March 2010


The days have been so mercilessly hot and humid. Living in a tropical climate all my life would make me think that I could take this summer beating but this is somewhat too plain much!  After going through all those rains and floods last year, now this?

The unbearable heat leaves you drained of energy – move an inch, and you’re already shedding buckets of sweat! ハッ!(`ロ´ ; )  Sure there is an AC at my place of work, but it’s the Holy Week break (yahoo!) so I’m at home now.  My unreliable AC can’t fight off the heat in my room. During the hottest part of the day (10 am to 4 pm) I can’t help but lie down and sleep off the heat.  Ugh! huhuhu!

But summer has its perks: fruits like mangoes, melons, avocado, and watermelons are cheaper and abundant; tropical flowers like our fiery fuchsia bougainvillea seem to be thriving in this unusual dry spell; since school is out, there’s less traffic jams, and of course, summer means BEACH OUTINGS!

Last Sunday, we had our company outing at Laiya, Batangas.  I brought along my best bud, Levlev.  I’ve been going to Laiya every summer since 2004  (except last year though 😦 ). It’s my most favorite beach (even topping Boracay in my list) so far…

Located in San Juan in Batangas, Laiya is a three hour drive from Manila.  The beach is clean, and has no dangerous waves… great for kayaking.

Casa Remo was where we stayed.  It is reasonably priced and has small apartelles and one big house (above) with plenty of rooms.  It is not beside the beach though, so you have to walk a short distance to get to it.

Palm Sunday 2010: we celebrated mass at White Cove Resort.

Early Monday morning, we woke up to make use of the time left… swim to our hearts’ content!

Watcha waitin’ for? Ligo naaaah! Woo-hoo!

I♡♡♡  Laiya, forevah! \(♡´∀`♡ )/ If only this is the view that greets me when I look outside my house.  Sighs.

if not, then, i’m praying for the rains to come soon…*fingerscrossed*

~pls Lord umulan na sana~ (^人^ ) 雨乞いをする

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The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

٩(•̮̮̃•̃)۶٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶٩(●̮̮̃•̃)۶٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶٩(-̮̮̃•̃)۶

Movie Inspiration: Sikgaek

Sikgaek or Le Grande Chef is a Korean movie released in 2007. It is based on a comic strip series by Young-man Ha.  It is a story about two men, both schooled in royal culinary arts, competing in a cooking tournament in order to become the rightful heir to Korea’s last Royal Chef of the Joseon Dynasty.

This is the first movie and non-Japanese drama to be featured in my FooDorama Challenge so I thought it proper to choose something that I truly liked.  Any movie about food is such a delightful thing to watch, especially if the food prepared is beautifully photographed and lovingly presented with much pride and creativity.  So that is why I really adore this movie so much that I watched it twice. The climax was unexpected yet sensible.

Movie Food: Samgyeopsal

Since it was a movie about Korean cooking, there were many dishes to choose from.  However, many of the dishes presented during the competition were obviously too complicated (and too “Iron Chef-ish”) to make for an amateur cook like me.  Anyway, since I find the movie so inspiring, I will feature two dishes. One is samgyeopsal and the other I have yet to name soon in a future post (besides, talking about it may also mean giving away the movie’s ending).

Samgyeopsal (also spelled as samgyupsal) is a Korean dish which requires the liempo or unseasoned thin slices of pork belly meat to be grilled or fried by the diner himself and to be eaten while freshly cooked with lettuce and garlic.

The KMovie Connection: In this scene, our protagonist, Sung-chan (played by Kim Kang Woo, at left), and his friends eat at a theme restaurant that serves samgyeopsal while they talk about the upcoming culinary contest.

Sung-chan’s samgyeopsal being fried using a hot pan on their table with slices of garlic and onions.

Jin-Su (Lee Hana) shows how to eat samgyeopsal: placing pork slices on pieces of lettuce and perilla with ssamjang before eating.

Other recent KDramas that feature samgyeopsal are:

The Man Who Can’t Get Married (2009): In this scene, single lady, Dr. Ja Moon Jung (Uhm Jung Hwa), didn’t have anyone to accompany her to eat grilled meat in a restaurant so she eats samgyeopsal alone in her apartment.

Dandelion Family (2010 – ongoing): In episode 10, sisters Mi Won and Ji Won make up after a slight spat by drinking soju and eating samgyeopsal as pulutan while talking about memories of their childhood.

The FooDorama Challenge: Going Korean with Samgyeopsal

Note: FDC#6 is also my Sunday Lunch Project#7.

Any dish that requires the use of my table-top griddle can mean something fun is afoot. 🙂 This dish had me looking for a Korean grocery store on the internet.  Good thing I discovered one near my place of work.  I bought the necessary ingredients and then, last Sunday, I invited my usual bunch of lunch guests for a Korean noonday meal.

I did not mention what I had in store since it was a surprise…

For samgyeopsal, I bought thinly sliced liempo (top left) and cut it into two inch pieces.  At top right, I also got lettuce and perilla or sesame leaves (available at any Korean grocery).

Ssamjang is a condiment also necessary for samgyeopsal.  It is the ‘ketchup’ of Koreans made of fermented soybean paste, chili paste, sugar, and other spices.  I am not sure if it’s available in the supermarket now but if not, one can also get it in a Korean grocery.

We then cooked the pork, kimchi, onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Just like our Yakiniku dining experience, the ingredients were spread out on the table while my guests helped themselves with the cooking and eating.

The fun part is when you spread ssamjang on a piece of lettuce, place the cooked pork (dip it in sesame oil with salt and pepper first), perilla leaf, garlic, and onion. If there is still space, add mushroom, kimchi, and/or rice like I did and roll it up into a ball and pop it in your mouth (if it could fit!). It could be messy but it was superb!

So. Was my Samgyeopsal a hit or a miss?

Answer: Definitely “mashi-nun!” (hope i used the right word for ‘delicious’).  It was something we will have over and over again (but I have to or else what will I do with all this ssamjang?).  After the meal, nothing was left, not even a drop of kimchi juice. However, unseasoned pork was something too strange for Pinoys like us to appreciate so it wouldn’t matter if you season it (with salt and pepper) before grilling or not.  Go with whatever you prefer, I guess.  Btw, this meal goes well with soju (Korean vodka-like beverage) but since i don’t drink (much), ice cold coke can hit the spot, too.

~BURP!~  ε= (^0^*)げっぷ♪ *oops*

My FooDorama Challenge Links:
FDC#7: Zaru Soba (Jdorama Inspiration: Attention Please!)
FDC#5: Natto (Jdorama Inspiration: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge)
FDC#4: Okonomiyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: At Home Dad)

___________________________

My Sunday Lunch Project Links:
SLP#8: Boodle Fight!
SLP#6: Goi Buoi (Vietnamese Pomelo Salad)
SLP#5: Hainanese Chicken Rice

—————— fodocha, sunlupro

Dish info source: wikipedia
Ssamjang info source: wikipedia
Kmovie info source: wikipedia

For Sunday Lunch Project #6, we had Goi Buoi or Vietnamese Pomelo Salad that is perfect for the hot, humid days of early summer.

The first time I had this was when we ate at Pho Hoa.  It is such a refreshing and delightful salad that one can’t easily forget.  It is easy to prepare, and quite nutritious, too.

Pomelo is what we call suha (Tagalog) and cabugao (Visayan) in my country. It is also known as the Chinese grapefruit.  It is the largest citrus fruit and is native to Southeast Asia.  We usually eat it for dessert or snack: the citrus fleshy segments are taken out of its membranous covering, best served cold, and dipped in coarse salt. Mmm, yum!

For an amateur cook like me, I like goi buoi because it is such an easy recipe that could surely impress your lunch guests in an instant…

To make Goi Buoi, cut strips of carrots, cucumbers and crab sticks, placing it on a bed of lettuce for presentation.

Normally shrimps are used for Goi Buoi but since I was on a budget, I used cooked chicken instead, and garnished it with peanuts, cilantro and mint.

And of course, don’t forget to add most important ingredient (which I almost did *facepalm*) – the pomelo cut into bite-size pieces.

Toss all ingredients.  For the dressing, it varies from recipe to recipe on the net. One says to just add fish sauce but I found it wanting so I added kalamansi (or lime) juice and sugar to the fish sauce.

So. Was my Goi Buoi a hit or a miss?

Answer: My lunch guests today enjoyed it so much that before I could get a second serving, it was all gone. Oh, well.  My dad liked it and found it refreshing (“Ang bango sa bibig… Para kang nagtoothbrush” lol) especially because of the mint which we don’t normally use in Pinoy cooking.  So this definitely was a certified hit!

That’s it for SLP#6.  BTW, thanks to Pchie for shooting these nice macro pix, and to Paw for the necessary tweakings…

And also my next Sunday Lunch Project is also my FooDorama Challenge#6:

My Sunday Lunch Projects Links:
SLP#7: Samgyeopsal
SLP#5: Hainanese Chicken Rice
SLP#4: Simple Beef Pochero
SLP#3: My Dad’s Karimbuaya Chicken

~~~~~~~~~~~~ sunlupro

Pomelo info source: wikipedia

Recipe source: recipezaar

The FooDorama Challenge: I watch it, I try it!

(ヘ・v・)ヘ ┳━┳ モドシモドシ ~letzzeat!~

Jdorama Inspiration: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge is a 10 episode comedy/drama that ran from Jan. 15 to March 19, 2010 on TBS.  It is based on the manga series by Tomoko Hayakawa. It is a story of four young men who are renting a large mansion owned by a very rich lady.  They must turn the owner’s weird niece into a proper, well-mannered, presentable-looking woman (in other words – make her normal). If they succeed, they can stay in the mansion for free.  They thought this would be a cinch until they finally saw the goth-like, black-cloaked, skull-obsessed niece whose name Sunako somehow appropriately rhymes with Sadako.

Think My Fair Lady meets Beetlejuice.  It is a funny series with few dramatic moments.  It did not follow much of the story-line of the original manga series which was fine with me. Frankly, I am not fond of highly-exaggerated comedies and over the top manga stories but this was something I could tolerate – finding it cute and silly.  The 4 actors who were supposed to portray the unbelievably gorgeous male characters from the manga did a good job of pretending they WERE ‘unbelievably gorgeous’ even if they looked so-so (ok, ok, Uchi Hiroki is hot!) – at least the spirit of the characters was there, and they pulled it off just fine.  And Kamenashi Kazuya was great in those emo scenes; I gotta hand it to him (great job!) – he’s definitely stepping up.

But for me, the real heart-throb and best guy in the drama is cutey-pie Kato Seishiro as the landlady’s son (at right). I wanna adopt him and pinch those cheeks to death! (@^-^@)

Jdorama Food: Natto

Being a great cook, Sunako whipped up batches and batches of food during the series but never mentioned what they were (plus, before I could blink, they were fast gobbled up by those four guys).  But in one scene though, one food was mentioned and it was the one thing I was dreading for sometime…

Natto is one of Japan’s traditional dishes made of soy beans fermented using a certain bacterium called Bacillus subtilis.  They eat it usually for breakfast.  Slimy and with a pungent smell, it is said to be highly nutritious – packed with Vitamin K and helps aid digestion.

The Jdorama Connection: (Warning-Possible Spoiler Alert!) In Episode 4,  Kyohei (Kazuya) had been eating too much French gourmet food for the past few days that it had given him heart burn. So he asked gloomy Sunako (portrayed by Oomasa Aya) to prepare an all Japanese meal complete with his favorites like miso soup, sushi…

…aaaaand Natto!” Kyohei’s natto topping a bowl of steamed white rice.

The FooDorama Challenge: Getting Slimed by Natto

I knew this day would come. The first time I have heard of natto, I said, “No way.” But then I decided to include it in my list only on one condition: If I come across a jdorama that mentions natto, THAT will be my NEXT FooDorama Challenge… And so here we are…

Since it is difficult to make natto, I bought it from a Korean grocery near my place of work.  I honestly only wanted to buy just one but each item came with 4 packs for Php100. So, fine, I bought it anyway.

Each pack comes with small sachets of mustard and some kind of mild sweet soy sauce. Hmm, the smell wasn’t that bad. I mean, I wasn’t put off by it.  I stirred it up with the condiments, slightly fascinated with its cobweb-like slime…

…But I found out that the more I stir it up, the more it started to look like, um, like it was drenched in some slimy doggy drool which was pretty bad for a first-timer like me.  x-P Before I got too grossed out,  I ate it all up with chopped onion springs and rice:

My verdict? Let’s just say if you could get over the first hurdle, you’ll be fine. I was over-analyzing the taste and smell the first time I had it that I did not enjoy it much. It WAS bland and slightly bitter.  But the next time I tried it, I was more relaxed and the more I got used to it.  It also tasted well with mayo.

Since this was not much of a challenge (meaning, I did not get to cook or prepare anything at all), I decided to try out natto recipes I got from the internet:

Apple Natto: mixed with mustard, soy sauce, mayo and aonori and use apple slices to scoop it up. It was ok but I think green apples would be better than red.

Avocado Natto Dip: mixed with avocado, mustard, and soy sauce along with nori flakes.  For me, I find this better than apple natto. Nacho chips go well with it though it could overpower the taste of natto (if you could detect any taste, that is).

So. My natto challenge is done. Whew! Was it nasty as I initially thought it would be? Not really. It was surprisingly underwhelming though. Let’s say, I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. And even though I am acquiring the taste for it – I’m in no hurry to buy another pack anytime soon. 🙂

Next on FooDorama Challenge:
FDC#6 – Samgyeopsal (Movie Inspiration: Sikgaek or Le Grande Chef)
Previous FooDorama Challenges:
FDC#4: Okonomiyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Hana Kimi)
FDC #3: Shiruko (Jdorama Inspiration: Saigo no Yakosoku)
FDC #2: Takoyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Gokusen)

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Natto info source: wikipedia
Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Natto recipes source: gaia21

The FooDorama Challenge: I watch it, I try it!

ゃぁ♪|/// |ヽ(^∀^)ノ| ///|(自動ドア)

Jdorama Inspiration: Hana Kimi

Hana Kimi (short for Hanazakari no Kimitachi e) is a comedy that was shown in the summer season of 2007 on FujiTV (and in 2008 on our own Kapuso network).  It had 12 episodes plus one SP in 2008.  It is about Ashiya Mizuki (Horikita Maki) who disguised herself as a young boy so she could enroll in an all-boys school.  She stays in a dormitory and immediately gets into sorts of crazy trouble and gain friends at the same time while helping her roommate and classmate, Sano Izumi (Oguri Shun) get back into the sports of high jumping.

Hana Kimi is such a fun and hilarious comedy, it’s hard not to like it.  The character of Nakatsu Shuichi (played by Ikuta Toma) was THE life of the show – hands down!  I wouldn’t mind watching this drama over and over again just to see his crazy, show-stopping thought-monologues that only he can deliver.

I Heart Nakatsu!!!: Ikuta Toma was so perfect as the lovable, funnyman Nakatsu-chan (above left), it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the role.  Above right shows Shun and Toma all dressed up for the Maid Cafe scene in Episode 12; these two characters go so well together they should have gotten their own drama spin-off.

Jdorama Food: Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is an easy Japanese recipe and fun to make.  It has been described as similar to pancake or pizza but for me I think it is more like an omelette where you just mix together your choice of ingredients and then fry it but using pancake batter.

The FooDorama Connection: Okonomiyaki was shown pretty much all through-out the whole drama since Nakatsu would often take Mizuki on a “date” in an okonomiyaki restaurant. Above pic is from the SP episode in what was supposedly a ‘flashback’ scene.

Nakatsu-san drizzling mayonnaise on his okonomiyaki.

My other favorite jdoramas that feature okonomiyaki are:

At Home Dad: In episode 10, the neighborhood moms (and one dad) were having an okonomiyaki party during their weekly get-together while they let their kids play.

Hana Yori Dango: In episode 8, the favorite food of the young Tsukasa Domyoji (above left) was okonomiyaki but his ‘rich-boy’ pride disallows him to buy one from the street vendors since he considers it ‘peasant food,’ so his older sister learned to make it for him at home.

And lastly in  Kekkon Dekinai Otoko: Eccentric architect, Shinsuke Kuwano (Hiroshi Abe) teaches Dr. Hayasaka Natsumi (Natsukawa Yui) the ‘art’ of making okonomiyaki; he unnecessarily makes a simple dish sound complicated, making his date feel a bit intimidated. Here is that preciously funny scene (sorry! it’s subbed only in French… but you’ll get the idea):

The FooDorama Challenge: Okonomiyaki Party at Home

Before I had the okonomiyaki party, I practiced first on my own, using left-over ingredients from the ref. The ingredients for okonomiyaki may be fresh according to recipe instructions but I prefer them to be pre-cooked so I won’t have to worry about over-cooking the batter or salmonella infection. Okonomiyaki is best cooked on a flat-surfaced pan but I only have a grooved type of griddle, nevertheless, it was ok.

So by the time I hosted an okonomiyaki party for Sis and family one Sunday afternoon, I was already somewhat of an ‘expert.’

In a bowl, I placed the basic ingredients of shredded cabbage and garlic chives. You can add any ingredient you want. I used pre-cooked pieces of pork and squid, crab sticks, cucumber, carrots, onions, and mixed them all up with one egg, 1/4 cup flour,  several teaspoons of water with a pinch of salt and pepper.  This makes one pancake (But if you prefer to make a big batch, you can use the ordinary pancake mix which I will do next time). Then I poured the batter on my hot electric griddle and let it cook on both sides.  It was that simple.

But what made it really fun and truly Japanese was the topped garnishing: aonori (seaweed flakes), Japanese mayo, and bonito flakes (which are fish shavings that move in the hot steam from the food). Okonomiyaki sauce is also used but I don’t have one so I used tonkatsu sauce instead. You can buy all these in a Japanese grocery store like Yamazaki in Little Tokyo, Makati.

Oki-Doki done! My Okonomiyaki for FDC#4.

I’m glad my guests like the okonomiyaki.  They found it deliciously different and so new that they don’t have anything to compare it with. But instead of a ‘make-your-own-okonomiyaki’ party that I had in mind, I ended up cooking the pancakes alone for all of them. Ewan ko nga ba... hmp! Mga tamad! haha! Anyway, I would go on making this recipe especially if I want to put some pizazz to unappetizing leftovers in the fridge, thereby my Okonomiyaki challenge deserves two thumbs up for FDC#4…

b (^-^) d ~ayuzz~

UPDATE:  I continued making okonomiyaki. Above was my Seafood Okonomiyaki experiment for Holy Week 2010.

Next on The FooDorama Challenge:
FDC#5: Natto (Jdorama Inspiration: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge)
Previous FooDorama Challenges:
FDC #3: Shiruko (Jdorama Inspiration: Saigo no Yakosoku)
FDC #2: Takoyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Gokusen)
FDC #1: Yakiniku (Jdorama Inspiration: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko)
———————————–
Okonomiyaki info source: wikipedia
Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Recipe source: beyondboulder

Note: This is a continuation of Part 5 – Rafting Adventure in CDO

For our last night of our Weekend Rush, we were too tired to venture on a food trip in CDO.  We heard there were some great eateries we could try out in Limketkai Center but due to lack of time, we decided to just find a good resto in the nearby busy Divisoria area.

What we found was the Inilog Grill along Tiano Bros. St… They have live acoustic performances and the coldest beer in town!

We enjoyed their talaba (fresh oysters) and sizzling ostrich (above pic) which has the slight consistency of a cross between pork and lengua.

Wilshire Inn (at Pres. Aguinaldo St.) was where we stayed. They have very affordable rooms for budget travelers like us. The staff esp. the security men at the entrance were helpful and kind.  Thanks so much for a good stay!

Sigh... waiting with our bags at the CDO Lumbia airport…

Going home now :( Back to work and back to reality.

First thing to do – Unpack the pasalubongs first, of course: The VJandep pastel or coffee buns (with yema filling) tasted amazing esp. if you heat it up in the toaster oven first.  And the lanzones came along with some extra friends, too – Camiguin’s probinsyano black ants that are now getting used to their new home here in Metro Manila. lol

Looking back…

Maraming salamat po! In this day and age, it is inevitable to have modern-day problems like where to charge batteries for your gadgets when traveling. Thanks so much to those who allowed us to use their electric outlets along the way- in the airports, ships, and even inside a ticketing office! 😀

The Weekend Rush Gang! Woo-hoo! Did we really do all these in less than 3 days? Yes, we did! Guess it goes to show that being part of a team can make dreams possible… Thank you, God for giving us a safe and fun journey… Our country is a beautiful place indeed. Pilipinas muna bago mundo!

(^_^)_m/

Note: This is a continuation of Part 4 - Daybreak at White Island.

We left Camiguin today for CDO. We were off to have an afternoon of white water river rafting adventure

CDO, here we go! We reached CDO’s Balingoan Port at 9:20 am, and took a comfortable airconditioned bus ride to CDO City (Fare = Php135).

After checking in at a small hotel in CDO, we were fetched by the Kagay river guides who took us to the starting point somewhere in Bukidnon. We received some briefing and undertook a practice run first before we started with the actual rafting.

In nervous anticipation (left). Our group got divided into two teams for all of us will not fit in one raft.

A Kagay photographer took hundreds of pix during the rafting using a waterproof Pentax Vios W60.  Here are Jonjon’s sample action shots:

No more practice… this is it!

Oh, no… step on the brakes!?!

Waaaaah!

Glug…glug…glug!

Still alive… High Five!

Pausing to admire the beautiful CDO River…

Oh, no…here we go again! Weeeh!

It was a thrill! Despite the current El Niño phenomenon, the river didn’t disappoint us. And we were lucky the water looked clean and clear (and wasn’t ‘brownish’) on this day. Thanks to the Kagay people for making this possible… it was truly worth it…

By the end of our little rafting adventure, we were already tired and hungry. Time was short so we had to make use of what little was left…

Up next: Going Home…

For more information on CDO's White Water River Rafting,
you can click on Kagay's website here. :)

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