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Ramadan Food Treats

Ramadan does not only bring good conduct among (Muslim) people but it is also the season of sharing and giving (just like Christmas for Christians).

Here in Abu Dhabi, malls, supermarkets, coffee shops and restaurants have been offering sales, discounts and promotions on food and non-food items alike. Of course, the food treats can only be enjoyed during Iftar or when our Muslims brothers are already allowed to eat.

Here are a few that I encountered.

Ramadan Sweets



Ramadan Dates Festival (with free tasting)







Second Cup’s Ramadan Special Blend (the coffee and cake are made of dates)



Pizza Hut’s Ramadan Value Meal (with cash back coupons!)





Krispy Kreme Morning Special

Pork Sinigang Recipe



As much as I’d like to limit our pork intake not only due to swine flu scare but more so because of the amount of calories and fats we would be stuffing ourselves with, I just couldn’t resist the temptation especially when I know that there’s a half kilo of pork sitting in the fridge.

It’s been a while since we had sinigang and since I still have plenty of sinigang mix brought from the Philippines, I decided to make pork sinigang.

Sinigang, or sour soup in English, is another famous Filipino dish and seems to be everyone’s favorite. It is always present on the menu in any carinderia or Pinoy restaurant.

Sinigang is typically cooked in a lot of water, meat, a selection of vegetables, and should be very sour in taste (although some people would prefer to reduce the sourness).

There’s a variety of option for sinigang's main ingredient. One can choose from pork, beef, chicken, shrimp or fish. The sourness of the soup can also come from a range of sour fruits, such as tamarind, kalamansi (citrus), kamias (bilimbi) or santol. I also know some people who use green mango but using it may seem difficult to achieve the exact sourness compared to using other sour fruits.

For my sinigang, I used the ready mix sampaloc sinigang with gabi (taro). It’s convenient for pinoy travelers and OFWs who aren’t able to find the fresh ingredient in their country of work. The sour taste is nearly authentic. The original ready mix sampaloc sinigang was without bits of taro, the mixture with taro was just introduced later on. I like the taro version more than the original sampaloc mix because it tends to slightly thicken the soup.

Here’s my pork sinigang recipe.

Ingredients:
1/2 kilo pork, sliced into 1 inch cubes (use parts with fat layers or boney parts, whichever of these two is just as great)
4 pieces tomatoes, cut each into 4 parts
1 large onion, cut into 4 parts
1 bundle okra
2 pieces radish, sliced thinly
1 bundle Pechay (buk choy) or kangkong
3-4 pieces green chili (long)
3-4 pieces small taro (optional)
1 liter water
Sinigang mix (tamarind with gabi)

Cooking Instructions:
1. Put pork in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil.
2. Add sliced tomatoes, taro and onion. Let it simmer.
3. When pork is tender, add sinigang mix and season with salt. Then add radish and cook until half done.
4. Add okra and long beans. When half done add pechay and cook until wilted.
5. Serve with steamed rice.

Preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
Serving: 2-3

Dinner Indulgence at The Noodle House


Today is my special day and I wanted a simple dinner of my favorite cuisine, i.e. Asian.

After hearing mass, Boq and I proceeded to The Noodle House in Al Wahda Mall, as it is the nearest and most convenient place to go from the church. Besides, our initial try of the resto was pleasant so it will be nice to pay them a visit again.

The Restaurant


I like the restaurant’s atmosphere and interior. It is informal and spacious yet stylish. They designed the restaurant into two levels. The area at the entrance is on the same level with the ground level and the other is on a raised floor where the kitchen is also located. Majority of the table and seat arrangement are wooden and upholstered benches but there is a portion in the raised floor level where they arranged square tables for four with two chairs at one side and a long continuous couch at the other side set against the wall.


Prawn Wanton Noodles

I cannot tell if the Al Wahda Mall branch is a typical design for The Noodle House because I’ve never been to any other Noodle House branch. What I can tell is that I’ve seen a couple of branches that doesn’t look as stylish as the Al Wahda Mall branch from the outside. Of course, I may be wrong as I’m only judging them based on their outside appearance.


Stir Fry Vegetables

The Food

I’d be honest, I did not enjoy the food compared to our first visit there. We ordered prawn wanton noodle soup with roasted duck, stir-fried mixed vegetables, spicy lemongrass crab cakes and egg fried rice. The only dish that gave me the satisfaction was the noodle soup. The crab cake was not at all spicy as the menu suggested. It was crunchy outside and soft in the inside, just the perfect texture, but I was not really drawn to it. I’ve tasted better. The fried rice was bland for my taste. And I found the stir-fry veggies with an off-smelling ingredient. I don’t know exactly what contributed the smell but Boq said it was the mushroom, which was sad if it really was because mushroom is my favorite. I just remember now, I encountered the same smell in a stir-fry vegetable dish we ordered in one of our dinners in another Asian restaurant. I’m guessing that it’s a normal thing for authentic Asian cuisine, unfortunately, I couldn’t get used to it. Don’t get me wrong though. If I did not enjoy the food, Boq did have a good time. He is not as picky as I am. Yes that’s maybe it, I’m just too picky and I have a very high standard when it comes to Asian food. I lived in Thailand and Taiwan before where I tasted the most authentic Chinese and Thai dishes.


Spicy Lemongrass Crab Cakes

One thing though that I can recommend in The Noodle House menu, is their pad thai (or stir-fried noodles). We tried it during our first visit and made a couple of take-out orders on separate occasions. It’s not in my number one list but it’s one of the best.


Egg Fried Rice

On the whole, it was fun to dine in at The Noodle House because the service was good and the atmosphere was pleasant. They even have a different style of taking orders. Guests are given individually an order sheet (they call it order pad) where you will tick or check your orders using a pen with a nice curly detail at its end. It was even more fun if we just ordered the right food that’s pleasing for my taste. But I have no regrets. I may have not enjoyed most of what we ordered but I did enjoy the noodles and using the chopsticks. Moreover, Boq enjoyed his food and I had fun taking photos. The whole experience was all that matters to me.


Order Pad

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing The Noodle House. I am simply blogging my eating out experience.

Cheers!

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

I Just want to share another good story that’s been circulating the internet for a while now.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained; your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter; like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first --the things that really matter--

Set your priorities.
"The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.
"I'm glad you asked."
"It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.

Yummy Treats: Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts




I still remember how I enjoyed my first taste of Krispy Kreme donut courtesy of an old friend (Rowena) back in the Philippines. The donuts were brought fresh from the US by her elder sis who just came from her business trip. All twelve (if I’m not mistaken) of the original glazed donuts were arranged neatly in what seemed to me then was a flat oversized box (because I’d never seen similar packaging before, and, I did wonder how my friend’s sister managed to carry that box). There was no Krispy Kreme outlet yet in the Philippines at that time, so, everything was really new to me, from the packaging to the heating instruction and the taste of the famous donut. Nowadays, (if their website is updated) there are already 10 Krispy Kreme outlets in the Philippines.

In the UAE, upon also checking the Krispy Kreme store locator, there are 20 outlets that opened across four emirates (13 in Dubai, 5 in Sharjah, 1 in Ajman and 1 in Abu Dhabi). I feel lucky that we are so near the Abu Dhabi outlet. Our flat is just walking distance to Khalidiya Mall where the lone Krispy Kreme outlet in Abu Dhabi is located.

I was really intrigued about Krispy kreme donuts before because I just used to hear how delicious it is more than a couple instances during our post meeting conversations with our bosses. When I had the chance to taste it, I finally understood why they are crazy about it. It’s nothing similar to any donuts I’ve tasted. It’s simply delicious. It was like eating M&M’s that melts in the mouth.

So, today, I’m having another bite of this delicious donut product (I’m a loyalist of original glazed!) that carries the slogan: Loved by the world. This is simply true.


Disclaimer: I am not endorsing Krispy Kreme. I am simply blogging my eating out experience.

Egg Cyclopedia


Time to learn some trivia about eggs.

The fresh egg brand that we frequently buy in the supermarket bore this interesting information about eggs under its tray label, which is appropriately titled “Egg Cyclopedia.”

1. Eggs are considered to be healthy and balanced food for all age groups.
2. Most of an egg’s vitamins are in the yolk (yellow).
3. Most of an egg’s proteins and minerals are in albumen (egg white).
4. The only difference in a white and a brown egg is the colour of shell. Nutritionally both are same.
5. First eggs layed by young hens often have double yolks. Some older hens lay jumbo size eggs which sometimes have double yolks.
6. The best sign of freshness of an egg is that when broken into a pot it would stay firm and would not spread out fast like water.
7. To boil eggs choose 3 to 4 days old eggs. They are easier to peel.
8. Egg shells are porous, hence, they should not be stored with products like garlic, apples, etc. which have strong odor.
9. It is always advisable to eat thoroughly cooked eggs.

Now I know my eggs very well. What a nutritious treat!

Affordable Dining at IKEA Restaurant


IKEA is a retail store of home products and furniture that are self-assembled, functional and at an affordable price. The store concept is to showcase their products thru mock-up interior arrangement and decoration for bedrooms, living rooms and kitchen. That way a shopper can pick-up some ideas on how to design a room at utmost functionality.

But there’s more about IKEA. Inside the store (of those that I’ve visited here in the UAE) is a restaurant, where a shopper can take a break from shopping to dine or snack. This was what Boq and I did last weekend in IKEA at the Marina Mall.



The Restaurant

The restaurant resembled a canteen look where tables and chairs are arranged neatly in rows, but it has a stylish design, which isn’t a surprise because it is managed by a retail store that sells well-designed products. The lamps are nicely hooked at the trellis ceiling just about at the right position and height to each table. The table linens are appropriately labeled with the material name and price per meter for diners’ information in case one fancies using the same linen in their homes.

The Food

The meal of the day or dish of the day served during our visit was oven fish hammour. They also cater vegetarian dish and meal for kids. Since I love fish, I gave the hammour a try. Boq ordered a roast beef meal.

Orders can be made for a half meal or a full meal. A half meal consists of rice, main dish and one side dish. The full meal consists of almost the same as that of a half meal but double the quantity for main dish and two side dishes. If you’re not a big eater like me, you can settle for the half meal. It will already make you very full. Likewise, when you’re on a diet like Boq (he-he!), the half meal is just about the right portion you need. And the treat there was, we got the right serving at a bargain price. Our meal together cost us half of what we could have spent in any restaurant in a food court. That’s with an extra order of double chocolate muffin for desert!

I should be honest though, the food was rather bland for my taste but it can be fixed with the help of some salt and pepper, that’s what they’re for anyway right? I liked the rice served that day, which is mixed with bits of vermicelli. The muffin bread was a little dry but satisfied the chocolate flavor.

Drinks

There is a variety of drinks available. You can choose from soft drinks, a couple of juice assortment, coffee, water or hot tea.

Overall, I enjoyed dining in IKEA Restaurant. The food may be lacking with some kick but the ambience, affordability and convenience are pleasant treats.

Oh by the way, the restaurant is self-service and so if you decide to dine-in there make sure that you clean-up your table when you’re done. It’s one of the reasons that they are able to maintain their prices low.

Cheers!

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing IKEA Restaurant. This review is just part of my eating out experiences, which I intend to share in this blog.

Non-Muslims Guide to Ramadan

Ramadan 2009 started at dawn today, August 22. It’s my second year to experience the season of Ramadan since I moved to work here in the UAE. The shortened working hours for 30 days, the bountiful feasting at the end of Ramadan and the long vacation afterwards are indeed welcome treats. However, as a Christian and a resident of this Muslim country, I felt that my participation for this Muslim tradition should not focus on the merriment alone. Hence, as a sign of respect I gathered these facts about Ramadan to serve as a short guide for Non-Muslims like me.

photo credits: dgreetings.com

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month in Islamic calendar or lunar calendar, which is based on cycles of the moon phases. The Islamic calendar consists of 12 lunar months or a year consisting of 354 or 355 days.

What happens during Ramadan?

Everyday during this Holy Month, Muslims (who are able) must endure complete fasting during daylight. They abstain from eating, drinking, intimate conduct and evil acts. Fasting is meant to teach the Muslim patience, humility and spirituality. It is the time to cleanse oneself from impurities thru self-restraint and good deeds, and re-focus in their worship for Allah.

Fasting

Fasting begins before sunrise, when Muslims eat a light meal or “suhoor” in Islam, and ends at sunset. At the end of the fast, Muslims gather to eat their first meal. This gathering is called “Iftar.” The most popular way of breaking the fast is by eating a date or drinking some water.

Greetings

The traditional greetings during Ramadan are “Ramadan Mubarak” meaning “May God gives you a blessed Month,” and “Ramadan Kareem” meaning “May God gives you a generous month.”

Ramadan Symbols

Some symbolic decorations used during the month of Ramadan include:
  • the lantern – it signifies spiritual illumination
  • the cannon – it is used to sound the time for Iftar
  • the crescent moon and a star – it is the symbol of Islam

    Etiquette for Non-Muslims:

    Non-Muslims should be considerate and respectful of the fasting tradition of Muslims and must also observe the following (some of these are abided by law):

  • do not eat, drink or smoke in public
  • do not play loud music
  • do not wear revealing clothes
  • be patient – fasting is not a choice but an obligation for Muslims, respect this, and bear in mind that sometimes a Muslim may seem lightheaded, unable to concentrate and tired
  • remember that some shops and restaurants will not open during the day, instead will choose to open at night

    Ramadan Images, Wallpapers and Photographs

    These sites provide some cool images, wallpapers and photographs about Ramadan. Check them out!
  • Tinypic
  • Grafikdesign
  • Photobucket
  • CyArena Free Graphics and Comments

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  • Chunkee Corned Beef Guisado with Green Beans


    When you are really hungry and yet you still want to have a decent meal, you can always depend on foodstuff disguising as tin cans. These dependable foodstuffs are famously known among pinoys as “de lata.” :)

    Aside from sardines, I always like mixing canned corned beef with vegetables for added nutrient. So even when I was already having hunger pangs I did take the time to do a quick sautéing. Boq and I both like the chunkee variety of Purefoods corned beef because you can really see the beef fiber.

    Often, in pinoy cooking, corned beef will be mixed with cube-sliced potatoes. Since I’m not a fan of potatoes, I used green beans instead for this recipe. It was a better choice because green beans required less time to cook than potatoes, meaning I didn’t have to prolong the agony of starving myself and Boq.

    Here’s the recipe.

    Ingredients:
    1 small can purefoods chunkee corned beef
    100 grams green beans, sliced diagonally to half-inch size
    1 small onion, sliced
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 tsp. Fish sauce
    Ground black pepper (optional)
    Vegetable oil

    Cooking Instructions:
    Heat oil in a pan. Saute garlic until light brown. Add onion, cook until translucent. Add fish sauce. Give a quick stirring. Add green beans and cook for 3 minutes or until the beans is bright green. Add chunkee corned beef, stir and cook for another 3 minutes.

    Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
    Serving size: 2-3

    The Wooden Bowl

    This story reached my email inbox a few times. It’s no surprise that it’s been circling the web for some time now as it truly leaves an impact to the one who reads it. Now, instead of forwarding it again to my email circle, I thought of posting it here so I (and all of you who read me) may always be reminded of its lesson.

    The Wooden Bowl
    Author Unknown

    (photo credit: flicker.com)

    A frail old man lived with his son, his daughter-in-law, and his four-year-old grandson. His eyes were blurry, his hands trembled, and his step faltered.

    The family would eat together nightly at the dinner table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon, drooping to the floor. When he grasped his glass of milk, it often spilled clumsily at the tablecloth.

    With this happening almost every night, the son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

    "We must do something about grandfather," said the son.

    "I've had enough of his milk spilling, noisy eating and food on the floor," the daughter-in-law agreed.

    So the couple set a small table at the corner.

    There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed their dinner at the dinner table. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in wooden bowls. Sometimes when the family glanced in grandfather's direction, he had a tear in his eye as he ate alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

    One evening, before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly: "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy replied, "Oh, I'm making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

    These words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears streamed down their cheeks. Though no words were spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening, the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.

    For the remainder of his days, grandfather ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk was spilled or the table cloth was soiled.


    I hope that I won’t falter in fulfilling my moral duty to my parents by not allowing inconvenience take control of me.

    Patola Misua Soup


    Soups are often served as starter for main meals when dining in a posh restaurant but for the underprivileged Filipino family, soup can already be the main meal.

    One of the least expensive ways of making a soup is misua soup. It is one of the most popular soups among Pinoys. It can be prepared with vegetable or meat balls. For a healthy treat, patola misua soup is best. It’s simple and quick to prepare.

    Misua (or miswa) is made of wheat flour and one of the varieties of Chinese noodles. It is very fine and brittle.

    Patola comes from the family of gourd vegetables. It is commonly known in English as ridged gourd or loofah. This vegetable is rich in fiber and a good source of calcium, iron and phosphorus. It can be easily found in any major supermarkets in Abu Dhabi when in season or during summer months.

    Here’s the recipe for my Patola Misua Soup.

    Ingredients:
    1/2 small pack Misua
    3 large pieces Patola, peeled and sliced crosswise at ½ inch size
    1 large onion, sliced
    4 cloves garlic, crushed
    Fish sauce
    Vegetable stock or water

    Cooking Instructions:
    Heat oil in a casserole. Sauté garlic and onion. Add fish sauce and stir for 5 seconds. Add water or vegetable stock and let it boil. Add sliced patola and cook until it turns bright green. Add misua noodles. Stir constantly until misua is cooked (which will take only about 2 minutes or even less).

    Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes or less
    Serving size: 5

    Useful Info:
    Misua makes the soup very thick when it is cooked so consider using a lesser quantity only to enjoy the soup more.

    Inabrao (Dinengdeng) Saluyot and Green Papaya Recipe




    My Ilocano root is sometimes kicking in that I feel the need to satisfy my craving for something Ilocano, and my most favorite dish for that matter involves inabrao or dinengdeng.

    Saluyot is a green leafy vegetable that is rich with fibre. It is called corchorus in English. It tends to thicken the soup when cooked.

    Inabrao is a very simple dish that involves no-fuss cooking even if you are using a lot of different kinds of ingredients as the process only need to boil it altogether. Saluyot is more commonly combined with labong or shredded bamboo shoots but in the absence of labong other veggies can also be combined like string beans or green papaya. For this inabrao recipe I used saluyot leaves, green papaya and fillet of fried fish.

    Ingredients:
    2 medium bundles of saluyot leaves, thoroughly washed
    1 small green papaya, peeled and sliced
    Fillet bits of fried fish
    1/4 cup anchovy sauce (increase if desired)
    Kalamansi (citrus) or lemon
    Water

    Cooking Instructions:
    Fill a pot with half liter of water and bring to boil. Add anchovy paste and cover for 2 minutes. Add green papaya, when half-cooked add the saluyot leaves and fish fillet, then follow with lemon juice. Let boil until saluyot is cook.

    Grilled fish superbly complements this dinengdeng recipe but since we do not have the luxury to grill, fried fish is the next best option.

    Fish Spring Roll Recipe


    Want to try something different for your fish craving? Why not make fish spring roll. It’s healthy and great for light snack or party meal.

    This spring roll recipe is quite different than usual. My friend and a former officemate, Gemma, introduced to me this dish, which she fondly calls fish shanghai. Shanghai spring roll is widely known in the Philippines as lumpiang shanghai, which is usually prepared with pork or beef. I first tasted fish shanghai during her birthday celebration in 2008, and I got hooked to it since. Fish spring roll is simply delicious and far healthier than its beef or pork counterpart.

    Here’s the recipe for fish spring roll.

    Ingredients:
    1 kilogram fresh mackerel fish, thoroughly cleaned (or any fresh fish of your choice)
    2 pieces medium size carrot, grated or finely chopped
    2 pieces medium size onion, (one is grated or finely chopped, the other piece is simply sliced)
    1 large stalk celery, grated or finely chopped
    1 large egg
    Ginger
    Vinegar
    Water
    Salt
    Ground black pepper
    Pastry wrapper (about 60 pcs)

    Instructions:
    Boil the mackerel fish in a deep skillet together with ginger, sliced onion, vinegar, salt, ground pepper and water. While cooking the fish, start grating carrots, onion and celery for the spring roll mixture. When the fish is done, separate its meat from its bones, shred and mix with the grated ingredients. Add egg, and then season with salt and black pepper. Wrap a teaspoon size of the mixture using the pastry wrapper. Fry in a low fire until golden brown.


    Dip fish spring roll with your favorite sauce (ketchup, sweet chili sauce or vinegar).

    Preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
    Serving size: 6-8

    Bon appétit!

    What? Another Lavish Dining?

    The news about the lavish dinner amounting to $20,000 (or P960,000) at Manhattan’s Le Cirque by President Gloria Arroyo and her entourage in her very recent trip in the United States have not yet subsided, yet amazingly another show for extravagance is now herding the news.

    Reported in the The Washington Post blog that prior to the New York’s grandiose dinner, the President and 65 more others had a similar dining extravagance at Bobby Van's Steakhouse in Washington hours after President Arroyo met with US President Barack Obama. It was also reported in the said column that an unidentified woman paid the bill which reached $15,000.

    The incident was confirmed by Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, but would not divulge how much was spent and how many was with them.

    Will it be the last or these are just teasers? I’m not ready to hear more about extravagant spending by President Arroyo in the next few days. But, I can only hope.

    Chicken Tinola Recipe (Chicken Ginger Soup)

    It’s rainy season in the Philippines and one of the best comfort food you can prepare is chicken ginger soup (or stew for others). It will definitely give the desired warmth during cool weather.

    Although it isn’t raining here in Abu Dhabi but instead it is scorching hot outside as the summer season is as its peak this month of August, I couldn’t be stopped from craving for a soup.

    Tinola is mainly associated with chicken cooked in ginger, onion and garlic and some vegetables, but it can also be done using pork. I'm sticking to the classic tinola though or the Chicken Tinola.

    Usually the vegetable ingredients used with tinola are a combination of chili pepper leaves or malunggay and green papaya or sayote. Some of those I know are using spinach as an alternative for chili pepper leaves due to the difficulty of finding the latter in the markets here. I was never lucky too in finding chili pepper or malunggay leaves although some friends say its available in some Philippine stores. I wish we are staying in a villa with a backyard where I can grow malunggay!

    Anyway, here's the recipe for this tasty chicken soup.

    Ingredients:
    500 grams chicken (use any of your favorite parts)
    500 grams sayote, sliced to bite size
    1 small piece ginger, sliced thinly or matchsticks like
    3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
    1 onion, sliced
    1 piece chicken stock or bouillon cube
    vegetable oil
    fish sauce to taste
    water

    Cooking Instructions:
    Heat oil in a cooking pot. Sauté ginger, garlic and onion. Add chicken and sliced sayote and make a quick stir-fry. Add chicken bouillon cube and water. Add fish sauce if desired (the bouillon cube can already give the required saltiness). Let it simmer until chicken is tender.

    Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
    Serving size: 3

    Bon appetit!

    Binagoongang Baboy (Pork in Shrimp Paste)


    If you’re a pork eater, binagoongang baboy will be sinful as it will make you eat more than what you should.

    Since it is some kind of good fortune to be able to buy pork in Abu Dhabi as the UAE is a Muslim country, Boq and I would buy a few kilos every 2 or 3 weeks for some pork indulgence. Coupled with the luck to find bagoong or shrimp paste in the country, what else can one think of best to cook to combine the two other than binagoongang baboy.

    I actually do have a little clue about how the dish should be prepared but I thought it would also help to consult some web expert and seek advise from our flatmate. The result was an infusion of three different ideas.

    I picked up Marketmanila.com’s instruction to boil the pork in water, vinegar and sorts of seasoning then fry. While our flatmate suggested that I add tomatoes to my sauté mixture and I thought of adding slices of green pepper for added spice. I also added eggplant slices for a bit of balance. Trust me, this is just perfect for steamed rice.

    Ingredients:
  • 1 kilo of pork, cubes (I used parts with some fat and bones)
  • 4 eggplants, sliced diagonally and fried
  • ½ cup shrimp paste
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Green hot chili (use the labuyo type if you want it more spicy)
  • 4 tbsp. vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • Vegetable oil

    Directions:
    1. Boil pork n a pot with water, vinegar, black pepper and bay leaf for about 30 minutes. Remove from the pot and let dry.
    2. Fry pork in a deep skillet until light brown.
    3. Sauté garlic, onion, tomatoes, shrimp paste and green hot chili in the same skillet. Add the pork and some water while stirring. Add the fried eggplant and cook for about 5 minutes.

    Preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
    Serving size: 4-5 persons
  • Thrilled about Chowking


    Have you ever experience a thrilling moment over a simple dinner in a food court? I have.

    Boq and I had dinner at a food court of a high end mall here in Abu Dhabi last night. I didn’t know that Chowking has opened a branch in Al Wahda Mall until Boq mentioned it yesterday. I got thrilled that I immediately dismissed my craving for Thai food.

    I was really so happy to see Chowking in front of me. It brought back memories of my family’s eating out sessions during paydays back home. My father likes Chowking so much that whenever we eat out he would always suggest that we go to Chowking (although sometimes I could persuade him to try other fast food or resto).

    We ordered my old time favorites, beef with wanton noodles and kangkong with bagoong. I know they don’t complement each other (he-he!), so in addition to it were vegetable chow fan, which was very yummy that I thought of preparing the same one of these days, and tofu dipped in vinegar with soy sauce and onion. As shallow as it may seem, up to now I’m still overjoyed about our dinner last night. Can’t blame me, aside from bringing me down the memory lane, the food was delicious. We will definitely go back there!

    Regine Velasquez’ Fondness of Green Mango

    Is Regine Velasquez pregnant? This is how one would suspect what the recent article suggests in Pinoy Showbitz section of Gmanews.tv, or was it just me? Reported in the article, Regine was seen eating green mangoes during her shooting breaks in her latest movie starrer opposite Aga Muhlach. I’m sure the news received a lot of hits from her fans and gossip mongers. But, Regine is not pregnant, she’s just crazy over green mango dipped in bagoong.

    She’s a typical pinoy after all, as most of us have deep fondness for green mango and bagoong.

    Read the full article HERE.

    Salamat Tita Cory, Paalam

    (My Personal Tribute for Corazon Aquino)

    Salamat Tita Cory, Paalam.
    Ika-uno ng Agosto ng ika'y namaalam,
    Ika-lima ng Agosto ng ika'y ihatid sa huling hantungan,
    Maraming alaala ang bumalik sa iyong paglisan,
    Mga alaala ng nakalipas na rebolusyon ng bayan.

    Salamat Tita Cory, Paalam.
    Ika'y itinuring na ina ng demokrasya,
    Kalayaan ng ating bayan ngayon ay tinatamasa,
    Bilang papuri sa iyong kontribusyon,
    Dilaw kong damit ay isinuot ngayon.

    Salamat Tita Cory, Paalam.
    Sa wakas ay iyo ng makakapiling ,
    Si Ninoy na iyong mahal magpahanggang libing,
    Kapayapaan sa Langit ang Panalangin ko para sa'yo,
    Mahal nating Panginoon ngayon ay kapiling mo.

    Salamat Tita Cory, Paalam.


    -L.A.B.05 Agosto 2009

    Major Supermarket Chains Selling Expired Meats?

    This was published in Gulf News yesterday.

    "Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has shut down the meat sections of two major retail chains for selling expired meat products, a statement said on Monday....

    The meat stalls at Lulu Hypermarket in Al Wahda Mall and Carrefour in Marina Mall were also closed down for three days during the past two months for allegedly selling expired meat and other violations, according to the statement." - Gulfnews.com, 03 August 2009
    Read the full article HERE.

    Scary indeed! Boq and I are regular customers of both supermarkets. I thought big brands come with international standards. It's a shame to know that even these widely known and major supermarket chains have the nerve to fool their customers. Who can we trust then?

    The residents of Abu Dhabi are lucky though that ADFCA is doing its job, otherwise, we will not be aware of such fraud because we put so much trust on brand names. I hope that the authorities will look into other supermarkets as well and give notice to the public so we will know which ones to avoid. I further hope strict sanctions will be imposed to these companies to learn their lesson. Consumers do not deserve such deception. IMO, these big players need to apologize to the public!

    Garlic Shrimps Recipe


    This dish was prepared by Boq two weekends ago. It’s a rather late post but it’s worth the wait. He knows I love seafood especially shrimps. Seafood, in general, are easy to cook and delectable.

    Below are separate ingredients for garlic shrimps and lemon butter sauce:

    Ingredients for Garlic Shrimps:
  • 500g Shrimps, cleaned
  • 50g butter
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chili flakes (optional)

    Ingredients for Lemon butter sauce:
  • 50g butter
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

    Cooking procedure:
    Mix all the ingredients for the lemon butter sauce in a clean container. Microwave or steam the mixture to soften the butter. In a separate pan, sauté the garlic in hot oil until golden brown. Add the butter, followed by chili flakes (optional). Stir for a minute, and then add the shrimps. Cook the shrimps for 5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

    This dish is appetizing. Try it.

    Did you know? Shrimps are related to lobsters, crabs and crayfish. Unlike its relatives, shrimps are swimmers than crawlers. They swim backwards using their fanlike tails to escape from danger and they use the swimmerets on their abdomens to swim forward. Swimmerets are the abdominal limbs of shrimps that carry the eggs in females.
  • Pansit Guisado Recipe


    Boq and I bought rice noodles some couple of weeks back and used a few strands for rice noodle soup (I'll post the recipe here in the future). We did not know what to do with the rest of the noodles so I suggested why not make a pansit guisado instead.

    Pansit is a popular noodle dish in the Philippines, which is commonly served during fiestas, birthday occasions and widely celebrated holidays.

    The typical pansit guisado recipe consists of very thin rice noodles stir-fried with chopped vegetables, soy sauce and some variations of sliced meat (e.g. chicken, pork & shrimps). When eaten, it is normally seasoned with black pepper powder, lemon/kalamansi (citrus) and patis (fish sauce).

    In this recipe, I used chicken and liver for the meat ingredient. Chicken liver is tastier than the chicken meat in my opinion. And since it is also ideal to cook pansit guisado using two kinds of noodles I used pansit bihon and pansit canton together.

    Ingredients:
  • 200g pansit bihon (rice noodles or vermicelli)
  • 200g pansit canton (Chinese noodle)
  • 100g chicken meat, boiled and cut into strips
  • 150g liver meat, boiled and diced
  • 1/2 kilo cabbage, shredded
  • 200g green beans, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, cut into strips
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • green bell pepper, cut into strips (optional)
  • soy sauce to taste
  • chicken bouillon cubes or chicken stock
  • vegetable or palm oil
  • water

    For seasoning: lemon/kalamansi (citrus), black pepper powder and fish sauce

    Procedure:
    1)Heat oil in a large wok or pot.
    2)Sauté garlic until light brown then add onion.
    3)Add the chicken strips and diced liver.
    4)Then add the vegetable ingredients in the following order: green beans, carrots, cabbage and bell pepper.
    5)Season with soy sauce then add water and chicken cubes or chicken stock.
    6)Add the vermicelli and noodles. Add more water/chicken stock, if desired. Stir continuously until cooked.

    Useful Info:
    1) To eliminate the difficulty of mixing, boil and cook first the Chinese noodles to make it pliant in a separate pot.
    2) Similarly, soak the rice noodles or vermicelli in the water 2-3 minutes to make it pliant.
    3) Use a large wok or pot when cooking pansit guisado as the mixing is a bit rigorous.

    Preparation and Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes
    Serving size: 6-8 persons
  • Cheesy Breadsticks for Lunch



    I had breadsticks for lunch today! It was not the first, I requested Boq to buy me breadsticks sometime last month, which I also brought at work for my lunch. It's quite delicious and filling so a repeat order is inevitable. The bread is, I'm guessing, a pizza dough (since it's from Domino's Pizza house) formed in half circle and cut into thick strips, sprinkled with cheese, probably parmesan and some green bits of, which I'm again guessing, dried oregano leaves. What makes it more delicious is the marinara dipping sauce, a tomato-based dip. It’s sour taste complements the saltiness of the cheese. Really, I just love it and I'd try it again soon!

    Did you know? Breadsticks originated from Turin, Italy. Its Italian translation is grissini. Generally, breadsticks are pencil-sized sticks of crispy bread but the original recipe has a more bread-like texture, is thicker and often twisted. They are usually served as appetizer in Italian restaurants.

    Cheers!

    Upo Guisado and Fried Fish


    One of my favorite meal combinations is vegetable dish and fried fish simply because it’s healthy, fast and easy to prepare. Perfect for working couples like me and Boq. In a breeze, dinner was ready with vegetable, fried fish and rice served on the dining table. It was simple yet healthy and yummy.

    Ingredients:
  • 1 large Upo, sliced into strips (Upo is the Filipino term for bottle gourd, it is in the same family of bitter gourd)
  • 1 medium-size tomato, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • fish sauce
  • beef bouillon cube (optional)
  • vegetable oil

    Cooking Instruction:
    Heat oil in a pan. Sauté garlic and onion. Add tomato and cook for 3 minutes. Add fish sauce and beef bouillon cube. Add sliced upo and let it simmer until cook while stirring occasionally. Add some water as you desire to increase the sauce.

    Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
    Serving size: good for 2 persons

    Bon Appetit!
  • People Power Icon Dies


    This is completely off topic and doesn't have anything to do with food but I just can't pass up this sad news. I'm a Filipino afterall and I care about my country.

    Boq buzzed me while at work and asked if I read the news this morning. I asked what news? Before he was able to answer, I hurriedly checked GMANews.tv, and there it was.

    MANILA, Philippines - Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, icon of people power in the Philippines and around the world, passed away at 3:18 a.m. Saturday, her son, Senator Benigno Aquino III, said. The official cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest.

    The 76-year-old Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer in March of last year and was treated with chemotherapy. Last May, she underwent surgery to remove parts of her colon and was brought to the Makati Medical Center in June due to loss of appetite. She never left the hospital, as her declining condition sparked a wave of emotion in the country and prompted the widespread appearance of yellow ribbons - on trees, car antennas, and even the Web.

    - GMANews.tv

    Former President Corazon Aquino, is fondly called Cory or Tita Cory by many. I feel the sorrow of her passing and I have three reasons why. Firstly, she was one of the major instruments in bringing democracy back in our Country thru a peaceful revolution in 1986 (famously known as EDSA People Power), three years after her late husband, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated. The said historical episode of our Country brought great pride to us Filipinos. Secondly, I came from the family with high regard for Ninoy Aquino, because of his genuine love for our Country and courage to openly criticize the oppression and suppression happening then despite threats to his life. Everyone who loved Ninoy and attached to him in whatever way, I also adored. Thirdly, Tita Cory was my authentic kababayan, like her I was born and raised in Tarlac.

    Tita Cory was known for always wearing yellow-colored attire. This color was the symbol of the EDSA People Power. Besides this fact, I thought maybe her yellow trademark was to symbolize her love for Ninoy whose favorite song was "Tie a Yellow Ribbon."

    I present in this post a yellow ribbon in respect of Tita Cory (courtesy of Wikipedia.com) and I pray for the eternal repose of her soul. My prayers also go to the bereaved family and to my country, Philippines, for losing an icon.

    Rest in peace Tita Cory.

    For detailed information about the life and political career of Corazon Aquino please visit this LINK.

    Chicken Adobo Recipe

    Adobo is a famous Filipino dish, which can be done with chicken, pork, fish or vegetables.

    There are variations in the ingredients and cooking procedures of chicken adobo, depending on the taste and style of the cook.

    The recipe below is my own version. I particularly like this recipe because it doesn't require much time to prepare. I just combine all the ingredients and cook it. That's how easy it is. I used chicken thighs because it's my favorite part of the chicken. Packed and frozen chicken thighs can be easily found in any supermarkets in Abu Dhabi.

    Ingredients:
  • 1/2 kilo Chicken Thighs, cleaned (thaw if using frozen chicken)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 tbsp. soy sauce (adjust amount according to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. cup vinegar (adjust amount according to taste)
  • black pepper
  • bay leaf (optional)
  • chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • water

    Cooking Procedure:
    Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to boil in medium fire until sauce is thick.

    Preparation and Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes (not including thawing)
    Serving size: good for 3 persons

    Healthy Options:
    1) Use chicken breast for lesser fat or if you want to use your favorite chicken parts you may want to consider removing the skin.
    2) Make a different kind of adobo, like vegetable adobo (see Adobong Sitaw).
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