Living in an apartment, one of the things I miss the most is being to cook outdoors. I guess I could give it a whirl and light up my grill on the balcony but I’m not sure I’d want to deal with the upstairs neighbour (whom I’ve never met but who I’m pretty sure is a 200 pound brute given the thump noises every morning – could be something else but I don’t want to give it too much thought). I’m not sure if it’s the smell of the garden, the invitation of the heat, the extra flavours that an overused grill and burning wood lends to a dish or simply the freedom of space that’s attractive to me. Maybe it’s wired in our genes for us to enjoy seeing real fire lick fresh produce. A primal pleasure of sorts.

With my recent collaboration with Seabiscuit Films (seabiscuitfilms.com), a trio of 3 filmmakers, I was excited to do an outdoors shoot, because if I ever do have a cooking show, I would want most videos to be shot in an outdoors kitchen with all the geeky trimmings (brick oven, smoker, grill, open flame pits, gas stove tops..). This 1st outdoor video (out of 3) was directed by Sarie Cruz (sariecruz.com) and she got the help of Carina Santos (carina-santos.com) for some really clean graphics. The song you hear in the background is from a Filipino artist called Some Gorgeous Accident (numberlinerecords.com). It makes me happy to only have local content in these videos.

I just wanted to make a humble recipe that uses everyday ingredients and bring in just a little charm that only a grill could provide.

Grilled Mackerel Scad (Galunggong) with a singed Mozzarella Buffala salad

Take 2 mackerels and marinate with some lemon juice, 2 crushed garlic cloves, a tbsp of lemon rind, chopped rosemary, rock salt and pepper. Let stand for about 5mins. Grill at low heat until just cooked (about 4mins each side)

For the Salad, take 1 large red tomato, make light slits in the skin with a sharp knife, bathe in olive oil and grill on the same grill/same heat, don’t let flames touch the tomato. Take 2 large sweet red chilli pepper and do the same thing. Once nice and soft, cut through it and layer with torn mozzarella buffala and the chopped chilli; serve with the fish, lemon juice, salt and pepper and some chopped fresh flat parsley.

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