Roast Pork with Crispy Skin

This roast pork is set to be the star of any party spread.

Serves 8 to 10
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cooking Time 2 hours and 30 minutes


2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns (optional)
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage or basil
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
1 head garlic, minced
2 kilos boneless pork belly, skin on
750 grams pork loin, trimmed to fit inside pork belly
salt, to season


Toast fennel seeds, pink peppercorns, and red pepper flakes in a dry frying pan over low heat. Grind toasted spices in a coffee grinder or pound using a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl. Add sage or basil, rosemary, and garlic. Set aside.

Poke the skin of the pork belly all over using a paring knife. Turn it over and score the flesh in a diamond pattern. Liberally rub the belly and pork loin with salt. Rub both belly and loin with the prepared spice mixture.

Place the pork loin in the center of the belly. Roll the belly and secure tightly with kitchen twine. Wrap with foil or plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven at 300°F. Remove foil or plastic wrap. Place pork on a wire rack set on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the roast registers 150°F on a meat thermometer.

Increase heat to 500°F and continue roasting until skin is crisp and blistered, about 20 more minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before slicing.

Vietnamese Chicken Barbecue

Add a little spice and sizzle to your meal with this chicken dish.

Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cooking Time 20 minutes


For the marinade 
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped lemongrass
pinch of salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup honey, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder
500 grams boneless chicken thighs

For the nuoc cham dipping sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup honey, plus more if needed
juice of 2 pieces calamansi
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 bird’s eye chili (siling labuyo), chopped (optional)


Make the marinade: mix together all ingredients in a bowl.

Add chicken to the marinade. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat a charcoal grill. Drain chicken and grill until completely cooked. Slice into bite-sized pieces.

Make the dressing: combine vinegar, fish sauce, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add sugar, honey, calamansi juice, garlic, and chopped chilies. Mix until well combined. Transfer to a bowl.

Serve chicken with rice and dipping sauce on the side. You can also turn it into an easy Vietnamese salad with lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber, chopped peanuts, and rice noodles.

Seafood Saffron Risoni

This is a light and refreshing version of a seafood saffron pasta.

Serves 3
Prep Time 10 minutes, plus marinating time
Cooking Time 15 minutes


5 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron, crushed
300 grams uncooked risoni
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup lemon juice, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
500 grams shrimp, peeled and deveined
300 grams squid, cleaned and peeled, sliced into rings
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley


Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add crushed saffron. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to allow stock to absorb the saffron flavor. Bring stock back to a boil and add risoni. Cook for 8 minutes until tender but with a bite. Drain; transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Mix together 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Divide mixture equally among two bowls. Add shrimp to one bowl and squid to the other bowl. Set aside to marinate for 2 to 3 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Sauté shrimps (including marinade) briefly until they turn pink and curl up. Add squid rings (including marinade) and sauté until just cooked, about 3 minutes. Set aside seafood and juices to prevent them from cooking further in the pan.

Add extra virgin olive oil, remaining lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the risoni. Season to taste.

Add seafood and all its juices to the risoni. Toss to combine and serve warm.

Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Soup

Here's a soup dish that can guarantee comfort on a blah day.

Serves 2  
Prep Time 5 minutes  
Cooking Time 10 minutes


250 grams shrimp, deveined
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon green chili, 
      sliced (siling tagalog)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


1  In a pan, heat olive oil. Saute the green chili until slightly wilted.

 Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Do not brown.

 Add the shrimps, paprika, and crushed tomatoes. Mix until combined. Simmer until shrimps turn pink and sauce is slightly thickened.

4  Season with salt and pepper.