Beef is a very good source of protein, vitamin B6 and B12. It also has zinc which is helpful for proper functioning of the immune system. Beef is very expensive in the Philippines so having a steak is a treat. On special occasions like Christmas or birthdays it is a must for us to have dishes with pork, chicken, beef, vegetables, rice and sweets. That is why a lot of our Canadian friends are amazed at how elaborate our parties are. One of our favourite dishes for festivities is the “kaldereta or caldereta.” This food is Spanish-inspired as it came from the word “caldera” which means “cauldron,” the vessel for which the dish is cooked. Although it is Spanish-influenced, the caldereta is an original Filipino-invented dish. It is essentially a beef stew with potatoes, carrots, tomato sauce, spices, liver spread (optional), olives, bell peppers and hot peppers. Some Filipinos prefer to add in peanut butter as well. Bay leaves are added for flavour and aroma. This dish is very popular in Luzon, the northern part of the Philippines. The original meat used for this food is goat meat but we use beef, chicken or pork. Caldereta is very similar to Canadian beef stew cooked in a slow cooker. The beef is sautéed in garlic and onions, then upon adding water and tomato sauce, the meat is left to simmer and tenderize. One can also use a pressure cooker or the beef can be left to tenderize in an ordinary pot for one to two hours. The potatoes and carrots are fried in oil on a separate pan and set aside for later use. I got this recipe from Vanjo Merano’s website called “Panlasang Pinoy” (Filipino Taste). His recipes are very simple which is advantageous to novice cooks like me. Serving caldereta with steamed white rice will surely be an enjoyable experience for you and your family. Word for the week: “Sarap!” (Delicious!) Ingredients: • 2 lbs. beef, cubed • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped • 1 onion, finely chopped • 4 cups water • 1 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips • 1 cup tomato sauce • 1/2 cup liver spread or liver paste (processed using blender) • 1 tsp. crushed chili • 3 large bay leaves • 2 cups potatoes, sliced • 2 cups carrots, sliced • 1 cup cooking oil • 2/3 cup green olives • salt and pepper Procedure: Heat the cooking oil in the pan and fry the carrots and potatoes until color turns light brown. Remove the fried carrots and potatoes from the pan and set aside. In the same pan where the vegetables were fried, sauté the garlic and onions. Add the beef and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water and let the beef boil until tender. Add the tomato sauce and liver spread and simmer for 10 minutes. Add green olives, carrots, bay leaves, bell pepper, crushed chili, and potatoes then simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.