Friday, November 26, 2010

Leftover pandesal and Banana Raisin Pudding

I recently noticed that everyday, that there's always two pieces of left over pandesal from our daily ration. And trying to be a conscientious homemaker, I tried to make pudding out of these leftover. And to my dismay, I discovered that Pudding requires milk- whole, filled or evaporated. 

Not wanting to be derailed by this sticky problem, I decided to use an alternative - coffee creamer. And the resulting experiment turned out rather well. This recipe also uses a simple oven toaster, one that can get the heat up to at least 250°. I figured this is something that even a bachelor living in a condo unit can make since all the ingredients are available from the neighborhood convenience store.

So here it is ...the BANANA RAISIN PUDDING.

-       1 banana, mushed up
-       1 egg
-       5 tablespoons coffee creamer diluted in 1/2cup hot water
-       2 pieces pandesal, cut into cubes
-       2 tbsps raisin
-       ¼ cup condensed milk (add as needed)

Add the raisins to the diluted coffee creamer as you let  it cool. Mix the mushed up banana with the diluted coffee creamer and raisins. Lightly beat 1 egg in a bowl. Add in the colled down coffee creamer, banana and raisin mixture. Add the pandesal cubes. Mix gently until the bread is soaked and has become mushy.

Pre-heat an oven toaster for 5 minutes (180-200 degrees).  Place your mixture in a foil pan. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Once cooked, pour condensed milk as desired.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Charlie's Grind & Grill

A few weeks back, I got the chance to unwind with my co-workers and meet some new acquaintances. And over our Italian meal, guess what we talked about? Food, of course.

They were gushing over a newly opened burger place, Charlie's Grind & Grill. And when they mentioned chicken wings, I made an appointment with myself to visit the Ortigas Avenue branch (the other one is in Shaw Boulevard extension).

The Classic Buffalo Chicken Wings did not disappoint, blue-cheese dip included. I ordered it to be just mildly spiced. I think, this is the heat level that non-chili enthusiasts can enjoy. The chicken skin was crispy while the flesh inside was tender and cooked to the bone. The dip had just enough blue cheese and non of the greasy mayonnaise base.

The veggie sticks that came with it were a bit too dry, though.

The Angus beef cheeseburger was juicy and tender  but lacked the woodsy grill taste that sticks to your palate. The serving was big and definitely filling, making you think that the pricey meat is all well worth it.

The pasta was a visual feast but proved to be less memorable in the taste department. I don't even recall which one we ordered.

I would go back to Charlie's for the chicken wings and if  I'm hungry enough, maybe the burger, too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gusto Mo Bang Mag-Pakwan...Sa Sinigang?

Whilst surfing the net for interesting fruit-based meat dishes, I came upon several articles about sinigang (sour, fruit-based soup) using Pakwan (watermelon). Bloggers and food enthusisasts wrote about it as a native dish of Pampanga and Laguna. I think the area of San Miguel Bulacan and Candaba, where watermelons abound is a logical area of origin for this dish. That theory is unfounded of course. 
Another interesting  bit of cooking technique adapted for this sinigang was to pre-cook the pork so the watermelon will not disintegrate. Interesting, 'no?
Although the recipe calls for the use of unripe watermelon, using a slightly ripe one will do, just make sure to include the pale green flesh of the fruit. I also use the seedless watermelon variety you can buy from the supermarket.
And instead of using a tamarind cube, you can use stock made from fresh unripe tamarind boiled and strained to remove the solids. I think you can even make the dish prettier if you add in the rarely available tamarind flower (which has a subtler sour taste).


3/4 Kg seedless watermelon (pakwan mura- hilaw), peeled, cut into chunks
1 Cup sliced tomatoes
1/2 Kg pork spareribs, cut into chunks
1 pc large taro roots (gabi), peeled, sliced into small bits
1 large onion, quartered
2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 pcs finger chillies (siling haba)
1/2 bundle string beans (sitaw), cut into 2" long
1 bundle  water spinach (Kangkong), trimmed, washed
1 small bundle okra, sliced into diagonal 1inch pieces
1 small labanos, sliced into 1 cm-thick pieces
Salt or fish sauce (patis) to taste
1 tamarind cube, softened in 1 Cup water

1. Blanch the pork spareribs in a pot of boiling water. Skim top to remove impurities.
2. Dilute the tamarind cube in 1 cup of the water used for blanching the pork spare ribs.
3. In another clean pot, place the watermelon at the bottom. Then add in the onions, tomatoes, taro roots, then the blanched spareribs. Add in the tamarind mixture and around 5 cups of water. Cook over high heat until boiling, then simmer until meat is cooked and the watermelon are soft and mushy. This will take around 1 hour. Add water if you want to adjust the sourness of the soup.
4. Start adding the vegetables starting with the finger chillies and the string beans. Cook until the vegetables have changed color (brighter) but remain crisp.
5. Add in the water spinach. Cover the pan. After about 1 minute, add in the leaves of the water spinach.
6. Season with salt or preferably fish sauce to taste. Serve hot with rice.

Caramelized Danggit

I tried to caramelize danggit (dried rabbit fish) but it was a fail as the dried fish moistened and refused to get crispy.

The sweetness of the muscovado (brown, unwashed sugar) I used was too subtle to counter the saltiness of the fish. Well, this won't stop me from experimenting, though.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Puto Calasiao with Cream Cheese

This is a really yummy quick fix that you can serve guests on a Sunday afternoon or just enjoy by yourself.

You can get the Puto Calasiao from most weekend markets.  There are also stalls  along the road leading to White Plains and Katipunan that exclusively sell this Pinoy delicacy and kutsinta (sticky rice cake). They source it mainly from the barangay in Calasiao, Pangasinan that produces this bite-size steamed rice cake.
Photo by Jes Fenol of "Tara Let's Eat!"
Photo by Jes Fenol of "Tara Let's Eat!"
Photo by Jes Fenol of "Tara Let's Eat!"
 Get the unflavored, white kind. Lay the puto pieces on a plate and smother one by one with soft cream cheese. Make sure to almost cover the smooth mound of the rice cake.

The creamy, salty cheese is complemented by the slightly sweet soft cake. Take a bite, it's alright ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Singapore Chicken Rice

Been shopping at Shopwise Cubao for several years now and have seen food establishments around it  come and go. The latest food place to spring up is Singapore Chicken Rice, inconspicuously located  near the parking lot entrance and service delivery bay of Shopwise.

The first order of the day was of course the White Chicken Rice which, at P95 per set meal complete with soup and yogurt drink, makes you feel like you've hit the jackpot. Wel,, a P500 peso lotto win anyways ;)

Also took the risk of ordering the pungent Mee Goreng and not the favorably reviewed Pancit Chino. The fried spicy noodles tasted as hot as they look. The only downside to it was it was too overly spiced for my Pinoy palate and smelled like feet.

Instead of trying the usual dessert, I ordered the kaya toast. It's something I could eat everyday for breakfast of someone made it for me everyday. The coconut jam was perfectly complemented by the warm salted butter on the toast. 
I will definitely come back here and take my Kaya toast with the chocolate Dino drink and try the Pancit Chino.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Once a week, A. and our long-time friend E. usually eat out. We share a new experience and E. dishes out the latest showbiz chismis (gossip). A few weeks back, we made to it a small but cozy place along the booming Maginhawa street, Blacksoup Cafe + Artspace.

Black Soup Cafe
As I already had dinner, I got myself one of the more intriguing dishes on the menu, Hot Balut.  Although Balut has been featured in many shows as a curious (red: weird) Filipino food, it is quite common in other Southeast Asian countries. In Thailand it is called Khai Luk, Pong Tea Khon in Cambodia and Trung Vit Ion in Vietnam.

The boiled duck egg  is served, shelled chopped and sauteed. If you have a distaste for the unborn ugly duckling, then this dish will be a challenge for you to look at.
Hot Balut
Spiced with siling haba (green chili), garlic and onions, the balut remains tasty but after finishing it, I missed the experience of cracking the egg, drinking the hot salty liquid inside and putting salt before you open the egg fully and biting into the feathery flesh of the duck embryo.

As our friend dished out the latest story on a young actor turned away by a potential gay politician benefactor because of his scarred bum, we took turns tasting the different dishes we ordered.

The Blacksoup Greens was refreshing, a little bit on the sweet side which fits the Filipino palate.

The Lamb inasal was tender although the meat portion was too small and cut too thin. It was hard to really dig in to the dish. The Dalandan Salad on the side was absolutely refreshing, a perfect complement to the grilled meat.
Lamb Inasal with Dalandan Salad
We shared several pastas but the most memorable was the Vigan Longganisa, with the pasta strands coated in the orange oil of the Ilokano sausage and spiced just right. But again, the serving was too small.
Vigan Longganisa pasta
Although our palates were satisfied, the portions in Blacksoup Cafe + Artspace left our bellies wanting more.

Multitasking and Stir-fried Garlic Shrimps

Multitasking is a word you either love or hate. 

A concept espoused by start-up or scaled-down companies so their underpaid workers can do more for less. A practice amongst many urbanites whose main reason for existence is to conquer the world. A philosophy of creative minds with too much to say and have too little time in their hands. An excuse to do more with less, for very little.

On days when this word invades my world, one of the tasks I make sure to do is cook.

Cooking relaxes me.

Quick fixes are the best things to make on busy days. And I am not ashamed to share that I often use ready mixes. Here's a stir-fry recipe that you can do any time as long as you have the ready mix.

1/4 Kilo fresh shrimps with the antennae and legs clipped off
6 pieces cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 packet Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Tomato Garlic Prawn
1/4 cup cooking oil
Pepper to taste

Sautee the shallot and garlic. Once the shallot has turned translucent, add the cherry tomatoes. And once the tomatoes have softened and a little juice has oozed out, mix in the Sauce for Tomato Garlic Prawn. Add the shrimps and stir fry until the shrimps have turned orange all over. Add pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Monday, November 1, 2010

JUMBO ba ang Itlog mo?

The egg on the right is how your egg would look like if it were Jumbo-sized egg with two yolks inside.
It is not a genetically-modified poultry product that would eventually result in 5-winged, 6- legged chickens. Double yolk eggs occur when a hen ovulates too fast and one extra yolk finds it way into an egg with an existing yellow resident. Jumbo egg do not develop into two cute yellow chicks because the nutrients in the egg white cannot support the complete development of two hatchlings.

Apparently, double yolks are quite common with a 1 in 1,000 occurrence. And depending on which part of the world you live in,  cracking one can mean anything from a wedding to a windfall or a wake.

Mine were given by a friend, who visited the  egg layer farm of Soro-soro Ibaba Development Cooperative, an organization that is now helping OFW's invest their hard-earned cash  in businesses that would allow them to support their families even if they decide to come back home permanently. Together with the OFW NGO, Atikha, the balik-Pilipinas, balik-negosyo project is a laudable effort that will pave the way for more  OFW families re-unite, provide jobs and economically develop communities. 

Before I end up sounding like a public service ad, Let me share with you the photos of what double-yolk eggs look like.