Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Moe's First Birthday!

My cousin Lyca's son turned one last Sunday. Yes, we have the same name. Our parents are cousins and were very close, her Ate's name Gloria, just like my mom's. Too bad my uncle already passed on, otherwise, there will be more entries here on my blog, for he loved to travel and eat. If there's anything he loved more, it is traveling and eating with family! My childhood was filled with happy summers spent with him and his family in the Caliraya, Baguio, Bicol, Batangas, Ilocos and other driveable places in Luzon. If the roads are half driveable, him and my dad took us there. My husband was fortunate enough to meet and vacation with him several times.

My Tito Florante would have been proud to see his grandson Moe, who inherited his infamous nose :-)

BTW, Moe is short for "Maliit na Mokong" :-) "Maliit" is "small" and "Mokong" is Filipino funny slang for "person", "man", or just an affectionate or insulting moniker to a person (depends on how you use it in a sentence), it's hard to explain. If you know the language, you'll understand :-)

Here are some pics of his first birthday:

Happy 1st birthday, Moe(kong)!

A Newly Refurbished Conti's

Hubby dragged me again to have lunch out last weekend. He wants me to "relax" from the endless things that needed to be done at home. Such a sweetheart. (Actually, he may just be craving for some baked goodies, he he he)

We were surprised that the whole place was refurbished so fast. We just dined there a few weeks ago! The interiors are yellow and green, like their packaging :-) The place now is more spacious without the fountain (that's why there are posts in the middle, that's where the fountain/mini waterfall used to be) and the huge refrigerated display. The chairs are even more comfy and most of all they added some new selection on the menu, which hubby and I will try in due time.

Hubby's a creature of habit and not very adventurous when it comes to food choices. He ordered Caesar's Salad and his favorite Beef Salpicao with Paella Rice. He always orders these when we dine there. The salpicao is good. Maybe that's why he often orders it.

I has the Tanigue Fish Skewers. This is a new item on their menu. It was good and succulent, tender, juicy and not "malansa". The dish is served with macaroni salad and garlic fried rice. I shared this with hubby. He seemed to like it too. I love grilled peppers, I even ate the onions :-)

For dessert, we ordered the Mango Tart. A super favorite for both hubby and myself. Unahan kami sa crust!

Hubby also tried the Bananalicious. It's a pie made with bananas, cream, caramel, nuts and more whipped cream on top. The banana essence is a bit strong though and a bit "nakakasawa". Best shared.

I like dining at Conti's the head waiter always gives us excellent service.

I knew hubby was up to something when he asked to be excused. He came back with a bag of goodies of chicken pies and chocolate chip brownies. I knew getting me to "relax" was just a ploy to buy the chicken pies.....

Bangus Restaurant

I know that this post is a bit delayed. My weekend was packed with activities and mounds of laundry. Sigh…

Hubby took pity on me and dragged me to have lunch somewhere nearby. Our choice was at Bangus restaurant at The Pergola in BF Homes. It’s so funny that both him and I have never dined there with it just a short driving distance from our place. Bagus is milkfish in English. Bangus is abundant in Philippine waters. The best ones are found in Dagupan where the bangus is sweeter and more succulent. Bangus has about a million bones in it :-) It is best to have youor fish monger debone it for you for a small charge.

First off, we tried the Boneless Bangus Tinapa Rice. The whole smoked bangus is gutted, flaked and fried to a crisp and mixed with fried rice, topped with slivered green mangoes and scrambled eggs and capped off by the crispy bangus skin. Try this next time you’re there. It’s quite nice, the bangus skin is so crispy, it’s like chicharon. Good for two to three persons per order.

The sizzling Kangkong (water Spinach) was fresh and crispy, albeit a bit too gingery for our taste. No ginger next time.

For dessert, I tried the Reyna Blanca. A coconut gelatin dish with milk and pinipig (pounded toasted rice, sort of like rice crispies but flat). The pinipig is by far the best that I’ve tasted. Crunchy, light and so heavenly.

Hubby ordered the Mochi, which is unusual to find in a Filipino restaurant. It’s basically warm “galapong” (sticky rice that has been soaked overnight and ground to make a paste or "dough"). I forgot what’s inside, banana I think, sorry, but it wasn’t very special.

There were other interesting stuff on the menu that we would like to try next time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ming's Garden, Tagaytay

Hubby and I went to Ming's Garden in Tagaytay a couple of weekends ago. The garden restaurant is owned by former first lady Ming Ramos, hence the name.

The Place is pleasant and homey, so homey that you can't tell which ones are staff, which ones are guests :-)

We also tried some of their dishes.

Bibingka. Hubby loved this one because of the cheese. I didn't like this too much because it tasted like it came from a cake mix that's been generously topped with cheese.

Mango and Crabstick Salad w/ Japanese Mayo. The presentation's not very special.
Cook: needs a little somethin' somethin'
I know! I'll squirt some mayonnaise and shape them into snakes.
Yeah, that should do it!

The lettuce is very very fresh though.

Hubby had Tocino. He liked this as well probably because it was made by Pampanga's Best!

I had the Spaghetti. Very remiscent of children's birthday parties

The food is not too bad for the price. We forked out just P500+.

The best way to describe the food would be it resembles the taste of food that you would eat at a relative's house who can't cook as well as you. He he he :-)

At least there's plenty of flowers!

A Delightful Lunch at Sonya's Garden, Tagaytay

I love Sonya's Garden. It's always a pleasure to eat there and gorge on their salad. Of course the garden scenery can't be beat.

Check out their B&B. Nice!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fely J's Restaurant

My aunt took us to this new Filipino fusion restaurant in Greenbelt 5 called Fely J's. They specialize in Filipino cuisine with a modern twist.

For starters, we had the Pako Salad (fern sprouts) with prawns, salted egg in a Thai dressing. It was good and a bit different from Kusina Salud's version. If you're craving for Pako Salad, you don't have to travel many miles to have one :-)

Of course, the Chickaron Bulaklak will never be absent :-)

For a slightly healthier fare, we ordered the Gule Magulang. A combination of shrimps,squash flowers, yellow squash and other vegetables cooked in coconut milk. This was good as well and surprisingly light for a coconut-based dish. Probably a Capampangan dish (from Pampanga).

Next was Fried Tilapia in Plum Sauce. Yummy, not oily.

For our soup we ordered Pork Sinigang, which is a staple in any Filipino household.

For dessert, we tried the Bayabas Pie (Guava Pie). It tasted like apple pie but a little more tart. Nice. The pie crust was also nice, very light and flaky.

Hubby opted to gorge on halo-halo for dessert. Halo-halo literally means, mix mix in English. The cold concoction has milk, assorted sweet beans, bananas, kamote stewed in sugar, topped with leche flan, some versions are toped with purple yam jam and ice cream. And yeah, hubby finished the entire mug by himself :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A New Family Member

Meet my brother's new "baby"..... A Chow named Chewbacca.

Mukhang matakaw din sya :-)

I want one!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More Minute Recipes

Shrimp and Mango Salad

Salad Greens
2 Mangoes, sliced
Cooked shrimps
Cilantro Leaves
Fish Sauce

Mix the dressing well, until the sugar melts. Pour over the mangoes, shrimps, greens and cilantro. Voila!

Chicken 'n Tomatoes

Chicken Stewed in Tomatoes

Chicken, cut into serving pieces (or you can buy the "fried chicken cut" from the supermarket, like I did)
Lime or calamsi juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Head garlic, chopped
1 Canned Diced Tomatoes
1 Canned Crushed Tomatoes
1 Small can of button Mushrooms
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Wash chicken, drizzle with a bit of lime or calamsi juice and pat dry, lightly season with salt and pepper. Sear in olive oil for about two minutes on each side. Set aside.
2. In the same pan, saute garlic, until aromatic but not brown.
3. Pour the canned tomatoes, season, and let simmer until bubbly.
4. Add the chicken pieces and simmer in medium heat until tender. Season again.
5. Add the mushrooms until heated through.

You can add red chili flakes together with the garlic for an extra zing.

Baby Asparagus with Poached Egg and Parmesan Cheese

1 Bunch baby asparagus
1 Tablespoon of vinegar
1 Egg
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Blanch asparagus in boiling salted for a minute. Remove from boiling water and immediately immerse in an ice bath (a bowl with cold water and ice) to preserve its green color and tyo stop the cooking process.
2. In the same pan of boiling water, add a tablespoon of vinegar. Carefully crack an egg on the boiling water. When the whites are cooked, remove from water.
(This is a bit tricky, since it's the first time that I've ever poached an egg)
3. If you move quickly, there is no need to put the asparagus in an ice bath, just place the egg on top and top with grated parmesan. Otherwise, heat the asparagus again in the boiling water for just 10 seconds, top with egg and parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Lunchtime Grocery Trip

Yesterday, I felt inspired to got to the supermarket on my lunch break and see what I can cook up for dinner.

I came across some nice sole fillets, cilantro, fresh tomatoes, crispy cucumbers and really succulent pomelos. Here’s what I made from my loot:

Pomelo Salad with Thai Dressing

1 Large Pomelo, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
Half a bag of washed lettuce or mixed greens
Cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 Small pack of dry roasted peanuts, crushed
Cilantro leaves

Juice of 1 lime
Thai Fish Sauce
Sugar or honey

Mix the dressing well. Pour over salad and lightly toss.

Pan Grilled Sole Fillets with Cucumber and Tomato Salsa

3 Sole fillets, cut in half
3-4 Garlic cloves, sliced thinly
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Olive Oil

Rub fillet with garlic.
Pan grill fillet with a bit of olive oil and garlic.
3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily.

Cubed fresh tomatoes
Cubed cucumber (seeds removed)
Salt and pepper
White onions, finely chopped (optional)
Lime juice

Monday, August 11, 2008

Minute Recipes for the Busy Cook

Lemon Butter Fish Fillet....Without the frying!

3 pieces fish fillet of your choice
3 pads of butter (about 3 tablespoons)
1 Lemon, sliced thinly
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Aluminum foil

1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place fish, butter, cilantro, lemon, salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil. Ditch the butter if you dislike pleasure in your life :-)

3. Bake for 10-15 minutes until fish flakes easily.

4. Remove cilantro when cooked (they don't look pretty). Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve with Sauteed Bok Choy

Bok Choy sliced in bite-size pieces
Olive oil
Chopped Garlic
Salt and Pepper

1. In a saute pan, heat olive oil, add bok choy and garlic. Season to taste. Saute until wilted.


No brainer. Anybody can do this.

Hubby was pleased and so was I! Both turned out great.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Interesting ice cream flavors

Found these flavors in an ice cream store in Singapore called Hokkaido Ice Cream.

Hubby decided to buy a safe Boring.....