permanent rose


This year, I stayed home for the Holy Week. Not that I’m complaining.  I actually needed a break from… well, everything else.

It was a quiet, restful week.  I didn’t go out but we did make a fast trip to the supermarket to ‘hoard in’ on some grocery items since shops will be closed for two days (Maundy Thursday and Holy Friday). I used this break to chill and to experiment with food recipes.

I’m starting to learn to relax when it comes to cooking and not be so uptight with the recipe instructions and amount of ingredients to put in.  I am also learning to use more of the unappetizing leftovers and put to use those dormant jars and bottles of oils, spices, etc. that I bought for some long-forgotten recipe. 🙂

Since it was the Holy Week, we were on a healthy vegetable and seafood diet so I took time to use whatever we had in the fridge and shelves.

Garden Salad (actually these were leftover veggies from the fridge: lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, & carrots). I added homemade croutons wherein I used forgotten stale pandesal or Pinoy round bread which I drizzled with olive oil and toasted in the toaster oven ~~~b(^-^) ~yum!~.   For a healthy dressing, I used honey, mustard, and olive oil (that have been sitting in my shelf for ages).

Badly-sliced Tuna Sashimi, anyone? lol! Since I forgot to buy wasabi, I searched for a great alternative dressing on the net. And what i found was Chef Wayne Nish‘s recipe of soy sauce, extra virgin olive oil, sesame seeds and chives (in this case – onion springs) and it was delish!

I also experimented with Seafood Okonomiyaki: leftover squid (from our dinner last night) and crabsticks from last week’s goi buoi. I added canned tuna, cukes, carrots, garlic chives and chopped cabbage. Mix them all up with one egg, 1/4 cup of flour, and bit of water and salt to make a pancake batter.

Okonomiyaki is fried like a pancake on both sides. I put tonkatsu sauce on it, and mayo, along with aonori (seaweed flakes) and katsubuoshi (bonito flakes).

Okonomiyaki is best served hot and freshly cooked so it is best eaten straight from the pan or griddle.  For more on okonomiyaki click here.

Have a restful and meaningful Holy Week.

†┏┛教会┗┓† (^人^ (^人^ )

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The first time I tasted pochero was during a lunch party at my uncle’s house in Cebu. I think that was like more than 15 years ago. Even if it was that long ago, I haven’t forgotten it because it was that memorable!  When I came back home to Manila, no one knows how to prepare it so I haven’t had one since then and ended up dreaming about it once in awhile.

Finally, I’ve had enough reminiscing of that unforgettable pochero meal so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I consulted the all-knowing Internet and found some good recipes and tips.

Pochero of Luzon (not to be confused with the bulalo-like Cebuano pochero) is a dish akin to the Spanish cocido. However, ours is probably more similar to the South American version of cocido (like the sancocho) with the use of plantains or saba (left).

There are two ways to prepare this dish: the first one is what I refer to as the Simple Pochero; and the other is the Fiesta-style Pochero (which has two courses). The latter was the one I had in Cebu years ago, and you only serve it when you have plenty of guests for lunch or dinner.  Since I wasn’t having guests for lunch today, I chose to make Simple Pochero (maybe I can try the Fiesta Pochero in the summer… Woo-hoo!).  Besides, since I’m just a beginner, I thought I’d practice first with the simple version.

For today’s Sunday Lunch Project #4, I chose Panlasang Pinoy’s recipe of beef pochero (Thanks, PP! – You’re MY Julia Childs – haha!):

I did exactly what PP said in the vid.  It was also my first time to cook beef, and understandably, I stumbled a bit with the cooking process. PP said it can be cooked for an hour and a half and of course, the naïve little me believed him.

I ended up cooking the meat for 3 hours before it became tender!  Oh, the pitfalls of being a novice… I even placed a metal fork in the broth (don’t ask me why or the purpose of it because I have no idea, too) but it didn’t do anything to speed things up.

Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble (Right): Hmm, a pressure cooker seemed like a good investment right now.

Another slip-up was I kept adding too much water since it had been boiling for a long time.  The broth was beginning to get too thin and bland.  I replenished it with more tomato sauce and a beef bouillon cube to be sure.

I started out at 9 am but ended up eating at half past 1. Of course, we were famished by the time it was finished…

Sinful, tempting yumminess: Oh, all that artery-clogging goodness! But I made sure I placed lots of vegetables in the hopes of negating that vast sea of cholesterol. Heehee…

My SLP # 4:  The simple beef pochero. It is best when served with a side dish of eggplant-squash salad as shown in the above pic.  Pampatanggal ng umay, I learned.  To make it, I boiled  eggplants (peeled) and squash. I mashed them with a fork and added minced garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper.

So. Was my Beef Pochero a hit or a miss?

Answer: Despite its being an unhealthy dish (something to be enjoyed once in a blue moon), I consider it a hit! I enjoy eating it without rice. I use bread like pandesal instead to mop up the broth from my plate.  The garbanzos, chorizo and vegetables tasted really good in all that red tomato-beef broth.

1 Feb 2010 Update: I made quite a big batch that we ended up eating it for two days! But it was worth it. Besides it tasted better the next day when all the flavors were infused together. Oh, but my poor liver! Heehee. I savored every morsel of it since it’ll probably be a long time before we have this dish again. But I don’t think I’ll wait another 15 years though for that to happen. 🙂

Postscript: Thought I’d reward myself with a break from SLP. So next Sunday is my day-off from cooking. Yay! Besides, I’d rather gear up for Feb. 14 with a Chinese inspired lunch for a double celebration of the Chinese New Year and Valentine ’s Day… See yah!

Next on Sunday Lunch Project – Hainanese Chicken Rice (SLP#5)

Previous SLP Posts:
Sunday Lunch Project #3: My Dad’s Karimbuaya Chicken
Sunday Lunch Project #2: Yakiniku
Sunday Lunch Project #1: Thyme-Lemon Roasted Chicken
Pochero info source: marketmanila.com
Eggplant-Squash Side Dish recipe source: theeatingroom

“Because I have to.”

Sometimes, those 4 words are all you need to start kickin’ yourself in the butt to get going…

Just like last year, I started the New Year of 2009 with reflections and a lot of mulling over my plans.  After looking back and rereading that post, I am ashamed to admit that all 3 things I mentioned there did NOT come into fruition. It is soooo embarrassing.

That is why I don’t like mentioning my resolutions or checklists.  You start hating yourself if you can’t follow through. But if I do have to start something, I prefer that no one needs to know about it. Rather than talk about it, I just do it whether it be in a checklist or not. But to publish it here for everyone to see, and not accomplishing any of it in the end? Yikes.

So. Despite my vehemence in coming up with NYRs, I will still do it. Why? Say it with me- It’s because… I have to:

One Step Forward into the New Year: Started my walking program (right pic) to lose these stubborn pounds as part of my NY’s Resolution… again.

1. Losing weight. One of my resolutions last year was to lose weight. Honestly? I really started on an exercise program early last year but had to give it up because I wasn’t losing any pounds. Nevertheless, I jump- started my walking and work-out routine late last year. And I am THRILLED to report that this time it is actually WORKING!  Yay for me!  How many pounds I lost is a topic worth posting some other time.

2. Clean Up! Another NYR from last year was to clean and organize my room, the house, my LIFE! And yes, I wasn’t able to accomplish it. But this time, I FIRMLY resolve to do this once and for all.

3. The Muse is calling! I will go back to drawing and painting. I do plan on going back to the arts someday; I might as well start little by little. Be showing my works here soon. That’s a promise!

4. What else is cooking? I mentioned in my previous post that I will start cooking more this year.  I am no expert in the kitchen but I am so tired of drooling over those dishes I see being prepared at the Asian Food Channel, Travel and Living, etc.  My culinary plans are already underway so I’m not worried about this. Actually, I’m already having fun!

Post Script: Anything related to my studies, I will not mention anymore. If it comes, it comes. It may happen this year or the next, I cannot tell but definitely I will finish my master’s degree... Because I have to.

Here are the pix from my hiatus. Nothing much, actually. Just passing the time away and going through the day to day motions:

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I’ve taken up brisk walking at night for the past weeks. I’m enjoying it immensely.  Good thing it’s safe to walk around my home at dusk.  Can’t say I’ve lost weight yet but I do have noticed that some of parts of me are indeed getting firmer and tighter. Yay!

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Can’t say for my diet though.  A friend told me how to make glazed brie. This one was topped with a mixture of nuts, brown sugar, and brandy; then, baked slightly. Great with red wine and crackers! And besides, Sis has a brand new oven.  So…

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And of course, when there’s an oven, baked mac can’t be too far behind. Just loved it! Pawie made this with ground beef, pepperoni, two kinds of melted cheeses, rigatoni, and some secret ingredients.  Yum!

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Reunions: Family and relatives on my father’s side got together some weekends ago.  Two of my balikbayan uncles came and we celebrated the way we know best–eat!

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At work, we had some celebrations, too.  We gave one of our staff, Lin, a baby shower before she had a maternity leave while two of us celebrated birthdays.  So many people celebrated birthdays in March!

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Sign of the times: News of the recession can really be a bummer. This is the reason why I need to contemplate and reflect on some of my plans and life’s issues.  But I pray that we can all bounce back from this… as we often do. Kaya natin ‘yan! (b^ー゚)

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My room is still a mess. But it is a work in progress. I mean, I’m getting there… Really I am.  <( ̄. ̄*)> hmp!

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Well, at least, I’m starting on my grad paper. So far so good.  In the pic above is my student and the case study that I’m working on. A good kid, love him to bits.

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Kite-flying with another student of mine.  I’m proud of this girl. She has come a long way…

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Family Day at EK: We visited a place called Enchanted Kingdom. Not really a kingdom, not really enchanting.  But it’s all we got so far…

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Summer! Ahhh!  Fruits and ice cream… We’re all craving for iced fruity desserts these super humid days. Oh, God, I could use one right now…* drools*

And also, I’ve discovered the power of Japanese emoticons… sometimes they can say what you really mean when words are just not enough. Til then(*ゝω・)ノ♥♥♥ ・゚:*:゚ toodle-loo!

stuff-2701Time to put the holiday decors down, store them away, and clean up what needs to be cleaned up.  I don’t normally do NYRs (new year’s resolutions) but this time I need to do some thinking and make some changes.

Packing away the decors and back to the same way it was?… Not if I can help it.

Like…I love blogging (and facebooking).  But I feel there are times, that I’m finding myself spending way too much time on it–time I can’t afford right now.  So stumbling upon this site and reading about it helped me break away from being obligated to blog… (and rethinking about doing away with other addicting internet habits):

1.  I will be busy for my written comprehensive exams. I have a month to prepare for it.  So that means, I will not be blogging and facebooking much until that part of my life is over.  Just thinking about the exams is making me hyperventilate.  Oh, God!

stuff-2682. Preparing also means cleaning up and organizing my notes… my files… my room… my life. I am such a pack rat, I hate throwing away bits of inane fluff and pieces of scribbled paper, too afraid to part with them for I might somehow need them in the future (which never happens).  This crazy habit has got to end!

To finally get on top of the situation: To borrow (and to butcher) a quote from Sir Edmund Hillary, it is not these  stacks and stacks of notes and documents we should conquer but ourselves (Left)

3. And of course, the mother of all NYR cliches… Maybe… just maybe… lose some weight.  I will not add anything more regarding this.  That’s just that.

So there… I don’t know how to end this. Maybe a little goodbye-be-blogging-whenever-I-can will suffice…

So…Bye! Be blogging soon…if I can! And wish me luck….

…or so it seems.

I’m telling you… The purchasing of a UP Centennial jacket is like getting a US Visa during the 80’s…

If you experienced what it was like getting a US visa (when you had to wait in line unlike now when you can set an appointment via phone call), you would know what I’m talking about…

After 2 months of waiting, I was able to get my UP Centennial jacket which was bought from UP Diliman.  I thought it would take up to UP Biennial before I would be able to get one.  The supply couldn’t keep up with the demand. You had to reserve for one (but then, they say it still wouldn’t be a 100% guarantee that you’ll get one–what the heck??–why reserve then?), and you’ve got to give your UP student number to prove that you’re an alumni and so that you’ll be given priority.  A friend of a friend bought the jackets for us because we’re too busy to do it ourselves.  She waited in line for it (bless her soul!) — a line which they said would stretch from “the CAS parking lot to the CAL” at times.

When I finally received it (bago naman magBiennial–hay salamat!), I wore it immediately and of course, proudly:

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The black jacket with hood costs 800 pesos (the other jackets with different colors cost 700 pesos).  It has a “UP 1908-2008” printed in gold on the front. The number ‘100’ for UP’s 100 years is also printed at the end of the right sleeve.

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The UP oblation draped with the Sablay and the name of the University is printed at the back…

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…while the UP logo is printed on the left side of the hood. Kung di ka pa makilalang taga-UP niyan, ewan ko na…

A Word of Warning: Better to carefully hand wash your UP jacket than use your washing machine or else the precious printed designs on it (since these are the only parts that make it valuable) will be stripped off (according to a stuff-083friend whose boyfriend’s jacket became an unfortunate guinea pig)…

The UP  Centennial celebrations will officially end on Dec. 31. I may not have participated in the activities, I was still able to give my support through purchasing the jacket and t-shirts (at right).  I have also come up with tribute article on it for my public art blog, featuring flickr pix of the different Oblations across the Philippines.

Maligayang Pagdiriwang at Pagtatapos ng Isang Daang Taon, sa lahat ng mga kapwa kong Isko at Iska!

Eversince the 90’s, I have heard of a waterspa and other wellness spa of such sorts that, alas, only catered to A-list celebrities and rich people.  I thought i would never partake of such a luxurious experience–cascading water massaging your body, soothing tired and aching muscles and relieving anxiety and stress

So I was excited to finally find out about Ace Waterspa through some people.  It also helped that I saw it featured on a show on qtv11.  I looked it up, checked their website, found the price affordable and made a date for a relaxing Sunday.

The ladies at the front desk gave us our locker keys (left) which we have to wear around our wrists the whole time as well as red swimming caps (a must–to avoid having falling hair from clogging up the pools’ drainpipes).

I rented an extra towel (forgot to bring one more-so dumb of me!) which costs 100 pesos. I also had to rent swimming trunks for Levic who could not find his at home (P150–oh, well!).  I was hesitant to let Levic go inside the men’s locker and dressing room unaccompanied but I felt assured knowing that there were male attendants inside who would keep an eye on him.

The spacious locker room inside the female dressing area (Right).

They don’t allow pictures to be taken inside the pool area (so I had to take some stolen shots–hehe, well you know me!–as if that would stop me):

The Spa Pool

The Lap Pool

Levic pausing to catch his breath after swimming in the lap pool.

It was wonderful! Levic enjoyed the Waterfalls Massage and Lazy River that flows around the pool while hanging on to a floater.  I thoroughly relished all the spa pool facilities.  My personal favorites: I basked under the invigorating Rainfall Acupuncture (water falling like rain but ‘pin-pricking’ your body as you lie flat out on a smooth tiled slab), Jet Chair with Foot Massage (water massaging the soles of your feet, thighs, shoulders and back), and the Hydro Massage Chairs (bubbly, jacuzzi-like water targeting your lower torso and neck as you lie on a chair).  There were also the herbal hot baths–mint, jasmine and lavender (I only tried the Mint pool which was only 36 degrees warm) as well as the lap pool but not the sauna rooms (for some reason i still feel uncomfortable with idea of ‘bathing’ in wet steam).

We were only allowed four hours or else we will be charged for the extra hours if we exceeded.  There were free shampoo and liquid soap (theirs was alright but I still prefer to use my own), hair gel, ear buds and free use of their hair dryer.  I was also provided with plastic bags to place in our wet items, much to my relief!

Plus, they gave us free hot soup.  Chinese Corn Soup served hot at their restaurant.

The whole waterspa experience was like magic. The endorphins were released and flowing in me, (plus with the help of the hot, soothing soup) feeling relax and slightly elated and light.

Since I was in such a good mood, I was also compelled to try their Shrimp Popcorn with mango mayo dip and a dash of spring onions which was juicy and delicious.

Levic enjoying the food…

Pero kapag nagtitipid ka, beware! Dahil alam nilang nasa good mood ka, baka mapabili ka sa kanilang restaurant ng di mo inaasahan. I had no regrets though. Their food tasted good.  All in all, Ace Waterspa would make an ideal treat for hard-working people who would like to reward themselves from time to time.  Worth your 550 pesos? Yes!  Hmmm, but is it just me or the endorphins talking?

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