There are food pairings that have stood the test of time, and for good reason. These classic combinations are well-loved either for their complimentary properties or their contrast. Think chocolate and mint, honey and lemon, caramel and salt, banana and brown sugar, and so on. One of the most popular (and prettiest) combinations in my opinion is strawberries and cream. Tart, sweet strawberries and rich cream go hand in hand. Visually, they also make a stunning pair, with the bright red berries glistening against the cream’s stark white.
One of my favorite drinks to have is a bloody mary because it’s one of the drinks that you can drink at all times of the day. I remember having a bloody mary with brunch because it has a savory flavor profile that’s not normal in most drinks. And when I think of Christmas, I think of spice and the smell of pine and an open fire. So when I was younger, when we used to pick our Christmas tree, it wasn’t always perfect so we would cut off branches and we would throw them into the fire place. I loved the smell, and I liked the way it would pop in the fire. So I decided to smoke some rosemary leaves to mimic that smell in the bloody mary. And back then, the only thing we could drink was fruit punch. So I decided to make a hard fruit punch. I called it 12 days of Christmas punch because it has 12 ingredients all together. If you want to make it for the kids, just remove the alcohol, but I’m sure this colorful red punch will lighten up any party. Just be careful because it’s going to creep up on you. Happy holidays, and I wish you a very merry Christmas. I still would love to hear how you enjoyed these recipes, so hit me up on Facebook (Chef Bruce Lim) and Instagram (@chef_bruce_lim) for your thoughts.
Collaborations are opportunities to exchange knowledge, to widen one’s view and to share the limelight. While creative collaborations usually involve contrasting styles and backgrounds, a partnership between two of the most prominent French chefs in the country can only mean one thing—a meal that’s truly one for the books.
This is my version of what looks like a Finnish Christmas Ham. While the addition of mustard and bread crumbs are from Finland, any cooked ham would do. To add a bit of sweetness (which Filipinos, including myself, love), I cooked and glazed the ham with a mixture of pineapple, molasses and brown sugar.
For the past eight years, COOK Magazine has been holding an annual thanksgiving party for its advertisers, columnists and friends. This year’s celebration, “Slumber Ball—A High Gloss Pajama Party,” was conceptualized by the COOK team to provide our guests with a relaxed and fun-filled atmosphere. The theme reflects the working environment at COOK—laid-back, filled with dreamy food and recipes, and lots of fun and laughter. While publishing a monthly magazine isn’t a walk in the park, 18 years in the industry is proof that when you do what you love, it won’t ever feel like work.
For anyone remotely interested in food and restaurants, you’d have to be living under a rock for you to not have heard of Anton Diaz. One of the first to popularize the medium and arguably the most influential, Anton has made blogging a byword in the local food scene. While visiting restaurants and reviewing food is what Our Awesome Planet is mainly known for, they are also a popular travel blog, documenting their family adventures and sharing these with readers. The blog, as Anton himself discloses, started as a way of documenting their family journey through the years. It’s something their sons can look back to, a “record” of the milestones, the trips and the epic meals. That the public has taken to his blog and used his entries as a food guide wasn’t his initial intention.
My version is heavy with red bell peppers and Pimenton Dulce (sweet Spanish paprika). Of course, the “sweet” in the paprika isn’t really sugary, it’s more of a way to distinguish it from the hot kind of paprika. As I’ve said, the way I make Callos, or even Paella, is with lots of red bell peppers, cooked low and slow to form a sofrito, the base of sautéed aromatics, similar to our ginisa. As a foil to the sweet, salty chorizo and olives provide the savory component to the otherwise bland ox tripe. The spice comes from a bit of chili powder and black pepper.
Ice-cream shops that call themselves Gelato places are a dime a dozen these days, and some of them not very good that the term “gelato” has ceased to mean anything. Technically, it means ice cream in Italian, but Italian gelato is pretty specific in how it’s made. First of all it’s made from milk not cream, and you would think cream is better, but the extra butterfat in cream dulls flavors in favor of mouthfeel. Gelato is also very dense because it has less air whipped into it that you expect an intensely flavored scoop. So I’ve become quite skeptical of self-proclaimed gelato shops. I thought Gelatofix being a chain would be one of those kinds of shops that will be gelato in name only, but I was pleasantly surprised that not only is it real gelato, it is quite good.
THE long-delayed passage of a bill institutionalizing the National Center for Geriatric Health (NCGH) has been pushed anew in an event for the elderly, organized by the News and Information Bureau (NIB).
SPiCEF and sweetened is something that I love to do when I’m playing with flavor profiles. But most of the time, when something is supposed to be spicy, I make it sweet and vice versa. A lot of times when I plan to make recipes, I try to think about how flavors react to each other. Something as rich as a beef cheek, I will add something sweet to cut through the fattiness. And my cooking technique will be low and slow to break all the connective tissues and grizzle in the cheeks. But when you do it right, it becomes a meat candy. I will pair it with a spiced sweet potato which has all the comfort of a sweet potato mash but I’m going to spice it up to give it a kick. So guys let me know how you enjoyed this recipe or made it your own, hit me up on Facebook (Chef Bruce Lim) and Instagram (@chef_bruce_lim) for your thoughts about my dish.
JUST when we think that we’ve already tasted all kinds of Chinese food that could ever be served to us, a casual restaurant in Robinsons Place Manila is introducing us northern China’s well-kept dining secrets. Mai Wei Fang is currently serving authentic northern Chinese style of cooking that focuses on using wheat flour ingredients.
I have very distinct memories of Taal Vista Hotel because it’s such a stalwart of the place that it’s practically synonymous with Tagaytay. If you lived in Manila, and in my case—the South—you would inevitably find yourself there several times a year at certain points in your life. One of my most memorable is also the silliest. It was back in the late ’90s, when my friends and I found ourselves daring to each other to roll down the long and empty carpeted hallway leading to the rooms. I believe the three of us literally laid down on the carpet and rolled all the way down.
Saying that Korean culture has made a big splash on our shores is a huge understatement. From songs to TV shows to fashion to food, South Korea hasn’t just influenced our daily lives—their culture has actually become part of the mainstream. As a chef, I’ve always thought of Korean food as an easy pleaser. Having a couple of dominant flavors and a few essential ingredients like Korean chili and miso pastes, you’d be hard-pressed to find really bad Korean food. It all seems so simple, a bit of meat or seafood, some garlic, leeks, a bit of Gochujang paste and sesame oil and you have a decent Korean dish. For me, consistency and simplicity make good eating, and with a few kitchen staples, cooking and eating Korean is pretty foolproof.
Few desserts are as iconic as an apple pie. While these baked, sweet, steaming pies scream American countryside, a few other countries have their versions too. Apple pies are popular for a number of reasons. Apples are relatively inexpensive and, with the addition of a few common ingredients, can be transformed into the perfect blend of sweet, tart and spicy. Think of apple pie and it is difficult to imagine it without the image of golden lattice pastry or some kind of crumble on top. While those versions look good, too much pastry or crumble can overwhelm the fruit itself.
Although popular all over Southeast Asia, satay is said to have originated in Java, Indonesia. Derived from Middle Eastern kebabs, brought to Java by Muslim traders, this popular skewered meat dish has evolved into something distinctly Southeast Asian in taste. While each country has its own version, including our own Muslim brothers in Mindanao’s Sati, the concept remains the same—skewered meat, served with a sweet/spicy sauce. Like Japanese yakitori, satay can be made from a variety of meats, but most common are chicken, lamb/goat, beef and pork.
The business of restaurants, including the coverage of it, the food scene, etc., can be such an exercise in excess and indulgence that when an opportunity to shed a light into the reverse side of that coin—hunger, specifically malnutrition in a country like the Philippines—people are willingly on board. Some people in the business of food already do it on their own. COOK Magazine’s columnist and food/lifestyle personality Sabrina Artadi has a weekly feeding program she put together herself. But the organization and logistics of it can still be intimidating to others. Chiqui Mabanta of Corner Tree Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant, said in her talk that echoes those concerns, “We want to help, but we don’t know how.” A campaign called Restaurants Against Hunger makes it easier for restaurants and diners to do just that.