Homemade Strawberry Jam

>> January 25, 2012

On Monday, I went out to Quiapo to search for my favorite seasonal fruit - strawberries. Yes it's the season again!

I personally like the locally grown one as opposed to the one they sell in the super market all year long because those in the supermarkets are unusually huge in my opinion, flavorless and filled with water. To me they are mutant strawberries that I don't dare to buy. Because of that I just patiently wait for this time of the year to have my strawberry fix.

In this weather, fruits are easy to ripen. Strawberries are notorious for ripening fast so I had to think of a quick plan to dispose them easily in my stomach :). And so the idea of a strawberry jam came to my mind.

Nothing beats homemade jam. Unlike buying it already processed, you control exactly what you put in there. The quality of the strawberries, the amount, the sweetness, chunkiness or creaminess. Here's a simple recipe to get you started with your very own strawberry jam.

Serving : 1 small canister.


- 1 cup mashed strawberries (it's about 30 pieces small ripe strawberries)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- some powdered cinnamon (optional)
- small sterilized canister for storage.

1. Wash strawberries thoroughly. Remove the crown and the overripe parts and mash it in a bowl with fork. If you are lazy like me, use food processor. Make 1 cup.
2. Pour 1 cup mashed strawberries, 1 cup white sugar and 2tbsp of lemon juice in a saucepan. Stir together in low heat until boiling. Continue stirring until you get thick consistency.
3. Sprinkle some cinnamon powder for a little twist.
4. Transfer it to your sterilized canister. This should be good for a week in refrigeration.

Note: I reduced my sugar to 3/4 cup because I don't really like it super sweet. But in general, the ratio of the mixture is 1:1, so if you want to make more jam just double the recipe.


Flower Tea for Serenity

>> January 24, 2012

geez I'm so cheesy :P.

I bought this kind of tea a year ago from Sonya's Garden, which was imported from Vietnam, but have totally forgotten to use it. Reason was, I could never find a nice glass teapot where I can put it in (yeah, it is necessary :P). I didn't really know what to expect as I was instructed (if my memory serves me right) that I had to make sure the water is boiling hot when I submerge it, otherwise, it will not bloom. I was pretty anxious that I would fail since it's a year old now - but hey, I don't think teas expire, does it?

I'm more of a coffee person, but I enjoy tea as much. Lavander, rose, chamomile and taragon are my favorites. As opposed to coffee that boosts your energy, tea is a nice drink if you want to relax your body and mind. I could drink it with no sugar. This is the first time I tried this flower tea and I must say I enjoyed it. It's so beautiful and it taste even better.

Flower tea bud front and side view.

It's so small!

Flower tea in full bloom.

The full blown flower tea up close.


Broccoli Pasta Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

>> January 23, 2012

Holiday fun is over and it's about time to get back to the healthy eating track. I feel a lot better today. I still feel lonely at times being away from Mark, but I guess I'm slowly getting the hang of it. Today, I decided to make myself pasta salad for lunch, one of our many favorite

Serving: 1

- 100g broccoli flowers, stems discarded and thoroughly washed
- 100g penne pasta
- 8pcs cherry tomatoes, halved
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
(optional dressing)
- 1 1/2 tbsp vinaigrette
- 1 tsp honey

1. Put broccoli in a boiling water for 2 minutes.
2. Remove broccoli from the boiling water and then rinse it in cold water so it stops from cooking through. Dry it on a paper towel.
3. Put the broccoli in the food processor to chop it finely. If you don't have one, you can just manually mince it using a knife (just be patient). Set aside.
4. In a baking pan, lay down the halved cherry tomatoes. Drizzle it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put it inside an oven toaster for 5 minutes or until cooked/roasted.
(note: You can also toss the cherry tomatoes fresh and skip this step.)
5. In a ramekin, combine vinaigrette and honey. Mix well. Add more honey according to your taste. This is just to lighten the sourness of the vinaigrette.
5. Boil your penne pasta.
6. When aldente, drain the pasta and put it in a mixing bowl.
7. Add vinaigrette and broccoli. Toss until the pasta is well coated. Add more vinaigrette according to your taste.
8. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
9. Toss the cherry tomatoes.

If you don't like vinaigrette, you can skip it and just season it with salt and pepper.

Serve hot.


Wanted : Inspiration

>> January 17, 2012

I'm back in Manila along with two contradicting emotions. I'm happy to be home, reunited with my cats and can finally stop from worrying now that I can care for them again. I'm also very sad that I'll be living alone for a while. Mark stayed in the Netherlands to work. We both decided that he stays and start working on our future there, while I come back, take care of our life here until we are ready to move with our cats. In the two straight years of being together for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (unless he's out on a photo shoot assignment or hanging out with his friends without me), I became emotionally dependent on Mark, and that's why this time is really tough on me. I feel miserable without him.

So now I am trying to work on getting myself together and focus back on my productivity. It's tough, but life is not designed to be fair and all fun. I have to be strong, reasonable and focused on the goals we are trying to achieve, look on the bright side of the sacrifice we both made.

At this point I still feel uninspired to do anything. But it will pass ;) and hopefully in the coming days I'll be able to share recipes again and great food photos.

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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