Saturday, December 29, 2012

Farewell 2012! (My Menu For New Year's Eve)

In about 30 hours, we say goodbye to 2012 and despite all the tiring challenges, we should not miss our Noche Buena table with our precious families.

As I have been busy almost entirely this year, I just happen to realize that I haven't got anything to offer for the festivities. In an emergency research (thanks to bff Google), I found out that I can still manage a simple yet filling dinner for my sweeties!

For starters, in exchange of the fruit hunt to complete the "12 fruits" tradition (which is soooo impractical by the way, since not all can be eaten), fruit salad will do the trick. Here's a recipe for 4:

*Fruit Salad

1 can Del Monte Fruit Cocktail
1 pouch Nata de Coco (green)
1 pouch Kaong (red)
1 cup oranges
1 can Del Monte Whole Kernel Corn
1 sm can Carnation Condensed Milk
1 tetra pack Nestle All Purpose Cream
100 gms Eden Cheddar Cheese

Mix All

*Lechon is such a happy thought on the table but since we're only four, we'll settle for 1 leg of lechon (Why not?)! Worse scenario that we can't have any, liempo for P155 at Johnny Roasters located at Lopue's San Sebastian. After all, tasty and crispy is all that matters.

* Fiesta Ham - Purefoods Fiesta Ham has been one of the popular brands of the working class. If you just remembered it and there's no more stock in the groceries, settle for CDO Hamon De Bola or CDO Pear shaped Ham, less pricey yet tasty just the same.

* Spaghetti with hotdogs (andd lots of cheese) - Who says this is only for kids' birthdays? This dish will also suffice the "long life requirement"... And at the same time, make my hubby very happy since this is his favorite!

* Tikoy - The chinese believes that having tikoy means a stickier family bond for the upcoming year. Where to get it? Hua Kong or City Lunch, both located at the vintage area of Shopping or you can also find some at the local groceries like Lopue's for example (since the owners are chinese...). Tikoy that comes with crushed peanut cakes are the best variety of them all.
Either way we celebrate the New Year, what matters is that we are with our loved ones, sharing our blessings and praying for a safe, blissful year ahead. Happy New Year To All Of Us!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Linusgusan Nga Lukon To The Rescue

Wow! After an unnoticed hibernation for five months, I'm back and ready to blog! And what better way to start off than sharing a gastronomic treat to everyone.

On the first Saturday without our mom (no worries, she's only lavishing herself on vacation in Cali...), our hearts (and tummies) seemed to feel a certain, unexplainable, vacuum-like sadness that made all of us idle. As the official cook (unfortunately, there's no one else), I felt pressured into making something extra-ordinary for the kids. Stuff in the ref and cupboard didn't help and then all of a sudden I heard the most enticing sound...the sound of joy "Pasayan!!!! Lukon!!!!" Without a shadow of doubt, I am saved by the succulent swimming crustaceans!

For P280 (that's 800 grams of prawns), my journey to happy tummies began. 

These faces cannot hide the fact that I did a good job. And since I can't afford to share the prawns with everybody, here's a consolation prize... A fool-proof recipe of "Linusgusan nga Lukon". 

1 whole garlic chopped
3 Tbps. Star Margarine (garlic flavor)
1 tsp. rock salt
1 Tbps. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Knorr seasoning
1 tsp. soy sauce
8 oz. Sprite

Saute the garlic til brown in a little oil before putting the margarine to avoid burning the latter.
Add prawns and season with salt.
As soon as the prawns starts changing colors, add worcestershire, knorr seasoning and soy sauce and then wait for it to turn completely orange.
Then add Sprite and let it simmer until there's only enough sauce to make sure that the lemon flavor really gets into the prawns (15-20 minutes will do)

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chillin' 24/7 @ Diners Hub

Have you ever felt like going out at 4am and sing your lungs out but you just don't know where to go? How about waking up in the middle of the night and just thirst for an ice cold beer? I know just the place for you. Nice crowd, reasonably priced, fully air-conditioned, with a wide variety of food choices and ice cold beer, open 24/7... where else? Ladies and Gents, it's the DINERS HUB!

Diners Hub is located at #432 B.S. Aquino Drive, Villamonte, (from Robinson's Square, just cross the street to Great Wok and go straight ahead, you wouldn't miss it!) The place is simple but will definitely cater to the demands of unwinding after a stressful day.

I can't seem to stop talking about the prices because where else can you find an offer of 6 bottles of beer (your choice of course) plus a plate of either sisig or bopis, for only P200!!! And there's no such thing as "Happy Hour", this promo is available anytime of the day! Just Unthinkable! 

Not only that, they also offer meals for P29 only! A great deal for students and those who want to eat without splurging much!

And guess what? Every 15th and end of the month, they have a Seafood Buffet for only P350! You will surely forget one of the seven deadly sins because you will devour succulent crabs, juicy shrimps, humongous scallops and the ever popular oysters! Not to mention sizzling tangigue and squid! When I saw the last buffet they had, the sight of the alimangos just devastated me. How I wish I wasn't busy that time. 

Diners Hub's menu is still a work in progress but let me share to you some of their specialties.

So, the next time that you just want to chill out, count on Diners Hub to put a smile on your face, 24/7!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My First Milk Tea (Ever!)

I have always been a "coffee person" and has somehow disregarded tea thinking that the latter is only supposed to be drank hot if I have a tummy ache. Everytime I would spot milk tea on a menu, I am so in a hurry to skip it. I guess I just didn't have enough curiosity to discover what it has to offer and thought that milk tea should be left to the Brits.

Just this evening, fate brought to my attention a little stall at one of the local grocery stores. For no apparent reason, I stopped by and checked the menu. There it was, Mang Cha-a's MILK TEA! 

The very accommodating and knowledgeable staff gave several recommendations that I just couldn't resist. So, I took a leap and ordered the bestseller Wintermelon Milk Tea with pearls (P55) and Caramel Macchiato (P45).

As I waited for my order, I had a quick chat with the cashier and I learned that they only started business last Sunday, April 8 and Savemore East is their one and only outlet. She showed me the different add ons and I got a little excited with what they call the poppers. It's like a liquid gel caplet that pops into your mouth and exudes the sweet strawberry flavor. Unfortunately, I didn't order anything with strawberry so I wasn't able to really try the experience. Nevertheless I find it fun and something new that I even recommended it to the customer next to me!

Mang Cha-a offers a variety of flavors on their milk tea like caramel,taro pudding, hazelnut, matcha red, almond, chocolate, strawberry, wintermelon, and blueberry among others.  They also have iced tea that comes in orange, lemon, green apple, peach, lychee and wintermelon. If one is not a giver to tea, they have iced coffee available with choices of hazelnut, caramel macchiato and Mang Cha-a special blend.

Mang Cha-a who has been in the business since 2000, guarantees healthy,  fast and delectable milk tea drinks specially made in Taiwan has finally arrived in Bacolod.

After the server was done in carefully preparing the drinks, off we went to the New Government Center to do the ultimate taste test. The Verdict? 3 Stars! Why so? For it's affordable price, convenient location and variety, it just fits. I just wish that the caramel macchiato could've been served in crushed ice rather than in cubes. The wintermelon milk tea that I usually avoid? It tastes good so I know that I would be coming back again to have another round. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Top 10 on My "Holy Week" Food List

Growing up with a baptist background, I have always been diligently participative in my mom's plans, from attending the 3pm church service on Good Friday (regardless of the excruciating heat), watching the procession of the different statues that would traditionally pass by our ancestral home and attending the early morning service on Easter Sunday. 

The ultimate reward would be the different foods that mom would either buy or prepare for us and if one dish would be missing, I would feel so incomplete. 

Let me share with all of you my gastronomic wish list for this Holy Week.

1. Valenciana - made from glutinuous rice (pilit as we call it in Ilonggo) mixed with chicken liver, chicken cuts, shrimp, raisins, and chorizo bilbao. 
Owen Segovia Bayog Photography

2. Ibos - Another dish made from "pilit" wrapped in young coconut leaves and steamed. Usually served with mangoes but my favorite would be dipping it in "Milo". Sooooo chocolatey!

3. Suman Latik - This one is similar to ibos but the topping is only Latik and in Bacolod usually it's young coconut strips mixed in thickened brown sugar syrup.

4. Suman (Bacolod Style) - There are a lot of interpretations when it comes to suman but for me this is "THE One"! It is a "MUST" to top it with the original latik which is just simmered coconut milk until it solidifies and fried in its own oil. Definitely, no "UMAY" with my mom's suman, as in!

5. Bibingka - Who would miss this one. I think in every outside premise of any church, you would see vendors selling bibingka. 

6.  Barquillos - In every procession I would witness, the very first to catch my attention is barquillos. Vendors would walked with it and sell these crunchy delicacy. (Just make sure you have water with you to avoid choking. )

7. Agogo - When I was younger, there was what we call "velvet", a popsicle with I guess lots of cornstarch and comes in violet (ube) and yellow (mango). Then came the much convenient "agogo". This time it comes with more flavors, avocado, sweet corn, strawberry, grapes and much much more.

8. Cansi - Come Easter Lunch, Cansi would top everything! 
Photo By: Lee Santiago

9. Lechon - Easter Sunday is more fun if celebrated at a beach. With one kilo of lechon, OMG, SUPERB!
Owen Segovia Bayog Photography

10. "Sisi" - Speaking of beaches, of course it will be perfect with the local cultured oysters, better known as sisi. Dip it in sinamak, what more could one ask for.
Owen Segovia Bayog Photography

Just remember that this indulgence will never be completely enjoyed unless we grasp the essence of gratitude towards God's sacrifice of allowing His Son to die on the cross just for us. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Love For Kare Kare

I'm not so fond with the roasted peanuts seasoned with salt or even the sugar-coated, but when it comes to main courses, peanut sauce is my superstar. In Bob's Restaurant for example, no one can beat their sate babe with sate rice. What I would usually do is order an extra batch of their peanut sauce and instantly I'm in heaven.

My other great love would be Kare Kare. It's also known as the Philippine Stew and is very popular in almost every fiesta at the Pampanga area. This dish features oxtail, paired with string beans, eggplant and pechay. But the lead role goes to the peanut sauce and its sidekick bagoong. Without this two, Kare Kare would be a no go.

In my early cooking days, I would haunt recipe books to find the easiest way to cook Kare Kare and I just gave up because of its seemingly complex process. shared a very good kare kare.

Kare Kare Ingredients:

·    1 kilo of beef (round or sirloin cut) cut into cubes, beef tripe or oxtail (cut 2 inch long) or a combination of all three (beef, tripe and oxtail)
·    3 cups of peanut butter
·    1/4 cup grounded toasted rice
·    1/2 cup cooked bagoong alamang (anchovies)
·    2 pieces onions, diced
·    2 heads of garlic, minced
·    4 tablespoons atsuete oil
·    4 pieces eggplant, sliced 1 inch thick
·    1 bundle Pechay (Bok choy) cut into 2 pieces
·    1 bundle of sitaw (string beans) cut to 2" long
·    1 banana bud, cut similar to eggplant slices, blanch in boiling water
·    1/2 cup oil
·    8 cups of water
·    Salt to taste
Kare Kare Cooking Instructions:
·    In a stock pot, boil beef, tripe and oxtails in water for an hour or until cooked. Strain and keep the stock.
·    In a big pan or wok, heat oil and atsuete oil.
·    Sauté garlic, onions until golden brown, then add the stock, toasted rice, beef, oxtail and peanut butter. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Salt to taste.
·    Add the eggplant, string beans, pechay and banana bud. Cook the vegetables for a few minutes - Do not overcook the vegetables.
·    Serve with bagoong on the side and hot plain rice.

Here are some extra tips for you.

1. If oxtail or oxtripe is not your thing, then settle for the pork pata preferably the from ones. 

2. Back in the old days when I first started, I practiced on chicken kare kare or better known as chiken mole. The advantage? It cuts your boiling time saving you electricity, gas or charcoal. Still the same thing promise!

3. In preparing the banana bud, after slicing its petals, soak them in salt or lime water until you're about to use it. 1 cup of water plus 1/2 tsp. salt or 1Tbsp. lime juice is the suggested proportion. 

4. Not all brands of peanut butter would work. The best one for me would still be Skippy (preferably the creamy kind) or Lady's Choice.

5. If you're in Bacolod and you don't have time to cook anymore, don't deprive yourself from enjoying Kare Kare. Just drop by at any Roli's Restaurant and order (just like what I did last night). You can take it out for only P85... UNBELIEVABLE! If you want to just sit and eat and no more dishwashing, order their meal P100, that goes with 1 cup of steamed rice. Good deal huh? 

Happy Eating!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cake.A'holic: The Variety Begins...

I am not born with a sweet tooth so cakes other than the very few of those chocolate-based ones are not very appealing to me. When I first heard from my friend Mai that they will be opening a shop as a convenient drop off for their goodies as well as sell cakes and muffins, I frankly told her that she won't have much business with me since I am not into the pleasure of cakes and pastries.

Little did I know that Mai and Jet were also brainstorming on other treats that they could add on their list since they were also thinking of putting a coffee or snack shop on the location. They would text me to try various dishes that  Jet would cook and I was amazed of their potential to serve comfort foods. 

The very first one I've tried was Mai's Creamy Pasta, based on an Australian recipe. It sort of resembles carbonara but is not solely with crispy bacon bits only. It is still white sauce based yet it has the liberty to add ham and mushroom with lots of parmesan cheese served with toasted bread in tuscany garlic spread. Verdict? CREAMILICIOUS!

Mai's Creamy Pasta
Second in line is their pan grilled burger with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, ham, tomato coleslaw cheese and beef patty, served with hash brown strips. Verdict?  SAVORY AND BEST-PRICED!

Pan Grilled Cheeseburger with Hash Brown Strips

Chicken Mushroom Risotto made of Arborio Rice, (they would really get authentic once in Rustan's  in Manila at P600 a bag), diced carrots, sliced button mushrooms, green peas and chicken chunks. The round one on top is called Ham and Cheese Bonbon, also risotto-based. It's the first time that I tried the dish and I never expected to love it. Since the Arborio Rice is not available at all times, advance orders are recommended. Verdict? GRATIFYING!

Chicken Mushroom Risotto

Next is my personal favorite dish, Chicken Teriyaki. Jet came up with both beef and chicken and I had doubts at first if he can really achieve the taste of original one and guess what? He did! One order is P60 only! Verdict? OISHII!

Chicken Teriyaki
Beef Teriyaki
Jet just gave me a tip that he's going to start with his own version of pizza pan. This is something that I will definitely look forward to. I hope he'll text me when he makes one. And it better be soon.

Cake.A'holic is located at SRDCI Building, Libertad Extension Bacolod City. They're open from 11am-8pm, Mondays thru Saturdays.