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Posts Tagged ‘food’


Turning 58 at last!

I had a good eight hours of sleep last night and I thought when I woke up this morning, “so this is how it feels to be 58″.  Three weeks ago, one of my close friends came home for a short vacation and she insisted that we celebrate my birthday early since she was only given two weeks by her boss.  After deliberating on where to spend lunch and getting in touch with a few more friends, we finally settled at Vikings, Megamall, a luxury buffet restaurant that serves lunch and dinner but you need to  reserve seats  at least three or two days before going there. It was my second time to eat at Vikings but it was my first time to visit their Megamall branch. Last year, my daughter treated me to lunch in one of their branches in Marikina City. Vikings serves sumptuous feasts of delectable European, American, Japanese, Chinese and Filipino dishes. It is always a joy to discover something new that you haven’t tasted before. Birthday celebrators during the month are free of charge and they even have  this  singing duo to greet you happy birthday with a small cake to wish on. It was fun. The food was good and the company even better, priceless moments of togetherness with friends. Thank you sis Odette for the lovely treat.

At Vikings - SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall

At Vikings – SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall

I attended the 6am mass at Our Lady of Light Parish and when I reached home, my son was laboring over the hot stove preparing pasta.  He seldom cooks and this was his first time to cook spaghetti. Imagine, having pasta for breakfast with some slices of embutido as side dish.  He asked what my birthday wish was. Nothing tangible I said, just good health and happy moments with the family. Isn’t that what we always wish for? An appreciation of life and what it brings and the many small treasures that we collect as we traverse our journeys, we long for simple things that make  the heart happy.

After breakfast, it was a busy morning going back to the town proper with some neighbors to visit the mayor’s office, had coffee at McDo then went home exhausted to prepare lunch. I cooked  pancit habhab though and had some fresh veggie salad for dinner.  I missed some calls on my cellphone, answered  a lot of private messages on Facebook.  I don’t allow postings by others on my timeline except when they tag me and I have to approve it.  I am grateful for all their birthday wishes and prayers.

Desserts - rice cakes from Cainta

Desserts – rice cakes from Cainta

Who needs a birthday cake when you have this, the best kakanin  in town. Cainta is known as the bibingka capital of the Philippines.  Take your pick, they have it all.

My day ended with Nate’s shouts of “Love you Nonna” and “happy bet-day”. Thank You Lord for the gift of life, thank You for another year of blessings.

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This afternoon, I got really, really bored  so I started to update my journal, transferring some recipes I culled from the net for future kitchen experiments. I have to check our pantry if there are available ingredients for what I am planning to cook. Then I saw a pack of dates (my last one actually…huhuhu) which I am saving for my no-bake fruit cake. I don’t know where I could buy dried dates here (aside from the fact that they are expensive locally) but I was craving for something sweet. I’ve baked dates  bars before but I recently found a simple recipe sans vanilla extract and cinnamon powder.  Baking saved the boring afternoon. I love the smell of something cooking in my oven, the calming moments while waiting for it to bake, the oh-so-yummy look of it when it’s done.

Date Squares...oh so yummy!

Oh so yummy Date Squares!

If you want to try this, here’s the link.  I reduced the sugar because the dates are naturally sweet and used calamansi instead of lemon. Happy baking.

 

 

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I need to practice on my macro shots again (on food, that is) and this morning with nothing much to do, I decided to cook  the squid Josef and I bought at the wet market a few days ago. I have to remove the heads and clean everything from the thin-film on the outer skin down to the belly before freezing it. A kilo of regular-sized squid is good enough for two meals.  As I don’t want to labor much in the kitchen by grilling it, I made the stuffing out of about one-fourth kilo of ground pork sautéed in garlic, onions, one egg, a spoonful of cornstarch, carrots and green bell pepper. You have to make sure that the ground pork is properly cooked since you only need to fry the squid to make  it a little crispy on the outside.  I marinated the squid in calamansi juice (Philippine lime), ground pepper, salt and granulated garlic for about thirty minutes before putting it in the frying pan. It was an experiment and partnered with mixed veggie salad, it tasted surprisingly good. Josef said, “success”. Yeay!

Fried Stuffed Squid

Fried Stuffed Squid

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” – Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen, another favorite writer has exactly describe what a real friendship is – those moments when just being there for a friend would be enough, those moments when just holding their hands is a comfort in itself.

I meet lots of people at the Catholic page I manage with a priest friend and a lay minister, most of them OFW workers from different parts of the globe. Through the years that I help manage the site (it’s been four years now), I have met a few who have become close to me where we manage to see each other once in a while. When we do,  the day is not enough to catch on with each  other’s news. We share on how life has been but often we  talk about our beliefs and our joy in our journey with God.  Last Saturday is one such day I will treasure in my heart. Visiting Padre Pio Chapel always gives me a wonderful feeling of peace and happiness and it was even more magnified spending it with a few close friends that I treasure.  They call me Ate, Tita, Mommy and Ms. A. I don’t mind really because they are affectionate ways  of telling me I am loved. It’s more  of  sharing and laughter, sometimes we cry at those moments of weakness remembering what we’ve been through, sometimes we laugh our hearts out telling simple stories. We cry, we laugh and embrace each other in a show of faith  and love.

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa is a Vietnamese restaurant that serves authentic Vietnamese food. We tried their Pomelo Shrimp Salad (the best there is) with a simple dressing, fresh spring rolls, grilled chicken and grilled pork with fried spring rolls, noodles, mango crepe with ice cream, buko pandan salad.  I love the banana fritters with caramel.  As if the fulfilling lunch was not enough, we had a quick snack at Yellow Cab Pizza. We laughed at some remembered moments during our first two gatherings at Sto. Domingo Church, we talked of catechism 101 (seriously).

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Moments of bliss. And when friends meet, hearts warm.

BTW, this is my 1490th blog per WordPress count. Happy Tuesday to all :)

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Locally we call it bangus, it’s  milkfish to you dear readers. It’s considered our national fish. The Philippines is one of the best places to buy fresh bangus. There are a hundred ways to cook bangus. The best part of course would be the belly.  It contains a healthy fat that is good for our health.  We had this for lunch today, three slices of bangus belly. Bear with me, I am practicing on my macro shots on food. I don’t seem to get it right, the focus is not always to my liking. What do you think of this?

Sweet  snd sour Bangus belly. Oh so yummy!

Sweet and sour Bangus belly. Oh so yummy!

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Early this morning, I was checking my news feed and saw this photo which Richard Paul Evans (my favorite author) shared on his wall. He has been on my mailing list for I think, more than ten years now and when I joined Facebook several years ago, we became online friends. I think and I presume he would not really mind my sharing this pic since he is always generous enough to let his fans  share his personal quotes (in pictures) lifted from his several published books. I actually have a whole album (around 192 photos) that I collected over the years.  He made one of  his favorite recipes – fried rice.

Richard Paul Evan's fried rice. It does look yummy!

Richard Paul Evan’s fried rice. It does look yummy!

I was envious. I was actually planning to cook fried rice too for breakfast using just  three cloves of garlic . Partnered with  longganisa (our native sausage)  with spicy vinegar as dipping sauce , it is really yummy.  His recipe is included in his Promise Me Recipe Book .  I made one  of my own. Here in our country, anything goes with fried rice, you can invent and add your favorite ingredients  and it is a meal in itself and since rice is a staple food in our country (we eat rice three times a day), it is easier to turn left-over food into something really yummy. Here’s mine.

Fried rice is a stand- alone meal mostly served in Chinese restaurants.

Fried rice is a stand- alone meal mostly served in Chinese restaurants.

I used four pieces of longganisa, cut into cubes, two eggs, two cloves of garlic, diced green bell pepper, diced carrot, a pinch of salt and white onion. Josef loved it.

Want to try it? Give me some feedback.

 

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It’s not our usual fare on the table, for one thing, it is costly when you buy it ready-to-eat unless you prepare it on your own. Sometimes though the thrill of eating something is when you just lift your spoon and fork and taste the delicious recipe in front of you.

Josef brought home a half-kilo of bagnet he ordered from their office. I sliced and fried it and he had it with fried rice and egg for breakfast.  Bagnet is a specialty in Ilocos. Actually, I find it bland and tasteless just like your typical lechon  without the sauce, but then when you mix it with monggo or with  veggies like squash, ampalaya (bitter gourd), eggplant and okra, you’ll have a yummy and tasty pinakbet. And the best partner for your bagnet would be fresh tomatoes mixed with a little fish sauce and  lazona, a  variety of onion  locally produced in Ilocos and other parts of the northern provinces in the Philippines. Or you could dip it with vinegar with lots of red chili, this is one of the best dips used either in pork or fish.

Bagnet, a deep-fried crispy pork with its skin on cooked like lechong kawali and chicharon.

Bagnet, a deep-fried crispy pork with its skin on cooked like lechong kawali and chicharon.

I haven’t tried cooking this yet, we don’t often eat fried pork. I prefer lean ground pork which is so versatile in the kitchen. I found a simple recipe for this from Sandy Daza. Why not try it?

How To Cook Bagnet

  • Boil a whole 3-kilo pork liempo covered for 1.5 hours. (You can use chicken broth instead of water.)
  • Deep fry the boiled liempo. Make sure the cooking oil is still cold when you introduce the meat.
  • Under a low fire, allow the oil to heat up slowly and fry the bagnet till it’s crunchy.
  • Fish out the liempo. Let the oil cool and then repeat the slow-frying step.
  • When done, get a spoonful of a mixture of spring onions, onions and tomatoes dressed in diluted fish bagoong. Then, add a piece on bagnet on top of it and enjoy.

Here’s a tip from Sandy I got from yahoo.com “Watch the bubbles on the surface of the oil. The bigger the bubbles, the more moisture the meat has.

 

 

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