Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

The Kids' Table

Christmas Eve Spread

Pinoy Cheesy Spaghetti

Everybody's favorite pork barbecue

Chicken Galentina

Two must have Keso De Bola and Majestic Ham

Aling Duday's delicious Biko

And of course the star, Mom's famous Fruit Salad
Christmas this year was austere compared to past years.  But it was still definitely merry with new memories created with the family.  And of course all the dishes were absolutely delicious.  Thanks to my dear 3rd Brother for the scrumptious and artful food pictures. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Rainy Sunday Morning At Soderno With My Mother

Last Sunday I took my Mom to Soderno Sunday market.  I have taken the Little Ones to Soderno Night market before, but was not able to blog about.  Honestly there was just way too many people that night to really take any pictures but I and the Little Ones had a fun time sampling the delicious food items. 

I almost cancelled on Mom, because it was drizzling that day, effects of typhoon Sendong.  But glad that we did go because there were plenty of new food discoveries.

Manila Q's Bagwang
My favorite discovery was Manila Q's Bagwang.  This is liempo sliced thinly like bacon.  It was so good I used in different dishes for 3 straight days. 

Another great find was Odayang's which had the best tasting okoy we have ever had. Love that it was made mainly out of green papaya, it gave the okoy a wonderful taste and texture.   And this is probably one of the cheapest but tastiest items being sold at Mercato.  At P25.00 a piece, which is huge, this is super worth it. 

Odyang also sells goto with lechon bits which my Mom absolutely loved.  I don't eat goto but from based on my Mom's feedback the goto was cooked perfectly and she loved its clean taste, no panghe after taste that other gotos have. We brought home a bowl of this for Dad, who was equally as pleased with it.  In fact this is on our must buy list when we visit Soderno again. 

Manang's Chicken
This is the Little Girl's absolute favorite.  She had her first taste of this when we visited Mercato Centrale earlier in the year.  Since then she has been craving for it, so had to buy her some Manang's.  She finished about 8 pieces on her own.

Of course Mom's first weekend market visit would not be complete if I did not buy her some sweet stuff.

This is called Inutak, it is like sapin-sapin but softer in texture.  It comes in two flavors - plain and keso de bola.  Mom chose the keso de bola one, which she shared with the Little Boy who absolutely love it. 

These are from Elle's Torta, they are called Cebuana Tortes.  I guess it originated from Cebu.  It is like mamon but more buttery in texture. It is not too sweet, so I liked this quite a lot. 

And last but certainly not the least, a box of yummy chocolate chip cookies from the FoodLab, Inc.They not only have delicious pastries they also have the friendliest and funniest people.  I always look forward to dropping by their booth because I always leave with a smile. 

The Littles Ones love the cookies so much all of it was gone by the next day.  Such little cookie monsters they are =) 

Overall Mom was quite happy with her first experience at a weekend market, I can't say the same for my wallet ; ) good thing it was the last weekend for Soderno.  But I am sure come January Mom will be asking when can I can take her back to Soderno?  Need to save up for that  =) 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sinigang Na Ulang


You are probably wondering where is the soup of the sinigang.  Well I am not too fond of broth based soup, so when my Mom made her sinigang na ulang for Satruday lunch, I took out the ulang  from the hot steaming bowl and passed the soup over to the Little Boy, he absolutely loves anything soup. Something he only eats rice with soup.

Even without the soup, since the ulang  had been infused with the flavors of the broth, the meat was so flavorful.  This is probably the biggest and meatiest ulang I have ever had.   So I had to take a photo and blog about it. I think I ate every single part of it except the shells, well maybe I even ate some of the shells, it was that good. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Love Croutons

Adding croutons to my salads always make it more special.  I love how these golden nuggets of toasted bread  add not just flavor but texture to my greens.  I make homemade croutons at least once a week.  Instead of throwing out stale bread I turn them into croutons.  Any type of bread works, even the ubiquitous white bread, better known as tasty to us Pinoys, will do.  I've even made croutons out of left-over pandesal.  All you really need is oil with minced garlic, seasoned with some salt and pepper, and add some dried basil if you like. Pour it over the cubed bread pieces, make sure each piece is coated with oil.  Then transfer it to an oven or even your oven toaster will do.  It takes about 20 minutes for them to turn into these crunchy golden nuggets of deliciousness. Great addition to your salads and soups, and even yummy enough to just munch on if you need a snack, just like what I do when there are no potato chips in pantry =)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Caesar Salad

I've never met a Caesar Salad that has ever disappointed me, I can't say the same for the men named Caesar that I have met.  This classic salad dish is one of the first things I learned to make.  At first I thought it would be hard to make, especially since I have seen how this salad is prepared table side at fancy restaurants. It seemed so dramatic, with the waiter wheeling in the cart with all the salad making tools and the flair the waiter demonstrated in tossing the salad. But then about 10 or so years ago I saw  on the Food Network Alton Brown's method in making it, and how easy it was.  I make this at least once a month now, and like I said  earlier it never disappoints. 

Here is the video of Alton making the salad.   The recipe starts at 4:15 of the video, but if I were you I would watch the whole video, because as always Alton shares very interesting and helpful information.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Average Jane's Christmas Giveaways

In the spirit of Christmas one of my favorite blogger, The Average Jane is holding not one but two contests.  I won't tell you what the prizes are, you have to visit her blog to find out.  All I am going to say is that they really are nice and you will love to get these for Christmas.  So click on the links to see what they are and join the contests : ) 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crispy Asian Squid Strips

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know by now that the Little Girl's ultimate favorite food item is squid.  So I am always in search of new squid recipes or tweaking old ones.  This particular recipe is a variation of  the fried garlic and pepper squid one.  Instead of just seasoning it with salt and pepper I decided to add a special ingredient to the mix.  The result was a lovely crispy squid dish that the Little Girl absolutely loved.  You can serve it with sweet chili sauce or chili soy sauce, but we loved how flavorful the dish was so we ate it as is.  I will be adding this to the Little Girl's long list of favorite squid dishes. 

Here is the recipe:
100 grams squid
50 grams minced garlic
15 ml fish sauce (preferably Thai because it tastes less salty, then what Pinoys brands)
15 ml soy sauce
15 grams sugar
60 grams all purpose flour
dash of ground black pepper
Oil for deep-frying
And the secret ingredient - 1/2 tsp of sesame oil

1. Cut the squid into strips. Mix all the the other ingredients, except the flour and oil for frying, pour over the squid strips. Let it marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2.  Dust the squid strips in flour, and deep-fry.  You should just fry until the strips turn golden burn so as not to toughen them.
3. Drain on paper towels, then serve immediately. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Great Food Finds At Midnight Mercato

After we left the Ayala Triangle Gardens light show the Little Girl asked that we head over to Bonifacio High Street, so off we went.   She and the Little Boy had a great time running around the play area.

She wanted a close up pic first

Then a long shot of the gigantic teddy she was
hiding behind of

I love that pets are allowed here.  The Little Ones had a fun time pet watching. They especially loved this super cute chow chow.  They asked it's owner if they could have a photo with it, so glad she said yes. 

Taking a brief break
After a while she got tired from all the running and asked if we could go to Midnight Mercato to grab a bite to eat before heading home.  I was kind of hesitant to go because it was getting late.  But the Little Girl really wanted to go and since I was not really satisfied with our dinner at Pho 24 off we went to Midnight Mercato.  We have been to Mercato Centrale before and we loved the food finds there, so we were very excited to make new discoveries.  

Since it  would be our first time to visit Midnight Mercato I was not sure of the hours operations.   We arrived at 9PM but apparently the market opens at 10PM.  I was trying to convince the Little Girl that we should head home because it was going to be an hour wait, but with her sad eyes she asked us to stay, so stay we did. I am glad we stayed because the food items we got  were all worth the wait.  Everything we bought was absolutely delicious. 

Now I must inform you that the following photos are not very good, it was my Sister-in-Law who took them since I was busy getting the food.

Taclings is the Little Girl's favorite food find at Soderno, so that glad that they had these here too.  Since we are not beef eaters we always choose to have the tuna filling.   We love the combination of the tuna, garlic mayo, salsa, and of course the wonderfully creative taco shell.  Love that they serve these in old egg cartons, it is so convenient.  The owner was there, such a lovely and kind Lady.  She deserves all the success her business is reaping.  There is always a long line at Taclings so prepare to line up and wait, but it is super worth it. 

These are Charlie's Pritchon wraps, they were the first ones to come up with the pritchon idea. I've had pritchon before but never from Charlie's.  I guess the original is really the best. The lechon was lean but very flavorful just like how I like it, not greasy at all.  I loved how crunchy the skin was, with every bite you could hear a crackling sound. The combination of the lechon,cucumber, chili and mayo is a definite winner in my book.  For sure I will be getting this again on my next visit. 

I read very good reviews about Luigi Mulach's dishes at the Ultimate Taste Test 6, so when I saw that he had a booth here I had to try his chicken cordon bleu with aligue mayo.  One word for me describes this dish "SARAP!".  I know that it seems weird to pair chicken cordon bleu with aligue mayo but it totally works and worth all the calories.

Next time we are in the BGC area at nighttime we will definitely be dropping by again, I am excited to make more food discoveries in the dead of night : ) 

Spectacular Lights Show At Ayala Triangle Gardens

I've been meaning to take the Little Ones to this light show for several weeks, we finally went last Saturday, and good thing that we did because it looks like we will be experiencing rainy weather for the next couple of days.

We arrived at around 5PM so we let the Little Ones roam the park to play. They explored the whole park from one end to the another.  It still amazes me how much energy and glee kids possess. 

The Little Boy is really friendly, he took the Guard's hand
and shook it and said "Nice to meet you Sir."

It was the Little's Girl's idea to use my shawl as a picnic blanket

At around 5:30 PM the lights were being tested, I love this effect

I love the giant Belen

Waiting for the show to start
At exactly 6PM the show started.  It was as spectacular display of more than 600,000 thousand bright twinkling lights,  eliciting lots of oohhhs and aahhhs from everyone there. 

I was so disappointed that while recording the show something went wrong with our video camera.  But here's a video I found in Youtube of the show.  

After the show the Little Ones were super hungry I had wanted to take to them to either Bannaple, Kanin Club or Wee Nam Kee but unfortunately all 3 restaurants were full.  We ended up eating at Pho 24. After our meal the  I felt like the Little Ones would be already tired and ready to head home.  But apparently the meal energized them and did not want to go home just yet.  The Little Girl asked if we could go over to High Street and Midnight Mercato. I looked at my watch and my wallet, and thought alright let's go. They have been good kids and they both deserved this treat.

You can catch the show every night up to December 30, 2011. First show is at 6PM, then every 30 minutes till 9PM. Have a wonderful : )

Pho 24

At the end of the lights and sounds show at the Ayala Triangle Gardens the Little Ones were quite hungry.  All the other restaurants at the area were full so we ended up at Pho 24.  I've never tried nor heard about this restaurant before but since the Little Ones were super hungry and were becoming cranky I had no choice.  

Obviously she looks super tired and hungry
The Little Boy though hungry still had the energy to goof around
Scanning the menu I learned that they did not too many dishes to offer.  Most of the items were pho, which would have probably been good but since it was quite humid I was not in the mood for any hot soup.  We ended up ordering mostly appetizers since their other offerings were mostly set rice meals which the Little Ones were not interested in.

We first had the fried spring rolls, which were just so so.  The filling was bland even if you dipped it nuoc nam.  We definitely have had better rolls in other places.

Next came the pomelo salad.  I have had and made lots of pomelo salads before but never like this one.  Their version has coconut cream, so I was very excited to taste this dish.  Unfortunately the pomelo they used was still unripe so you did not get any sweetness, it was very bland.  But at least I got a new idea for a twist on my pomelo salad. I'll be adding coconut cream next time I made this dish at home. 

The fried rice was the only dish I enjoyed, but it was nothing special about it that is worth mentioning.

The Little Boy liked these crispy chicken wings a lot, but for me again there was nothing special about the dish. 

Though I did not really enjoy the food at Pho 24, our visit there served its purpose which was to satisfy the hunger pangs of the Little Ones.  After dinner they were energized as shown in the pictures below.

Dancing under the stars and lights

She had her lovely smile back : ) 
Will I return to Pho 24? Probably not, but then on second thought maybe if the other restos in the area were full and again I had no other choice but to. 
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