May 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
JM visited me in Singapore last week, and because I think she’d rather me not posting it in the mainstream social network, I’ll document it here instead. :) JM had just ended her exam week before going here, and I was in the process of preparing for mine – so this was a pretty shabby patched-up plan, touring-wise. But more or less, it turned out better than I expected. :) Although I tried to pick the less banal activities that can be done here in Singapore, we still grazed a few of them. haha. I couldn’t let her go home and be like me who had not gone to Sentosa after being here for more than 6 months already. The highlights though (and I hope her personal favorites as well) we’re going to Pulau Ubin and watching a play at the Esplanade.
Welcome to Pulau Ubin! The island is home to the last few Kampongs in Singapore. It’s a pretty much run-down village that makes you wonder if you’re still in Singapore or not. On the other hand, it’s a nice refuge away from the city life – where you can actually see an interesting ecosystem at the Chek Jawa Wetlands. It’s a S$2.50 bumboat away from Changi Village.
I managed to wake JM and myself up at 5:30 am and we reached the place around 8:00 am, after a 1-hour MRT ride, a 30-minute bus ride, and finally the 10 minute bumboat ride.
To go around the island, it’s best to rent a bike. And for crying out loud, we were riding it the wrong way for more than half the trip. Our calves and thighs were over-exerted by the time we figured out that we should have raised the seats. T_T. It was sheer torture going up all the hills, and heaven for all the “Dismount bike and Walk” parts. hahaha. (yes, we didn’t dismount).
We saw a lot of crabs (small but interesting-looking ones), mudskippers, wild pigs, birds – namely, the jungle fowl a.k.a. “manok”. haha. There was also a beach that was covered in seaweeds. We thought, well I thought, that we would sink if we stepped on it because it was quite soft and my foot went down unopposed for a good 5 inches. For some time, I was stepping on the rocks only, until JM pointed out that awful, stupid fact that we we’re still on the beach and it had to be solid land. So I went down from the rocks and played on the soft, green beach bed that I wish I could identify if only I still remembered my MS1 knowledge.
On her second day, we went to Sentosa, sans the usual Universal Studios. We did the 4D Adventure Park thing which barely impressed me, if not for seeing Josh Hutcherson in one of the 4D rides. Yeah, I can see you scoff, JM. haha.
We also did the Luge + Skyline, and the Cable Car ride. It was exhausting that day because it was very hot and at the same time very cold inside the areas which we’re air-conditioned. We saw Sir Chief as well! HAHAHA. As in the Sir Chief-Maya thing – but I can’t remember the title of their show right now. JM wanted to take a picture for Gale – and insisted on using me as “kunwari fan” material. I couldn’t do it, and neither would she volunteer herself as social sacrifice, so we didn’t get a picture. :( Sorry Gale, hehe. Next time kakapalan ko na mukha ko. haha. The Cable Car ride was also interesting because we saw the Mt. Faber area – and it’s officially on my Singapore bucket list. It’s probably one of the few pretty places (in my standard) here, as the restaurant there was overlooking the mountainous area. After the Sentosa weekend, JM was pretty much on her own during the day – either doing her own exploring or chilling it out at UTown’s ERC haha, and us eating during the night. I was finally able to eat Chili Crab, and I didn’t really like it. JM liked it, however. :) Chili Crab just didn’t bring out the full potential of the crab, for me. I missed my mom’s Crab in Black Tausi. And it was a pain trying to break apart the crab claws. After eating at Makansutra Gluttons by the Bay, we watched a free play at the Esplanade. We sat at the front-most center seats, which at first we thought meant higher chances of actor-audience interaction, but didn’t turn out as such. Maybe just a bit. haha. I enjoyed the play since it’s been awhile since I last went to watch a theatrical production. After that, I’ve decided to check all the future free things happening at the Esplanade to make the most out of my stay here.
On JM’s last day, we ate at Din Tai Fung for the Xiao Long Bao. Everything on the menu looked appetizing and we had such a hard time choosing. I had been looking at the menu for 30minutes (with no final decision until then) when JM finally found me. Since she stayed at a different hotel on her later days, we had just agreed to meet at the restaurant at a specific time. It was a good thing we we’re both early as the line was quite long that Friday. After that, we chilled for a while at Clarke Quay while eating Hokkaido ice creams. We went home thereafter and stayed up until 4 in the morning at Town Green – time well spent talking about life and other things. :)
It wasn’t really a typical vacation/visit. My brain was kind of scattered those days as I was torn between having to focus in school and wanting to get over the day and go out with JM. haha. But among other things, I think it did us both well. As if somewhere within that week, we both grew up a bit. ;)
JM, this is what a GIF is. haha. (photos taken by JM’s now dressed-up mint green Macbook wiiii – thank you CANDY SHIELD!!) thank you JM for visiting! :) I miss you already. :’) Hope you enjoyed staying here, even with the volume and activity restrictions imposed by alam-mo-na. HAHA. oh, and thanks for taking pictures of me and Paul <3 <3 <3. LOL. I was so tempted to post it here, but nah – gotta move on. But thanks for being ever so supportive. HAHAHA.
I’ll see you where life takes us next. :)
January 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
Unfortunately, food therapy, like retail therapy, is very expensive. I’ve been wanting to buy a Subway since last week, but the thought of the calories and the accompanying price helped stop me. I gave in the other day though because Swati wanted to try it as well, so I watched the lady carefully how she crafted the expensive sandwiches. I went to the grocery the next day to buy the necessary ingredients and was devastated that there weren’t any jalapenos. I even went to 2 other groceries to check if they had it, but it seems like my only chance of finding it will be going to Cold Storage. I started the project by making a Tuna Sandwich which, as a matter of fact, had tuna. Then tonight I tried making an Egg Wrap, which looked pretty legitimate – until I tried to wrap it. FAIL. Kaya pala ang konti maglagay ni ate, hindi pala kaya i-wrap pag madaming laman. T_T
In other news, I’m trying to perfect my ref cake. :) I adopted my mom’s recipe for the crust which includes graham crackers, brown sugar and butter. Hindi nga lang ako makaget over na 150 pesos yung 30 pesos sa Pilipinas na graham crackers. Don’t even start asking about how much Nestle cream is! :( I’ve tried using varying combinations and amounts of cream, cream cheese, yogurt and condensed milk for the white layer. My subjects seem to very much approve. :) I’ve made 7 of these already. Next project: banoffee pie! :)
my first batch :) this one has peaches but I used kiwi for my latest batch because I didn’t have a freakin’ can opener for the can of peaches and Helen wasn’t home with her Swiss Army knife. :(
In all fairness to this time consuming diversion, I have gained a couple of insights regarding my experiments in the lab. At first, I constantly found myself wishing that my experiment was as easy as this. No need to measure, just intuition and a good sense of combining things and imagining the taste. I don’t measure out anything when I cook. However, I realized that doing wet lab experiments should actually be like cooking. Sure, there are certain things that have to be followed. But it isn’t as rigid as I’m treating it. Protocols are just there to ensure repeatability, but an added decimal in the molarity wouldn’t always result to something different. Well, that statement certainly cannot be qualified for all wet lab experiments, but it helped me get over my OCness in the lab which kind of paralyzes me at times. So thank you to the kitchen, I feel renewed excitement to continue with my experiments. Though I wish all the chemicals I’m dealing with were as benign as food. I’d give anything to not have to worry about explosive and lethal powders under my nose. @_@
August 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
I bought squash yesterday. I was in the grocery trying to assess if I could actually manage carrying 5 apples, 5 oranges, half of a large papaya and bottles of pesto and strawberry jam back home…plus the squash. I wanted to eat squash badly for some reason. And a lot of other things. But the squash just gripped me right there. There was however the problem of just having a microwave, and the fact that I didn’t even have salt or pepper at the hostel. I thought about asking Swati for the salt because she had the complete works for cooking, and after a couple more rounds lingering near the squash, I dumped back the apples to their basket and plucked out a squash instead. *fist pump* For good measure and for future repeats of any cravings, I also grabbed a bottle of garlic salt. The rationale for choosing the garlic salt was that it was cheaper than the pepper & salt mix. haha. And if I get stressed enough, I might even think of cooking adobo.
On the other hand, I’m so proud of my fubby brother back home who’s surprisingly doing a great job manning the kitchen! :)
I’m very proud of Gab, who’s took on the challenge of being only son and cook for the time being that I’m not at home. If its any consolation to feeling like I’m amiss at my responsibilities, at least I know my brother’s character and skills are all improving with the change that has happened in our life now.
August 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
Met up with Rosa here in Singapore. :) She lives in Iloilo so we really rarely meet up even when I was in Manila. So far, it’s been in Thailand and here. haha. I hope the next one will be…hmm, Vietnam? San ba madaming masarap na pagkain? Ohh, Korea! :) She gave me looots of Biscocho and Piaya, and I literally ate 2 piayas immediately after getting it because I saved my appetite up until 4pm when we met. Somehow, it tastes better than ever. haha. psychological probably? or maybe because it’s from Rosie. :) We went walking around China Town (looks like any other China town…except cleaner haha) and Little India, and then we went to the “famous” Old Airport Road Hawker Center. It’s a pretty big hawker center with lots of choices. It’s in an HDB area so a lot of people really go there. We wanted to do the smart thing and queue where the lines were long…but it was too long. :)) I bought oyster cake from the recommended Katong Ah Soon stall, but it wasn’t that good. Rosa bought chicken rice, but I don’t think it was a specialty there. We sat in front of a guy who was eating pig innards with some flat noodle soup and we we’re eyeing it in between our conversation because it looked really nice. Really, the nice things are all unhealthy. haha. I’ll try that pig innards soup next time! :p
market in Little India
and the cow jumped over the moon
I don’t know what’s in this, but it tasted weird haha, I bought the “Lemon Barley” flavor and it tasted like sour gulaman haha
we finished our drinks anyway, as real foodies do :))
really big mushrooms
the oyster cake
June 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
activities of a bum: kitchen inventions, unlimited family bonding, household chores and endless catching up on things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to until now.
1. In preparation for my long absence, I’m cleaning up the kitchen of ingredients that might not be used by my brother or our house help. I have an entire bottle of mirin and sesame oil to finish, plus different breadings, sauces, marinades and herbs to use up. The entire process of cleaning out these things has inspired many successful (and a few failed haha) made-up recipes. :)
(haha, some made-up pork and mushroom stir fry with scrambled eggs and vegetables…I know how to make delicious Japanese scrambled eggs now – add mirin and kikoman soy sauce!)
lemon-honey chicken with tomato rice
the last of the 5-month old thai chili paste we bought in thailand: basil fried rice
2. Posters! :) I’ll miss having to make these. Growing up with this obligation has helped enhance the very little artistic talent I possess.
3. I missed home. Even if we go home to Cavite every weekend, I usually spend my entire day in my room, in the kitchen and in the market. I don’t even get to play with our dogs anymore when I was still studying and working.
4. Since Inay is stuck in bed for now, I have to make sure our helpers know how to do things properly to lessen Inay’s headaches. In the process of going over all the other details that have to be overseen in running the household, I realize time and again that having a family is not a walk in the park and raising kids requires infinite patience. Truly, love is the only sane reason to get married and start a family.
5. I finally found the time to print photographs and make photo albums! I spent a fortune on developing tons of pictures, I think I’ll have to be more selective next time in choosing what and what not to develop.
April 27, 2013 § 2 Comments
You owe us a whale shark.
Aside from that, you owe us bland food, and a view free of a towering natural cone. You owe us the idea that waterfalls are inland and the idea that the ability to swim is inborn. You owe us a starless night and the illusion that we rule the universe. You owe us a life untouched by fireflies and a life hastened at all times. You owe me a full night’s sleep not under the stars beside one of the best things in life. You owe me a ride home that skips all the rice fields and the joy of walking with friends. Lastly, you owe me three boring days spent in usual fashion and devoid of wonderful people.
For your first inadequacy, I have finally found the heart to forgive you. For the rest of it, I don’t. After all, there is nothing to forgive…but I ask that you promise the next time we go there, you will give me my first wish…and a repeat, if not a better version, of everything else. :)
This is a very late post of my Donsol Trip with April, Marge, JM, Gale & David. All the pictures are from their cameras (except Marge’s…we were both freeloaders on the pictures haha). :D Thank you friends, I know you’ll grant me the right to borrow them without asking. haha. But I ask now. :D Yes? yes! :) So much for choosing the more environmentally-sustainable practice of seeing a whale shark. But as with all things, you can’t get everything you want…at the moment that you want it. We will be back! :)
still smiling a couple of jellyfish stings after :D
Warning Sign – Coldplay. :(
March 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
I cooked paella today for Easter. There’s my mom’s finger and utensils getting paella before I can even get a decent picture. :)) I really have no patience for plating, so I bought humongous prawns to make up for the lack of design. Looks instantly appetizing. :p The other day, I made jambalaya rice with prawns and chicken – and I placed lots of herbs (the thyme and turmeric was too overpowering) which mamow didn’t like. When he was eating the jambalaya rice, he took out all the prawns because he claimed he was allergic (which is the truth). But it was honestly just an excuse because I knew he didn’t like it. Inay, who possesses the only immunity from my persuasive tactics of making them eat my dishes, kept taunting mamow that turmeric has a lot of health benefits – primary of which was its function against obesity. She didn’t even try a spoon of the jambalaya rice. But today with the paella, mamow ate 2 prawns even if he was allergic. And Inay ate 3 servings! :) I was honestly contemplating of opening a restaurant while eating it. I really take comments about my cooking personally. So today was a good day because everyone liked it. :)
And today is really a good day because we’re reminded that Christ redeemed us from the murky business of sin. Even if a lot of people have their own reasons against joining traditional celebrations like this, I think what’s more important to note is that rather than tradition having the tendency to be an exercise, tradition reminds us. We very forgetful lot.
I cleaned out this blog yesterday of all my unpublished drafts. Unsurprisingly, they were mostly about love. Thank you to the little wisdom I possess and I thought against posting them. There were also a number of awkward half-baked creative writing for creative writing’s sake. I need stillness to get into writing about more important things again.
March 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
The homily in Church today was thought-provoking:
When we ask God for patience, do we think He will give us patience?
No He won’t, but He will give us opportunities to be patient.
When we ask God for courage, do we think He will give us courage?
No He won’t, but He will give us opportunities to be brave.
True enough as we got home from church, my dad broke the news about my mom’s latest CT scan. As the priest said, “life is all about opportunities, which ones we take and which ones we don’t”. Of course the right thing to do would be to make the best out of every opportunity we come across with. It was probably providential that the part I’ve been reading in The Shack lately is about letting go of choosing which is Good and which is Bad in our lives. That it’s necessary to trust God that as long as we live in Him, everything that happens to us is Good, even if it means having my mom afflicted with cancer, and not passing in some of the universities I applied to, and being heartbroken, and all those other things I tend to worry about. Thankfully enough, it’s been easier lately to think more of the brighter side. I’m still lucky my problems are so shallow compared to other people. I’m thankful for all the moments I’m able to pull back out of my life and see the bigger picture. The fact that I live through a constant cycle of getting lost and finding my way again makes every self-realization important. I hope the next time I pray to God to help me be a better person, I’ll be able to take the opportunity to be one when it comes. Be it an ill-tempered beggar or a difficult person.
Gab and I made Grandpa a birthday poster to go along with the ube cake Inay baked. I’m very happy with how my misua with patola and shrimps turned out. I just love cutting out food. Or maybe I just love food in general. HAHAHA. And we had a good laugh awhile ago after the mass. It was because my mom baked ube cake last week for the priests in La Salette, so when we talked to one of the priests awhile ago, he said the cake was really nice. But then he added, “anong cake nga po ba yun?”. To which I laughed and whispered to my mom, “hindi nila na-decipher kung ano yung cake niyo! :))”. I guess it was expected as real ube doesn’t really taste like anything (but my mom’s cake was really delicious, I should really make an effort to learn that recipe). Anyway, so my mom decided to call her cake the “ambivalent cake” to which my brother disagreed on because it had a negative connotation and so Ama suggested to name it the “hermaphrodite cake” instead (which doesn’t really eliminate the undesired connotation). haha. I thought “ambiguous cake” would have been more appropriate but none of our suggestions really sound appetizing. In any case, I will have another slice of that cake. :)
December 1, 2012 § Leave a comment
We welcomed December with 3 plates of lasagna.:p~ I’m tired of bringing tanigue and paella every reunion so I figured I’d test my hand in making lasagna instead. And what better time to do this than the long weekend. I should first proclaim the disclaimer that no one, NO ONE, makes better lasagna than my Tita Shirley. (her recipe is consequently from St. Scho too). She used to cook this every December for our Christmas gatherings. Now that she lives in Ohio, we can only hear about her well-loved specialty from our other relatives. To define how well-loved her lasagna is, the moment she puts it down the table, everything is gone within 10 minutes. And that length of time is due to the space constraint of getting from the serving dish. My cousin, Timothy, earned himself some infamy one December when he nonchalantly got half of the dish to everyone’s surprise. He was eleven then, thank goodness he could still be excused for his lack of good manners. hahaha. :)) I had to email Tita Shirley to ask the recipe of her Bechamel sauce as all the recipes online had varying ingredients. In the course of looking for recipes, I chanced upon not less than 10 “best lasagna ever” recipes. So I guess I can make a similar claim. haha. I kid. Although you can never really go wrong with lots of beef and cheese. It still escapes me though how the lasagna in Vinzon’s cafeteria tastes awful. So here it is. :)
1. Cook the noodles as directed, and set aside on a towel (I got this tip online haha)
2. Saute ground beef and lean ground pork in garlic and onions. (although I think using ground pork instead of lean ground pork would have tasted better haha). Add salt, pepper, oregano, and whatever else italian herbs you can get your hands on. haha. It’s good too to put a healthy blob of Worcester sauce. To make the sauce, I added diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red bell pepper, mushrooms and parsley. You can also use carrots, spinach, and some recipes suggest celery (?). Then season it with salt, pepper, basil, more oregano, and sugar.
3. Tita Shirley’s Bechamel sauce had evaporated milk, a bit of flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I added parsley some more because I bought a bunch of them. haha.
4. Layer the noodles, then the sauce, then the Bechamel, then cottage cheese + quikmelt + mozarella cheese. AND because there was still a lot of parsley left, I added some in between the layers. HAHAHA
I always remember Garfield when I think of lasagna. I remember this comic strip wherein Garfield was handing John the lasagna noodles, and he goes while saying “one for the lasagna, one for my tummy, one for the lasagna, one for my tummy” while eating the lasagnas for his tummy. hahaha.
5. bake it in a pre-heated oven (350F) until the cheese melts, and it’s done! :D
Gab isn’t at home (again, as usual haha) so I have to rely on my parent’s critique (which is either completely negative or an overboard of the positive). I think I have to do a re-adjustment of the recipe since I ended up stretching the last bar of cheese for the last plate. and my top layer lacks enough cheese as well. But considering this is but the 3rd time I made lasagna in my life, and the last time was 4 years ago, it turned out okay. :) As I’ve said, who goes wrong with beef and cheese? Only Vinzon’s. hahaha.
October 14, 2012 Enter your password to view comments.