Saturday, July 26, 2014

H. Home Food Finds

Today was like any other Friday, busy, tiresome but a good day to either celebrate or end the week.  For us it was just those kind of awesome gastronomic finds that are spontaneous and unforetold.  

It's one of those days when I don't need to prepare dinner or even care what the kids would want for dinner.  Kuya is off to spend the night at his friends house, Ate was on her way home and the two girls were at their Tita Len's, enjoying hot noodles and bonding with the cuz over loom band creations. While us, husband and the foodie wifey headed off somewhere far where there is no traffic, no rowdy crowds spending their week-long income for some drinking sesh and no waiting for hours for our food to be served.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Family's Great Palawan Escape: Puerto Princesa (Part two/Food Tour)

One of the most beguiling quality of Palawan is it's culinary offerings.  During our travel in Puerto Princesa, a food tour around the city is part of the adventure.  I can not utter enough of my love for the country's cleanest and one of the   top tourist-friendly city, even if I have to share every  bits and pieces of our three-days stay there.

Read about the first part of our journey at the link provided below

Having to go around, scour and taste the city's cuisine is part and parcel of our tour, so I have collated some of the places where we had eaten and bought food.  Having known Palawan-being the last frontier, to be rich in diverse and exotic dishes, I also shared some of my experiences on them, hoping though this won't eek you out of discovering what Palawan has to offer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BGC Eats 2014: A BGC Tour for Passionate Stomachs

It's back and with a vengeance!
Surrender yourself to Chef JJ Yulo and the gang as they take you to places not only of interests around Bonifacio Global Center but also of epic gustatory experience. 

Four restaurants, four experts, one delicious food tour for passionate stomachs!

Future Feast at Mind Museum

Last April 25, 2014, me and my girls went to Mind Museum to explore and have them gain interest in science.  This also served as our mini-celebration for my niece' 9th birthday.  The Apocalypse Project: Imagined Futures have been launched as well on that day.  You may read my account on that on the link below:
The Apocalypse Project - Future Lifestyles on Planet Earth

The experience completely blew us away, as we scout for questions and forage for clues and answers, the three girls including me learned so much about our environment, how animals have been gone missing, what causes change in climate and how we can all adapt with the change.

Playing, digging, running and even reading upside down and finding questions in odd places ate up the whole afternoon of our stay at Mind Museum, we didn't even mind the time.  Though, let me tell you, most of the questions are tough, I even phoned "the Dad" and texted a friend for the answer.  But all of it was so worth it!  We all even got our Apocalypse Badge.

Anyhoo, thought I just needed to share the fun and learning, for The Apocalypse Project: Imagined Futures will be coming to a close.  As a culminating event, they have organized Mind Burst: Future Feast.

Come on July 26, Saturday from 12 pm to 7 pm for an imaginative feast of food, music and poetry, as human creativity is celebrated with the hopes for a sustainable future.

I was just as blessed for being one of the media participants for the BGC Eats 2014, to see a glimpse of what is to happen on July 26.

The media were warmly welcomed with a speech about how The Apocalypse project came about with nonetheless than the creator herself - Catherine Sarah Young, and all of us was just as elated to see famous chefs and epicures waiting for us with their creations for us to sample.  Though we were ferociously warned as to what we will be trying out.

Did I mention you can also have the same one of a kind gastronomic exploit?  Read on as to how you can score FREE tickets to this.

The folks from BGC, Mind Museum and Chef JJYulo collaborated to host a wonderful event for all of us

As what had been announced on the BGC Eats 2014 Tour (as we headed to the last destination) rapid climate change will cause one-fourth of Earth’s species could be heading for extinction by 2050.  This will also impact our crops and livestock.  

More extreme temperature and precipitation can prevent crops from growing. Extreme events, especially floods and droughts, can harm crops and reduce yields, as US EPA reports, more extreme temperature and precipitation can prevent crops from growing. Extreme events, especially floods and droughts, can harm crops and reduce yields in wheat and soybeans.

Also, US EPA stated that heat waves, which are projected to increase under climate change, could directly threaten livestock. Over time, heat stress can increase vulnerability to disease, reduce fertility, thus reduce milk production or even hamper meat production.

The fisheries also does not posses any excuses, as our seas are becoming more polluted and acidic due to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), rendering our shell fish to decline to thrive.  Changes in temperature and seasons could affect the timing of reproduction and migration. Many steps within an aquatic animal's life-cycle are controlled by temperature and the changing of the seasons. For example, in the Northwest warmer water temperatures may affect the life-cycle of salmon and increase the likelihood of disease. Combined with other climate impacts, these effects are projected to lead to large declines in salmon populations.

Redesigning for a Sustainable Future

For the chefs and epicures who partnered with the the people behind The Apocalypse Project, this became a fun challenge, as they were asked to concoct or whip up something but altering ingredients which they have been accustomed to with something that is sustainable in the future, since these ingredients such as milk, flour, even meats might not exist anymore by 2050.

The chefs and their culinary creations as means for adapting to climate change.

1. Chef Ian Carandang of Sebastian's Ice Cream

Chef Ian magically transformed drinking milk in a whole new level.  If you like almond milk, you will also like his cashew milk (nut milk).  I'm not going to tackle the nitty-gritty of how to make a nut milk (not even almond milk) but what surprised me was how the cashew milk tasted not bad, actually it was creamy with a nutty and woody taste and less sweet.

To take it up a notch, he also made ice cream bars out nut milk, to give it a firm body, he used mashed bananas, this also gave more flavor to the ice cream, and boy, I can't stress enough how it came out to be delish and very enjoyable, but it tends to melt before one can finish eating it.

2. Kyle Imao of Kyle's Lab

This young cooking prodigy who won the first Junior Masterchef Philippine edition, have probably mistaken their kitchen as a laboratory.  Not!  Kyle happens to own the food lab at the second floor of the Mind Museum and he's getting better in inventing food that may look odd.

On his team's table are Seaweed Tempura and Croqueck...hmm, I'm not going to give away yet what you should be expecting.

3. Chef Sau Del Rosario - The Green Chef

The dashing chef, Chef Sau showing his avant garde dessert, Organic Soy Moringa and Aloe Vera Panna Cotta with Banana, Candied Ginger and the exquisitely tangy taste of Acai berry sauce.  

His creation was my favorite amongst all of them.  We all know how powerful Moringa is when we speak of health and sustainability. 

4.  Erik Capaque and Claudette Dy of EAT (V Hotel)

If you say you are adventurous, even in eating, well done, test your palate and other senses as you will discover more unlikely ingredients can actually alter common baking and cooking staples.  Claudette Dy introduced me to her Banana Cake, baked in an unorthodox way with an extremely unorthodox ingredient.  And yes, I had a big chunk chugged  down into my stomach and might I say it was just like an ordinary Banana cake and a scrumptious one at that.

Chef Erik on the other hand made "Salis-vermis Steak."

Care to know the highlighted climate change ingredient?  Clue: Vermis (as in vermiculture...)

The Salis-vermi Steak with Mushroom gravy and Sauteed Talilong (Water Leaf Weed)

5. Nancy Reyes Lumen - The Adobo Queen

Okay. so far I ate every little morsel of their samples, except this one, which till now gives me the creeps.  It's a jello with a, ____("secret").   Let me give you a clue of what's in the middle - called "balang" in Tagalog.

However, since I truly idolize Ms. Nancy, I gave this munchies a try, in fact my first bite was the "Jeepers Crisper" itself which tasted like a dried squid in Adobo flavor. 

Here's a macro shot of the crispers.  The package is actually a mix of savory rice crispies, nuts and the secret climate change ingredient.

Curious enough?

Well then. don't let this opportunity pass,  click on this link to buy your tickets:


Join BGC EATS 2014.

Kindly, stay tuned for updates on this...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Serving Kitayama Wagyu at Home

If you are a fan of Wagyu steaks and burgers then you are one affluent foodie.  "Joke lang!" 

I too have the same sentiment.  I'm not rich, though I wouln't mind to spend quite a bit specially on good quality meat.  I'm not a meat-lover but at certain times, I would indulge on fat enriched pampered wagyu beef, but what if I tell you this not so rare type of Wagyu doesn't come from tge US or UK, not even from Japan,  But don't be surprised.  Bukidnon boast of a farm that raises wagyu.

Wagyu, for those who have been living under a rock, is a Japanese breed cattle beef, 'Wa' means Japanese and 'gyu' means cattle.  It's unique taste and tenderness with its highly "marbled" beef makes an unrivalled gastronome adventure.

Talking about locally raised wagyu cattle, in the hilly side of North Mindanao, specifically in Bukidnon, Umalag Farms owned by the Ramcar Group of Companies have been raising them for years. Its meatshop along Pasong Tamo, across Makati Cinema Square is now selling various cuts of the choiced meat.  Beef marbling grades have have consistently been ranging from 5 to 8, that is for serious foodies' information.

With that...

It has now found its way through gourmet restaurants and world acclaimed chef and restaurateurs' kitchen.  I used to order dishes from the defunked Bistro Filipino of the Laudico couples, such as Wagyu Salpicao and Kaldereta.  I think, if I'm not mistaken, Chef's Rolando and Jackie, also use Kitayama Wagyu in their beef dishes at Pugon Roasters and Guevarra's.

I first had an experience with the local Wagyu, Kitayama, early last year of 2013, when we dined at  Ristorante Bigoli.  All their beef, which they use in their menu comes from Umalag farms of Ramcar Group of Companies, in which Bigoli is also a part of.

Soon, Chef Him Uy de Baron of Nomama followed suit and other restaurants as well like Malcolm's Deli, The Black Pig and more.

I have been eyeing this store since its inception.  We know that spot in Makati hosts a couple of authentic Japanese restaurants and stores.  My interest piqued even more when I saw the building being built, which I thought would just be another restaurant of the kind.  I just got blessed to have walked along that side of Pasong Tamo and I didn't let the opportunity pass so I entered and here are the photos I captured with my phone. 

Aside from Wagyu beef they have also welcomed other purveyors to sell their artisan products.  Products you don't typically find in the grocers like Bayani Brew, Fog City Creamery and Carmen's Best Ice Creams and a lot more.

Of course, I didn't come home empty handed.

So, I bought half a pack of Wagyu Beef Tapa and a package of Wagyu Maple Bacon.

Here is how it looked like after being cooked.  To perfectly cook a beef tapa, you need to slightly cook it in its marinate until it dries up and the oils from the fats break down slowly and cooking the meat in its own fat, just a drop of vegetable oil to prevent from sticking to the pan of if needed.

We loved how it came it out, the meat was tender and juicy, not salty nor sour, but with a well-balance of simple spices and probably a soy sauce based marinate.

The bacon were amazingly good as well, it has a buttery taste, followed by a kick of salt and, finally, a meaty finish.

Here is one the ways of fixing a sandwich with wagyu bacon.  on a sliced and mayo-slathered baguette, layer with kale (or other greens of your choice) thinly sliced apples, wagyu bacon and fried eggs.

Will come back for their porter house and sirloins next, and more of the tapas and bacon, for they are well loved by my pack...

Green Living at Paseo Verde

I'm sure parents would agree here that education is the most important inheritance a parent can give to their children, with proper guidance and right up bringing,  a child can never go wrong with his or her decisions. This holds true in   the case of these two students.  At a very young age they persuaded their parents to buy them a condominium unit at Paseo Verde in Las PiƱas City.

A mid rise condominium located South of Metro Manila interest the two students, Doreen Joy Rosell and Maria Jessica Bello both students from FEU,  because of its unique features that Paseo Verde offers to its unit owners. The bike facilities and electronic bike charging is just one feature that the condominium offers, it also has park and play ground of its own located in its premises. Plus the certified accreditation by the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) and a member of the Philippine Green Building Council for its steps toward promoting a sustainable community.

Presently, the  awareness in promoting and living in an eco-friendly place is the current fad among young people today. They want to give their contribution in protecting the environment and helping it in their own way.

One of the student said that “It is nice to live in a place where you can see trees and green grasses outside your window and gives you the feeling that you’re away from the city.”

The other lass said “South is the place that are being heavily developed, soon it will or might become the new business hub, since most of the place in Metro Manila is already full. The opportunity could be right here.  And this is not a loss it could also be a gain for me, because I see this as my first investment.”

In the end, they are positively sure that after they graduated and find the right job, they know that it’s their turn to pay the rest of the monthly payment.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Corn and Coconut Granita

Here's part two of the recipes migration.  I'm starting to post the recipes that are easy to do and with ingredients readily available.

I'm betting, you will love me for this!

As for my theme on the blog - "Simplifying yumminess is what I do best!" I taught of a cool dessert or snack to serve on self-hosted dinner at home.  I took a champagne  glass, layered with grated or scraped off coconut meat, Coconut Granita *, and Corn.
Walaaah!  A dessert! A snack!  A healthy option! 

Granita (in Italian also granita siciliana) is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. Originally from Sicily, although available all over Italy (but granita in Sicily is somewhat different from the rest of Italy), it is related to sorbet and Italian ice. However, in most of Sicily, it has a coarser, more crystalline texture. Food writer Jeffrey Steingarten says that "the desired texture seems to vary from city to city" on the island; on the west coast and in Palermo, it is at its chunkiest, and in the east it is nearly as smooth as sorbet. [1] This is largely the result of different freezing techniques: the smoother types are produced in a gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals. 
( copied from Wikipedia,

How to make Coconut Granita:
1.  In a pitcher, mix coconut juice from 2 coconuts and half cup of condensed milk.   
2.  Once mixed pour on a 5" to 7" plastic tray, cover and refrigerate for an hour.  
3.  After 1 hour you will notice the top hardens a bit, scrape it off and mix.  
4.  Refrigerate for two more hours, scrape again until you achieve a slushy consistency in the ice. 
 It will be ready to serve by then.

Fruity Yogurt Parfait (Lifted from my Recipe blog)

Confession day it is.  I'm one of those bloggers who manage not just two blogs but a lot!  I used to be a tad finicky about sorting my journals.  And these are only personal posts and no amount of income generated, whatsoever.  If my husband finds out about the madness, I have no idea how he'd react.  Anyways, I have decided to shut down some of them and transport every posts here, well those that are food and travel related.

I just hope that sharing the activities I did with my family is worth posting.

Let me know share you a post I wrote at what was RECIPES FRO MY HUMBLE KITCHEN BLOG (


Famous Facts about Yogurt
- It is an immunity booster, good in fighting in body infections.
-Very good for those who are hypertensive or has high blood pressure, for it lowers cholesterol level.

Studies show that live cultures in yogurt absorbs cholesterol.
-Best milk substitute, for lactose-intolerants or have protein allergy, since it has less lactose.
-Lowers the risk of colon cancer.  Yogurt has lacto-bacteria, which prevents the production of carcinogens in the intestines.
-Like milk, it is also rich in calcium, not only does it provides the body with enough protein, it also prevents excess growth of the cells lining the colon and as well as the stomach lining.
-The soy food stabilizes sugar, diabetics can have this.
-A good food for those on diet.

Fruity Yogurt Parfait

For 1 to 2 servings
  1 pack of yogurt, plain or flavored,
         here I used Yummy Strawberry
         of Nestle
  sliced ripe mangoes
  sliced lacatan banana
  Milo cereal
  Fruit loops breakfast cereal

Easy steps in making:
1.  Put a few Milo and fruit loop cereals,  add the magoes and bananas, top with yogurt, then another layer with the same ingredients.
2.  Top it with more yogurt and bits of milo and fruit loops.
3.   ENJOY the goodness of a healthy and fruity snack.

This can also be enjoyed for breakfast and dessert.  Variations may include ice cream or heavy whipped cream instead of yogurt.  Nuts and other fruits can be added.

Very easy to make, here my youngest daughter was the one who whipped this up, I just told her what to put on the glass.   But I did the slicing though.  FYI, this was her breakfast!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Health and Wellness: Isis Wellness and Spa

Photo credit
Do you find yourself unable to function at the level you used to or at the level you wish to? Stress may be interfering with your life.  Do you find yourself worrying, feeling physical (muscle) tension, have rapid heart rate or do a lot of  “what-if-ing” or postponing work because you feel overwhelmed?  If you say "yes" to both, then you need to manage your stress and inject a suitable wellness system, else, see a doctor.

Completely banishing stress from your life is inevitable.  I also speak for my self.  As I consistently try my hardest and seek new endeavors, I naturally feel challenged and most often  even stressed. Though I know this is all part of personal growth, but sometimes stress threatens to overwhelm me.  

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to minimize its negative toll, and to prevent it from getting a grip on us in the first place. One best suggestion I could give is to have a regular relaxation schedule, such as enjoying an herbal infusion drink, freshly squeezed juices and massages and facials.

What if I tell you that there is a retreat hidden in the concrete jungle, also known as Ayala, Makati?
One can find recoil from the daily grind and be feted by a number of options of unique spa treatments - from massages, spa facials and body scrubs.

Isis Wellness and Spa is a new place slowly getting the words out there from their fresh batch of discerning spa enthusiasts.  Great care has been taken to provide a profound experience -- where the senses are drawn inward through the right blend of oils, freshly prepared natural ingredients, the unmistakable healing touch and service with a soul.

These are the fine details that allow each moment to gently unfold and deliver one to wellness.

How do I know? Well, not only is this place owned by a couple friend of mine who exemplify passion. They are professionally known to provide utmost service in the field they have worked on for years. 

Isis Wellness and Spa is inside Prince Plaza 1 Condominium, which is just across Greenbelt 5 along Legazpi St., Makati.   

The mood of Isis is one of tranquility, remoteness and essentially all-natural, earth-tones.  The green walls, dark wood fixtures and some memoirs of their Asian trips all weave in to exude an environment that is soothing.

The spa embraces a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being with an extensive treatment menu that was developed from years of experience working from the lowliest massage services to the highest 5-star hotel clienteles, which includes sheikhs and Hollywood celebs.

The spa uses only non-comedogenic products made up of all-natural botanicals with no perfumes, dyes, alcohol or any other elements.  For facial spa treatments, they use the all-natural Pevonia products which contain no chemicals, ensuring the purity of the product. 

I've known Merna Brazil-Derouet, one of the spa owner, since we had our second child (now we had four, and that kid is now in college).  I totally swear by her healing touch, not the way an "albularyo" or folk healer does it, but by how she have managed to effectuate a craft that not too many would persevere.  Every time I would have strained muscles, back pains, sprains and of course, the dreaded "lamig,"  she would be the only person I can count on.  Not that I haven't tried going to other spas and therapists, I actually have tried quite a few, but most of them come short of the therapy I needed.

I'm so happy for Merna and Didier Derouet, now that they have finally opened up a new concept wellness venue where they try to cater to all the senses for a total wellness experience.

Isis' door barely opened last Saturday, with a simple dedication and prayer, and a sampling of what the couple offers.

Merna certainly have her hands full with the admin work and the whole facilitation, including training the therapists.  Didier, on the other end is busy with dishing up tea infusion and refreshing concoctions paired to every pampering need.  He just happened to be one of the best pastry chef I know, with years of expertise and Fairmonts and Raffles hotel have been on his background's list.

After the short Biblical impartation of the business, the guests were served with cocktails.

Upon every guests' arrival, welcome refreshments will be served.  We had a sampling of that on the opening.  What we all thought as Sprite or champagne was a glass of lemongrass infused sparkling water.  At the end of the therapy, you can choose to have hot tea or a cold shot of their freshly juiced.

Shrimp Salad

Roast Pork in some kinda sweet and tangy dressing
Juice of the day:  Watermelon, cucumber with a hint of lime

That was me and their pastor friend at the back, both of us had one hour of rejuvenating Foot Reflexology. The room, btw, was dimly lit but they still had to put soothing lavander-scented eye pillows.  Time for me to get a shut-eye, which I don't normally do in the afternoon.  The aroma, the background music and the strokes from the hands of my therapist, blended so well to induce sleep. 

After my treatment, I was offered tea and I never say no to hot teas, and together with that to shortly end our snack, we were served with fresh fruit salad.

I'm officially making Isis my retreat hub.  I also had tried one of their Facial spa and will yet to write about them and how Pevonia products might replace my daily facial cleaning regimen.  For now, I'll be relying with Isis' regular facial pampering that's not evasive and no more tears, just cleansed, supple and young-looking skin.

It's now your turn, they are open everyday from 10 am to 8 pm.  It is best to call them at 0921 572 8408 to reserve your preferred time but they do welcome walk ins.  For more inquiries like their Facebook page- ISIS WELLNESS AND SPA.