some sort of combination of fish sauce, soy or vinegar which we then use to flavour our dishes. Think deep fried crispy piece of fish served with a dipping sauce of calamansi and fish sauce… or pork belly grilled over charcoal and served with soy, vinegar and garlic. Now you get the idea!

The recipe below is as simple as it gets. I’ve used the juice of the calamansi in a “Kinilaw” which the Philippine’s version of a ceviche. The dish is served a “pulutan” (which means to “pick up”) or appetizer and is usually made with fresh fish (I like to use snapper). For this recipe I’ve made it with some mussels which I’ve cooked first and then doused in the kinilaw marinade right before serving.

Calamansi

Calamansi

Mussel Kinilaw

  • 1 kilo mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 long red pepper
  • 1 long green pepper
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cm ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic gloved, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons coconut vinegar or cane vinegar (any Filipino brand will do)
  • 2 tablespoons calamansi juice
  • salt to taste
  1. Place the mussels in a pan and a splash of water. Gently heat until the mussels are cooked (careful not to overcook them)
  2. Once the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and place in the refrigerator until they are cold.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the mussels right before serving.

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Scotch Quail Eggs

Quail Scotch Eggs

I was introduced to Scotch Eggs by Rie, a dear family friend.  I met her through my older sister who was in the same mother’s group and over the years we’ve come to think of her as a sister too.   She took the scotch eggs to a dinner hosted by my sister one night and  I couldn’t help but think that whoever invented them was genius.  Here was a little quail egg encased in a chicken sausage and then deep fried.  They were not only the most popular party food that night, but I was told they were also a great picnic food and wouldn’t think be a wonderful breakfast on the go?  Now, if only they could make it into a bar!

As I munched on probably my tenth piece, I thought that if there was any left at the end of the night, I would take some home to photograph them so I could share the recipe on my blog.  But because they were so popular, half way through the night I realized that if I didn’t act soon, there’d be none for me to take home.

Throwing etiquette out of the window, I placed a few pieces in a take-away container.  Luckily, anyone who saw, was kind enough not to say anything.

So here is the recipe for the Quail Scotch Eggs from Australian Women’s Weekly which Rie made that night.

Quail Scotch Eggs

Quail Scotch Eggs

Quail Scotch Eggs

Recipe from Women’s Weekly

  • 12 Quail Eggs
  • 275 grams minced chicken
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • packaged breadcrumbs
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the eggs in a pan large enough to fit all of them in one layer, pour water into the pan just so that it barely covers the eggs. Bring this to a boil, making sure to stir gently (this helps center the yolks). Simmer for four minutes and then drain. Place the eggs in cold water, then crack the shells very gently and cool to room temperature. Rie mentioned that the trick to making sure the peel comes off easily is to leave the cracked eggs in the cold water for a few minutes.
  2. Combine the minced chicken, herbs, mustard and season with salt and pepper in a bowl and divide the portions into 12 so that you have enough meat for each of the quail eggs.
  3. Drain the eggs and then carefully remove the shells. Toss the eggs lightly in the flour and then shape a portion of the chicken mince mixture around a quail egg. Continue to do the same for the remaining eggs. (Tip: keep your hands lightly floured to make the shaping easier.)
  4. Dip each egg in the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs. Just before serving deep-fry the eggs in hot oil until well browned and then drain on absorbent paper.
Quail Scotch Eggs

Quail Scotch Eggs

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Olives marinated in orange and thyme infused olive oil

Olives marinated in orange and thyme infused olive oil

My friends have been known to say that I like to complicate things.    I once complained to my husband that there was too much sun coming into the bedroom window which was waking me up earlier than I wanted.  I thought long and hard about how to fix this and finally I decided that I was going to buy large sheets of black paper and sticky tape and cover the windows to block out the morning sun.  So off I went to buy the supplies and was excited to show my husband my handiwork.

“What are you doing??”  My husband asked when he entered the room.

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Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelette)

Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelette)

Very early on Saturday, with my husband still in a deep slumber, I snuck out of bed, put on my thickest pair of socks and tiptoed down to the kitchen.  I held my breath as I passed the guest room, fearing that even my breathing would be loud enough to be heard.   The wagging of the dog’s tails against the wooden walls magnified across the hallway and I tried to calm them down to prevent anyone from waking.

Finally, I got to the kitchen… “I made it!” I thought.  I was finally going to have a few hours in the kitchen all to myself!

Because as you all know, when Mom’s are visiting – you pretty much have to give up whatever rights you have in the kitchen because, when they’re around the kitchen ain’t yours… it’s theirs!

I wanted to make this this Tortilla Espanola (Spanish style Potato Omelette) for a tapas party I was throwing for New Year’s day.  Made with only four very accessible ingredients (eggs, potatoes, onions and olive oil), a really good tortilla is guaranteed not only to bring any Spaniard to their knees, it’s also sure to please any guest for a tapas party. It’s also great eaten cold or at room temperature so you can make it in advance for any occasion.

And whatever happened to my covert CIA operation? It pretty much lasted a whole five minutes before I turned around, saw my Mom and heard her ask “Can I help?”

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