Welcome to the Club, Lotto!

>> March 29, 2011

Meet the new member of this flat's Distraction Team - Lotto.

He is now the newest and the naughtiest, chews on my props, and leaves paw prints on my white baseboard.


Vegetarian White Bread Pizza

>> March 22, 2011

Most people get shocked when I tell them I would prefer McDonald's spaghetti over a nice flavorful pizza in Sbarro, Shakey's, Pizzahut, Yellow Cab, or Don Henrico's. I eat pizza, yes, but I'm not really fond of it. I hate the oil and the cheese (yeah, I know lots of you love cheese, specially the guy I'm living with :P). My stomach have no issues with dairy products, I just don't like cheese in general since birth.

Anyhow, I do, however, love home-style pizza where I could just put everything that I want and leave all the ingredients I don't like. Preparation just involves chopping and sprinkling of stuff, and that's pretty much it. It's an easy to make, great tasting snack over a bag of chips.

- tomato sauce (or use ready made Quick and Easy pizza sauce from Del Monte)
- thinly sliced red bell pepper
- thinly sliced green bell pepper
- thinly sliced yellow bell pepper (optional)
- thinly sliced onion rings
- chopped pineapple
- corn kernels, drained
- button mushrooms, sliced
- square white bread
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Spread a generous amount of tomato/pizza sauce on the white bread.
2. Sprinkle bell peppers, onion rings, pine apple chunks, mushroom and corn kernels on top.
3. Top it with cheese if you wish, but I love to finish it with just salt and pepper to taste.
4. Put your bread pizza in a toaster. Toast for about 5 minutes, or until ready.

Home-style pizza is highly customizable that you can transform this in a bonding activity for you and your kids (if you have any). Let them make their own version, kids love to do these stuff specially with their moms. Enjoy and have a quality time together :).


Pickled Jalapeno - My Latest Craze

>> March 18, 2011

Jalapeno love from Hazee.
My addiction to Krispy Kreme's chocolate cake, crab paste, tiny pickled cucumber and sambal manis are over. I'm not exactly into spicy food, but I am recently hooked on pickled Jalapenos! Thanks to my friend Hazel, who gave me a big jar of it, now I can't stop eating it every lunch and dinner.

Weird as it sounds, I eat it together with almost any dish (with rice), as is. The level of hotness of a pickled jalapeno is not as strong as a fresh one. I just love that kick of spice that boosts my appetite.

Careful though, I heard spicy food can give you body odor :P. I eat 3 pieces per meal, and so far, it hasn't come out of my pores yet haha! Also, they say spicy food is notorious for exploding your ass (mine is still intact :P). So if ever you find yourself in the jalapeno addiction, just eat moderately.


Basil Trimming = Pesto Dinner

>> March 17, 2011

Bon Apetito!

I've been planning to trim my ever growing basil plant in the balcony but every time I get a chance, I always feel bad to cut off the little branches with young leaves on it. Now it's humongous, branches leaning everywhere, and the pot just couldn't handle it anymore. Moreover, the leaves it bears are thinner and smaller. Leaves also tend to get yellow easily. It also wrinkles a lot. In other words, it doesn't look as healthy as it used to months ago.

Since it is huge, I figured the soil couldn't supply sufficient nutrients to the plant. So today, I trimmed it. I cut off the old branches even with leaves. I also cut off excessive branches and leaves that makes it heavy. I also discovered a couple of caterpillars (they eat my herbs!) which I removed, but then felt guilty after throwing them off the balcony.

The leaves I harvested were more than enough to make us pesto for tonight's dinner. What could be better than a home-made pesto made from home-grown basil leaves?

Good timing, it's veggie Thursday! I don't have to bleed to come up with a full vegetarian menu for tonight :P!

Credits to this pesto recipe goes to www.pickyourown.org.


- 2 cups fresh packed basil leaves (packed means, stuff them into a measure cup and press them down with your hand; it's not a precise measurement)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (if you don't have pine nuts, you can use walnuts or hazelnuts)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced (or 1 tablespoon of prepared minced garlic)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (helps prevent the pesto from turning brown upon exposure to the air)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Makes about 1 cup or prepared basil Pesto

1. Pick the leaves off of the stems.Discard any flower buds, stems or leaves that aren't in good shape. All we want are leaves; small, medium or large; as long as they are a healthy green, not brown or molding.

2. Wash the basil thoroughly. I usually dissolve baking powder in a pot and soak my green leafy vegetables for about 3 minutes to remove dirt and soil. Then I wash it thorougly with running water.

3. Chop the pine nuts, olive oil and garlic in the food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender, and possibly a chopper. I don't have food processor so I did it with a manual chopper. It's tedious, but worth it :).

4. Add the basil leaves and olive oil in small portions and chop. Add stuff gradually. Chop the mix until it forms a thick, smooth paste.

5. Blend in the grated Parmesan cheese. If you intend to freeze the pesto to store, leave this step out as cheese don't freeze very well.


Eggs Flamenco

>> March 16, 2011

Usually, women are more conscious about weight. We would like to keep our figure nice and slim. If not slim, at least fit and not overweight. But in this household, it's the other way around. Mark is more conscious about his weight than I do. Well, Ok, I'm just one of those lucky people who doesn't gain weight easily no matter what I eat. But of course, as we age, metabolism slows down so I'm kinda open to the idea that I'll be on a diet one day, if I want to stay within my ideal weight.

Anyways, Mark is not fat nor thin, he just doesn't want to gain for running purposes. Being a competitive runner, he thinks that the lighter he gets, the faster he'll be able to run. Apart from running reasons, he wants to stay away from meat for health and moral reasons. Red meat is banned in this household. Although he's not a strict vegetarian, he prefers veggies when we eat at home as much as possible. Chicken and fish are usually reserved when we eat out specially when we do not have a vegetarian option. He eats rice but not fond of it. So to comply with his food preference, I always browse for flavorful vegetarian recipes online and in cook books.

Here's a great idea for a light but healthy dinner. I found this from Marshall Cavendish mini cookbooks called Eggs Flamenco.

- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 medium size onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 220g veggie bacon (optional), sliced
- 2 small green (or red) capsicum, cored, seeded and chopped
- 6 medium sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled and finely sliced
- 115 g of mushroom buttons, finely sliced.
- salt
- ground black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- parmesan cheese, grated.
- dried parsley
- 230 g canned corn kernels, drained
- 4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Heat oil in a pan over moderate heat and cook onion and garlic until onion is soft. Add the veggie bacon(optional) and capsicums and stir fry until capsicums are soft.
3. Stir in tomatoes and mushrooms (i also used some shitake mushrooms to add more flavor). Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, according to your liking. Sprinkle some dried parsley and add a dash of cayenne pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to pulp.
4. Stir in the corn kernels.
5. Pour the mixture in an oven proof baking dish.

6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the mixture. Using the back of a spoon, make 4 small depressions in mixture. Break the egg and put it on top of each depression.
7. Bake it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the eggs are set. Serve hot.

Be careful with cayenne pepper, it can make your eggs flamenco really spicy. It's also important that you make depression areas in the mixture using the back of a spoon to place your eggs. Otherwise, the eggs will be all over the place like what I have in the picture (i forgot that step).Also, do not overcook the eggs. As soon as it is set, bring it out. It gets chewy when overcooked, not very pleasing texture. You can make about 4-5 servings out of this recipe.

Smakelijk eeten!


Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

>> March 9, 2011

If you want something new other than your usual choco and vanilla cupcakes, but would want something that is as easy to make as your usual, try this apple cinnamon cupcake recipe.

So basically, this is just almost the same as the choco cupcakes recipe I posted a while back, with just a few tweaks in the ingredients and preparation.

1 small apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
cinnamon powder
1/4 cup water
100g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg

Preparing the apple mixture.
1. Heat a small pot with about 1/4 cup of water.
2. Pour the finely chopped apple.
3. Stir and simmer.
4. Pour about 2 tbsp of granulated sugar.
6. Sprinkle cinnamon powder according to how strong you want the cinnamon flavor to be.
7. Continue stirring until it has caramelized. Set aside and let it cool down.

Preparing the batter.
1. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt altogether.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the butter and the egg together.
3. Stir in the sugar. Using a rubber spatula, mix them well until smooth.
4. Pour the flour mixture gradually. Continue mixing with your rubber spatula.
5. Pour in the water.
6. Set your electric mixer in low speed and mix everything together for about 20 seconds. Do not over mix.
7. Carefully pour the apple mix and be sure to not pour in the excess syrup in the mixture, it will make your batter heavy. Fold it in.

When you are done with the batter, you can now pour it in cupcake sheets and put it in your cupcake pan. Bake for about 15-20mins. Use a toothpick to check if the inside is still moist or cooked.


Lychee Sake

>> March 8, 2011

Mixing alcoholic drinks used to be one of my food and beverage passions. I'm not big in to drinking anymore, but once in a while, I enjoy social drinking at home with Mark. Warm sake is one of my favorites, but I never had warm cocktails before. So here's an idea of a cocktail mix using sake that you'll definitely enjoy :).

- 2 shots of Sake, chilled.
- 2-3 Tbsp of Lychee juice chilled.
- 2 pcs lychee fruit, chilled.

Just put them all together in a margarita glass (or whatever you like) and serve. If it's too strong fro you, use just 1 shot of sake and more juice. The fruit and juice is just there to give a twist to the sake flavor.

Drinking was fun when I was young. But not now that I'm 28 :P. I'm more of a social drinker now, and I get drunk easily so as much as possible, I stay away from alcohol - unless mark's there to take care of me haha!


Sweet Treat at UCC

>> March 7, 2011

Crème brûlée shake.
I woke up with a clean sink last Saturday afternoon. It's surprising because that doesn't occur in a regular basis. I was ecstatic that Mark washed the dishes (it only happens once in a blue moon :P). So I thought he deserved a treat, and I took him to UCC to get a super late lunch. Here's his special treat, Crème brûlée shake! yummy!


Brunch at Wee Nam Kee

>> March 3, 2011

We finally got to try Wee Nam Kee on Tuesday, a Singaporean food chain that I hear so much about every so often. It's just at Ayala Triangle Park, about 10 minutes walk from our condo. Miker, a friend of mine, who's also been raving about the food they serve in this place, mentioned that it's always busy in this restaurant. It takes about 30-40 minutes of waiting time before you can sit down and eat, and that there's always a line up. In short, it was in demand. Luckily, there were hardly people when we came in. It's probably the less hectic hour so it wasn't as close to what he described.

Hearing these things built up my expectations, I must say. And I wasn't quite wowed. Not sure, maybe I'm just so used to Chinese food and has been to numerous Chinese food joint of different classes that I didn't go too crazy about Wee Nam Kee. A lot of people may object, but it's as good as my good old North Park and Tianenmen, minus the oil. Don't get me wrong, the food was fine. I guess I'm just a victim of over marketing that I expected some sort of food orgasm and didn't get it.

Here's a run down of the foodies I tried:

This is Wee Nam Kee's famous roasted Haianese chicken, single serving. The chicken is tender and tasty, it goes perfect with their ginger side sauce.

Baby Kailan leaves in garlic sauce. It was a bit different from the picture in their menu as I was expecting some sort of green buds/flowers. This one is also pretty good. I love the fact that they didn't drown it in sauce like how North Park would prepare it.

Cereal Prawns, Wee Nam Kee's signature dish. The breading reminded me of Ceralac, an infant snack. I must say I totally dig the crumbs. I was more interested in it than the prawns hehe.


Deep Fried Eggplant and Zucchini

>> March 1, 2011

Here's a great food idea for a healthy and easy to prepare finger food.

1 eggplant
1 zucchini
grated parmesan cheese
all-purpose flour
fine breadcrumbs
1 small beaten egg
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash the eggplant and zucchini thoroughly.
2. Cut them in circles.
3. Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
4. Coat the zucchini and eggplants with a thin layer of all-purpose flour.
5. Dip each into a bowl of beaten egg.
6. Roll it in the parmesan and breadcrumbs mixture.
7. Heat (vegetable) oil in a deep frying pan and fry the vegetables until golden brown.
8. Blot it with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
9. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

I personally prefer no dip, but if you wish, it's perfect with mayo.


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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