{Versions & Verdicts} Niño’s Beef Tapa

Electronic gadgets these days are becoming more and more, that we tend to forget the things we used to love before. It sometimes affects us in some way. One day, my cousin came home with newspapers. I am not fond of reading current events, but I was just trying to see what’s in during that time. I took the newspaper from her. I was reading and tried to touch the newspaper scrolling it as if I am reading an e-book. 😀 There are times as well that when I want to print something from the computer, I just open the document, thinking that it will print automatically without even commanding it to do so. The same thing when I hit the switch of the TV. It’s kinda crazy how it affects me… and funny at the same time.

But there are old traditions or stuffs that you can’t let go of.

Like food.

Beef Tapa - The Not So Creative Cook

Maybe this time, you want to makeover your old, classic lasagna recipe or sometimes, you just want the one you used to love.

I’ve tried tweaking several classic recipes before, but you really want to go back to the classic ones.

In the Philippines, I grew up knowing that Beef Tapa is an old, classic dish. Sometimes, I find it boring and make it little saucy which I don’t know if I can still call it Beef Tapa. Beef Tapa is Philippine’s Beef Jerky. It is traditionally marinated and sun-dried. But these days, it can be marinated and cooked on the stove until liquid has evaporated. Serve with garlic fried rice and sunny side up eggs. And this combo is now called Tapsilog.

Beef Tapa - The Not So Creative Cook 2

I don’t usually have an exact recipe when I make one. When I want to share something to you that I always make, I always look for similar recipes.  I have shared Beef Tapa recipe before using another recipe. Now, I am following the recipe of Niño @ iCookonboard and it’s so delicious. I also used Niño’s seasoning for making the Beef Tapa which includes salt, pepper, chicken granules. Oh, my! I could eat cups and cups of rice. I will never be tired of eating this. 😀

Beef Tapa


Tapa Marinade:

  • 1 head (12 cloves) of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp Niño’s seasoning
  • 1.5 kg tender part of beef, sliced thinly across the grain
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 bunch of chopped spring onions for garnishing


  1. Place the sliced beef in a ziplock bag or container.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients together except spring onions.
  3. Pour the marinade into a ziplock back or container. Mix well.
  4. Marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  5. On a skillet or deep skillet, melt the butter on a very high heat.
  6. Add marinated beef tapa (in batches if necessary) to the heated skillet and cook until beef is browned. (Depending on the beef, the dish may dry up or not – that is okay)
  7. Garnish with spring onions (and toasted garlic, if desired).
  8. Serve with fried rice and sunny-side-up fried eggs.

Note: This is also super delicious with a drizzle of lemon. 😉

Beef Tapa - The Not So Creative Cook 3
Look at that egg!!!

I hope you enjoy your weekend. Happy partying! Thank you for spending time with me today.


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I am sharing this at Fiesta Friday #79, hosted by the Amazing Angie, co-hosted by  Loretta and Jess.

I am also sharing this dish at

Melt in Your Mouth MondaySaucy Saturdays | Foodie FriDIY | Recipe of the Week | Tasty Tuesdays | Totally Terrific Tuesday | Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party | What’d You Do This Weekend? | Cook Blog Share | Munching Mondays


Looking something Filipino to try?

Cheesy Caldereta

A beef dish cooked with tomato sauce, condensed milk, pineapples, bell peppers and loaded with cheddar cheese. So cheesy and so yummy!


Max’s Style Fried Chicken

Firstly steamed to soak up all those simple flavors. Deep fried to perfection. So easy to do and very few ingredients. 


Watermelon Lemonade

A refreshing, yet very easy to make drink – perfect for summer. 

Watermelon Lemonade - The Not So Creative Cook 2
Don’t you just love the bubbles? This is after the lemonade has gone through the blender.

Weather these days are becoming hotter and hotter… And there are things you want to keep you sane including having a refreshing drink. In my case, I always go for very cold water. With lots of ice? Oh, yes! I am not fond of making my own drink – I always get store-bought ones if I want some. Finally, I realized that making your drinks at home is super easy.

I love Watermelons, but only if they are in drink form. I also love lemonade, but I love them with something else. I had Watermelon and few lemons sitting in the fridge. I am not an expert in making drinks, so I had to look up recipes. Some requires more fruits than what I have on hand. Lucky me, I have found a great recipe.

Watermelon Lemonade - The Not So Creative Cook 3

Watermelon Lemonade


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 4 cups of watermelon, cubed and seeds removed
  • About 20 fresh mint leaves (optional)


  1. Make simple sugar syrup: Heat ¾ cup water with ¾ cup sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved (about 3-5 minutes). Let cool to room temperature. Add two cups of cold water. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can boil water using a water heater and add it to the sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool to room temperature before adding cold water.)
  2. Puree the watermelon until well blended. Strain the liquid using a strainer. Mix the strained liquid with the sugar syrup + cold water mixture. (If using mint leaves, you can put the mixture back to the blender and pulse until you get specks of mint leaves.)
  3. Serve with ice cubes.


Source recipe: Watermelon Lemonade by The Big Giant Food Basket

Note: Honey can be used a sweetener.


This lemonade is super awesome – it’s a bit lemon-y, but that’s lemonade, yeah? Of course, you can adjust the measurements according to your taste. I added some mint leaves to the source recipe. I just love mint and I love the specks of mint in the lemonade…

Watermelon Lemonade - The Not So Creative Cook

And I know all of you would agree with me – having this drink when you are at the beach is perfect, yes? Just sharing a photo from my recent Eid Holiday.

A little blurry, though.
A little blurry, though.
One of most beautiful things.
One of most beautiful things.

I hope you enjoy your weekend. Happy partying! Thank you for spending time with me today.

PS: Anyone of you having problem with WordPress recipe shortcode??


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I am sharing this at Fiesta Friday #78, hosted by the Amazing Angie, co-hosted by Aunt Juju and Petra.

I am also sharing this refreshing drink at:

Saucy Saturdays | Recipe of the Week | Happiness is Homemade | Melt in Your Mouth MondayWhat’d You Do This Weekend? | Tasty Tuesdays | Totally Terrific Tuesday | Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday | Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party | Foodie FriDIY | Showcase Your Talent Thursday | Cook Blog Share


Looking for some summer drink?

Cloudy Watermelon and Mint Cooler


Minty Peach Lemonade


Eid Eats 2015: Beef Turmeric in Coconut Milk

The I am so delighted to be joining Eid Eats once again. It is such a blessing that we have witnessed another year of Ramadan. Alhamdulillah.

Eid Eats is hosted by the three lovely people – Sarah @ Flour and Spice, Henna @ My Ninja Naan and Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies. Thank you, ladies, for your efforts.

In our home, or let me say in our tribe, we have two very important ingredients when we cook our dishes – turmeric powder and the somewhat paste-like called ‘Palapa‘ or ‘Sakurab‘ which is a mixture of ginger, special kind of spring onions which the white part is more than the green and chilies.

'Palapa' or 'Sakurab'
‘Palapa’ or ‘Sakurab’

We use these two together in cooking veggies, meat and chicken. I think we are fond of seeing stews in yellow. 😉

Beef Turmeric in Coconut Milk by The Not So Creative Cook 1

My Mom used to prepare this dish even if it’s not Eid because it is my father’s favorite. But this is also a must-have during Eid in our home. If I can remember it correctly, this was the first dish I have cooked for my father. 🙂 This goes well with white rice, but usually served with yellow rice during Eid.

This is very easy to make -much easier than the Chicken Piaparan I have shared during last year’s Eid Eats.

Beef Turmeric in Coconut Milk


  • 500g beef, cut into bite size pieces (about less than 1 inch in size)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Palapa or Sakurab paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Spring onions
  • Potatoes, cubed (optional)
  • Cooking oil


  1. In a cooking pot, saute onions and tomatoes in medium heat. Add ‘sakurab/palapa’ paste.
  2. Add beef and cook until no longer pink and most liquid has evaporated. Add turmeric powder.
  3. Add potatoes. (Since beef is sliced into cubes and in less than 1 inch in size, it can be cooked when the potatoes are cooked, too.)
  4. Add in coconut milk. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the beef and potatoes are cooked.
  5. Add coconut cream. Let it boil for a few minutes. Add salt to taste. Turn off the heat.
  6. Add spring onions.
  7. Serve with white rice.


Canned coconut milk/cream can be used.

If using freshly grated coconut, follow these steps:

  • Prepare 3 bowls and strainer.
  • Bowl 1: put 2 cups of grated coconut and 1 cup water. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze until you get a very beautiful coconut cream.
  • Get Bowl 2, top with the strainer, pour the coconut cream and squeeze until the coconut is dry. Set aside. Take note to save the used grated coconut. (This is coconut cream – thicker one)
  • Now, you have the used grated coconut. Go back to Bowl 1 and put the used grated coconut and add 1 cup water and again, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze…
  • Get Bowl 3, top with the strainer, pour the coconut milk and squeeze until the coconut is dry. (This is coconut milk – the thinner one)
  • Now, you can throw the used grated coconut. Clearly, you have the coconut cream and milk in separate bowls.

Palapa or Sakurab paste can be substituted:

You will need:

  • ½ cup white part of spring onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped ginger
  • 2-3 bird’s eye chili (or add more if you want screaming spicy)

Put the ingredients for palapa in a food processor and pulse for 1 or 2 seconds. (Not longer than that because you are not making it to a full paste-like spices.) You can also use mortar and pestle for this or you can put them in a ziplock bag and pound. Set aside until ready to use.

Beef Turmeric in Coconut Milk by The Not So Creative Cook 2

This dish is very easy to make, yet so tasty. I hope you enjoy spending time with me today.

Eid Mubarak to all my fellow Muslims! 


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Last year’s Eid Eats

From Selma’s Table: Gorgeous Tiny Cheese Muffins

Selma @ Selma’s Table was one of my first blogging buddies. I found her full of encouraging and supportive words. Selma not only shared her recipes, but she shared lots of love and support to each and every one of us. Her passing is such a difficult thing for us to take. I don’t even know if we’ll get used to it. It’s just too much to take. I didn’t know that you’d terribly miss someone you didn’t even met or didn’t even talked to (verbally). I didn’t know that you’d spend lots of tears for the same person.


It’s been a long time since I wanted to make something from her recipes, but for one reason or another, it kept on delaying. Just few weeks ago, I was planning to make two of her recipes for my Versions & Verdicts series and I was so much excited for her to see it and know what she thinks. This only made me regret for not making them sooner.

For my first version from Selma’s Table (or should I also call her recipes ‘The Best of Selma’s Table), I made her Gorgeous Tiny Cheese Muffins – they are very cute and very easy to make.

Gorgeous Tiny Cheese Muffins - The Not So Creative Cook

Other than that, they are very good for lunch boxes and they are delicious. I just got very excited with Parmigiano, so I overtopped them with it, forgetting how salty it is. Nonetheless, they are a hit inside my tummy. Thank you, Selma.

Gorgeous Tiny Cheese Muffins - The Not So Creative Cook 2

This can also be chopped and added to omelet with veggies. Also, this can be slightly toasted and added to soups – tomato soup will be the best.

Since, I did not change anything apart from using spring onions instead of parsley and completely forgot that I needed parmesan instead of parmigiano cheese, I am directing you to Selma’s post.



To join in Selma’s Tribute, there are no strict rules, but it will be nice to note the following:

  • You can post anything – letter, poem, stories RELATING TO SELMA.
  • Your version of Selma’s recipes.
  • A recipe SPECIALLY MADE FOR SELMA, or with SELMA IN MIND. For instance, I know Selma loves sourdough bread – I will make a sourdough bread because it reminds me of her.
  • It can also be an ingredient(s) that reminds you of Selma – sourdough starter? Yeah, something like that.
  • All posts must be linked back to Selma’s Table.

You can link up your posts on Angie’s Fiesta Friday, Elaine’s Food Bod, Sue’s Birgerbird and here on The Not So Creative Cook (link below).

Aside from re-creating Selma’s recipes, I have also created a page for my letters to Selma, you might want to take a look.

Letters to Selma

I have also created a badge that can be found in my sidebar which directs readers to Selma’s Table. You can grab it and place it on your sidebar or anywhere you want to place it, if you desire to.

The best of Selma's Table

Thank you so much for spending time with me today.

PS: Whether you know Selma or not, I am asking for at least one minute of your time to offer a prayer for her and for her loved ones she left behind.



A Special Fiesta Friday Tribute to Selma


As posted by Angie @ Fiesta Friday:

Some of you have heard of the unbearable news. Nonetheless to the rest who haven’t, it’s no less painful for us to be the bearers of the sad news of a dear friend’s passing. Selma of Selma’s Table, whom we have the honor of calling a sister in spirit, passed away on Saturday July 4th, after losing her battle with cancer.

In losing Selma, we at Fiesta Friday have lost an encouraging supporter and co-host, a loyal advocate, and a true friend who was generous with her time and knowledge.

Selma touched many lives. We know you share the same sentiments about her. We understand that you, too, want to show your appreciation for all that Selma had brought to our community as a whole and to your blogging experience personally.

So amidst our collective grief, but with love and deep admiration, we would like to dedicate a special Fiesta Friday in her honor. We are celebrating Selma, her life and her talents as a writer, a cook, a photographer, and a stylist in a Special Fiesta Friday.


WHAT? It’s a Selma Fiesta. Create a post with Selma in mind.

*Your post can be an anecdote, a poem, or story about or related to Selma.

*Your post can also be about a dish or two that you create using Selma’s recipes.

*Your post can be about a dish/recipe that you create and dedicate to Selma.

*All posts must be linked to Selma’s blog, Selma’s Table.

*You can link as many posts as you like, as long as they’re all Selma-themed and dedicated in her memory.

WHEN? It starts now and it will stay open until everyone has the chance to participate and honor Selma.

WHERE? Fiesta Friday Tribute to Selma is hosted on FiestaFriday.net, as well as on my blog, The Not So Creative Cook, and birgerbird. There will be a link prompt on all 4 blogs.

Link your tribute to Selma. Share with us how or what you do to honor her.”

Please add your link by clicking the ‘Add Your Link’ text below.

Add Your Link

I will publish mine soon. Thank you all so much!!

In My Kitchen – July 2015

Welcome to my kitchen once again…

I thought I’d miss IMK July post as I have not been out for sometime now, except when passing by a grocery store on my way home from work to buy something to cook for Iftar (time to break the fast). I tried my best to capture photos of our meals during Iftar, but I did not get good results.

Anyways, I am happy that I get to welcome you once again in my kitchen…

In my kitchen…

…is a jar of Durian jam. This jam is staple during Ramadan in our home. I am not a Durian fruit eater, but I love this jam a lot.

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 4

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 3

I am a lover of tea and I really want to fill my pantry with all flavors I could find, but I don’t think I’d be able to live a day with tea alone. Well, I drink about 7 cups of tea a day… but not this Ramadan.

In my kitchen…

…is a TWG Silver Moon Tea (a gift from my cousin).

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 2

This is a blend of green teas accented with a grand berry and vanilla bouquet, with a hint of spice. The smell alone is just beyond amazing.

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 1

Few days ago, I was invited for an Iftar by an amazing friend. She prepare a feast for us and everything  is superb! Unfortunately, I haven’t tried the homemade ice cream as we were picked up from her home  a little earlier. I super duper enjoyed the food, the conversation and everything that night. It was one of the most amazing nights. She is awesome that I got to take home these:

Almond Cigars –

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 7

I think this is Apricot Tart –

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 6

Chorba with (I think) Semolina Bread – I am saddened by the incident that the soup spilled inside the car. 😦

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 9

Bourek – I am just crazy about these.

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 5

And the most famous my Brioche Crown 😛

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The most beautiful crown. 😀 And I just love those sugar bits on top.

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 11

And while we were chatting, I have mentioned that I love Harissa. She gladly took this from her pantry and gave it to me – yay for me. 😀 😀 😀

IMK - The Not So Creative Cook 8

There’s still the dish called Chicken Tajine (I think), but it’s all gone – I haven’t taken a photo. I devoured them like a beast for Suhoor (early morning meal for one who is observing Ramadan).

I hope you enjoyed peeking. Thanks to Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, the mind behind In My Kitchen. Please join us before 10th of July and make sure to link it back to Celia.

Have a fabulous day to everyone. 😉


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Beefy Pizza

Have you had those moments when you are trying to tweak or create a recipe then you make a mental list of the ingredients along with the measurements while telling yourself that you will make the actual list later on?

Beef-y Pizza @ The Not So Creative Cook (3)


You forget about it.


When you decide to make it again, you can’t even remember the most common ingredient?! 😐

Beef-y Pizza @ The Not So Creative Cook (4)

Some weeks ago, I made Beefy Pizza, but the photos were not that nice, so I decided to bake a new one and use the new photos. The thing is I completely forgot a single ingredient – tomato sauce. So the beef topping became pale. Lucky me, I can’t live without veggies in a pizza and that saved the photos… somehow. The taste? Well, thank you to me for being a ‘sauce [ketchup] person’ as that saved the beef topping. 😀

Beef-y Pizza @ The Not So Creative Cook (2)

You can make the topping before you make your dough to drain the excess oil from the beef topping.

Beefy Pizza

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Beef topping:


  • 300g ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce or tomato ketchup
  • sugar, salt & pepper, to taste
  • oil for sautéing
  • Pizza sauce (I used tomato ketchup as the sauce)
  • Mozzarella cheese


  1. In a pan with medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in oil.
  2. When fragrant, add beef and combine well. Cover and wait for the ‘beef water’ evaporates.
  3. Add tomato sauce or tomato ketchup and cook until it’s dried out. Add sugar, salt & pepper to taste.
  4. You can lay the topping on a paper towel or on a colander.
  5. Make your dough. (Recipe below or you can use your own.)

Pizza Dough:


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or any flavorless oil)

(You’ll also need additional flour for your work surface and oil for your bowl.)


  1. Put all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or your clean hands, mix the dough until you get all the flour from the bowl.
  3. Knead the dough until it becomes soft and does not sticks to your hands (about 10 minutes or more).  You can also use your stand mixer to do the kneading for you. (You can do the kneading in a lightly floured surface or in a large plastic bowl. For me, since this is a pizza and doesn’t need that much of ‘bubbles’, I decided to knead using a large plastic bowl with ONLY my right hand working on the dough and it worked perfectly.)
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl, cover using a plastic wrap or lint free towel. Keep it in a warm place and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few seconds.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts if you prefer a thin-crust pizza or 2 parts if you prefer something sort of a deep-pan pizza.
  7. Flatten the dough to 12 inches (or whatever you prefer) to fit your baking sheet.
  8. Preheat your oven at 400 F. While doing so, you can let your pizza dough rise before putting  the beef topping.
  9. Bake at 15 minutes or until the mozzarella melts beautifully.
  10. Serve immediately.

I am super late for this week’s Fiesta Friday #75 hosted by the Amazing Angie and co-hosted by  another J & J duo – Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Josette @ The Brook Cook.

I hope you enjoy this super late treat from me. Thank you for spending your time with me. I wish everyone a fab weekend and happy partying. 😉

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I am also sharing this at

Are you a new yeast user and up for some challenge? Why not try the following recipes using yeast? 

Sugar Glazed Donuts

thenotsocreativecook-SugarGlazed donuts

Mini Challah Rolls

thenotsocrativecook-Challa Rolls3

Tomato Cheese Focaccia