Good Bye 2009 and Hello 2010

2009 has certainly been busy. At the end of 2008 the only goal I really had for myself for 09 was to travel alone. Although I met family along the way, I did it. My family were worried about me doing it, but it was something that I had to prove to myself. I had people in my life that I thought were my friends that didn't believe in me. I proved them wrong. The trip I took not only made me a stronger person, it also made me realize that the most important thing is to make myself happy, before making others happy.

Grand Central Station New York

Abraham Lincoln Washing DC

Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas NV

When I got back from my trip, with the help from some fabulous friends I started this blog. They pushed me to do what I should have done a long time ago. It ignited a fire in me to learn more about food and my culture.

Starting the blog enabled me to meet some fellow food bloggers. I remember how nervous I was about meeting them all. I guess I was nervous because I read their blogs almost every day. I remember myself saying how star struck I would be .I finally met some friends that had the same passion for food as I did.

Another highlight for this year would have to be the World Chef Showcase. This is something that I didn’t get to blog about. (I misplaced the geek stick that most of my photos were on). I went to the Japan Program 6. I arrived so early and I couldn’t believe my luck. The first person I saw was Tetsuya Wakuda. He said hello to me and I asked him for a photograph. He asked me to wait while he changed and came out with Yoshihiro Murata. Yoshihiro Murata is an expert on all things UMAMI. To top it off, I also met MasterChef judge Matt Preston.

Yoshihiro Murata and Tetsuya Wakuda

Matt Preston and I

It’s certainly been a great year.

So with 2009 almost over, it’s time to set some goals for 2010. Some of mine are:

- To take some cooking and baking classes
- To meet more of my fellow food bloggers
- To be daring in the kitchen

I couldn't end this post without some Food Porn.

The Ensaimada I made with my mum.

The Leche Flan I made for the very first time.

The day I made Macarons and actually got feet. Yihee

Red Velvet Cupcakes - My most favourite Cupcake

I hope you enjoyed my last post for this year..



A Refreshing Summer Shake

Lets face it, Australia gets pretty darn hot in Summer. Its humid, sticky and it just feels like you are in an oven 24/7. An icy shake is a great way to cool yourself down. When I went to Holy Basil with some friends I had a Lychee Shake. It was so good. Chunks of Lychee and ice. It was ultra refreshing.

At a recent farewell dinner, our friend Cecilia came with ingredients to try and replicate the drink we had at Holy Basil.

The shake was so much better than the one with had at the restaurant. Celz added some mint and lime to make it extra special.

Lychee Shake with a hint of lime and mint


2 cans of Lychees in Syrup
1 to 2 cups ice
Juice from half a lime
A few mint leaves


In a blender pour in lychees with syrup, lime juice, mint leaves and half of the ice. Blend until smooth. Put the rest of the ice into the blender and blend until all the ice is crushed.
Pour into tall glasses.
For an alcoholic kick, why not add some Midori or Vodka.


Kulinarya - Noche Buena

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

For this months Kulinarya we decided to do Noche Buena - What is a Filipino Christmas to you? To me a typical Filipino Christmas is a gathering of family, lots of food, lots of presents and church.

This year is going to be different. Most of my relatives have gone to America or the Philippines. We have all decided to have a low key Christmas. What does low key mean to the Eugenio Family? It means no presents, lots of food, relaxing, naps after huge meals and catching up.

For Kulinarya I decided to do my take on Lechon. Lechon is suckling pig roasted whole and normally served with Lechon sauce. Lechon sauce is made from chicken livers, vinegar, sugar, breadcrumbs, garlic and onions.

The recipe below is for a piece of pork belly. An Australian version of a very traditional Filipino dish during Christmas.

Anna Gare – Fennel and Rosemary Pork Belly


1 big pork belly, about 2 kg (no bones if possible)
8 large cloves of garlic
3 table spoons rosemary chopped
3 table spoons fennel seeds
salt & pepper

Vegetables for roasting belly on

5 sticks of celery
4 carrots
2 brown onions, cut in quarters
Sprigs of rosemary

Preparing the Pork

1. Score pork skin using a very sharp knife

2. Blanch skin side only of belly in frying pan with shallow boiling water

3. Put garlic rosemary, fennel and salt in mortar and pestle and grind to paste- rub over flesh of pork (not on skin)

4. Lay vegetables on a big non stick baking tray and place belly on top skin side up

5. Bake in oven for about 2.5hrs 170 degrees then turn oven up to 250 degrees

6. Salt the skin and cook for a further ½ hour till it crackles up

Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn and if you are having trouble with it crackling, turn on the grill, but place the pork on mid to low shelf as it burns easily

With the Pork Belly we served some sides. They were a string bean and soy bean salad with an achovie and lemon dressing and a potato salad with dill.

We are in Australia after all so why not a few prawns for the BBQ.. My Aunt also made a grilled salmon with terriyaki sauce.

For the dessert I wanted to attempt to make a Croquembouche. It didn't turn out the way I planned and I also burnt myself pretty bad with the toffee. I was still proud of them, especially since this was the first time I made them.

I hope you all enjoyed this months Kulinarya Cuisine. Have a safe and fun Christmas everyone. Cheers to lots of presents and lots of fantastic food.

If you are interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to leave a comment or drop by the food blogs below and leave a comment there - we would love to hear from you!

I would also like to welcome some new Kulinarya members



The Counter - Custom Built Burgers

What makes a perfect burger? For me a perfect burger is a soft burger bun, a beef pattie that’s medium to well done, cheese and barbeque sauce. Everyone is different. When Chris, Nas and I caught up with Lauran we decided to go to The Counter.

I first heard about The Counter from a post on Citrus and Candy. The burgers looked amazing. Chris also said that she has been there before and liked it.

For a Tuesday night it was pretty busy. We were seated and presented with a sheet to build our own burgers. So many choices, Step 1 through to Step 6.

We ordered some sides to go with the burgers. You can't have a burger without the sides. We got the sweet potato fries, french fries with cheese and some crispy fried onion rings.

Nas ordered the 150g beef burger with Gruyere, jalapenos, grilled onions, sprouts and beef chilli $16.90.

It arrived with a generous amount of chilli on the side to eat with the Nas Burger eheehehe.

Lauran ordered the 150g beef burger with cheddar cheese, grilled pineapple, grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and a well cooked egg $16.50. Loz is a burger expert and I think she was happy with her creation.

My eyes are sometimes bigger than my stomach and I decided that I would order a bigger burger. I got the 300g beef burger with American cheese, beetroot, dill pickles, roasted corn and black bean salsa and bacon $17.50.

The salsa was delicious. The corn was well char grilled and it had a bit of a kick. There was so much meat that I basically just ate around the sides of the meat and left a huge chunk behind.

Chris ordered the 150g burger in a bowl (no bread). She had this with American cheese, jalapenos, grilled onions and honey cured bacon with a roasted garlic aioli $15.50. Her burger looked delicious. I will definately try the burger in a bowl when I go to The Counter next.

The Counter is a really good place to go if you want a burger done your way. The servings are enormous so I suggest sticking with the 150g on your first visit.
The Counter
118 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest NSW 2065

Tuesday - Wednesday 5pm-9pm
Thursday - Friday 11:30am-10pm
Saturday - 12pm-10pm
Sunday - 12pm-9pm
+61 02 9436 2700


Crispy Pata and CP Nights..

Friends are a dime a dozen. They are the ones that always have my back. They are also the ones that encourage me to do things that I enjoy, like this blog.

As friends we like to share things with each other. A few years back I decided to have the girls over for a mini Filipino feast. This was my chance to share with them what I love about Filipino Cuisine.

One of the dishes that I ordered was Crispy Pata or CP. Crispy Pata is a well known dish in the Philippines. It is a piece of pork leg that has been boiled and then deep fried. The skin becomes very crunchy and the meat is sticky and tasty.

I didn’t think that a piece of pork leg could bring my friends and I closer. We would get together for CP Night at my house. Anna and Helena would fight over bones and we would chit chat about each others lives and when the next CP night would be.

When Helena and Anna left for Amsterdam our CP nights stopped. This was a dish I shared with them and to tell you the truth it just didn’t taste the same without them. Although I didn’t get to share CP Night with Anna when she was in Sydney. I will hopefully have the chance to share it with Helena. Food and Friendship are a match made in heaven. It brings people together and gives you a reminder of them even if they are on the other side of the world.

Below is a recipe that I found for Crispy Pata. (Make sure you try it)
Crispy Pata


1 pork leg
2 cups water
sea salt or fish sauce
1 tablespoon peppercorns
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Oil for frying
1. Clean pork leg. Cut a few small slits into the skin but not all the way to the bone.
2. Place pork into a big pot. Add the water just enough to cover, salt or fish sauce, peppercorns, soy sauce, crushed garlic and bay leaves.
3. Covered and boil over high heat. Reduce the heat after bowling and remove all the foam on top.
4. The meat should be slow cooked for about an hour until just tender but not falling off the bone.
5. Drain the pork when done and let all the juices settle.
6. Deep-fry CP until golden brown.
Crispy Pata is normally served with a dipping sauce made from vinegar, onions, chilli, salt, pepper and a touch of sugar.


Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate and Choco-Hoto-Pots

Green & Blacks sent me some of their organic chocolate to try. Green & Blacks are well known for their ethically sourced ingredients, making sure that there is a perfect balance between taste and principle regarding their products.

I first saw Nigella Lawson’s Choco-Hoto-Pots on Nigella Bites. I am all for making easy but delicious desserts. It took 10 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to bake.

Nigella Lawson's Choco-Hoto-Pots


Butter for ramekins

¾ cupsemi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
¾ cups superfine sugar
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup white chocolate chips


1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees.
2. Butter four 2/3-cup ramekins and set aside.
3. Using a microwave or double boiler, melt together the semisweet chocolate and the butter,set aside to cool.
4. In a bowl combine eggs, sugar and flour. Add cooled chocolate mixture and mix well, fold in white chocolate chips.
5. Divide mixture evenly among ramekins and place on baking tray.
6. Bake until tops are shiny and cracked and chocolate beneath is hot and gooey. This will take about 15 minutes.

I used Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate with 85% cocoa. It was perfect for this recipe. The Hoto Pots were incredibly rich. It is best served warm with some cream or yoghurt.

Want some free chocolate while shopping for some funky threads?? Well Green & Blacks and Gorman's have joined forces this December. Every customer that makes a purchase at Gorman's will receive a bar of Green & Blacks Chocolate. What a perfect way to end a day of shopping. That's not the best part. Hidden amongst the samples are 5 lucky tickets to win the Ultimate Wardrobe worth $1500 and a hamper full of glorious chocolate.

You can find Gorman's Boutiques in Victoria (Chadstone, GPO, Prahan, Fitzroy, South Yarra, Doncaster), New South Wales (Paddington, Chatswood, Bondi Junction) and Queensland (Brisbane).


Kazbah and Some Zumbo Treats

On Saturday morning I was up by 6am and out the door by 6:30am. I picked up my cousin Queenie and drove to Balmain. Queenie wanted to go to Adriano Zumbo to get some Macarons and a few other treats to try. Since Trissa lived in the area, I asked her to meet us for breakfast. She suggested Kazbah. Kazbah on Darling specialises in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine.

After a quick stop at Adriano Zumbo we walked to Kazbah. The breakfast tagine immediately caught my eye. I decided to order the Lamb Breakfast Tagine which had lamb mince, sucuk, spinach, roast capsicum, roast tomato, caramelised onion, feta and eggs. This comes with Turkish toast and Lebanese bread $18.00.

The tagine was hearty and spicy. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the middle eastern flavours were strong. Although this is a Tagine for one, you can certainly feed two people with the amount of food that comes out.

Queenie ordered the French Toast with Bacon and Glazed Baby Figs $16.50. The French toast was a thick slice of Brioche, it was extremely sweet but the salty bacon cut through the sweetness.

Trissa ordered the Scrambled Eggs with Turkish bread and the Breakfast Shish Kebab $16.50. The shish kebab came out with 3 different kinds of sausage and a piece of pork belly.

On top of what we ordered, we also got some haloumi. Haloumi is in my top 5 of cheeses. Salty, squeaky goodness.

Kazbah is located in 379 Darling Street Balmain. Breakfast is served from 9am to 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. I would suggest making a booking to secure a table.

No post is complete without a bit of Food Porn. Queenie bought a few little treats from Zumbo. She got a Chocolate Torte and a selection of Macarons.

If you are ever in Balmain make sure to drop by Adriano Zumbo. The Patisserie is located in 296 Darling Street Balmain.


MasterChef Australia The CookBook and Pumpkin Risotto

Brett from Random House was kind enough to send me a copy of the new MasterChef Cookbook. The cook book is full of recipes from the top 20 contestants, as well as tips and tricks in the kitchen.

Looking through the cook book took me back to all the challenges the contestants had to face. Recipes in the cookbook include Luke’s Singapore Mud Crabs, Poh’s Chicken Rendang and Andre’s Polenta and Semolina with Bug Bisque.

I decided to make something simple and delicious. Risotto is a favourite in the Eugenio household so I chose to make the Pumpkin Risotto.

Pumpkin Risotto


4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
60g butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
1 1/2 cups (300g) Arborio rice
1/3 cup (80ml) white wine
200g piece of pumpkin peeled, seeded and grated
1/2 cup (40g) parmesan, finely grated
50g fetta
Basil and olive oil for garnish


1. Bring the stock to the boil in a medium saucepan with 1 cup (250ml) water. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until required.

2. Melt one third of the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the rice, and coat in the butter. Pour the wine in around the edge of the pan.

3. Add the hot stock mixture a little at a time, just enough to cover the rice. Simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, until the stock is absorbed. Keep adding the stock in batches, shaking the rice as it cooks. This will take about 20-25 mins, until all the stock is used and the rice is al dente.

4. Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin and half the remaining butter in a medium saucepan. Cook, covered, over medium low-heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 mins until very soft. Mash until smooth.

5. Add the remaining butter to the rice, along with the pumpkin puree and the parmesan. Gently fold through until just combined. Spoon onto a serving plate and crumble the fetta over. Sprinkle with the basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil.

The risotto was really easy to make. The feta went well with the sweetness of the pumpkin puree.
The MasterChef CookBook is now available for purchase online Its a great Christmas present for any MasterChef fan and retails for $39.95.


Junior MasterChef Egg Kit and Longsilog

Over the past few years my interest in cooking, baking and learning new techniques has grown. One of the many reasons why I love to cook and bake is to make people happy. On relaxing days I no longer catch up on drama shows, instead I watch cooking shows like Barefoot Contessa, Martha Marathons and MasterChef.

When the first series of MasterChef Australia was on, I would rush home and watch it. It was like a soap opera for foodies. I had a crush on Andre, I thought Poh was cool and Julie reminded me of my mum.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the team that rolled out a range of Junior MasterChef products. The products are designed to teach kids skills in the kitchen. There are 6 kits all together these are the cookie kit, cake kit, egg kit, cupcake kit, rice kit and pizza kit. The products come in fun bright colours which will ensure hours of fun in the kitchen.

I know these products are made for kids but I’m a kid at heart, so I decided to use the egg kit to make the egg part of my favourite Filipino meal which is Longsilog. This is basically a combination of Longanisa (Filipino Sausage), eggs and garlic rice. This dish is often eaten for breakfast and found at all the street stalls in the Philippines.

Scrambled Eggs


2 eggs beaten
1 tablespoon water
salt & pepper


1. Beat eggs with water, salt and pepper (I used the MasterChef egg bowl and whisk)
2. Heat a frying pan with a touch of oil
3. Add egg mixture and cook stirring from the outside in
4. Remove from the heat when eggs are still slightly runny

Set aside. The eggs should continue cooking in the pan.

Garlic Rice (Sinangag)


4 cups cooked rice
2 cloves crushed garlic
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon oil


1. Heat oil in a frying pan
2. Add crushed garlic and fry till light brown
3. Add the rice and fry for a few minutes
4. Add salt and pepper to taste

Serve the egg and garlic rice with some Longanisa. You can buy this at any good Filipino stores.

Junior MasterChef products are available at all the leading retailers such as Myer, K-Mart, Target and Big W. It's the perfect Christmas present so hurry while stocks last.

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