Category: Food

Healthy, No Bake Sweet Treats To Make And Eat With The Kids

It’s summer!…And the heat wave has definitely taken over! Here’s a guest post from Craig, an Editor at Cake Journal who — thank goodness — is sharing with us 10 easy ways to enjoy sweet and healthy treats that will keep our kids’ little fingers busy too. The best part is: there’s no baking required.


When it comes to feeding kids, it’s no secret that they love the sweet stuff. Unfortunately, most sweets are quite unhealthy and require hours in the kitchen baking a loaf or a cake. The good news is, there are tasty (and healthy) alternatives that you can make in your kitchen, all without an oven. In addition to being perfect for little hands, the kids can help with making them as well!

1. Frozen Fruit Pops

Ingredients:

– 1 Cup Plain (or vanilla) Yogurt

– 2 Tbsp Honey or Agave

– 1 Cup Frozen Fruit (your choice)

– Popsicle Sticks

– Paper Cups

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Directions:

Have your kids measure each of the ingredients out, allowing the frozen fruit some time to slightly thaw. From here, have them pour each ingredient (aside from the sticks and cups) into the blender. Once finished, place the top on and blend until smooth or slightly chunky.

Pour the mixture from the blender into a measuring cup. Then, have the kids pour the fruit mixture into each paper cup until 3/4 filled. Next, the Popsicle sticks should be placed in the middle of each cup before they’re all placed in the freezer. Freeze for a few hours, or until solid.

2. Ants on a Log

Ingredients:

– Celery

– Peanut Butter (or sunflower butter)

– Raisins

Directions:

Chop the celery into medium-sized logs and then thoroughly wash and dry. After this, fill a plastic baggie with peanut butter and snip off a corner with scissors. From here, have the kids squeeze peanut butter inside each of the celery logs. To finish, top the peanut butter with raisins.

3. Parfait

Ingredients:

– Vanilla Yogurt

– Fresh Strawberries (chopped)

– Fresh Blueberries (halved)

– Granola

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Directions:

Have the kids place two spoonfuls of yogurt into individual cups (the bottom should be covered). From here, have them sprinkle the strawberries and blueberries until the yogurt is covered. After this, the layer of granola should be sprinkled on top. Have them continue to layer until each cup is filled with delicious parfait!

4. Cat-Face Rice Crackers

Ingredients:

– Bananas (sliced)

– Rice Cakes (apple or unflavored)

– Peanut Butter (or substitute)

– Carrot (thinly sliced into triangle shape)

– Raisins

– Coconut Strings

Directions:

Have the kids spread peanut butter on each of the rice cakes until covered with a thin layer. After this, the carrot triangles should be placed at the top of each cake to resemble ears. Kids can have fun assembling the cat faces on the rice cakes, using the sliced bananas as the base of the nose, the coconut strings as the whiskers, and the raisins as the eyes and nose.

5. Fruit and Cheese Skewers

Ingredients:

– Grapes

– Strawberries (sliced)

– Cheese (any variety, cubed)

– Toothpicks

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Directions:

While skewers can be used, it’s recommended to use toothpicks for smaller children who are practicing their fine motor skills. These are easy to create, with each child given the freedom to assemble the skewer (or toothpick) how they’d like. Simply push each food onto the toothpick until it’s full. Enjoy!

6. Fruit and Nut Bars

Ingredients:

– 1 Cup Dried Cherries

– 1 Tsp Honey

– 1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds

– 1/2 Cup Almond or Peanut Butter

– 2 Cups Honey Nut Cheerios

– 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

To begin, soak the cherries in a bowl of hot water for around 10 minutes, then puree them in a food processor with the vanilla. Have the kids then pour all but 1/2 cup of the cereal into the food processor. Pulse until all the ingredients are combined. After this, the kids can get messy.

Have them mix the cherry mixture, seeds, honey, almond or peanut butter and remaining cherries in a bowl until combined. After this, simply roll spoonfuls of the mixture into small balls and store in an airtight container.

7. Chocolate Dipped Fruit

Ingredients:

– Dark Chocolate (or, any kind that your kids would love to have)

– Bananas

– Strawberries

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Directions:

Over the stove, melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water (to prevent burning). After this, let your kids have fun dipping their favorite fruit in the chocolate (have them use toothpicks to hold the fruit to avoid messy fingers). Place the dipped fruit on a plate covered with parchment paper and store in the freezer for a sweet treat any time.

8. Fruit Fizz

Ingredients:

– Watermelon (diced)

– Grapes (halved)

– Strawberries (diced)

– Pineapple (diced)

– Kiwi (diced)

– Ginger Ale

– Pineapple Juice

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Directions:

After slicing and dicing the fruits, let your kids layer it into their cups any way they like. Once finished, pour ginger ale on top, leaving room for a splash of pineapple juice. Stir with a spoon. Have the kids eat the fruits while sipping on their drinks.

9. Peanut Butter Pinwheels

Ingredients:

– Whole Wheat Tortillas

– Bananas (sliced)

– Strawberries (sliced)

– Peanut Butter (or alternative)

– Granola

Directions:

Have the kids spread peanut butter on top of the tortilla so it’s covered. From here, they can sprinkle on their favorite fruits as well as granola, making sure to leave space around the outside of the tortilla. Once finished, roll the tortilla up and cut into slices to create sweet pinwheel treats.

10. Snack Mix

Ingredients:

– Honey Nut Cheerios

– Dark Chocolate Chips

– Almonds (these can be left out)

– Plain Popcorn

– Granola

– Banana Chips

– Coconut

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Directions:

The best part about this recipe is that you control the amount of each ingredient that you add. Let your kids measure out portions of each ingredient in a large bowl, gently stirring as they go. Once they are satisfied, store the mix in an airtight container to munch on at any time.

Sweet Treats Without the Work

No oven? No problem! Grab your kids and make any of the recipes above without the danger or heat of an oven. Each is tasty as well as healthy, so you won’t feel any guilt about allowing them to indulge.


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Craig spends most of his time finding every excuse to test out new baking recipes. He writes about everything from cake recipes to fun baking projects to vegan baking.

 

 

If you enjoyed these recipes, go indulge some more! Visit: CakeJournal

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How To Get Your Kids To Cook Almond Cookies

This weekend, how about having fun baking with your kids? You don’t need to enroll yourself and your kids to a children’s baking class to experience the joys of baking together. You can do this right in the comfort of your own home, by yourself, with this easy does it recipe as your guide.

Then, you can also, maybe, make a video of the same just like what I did in the video that my kids and I prepared, to show you how you can bake your own Almond Cookies with the little ones lending a hand.  For that, you will need a camera. A tripod will be nice to have too.

To start your good times in the kitchen, all you need to know is what’s outlined below.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups Flour

1 cup Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

a pinch of Salt

1 Medium-Sized Egg, beaten

2 teaspoons Almond Extract

1/2 lb Butter

Whole and unsalted almonds

Aluminum trays, not greased

To prepare the batter:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients first.

2. Blend in your beaten egg.

3. Add the almond extract.

4. Incorporate the butter well into the mixture.

5. Drop a spoonful of the mixture onto your tray to form rows. Leave enough space for your cookies to expand.

6. Press one almond or two on top of each formed mixture.

01.001To cook:

Pre-heat your oven for 15 minutes on 350 F. Then bake each tray for about 15 minutes at the same temperature. Do not cover with foil. Transfer your cookies on to a screen and allow to cool to give it time to harden.

No fuss baking, right? It’s just the perfect activity that you and your kids can do on rainy days when it’s impossible to have a good time outdoors. Take the fun to the kitchen. I promise you, those bagets (kids) will be more than happy to help out.

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Beef with Thai Yellow Curry Sauce and Thai Fresh Spring Rolls

I love Asian cooking above all, I must say, and Thai cooking happens to capture my wild appetite for great food. For those times when I feel like my tastebuds need a serious switch from the usual to something more extraordinary, the blend of spices and fresh herbs of Thai cooking pleasantly exceeds my requirements.

I used to frequent this popular local Thai Bistro whenever my cravings are making me salivate for curry and fresh spring rolls. Since it’s been a while that I’ve gotten around my blog, I feel like making it up to you by sharing two Thai dishes — Thai Curry and Fresh Spring Rolls —  that I have just recently had the courage to cook on regular basis at home. Oh, but I should warn you that it may not be as authentic if that’s what you’re looking for. To put it more succinctly, these two Thai dishes are adjusted for my Filipino tastebuds.

Let’s get on with it!

First Recipe: Beef with Thai Yellow Curry Sauce

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Ingredients:

1/2 kilogram Beef Kenchie, diced (I recommend it for being tender but choose a portion that does not have too much tendons or, you can use any part of beef that you want)

deSiam (brand) Thai Yellow / Green / Red Curry Sauce (in order of sweetness to chilliness; I personally love yellow although I’d it any of these haha!)

Suree (brand) Thai Coconut Milk (optional; you won’t really need to do anything else with your deSiam curry but, if you need a little bit more sauce or natural sweetness in there, use this rather than adding water or sugar to your dish)

Mint or Basil Leaves (Don’t cook this dish without either of these! It won’t taste the same. Use both if you want to.)

Red and Green Bell Peppers, cut squarely

*Optional vegetables to add: Baby Eggplants, Young Corn (Check your deSiam, it might already have that in there already but, because those veggies have been soaked in the curry for a long time, they taste different. I take them out then, replace with fresh veggies.)

Ginger (a considerably big portion of it), peeled and cut squarely and pounded

Garlic, peeled and pounded

Salt and Pepper

Several pieces of Chili Peppers (What’s a Thai dish without them? Cut, if that’s how hot you want your dish to be. If the kids will be eating, just drop them in whole. Cut them up on your plate later.)

To cook this yummy Thai dish:

1. Heat pan. Add oil. Saute your garlic. Once brown, add in ginger and let it sweat.

2. Drop your beef. Salt and pepper. Give everything a nice toss. Put on the lid. Let your beef sweat off those juices. Start with high heat but, once boiling, adjust to medium heat to tenderize that beef and keep the outer surfaces from getting toasted. Add water occasionally to simmer.

3. Once your beef is tender, add your bell peppers and vegetables.

4. Allow some of that water to evaporate before adding in your deSiam Curry Sauce. Boil then, bring down to low heat to allow those flavors to be absorbed by your meat. I like mine dry so, towards the end, I open the lid and just allow those fluids to evaporate.

5. Taste and use your Suree Thai Coconut Milk at this point if you want more sweetness and more sauce in your curry. (Next time, you can even use this to boil your meat and veggies with because you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need with your deSiam.)

6. Add your mint or basil to taste. If you haven’t tried using these in cooked dishes before, just add a few because there’s a chance you might not like how it tastes.

7. Add your Chili Peppers.

8. Bring to a boil. Serve hot.

Second Recipe: Thai Fresh Spring Rolls

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Ingredients:

1/2 kilogram Medium-Sized Shrimps, sauteed, head removed, and body cut in half (lengthwise)

500 grams, Good Life (brand) Sotanghon, soaked and boiled

Cucumber, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces

Celery Stalks, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces

Carrots, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces

Mint leaves

Thai Rice Paper (I’ve used the Real Thai and the Fat and Thin brands. The former breaks easily and may not be ideal if you’re doing this for the first time. Fat and Thin holds up better.)

For the Peanut Sauce:

1 small bottle of creamy Peanut Butter (I’ve used Lily’s and it tastes fine but, the problem is it will not incorporate well even after you’ve taken out the oil and boiled it with the other ingredients. So, let me know if you happen to try it with another brand of peanut butter that will hold up better as a peanut sauce)

1 can, Suree Thai Coconut Milk

2 tbsp, Grated Ginger

*Optional: You can always use a Thai Peanut Sauce if you can find one, of course!

To make the Peanut  Sauce:

1. Heat the Suree Thai Coconut Milk in a sauce pan. Bring to boil in low heat.

2. Add grated ginger.

3. Add Lily’s Peanut Butter devoid of the oil that sets on top.

4. Blend everything together. Keep your sauce from burning by mixing constantly.

5. Once sauce thickens, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

To make your rolls.

1. Follow the instructions indicated on your rice paper.

2. Quickly assemble your shrimp, cut vegetable ingredients, and sotanghon over it, leaving about a fourth at the bottom to fold later.

3. Fold the bottom end then, roll. If you know how to make Lumpia Shanghai, this should be easy, except you have to work faster or your rice paper will break. It takes a while to get used to wrapping your rolls but, you’ll get the hang of it.

4. Refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Enjoy with your family and friends — always the best way to savor Asian dishes.

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Davao and my unsatisfied cravings

I miss hanging out in Davao. That was what I realized flying in and out for a conference a few weeks back. I miss Davao too but, it’s better when enjoyed with good friends.

I know what made me start to feel sentimental. It’s my unsatisfied cravings for the great food selections that I’ve had the opportunity to share with good people in my previous travels. It’s being in the company of somebody who knows Davao better than I do that was missing. Hay.

A series of unfortunate gastronomic experiences

With my flight from Manila to Davao scheduled for 7 am, Tuesday morning started really early and I’ve had just less than two hours of sleep! I had to wrap up a project for a client before flying out to deliver a presentation for a meeting in Davao. I didn’t have dinner the night before — toxic na.  So, you could guess how badly I wanted to be face-to-face with really good food first thing in the morning.

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My half-closed eyes, my zombie skin and a quick snapchat at the backseat of a taxi.

 

I had second thoughts about taking my breakfast at the airport. “After all,” I thought, “I’ll be in Davao by 9 am and my presentation wasn’t due until 1 pm”. I’ll have plenty of time to find a nice spot to sit and polish my presentation before my time was up. However, I didn’t want to risk straining my body. Whenever I fail to give it enough sleep, I make sure I feed it well.

‘Chaikofi Xpresso,’ here I come! From my previous experiences ordering from this kiosk, I know it takes them a considerable amount of time to serve the food. There were only 40 minutes left before boarding time. I badly wanted to order a rice meal but I ended up asking the cashier what they would be able to serve in a few minutes. Well, sandwich, of course. I ordered chicken sandwich and a bottle of water.

As I scrambled through my external memory disk looking for some slides I wanted to add to my presentation, I almost lost track of time. After about maybe 20 minutes, the cashier delivered my order in a takeout bag. Less than five minutes later, she came back and snatched away the sandwich — me, still frantically searching my hard drives. “I gave you the wrong order,” she said. I didn’t mind.

We were down to the last 10 minutes before boarding time, finally, my sandwich (the correct one) was brought to me. My laptop bag was heavy! I wanted to keep my hands free. So, I started gobbling down my sandwich then, walked to my gate assignment. In my head, I promised myself, “Bawi ka na lang mamaya (make up for it later)”.

As soon as we safely landed, almost on time, at the Davao International Airport, my LTE was on. I was looking for a well-reviewed coffee shop near the event venue, the Waterfront Insular Hotel. Boy, I thought I got lucky! ‘Cafe Uno’ happened to receive really good reviews so I didn’t have to go anywhere else to get a good quality coffee.

Once there, I changed my mind about coffee and instead, helped myself to a full teapot of black tea mixed with hot milk and brown sugar. Yum! Then, I decided to order a Margherita Pizza, personal size. Barely 30 minutes after I sat myself down at ‘Cafe Uno,’ the organizer called to ask if I was ready to deliver my presentation — my slot was moved up! To make the story short, I didn’t get to spend my moment of calm, and I was sorry because the place had a nice ambiance to it even in broad daylight. Okay, I did quickly tore two slices of pizza into pieces and it was super thin and crispy. The pizza only cost Php 200 and ‘personal’ size meant family size in a local pizza joint. That voice in my head once again said, “Bawi ka na lang mamaya (make up for it later)”.

After I was done, lunch was served at the event hall. Let’s just say that I didn’t have high hopes because I generally don’t dig hotel food. Lunch lived up to my expectations.

When I decided to leave, there were still 5 hours left before my flight so, I decided to head to Abreeza Mall. It’s one place in Davao I haven’t gone to before. So, I went strolling with my heavy laptop bag on my back, my shoulders were already complaining. I was looking for a souvenir shop where I could get native goods because it was so hot I didn’t want to head all the way to Aldevinco.

I decided to try a local food stall. I was on my way to take my table at Margie’s but was beat to it by two friends who, turned out to have 10 other people in their company. “Goodbye, Margie,” I thought to myself.

I headed down to ‘Pastanni’ instead which had a nice, quaint corner squeezed next to where ‘Tinalak Home’ (absolutely a feast for the eyes, that store is) was.  I ordered Beef Risotto. When it was served, I was so speechless that I couldn’t even ask the waitress, “Where’s the beef?” I just surrendered — this was not a good day for my palate.

I got my 12 kilos of pomelos then headed to the airport. (I got a taste of that already and I can tell those beautiful pomelos will be my treat. Anyway, of course I checked them in. Once I made it to the gates, I was still craving for good food. I didn’t risk it anymore. I was done trying. This time, I helped myself to a Chips Delight Peanut Butter and a bottle of water — didn’t disappoint.

Memories of tasty treats in Davao

I may have to reserve the list of the good food I’ve tried in Davao for another post though. All I can say for now is that it’s not the end of Davao for my always hungry tummy. I’ll be back, and I’ll make sure to travel with a friend next time. Magkita unya ta pohon! (I will see you soon.)

I’ll be grateful if you happen to have any suggestions where I should eat and visit next time I’m in Davao. Let me know below.

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My Valentine’s Surprise: Dinner at Melo’s

I got my Valentine’s Day surprise much earlier this year. Okay, it wasn’t much of a surprise — my husband isn’t exactly the adventurous type (peace!) This was more of a gastronomic exploration, the kind that we hadn’t had the time nor energy to do in recent years. There’s not much you can do, you know, when you have two toddlers running around and 24 hours everyday never seems to be enough to get everything done.

No excuses

We didn’t make excuses this year though. Thank goodness we didn’t. Had we made those lame, “I have no time” excuses again, we would have missed out on one of the most mouth-watering treats around town that couples can enjoy this month of love: Melo’s, The Home of Certified Angus Beef and Chilled Wagyu.

While waiting for our orders to be served, we were treated to delicious, freshly made buns served with Emborg butter and a small bowl of clear soup.

Alright, so before I tell you more about the delicious beef we had over dinner, let me tell you first about my choice of salad, the Fisherman’s Salad, Php 420.00. It’s a combination of crab stick, mussels, white cobbler, shrimps, scallops, squid, eggs, cherry tomatoes and romaine lettuce tossed up in Melo’s homemade mayo. This is not the kind of salad that you can order anytime, anywhere. Great choice.

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Melo’s Fisherman’s Salad

There are other salads on the menu: Classic Caesar, Php 380; Citrus Medley Arugula, Php 360; Premium Grilled Norwegian Salmon with mixed greens, Php 680; and, Foie Gras, Php 880. We skipped the appetizers to make room for the heavy tummy loading about to be served. If you feel like having some appetizers to go with your wine, your choices include: Oyster Sampler, Php 780; Barbecue Chicken Wings, Php 440; Gambas, Php 520; Escargot, Php 580; and, Shrimp Cocktail Php 520.

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Instead of red wine, we opted to pair our steak with beer. I chose San Miguel Cerveza Negra (sarap!)

Now, on to the main course. We settled for the Porterhouse, Php 238/oz. For my husband and I, an 18-ounce serving was filling enough and just right. It is a cut below the prime portions at Melo’s. Here’s what you need to know to make your best choice:

  • The “Certified Angus Beef” (or, CAB) label commands the highest prices in beef. That’s because these grades of meat satisfy the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) criteria for the top two meat grades: Choice and Prime. Then, CAB goes further to satisfy 8 other criteria.
  • At Melo’s, you can help yourself to an 8 oz serving of Prime Grade Certified Angus Prime Tenderloin, Php 3,380; Certified Angus Tenderloin, 8 0z, Choice Grade, Php 2,580; and, Ribeye, Choice Grade, Php 238/oz. You may also ask about the Dry-Prime Grade.
  • There are lower grades of beef available. If you’re not sure, you can ask your waiter about which order of steak will best suit your meat preferences. They are very well informed and are knowledgeable of the cuts that they’re selling.
  • Then, you need to make a preference how you want your steak done. We always have our steak ‘Medium Well’ – no toasted sides, no bleeding and just the right kind of cooking we like.
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Melo’s Porterhouse Steak which we opted to be served with clear soup, mixed greens and mashed potatoes

So, what if you or your date is really not into steak? There are more choices on the menu, including Wagyu burger, pasta, seafood and lamb chops.

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Satisfied diners.

Have a pleasant Valentine’s Day dating experience. Enjoy the food but, most of all, enjoy each other’s company.

 

 

 

How to cook Roast Pork Belly (Lechon)

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This is the New Year treat and offering from The House of Margaux.  Have a Prosperous and Happy 2017 ahead.  Let’s toast to good health, full life and great love while savouring Roast Pork Belly.  Enjoy this well-loved favorite this season of get-togethers, hassle-free.  Here’s how.

What you’ll need:

Pork belly, about 2 kilograms to roll

Rub and filling made from minced garlic, finely chopped onion leaves, salt and pepper

Lemongrass (tanglad)

Evaporated milk, 1 can

Thread, to tie up the belly

How to cook Roast Pork Belly:

Step 1:  Pat dry your pork belly.

Step 2: Place the rub.  Evenly distribute inside the pork belly.  Set the lemongrass at the center.

Step 3:  Roll and tie up.

Step 4: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

Step 5: Place pork belly in the middle of the oven so it cooks evenly.  Place on a grill with foil on top to keep skin from burning.  Don’t wrap or it will be steamed then you won’t be able to obtain that crunchy pork skin you’re aiming for.  Place a small bowl of water at the bottom of the oven so the insides of the belly cooks well while also preventing the temperature from becoming too dry.

Step 6: Turn the belly occasionally and brush more milk as you do to keep the skin from burning too soon.  Cook for approximately two hours or until skin becomes brownish.

Step 7: Slice and serve up moderately hot.  Plate with baked veggies like marbled potatoes, string beans, bell peppers and zucchini.  Sprinkle with herbs to taste.

What did you have for the New Year’s Eve Feast?  Let us know.  Happy New Year!

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How to cook Beef Morcon

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(Click on the image to watch a YouTube video about how to cook Beef Morcon.)

Yet another gastronomic good-to-learn video on how to cook some of our more traditional favorites, this is all about beef morcon.  This dish may also be prepared using pork but, since we’re preparing this for Noche Buena, we opted for Rib Eye Steak.  When you buy this beef portion, make sure to take note that you’re getting meat with longitudinal fibres so that it won’t break when you try this recipe. Have your meat machine cut into a thin, continuous piece.

Preparing Beef Morcon is not exactly easy to do.  The hardest part is in making sure that your meat is tightly knit and tied up.  If you have the thread used for cooking then, good for you.  If not, you may always use a regular thread but, it will be more challenging to tie up your meat.

What you’ll need:

1 kilogram, Rib eye steak

Kikkoman Soy Sauce, for marinade

Sugar

Calamansi

Chorizo Bilbao, cut lengthwise

Hotdogs, cut lengthwise

Hard-boiled eggs, cut

Cucumbers, cut lengthwise

Carrots, cut lengthwise

Cheese

Flour

How to cook it:

Step 1: Prepare your marinade.  Mix Kikkoman with calamansi.  Pour onto meat and marinate for one to two hours. After marinating, save your marinade in a bowl.

Step 2: Start lining your meat with with chorizo bilbao, hotdogs, cheese, cucumbers, carrots and eggs.  You can be as organized or as random in making this step, just make sure that everything is packed tightly.

Step 3:  Tie up with thread from end-to-end and across its lengthwise and crosswise lengths.

Step 4: Fry.

Step 5: Once cooked, pour in the same marinade you used to cure the meat.  Simmer for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to become better absorbed.

Step 6: Remove the threads and slice thinly.  Serve hot and, if preferred, with catsup.

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