Getting Married

I have to apologize to this sad, empty space for neglecting it yet again. As much as I wanted to be a regular poster and practice my writing skills, alas, life happens.

But something so remarkable and special and marvelous happened to me recently, that it warranted a post of its own.

I’m engaged!

My fiance Marti is a wonderful man – strong, handsome and intelligent. Most importantly, he’s patient and kind. I am pleased to say that I have hit the jackpot – he is a blessing beyond the limits of my imagination.

Thank You Lord for this next chapter in my life. Planning a wedding has been fun, but I am most excited for what lies after – my journey as a married woman.

Fingers crossed and prayers said, it should be a blast! ❤


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Four Year Hiatus

Hello Blogsphere!

I haven’t written in this blog in four years. Somewhere in between now and my last post, I graduated from school; worked at one job; left that job; worked on another job and most notably, discovered a burning passion for baking. Being constantly busy led me to stop blogging, but more than that, it’s a mad love for anonymity. It’s the one thing i love as much as food, and is perhaps the main reason I’ve been net-shy for almost half a decade. However, the lure of writing about the thing I love most – food – was just too strong to keep me away for much longer, and I’ve decided to hop back on the wagon. So welcome back to me!

I’m happy to be back on my blog because now I don’t have a single reader (anonymity – check!) and also have copious amounts of time to work on my two favorite hobbies – baking and writing. My goal is to write at least once a week about something I’ve made or a recipe I’ve tried. I can’t promise a perfect track record of flawless cakes or lust-worthy cookies, but what I can vow is that every post will document the love and passion I put into learning this beautiful craft.


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The Sweet Taste of Summer

I haven’t posted in ages, but now that I’m on summer vacation, I have all the time to! My life, last term, reached a frenetic pace of crazy-busyness, and I’m so happy to have time to unwind. This summer break is going to be my last one ever, so I’m determined to savor every moment of it! I’ll be leaving this Sunday for a three-week tour of Egypt, Israel and Jordan, but after, I’m going to be posting all the time. 🙂

Nothing says summer like a blue curacao mojito. 🙂

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I Like Green Eggs and Ham

Whenever I feel forced to be formulaic, to form myself into a fashionable figure, or to follow a fad, I choose green eggs and ham.

People may scoff at my oddly hued breakfast choice, but I think it is marvelous.

Perhaps I care more about Cat in the Hat than current crazes, wonder more about Wonka than getting wonky on a weekend, and have ideas veering on the childishly bizarre, but I do know one thing: you are happiest and most beautiful when you are yourself.

After all, why would you choose vanilla, unspeckled, uncluttered and universally accepted, when you could have the  crazy, absurd, and wonderfully scrumdiddilyumptious green eggs and ham!

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Jamba Juice

I’m not normally one to jump on food trend bandwagons, but I couldn’t resist trying out Jamba Juice on its opening week.  This US franchise, which just opened its doors in Bonifacio High Street, has been a trending topic too difficult to ignore. Curse you, Twitter and the trend awareness you promote!

You can probably see from the above photo that Jamba Juice screams orangey sunshine and happiness. The entire staff chirpily greets customers as soon as they walk in through their glass-paneled doors.

There was a photo booth that allowed customers to snap pics, which then got sent directly to their emails. As can be expected of camwhoring Pinoys, we went jam-ballistic when we saw it!

Your author (aka me), perusing the expansive menu. See how even the lime green wall and orange sofa behind me are so cheery? Jamba Juice is the Disneyland of fruit shakes. Such a happy place!

My indecisive self had quite the struggle picking from the multitudes of flavors, but the Banana Berry appealed to me most.  Bananas, blueberries, apple-strawberry juice, raspberry sherbet and frozen yogurt were what made up this magenta blast of berryness.

The Banana Berry shake was blitzed to a velvet pulp (no seeds on my tongue, yay!) and was a great relief from the scorching weather outside. I liked it a lot, except for the fact that I couldn’t taste any bananas. For Php 135, it is a tad pricier than a Big Chill shake, but the ingredients tasted fresher and more natural. In terms of quality, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

Here’s a snapshot of Caribbean Passion, which was made of passionfruit-mango juice, strawberries, peaches and orange sherbet. I only took a sip, but I enjoyed the refreshing citrus flavor. Among all the ingredients in it, the tart sherbet stood out most. It was a bit overwhelming, so order this if you like oranges. If you’re not a fan, stay away!

Apart from shakes, Jamba Juice also has a slew of dishes on the menu. Don’t mind the terrible, blurry photos, as they do no justice to the following dishes I’d  highly recommend:

Jamba Juice’s breakfast wraps are arguably the best I’ve tried in this country! They are covered in a yummy whole wheat wrapper and served piping hot. There are two variations, both of which we sampled.

The Spinach and Cheese wrap was a mix of greens and really gooey cheese. You know when you bite into something cheesy (like pizza), and those milky strings just ooze onto your teeth? Mmm.. that’s what its all about.

The spicy chorizo wrap is even better than the former. I only took a bite, but that singular nibble was a mexican fiesta in my mouth. I tasted corn, cheddar, bell pepper, salsa and chorizo all in one mouthful. This wrap is a lot spicy, a little tangy and all-around delicious. A must-order!

Above lies a blurry picture of one of the best pretzels I’ve ever had. It was soft and warm, gooey when you pulled it apart, and had crispy flecks of parmesan cheese. Jamba Juice is the last place I thought I’d find a lustworthy pretzel, but… sigh.

As a whole, I give this four stars over five. I loved that Jamba Juice had great meal options apart from its specialty shakes, and I’m excited to go back for that pretzel!

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Breakfast with Wowa

Though I hate to admit it, I am a chronic breakfast-skipper.

The reason for this is not a distaste for the usual breakfast fare (truth be told, I adore it) but rather, a lack of time. Like most college students, I am a slave to convenience. On the rare days I wake up early enough, I purchase an overpriced latte, and nothing else.

Often, as I miss yet another breakfast or consume a sad excuse for one, I daydream about partaking of an authentic Filipino almusal. I only get the chance to sit down to one when my family vacations in the quaint town of Liliw, Laguna. There, we stay with my grandparents at Tree Farm, where I am required to rise at the crack of dawn.

Still heavy with sleep, I head to the sun-lit dining room for my morning meal. As I step inside, my senses are engaged. I take a whiff of the air perfumed with the aroma of warm pandesal; hear the sizzle of frying garlic; and gaze upon the spread that awaits me.

My drowsiness magically fades. My stomach grumbles loudly. I am ready to eat.

My grandmother, who I fondly call Wowa, is a true testament to Tagalog folks’ reputation of being gracious, gallant hosts. Each morning, she prepares a feast of traditional Pinoy dishes, a practice handed down to her by her parents. As she was born and raised in Liliw, the repertoire consists of choices with a Tagalog heritage, many of which were served at her own lolo and lola’s breakfast table.

Wowa and my cute cousin Ruth at Tree Farm

One such dish is longganisa, a delicacy of the nearby Lucban, deep-fried and served with coconut vinegar. Another is crispy tawilis, a sardine found only in the shores of the Taal Lake. Wowa taught me to temper this fish’s intensely salty flavor with chopped tomatoes and onions.

From Sta. Cruz, she gets kesong puti, a soft white cheese made of carabao’s milk. Most of the time, I stuff the keso inside pandesal. Other times, I mash it into piping hot rice, allowing the steam to slowly melt the cheese.

In typical Pinoy fashion, rice is a big part of the meal. We place mountainous heaps of sinangag, Pinoys’ buttery, garlic-laden version of fried rice, on our plates. I, a total tapsilog groupie, enjoy pairing it with eggs and tapa or fried beef marinated in vinegar. Wowa makes an extraordinarily tender tapa; the perfect complement to a sunny side-up egg, plucked straight from the chicken coop on our farm.

For those wishing to add a hint of sourness to the dish, she prepares a side of pickled vegetables or atchara. Personally, I would rather douse my tapsilog in vinegar and minced sili labuyo, but that’s just me. The beauty of Wowa’s almusal, and perhaps Philippine cuisine as a whole, is that there are no hard and fast rules. Diners have the unlimited license to tinker with their food, especially when it comes to one’s preferred sawsawan or sauce. My grandmother, whose almusal spread always includes a wide array of seasonings, welcomes the idea with open arms.

Let’s move from savory to sweet.

In my opinion, nothing encapsulates the taste of Liliw quite like the town’s doughy delicacies. From the hole-in-the-wall bakeries that dot the town, we purchase a host of breakfast sweets. My absolute favorite is Liliw’s version of hotcakes, a fluffy pancake smeared with margarine and sprinkled with sugar. A close second is balitaw, a donut-like confection coated in a hard muscovado sugar shell.

A close up look at Balitaw

For health buffs that, I presume, balk at the idea of consuming so much sugar, my ever-considerate lola serves some of the region’s lighter treats. One is puto alsa, a large bilao of fluffy white rice cake. Another is bonete, a milky, bell-shaped roll. It is crusty on the outside, doughy on the inside, and the perfect spouse to a hot cup of kape barako. It is known to be the pride of Liliw (apart from their famous tsinelas), and it couldn’t be more deserving of this title.

As can be expected, sitting down to a meal like this takes an infinitely longer amount of time than my rushed breakfasts in the city. Between chatting with my grandparents, heading back to the buffet table for multiple rounds (admittedly, I always do), and sipping hot coffee, almusal can take up the whole morning. However, I don’t mind. My breakfasts at Wowa’s farm may be few and far between, but they are treasured. They give me an opportunity to pause and relax, thinking only of enjoying my family’s company and experiencing a good meal.

That is what a classic Filipino almusal is: an experience. Food is not to be eaten in a mindless hurry. To the contrary, Pinoy breakfast fare is to be enjoyed in a leisurely manner, and every flavor-rich bite is to be savored. Luckily for me, my loving lola makes such great food that lingering at the table for hours, savoring my meal, feels like just a few minutes. Needless to say, I can hardly wait for my next breakfast in Liliw.


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Nigella Lawson

I count the gorgeous Nigella Lawson as my favorite food writer and cook. My shelves are lined with all of her books, and when I began penning my own cookbook, I devoured her writing for inspiration. Her dishes don’t always appeal to me, but her relaxed, sensual approach to food always does. I love hearing about the unadulterated pleasure she gets from throwing waistline-watching to the wind, and when she waxes poetic on food, I can’t stop reading.

These may be old videos, but they pretty much encapsulate Nigella’s take on food, and the joie de vive with which she enjoys it. This is a woman who can skip dinner, and go straight to croissant bread pudding. Just how amazing is that?


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