Sunday, October 9, 2011

#46: A Lazy Dessert - Chocolate Ganache

Savory Sweet Life snapped this picture for me. :-)
Oh I had been very busy marketing our audio and voice-over services in JuanFoundSound I realized I haven't visited my friends here for  more than a month now. Being up to my neck in marketing and baby-sitiing tasks, I still had the gall to look for dessert. Unfortunately, I haven't got some fancy stuff in my pantry for some decent dessert. I looked in my fridge and I found these left-overs: chocolate chips, all-purpose cream and margarine.

Hah! Chocolate Ganache! okay, fine it's just chocolate sauce. Ganache happens when you add a bit of liquor to it. :-) 

TAKE 2: Hah! Chocolate sauce! Now this rich and lovely sweet sauce can store in your fridge for a week and you can drizzle it on practically any dessert. cake, bread or fruit. It's really brainless you may think why I even bothered to publish it here!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Wedding Message

"Really? You want me to write that?"

Yes, my friend asked me to write a wedding speech for her mother-in-law who is going to speak at the wedding of his son. She said she thought of me because I wrote well.

My dear, being able to write well does not mean I can write a wedding advice that should sound like it came from a marriage veteran. I have only been married for 6 years after all. Well, she insisted. So I prayed, breathed in and mustered all the bits of wisdom that I collected from my mentors, friends and my own experience. I tried my best to make it sound motherly. Read more to see what I actually came up with.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

#45: Keeping a Nice-Smelling Kitchen

Aahh... the smelly goodness of tuyo served with vinegar.
Thank you panlasang pinoy for the pic!
Our kitchen is our kingdom. It is our lair. It is where our family's delight are sauteed, stewed and baked so we better make it a nice place to stay in. I have a number of things in my mind that will keep our kitchen (at least) smelling clean. Filipinos most especially need to do this because we just loooooove garlic and patis (fish sauce) and bagoong (fish paste) of all colors, tastes and odors. Not to mention tuyo, buro, dilis, tinapa, durian... the list goes on and on! Yes, I know there is still the clutter but perhaps we can talk a bout that on another (looong) entry, hahaha. The Clutter Monster, after all, is a very tough foe. So let's attend to the smell first. :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To the Corporate Planet and Back

Hello my food-hugging friends! I apologize for being invisible lately. You see I just went a bit hormonal (haha!) and I kinda got busy with a recent attempt to visit the corporate planet. Read about it here. :-)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

#44: Cream of Celery Soup

30In the past entries, I have shared soup recipes like Leek and Broccoli Soup and the Pumpkin Bisque. This time, I'm delighted to introduce you to another creamy soup that is both hearty and refreshing for the palate because of featured ingredient: celery. I know some people are not fond of the flavors from this family of vegetables. Cilantro, parsley, along with celery just taste too much like freshly cut grass for some. But this soup will give this vegetable a new face and will easily become a family favorite. Gone are the days when you can only use it in pansit or chopsuey. You kids will not notice that they are gulping a good serving of celery in each serving. 

I tried to do that "heart-shaped sauce" trick  move but  I think
I failed to make it look like a heart but more like a guppy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#43: Spicy Stir-Fried Pork

I am slowly warming up to experimenting on Asian flavors. It's ironic that I am Asian yet I am totally foreign to the flavors of our neighbors like kaffir, galangal, coriander, rice wine, lemongrass, cardamom, and many others. What I usually find in groceries are ingredients that lean towards Western cooking. So in a quest for new flavor dimensions, I recently tried an Asian-inspired salad and this delectable stir-fry dish.

This flavorful stirfry may take some time to prep but is a breeze to cook. The secret to quick stir-fry meals is having ingredients that are cut in smaller pieces so the heat can go through it quicker. Guess what else?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

#42:The Good the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:
Any special breakfast that I spend with my husband is bound to be good. I received a Flapjacks coupon for a chocolate pancake because I stuffed myself with 2 breakfasts' worth of pancakes the 3 days before. Since I love special serene breakfasts, I invited my husband to share it with me with bottomless coffee, coffee, coffee... aaah!

So flapjacks had this Halloween promo wherein they served chocolate pancakes. I thought it will be blah, after all it's free. But you see the syrupy chocolate on top of my pancakes? That was really good! It's rich and creamy and it has none of those cheap, oily-tasting chocolate syrup that you get from sundaes from fast-foods. This one that they got is the real, dark, melted chocolate ganache type. And the pancakes were fine as well, not too sweet and it blended with the creaminess of the whipped butter (after all, butter goes well with ANYTHING!). 

Their bottomless coffee was a bit bland though. Good thing my husband was there to make me forget that the coffee was not remarkable. The conversation was good enough, indeed.

Now for what happened 3 days earlier...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

#41: Chicken Florentine

when I buy chicken, I always ask the butcher to keep the chicken breast whole and I just use the rest of the chicken for stews or for frying. The breast of a whole chicken can fairly feed 2 to 3 people. If you want to feed four, set aside 2 whole chicken breasts for your meal.

This one is just so restaurant-y that some people are intimidated to even try to do this. But I assure you that this is much easier than it looks. Again, malunggay is the leafy vegetable of choice here more for its nutritional value. The slight bitterness of this vegetable goes well with the ham and cheese.  However, if you prefer kangkong or native spinach, it's okay. You will definitely wow your family or your friends with this elegant offering. 
Chicken Florentine
Sosy Level: 5
Pawis Level: 3
Featured Ingredient: Malunggay (don't you just love it? I have another Malunggay recipe here)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Parental Workout

Now that I have a two year old girl, I realize that you cannot be lazy when you are a parent. And when I say lazy, i do not mean simply physically. Most of us are usually diligent physically: we wake up very early, we battle our way to work, tackle our tasks and our chores. We try to be as nimble as we can so we can get more things done. But there is a certain emotional laziness that will be checked once you become a steward of a child. I can say this now because I myself looked it in the face and struggled with it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#40: Loving Cheesecakes

Whenever I feel down or if ever I am hit by a sudden desire to indulge, the first three things that comes to my mind is a good massage, coffee and a big, luscious slice of cheesecake. My friends can tell that when I am craving for dessert, "cheesecake" is the first thing to come out my mouth. Just writing these things make me close my eyes and draw a deep sigh straight from my food-loving heart.

Being able to say these things mean I only want cheesecake for my family when there is a special occasion, given my budget allows me to. We were able to sample with the family two cheesecakes this last quarter. One is from Banapple and one is from Cheesecake Etc. Let me relate to you our experience from both. This will probably help you decide what you might like to have in the future.

Before I start, I will describe to you the kind of cheesecake that I like. I know different individuals have different tastes. With this you will know where I am coming from. I like my cheesecake a bit heavy, not too sweet, in fact, I like it with a bit of tang. Now that I have said that, let us begin with

Banapple's Strawberry Crumble Cheesecake
Taste: 5/10
My birthday this year landed on the day that our car is prohibited on the road during rush hour. We can only use our car by 7pm so it was a rush rom our house to my parents' where we would have my birthday dinner. To save time, I asked my brother if he could pick up my cake for me. He was happy to bring home the cheesecake but a bit fatigued (in a happy way) because the box containing the cake was so heavy! The whole cake weighed more than a kilo. Not bad for something that is worth P860, right? In my mind, it bode well because it meant that that I'll be eating some heavy-loaded cheesecake.

Dessert time! We took our cake knife and excitedly sliced our finale for the night. You bet it was heavy! It was so dense that it was like slicing cheese! There was a "crumble" part in the name so I was expecting some toffee or perhaps solidified wedges of sugar but apparently, it was just crust crumbs sprinkled on top of the strawberry sauce which was sort of a slight letdown for me. Each of us had only an inch-thick slice but it was more dessert than we can handle on an already full stomach. You see this slice on the left? Three of us shared this. The cheesecake had a very thick texture that is perfect for a calorie loaded snack but a bit too heavy for dessert after dinner. 

I have high regard for Banapple, especially after they took my heart with just one bite of their Banoffee Pie. However, I felt that this item lacked the tang I'm looking for in a cheesecake. Even if it is very heavy, I did not experience the sweet-salty-tangy balance that I usually like in a cheesecake. It was sweeter than I expected and lacking a roundness in the flavor. Or perhaps it was also a case of the texture overwhelming the taste. It's good thing that the crust was very tasty that it cut the jaw-straining texture of the cake. Our family's response is: It is good and it was well worth the amount you'll pay for it. But we won't order it again anytime soon and be part of our classic choices. We'll probably try something else when we look at Banapple's menu again.

Cheesecake Etc.'s Mango Passion Cheesecake
Taste: 7/10
It was Mother's Day and it is the perfect excuse to treat for our mom (and ourselves!) with another cheesecake. My brother got a coupon from Cheesecake Etc. and bought my mom a whole Mango Passion Cheesecake. It looked pretty nice with the greeting written on it and all the ribbon and curls. As opposed to the cheesecake that we had during the previous occasion, this is a light mango-flavored cheesecake with a nice mango jelly topping. I was expecting it to be sweet but it turned to be pretty balanced. The creaminess married well with the fruity mango flavor in the cake while the topping gave your palate a tangy exclamation point. It was actually a nice dessert experience, not too overpowering but and just right to cap off a dinner. 

One thing though, it seems to be more of a mango mousse dessert than a cheesecake because it was very light (contrary to Banapple's utterly heavy cake, this was too light in fact) and was actually melting at room temperature. My brother said that it sold for P150 per slice. For me, this may be asking too much if you are going to get something that tasted more like mousse cake instead of cheesecake. It seems that you are getting more cream than cream cheese. If they called it mango mousse cake, then this is probably the best mango mousse cake that I have tasted so far. If not for my brother's coupon, one will usually pay P 895.00 for a whole cake. Not bad, not bad at all; I had two slices that night. 

How about you, what was your best cheesecake slice do far?

Friday, June 3, 2011

#39: Oriental Cabbage Salad

I used to have this notion that salad greens can only be lettuce. Whatever its first name is, so long as its last name is lettuce, then that's what you can use for salads: Romaine lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, Butterhead lettuce and so on. Otherwise, there are the more expensive and equally hard-to-find greens (at least here in the Philippines) such as the alfalfa, arugula, rocket, mustard, chard.. most of these I haven't even seen yet in person! I only see this whenever I watch Jaime Oliver! He has his own organic veggie garden, so.. oh well.

Going back, my brain was stuck in this idea that leafy salads only belong to the upscale Filipino dining table. That was until one of my mentors Kuya Hubert Cheock introduced me  to this clever little salad  made from our featured ingredient: CABBAGE!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hypocrisy is Having a Party

The RH Bill.

I tried to shut up and not be part of the debate. However I am disturbed by how a big deal this is becoming. The house debates are actually being aired live for everyone to see politicians spewing  principles of purity and freedom of choice and how these debates also digresses into off tangent topics and eventually personal insults. In my mind, this seems to be a very sensible move in helping alleviate poverty in our country that's why it puzzles me how other people and religious personalities is making it such a big deal. It's as if our nation will fall to the pits of hell if we allow reproductive health to be a part of the Filipino's mentality.

This is how I see it. Withholding contraceptives from our people does not assure us of a morally upright, sexually pure nation. 

Read more of my thoughts about it here.:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

#38:Friendly Oatmeal Biscuits

If you feel that the Mango Sesame Cookies  was a bit too much for beginners, then this one should be good fit for cookie rookies like you. I present to you the Oatmeal Biscuit! Not only can you boast of cooking something that is packed with fiber, this baby also boasts of a buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture with little crunches here and there. It is perfect with your milk tea and a good book like, say, the Hobbit or Remember Who You Are by Ed Lapiz. You only need the bare minimum of cookies, of course, with the addition of the oats: butter, sugar, flour, vanilla. So yeah, this is certified for beginners. :-D

Oats. It's such a friendly pantry item. You can make porridge from it, granola, muesli and desserts like cookies. Whenever you are attacked with a hunger pang, oats always lend a helping hand, filling (and cleaning) your tummy and patting you on the back, affirming you that you made the better choice by snacking on them. In this era where people are suddenly clamoring for wellness, oats have been elevated to a new level of popularity and for a good reason.

Friday, May 20, 2011

#38: Peeling Pineapples

A cyber-friend of mine was talking about her woes of wanting to eat a pineapple but not knowing how to eat it.  I thought it will be a good entry for this blog because I used to have the same problem too. It may be convenient to just pop open a can of syrup-drenshed pineapples but it already lost all the enzymes it has and just has Vitamin C that was artificially added to it.

Now there are two ways to skin a pineapple. The classic way and the easy way. Let's discuss the classic way first.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Slowly, Gently

Food is probably just a microcosm of this bigger wok we call life. You can't make instant food and expect it to be the most nutritious piece of gourmet morsel there is on earth. Good things take a lot of work and sacrifice. It's the same with life. Read more about this little piece of wisdom I was reminded of one lunch with my daughter.

Slowly. Gently.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

#37: Leek and Broccoli Soup

I love soups! I think I said that before in my Pumpkin Bisque recipe. I am always thrilled at the prospect of a meal starting off with a warm hearty bowl. Actually, sometimes, a big bowl of soup and a buttered toast can comprise a satisfying dinner for me. (I think I said that before too). So before I become redundant, I'll share with you a soup that I tasted from one of my marriage-and-life-in-general mentor Joanna Cheock. She and her husband Kuya Hubert invited us over for lunch and served Broccoli and Leek soup with Kuya Hubert's juicy lamb steak and shrimp and mango salad. I remember eating twice my weight that day.

What amazed me was how tasty it was even if the soup was not made from any meat broth. This proves that meals can be totally vegetarian and totally tasty too! A small bunch of broccoli will do for this recipe because this soup uses up the flowers and stems - everything! The potatoes create its creamy texture but the leeks give this soup the umph. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

#36: Macing's Year-Round Puto Pumbong

This is the "bumbong" used to cook this
rice cake. Nice picture from Female Network!
Puto Bumbong is a classic Filipino rice cake snack that is most popular during Christmas time. Over the years, it has become a traditional snack for those who are attending the early morning Christmas mass that starts from December 16 to 25. This rice cake is made from a special kind of purple sticky rice called Pirurutong. The rice is soaked in salted water, dried and ground then placed in a narrow bamboo called bumbong then steamed. It is then placed on a banana leaf and served slathered with butter, shaved coconut, ground raw sugar also known as muscovado and sometimes, grated cheese. This is officially my favorite rice cake variety. Nothing beats the warm, soft texture of the cake, this made more lavish by the creamy butter, the milky coconut and the sharp, melt-in-your-mouth sweetness of the muscovado. Oh yeah. Then the cheese... This must be the gate of rice cake heaven.

If I had my choice, I will want to eat this regularly all year round. But as I mentioned earlier, these only litter the streets during Christmas. And lately, the really good puto bumbongs have gotten far and few in between. Most of the puto bumbongs sold during Christmas has mostly become imitation versions. They don't use pirurutong anymore. They just use the regular sticky rice and color it purple. Baaaah! I had no choice but to endure the longing until the next Christmas season. That was my plight until my husband introduced me to Macing's.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

#35: Coffee Roasted Chicken

Coffee.. I am so in love with it that I even add it to my chicken! Haha! you may think that this will taste funny but really, what coffee adds to this is the smoky flavor without the actual carbon crust on the chicken. This is so delicious and simple, you can almost do this even if you don't have any cooking experience at all. And, it adds a truck load of pogi/ popularity points if you serve this to your friends. Little do they know that it is made of only 5 ingredients. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Unusual Love Letter

I am pregnant!

Yes. Only, there is a problem.

Find out what the problem was and how a typical document became an unusual love letter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

#34: How to Avoid Common Cooking Mistakes

There are more cool stuff you can use
here on ClipArt Pal. 
A lot of  non-cooking individuals always tell me that they are scared of treading the path of cooking dishes for the family. They fear that it may not turn out right and all their time and ingredients are are gonna end up an uneaten dump of  food in the fridge. For all you kitchen newbies, don't be fazed. I am not the hustler in the kitchen that you think who flies around in flawless movements, making a perfect meal every time. I am only able to write these things after much experiments, successes , failures, tears and salty (or burnt) dishes.

That's why I want to share with you some tips that hopefully will get you to be friends with the kitchen. Perhaps these may save you from encountering the horror stories I experienced before.

Monday, April 18, 2011

#33: Cucumber for All Occasions Part 2

Now we have come to the second installment of our cucumber festival. The first couple of recipes are quite common but these two here are more adventurous.

Tzatziki's Long Lost Pinoy Brother
Now where getting somewhere! And that somwhere is Greece. This is a traditional Greek dip but we will try to make it more down to earth, ok? Strictly, it should be made with Greek yogurt which is richer than the yogurt we know. But hey, yogurt is already a bit pricey here so I guess we can make do with that. It's up to you if you want to scour the international aisle in your supermarket and find the real thing. :-D

Monday, April 11, 2011

#32: My Inconvenient Sinigang

The tamarind has a nice profile pic
here in the tropicalfruitnursery. :-)
I was shopping in a supermarket a few days ago when a lady came up to me asking me to try this new and improved tamarind soup mix. It's supposed to be 2-in1 because it has the tamarind powder and "umami" powder that gives this more delicious taste.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

#3I: Cucumber for All Ocassions Part 1

I got this cucumber picture from a site that sells -
you guessed it right! Cucumbers!
Before, I introduced you to the world of Buttered Vegetables. Now I want you to meet my friend the cucumber. This will be a series on how this simple and cool vegetable can make your dry days a bit more refreshing. Aside from the fact that this is packed with vitamin C, adding this to the menu will ensure that you will have your serving of vegetables and fiber for the meal. All of these recipes will more or less serve four people, depending on how herbivorous they are, haha! ;-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

#30: Investment Ingredients for an Exciting Kitchen Part 1

Eating gourmet food in your home may be way more affordable than eating the same Fish Fillet meal in a restaurant. But of course, you will have to little by little, stock up on these items that will spell the difference on your meals. I have made a list of my favorite flavoring ingredients that I feel are not usually present in the Filipino kitchen. Investing on these items can help you to be well on your way to experimenting on new flavors with your dishes. Here are some items on the top of my head (and my kitchen shelf). 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Some Things I learned As A Parent

Please stop whining and just wait. I'm not making you suffer just for fun. I have a very good reason 
why I don't want to give you your bottle of milk yet.

Do you want to know the reason why? Click on the link, read on and follow my blog that is all about my life as a woman, wife and mother.

 Anne and Life in General

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

#29: Garlic-Crusted Fish Steak in Citrus Butter

Actually, we were already eating when I said:
"WAIT! Don't mangle the fish yet! It still has no photo!"
Good thing it's still a bit intact for my cameraphone, hahaha!
This is what I cook when I'm feeling lazy because this is very, VERY easy. I must admit though that fish steak slices may be more expensive than your usual tilapia but if you think about it,you get more meat and less fish bones in these steaks. 

But do not take this dish lightly because you might be taken aback by how good this one is. Take this, 5 ingredients. Good eh? You may use blue marlin or pink salmon if your budget can afford it. Or, a simple mahi-mahi slice should do the job. Cream Dory fillets may also work but you have to thaw and drain it well because it seems that those fillets have a lot of water in them. Tsk,tsk! If I use it for this dish, I end up with my steaks swimming in its juice, therefore, I am not able to create a crispy crust for the steak. So are you ready? 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#28: Mga Anak ng Pesto! (...and its many applications)

Now that you have your jar of pesto sitting prettily on your pantry, it's time to meet her different daughters.

Pesto Toast:
You have to toast your bread first before spreading the pesto. Spreading the pesto before toasting will result in sogginess on the areas with the pesto. Go ahead and be generous! Don't scrimp on yourself on this one!

Monday, February 14, 2011

#26: My Garlic, My Hero

Thanks to for the picture!
Taking off from the sharp garlic from our pesto recipe, let me share this with you:

"Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#25: Pestong Buhay Ito! (The Basic Pesto Recipe)

Ahhh... pesto. The refreshing pasta sauce that is friends with a lot of good things in the savory world. Not only is it elegant, it is also utterly easy to make, especially with a blender. I did my first pesto manually by chopping the basil and garlic until it was ultra fine. I almost feel redundant to say this but yes, our featured ingredient for this recipe is, what else? Basil!

Thanks to for the delicious photo
Pawis Level: 1
Sosy Level: 4
Will feed either just two or a dozen. It really depends on the use.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

#24: Knowing the Balicutia

I love coffee. I adoooooore coffee. Coffee is my companion when I blog, when I watch Jaime Oliver, when I eat  cookies, when I'm hanging out with my friends. It's a good thing my husband doesn't get jealous of it, hahaha! Any kind of coffee will do, whether it's instant or brewed. But if I can have my way, I prefer espresso drinks. But this is not about coffee, this is about what I happened to add to my coffee a month ago. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

#23: Mango Sesame Cookie Recipe

I am fond of baking cookies for my friends and family. That is because I know that the people around me don't bake and it is like an uber-special treat if they received these hand-crafted, dainty little goodies inside that crackling plastic box. People usually think that baking cookies is the level one of baking. I think level one is cupcakes. You just make the batter and pour them into the molds, pop them in the oven then Tadah! Cupcakes.

I feel like cookies are more level 2. I even find making quiches easier. While I know that the mixing and measuring of ingredients and the baking technique is simpler with cookies, it seems to be more tedious in the handling process. I feel like maintaining accuracy of measurements and application of baking instructions as with bread and cakes is easier than the repeated process of making little balls, patting them into, well, patties, sprinkling stuff, rolling them into stuff, putting fillings in between and so on takes so much time, effort and delicate handling to make sure they turn out looking pretty. You can't be a rough wrestler with cookies. You have to be as delicate as the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland to pull nice, exquisite cookies off. Maybe that's the reason why it is an effort for me. I'm not exactly your Barbie Princess type.