Basic Stock Recipe: Leftover vegetables and other scraps that can save you some money

Alternate title: Stock so rich it can buy you, your friends, and that club.

It’s rare that I use up all of the ingredients that I buy whenever I cook at home. More often than not, I would end up with half an onion or a few sticks of celery left over from the recipe. Luckily, these vegetable scraps and any other bones or shells would actually make a delicious stock that you can keep in your freezer for future use!

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Some leftover vegetables I found lying around. These three are the main vegetables I put whenever I make a vegetable stock.

Note: For this batch of stock, I used the prawn shells from last week’s gambas for a flavorful shrimp stock.

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Gambas al Ajillo: Building flavors to complement rather than overpower the traditional

One mention of gambas here in the Philippines would usually bring to mind images of shrimps in a deep red-orange sauce (that’s usually more sweet than spicy) with some bellpeppers and onions thrown in for good measure. In some cases, this even comes in a smoking hot sizzling plate. Personally, I’m not a fan of this style of gambas mainly because the shrimps tend to come out overcooked and all the flavors that are added in the dish just overwhelm the subtle taste of the shrimp.

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What you’ll see when you search for “gambas” in Google.

My preference for gambas is to have it as gambas al ajillo, shrimps in garlic to put it simply. Traditional recipes I have seen make use of just four ingredients outside of your basic salt and pepper seasoning: Shrimps, olive oil, garlic, and chili. The dish, as you would expect, lets the shrimps shine with none of the other flavors getting in the way. My take on this though adds a few more ingredients that work to elevate the shrimp flavor even more than just having your basic ingredients.

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Pan-grilled Pork Belly: The no frills dish when you want something simple but delicious

The new cast iron pan and my baby mint plant got me excited to make something in the kitchen tonight. I wanted to make something simple and the first thing that came to mind was some inihaw na liempo or grilled pork belly. This was a dish that always takes me back to Sunday lunches back home with the family and how I did it couldn’t have been simpler! A word of caution though: This can get smokey.

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The plant that made me cook.

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Halal from the other side: Checking out the street meat from halfway across the world

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My friend Jizz and I decided to meet up a few days ago to try out Peperoni Pizzeria, a new pizza shop in the not-quite-open-yet Uptown Mall. Since our other friend that we were planning to meet up with wasn’t going to be in Peperoni, we decided to just check out Halal Guys instead. Now I’ve always heard stories from my friends about how awesome a place Halal Guys was in New York. How it was a stall that you should NOT miss if you find yourself in the Big Apple. Needless to say, much was expected.

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Minimalism: When Less Needs More

(Note: Before you even begin reading this, please be warned that this is possibly my lengthiest post. I will not share and food or cocktail recipes nor will I share lighting information. What you will read here are some random thoughts that have been running around in my head since my last few shoots.)

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Family shoots, portfolio portraits, and minimalist food photos: A summary of my photography in the first three weeks of 2016.

Hello, 2016! Happy new year to everyone taking the time to read this entry, my first for the year. The first two weeks of January have been exciting, to say the least. In the first three weekends of the year, I’ve already had the chance to shoot a variety of subjects ranging from family portraits to food shots for a restaurant menu to a more conceptual coffee shoot, all of which have their own set of quirks.

What surprised me though was my new found appreciation for shooting food on a purely white background, something that I didn’t think of highly prior to shooting the restaurant menu and coffee. I know that my little disclaimer on not thinking highly of this genre of food photography might seem a bit douche-y but please do let me explain. My initial foray into food photography was focused mainly on one thing: Mimic what I see in food magazines and learn to improve on these or put my own twist to it. This, in hindsight, wasn’t really the best mindset to have with most food magazines showing photos that are, more often than not, rustic.

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Carbonara: The pasta that’s quick to prepare but is sure to satisfy!

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I’ve been craving for a good carbonara ever since this video of some Italian restaurant started making its rounds in my Facebook feed. Since it was just my dad and my younger brother here at home for a few weeks, I decided to cook up a batch for a midweek dinner! I already had them block off one weeknight for this and tonight finally arrived! So here’s the basic recipe that I used for the pasta. These are pretty rough estimates but this is the closest I’ve gone to actually measuring my ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 300g Spaghetti
  • 120g Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Whole eggs
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 6 strips Streaky bacon
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Cook the bacon strips over medium heat to preferred doneness. Once cooked, cut into pieces. Leave the oil warm on the pan.
  2. Combine the eggs, yolk, parmesan cheese, and black pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Boil your pasta up until a minute before indicated cooking time.
  4. Transfer the pasta into the pan with the bacon fat and toss it around in the oil.
  5. While the pasta and pan are still warm but not piping hot, add in the egg, cheese, and black pepper mixture.
  6. Add in your cut bacon and enjoy!

This recipe is just right for three people and is perfect with a little freshly toasted garlic bread. If you want a very quick recap of the procedure, do check out my 15 second recipe video over at Vimeo. Just click on the link below!

Recipe video link: To follow