Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Yellow Tail Merlot

Lookin' for a good wine? My husband is not a "tomador" but he can down a bottle of wine in a jiffy. Not quite true. He does drink occasionally. He is fuzzy when it comes to wines and hard drinks. Whever we go out for fine dining, he tries to observe what good restaurants serve. Usually, he thinks that good restaurants do their homework of finding good wines to compliment what they serve. It does makes sense, doesn't it?

Anyway, during my daughter's sixteenth birthday, he discovered this merlot called Yellow Tail imported from Australia. The cost of a glass was half of what you had to pay for when you buy a bottle of this from the liqour store. Think about how many glasses there would be in a glass.

My husband has become wiser. The other night, he bought steaks and a bottle of wine and we had fine dining at home. How's that for indulgence?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Philippine Mangoes

They do look like Philippine Mangoes. In fact they're tagged as Manila Mangoes. But when you look at their small stickers, they're imported from Mexico. It is my second year to find these in the market. Fairly young. Should I be happy or should I be sad?

First, I am happy. The mangoes taste the same as what we have in the Philippines, particularly the ones from Zambales. The texture, the grain, the juice, the sweetness. Just right for my tastebuds. That means I don't have to crave for these anymore. They're readily available.

I am however sad for my country. My caucasian friend once told me that the best mangoes he's ever tasted were the ones from the Philippines. I thought this is just one of the opportunities that my country has missed, exporting something like this one. Now Mexico has looked into this, and given its accessibility to the US and Canada, it will definitely bite my country. If only my country will pay attention and give a closer look at what it is missing in terms of exporting opportunities. If only the leaders of my country stop the bickerings and start thinking about what is good for everyone. But I am glad to find out that bickering does not only happen in the Philippines but where I am as well.

By the way, I am a little bit surprised that my officemate of Polish origin appreciated very much when I showed her how to eat mangoes.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Arroz Caldo

Arroz Caldo is a comfort food for me. When I am tired, when I am sick, when I just do not feel right, I think of arroz caldo. Of course, the day I came home one day was just one of those days. I right away thought of cooking arroz caldo.

Once I stepped in, I boiled 8 cups of water, threw the bones and other parts of chicken breasts I always saved from other recipes while I changed into my home clothes. I set the stock aside, separated the bones from the flesh and discarded the bones. I set the meat aside.


2 tbsp of oil
2 chicken bouillon
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp of finely chopped ginger
1 finely chopped onion
1 cup of uncooked glutinous rice (malagkit)
6 cups of water from the chicken stock
patis to season
5 tsp of finely chopped green onion
calamansi or lemon

In a saucepan, saute the garlic until lightly brown and set aside. On the same pan, saute the garlic and onion. Add the boullion. Add the stock set aside from boiling the meat . Add the rice and the meat. Cover pan and simmer for about 20 minutes making sure that you stir the pot once in a while. Season. Serve in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sauteed garlic and green onions.

Calamansi would help enhance the taste of your arroz caldo. Also, some add boiled quail eggs to theirs.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Indian Chicken Curry

Officemate says this is called chicken masala. I must warn you though that loving this recipe does not happen overnight. For some, it's an acquired taste. It wasn't a popular one at the office initially.


5 tbsp of olive oil
1 kg chicken
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsps chilli powder
2 tsps coriander powder
Salt to taste

1/4 curd or yoghourt

Cut chicken into pieces and marinate with curd and salt for about an hour. Set aside.

Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add onion and fry till until translucent. Add turmeric, ginger and garlic powder. Stir well. Add chilli and coriander and about 2 tbsps water. Stir well until the oil comes out clear.

In the same saucepan add the chicken. Cover and simmer on gentle heat till chicken is done adding about 1/4 cup in the process.

Serve with rice.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Satay Hot Pot

Another acquired taste for me. It took me sometime to love the taste of the base. I first tasted this in Indonesia the other year. Apparently, the base seems to be common in Malaysia and Singapore as well.

The base can be prepared ahead and can be frozen. I used a blender to mix the following ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic
2 inches of cinnamon sticks
5 cardamoms
thumbsized peeled ginger
1 mace
1/2 tsp of peppercorns
2 coarsely chopped medium onions
5 bay leaves

Blend the ingredients until you reach paste-like consistency. Use only an amount enough to give flavour to your soup. Wrap the left over in plastic wrap and freeze it for future use.

Now here's what you need to prepare the Hot Pot.

1 cup of fish head with flesh (white preferably)
1 cup of mussels
1/2 cup of prawns (optional)
about 1/4 cup of peeled radish
1/2 cup of snow peas, cleaned
1 cup of green leafy vegetables

In a saucepan, boil 3 cups of water. Add the soup base. Season with salt. Once the water boils, add all the ingredients at the same time putting the green ones last or on top. Watch that once the soup boils, you have to take the saucepan out of the burner and pour the soup in a serving bowl.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Why do you blog?

Dinner scenario at home is now slowly changing. Two weeks ago, my son was away for his sailing lesson. Last weekend, he went for a YAG cruise required by his being a sea cadet. I find that weeknights are slowly changing as well. If a few months ago we'd eat together at dinnertime, not anymore. My daughter goes to her piano lessons on Thursdays so I'm forced to do side trips for cooked food so she doesn't have to rush. Oh and many more in between.

So when I used to cook for dinner, sometimes I now blog and blog hop. Blogging is so fun. So how did I start blogging?

Rewind, a year and a half ago. I was looking for a recipe on the net and guess what? I found this blog originally known as the Radical Chef. What was impressive was that the cook was not only a good cook but also a lawyer. It used to be that whatever she had the night before would be our dinner the next day. I've literally watched her blog grow to what it is now. I have not met her personally as other bloggers have, like Jet and Jay but someday when I get to meet her, I am sure we'll have so many stories to share.

Sassy as I fondly call her (lifted from her journal) has at some point put on her sideblog a list of other Filipino Bloggers. One click did the trick and led me to Doc Emer's blog. Wow, so even a doctor has a blog! I would read comments on his posts and Tito Rolly, a teacher would be one of them. Curiosity killed the cat? Nope, the cat has nine lives and so Doc's blog led me to the rest.

The fun did not end there. I was able to become part of a Food blog circle. I've been to different kitchens, stealing recipes or exchanging ideas with them. We do cyber parties now too.

Starting was not easy. Blogging does require a lot of your time. Since I concentrated on my food blog, I made sure that I made a photo of everything I cooked, which made my family wait forever before they could start to taste my recipe. It's all right because they learned the art of anticipation and cooperation. They would prepare my camera while I am cooking and grab the appropriate plate or bowl so that all I need to do was just scoop into the plate or bowl what I cooked, take a picture and eat away.

Blogging is very rewarding. I've even met people from different countries like Mrs Tweety, Fish Fish and Obachan. But the most rewarding part of it all is I became part of this and I got a beautiful template for free from her.

It is intimidating at first. You don't know what to expect. But you know what? As long as you do your blog to your heart's content, you'll be fine.

It's your turn. Why do you blog?

Monday, May 23, 2005

It's my turn at Blogkadahan

Okey, today's my turn at Blogkadahan. Remember about my invitation in March?

For some who do not know what Blogkadahan is, it's a group of eager, happy bloggers but not necessarily famous ones. It was initially a group of bloggers who in one way or another shared similar interests in various ways and points. Eventually, the group has grown and a brilliant idea of making it into a mega-blog was hatched. Because of its rapid growth, the group put a halt into accepting more members with the idea of managing the small group first and eventually grow again. When? I have no idea but logistics are being put into place now.

The group did not mean to leave others out. In fact it welcomes the idea of others to form their own groups. We are aware that a lot of our readers have expressed interest in joining us. Hey, there might be some light to your wish one day. Everyone is always welcome to say something there.

A reader e-mailed me to write in English so he can understand what I was saying. Mark, I will with our next topic but I am a little bit pickled on this....the next topic deserves to be written in our mother tongue.

Remember..come and visit me at Blogkadahan and when you do, don't forget to leave a trace.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lobsters for May 25th

Okey..the list is getting longer..hmmm..mrst is coming..karen too..don't miss the boat guys!


I hope you guys will come prepared to feast on these lobsters. The timing couldn't be better for Mama Stel's party. Kamayan is allowed, I hope. Time to take off those manicures, just for a day. Mama Stel, just be ready with a bowl of water and sliced lemons in it please to keep their fingers from the smell afterwards. And oh, the towels Mama to wipe their hands dry after.

We get these lobsters for a low price during the month of May. In fact, there is a store here which sells them at half the price on Mother's day. For three years now, we've made it a tradition to indulge on seafood on Mother's day. I saved some for Stel's party of course. The steamed ones on top can be enjoyed with a small bowl of vinegar, salt and minced garlic. That's all you need. Sawsaw galore.

Wait don't go home yet if you don't want the steamed ones. You get so disappointed easily. I really plan to come prepared. Here's for you guys who are "seafood-cooked-in-coconut-milk" lovers. Paborito ni Tito Rolly 'to. (Tito Rolly puwedeng kumanta ka na lang. I'll take care of the food)

I cooked these with lots of finely chopped ginger, minced garlic, 2 tbsps of alamang, finely chopped medium onion and a can of coconut milk. I made sure that I reduced the coconut milk from a can to almost 1/4 or lesser by letting it boil for quite a while. And then I added the rest of the ingredients and cooked them for about a minute or two. 'added the lobsters afterwards. I seasoned the dish with love (and a little salt if needed, otherwise the alamang will do it).

You see, our friends are so used to this package deal when inviting us. I mean, when one of us in the family is invited, everyone goes. I had to warn my family that they can't join me though because Stel's is quite a ways. With the fare alone, I'd go bankrupt.

Anyhow, to appease my son, I let him take pictures of the lobsters. I left 2 pieces for them, don't you guys worry.

I can't wait. My barkadas will be there: JMom, CeliaK, Mommy Beng, Ms Thess, Annabanana and Schatzli. Of course I am so excited to meet Cacofonix, Stef, Atinna and Cheh. Others are still welcome. We've got lots of time. Right Mama Mia?

On a side note, you guys are invited to my house warming next month. Mommy Beng made a complete overhaul of my kitchen. She's moved the pots and pans around. I plan to hold a barbecue party. Let's have a casual get together. Barbecue, Wine, Cheese. Hey, Tokwa't Baboy will be nice.

Friday, May 20, 2005

How do you like my new template?

Oh please spare me! It is not my fault that I get a lot of oohs and aahs today. Blame it on Mommy Beng, a computer-savvy, first class web-designer, focused and determined techie to create a template for me.

I did not ask for it. Well, it's a lie. I did envy her web templates and I kept rubbing in that I wanted one too every time I went to her site. She used to claim she was just an amateur, one learning how to get around the designing of pages. LIAR!! Look at what she did to my site? She made it look like it was made by a pro. Now I have to cook something to fit this classy template!

Just to warn you, this cost me a lot. A lot of sleepless nights of excitement, that's what. She hinted that she was going to make me one awhile back and I knew she really meant it.

Anyway, so much for bragging. Thanks for this classy template Mommy Beng. May I have more templates to come from you! Mommy Ting loves you.

PS: Did I tell you guys that I had this for free?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Garlic Flavoured Mashed Potatoes

This is my daughter's masterpiece. Thanks to numerous unannounced visits from friends and relatives. I have had short notices in the past and usually, they're just laying off for a few hours in our city before they move on to their next leg.

Usually, I do not want to pass up the chance to spend even just a few minutes with them especially if I haven't seen them for ages. Given such short notices and usually I work from 9-5 and my daughter usually is home before 4, she has more time to go to the grocery store to buy potatoes, fresh beans and a whole chicken.

Aha, there you go. Mashed potatoes go well with baked chicken and steamed vegetables like carrots, beans and cauliflower. What makes her mashed potatoes taste good? Club House Garlic Plus Seasoning and a couple tablespoons of margarine and her gravy sauce.

I have taught her once to make gravy. I must say she's been good in keeping notes because she still has that note to keep her company in the kitchen. She has modified my initial recipe and I admit that hers is better.

Dare to have an unannounced visit? Well you know what to expect.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Egg Fried Rice

My officemate one time asked me why I always take home the leftover rice everytime we have a "chinese dish" for lunch at work. See, my officemates throw them out. Not me. My parents have always taught me not to be wasteful. Mother always reminded me to think about the people starving in other parts of the world whenever I threw out food.

Now that I have a family of my own, oftentimes I seem to mimic what my mom used to tell me. Well, I've become more creative than her. She often fried the rice just with garlic. I fry mine with garlic, egg and green peas. Other days I add diced ham or whever I have leftover barbecue, I add it too.
The process is really easy.

Here's what you need.

2 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
2-3 cups of leftover rice
1 egg
1/2 cup of green peas

In a pan, heat the oil. Saute the garlic until brown. Add the rice. Create a hole in the middle and add the egg, cooking it for about a minute. Mix the rice with the egg. Add the green peas and cook the rice for another 3 minutes stirring it occasionaly making sure that the rice does not stick and burn at the bottom of the pan.

Serve hot.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


I know I shouldn't be blogging about this now. It's way too late. Well, you see my daughter turned 16 a month ago. I am a sucker for milestones. I celebrate every milestone. I invited 10 of her friends. I had to be careful because her group was a mixture of all races and they all observed different religious practices. One girl does not eat beef while another one does not eat pork.

Spring just sprung when we two were deciding. I had thought of bringing the girls bowling and drive them to a pizza house afterwards. My daughter thought it was gay, nevertheless she went with me to the bowling alley to take a look. She had to be careful. Not all her friends were invited and she didn't want to hurt the feelings of the rest she did not invite. She wanted it to be an intimate one. She's been invited to other "16th birthdays" lately. Afterall, all her friends are turning 16 one way or another this year. The bowling idea did not make it to the top of her list. Instead my other suggestion of having it at a Greek Restaurant was a hit.

Just before the Hors D' Oeuvres were served, the girls thought of singing her a "happy birthday" song. My husband, my son and myself were a little embarrased. What with the crowd watching us? Mind you, the restaurant was quite busy and almost all the tables were taken. We were set up right in the middle but it was quite a huge group. Guess what? The crowd clapped for her after they sang. And then the picture taking followed. Man, you could tell these girls came prepared. We were like in a photo shop.

Oh, and did I tell you the girls asked for seconds? the pita bread was just so good and the restaurant's tzatziki and hummous were the best I've ever had so far. The girls were so full even before the main course was served. As if they haven't caused me enough embarrassment, the girls wanted my daughter to open her gifts. And so she did. Oh, it was such a riot. Some of the girls said it was their first time to go to a Greek Restaurant.

They decided to go and take some sunset pictures after dinner. It didn't take them long. It was so windy that night and something funny happened..they are ran out of battery for their cameras.

Well, how about Starbucks? I took them to a chocolate house instead and we were lucky enough that a band was playing that night.
Now my children are growing and already are starting to drift away from us. Their activities seem to consume all the time I used to enjoy having dinner with them. I'd be very glad if we all sat down together for 3 dinners a week now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Using my most precious Lee Kum Kee Seasonings in pouches, I was also able to cook a very inviting dish not only by how it looked on this picture this but at how it tasted too. The ingredients are really readily available and you won't need much to be succesful in cooking this. Red and Green peppers, onions, eggs, ground pork, ground pepper are all you needed, aside from the infamous Lee Kum Kee of course. Hmm, flour to bind the meatballs too.


For the meatballs:

1 lb medium ground pork
1 egg
1 tbsp of finely chopped onion
2 tbsp of flour
Salt to taste

Mix everthing in a bowl. Form the mixture into meatballs. You can either deep fry the meatballs or just bake them. Once the meatballs ar cooked, set them aside. Deep frying the meat balls gives you a bit of crunchieness in them but if you are conscious about fat, baking would be just fine.

For the sauce

1/2 green pepper, sliced into bite sizes
1/2 red pepper, sliced into bite sizes
1/2 medium onion, sliced into bite sizes
2 pouches of Lee Kum Kee Sweet and Sour Sauce

In a pan, saute the onions for about a minute. Add the red and gree peppers. Do not overcook the peppers. A minute might be just fine. Pour the sauce and let boil. Turn off the burner and mix the meatballs in. Voila, it's not delivery..it's home-cooked..