Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours...

Merry Christmas!!!

Leica & Hubby

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dinner at home with hubby's boss and peers, yikes!

Okay, the ultimate pressure in hosting a party at home is when the big boss is coming. I've been on edge the whole week dreaming of elaborate menus and party settings that I been squeezing my intestines in knots. It's been years since I've had a non-family party at home. Hubby was so exasperated that he said, "just make your cheesecake and be done with it. Let's just have something delivered". Instant food for a party in my home? Heaven forbid!!! I finally decided to just make stuff that I do best. Simple, homey yet special in their own way. Hubby and I hosted a small party for ten. Not too big, not too intimate, either.

Fortunately hubby's boss and peers were all down to earth and simple, geeky IT guys. I mean it in the most loving way :-) I'm also friends with their spouses so there's a lot less pressure in that aspect.

Anyway, for appetizers, I made bruschetta with cream cheese and mozarella. Of course, it was a hit. People often mistake it for something special and hard to do but really, it's the simplest appetizer. I usually serve this at home when people suddenly decide to drop by. I have a newly planted basil bush in my garden that willingly gives up a few of its leaves for such purpose. I accidentally ran over my previous bush while backing while parking the car, he he he.

I also made a grilled prawn salad with cilantro garlic dressing. I was inspired by a salad dish that hubby and I had during our anniversary dinner at Bubba Gump that I decided to try to duplicate the dressing at home. I just made it in the fly and hope against hope that I make it right. I had no recipe anywhere, no time to research it. Well, in case you're wondering, it turned out great and just in case you're interested, here's the recipe:

Grilled Prawn Salad with Cilantro Garlic Dressing

For the salad, you will need:
2 Packs slad greens (with arugula)
1 Cucumber, seeded and sliced in crescents
2-3 tomatoes, cut in wedges
1 handful of pine nuts
1/2 kilo of prawns
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro leaves (optional)

For the dressing:
1 cup of sour cream
1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves and stalks
1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Freshly cracked pepper (I used a combination of red, black, white and green)

1. Clean and devein prawns, season with salt and pepper. Grill two minutes on each side. Set aside.
2. In a salad bowl, combine greens, cucumber and tomatoes and cilantro leaves. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

For the dressing, combine everything in a blender.

For our main courses, I made baked chicken with about a ton of garlic, vegetable oil, liquid seasoning, salt and pepper and baked completely covered in foil for about 4 hours hours. Yes, four hours. Remove foil at the last ten minutes of cooking.

I also made fish with lime, cilantro, olive oil and butter.

Grilled liempo marinated in about a hundred cloves of garlic, soy sauce, catsup and lots of calamansi juice.

And the most requested recipe of the night, my caldereta. It doesn't look much but it was good.

Not pictured here is the frozen fruit salad. So, I replaced that photo with Lapid's chicharon instead :-)

And of course, the reason why people drove all the way to my house..... my special blueberry cheesecake.

You know when you've had a successful party when:
1. People ask for your recipes.
2. People are shameless to ask to take home all the left overs.
3. People invite themselves again next time.

Yup, it was a success :-)

I feel happy when people like my food.

Christmas Party

Our company celebrated it's annual Christmas party in style. This year the theme was Studio 54. Everyone was resquested to dress up in bell bottoms, tie dyes, afros and downright baduy wear during the era.

Moi, headmaster of it all was in charge of pretty much everything except hosting since I suck so well in that. More than the electronic fiddling in the sound sytem. Anyway, I digress.

It was such a super fun evening. The whole shebang was catered by Tamayo's. Their food wasn't exceptional but the service was impeccable. I would probably hire them again, if only for the waiters. We also had some pritson which was gone in three minutes flat. I highly recommend Charlie's pritson since they deliver the pritson to you complete with a "chef" and the condiments. A small pig that's good for 60 people will set you off P4,700 but it's well worth it. I should have ordered two. Next year, I'll order two or three, he he he.

Here are some pics from our party. It's also a lesson on what not to wear in public... he! he! he!

Anniversary Dinner

For a change, I asked hubby to plan our evening. The best that he could come up with was...Bubba Gump. Yeah I know, quite the romantic, is he?

Anyway, he figured since we both love eating shrimp, this would be the best place. The place isn't geared for romance but the staff was friendly and courteous. We've eaten here many times before.

Here's the view from our table, a decapitated Ernie.....

While waiting for our food, one of the waiters came over and played a little game with us. If we could answer five questions from the movie Forrest Gump correctly, we will get a prize. And what do you know? We answered all of them correctly (well, I answered four out five, hubyy got one right, he he he).

Anyway, the food wasn't bad. For starters, hubby and I ordered a Grilled Shrimp salad with cilantro garlic dressing. The dressing was great, the shrimps perfectly grilled. The dressing is worth trying to duplicate at home.

For our main course, we had the Shrimp's Heaven. Which is a combination of four shrimp dishes, breaded, coconut, sweet and sour and shrimp cakes. This dish is best shared by four persons sinece the serving is quite huge. We had plenty left over. The dish itself, on it's own is quite boring since all of them are fried, including the fries that come with it. The speckled lemonade that I ordered was perfect to remove the "sawa" factor. A speckeld lemonade is just regular lemonade with blended strawberries, nice and refreshing, although a tad sweet for my taste.

For dessert, we got free ice cream from aswering the waiter's questions correctly. Hubby gulped this down in three spoonfulls. Needless to say, I only managed to eat a small teaspoon.

Hubby and I, old farts that we are, left at around 8:30 and promptly went home.

Overall it was a fun evening, albeit unromantic, I enjoyed myself. Afterall, I've been spending the past 14 years with hubby.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oody's Noodles with my BFF

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I went out with my best friend to watch Twilight. We had an hour to kill, no pun intended :-) before the movie starts and one of the fastest places to have a decent dinner, I thought, was Oody's.

I'm not much of a noodle fan so noodle restaurants usually are low on my list and therefore don't explore them too much. Anyway, this is the first time for me to try Oody's although I've seen it a million times. So I thought, why not try it. It's fast, quick and reasonably priced.

Okay, the place is simple, quiet and comfortable enough. The interior has touches of purple and silver Christmas decorations. BFF and I start to peruse the menu and pretty much deduced that they specialize in noodles...he he he.

Anyway, we had Thai dishes. I ordered Paad Thai since the last time I had it was in Bangkok, a few months ago and I kinda miss it.

My best friend ordered some Chicken Flat Noodle called Pad Siew.

We also shared sauteed Thai Kangkong in a sweet salty sauce.

Now, to be fair, I wasn't expecting authentic Thai taste but, is it too much to ask to make the dishes not too bland? All dishes lack that certain "freshness" that you would find in a Thai dish, cilantro perhaps?

I was just so ever grateful that we only spent a little P500 for the entire thing.

Anyway, Edward Cullen more than made up for the dinner mishap :-)

AANI Weekend Market

Hubby and I trekked to FTI last weekend to revamp our spice garden. Hubby's been requesting for some citronella planted in our garden. I've only seen it in AANI weekend market in FTI so off we went.

We ended up buying citronella, which looked like "talahib" than anything else but it did have such a wonderful aroma. We also purchased oregano, basil, rosemary and stevia. Stevia is an herb meant to replace sugar in your tea or coffee. Just steep a few leaves on hot water and mix in your tea or coffee. I've never tried this yet but I did taste the leaves before buying it. It was sweet and minty at the same time. Quite delicious. For more information, click here.

Most herbs sell for P100 for three small pots, Rosemary P75/pot.

We also purchased some flowering tarragon (misspelled here in the photo) sold at P100/pot. I fell in love with their cute yellow flowers.

I couldn't resist a dayap (lime) and calamansi shrubs also, P100/shrub.

The AANI weekend market also sells garden accessories, seeds, organic fertilizers, assorted animal dung (no kidding), plants, flowers, trees, fresh vegetables, seafood and some cooked local food and kakanin.

I hope my herbs and shrubs grow well in my garden!

Friday, December 5, 2008


OMG, I just watched Twilight last night with my best friend!

My favorite parts are when Edward told Bella:

"You don't know how long I've waited for you"

"The lion has fallen in love with the lamb"

and of course..

"You are my life now"


I am officially in love with Robert Pattinson! Swoon.....

Watch it!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Off to Hong Kong!

We're off to Hong Kong for a company holiday! Yipee!

Will post pictures when I get back :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ACV & Honey...Baby, this could be it!

I've been suffering for migraines for as long as I can remember. Well, maybe right after college when I found out the harsh reality of life......

Anyway, I was at my wit's end on how to cure my migraines which I practicallty have on a daily basis. It just doesn't show on my pretty face (gag!). My poor husband even had to drive me to the emrgency room on several occassions to help me, gave me nightly massages and probably prayed over me while I was sleeping (Hubby: "Please please let this woman be migraine free for my own sanity!"). There were times that I thought I was having a stroke, but no, just migraine according to the doctors who gave me shots of painkillers. No cure. Sigh. There was only one pain reliever that helped, Mesulid. Later I found out, it was recalled due to the fact that the medicine turns your liver into mush. Thank heavens I didn't take it daily! I restricted myself to just taking it once a month when the pain level reaches 8 on the Richter Scale.

I was ready to pull my hair out and bang my head on the door. Out of desperation, I googled for natural remedies for migraines (since none of the pain relievers provide lasting relief and I have no ambition to be a druggie), apple cider vinegar and honey keep popping up. So, I asked hubby to drive me to the nearest grocery store to buy organic apple cider vinegar (the clear ones already lost their healing enzymes during the distillation process). Organic ACV looks like one of those liquids found in a science lab, brownish in color with suspicious particles of web-like material and fine sand inside. Yeah, that's the one that you should get.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and honey are also believed to help with high blood pressure, cholesterol and weight loss. The weight loss benefit is b^!!$#!t. If that was true, all women would have swallowed it by the gallons.

Anyway, I digress....I tried drinking 2 Tablespoons of ACV, 2 tablespoons of honey dissolved in a glass of water. It was vile and putrid and just plain awful tasting. It is probably the worst tasting concoction that you could possibly put in your mouth. Yech! But it miraculously kept my migraine away, I slept so well last night. It was a friggin' miracle.

I've read that I have to take that vile concontion three times daily. When I woke up this morning (with no headaches!), stupid me, decided to take the acv straight. Like what you would do in a tequila shot, yeah? Bad idea, that thing packs a punch. It was so strong, my head hurt again! Darn. I'll try to drink it with water next time. Don't mess with the recipe, man. 2 tablespoons of ACV, 2 tablespoons of honey mixed in 8 oz of water. Got it.

Wish me luck!

P.S. Pinching that space between your thumb and forefinger works too but only if someone else does it on you and pinches it all day :-) I tried using a clothes pin, it's not very attractive but sometimes it helps (for a little while).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sango Burger Master

My blog is so out of whack. I'm catching up on posting recipes, restaurants and food out of order. Please bear with me. I think it's the side effect of the anesthesia. He he he :-)

Anyway, prior to my operation, hubby took me to Sango Burger Master in their newly opened branch in South Supermarket in West Gate Alabang. I've had this burger before but hubby hasn't, so we gave it a try.

The place is simple yet comfy enough, for a burger joint. Obviously from the interior and background music videos, there is a Japane-theme going on. Although I would never have imagined the Japanese making burgers.

Anyway, I like this origami frog sitting on the window sill overlooking their kitchen, which was clean when we came (the minute obsessive compulsive gene in me was very pleased about that, he he he).

Their burgers are good. Hubby and I both ordered the the Master Burger with Cheese which is a single patty burger. All their burgers come with a tomatoes and meat sauce, sort of like a less sloppy version of sloppy joe. You pay a bit extra for the lettuce. I'm not much of a burger fan but, so far, this is my favorite burger. Juicy, tasty and not too overpowering and very filling. You won't feel hungry for a few hours after eating one. It's quite messy to eat, best eaten with somebody you're already comfortable with :-)

Of course burgers won't be complete without some greasy fries. I like their fries because they're made from real potatoes :-)

Hubby and I ordered their Salad with Japanese Vegetables. The "japanese vegetables" are just carrots and green peppers sauteed in a sweet and salty sauce (similar to a tempura sauce). I didn't like this very much.

Hubby finished off his meal with a huge cone of vanilla ice cream. Sorry, he ate it all before I could take a picture :-)

Overall, I would recommend this restaurant. They have other Japanese dishes on the menu like Tempura, Gyudon, Tendon and such if you're companions are not in the mood for a burger. They're a little pricey for a burger joint but I think for the burgers, they're well worth it. For the salad, nah, skip it. Expect to pay around P500+ for two, including salad, drinks and an ice cream cone (P19).

If you have a big appetite, order the Master Double Cheese Burger (double patty). For us ladies, the single patty is more than enough :-)

In case you're interested, I took a picture of their burger menu.

Surf and Turf and Empanadas?!

What an unlikely combination, but we had it from one of our lunches at LP. Angus steaks cut an inch thick with a creamy pink pepper sauce, with grilled prawns, mashed potato and corn on the cob.

Melscun salad with strawberries ang grapes in rosemary wine vinaigrette. Fancy, huh? Tasty too. The dressing was superb. Tita Socky made it.

And yes, the chicken empanada which is the only thing that I contibuted to our lunch, which JJ helped me bake.

For dessert, I made a Peach Refigerator Cake which is very easy to do. Here's the recipe:

Peach Refrigerator Cake

Broas (lady finger biscuits)
3 cups of Nestle (easy whip) cream (chilled)
1 can of condensed milk (chilled)
1 large can of paches in syrup, well drained and cut in crescents
Cashew and walnuts, chopped

1. In a chilled bowl, whip the Nestle cream and condensed milk until fluffy. Set aside.
2. Brush lady finers with rhum (if you want a stronger rhum flavor, roll the lady fingers very quickly in rhum because they easily absorb it and people might find it too strong, I prefer just brushing them. If you have kids eating the cake, just brush the lady fingers with mango or peach jam or skip this step completely).
3. Layer the lady fingers in a square baking dish, followed by the whipped cream mixture, cashew and walnuts and the peaches. Repeat the procedure until you end up with the peaches.
4. Chill for at least two hours. You can freeze this too and it tastes like ice cream.

The broas can be substituted with pound cake, taisan cake, or crushed graham crackers (same procedure as you would do in a cheese cake).

This recipe is also great with ripe Philippine Mangoes and would be a nice refreshing dessert to bring to a pot luck. Easy, simple, reasonably priced and delicious.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween Extravaganza!

Our office organized it's first ever Halloween Party!

Art: Sydney Alcala
Copy: Missy Galang

Check out our pics!

Birthday Catch up Part 2 Grams Diner only allows a certain number of photos to be uploaded so here's the second part of my post...

After browsing the mall, hubby and I came upon this Diner called Grams Diner which promised "comfort food". This is a misnomer, for me at least, since I was brought up right here in Manila, where my comfort foods were adobo, sinigang and pork stewed with red beans :-) But hubby and I wanted to try a new restaurant.

We ordered Cheese Sticks with Pimiento. It's akin to an ordinary cheese stick dish that can be found in a stall along Legaspi Street but one hundred times more expensive, the mayo/tartar dipping sauce made it "nakakaumay". A dipping sauce of fresh salsa would have made it better.

I also ordered the cheese steak sandwich. They have a huge serving which I couldn't eat because the bread they used was crusty French Bread which hurt my gums when I bite into it :-) The serving was huge, you just can't eat it :-) If you have detures, I urge you, don't order this, your dentures will get stuck, he he he!

Hubby had the Banana Split. Which was ok, I guess since the ice cream was store bought. I'm guessing Magnolia.

Overall, I would steer away from this diner. Aside from so-so and overpriced food, lousy service, our orders took ten years to be delivered, kidding! With just two tables occupied at the time, I shudder to think how they cope up with a full house. I felt robbed of my hard earned cash. Skip this. As hubby and I always say, "That's another restaurant to cross off our list, forever" he he he :-)

To make up for the lousy diner, hubby took me shopping again the following day! Yey! Happy times.

Catch up - Birthday Post Part 1

It's been a while since I blogged. Honestly I wanted to, but I didn't have the time and I felt so tired when I get home this past month. It must be my 35-year old bones creaking at the end of the day :-)

Speaking of age, here's a super belated post and super compressed on my birthday festivities. My birthday celebration was a blast and it lasted three days! The first day, which was a Saturday was spent with family members. We had A Japanese-themed dnner at LP. It wa truly a family effort. My aunt Socky made some Yakiniku Steaks marinated in garlic, soy sauce, grated apples, sesame oil and sesame seeds and grilled very quickly on a griddle. Yum.

My sister in law Angel, Angel, made some California Maki on site. Also a hit both for the kids and adults. Would you believe she learned how to make it from YouTube?

I made Mango Kani Salad with Wasabi Dressing, Sesame Peanut Noodles, Prawn and Vegetable Tempura (although I didn't do any of the frying).

And for dessert, I baked some chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cupcakes for the kiddies.

The following day, hubby took me to Seaside Wet Market (behind Mall of Asia, or MOA for short) we shopped for fresh seafood and had Sis Rose Seafood Palutuan cook it for us.

The restaurant "barkers" in the area will come up to you offering discounts and such. We chose Sis Rose because they offered "Money Back Guarantee", if we don't like the way they cook the dishes, we don't pay :-) Not bad eh? I just wished they didn't have a karaoke machine inside. We only realized there was one when one of the customers belted My Way by Frank Sinatra, sheesh my ears! Aside from the crappy singer who stopped singing after I sent him dagger looks, he he he, everything was great.

This is a nice way to celebrate my birthday, we had fresh seafood, nice view of the Manila Bay as we dined and hubby let me pick my birthday gifts at the mall :-)

To be continued on my next post.....