Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Pregnancy Cravings

What do you do if you're pregnant and craving for something made back home but you're thousand miles away? This was the husband's colleague's dilemma. I don't know how she found out that I know how to make Maja Blanca but she requested for me to make her one. It's been more than two weeks since she asked for it and I was either too busy with my applications or preoccupied with my blogging. Err. Sorry :) But today, I promised to make her one. I hope she will be happy with what I made. :)

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups coconut mixture (5-6 tbsp coconut cream diluted in 2 cups water)
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup cream style corn
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, lightly toasted 
Directions:

1. Prepare a 9" round pan and set aside. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a pan except for desiccated coconut. Bring to slow boil.
3. Carefully add the sugar and cornstarch mixture into the pan. Stir constantly to avoid any lumps. Do this for 10-12 minutes until you can see that the mixture is becoming thicker.
The right consistency is the key

    View from the top
    4. To prepare topping, toast the desiccated coconut in a pan. Cook until it turns brown and top on the maja blanca.

    Topped with toasted coconut flakes

    Homemade Barbecue Sauce

    While reading my new recipe book, I was inspired to make my own home made barbecue sauce.  Actually, an online article motivated me to use healthy options for ingredients in what I make. I realized that nowadays almost everything is instant. Yes, I agree that it's a good thing most especially that everybody's busy and don't have time to spare to prepare elegant meals. But then again, I want to go back to basics. I want to go for natural over artificial. So over the weekend, I made my own barbecue sauce. :)


    Directions:
    1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Adjust taste with salt and pepper according to your preference.
    2. Keep in a container and store in fridge for future use. Advise to use within a week for best results.
    Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup tomato catsup
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • dash of Tabasco hot sauce
    • salt
    • coarsely ground black pepper
    My homemade BBQ sauce
    Recipe guide: Allrecipes.com

    Monday, 30 January 2012

    Banana Fest


    Choco Chip Banana Muffins

    Boiled Bananas with Brown Sugar
    From flavoursofiloilo.blogspot.com
    Last week, our house was like having a Banana Fiesta (feast term in Filipino). First, I made Choco Banana Muffins, then I bought a bunch of Saba (or Cardaba) bananas for breakfast the next day. We had  boiled bananas paired with brown sugar (yum!). The rest of the uncooked bananas were reserved for maruya (fried bananas). Too bad I was so excited to eat them, I forgot to take a pic. Haha Thanks to Mr. Google I found a very nice photo of maruya. :)

    Oriental Braised Pork and Shiitake Mushrooms

    We have some leftover mushrooms sitting on the fridge so I thought of making use of them for dinner last night. It's been a while since we had the Oriental Braised Pork and Shiitake Mushrooms and I was in the mood for a pork dish. :)

    Ingredients:
    • 300 grams pork belly, cut up into 1-2 inch cubes
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 3 star anise
    • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp brown sugar
    • 3 cups water
    • 150 grams fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut into quarters
    • 4-5 boiled eggs (optional)
    Directions:
    1. Place everything into a pot. Bring to slow boil.
    2. Check every now and then if the sauce dries up. Add more water if needed.
    3. Wait until the meat has become very tender and adjust the taste of the sauce for the last time. 
    4. Top with boiled egg if preferred. Serve with hot rice. This goes well with Yang Zhou Fried Rice too! :)

    Let's dig in!

    Sunday, 29 January 2012

    Saving the Coconut Meat

    Last Wednesday, I bought my daughter coconut because I know she would like to drink the juice. The coconut being sold here is from Thailand. Almost everything here is imported because they don't have extra space for agriculture and factories. There are good and bad sides to it. :)

    Anyway, after the tot finished the juice, I asked the nanny to break out the coconut shell so I can eat the meat. But unfortunately, it was too tough for my liking. So I thought of saving it by making it into macaroons! Yeeehaaa! It's been a loooong while since I've had coconut macaroons.  And it was my first time to try to make one today. :)

    Guide: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/First-Place-Coconut-Macaroons

    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups flaked coconut/desiccated coconut
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 5 tbsp flour
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    All lined up
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Prepare pans by greasing them or line with cookie sheets.
    2. In a bowl, combine coconut meat, sugar and salt. Set aside.
    3. Whisk eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl. Slowly add the flour. Fold in the coconut mixture.
    4. Mold into round teaspoonful onto the greased baking pans. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they turn brown. Cool on a wire rack.
    Golden brown macaroons

    Yields: 20 pieces.

    Saturday, 28 January 2012

    Bloglovin'

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    Alternative Gifts and Giveaways

    Past the holiday season, I still have a hangover about Christmas. Maybe because I didn't really feel the holiday that would mostly consist of lechon eating, non stop cooking, and never ending list of parties to go to. Too bad I missed a lot last year. Hopefully we can go home and spend the holidays with family this year. Fingers crossed. :)

    Since I was not busy last month, I thought of making home made gifts for us to give to our friends here in Singapore. I'm not so sure where to buy great giveaways for holidays since we're still new here so I guess this is the best option that we have. :)

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 4-5 cloves of garlic, shredded
    • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
    • dash of sea salt
    You'll need:

    whisk/hand mixer
    small bottle/container
    green ribbon/red cherries
    glue/glue gun

    Directions:
    1. Mix the shredded garlic and herbs to the softened butter. Season with sea salt.
    2. Check the taste and season according to your preference. 
    3. Pour the mixture into your preferred container. Decorate with whatever design you want for the occasion.
    4. Spread the love and give out your presents! :)
    Spread the LOVE!

    Thursday, 26 January 2012

    A Chinese New Year Party at School

    Last week, I received a notice from my daughter's school that they will be having a small party today (January 27) and that parents could contribute food for the kids' snacks. However, there were rules to be followed. For one, the snacks should not contain any pork or beef as most of the kids are Indians and they usually don't eat these. Also, it should not be sweets, jellies or fish balls because these might have animal gelatin in it and could also cause choking for the kiddos.

    Because of these rules, I thought of contributing Choco Chip Banana Muffins since this is something kids love and of course, so I can use my new lovely muffin cups. :) I found my guide on Allrecipes.com. I love that it has yogurt and banana because I want the kids to have a healthy snack for the party today :)

    Ingredients:
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp banana essence (optional)
    • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease the muffin cups or line them with paper baking molds. 
    2. Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt)
    3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg. Add vegetable oil, yogurt, vanilla and the banana essence.
    4. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture carefully. Fold in the mashed banana and chocolate chips.
    5. Fill the muffin cup about 2/3 full. Bake about 25 minutes.
    6. Cool for about 5-10 minutes before removing them off the cups and transfer to cooling rack.
    I love how the smell of the banana muffin fill our entire kitchen. I was like in banana heaven! Haha I guess the banana essence really worked. :) You can try to add walnuts if you want variety to your muffin. I hope the kids will like this.
    Smells good, tastes even better! :D

    Chili Garlice Sauce

    One would think that since I'm in Singapore, I would be happy because of the Chinese food. But unfortunately, I'd still choose Hongkong for my siomai and spare ribs fix. You see, the food here is strongly influenced by Malay cuisine and sometimes I think, Indian as well. Actually, I noticed it's more of Malaysian -- which they call Peranakan. Don't get me wrong here, I like the food. But if this is what you see everyday I'm sure you would understand where I'm coming from. :) They usually have this chili sauce which they just put all the ingredients into a blender and that's it. (See this for a sample recipe and how it looks like) I'm not used to this kind of chili. I want the cooked chili with lotsa garlic bits! Because of this dilemma, I have thought of making my own chili garlic sauce. Good thing, it was a success.  :)

    Ingredients:
    • 20 dried chilies, minced
    • 1 1/2 - 2 bulbs garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup peanut oil/vegetable oil
    Directions:

    1. Mince the chilies and garlic. Before mincing the chilies, make sure to remove the seeds. You may adjust the amount of garlic according to your preference.
    2. Mix chilies and garlic in a pan. Add oil.
    3. Cook over low heat for about 20-30 minutes until garlic becomes crunchy and chilies turn dark red.
    4. Let mixture cool before putting into jar.

    In the bottle
    I have tried using the fresh chilies before but the Husband said it was not as spicy as the previous one that I made. So in case you want you try another kind of chili, you may not get the "hot-ness" that you want. Hee hee

    I think you could also opt to add dried shrimps, salt and even lemon. This I have yet to try next time. For now, I'm off to have siomai (siew mai) for my lunch and definitely use my chili garlic sauce with calamansi (Philippine Lemon) and light soy sauce. :)

    Wednesday, 25 January 2012

    Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

    The Husband usually doesn't like cream-based pasta. He like the ones with olive oil based sauce or pomodoro. As for me, I like anything for pasta as long as it doesn't have anchovies or too much onion :) So I went to the grocery and bought what I needed. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find arugula. I got the baby spinach instead. Starting now, I will be posting my own recipes since Google doesn't like it if you just copy recipes online. Boo. Moving forward, the recipes that you will see are my own versions of those recipes online I use as guides.

    Ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 200 grams scrap ham
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 lemons, squeezed
    • 300 grams fusilli pasta, cooked as instructed
    • 200 grams baby arugula or spinach
    • 250 grams baby tomatoes, roasted
    • 2/3 cup freshly grated American, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese
    • sea salt
    • black pepper
    Directions:
    1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute garlic and add ham. Mix in cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes then lower the heat until the sauce thickens.
    2. Add the cooked pasta into the cream sauce and let it stand for about 5 minutes until all pasta have been mixed well with the sauce.
    3. Pour pasta onto serving dish. Top with greens, roasted tomatoes and top with cheese.
    4. Serve with extra lemon wedges and parmesan cheese.

    Sweet, tangy and oh so yummy!
    The Husband approved of the pasta this time!  Maybe because it has veggies to make up for the cream sauce. Haha By the way, I made oven roasted tomatoes to make it more appetizing.

    Just a quick tip when reheating leftover pasta: before popping it into the oven, make sure to cover it or else you'll end up with a hardened pasta.

    Recipe guide: Ina Garten's Recipe

    Coffee Revel Bars

    It's just two months before I can go back to Davao and eat all the food that I missed. Even if I have been out of the country for less than a year, I have not stayed in my hometown since 2010. I think about Davao every time I see expensive pastries and long to be back home to enjoy the delectable yet affordable food there. :( One of my most missed food in Davao is the Revel Bars. I frequent this place called Babycakes in Marfori. They have the most luscious Revel Bars, I tell you! I have tried a lot of different kinds but I always go back to them. The balance of the oats and chocolate is satisfying to the palate. Instead of just dreaming about it and be sad, I decided to make one today. Just in time because we already ran out of cookies and biscuits to munch on. Originally, the recipe only calls for chocolate chips but I wanted to add coffee to make it more flavorful. :)

    Ingredients:
    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
    • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
    • 3/4 cup condensed milk
    • 2 tbsp margarine, softened
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 2 tsp instant coffee granules

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
    2. Mix flour, rolled oats, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients until combined.
    4. Cook condensed milk, margarine, coffee and chocolate chips over low fire. Stir until well mixed. Add vanilla.
    5. To assemble: spread the oats mixture at bottom of the greased pan. Pour chocolate mixture generously on the top. Dot with the remaining oat mixture to look like this:
    Assembled coffee revel bar
    6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is brown. Cool over rack and slice according to your liking.

    Crunchy top - just the way I like it :)
    The recipe I got online had walnuts and used two cups of sugar. I don't want my bars to be too sweet that's why I used 1/2 cup less than what the recipe called for. For the chocolate mixture, I didn't use up 1 can of condensed milk. Probably it was just 3/4 of a cup that I used. And I added instant coffee for an extra kick of caffeine.

    I was happy with the outcome of my experiment. Just the perfect balance of sweetness and coffee flavor. And the Husband was satisfied with it, too! Hurray! :)

    This bar goes good with coffee or tea - anytime of the day. :)

    Tuesday, 24 January 2012

    How to Make Oven Roasted Tomatoes


    Back in Manila, I have tried looking for cheap sun dried tomatoes that I can use for any pasta dish but I have never seen one. Maybe because my idea of cheap is way too low for the market price. Hahaha Anyway, I've read up on how to make my own roasted tomatoes and thought to make one to mix with my Baked Beef Pasta last night.

    Here's what you need:

    1 pack (250 grams) of baby tomatoes (cherry or honey)
    2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    sea salt
    coarse ground black pepper

    Directions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
    2. Cut the tomatoes into half. Arrange them on the pan.
    3. Season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the minced garlic.
    4. Drizzle with olive oil before popping it into the oven.
    5. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Serve and enjoy with pasta or on french bread.

    All prepped up!
    Looks yummy, right? :)

    Monday, 23 January 2012

    Baked Beef Pasta

    Usually, we don't have beef in our meals.  It's very rare that we buy this meat as what we all know, it's red meat and it's not really good for the health. But I guess having it once in a while won't be a bad thing, right? (I'm just trying to reason out here - Haha!) I wanted to make lasagna but I wanted to try a different pasta so I opted to use the shells this time.

    Ingredients:
    • 300 grams Conchiglie pasta, cooked per instructions
    • 200 grams lean ground beef
    • 200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 200 grams roasted tomatoes
    • half an onion, sliced
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 jar of Leggo's Stir Through Sun Dried Tomato and Garlic Sauce
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1tsp dried basil
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • sea salt
    • coarsely ground black pepper
    Directions:
    1. In a pan, heat olive oil. Saute onion, garlic then mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes.
    2. Add beef. Cook thoroughly for about 10-15 minutes to avoid contamination. Season with salt and
    3. pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes. 
    4. Stir in tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, oregano and basil. Adjust taste according to your liking.
    5. Mix in cooked pasta and make sure everything is coated with the sauce. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
    6. In an oven proof dish, arrange the pasta. Top with mozzarella or monterey jack. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese melts.
    7. Serve while hot.
    Recipe guide: Allrecipes.com

    Cooked pasta mixed with sauce
    I only used this as a guide because I had a totally different dish in mind but had a hard time looking up for the specific recipe.  I wanted to use bechamel sauce but since I ran out of milk, I just used mozzarella cheese as a topping and popped the pasta into the oven for about 20 minutes.

    The Husband likes the roasted tomatoes and so did I. You see, I rarely like veggies. I knerrrr, that's why I'm looking for some ways to cook veggies in a nice way so I don't get so scared of them. Hee hee :) I'll post my oven-roasted tomatoes recipe next time. That's it for now. Goodnight and Gong Xi Fa Cai from the Fine City!

    Sunday, 22 January 2012

    Review: Ikea Meatballs

    Of course a trip to Ikea cannot pass without having their mouthwatering meatballs. Today, the Husband asked if I wanted to go and automatically, I said yes :)

    Time to time, I can see people online raving about the meatballs of Ikea. Even if we ate several times at Ikea, I never felt the "meatball love" until today. :P I felt like I ordered too much (15pcs) but since the Husband was having fish, he will finish off my leftovers. Hahaha He's my official terminator, you know. :D

    Ikea meatballs with sauce, boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam
    I like their creativity of adding a sweet taste like a jam to blend with the cream sauce. Although I think the gravy (like those for chicken or steaks) would be a better compliment for the meatballs. But that's just me :)

    Cheese Baked Saithe with boiled potatoes and carrots
    The Husband wasn't really happy with the Cheese Baked Saithe. He said he'd still choose Salmon over it anytime. :( I tried it and it was just ok.  I didn't really taste the cheese. But the tenderness of the fish was just right. Not tough, not too soggy. Just cooked right! :)

    Anyway, I was able to get a recipe for the meatballs with cream! :)

    250 g minced beef
    250 g minced pork
    1 egg
    2-3 dl cream (or milk) and water
    2 1/2 tbsp finely chopped onion
    1/2 dl unsweetened rusk flour
    2 boiled potatoes, cold
    4-5 tbsp butter, margarine or oil
    salt, white pepper (all spice)

    Directions:

    1. Heat the butter and saute onion. Mash the potatoes and moisten the rush flour in a little water.
    2. Mix all the other remaining ingredients into a smooth farce of the right consistency and season with salt, white pepper and finely crushed all spice.
    3. Using a pair of spoon in rinsed water, shape the mixture into round balls and transfer them to a floured tray.
    4. You can fry them in butter over low heat.

    Sauce Recipe:

    1 dl cream
    2 dl water or beef stock
    Chinese soy
    salt and white pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Swirl out the pan with a couple of dl boiling water or stock.
    2. Strain the pan juices and dilute with cream. Thicken with white flour if preferred.
    3. Season with salt and white pepper according to your preference.

    You can then serve the meatballs with this sauce together with the boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam and green salad.

    I'd like to try this recipe next time I'm in the mood for meatballs. For those who want the meatballs at home but are too tired to make one, you can actually buy a pack or two at the food section of Ikea together with the lingonberry jam and sauce.

    Nu äter köttbullar!

    Yay For New Stuff!


    It's been a while since I bought some cooking/baking stuff. Every time I visit baking supply shops or Ikea, I just feel ecstatic looking at those oh so shiny pots, the nifty kitchen gadget and of course those pretty cookie cutters and muffin cups! Contrary to what survey says, I love receiving kitchen items as gifts (wink, wink!). No matter what occasion as long as these are stuff that I can really use and still don't have. :)

    Last Friday, the Husband's aunt arrived and brought a book given by my SIL. The recipes are so easy to follow! I cannot wait to try them. I get so excited just thinking about the different wraps and heavenly desserts I can make. :)

    Loving my new recipe book!

    Pretty colors
    The photo above is my newly purchased silicone muffin cups from Ikea. :) I felt like freaking out earlier when I saw this. We were just going around to see what to get a friend when we go home in March but instead I shopped for myself. Haha Good thing this one's affordable - just S$7.90 (that's about 260 pesos).

    I cannot wait to use these pretty muffin cups of mine! I'm planning to make one next week. Of course, I will blog about it. See you soon!

    Saturday, 21 January 2012

    Khao Niaow Ma Muang - Thai Mango Sticky Rice

    Before visiting Phuket, Thailand last September 2011, I was able to make Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert.  I remember seeing this after browsing the net for any Thai food we want to try while touring. Although we have a similar kakanin like this which is called biko, this is different because it is paired with sweet ripe mangoes and has sweetened coconut sauce. I can also remember there's budbod or suman in Tanjay (a quaint little city north of Dumaguete, Philippines) which they pair with tsokolate and ripe mango. But these kakanins deserve to have a separate entry in my blog :)

    Back to the Thai dessert, I liked the recipe I found in About.com. Not only it's easy to follow but it also has the most minimal ingredients that I was able to see online. So off I went to get glutinous rice from a nearby Indian store which sells it cheaper than the grocery store.

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 25 minutes

    Total Time: 35 minutes


    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup glutinous rice (available at Asian stores), soaked in water overnight
    • 1 ripe mango, cut into fan-like manner
    • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 cup coconut milk
    • 1 cup water

    For the sauce:

    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 5 tbsp brown sugar

    Preparation:


    1. Soak the rice overnight. This will help you cook the rice faster.
    2. Do not drain the rice. Add the water, plus 1/4 can coconut milk, salt, and brown sugar.
    3. Bring to a slow boil. Don't fully cover the pan to let steam out. Let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. 
    4. Once the liquid has been fully absorbed by the rice, turn off the heat. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
    5. For the sauce, pour the coconut milk into a pan. Slowly add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Check the sweetness and adjust according to how you like it.  Take note, the sweetness will lessen once it will be added to the rice.
    6. Assemble the rice by using a mold (square or round shaped) and arrange in on a plate. Pour the sauce and top with mango slices. Put extra sauce in a bowl in case anybody wants more of it. 
    7. Serve and enjoy.

    Instead of cubing the mangoes, I sliced them like a fan.
    - When I assembled the sticky rice, I placed the sticky rice first then poured sauce and arranged the mango slices in a pretty manner like this:

    Ready to be served

    I also did another plating, I used a small square container to shape the sticky rice. I was hoping to get the more "snobbish, restaurant look" but I guess my attempt failed. :(

    Square version

    Friday, 20 January 2012

    Puto - Steamed (Rice) Cakes

    Usually, what we have back in the Philippines as kakanins (a collective term for snacks made with kanin (rice), particularly malagkit (glutinous) rice; or native delicacies) are the ones made of ground rice. But the one I'm going to write about is made of flour. I actually learned this from my sister who used to be so crazy about making these little steamed cakes when we were younger.

    Here's my recipe:



    Directions:
    1. Grease small cake, puto molds, or ramekins for use in a steamer
    2. Mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder together in a bowl. In a separate, large bowl, scramble the eggs with the evaporated milk and water. Fold the dry mixture into the eggs until evenly blended. Fill the prepared molds 2/3 of the way up with the batter.
    3. Fill a wok or a sauce pan that will hold a steamer basket with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place the molds into a steamer basket and place over the boiling water and cover.
    4. Steam until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the putos comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from steamer and place the cheese on top just in time to make it melt a bit.
    5. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
    This yields around 20 pieces (big plastic ramekins used).

    Freshly made

    This kakanin is so easy to make. You just need a steamer (the rice cooker steamer would do), the easy-to-find ingredients and you're good to go! :)

    Review: Billy Bombers - Marina Square, Raffles Blvd

    When the Husband asked me what I felt like eating, I said I wanted something western.  I wanted something different because all I see in the hawker (food stalls) centers nearby are all oriental food. So off we went to the central part of the city. We got a little busy with Audrina around so we weren't able to spend some time to look at the restaurants in the mall. I told my husband to go for Billy Bombers since it was the first western restaurant we saw. I was too tired to go around, so off we went to Billy Bombers.

    the tot with her OJ

    Nachos Scottsdale

    This one's really good.  I can say that I was really happy with this appetizer that we chose.  The Nachos Scottsdale has grilled chicken, green chillies, salsa and cheese sauce. Although it would've made me happier if there were more of the cheese than the salsa, I was satisfied with this dish. :)

    The tot's kid's meal - Fish & Chips

    We ordered this together with the OJ for the tot. She wasn't really into the fish but was chomping on the fries like there's no tomorrow. We also ordered the same thing for the Husband who said that it was just "so-so" for his liking. Maybe because he really doesn't like fried food. But he loves fish -- actually any seafood would make him happy.

    Fish & Chips - Kid's Meal
    Rustic Mashed Potato

    This mashed potato came with my baby back ribs. According to the menu, you can opt to have mashed potato or potato salad. I wasn't able to tell the order taker that I want to have mashed potato as my siding. So I had to request for them to change it, thus the following pic showing my food with the potato salad. As for the taste, it was just ok. Not really the gravy I was dreaming about but it was good enough to pass.


    The baby back ribs, as always would be the winner as it would be tender and tasty. I love how the meat would easily fall off the bones. And I also like the taste of the sauce. :)

    I love the retro feel of the restaurant. Too bad I forgot to take pictures of the interiors. I guess I was too busy with the tot moving around non stop. However, I wasn't really impressed with the food at all. Yes, service was ok but I feel that it was not worth the price we paid for.  Maybe the next visit we should get their best items like the burgers and shakes. After all, it's what they're supposed to be famous for.

    As for the rate, from a range of 1-5, I would give it a 2.5. I hope this would go higher the next time we give Billy Bombers a try again. :)

    Thursday, 19 January 2012

    Citrus Juice with Honey

    With all the instant juices around, I have been meaning to make something natural for my little girl to drink. Since she loves to drink anything - from Yakult to juice to even water, I thought of making something easy but with a hint of mint.

    Since I love lemon, I thought of combining it with orange and using honey as a sweetener.

    Orange, Honey, Lemon and Mint leaves
    Recipe:

    4 Oranges
    1 Lemon
    1/2 cup Honey
    Mint Leaves
    1 L Water
    Directions:
    1. Squeeze oranges and lemon. Make sure the juices don't include the seeds. Mix with 1 cup water.
    2. Add Honey. Adjust taste according to your liking.
    3. Mix with the rest of the water in the pitcher. Add more honey if needed.
    4. Put mint leaves and ice.

    I love the citrus-y taste of the juice. You can actually add calamansi (Philippine lime) or lime if you like variation of citrus fruits. Enjoy this cooler on a sunny day!

    What's for Dinner?

    It's been exactly 7 months since I last tasted good Filipino food.  I have to comfort myself with my own version or else I'll feel miserable. Haha! So tonight, we're having Palabok. According to Wikipedia, Palabok is made of rice noodle smothered with a thick, golden shrimp sauce or other flavored sauce, and topped with:

    As for me who can only depend on instant ingredients because I'm based overseas, I'd have to settle with what I can find in a Filipino store nearby:

    Stars of the show - Rice noodles, Chicharron ni Mang Juan and Mama Sita's Palabok Sauce
    Pancit Palabok Recipe:
    • 1 pouch (57g) Mama Sita's Oriental Gravy (Palabok) Mix
    • 8 oz (227g) bihon (rice noodles) cooked as directed
    • 2 1/2 cups (625ml) water or unsalted soup stock
    • 2 tbsp (30ml) cooking oil
    • 1 tbsp (8g) minced garlic
    Garnish:
    • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges
    • 1/2 cup (100g) shrimps, boiled and peeled
    • 1 tbsp (15g) fried minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup (30g) crushed cracklings
    • 1/2 cup (100g) squid (cooked and cut into rings)
    Directions:

    1. Dissolve Mama Sita's Palabok Mix into favored liquid (water or unsalted soup stock).
    2. In a wok, saute garlic and tinapa flakes in cooking oil. Stir in Mama Sita's Palabok mixture.
    3. Bring to a boil, stirring until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
    4. Place bihon in a serving platter and pour sauce over it.  Garnish with eggs, spring onions and shrimps, etc. Serve with calamansi and patis.

    * Note: I didn't follow everything on the recipe.

    - I didn't use tinapa flakes. I used chicken breast flakes instead.
    - Since I don't have squid as of the moment, I didn't include that in my Palabok, too.
    - For the chicharon or cracklings, I used Chicharron ni Mang Juan.  It's made of peas, not pork. :P


    My pretty palabok
    Have fun eating!

    Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

    I have been baking like crazy since earlier this month.  I only discovered recently that the oven we bought could actually be used for baking! Oh my goodness! At first, I started with the Oatmeal Cookies, Carrot Cake and I also tried using the oven to make Chicken Roulade! I was just going gaga about baking! And oh, I made Lemon Bars too!

    At first I felt bad not being able to realize that I could've used the oven to bake ham for the holidays. But then again, it could be a blessing in disguise! Haha Because the Husband doesn't like ham and secondly, ham is very expensive here in the Lion City. Actually, almost everything here is expensive. :|

    God knows how much I missed baking. I love love love it. It's been 2 years since I last baked a decent cake. Maybe I was too tired from babysitting that I completely forgot about my love for baking. I have not been trained formally but I guess it comes naturally if it's in your genes. You see, my mother loves baking and so does my sister. We have a small bakery back home and I guess it would be insane if I didn't know basic baking at all!

    I'm planning to make a healthier version of the Oatmeal Cookies this time. I will use the recipe from Food.com because it's easy to prepare and the ingredients are tummy-friendly.
    • 3 tbsp butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tbsp water
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.
    2. In a bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, honey, egg and water. Make sure to scrape the sides to make mixture well blended.
    3. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda). Add the oats then carefully mix in with the butter mixture. Also add the chocolate chips.
    4. Scoop spoonfuls on the cookie sheet. Bake them around 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
    Guide: http://www.food.com/recipe/healthy-honey-oatmeal-cookies-147497#ixzz1jht6TmPP

    Here's the first batch of my Healthy Oatmeal Cookies:

    For a yummy and tummy-friendly snack :)

    Phuket, Thailand

    Traveling brings a different kind of high to me. It makes me giddy and happy and spirited all at the same time!

    We were fortunate enough to visit Phuket, Thailand last year for my daughter's 2nd birthday.

    Our room in Baan Yuree Resort

    Feeding the fishes with the tot

    Our hotel's pool

    Authentic Thai Food for dinner - Chicken Basil and Shrimp Pad Thai

    Patong Beach at noon

    Hopefully we can save up for another travel this year.

    I was inspired to look up for an easy way to make pad Thai. Here's a simple Pad Thai recipe I got from Taste AU:

    Ingredients (serves 4)
    • 250g packet rice stick noodles
    • 2 lemons, juiced
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 2 chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
    • 500g green prawns, peeled, deveined
    • 3 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
    • 2 small red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 cup bean sprouts, tails removed
    • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped, optional
    • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
    • lime wedges, to serve

    Method

    1.Place noodles into a heat-proof bowl. Cover with hot water. Stand until tender. Drain. Rinse under cold water.
    2. Combine lemon juice, fish sauce and sugar in a jug. Whisk with a fork to combine.
    3. Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil. Swirl to coat. Add chicken. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until golden. 4. Add prawns, onions and chillies. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until prawns turn pink. Add noodles. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
    5. Add lemon juice mixture to wok. Toss to combine. Slowly pour eggs over noodles. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add sprouts. Toss well.
    6. Spoon pad Thai onto plates. Sprinkle with peanuts and coriander leaves. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.

    I have yet to try this recipe since I don't have time as of the moment. Will definitely blog about it. :)

    Wednesday, 18 January 2012

    Paparapapap Papadums!!

    Since moving to Singapore, the Husband has been appreciating the Indian culture, or rather the dishes, even more. Most of his co workers are Indians and the shops nearby mostly sell what else -- Indian food of course.

    Even when we were still in the Philippines, we were fond of trying out Indian food. We were delighted to see cheaper versions of Samosas, the milky sweets (forgot the name) and of course my all time favorite, Roti, in Manila area. We saw Samosas in Salcedo Saturday Market (Makati) but found them expensive for a veggie samosa. I never thought we could find endless kinds of treats (sweets and savory alike) here in Singapore.

    I first encountered Papadums when we visited Mustafa, a big commercial shop in the middle of Little India. The Husband bought an uncooked one. Here's a pic of it:



    We cooked it by frying it on a pan since we don't have microwave oven at home. It was really good! I love the combination of tastes - spicy, woodsy and of course the crunchiness of the cracker. You can really taste the common spices being used in most Indian dishes such as cardamom and cumin!

    I could probably finish 10 papadums in one sitting! But then again, too much of something isn't good. :( I've read somewhere you can dip it with mango chutney or pair with a lassi. It's a good snack or you can have it as appetizer before a big meal. My toddler daughter loves it, too!

    Easy Biscotti

    Here's another recipe I tried two weeks ago. Since I only had a few ingredients in my cupboard, I tried looking up some goodies that I can make with what I had. And it's biscotti that I decided to bake. :) I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com and I love how it's so easy to make. I mean, even a 10 year old can do this!

    Choco Nutty Biscotti
    Ingredients: 
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease cookie sheets.
    2. Beat oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all purpose flour and baking powder. Carefully, add this to the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Mix in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
    3. Divide the dough into two and form each piece into a roll a long as the cookie sheets. Place onto the prepared sheets and press to half an inch thickness.
    4. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.
    5. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. After cooling, slice each roll crosswise with half an inch thickness. Put back into the baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes more. This will make them a bit more toasted.

    Guide: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/biscotti/

    Baking Like Crazy

    I have been baking like crazy since earlier this month.  I only discovered recently that the oven we bought could actually be used for baking! Oh my goodness! At first, I started with the Chocolate Chip Cookies, Carrot Cake and I also tried using the oven to make Chicken Roulade! I was just going gaga about baking! And oh, I made Lemon Bars too!

    At first I felt bad not being able to realize that I could've used the oven to bake ham for the holidays. But then again, it could be a blessing in disguise! Haha Because the Husband doesn't like ham and secondly, ham is very expensive here in the Lion City. Actually, almost everything is expensive here. :|

    God knows how much I missed baking. I love love love it. It's been 2 years since I last baked a decent cake. Maybe I was too tired from babysitting that I completely forgot about my love for baking. I have not been trained formally but I guess it comes naturally if it's in your genes. You see, my mother loves baking and so does my sister. We have a small bakery back home and I guess it would be insane if I didn't know basic baking at all!

    I made Oatmeal Cookies this time. I will use the recipe from Allrecipes.com because it's easy to prepare and the ingredients are tummy-friendly.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup butter, softened
    3/4 cup white sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    3 cups quick cooking oats
    1/2 cup chocolate chips
    1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

    Directions:
    In a bowl, cream butter with brown and white sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
    Combine the remaining dry ingredients such as flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
    Fold this into the butter mixture. Add the oats, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for an hour.

    Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease cookie sheets. Set aside.
    Drop a tablespoon of the cookie dough onto the baking sheets with 2 inches apart from each other. Flatten the cookie a bit to have an even result. Bake for about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

    Source: http://allrecipes.com./recipe/soft-oatmeal-cookies/

    I made some revisions with the recipe.  I used regular flour instead of the whole wheat or all purpose. I also used granulated brown sugar because I didn't have the refined one at home. :( It took longer for me to cream the butter and sugar. Huhu I didn't put cinnamon but I added chocolate chips and walnuts to make them yummier. :)

    Here's the first batch of my Soft Oatmeal Cookies:

    Fresh from the oven
    My young tot and the Husband enjoyed these goodies that they didn't last for more than 3 days!

    Tuesday, 17 January 2012

    Hello from Singapura!


    The Merlion
    It's been a long while since I posted something here.  After my last post, our lives have changed a lot.  My husband got a job offer in Singapore so off we went to the Lion City!

    We enjoyed our first few months of being independent here -- no helpers and no nagging parents! (Hurray for the absence of nagging) But of course, after we have settled down, the homesickness hit me. Eventually, I was able to overcome it.  Maybe because the place is still new and we're having a grand time exploring.

    Having been absent from the corporate world for two years, I am psyching myself up for this year as I will be entering this stressful environment again. But I wouldn't want to stress myself with work anymore.  Gone are the days that I want to be climbing up the corporate ladder and be a dragon lady. I just want to earn a decent pay and be able to help my husband bring food to our table. After work, I just want to go home and play horsey with my little tot. I want to look forward to holidays and weekends with my family.

    For now, I just have to continue dreaming about those shoes and bags I've been drooling on for like, forever!