Posts Tagged ‘philippines’


Preview to SBS Food Safari:
Last year I was contacted by the producer of SBS Food Safari, only the best food show ever, asking if I would consider featuring a recipe for an episode on Filipino Food. I think it was on the back of some of the posts they had seen on the Kulinarya Cooking Club. There was certainly no way I would pass on this chance!

As we tried to decide which recipe to feature, the producer suggested Pinakbet. When I asked Georgie why she was interested in that recipe, she mentioned that it was one dish that really stood out as featuring unique ingredients that Australians wouldn’t have normally cooked with. She was right, Pinakbet is a traditional vegetable stew usually made up of okra, talong (eggplant), ampalaya (bitter melon), and shrimp paste. I could understand why the dish would be worth showcasing but at that time it was not exactly a dish I would consider as a top choice. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have even been in my top ten favourite Filipino dishes.

I didn’t grow up enjoying vegetables. In fact, as a child I used to think that whoever invented Pinakbet must have really hated children because it had all the bitter and slimy vegetables I detested. The only saving grace, I thought, was the crispy bits of pork belly that was sprinkled throughout the dish. But I was determined to make sure that I would practice making the dish several times before the actual filming date.

The funny thing is, I started to appreciate the slimy okra, the bitter ampalaya, and the eggplant. The tastes started to grow on me and I thought of it as an acquired taste. The same way I learned as an adult how to appreciate a beautifully bitter dark chocolate, where as a child I would have preferred a sweeter milk chocolate.

The day of the filming came and I can honestly say I was a convert to Pinakbet. I cook this dish regularly nowadays. Sometimes the prejudices of our youth prevent us from enjoying something special.

And about the show? Maeve, the host of SBS Food Safari, and her team were fantastic! They do so much to promote the many cultures and cuisines of Australia. I was worried that Maeve would have the same reaction to Pinakbet as I did when I was a child. I was so wrong. She absolutely loved it! And in case you’re wondering, Maeve is every bit as nice and beautiful in person as in the show.

Food Safari airs in Australia on 7 March 2013 on SBS One at 7:30 pm.

Recipe for Pinakbet can be found here.

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I was absolutely crazy to want a December wedding.  I had this perception that it would be more romantic to get married during the Christmas holidays. Two months before my wedding I went to fit my wedding gown.

“Tsk tsk.. You MUST NOT gain any weight until your wedding! You must do WEIGHT MAINTENANCE!” she said as she shook her head.  “The dress is hand beaded, you gain any weight and I’ll have to repair the whole dress, you don’t want that!” she warned.

Oh my… What I didn’t realize was how hard it was to juggle holiday dinners, engagement parties and bridal showers.

So for the next two months, as part of my “weight maintenance”, I had oatmeal for breakfast.  Now you  have to understand that Filipinos take their breakfast very seriously.  More often than not there is a large bowl of steaming rice, fried eggs and a  protein of some sort like “tapa” (dried beef), “daing na bangus” (fish) or, my all time favourite longanisa.  In its original form these are native Filipino sausages  made with pork, a vampire killing amount of  garlic and native vinegar.  I would stare  at my colleagues as they polished off  their heavy breakfasts and swore that once I was hitched I’d eat longanisa like there was no tomorrow.

Sure enough, two months later we walked down that aisle and for the next few weeks I gorged on rice, fried eggs and longanisa sausages.

Sadly,  I never had my longanisa once I moved to Australia.  I didn’t know where to buy them and I couldn’t source sausage casings nor have a sausage maker.


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