I think every Filipino family has their own version of every Filipino dish. This is then passed down to offsprings and so on. I say this a lot because it’s true, food has a very big role in Filipino culture. We love to eat and we show our love through food, and the best way for us to bond is by sharing a meal.

Growing up, my mom was never very experimental with her cooking, but she had a handful of specialties. If she reads this, she’d probably say that she taught me how to cook, and to be fair, she taught me her staple dishes. Like her spaghetti, macaroni salad, potato salad and caldereta. I think this is also so that I can take over the cooking, but I moved to Macau, then to Sydney, so she’s still the one that cooks at home until now.

So the recipe below is my mom’s caldereta with coconut milk. Caldereta is a spicy beef stew, normally made with liver spread (liver pate), but this version doesn’t use that. My mom initially taught me to make caldereta and finish it with grated tasty cheese and that was the version that I grew up eating more, then she started cooking this version more, which uses coconut milk to finish the dish. My husband loves the coconut milk version, so that’s what I cook here.


Also, the protein used varies between goat and beef in the provinces, but I never really tried goat, and I always make this with beef. I should try using lamb one day, then I’ll let you know how it fares. That could be my Aussie version of a caldereta!

Anyway, I’ve tweaked my mom’s version by sealing the beef first before braising it so the beef doesn’t lose it’s flavour. I also put mirepoix in the braise and use beef stock, all to give the dish ample flavour. I strain the mirepoix off before adding the rest of the vegetables, so there won’t be the odd mushy carrot in there. This dish takes some time to cook, but very well worth it. I like cooking this in a dutch oven like the ones below, these are perfect for slow cooking. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, if you watch the video, I used a normal deep and wide sauce pan which I’m sure everyone has. I then serve it with plain rice, but if you really like coconut, my recipe for fluffy coconut rice can be found here.

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Now, if you’re busy and you don’t have time to wait hours at home, you can make this dish using a slow-cooker. They are very convenient, and have great features like setting the cooking time and keeping the food warm, so it’s ready when you get home. Here are some options, the one on the left is pretty basic, while the one on the right has all the bells & whistles.

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So I hope you try this hearty recipe. If you’re not Filipino, and not used to the flavours this is a good introductory dish to accustom your palate to what Filipino food is like. The cuisine is very diverse, ranging from light salads and raw fish cooked in vinegar, to hearty stews like this one. We also use a lot of strong flavours and some dishes have fairly strong aromas, so this dish is a good entry point because it has a tomato and beef stock base.

Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 50 Mins

My Mom’s Caldereta

(Filipino Beef Stew)

Serves 6



0/3 Instructions
  • Season beef. Heat oil in a large, deep, wide pan. Brown beef on all sides, take out of the pan. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, sauté onion, 1 carrot & celery until caramelised. If there is too much oil in the pain, drain this off to prevent your sauce becoming too oily. Pour the stock into the pan and using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan. Put the beef back into the pan, bring to the boil then slow down to a simmer. Partially cover with a lid so the liquid doesn't evaporate too quickly, and cook until beef is tender (at least 1 hour, if you use good quality beef). Skim all the impurities and fat that come up to the surface frequently.
  • When beef is ready, strain the liquid into a container big enough to hold it then discard the vegetables. Put the beef and the liquid back into the pan and then stir in tomato paste. Add the rest of the carrots and potatoes, then simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Add the olives and chili then stir in the coconut milk. Season to taste. Serve with steamed rice.


  1. This recipe is freezer-friendly. To freeze: portion the stew into airtight containers, cool down completely with no lid, place the lid on then freeze. Keeps up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before heating up, heat up gently, or the coconut milk might split.


Let’s face it, if you buy an expensive cut of steak, you wouldn’t use it for a stir-fry. So what is the secret to that melt-in-your-mouth beef that won’t cost you a fortune? Well, there are a number of ways to tenderise meat, you can soak in a brine, use a salt and spice rub and air it out in the fridge, or simply massage it with bi-carb soda. For a stir-fry I prefer using bi-carb soda. For a roast, I normally choose soaking in brine.

Using bi-carb soda or baking soda to tenderise meat works differently than using a salt brine. Baking soda neutralizes acid and raises the pH level on the surface of the meat, causing the outside of the meat to become more basic. This chemical reaction makes it more difficult for the proteins inside the meat to tense up, and when proteins can’t bond together, the meat stays tender when cooked instead of toughening up.

Also, this method is the fastest method to tenderise meat, so it’s perfect for a stir-fry.

I will talk about brining and how the process makes meat more tender on a different post, with a recipe for a brine and a roast. But basically, the salt breaks down the protein bonds and transforms into a string of amino acid that then links with water. Therefore keeping the meat from drying out.

Today’s recipe is my version of a Filipino dish I loved ordering from a once popular Japanese joint in Makati, Philippines. This was probably more than a decade ago, and I’m not even sure if they still exist. It’s rich in flavour because of the roasted garlic, vincotto and Worcestershire sauce. Now, don’t fret it you don’t have vincotto, you may use a mix of honey and balsamic vinegar. It is not exactly the same, but you get a similar outcome for this recipe.

If you want to try and make this with vincotto, you can find it in specialty food shop and gourmet shops. In Australia, you can shop at Simon Johnson or Maggie Beer.

I can’t wait for you to try and make this, it’s quick, easy and so delicious! Tag me on Instagram and Facebook or use #mrsfancypantsrecipes to connect!

Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy

Garlicky Beef Stir-Fry

Serves 3

This is my version of a Filipino dish called Beef Salpicao


0/9 Ingredients


0/6 Instructions
  • Tenderise the meat by sprinkling bi-carb soda and massaging it evenly. Leave in the fridge for 15-20 minutes then wash off completely with cold water. Drain.
  • Mix the roasted garlic and beef with your hands until the garlic is mashed.
  • Mix the olive oil, vincotto, worcestershire and chopped thyme in a medium bowl. Then add the beef to the liquid and mix through.
  • Melt the butter in a wide saute pan over med-high heat. Pan should fit the beef cubes in one layer.
  • When butter starts bubbling, place the beef in, trying not to get too much of the liquid. Reserve liquid. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes.
  • After 2 minutes, open the lid and add the rest of the liquid. Bring to the boil to thicken sauce to desired consistency then turn heat off and serve immediately with steamed rice.


  1. If you don't have vincotto or vino cotto, you can substitute 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
  2. If you don't have fresh thyme, use 1/2 the amount of dried herbs.


What is a beef stroganoff? When I was in uni, I would often go to The Chocolate Kiss cafe at the Ang Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman and order a plate of this yummy beef strips in cream sauce served on top of egg pasta. This was my first encounter with beef stroganoff. It was my favourite dish on their menu and I would love to go back and have that with a slice of their devil’s food cake or Kahlua butter cake. It would bring back so many memories!

Nowadays, I cook my own version of this dish, some people use chuck steak and slow cook their beef stroganoff. When I first started making it, I cooked it that way, but I’ve discovered that the rump gives you an equally yummy result for less cooking time and less fat in the meat. So I have now changed my recipe to use beef rump steaks. My beef stroganoff recipe takes half an hour to cook, is freezer friendly and can be made ahead. Make-ahead and freeze by putting in freezer-safe containers. To defrost, thaw thoroughly in the fridge and heat up in a pot.

Try this recipe and let me know how much you love it! To add some colour, top with chopped chives or parsley.

Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 30 Mins

Beef Stroganoff

Serves 6



0/5 Instructions
  • Cook egg pasta according to packet. Run under cold water and toss in a little olive oil. Set aside. Season rump slices.
  • Heat oil in a deep wide pan until smoking. Brown beef on all sides, take out of the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, cook onions and push on the side of the pan. Add another tablespoon of oil and reheat. When oil is hot, cook mushrooms and add thyme. Drain off excess oil then add red wine. Reduce red wine to half then add beef stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
  • Add hot english mustard and sour cream, whisk until sauce is smooth and thick. Do not boil, this will cause the sour cream to split. Put the beef back into the pan and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with cooked egg pasta.


  1. Can use button mushrooms or portobello.
  2. Can substitute with mash, rice, other pasta, as you wish.
  3. Make-ahead and freeze by putting in freezer-safe containers. To defrost, thaw thoroughly in the fridge and heat up in a pot.


I love cooking for family and friends, for me it’s the best part of being a chef. Sharing my food with people and seeing them enjoy it gives me so much happiness.

During the warmer months, it’s great to have a barbecue and toss together salads but winter dinners at our house are about slow-cooked meals with rich sauces and a creamy side dish like mash potatoes, mac & cheese, polenta and potato au gratin. Remember, carbs don’t count in winter! So tell me, what’s your favourite winter meal?

Now, one of my go-to slow-cooked meals is this classic winter dish of braised beef cheeks in red wine sauce. Serve it with blanched peas, and any of the side dishes above. Make a double batch and freeze some for a rainy day! Let me know what you think when you make it & don’t forget to snap a photo and use #mrsfancypants on Instagram for a chance to get featured!

Equipment Notes:

The best thing about slow cooked meals nowadays is that they are so easy for everyone. You can simply sear your meat before leaving for work then set-up your slow-cooker to do the cooking and finish the dish when you get home. The 2 slow-cookers below are highly recommended, though I use my oven for all my slow-cooking. Amazon sometimes have better prices than in-store and if you click on the photos, they will take you to shop on Amazon. However, if you are in a hurry, The Good Guys offer a free 2-hour click & collect service as well as next day delivery in Metro areas.

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Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 5 Hr Total Time: 5 Hr 10 Mins

Braised Beef Cheeks in Red Wine Sauce

Serves 4-6


A perfect winter dish. Serve these tender beef cheeks with my velvety mash potatoes or creamy polenta.



0/6 Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Heat up oil in a sauté/casserole pan until smokey. Season beef cheeks with salt & pepper then sear all sides in the hot pan until golden brown. Take off the pan and set aside.
  • Now add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion through without burning. Then add the carrot and celery. Drain off any excess oil. Pour red wine into the saucepan and quickly scrape the bits off the bottom then simmer until reduced by half.
  • Now add the herbs and the beef stock. Bring to the boil then pour into a braising pan or roasting dish. Add the beef cheeks, cover with baking paper then wrap tightly with aluminium foil.
  • Place the roasting pan in the oven and turn the oven down to 150C. Leave to cook slowly for at least 3 hours up to 5 hours.
  • Once done, remove the beef cheeks and set aside, then try to skim the fat off the top of the liquid and strain off all the vegetables to discard. If you have more time, I strain the liquid into another container and discard the vegetables. Then I let the liquid cool down in the fridge so the fat will solidify and I can easily scoop it out the next morning. Discard the fat.
  • Put the strained liquid and the beef cheeks into a pot and reduce down the liquid to a nice saucey consistency. Serve warm with creamy polenta or mash potatoes.