03 December 2013

Fruit Salad with Corn Kernel

I experimented a bit with my fruit salad for Ms. L's birthday. I hesitated to put the kernel at first so I searched if anybody had done it before but I found none from the web. I found my courage after remembering that one of the would be guest would eat anything with corn. I'm sure however my fruit salad turned, Ms. L's ninang would appreciate and save me from shame.

500 grams Fruit Cocktail
2 bottle Nata de Coco
1 big can Condensed Milk
2 Nestle Cream
1 can Sweet Kernel Corn
1) Mix all the ingredients together.
2) Chill and serve. 

The corn was a good extender. Although it was labelled as "sweet corn", it was surprisingly a little salty that gave balance to the flavour of the dessert. It turned out that we all loved this version of fruit salad, the Ninang guest most especially.  

22 November 2013

Fried Tilapia with a Twist

This recipe is actually 1 of the dishes that only Mr. M’s can muster. He learned this from way back, when he and some officemates where assigned for a project in our Baguio Office. He immediately made this version for me when he got home and I fell in love with it in an instant. From then on, I requests this dish whenever I feel bored with usual fried tilapia (but only during the cheat days, I can never eat less with this).
Tilapia, fried
Garlic, Onion, and tomatoes
Egg, beaten
Oil, Salt and Pepper
1) Saute garlic, onion and tomatoes in a pan with little oil. Dash a little salt and pepper.
2) When everything is translucent, add in fried tilapia.
3) Add the beaten egg, mix well until the egg is cook.

Hmmm, I’m drooling right now. This dish is complete on its own, the flavour of the side dish (tomato-onion mixture) that were supposedly separated blended well with the fish, plus the richness of the egg. I love eating this with my bare hand and you bet I over eat every-single-time.

20 November 2013

Nacho Rice

There came a time in our family life when Mr. M. thought of nothing else to feed his family but tacos or nachos. We were having the same snack as a dish for 3 straight meals when I figured out “hindi lang sa nachos nabubuhay ang tao”.hehe Since I believe that rice is still the best option in filling one's tummy, I figured why not combine it with the only readily available resources we had - the nachos’ ingredients. I then accidentally discovered this dish.
Cooked Rice
Meat filling (see cooking procedure here)
Onion (I didn’t put in in my rice meal though)
Chili Sauce
Cheese Spread
Oil, salt and pepper
1) Add a little amount of oil in a pan, break the cook rice, add a dash of salt and pepper.
2) Add the meat filling, tomatoes and onion, mix evenly.
3) Season with hot sauce and cheese spread. Mix well.

Pardon the photo, I was gearing towards the half of it when I though of taking a picture. ;) This dish was actually inspired by Shawarma Rice and surprisingly it was as good. Of course, you'll never go wrong with cheese, even on rice. Be very careful though because it will make you eat more without you knowing. But hell no, I still wasn't able to convince him to try this. He's loyal to his nachos, remember. hehe 

18 November 2013

Mr. Chow Chinese Fast Food

During Master E’s party preparation, Mr. M and I stumbled upon this relatively new fastfood chain. We were hesitant to try at 1st but the menu board outside the store was rather inviting. Let me share with you our dining experience at Mr. Chow, SM North Edsa.

Mr. Chow has the usual busy-fastfood ambience. Customers have to line-up to give their orders and pay directly at the cashier, then food will be delivered in the table. They offer Chinese Food in very affordable prices. Their rice meals were as low as P103 which comes with unlimited serving of Youngchow Fried Rice. The crews were also friendly and attentive which will give you pleasurable stay. Here’s what we were able to try:

Pork Siomai (P52 for 4 pieces) 

Wanton Soup Noodle (P78)

Lechon Macau (P103)

Spicy Porkrib (P103)

Black Gulaman (P40)

I’ll be saying the same thing over and over again if I had to describe each item. For me, each dish we had captured the authentic taste of a Chinese food, it was nothing like a cheap version. Every bite has that umami factor you’re looking for in a Chinese dish. Though I have to say that the appearance/presentation was not enticing at all, (but of course you know that you should never judge a book by its cover. J), it was really delicious. At 1st sight you also might think that it has a small serving but it was surprisingly very filling, it will give you boated tummy as you leave. Since Mr. M is a solid Chinese Food fan, Mr. Chow was automatically added to his loyalty list, noticed that 2 table numbers? We had been there twice in a month, and yes, we took exactly the same foods.

13 November 2013

Calamares Fritos

Mr. M and I had this practice of marketing together. We relied on the wet market when it was just the 2 of us, but now that we’re 4, grocery is more comfortable. But the grocery wasn’t as reliable as the wet market when it comes to sea foods that made us eat sea foods lesser. But when we discovered a meat dealer just beside our office, I grabbed every opportunity I got to get water-based meats. 
Squid, ink removed and peeled, cut into rings
Flour and Crispy fries breading mix mixture
Egg, beaten
Bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
1) Season the squid with salt and pepper. In a container, toss in flour mixture.
2) Dip in egg, roll in bread crumbs.
3) Fry to golden brown. 

** Vinegar with diced onion is the best dip for me.

12 November 2013

Cheese Sticks

Had it ever occurred that you over estimated your lumpia wrapper and you had a lot of left over? Well, you’re not alone. But there’s nothing to worry, in fact, you can turn this misfortune into a blessing with this easy snack recipe.
Lumpia (spring roll) wrapper
Cheese, cut into stripes (cheddar will do the trick)
Oil for frying
Cheese powder (optional)
Mayo-ketchup dressing
1) Roll a strip of cheese into the wrapper, sealed with water.
2) Fry into golden brown.
3) Toss in cheese powder.
4) Serve with mayo-ketchup dressing.

07 November 2013

Home Made Nacho

I am blessed Mr. M. is one loyal man. That loyalty goes to as far as food choices. He sticks to his comfort food and very hard to convince to try other. He doesn’t mind repeating the same dish over and over as long as it’s the same dish. Like just recently, he had this love affair with nachos which we had for every single weekend for more than a month.

Nacho Chips
Meat filling (ground pork, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, oyster sauce, chili sauce, ketchup)
White Onion
Cheese Spread
Chili sauce
Grated Cheese

For the meat filling:
1) Place the ground pork in a pan, add water, salt and pepper. Break it until the water fully evaporates and the ground pork is brown.
2) Saute garlic, onion and ground pork. Season with oyster sauce and salt and pepper. Add chili sauce and ketchup to make more flavorful.
3) Arrange all the ingredients in a plate, preferably in the same order as the listing above. 

My take: Home made nacho is always way better than commercially bought. It's less costly and you can put or adjust everything you want depending on your taste (as the same way as you can omit what you don't like, sorry onion (me thinks)).
Tip: You can add cabbage or lettuce, no rule say you can't do that.
The verdict:  With this snack, who wouldn't be loyal?

08 October 2013

Burgoo, Tomas Morato

Following my anniversary post here, our lunch date turned out to be so satisfying. I was really disappointed to begin with knowing Mister M. still relied on me on where to dine considering I gave him a list of restaurants to choose from a day before. It seemed he didn't bother to do his homework (it’s our 10th year, mind you, grrr!). Since I can't locate those that's on the list, we just drove along Tomas Morato and picked randomly a restau that we haven’t dine yet. So there, we saw Burgoo and we thought we’d try it (I was really holding my tears as he orders. grrr, talaga.hehe).

Burgoo is at 310 Tomas Morato, South Triangle, QC. It's a beach-sports themed restaurant that offers casual dining with very accommodating crews (the blueguard even fetched me from the car and shaded me against the mid-day sun). Every table was covered with Manila Paper that served as their table mats, it came with a cup of crayons. I wanted to write something “cheesy” on the paper but was still really feeling bad that I didn’t attempt. Funny how the wait staff was can write her name vertically.

 Here’s what he had for lunch.

Super Sampler, Regular P425 (Large was also available for P595). It was a combination of Buffalo Wings, Cheddar Cheese Fries, Mozarella Sticks and Onion Rings. It was so huge I regretted ordering the rest.hehe Every piece of it were good. Mister M. especially liked the Buffalo Wings, I liked the Fries more.  It came with 3 special dips.

I had Chicken Dianne Regular for P395. It had 3 slices of grilled chicken fillet along with garlic spaghetti in Diane sauce and a toast. It was served in big proportion, I guess it can fill 3-5 tummies yet it had a large-r serving for P595. I really liked it though I wasn’t able to finish it in 1 sitting. The creamy sauce was really creamy and cheesy and I thought that the chicken was very healthy.

Mister M. had Hamburgoo for P395 (sorry for the blurry photo, I guess you have to trust me on this.). It had 2 charbroiled patties which was apparently a mixture of pork, chicken and beef, to complete the entourage was onions, cheese, tomatoes and pickles in sesame bun. It also had an option of fries or potato wedges as side dish, since we already had fries, he opted for the wedges. The serving was so generous that Mister got intimidated at 1st, but he thought that it was so good to leave for later.

It was still a sweet day so we cap off our lunch date by ordering a Mississippi Mud Pie for P175. It was a chocolate ice cream on a crunchy biscuit base and sprinkled with chocolate bits. We both liked the merengue like biscuit base that complements the ice cream. And yes, dessert can be sweeter when shared. 

He had Sprite while I had Rootbeer both for P59 and already refillable.

Prices subject to 10% service charge.                 

My take: The food and the food proportion compensates its prices, so it was very worth it.  
Tip: No need to give TIP, I mean, that was included on your total bill remember? I’m now regreting about the loose change we left.lol
The verdict: Burgoo was good - food, ambiance, service and all, but I still don’t think its worthy for a 10th year anniversary celebration. Peace my labs! J

02 October 2013

Ham and Cheese Bread Roll

It was a rainy week, and you know how they associate cold weather and food. The “infectious overeating bug” didn’t escape me and led me no choice but to crave for something laboriously-yummy merienda.
Loaf Bread
Sliced Ham, sliced lengthwise
Cheese, sliced lengthwise
Bread Crumbs
Egg, beaten
Oil for frying 
1. Flatten the loaf bread, we used a clean empty bottle since we do not have rolling pin. Others suggests removing the edges of the loaf, but since it is my favorite part, I included that.
2. Put ham and cheese on top of the bread and roll them together.
3. Dip the stuffed bread in the beaten egg and roll in the bread crumbs.
4. Fry to golden brown.

My take: Though this recipe requires a little more effort in preparing, this can really pay off in the end.
Tip: Remember, the more flatten the bread the less oil absorbent it becomes.
The verdict: I need another rainy week. J

23 September 2013

Toaster-Baked Brownies (Semi-Missed)

With the sprout of cupcakes/cake bakers left and right, you don’t need a genius to say that baking is “IN” nowadays. I am always told that baking is the easiest “branch” of cooking, I’m not convinced. Maybe because, as I have said in the past, I do not follow procedure religiously (this is a must in baking). Thank goodness we do not have a decent oven in the kitchen, may best palusot ever. But 1 day, I came across this brownie mix which contains the tag line “oven toaster ready”, so why not give it a try.
1 pack White King Brownies Fudge and Crinkle Mix
1 egg, beaten
Butter, softened
Cashew (optional)
** You can follow the easy instructions written at the back of the box.
1) Mix all ingredients together. It will be a little sticky and will be hard to mix, but you’ll get there.
2.) Brushed the baking pan with butter, transfer the batter and spread evenly.
3) Bake in the oven toaster for 9 minutes. You may check if it’s cooked by using a toothpick, if the mixture did not stick to it, it’s done.
4) Cut into desired proportions.

My take: This mixture was so close to the taste of the “real” brownies, not bad for a ready mix. It almost got the same kunat factor and sweetness just like my brownies of preference. Also so easy to prepare.
Tips: I really missed big time here, which resulted to almost inedible brownies. So believe me when I say "Follow instructions and proportions religiously" - this is a must. 1) Don’t rely on the suggested baking time (this contradicts the opening statement, but you know, every oven varies with temp). It is always safe to check the brownies from time to time. 2) Once baking is done, remove it immediately from the oven. The heat inside the oven is still enough to burn the brownies (like what happened to mine). 3) Leave the toppings for later, yes after it is baked, especially if it is marshmallows, that burns easily. ;-p
The verdict: Oh well, I still want an oven, but still not for baking pastries. hehe       

10 September 2013

Pino Resto Bar at UP Teacher's Village

Saturday was a fun and spontaneous day for my family-in-law. We slept over at their place the night before so Mr. M and I could join a fun-run sponsored by the Civil Service Commission the next day. The run was fun and yes, few pounds were shed, I’m sure. And since were already in the city, we decided to take the chance to scout for a possible venue for Master E’s party after it. My SIL, after hearing the plan asked if she can come and pick her son from school along the way (not a problem at all), then the whole in-laws decided to tag themselves too (aren’t they sweet). It was so spontaneous that the kids were all still in their PJs.     
We took Maginhawa Street, in Teacher’s Village on our way to The Ateneo (where we're picking my nephew). Since everybody knows “the street” as a food haven (did you Mr. M?), it only took a little jolt for everyone to get-off the car and sample on what it has to offer. Yes, even in PJs (and post run outfit).hehe Since it was lunch time, we decided to dine at Pino Resto Bar it was actually at Malingap St., Teacher's Village., QC.

We were there at around 11am and only 2 tables were occupied. The gracious wait staff ushered us to the combined table where we settled and read the menu, they offer fine dining type. The place was small but cozy, the wait staffs were accommodating and very patient with the kids who loved to roam around the place, even in their kitchen. They only have 1 highchair though, maybe because it was supposed to be a "bar", after all. We feast on:

Crispy Calamares (P175) to start off. It’s the kids’ favorite, it’s always present at every dine-outs. But the adults loved this version all the more. It was so crispy yet the squid under the coating was so tender. It accidentally became our appetizer instead of kids’ viand. So we got another order for them.  

Pino French Fries (P125). Not a lunch menu but Miss L. insisted. The spoiler/Auntie was the 1 who got 1 for her and for the family to share. I allowed it in 1 condition, she has to eat rice, she agreed - everybody happy. It came with 2 dips and it was nothing but ordinary.    

Kare-Kare Bagnet (sharing for P575). This came as a surprise - presentation wise, but disregarding the look, the dish can stand on its own. This was actually a hit. Bagnet was crispy and was very fork friendly. The Kare-kare sauce was flavourful and unlike the usual, no need for bagoong (but it was still provided). It has a generous serving as well.  

Crispy Pata with Laing (P495, for sharing). The pata was served on top of the Laing - the way you want to keep the crispy-ness of the meat. But I thought the Crispy Pata was dry and the crispy balat that was supposedly wrapping the meat was no where to be found. The Laing that came with it was good. It has the right balance of flavor and spice. I just didn't like how it was too saucy and durog though, but it was still worth it.

Plain rice was at P30 each. We also ordered a pitcher of Iced Tea for P125, which was enough for all of us. It was a little sweet for Mr. M., he just added a little more water in his glass, but I didn’t hear any complain from anybody else.

My take: I liked how Pino captured the distinct Filipino taste of every dishes but presented with a twist.
Tip: The “for sharing” tags was big enough to feed 4-6 adults, especially if you have another food items on the table. 
The verdict: Pino Resto Bar was worth every pounds re-gained. lol

08 July 2013

Kalingking na Batag

Vacationing out of town is useless if you don’t get to try or learn something new. During our most recent family vacation in Bicol where we experience “the life” from the peak of luxury to the humblest of barrio living, I happened to experience both. I tried their local delicacy and learned how to make it myself. I haven’t tried making it on my own, but I’m sure I’ll get there one of these days. 

One of the many meriendas given to us by our relative was Kalingking na Batag (it is a Bañadero, Daraga, Albay dialect, I needed to write it down because I cannot memorize it.hehe). It is similar to our maruya here in Manila but actually different. Because 1) they use only hilaw na saba (raw cardava banana) and 2) it is cut into strips (like French fries). Why hilaw, that they can’t answer exactly.
Hilaw na saging na saba, cut into strips
Oil for frying
1) Dissolve flour and sugar in the water, add saba strip.

2) Get a bunch and fry (according to my cousin, traditionally they use banana leaf to form it when frying)

3) Serve and enjoy.
My take: The tenderness of the raw saba complements to its crunchiness when fried. It also neutralizes the sweet taste. Since it uses only flour, it doesn’t over power the banana.
Tip: Start frying early and make a lot. It will surely be a hit.
The verdict: You will definitely ask for more.

18 June 2013

Lugaw with Fried Chicken

Thoughtful as Mr. M. is, he would bring home lugaw (congee) bought from the neighboring lugawans he passed by when he bikes. The kids enjoys his pasalubong a lot but I couldn’t seem to finish my bowl. I love lugaw, no doubt, but I find the lugawan’s version too complex for my picky palate (hello luya and sibuyas all over). So I decided we make it at home.
Malagkit (Sticky) Rice
Garlic, Onion, Ginger
Flour, Crispy Fry, Salt and Pepper (for chicken breading)
Roasted Garlic, Onion Leaves (for garnishing)
Pepper, Salt, Patis, Calamansi (to taste)
1) Sauté garlic, onion, ginger in a pot. Add chicken.
2) Add water. Bring to boil until chicken is tender. This will be the broth.
3) Remove chicken from the broth but leave the small pieces there.
4) Cook malagkit rice and rice in the broth. Pouring more water if needed. Season with a little salt and pepper and patis.
6) While cooking the rice, bread the chicken. Fry.
7) Garnish the lugaw and add fried chicken on top.
8) Serve hot.

My take: The malagkit rice plus rice combination gives a good sticky not-too-watery effect to the lugaw. The fried chicken on the other hand gives a crunchy contrast to the softness of lugaw, making it a complete meal. 
Tip: This is an enjoy-it-your-way kind of meal. It is more exciting if the eater garnishes his own food and seasons it just the way he likes it. 
The verdict: Nobody can say no to a home-cooked meal.

14 June 2013

Johnny Rockets, Tomas Morato

After our vanity-Friday session, Mr. M. and I, together with Floki (our blogger-wannabe friend) headed to Johnny Rockets (JR1 Building, Tomas Morato Avenue, beside CBK Building, Quezon City). I scratched Johnny Rockets from my must-try-asap list after reading the review of the Foodiestation. I was persuading the two for a pasta joint instead, but they were fairly decided. Since Floki will shoulder the first P1000 from our bill, I was obliged to seat inside this friendly restaurant with dancing crews and smiley ketchup.
Johnny Rockets has an old-school American vibe. I felt I was time warp as I enter the restaurant. It makes you sing along to the likes of Do Wah Diddy and other classic pop rock songs. The only thing that was missing in that branch was the Jukebox, I actually asked the crew and she said it was lent to other branch.
Mr. M. had a Rocket Fuel Burger (P285), spicy burger with fresh lettuce and American cheddar cheese and Nacho Jalapeño. It has a single serving of fries. You can make it a double or even triple patty burger by adding P95 per patty. Floki upon seeing its huge photo in the menu book ordered for it too.

I had a bite of his burger and I forgot about it. I was hearing Mr. M. that he still liked Army Navy’s Burger better, while Floki kept on complaining that it’s too spicy. Apparently, she has a low tolerance of spicy foods, nevertheless, she finished her burger after alternately taking pictures of the food (food blogger wannabe I told you), munching and drinking water. 
Because I really liked pasta that night, I ordered Mac ‘n Cheese – P275 (I only had 2 choices the other being the spaghetti). It came with loaf bread. It has the perfect amount of cheese that sticks to your fork and your mouth. The serving was too small for my appetite. So I had to fill my tummy up with the fries and chocolate milkshake. 
I already knew that the “unlimited fries” comes with extra price but we still opt to have our fries unlimited for P75. To our surprise, it was actually a separate order, but only those who had a hamburger meal can avail. Sayang, we had two orders pa, we could have shared instead. 
Of course, our Johnny Rockets experience wouldn’t be complete without ordering their milkshake. I ordered chocolate milkshake for P145. There were various variants but I am just not bold to try. I could say I super-duper love their milkshake. It was made with pure pleasure one could forget his name. It has scope of real ice cream and other special ingredients only food fairies know. 

My take: Happy crew brings out happy customers. Although we were not satisfied with the serving, the taste was fairly above average. 
Tip: It pays to read the food description. Never judge the food by its photo.
The verdict: Johnny Rockets is still a must-try restaurant. Maybe not ASAP but it’s still worth your list.

11 June 2013

ASYA Filipino-Asian Restaurant, Eton Centris Walk

The in-laws had spontaneous lunch-out after hearing the Sunday mass. The girls (headed by my MIL) asked to “look around” the Tiangge over at Centris before going home. After our quick shop scan, the FIL declared he’s hungry (you know men). So he decided to dine at Asya – Ground Floor Centris Walk, Eton Centris , EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. 
Asya is a Filipino-Asian Fusion Restaurant. It serves exciting Filipino-Asian dishes presented with a modern twist, it moves you to encounter the flavors of the orient and reinterpret traditional dishes with new inspiration. Asya has cozy feel furnished traditionally. Each table has this man-shape chair, each with different face and body. Their high chair was rather unique too. 
Juice was served first but it didn’t take long for our food to be on the table, it was delivered almost at the same time. The food serving was good for 3-4 average eaters. We had: 
Sinigang na Liempo (P320) as soup. We like how all the ingredients were present in this dish and it gives us the enough kick of sourness that even the kids can tolerate. 
Chopsuey (P275). See how it was packed. It was so complete you can eat it on its own. The sauce has just enough consistency and the vegis were crunchy good.
Crispy Squid (P230) was the love. It was always a hit for the kids but this version my favorite so far. It was crunchy and flavorful inside and out. 
Lechon Kawali with Laing (P260). While the Lechon Kawali was above the usual – crispy and not dry type, Laing was the best. I was eating it on its own (I do not eat vegi, btw), the gata was flavorful and has enough touch of spicy-ness. 
Pancit Mix (P280). I was too full to judge this, although I had spoon or two (left-overs of Miss L.). It is safe to say that it was good. 
Kids had Ripe Mango Shake (P95), which has the natural taste of a ripe mango while adults had Sago’t Gulaman (P60). I liked how the small sago comes with every sip and it stayed sweet up to the last sip. Jasmine Rice was P45/serving.

**Prices were exclusive of 10% service charge and 12% VAT.

My take: We were all pleased with the food. But I just didn’t like the attitude of the restaurant’s crew. They were approximately 15 there and they were only serving 2 tables yet they were too inattentive. I asked for additional highchair for Master E. a crew looked at me then looked away. They were even so hesitant or rather slow to comply with our request for water when MIL was still ordering. The staffs were not really courteous. Then it all changed when the MIL had placed our order. What’s that mean?
Tip: Don’t mind the crew? (Am I tipping here?) 
The verdict: Asya offers good food that can satisfy any palate.