Sunday, August 29, 2010


Nope. Not the herb but the restaurant. BIL treated us to dinner after getting promoted to manager level.  It was my first time to eat there so I asked them to order for us.  I just had a request - Pad Thai.  I was missing Som's Pad Thai so I was hoping to cure that feeling by ordering it.  But I digress, this restaurant obviously serves Asian cuisine.  It's a mix of Malay, Thai and Vietnamese but with Filipino flavors. Fusion flavors as most would describe.  But to me, the flavors was too 'Filipinize" if there is such a term.  The interplay of the sweet, sour, salty, spicy flavors was lost.  However, it still tasted great.  servings are good for 2-3 people and most of the dishes are for sharing.

For starters:  Pomelo Salad.

Pomelo Salad
This was good. The pomelo was sweet and juicy.  It had a bit of shredded carrots and the dressing was the usual fish sauce with vinegar and shallots.  I had to ask for an extra serving of coriander.

Main Course: Beef in Red Curry Sauce
Beef in Red Curry Sauce
The curry sauce was good. Sweet, rich curry taste with the right hint of spice and the beef was tender.  My only complain about this dish is that I think they cooked the beef and the sauce separately and only assembled it when someone orders it.  So the beef has not soaked up the flavors of the curry sauce plus the fact that there was too little of the sauce in the dish.  Not enough to spoon on top of your rice.  O how I miss Ate Eva's cooking.

Pad Thai
This was kind of a disappointment for me.  It lacked the flavor that I was looking for.  Probably because we requested for it to be not spicy because we had kids with us who might want to eat it.  Although the mung bean sprouts were fresh and nutty which added an interesting flavor and texture to an otherwise ho-hum dish.
Vietnamese Grilled Pork Belly

The meat was tender and well cooked.  Flavor-wise it was OK.  Nothing spectacular to rave about.  The cucumber relish that it came it was the one that I could not forget.  It was spicy, sweet and crunchy.  Too bad you could not order it separately.  It would have been a great starter to open up your taste buds.

Pandan Chicken
This dish can be considered a staple entry in Asian restaurants.  The menu is not complete without it.  The serving is good for 2 people.  They used thigh fillets for the dish which was flavored well. I like this dish because my kid liked it.  He was able to finish one packet in one sitting.  He liked it so I like it too. 

Bagoong Rice
Of course, a meal would not be complete without rice.  We ordered this as the other option was a no-no for the husband.  He does not like pineapple in savory dishes so Bagoong Rice it is. The serving was enough for 2-3 people.  The bagoong flavor was not too overpowering making it a great accompaniment to the main dishes.  
Plain Rice
I just had to post a picture of the way they served their plain rice.  Isn't it cute?  This unique presentation was very useful in convincing the kid to eat.  =)

Something Cooler
I totally forgot what they call this drink.  It's basically a pitcher of water with crushed mint leaves with a mix of cucumber, lemon, orange and lime slices.  It's really refreshing. We were able to finish 2 pitchers of this during our meal.  

Ground Floor, The Terraces
Ayala Center Cebu


Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's Keeping Me Busy

Family, kids and work are the things that has been keeping be busy lately.  That's why I have not been able to update this blog for a few days now.  Being a full time stay at home mom or SAHM as I call it can be as demanding as having a 9-5 job. How can it not be when I have 3 bosses demanding equal if not more time and attention. Sigh... Sometimes I just have to shout it out to let the stress out.

But things might change soon although nothing final yet.  I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed though.  I think this change will help all of us. =)

Here are some pictures of some of my food finds here in Cebu.  This is from a small bakeshop downtown.  Their best sellers are the mango cream pie, chicken pie and sylvannas.
Chicken Pie

Mango Cream Pie
I have tasted both pies but not the sylvannas. I'd choose the chicken pie over the mango cream pie.  The crust is more buttery and flaky and its more filling too.  You can really see and taste the chunks of chicken, potatoes, raisins and corn and with the hint of curry to bind it altogether. I could eat a couple of the pies in one sitting!  Thinking about it makes me hungry.  The shop has other goodies too like moist chocolate cake, brazo de mercedes, cupcakes, breads and many more.  Although some of the items I think you have to order in advance.  Sorry for the crappy photo. It was taken by my camera phone.

display case
Kamuning Street 
(at the back of Cebu Doctors Hospital Parking Lot)
Cebu City

Friday, August 20, 2010

pictures of past dinners

Inihaw na Chorizo & Beef Satay

Peanut Sauce for the Satay

Chicken Arroz Caldo

I was not able to take pictures of the Pork with Spinach Odong Noodle Soup as well as the Chicken with Spinach Misua Soup. 

Will be leaving you with these pictures for the moment.  I have to take care of my two kiddos first.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the peanut sauce experiment

I cook when I'm stressed out.  Somehow it helps me calm down.  Tonight became another night of cooking for me.  One the menu for today:

Lunch:  Beef Stir-Fry with Eggplants and Cauliflower
Dinner:  Chicken Arroz Caldo (with lots of fried garlic bits)
             Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce
             Inihaw na Chorizo

Lunch was ok. It would have been better if we got a tender cut of beef. Bought the local beef from Rustan's Supermarket and boy it was TOUGH!!!!  When will I ever learn????  Everytime I buy beef from them, it always comes out tough when cooked.  I don't know if it's my cooking method or their beef.  Anyhow, I will try to stay away from them from now on. 
On to dinner.  I don't expect the Beef Satay to be tender because it came from the same source as the beef used for lunch's stir fry.  I used an instant marinade. It smelled good though.  To pair with it, I made peanut sauce for dipping. I used the receipe found here.  It is easy to do and no cooking required. It's not the same satay sauce that I know from my memory but it will do.  I think I will have enough left-over for me to whip us Peanut-Sesame noodles.  I still got a pack of soba noodles waiting to be used. 
Pictures to follow. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

My First Attempt in Cheese Making

Success!  Yup.  That is how I will describe my first try at cheese making.  As I shared in this post,  I have long wanted to try making cheese at home.  There are many who have been successful in their cheese making activities at home and it is a proof that it could be done. You just have to browse the web to find a recipe.

For this recipe, I used a 2% fat milk so I had to increase the amount of the cream that was called for in the recipe.  I also increase the amount of the acid and used vinegar instead of citric acid.  The original recipe can be found here.

Fresh Ricotta

1 Liter Low Fat Milk (2%)
5 Tablespoons Cream
1/2 Tablespoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan.
Heat it up over medium heat.  Mix once in a while to avoid scalding the sides.
Wait till the curds separate from the whey.  
When the mixture has separated, turn off the heat and let stand for about 10 to 20 minutes. 
Strain in a cheese cloth lined-colander.  
Let stand for about 10 minutes or longer if you want it dry.
Eat immediately.

I think I would have added the vinegar when the milk mixture was boiling instead of adding it at the beginning.  I did that in the second process and the curds developed faster.
Store in a jar or any clean container and place in the fridge when not going to eat right away.

Some say that the cheese that comes out from the method used in the recipe is not really ricotta because ricotta comes from the left over whey from making mozzarella.  Whatever they say, for me, it is cheese.  =)  Anyhow, since I got a lot of the left over whey from the first processing, I boiled it again and added a tablespoon of vinegar.  It's still cooling in the stove so I have yet to taste the curds that it made.

I can't wait to eat this tomorrow with hot pandesal. Yummy!


I really wanted to experiment on this for a long time.  I had the chance today because I had a liter of milk that might just turn sour any day now.  In order to extend it's shelf life, I decided to try my hand in making Ricotta! =)  It's still heating up in the stove and is now way near curdling.  I think I might have to exercise my elbows for a an hour or so.

Ok.  I have to go back to stirring now.  Will post the results later.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chicken Spinach Lasagna


For the sauce:
Chicken Breast Fillet
Ragu Cheesy Alfredo Sauce

For the Spinach:
Spinach (huge bunch)

Lasagna Sheets (cooked according to package directions)
Ragu Double Cheddar Sauce
Grated Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheight (180 degrees Celsius)

Making the sauce
1.  Cut chicken fillet to bite size pieces.  You can use as much chicken as you want.
2.  Brine chicken in salt solution (water plus lots of salt). Set aside for about 30 minutes
3.  Clean Spinach in water.  Choose the best leaves in the bunch. You can place as many or as little as you want.  But the more Spinach the better it is.  Aside from it's good for you, it has that yummy distinct earthy flavor.
4.  Chop up Spinach.  (but not too small)
5.  Chop up garlic and onion
6. While chicken is still brining, heat up pan for spinach.
7.  Melt butter in a bit of olive oil
8.  Add onions then garlic then Spinach.  Season with a little salt just to taste and keep the vibrant color of the leaves.  Just a pinch of salt will do.
9.  Saute everything till the leaves wilt.  It will only take a few minutes.  Faster if you use less spinach.
10.  Transfer cooked Spinach to a plate and drain the water.  Do not throw the water for you can use it to flavor the sauce later.
11.  Drain chicken and rinse well under running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
12.  Chop up onions and garlic
13.  Heat a bit of Olive Oil.  Add onions and garlic.
14. Add chicken pieces.  Saute till no longer pink
15.  Add Ragu Alfredo Sauce
16.  Add a bit of cream
17.  Add milk to thin out the sauce.
18.  Season with salt and pepper.
19.  Add the cooked spinach.
20. Season to taste. Stir till heated through.

Arranging the layers
1.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of an oven-proof dish.  Arrange the lasagna sheets
2.  Spoon the sauce till it covers the sheets.
3.  Add grated cheese.  Not so much because it may become too salty.
4.  Repeat process just before you run out of sauce and cheese.
5.  The last layer should be the sauce and grated cheese.  You can substitute the Ragu Double Cheddar Sauce for the last layer of cheese.
6. Cover with foil and place in the preheated oven. It will take about 30-40 minutes. Since I used an instant lasagna sheet, it took longer - about 50 minutes.
7. Remove the foil in the last minutes of the cooking time to broil the top.
8. Remove from oven and let stand a about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


Here's the picture of the Ragu Sauce that I used.

The Instant Lasagna that I used.

Disclaimer:  I am not endorsing the Ragu Sauce brand or the San Remo Instant Lasanga.  I just had it in my pantry and decided to use it.  It's a shortcut that I did to make things faster and easier for me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oh la la...

It was my first time to experiment spinach.  I only used to read about it on food blogs.  Spinach is something that is not local to my country.  Although I know that it is already grown in the Bukidnon area making it available locally.  I had a bunch of fresh spinach which I knew I had to use up right away.  I made spinach fritata for breakfast and was greeted with good results.  Even the little one loved it.  So I am definitely making it again once I have access to fresh spinach again.  I cooked it in a muffin tin for individual servings. I also used the oven toaster to cook in instead of in the oven.

Spinach Fritata

I still had a huge bunch left so I searched the Internet for inspiration on what to do with it.  I usually go to Foodgawker and Tastespotting or ideas on what to cook.  It was the spinach lasagna that caught my eye.  However what I had on hand was not enough so I made my own version.  I call it Chicken Spinach Lasagna.

Chicken Spinach Lasagna
Chicken Spinach Lasagna

My first try was a success.  I had several shortcuts here like using a bottled Alfredo Sauce for the filling and the topping.  I was pressed for time and I wanted to use the sauce because if I did not, I might forget about its existence in my pantry.  I also used a bottled cheese sauce for the topping.  Recipe coming up.  I still have to write it down and remember how much I put in as I play by ear when experimenting in the kitchen.  I still have to learn how to write notes while experimenting so I can easily share the recipe.  For the meantime enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another Contest

Blog hopping is one activity that I seem to be enjoying lately.  There are lots of blogs that do giveaways and the prizes are soooo nice to pass up. Here is another one that I found today.

So many prizes!
If that picture is not enough to convince you to join then I do not know what else will.  So go and hop on to her blog now and join the contest.  You still got time because the contest ends August 25, 2010.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Go go go!!!

I saw this ongoing giveaway from this blog.  Go go go!!! She's giving away a few bottles of Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils.  I have heard great reviews about this product so you might just be able to get for yourself for free! Go go go!  You just have to answer a question and you are in.

For the minor prize of 1 SHU UEMURA CLEANSING BEAUTY OIL PREMIUM A/I 50ml or 1 SHU UEMURA BRIGHTENING CLEANSING OIL 50ml :  "Why would you like to try this cleansing oil from shu uemura?"

For the major prize:  1 SHU UEMURA CLEANSING BEAUTY OIL PREMIUM A/I 150ml worth almost PHP 2,000.00 :   "Why you would like to try this shu uemura product?" and "What made you follow this blog?

The link to the contest is here.  To know more about the product, go here.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils

Photo Credits here

Friday, August 6, 2010

Love the Cake

One of our favorite things to do is eat.  The husband is already complaining that he is getting fat because of this.  We love trying out new restaurants and cafes especially if there are good reviews written about it.  It is not the first time that the husband ate in this place but it was for me.  Its proximity to his office plus the cheap prices make it one of his preferred places to go to for lunch.  He has always raved about how good their chocolate cake was.

Even if today was a holiday here meaning no work and no classes for the kiddo, he still went to work because he had a few loose ends to attend to.  I went with him because I needed some peace and quiet time away from the kiddos to be able to finish all my assignments for the day.  I was given the opportunity to eat lunch at Chowabungga to see and taste for myself if the cake was indeed as good as the husband raved it to be.

Of course, before the dessert, we had to eat lunch first. Since this is a self service restaurant, we had to order at the counter first.  Good thing there was no one in the restaurant yet so I was able to take the time to read out and ask questions about their offerings.  They had the usual Pinoy fare of Silogs or Silletes as they call it.  The menu also included some Chinese, Korean, Mexican, Indian and Japanese dishes.  I settled for a beef Burrito and the husband had a Chowabongga Beef Bowl, which is what he usually orders when he is here.

Chowabungga Beef Bowl
The beef bowl's serving was quite small if you have a big appetite but with the cake, I think it will be a filling meal.  The taste was great.  I think it is even better than the beef bowl of Yoshinoya.  Lots of beef in it with a sauce that is quite sweet.  It would have been better if they had a togorashi on hand to give it some kick. I wish they added more rice to the serving.  But for the PhP 65.00 price, it is well worth it. 

Beef Burrito

The beef burrito was good too.   They used ground beef instead of strips. It was quite small if you are used to the size they have at Mexicali.  Flavor was OK but I prefer that they added more tomatoes and cilantro to it. Not at all bad for the PhP 65.00 price tag.  

The star of the show
The Chocolate Cake

The chocolate cake was indeed a discovery.  It was not cloyingly sweet with the right amount of chocolatey taste.  It had a possessed a good crumb- not to spongey nor too dense- just perfect. The frosting was something.  I could not well place it but it paired perfectly with the cake.  I think the chocolate buttercream frosting had cocoa powder in it because it had bitter tones to it.  It scored a home run for me especially that it only costs PhP30.00 per slice.  I consider it to be in my favorite chocolate cakes list.  

I think I will be back here more often. Makes me want to look for a job in any of the companies whose offices are in the area just so it will be accessible whenever I have the cravings.  If not, I'll ask the husband to buy me a slice or two of the cake every now and then. 
Chowabungga Fast Food
Asiatown IT Park
Lahug, Cebu City

PS.  All photographs courtesy of my lowly camera phone so pardon the quality. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010



Fitness Program Sales Person:  Good Afternoon Ma'am, We are from (Bleep Bleep) in Ayala Center.  We are the leading Fitness Center here.  Are you into exercise or go to the gym?

Chubby Teacher:  (Sarcastic Voice) Obvious ba?!

FPSP: Oh, you might be interested to enroll in one of our programs.

CT:  No, thank you. 

FPSP:  Thank you very much for your time Ma'am.  (Exit)

Hehehe... I wonder what was going on in the sales person's mind.... I find it weird that this fitness center has people going around the city offering their facilities.  Not enough business to sustain their expenses I guess.  They have an unusual location anyway.  It's right inside the mall!  They should put up where the people who could afford to pay the monthly payments are.  Also, the area should be more accessible especially to those who go to they gym at a later hour.  Just my two cents here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Finger Lickin' Good!

No, we did not have KFC for dinner tonight.  As I posted earlier, I was trying a new product that I saw in the supermarket this afternoon.

Included in the pack is the breading and the sauce for the chicken wings.  The pack says it is good for 500g of chicken wings. But I beg to disagree because I had about that much chicken and I ran out of the breading mix.  Good thing I bought 2 so I was able to finish breading all my chicken pieces.  But I think the sauce pack is enough.  It is also available in several flavors: Barbeque, Teriyaki and Screamer.

The result? Success!  We had chicken wings that could rival the ones we had in Chili's in Manila and New York Buffalo Wings in Lahug.

a plateful of goodness! Yummy!!!!

Now we do no have to go out of the house just to get these succulent sweet and really spicy chicken wings.  I just have to run to the nearest grocery store, which is luckily only a few minutes from our place, to buy me some chicken wings. 

Finger Lickin' Sarap to the Bones!

For added flavor, I brined the chicken in salt for about an hour before proceeding with breading it.  I think doing that extra step in necessary for the chicken meat to have flavor.

The product is highly recommended by me.  Especially if you are suddenly craving for spicy chicken wings.  

Disclaimer: I was not paid to review this product.  I just chanced upon it while doing my grocery rounds.

Trying out something new

I went to the grocery this afternoon after dropping off the kiddo in school. I was going thru the aisles when I saw this new product.  I have a hankering for buffalo wings lately so seeing the product made me giddy.  The wings are cooling off in the fridge to make the coating stick more.  I will update this later after it has been cooked.  Hopefully it turns out well.

Back to the kitchen for me....


The results are in.... SUCCESS! It looks like I have found another pantry staple.

New Favorite

I love chocolates. I make sure that I have a stash of it hidden in my food cabinet.  I discovered this chocolate bar while waiting for my son in school.  I fell in love with it after the first bite.  My friends and I call it our new Tofi Luk. For those who do not know, Tofi Luk is another chocolate bar that is like a cheaper version of Twix.  We used to hoard them whenever we had the chance.

It is a chocolate covered crispy rice cereal, wafer, peanut butter bar.

Peanut Butter Flavor

The picture that I have here is their chocolate and peanut butter flavor.  They have it in milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate.  I have only tasted 2 variants- milk and peanut butter.  I personally prefer the one with peanut butter because I love how the sweet salty flavors vie for the attention of my taste buds.  A friend said that the dark chocolate flavor is good too.  

This is a cheap chocolate fix.  It will only cost you Php 5 if you buy it by bar and costs even lower when buying them by box (PhP 48.50).  This is available in the chocolate and candy aisle of your favorite supermarket. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Perfect Drink for a Rainy Day

A cup of hot chocolate.

It was actually my first time to do this from scratch.  It was raining hard that night.  I had milk and a bag of dark chocolate chips in the fridge.  Milky, chocolatey, rich cup of hot chocolate.  Got two thumbs up from the husband.  Been making this ever since that night whenever the weather permits.

Hot Chocolate

Milk (Full Cream is best)
Chocolate Chips (Whatever kind you prefer - Milk or Dark) (I used Beryl's Dark 68% Chocolate Chips)

Heat milk in a pan over low heat.  Be careful not to let it boil.
When bubbles appear at the edge of the saucepan, add in chocolate chips
Let the chocolate chips melt by whisking the mixture till it becomes homogeneous.
Whisk some more until you see froth forming on top.  Be careful with the milk splashes.  It can be really hot.
Put in cups and serve immediately.
Garnish with mini-marshmallows if you have some. (Optional)

The amount of chocolate will determine the thickness of the chocolate.  If you want it thick, make it a 1:2 ratio between the milk and the chocolate chips.  You can add more if you really want it thick.

The monsoon season has come so I will be making more drinks like these.  I just need to buy another bag of chocolate chips though..

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So Tired.....

The whole family plus the BIL went on a road trip south of the city.  We really did not have any particular destination to visit.  Basically the initial plan was to visit a particular city to see the old houses and possibly buy some Chicharon or pork cracklings.  But the husband decided to drive down further.  We saw a sign pointing to a Marian pilgrimage site so we decided to do a detour.

The place was about 5 kilometers from the highway.  Good thing the road going there was paved all the way except for a few spots where the asphalt has melted away and created huge potholes. But it was nothing that the car could not get through.  The BIL did not know anything about the place too despite living here longer than us. From the looks of it, it was a popular site because of the many people and cars going in and coming out of the compound.  We were only able to take pictures from the view deck in the parking area as I was not allowed to go in because the guard at the entrance thought that my skirt was too short!  GRRR!!!!  I did not want to create a scene by questioning the guard so I just turned my back and went back to the car.  Their "rules" are so pre-Vatican 2.  Is the length of my skirt co-related to my faith??? So for them, the shorter the skirt, the more immoral you are or less faith that you have?  There, I just had to release that.  The place looks nice and impressive from the outside.  Although it is still not yet done for you can still see the construction work going on.

I really was not able to get any pictures aside from the pilgrimage site.  I am only using a phone camera so pardon the quality of the pictures.

I love going on road trips.  However with 2 toddlers with you, it can sometimes get to be tiring.  However, the fun and new things that the kids see and learn about makes the whole effort worthwhile.  I am looking forward to the next road trip that we will be taking.