Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hubby's Home!

Hubby’s finally home. I’m very happy that he got home safely despite having a runny nose from spending a week and half in wintery weather in Taipei.

When I arrived home from work, I found him waiting for me in the dining room with his loot. He laid out all his “pasalubong” for me. He got me some neat stuff from Ikea and really nice stuff from the premium grocery store…..Canadian maple syrup (can’t wait to drizzle it over home-made pancakes!), Tasmanian honey, 2 varieties of sea salts, Kalamata Olives, assorted
milk, dark and macadamia chocolates, Belgian chocolate coins (ideal for cupcake decorations) and some yummy smelling stuff from The Body Shop. Awwww…hubby loves me :-)

After checking out every single pasalubong from hubby, we decided to celebrate his homecoming by dining out in Capricciosa in Greenbelt. We’ve never dined there before and we’ve been meaning to try it out for the longest time.

The restaurant is located on the third floor of Greenbelt 3. Their interiors are warm and the booth that we sat in was very comfy with padded seats. They have an open kitchen so it’s interesting to watch the chefs do their thing. As most Italian restaurants, we know that their servings will be generous and we settle for just two items from their menu. We settled for some Caesar’s salad (P280) and Lasagna (P616). The lasagna is baked in a skillet. Both disher were good and quite filling. We’ve noticed that the salad dressing was a bit sweet as with the lasagna. We don’t know exactly why this is so but hubby enjoyed both immensely. Personally, I prefer Sbarro’s lasagna over Capricciosa's.

For dessert, I promised hubby he can have as much ice cream as he wants despite having a runny nose :-) We sat at Gelatone, an ice cream parlor right beside CafĂ© Bola in Greenbelt. Hubby ordered the bubble gum flavor with the fun blue color (although it looks green in this photo). I ordered the marscapone with nougat bits. Both were equally good, yummy and rich. I couldn’t finish mine, hubby had to eat the rest for me. Yeah, poor thing. He he he :-)

Such a fun evening, my hubby’s home safely, out tummies filled to the brim and whole lot of nice goodies from hubby.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Deconstructing a Meal with Mom

I had a fantastic lunch with my mom this saturday. We dined at Zong, at The Fort. I'm not exactly a fan but mom is very fond of their fried chicken with salted egg batter. Very crispy and just slightly salty. Served over a bed of kropek.

For me, I'm partial to Jellyfish and Century Egg. (It's not really made from jellyfish, silly) It's called jellyfish because it's a pickled seaweed that resembles the look and texture of real jellyfish. Century eggs are named century because they are preserved on the ground with lots of salt for 100 days (or maybe less, who knows?). Hence, the reference for the "century". The yolk becomes green, mushy and yummy and has a funny odor. But don't be put off, it's really nice.

Mom also ordered the Hot Shrimp Salad, which was nice as well. The shrimps are breaded and fried then tossed in some mayo, cucumber and carrots. It's quite heavy for a salad and it's anything but healthy :-)

We balance out the fried stuff with some Steamed Fish in Mushroom and Soy Sauce. I like this dish very much. I gather hubby would love this too because of the shitake mushrooms (he loves 'em). It seems easy enough to do. My mom and I deconstructed it, I hope we got all the ingredients correctly: soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, shaved ginger, lapu-lapu fillet (red snapper), leeks, shitake mushrooms, stalks removed, carrots and broccoli steamed together and garnished with cilantro sprigs. I'm going to try and recreate this at home, wish me luck!

Deconstructing a meal in restaurants is a hobby of my mom and I. We love to taste dishes and try to figure out the ingredients in them. Most of the time, we can recreate a dish at home and make it better :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Foodcourting in Makati

Hubby's out of the country, my mom's not home and I have no dinner companion. What's a "single" girl to do? .......Shop!........ Este, hit the food court pala :-)

I veered away from the sisig, lechon kawali and the like, to let my arteries rest for a while.

I've been craving for some sort of minced meat dish today since I saw my office mate eating menudo for lunch. I settled for Arroz a la Cubana from Pinoy Toppings. Their version is ground pork with sultanas, fried saba banana on the side, the rice is topped with fried egg. The rice is good for 3 construction workers.

Hmmm.... I guess pwede na for P70.00, Cheap eats.

Hubby's Gastronomical Adventure

While I was gorging myself on the P37.00 sisig from one of the jolly jeeps along Rada Street, hubby was gorging on these.....

from this restaurant in Taipei.

Parang lugi yata ako :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sisig Heaven

On my way home, I had remembered an office mate telling me about the best sisig this side of Makati. No, it's not from one of those over priced beer joints found in the mall. Rather, the famous sisig is found in this shack, Jolly jeep as fondly called by Makati urbanites, located in Rada corner de la Rosa Streets.

It was still open when I passed by (they close at 11:00 p.m., in case you're wondering), pretty unusual for jolly jeeps who cater mostly to the lunch crowd. I decided to buy some of their famous sisig for my dinner. Why not? I've been good all day eating just oatmeal and two peanut butter sandwiches.

Oh man, the line's quite long. The cook and his assistant was curious why this crazy woman in a dress was taking pictures of their shack. Their curiosity got the better of them and asked me, "Ma'am para ba yan sa advertisement for Coke?" "Hindi kasi ako na pose nung nga picture kayo" He he he. I said no, I just wanted to take pictures :-) Their patrons were looking at me funny, they probably think I was a lunatic :-)

The sisig is cooked only when you order so there's a bit of a wait. No matter, I think Manong gave me more than the usual serving. I couldn't wait to eat it, the smell alone made my mouth water.

Their sisig is not your typical pulutan. Their version is mostly the ulam variety. You can specify how you want it, toasted, spicy, not spicy, with egg, no egg. I preferred mine not spicy with egg. The egg is mixed in at the last minute and topped with a squirt of mayonnaise. I know, sinful right? And it's probably the cheapest one available, P37.00 with rice. Crazy cheap, right?

My golly, this sisig is very good, I finished every last morsel. Hold on to your Xenical girls, you're gonna need it. The thing is so fattening, it should be illegal.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dinner with my BFF

My best friend (of 24 years) Jhon-ann, invited me to dinner today to cheer me up since hubby's out of the country and I was feeling a bit lonely. Since she loves Italian food, she chose Chef d' Angelo in Greenbelt 1 for our night of pigging out. The food's reasonably priced and the servings are generous. I've eaten there once but wasn't very impressed with the food. Hey, I was willing to give it another go.

The place itself is very homey and unpretentious, tables are placed side by side to encourage diners to eat family style, similar to what you would experience if you had your entire clan for dinner. Fortunately, it was quite late, the place wasn't packed and we practically had one of the long tables to ourselves.

My BFF ordered the Combo 1 platter which has carbonara, a slice of Hawaiian pizza and fried chicken. A very hearty meal reminiscent of the Shakey's bunch of lunch but with bigger portions. The Carbonara sauce is light and not too heavy and more importantly not too salty, pizza's just your ordinary run of the mill ham and pineapple combo, and the chicken is quite dry and tough. Maybe because it's the breast part. I hate fried chicken breasts, they have no flavor at all. Give me chicken wings anytime.

I had the Shrimp and Spinach fettuccine. It was surprisingly good. Very light yet extremely filling, if that was possible. The sauce is made of roasted garlic cloves, olive oil, chili flakes and some sort of crumbled ham or bacon. The spinach was very fresh and green, just wilted enough to retain some crunchiness. I gather some arugula mixed in with the spinach would make this dish more spectacular.

For dessert, we ordered the New York Cheesecake with whipped cream and strawberry sauce, split in half. Now, this dessert is a little hard to explain. The cheesecake tastes like egg pie, yema and lemon curd mixed together (and not in a good way), not cheesecakey at all in my opinion. I did not taste an ounce of cream cheese. And oh, don't get me started on the egg pie-like crust similar to the ones that the merienda lady sells to your office every afternoon for ten pesos. Don't waste your money on this dessert folks.

Chef d' Angelo? Hit and miss. Jury's still out.

Hubby's First Pics in Taipei

Hubby sent me some pics of his hotel room in United Hotel in Taipei.

See through bathroom wall.... Innerestin'..........

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lunch, Pinoy Style

Hubby's off to Taipei today for a week long business trip. For lunch, we got an invitation from mom, she made chicken adobo and nilagang baka for us and my brother's family. Perfect Pinoy fare for hubby who's going to be out of the country for a week. An overload of Pinoy goodness for him to remember while he's away.

Dessert is sliced ripe mangoes... O diba. Pinoy na Pinoy?

I miss hubby already :-(

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Penne with Prawns

I initially planned on just frying some prawns that I bought from the market. But I saw some tinned tomatoes lurking in the pantry and opted to make a pasta dish instead. Hubby was at a supermarket for his daily office lunch with his colleagues and I wrangled him into buying some bell peppers and fresh basil leaves for my pasta

This is very easy and fast to make with just the most basic of ingredients.

Penne with Prawns

Dried Penne, cooked according to package directions
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3-4 Cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Large onion, chopped
1 Can diced tomatoes
1 Can crushed tomatoes
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional but highly recommended)
1 Bunch basil leaves, torn
1/4 kilo of prawns, peeled
1 Green bell pepper, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
Queso de Bola (Edam cheese), cubed (don't scrimp!)

Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until soft, do not brown. Add the tinned tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer until the tomatoes are a bit dark, about ten minutes. Add half of the basil leaves.

Add peeled prawns and diced bell pepper to the tomato sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until the prawns are cooked. Add the pasta, the rest of the basil leaves
and cubed queso de bola. Toss well to coat. The sauce will thicken a bit when the queso de bola is melted.

(OK, it looks like I had too much sauce here in this picture, I eventually added more pasta and loads more queso de bola to it)

Serve piping hot, best eaten with a loved one.

Enjoy and say ahhh...yummm......

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Evenings with Mom

Now that this blogger has returned to the advertising world, I find myself taking advantage of my mom’s generosity to cook dinner in her kitchen, due to the long drive to our home in the south. As many south dwellers would know, the hour and a half long drive home just zaps your energy away and when you get home, it’s more inviting to just lie in bed instead of slaving over a hot oven and washing mounds of dishes afterwards.

It’s been a while since I posted something on my blog. I’m happy to say though that I have not stopped cooking since I started working again. Despite the simple Pinoy meals that I make, I still find it very enjoyable to cook after a spending the whole day at the office. Now, cooking is not only pleasurable, it’s therapeutic as well (as long as I do it in my mom’s kitchen, a mere five minutes’ walk from where I work) and when my mom is home, it gives us a chance to talk and bond with each other, just like old times.

I haven’t posted any photos lately because what I have been making for the past month are very simple, uncomplicated and down to earth meals.

I hope to post more exciting dishes soon. I guess my menu planning skills need to be polished a little bit. Sometimes the supermarkets in Makati fail to inspire me ☺