Tuesday, September 29, 2009


After the tragedies that happened with the recent passing of our uncle, the typhoon, flooding. Now more than ever, I feel so blessed to be surrounded by family who love and care for each other.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm Back

It's been a very stressful week for me and my family.

My beloved uncle has passed.

Hubby just had an operation.

My house got flooded yesterday.

I'm exhausted!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Irish Coffee at Chateau 1771

Who knew Irish Coffee took too much effort to make. Here's hubby's Irish Coffee in pictures. He ordered the Irish Coffee on his birthday while we were having dessert at Chateau 1771

First, a tray with all these things arrive. Coffee, whisky, cream, nutmeg and a coffee mug with a sugar rim.

A shot of whisky is placed inside the coffee glass.

The whisky is swirled around the glass using a teaspoon with a long handle.

The glass is flambed.

The coffee is added.

The cream is added in stead stream using the back of a teaspoon.

Now, the finished product. Who knew that Irish Coffee was so fussy to make?!

Maybe I could make this in one of our parties :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hubby's 40th

Yesterday marked hubby's official "over the hill" birthday. We chose to spend it quietly together. All my party planning was put on hold due to a minor medical procedure that hubby has to be confined for this weekend.

Anyway, it was wonderful to spend time with hubby alone since we don't get to spend a lot of time together due to our work schedules. I really miss our daily dinners together.

Fortunately, hubby was granted a birthday leave and was able to pick me up from work yesterday. Traffic was horrendous as usual, we decided to just dine in Greenbelt which is very near my office.

Our impromptu plan for the evening was to dine in two or three restaurants so that we can check out the new restaurants that we haven't tried in Greenbelt. It's been a while since we got the chance to dine out with just the two of us. We started by checking out the menus of the different restaurants before making our decision.

Our first stop was at Thai Patio in Greenbelt 5 for some salads. Hubby and I both love Thai inspired salads. My trade off was that we can have steak after if he's still hungry.

We ordered the Green Mango Salad with Soft Shelled Crabs. This salad is made with julienned green mangoes, onions, cashews, peanuts in a Thai Lime dressing. The soft-shelled crabs are absolutely wonderful, tender and crispy at the same time. I would order this again, definitely.

For something fresh and crisp, we tried the Thai Spring Roll. Julienned carrots and cucumbers with crab stick, shrimps, Thai basil wrapped in rice paper with a peanut dipping sauce. This is also nice, crunchy and a welcome burst of freshness in your mouth. This is so easy to make at home too. I think I'll duplicate this one of these days.

Hubby also ordered the house specialty Beef Salad with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms. OMG, I think I've died and gone to heaven! I just love the portobello mushrooms!!!!. The beef was nice too, tender and fresh tasting with the lime dressing, hubby and I requested the beef to be not spicy.

We were surprisingly full after all that! We walked to Park Square 1 to get hubby's gift from a photography equipment store there.

Umm, hubby, that camera you're holding will stay on the shelf. You are not allowed to bring that home unless I get a Luis Vuitton bag also, este.....

After a long walk in my three-inch heels, we made our way back to Greenbelt for some dessert. We had our desserts at Chateau 1771. We ordered their signature desserts to see if they were deemed to be called "signature" he he he.

Hubby had the Coffee Sansrival. Hubby really loved this cake. He said, that he would go back to Chateau 1771 just for the Coffee Sansrival.

I had the Lemon Meringue. lemon whipped Cream in layers of meringue and filo pastry with caramel sauce. Yummy! I love their version of Lemon Merigue with the right balance of sweetness and tartness. The filo is really nice too, very crunchy and buttery.

Hubby's 40th birthday was celebrated with hardly any hoopla but it was fun and intimate, just the way we like it.

Happy birthday hubby!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Amalia's in BF Homes

After our lunch and merienda at LP, the family had dinner at Amalia's, a Spanish restaurant located right along Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes.

For starters we had the Chorizo Bilbao. (Sorry, no photo)

Oysters in White Wine.

Vegetarian Paella, they used Jasmine Rice instead of Arborio rice for this one which is a bit unusual. The white asparagus was nice though.

Paella Espanola, with chicken, chorizo and seafood.

Salpicao, tenderloin beef cooked with lots of garlic (maybe they forgot to add garlic here?)

Callos or tripe stewed in tomatoes, garbanzos and red wine. This used to be my favorite at Amalia's (aside from the paella Espanola) but somehow the recipe is not the same tonight.

The kids had chicken lollipop which they finished off in fifteeen minutes flat.

For dessert, we had the Canonigo, a light fluffy eggwhite cake with a creamy sauce and a side serving of diced mangoes. This is one of my favorite desserts.

We noticed that Amalia's food is a bit lackluster today. I wonder if that's why only a few people (aside from us) dined there tonight.

Family Fun at LP

I mentioned in my previous post that my uncle is suffering from cancer. Our family once again converged in LP for another get-together. I reckon get-togethers like these would become more and more frequest as the days pass by. These coming together not only signifies our love for my uncle but to make more memories to cherish. The family has come to accept the inevitable and our family's main concern now is for my uncle to be comfortable and pain free.

Our meal was simple and delicious. We had a nice balance of healthy food of grilled tilapia, fresh Lumpia (vegetable crepes) and something naughty like Cadios beans with pork, a comfort food for me. I went a little crazy and had more than my share of the pork. I only eat pork once a week now, so, I make it a point that when I do eat my once-a-week allocation of pork, it better be worth it. My mom as usual made Cadios Beans with pork so good, I feel absolutely no guilt devouring huge quantities today (ok, maybe I feel just a teeny weeny bit guilty).

JJ and Ashley helped me make some bananas dipped in chocolate fondue. Here they are, preparing the bananas for dipping.

My cousin Ali, whos'e 18 years younger than I am is here in Manila to spend time with her dad (my ailing uncle). She's a riot. Look at her photos, not a single straight face in any of them.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chicken Lettuce Hand Rolls

I'm on roll, no pun intended. I've been having the energy to cook again and I made a lot today. I made Galunggong Siomai (Hubby requested the recipe to be kept private and confidential), I made Shrimp Pizza, and tonight, I made Chicken Lettuce Hand Rolls. The lettuce handroll recipe was inspired by our frequent foray at Toho Antigua, Chinese Restaurant along President's Avenue before entering BF Homes. Toho Antigua'a version is made with ground pork, friend noodles and hoisin sauce. My version is a bit healthier but equally good. In hubby's words, "Kulang niluto mo for me" (you didn't cook enough for me). Anyway, here's the recipe:

Chicken Lettuce Hand Rolls
Good for two (or 1 and half as hubby said)
You will need:

1 Head of iceberg lettuce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 Kilo lean ground chicken (pork is better if you are not cutting down)
1 to 2 Tablespoons Kikkoman soysauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon all spice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Carrot, julliened
1/2 Cucumber, seeded and julliened
Cilantro leaves (optional, but highly recommended)

1. Separate the leaves of the iceberg lettuce, wash and drain well. Set aside in the refrigerator. This will serve as the base for your rolls (we'll call it "cups").
2. In a separate pan, saute garlic in oil until fragrant but not brown.
3. Add the ground chicken, mix well until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the all spice, brown sugar and Kikkoman. Mix well.

To assemble the chicken lettuce hand rolls:

1. Place the chicken mixture inside the lettuce "cups".
2. Top with carrots, cucumber and a generous amount of cilantro leaves.
3. Bite and say...yum!

Hubby's Favorite Pizza

I made hubby's favorite pizza today. It's my version of Shakey's Friday's Special. Easy to do with just the simplest ingredients.

Shrimp Pizza

You will need
5 Flour Tortillas
1 Small pack of tomato sauce
1 Yellow Bell pepper, diced (you can use green)
1 Tablespoon Pizza Seasoning
1 Small can sliced button mushrooms, drained well (fresh mushrooms are better if you have them)
10-15 Pieces of shrimps, peeled, deveined and sliced in half
Anchovy fillets
Mozzarella Cheese

1. Pre-heat aven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix the tomato sauce and the pizza seasoning, set aside.
3. Place about 1-2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce mixture on each flour tortilla.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients.
5. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes.

Needless to say, hubby liked this pizza, no surprise there. He loves shrimp pizzas.

I prefer using a flour tortilla when making pizzas at home because flour tortillas are easily available in any grocery store. No need to proof the pizza dough. I am so bad with recipes with yeast so, if I can get away with not using it, that's great. Flour tortillas are also great for pizzas because they make a fabulous crispy thin "crust". Whole wheat tortillas are available now in major grocery stores, so if you want to make this easy recipe even healthier, you can use the whole wheat variety.

Fish Burger at Sango Master Burger, Alabang

Hubby always looks forward to a major grocery trip in South Supermarket. We rarely have time to go to the grocery together and when we do, we shop at South Supermarket in Alabang where there are great choices not found in our nearby grocery stores, Pure Gold and Robinson's Supermarket in BF.

But what hubby looks forward to most during a trip to South Supermarket, is getting the chance to have a burger at Sango Master Burger. His reward for pushing the grocery card and paying for the bills, LOL. He would always order the Master Burger, which I previously posted.

I tried something different for myself and ordered the Fish Burger. The Fish Burger at Sango Master Burger is composed of a thick fish patty, Japanese mayonnaise and cheese. It is Sango's version of Fillet-O-Fish. I hate to say this but, McDonald's Fillet-O-Fish wins by a mile (and that's not even my favorite). The fish fillet at Sango Master Burger was tough and the breading was a bit too thick for my taste.

I still like eating at Sango Master Burger. I will stick to their Master Cheese Burger though with the special meat sauce.

Hubby was a happy camper with his Master Cheese Burger and two servings of ice cream.

Hubby and his ice cream, he will give up his pork, but not his ice cream *sigh*

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Veneto in BF Homes

I noticed that I rarely blog about the places that we visit quite often in BF Homes. One place that we often visit when we are too tired to cook is A Veneto. A pizza and pasta place right along Aguirre Avenue and is just walking distance from the in-laws. It's our standby place when Sunday dinners are time pressured or when hubby's folks suddenly have guests drop by.

Hubby and I are trying to eat a bit healthier these days (well, at least I am trying). We still love pork, mind you and we still indulge in it's fatty goodness at least once a week.

The big four-oh for hubby is just days away and since many of the young members (that means 50 and below, LOL) of our family are suffering in one ailment or the other, we deemed it best to cut down on fat now. Cut down, not completely obliterate.

Dining out is particularly tricky. Finding healthy alternatives for dinners and snacks prove to be very daunting.

A Veneto makes a great vegetarian pizza. I like this very much, light yet filling, two slices will be enough. A Veneto's pizza sauce is mild and not too over powering, I would prefer a thinner crust though. A Veneto's vegetarian pizza has mushrooms, bell peppers, olives and onions in them and of course a hefty serving of cheese.

Hubby also ordered a Seafood Salad. A Veneto's version has shucked mussels, shrimps, crab sticks, salad greens and pine nuts dressed in a sweet balsamic sauce. This is hubby's favorite salad at A Venento's and always make it a point to order this. (Pardon the dark pictures, yours truly took them without using hubby's fancy flash)

Hubby is also very biased when it comes to pizza choice. His always has to be shrimp pizza. You can choose whatever topping you like at A Veneto's and let your imagination run wild. A Veneto's also have their own signature pizzas and most people order those off the the menu.

A Veneto's in BF is a simple place with haphazardly placed eating nooks and peeling paint. I think the dismal interiors only add to A Veneto's hole-in-the-wall charm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pad Thai at Oody's Greenbelt

When I was walking home from work one night, I had a terrible craving for Pad Thai. Pad Thai is stir fried flat rice noodles with bean sprouts, chicken or shrimp (I prefer shrimps), some scrambled eggs, tamarind juice and diced tofu among other things. Pad Thai is usually topped with crushed peanuts and cilantro leaves. A slice of lime is served on the side.

I remember when hubby and I were in Bangkok, I would eat this everyday (yes, everyday) because I just love it so much it hurts, he he he, how very melodramatic of me. Anyway, when there I have an emergency craving, I usually give in.

Fortunately, Oddy's in Greenbelt, Makati was right on my way home. Well, maybe I took a short detour.

I finally ordered my Pad Thai. Now, Oody's isn't the best noodle restaurant there is. However, it would do in a pinch and they serve pretty decent meals. The servings are quite generous too and the prices are reasonable. Ad their name suggests, they serve all kinds of noodles.

I was dining alone, eating a huge plate of Pad Thai and people were looking at me funny. Everybody was with someone. Hmmmm.... they must be wondering why a lovely woman is sitting alone eating a huge plate of Pad Thai. LOL.

I felt like Charlotte in Sex and the City.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuyo Pasta with Cilantro

Cooking for one again. On my way home, I was craving for some Gourmet Tuyo (Dried boneless herring fillet) that was marinated in vinegar, oil and garlic. Hubby bought some from our foray at the grocery store last weekend. The best that I've tasted so far is this brand, Gourmet Tuyo.

Instead of having the traditional fare of fried rice, tuyo, eggs and tomatoes (which is absolutelt great by the way), I made a simple pasta dish instead. I used a bunch of cilantro from the fridge to add some freshness to an otherwise salty dish.

Tuyo Pasta with Cilantro
For one

You will need:
Dried spaghetti noodles
Extra virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Gourmet Tuyo about 5-7 fillets
Cilantro leaves
Tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. In a separte pan, saute garlic until fragrant but not brown.
3. Add the spaghetti, a little bit of the pasta water, salt, tuyo, cilantro and tomatoes.
4. Toss and eat immediately.

This pasta dish is actually very good. It's a light dish that can be whipped up in no time at all.

A simple aioli recipe is so versatile, you can just add whatever ingredients you can find in your fridge and make a delicious and healthy meal (ok, semi-healthy meal).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Aioli Pasta with Eggplant and Tomatoes

Cooking for one. It's been a very rainy day here in Manila. I am fortunate that I didn't have a hard time going home despite the weather. When I got home, I wasn't very hungry yet and still had the energy to prepare something for myself other than oatmeal. Hubby's already at work by the time I arrive. I usually don't bother making dinner for myself or asking the housekeeper to prepare something. Most dinner meals I have consist mainly of oatmeal or eggs. Frankly, I was craving for some real food so here's what I made:

Aioli Pasta with Eggplant and Tomatoes
1 Serving

You will need
Dried spaghetti noodles
Extra Virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 eggplant, cubed
1 anchovy fillet
1 tomato, cubed
Mozzarella cheese, cubed

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In a separate pan, heat up olive oil, saute the eggplant until almost soft.
3. Add the minced garlic and anchovy fillet, mash the fillet in the pan until broken down completely, this will add saltiness to your dish.
4. Add the noodles and some of the pasta water.
5. Add tomatoes and mozzarella. Season if needed.

This is a very easy recipe, less than half an hour to make, preparation included. This Aioli dish is so delicious, my photo doesn't do it justice.

You can substitute the eggplant with other veggies in your crisper. I reckon asparagus spears, broccoli, zucchini would work so well with this. I just remembered I have some pine nuts in the fridge, I should have added that. Oh well, next time.

Happy experimenting!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Gathering

It's a very sad time for our family. My uncle is suffering from cancer and the prognosis is not very good. He is currently resting at the family home in LP. Yesterday, several family members came over to visit him. Despite the grim situation, the family still managed to share a simple but wonderful meal together, we shared laughter and tears. Our reunion was bittersweet.

I wish gatherings like these were under happier circumstances.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Crab Meat

I saw a similar recipe of stuffed tomatoes in a magazine many months ago and I have been meaning to try something similar. I am trying to revamp the menu that we have at home and I miss cooking. Hubby and I have polar opposite working schedules and we only share meals on weekends which saddens me a lot. Anyway, I got the chance to cook again today and tried putting my own spin on this recipe.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Crab Meat

3 Salad tomatoes
350 grams of fresh crab meat
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Cilantro, chopped
Lime juice
1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat your over to 350 degrees.
2. Slice the top off of your tomatoes. Reserve the "cap". Hull. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
4. Stuff the tomatoes with the crab mixture and sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top. Cover the tomatoes with the "cap".
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

I have to be honest though. Hubby wasn't very fond of this because the crab mixture is a bit wet due to the juices from the tomatoes. Oh well, at least I tried.

The filling makes a great crab ball if you add egg and more bread crumbs.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Beef, Asparagus and Broccoli Noodle Stir Fry

I finally had the time to cook again last night. I made a simple dish of Beef, Asparagus and Broccoli Noodle Stir fry. This is very easy to make and can be done in half an hour, preparation included.

Beef, Asparagus and Broccoli Noodle Stir Fry
(Good for three servings)

You will need:
1/4 kilo minute steaks

2 to 3 tablespoons Kikkoman soysauce
2 to 3 tablespoons Oyster sauce
1/4 cup water (or mirin)
1 tablespoon flour or cornstsrch

Sauce (mix these together)
1/4 cup Kikkoman soysauce
1/4 cup Oyster Sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in
2 cups of beef stock

2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Broccoli florets
Asparagus spears
3 clumps Dried Pancit Canton


1. Marinate the beef for 20 minutes. Set aside.
2. In the meantime, boil some water in a pot. Blanch the vegetables and set aside.
3. In the same pot, boil the canton noodles until almost done.
4. In a separate pan, saute garlic in oil, add the beef until done, about two to three minutes. Remove the beef. Add the sauce indredients. As sooon as it starts to thicken, add the noodles, beef and the vegetables.

I'm happy to say hubby liked this and I shall be making this again :-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Meeting an old college friend

Mylene is a very grood friend of mine from college. We've had some fantastic times and she's one of my friends has stuck with me and fought for me at the most diffucult time of my life.

Seeing her again even for a short while made me happy. She's flying back to the US today after a short vacation here in Manila. That makes me a little sad because we didn't have the time to do the girly stuff that we used to do before.

Anyway, that's why there's the Magic Jack which allows me to call the US for as long as I want at practically no cost to me or to them. Yey!