Knives Block, Photo by jMORTON
Know Your Knives
A good working kitchen has to have a set of sharp knives.
Did you know?
There are more likely to have accident with a blunt rather than sharp knives. Strange but true, I am afraid.
And there are knives for every corresponding jobs.
There are actually quite a few types of cheese knives as there are of course quite a large amount of different cheeses. There are hard cheese, soft cheese, aged cheese, smoke cheese, and even spreadable cheese. So different knife for different kind. The above though is a favourite one. It can cut and it can certainly spread. The pointed tip and even spear cheese.
A cleaver is a rather heavy knife. Its weight is so useful chopping bony meat or large and rather hard or tough vegetables.
This is so useful. Have you had experience of cutting bread with just an ordinary knife and the bread turns into crumbs rather than elegant slices?!!! You need a bread knife.
Boning Knife. This knife is essential for deboning meat.
Favourite Knife 🙂
This is modelled from a Japanese Santoku knife, which is a general purpose knife. Its scalloped blade prevent meat, vegetables and fish from sticking into the blade, which saves time decluttering the blade as you slice.
A sharpener rod is so useful in the kitchen. As soon as you feel your knife is starting to blunt, just reach for the rod and run your knife against it a few times and you have a sharp knife again. Couldn’t be easier.
Rice cooker, photo by JMorton
Rice Cooker – Kitchen Hero
I am fairly new to using a rice cooker. For 30 years here in London, I have been cooking rice, boiled in normal sauce pan. Sometimes, it cooks okey, sometimes it ends in disaster; pretty hit and miss and more on the miss. But I have never thought of getting a rice cooker. I supposed since living in London, I have not been eating rice like the way I ate it in the Philippines, which is almost 3 times a day, every day.
Here, I would cook rice, perhaps once every 3 months, if that. And my family here, do not really eat rice, only in curries or chili con carne.
It was watching Korean dramas that I got to notice the rice cooker. They have one in almost every drama or every household.
I ordered one in Argos. I chose the Breville model as it was on sale as well as it has just a good review. It is sizeable enough that you can cook rice for a large family.
I am so glad now that I bought a rice cooker. The rice is cooked perfect everytime and with such minimal effort. It automatically cook it and stay heating the rice afterwards, if so wish. No more burning rice, no more watery rice, no more half-cook rice.
Same amount of rice to same amount of water, that easy.
I can even cook rice late at night and be ready for fried rice in the morning.
Banga, photo by JMorton
Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot
Banga, photo by JMorton
These photos were taken at the Ferdinand Marcos Ancestral House Museum, which is located at Batac Ilocos Norte.
The above ‘banga’ can be found in the house kitchen.
Having lived in London for several decades, walking through Marcos’s house is like going back in time, especially around the kitchen. I suddenly recognised things that I have forgotten.
If you happen to be in Vigan and wanted to have a trip on memory lane, that is if you are as ancient as me, or curious about Ilocano household before the 90s, then I would recommend a visit to this museum.
We used banga to cook our viand or ‘abraw’ when we were still living in Marag. The conical shape of banga sit perfectly on the 3 prong terracotta stove which uses firewood.
Lemon Squeezer, photo by JMorton
Lemon has so many uses. And getting to the juice can sometimes be a bit of a trial. Therefore, a little mechanical help can be so welcome at the best of time.
I saw this squeezer when we visited one of our favourite Indian restaurants. This squeezer is neat elegant and so useful, just perfect for the dining table.
I have tried to look for the same style and design at Amazon but so far can’t find any. Well it looks like I will be busy trawling online for these little babies!
If you have any idea where I can buy a few, kindly let me know.
Labanos, photo by JMorton
Daikon Radish (Labanos)
Daikon or labanos may look strange to non-Asian consumer and cooks but this long pale tuber is delicious cooked using many recipes or serve raw in salad.
Below are some recipes which daikon can be used.
Ampalaya, photo by PH Morton
Snapped: Ampalaya (Bitter gourd)
It is said that if it is bitter then it is good for you. You only have to remember the taste of the different drugs (as in medicine) 🙂 you have taken over the years. Bitter as bitter can be!!!
In the bitterness scale ampalaya can reign supreme, so much so that it is now an accepted crude metaphor for a person being bitter. 🙂 🙂 🙂 like “Ampalaya ka naman, Ate” (you are a bitter gourd, sister) pertaining to someone, who is on a full on tirade. 🙂
Anyway, bitter it may be, ampalaya is delicious in its own way that it is a major ingredients in many a Filipino recipe. Just search for ampalaya or bitter gourd in the search box on the top right of this site.
By the way ampalaya or bitter gourd is also referred to as bitter melon.
Sigarilyas, photo by JMorton
Sigarilyas (Winged Bean)
Sigarilyas is much loved legume in the Philippines. It is an ingredients for dinengdeng and pinakbet. Two popular recipes from the Ilocano region adopted by the entire Philippine nation. 🙂
Young sigarilyas pods can be eaten raw in salad.
Sigarilyas is rich in iron, calcium and vitamin A & C.
Jar of Basmati Rice, Photo by JMorton
Rice – Asia’s Staple
The above is an Indian basmati rice. If you do not have a kitchen hero like the rice cooker, basmati rice is the easiest to cook, using an ordinary pan, among the various types of rice. It is almost full-proof as long as you follow the packet’s instruction.
Just over a week ago, I found out from my sister that rice can cause diabetes. Apparently the carbohydrates in rice can be converted into glucose in the body. So if you are rather partial to rice at every meal, then train yourself to regularly exercise. Sweat out that rice carb before it turns into glucose!