Saturday, March 29, 2014

100th Blog Post!

I thought the 100th blog post would take a while to reach considering the rate of my updates, but here it is! The number isn't as many as the general impression of it. If I look at my Posts section it's only two pages and a single flick of the scroll bar. 

I didn't know what I'd post for my 100th post because besides the pending photos and articles that I have yet to upload, new stuff keeps happening that I end up just playing Dragons of Atlantis instead, and before I know it I'm sleepy <////3

So this time around I'll do a collection of updates of my life thus far through a series of random photos. 

As seen above, I edited my working area again, updating the wall and the photos. I'm sooooo into the aqua color right now so I repainted my wall and left it unfinished until now. Yes, I love DIYs if in the mood. One side of my room is still left unpainted, just slathered with a random paint strokes. Dunn Edwards has an array of colors that is really appealing, plus the texture it gave my wall is really warm because there's less glare as compared to the glossy kind. I'm bracing myself for the dust that will stick to it in due time though...but it looks really clean right now. I got the eggshell finish. The cost of the paint varies, but the end result is quite satisfying. My brother, who's also an architect, hinted me that this is the brand used in some of the restaurants and shops. I bought mine at Home Depot in BGC.

The Vanilla Cupcake cafe has finally opened in High Street a few months ago and I've been meaning to go, but when the day arrived at last a very irritating sign showed up, Private Event. I took this photo over a month ago and I'm still bitter about it. >:(

I had been meaning to buy a new pair of flip-flops since it's been over a year since I bought my Havaianas, and based on multiple experiences it's strap is about due to snap anytime soon and I don't have emergency back-ups, so I took the chance to buy one from big-discount event at Megatrade Hall two weeks ago. I was able to buy the Ipanema for Php400 from it's original price of around Php800+, a good deal for something so overpriced. 

Then last March 22, my brother arrived from Bacolod so I took him out and chanced upon the grand opening Old Navy. I also desperately needed a new pair of jeans and destiny made me avail their 50% discount on denim so I could get a ticket to their event and win me a pair of flip-flops for FREE!!! It's amazing how lucky I was because I don't really win anything that I don't get by force or deception. Even the events people were impressed, it's like I was not suppose to win anything but did. Nyahahaha! There are an array of colors to choose from, but my current favorite is somewhere between teal and aqua and tiffany blue, and this was the closest to it. Now I have two new slippers plus the still unbroken Havs, so I'm happy about that.

Every year (since 2012 lol) I buy this big piggy bank without any other opening besides a slit to put in money as a way to save up on cash. My first year proved to be really effective as I managed to save up to Php13,000+ by putting in new paper bills instead of coins. I started on the snake-bank last Jan 2013 and had my brother open it last week since the plastic was so thick I could not open it after two days of trying! This year I managed to save up to Php16,036...and I don't know who put in the 6, but thanks anyway. I buy the piggy bank at Toy Kingdom for Php99. The plastic is about 1mm thick and there's no way of getting your money out except destroying the thing.

Then Daiso Japan has finally restocked itself with those elusively expensive KitKat flavors! It's the cheapest priced at Php200 since Family Mart sells them at Php240, Little Tokyo at Php280, and other places at an even higher price.

The Matcha flavor tastes quite bitter, a little more bitter than the fix I get from matcha drinks, but it's not bad. The Strawberry flavor is more on the tangy side that I actually puckered my lips on the first bite.

Logganisa in Cream Pasta with Truffle Oil and Saffron Essence

Earlier today I had a craving of really thick-creamy pasta. I had initially bought the ingredients to cook for my parents who came for a vacation here, but we mostly ate out so I decided to let them leave then cook it for my own indulgence instead. 

Getting a new ingredient is like getting a new toy. My parents went to Dubai last week and my dad asked me what I wanted for pasalubong...and besides the gold I was half-joking them to get me, I asked for essences, particularly floral essences for my cooking. I wanted rose essence, but then I was surprised he got me saffron essence. It'll do.

Now, I don't know what to do with the saffron essence. I placed a few drops on my cup of tea and I was not able to consume the whole cup. Then, I thought why not mix it with truffle oil and make pasta? Bad idea, considering that I was making cream pasta. Let's just say that three drops in the sauce made me use two teaspoons of truffle oil just to cover up the taste! Saffron essence is really strong with a distinct blossomy-spice-like taste. I'll be using it in my lugaw soon and call it paella stew...and if I had a resto I'd overprice it to 400% by putting the word "saffron" in the menu. 

Here's the quick recipe I did inspired by the pasta I ate a The Room Upstairs:

Fettuccine Pasta
White Onions
Heavy or All-purpose cream
Laoag Longganisa (the really garlicky kind)
Truffle Oil
Saffron Essence (suggestion: please don't put!!!)
Black Pepper mill 

The trick is to let the longganisa cook to a crisp before putting in the cream. Don't overcook the cream, else the oil will separate and you will hate yourself for that. Put the truffle oil on the last part, in fact try not to cook it at all, because I taste it better whenever it's just poured on the hot dish but off the stove. And don't make the mistake of putting in saffron essence like I did!!!

Aaaaand! Life took pity on my aching muscles that I bumped into my masseuse while I was cutting my nails in the hallway of the condo, just because. I lost the number of the place she works at about three months ago and had been tolerating less-skilled therapists for the past months. We were actually desperate to contact her that we were dialing random numbers just in case we got it right! After several wrong-numbers and offended home owners we gave up. Chancing upon her was one of the highlights of my supposed "happy-year". I asked her if she had other customers in the building and she said no, just the unit beside ours. There's more to The Secret than just being a best seller. Hmmmm...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snippets: El Nido Palawan

The photo was taken by my brother in El Nido, Palawan last year. I like--no--love the whole look of the hut hanging on a cliff like that and you can even see a small boat also hanging around. It makes me want to go there. :(

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Snippets: Talaba I Miss You!

Taken around the time I was conceptualizing my thesis book in photography, I can clearly remember how I made this photo an excuse to buy several bags-full of really fat oysters from Gerry's in Libertad. I told my parents I needed to feature some sort of local produce to be featured in my coffee table book on Negros Occidental, and Hinigaran has pleased my oyster cravings for the last several years. Since I took the photo at night because I came home late that day for reasons I don't know, mom said I may take the shot but not eat them juicy-succulent-fresh-fat-sweet-milky-flavorful oysters since it was late and it would make my stomach upset. Well, surely the news had made my stomach even more upset. Long story short, I ate the whole plate plus another bag of oysters and that did not upset any part of me at all! 

I can't find any talaba here in Manila that is as cheap and saliva-inducing as the ones in Negros. If I remember correctly it's Php50.00 for a bucket-full, and the one my tita buys from Hinigaran costs around 600+ a sack? Not sure, but what I do remember is the sight of several sacks of oyster being unloaded from her pick-up truck. Oh, happy days....

Monday, March 3, 2014

Snippets: Voyage to Anawangin

Taken last September 19, 2009 in San Antonio Zambales, just off the coast of Anawangin. If you see the pine trees directly at the edge of the horizon, that's Anawangin. The trip was about 30mins-45mins from Pundaquit beach...and the boat belonged to a friend so I don't know how much it's gonna cost to rent one, but there are a lot available if you do decide to go. 

This is definitely one of my favorite photos (that I personally took) during photography days. The light is beautiful, the lush misty mountains sloping at the end, that sense of motion because of the still yet blurred water, and the focal lines directing your eyes to the tip of the boat, all those elements coming together makes the viewer feel like they're on the boat going to some adventure...well, that's what I feel whenever I stare at it at least. It's quite nostalgic, really. :/

Anawagin is beautiful! A MUST VISIT place in the country! 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Recipe: Mixed Whatevers Bread Pudding

Frankly speaking, I ignore bread pudding whenever it is served on the table because I'm not convinced that it's worth the stomach space. It wasn't until I saw Chef Michael Smith whip up the dish that made me say "maybe".  His recipe got stuck in my head that I managed to make one when the bread's expiration date came into view. Destiny has called forth my food angel to inspire me that I may get rid of many leftover ingredients hanging in the ref and pantry, all it the name of stale bread. 

Unfortunately the only ingredients I remembered from Chef at Home were bread, milk, eggs, vanilla, and heaping spoons of brown sugar. The proportions and procedure I had to search online. Here's what I came up with.

Basic Bread Pudding Recipe:
4 Eggs
2 cups Milk
6 slices of White Bread (or as some call it Pinoy Tasty, or as I call it Pan de Amerikano)
1 cup Brown Sugar (but I think it must've been more since I didn't measure)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Just mix everything and bake in an oven. The trick is to sprinkle a light layer of brown sugar on top so that it will caramelize into a sweet-crispy-glistening crust! I don't know about temperatures, but it was around medium heat  for a couple of minutes...and I'm guessing it took me 30mins that resulted to a golden brown crust and a thin burnt bottom. I like it served hot...but my brother likes it fresh out of the refrigerator, so it doesn't matter. But we both like it with à la mode

As for the Mixed Whatevers, I placed the following:

Lots of cinnamon
A dust of clove 
An apple, cubed with the skin on since my brother refused to peel it
Grated carrot that's as big as four clumps of crayons
Dates, sliced into random chunks (can be bought at Santi's or S&R)
Dried Mangoes, sliced lengthwise
Butter, just random slathers
Maple Syrup, just about a tablespoon since it's expensive
Condensed Milk
Orange Zest (I didn't actually add this since I didn't have an orange available, but I sure would've done so if there was one lying around)
Chopped Walnuts...but I also didn't have walnuts on hand...just suggesting 

I simply added the ingredients to the basic recipe and carefully watched as the pudding raise to double its size as it was baking, waited for the crust to turn golden brown, and the kitchen to smell like toasted custard bread before I took it out. Don't be surprised when the dome collapses though, I was disappointed when it did. </3

To serve, I added scoops of vanilla ice cream and drizzled it with three different flavors: cherry flavored cola syrup, chocolate syrup, and maple syrup. The combination was divine! Especially the Dr. Pepper sauce on the ice cream! 

Now I'm learning to appreciate bread pudding because it helped me get rid of a lot of ingredients that have been in storage long enough.  

Pardon the photos, I was not in the "career mode".