We Are Moving!

>> October 12, 2016

Hi guys! I am moving and starting a new food and lifestyle journal. If you are still around and still have patience for my ever fluctuating interests and mood in posting, please follow me :).


Veggie Overload

>> January 15, 2016

Eating veggies to your heart's content will not make you feel guilty a tiny bit. So I stuffed my face with this "chop-whatever-in-my-fridge-salad".

I just juiced all day, and as always, I find myself hungry in the evening. So I stuffed my face with this salad to ease my hunger. And it did fill me up.


Sesame Ginger Cold Soba Noodles

>> September 9, 2014

Sesame Ginger Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 TSP grated ginger


  • Soba noodle
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sesame seeds
  1. Cook soba noodles according to packaging. Rinse with cold water then set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, place some soba noodles and sprinkle some sauce according to your liking. Toss well.
  4. Put in a plate and sprinkle some fresh cilantro and sesame seeds.

adapted from: damndelicious.net


It's Pho Time

  • 2 pcs star anaise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 inc fresh ginger root, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 tsp corriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • some salt to taste
  • Flat rice noodles, cooked
    according to packaging
  • Fresh bean sprouts
  • Sliced lime
  • Bokchoy
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • Thai basil
  • Corriander leaves
  • Min leaves
  • Some chili or
  • Sriracha yeah!
  • Hoisin sauce (optional)
  1. Heat vegetable broth in a pot.
  2. Dunk all broth ingredients , except the salt, and bring it to a boil.
  3. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. 
  4. Taste and check if it needs salt. If it does, adjust accordingly. 
  5. Arrange all the toppings in a huge plate or separate bowl, whatever rocks your boat. 
  6. Put some cooked rice noodles in a huge bowl. Place some bokchoy leaves.
  7. Add the very hot broth.
  8. Put as much topings as you like. 
  9. Finish off with a dash of sriracha and hoisin sauce.


Home Improvements

>> February 18, 2014

It's been 4 1/2 months now since I moved here and believe it or not, I still feel quite unsettled. The house is basically complete with everything we need. But I feel like it still lack some homey touch to it. I've been spending quite some time moving furnishings around, placing decorative items on surfaces, experimenting what would look good in the space we have. It's challenging to decorate - aside from the fact that I don't particularly excel in interior design (other way of saying I have poor taste in that aspect) - this place is way bigger than my condo back in Makati - so much space I feel like I must fill in.

I finally had a chance to hang the photos I printed on canvas on December. I actually thought it's big enough for my plans on our wall, but apparently it still feels small. Nevertheless, I don't think I can afford at the moment to print this in a real big blow up canvas all over again as I find printing services here (good ones) quite pricey! So I guess at this point, I have to live with what I have.

Took these photos in Boracay Island, Philippines in 2009. This sunset series is my most favorite series of all the sunset photos I've ever taken. I feel accomplished that I finally got it printed - and hung.
It does look small. I'm sure it would look way better if it was bigger, but too late for that. 

This is what the side wall looks like. The scratching post on the wall is a must if we want to spare our shelf from cat scratches. The little grass plant under is a cat grass. It's completely destroyed now.
I've also found myself in love with succulents and cacti. I want to fill our house with it.
And of course, 2 out of 6 of my lovies - Lottie and Pansie.


Vegetarian Paella

>> February 1, 2014

Dedicated to my friend JD.

One of JD's food favorites is paella. I remember him always rave about this dish, saying I should try cook it myself. I'm not crazy about paella partly because I may not have tried a really good one in my life time. I remember I promised him I'll veganize paella, but I didn't have a benchmark then, so it never happened.

A few weeks ago on a friend's birthday party, I was presented with an opportunity to try it again, this time cooked by a spaniard from where else? Valencia! The best part? It's vegan! I may sound a bit exaggerating, but it's the best paella ever. Just thinking about it makes me feel like I can still taste it.

Inspired by this dish, and with JD in mind, I finally made my very first home made vegan paella.

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup paella rice (or round japanese rice)
2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 tbsp spanish paprika powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
A pinch of saffron (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1 large white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped 
1/4 cauliflower head, rinsed and chopped (or more if you like)
5 pcs swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
1 eggplant, sliced (1/2 inch thick, 1 inch long - freestyle all you want)
Rosemary sprigs
lime wedges for garnishing.

1. Heat vegetable oil in a paella pan. If you don't have a paella pan, use a wok (i did!).
2. Saute onion for about a minute.
3. Add the cauliflower. Saute for 3 minutes.
4. Toss the eggplant and saute until it's soft.
5. Add red bell pepper and swiss brown mushrooms. Saute for 3 minutes.
6. Add the saffron if you have any, or 1/2 tsp of turmeric (to add some color), but this is totally optional.
7. Add the paprika powder, garlic powder, then salt and pepper according to your taste.
8. Add the rice and saute for another 3 minutes.
9. Then set your stove to low heat and add the vegetable broth. Make sure that it's evenly distributed.
10. Cover and simmer.
11. If the rice is still too tough and the mixture is getting dry, add some water gradually.
12. When its close to cooking completely, put some sprigs of rosemary on top for added flavor. Cover and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

Scoop and serve with lime wedges! You can also serve it with chunky guacamole salsa.

Who's JD?
JD was my classmate in college, met him in 1999. He's one of the smartest in our class. He and Misyel were the first in his group that me and Whinie, my college best friend, became friends with. He's warm, kind, and naturally pleasant person. He's a grammar-nazi. He's a classy person. He hates it when I say "bunganga" when I can say "bibig" (both means mouth, but the former is less classy for his taste). He's one of the funniest people I know. He's very generous, self-less, down to earth, honest, religious, and a very thoughtful friend. Whinie and I eventually got absorbed by his group - which's also made up of great, smart, fun-loving, interesting assortment of people. And this group has become an extension of my family since then. And we are still the best of friends to this date, rock solid than ever.
White Beach, Puerto Galera, 2013

Favorite Memories
I could probably write a book of my memories of JD and the rest of the gang. I must say they are all worth mentioning. I like to remember how good he was in Mahjong, and although I don't have the liberty to say where the capital came from, I want to mention that whenever he wins, he would share his winnings by treating his friends. I was very poor when I was in college and so it was difficult for me to join their "after school" activities. JD would then present his mom's credit card, pay off our bill from the bars, and then we pay him back in staggered payments.

But lately I realized that my most favorite memory of JD wasn't the one that involved an adventure out of town together. Not our yearly "Way of The Cross" tradition. Not our beach escapades. Not our parties nor our drink til you drop sessions. It was actually the simplest - I find myself rethinking the moment over and over again. It was back in college on a rainy season, where we spend our lunch breaks in an obscure, cheap carinderia at the back of our school, sipping the free soup (which was just mainly knorr cubes dissolved in hot water) that came with our meal, enjoying the moment together. Then when it's time, the five of us will fight our places under the one umbrella and run back to the school, under the rain, screaming like crazy people running in the rain and just acting like children. Life was simple, and we were very happy.

I remember JD as someone who loved life so much and lived every minute of it. He enjoyed everything that life offered him. He cherished everything - specially our friendship. He was one of the people I can just be myself in its purest form - the best and worst, it doesn't matter to him.

Boracay, 2006
He have a congenital heart condition, which probably explains why he never gained weight all these years. On one of our dramatic, emo-intoxicated moments together, I remember him telling me that he wanted to live his life to the fullest, he wanted to just live it, because he felt like his life is short.

Life, is indeed short.

Josephine's, Tagaytay

Last Moments of 2013
It wasn't easy anymore to put together a getaway even just for a weekend due to our conflicting schedules, but I'm glad that we were able to push through our Puerto Galera getaway for a weekend. This was because Josh's leaving the country soon, and who knows, it might be our last summer to spend together for a very long time - that was my exact words to Mishy who backed out of the trip. We decided to go to Puerto Galera of all places, because we wanted to reminisce our roots. Puerto Galera was the only place we could afford back in our college years, and early working years for that matter. We wanted to experience it all over again, just to relive our then, young lives. We even stayed in the same place. It was superb fun times.

Bag of Beans, Tagaytay City
After Josh left for the US, it was my turn. At the night of my despedida party, JD was the last one to leave. I walked him to the street and waited for a cab. I couldn't hold my tears back. Kikay's working overseas, and so as Janice. Both try to come home once a year, but that's it. Whinie, on the other hand, have sort of have been distant and we don't hang out with her that often. Josh left for the US for good, and then Mishy was leaving too by the end of the year. It's just all him now. No more weekend breakfast at my condo. No more Saturday farmer's market. No more impromptu movie nights, Rue Bourbon or Greenbelt night outs. It's just going to be him. I hugged him hard and my tears just kept on flowing. I didn't know what to say other than I'm sad that he's going to be alone now, and that I will miss him. I saw in his eyes that he was sad, but he just held back and hid it with a smile.

Impromptu Christmas Party, 2010
In Memoriam.
Today's JD's 40th day in peace. I didn't had a chance to give him a proper memorial until this day. It was just very hard for each one of us to accept that he has passed. We comfort each other with our memories of him. We prayed and prayed for his eternal peace. My friends say that we should pray that he accepts what has happened to him, because his death was sudden, and there were many plans that he left unfulfilled, so that he can move on. But in reality, it is actually us, who loved him dearly, who cared for him,  who should learn to accept and let go - so he can move on, so we can move on.

Today I made paella in memory of him. I'm sorry I should have made it sooner. It's funny how we all left him in Manila, and now life has turned around - he left us all. A lot of things will never be the same again. We will never be complete ever, that's for sure. But life must go on, and this is a wake up call. Life is really short, we should all learn to live it. Enjoy each moment. Cherish everyone you value, and show them how much you care for them. Today I remember JD, a good friend, a brother to me. His memories will be cherished forever. He will always live in our hearts. Rest in peace my dear friend ...


New Sweets Discovery Around Me - Fräulein Büker

>> January 26, 2014

We regularly pass by Fräulein Büker shop every time we do our grocery, although I have never seen it open because we almost always do our grocery at night. One thing that I find so remarkable is their shop's logo - a silhouette of a maiden and a cat. Yes, a cat! Enough to turn my curiosity switch on. And today, we finally get to visit. It's a friend's birthday and we wanted to bring something sweet to the party. Fortunately, they also offer vegan pastries - perfect for Mark.

 Fräulein Büker is apparently not only a bake shop, but also a baking school. I met the fräulein and gave me an overview of the courses she offers. Cupcake decoration is one of their most popular course. She speaks English too, so if you are an expat living within the area and interested to learn baking, this is a great place to be.

The bake shop's facade. So cute!
Some pastries and cookies.
Chocolate slice I randomly picked because it just looks so yummy and tasty.

Fine, this is what really sold the goodies to me :P.
The sweetness level is just perfect. One reasons why I'm not so much of a big fan of pastries, cakes and cookies is because it's almost always too sweet for my taste and makes me get sick of it quickly. This one's a winner though. Not too sweet! Just right!


No Subject

>> January 24, 2014

No, I didn't forget to blog. It's just that it seems the 365 project is becoming more personal than what I hope it to be. Not everything interesting to me may be interesting to you and I don' t want to bore people to death with what's happening (big or small) in my life. So I'm moving my 365 days of Lekker project in a personal journal, and will continue to just share useful stuff in this blog. I've been moving away from the original purpose of this blog and I want to make it concentrated on cooking, house keeping and matters related to that - but oh boy, I am easily distracted. So I will do my best to manage my interest.

ciao for now!


Bubble Blahs

I work and live at night time. I am a person deprived of natural light. I rarely cook in the morning as I'm almost always asleep, else busy with house chores. As much as I love natural light in my photography, I'm afraid I don't usually have that luxury, unless I sacrifice my sleep, or make an effort to stay up longer during the day to do a cooking + photo session. So I depend on my flash, and sometimes, available light from my fluorescent bulbs. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats the natural light, I am, so far, satisfied with my shots using my flash that I learned to love.

I always look forward to the weekends for some sunlight.

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