Yelly Eats

Fajita night!

I am a wannabe domestic goddess (you wouldn’t think so if you saw what my front room looked like!  Martha Stewart I definitely am not!) and I have illusions of joining the Great British Bake Off.  I say illusions because I am in no way, shape or form ready to bake at that level just yet!  I say “just yet” because it is the great dream…and I am slowly self-training my way into readiness.

I love to cook and I adore my tiny kitchen.  But there are days when I really don’t want to spend to much time in it.  Tuesdays, more often than not, are days when I don’t really want to cook.  It’s my I’m-so-tired-I-could-cry day for some reason.  So on a Tuesday night, I will usually find myself sitting on the train hoping there are leftovers in the fridge, or me buying a ready meal from the supermarket to pop in the oven when I get home or there is the phoning-takeaway-of-choice  route.

Tonight however, is different.  Tonight is fajita night!  While I cheated yet again tonight (I bought a fajita spice packet from the supermarket!), here’s a fajita spice mix recipe that I know works really well:


Spice Mix
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-2 teaspoons chili powder (or go without, this really depends on how hot you want it to be!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika (sweet variety, or if you can find the smoked variety, that will work too)
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon crushed chicken bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
650g chicken thighs, diced (I use chicken thighs because they don’t dry out as much as chicken breasts)
1 medium sized white onion, sliced thinly
1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned (pepper colours can be changed, of course, depending on what’s available)


  1. Mix together all the spice mix ingredients.  In a metal or glass bowl (only because the spice mix will stain plastic bowls), mix chicken, vegetable oil and the spice mix together until the chicken is well coated.
  2. Making sure the pan (I used a non-stick pan) is very hot, brown the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the onions and the bell pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Serve in warm soft tortillas with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

And there you go!  A meal that’s quick, easy and surprisingly healthy (especially if you go easy on the condiments!).

Yelly Eats

Salted Duck Egg and Tomato Salad

itlog na maalatItlog na maalat (Filipino for salty egg) or itlog na pula (Filipino for red egg) is not something that I can get from my local Morrisons, Tesco or Sainsbury’s.  And I missed it terribly.  I missed just being able to pop down to the market and buy a couple of eggs, one-fourth kilo of tomatoes and run back home and pick a few basil leaves from my dad’s garden.

It’s one of the simplest Filipino dishes ever.  You just cut the salted duck eggs (they’re hard-boiled) into cubes, cube the tomatoes, chop the basil leaves finely and mix them together.  It’s a great accompaniment to rice and fried fish or a roasted chicken or roasted pork (liempo to us Pinoys).  Sometimes, when I can’t think of what to cook to accompany my rice, this is the quickest viand to put together, no cooking required.  Since I’ve moved to the UK, I’ve made variations.  I’ve added an onion in the mix.  Another version of this salad is to add dill (fresh or dried) instead of basil.

I can’t go down to Chinatown in London all the time or head to the Filipino store in Colchester.  It’s not every day that I can get duck eggs but I daresay, it’s easier to get duck eggs from somewhere than it is to go down to London!  So I had to find out how to make my own salted eggs.  And this is the recipe.  It’s the one that works for me best.

As found in:

1 dozen duck eggs (any breed of duck will work)
1 to 1-1/2 cups of sea salt
5 cups water
1 gallon glass or plastic container

What you should do:
1. To make the brine solution, dissolve salt in warm water.
2. Wash eggs thoroughly and put them in the container.
3. Pour in the brine solution. Cover the container with a towel.
4. Let stand at room temperature for 30 days. Turn the eggs every 4 days.
5. After 30 days, remove the eggs from the brine solution. Wash with water.
6. Cook the eggs by boiling in water for 30 minutes.

BUT if you can’t wait for the 30 days, you can do this:

1. Boil the eggs in the brine solution.
2. Make a fresh batch of the brine solution. Peel cooked duck eggs. Place them in the fresh brine solution and soak for 24 hours.

**Note that it won’t turn out as good as the ones made to soak for 30 days, but sometimes, instant gratification is good too! 🙂 I also don’t use that many eggs (I did 2 for my tomato salad)! So the brine solution can be scaled down to about 3 tbsp of salt to 500ml of water is good 🙂