When Ex-Easterners Meet…and Eat!

A few evenings ago, we had the pleasure of having dinner at John&Yoko’s again… and apart from the fun exchange of stories from our ex-kingdom-based friends (read hubby’s account of it here), we were also thrilled to be introduced to¬†some “new treats” (aka items from the menu that we do not usually order) this cool resto has to offer. ūüôā

Get a load of these “yummies”…

Delectable sea urchin (uni) sushi – will definitely have an “encore” during our next visit :mrgreen:

Chicken teriyaki pizza with mango chunks and fish roe (tobiko) drizzled with Japanese mayo Рdelicious!

It was a pity that we didn’t have the chance to take photos of the other foodie finds we had that night – Wagyu Rice and Salmon Teriyaki Belly.¬† Well, there’s always a next time, right? ūüėČ

In the meantime, we have to make do with these yummy foodie memories until we find ourselves in this part of the metro again.

A repeat favorite from our first visit Рthe Spider Roll Рsoft-shelled crab sushi  with Japanese mayo and fish roe

 

Mr Cool

If you were to ask hubby the best way to beat the heat and humidity in Manila, his¬†surefire¬†“prescription”¬†(at least to us who know him well) would be…

Take at least one of these (be it Quickly, Zagu, Ice Monster… name it, he’s had it!) :mrgreen: per day (now you know why it’s just so hard to lose weight!) to chase the uncomfortable heat (and stickiness too…eeewwww!!!!) away!

The photo above is actually two glasses of the all-too-familiar pink Pinoy¬†“samalamig” I remember being¬†¬†sold by street vendors with rolling wooden carts¬† when I was a kid staying at my grandparents’ ¬†house over the summer.¬† Back then, this was usually ladled into glasses from¬†plastic jars with red lids… I never actually knew what it was called and how it tasted¬†till fairly recently when – you guessed it – hubby was “enticed” to purchase some for a (ahem) “taste test”.

Except that these particular ones actually came from a food stall – in a mall! What can I say? “Ice scramble” has come a long way indeed! ūüėÄ

And as for hubby, all I can say is that he’s definitely…

PS Excuse the poor picture quality as I took these photos from my phone cam only.

Afternoon Delight

It’s the second day of summer break.¬† School’s out, the kids are home and my fridge and pantry contents badly need to be emptied (yes, our “official exodus” from the desert happens in 14 days! ūüėÄ )…

Win-win solution? Make a yummy snack (something sweet, preferably, to please the kiddos) that use up as much ingredients as possible both from the fridge and the pantry (to please me – hahaha! ūüėÜ ).

Guess what I came up with?

Still can’t figure it out? ūüė≥ How about if I show you this?

Yes, you’re getting there… it is a favorite Pinoy¬†merienda¬†(snack) fare and it is a form of rice cake… ūüėȬ† What else could it be but…

Though I would’ve preferred a more caramelized¬†top with the cheese melting (notes to self – get those mini blowtorch thingamajigs¬†soon – and use the “melty” kind of cheddar cheese next time), the taste of this finished product definitely did not disappoint. It was D-E-L-I-S-H!¬†¬† More importantly, hubby (when he got back from work) and the gremlins gave it their unanimous seal of approval (*clap, clap, clap!!*).¬†

Many thanks to my “co-desert diva”¬† Toni for the simple yet very tasty cassava cake recipe!¬† Hope to do an encore of this in Manila soon!

PS Here’s the easy recipe for anyone who may be interested.

WHAT YOU NEED:

For Cake: 2 packs grated cassava (available in most Asian stores), 1 can coconut milk, small can evaporated milk, 2 pcs raw egg, 1/4 cup butter (melted), 6 tbsp grated cheese (I used cheddar), 1/2 cup condensed milk, 14 tbsp sugar (I just used 10)

For Topping: 1 can coconut milk, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 cup condensed milk, 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp grated cheese, 1 pc raw egg

HOW TO:

For Cake: Combine all ingredients (except coconut milk) in bowl and mix well.  Add coconut milk until well incorporated.  Pour batter in greased baking tray and bake in pre-heated oven (10 mins prior to actual baking time) at 350F (or 176C) for 1 hour.  Set aside.

For Topping: Combine sugar and flour in heated sauce pan.  Pour in condensed milk and mix thoroughly.  Add cheese while stirring constantly.  Pour in coconut milk in mixture and stir continuously for 10 mins or until mixture thickens.

Pour topping over cake and spread evenly.  Separate egg and set aside yolk.  Glaze topping with egg white.  Broil cassava cake until color turns light brown.  Garnish with grated cheese and serve.  Share and enjoy! :mrgreen:

 

Birthday Boy’s Blessed Bash

Unlike the “bigger” celebrations (in terms of venue and number of guests) of previous years, hubby’s birthday this year was much simpler – yet, if I may say, more personal and intimate. ūüėÄ

We just celebrated at home with me cooking/baking…

Fresh from the oven, savory goodness…

Chicken ala King – for the “king of the house” ūüėČ

And what better way to say, “Long live, the ‘king’!” than with this long-life pasta dish – Baked Spaghetti!

Hmmm… something missing from your simple spread?

…and him going to our newest favorite bakeshop, Saadedin, to grab the requisite cake(s).

Oh yes, the birthday boy had Рnot one, not two Рbut  5 different kinds of birthday cake! :mrgreen:

Yum, yum!

Since he was spoilt for choice for his birthday cake(s),¬† wonder which cake will he choose to blow? ūüė≥¬† It came down to these two “finalists”…

Caramel?

Or chocolate? ūüôĄ

Whatever the party or wherever we may be, I’ve always believed that birthdays are meant to be “grateful days” – a perfect time to take stock of what has happened in¬†one’s life thus far, to count blessings and to look hopefully to the future… And if¬†we could do this¬†with the ones¬†we love,¬† then all the better, right? ūüėČ

 

Incidentally, he chose both! After all, birthday boy knows best! ūüėÜ

Belated happy birthday, Hon! Your life is truly a blessing. Looking forward to spending more blessed birthdays with you and the gremlins. Love you!

 

Roast Rosemary Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Suddenly felt like Kenny Rogers Roasters for some reason… till I realized one teeny-weeny “detail”… they don’t have it here! ūüė•

Next best thing? This…

And yes, save for the mixed veggies from the “Green Giant” ūüėČ , I made all these – even the gravy, mind you – ¬†from scratch! :mrgreen:

The gravy on the chicken icing on the cake? The family loved it!

Kenny would’ve been proud.

Pinoy Deli…in A Pack!

Whenever any of¬†us “desert dwellers” here comes back from a Pinas¬†vacation, it is customary for¬†the usual “Pinoy¬†pasalubong pack” to make its appearance sooner or later.

Sure, we’ve had more than our share of chocnut, polvoron, garlic peanuts and sinigang¬†mixes to satisfy our Pinoy cravings…. but this?

Heat pack in boiling water for 5 minutes, open, serve and enjoy! Easy-peasy!

Especially here where “oinkish delights” are taboo, this was indeed a welcome treat! ūüė≥¬† What’s more, if we are to believe what’s written on the package – “NO PRESERVATIVES”¬† – this is indeed groundbreaking! ūüėÜ

And apparently, the list of Pinoy¬†packed “home cooked” goodies goes on – laing, menudo, adobo … Now if this isn’t genius, do tell what is!¬†

I have a hunch this baby’s (especially the “lechon kind”) going to have a “captive market” this side of the world! ūüėČ

Binagoongang Liempo

This dish is actually a “leveled-up” version of lechon¬†kawali (roast pork belly).

After prepping the pork belly as lechon¬†(1 1/2 kilos¬†of it!), I then proceeded to complete this “cardiac delight”¬† by sauteeing¬†the pork belly cubes in two heads of¬†minced garlic, adding 8 tbsps of white vinegar and letting the mixture simmer till it bubbles and gives off that characteristic “acidic odor”.¬† Next would be the¬†addition¬†of ¬†3 chopped tomatoes and half a white onion.¬† I let the¬†pot simmer again for 5 – 10 minutes – or until the tomatoes are limp and the onions are soft – before I finally add the shrimp paste and the long green chilies.¬†¬†I seasoned the dish¬†with pepper, fish sauce and sugar to taste.

The finished product?

Definitely a much better version than my first crack at making this dish – and, I must say, made the “thrill” of crossing-over this “precious commodity” ūüėČ all worth it! :mrgreen:

Din(n)er Dash!

Friday evenings just do not bring out my “inner chef”.¬† Being the counterpart of Sunday (at least in¬†most parts of the Westernized world) – traditionally¬† a “day of rest” – ¬†I just can’t seem to bring myself up for kitchen duty on this day.

But since American Idol’s on (meaning we can’t go out for dinner lest my AI fanatic family¬†votes me out for being the “weakest link” ūüė≥ ), I have to resort to a quick-and-easy meal for my, ahem, “wanna-be-Idols”.

My quick fix? Steamed rice, soup and this…

Sliced turkey franks sauteed in white onions with a can of baked beans

Thank God this got the votes of my own “board of judges” today.¬† And like the remaining¬†seven AI contestants, I get to cook¬† live for another week… :mrgreen:

Daing na Bangus

Imagine my surprise when hubby brought home “something fishy” on his return trip from an errand in our¬†friendly neighborhood¬†Asian grocery…

Whaddyaknow? It’s bangus¬†(milkfish)! And what’s more, it’s been perfectly cleaned, filleted, vacuum-packed and … best of all – DEBONED!!! ūüėÜ (*doing the dance of joy now*) At SR19¬†(USD5), this baby’s a¬† s-t-e-a-l¬† too!

You see, although we can readily get milkfish¬†in most groceries and fish markets¬†here, it’s very rare that they come deboned – so getting our hands on this was a real find!

What to do with a deboned milkfish?

Why, what our Pinoy¬†tastebuds¬†have been craving for for the longest time…

Daing na bangus (milkfish seasoned with vinegar, soy sauce, pepper and garlic)! Yum! :mrgreen:

And to relish the “full gastronomic daing experience”, we just had to go the full mile and throw in the whole ensemble…

Suffice it to say our Pinoy cravings were more than satisfied that day. ūüėČ

Kudos to the Filipino Food Lovers site for this delicious recipe and to our dear cousin-in-law Ge for the homemade atchara (pickled vegetables).

Shrimp Siomai

The past lenten season definitely meant more meatless treats coming out from my tiny kitchen.

One recent favorite was this…

Yummy shrimp siomai (dumplings)!

If I may add, this could also be called the “Munchkin Dumplings” as they were inspired by this recipe. A minor revision was that instead of adding a quarter cup of bamboo shoots, I halved this and then¬†threw in¬†1/8 cup of chopped water chestnuts to the shrimp mixture for that added sweetness and crunch.¬† Also, since I still needed more practice in doing the “Shanghai-style” wrapping for the dimsum, I just ended up using the simpler Japanese gyoza wrappers. ūüėČ

The finished product, though not as aesthetically pleasing as my “inspiration dish”, tasted just as good and was promptly “decimated” by my hungry pack of dimsum fanatics! ūüėܬ† Here…have a (virtual) taste!

Verdict: For a scheduled “encore” in my kitchen soon! :mrgreen: