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Archive for the ‘food’ Category


Some friends are coming over tomorrow, friends I’ve met at my online Apostolate when I was just starting as an admin there. Time flies, it is almost five years now since I met them.  They are definitely younger than I am, some call me Mommy, a lot of them call me tita (an adopted auntie) and I consider them my extended family. They help me grow and in the process, I am learning a lot too. There is no dull moment when they are around because we could talk about anything under the sun, we could share some serious stuff about their lives and their families. Sometimes, I wonder how we have bonded this close considering we don’t see each other often, they are just a text away though. Two of them are celebrating their birthdays this month so we decided to hold an informal gathering here at home. They told me not to stress myself preparing the food as they will just bring it over so I will just probably bake marble potatoes and boil a kilo of fresh peanuts  which I bought from the market this morning. I already prepared a laing dish, a personal favorite. Laing  are dried and shredded taro leaves cooked in coconut cream, diced pork  or shrimp and chili. It need not always be spicy, but  the chili goes well with the coconut cream and that is applicable for some dishes that use the latter.

We chanced upon this fresh alupihang dagat in the wet market today and my son told me that he hasn’t tasted it for more than a decade so we bought a kilo. I have to make research on what it is called in English, it’s mantis shrimps. The only downside is, it is hard to get the meat because of its pointed shell but I think it taste better than shrimps. It was a yummy lunch paired with sautéed ampalaya with eggs.

Bear with me, I am just excited meeting old friends again. Never mind the gargantuan task of preparing and  washing drinking glasses, plates, utensils for us to use tomorrow because I a not a fan of disposable plates and such.

When friends meet, hearts warm. I just love this Scottish proverb. It always holds true.

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I am listening to some afternoon 70’s and 80’s music as I write this. When you’re used to blogging and posting something every day, you miss the hustle and bustle of the blogging world. I’ve been busy for a while though, catching up on gardening (finally finished replanting Crossandra  that just sprouted in all corners of the garden, regrouped them together in one line) and reading e-books, Christmas stories that warm the hearts and lift the spirits.  When it’s Josef’s days off, we work together to finish pending household chores that need his help. We found fresh zucchini and honeydew melons on our trip to the wet market last Saturday morning. Honeydew is juicier  than your regular melon found in the market. Low in calorie, rich in vitamin C and rich in fiber too. I don’t know if zucchini are in season now but  they are cheaper than a few months ago. It’s time to experiment on some recipes using zucchini. I normally use them for pasta dishes and crispy fries. I found out to my delight that there are about a hundred ways to cook zucchini. Here’s one simple dessert that I just baked a few minutes ago. The recipe is for muffins but I tweaked it a bit and came up with this yummy loaf.

Zucchini loaf

Zucchini loaf

Last week, I made a variation of Puto (steamed buns) by adding Pandan flavoring. Just love it. I always reduce the sugar in the recipe, although I like to bake, I am not fond of too much sweets but my son is.

Puto pandan with cheese toppings

Puto pandan with cheese toppings

Josef gifted me with a three-tier Camel food steamer. It’s a late birthday gift, another gadget in the kitchen that I love. I have the bigger aluminum steamer which I use for embutido (our local sausage) and siomai (pork dumplings) but this one is easier to use and you can steam several kinds of veggies and meat in one cooking.  Healthy eats with no messy oil to think of. I tried it last night with carrots, sweet corn and deboned chicken breast with lemon.  Yummy! How was your week?

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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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And before you think this is about books  again, you’re wrong.

Sorry, I amend that. After blogging about my loot from Books For Less for the last few days, I switched to e-books for a change. Sometimes it is more convenient to read just holding your phone close while relaxing to the beat of some sentimental music, a somewhat low-key means of  spending the time away. I am currently reading The Glass Kitchen and I was inspired by the book thinking of what to bake for a change. Two days ago, I read one of the books I bought at the sale  (a Christmas story) and there were three recipes there for fruit cakes. One thing that intrigued me is the recipe for no bake fruitcake.  I would definitely try that one of these days and I will use locally produced dried fruits and nuts instead of using imported ones.

Banana and Chocolate?

This is my first time to try baking by combining banana and chocolate. I told Josef to leave two pieces of bananas that I could use for today’s experiment. It’s either chocolate (brownies mostly) or banana bread with nuts or raisins. I searched the net for a simple recipe and I found this, a yummy Banana Chocolate Cupcake recipe.

banana choco cupcakes

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. Pour or scoop the batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full, and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Frost with the Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low-speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (35 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup (120 ml) mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium sized banana)

1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable or corn oil

3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

3 ounces (90 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (120 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

 I didn’t bother with the frosting since it tastes so good even without it and it was moist inside.  I made  twenty mini cupcakes. The recipe was lifted from the joyofbaking.com

Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

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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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