Biko From Alma’s Kitchen

Biko, photo by PH Morton

Biko From Alma’s Kitchen

My sister-in-law, Alma is a very capable woman.  A good example of a decent human being.  She is friendly, she is caring, she can’t do enough to be helpful to anyone.

She is well like by everyone.

Her abilities go on and on.  What I like most about her is her cooking.  She can really cook up a storm.

Her biko is to die for.  Peter, my English hubby, who do not usually eat anything made of rice love’s Alma’s biko.

The above photo was from Alma’s kitchen.  Doesn’t it look so delicious?  And it was so yummy.

Click here for the recipe!

Biko a a favourite of mine.  It reminds me of happy childhood and young adulthood in the Philippines. It reminds me of my loving family, cheerful, always ready for a laugh and adventure.

I remember my mother going to market and coming home with biko, which we would share and enjoy.

I remember my grandfather coming home with ‘pasalubong’ of biko, amongst others, when he goes out.

Biko is a symbol of halcyon days for me!

Egg & Tuna Salad

Boiled eggs

Egg & Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

6 eggs, hard boiled

1 small can tuna, flaked

2 stalks celery, sliced finely

4 tablespoon mayonnaise

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

  • Remove the shell off  and then carefully cut into the pointed end of the eggs.  From this incision, delicately take out the yolks.
  • Set aside the outer egg white as these will be used as an outer casing for the stuffing later on.
  • Mash the egg yolks in a bowl.  Finely chop the egg whites cut off from the pointed end of the boiled eggs and then add these to the mashed yolks.
  • Mix in the tuna and celery.
  • Add the mayonnaise.  Give it a good stir.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Now divided this tuna and egg stuffing and use this to fill in the egg white casings.  Keep everything tidy.
  • Serve in a bed of shredded lettuce.

 

 

Pioppi Diet, Secret to Living Longer?

Olive Oil

Pioppi Diet, Secret to Living Longer?

 

What is a Pioppi Diet?

Apparently there is a small village in Italy called Pioppi, where the average life span of a man is 89 and some lived to a hundred.  In this village, the ails of old age like dementia and diabetes are practically unheard of.

It is also interesting to note that American physiologist, Ancel Keys, who first authored the Mediterranean Diet, which by the way is now protected by UNESCO under the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, stayed in Pioppi for 28 years.  He left this beloved village at age 100 and died soon after at age 101.

It is being claimed that adhering to the Pioppi Diet can regulate the insulin and help to lose excess fat, thus lowering the risk of contracting many types of diseases and illnesses.

 

Guidelines for the Pioppi Diets in a nutshell:

 

These are the Dos:
  • Eat plenty of fibrous vegetables and whole fruits.
  • Keep eating red meat.  (I like)
  • Eat a handful of tree nuts everyday.  (like coconut?!!!, probably not, perhaps like almonds, walnuts, chestnuts but not peanut as it is legume)
  • Walk for at least half an hour a day.
  • Fast for 24 hours each week.  (Nooooooooo)
  • Eat three meals a day. Sup until you are full.
  • Enjoy a glass of red wine.
  • Do breathing exercises four times a day.
  • Sleep sever hours a night.
  • Have at least 2 tablespoonful of extra-virgin olive oil a day.
These are the Don’ts:
  • Do not eat added sugars, including fruit juice, honey and syrup.
  • Do not use seed oils, such as rapeseed, sunflower and soya bean oil.
  • Do not eat refined carbs such as in bread, pasta, noodles, cakes and biscuits (kill me now!)
  • Do not sit still for more than 45 minutes at a time.  Get moving!

Probiotics Vs Prebiotics

I have to admit that I have not really thought of prebiotics in great details before. I don’t know much about it and how it is different from the more familiar probiotics.  The birth of the yogurty drink called Yakult made sure of that. We know that probiotics has something to do with live bacteria, which is good for you.

To get the lowdown of these two bodies of science, below is chart from www.positive healthwellness.com

Probiotics Vs Prebiotics

PositiveHealthWellness

Probiotics And Prebiotics: What’s The Difference?

Christmas’ Forgotten List

Christmas Decor
Photo by JMorton

The item that would really worry me that I forgot to buy for Christmas is the battery. I remember one Christmas when I bought all these beautiful remote controlled toys for my son.

On Christmas morning, he can’t play with them because of the missing batteries. I saw how bravely he was trying to hide his disappointment but it did break my heart.

Now I always ensure that we have batteries for Christmas.

The next item is the tin foil, the aluminium wrap, to cover the turkey. Stress….

Then running out of gravy granules, that is total disaster. I like my roast swimming in gravy.

Christmas’ Forgotten List

Below is the top 10 forgotten items.  Hope this will be a reminder to make Christmas painless and extra special.

Top 10 forgotten Christmas items:

1.    Batteries
2.    Sellotape
3.    Crackers
4.    Gift tags
5.    Cranberry sauce
6.    Wrapping paper
7.    Pigs in blankets
8.    Napkins
9.    Beer
10.  Gravy

Please let us know your forgotten item or items and we will add it to our list.

Salt & Pepper Shrimps Recipe

Salt & Pepper Shrimps, photo by Bless Mercado

Salt & Pepper Shrimps Recipe

Salt and pepper chicken is a great favourite of our family.  We just love the crispness of the chicken and its spiciness.

We also recently discovered the shrimps version and it is even more luscious in taste.  There are two ways of cooking the shrimps.  If the shrimps or prawns are large, I would recommend perhaps to peel them but if there are small to medium in size, I would cook them in their shell.  The shell will add extra crispness in the texture after deep frying.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 300g medium shrimps or smaller shrimps; head removed, deveined
  • 3-4 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp sea salt granules
  • ¾ tablespoon ground Szechuan peppercorns or black pepper
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bird’s eyes chilli, chopped or a tsp of chilli flakes
  • coriander for decorating

Instructions

  1. Prepare the shrimp, remove the shells if you prefer.  Put the shrimps over some kitchen paper towel to drain thoroughly.
  2. Spice up the cornstarch with the fine salt, black pepper and garlic powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Drop the shrimps onto the cornstarch.  Coat the shrimps with the powdery mix.
  4. In a wok over low heat, stir fry the salt granules and Sichuan peppercorn.  Dry fry for a couple of minutes.  Set aside.
  5. Using a deep-fat fryer, fry the shrimps until they have turned golden.  Do this in batches to ensure even cooking.  Remove with slotted spoon.  Set aside.
  6. Add a tablespoon of oil to the wok with the salt and peppercorn mix.  Stir in the chopped garlic and chilli.  Fry for a minute or two.  Add the deep fried shrimps and mix them all in.
  7. Serve over a bed of salad leaves.  Enjoy!

Thought for the Day: Role Model

Children need models rather than critics.
– Joseph Joubert (1754- 1824)
French Essayist

Thought for the Day: Role Model

I think Monsieur Joubert has a point there.  Children are like sponges, they soak in everything.

Even those who seemed not listening is affected.

If they are forever criticised, these will impinged into their psyche.  They may grow up having low self-esteem and may lack confidence dealing with this mad world.

It is, therefore, more progressive to show these children kindness, respect and good hardworking ethos.  Be a role model to them.

Prepare these children to face the future with self-assurance, hope and conviction.  After all they are the new generation.

Homemade Baked Beans Recipe

Baked beans, chips and nuggets, photo by JMorton

Homemade Baked Beans Recipe

It is very rewarding, and not to mention delicious, to make your own dinner, especially if it is an old family favourite like the baked beans.

This is the important bit: soak the beans overnight.  Apparently this is to remove the phytic acid that beans contain which would make them more digestible.  I’ve always thought the soaking process was just to make them softer, ergo, would make them cook faster.

But apparently beans contain anti-nutrients, the phytic acid, and this can cause heartburn, indigestion, flatulence and reflux.  Ensure to discard the dirty soaking water afterwards.

Of course you can also get cans of beans in the supermarket, which is ready to cook.

Ingredients:

  • 400g dried haricot or cannellini beans  or two cans of ‘cooked beans”
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 150g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar

METHOD

  1. Soak the beans overnight. Drain them, place in a large casserole pan, cover the beans with water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Keep removing any scum that gather on top.
  2. Cook for about 45 minutes-1 hour until tender, then remove from the heat and leave to drain in a colander for half an hour.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onions and garlic.
  4. Stir in the pancetta or bacon and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and 400ml water, then tip in the beans. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1½-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick sauce and tender beans.
  6. If you are using canned beans, start from No 3. 🙂

Enjoy

Bacon Cabbage Soup Recipe

Chopped Pointed Cabbage – Photo by PH Morton

Bacon Cabbage Soup Recipe

This is a lovely one-dish meal, best served with buttered slices of bread.  Just right for a lazy weekend, especially in this colder weather.

Ingredients:

1/2 Pointed cabbage or Napa cabbage, sliced thinly

4 rashers of bacon, cut into inch-size

1 onion, chopped

2 vegetable or chicken bouillon dissolved in 3 cups warm water

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp virgin olive oil

fish sauce or salt

3 boiled eggs, peeled

Method of Preparation:

Saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil, add the bacon and cook until starting to crisp.

Stir in the cabbage. Allow the cabbage to soak in the bacon-flavoured oil.

Pour in the warm water.

Season with a bit of fish sauce or salt according to taste.

Remove from heat before the cabbage leaves are over-cooked.

Serve with the boiled eggs, each should be cut in half.

 

Thought of the Day: Having Chances

 Thought of the Day: Having Chances

The man who is not dead still has a chance.
– Lebanese Proverb

A very inspirational proverb indeed.  As long as blood is still flowing in your body, the heart is pumping and the brain is working, there is still a chance, even if a rather faint one, to overcome whatever upheaval one is facing!

Don’t give up too easily.

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