Friday, December 31, 2010

After the success of our Christmas lunch, I was inspired to continue to serve meals that way. So now, this is how we eat everyday:

breakfast spread - franks, ham and bread, by 240baon

I bought a new table cloth and some placemats. The other plates are a mishmash because I really only have 2 of each kind as I only did this for MB and I before. But I’m slowly building my collection so it will improve soon.

breakfast - swiss miss, eggs, german franks and ham, by 240baon

Ignore the eggs. Everyone in my family (including MB, excluding me) likes very well done eggs that’s why I did that. There are some German franks and ham slices as well.

breakfast - apples and grapes, bread with cheese, by 240baon

I always include fruits. The selection of fruits also varies every single day. These are Washington apples and grapes. The wheat bread has some Australian Colby in the center then I stuck them in the toaster. (We’re now using our McDo glasses!)

And to end this post, here’s my crazy sister’s equally crazy plate:

my sister's crazy plate, by 240baon
She insisted that I take a photo of her plate.

I’ll be showing more of our table spreads in the coming days. I am really very inspired to do this each meal time. Of course, I do all the cooking and prepping and more often than not, organizing the table.  I’m still adjusting. I was used to cooking for two, now I cook for 4-5 (my cousin decided to be a permanent fixture on our dining table during meal times). But it’s really fun! I sit at the head of the table because that’s the closest to the kitchen and I play the hostess almost every time, refilling the carafes, getting extra rice, getting dessert, etc. I think this is really pushing me to the direction of owning a café/cafeteria of my own. We’ll see.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What happens when Chocolate Heaven goes ala mode?

chocolate heaven slice with haagen dazs vanilla ice cream, by 240baon

Chocolate Heaven + Haagen Dazs Vanilla = Pure, unadulterated bliss.

chocolate heaven with vanila haagen dazs, by 240baon

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If you’ve been following me on my personal blog, you’d know that I got sick 3 days before Christmas so my sister had no choice but to step up to the cooking challenge.

In spite of being sick, I tried to organize the “front of the house” to accommodate 9 people. We only have a 6-seater table and so sitting 9 was quite of a challenge. For the chairs, we settled with extra monoblocs. As for the table setting:

table setting

It didn’t really matter anymore as long as everybody was able to eat. In all the excitement though, we forgot to take pictures of the food!

where's the food

We had Bouillabaisse, Russian Salad, my afritada, Bolognese pasta and a whole bunch of desserts. That’s sparkling grape juice (which I had with Sprite) on the table beside the Bouillabaisse.

Mom bought a Mango roll and Chocolate Heaven from Red Ribbon. We actually remembered to take pics before dessert.

fruit salad and chocolate heaven
Fruit Salad and Chocolate Heaven

With the Mango Roll and different ice cream flavors


We also had cherry M&M’s and an assortment of chocolates.

Here’s my cousin’s ice cream which I lovingly prepped for the photo op:

cat's ice cream

My uncle’s ice cream:tito's ice cream

And my Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream that absolutely rocks!

my ice cream bowl...haagen dazs belgian chocolate rocks!

I was the only one who had Haagen Dazs because I cannot tolerate the lactose content of local ice creams. Score!

Oh, we actually have a photo of the afritada:

i think my afritada was a hit

You might think that we shelled out a lot for the table setting. Mind you, these are all from Melaware which was 50% off when I bought them! I don’t like ceramic/glass plates as I have polymyositis and I tend to drop things. These plastic ones are light enough and I don’t worry about dropping them.

The wine glasses are also on sale at 100 pesos each. The table cloth is only Php199 while the place mats are Php69.75. As for the centerpiece, I just filled the glass with Christmas balls. The glass costs around Php170. These are all from SM. I had fun shopping for this event.

What made your Christmas? At our house, it still feels like Christmas. I’ll show you why in my next posts.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I’ve been hanging out in this place since it opened. I love the relaxed vibe that this place gives. I love the décor and the cozy feeling of the furniture. The gelato on the other hand, is good, not great.

the ti amo tree, by 240baon

I love the fact that they’re trying to give the place an outdoor Italian Café, thus the tree in the middle..It may be weird for some but I kinda like this tree.

ti amo love to talk, by 240baon

ti amo long couch, by 240baon

I don’t like this couch because it’s impractical. The tables are placed side by side. What if you’re in the farthest corner and want to go out? Do you ask your neighbor to move his table or do you ask everybody in the couch to move out?

ti amo anything area, by 240baon
I love this Anything Area!

crystal rocking chair, by 240baon

I want that crystal/ghost rocking chair! I haven’t tried sitting on that chair yet as it’s always occupied.

ti amo bookshelf, by 240baon
Books and magazines for everybody

ti amo chocolate mint and dark chocolate gelato, by 240baon

Here’s our usual gelato order – choco mint for me and dark chocolate for MB. Their ube gelato is also good. I haven’t tried the other flavors just because I don’t fancy them.

Gelatissimo’s gelato tastes better but Ti Amo’s doesn’t melt like crazy like Gelatissimo does. Ti Amo’s is also more affordable at only Php49 for the solo cup. The choco mint tries to duplicate the taste of Andes chocolate mint bars but the mint is too much. You can barely taste the chocolate after a few spoonfuls as the mint numbs your tongue. Hehe.. I don’t really mind as I like chocolate mint. The dark choco is delicious. I think I’ll try to  be more adventurous next time and try the ube gelato. I only tasted it when MB ordered one and it was good. I don’t like ube ice cream so this is going to be a challenge for me.

I like Caffe Ti Amo better because of the laidback vibe. The noise is also less and the place is bright. There are no annoying long lines but the staff, since they’re new, can be somewhat slow. I stay here for a couple of hours a few times a week and I’ve enjoyed it whether alone or with MB. The crowd here is also better. No kids running around, just a few business men in suits, old people enjoying affogatos, yuppies typing away on their laptops, girlfriends taking a break from shopping and the occasional group of friends who just want to hang out and chit chat while enjoying a cup of gelato. 

Caffe Ti Amo is at Greenbelt 5. Photos taken using my Nokia E71.

I was all by my lonesome the other night having this for dinner:

crab and shrimps in coconut milk, by 240baon

MB was late for dinner and I was really starving so I started eating. I think I had dinner for more than 2 hours just because I enjoyed the crabs immensely. I haven’t touched the shrimps yet and there are still some leftovers so I’ll probably have this again for dinner. MB likes crabs but he doesn’t like getting into the nitty gritty of it so I had almost all the crabs to myself. Hooray!

First, you must boil the crabs in water with sea salt until they are done.

Pour one can of coconut milk in a pot and simmer. Add chopped garlic and onions and cook for about 1 minute. Add some bagoong. Yes, I add bagoong to my gata as my grandma taught me this. She’s Bicolana and that’s how she does her gata dishes. For this dish, I put 1 heaping tablespoon of sweet bagoong and 1 tablespoon of spicy bagoong. Mix. Add the cooked crabs. I already sliced my crabs into two as the other one was a monster crab. It was so big. It didn’t fit my kawali. I let this simmer for a while then finally added the shrimps.

I would have put some green chilis and malunggay but I was so exhausted the other day (from shopping) that I kinda forgot to get some when I did the groceries. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

chocolate heaven, by 240baon

This was MB’s birthday cake. It’s called Chocolate Heaven from Red Ribbon. This is the junior cake that costs Php395. It’s a very rich chocolate cake that chocoholics will surely love. They will really be in Chocolate Heaven after this.

chocolate heaven slice, by 240baon

The bottom layer is a whole brownie. The middle part is chocolate mousse and the icing is very thick chocolate topped with more chocolate shavings. I have to admit, it took us a few days to finish this small cake. One small slice is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth unless you have a really large tooth. = )

On my first taste, I started with the brownie first then the mousse. It made me umay! The trick is, you have to include all the layers in one bite as they all complement each other’s flavors. It was delicious nevertheless.

If you’re feeling blue or want to surprise someone, I suggest you get this cake and celebrate the little things that make you and your loved one happy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I’ve been very busy doing a lot of things for the house and for other people. And we don’t even have decorations yet! I’m also busy preparing my Christmas lunch menu. We don’t have noche buena as the old folks don’t want to eat at night so what we have is Christmas Lunch. Usually, my sister and I are in charge of food but as with the several Christmases that passed by, I was left alone in the kitchen. She always tells me that I cook better. Wrong! She’s just lazy. There are 3 cooks in my family – my  lola, my sister and me. My mom cannot cook. We try to keep her out of the kitchen as much as possible. Sssshhh!

This year, I’m preparing myself to cook up a storm (alone) again so that I will still have some time to enjoy the day and meet up with friends. Last year, I was stuck in the kitchen for almost the whole day.

So, this is where you come in. I think we will be expecting more company this year. I might cook for 8 people and I need a menu! My grandmother is spending Christmas with us and I need to feed her! She has been the designated cook for many years and it’s time for her to have a good sit-down meal.

These people are a mish mash of sorts when it comes to food choices and that is why I will prepare a mish mash menu – freestyle, just the way I like it.

I’m thinking of cooking afritada (this is special for me if you’ve been a follower of this blog as I found a slam dunk recipe) and my pseudo paella dish which I posted some time ago. I will just add more chicken and some seafood to it. I’m also thinking about doing some seafood kare-kare, probably for dinner but will be served on the table too as my sister would probably want to taste some. My sister and the kids will probably look for some pasta and I am stumped. I don’t like cooking the usual spaghetti so I need ideas please! I also need a chicken dish. If we can buy an oven before Christmas, then I’ll probably roast one. If not, oh boy… I don’t want the usual fried chicken that my sister cooks for Christmas. A few Christmases ago, I cooked some Hainanese chicken but that won’t be bagay for this year’s menu. The kids will be looking for chicken! And for dessert? I am really stumped. I might make some fudge for snacks in between meals. I usually make a frozen peach pie but I have a tiny ref. Maybe if we can manage to buy a new ref then I’ll make some ahead of time. I really think a frozen peach pie at the end of the meal will be lovely as my pie is like an ice cream. It’s just frozen cream and peaches in 4 layers and ends with a crushed graham crust. It’s light and cleanses the palate. But I need a ref! What do you think? If you have any other desserts that are slam dunk worthy, please tell me!

You might think that this is a lot of food. Don’t fret. Our guests will surely ask for take away and the rest will serve as our food for the next couple of days or so. That way, I can just sleep and not worry about feeding people.

And the cats? They always look forward to their Christmas tinola and all our leftovers. Such spoiled cats, these babies are…

What are your usual Noche Buena fares?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Well, that I cooked anyway. I suck at cooking Filipino dishes. When I cook, I go freestyle. Hehe… and I think Filipino dishes require a lot of patience and precise steps. I don’t do precise. I’m bad at following directions.

There are only a few Filipino dishes that I can claim that I cook well – adobo, afritada and sometimes sinigang. I say sometimes because it’s hit and miss. I want to cook sinigang the proper way, using boiled tamarind. But that’s for some other time. Let’s focus on this wonderful dish, shall we?

the best beef kare kare ever, by 240baon 
I don’t eat innards that’s why when I cook kare-kare, I use beef or seafood. MB and I both loved this dish. He also agrees that this was the best kare-kare I ever cooked.

I got the recipe from the Nestle Club.

I boiled the beef in water with quartered onions and beef cubes for 1.5 hours. Ask your butcher what the best cut of beef is for kare-kare. I was in a hurry that day when I did the groceries and didn’t go to my usual butcher as he was busy with a gazillion other customers. It was a bad decision. I ended up with tough beef. Nevertheless, the very long boiling time made it edible.

You will need annato oil for this to give the kare-kare an orange color. Fry the vegetables in this oil. Fry the eggplants, banana heart, string beans and pechay in batches then set aside. You should use the white puso. I didn’t find any so I went with the red.

When the beef is tender, drain the liquid and set aside. We will use this liquid later.

Chop some garlic and onions. Saute these in annato oil. Add the beef and cook for just 30 seconds. Pour the broth over the beef. I used all the excess broth because MB likes a lot of sauce. Add peanut butter and mix well. Pour one pack of Nestle Cream. Mix well and cook for around 2-5 more minutes.

To serve, pour the beef mixture in a bowl and top with the fried vegetables. Serve with lots of rice and bagoong. I will try this method with seafood next time. 



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