Monday, May 30, 2011

I have nothing new to blog :-( Hubby and I have been both sick last weekend and spent the whole Saturday and much of Sunday morning resting.

Anyway, after browsing through hundreds of photos from our US trip last year, I just realized that I never blogged about our day trip to Washington D.C.!

It was a beautiful November day when we got there. Just look at the gorgeous skies!

Re-cap (?)

I know I already posted this photo of Manila circa 1940. So pretty, right? 1940's.



It reminded me of our trip to Washington, D.C., November 2010.



What the heck happened to the beauty of Manila?!!!!

Realities

As we were driving our way to a children's party yesterday, my nephew blurted out:

Jay-jay: "Ninang, what's that?" Pointing out to the streets outside.



Me: "Those are shanties, Jay-jay."

Jay'jay: "Shanties? What's that?"

Me: "That's where poor people live."

Jay-jay: "I don't want to live in shanties, Ninang."

Me: "That's why you have to study well, so that when you grow up, you won't live in shanties."

There isn't a day that passes by that I don't thank God for the many blessings in our lives.




(photo courtesy of article.wn.com via Google since I didn't have my camera on hand to take a photo)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tamago Yaki

I just possibly made the ugliest looking Tamago Yaki that ever graced somebody's table.



I cooked this as a midnight snack for Hubby. Sorry Hubby for experimenting on you again :-(

Darn, people make it look so easy on TV.

Old Manila

I can't believe Manila used to be this beautiful.



Photo courtesy of aseanchat.com

How this blog came about

Do you get day when you just stare at a blank screen of your computer and say, “I am going to write something profound and inspiring today”? I get those a lot, but, when I finally start typing, creative ideas elude me. I mean, what can a suburban housewife/non-writer such as myself write about?



Well, a blog of course! Oprah Winfrey has a special section in her magazine called “what I know for sure”. The article is self-explanatory. Write something that you are sure about, which I think is a brilliant idea, so you become an instant expert. So, I decided to write about my life experiences. Writing about my recipes, our travels, funny conversation is a great creative outlet for me. No one knows my life better than I do, right?

I stopped cringing at the thought of some random person visiting my blog and reading what I have written. I mean, not everyone would want to read about my experiences. Some people might even think I'm a floozy. Ha ha ha.

Believe it or not, before I started writing anything on this blog, I would individually send an email to family members and friends of what’s been going on with my life, particularly about family get-togethers and our travels. I would write very detailed emails too (I type quite fast). Then I would get an equally lengthy response like “that’s nice”. So, I said, I’ll just write a blog, if they want to know what’s going on, well, they can read just about it here.

The main reason why I started a blog though was to have a “record” of my experiences with Hubby and family.

So, that’s how this blog came about.

Ok, I lied a tiny bit. Our family came from a really fabulous vacation abroad and I wanted to write about it. So, there, that's how this thing really got started. Then all hell broke loose and I've written hundreds of entries since then.

Do you like sharing experiences too? :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Filipino buffet at home

Sunday family lunches. We are always the designated host, whether we like it or not. He he he. We don't mind, really. I believe that inviting family over often makes for a happy home. Don't you think so too? :-) Also, they can't complain if I experiment recipes on them. Ha ha ha.

However though, I took pity on them and spared them from further recipe experimentation last Sunday. We had very simple Filipino food in our buffet counter. Everybody seemed quite happy with the food. We had some barbecued chicken legs, grilled tilapia, grilled eggplants and tomatoes.







My mom made the kare-kare.



My in-laws brought some guinataang halo-halo too.



No baked goods, you say? The kids and I made a mess in the kitchen and baked a batch of brownies with walnuts and mini-chocolate kisses. Haay kalat....



How was your Sunday?

Japanese-themed dinner at home with Hubby

I can't believe it, I cooked two meals in Saturday. Yay! I really miss cooking lately and I would probably experiment more savory meals in the coming weeks/years? :-) There are so many recipes to try.

Next to ice cream, Hubby loves Japanese food. He would eat it everyday, if he could. Some of his Japanese favorites are sukiyaki and tempura. I've been watching a lot of cooking videos on You Tube lately. One particular cooking show caught my eye, it's called Cooking with Dog. No, she's not cooking her dog, but the dog is the host of the show and provides the voice over while she's cooking. Anyway, the recipes are quite simple and the step-by-step demonstrations are really helpful and easy to follow. The recipe for Sukiyaki is very good. Here's the link, the recipe is posted at the information section of the video.



My version turned out great (despite being less pretty, he he he). I substituted some of the vegetables with what I have on hand. Ooops, I didn't sear the tofu too. I added a bit too much noodles though, but despite that, we finished the whole pot, just Hubby and I. I substituted sake with Korean cooking wine, since that's what I have in my pantry. I also added about a cup and a half of home made bulalo soup to the broth to make it more soup-y. I would really recommend this recipe, with the addition of the bulalo soup, it's great and very satisfying.



To make bulalo soup/stock:

1. Place 1 kilo bulalo bone in a large stock pot, cover fully with water, boil for ten minutes. Discard water and re-boil in a clean stock pot. You can skip this step if you want a dark broth. Just skim off scum once in a while.
2. Add salt, pepper and sliced white onion to the bulalo. Boil for one to two hours, skim off scum once in a while to keep the soup clear. Cool and refrigerate.
3. Skim off "sebo" (hardened fat) and use.

To compliment the sukiyaki, I also made some shrimp tempura. Here's the recipe that I used. I can't remember where I got it, since it's been in my vault of recipes for the longest time. I've also used this recipe several times. It is best to use Kikkoman soy sauce when making the tempura sauce. It's not the same if you use any other brand.



Tempura Batter

1 egg
1 cup very cold water or water with enough ice to make one cup
¾ cup flour
Pinch of baking soda

1. Beat the egg and water until fluffy.
2. Add the flour and baking soda to the egg mixture and mix together just until combined. Do not over beat. Lumps are ok.
3. Batter should be thin, if it’s too thick, add more iced water or crushed ice.
4. Lightly flour your shrimps before dipping into the batter.

Always make sure that your oil is very hot before frying the tempura. Mine wasn't quite hot enough that's why it wasn't so pretty :-(

Tempura dipping sauce
Ingredients:

1 cup dashi soup stock (half to 1 teaspoon dashi granules dissolved in a cup of hot water)
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
grated daikon radish (I used local radish)
grated ginger

1. Put mirin in a pan and bring to a boil on medium heat.
2. Add dashi stock, soy sauce, and sugar in the pan. Mix well until the sugar dissolves completely.
3. Bring the sauce to a boil. Turn off the heat.
4. Add grated labanos and grated ginger to the mixture.

My shrimps refused to stay straight. Arrrgh. So frustrating.

My dinner date at home with Hubby was a resounding success :-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Singaporean Chili Crabs

I miss cooking in my kitchen. Between our work and Hubby's unusual work schedules, I find less and less reason to whip up a meal on weekdays. On some weekends though when our schedules are not so hectic with errands, I cook (or sleep, he he he). Hubby sometimes makes "tampo" that I don't cook as much as I used to. I guess, with two capable housekeepers, I tend to just leave it up to them. I trained them well, as my guests would often comment. One even said that they could probably open a restaurant because they already know most of my recipes! :-)

Anyway, back to my weekend cooking. I've been experimenting on Asian dishes lately and has stocked up my pantry with some basic supplies. I wanted to re-claim my kitchen, so to speak, and cook food that I've never cooked before. This weekend, I tried making Singaporean-style Chili Crabs. Obviously, it's not authentic since I can't fined belacan (shrimp paste of some sort). This is my first try and it there us definitely space for improvement. The recipe's not yet spot on and a bit salty. I have a few ideas to make it better. I rarely experiment on crabs since they're so expensive to make. Hubby's also not fond of crabs with any sauce on it. He loves crabs just steamed, but, like a good husband, he ate what I made anyway :-)



To make sure that I won't have a complete failure during my lunch with Hubby, I made some fresh spring rolls using mangoes from Zambales, which is the sweetest mango variety from the Philippines. I also added crab sticks, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots and cilantro to the spring rolls. I just used Japanese mayo for the dressing. I can't believe that I am saying this, but I miss the sound of my knife hitting the cutting board as I slice vegetables. The swish swish sound is hypnotic and therapeutic to me :-)



For dessert, we had "kinalog na duhat" (shaken duhat berries). Duhat are local berries, similar to grapes but has a bigger pit. Duhat is in season right now and it is best enjoyed when you place it in a sealed container, add rock salt and shake it, to bruise its skin. You will have purple teeth after consuming duhat, but the taste is worth it :-)



Duhat is becoming more rare lately, not really sure why, so whenever we see some, we purchase a few kilos.

Overall, Hubby and I enjoyed a quiet lunch at home together. Very rare lately :-)

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Unique Marriage Proposal

She must be really special to get such a unique marriage proposal. (**insert envious sigh here... haaay....**)


Monday, May 16, 2011

Just a question...

I remembered this conversation I had with my nephew Jay-jay, a few weeks ago, and it always puts a smile on my face whenever I remember it.



Jay-jay: "Ninang, Ashley is so kulit. Why do you love Ashley?"

Me: "Because Ashley is my NIECE. I love her regardless if she's makulit or naughty."

Jay-jay: "What?! She's your KNEES? Like a part of your leg??!!!"

I burst out laughing. Ha ha ha :-)

Sunday Family Lunch

It was an impromptu Sunday lunch at home. So, I looked at whatever was in my pantry to rustle up a decent meal. I've been meaning to try a recipe of chicken wings with a sweet glaze. I had bought chicken wings when I did my grocery shopping the day before so I gave it a go.

My family was too kind when I asked for their opinion when they tried it. "Ah, masarap naman" they would say while carefully avoiding my eyes. Ha ha ha.



The chicken dish was weird, to say the least. It was tasty but the chicken tasted like a dessert entree with it's sweetness. Anyway, now we know what will not be served ever again in the family table. Bwa ha ha! :-)

Fortunately, I had some other things to serve them. Otherwise, my reputation will be ruined. Ha ha ha. My in-laws brought some cake too.



After lunch, my nice Ashley wanted to go horseback riding in Tagaytay. So, why not? It's just an hour away anyway. After much discussion about why she needs to take another bath and why her hair had to be tied on top of a bath, we finally went our way.

We arrived at the horseback facility in Tagaytay around 5:00 p.m., barely an hour left of daylight. Man, that horseback facility hasn't changed much in thirty years! The kids went horseback riding and biking. My mom and I spent the hour talking and catching up. Hubby and my brother served as nannies, watching the kids.





Hope your Sunday was fun too!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beef Bulgogi

My nephew Jay-jay and Ashley ambushed us again and invited themselves over for the weekend. Not that I'm complaining. I'm kinda liking the mommy role:-)

Anyway, I think the kids are too dependent on computer games and the X Box to entertain themselves. I do my best to ply them off those computer games and encourage them to do other stuff. I'm making a bit of progress by letting them help me cook, bake and I make them practice writing and some coloring activities for Ashley. Jay-jay loves to read Science books, so that's a plus. I also read them stories before going to bed.

Both kids enjoy helping me in the kitchen. We've made cookies, cupcakes, and both have eagerly helped me make family lunches and dinner.

Today, both kids helped me make the marinade for the Beef Bulgogi. I let them "chop" the Korean pear with a dull table knife. They helped me measure the ingredients and tenderize the meat (by pounding the beef with a dull knife). The kids took turns turning on the food processor. My kitchen was a mess but we had fun making the marinade. I didn't have my camera while we were doing this, that's why there are no pictures :-(

For the vegetables, the kids helped cut them with kitchen scissors and I carefully let them cut some of the vegetables with a real knife. They had fun arranging the vegetables and tofu in the paellera. It makes a pretty presentation, don't you think? :-)



Ashley started crying when her kuya Jay-jay wouldn't let her stir the pot.



She eventually gets her way anyway. Here she is happily posing while stirring the pot.



My niece Ashley, so pretty :-)



It's our first time to make Beef Bulgogi soup. My housekeeper had forgotten to add salt the homemade beef broth (the original recipe called for canned beef broth) so our Bulgogi turned out a just a tad bland, but it can be easily adjusted next time.

If you're making Beef Bulgogi, I suggest you get the sukiyaki cut so that the meat will be very tender. The sirloin that I got from the supermarket was a bit tough, despite the pounding that we gave it.

Your kitchen will smell really nice when you are cooking this. As my nephew Jay-jay commented:

"What's that good smell? It's like perfume" :-)



Hubby liked this dish very much. The kids didn't like it as much since it had a lot of vegetables in it but they did manage to eat a substantial amount, so I'm happy with that.

I'm excited to improve this recipe next time I make it. I'll post the recipe once it's worthy :-)

King Bee - Dinner with Hubby

Finally, Hubby managed to squeeze in a couple of hours to have dinner with me. Gosh, I sound like a desperate mistress, don't I? He he he. Hubby and I met near his office and travelled a short distance to King Bee Restaurant in Daang Hari, a "short cut" to Cavite if you're coming from Alabang.



Hubby had dined there before with some of his co-workers and wanted me to try it too. King Bee, despite being in the off beaten path, was quite full when we arrived. I was surprised that it was. Since it was literally in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, after sampling an assortment of dimsum, I could see why people flock there. The food is good and the price is quite reasonable. Our total bill was under a thousand pesos. All the dimsum that we ordered were quite tasty and were worth what we paid for.

Here's a run down of our food trip :-)

We ordered one of the staples in any of our Chinese restaurant forays, the Hakaw or steamed shrimp dumplings. Yummy.



Pictured below is Tao Pey. Ground pork, shrimp and pancit (?) wrapped in a tofu sheet. This is Hubby's new favorite :-)



Hubby ordered Quail Egg dimsum, sort of like sio mai but with a boiled quail egg inside. I never got to taste this because hubby ate them all :-)



My favorite is the King Seafood dimsum with fish fillet, shitake mushrooms, crab stick and prawns wrapped in a pechay leaf. I'll try to cook this soon, hopefully :-)



We also ordered the Stuffed Shrimps with Salted Egg Yolk. It was a little too rich for our taste. The presentation looked appetizing and quite unusual though. It would look impressive in any table.



We had the usual dessert of Mango Sago and Almond Jelly with Lychee. Both were very refreshing and the perfect foil after a heavy Chinese meal.





King Bee's servings for their main courses are quite big. The small ones usually can feed up to four average people. Each order of dimsum is good for just one hungry Hubby :-)

Happy eating!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Belated Happy Mother's Day!

I've been so busy this past week. My nephew Jay-jay and nice Ashley stayed with me for a week and they have kept me on my toes. They kept me busy with lots of hugs and kisses and funny conversations. Our house now feels so lonely without them.

The kids and I baked cookies, made mother's day lunch, made mother's day cards and bargained about who's going to use the laptop next, haaay.. Unfortunately though, there were no pictures to share with you :-(

Anyway, hope your Mother's Day celebration was fun too!

To the greatest mommy in the world, my mom, I love you!

The world will be a much better place if all moms loved their children like the way my mom loved us :-)

I turned out ok, didn't I? :-) He he he.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Word from My Niece Ashley

SNORSING - loud sound while sleeping.:-)