Manual Chopper Turned Food Processor

>> January 28, 2011

This is a very handy tool that everyone who loves to cook should have (in my opinion)in their kitchen. This will help you save so much time specially if your recipe requires so much chopping and mincing.

Meet my chopper!

This is super handy for chopping and mincing, and can actually give you a sort of food processor results. This is what I use when preparing ingredients for salsa, and lumpia (shanghai). The handle is connected to a set of blades inside and lets you control the chunkiness or fineness through the rotation handle. The more it gets easier to rotate, the finer the vegetable gets.

Anyways here's an example of it's food processor-ish results.

Note: This is not poop.

I do not have a food processor, but in times that my recipe needs one, I use this chopper. However, the downsides are :

a. It's tedious, tiring. You have to rotate until you achieve the finest it can get.
b. The texture is still not as smooth as a real food processor can give you.

But well, it's a low-cost alternative if you don't have the budget yet for a food processor; or if you don't think it's practical to buy a food processor because you might not use it too often.

So go to your nearest shopping store and look for a chopper that fits your needs. There's a wide varieties of this, but just to give you a tip of what this kind does.


Strawberry Creme Dessert

>> January 23, 2011

It's the season of strawberries again, one of my favorite fruits!

Mark and I went to Quiapo to have my camera checked by Dr. Dong (he's a seasoned, very reliable and ever famous camera repairman) in the hopes that it can still be fixed. Quiapo, far from being pleasing to the eyes(crowded,dirty,lots of shit going on) is still one of our favorite places to go to. They have an entire street of camera stores that offers great deals in camera, camera gears, and shooting equipments. Mark's haven. It is also a huge market place that sells almost everything but a kitchen sink. Fruits and vegetables are one of my favorite stuff to get there. Aside from it's cheap and you can haggle, they got the freshest! So since it's strawberry season, strawberries are everywhere; the freshest, sweetest, ripest, cheapest - straight from Baguio. So I went crazy and bought a bunch.

So much for a long introduction. Here's one strawberry dessert idea that's easy to make.


- 15 pcs strawberries (you can add more if you wish)
- 1/4 cup white sugar (depends on how sweet you want it)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose cream (or more if you want it more creamy)
- crushed ice

1. Put strawberries in a food processor together with the all-purpose cream and sugar. Do not purify, keep it chunky. Chill.
Note: If you do not have a food processer, you can just smoosh the strawberries with fork and then mix the cream and sugar. Blend well.

2. Get a serving bowl, fill the half with crushed ice. Scoop out the strawberry mixture and put it on top.

Serves 2.

I added this recipe to a fellow food blog :)


Patterick Wants Some Strawberries

Here's Mr. McPatterson, trying to ruin my set.


Lasagne Sheets in Tomato and Basil Sauce

>> January 19, 2011

We are all used to eating lasagne in layers. But what about preparing them like normal pasta for a change?

This recipe is again, inspired by one of my favorite cooks, Jamie Oliver, called the Cheat's home-made pappardelle with quick tomato sauce, only I didn't make my own pasta dough :).

 Preparing the Lasagne sheets.

1. Fill a huge pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add salt and oil in it.
2. Take about 6 pieces of ready made lasagna sheets and submerge it in boiling water, one at a time.
3. When al dente, strain the boiling water and immediately rinse the pasta with cold water.
4. Fold the Lasagna in 4, cross-wise, and carefully slice it in a 4, making strips out of it. I usually like the pasta long, but you can cut it also in half to make it a bit shorter for easy mixing later.
5. Set aside.

Sauce Ingredients.
- 1 (400g) can diced tomatoes
- olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 fresh red chili, finely chopped
- bunch of small basil leaves, plucked
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese to server

1. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a sauce pan.
2. Saute garlic and chili, until garlic is golden brown.
3. Throw in a bunch of small basil leaves and stir for 20 seconds.
4. Pour in the diced tomatoes and simmer.
5. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. You may also add sugar if it's too sour for you. Filipinos love sweet sauce :).
6. While simmering, you can throw in the lasagne strips and blend well.
7. Serve with small basil leaves for garnishing and parmesan cheese.

Serves 2.


How I murdered the fish

>> January 13, 2011

- and buried it in lotsa veggies.

I was in the mood for some salmon grilling last evening but we didn't find one at Kang's, a Korean grocery store closest to us. So Mark settled for a salted fish flounder and thought it was good for grilling.

Fish has always been a challenge to me when it comes to grilling or frying. I hope that you could give me some tips to effectively fry or grill them without mutilating the flesh, or burning. In this case, there were 3 fish, one was mutilated, the other 2 were quite burned :P.

Here's the dinner idea. Just make sure you take care of your fish when you do this.

Grilled Fish served with Veggies.

- Marinated fish, good for grilling (Salmon is a good candidate)
- Brussel sprouts
- potatoes cut in medium-sized cubes (baby potatoes recommended)
- baby carrots (optional)
- slice of lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable preparation:
1. Steam the brussel sprouts and baby carrots. Do this separately as it might need more time for the carrots to soften than the brussel sprouts. You don't want to serve soggy vegetables.
2. Boil the potatoes. If you are using baby potatoes, make sure that you scrub them before you boil them to remove the dirt/soil. Drain thoroughly when ready.
3. Set the vegetable aside when ready.
4. Whisk extra-virgin olive oil on brussel sprouts and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
5. It's a nice idea to grill your potatoes after boiling them. Season with salt and pepper.

For the fish, just properly grill it and you'll be fine.

To serve :
Surround the fish with your veggies, and top it with lemon. The lemon helps minimize the pungent fishy taste (lansa in tagalog, sorry I don't know how it exactly translates). I love lemon on fish :).


Harvest time!

>> January 12, 2011

I was told by a friend that it's healthy for my herbs to harvest them when they are ready instead of just letting them grow and wither. My basil, for example, has been growing like crazy for the past few weeks. I think its about 3 feet tall now. I only pluck them when I need it. But she said harvesting and trimming them when they are ready will encourage the herb to grow more leaves. And so I did :)!

Sylvia sniffing the aromatic basil leaves.

My parsley that I thought will never grow. Apparently, its development was just slow.

The peppermint also needed some trimming.

So this evening, we might have salad with lotsa basil in it, a dish that requires parsley, and probably a minty refreshment!


Project : Mini Herb Garden

>> January 3, 2011

My mini herb garden project started in December 10, 2010 when I decided I'd like to grow more herbs aside from my beautiful and ever growing basil. I planned to have mint, tarragon, coriander, tomatoes and rosemary. We bought a number of big pots, coriander, rosemary and tomato seeds, 3 small pots of coriander and 2 small pots of parsley.

If you remember, I already have a parsley. But this parsley never dies, nor grows. It's just as is. I thought that planting a few more would encourage it to grow and multiply. Unfortunately, the new plants just died.

The coriander died too after 3 days. I didn't know that coriander is sensitive and gets easily stressed when you transfer it from one pot to another. So basically, buying a coriander pot and transferring it to a another soil is a guaranteed death. It's recommended to plant it from seeds.

During a Saturday market here in Salcedo Village, I found a pot of mint and tarragon. I'm very happy that the 2 of them survived and very very healthy at this time.

Tarragon is not only good for cooking, it's also a great tea!

My little tarragon now is bearing flowers.

Very proud of my pepper mints!

I was disappointed with what happened to my coriander that I kinda got apprehensive in planting the seeds I bought. Aside from I'm a great procrastinator, I also know no shit about planting. But finally, on December 27, I decided to just plant it! I prepared the soil, sprinkled my tomato seeds on one pot and buried it a little bit, and did the same for my coriander seeds.

On January 1, 2011, a miracle of life has manifested! I was very surprised to see that my tomato seeds are budding!


I was so thrilled! This is the first time I grew something from seeds (except mongo which grows even on damp paper :P ). I wonder if it will grow and eventually bear fruits. Stay tuned!

As for my coriander - I thought it was hopeless. But today, I saw one tiny bud. It's a good sign, isn't it? Very symbolical. Their birth are right at the start of 2011. New beginning :).


Our Christmas Dinner

It's nice to eat out on Christmas eve, but I thought that it's more special if you yourself would prepare it for your loved ones.

Cooking for 2 was relatively easy so I decided to come up with a 4-course meal.

Starter : Veggie goodies dipped in a creamy cheese fondue.

Inspired by 101 Cook books.

Salad : Roasted cherry tomatoes and black olives in couscous.

Recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen.

Main : White fished wrapped with bacon.

Simple but classy recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to take pictures of our dessert, which was my version of refrigerator cake. I was too tipsy from the eggnog and grolsch.


Eggnog Discovery

Eggnog's not just a cookie after all!

Pardon my ignorance, but I honestly didn't know that eggnog is a holiday drink very popular in European countries. When Mark ask if I can prepare eggnog for Christmas eve, I was confused. This was my idea of eggnog:


It turned out pretty good. Outstanding for a first timer (at least according to Mark). I was glad I did it right the first time because I was desperate to put a little bit of European touch to our Christmas celebration. He's a bit emotional and homesick during the holiday season.

The recipe I followed is found here. Note that this is highly perishable so make sure you just prepare the amount you can finish. In my case, I halved all the ingredients.


3 eggs
1 extra yolk
2 cups whole milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 plus 1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tbsp. Vanilla powder1
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 cup Jim Beam

1. Whisk the eggs, extra yolk, vanilla powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl until well blended.
2. Slowly pour the milk while you whisk. This ensures that the ingredients are well blended in.
3. Turn on your stove in the lowest possible heat. Use a pot (big enough to hold the mixture) and fill it with the mixture.
4. Continue whisking for about 20 minutes. DO NOT BOIL the mixture or it will cook the eggs.

Note: Traditional eggnog doesn't require simmering the mixture. I think this recipe I found recommended to warm it up a bit to lessen the risk of salmonella on eggs.

5. Remove the pot. Use a strainer to transfer it to another bowl, just in case there are pieces of egg that cooked out.
6. Stir in Jim Beam and nutmeg.
7. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for about 4 hours (or until you reach the coldness you wish).

To serve:
Scoop it with a soup ladle and pour in a glass. Top it with whipped cream and stir it in, finish with a dash of nutmeg. I made about 5 servings in this mixture.



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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