NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT Recipe – Soda Bread

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Who isn’t baking these days? I certainly am. One of my creations is soda bread. I mentioned it in New York Engagement on Chapter Nine where Krista had a family meal with the Ryans at their pub in Hell’s Kitchen. In the book, they served brown soda bread to go with Guinness caldereta, longganisa coddle, and chicken lechon. As the only flour I have at home was all-purpose white and I wanted it for breakfast and tea, I followed this Irish-American version with whiskey-soaked cranberries from seriouseats.com. The Ryans are Irish-Americans after all.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins or currants)
1/2 cup Irish whiskey (or hot water)
4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

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Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (~190 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the cranberries and whiskey (or hot water). Cover and set aside to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into slices, then work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it is fully incorporated. Add the honey, buttermilk, and the cranberries and soaking liquid mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed.

20200509_011808222_iOS3. Flour your work surface lightly and turn out the dough. Gently bring it together without kneading so as not to overwork it. Form the dough into a 6-8 inch disk about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 inches high and place it on your prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, make four cuts all the way through to create eight triangles.

4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the bread is nicely browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack. If you like a softer crust, cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel as it cools.

5. Serve plain or, as I do, with cream cheese and your favorite beverage. Mine is coffee with Baileys.  

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New York Engagement is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed paperback can be purchased from this website.

NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT Recipe – Guinness Caldereta

In New York Engagement, Craig prepared three dishes for the family lunch where Blake introduced Krista to the Ryans: longganisa coddle, chicken lechon with mushrooms and whiskey-cream sauce, and Guinness caldereta. All three are Irish and Filipino fusion dishes you can serve whole year round but especially fitting for St. Patrick’s Day. In some places, late winter snow still clings to the ground. In others, soft rain is already falling to prepare for new life to spring forth.

Guinness Caldereta is a hearty beef stew great for sharing with the family. Cooking time depends on the cut and amount of beef you choose, but you can never go wrong with a longer simmer for more tender meat. Some Filipinos don’t use carrots and potatoes in their caldereta. Some have peas and olives. Some Irish beef stews contain celery and turnips. You can personalize to your taste. This is my own interpretation of the dish.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

20180609_214259485_iOS2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast (or beef round for leaner option), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bottle (~ 11 ounces) Guinness beer
20 pieces peppercorn, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup red or green pepper, cut in strips
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 piece bay leaf
1/3 cup liver spread

 

Instructions:

  1. 20180609_230250007_iOSMarinate beef in mixture of 1/2 cup beer, peppercorn, salt, and garlic for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry beef until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes). Set aside.
  2. Sauté onions in one tablespoon of oil until translucent. Add marinade and tomato paste, stir for one minute, then deglaze with the remaining Guinness. Return beef to Dutch oven. Pour tomato sauce and beef broth.
  3. Cover and bake 1 hour. Stir in pepper, carrots, and potatoes. Re-cover and bake for about an hour or until beef and vegetables are tender. Blend in liver spread. Cook 5 more minutes. Serve with rice or soda bread.

 

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New York Engagement is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed paperback can be purchased from this website.

CARPE DIEM CHRONICLES Paperback Collection

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The first three books of Carpe Diem Chronicles (Boracay Vows, New York Engagement, and Singapore Fling) are now all available on paperback. As a special treat for those who order the set, I’m giving a bonus swag package containing:

  • Carpe Diem Chronicles Books 1, 1.5, and 2
  • a Carpe Diem Chronicles tote bag
  • Mama Sita’s Adobo and Chopsuey/Pancit Canton sauce mixes to make some of the Filipino dishes from Boracay Vows
  • Mama Sita’s Caldereta sauce mix to make the Irish-Filipino fusion dish Guinness Caldereta featured in New York Engagement
  • Asian Home Gourmet spice pastes for Hainanese Chicken Rice and Singapore Laksa, dishes highlighted in Singapore Fling
  • a handmade charm bracelet that can also be a fancy bookmark
  • Madeleine perfume bottle
  • bookmarks and postcards

The entire package is worth $88 and you can have it for only $39.99. Order here:

Carpe Diem Chronicles Paperback Collection

Signed copies of Boracay Vows, New York Engagement, and Singapore Fling plus a swag package. Inclusive of tax and US shipping.

$39.99

 

MEET THE PARENTS – A Carpe Diem Chronicles Foodie Event

Like many cultures, Filipinos attach great significance to the introduction of a special someone to their immediate family. It’s a signal of deep commitment to the relationship often called “taking it to the next level.”

In Boracay Vows, it was extra special for Blake when Krista’s mother invited him to their home in the province of Quezon. Marissa Lopez had been opposed to her daughter being in a relationship with a foreigner. He was understandably nervous right before their meeting but their warm hospitality, which Filipinos are known for, put him at ease immediately. Blake knew things were going to be all right when he and Krista were presented with a feast.

Here’s an excerpt from that meeting:

Krista stroked Blake’s back as they walked, and asked, “You okay?”

“I’m great, baby.” He smiled down at her. “They’re nice—your parents. I like them.”

“I told you—” The sight of their dining table, groaning under the weight of the platters and platters of her favorite dishes, brought her up short. Pancit Malabon, lechon kawali, embutido, menudo, kare kare, lumpiang Shanghai, relyenong bangus, sapin-sapin, maruya, and rice crowded the long table.

 

In New York Engagement, it was Krista’s turn to be introduced to Blake’s family. That meeting also involved food since it took place at the pub the Ryans co-own with the O’Connors. They serve a fusion of Irish and Filipino dishes since the cook/part-owner Belen O’Connor is from Palawan in the Philippines.

These were the food served as explained by Craig, one of Blake’s brothers who will be the hero of Samui Heat:

“In front of you, Krista, is Guinness caldereta, our version of beef stew. There’s steamed rice, of course. Or brown soda bread, if that’s what you prefer. Next to that is longganisa coddle. Instead of regular bangers, we use the sweeter Filipino pork sausage. Lastly, we have chicken lechon with mushrooms and whiskey-cream sauce. Enjoy.”

Both “Meet the parents” events were successful for Blake and Krista and at the end of New York Engagement, we see them planning a wedding for the following Christmas in the Philippines.

I will be writing that story soon, so watch out for announcements on publication here. In the meantime, please accept my gift for you this Christmas: the recipe of Longganisa Coddle.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 8 pork longganisa
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (substitute with 2 tablespoons dried if fresh is not available
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 pieces dried bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • my secret ingredient: patis (fish sauce) to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; cut into 1-inch pieces. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon drippings.
  2. Add longganisa to saucepan; cook about 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; leave whole.
  3. Add onions to saucepan; cook and stir about 8 minutes or until translucent. Return bacon and sausages to saucepan. Add carrots, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme; sprinkle generously with pepper. Pour broth over vegetables; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low; partially cover and simmer about 1 hour 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add fish sauce to taste. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired. Serve with rice or soda bread.

**Recipe adapted from Irish Pub Food by Publication International, Ltd.

Boracay Vows and New York Engagement are available in both eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed copies can be purchased on this website.

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Lumpia

In Boracay Vows, lumpia is one of the dishes Marissa Lopez prepared for Krista and Blake when they went to Quezon to meet the family. It also happened to be a belated birthday celebration for Krista, so there were plenty of food.

There are many variations of lumpiasariwa (fresh), Shanghai (thin pork spring rolls), hubad (unwrapped), vegetable, or with meat. The latest version I made has chicken in it, but can be done with ground pork or shrimp. Some people call it lumpiang togue, which translates to spring rolls with bean sprouts. Others use cabbage instead of bean sprouts, or sometimes both in their vegetable spring rolls. There’s not just one way of making these, all of them delicious.

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Ingredients: 

  • Vegetable oil
  • extra firm tofu, drained and cut into small squares
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 cup of shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut thinly on a bias
  • 8 oz. mung bean sprouts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of lumpia wrapper

 

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or pan. Add tofu and fry until brown. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add garlic and onion to hot oil and cook until softened. Pour the fish sauce on the side of the wok. Cook until smell goes away (2-3 minutes).
  3. Stir in shrimp (if using) and cook until pink. Add chicken, green beans, carrots, and bean sprouts. Cook until all ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and drain. Mix in the tofu. Let cool.
  4.  Lay the wrapper on a flat surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling two inches from the top. Fold the top end of the wrapper over the mixture. Fold the sides and roll tightly into a log. brush the bottom end with water to seal completely. Repeat until there’s no more filling or wrapper. (At this point you can stop to freeze the wrapped lumpia until you’re ready to eat it.)
  5. In a skillet, heat about two inches of oil. Add spring rolls with the seam side down. Fry, turning once or twice (about 2 minutes per side) until golden brown.
  6. Serve hot and crispy with garlic-spiced vinegar dip. Enjoy!

 

Boracay Vows is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed copy of the paperback can be purchased from this website.

 

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Pork Sinigang

Blake loves to watch Krista eat. In Chapter Three of Boracay Vows, they have their first “date”. Here’s a snippet:

“Krista tucked into her meal with gusto, leaving Blake enthralled by the way she puckered her lips after taking a sip of the broth from her sour sinigang soup. He had to mentally shake himself to pay attention to his own food.”

Sinigang, one of the most popular viands in the Philippines, is a sour and savory soup. It’s usually made with pork, but can also can be cooked using beef, shrimp, salmon or just vegetables. The typical sour ingredient is green tamarind fruit, but other fruits like kamias (bilimbi), guava, or santol can be used as well. As fresh tamarind is hard to find here in the US, I’ve taken to using a tamarind seasoning mix as a shortcut.

Sinigang na Baboy sa Sampalok

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Ingredients:  

  •  1 pouch soup base mix (I recommend also Mama Sita’s Tamarind Seasoning Mix)
  •  2 lbs. pork (I use pork belly, but other parts like shoulder or neck are fine, too)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 cup tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup onion, quartered
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 2″ length (Filipinos use sitaw or long beans)
  • 2 cups radish
  • 2 cups eggplant
  • 1 pc. long green pepper (Anaheim or other)
  • 2 cups leafy vegetables (spinach or kangkong/morning glory)
  • patis (fish sauce) to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring water, pork, tomatoes, and onion to a boil. Cook until pork is tender. Approximately 30 minutes. Simmer for five minutes.
  2. Pour in soup base mix. Increase the heat and bring to a roiling boil.
  3. Add green beans, radish, eggplant, green pepper, and fish sauce. Cover and simmer for five minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the leafy vegetables. Cover to steam-cook.
  5. Serve hot with rice.

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Like Krista in the book, I eat it with fried fish–tilapia, bangus (milkfish), or galunggong (mackerel scad)–but it can be served on its own.

Enjoy!

 

Boracay Vows is available in eBooks and paperback from major online retailers. Signed paperback copies can be purchased on this website.

 

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Pancit Bihon

The second recipe I’m sharing with you is pancit bihon, one of the three variants of pancit mentioned in Boracay Vows.

  • In Chapter Three, Blake included pancit bihon among his favorite Filipino dishes along with adobo and lechon.
  • In Chapter Seventeen, Krista ordered pancit canton at the restaurant.
  • In the Epilogue, Krista’s mom cooked pancit Malabon for her and Blake.

Usually stir-fried, pancit or pansit is a noodle dish the Filipinos adapted from the Chinese. It can be eaten for lunch, snack, or dinner and is a staple during fiestas and especially during birthday celebrations to accompany the wish for long life.

Again, there are as many ways to cook pancit bihon as there are islands in the Philippines. This is my version.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. cooking oil
  • minced garlic (from 2 cloves to a whole head)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup boiled pork (or chicken, and/or shrimp), sliced
  • 1 small cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, strips
  • 2 tbsps. soy sauce (add more for desired taste and color)
  • 1 1/2 c. broth (I use chicken)
  • 1 bunch Chinese leeks (or green beans)
  • 1 bundle first class bihon (rice noodles)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • (Optional) 2 pcs chorizo de bilbao or lap cheong (Chinese sausage)
  • spring onion, chopped
  • calamansi (or lime/lemon)

 

Instructions:

  1. Saute garlic in cooking oil, add onion, pork, carrots, and cabbage. Season with soy sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Add broth and simmer, add the leeks (or green beans). If using shrimp, add here.
  3. When the vegetables are cooked, mix in softened bihon noodles and season with salt.
  4. Garnish with chorizo and spring onions. Serve with calamansi.

 

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Boracay Vows is available in ebooks from all your favorite etailers and in paperback from Amazon. An autographed copy can be ordered on this website.

 

 

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Adobo

I am so happy that several of the reviews for Boracay Vows have mentioned the food.

An Amazon customer titled her review, “Made me sooo hungry,” and proceeded to say, “I also loved the setting and learning a little about the Philippines and the amazing food that I HAVE to try!”

An iBook reader enthused, “Congratulations and now I want Filipino foooooooood!!!!!”

A photographer friend endorsed Boracay Vows on her page and inspired the quote I used here, “… it’s got plenty of steam and mouth-watering descriptions of food.”

In the Author’s Note, I promised I will post recipes here and I’m starting with adobo, the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.

On Chapter Four, Blake and Krista had their first meal together. Blake ordered chicken and pork adobo, one of his favorite Filipino dishes and raved about it.

““Hmm, sarap!” The garlic saltiness of the adobo sauce and the perfect tenderness of the meat hit his taste buds and made him groan in satisfaction.”

With 100 Million Filipinos scattered over 7,100+ islands, it is not surprising that adobo is cooked in a variety of ways. Pork and chicken are most commonly used, but other meats, seafood, and vegetables can substitute as well. This recipe is the way I’ve cooked it for more than 20 years. It serves four and can be prepared in as short as 2 hours to as long as 10.

CHICKEN AND PORK ADOBO

20180811_234836883_iOSIngredients:

  • 1 lb. pork belly (loin for leaner option), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. chicken (boneless/skinless for lower-fat), cut into serving pieces
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced or crushed
  • 4 pieces dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low-sodium, if available)
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Instructions: 

  1. Combine first seven ingredients and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Best if left in a closed container overnight.
  2. Heat pot, put in meat, marinating liquid, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour, or until meat is tender. If necessary, add more water.
  3. Strain the meat from liquid, then set aside. In a skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the crushed garlic. Stir in the meat and cook until all sides are browned. Pour the liquid over the meat and continue simmering until sauce thickens.
  4. Serve hot over rice or with your favorite pancit.

Boracay Vows is available in ebook from your favorite etailers and in paperback from Amazon and The Ripped Bodice.

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Credits:

 

Eating And Reading Are Two Pleasures That Combine Admirably

I love reading. I love food. I love reading books with food in them. I love it so much that all my books will feature local food from their respective setting (Philippines, Singapore, Thailand). Also, the hero of my third book, Craig, is a chef.

I thought of this quote by CS Lewis because I recently read 20170518_191314402_iOStwo food-centric romance novels – Sherry Thomas’s Delicious and Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Thief. The food descriptions in both novels were so vivid and sumptuous that the first thing I did after reading was go to a French café and buy madeleines and chocolate tartlets and mini-croissants.

I always give high marks to books that make me react – whether it is to cry, laugh, or think. Those that induce me to go out and buy food deserve no less than five stars. It doesn’t hurt that they are fantastic stories told by talented authors. These were my first books by these two writers and they won’t be the last. I already have their backlists on my Overdrive holds. What are a dozen more books to pile onto my TBR mountain? Why, nothing. Nothing at all.

 

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