Thursday, June 30, 2016


Googled "funny food labels" and this is what I got. I wonder which of these are for real?

Have you got any funny food label pics? Share the pics and a laugh here on my Facebook Page =)
Just click here to get linked!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


I recently had a craving for strawberries so I went to the supermarket. After satisfying my palate pangs, I still had a handful left. So I decided to make my own strawberry vinaigrette to use in the for salads in the next few days.
You can try this one out if you have strawberries to spare.


  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp stone ground Dijon mustard 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  • Prepare the strawberries by washing, removing the stems and cutting into halves.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 °F.
  • Get  baking tray and evenly position the strawberries.
  • Place the strawberries in the oven.  The fruit will release its own juices. Roast until it caramelizes. That should be about 15 minutes for small Baguio strawberries, and 20 mintes for the big-sized ones.
  • Once roasted, remove the strawberries and let it cool.
  • Purée the strawberries along with the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, stone-ground Dijon mustard, garlic and pepper. Make sure to include any strawberry juices in the baking trays.

  • Once the mixture is consistently smooth, pour it in a jar. 
  • Keep refrigerated and serve cold.

Did you know that aside from being used as a salad dressing, vinaigrettes can also be used to baste meat? I wonder what the Rosated Strawberry Balsamic Viniagrette will be good for?

Saturday, June 25, 2016


When I crave street food but don't feel like pedestrian dining, I go to Lola  Ote's where barbecued street food are served churrasco style inside an airconditioned establishment. My favorite is the pork isaw (intestines), round bits of intestinal muscles, fat and mucosa marinated in  sweet soy and grilled in high heat that turns some parts into toasty bits.  I like it because there's no bitter aftertaste and it's not dry, the way most neighborhood barbecue stalls tend to grill theirs.
On the right is the isaw, beside it is the barbecued tenga (ears). The fat is tender and heart-clogging but the cartilege isn't boiled to melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. 

Address: 24 Sgt. Esguerra St., South Triangle, Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Telephone: +63 9175217892/ 02 5430076

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Often, when friends come over, I often overlook the side dish that goes with the main course. Does this happen to you, too?

Here's an easy-to-make side that requires Herbes de Provence, a mixture of dried herbs commonly used in Southeast France. Though it sounds exotic, it's actually very easy to make and will surely impress your guests. Trust me.

  • 1/2 kg.   Marble potatoes
  • 3 tbsp.    Olive  oil
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1: Prep the potatoes. Wash the potatoes and let them dry on a rack.

Step 2: Make the Herbes de Provence.  Mix and grind: Savory, Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano. Savory or satureja is very hard to come by in the Philippines. You can substitute additional thyme and sage.

Step 3: Roast the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Mix in the Herbes de Provence and place the potatoes on a roasting pan. Coat potatoes with olive oil and, season with salt and pepper. Roast for  20 minutes, making sure it's tender before you take it out of the oven.

Serve with tomato-based meat or poultry dishes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Zuni is one of the posh restaurants you can find in Greenbelt 5. Well received by its Makati clientele for its wide selection of perfectly done meats and seafood, the restaurant has a relaxed yet elegant ambience.
To get a 360 degree of the restaurant, just click on the pic to get linked to their website.
My friends and I found ourselves gravitating towards the restaurant after attending an exhibit opening in the nearby Ayala Museum. Since we were full, we skipped the entrees and went straight for the desserts.

The Zuni Obsession is a drool-worthy platter of moist chocolate cake with chocolate ganache served with assorted fresh fruits and vanilla ice cream on hippen mush. 

It's such a pretty dessert, you almost don't want to eat it. Almost. The cake was moist and not overly sweet and went well with the vanilla ice cream. It's a sophisticated version of brownie a la mode. What intrigued me was the term "hippen mush." It turns out, it's not mush but rather, masse as in hippenmasse, the baking term for a crusty wafer-like pastry shell that tastes like barquillos or an ice cream cone. Funny that they made the dessert so pretty but forgot to check the name on the menu. 

We also tried the Peach and Apple Crumble. Again, wonderfully plated.
The mini pie contained a mix of peach and apple and served with apple sauce, mini peach halves, mint leaves and a patina of powdered dark cocoa, which I believe was more for show than to tie in all the elements together. It's forgivable, though, since you could choose to skip the bitter cocoa since the tangy apple sauce was enough to balance the sweetness from all over.

Zuni Greenbelt
Address: Level 1, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City
Telephone:  +63 9175349197 / 02 7570361

Thursday, June 16, 2016


I guess the question on your mind is... what the hell is Sambong?

It is a flowering plant with the scientific name is Blumea balsamifera also known as subsub in the Iocos region and bukadkad in the Visayan provinces. It is often mistaken for sage (Salvia officialis) because of its similarly hairy leaves and medicinal properties.
It is usually used as a diuretic to treat urinary and kidney problems. But our forefathers also used it to cure common colds, diarrhea and wounds. These days, it is often turned into tea sold in many health stores.

Some people may have felt that medicinal tea is so boring. Eating chips would make more  people with urinary tract problems pee their pants in excitement. Great idea, terrible recipe. The flavor of the sambong overpowers everything. Every bite tastes like a tortilla topped with a spoonful of dried herbs. They tried to mask the overly herbal taste with a bit more salt and pepper but it only resulted to disastrous over seasoning. I do hope the makers of Sambong Chips would rethink and retest their recipe because we do need more healthy snacks.


I believe the Nikimat's label is produced by the same makers of Ocean Fresh Tahong Chips. Get linked by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Slow cooking is not the method of choice for many home cooks. It requires time and as the cliche goes, "time is gold." But I like cooking food that requires a lot of my time because I can multi-task and do other things like write my blog entry or watch a movie  online or simply stare into space while my brain cells refuse to do any  work. 

Slow food is meditation. It gives me time to not think. 

Slow food is zen. It allows me to focus and hear myself.

Slow food is an art. It is the art of patience. A rare commodity in this age of insta-everything.

Pochero is one dish I like to make when I need time for myself. If you buy the meat cut, all that needs prep time are the veggies. Your only job is to put each ingredient at the right time.

Here's my soupy version of the dish that uses kalabasa (squash) instead of patatas (potatoes).


  • 1 kg beef pochero cut (brisket cubes)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 small cabbage, quartered
  • 1 bunch Baguio beans (long beans), ends removed
  • 1 quarter small kalabasa (squash), cubed
  • 3 large saba (plantain), sliced
  • 2 corn-on-the-cob, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 bunch celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp whole pepper corn
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 medium sized eggplants, ends removed
  • Garlic, finely minced 
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, minced

  • Pour water in the pan, turn on to high heat and add the beef. Let it boil for a few minutes then turn the stove down to low heat. Add the salt. Allow the beef to simmer for an hour.
  • Add half the carrots, onions and celery. This will give a natural sweetness to your broth.
  • Add more water as needed, making sure the beef is fully submerged.
  • After  another hour, add the kalabasa. You want it to be super soft and add a little sweetness and starchiness to the broth.
  • After 30 minutes, add the corn and pepper to taste. When the corn becomes tender, add the green beans. 
  • When the green beans turn bright, add the cabbage.
  • Turn off the stove and cover the pot for 5 minutes to allow the cabbage to cook.
  •  Chop off the ends of the eggplants and boil in water (you can also grill or fry it but I like it boiled).
  • Once the eggplant is cooked take it out of the water. Let it dry and cool before mincing it.
  • Add the garlic, coriander and fish sauce. Mix. Put in the ref.

Serve the Pochero hot  and the dipping sauce cold.  Enjoy the meal with plain steamed rice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Went on a Googling spree again and this time I went looking for funny food art and here's what I found.

If you want to share any pics of funny food art you found online, just click here to get linked to the Cooking in Small Spaces Facebook page.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Back in 2011, the hubby and I worked on the first-ever food documentary on our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, "Piging Para kay Pepe."
It was there that we met several food historians, including Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, whom I gladly found out published "The Foods of Jose Rizal"  a year later in 2012.  In this era of humanizing heroes we'd all like to know what this outstanding human being liked to eat. When it came to his gustatory demnds, was Rizal as common as you and I?

June being the month of our nation's independence, let me share with you some more interesting tidbits about our beloved Pepe and his gustatory inclinations.

In his book "Rizal Without the Overcoat," historian Ambeth Ocampo writes, "I discovered that Rizal usually had hot chocolate, a cup of rice and sardinas secas for breakfast."  What is sardinas secas?  Tuyo.  And the man loved fish because for lunch he usually had ayungin (silver perch). When it comes to his meals, Rizal, the man who sparked the fires of independence of our nation was as simple as every Juan.

In the third chapter of "Noli Me Tangere," Rizal described how the tinola, a soup with chicken and vegetables, was served to the guests- the meatier parts for important people while the neck and wings for the least welcome guests. Did you know that during Rizal's time, the soupy dish was made not just with green papaya or sayote but also with squash (or sometimes potatoes) for added starchiness in the broth.

The 25th chapter of "El Filibusterismo, fourteen young Indio lads spend their time  at the Pansiteria Macanista de Buen Gusto. In his translation of the historical novel, National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario describes Pancit Langlang: "... may kabute, hipon, pasta ng itlog, sotanghon, mga hinimay-himay na manok at kung ano-ano pa." Did you know that during his stay in Belgium as a student, the young Pepe cooked too much Pancit and ate it for two days?

Three boiled eggs. That was Dr. Jose Rizal's last meal according to the accounts of Asuncion Lopez Bantug in her book "Lolo Jose." He ate two of them but, was said to have thrown the third egg away for the rats who shared his cell.

Next time, you eat rgular PInoy fare, remember, ang hindi marunong magmagahal sa sariling pagkain, ay mas malansa pa sa bilasang ayungin.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Sorry, I didn't mean to dupe you. You are not going to get free rice. Instead, you will be giving grains of rice if you play an online game called "Free Rice."

There are eight (8) subjects to choose from: Humanities, English, Math,Chemistry, Language Learning, Geography, Sciences and Test Preparation. After clicking on the challenge of your choice, you just need to answer the questions and every answer you get right, Freerice donates 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. You can also invite friends to help them spread the word.

This is what 10 grains of rice look like.
You can fill the plate of one hungry person from a poor country by simply playing a game.  

I checked out the website. You know, in case this was just some scam. It turns out that Freerice is  a non-profit website owned by the United Nations World Food Programme and it has two goals:
  • Provide education to everyone for free 
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.  
And if you're feeling a bit more generous, you can also partner with them by placing ads on their website. You will need about US$5,000 worth to spend on ads.

It's a good cause that doesn't require much from you. So, go and play that game now!


Thursday, June 2, 2016


I am not a breakfast person. Morning meals usually consists of caffeine. Period.

But when I travel, I always take advantage of the free breakfast that comes with the hotel room reservation. And usually it would be a western-breakfast meal with bread, eggs and  some kind of ham. So it was a delight when the hubby and I were served full  traditional Japanese breakfasts during our trip to Hakone, Japan back in 2014. 

Hakone, located at the eastern Kanagawa prefecture, is sparsely populated with145 persons living per km². The tranquil environs are reflected in the gentleness of Hakone's people. The locals we encountered were all soft-spoken, unharried and courteous.

We were booked at Tounosawa Quatre Saison, a small hotel at the edge of a winding road. The hotel was rather old but the room was spacious with fluffy comfortable beds and a tatami area by the window which had a wonderful view of the river.

The wonderful view, seen from all floors of the hotels, was reason enough to spend leisurely time at the breakfast table.
We were served traditional breakfast sets that consisted of rice, yakizakana, tamagoyakitsukemono (pickled vegetables) and a variety of kobachi (vegetable side dishes). This might sound heavy but the portions are small, just enough to fill you and get started for the day.

The rice was usually mixed with other whole grains and served with natto, sticky fermented soy beans.

Tamagoyaki, more popularly known as tamago, is a Japanese omelette made of rolled eggs. The Yakizakana is usually broiled fish, seasoned only with salt. Salmon and dried horse mackerel are often used.
There were other days that we were served vegetable nabemono. The nabe or pot was filled with vegetables, mushrooms, fermented beans and soup stock then placed atop a metal coal stove. the food attendant (who was also the doorman, just changing caps when he switched tasks), seeing we were unfamiliar with the cooking process, turned off the heat when the stew was ready to be eaten.

A Japanese-style breakfast is definitely worth the try, even for non-breakfast eating carnivores like me!

Sharing with you some more black and white pics of Hakone. Enjoy the view!



Check out my other Japan blog posts by clicking on the titles:




Tounosawa Quatre Saison
Address: 120 Tonosawa, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi 250-0315 , Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Telephone: 00 81 460-85-6531