April 10, 2011

Mango Graham Cake


                                 I made these for my Byenan, and boy was she happy
                                 It was her 65th birthday, syempre pa may party
                                 Packed very carefully, we brought them for lunch
                                 But what she had to say, no one had a hunch

                                 "Itago na yan sa ref!" Kami ay nagulat
                                 They all wanted a bite, but Byenan said DO NOT!
                                 I wondered, ba't kaya, 'ndi yata na-impress
                                 Pero sabi nya bigla "Whoa, this is the best!"

                                 Ay naku ang lalim, ng aking sigh of relief
                                 Akalain ko ba naman, Byenan pala'y bilib!
                                 "Dadalhin ko 'yan bukas, I'll be given a citation
                                 Kasi I'm retiring na, sakto 'to sa dessert station"
                                 I love my dear Byenan, wala yang halong bola
                                 Knowing that I made her happy, puyat ko'y sulit na
                                 She texted me pa the next day, dessert ko daw ay mabenta
                                 Now lang daw sila nakakita, pang-himagas na bongga

I'll be sharing the recipe on my next post, and how to make it bongga. Stay tuned! =)

April 09, 2011

The Secret to the Bonggang Dessert

Here's how to make this easy but bonggang dessert.
Prepare the following ingredients:
  • 4 big ripe mangoes
  • 2 packs Crushed graham crackers

  • 1 300 ml can Nestle cream, chilled
  • 3 tetra packs all-purpose ceam, chilled
  • 225 ml condensed milk (1 can is 300ml)
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon juice (optional)

1. Mix the last 4 ingredients well to make a rich, creamy mixture. Set aside. Since the cream is chilled prior to this step, chances are, we'll get the perfect consistency later, when we start layering. (it turns out too thick if too cold; and runny if not chilled)

2. Now it's time to prep the mangoes. Slice like how we all do it, leaving the seed, like photo #1 below. Scoop the fruit from the skin with a big spoon or a wide mouth glass; see photo #2. Then chop of both ends of the scooped mango and slice thinly the rest thinly. refer to photo #3.

2. Now let's start layering the 3 major parts of  the obra: The crushed Graham crackers, the cream mixture and the mangoes. Apparently that's the correct sequence.

                  So again, that's crushed Graham crackers, the cream mixture, mangoes.
                  Crushed Graham crackers, cream mixture, mangoes.
                  Crushed Graham crackers, cream mixture.... STOP!

3. It's time to make it bongga. Arrange the mangoes in a circular fashion, starting from the edges as shown in photo #1 below. Work your way towards the center, making sure to place the 'petals' in an increasingly upright position until you reach the middle. By then, you shall have formed the beautiful flower.

                                 Put it now in the ref, chill for like 20 minutes
                                 Then magbihis ka na bilis, dont ask na kung bakit!
                                 Birthday man o hindi, go bring that to your Byenan
                                 At least, for the record, nakapag-sipsip ka kahit minsan

March 27, 2011


Here's a common scene in the house that has probably been making our helpers cringe.

I welcome Totoy giddily from work, "Guess what's for dinner?"

He sniffs 3 times and guesses. It doesn't matter if he's right or wrong; I run to the kitchen to get the masterpiece of the night. This usually happens when I cook something he likes that I've never cooked before or when I cook something I know he's been craving for.

"Knock! Knock!", my voice from the kitchen.

"Who's there?" he'd say. My husband is always ready to answer my knock-knocks.

"Hopya." I start walking at this point.

"Hopya, who?"

"Here. HOPYA LIKE IT!" I say as I put down the dish on the table. I carefully watch the pacing of my walk to achieve that perfect timing.

Here's a dish that was once a part of that scene. I hopya like it too!

(inspired by Hap Chan's Chop Suey)

Prepare the following vegetables to blanch:
  • about 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 cups snow peas (chicharo)
  • 1 big chayote
  • 2 cups baby corn
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups green (Baguio) beans
  • half head cabbage
For the sauce, premix the ff to a slurry:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 chicken cube, dissolved on 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. patis
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
and these: 
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 chopped big white onion
  • 2 chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 big can button mushrooms
 For garnish:
  • 2 doz. boiled quail eggs
  • sesame oil
  • cilantro
1. Boil salted water and blanch the vegetables. You can do it in batches according to which vegetables you want to make more tender. Limit the cooking time per batch to 1 to 5 minutes only to avoid overcooking. Drain and set aside.

2. Stir fry ginger, garlic, onion and bell pepper on sesame oil until aromatic. Add the mushrooms, then the slurry. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

3. Add the vegetables and stir until heated thourougly. Serve with quail eggs, top with few cilantro sprigs and drizzle with sesame oil.

  Hopya! :)

March 24, 2011

Fish Tempura


This fish recipe brings to mind my memories of a little boy who once lived with us. His name was RJ. His mother, Mercy, was our helper. No one could look after him if his mother were to continue working for us at that time, so we told Mercy she could bring him along. We thought it would benefit everyone if she did. Work and shelter for them, househelp for us and a play buddy for Choychoy.

Choychoy seemed to like RJ, but RJ didn't like him back. Mainly it had to do with him and Choychoy accidentally bumping against each other on their very first play session. RJ ended up being thrown a good 4 feet across the room. Imagine a small car colliding with something big, say, the planet Jupiter. No one's fault, really, just simple physics at work, but the incident traumatized RJ a great deal. He would react to Choychoy's every move as though it were life threatening. It didn’t help that RJ weighed only about as much as all of Choychoy's toes combined. My poor baby worked his way around RJ as gently as he could but RJ would run like hell for the nearest exit every time he found himself in the same room as my son.

Diyos ko, iligtas nyo po ako...
Choychoy was the biggest boy he had ever seen, RJ said, and he couldn't believe how a boy his age could be as strong as a bull. (Honestly, we couldn't believe it, either.) Needless to say, the play buddy plan didn't work out.

There was one thing that RJ couldn't stay away from, though. It was my Fish Tempura. He just couldn't get enough of them. Ate it like Chippy, actually.

The day RJ and his mom bid us goodbye, I served up a Fish Tempura that (along with his memories of a giant playmate) he will never forget.

..... Looking back now, I think the only logical way I could have gotten him to play with my boy was if Choychoy was wearing a string of Fish Tempura around his neck. :)


1. First, prepare your boneless fillet. I use Cream Dory (Pangasius) which you can easily get at any supermarket's frozen section. Slice them into strips and season with salt and pepper. Put in freezer first while you prepare the batter. You can also start heating a pot of vegetable oil at this point, for deeep frying.


2. Mix the following dry ingredients in a bowl:
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda 
3. In another bowl, beat an egg and an extra egg white slightly, then add a cup of ice water. Again, that's:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup ice water
4. Put the egg mixture in the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir very slightly, even leaving some portions unmixed. Mixing it will produce gluten and will fail you to achieve that lacy, bubbly texture on your tempura.

5. Put the bowl of batter in a bigger bowl of ice cubes. This is to ensure the fish batter is very, very cold when you drop them in a pot of very, vey hot oil.

6. Put all the cold fish in the lumpy batter. Fold to cover the fish just before dropping it on the very hot oil. Watch it sizzle into a light and lacy Tempura. Fry for about 6 minutes and serve with Tentsuyu.

Dipping Sauce (Tentsuyu):

Put the following ingredients in a pan and cook under low heat until sugar is melted. The original recipe calls for dashi soup stock instead of water but this surprisingly turned out delicious.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar

March 19, 2011

March 10, 2011

Looong Weekend

I looove long weekends! I really, really do. The sun shines.... parang brighter. The air smells.... parang fresher. For some reason, even when you lack sleep, you wake up early; long drives look more appealing than lounging around the house all day watching Barney. Parang... ang kati sa paa!

Luckily, Totoy often feels the same, and such was the case this weekend. We found ourselves all packed and seated in the car before we even knew where we were heading.  

Then off we went, in a dazzling place we never knew; where there was no one to tell us no or where to go. The gasoline boy told us though, "Wala hong Jolibee rine"....... Say we're only dreaming!

It turned out we weren't. San Guillermo didn't have Jolibee and we were hungry. And then we saw it, shining, shimmering, splendid!
Angel Hamburger. Ok na din, 'buy one, take one' pa.

Yes, it did feel like a Whole New World out there, (umn, in case you still don't get it?) and the trip was turning out exactly how we wanted it. We did get an itty-bitty more of what we were asking for though, when finally the road signs were leading us to a finally familiar town, Tagaytay. This back door to the city turned out to offer the most doglegs and the steepest trails you can imagine.

But we survived. Needless to say, among the countless trips to this nearest yet coolest of getaways, that route gave us the most fun, memorable and thrilling Tagaytay journey, ever.

The day continued to favor us with perfect weather. Our little boy got to see several things for the first time.

Every minute spelled FUN.

Then it was time to head back home. In keeping with the day's theme of unplanned adventure, dear husband chose to take the untried route, Imus.  

No more sharp bends or scary slopes. Somewhere near Bacoor, however, a magnificent sight had the domestic diva in me commanding the vehicle to a screeching halt:  heaps of fresh Tahong  on a sidewalk table glistening beautifully under a lamp.

Perfect, I thought to myself, this long weekend has just begun.


Here are the ingredients you need to make this luscious dish:
  • 3 kg. tahong (mahirap na, baka mabitin)
  • 1 1/2 cup melted salted butter (3 sticks or 1 1/2 brick dito satin)
  • 1/3 cup finely pounded garlic
  • 1 to 2 cups grated quick-melt processed cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parseley
  • lemon, for serving
1. Clean the mussels in running water. Remove the "beard" by pulling it towards the hinge side of the tahong. You can sometimes buy them still with those nasty barnacles attached; remove them with a knife.

2. Boil a pot of water and put in the tahong. Ready your tongs or ladle because you just want to open the shells and not really cook them. Remove each tahong as soon as they open. The toughest to open could take about 15 minutes.

3. Let cool and remove the top shell.

4. Lay them out in baking trays.

5. Melt the butter. Pound the garlic to a paste and mix in the butter. Put at least half a teaspoon of the mixture on each tahong.

6. Top with grated cheese and parseley.

7. Put in the oven, preheated to 375° F or 190 ° C. Bake for about 10 minutes. Note that an overcooked tahong shrinks and gets tough. Asteeeg, hehehe.. (RPG hangover)

8. Serve with lemon.

The long weekend did not end here, of course; but this blog post has to - with a promise that Part II or even Part III will follow in the days to come.

February 25, 2011

Killer Chicken

Although the recipe I'm sharing today is my husband's own, I'm sure he's with me in dedicating this great dish to the one who loves it the most -- my nephew Oyel.

Allow me to share a little story about Oyel. (bawal mag-skip)

He had an unusual upbringing in the sense that he was never baby-talked. Never. Having been born to young parents, he was surrounded with fun-loving adults who talked to him like he was grown up. Pretty soon we had ourselves a toddler who himself talked like an adult. Like one time, he was standing in line behind a nursery classmate whose hair he happened to smell. He told the poor kid, "Sabihin mo sa mommy mo, shampoohin ka nang maige ha." And he'd justify that to us on his adult tone, that the girl needed that, and that someone had to tell her. Haay.

Every so often we'd find ourselves unmindful of his age and would be sharing our thoughts with this little boy. Once when he was barely three, we got engaged on this talk about me being bullied when I was in college. He listened intently, and when I was done, he uttered calmly but with conviction, "Paglaki ko Tita Ai, papatayin ko sila". Juskupooo, binaby-talk na lang dapat ito.

Mabuti na lang, the killer instinct in him did not progress (thank you Lord), and he has since grown up to be a fine young college boy; his thoughts replaced with fondness for pretty girls and good food. Having said that, this chicken dish is one of his super favorites.

Oo na, eto na, 'to na!

(dubbed as Peppered Chicken too)

Prepare your griller; some uling of course. Then you'd be needing:
  • Chicken thighs
Make a few slits on your chicken. The skin shrinks evenly; thus prettier that way, when grilled.
Now make the mixture for the rub:
  • rock salt
  • cracked peppercorn
  • MSG

Mix 2 parts of salt to 1 part of pepper in a bowl and taktak some vetsin =). Rub on the chicken thighs. Be careful not to add too much, baka umalat.
Now prepare the mixture for basting. You're going to need the following:
  • Star margarine
  • Achuete oil
To make achuete oil, cook on low heat 2 cups of vegetable oil and a cup of achuete (annatto) seeds for about 5 minutes or until you get that dark yellow color. Discard the seeds and there you have your achuete oil.

Back to the basting mixture, put the margarine to 2 parts achuete oil. So for 2 cups of achuete oil, you need to put about a cup of the margarine. Please do your math. You may not be needing this much but it won't hurt to keep the excess.

There goes your basting mixture. Just brush generously on the chicken while grilling, walang hindi masasarapan =).

Oh. For the sawsawan we put soy sauce, calamansi, salt and pepper on vinegar.

It goes very well too with what Oyel named "Margarine Rice".
To make that, just heat on pan 2 tbsp. of that basting mixture, add another tbsp. of margarine, saute about 1 tbsp. of garlic then add about 3 tbsp. of green onions. After a few seconds add about 8 cups of rice. (naparami yata yung about) Put 1 pack of Maggi Magic Sarap and konting salt pa.

There! That's for you, Yel! =)

February 21, 2011

Buffalo Wings

Here is what we had for dinner last night, Buffalo Wings.

Certain foods remind us of certain events. Yes, I can hear you say "WTF just give us the goddamn recipe!" but no, everything comes with a price, so I'm moving on..
I may have had Buffalo Wings on a date with Totoy... I may have had it in a meeting with Queenie. But Buffalo Wings will always remind me of Choychoy's 3rd month birthday.

Eeeeee!!! Ain't he cute?

Yes, we had Buffalo Wings that day,  

pasta and Banoffee pie, among others.

Nanay, Ninie, Joel, Oyel and Miggy were there. Joni was there too, inside Mommy's tummy.

At one point Nanay and I were left on the table. She asked, "Ba't ba Buffalo Wings tawag d'yan?" You see she trusts me on a lot of things (especially on keeping conversations to ourselves) and I try my best not to fail her so I quipped, "E syempre ang lalaki o". Naniwala. 

"Ang lalaki nga 'no?" Ga-buffalo nga naman, kombinsing.

Whew. I couldn't wait to ask my walking encyclopedia, when they left. "Toy hulaan mo, ba't Buffalo Chicken tawag dyan?" 

"... e kung sabihin from Buffalo, New York kasi."

"Tama!" Chineck ko sa internet, tama nga.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, from the City of Buffalo, New Yooooork...............

The Buffalo Chicken Recipe  
  • 1 kg. chicken wings (any part will do actually)
  • vegetable oil for frying
1. Rub the chicken with a mixture of:
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • MSG (sorry na, konti lang naman e)

2. Fry evenly. Drain on paper towels.

3. For the sauce, cook the following in a pan under low heat:
  • half brick of butter (125g)
  • 1 small bottle of hot sauce (100g)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato catsup
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder or 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped green onions
  • 1/2 tsp. worstercershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Knorr liquid seasoning (adjust amount to taste)
4. Put the chicken in a lid container and pour the sauce.

5. Shake it well until the chicken are evenly coated with the sauce.
6. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

Blue Cheese Dressing 
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. mayonaisse
  • 1 finely chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. green onions (choose the white part, near the roots)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
     * You can skip the blue cheese and you get yourself a Ranch dressing. Works well with the chicken just as great.

February 19, 2011

I Heart You

I enjoy making heart-shaped baon for Totoy. I especially like it when he doesn't know what his baon is... it tests my E.Q. By 12:15pm I'd find myself calling him on the cel, "Nakita mo na? Maganda?" 
Tortang talong


So on Valentine's day, I made something more special than usual: heart-shaped of course, and red.
Strawberry Cheese Cake!  
Here's how to make it. New Yohk style, baby.

For the crust, prepare: 
  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp. white sugar 
And for the filling, these:
  • 4 packs Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Nestle' cream in can
  • 4 eggs 
1. Preheat your oven to 325°F or 170°C.
2. Mix the crust ingredients and press on the pan.
3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl. Add the flour, vanilla, lemon zest, the cream and sour cream. Then the eggs, one at a time. Pour the mixture in your prepared pan with the crust.
4. Bake for 70 to 90 minutes, or until you get the color similar to this one:

5. Cool completely, then remove from pan. Put the toppings just before serving. Try n'yo!

Ano'ng Gusto mo sa Itlog?

Scrambled, sunny side up, boiled o poached?

Honestly, there was a time when I didn't know what 'poached' was. Kaya naman nang malaman ko na kung ano yon at nagka boyfriend ako ng gwapo, tinanong ko na agad para ma-impress, "Ano'ng gusto mo sa itlog?" Sasagot pa lang s'ya ng "Kinakam---", sinundan ko kaagad ng, "Poached?" Naaaks! Kasal na kami ngayon. Kaya kung gusto mong magka-asawa ng gwapo, learn how to poach an egg perfectly.
Here's how:

1. Put one egg in a small bowl like that of the photo above.
2. Boil about 3 cups of water in a pan o mga 2-3 inches na taas ng tubig.
3. While the water is briskly boiling, add a pinch of salt in the water and a few drops of vinegar in the middle of the pan.
4. Then carefully drop the egg in the middle of the water.
5. Cook for around 2 minutes and scoop carefully with a slotted spoon. Add salt and pepper.

Tip: Don't rush it. It could appear already done in the pan after a minute but you don't want the yolk to come out too runny like what happened to mine. So, a little less than 2 minutes did it for me.

Good luck sa itlog mo. =)
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