Monday, January 27, 2020

Cooked a Veggie Dish for the First Time

Last Christmas my friend Buddy from the Online Palengke surprised me with a box of beautiful vegetables. I must admit I haven't really cooked that many veggie based dishes so I took this as a challenge. I research through Google Search what kind of dishes I could make based on the vegetables Buddy sent to me. I chose to make pinakbet (recipe here). Here's how I made it -

I hope to cook more vegetable dishes this year. What would you suggest I make?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

My Funny Way of Cooking Bacon

I am a selective cook. I hate frying especially when oil splatters all over the place. I got over frying hotdog because I eventually learned that you can use water to cook it! So because I don't like frying I don't cook fried fish or fried chicken. That's what the over is for and I might say it's healthier haha.

In Manila I have a nice range, but in Singapore I make do with an induction stove and the landlord has provided a portable oven. I'm actually thinking of downgrading what I have in Manila since I realized I don't need a fancy range to do all my cooking and baking. It's also faster to cook using an induction stove, so when my electric stove in Manila conks out I'll downgrade hrhr.

So last night I thought I'd make carbonara. I only used half of the bacon for the pasta so I started frying the other half. Fairprice was closed so I ended up buying bacon from Cold Storage. The bacon had more fat than what I usually buy at Fairprice, so oil started to splatter while I was frying. Ahhh, but I usually still manage to fry bacon safely. Here's how -

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Happy Chinese New Year!

Gong Xi Fa Cai to all our family and friends! It's the lunar new year and we're celebrating it this year in Singapore. It's a busy time for many of our friends who celebrate it. I have Chinese blood from my paternal side, but we never had the opportunity to learn the traditions that come with the lunar new year. My friends Marcus and Shirni described to us that it's a very busy time for them because they have to visit all the family elders to give respect and just like us Pinoys during Christmas, non-stop eating too!

Last year's Chinese New Year was eventful for us. We spent it in Tagaytay with our parents, but then Sweetie had an accident and we ended up spending the rest of our vacation in the hospital. It was followed by 2 months of recovery time post-knee surgery. So this year we decided to just rest at home so I can also get back on track before I start work again.

Happy new year everyone! May the Year of the Rat be a better year for all of us! 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Recipes for My Son, Let's Start with my Spaghetti

When our family got together to celebrate Christmas my cousins started talking about their favorite dishes in our reunions. One was my Dad's corn casserole (aka shepherd's pie), Tita Olive's spaghetti and my Kuya's spaghetti, Titay's lengua, my Spanish adobo and many other dishes. I realized we never learned to make those dishes and we can just all wish someone makes it again.

My son is now 25 years old and I started to teach him how to cook a few years ago. I think he has his Papa Lolo's touch because he's more experimental than me. I learned to cook only after tying the know. We had cooking class in high school, but I was scared of cooking with fire. I'm also scared of oil splatters ("wisik") until now so I draw the line at frying fish (fish is meant to be baked!). Anyway, I learned how to cook to survive since at some point Mom didn't have left overs anymore to send us and ordering food delivery can get expensive. And thank God for the person who invented electric stoves!

I now have a nice collection of recipes my family loves. I store it old-style handwritten on index cards and kept in a box. Sweetie started taking photos of the recipes to make sure they don't get lost (the beef stew they loved never happened again because I lost the recipe) and shuttling between countries require me to cook sometimes. So I've started to take videos of cooking my family's favorite dishes so that the next generation can learn.

The Spaghetti

It was my seatmate from work who taught me how to cook spaghetti. It was the only dish I knew how to cook for a decade (haha). Family and friends said they love it so I thought it should be the first recipe I should teach Miggy how to cook. Here's a video how to cook the sauce -


2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/2 kg ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
Del Monte Italian spaghetti sauce
1 can mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)
1/2 cup grated cheese

How to cook:
1. Saute garlic and onions with basil, oregano and rosemary
2. Once onion is translucent add ground beef, salt and pepper.
3. When beef is a bit brown add the spaghetti sauce. Let cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Add mushroom and mix then add the sliced black olives.
5. Mix in cheese and then turn off the heat.
*Make sure to cook your noodles before you cook the sauce.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Playing the Gamelan in Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta in Indonesia or Jogja as locals fondly call it is one of my favorite
places in Indonesia. I have visited this place a couple of times mainly for work,
but one must always find beautiful things to see during business trips. 

Back in 2013, six months after my heart surgery I managed to go up Borobudur.
It’s a 9th century Mahayana Buddhist temple. Back then they allowed tourists
to go up the temple. It was a slow process for me to go up the temple since it
was still dark when we started heading up and the steps were huge and
uneven. I safely got up with help from my friends from Pangasinan, JR and
Vanj. We reached the top just before sunrise. I reveled at the beauty of
watching the sun rise atop the temple. 

Six years after that trip I got to visit Yogyakarta again. This time we went to
Gunungkidul where they made me feel like a mayor! Students lined up the
street and gave a warm welcome when we arrived. 

My friend, Pak Ganis, always talked about his home in Yogyakarta - the
Joglo Biru or the Blue House and he promised to bring me there to visit
and have a truly local experience. I was honored to experience playing
the gamelan with the artists from SK Sanggar Seni Karawitan Gempo.
The awesome evening was organized and hosted by Pak Ganis at the
Joglor Biglu (Blue House) which is ancestral home. I was originally scared
to play since I couldn't figure out how they could play so harmoniously.
Eventually I got the rhythm and was able to follow the notes.

I heard that Yogyakarta also has beautiful beaches. I hope to visit again for a
vacation some day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

That Time I Went to Yeosu

I had a crazy travel schedule from August to November and one of the countries I visited was South Korea. I had the chance to visit Yeosu, a port city about an hour away from Seoul by plane. I enjoyed my trip because I was able to figure out how to get from Incheon Airport to Gimpo Airport for my local flight.

Yeosu was a sight to behold! Here's the view from my hotel window -

View from my original hotel room.

View got upgraded when they transferred me to the upper floor because smoke was seeping into my room from another room.

I loved the beautiful scenery. It was calming and so peaceful. I could have spent all day just looking at the view, but alas I had work to do. Aside from the beautiful scenery I enjoyed the food. I got to experience eating raw octopus that was still moving. Here's what I ate -

I dropped the poor thing in soy sauce so it was really salty when I ate it. I was so scared it might get stuck in my throat if I chewed it so I swallowed it whole. It was just like regular sushi so I had a few more pieces. I'm always game to try things to experience local culture. I've also tried scorpion in Vietnam and brain in Pakistan.

Dolsan Bridge.

The next evening I finally got to try real beef bulgogi. It was cooked right in front of us and we ate it in three forms: (1) original beef bulgogi, (2) beef bulgogi with rice, and (3) with cheese! Wow! The ingredients were so fresh and tasty. Looking back at the experience is making me hungry right now and I just had dinner.

My trip to Yeosu was short, but sweet. I hope to spend more time there if I have the opportunity to visit again in the future. I'm grateful for my new friends who gave me a great experience of Yeosu. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

My Favorite Pinoy Bread

I love bread. I'd be absolutely happy if I lived beside a bakery. During my elementary years we always visited Moderna Bakery (now called Casa Moderna) in Naga City. It is the oldest bakery in Bicol and is now run by my cousin and niece. When we would stay overnight there we would usually stay in the room beside the bakery. It was absolute heaven, but the bakers would start preparing bread in the wee hours of the morning. To this day they still bake in the original pugon my Tito built over 60 years ago.

Here's a list of my favorite Pinoy bread:

Pandesal, best eaten during breakfast and fresh out of the oven. I learned how to drink coffee when my parents would dip a piece of pandesal in coffee before giving it to me. Absolute love.

Spanish Bread, oh my, just thinking about it makes me want to go to Bag of Beans for some delicious spanish bread. The best one has a well-balanced amount of butter and sugar in it. This bread is also usually available in neighborhood bakeries.

*It's the one at the back.

Panbonete, the home of the best panbonete is Casa Moderna in Naga City. Be sure to be there just before sunset because it's usually gone within an hour.

Marquina/Markina, this bread was made by Casa Moderna way back when I was a kid. They rarely make it now. This bread is quite heavy on the tummy and doesn't really need any add ons to be eaten. I'm not sure if the term I used is correct, but this is one of my super favorite in the list. (Sorry no photo available since it's been years since I last got to eat this. It looks a bit like the French Baker monay below but the consistency is very different).

Monay, I prefer the gigantic, pillow-like ones. I don't see this often anymore so I make do with what's available at French Baker.

And this is why I can never go on a keto diet. I can't live without bread! What about you what's your favorite Pinoy bread?