Support Pet Adoption

>> February 28, 2012

For a change, I'd like to share something other than cooking (and hopefully this will excuse me from not posting any recipe for more than a week).

I volunteered in an pet adoption event held by CARA Welfare Philippines last Saturday and covered it in behalf of Mark who's a member and their designated photographer. CARA (Compassion and Responsibility for Animals) is a non-profit, non-government organization ran by dedicated volunteers who aim to educate citizens in regards to responsible pet ownership, animal welfare and rights, promoting spay/neuter/TNR to control animal population. CARA offers low cost spay/neuter program and veterinary services to help low-income households be able to afford medical assistance for their beloved animals. A common misconception about the organization is that it is a shelter. Unfortunately, it isn't. The facility CARA have is a clinic. The rescues are fostered by members, and when they are ready, they are sent up for adoption.

I could write a whole lot about the sad facts about the lives of cats and dogs stray population in this country, why it happens, how people neglect them, how the majority of citizens are apathetic, and how much people feel sorry but never make a move to help be part of the solution. I could go on and on but that's another story.

Looking at the bright side, I'd like to share heart warming photos of people who dedicated their time to get these less fortunate animals find a loving home, and people who went to either adopt and open their homes to them, or donated for this cause. Even when I lose hope on people at times, there's still a tiny bit part of me who believes that there are still a lot of good people among us.

It was nice to see that there were a lot of people who have shown interest in the adoption. They may not all have adopted, but it's a great chance for us to educate people why we do what we do,  responsible pet ownership, and why it is important to consider adoption first rather than buying a pet companion.
Tireless volunteers assist people with questions how to go about adopting a cat from CARA.
Potential Adopters are interviewed and are asked to sign up an adoption sheet. Just like any adoption centers, CARA ensures that the animals will get to a home where they can be supported and cared for, provide appropriate food and medical assistance when necessary. CARA also makes follow up visitation to the adopter's home as part of the adoption policy. 

Here are the adorable rescued dogs that also came in the hopes that they will find a family and forever home . They are very healthy, well behaved, friendly and very loving.  The lovely girl on top is their foster parent who have at least 13 rescued dogs under her care. 
The two little girls were very excited to bring home these two cute cuddly tabbies. (Right) Handsome Antonio the cat was one of my favorites and I'm truly happy for him that he got adopted too by these two young ladies :).

The cats are very grateful to these wonderful families who opened their hearts and homes to them.
It was an eventful Saturday. I was tired but it was worth it. After the event, Gerry, Anton and I went to dinner and then had a full body massage after. Nice eh?


Tonight's Dinner

>> February 24, 2012

A few of my friends are dropping by tonight to return a few stuff from each other. To make the visit fun, we decided to have dinner together. But in this shack, everything that is cooked and served is vegetarian, so I hope they like what's in my menu.

Fingers-crossed for my carnivore friends :P. I hope I still get a chance to take some photos.


Sunday Lunch at Sonya's Secret Garden

>> February 13, 2012

Sonya's Garden, a place I consider very special, a place I would go back to over and over again. I have shared so many special moments with my friends and loved ones in this place, and over the years, it has not disappointed me. It's a long drive from the city but the trip is always worth it. Well, at least the trip going there. I don't really appreciate the trip going back because I just hated the bad traffic conditions there on the weekends.

Sonya's garden is sort of a retreat place. They have a huge land covered in lush vegetation, where people are free to explore. There's bed and breakfast, a spa, country store, bakery, and their famous restaurant that I noticed they have expanded. They have a number of dine-in rooms now that can cater for events, as well as just people who'd like to dine. The restaurant looks sort of a huge green house, filled with beautiful colorful chandeliers, Hispanic and native interior. Tables are dressed with delicate embroidered cloths. The ambiance is just healthy and relaxing. The food they serve is all organic. They grow their own vegetables! How about that? They have a la carte menu, but the most famous is their set menu where both meat lovers and vegetarians can enjoy!

1. The first course is salad. It is served with a collection of organically grown green and leafy vegetables, various salad toppings - all refillable. You can eat as much as you can. Toppings were consisted of mango, turnip, melon, mushroom pate, sliced black olives, white cheese, chopped hard boiled egg, anchovies, and a sort of tapenade. The dressing they serve tasted like ceasar dressing.

2. I arranged my salad and kinda like the taste of this green rounded leaves. Unfortunately, I don't know what it's called.

3. The main course is pasta served also with different topping and sauce. They serve 2 sauces; tomato based red sauce and creamy chicken white sauce. It comes with capers, ratatouille, black olives, shiitake mushrooms, and the famous salmon belly.

4. We had 2 servings of salmon belly since my friends are just crazy about it.

5. The desserts were bite size turon (banana wrapped in lumpia wrapper and then deep fried), sweet potato, and the yummy (my favorite) chocolate cake. It is served with taragon tea.

And before I forget, they serve fresh dalandan juice!

After lunch we took a lot of photos in the area, bough some goodies in their country store and bakery, and then left with a full stomach. Every year I visit this place. I just wish that the traffic condition there improves soon as I'd like to go often. I don't mind the long drive.

Oh, and I brought home a souvenir (it's not a cat) that i'll tell you about soon.

Stomachs full and just enjoying our dessert
Some nice area in the secret garden.
Look what I found! A thirsty cat with a class. Isn't it cute?


Goat Cheese Wrapped in Roasted Eggplant

>> February 11, 2012

If you are tired of tortang talong or plain fried eggplants, here's another way you can cook and prepare them - with an added glamour. It's easy to make, just a bit challenging to wrap (at least to me).


- 3 long eggplants, washed thoroughly
- olive oil
- Goat cheese (or kesong puti for a cheaper local version)
- culinary string
- salt and pepper to taste

- minced parsley or corriander leaves.
- toasted bread

1. Chop off the stalk. Thinly slice the eggplant lengthwise on both sides removing its skin. Then make 2 slices (depending how thick your eggplant is). This will be your pair of wrapper. Do the same with the rest of your eggplants.

2. Brush olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle salt and pepper, and grill it. If you have no grill, then frying is fine. Turn to the other side when it's browned and cooked. Set aside.

3. Slice cubes of goatcheese, just enough to fit the width of the eggplant slices.

4. When the eggplant has cooled down, lay 2 slices on top of each other making a cross. Lay the goat cheese at the center and wrap it with the eggplant slices. Then fasten it using a culinary string.

5. Heat it in an oven toaster of 3 minutes.

Makes 3 pcs.

To serve:

Lay it on top of a sliced toasted bread and sprinkle some parsley or corriander leaves. Best served with a green leafy side salad.

Great suggestions for some variation of this dish:

a. Use courgette instead of eggplants if you aren't a fan of eggplant (trust me I know people who wouldn't dare take a bite on an eggplant).

b. Use feta cheese as a filling.

c. Coat the goatcheese with sesame seeds or poppy seeds for an added texture and flavour.

d. Maximize the enjoyment of this dish by pairing it with other superb, healthy dishes like stiry fried mushrooms and brocolli or a nice kale apple salad.

Big thanks to the suggestions on improving the dish, J. Roper and an anonymous commenter I'll call Lekker Friend :), and for sharing your experience trying out this recipe!


Rice Noodles in Spicy Asian Inspired Broth

Our good friend Glenn from the Netherlands cooked dinner for us during my last weekend there, and yet again, it was superb. Glenn and I seem to share the same taste when it comes to food. I can't remember a time where he prepared something I didn't like. I have stolen acquired recipes from him in the past, and this one is definitely worth sharing.

This recipe is based on how I remembered the dish tasted like so I tweaked stuff a little bit based on my memory of the flavours.


Rice Noodles


- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 vegetable broth cube
- 2 tsp. Sambal Oelek (Indonesian chili condiment)
- 1 tbsp. sugar (optional)
- corriander powder
- salt and pepper to taste


- french beans
- fried tofu cubes
- togue
- fresh corriander leaves
- slice of lime/lemon

1. Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of tap water and set aside. This should soften it.

2. Prepare the toppings. Trim both ends of the french beans and parboil it. Careful not to overcook to keep it crunchy. When the colors become vibrant, remove it from the boiling hot water and shock it with cold water. Drain and set aside.

3. Cut tofu into cubes and fry until golden brown. Set aside.

4. Pour 4 cups of water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Add the vegetable broth cube and give it a stir.

5. Add the coconut milk.

6. Add 2 tsp. sambal oelek. Add more if you like it spicy. Bring the broth in to a boil and then set it to low heat.

7. Add the sugar, a good amount of corriander powder, then salt and pepper to taste. Adjust accordingly.

8. Drain the rice noodles and then pour hot water in it. Wait until it's cooked and soft enough for eating. Drain and set aside.

To serve:Arrange the rice noodles in a bowl. Add a scoop of broth. Top it with the beans, tofu, togue, corriander leaves and garnish it with a slice of lemon or lime. This dish serves 2 to 3.

Note: Rice noodles absorb liquid easily that's why I like to cook it separately. It is also heavier in the stomach than it looks so don't cook too much noodles.


What's In My Fridge?

>> February 6, 2012

If there are articles about women and their purses,of what things they always carry and can't leave the house without, I wonder, for a home cook's perspective, what are the things you can't afford to not have in your fridge?

I made a short list of my essentials. Here we go!

French beans is a must. I use it a lot not only because it's one of my favourites, but it's a perfect match for almost any dish - as a side or salad. There are also varieties on how you can serve it. Parboiled, steamed, stir-fried or grilled. All yummy!
I always stock up on tomatoes, both big and small. This is by far the most used vegetable/fruit in my cooking.  I love it in my scrambled eggs, soups, in my salad, tossed in my pasta, or just to eat it as is. I also use it as a relish mixed with salt and vinegar. It taste good too when fried, roasted, or baked.
I turn to potatoes when I cut down on rice. It's a great source of carbohydrates but wouldn't make you as bloated as when you eat rice. I can do a lot of things with it - hash browns, mashed potatoes, deep friend potato balls, boiled or baked!

I love Japanese cucumber over normal cucumber because it's thinner and smaller, easy to consume in one sitting.   It is my quick fix when I crave for something green and fresh. It's also great for quick salads, salsa,  and even a healthy drink!

I feel like I'm naked without lemon. Juice, tea, cocktails, soda, water, salsa, soup, sauces, dips, pastries - they all count on Mr. Lemon here. And I'm crazy about the smell!

Yes, we have a love affair. Kiwi is just irresistible to me and I must have it once a day at the least :P.
So I'm curious, what's in your fridge?


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.

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009. Sponsored by: Website Templates | Premium Themes. Distributed by: blog template

Back to TOP