Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hubby's sister is 35 years old

Happy birthday, Joyce!

Spa day with my best bud

My best friend Jhon-ann came over today for our monthly spa session. This is our second month. We both hope that we can continue this bonding tradition forever...ha ha ha :-)

I was on a time crunch today. Aside from my spa appointment with my BFF, hubby and I confirmed to attend two other parties. Whew, what a hectic day. Last night we had dinner with hubby's friends and I didn't have time to go to the supermarket to get more inspired on the menu.

I would have preferred to serve a six-course menu but I was on a time crunch and just settled for something simple and easy.

For starters, we had shrimp pomelo salad in thai dressing. I've made this countless times so we didn't even bother taking a photo. This is always a hit. BFF is allergic to shrimps so I served it on the side.

I also made Chicken Relleno (Chicken Gallantina). I had the chicken deboned from the market last weekend so it was on standby in my freezer. The rest of the ingredients were already in my pantry. Here's the recipe (approximation only since I didn't measure anything):

Chicken Relleno

1 whole chicken, deboned
1/2 kilo ground pork
1 chorizo de bilbao, diced
1-2 green bell peppers, diced
2-3 tablespoons pickle relish
1 beaten egg
2-3 whole hard boiled eggs, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

2 cups water
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1. Wash chciken well and pat dry.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the ground pork, chorizo, bell peppers, pickles, salt and pepper. Add beaten egg.
3. Stuff the chicken, legs first and then half of the breast. Insert 2-3 boiled eggs. Fill with the rest of the stuffing. Seal with a toothpick.
4. Brush chicken with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
5. Bake, covered in foil, for about 2 hours.
6. Open the foil and bake for another five to ten minutes until brown.

To make the sauce:
1. Dissolve chicken bouillion cubes in water, add soy sauce and let simmer.
2. To thicken, mix cornstarch with a little bit of cold water and gradually add to the simmering mixture until you get the right consistency.

For dessert we had some Buco Sherbet served in melon cups. Yummy!

After such a filling lunch, we burned it off by having a two-hour massage at our favorite neighborhood spa. Bliss!

Can't wait for next month!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Why do I look like this?

When I still feel like my 18-year old college self?

Always strive to feel fabulous regardless of the wrinkles, excess chins and excess everything else :-)

It took me 35 years to be comfortable in my own skin.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Poe got his first shot today!

Our baby Poe got his first shot of vaccines today. He's already a big(ger) boy. He now weeighs 1.3 kilos (from 900 grams when we got him two weeks ago). Very good progress.

I recommend our vet in BF, Dr. Martinez who owns Good Shepherd Animal Clinic. He truly loves dogs and has taken good care of my previous Shih Tzu, Wiggle (whom I had for seven years) and my brother's dogs Bruno, a pug and Chewbacca, a chow chow.

Good Shepherd Animal Clinic is located at 61 President's Avenue, BF Commercial Center (behind Conti's). Tel. No. +632 842-09-50.

Be sure to say hi to Kulit and Sammy, their resident Shih Tzu and Poodle when you're there. Poe had a fantastic time playing with them. Here's Poe with Sam:

Cable Car and Hawaiian Barbecue in Tagaytay

My brother invited hubby and myself to join them in Tagaytay last Sunday for some grub and take the kids to the cable car in Picnic Grove.

We haven't been in Picnic grove for like 15 years or so. We heard that they have a cable car there and a zip line which were going to be fun for the kids and the adults, or so we thought. First of all, that place is packed with people. I will not recommend anybody to go to Picnic Grove, ever! You wouldn't enjoy the cable ride because it's very slow and they charge P200 per head. We didn't try the zip line either because hubby didn't want to leave his camera. The cable and zip line equipment are crudely built, so there are safety issues. Anyway, don't even bother going there, complete waste of time and money. Jologs' haven, he he he.

After such a disappointing cable ride, we went off to have dinner at Hawaiian Barbecue at the Boutique hotel along the highway.

Hawaiian barbecue is always a hit! Tagaytay's version is better than Boracay's :-)

I love what it says on Ashley's shirt:

"So spoiled....
So young....
So what!"


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Dinner

Hubby's finally back from his Taipei business trip! Just in time to make it for Valentine's dinner.

I prepared some simple stuff to share with hubby.

Seafood Salad with prawns, crabsticks and grilled yellow bell peppers. The smoky taste from the juices of the bell pepper was enough for a dressing:

Clam Soup with Fire Roasted Tomatoes:

Grilled Prawns with Sage and Bacon:

Starwberry Coulis with Meringue. This recipe was too sweet, so we're going to recycle this to a strawberry milkshake later. The meringue didn't turn out the way I had envisioned it, maybe because it was raining when I made it. I read somewhere that you shouldn't make meringue when it's raining due to the humidity. Yeah, I'm blaming the weather, he he he.

Strawberry Mint Iced Tea. Tazo peppermint tea with strawberry cool-aid and honey. This was a super hit with hubby :-)

Hubby brough home some Pineapple Cake from Taipei. Rumored to be the best, or so we're told. It was ok.

I also made some grilled fish in an asian sauce but we were too full to eat it :-)

Happy Valentine's!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kesong Puti Dipping Sauce

Here's an ultra simple appetizer recipe that's a crowd pleaser in any party. This is similar to what you will have at Sonya's.

Kesong Puti Dipping Sauce (for Bread)

Extra Virgin Olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Sea salt (freshly ground)
5-Pepper spice (freshly ground)
1 block of kesong puti from UPLB, drained of its liquid and cubed
1 loaf sourdough baguette (or any bread that you like)sliced and toasted

Mix first five ingredients gently. Let stand for a few hours for all the flavors to meld. Do not refrigerate.

This will also go well on top of your bruschetta :-) Double cheese heaven!

Airport Pick-Up Taxi Service

My hubby's gone for the week for a business trip in Taipei :-(

Hubby promised to tell me all about his trip and the food there in Taipei.

Anyway, if you want to have airport pick-up service, I recommend Toyota Alabang Inc. (TAI for short, he he he) they're very reliable and they always come early. Taxi service from Makati is P300, from BF it's P400. They can pick you up anytime of the day, night or dawn. They never close shop.

Here are their numbers open 24/7:

+632 257-44-24
+632 257-83-37

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blusyl and UP LB Kesong Puti

Hubby and I got invited to hubby's family reunion and his aunt's 85th birthday. They celebrated it in Blusyl, a resort with private hot spring pools which you can hire for the day for special events and parties in Los Banos Laguna. Los Banos is home of the hot springs in the Philippines.

Would you believe this lady is 85 years old? She still walks like a spring chicken! She and her entire family travelled specially back to the Pihilippines to celebrate her milestone.

I remember when I was younger, Los Banos was the "it" place for out of town family excursions. The province is teeming with private pools for hire, spas, hot springs and hotels. The only drawback, at least from my standpoint, is that there aren't enough chic garden and farm restaurants there for you to actually make the trip. It's only about an hour and a half away from Manila.

Anyway, after a full lunch at the resort, hubby and I travelled to University of the Phlippines, Los Banos (UPLB for short) which is about 15 kilometers away from Blusyl. UPLB produces the best Kesong Puti (literally means white cheese) in the country (or so I'm told by my mom).

Kesong Puti is made from cow's milk. It's a very light cheese, sort of like feta cheese but less salty. The best kesong puti is made in this building:

And purchased at this non discrepit counter for P48 (<$1) per block of 200 grams. Not only are they the best, they're also the most reasonable priced (if you exclude your gasoline expenses, he he he).

Kesong puti is tradionally sold wrapped in banana leaves. UPLB wraps them now in plastic but they taste the same nonetheless. Maybe bacause the cows eat the freshest grass from the cool mountains of Mt. Makiling.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Meet our new baby

Meet our new baby Poe, he's a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso mix given by my brother. He's technically a mutt, he he he.

He's so tiny he fits right in the palm of hubby's hand.

I named him Poe because he looks like Poe from Kung Fu Panda.

He's a bit under the weather now. I hope he gets better soon.

Beef Pochero

Pochero is a traditional Spanish dish that has been adapted by Filipinos and is usually served to guests on special occasions. A true blue pochero has about a million ingredients and take a few hours to simmer. Here is my simple but equally sumptuous version:

The picture was hastily taken but it was delicious.

Beef Pochero


2-3 large beef shanks
1 kilo beef pochero cut (you can use beef ribs)
1-2 chorizo de bilbao, sliced
1 can garbanzo beans, skins removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
Olive oil
1 pack tomato paste
1 head cabbage, quartered and cored
3 bunches of pechay (you can use Bok Choy)
1 bunch of Baguio or green beans, ends cut.
1 bunch of leeks sliced diagonally (white portions only)
2-3 Kamote (yams), peeled and cubed
2-3 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 Saging na saba (plantain bananas), peeled and sliced in half
1-2 Beef bouillion cube (optional)

1 eggplant, boiled, peeled and mashed
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
white vinegar


1. Boil beef and chorizo together for for hours (yes, four hours), season with salt and pepper. Skim off scum. Set aside.
2. In a separate pot, saute garlic, onions and tomatoes. Add the boiled beef,stock, buillion cube and tomato paste. Simmer.
3. When boiling, add the kamote, potatoes, saba bananas, garbanzo beans until tender.
4. Add all the other vegetables.

Serve with sauce on the side. (Just combine all the ingredients together).

You can use beef and chicken too, in the same pot.

Monday, February 2, 2009

T House Tagaytay

This is a new addition to the Tagaytay landscape. Although they told me that they've been around for two years already. T House is a modern Bed&Breakfast and Spa located right along the highway so it’s easy to find. It’s just past the Picnic Grove on your left.

We read some nice reviews of the place and we were curious and ever eager to go somewhere new. The property sits on a modest piece of land. The structure as you can see is very modern and tranquil with all the water features scattered around the property. Hubby was very busy taking pictures.

We had our mid-afternoon snack there last Sunday. The California Maki Salad was great. It is a deconstructed California Maki but without the rice in a Japanese dressing of (I’m guessing) Japanese mayo and dashi.

My favorite is the Panna Cotta Duo. Green Tea Panacotta and Lemongrass. I can’t decide which one I like the most. They’re both equally delicious. I would go back to T House if only for this. I highly recommend the Panna Cotta.

Contrary to what you might have read in previous food blogs, Mang Rudy's Puto (rice cake) isn't found here. The puto is pre-ordered during special or private functions as we were told. There was another group that came specifically for the puto also (that's why we came initially too) but they decided to try other desserts instead. They seemed happy naman, I overheard because they wer sitting beside us. Drop by at T House for dessert, you won't be disappointed.

T House is also a spa that offers massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and foot scrubs. I wasn't too impressed with their spa facilities. The spa seemed just like an after thought to the facility. It doesn't look very modern or zen inside.

Chateau Hestia

Tagaytay has always been regarded as a short getaway from the busy streets of Manila. In just an hour or so of driving, you are transported to its lush, cool and fragrant embrace. No wonder so many garden restaurants are popping up to cater to Manila’s ever expanding gourmet demands.

Hubby and I often travel here, usually on a whim since it’s just an hour’s drive from where we live. Last Sunday, we decided to go an a culinary adventure, if you will. We wanted to eat somewhere where we’ve never eaten before.

As were driving by the highway, we noticed the sgn “Good Shepherd Sisters”. They’re quite famous for their ube jams. The original store is located in Baguio and we were pleasantly surprised that such store exists in Tagaytay. We bought some of their famous ube (purple yam) and some ube dimples, sweetened ube yam rolled in sugar. Yummy! Although nothing beats the ube that my mom makes, Good Shephers is a close second :-)

I’ve read some nice blogs about Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant and Deli, a European themed garden restaurant found near the rotunda. The property is smaller than Antonio’s or Sonya’s but charming nonetheless. Flowers abound its fragrant passages. Their showpieces are the lovely hanging flowers of different colors that has hubby catching his breath and wondering if such flowers can be transported to our garden.

The restaurant proper is cozy and comfortable. Sofas and reading materials are available and encourages you to lie down on the chaise, read, maybe sleep a little. The cool breezes certainly encourage you to take it easy.

I highly recommend the fresh Dalandan Juice (local oranges), sweet on its own, no syrup or sweetener needed. Although, hubby still felt compelled to add syrup.

Complimentary Foccaccia bread with eggplant dip is given to every table. The eggplant dip is outstanding! Light and not too strong (or garlicky), a great way to start your meal. The bread basket is refilled for free.

Now, down to the food. For starters, we had the cheese platter which includes Pecorino, Asiago, Seamorza, Gorgonzola, Talleggio cheeses served with dried fruits and herbed liver pate. I love all the cheeses. They’re mild and just very tasty. The liver pate was not very good though. I usually like liver but I find this particular version is too strong. It doesn’t help that it looked like a hairball coughed out by my stray cat :-)

We were given complimentary Limoncello and Vin d’ Orange which is made within the property. Both wines pack a punch. I’m not much of a wine drinker so I’m not an authority to review this.

Of course, a Tagaytay trip won’t be complete without having some freshly picked salad greens from the garden. This was nice and fresh. Although the dressing at Sonya’s is much better.

Hubby and I split the Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup. I liked this very much although hubby said it was a bit salty for his taste.

For main course, I ordered the Roast Pork with Caraway Seeds. Um, how will I say this delicately, the flavor of the caraway seed is too strong and I didn’t like any single thing about it, even the presentation. Have you seen a dish quite so brown and blah?

Hubby had better luck with the Osso Bucco (Osco buko, as hubby called it). He finished all of it but took pity on me and gave me the marrow :-)

For dessert hubby couldn’t resist the Ferrero Ice Cream. Home made ice cream made with Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Really wonderful, we would definitely order it again.

Chateau Hestia also has a small deli shop at the back where you can find some European wines, beer, chocolates and other pantry items.

I would recommend Chateau Hestia to everyone because the staff is super friendly. The food is great too except for the Roasted Pork.

They also have a honeymoon suite that they are renting out for couples. Here is a picture of the bedroom, in case you’re interested. I wouldn't recommend this because you'll get bored after a few hours.

After our meal, we had to burn off some of those calories! The best way to do that is to explore the meandering pathways around the garden property. The chateau is a modest property with still a lot of areas to be developed. But it was fun walking around with all the flowers and the trees.