Mar 30, 2011

Remembering Silang


"papag"

We have been there last February for our Community Immersion Program. And it was really a big break from the busy life here in Metro Manila. It sort of showed me how the food on our tables look when they are still living. :) I have taken these photos as a remembrance in our short vacation in Silang, Cavite.




Kambing









Mar 27, 2011

Best Food Forward in Global City! Mini Giveaway!


With the culinary revolution in the Philippines becoming more and more sizzling by the minute, Filipino Food Entrepreneurs organized an event called Best Food Forward to give new entrepreneurs much needed exposure for their businesses, as well as to further promote the long standing quality of food produced by well known food companies. They will all be under one roof at the NBC Tent in Bonifacio Global City on April 2 and 3, 2011.

All proceeds of the tickets will be given to charity, which will make going there even better. Besides, the thought of having to experience food from all over the country in one place is heaven to me. :) 

Which brings me to the three complimentary passes for two (each!) on the photo above. Imagine my delight when Alex handed me five of these tickets. Each complimentary pass is equivalent to the entry of two people already to the summer food fair, Best Food Forward. One would have to go to Alex and I, and another for my sister and her boyfriend. So that leaves me three tickets, and my friends are all too busy and couldn't make it.

And so I decided to give the three passes to one lucky winner in Metro Manila. With these, you and five of your friends can go to the event for free.  I pretty much expect a few participants as I was given the tickets a few days before the event, but it's better than letting those tickets for six people go to waste. :)

**I decided to cut the time at 11:30 p.m. to be able to have the shipping details ready. Without further ado, here's the lucky winner that Mr. Random.org chose:

 Congratulations dementia, please send me your complete shipping details so I can ship them off to you tomorrow. :)

Korean Rice Pops, Anyone?


You know all these products and gimmicks coming up when Filipinos have been addicted to Koreanovelas and Korean music? I have been seeing a lot of bright colors and new cuisines around the metro. I thought it stopped a few months ago, but apparently, it never did.


We passed by Magic Pop in Southmall on our way to the supermarket. I was quite amused by the flying rice crisps being thrown in a glass corner by a large machine. I bought a bag of plain ones, thinking that I need something light, but there are more flavors in the deli pop section such as cheese and chocolate, among others. The ingredients are listed as brown rice, wheat flour, corn, salt, soybean oil, and sweetener. The taste is somewhat sweet-salty.


My sister didn't like the plain ones, but she did say that she buys the cheese deli pops and that they are delicious. Watch out for carbs! The summer season is almost here, and these babies are quite addictive.

Plain Magic Pops - Php 35 per bag

The plain ones are perfect for any dip, be it sweet or savory. It's a light snack that can keep you going!

Mar 25, 2011

Blueberry-Cinnamon Breakfast Bananas


I’m really fond of eating saba bananas, and I remember my grandmother frying them up as maruya (banana fritters), turon (sweet banana spring rolls), or breakfast bananas, thinly sliced and fried, sprinkled with sugar or served with cereals. Determined as I was to stop Alex from buying all the darned junk foods in our school cafeteria, I brought breakfast bananas so that he won’t be tempted to eat his favorite chips during the morning break. It turns out that he loves bananas as much as I do.

With the addition of blueberry preserve and cinnamon instead of the usual sugar or maple syrup, he was full and hyper enough tp stay away from the junk food section. I’m wondering why schools don’t ban junk foods from their cafeterias and canteens despite teaching the students the bad effects of eating them. They should have come up with something by now.

Breakfast Bananas With Cinnamon and Blueberry Preserve

Ingredients
  • 2 saba bananas, peeled and sliced into three
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Blueberry Preserve
  • Cinnamon

Procedure:

1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan.
2. Layer the banana slices in the pan and fry until lightly browned. Flip and cook until both sides are well-cooked and lightly browned.
3. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cinnamon powder.
4. Top with blueberry preserve.
5. Best served warm with toast or cereals.

Mar 22, 2011

Creamy Scramble With Basil and Tomatoes


Before I started cooking, I watched a ton of cooking shows in the Lifestyle Network. I was especially fond of Jamie Oliver’s show, The Naked Chef. He makes cooking seem like a lot of fun, not focusing too much on those stiffly decorated gourmet-style garnished dishes, but on the rustic side of it which made old-style cooking so much more favorable. 

What I remember most from his show was that he has a nice garden, from which he takes wonderful herbs to use in cooking or to dry for storage. Deeply inspired, I bought a lot of dried herbs from the supermarket. And I remember the very first dish I cooked with them. Creamy scrambled eggs with tomato, basil, and pepper. The dried basil definitely upped this really simple dish and blended wonderfully with the half-cooked tomatoes and pepper-infused milk. The result: soft and creamy herbed eggs best served with a piece or two of sausage. I cooked this for an early breakfast last Sunday, and it was just gorgeous.

Creamy Basil-Tomato Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil
  • A dash of olive oil
Procedure
  • Combine milk, pepper, basil, and eggs. Beat lightly with a fork. 
  • Heat a nonstick pan and drizzle with olive
  • Add the garlic and tomato and sauté well.
  • Pour the egg mixture all at once and mix lightly with a spoon, making sure that no part becomes browned at the bottom.
  • Cook until set but still soft and creamy.
  • Serve hot with fried rice and breakfast sausages.

Mar 20, 2011

Traditional Cocoa Tablea


I remember asking my lola the name of the ugly fruit she was holding at the kitchen almost a decade ago. She said it was kakao, which is what chocolates are made of. I found it extremely hard to believe at that age, but I watched her cut the fruit open, wash the seeds and dry them in the terrible heat of the sun. After which she brought it to the local market to have it ground. She came back with oily black round tablets she called tableas.

At that point, she never convinced me that it was chocolate. My mom used to buy me tons of imported chocolate and it looks nothing like them at all. But she made champorado (chocolate rice porridge) with the tableas, and it was really delicious. 

In a recent trip to Binondo, I dragged Alex around the street of Ongpin in hopes of finding the stairs stall which sells La Resurrecion tableas, which were the ones mom used to buy for us. I didn't find the stall on the stairs, but I did find the famous tableas in Eng Bee Tin's grocery in the same street. It was just as good as these tableas from Zamboanga, but La Resurrecion tableas melt more easily than the ones from Zamboanga. They say it has something to do with the quality and pureness of the tableas, but I really don't have any idea about that.
Mar 18, 2011

Black Cocoa Biscuits from Cowhead


I remember my days as an primary school student. I was still the youngest then, and I can get away with eating nothing but cereals drenched in cold, fresh milk from the numerous boxes in our cupboard. I was most especially fond of the mini toys I can get for free with every box. And the milk just had to be Cowhead's fresh milk. I don't know why but I never really liked other brands, even if my mom claims that they all taste the same.

What surprised me was that nowadays they have expanded their business. My sister brought home a box of Black Cocoa Biscuits which she bought at Duty Free, so I was a bit disappointed with the long trip just to buy a box of these goodies. It seemed like some ordinary cookie sandwich at first, but it was quite addictive. The filling is really creamy, and it complements the bittersweet cocoa biscuit well. Sort of reminds me of my childhood.


Mar 14, 2011

Meatballs in White Gravy


I have been guilty of playing with the ingredients in our kitchen today. Somehow waiting for our graduation day has been extremely tiresome especially when you have to listen to some lecturer for eight whole hours at school. And I give credit for that for not being able to grasp any inspiration to cook at all. So I made meatballs, in a sauce I like to call white gravy.

White gravy, in SassyChef terms, is a milk-based thick sauce seasoned with salt, pepper, and spices and simmered until it almost resembles the taste of molten cheese. Almost. It can be used on pasta or risotto dishes, or it can just be a simple dip for your meat or chicken. I packed this for lunch today, and the meatballs wonderfully absorbed the flavours of the sauce. Just make sure to reheat it in the microwave before eating.

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
250g ground pork
1 cup Japanese breadcrumbs
60 ml evaporated or full cream milk
1 egg yolk
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper


White Gravy:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups evap or full cream milk
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
1 tsp dried basil
salt
pepper
cooked chopped carrots (optional)


Procedure:
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Add more breadcrumbs if necessary.
  2. Form mixture into balls, preferably 1 to 2 inches in size.
  3. Fry the meatballs until golden brown or slightly charred on the outside. Set aside.
  4. Melt the butter into a pan and caramelize onions.
  5. Pour in the milk. Add the dried basil leaves and simmer for 2 minutes under low heat.
  6. Add salt and pepper and adjust to taste, depending on how sweet or how salty you want the gravy to be.
  7. Add the cornstarch slurry and let simmer for another three minutes, or until thickened.
  8. Arrange meatballs onto platter and drizzle lavishly with gravy. Sprinkle with chopped carrots.
Mar 12, 2011

Don Henrico's Buffalo Chicken Pizza


We went for a late lunch over at Don Henrico's in Ermita before going to the movies. It's located outside Midtown, and it's a lot more peaceful in here than the restaurants inside the mall, which were bustling with hungry people at the moment. 

Upon scanning the menu, Alex ordered a big pan of their Buffalo Chicken Pizza, and a big platter of large, crisp onion rings, together with iced tea. The onion rings were crisp and juicy as always, and the pizza was really saucy and cheesy. What I like about it best was that the flavors were really going together quite well. There's no overwhelming taste, and the cucumber slices provided just the right amount of sweet-tartness that complemented the buffalo chicken sauce's sweet-spicy taste.
And the chicken strips were well-cooked and tender, with chunks trapped below the melted cheese and on top, drizzled lavishly with chicken sauce. If we weren't so full, we would have ordered another pan.
Mar 9, 2011

Feed Homeless Children With Your Spare Change!


Yes, the Lenten season is almost here, and from what I can see, I haven't really given back to charity much aside from donations of clothes, books, and toys during the holiday seasons or whenever a calamity struck. It really is painful for me seeing young children begging for food at the streets, most especially when they are looking at us through the clear glass windows of the food establishment we are eating at, only to be driven away by the security guards at some jerk's request.
So imagine my delight when I saw the ad of WeFeedback (http://www.wefeedback.org), an online program that enables you to calculate how many children you can feed with your favorite food, regardless of how small or big the price is. There's no minimum or maximum amount, so you can give what you can afford. What's even better is that you got to sacrifice not eating your junk food or not having your daily dose of frappuccino and give back to the blessings you got for the past year. Look at the pop-up message I got: I made a difference! :)
So I am inviting you to actually make an account over at www.WeFeedback.org, where you can calculate all you want and choose whether you'll be donating or not. I made my choice to give, and I hope you will too.  

Mar 8, 2011

Yummy Seafood Dishes at SuperBowl of China

Shrimp and Seafood Curry Hot Pot - Php 295

Alex and I were both having seafood cravings while strolling around Midtown and looking for new stuff to buy. Which made Superbowl's seafood dishes so welcoming when the waiter placed the hot, steaming dishes on our table.
Yang Chow Fried Rice with Shrimp Toppings - Php 240

We ordered Shrimp and Seafood Curry Hot Pot, Roast Jellyfish with Century Egg, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and Banana Split for dessert. A word of advice: The hot pot is really hot! Although I am a big fan of hot and spicy foods, I found it really spicy. But it does hit the spot, and I was really happy. It may be the spiciness of the dishes, but our mood was really uplifted. You should try it when you're down.

Roast Jellyfish with Century Egg - Php 170

The roast jellyfish was slightly sea-salty and chewy, cooked just right. It's perfect with century eggs. I liked it, but we didn't get to finish it since it tasted bland after we started eating the curry. Something to do with adaptive taste. 

Banana Split - Php 150

As usual, the Yang Chow Fried Rice is a bit salty and nicely flavored. It really helps with the spiciness of the curry and the mild taste of the jellyfish. To end the nice meal, Alex and I shared a big platter of banana split. Yum!