Wednesday, September 23, 2009


You can say that practically all you need to find in the world is in Cubao,I think. From foreign husbands to tiger prawns from Cambodia, you can get it all from there.

One of the best things I like about Cubao are the countless ukay-ukays. Just like Cubao itself,the thrift stores there carry anything from clothes and shoes to TV's and chopping boards. Even Tag Hauer watches,genuine ones,too.

Today, we're going to Cubao. What awaits our visit, I am yet to know.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cooker Cooking

You're prolly sick of hearing about my cooking exploits.So just one more before I go back to normal,somewhat.Haha

I am kinda unable to post pictures because I am yet to find an app that allows me to upload my pics from my phone directly to the blog while I'm online.

Anyhoo,last night I cooked giniling with potatoes and cabbage.Because I'm lazy and because I'm not very patient with a knife,I decided to use baby potatoes so they go straight from the sink to the pot.Don't you just love baby vegetables? The result,if I have to say so myself, is glorious.All done in a rice cooker,or else we won't be in bed by 10.

Tonight I'm thinking of corn soup,since there is quite an abundance of corn in the market.

Ok,this is quite long for a phone entry already,my thumb is complaining.Pictures soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Schnow Cone

I love snow cones. As a child, I would save up my money so I can buy scramble. That icy mix of shaved ice, milk, peanuts, sago and pink food coloring. Later versions would have chocolate syrup. Allan remembers a different version here in Manila, one sans the peanuts. Whatever version it is we remember, sweet shaved ice will always be a favorite cooler.

The picture up top was taken in SM, and that thing is a snow cone. Grape flavor. It's ginormous! Good enough for two. It's just shaved ice with grape syrup and condensed milk on top. I suppose it's a little bit expensive at P30, but hell, why not? It was muggy out.

These Children

As if I'm old. Haha

Anyway, a pet peeve of mine is whenever I see lewd pictures of Miley Cyrus and other non-celebrity teenagers in odd positions. Or that tongue in the middle of V'd fingers. Oh, I'm sure you've seen those pictures. It's scary, and a testament of how unthinking the youth is becoming these days. These pictures could easily be copied and distributed everywhere so even if you delete it, it might just come back in a few years to bite you in your backside.

Of course there's the issue of smarter employers. Today, it is not enough to have a stunning resume or a good interview. Employers (trust me, I know) are now looking into the Twitter profiles, Facebook pages and blogs of applicants. Pictures of an applicant in weird poses or tweets about sexual or vulgar stuff can easily ruin his or her image.

Forgetting all these things I said about smarter employers, those pictures will be embedded in Google's memory until their kids are old enough to find it themselves. Not good.

I sound like an old woman now.

Modern Girl's Guide to Life

I'm being very nice here, maybe because dinner was a success. I'm embedding a copy of Modern Girl's Guide to Life into my blog so that you can read it, too, Modern Girl! Really helped me a lot, especially with keeping my place neat and tidy. It has some tips about how to get out and make the most of some circumstances we find ourselves in, from a nasty stain on a sweater, to that sprig of rosemary added on a rotisserie chicken for a dinner party to make it look like you cooked it yourself. Teaches you little cheats that you can do when 1. you're in a crunch for time or 2. you're not really familiar with what you're doing.

I bought this online, then I uploaded it into YOU don't have to!

The Modern Girl's Guide to Life

If There's One Thing

My mom told me that she will go to her grave very disappointed if I didn't master at least one dish. To tell you the truth, the day she told me that, I realized that a woman really needs to have at least one dish that can ONLY come from her kitchen.

I kinda console myself with the thought that since I can fry and boil an egg (and cook it in several different ways, even), my mother will be happy. Thing is, I never had to learn anything beyond ginisang veggies and basic stuff back home because my mom would take over whenever something more elaborate needs to be morcon or something. So now, living with Allan, I have to start stretching my cooking skills. While he's not really fussy and he isn't the old-school type who thinks that the kitchen is a woman's domain, I don't want him (or his relatives) to think that he's living just a small step up from a dormitory or a hostel (I agree with Jane Buckingham). Besides, eating fried stuff or eggs gets tiring after like, 7 weeks. Trust me.

Anyway, anyway, tonight I cooked bistek. But for some added zest, I added some pineapples. So it's like an Endulcao or hamonado in some way. It turned out pretty good.

Ahh. Pat me on the back. This was cooked in a rice cooker, too. Saves on LPG (but more on electricity, I dunno which one is more expensive at the end of the day).

Of course, I like having dessert after a meal, but I'm trying to veer away from the cakes and cookies (feeling) so I whipped up something really quick and fresh. Well, yeah, the lychees are canned. Haha Tossed them with some mangoes and some of the syrup from the can with some ice.

Joey Pepperoni

I'm going to do a little blitz entry here about this recent restaurant that we ate in. It's beside my office in Leviste St., Joey Pepperoni. It's a REALLY cheap place. It even has a pasta-all-you-can deal, all day, everyday! Huge pasta servings, good thin-crust pizza. It's worth more than the P150 you pay for it (the pasta-all-you-can) and the P155 for the pizza.

This is the one in meat sauce. Not really outstanding, but good. Allan said it's a little bit too soupy.

Now, this one really impressed me. You see, I'm not a big pesto lover. Especially those despicable ones that come in bottles. The pesto in this dish is made fresh. You can actually taste the freshness of the herbs used and the pine nuts, too. Allan, not really the herb-y type, didn't really like it. But for me, it's a winner.

This is Fredo, our pizza. Very simple. Very tasty. Not oily but the dough is fresh and perfectly crisp. Again, not really fancy, but it kinda surprises you that something so pretty can taste great.

Not really a romantic place, this restaurant. Especially on a first date. If you eat inside, you'll come out smelling like the food they're cooking. But it's a great place to bring friends in, and maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend, if you just want to hang out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Butternut Squash

I found butternut squash in SM. For this size, it's priced ~P35. It's a rich, sweet, squash that is sooooo creamy. I love it roasted with butter and maple syrup.

Step 1. Slice and clean the squash of the icky stuff inside.

Step 2. Chop

Step 3. Pop in the oven after brushing with butter and sprinkling with brown sugar and cinnamon. 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. Should come out like this

Looks yummy already! You can eat it as is, or you can make a mashed squash that you can top on anything, or eat as is.

Step 4. Peel and mash up. Add maple syrup.

Friday, September 4, 2009

District 9 (Spoiler Alert!)

So last night, we watched the last full show of District 9. Later than the usual time that we would go to the movies, it was well worth it because the movie was great.

I would say that the themes in the movie are freedom/captivity, trust/mistrust and selfishness/selflessness. It was a movie where aliens, called "prawns" (because they looked like prawns) found their way to earth only to find their mothership malfunctioning, and unable to get on home. Humans intervened, giving them a temporary shelter here in the planet, called District 9, sort of a refugee camp, which later turned into a slum. Aliens were acting like homeless the people that they are, started stealing, forming gangs, etc. Until finally, the humans just got tired of the violence and the hassle, and they decide to relocate them. Wikus (pronounced Vikus), is the man in charge of the relocation.

The story escalates when apparently, three prawns, one child and two adults, were actually looking for a means to go back to the mothership and fix it. But to do this, they need a kind of alien fluid that they use for fuel. After 20 years, they finally find enough to fuel them back to the mothership. The fluid was stored in a cylinder. Wikus finds this cylinder as they were serving the eviction notices of the aliens and accidentally sprays it on himself, slowly turning him into an alien, too.

The leader of the alien group who wants to escape tells him that he can fix Wikus's condition. But he needs the cylinder back (taken into a lab after they took Wikus in for testing, after which he escaped) because the equipment he needs is in the mothership. The two work together to take it back, but when the alien saw that labs where other prawns are being experimented on, he knew that he had to save his people first. He confronts Wikus and tells him of the change in plans, and he might need three years before he can fix Wikus (he needs all the fuel to get back home, it won't be enough if he'll use it to treat Wikus, too). At first Wikus is enraged, as half of his body is already alien after only 70+ hours of exposure, what more three years? His actions that follow almost destroy the alien's plan to go back home. But some gangs intervene and Wikus makes a decision to help the alien get back home. The alien, though, still promises that he will return to treat him, make him normal again. Story ends with accounts of Wikus's family, saying that since they do not know where he is anymore, they consider him dead. Just before the credits roll, Wikus is shown as a full alien.

It was one of those cliffhangers. Which I hate. I just hope that the movie showed who really they want the good guy to be. Is it Wikus who gave the alien the chance to go, forgetting his own comfort, or is it the alien, who with all sincerity and with no trace of hate, promised to come back and treat Wikus? It sure can't be both of them.

Between all these, there are lines that cover arms, weaponry and profit. But the main thought was, at least to me was: Aliens can be more human than humans. That we can find care and sincerity in the most unlikely place.

Big Oli 2

We went to Big Oli last night again, and I had Italian Chicken with Spaghetti Marinara. I loved the chicken. It was tossed in Italian sauce (kaya nga Italian Chicken) after being fried crisp. They fried it it rosemary and a little bit of oregano, which complimented the chicken well. Allan found it too oily, but it was perfectly rich for me. It paired pretty well with the light pasta.

But I was a little bit disappointed with the sauce. I thought that I ordered Marinara, but I kinda tasted just like the Bolognese I had the last time. It didn't have the seafood-y flavor that Marinaras are supposed to have.

Anyway, this is dinner after before we watched District 9. More on the next post.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Basil and Herbs

Basil is one the best herbs that I agree with. It tastes fresh and sweet and is perfect with tomatoes. In fact, it's often called as the "tomato herb". Often I thought that it's not available fresh, until I noticed that cooking shows on TV often use fresh leaves. Italian restaurants we've eaten in also use fresh basil as garnish on pastas. They have it as topping for simple pizzas (which I enjoy to the max). So I'm shocked to find basil in SM Makati, of all places!

Here they are...growing nicely out of neat little pots. They need minimal attention, and need only a few spritz on their leaves and some water in the pot. They need sun, of course, but need to be kept in a shaded area, maybe in the garage or in a sunny area of your kitchen.

This is sweet basil. The leaves are very, very, green. They just look a bit yellow because of the light indoors or maybe just my camera.

I can only imagine the different things I can do with basil. Chopped, it can add nicely to a simple pasta sauce. It can give my Cheapskate Pizza an Italian twist. That's how I like pasta and pizza: stripped of meat and down only to the bare essentials: tomatoes, good olive oil and exquisite herbs. I'm thinking of making spaghetti sauce with this and some fresh oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary and yes, you got it...thyme. Perhaps with a side of pan seared fish like salmon or cream dory or bangus with dill. A crisp white wine.

All the herbs are available in SM. in all I've mentioned in this entry. And here's the best part: All the herbs are available for just Php50 per pot. What a DEAL!

Cheapskate Pizza

Allan and I luuuurve pizza. We've tried a lot of pizzas already, from different places from seedy ones from Greenwich to more expensive ones from Yellow Cab and Dominos and those yummy trying-to-stay-afloat ones like Magoo's (I'm convincing him to do CPK more often, but he finds those CPK pizzas too snobbish). So I decided to make my own pizza, just to satisfy my craving. It had to be cheap, you see, because I really didn't have the patience to splurge on a single pizza's ingredients AND have to cook it.

I just realized (!!!) that it really tastes like kiddie food. Since it's so easy to do, you can do this with your child, little brother or the kid you're babysitting. It's fun! I was thinking a while ago, that if I had a party for my kid, it would be nice to have a little pizza party: they load their own pizzas (and if you're really an overachiever, you can have them make the dough, too) and you pop the pizzas in a toaster oven for less than ten minutes. Nice bonding opportunity.

Anyway! Cheapskate pizza (and the prices of the ingredients so we know how cheap it is):


A pack of pre-made frozen pizza dough
-I bought Mr. Pullman's brand @ Php37.00 for a pack of six thick crust pies 4" in diameter . There are more fancy schmancy ones made of whole wheat flour, but what the heck. Mr. Pullman is cheaper (tastes good, too).

1 70g sachet tomato paste (Php 15.00)

1 can of pineapple chunks/tidbits (Php 23.00)

1 small white onion, diced (Php 8.00)

1 bell pepper, diced (Php 5.00)

1 small can meat loaf, diced (Php 10.00)
-You can use hotdogs or vienna sausage or ham or salami or whatever meat, or no meat at all. This can vary the price.

3 baon packs of cheese, crumbled/grated/diced (Php 28.00)

Sugar and salt

Olive oil, butter or margarine


1. Spread oil/butter/margarine on both sides of the dough. Prevents the dough from sticking later on when you bake them. Set aside.

2. Prepare the tomato base. Squeeze out the paste into a small bowl and add a little (maybe 1-2 Tbsp) hot water, to make it a little runny. Should have consistency of oatmeal. Add 1/2 Tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt. This will take away the acidic edge of the tomato paste. You can add more/less sugar and/or salt.

3. Spread more or less a tablespoon of the tomato base on each pie. Load it up with toppings. Put cheese last.

4. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the bottom is crunchy.

Serves 6 for only Php 98.00 or less if you skip the meat. Less fat, sodium and cholesterol than regular establishment pizzas. If you want to stretch this more (while making it healthier), use Pita bread.