After reading GrabYourFork Helen’s post on the different Filipino food and ingredients during the food tours at Bankstown Food Festival, I got to thinking about my own home versions of some of the meals she has showcased. Champorado, dilis, agar agar, kutsinta, etc. I know that Filipino food isn’t as mainstream as some of the more popular Southeast Asian counterparts, but I think it deserves a spot in the hall of fame.

The whole concept of pikadilyo is simply minced meat with some sauce, root vegetables, and that distinctive orange colour from the less expensive version of saffron, achuete. It is a common karinderya (street food stalls) dish served with rice anytime of the day.

Oh, it even has a Wiki page! Check it out – http://tl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikadilyo (not much info, but still)

Helen was right when she said that Filipino food is an amalgamation of different cultural influences from all over the world: Malaysian, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and American to name a few. Furthermore, you will see that alot of the dishes have Spanish or Chinese names, and this was because of the 300 years of colonisation of the former and the influx of migrants of the latter. Pikadilyo was derived from the Latin Americas and has somehow found its way to the Philippines, and I’m assuming this was thanks to our European travellers led by Ferdinand Magellan.

My version of pikadilyo has a few missing characters. Firstly, I don’t use achuete, only mainly because I wasn’t able to buy any from the Filipino shops. Secondly, no capsicums on this particular pikadilyo as well, only because I didn’t have any at home. Pardon me. However, I’d normally put green and red capsicums for that extra added crunch and a much more authentic Spanish taste.


Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium size onion, chopped finely
1 large tomato, chopped roughly
500g minced pork or beef
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 medium size carrots, diced
2 medium size potatoes, diced
1/2 medium size capsicum (green or red), diced
1/2 cup sultanas
2 tbsp tomato sauce
Salt and pepper

  1. Saute garlic in olive oil until brown (but not burnt). Add onions. Add tomatoes until softened.
  2. Add minced pork and saute until everything is well mixed. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, salt and pepper. If the pan is dry, add about 1/3 cup water to prevent the pork from geting burnt. Put on lid and let simmer for 20 minutes or until pork is cooked. Stir occasionaly or add more water if the pan dries up.
  3. Once pork has been cooked, add carrots and potatoes. Add more water if necessary, otherwise put on lid and let the vegetables cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Once vegetables are cooked, add tomato sauce, capsicum, and sultanas. Stir to combine. Put on lid and turn off heat. The steam and the heat remaining inside the pan will cook the capsicums and the sultanas so they remain crunchy.
  5. Serve with rice. Enjoy!

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“Bolognese” Spuds

I get home most nights around 8:30PM. Why so late, you ask? Well, I usually finish work at 5:30PM, do my Body Attack or Body Pump classes until 7:30, catch the train home and be in my doorstep at 8:30PM. Yes, my days are long – made even longer by the shorter winter days.

I only get to cook the meals during evenings. Apart from the occasional daylight photos, most of my meal photos are taken at night, and I_hate_it. Zeriously. I wish I have a tripod for maximum exposure, or one of those nifty DSLRs that cost an arm and a leg but oh so worth it.

Alas, beggars can’t be choosers. I have a hand-me-down, ancient Canon D60 given by a very good friend who knew I was on the lookout for a decent camera. In return, I made her chocohotopots (entry + photos coming soon). What a fair exchange!

In the meantime, I have to make do with my dodgy kitchen lighting and mediocre evening food photos. At least they taste good. *cheeky grin*

One very ravenous evening after a rigorous gym session, I came home and had one thing in mind for dinner: spuds. Lovely, hot, starchy potatoes flooded with thick, salty-and-peppery minced Bolognese sauce, topped with extra cheese and sour cream please, thanks.

I know this is not a proper Italian Bolognese sauce, but more of a Filipino spaghetti sauce sans the sweetness (and the pasta) – but this is the only tomato-based sauce I know how to make so please bear with my ignorance.

“Bolognese” Spuds

Makes 4 servings

8 medium sized potatoes, skin on, washed

500g minced pork

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cup tomato sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

½ tsp dried oregano flakes

Garlic butter, sour cream, tasty cheese, chives (I only had scallions so that’s what I used)

  1. Bake potatoes on a 200 deg C oven for 40 minutes or until cooked.
  2. In a saucepan, sauté garlic, onions and tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes on the saucepan when softened to let the juices out.
  3. Add minced pork and soy sauce. Cook pork for 20-25 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the pan gets dry (you don’t want burnt mince!).
  4. Add tomato sauce, oregano flakes, salt and pepper. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once potatoes are cooked, cut midway down the flesh into quarters, and “open” the centre. Spread butter on the exposed flesh if desired. Ladle the sauce, top with cheese, and return to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
  6. Top with sour cream, chives, and freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy!
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