Spaghetti and mussels in white wine
3 May 2010, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Noodles, Seafood

My family has always been reminded by me, of course, that when they want something to eat, or when the craving for something occurs, I am prepared to accommodate these requests. My 7-year old daughter consistently asks for her pasta favourites: spaghetti, beef lasagna, instant Mi Goreng fried noodles, or now her next favourite, sinigang.

Fortunately, Hubby, my 8-year old son and 15-year old daughter eat what is on the table. I have a propensity to organize and cook any viand they ask for. After several days of meat, meat and meat, just to finish off last week’s stock in the freezer, Hubby requested spaghetti and mussels.

Spaghetti and mussels in white wine
By: Connie Veneracion

50 g. of spaghetti (I used 150g)
12 fresh mussels, soaked, washed and debearded (also included clams)
2 tbsps. of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 c. of white wine (used 1 cup of an already opened bottle of Evans & Tate, Classic Margaret River)

• Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
• Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
• Heat the olive oil in a pan.
• Saute the garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until they start to soften.
• Pour in the white wine.
• Boil, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
• Remember, reducing the liquid means heightening the flavors.
• Add the tomatoes.
• Pour in the pasta water. (I used ¼ cup of pasta water)
• Boil some more until reduced and the tomatoes start to turn mushy.
• Season with salt and pepper.
• Add the mussels to the pan.
• Cook for a few minutes or just until they open
(alternatively, you can pry the shells open after debearding then discarding the empty half shell).
• Throw in the cooked pasta into the pot.
• Toss to coat. Serve at once.


Alimango (mud crab)
6 September 2009, 3:27 am
Filed under: Cooking, Food, Seafood

After several days of ‘telling stories’ about his fishing prowess, a work mate finally succumbed to pressure and surprised me with one, yes one, freshly cooked mud crab last Monday. The surprise was on me as I waited, with my allergy tablet standing by, for my body to react.  Nada, nothing – my best guess was because the crab was fresh.


Phat Thai (Thai Fried Noodles)
22 August 2009, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Food, Seafood

Thai Fried Noodles
by: Kit Chan, The Essential Thai Cookbook

Phat Thai is considered one of the national dishes of Thailand.  Like many of the national dishes of other countries, the flavor and texture varies from region to region, religion and culture, likewise with the Philippine Adobo. One style would be sugary and salty (dried shrimp), while another method would be sugary and spicey, while some have the sugary and sour taste. The Thai Fried Noodles (vegetarian) sold at the cafeteria at work has the right combination.

phat thai3

350g rice noodles
45ml vegetable oil
1tbsp chopped garlic
16 uncooked king prawns, shelled, tails left intact and deveined
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp dried shrimps, rinsed
2 tbsp pickled white radish
50g fried bean curd, cut into small livers
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
115g garlic chives, cut into 2in lengths
225g beansprouts
50g roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
1 tsp granulated sugar
1tbsp dark soy sauce
2tbsp fish sauce
2tbsp tamarind juice
2tbsp coriander leaves, to garnish
1 kaffir lime, to garnish

Soak the noodles in warm water for 20-30 minutes, then drain
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a work or large frying pan
Add the garlic and fry until golden
Stir in the prawns and cook for about 1-2 minutes until pink, tossing from time to time
Remove and set aside

Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in the wok.
Add the eggs and tilt the work to spread them into a thin sheet
Stir to scramble and break the egg into small pieces.
Remove from the wok and set aside with the prawns

Heat the remaining oil in the same wok
Add the dried shrimps, pickled radish, bean curd and dried chillies
Stir briefly. Add the soaked noodles and stir-fry for 5 minutes

Add the garlic chives, half the beansprouts and half the peanuts
Season with the granulated sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and tamarind juice
Mix well and cook until the noodles are heated through

Return the prawn and egg mixture to the wok and mix with the noodles
Serve garnished with the rest of the beansprouts, peanuts, coriander leaves and lime wedges.

phat Thaiphat thai2

Tinuwang Isda (salmon head) (Salmon head soup)
8 August 2009, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Food, Seafood

To quote a 17th century proverb, “The early bird catches the worm”.  Or was it a case of I was at the right place at the right time.  We set off early today to buy our weekly provisions. To find salmon heads in the fish section of any supermarket these days is rare.  Six meaty and gleaming heads surrounded by crushed ice did not hang around long. I wanted to get two more for my mother but stopped when the voice in my head said that there are two women queuing in line possibly appealing and praying to their favourite saints that I don’t deprive them of today’s catch.

As I walked pass the line, I glanced fleetingly towards the women and hoped that the third lady’s saint had clout over the second one.

2 pcs salmon heads
4 pcs fresh prawns (the prawns bought were for Pad Thai)
1 bunch pak choy
2 roma tomatoes *slit top of each tomato taking care to not cut all the way through
1 stick lemon grass
2 sticks spring onions *white part gently crushed
thumb-sized piece of ginger
2 pcs fresh green chillis
10 cups of water
1 chicken cube stock
fish sauce and salt
salt and pepper to taste

Note: * style was influenced by my cousin’s best friend and sisters’ friend, Nang Didi. It enhances the flavour of the soup.

In a big casserole, put water, spring onions, ginger, lemon grass, and tomatoes and let this to boil. 
Scoop the tomato pieces and mash through over the same pot of boiling water.  
Put in salmon heads and chicken cube stock and boil for 10-12 minutes.
Add pak choy and prawns.  As soon as prawns start to curl and change colour add green chilli, season with fish sauce and salt and pepper. 
Serve at once.

salmon head3salmon soup1

Tinunuang Lambay (Blue Crabs in Coconut milk/cream)
1 August 2009, 11:25 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Family, Food, Seafood

An uncle and auntie, my father’s sister, owned a 16-hectare fishpond in Mindanao.  During summer visits, I remember being served with bangus (milkfish), pansat (prawn), tilapia and alimango (mud crabs) almost every meal.

The medium sized tilapia on the table was a surprise.  Someone in my family in Cebu must have programmed me early in life that the tilapia comes from the ‘canal’ and ‘dirty’ and we don’t eat it.

The program malfunctioned when I first tasted the deep fried crispy tilapia.  I was cautioned from eating too much of the tilapia and alimango when I developed rashes on my back.  My cousins, fed up to eating fishpond harvest, were passing on the crab red/orange female fat – alege on my plate.  The nutritional regime when visiting my relatives in Mindanao was diverse and refreshing.  As I am writing this article, I am wondering what happened to those turtles in the washbasin.  Turtle soup?

The seafood allergy has resurfaced when I turned …ty something, at a certain age I should say.  I decided to buy the blue swimmers instead of the mud crabs at the seafood shop  last week as a pack of 4 blue swimmers was half the price of one big mud crab (not for me but for other family members to enjoy).

4 blue swimmers crabs
Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 onion
½ cup water
1 piece red chilli
1 can coconut milk/cream
Salt and pepper
1 chicken stock cube

Sauté garlic, onion and ginger in oil
Add crabs and water, stir until crabs turn pink
Add coconut milk/cream, chicken cube, salt and pepper to taste and let boil, cover
Cook for around 10-15 minutes, stirring occassionally
Garnish with chopped spring onions and red chillialimango3

Kinilaw na Isda (Raw Fish Salad)
1 August 2009, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Family, Food, Seafood

My mother’s style of preparing kinilaw.  The cucumber is my addition.  The crunch and sweetness of the cucumber adds another texture to the salad.

3 pieces medium sized mackerel, diced & cut into serving pieces
1 continental cucumber, sliced
1 medium Spanish onion
1 tomato
2 sticks spring onions
1 chilli
1 small piece ginger, julienned

Marinade fish in vinegar or lime/lemon juice for at least 10 minutes.
Toss occasionally to coat all pieces.
Prepare the ingredients like tomato, ginger, onions, chilli, and cucumber.
Drain the fish and press lightly to drain off excess vinegar or lime/lemon juice.
Put the ingredients ginger, onions, chilli and tomato together into the fish, mix it well.
Pour vinegar or lemon/lime juice into the mix ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator before serving.
Add cucumber and sprinkle chopped spring onions before serving.

Fish Kinilawfish kinilaw2

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)
1 August 2009, 5:25 pm
Filed under: Family, Food, Seafood

*Recipe adapted and pieced together from various recipes

1 bangus, scaled and cleaned
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp frozen baby peas
2 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
1 chicken stock cube
Cooking oil

Cut longitudinally the back median section of the fish.  Remove the core bone and scrape the flesh carefully not to tear the skin.  Skin should be undamaged and in one piece.
Mix lemon juice and soy sauce; soak the skin and set aside.
Put scraped fish in a microwavable container and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.
Carefully flake meat and remove bones.
Saute garlic, onion, tomato, and fish.
Remove from heat and add all the rest of the ingredients.
Stuff the mixture into the marinated bangus skin and head.  Sew the cavity.
Heat oil to high in a non-stick frying pan and fry both sides until nicely browned.
Cool before removing the thread and slice diagonally and serve.