Posted in Close to Nature, family life, food, gardens, journeys, tagged a bit of myself, Close to Nature, family life, food, thoughts and ramblings on July 21, 2014 |
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Despite the cold weather here, I woke up at an ungodly hour of 3:18am. It’s nice to just enjoy the early morning in peace and quiet but the steady patter of raindrops brings that fear again of flash flood. PAGASA said tropical storm Henry (yes, it is a he this time) won’t make a landfall but it would intensify habagat (southwest monsoon) to the rest of the country. The storm is northbound this time.
Josef brought home two large loaves of Gardenia bread from their team building the other night and I told him, we should consume it first instead of cooking breakfast and since it is his rest day, it’s a go. Mind you, I even googled a bit on the many ways to cook eggs. We usually have them scrambled, soft-boiled, sunny side-up and omelet. But what’s perfect for slices of warm toasted bread? He likes it cooked with lots of white onions and fresh tomatoes so instead of mixing them together, I cooked the tomatoes in a little butter, granulated garlic and black pepper.
It turned out so yummy, he had four slices of panini pressed bread. We usually have fried rice for breakfast with longganisa(native sausage) or dried fish or a week-old adobo flakes. Speaking of adobo, the longer you keep them in the ref, the tastier and more yummy it gets. It is a Filipino dish that never goes wrong with any meal, be it an ordinary breakfast fare or something special mixed with coconut cream.
I miss messing around in my garden and this rain makes it hard for us to trim the grass and our Fukien tea plants. I miss taking shots of my garden blooms but all I have now are my Hoya, some new buds of Mokara orchids and my ever patient Crossandra flowers. Maybe when the rain stops, I’ll take photos of the water droplets clinging to the leaves of the taro plants. Maybe in a while, the sun will show its face and I’ll be able to go out and explore. I guess this is also a perfect time to finish that book of Ken Follett.
Go away Henry and let me see the sun.
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Posted in blessings, blogging, books, family life, guilty pleasures, life, Philippine cuisine, tagged a bit of myself, blogging, books, family life, food, ginataang santol, guilty pleasures, life, thoughts and ramblings on June 30, 2014 |
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The past days, I didn’t have the energy to blog. I am still busy with gardening,what with the onset of the rainy season and the carabao grass seems to grow by leaps and bounds. I actually hired somebody to clean our side yard outside because I am planning to have it planted with some green veggies. As is the case with people who are not really into gardening, they can never visualize what you want to do with it. I have to tell him how to remove the stubborn weeds by turning over the soil and removing the roots embedded there. It is even more time-consuming to give instructions and see if he did it the way you wanted. Gardening is hard I know and when you don’t have any love for the earth, it would be just one tedious task that you will have to do again and again.
My son and I did our marketing this morning back at Pasig market. It is always something I look forward to because I am so curious about what fruits we could buy that are in season which would save us a few pesos. Santol is selling by the crates and a kilo of the Bangkok variety with that sweet and juicy pulp is selling at P20.00 and the ordinary ones are at P10.00 a kilo. I was thinking of cooking ginataang santol so I bought two kilos. The last time I cooked something like this was about a year ago. I have forgotten how yummy it is, with the sour taste blending perfectly with the coconut cream, Thai red chilis and a bit of ground pork to make it more tasty. Filipino recipes cooked in coconut cream won’t be that authentic without the hot taste of red or green pepper. I am also planning to plant the local siling labuyo in our backyard. Josef was delighted when he saw bright red cherry tomatoes. We could use them for fresh vegetable salad. Locally produced zucchini are a lot cheaper than the imported ones. I also got the orange variety of sweet potatoes, what a joy! It is always a thrill to discover something new to buy and something nice to experiment on in the kitchen.
Yes,I was able to catch up on reading. I laughed out loud while reading Sophie Kinsella’s I Got Your Number. I know, you’ll probably say, most of her books are funny and humorous but then, don’t we sometimes want to read books that are simply relaxing? Just imagine, four books in one week and I am on my 5th one, another book by Jojo Moyes. That’s a feat if you ask me :) I could not wait though to do some looming again but it has to take a back seat in lieu of gardening.
How was your day? I am looking forward to what July has in store. I’ll be on my 5th year in remission by July 14th. Thank God for the gift of health. I bow my head for all these graces and blessings.
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Posted in baking, family life, food, journeys, life, Rainbow Loom, ramblings, recipes, tagged baking, Chocolate Crinkles, family life, food, life, thoughts and ramblings on May 25, 2014 |
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Here I go again with the same thought every time I don’t get to post for a few days at WordPress, it is hard to start all over again. It seems as if the thoughts you have in your head vanishes like thin air when you are ready to share and ready to write about it.
I’ve been sick for four days last week, that kind of feeling when you can’t do anything but shut your eyes and wish the pain of a gargantuan headache will just disappear. It was further aggravated by the summer heat we are having at the moment and a fever that simply would not go away. I am not exaggerating. I’ve probably consumed gallons and gallons of water just to beat off the heat. I was still lucky and blessed though because last week, Mom, my sis-in-law and niece had a five-day short vacation with us so they did the cooking, cleaning the house and watering my plants while I was indisposed. My ten-year old niece was so attentive she could pass for a nurse. She is good at doing those relaxing massages that make you feel sleepy. She was seven when she last stayed with us during the summer and I am pleasantly surprised how she has grown to be a very responsible young kid. I wish they could have stayed a little longer.
It is hard to go back to your normal routine when your body is weak. I am taking things easy and that means the laundry is piling up, the carabao grass needs an immediate trim and our new puppy made a minced meat of my bromeliad, even my angel plants didn’t escape from his roving eyes. This afternoon, for the first time this summer, it rained hard in our area, enough maybe to save on that much precious water for at least two days.
In between bouts of headache and fever, I was able to show my niece how to bake Chocolate Crinkles. I can still see the joy on her face and the smiles when she tasted the batter and said “ang sarap” which means it is yummy. Since it was my first time to try the recipe, we have to go by the book, a step by step procedure that she could really understand. Surprisingly, they came out well, a good partner to the green tea our neighbor gave us when she learned that I was sick. It was crispy on the outside but chewy and soft to the bite. She made me promise to teach her how to bake more goodies when she comes over again to visit us.
Yummy Chocolate Crinkles
I learned two more designs to my growing fascination for Rainbow Looms. It is quite hard (at least for me) to follow the instructional videos on YouTube which an eight-year old can easily do. My son bought more colors and they are really expensive. Maybe when I am well enough to sit in front of the computer, I will learn more.
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Posted in family life, food, Philippine cuisine, Philippine fruits, photography, tagged Crisostomo - Ayala Fairview Terraces, Crisostomo Restaurant, desserts, food, guilty pleasures, Philippine cuisine, Philippines, photography, watermelon on May 14, 2014 |
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Let us not talk about whether it is a fruit or a vegetable. All I know is that fruits grow on trees and vegetables are harvested on the ground just like pumpkin, cucumber and squash. If it is a fruit, it is a healthy and refreshing one but then you’ll wonder if it is also considered a vegetable.
Yesterday, son and I bought a large watermelon at P100/head. Watermelons are in season now and every summer you could enjoy them served as desserts, mixed with other veggies as salad, refreshing coolers or if you are enterprising enough you can mix them with jellies or you can make them into ice pops. I love them cold and plainly sliced. They are anti-oxidants and so rich in vitamin C.
This reminds me of a recipe I tasted last week when some friends and I dined at Crisostomo Restaurant at Ayala Fairview Terraces. It was my first time to visit this mall and dine at Crisostomo. All branches serve authentic Filipino recipes and all the recipes are named after some characters in Rizal’s book, Noli Me Tangere and some biblical characters too. Crisostomo must be Crisostomo Ibarra. One of the recipes we ordered was called Sinigang ni Eba and I was pleasantly surprised that they mixed it sliced watermelons. Oh boy, it was simply delicious. The blend of the tangy tomatoes and tamarind and the sweetness of the watermelons is just out of this world. Even their Laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream) was just as yummy. Would love to explore more of their recipes one of these days. Although, it is a bit pricey to dine there, you have lots of menu to choose from. Good ambience, friendly wait staff. They have a branch at Eastwood which is very near our place.
(note: second pic culled from the official website of crisostomo)
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It’s son’s day-off so we hied off to Cainta market early this morning to buy fresh produce. I always have a hard time choosing what kind of fish to buy nowadays since fish without scales are a no-no in my diet. The past days, I’ve dreamed of tasting a childhood favorite which we call onda-onday in our province. It is made of powdered glutinous rice cooked like palitaw. The only difference is in the toppings. The latter makes use of freshly grated coconut while this one is rolled in freshly cooked bucayo, matured grated coconut cooked slowly in panucha, a solidified molasses commonly used in preparing desserts. I cooked the glutinous rice in two cups of pure coconut milk then topped it with the fresh bucayo. Hmm…so yummy! Son says he remembers Mom who cooks different recipes for glutinous rice.
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Posted in family, family life, food, guilty pleasures, life, Mother's Day 2014Lugang Cafe - Mega Fashion Mall, photography, recipes, silence speaks, tagged Chinese cuisine, family life, food, guilty pleasures, life, Lugang Cafe- SM Megamall, Mother's Day 2014, photography on May 10, 2014 |
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The family celebrated Mother’s Day today, a day earlier than May 11. We decided to meet at SM Megamall for lunch. Another day worth-remembering. One thing that highlights the day is of course Nate’s presence. The moment he saw us, he let his dad undo the strap of his stroller and let Josef carry him along. There is a special affinity between the “magninong” (that’s a Tagalog word for godparent) even if they don’t see each other often. He can pronounce Nonna clearly now and I was so glad when he took my hand and planted a loud kiss on my face. Nissa said he learned new words in the three weeks that I haven’t seen him.
We opted to dine at the newly opened wing of SM Megamall. The Mega Fashion Hall is the new high-end extension of the mall. It houses several restaurants and other international clothing brands. The set-up is somehow similar to the Ayala Malls. Aside from the more popular Vikings, there is another branch of Lugang Café where we took our lunch. So it’s Chinese food for lunch. I took some shots but mostly of Nate banging a spoon and fork on the table and playing with the plastic green cup which they provided for him along with a green plastic plate and bowl. I had a good time watching him eat what was served on the table. He loved the Fried Beef Noodles and Fried Rice.
He was behaved…at first but he clearly knows when to stop and say sorry to Mom and Dad.
Mother and daughter team.
Three generations of Abuel.
Nothing is more important than having the family around.
Busog na baby? Our little man!
That’s his way of saying, “I’m full, it’s your turn to eat Dad”.
I love the Garlic Pork Roll and Steamed Fish Fillet. No room for dessert…
He is probably looking forward to going swimming tomorrow with his Dad’s side of the family. Enjoy Nate but be careful with the sun. I know how much you love to paddle your feet and splash water with your hands. Until we see each other again.
(Note: This is my 1,440th post…can’t believe it)
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Once in a while, I see it in the wet market and it looks so fresh that I am always tempted to buy. This morning, my son and I did our twice a month marketing and saw it, there were just four bundles on sale, I bought two and we had it for lunch along with lumpiang shanghai.
Locally, fiddlehead ferns are called pako. They are wild and nutritious greens which you can make into salads or cooked in coconut cream. Either way, they taste wonderful. Here’s the simplest way to prepare this delicious treat. I just blanched it then topped it with fresh tomatoes, red onions, strips of fresh ginger and sautéed ground pork.
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Posted in baking, dates, family life, food, recipes, tagged baking, date bars, food, life, Pitted dates, the joy of baking on January 24, 2014 |
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Two weeks ago, a friend from Hongkong sent me three packs of pitted dates and a pack of dried yellow raisins. Eating the pitted dates direct from the plastic pack is not really an option because I find them too sweet to my liking. I searched the internet for a simple bar recipe for dates. What do you know, it came out really yummy. As usual, I reduced the sugar since the dates are naturally sweet.
If you want to try this, here’s the recipe.
You would need:
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar (reduced it to 3/4 cup since the dates are sweet)
1 cup old-fashioned oats (I always use rolled oats when baking)
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (equal to 1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Rub butter on an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Set aside. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to simmer in a saucepan. Add dates, simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature then stir in vanilla.
Combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl, stir to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps forms. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture by pressing gently. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Cut into bars and serve.
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