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Archive for the ‘Philippine fruits’ Category


September is almost at an end but the weather is so erratic sometimes which  makes you think it is still summer. Either the sun goes up early in the morning, heavy rain takes over in the afternoon or the rain comes early when you are asleep  and the sun shines a little late in the afternoon. Crazy.

I haven’t blogged for a week, that kind of post that needs at least five hundred words 🙂  Remember  that feeling that you wanted to write  a post but you don’t know how  to start? Remember that feeling when  you have lots of thoughts in your head chasing each other to come out but you don’t know  where to start? Remember that feeling that you would really love to update your blog but you don’t know when to start?

Maybe I am just feeling oh so lazy.  Yes Virginia, that’ s the truth.  I am on my 92nd book though, 8 more books to go and I’m done.  I don’t always find  good ones, some are just easy reads.

We left early to do our twice a month marketing this morning. I was delighted when I found fresh fiddlehead fern selling at P10 a bunch, got three for P25.  You’re lucky if a vendor gives you a discount because you are the buena mano.  It tastes so crunchy, just blanch it with hot water for a minute or two  then add slices of tomatoes, ginger and onion. Instead of ground pork as toppings,  I used a can of flaked solid white  albacore fried to a crisp. Josef loves it. Then we saw a young stingray being sliced by our suki vendor so we bought a kilo. They  clean it and remove the skin at your request. My son is an expert when it comes to flaking the fish, slicing and dicing ingredients.  The best way to cook it is in coconut cream with lots of diced  banana pepper, julienned  ginger  and thinly sliced red onion.  I am surprised that Rambutan fruits are still in season, a steal at P60 a kilo.  I love it when it is chilled. It’s fun to find fresh produce in the market.

We were supposed to celebrate my daughter’s birthday in advance today so I cooked Nate’s favorite sinigang, this time I used shrimp instead of pork ribs. Nate loves anything sour with all the veggies.They were on their way here this morning when Nissa  told me that they  were  going back because her mother-in-law was rushed to  the hospital.  Nothing serious, she was not confined, thank God.  Nate was actually looking forward to their monthly visit here. He said over the phone “see you later Nonna” but he must have meant “see you soon”.  More weekends to look forward to.

Lately,  I have explored a bit of WordPress, how to blacklist someone who makes those comments which are not really about the post or about the blog  but which are not classified as spam by  WordPress.  They are meant to provoke.  I have learned how to delete a follower who is not really into writing, when you click the site, you can’t even find it. Years ago, there was this site who made use of one particular post, changed  some words and they made it appear its their own. I called the attention of WordPress to no avail so what I did was to blog about that site for everyone to see.  I even learned how to use Copyscape to check everything here, I don’t know how  effective it is but at least  it is an option.  I am glad there is Akismet.  It has protected my site from 54,096 spam comments as of this writing.  I am grateful to WordPress for that.

Any app you have uploaded to your blog to protect it? It would be nice to hear from you, thanks 🙂

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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.

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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.

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(note: second pic culled from the official website of crisostomo)

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Mango

Last Sunday, a friend who came over for lunch brought a bagful of green and golden ripe carabao mangoes. We could not consume it in three days so I decided to make some smoothie drinks by simply adding a small can of evaporated milk, a few spoons of sugar and crushed iced. There you go, a sweet and refreshing glass of pure mango.

Most people say that the Philippines has the best sweet and delicious mangoes in the world and I agree. Summer is the best time that you’ll enjoy this fruit. I am planning to make a mango jam out of the remaining ripe ones. You might not believe this but I love green mangoes more. I enjoy eating them fresh, sliced with the skin on and just sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Heaven!

I also baked chewy oatmeal raisin cookies using yellow raisin instead of the dark ones. Yellow raisins have more natural taste, not too sweet and not too dry.  Preparing  something in the kitchen need not be that elaborate. It’s Holy Week  and I suggested to my son that we do away with meat for the whole week and eat sea food and veggies instead.

Have a blessed and meaningful Holy Tuesday!

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It’s nice to be back and share my garden finds. I guess it’s time to take hold of my camera again and take a few shots. Look what I’ve found.

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I didn’t plant this  tomato shrub but just saw it growing side by side with our peanut grass at the front garden. It was a delight to see these green  tomatoes waiting to ripen. Something comes to mind, botanically speaking, tomatoes are fruits  but we consider them vegetables. How’s that again? I am getting confused.

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Our two jackfruit trees are laden with fruits growing in almost every tip of each branch. The sad thing though, not all of them will grow big at all.  Mom says the fruits with smooth skin are the  ones that would grow big and ripen,  the rest will just dry up and fall. Every morning, I would count the fruits, can’t wait to harvest some  in a  month or two.

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One thing I love about our calamansi trees (we have two) are the scents of the flowers. Calamansi or Philippine lime bear fruits all year round and they are perfect in almost any dish that need a little spicing up. They could be used to  marinate meat or as sauces for grilled or fried food.  Ripe fruits are excellent  as juices too.

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Not to be left behind are my pink bougainvillea.  I just love the pink blooms.

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Floods of memories are sometimes unlocked by a mere sight of a place that reminds you of childhood.  They come at the most unexpected time when you are vulnerable enough  and  you recall the days of old, the happy days when everything was right in your world.

Last Saturday, we attended the wedding of my niece held at the lovely Sweet Harmony Gardens in Taytay, Rizal, a two-hectare garden with several  function rooms for all occasions. On our way to the car park, my nephew commented, “Oh, I could smell mabolo” while I was busy taking a few shots of the garden and admiring the flowers growing there. I sighed. If only I discovered it earlier, I could have explored the place while waiting for the wedding to begin. True enough, when I looked up, there were so many mabolo fruits hanging from the kamagong  tree right above our heads.

Some of you may not be familiar with mabolo. They also call it butter fruit or velvet apple. Seeing those red fruits brought me back to the early years. I grew up with three brothers and a few cousins (from my mother’s side). We grew up together in my lola’s ancestral home until I graduated from grade school when we transferred to Manila for good. That old house was surrounded by fruit trees – kaimito  (star apple), sampalok (tamarind), suha (grape fruit),  kasuy (cashew), guava  and mango trees.  And yes, we had that lone kamagong tree where we picked  ripe mabolo fruits.  I remember waking up to the lemony scent of  the suha flowers right outside our window. I remember those mornings when we used to climb guava trees and eat them right there and then.

Growing up with three brothers had its  advantages though.  I was one of the boys, always tagging along, playing  holen (marbles) and any such rough games that a child of the 60’s did. Back then, television or any electronic gadget was unheard of. What we had was a small transistor radio that ran on batteries. There was no electricity and life was simple.  I remember those times when we used to find beetles by using a long stick on mango trees and they fall to the ground. You were lucky if you found  the green one with a very shiny body, more beautiful than the rest. It was such a joy to play with them by tying them with a string and letting  them fly.

Simple joys of childhood that all the modern gadgets and electronic toys nowadays can’t replicate. Here are the shots I took that afternoon that made me linger on childhood memories.

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I miss my little Nate. They’re supposed to visit me today but my daughter got sick so I have to wait for another week before I get to see my “apo”. I am looking forward to having him around again and see what he has learned and accomplished in a month.  He is almost six months old now, time flies!

Last Wednesday, Josef and I went to Pasig City market just to buy fruits. It was his day-off so what better way to spend the  early morning  but to visit   a place that I haven’t seen for so many years?  I’ve been told by some friends that the price of fruits there are really cheap. The place is where fresh produce coming from the provinces are sold wholesale and by the kilo. I was simply awed by the variety of fruits they have, all housed in a large complex that used to  be just a  few stalls ten, fifteen years ago. Where can you find a kilo of sineguelas  at only P20? They had sacks and sacks of it lining up several stores.The other day, I asked some vendors here in our place how much a kilo of it costs and I was surprised that they were selling it at  P60/kilo. One  large  pineapple that sells around P75 to P80 a piece in our place costs only P50 in Pasig. Green and ripe mangoes are sold by the sacks and crates too.  Would you believe Indian mangoes are at P10/kilo? As we just took a commute to the place, I didn’t  buy much except these, all for the price of P400, a half kilo of fresh peanuts, a kilo of  sweet potato, sweet corn   and a large watermelon included.

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I will definitely come back here if only to buy more sineguelas and fresh pineapples.  I haven’t explored the place yet. There are other fruits on display like bananas (all kinds, I think), durian (which I don’t eat). Think summer, think fruits!

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I told you, I am now enjoying myself  taking  a trip to  the wet market to buy fruits and veggies. The other day, I bought saging na saba (plantain). It cost P2.00 each and I bought 20 pieces. I thought of cooking it for merienda.

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My son love the crunchy maruya  which I made from  four pieces of  banana.  I put half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and half a teaspoon of baking powder on the batter before frying.  Son said it is better than a burger 🙂 The cinnamon gave it that extra twist. It was so yummy.

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I boiled  some and used  a  few pieces for our nilaga, the P40 is really worth it. I also made ginatang saging, kamote and gabi.  You can also boil it and add sugar and tapioca pearls. Where could you find something this cheap and enjoy several ways of preparing it? It’s a comfort food and it is nutritious too. According to studies made, eating raw plantain reduces weight.

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It’s been a while and I really missed WordPress. There is something wrong with our server. For more than three  days now, the connection has been quite erratic.  When you’re blogging every day your thoughts come in burst of inspirations and it is easier to share. A week’s lapse seems a long time. I feel as if I have forgotten how to blog 😦

Would you believe if I say that one of the highlights of the week is discovering new and old things in the wet market? I like going to the wet market twice or thrice a month with my son in tow, of course. Fruits and root crops are in season nowadays. I’m beginning to think it’s summer now because you can see summer fruits like mangoes aplenty.

IMG_4355 IMG_4373 Yeay, we bought fresh green mangoes to go with the bagoong alamang which I plan to cook with lots of chili. Sweet potato comes in different varieties, I bought the yellow ones. There are so many ways of preparing this, you can have it baked, simply boiled, make it into fritters or just mix it with other vegetables.  Turnips or what we locally know as singkamas are also in season now. I mix diced turnips with ground pork to make a simple siomai which is a favorite in our household.

I remember the times when I was in grade school and every summer break, we go to our relative’s farm in our place in Pangasinan and help them harvest peanuts. By the time we are ready to go home, we are loaded with a sack of freshly dug  sweet potato and peanuts. We boil them together in a large pot and enjoy eating them at night while we just relax and exchange ghost stories with my cousins.  Mom used to buy them in bulk and save them for rainy days for everyday snacks.  Those were the days when life was simple. I was fascinated seeing this sticky black rice and asked the vendor how it is cooked. He said that it is prepared same way you cook the white one. I bought half a kilo of this and two pieces of panocha, a type of mascuvado sugar made into rounded blocks and used for making sweets. This is the first time that I made use of  black rice, it needs more cooking than the regular sticky rice sold in the market.  Using two pieces of coconut and one piece of panocha, I made a rice cake which in our native dialect is called binanlay or biko in Tagalog. I love its purple color and the taste is a little different compared to the regular sticky rice sold in the market. It’s  another successful kitchen experiment, I guess 🙂

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It tasted so yummy that I intend to cook more of  it and top it with latik.  My son is also interested to learn how to cook  so I taught him how to make a simple vegetable lumpia using the fresh ingredients we bought at the wet market – carrots, Baguio beans, sweet potato and turnips. I love any kind of lumpia and this is good with spicy vinegar used as dip.

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It’s what I like about observing the season of Lent because we get to eat lots of fruits, fish and vegetables and a little of meat on the side. Abstaining from eating meat  most days of Lent and all Fridays of the year, we get to invent recipes that  need simple ingredients.  Eating healthy is eating well, don’t you think?

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Ah, they sure belong to one family of melons but tasting the  juicy and sweet  flesh  of  honeydew is better than the cantaloupe that I used to buy. You can never be sure of the latter because sometimes the inner flesh  of the fruit is dry.  And I was surprised that  honeydew is now locally grown in Candaba, Pampanga. It used to be so expensive but now you can buy  P60 per piece.  This is definitely sweeter.

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So what could you buy with P100.oo pesos?

I attended an anticipated mass  last night at Our Lady of Light Parish at the town proper. Sometimes, you just miss the noise of everyday living in a town where food chains like McDonald’s and Jollibee go hand in hand with selling goods in karitons (cart). You’ll see them in every corner near the church – fruit vendors, balut vendors, small stores selling pork barbecue or inihaw na bangus and yes,  vendors selling cartload of fruits in season.

So what could you buy with your P100.00 pesos? That’s the only money  I had in my coin purse and a few loose  change for tricycle fare in going home. I forgot to bring some money except my offering for a mass for our dead relatives and a folded P100.00.  When you are sorely tempted to buy something to munch on after dinner, either it’s an order of  fried peanuts or cornik  but of course with all that oil sticking to your fingers, they’re not just healthy. I saw a vendor selling lanzones  for P70.00 a kilo. I have to haggle with him and he gave me a discount of P10.00 and a half-kilo of  dalandan was selling at P20.00. So make that P20.00 left out of the P100.00 peso bill. What could you buy with that anyway?  I found this, a little stand in a corner selling puto bungbong  or   puto bumbong for some.

I haven’t tasted this for quite sometime. It’s a native delicacy that is usually seen and sold at Christmas time. I have to wait for at least five minutes for it to cook. Four thin bumbong tubes of this glutinous rice costs P18.00 Topped with a spread of margarine, freshly  grated coconut and a teaspoon of sugar….it’s just perfect!  Don’t ask me how it’s done, I’d rather just buy and eat it pronto while it’s hot.  I found this site that shows how puto bumbong is prepared.

Whoa, I still have P2.00 left in my pocket.

Yesterday, I did another experiment in the kitchen. Instead of cooking pancakes the traditional way, I baked it instead. Using a small pack of  Maya hot cake mix, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder,1 egg, 1/3 cup of sugar  and more than a half cup of raisins, I came up with this, a yummy cinnamon raisin loaf.

Even my son did a  thumbs up  when he took a bite. Just perfect for that hot cup of green tea.

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