Thursday, December 31, 2009

Muita Bobeira

I love her voice :-)




Acho que não vou deixar você sair da minha vida 
Sei que você vai gostar de estar no meio dessa briga 
O que passou foi bom de mais pra nós dois 
Nosso destino é decifrar uma saída 
Só você pode evitar o meu tormento 
Já não consigo tirar você do meu pensamento 
Se você passa, eu me desmancho em dor 
Se você fica, eu quero dar o meu amor 
Dentro de toda história assim: começo meio e fim 
Outra vez 
Talvez 
Talvez uma chance, um não, um sim 
Fazer você voltar pra mim 
Voltar pra mim, voltar pra mim 

Eu vou lutar por você a vida inteira 
Mesmo que venha fazer muita bobeira 
Se você passa, eu me desmancho em dor 
Se você fica, eu quero dar o meu amor

Monday, December 28, 2009

...And now, let the food porn commence


Greek Yogurt with Fresh Strawberries and Honey

Goodbye Crimson

My poor red Vaio (Crimson) died and went to heaven.  

It was the fat laden and totally bad for you Windows Vista that did it in (the damned thing kept crashing).   I could not blog for the longest time so I finally decided to buy a new laptop since getting it fixed can cost me nearly the same amount as a new laptop.

I did love my Vaio, so with the brand-spanking-new Windows 7 OS, I decided to buy...well...another Vaio, and this time, I got the NW series.

In pink.



Any thoughts on the name of my new pink laptop? My car's name is Sakura-chan (also pink, pink and burly) so that's taken.


Atlanta Apartment 2009




My apartment in ATL

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009 Menu

On my third Christmas in Atlanta I invited some Manila folks for dinner, and this is what I served:

Drinks:

Iced Strawberry Green Tea
Champagne Mimosas

Appetizers:

Bacon Chipotle Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese dip
Nachos
Spinach and Artichoke cheese fondue with Warm Wheat Pita

Main Dishes:

Salmon with Tomato Basil Cream Pasta
Citrus and Ginger Roasted Chicken
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sage in Brown Butter

I didn't do any dessert since the guests brought them.

I miss home and I already told my boss I have to be home for a month next year (mid-December to mid-January).  Can't wait :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why Georgia - John Mayer

I've been singing this all year.

And now I'm back :-) I can sing it with feelings and actual scenery now :-)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Murderous Intent

I’ve always had penchant for danger and all things dark and mysterious, and have always been averse to dramatics…until I did this declamation piece when I was in 2nd year high school.  I was supposed to do Guilty or not guilty, but someone else did it in my class, so after she did her piece, I ran to the library and found another.   Then that night, I tuned in to the classical music station (98.3 I think) and rapidly committed this to memory since it was my turn the next day.  There’s something about this piece that speaks to the dormant schizophrenic in me (let’s hope it stays dormant permanently), and it made me fall in-love with the number 13 (yes I fall in-love with inanimate, intangible things).  My class was totally silent when I did this.  I’ve always wondered if it was the sheer shock at my talent, or the murderous intent in my eyes that shut them up.  Sigh, I guess I’ll never know.


Thirteen

Yes? Yes? Yes? What do you want? Why are you staring at me like that? Leave me alone!

Yes, I was pronounced guilty. But haven’t I suffered enough? Look at me, my hollow cheeks, the dark rings around my eyes, my wearied body; do they not show signs of hardships? Aren’t they enough to atone for the crime which I was accused of?

Yes, that crime! Crime!

Didn’t you know that Arturo and I first met on August 13? We were engaged on November 13. And during our 13th stage performance, Arturo and I had three curtain calls. One and three makes thirteen. Oh! What a lucky number!

I was in my dressing room, getting ready for the second act when my attention was attracted by a note lying on the floor. I picked it up and read it. “Belen Martinez, wishing you bad luck…” Who could’ve sent this? What could this mean? There was no signature.

Then, I stepped on a silver plate with the number 13 engraved in it. “Curtain Call for Act II!” shouted the director. In that act, I was to murder Arturo. After getting the dagger, from the drawer, I slowly approached the bed taking care not to awaken the sleeping hero. I thrust the dagger through Arturo’s head! Everything went black. I didn’t notice the curtain fell and the audience rose from their seats and shouted, “BRAVO!” “What a fine performance!” they said. A fine performance indeed, for Arturo was dead! I killed him but I didn’t mean to kill him. It was only an act. Yes, Arturo and I had a quarrel, but it was only a petty quarrel.

How could I kill Arturo when I loved him very much? Somebody must have tricked me! Somebody must have replaced the dagger!

The note, the number on the plate, that genuine dagger! Belen Martinez, a criminal? NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jailer, what is the date today? No, you don’t have to answer. I know it. I know why you came for me. It is my execution day. May 13. That number is driving me mad, mad, mad! No, no, no!

I am not a murderer! Belen Martinez, a killer?

Hahahahahah! Hahah! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Hahahaha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

13? 13? 13! 13!!! 13? 13?? 13! 13?? 13! 13! 13!!!! 13??? 13!!! 13...13! 13? 13..

p.s.
I got 2nd place, with a score of 97 on this one.  The lost 3 points was due to the softness of my voice when I said “Somebody must have tricked me”.   It was worth losing since the audience jumped when I screamed “Somebody must have replaced the dagger!”

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Emo

somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond
E.E. Cummings

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Paramore - Use Somebody

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fro-yo

I just got back from dinner at Seoul Barbecue and since I was with Nana Is, we decided to go to Dave's Naturals (in Brgy. Kapitolyo, near the Pioneer gate).  The place itself is at the back of that small commercial area (with Zulu grill), and you'd really be wondering if there is a restaurant at the back, but there is.

They let us taste the different frozen yogurt (fro-yo) flavors, and really, I was totally disappointed at the tasting part, but still, since we were there, we got the yogurt nonetheless. Pistachio for Nana Isay and Mango for me, since I didn't like the chocolate at first.  Then upon spying on the yogurt cake, decided to have that too.  It's supposed to be healthy anyway so two desserts shouldn't be bad right? :-p.

OMG

The actual taste of the yogurt is soooo much different with the ones we tasted, even if it came from the same container. I think it was because the ones we tasted were the top part, and it's been changed by the air in the refrigerator? In any case...

The darn yogurt cake was to die for (it had strawberry, pistachio and chocolate fro-yo), so much so that we were spooning the melted parts after plowing through it.

It's very different from Red Mango or Hobbs's frozen yogurt, since those have fresh ingredients.  This is more ice cream like, but very - very - very tasty (oh the chocolate!!).

They called the chocolate yogurt: Intense Chocolate. They weren't kidding!!

I'll go back and take pictures (soon!!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Polu Kai Grill




I've never been interested in going to Polu Kai Grill because, well, when trying a new restaurant, I usually go for places where the long lines are.

Last Sunday I was just really hungry, so after "working" on my SUM web based training and hanging out at A Different Bookstore, Russ and I went to Polu Kai Grill since no one was there.

Being inside the store, my immediate reaction was, "Cute interiors, but I hope this restaurant doesn't fall into the cool interior - bad food lot" and then jumped into the menu straightaway.

I couldn't see anything interesting in the starters / appetizers section so I just browsed through the main courses, when I saw Fried Lobster tails. Ooohh... which of course I ordered as appetizer :-p, then Russell ordered the Jerk Chicken for his main course, and totally not being trustful, I just ordered their Country Style Hawaiian Pork Ribs since it looked like a safe bet.

There were six (six!) lobster tails with the shell still on, all coated in yummy batter. The batter was so good, I wished the insides of the lobster had it too. It was piping hot, and fresh off the deep fryer that when you crack open the shell to get to the lobster, a beautiful waft of steam comes out. Surprisingly, after being deep fried like that, the lobster itself was still juicy and succulent. And upon opening my eyes after the first bite, I looked at the place with new respect. Hmmm... there maybe something here after all.

Our main course which came a little later, also did not disappoint. It was not the most earth shattering flavor, it was just right. But what tipped it over to the top was the fact that the damn rib was falling of the bone. Seriously!! It was also so juicy and succulent, that I was floored! Russ's jerk chicken was good as well with the jerk seasoning not overpowering the flavor of the chicken (it's hard to find the right balance with jerk seasoning). And lo and behold, even the chicken breast (which is a beast to cook) was (you guessed it) juicy and succulent.

The portions were huge as well, and I could not finish my food (which of course went to the garbage disposal also known as my brother).

There were 10 million ways to screw up the things we ordered, but they were all done beautifully, so props to the chef and the crew. This was a well executed meal and is harder than it looks. I do apologize for using J and S 3 times, but there are no other words to explain it :-p

Is it in my top 5 restaurants? No, but will I eat there again? Absolutely.

p.s.

I forgot to mention they have 50% off on all cocktails (what the f?! more reason to go!!)



Polu Kai Grill
Serendra, Bonifacio Global City

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aaahhh gelato :-)




When they told me that Amici was bought and was being franchised, I was rather disappointed, feeling that the quality and authenticity of the food will be lost.

I still miss the dim lights, bustling crowds that was Amici di Don Bosco, but having the pizza (oh the pizza) this near to our house isn't so bad :-) My only complaint that day was that they didn't scorch my prosciutto pizza enough :-) but it was lovely and chewy and oh so tasty :-) :-) :-)

And then.... right next door they managed to shock me by decorating (wildly) the humble gelato into something picture worthy :-) Oh, and the taste was awesome too :-)

Caramia
Amici
Both near Greenhills East

Thea and Edwin's Wedding




August 8, 2009
Santuario de San Jose
Oasis Manila

Carla and Emel's Wedding Luau




Jala Jala Rizal

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mexican Ingredients

I can't find Mexican Ingredients :(

I'm making a Mexican buffet for my brothers birthday next week.

Does anyone know where I can find them?

Thanks!

Renee

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coffee and Reading

I'm at A Diff Bookstore in Serendra, with my starbucks vanilla-soy-latte on ice, paid P150 for wifi, all so I can "concentrate" on my SUM training that I need to finish by June 30. 

I enrolled last January and never got around to it, so here I am cramming.

It would've worked except for my extremely short attention span.

"squirrel!"

 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Out and about with June in Manila




Cafe Juanita
Lazer Quest
Tiendesitas

Tagaytay - Taal Crater




We wanted to go to the crater itself, but well, misfortune seems to follow my travel plans this year, but the boat ride to the actual place was really nice.
I rode the white horse below.

After the crater we went to Manos Greek Taverna. My lamb was good but not exceptional and my sisters steak wasn't fresh (it had that too long in the freezer taste)

I still prefer Cyma and Cafe Mediterranean (GB 1, Rob Galleria) for anything Greek. (Please feel free to recommend places, I'm always on the watch for Greek restaurants)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bataan - Montemar Beach Club




Going to the beach with Signal #2 raised makes for lot's of fun!
Montemar has a Pawikan conservatory (they release babies during November so I want to go back for that)
We went to the Dambana nang Kagitingan on top of Mt. Samat, and Ernestown Isdaan (awesome food). We also went to the Bagac Cashew Nut Processing place to get pasalubong.
We used SCTEX going back to Manila - it has the best view ever (although they cleaved mountains / hills in half to make the road)

Anna's Little Princess




Making dinner with Anna and visiting Adriana :)
She's too cute with her little red shoe

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom Pomodoro Cream Sauce

Apologies for the weird lighting and the messy plate, but this was really good

Ingredients

  Pasta Dough:
    3 1/2 cups of flour (I used all purpose, I couldn't find semolina or Tipo 00 flour in markets)
    5 Large eggs (Pinas size Large eggs = Medium sized US)
    Additional flour for kneading and rolling out the pasta (around 3 more cups)
 
  Spinach Filling:
    1 can spinach (Del Monte has it)
    5 cloves garlic, minced fine
    2 T olive oil
    1 cup grated Queso de Bola (Edam cheese if you will :-) best to use Parmesan, but work with what you have)
    1 egg for binding
    S&P to taste

   Pomodoro Cream Sauce:
    1 Large can of stewed tomatoes
    1 cup chopped mushrooms
    1 5 cloves garlic, minced fine
    1 medium onion, minced fine
    1 t sugar
    2 small boxes of cream (around 1 1/2 cups)
    S&P to taste


Instructions:
  
   Pasta Dough:


   Put the dough into a bowl, and make a well.  Add all the eggs in the middle.
   If you don't have a mixer, get a fork and slowly incorporate the flour from the sides
   When all the egg is incorporated, it's going to look like a whole lot of small lumps.
   Start smashing them together getting all the left over flour in the bowl. 
   When all the flour is gone from the bottom of the bowl, gather all the dough and dump into a floured board. 
   Start kneading by pushing the dough with the bottom of your palm and turning it onto itself.
   Knead until it comes together, then roll into a ball (around 5 minutes)
   Put plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

   When I was in cooking class, the chef said that the dough must resemble your bald uncles head when finished, meaning it should be really smooth (I don't think I got there, as you can see above, so I'll try and get there next time)

   Spinach Filling:
  
    Drain the spinach from the can.  If you have fresh spinach, you need to cook it first, chop then drain. 
    Saute the garlic in olive oil and add the spinach.
    Salt and Pepper to taste. Don't add too much salt as you'll get it from the cheese.
    While it's still warm, add all of the cheese.
    Let it cool a bit then add the egg.  Mix well.

   Pomodoro Cream Sauce:
    Saute the garlic and onion in the Olive oil.
    Add the canned tomatoes.  Let this boil for about 5 minutes, making sure to mash the tomatoes to make the sauce thicker. 
    Add the sugar (you can add more than one teaspoon, if you like, but don't overdo it)
    Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
    Add the mushrooms and let simmer for another 5 minutes
    Add all the cream and let boil.  I know, I know, Boil the cream? It's going to curdle!! Seriously, boil it.  Just let it curdle and boil it to death until it becomes a little thicker (around 10 minutes)
  
    Start cooking the Pomodoro sauce when your already cooking the ravioli so that they get cooked at the same time.

   Ravioli:
   
     Get the rolled pasta dough and cut into four pieces.  Roll it again to make a small ball.
    
The bald uncle state
Flatten the dough with your hands or roll it out with a rolling pin, until it's a half an inch in diameter.


Feed through the pasta machine starting at the first setting, then fold both sides to the middle and let it go through #1 again. 



Then continue on rolling it through the machine, letting it go through each number until #9, 3 times.



You will have to cut the dough into 2 pieces when you get to the 4th setting as it's going to be too long, so just process each one until you get to #9.

You don't have to have a pasta machine to do this, the first time I did hand made pasta was years ago when I was in high school and I did it old school with a rolling pin.  (No it was not successful the first time, but it gets better).  To know when you've reached the texture similar to number 9, if you place the dough against the light and can see your fingers, you're good to go :-)

After rolling out both pieces place the filling on one side.  Line the edges and the middle with water to use as glue for the top and bottom parts.  Then carefully place the other dough on top and start forming the ravioli.  This batch is too big, so when you make yours, make them only an inch in size.  It gets a lot bigger after cooking.

Soldiers all in line

Boil water then drop the ravioli one at a time.  When it floats, transfer to another container. 

Ahh, nice hot bath to soothe the soul
After all are cooked, dump it all in the sauce you just made, to let it cook further.  It took about 15 minutes more since the pasta I made was too thick. 

Hot delicious mess
Next time, after #9 which is the last setting, I'll let it go through my rolling pin 1 more time.  The pasta when stuck together was really too thick. 

Overall this was a very very good vegetarian dish.  The sauce, though meat-free, actually tasted like a meat sauce.  Most likely it was the mushrooms (I used dried mushrooms reconstituted in boiling water) that gave it body, as well as the cream.    You can also add ricotta cheese to the spinach mixture.  But make sure the mixture is already cold before adding the ricotta cheese so that it does not melt into the mixture, but in your mouth.

Hand made pasta is not an easy thing to do, and the only reason I do it is for squid ink pasta for Frutti di Mare and this one :-)  If it isn't that special, I'll buy it from the market, but overall it really is satisfying to do :-)

If you're not inclined to make the ravioli, just try the sauce out, it's good enough with just plain pasta.

Mango Nutella Pancake



... well, it's supposed to be Mango Nutella Crepe, but I used pancake batter instead

Ingredients:

1 small pack pancake mix
1/2 cup milk
1 cup water
1 egg
2 T oil
Nutella
Ripe Mango slices (From 2 medium sized mangoes)


Instructions:Mix pancake batter per package directions, making sure to add the extra water to thin it down.

Heat up the biggest flat pan you have, and drop batter 1/2 - 3/4ths cup at a time.  Swirl around to flatten or if you have an offset spatula spread it out in circular motion.




Now, crepes are usually flipped before Nutella is added, but because the pancake batter was too light and fluffy (can't believe I'm complaining about light and fluffy pancakes) we had to add the Nutella and mangoes before flipping the pancake onto itself.


The one in the picture above looks more like rellenong bangus than a crepe :(

I did have many trial and errors with this one because of the aforementioned light and fluffy issue, and I really shouldn't have been that lazy to use pancake batter so this one will go back to the drawing board :-) Hopefully I'll be able to make a good crepe batter from scratch.

*Makes 4 servings, but if you can flip well, you should have 6 :-p

Food Shots




Mango Nutella Pancake
Spinach Ravioli with Pomodoro Cream sauce

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pop Culture - Law and Order S.L.U

Law and Order S.L.U - Special Letters Unit
alternatively titled
"Talking piece of poultry"

Was Sesame Street this smart-ass when we were kids? Is it why we grew up like this?

This is absolutely hilarious :-) :-)

Pop Culture - Sesame Street Style

I'm pretty sure Sesame Street wasn't this pop when I was a kid


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Defeated

I went to bed hoping to have the sprain on my right ankle magically fixed, and woke up with my right ankle a little better, but my left knee totally swollen.

So I can't stand without help,and that means my SG trip, which DIane and I planned since last year is off. I just wasted fully paid tickets to the Macau - HK airport ferry and an HK to Singapore flight, plus my Singapore - Manila flight.

On the brighter side, I have a Groovy map and Lonely Planet guide for Singapore that I can use in future=D  How far off in the future, I don't know yet :-( it'll be a while before I can ask for vacation again.

This bites.

 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Macau - Day 1 & 2




Grand Emperor Hotel
Taipa Village
Taipa Houses and Garden

Injured

Some of the worst things that can happen to you when traveling is:

1. A canceled, delayed or missed flight
2. Missing luggage
3. A toothache
4. A sprain

Yesterday, while we were walking to do dinner, I was aimlessly chattering away (as usual) when I was suddenly face to face with the pavement.  It took me about a minute to catch my breath and about 3 minutes before I could walk (more like hopping than walking, actually)

So for today I'll just sit at home all day, and cook for myself.  I need this injury fully healed because we're going to Hongkong this weekend, and I'll be in Singapore after that.

Macau's poor little tasty treats will just have to wait until tomorrow :'(

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sundays

Tawilis (small fishes) in beer batter (A great tasting, albeit failed experiment)

In our house, Sunday = seafood.  Lot's of it.

It's one of the things I sorely missed while I was away and is the only thing that wakes me up on Sundays.

Talaba (Oysters)

On my travels, I do make it a point to eat seafood, where books, magazines, and television say the seafood is great.

Sipit (Crab claws)

And though I don't like putting down other cultures and other cuisines, I am more often than not, disappointed with the fare provided.  Most of them are good because of the additional sauce added or manner of cooking that are done to them.  And even if they are good, they are not great, amazing, or mouthwatering enough that it makes you shiver in anticipation thinking of the next time you will eat it.  I do need to point out that being in a tropical country where our seas are spoiled with a lot of sun, our fishes tend to eat better, thereby, we the hunters eat better as well.  So even if we just boil our seafood, the result is sweet and tasty and does not require anything else added to it (although bagoong with mangga doesn't hurt)

And so, despite that Manila is a place where smog, heat and traffic is so bad, that it will make you turn the other way and run, I braved it all to come home to this:

Crabs and Oysters with white wine

I am so back.




Authors note:
1. No, we didn't have white wine with seafood before, it's one of the lovely perks of being an adult.
2. I am in no way talking about the seafood heavens Singapore and Thailand.  They, in my eyes, perfected the art of blending seafood with sauces so unbelievable, I do shiver in anticipation that I'm coming back to visit them.

Sunday Food




Typical Sunday fare in our house

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lost in Translation - Manila

Now, I have been born and bred in the Philippines, but sometimes…. sometimes I really don't get what people are saying. 

 

After a bad couple of weeks at work,  I was desperately looking forward to my vacation.  I come into the new NAIA Terminal 3, impressed at how big the place is, the cleanliness and marveled at the….umm…lack of people in the terminal.  But, as with the other NAIA terminals, the layout is pretty bad, but the absence of running, screaming, crazy people hitting me every 5 seconds makes it less noticeable.

 

And besides, I was determined to be happy that day, and so I go about smiling at everyone and was at peace with the world.

 

When I get to the security gate, I asked them if I should take out my laptop and the liquids from the bags, and they said no.  I said to myself, OMG, no need to unfurl my bag?! and take off my shoes?! (insert wide eyes of glee here).  So I load my stuff in the conveyor, take off my belt and that was that.  After spending many harried hours battling with the lines at various airports the previous year, I took it as a good sign that my vacation is going to go great.

 

As I walk into the security doorway, the security lady points me to the x-ray machine for bags and says, "Step in!"

 

Startled, I stepped back and looked at her, then tried to enter the doorway again.

 

She gestures with her hands, this time more firmly, pointing to the x-ray machine and says "Step-in!"

 

I tilt my head to the right, not understanding what she was saying, and decided to continue and walk up the platform right after the doorway.  Now this incited her ire and she continued to gesture firmly to the x-ray machine and said:

 

"Step in!"

….

(I stare at her with a befuddled look)

"Step in!"

"STEP IN!"

...

Then, one of her co-workers suddenly shouts:

 

"Slippers!"

"Put your slippers in the xray-machine!!"

 

(Step-in is slang for flip-flops in the Philippines)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Last Week in Atlanta




Wave 3 Go-live weekend at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta
Taco-Mac at the CNN Center, eve of go-live with core team
Susan and Maria's visit 30 minutes before I leave my apartment for good :-)
Last meal with S5 at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport :(