Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taking a break for Ondoy Survivors

If you are abroad and looking for ways to donate but don't want to send it to government agencies, I suggest you send it to private foundations who would have resources to buy goods and disseminate them to typhoon Ondoy survivors.

Here are the links that should take you to pages that allows you to donate by sending cash or check and via credit card.



I understand they're waiving remittance fees for donations from abroad. 

For people in the US- American Red Cross at 1.800.435.7669. Please choose the 3rd option - international donation and let the operator know that your donation is for the Ondoy typhoon vi...ctims in the Philippines.


I know it's different from actually holding out your hand to console someone who's survived a tragedy but we do all we can. Anything that helps will be appreciated.

Another way for us to prevent this from happening is to let others know how pissed of we are with the national, local governments and the NDCC for not being prepared. Because this was a real WTF moment where you find yourself scratching your head and asking yourself. "Where did all our taxpayers money go?"

Natural disasters are inevitable in this time of extreme climate change and we need a government that realizes this and acts on it. So please do exercise your right to vote in 2010 and exercise it by educating yourself, the new voters in your family, your househelps and their families. Ask them to really think about who they think can do good for them and not base their ballots on who has the the loudest celebrity endorser or cutest campaign TVC--to look at track records and to understand and ask about political platforms.

Sadly, it is in horrific moments like these that you  get to realize how much you love the Philippines and  your fellow Filipinos.  But we don't all need to be dead heroes to show our love. We just need to be citizens who do our part.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not so Hot- baked fish

Made baked fish last night. Cream of Dory with Chorizo de Bilbao, bacon and butter.

It sounded good on paper but the dish had too much going on. I will need to work on the thickness of the vegetable slices, the layering and the liquid that the baking process produces. I'm going back to work in my small kitchen soon, when I'm done with all my writing commitments.  It may take some time before I can post the recipe here. Well, you can't win 'em all.

I did discover a new recipe for open-faced burger. Will post the easy-to-make recipe soon.

Ciao for now :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Maybe Mocha Banana Shake

I have recently found myself exercising.

Yes, it's the activity that involves moving the body around and sweating like a pig (which by the way is a misnomer because pigs don't have sweat glands). Motivated by my upwardly mobile waistline jumping from size 6 to a size 8, I brought out the running shoes and turned on the TV for an hour of stretching, bending, leg lifting and toe touching.
I turned on to music video channel No. 1 and landed on the appropriately-titled music video of Pedicab's dance-punk song Simulan Mo Na.
Click here Simulan Mo Nato watch the video

Then the program host went on. Her high-pitched voice and inane blabbing made my head spin as if I was jogging and smoking at the same time. So I switched on to music video channel No. 2. As much as I appreciate Mariah dissing Eminem for his ungentlemanly comments in her Obsessed video, she's just too much and so were the blonde teeny boppers whose video came out next. There were too many blondes and boobs on the screen.

So in between arm rolls and windmills, I channel surfed and caught the last gap of Nigella Lawson's old cooking show. The luscious fruit and cream dessert she was eating made my heart beat and my leg-raise repetition faster.

Then, the next program began- Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation- Spain! Ah, the motherland of all things fatty and salty! This may sound weird but the sight of chorizos, clams and cheeses just helped me sweat through 90 crunches and 90 butt lift reps. Whew!

For me, watching a good food show is motivation enough to keep the pounds off. That way  I can eat more and still fit into my (not so) skinny jeans.

Here's the link to the 5-part video of No Reservations Spain

The Maybe Mocha Banana is my version of a health shake. There's enough sugar and potassium in it to give you energy for a good work out and some caffeine to perk you up. It's got fresh fruit in it so doesn't actually score zero on the health score card (*wink).


4 pieces ripe latundan bananas
1 cup low-fat chocolate drink
1  cup all-purpose cream
1/2 bar dark chocolate  (approx. 75 grams)
1/4 teaspoon coffee granules (make sure it's strong-tasting coffee)

Peel and cut the bananas into 2 inch portions. Put the banana, low-fat chocolate drink and 1/2 cup of the all-purpose cream in the blender. Blend until the drink has a smooth consistency. Add the coffee granules and blend for 30 seconds. Add more low-fat chocolate drink, as desired.

Put some ice on a tall glass and pour the shake. Whip the all-purpose cream  lightly and slather on top. Grate some dark chocolate and add straw. Serves 3-4 persons.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When Makati Was My Version Of Hell

This is a previouly posted blog. I used to work in Makati but gave up a lucrative corporate job because I couldn't take the daily commute anymore. Believe me, I've tried all kinds of transportation. Heck, I even learned how to drive. It just didn't work for me. 

Whilst working in there,  I discovered Apartment 1B, a cozy resto with good food and a charming doorman/guard named Aga who was a one-time champion whistler in one of Eat Bulaga's crazy music contests. So these days, when I do find myself in Makati's Salcedo Village area, I try to drop by and have a cuppa and a cake. The last one I had was the White Toblerone Cheesecake. 

Here's a an edited version of one of my worst nights getting stuck in Makati. The coffee shop mentioned is not Apartment 1B because they do serve alcohol. Dig in!


Makati. Bright lights. Bleak city.

I’m sure many of you will disagree, but for me a rainy pay day Friday night in Makati just about appropriates hell. And Satan, in a plush red velvet chair high up in a penthouse office is directing the traffic. His minions, disguised as taxi drivers, tirelessly circle the concrete jungle, stopping to splash bystanders with murky rainwater before speeding away, with their undecipherable hand signals that could very well mean, “I’m stuck here in hell, fucker, so you should be too!”

I used to work in Malabon, the land of patis, pancit Malabon and relentless flooding. Many of my friends felt I got a first class upgrade when my office transferred to the country’s business capital.  I had my misgivings.

Being a truant Makati girl, I refuse to own a car and drive, despite my company’s standing offer to get a company car. A friend recently described me as a corporate hippie. Someone who refuses to look like and live like she works in this urban haven called Makati. Though I do not report for work in my tsinelas (It’s against company policy as our recently released Employee Handbook declares), I do go to work in jeans and jersey shirts.

But I digress.

On Fridays, our office closes at 5:00 PM. It’s four and a half hours later and here I still am in the coffee shop in our building, ranting silently on my computer. After years of working here, I have had the wisdom to realize that cursing, screaming and thrashing on the wet pavement will not get me home to Quezon City. And fanning this flame of hatred I have towards this place is the fact that this coffee shop, the only place I can get to without being soaked by the torrential rain, does not serve anything with alcohol in it. Not even Java mocha blend with a splash of Green Cross rubbing alcohol.

I feel like flipping everyone here in the coffee shop.

There’s that table of plain janes gossiping about the office beeyotch whose i-pod nearly broke when she dropped it while showing product sample pictures and way too much cleavage to their married expat boss.

The couple seating across me have opened their laptop and are uploading monthsary pictures on their shared Friendster site. Remind me to puke on them later before I leave.

Three salesmen, oblivious to everyone around them, are sharing the sexploits of a colleague who snagged a pretty young thing while on his recent provincial assignment. They all hope he gets STD.

In my head, I am Honey Bunny in the opening scene of Pulp Fiction. I stand on my chair and brandish a wicked looking gun and shout “Each one of you Motherfuckers enjoy your last night in hell! I’m now gonna shoot every fucking last one of you!” With madness in my eyes, I blow the brains out of everyone in the coffee shop, sparing the kindly waiters who look at me with pity. I run amok and have my own weekend party strafing down all the taxis that cross my path.

But I don’t have a gun on me now. Neither do I have the strength to shout as six hours of watching people be happy has drained me of all the fight I have left tonight.

It is nearly 11 PM and the coffee shop is closing. I leave a tip and take a last sip of the now lukewarm cappuccino I ordered three hours ago.

Makati wins tonight.

I drag my peep-toed cold feet on the pavement wishing that I wouldn't have to be here  on the next rainy pay day Friday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bad Banana Chips at 1521

I was a history geek in elementary and high school.  Getting myself exempted from the final exams of Ms. Galang, our Grade 6 elementary teacher was one of my proudest moments as a nerd.

Fast forward 25 years later... I am at 1521, the year-old resto of a former elementary classmate, Tanke. It is our class reunion and Tanke is showing me her graduation photo with Ms. Galang beside her. The photo brings a smile to my lips as do the gathering of the people in front of me. Usually class reunions are a gut-wrenching experience, what with having to fend off questions about not having children, weight gain and upwardly mobile careers.

Last night was different, though. Everyone seemed so much more comfortable and the talk flowed as freely as the food and drinks.  Throughout the night, one or two people would cringe when they would be called by their complete first names, the ones that we have been able to hide from colleagues and clients. The names only our mothers would use if they were mad at us.  

It was a night of rediscovering our shared histories and connections. All of us thanking technology for keeping us in touch, making us all realize that the world isn't as big as Magellan probably thought it was.

I am sure to write more about all the delicious fare that 1521 offers, so watch out for it. In the meantime, I leave you with a pic of the resto's highly addictive Bad banana chips and a bit of musical history from Yoyoy Villame :-)

1521's Bad Banana chips are hot!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Green Apple Sardines and Queso de Bola & Parma Ham Omelette

Apples are evil.

Eve. Snow White's stepmom. Aphrodite.

It is part of the villainess 101 tool kit. Luring men to cause wars, putting innocents to eternal sleep and cursing all of humankind to hell on earth. But if you think about it, without the apple, Eve wouldn't have procreated with Adam, Snow White would've found  love in a less dramatic moment and we would never have drooled over a skirt-loving Brad Pitt in the movie Troy. It is the necessary tool of evil that move stories forward.

I had at one time in my work life encountered an apple in the form of a fax message to my staff rallying them to bring my bitchy ass down. Get me fired. Ruin my life. Make me sorry for working them hard. I bit the apple and went through one of the lowest points of my career, turning me to depression. Those dark days, the kind where only the people who truly love you can stand to be with you, forced me to simplify my life. Depression can unravel you until you are naked to the core.

And then you move on. At least I did.

Of the many simple things that gave me joy back then was eating guisadong sardinas with a plate of steaming rice and an omelette on the side.  Here's one of my versions of this comfort food classic featuring that evil little fruit, the apple.

Green Apple Sardines
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 can Ayam Sardines
1 small green apple, cored, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons water, optional

Sautee garlic in cooking oil until it turns golden brown, then add the onions. When the onions turn translucsent, add the green apples. Stir for a minute or two then add the sardines and soy sauce. You can add a little water as you mix in all the ingredients.  Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.  Serve warm.

Queso de Bola and Parma Ham Omelette

½ cup grated Queso de Bola (Edam Cheese)
½ cup Parma Ham, chopped
3 eggs
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Beat eggs lightly. Put the pan on low fire and heat the oil. Then, add the eggs. When the eggs turn firm,  place the ham and the cheese on top. When the eggs become more solid and the bottom turns brownish, slide it off the pan on to a plate. Serve hot.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hubby Hubby - Ben & Jerry's celebrates Gay Marriage

I hope that the ice cream and same-sex marriage will both be available here  in the Philippines in my lifetime.

Here's the link... http://www.benjerry.com/hubbyhubby/

Cafe Adriatico, Gateway Mall

Tonight was spent with friends in Cafe Adriatico at the Gateway Mall, Cubao. Although it does not have the old world appeal of the older branch in Malate, it still has cozy ambiance with its dark, wooden furnishing and baldosa-style tiles. The space is  made to look bigger with its steel and glass fa├žade and mirrors on its backwall. Oh, and there is an outdoor area for smoking patrons.

I do go back here for the big helpings of Pinoy comfort food. My favorites being the Pastel de Lengua (stewed Ox tongue) and the Ensaymada with Chocolate Eh (swirly brioche topped with grated Edam cheese and thick hot chocolate drink). 

But tonight, our meal consisted of Baboy na Sinigang sa Bayabas (a sour soup made with guavas and pork), Pinaputok na Plapla (Giant tilapia cooked in vinegar with slices of  bittergourd and eggplant), Pinakbet (vegetable mix sauteed in shrimp paste), Caldereta (beef stewed in rich tomato sauce) and Kangkong Lechon (swamp cabbage sauteed in blackbeans and oyster sauce and topped with slices of crispy pork belly). There were also orders of Hainanese Chicken Rice and Arroz Caldo with Tokwa't Baboy. 

All the dishes were consistent with anything I've previously ordered there, which is why I don't mind going back to this place. The favorites for the night were the Caldereta and the Pinaputok na Plapla,
Pinaputok na Plapla 
but  I have to say the Hainanese Chicken Rice was the prettiest meal of the night.
 Hainanese Chicken Rice


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shout out 2

My heartfelt thanks to friends who've read the posts, especially on the Chicken Redux Cream Soup. Ella, Direk Noel, Miej, Uge, Makil, Joel, Ferdie, Liwa and A., of course.

Chicken Redux Cream Soup

It's raining hard and long where I am. This kind of bed weather brings in a lot of memories-- naughty, nice and nasty.

I made my first chicken redux soup on my first year of living together with A. It was the first time I got a bad case of colds with my fever running as high as a dog's IQ.

A. went to work that day, leaving me with my cold meds and a light peck on the forehead. Before the meds could kick in, I was feeling really down and was leaking water from my eyes like a storm cloud because I realized that I missed my moms- my biological mom, my stepmom and A.'s mom. No one was getting mad at me for getting myself wet in the rain. No one was trying to make me put on three tons of clothing to bring the sweat out. I didn't have anyone to lay their palm on my forehead to check if I was still hot. For the first time in my adult life, I wanted my mommy! 

Any one of them. All three of them.

I fell asleep after  my dramatics had subsided and the meds began kicking in. When I woke up hungry, there was nothing in the ref but left over fried chicken. I was too parched to eat anything dry. When I saw the packet of cream of mushroom soup, I got the idea for Chicken Redux Cream Soup. ☂

At least 2 pieces of left over chicken (any part), minced; skin and bony bits included
2 cups of water
1 small onion, diced
1 can button mushrooms (approx 200 g.), diced
1 can of cream soup (mushroom, chicken, asparagus)

Pour all ingredients on the pan, including bony chicken parts, let boil in medium heat or until the soup consistency is to our liking. Take out chicken bones and ladle yourself a bowl. Should be good for 2-3 helpings. Add salt and pepper to taste.

☞ Use grilled, steamed, broiled or baked chicken if you don't have any fried chicken left overs. Using left over chicken from dishes with too much sauce doesn't work well.

☞ Use fresh vegetables: potatoes, carrots. peas, corn  

☞ Using powdered cream soup:
Pour 1 cup of water into the pan together with the onions, mushrooms, minced chicken and bony chicken parts. Boil in medium heat. Add 1 packet of powdered cream soup diluted in 1 cup of water. Simmer in low heat until consistency is to your liking.

☞ Instant Congee version:
If you have left over white rice, add the rice to your hot soup. I do this when I am too lazy but know that I need a little bit more than soup to fill me up.

☞ Noodle soup version:
Follow the instructions on the noodle soup packet  but add the chicken with the water. This way, the chicken water absorbs the flavor of the chicken.

Chicken soup, the ones with real chicken in it has supposedly been scientifically proven to help cure colds according to this CNN article http://archives.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/diet.fitness/10/17/chicken.soup.reut/

Shout Out

I just want to give a shout out to Tito Rye for coming over to the site so quickly for his Calderetang Tisay Recipe. Miss you much, love you much, 'bro! Hope that recipe kicks ass in your next get-together or lands you much sexy time with your stud (*wink, *wink)!


A few years back, I caught a local TV show featuring caldereta (beef stewed in tomato sauce and liver sauce) and there was something about the steaming hot meat that called to my inner chef.

I had a long, tiring week at work then but that weekend, I made the dish with what was available in the kitchen. 

My first try, using packed caldereta sauce mix was a success with the hubby and our regular house guests.

Eventually, I developed this recipe using ready-made ingredients that are constantly available from the supermarkets I frequented. I also got inspired by Jamie Oliver’s English stews and my dad’s old school caldereta recipe.

My HK-based friend Rye christened the dish after I served it to him. He remarked that it was the first time he’s had caldereta with olives and chorizo. Mostly, what he’s had would only have green peas, potatoes and carrots in it. You have to understand that most of my friends (including me) are were brought up in lower middle class families where ingredients like olives and chorizos are luxuries. As Rye put it, “pagkain ng mayayamang mestizo.” From there, my caldereta dish gained a nickname and a following amongst friends.

So, here’s the recipe, from my home to yours.

1 Kg   beef brisket sliced into 3 x 2 inch pieces
water  just enough to cover the meat
500    ml beef stock
4 pcs La Reina Chorizo de Bilbao sliced crosswise into ½ inch rings
4 cloves garlic, skinned
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 pieces onions, medium
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs soy sauce
¼ cup pitted green olives, sliced crosswise
¼ cup pitted black olives, sliced crosswise
800 grams whole peeled tomatoes, canned
400 grams diced tomatoes, canned
200 grams champignon (or button) canned mushrooms, slice in half
2 cans Reno liver spread (85 gms. per can)
15 pieces marble potatoes, cut in half
2 pieces carrots, diced
1 piece green bell pepper, diced
½ tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried pepperoncini or chili flakes

Clean the beef and place in a pot. Pour water, making sure that it rises above the meat by at least 1 inch. Add 4 cloves of garlic. Cook in high heat. When the water turns to a rolling boil, set the heat to medium and continue boiling until the meat is tender. Separate the beef from the stock. Set aside.

☞It usually takes a minimum of 2 hours to make beef tender without using a pressure cooker. I usually cook mine for 3-4 hours so the beef becomes as soft as corned beef.

When the beef is tender, place a deep wide, frying pan over medium heat. Heat the olive oil and add the Chorizo de Bilbao. When the chorizo is cooked, add the garlic and onions.

☞The chorizo is cooked when it becomes firm and the oil has seeped out of the sausage, turning all ingredients reddish or brownish.

Add the beef and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. When the beef browns a little, add all the liver spread, tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix well. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat the last 2 cups (the parts with the bits of meat) of beef stock. When it boils add in the potatoes. After 5 minutes add the carrots and celery.

Pour the beef and tomato mixture to the beef stock with vegetables. Add the oregano, pepper, dried basil and soy sauce to taste. Mix well. Do not cover and let the liquid evaporate to make the sauce thicker. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add chili flakes. Mix and add the bell pepper and olives. Simmer for 3 minutes.

If the sauce has not reached the consistency you like, remove the meat and vegetables and let the sauce simmer in low heat until it reaches your desired consistency.

Serve hot for 5-7 of your friends.

Beef cuts- I usually buy a 50/50 mix of the pochero and caldereta cuts from the supermarket but you can also try a short ribs and pochero combo.

Beef stock- 1 beef bouillon cube diluted in 500 ml of water.

Chorizo de Bilbao- I use the La Reina brand from Shopwise/Rustans because it’s saltier but you can use the ones that you can buy at any high-end deli (Terry’s or Santi’s) or use 1 can of Purefoods Chorizo Bilbao (using the lard that the sausage is preserved in as oil substitute is not for the faint of heart). The chorizo lends it saltiness and a different layer of pork fat to the dish.

Olives- you can just use green olives I black olives are not available. Capers can be used as substitute.

Celery- you can use more carrots if you can’t find any celery. This adds sweetness to the stock.

Marble potatoes- use regular potatoes. Leave the skin on. You can also opt to fry it separately and add it last. I prefer boiling it, though, as the starch helps thicken the sauce.

*Photo by Elmer Gatchalian

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


...was terribly unproductive. The most that the universe got from me was 6 hours of reading fan fiction filled with juvenile angst, 15 minutes of making dinner (omelette and mango shake) and 10 minutes of dish washing. 

So to make it up to the universe, I decided to put up this blog. Now.

I don't think anyone will actually be reading my blogs but if you are, here's what you can expect:

NO OBSESSING This is just some place to write my experimental recipes, different ways of cooking one dish and making use of left overs so don't expect me to go all Julia Powell, though, and obsess about some other person's recipes.

I live with my partner of 17 years, A., so most of my recipes cater to his palate which tends to favor salt, fat and carbs. I do make healthy stuff once in a while if I can avoid making them taste like cardboard or some other pulp that was intended for writing on and not mastication.

LOW-TECH I only have the simplest of kitchen equipment in our modest two-bedroom apartment. So most of the cooking process will involve them as well. If your equipment is hi-tech then good for you but don't go asking me about how to operate them.

We also invite friends over at least once a week so the recipes will mostly be good for four people. The title of the blog is Cooking in Small Spaces, not cooking for two.

A BIT OF THIS AND THAT I also like to go to the wet market, eat out and travel so expect a few reviews here and there.

I SUKC AT TYPING I am not an English major and I suck at typing. Please feel free to point out my mistakes so I can correct them.

NO TO CENSORSHIP I am an advocate of freedom of expression and you can type in any shit you want about my blogs but expect me to type back shit at you.

SHARE If you want to share yours or help me improve mine, feel free to do so. Any recipe culled from a book or provided by a person other than me will be acknowledged.

So now that's been said, my imaginary reader. Let me go onto my next blog and first recipe.