Monday, January 09, 2017

52-Week Cooking Challenge W1: Choco Chip Banana Loaf

Last night, I decided to challenge myself to constantly improve my kitchen prowess by committing to cook or bake at least one dish per week for the whole year.  The new house that we are renting in has a small kitchen but I like it better than the kitchen of our previously rented house for the reason of accessibility and unlimited water supply.  The kitchen is equipped with cabinets, has an area for my refrigerator and my oven.  Another plus is that the hubby has put the stock room just behind it. Baking and cooking becomes easy because things are now at an arm's reach.

So with this 52-week cooking challenge, I will be doing a dish that I have not done before, before a week ends.  Most of it may not be original as I only rely on some recipes.  Some I will be putting a twist depending on my mood.  I could go beyond the 1 dish per week depending on my schedule.

I have been planning to make a banana loaf since.  The last banana bread I made was half baked because I put it out of the oven with out testing it with a skewer. I only followed the temperature settings and the baking time only to find out that the insides are still runny.  Good thing Mom has some Lakatan to share which I took home last week.    I intended to have it ripened to almost trash bin worthy state so that it would be all mushy and sweet for the banana bread.

So last night, I got my bowls and measurements out and my oven running for a bread I have been craving to make.

Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf


2 cups flour

2 ripe Lakatan bananas

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped walnuts or chopped raisins.


1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.

2. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda).  Add sugar.  Make a well.

3.  Add butter, oil and eggs.  Mix. (No need of blender)

4.  Mash lakatan bananas in a separate bowl.  Fold into the mixture.

5.  Fold in chocolate chips or walnuts or raisins or combination of the three. Your preference.

6.  Transfer into a greased baking loaf pan or a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners.

7.  Bake until skewer or tester comes out clean.

I didn't use chocolate chips but I had a small bar or chocolate and chopped it finely.  I baked mine for 1 hour and a half because my loaf pan is deep.  I covered the pan with aluminum foil at the last half hour to minimize browning of the top part.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Brazos the Mercedes

After a long hiatus of my oven (and mixer) due to laziness, I have decided to do some chaos in kitchen.  We have been craving for brazos de Mercedez and even bought a commercial one from Red Ribbon.  So I decided to make one suiting my taste.  I would like to share with you the recipe I used for my Brazos de Mercedez.  Enjoy everyone.


For the meringue:
8 egg whites
1 cup refined sugar
1 tsp Cream of Tartar (CoT)
1 tsp vanilla

For the yema filling:
8 egg yolks
1 can condensed milk (330ml)
1 can water (330 ml)
1 tsp vanilla


To make the meringue:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a clean and dry bowl, whip in high speed the egg whites.
3. Gradually add refined sugar while mixing.  Continue mixing until soft peaks.
4. Add in Cream of Tartar following the vanilla.
5. In a cookie sheet, line a baking sheet and grease the surface.
6. Place the meringue on the cookie sheet and spread evenly with a spatula.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or when the top begins to brown.
8.  While waiting to cook, start with the yema filling.

To make the yema filling:
1. Combine ingredients.
2. Cook over a double boiler until thick.

To assemble:
1.  Remove meringue from the oven and cool.
2.  Dust confectioners sugar and place wax paper on top.
3.  Place a new and clean baking tray of similar size on top and flip the meringue.
4.  Remove the old wax paper.
5.  Put filling and roll slowly to avoid breakage of meringue.

2017 Philippine Holidays

As I have previously posted, I have joined the ratrace.  And with that, I now don't have the luxury of going on vacation ANYTIME.  I have to reconsider taking vacations on declared holidays to minimize using my leaves.

Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the regular holidays, special non-working holidays as well as special holidays for scools in 2017 through Proclamation No. 50.  He declared the following dates as holidays:

Regular Holidays
January 1, 2017 (Sunday)             -       New Year's Day
April 9, 2017 (Sunday)                 -       Araw ng Kagitingan
April 13, 2017 (Thursday)            -       Maundy Thursday
April 14, 2017 (Friday)                 -       Good Friday
May 1, 2017 (Monday)                 -       Labor Day
June 12, 2017  (Monday)              -       Independence Day
August 28, 2017  (Monday)          -       National Heroes Day
November 30, 2017 (Thursday)    -       Bonifacio Day
December 25, 2017 (Monday)      -       Christmas Day
December 30, 2017 (Saturday)     -       Rizal Day

Special Non-Working Holiday
January 28, 2017 (Saturday)          -       New Year's Day
April 15, 2017 (Saturday)              -       Black Saturday
August 21, 2017 (Monday)            -       Benigno Aquino Jr. Day
November 1, 2017(Wednesday)     -       All Saints Day
December 31, 2017 (Sunday)         -       Last Day of the Year

Additional Holidays
October 31, 2017 (Tuesday)           -       day before All Saints Day to "strengthen family ties by providing more time for traditional All Saints' Day commemorative activities and to promote domestic tourism"

Eid'l Adha and Eid'l Fitr will be confirmed by the Muslim community and will be depend on Muslim calendars.

The proclamation likewise cited Republic Act 9492 for moving holidays, unless religious in nature, to the nearest Monday.

So now, I'm excited to search on the interenet for seat sales to arrange our vacations accordingly.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Your taxes won't be wasted with me

I have recently joined the rat race and after almost 4 years (my last stint was with Coke ended in December 2012), it felt new all over again.  I am now with Sugar Regulatory Administration.  Four years ago, I returned home from Singapore because of a job opportunity from SRA.  I packed my bags, I attended the interview, ranked 2nd amongst the applicants and was ready for office (because  Rank 1 turned down the offer) only to be neglected on the side because my mom is still with the agency. Rank 3 was chosen.

So yeah, it took me 4 years to get this post.  I have focused on establishing businesses while waiting for openings. I never applied to a private company because as per my mother, working for the governent has less stress, less pressure, and better opportunities which is really true. I have been with Manila Water and Coke and I could see the big difference.

This venture is a mixture of excitement, pressure and whole lot of self reflection.  The new job is exciting because new things means new learning.  New environment means new culture and new people.

It  has been 14 days of work. I got the responsibilities my mother left when she retired last June. But because I am filling the big shoes of my mother, there is this certain pressure and responsibility to do better and to prove to everybody that I could do more.  My mother is a hardworking woman, her work ethics is simply outstanding.  I could never beat that but I only wish to be at par with her.

 I have done the 6-month backlog, learned other roles when my other officemate take their leaves. There are days when it seems there is chaos in the office especially when most of the clients clamor in the office at the of the week but there are days when you could just browse the internet away.

The workplace is great.  But the voice at the back of my head tells me that I should be in the middle of the ladder in my career right now.  But here I am starting in the beginning all over again.  While my contemporaries are already heading departments, here I am, a mere part of the workforce, following orders.  So I promised myself, to work hard and smart.   There will be opportunities waiting (a big portion of the employees are about to retire) and I make sure to grab each opportunity.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

My love - hate relationship with Swimming

I have been urging Ron to exercise, not only to get fit but to avoid another hit of a heart attack or stroke. Because we are not working, we have the luxury of time, most of it wasted in front of a computer or the TV. We are almost 3 years into our marriage and we have gained more than 10 pounds each.

Of the many sports (swimming, basketball, tennis) he is good at, he was allowed by his doctors to do swimming for fitness. It has been 3 weeks now that be has gone to the pool regularly (3-5× a week the most).  As for me, I have decided to tag along.

Swimming is not my sport. I don't enjoy it. When I was little, my mom enrolled me and my brother in a swimming class during summer break. I learned how to kick and flutter but never to float. The only stroke I learned was Freestyle. While I enjoy it at first, I easily get tired with my arm and leg muscle being sore and weighs like a 100 kgs after.  And during class, my teacher urged me to finish a lap. I was midway when I decided to stop because I was tired and out of breath, my teacher was shouting for me to continue. I didnt, and because I didn't know how to float, I panicked and almost drowned. I never came back to that class.

In UP, PE subjects have no unit weight thus no monetary weight in our tuition. So we enjoy as much PE classes as we want.  So I enrolled myself in a swimming class hoping to earn a life skill.  First meeting in that class, the teacher had us jump into the deepest part of the pool (10ft) to check who knows how to swim or at least float among her students.  I was scared to death but I know I had to. I did. I jumped and water filled my lungs. And just like the other sinkers in her class, the teacher gave us a rod to grab and pulled us out of water. I never finished that class. It was the earliest class and was often late or absent even though the pool is just 5 minutes from my dormitory.

When I got into a relationship with a swimmer (Ron), and later married one, the pool or the beach is always a destination. So I gave swimming a try one more time. And Ron is urging me to learn. He gives me tips in improving my Freestyle and just last year, he taught me the Breaststroke.

It is a struggle. Swimming and exercise are struggles.. But I decided to learn and reach milestones every now and then. I am still far from the goal... but I will get there. And yeah, I want to learn how to float and tread, for dear life.

Pokemon Go Craze

Have you got yourself go crazy over Pokemon Go? Are you one of those who was dying for it to hit the country after it was banned earlier because of a hack?

Well, it has hit the Philippines, 3 days ago and a whole lot of people were hooked. I included, we are all transformed to hunters, looking for those pokemons everywhere.

For 2 nights now, me and Ron rode his scooter to every pokestop in Bacolod for some pokeballs, eggs and other whatnot. Last night was the worse of the addiction, we stopped at the Bacolod Lagoon  which is a pokestop because someone put a Lure. So for 30 minutes we waited for pokemons hoping to catch the rare ones. The worst of it all, we have done this with non-permitting weather conditions. But a lot has gathered last night. It is as if, not only pokemons were lured at Lagoon but Hunters as well. Hahaha!

I don't know how long I will get addicted with this game but for now, Gotta Catch them all!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Chilli Shrimp Scampi

I have been in a pasta frenzy for the past 2 days and with the leftover linguine still in the ref, I checked into google of other pasta recipes. Thank you Jamie Oliver and Laura Vitale, I stumbled upon their videos on shrimp scampi. Because hubs wants it a little bit hot and spicy, I whipped Chilli Shrimp Scampi and here goes:

1/2 kg medium sized shrimps
2 tbsp EVOO
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp chilli flakes
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
bunch of parsely, finely chopped
250 g pasta

1. Cook pasta using package instruction. Drain and then coat with 1 tbsp EVOO for the pasta not to clump. 
2. In a separate pan, heat remaining EVOO. 
3. Add in butter and cook until all butter is melted.
4. Cook shrimp until slightly pink, about 1 minute in each side.
5.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
6. Put in chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Add parsely.
7. Add white wine. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
8. Add in the cooked pasta. Mix. Make sure to coat pasta with mixture.

Serve with additional parsely on top.

*I was not able to find parsely in the supermarket so I omited it.

I also devein the shrimps so that I could share the dish with hubs. He is usually allergic to shrimps when it is cooked without deveining it.

How to Devein Shrimps
1. Hold the body firmly, then pull the head downward.
2. Take the remaining shell off until the tail.
3. Take a knife and cut through the middle of the to reveal the vein.
4. Pull the vein.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Pasta Aglio Olio con Sausage e Longaniza

It is the 2nd day of the month. Nothing really special but we are celebrating our 71-month long relationship as boyfriend/girlfriend. Yes we are 1 month away from our 6th year of being together.

We used to celebrate these relationship milestones over Ron's Spicy Tuna Carbonara and so I was craving for it. I requested him to cook a batch but he has a lot of excuses that I thought of whipping one for myself. But since We dont have the complete ingredients, I hought of going for the simplest pasta dish, the Aglio Olio which is only Olive oil, garlic and herbs.

While cooking the pasta, I thought of putting out the Hungarian Sausage (Ron's favorite) and the Chicken Longanisa. Why not mixing it in? Oh yeah! Kitchen chaos, here I go! And this is how I came up with Pasta Aglio Olio con Sausage and Longanisa.


250g Pasta ( we have linguine available)
3 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic (more the better) chopped
1 tbsp italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
2 pcs hungarian sausage cubed 
4 pcs chicken longganisa cubed
parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Cook pasta using package instruction. Drain and then coat with 1 tbsp EVOO for the pasta not to clump. 
2. In a separate pan, heat remaining EVOO. 
3. Brown hungarian sausage and longaniza.
4.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
5. Put in italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
6. Add in the cooked pasta. Mix. Make sure to coat pasta.

Serve with parmesan cheese on top!

* I did not put the pasta all at once.... I put it in portion by portion because I want my pasta to be well coated to get the full flavor in every bite. It turned out, I only used 2/3 of the pasta.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sauteed Fish in Honey and Lemon

My husband is out for the Holy Week and I am left to myself alone in the house.  Because I am too lazy to cook fancy, I once again whipped myself with what is available in the kitchen, white fish, lemons and honey.

So here is dinner for me:

 photo 20150402_220459.jpg


1 cream dory fillet
1 medium sized lemon, juiced
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper

1. Mix lemon and honey, salt and pepper. Pour over cream dory. Marinate for 1 hr.
2. Transfer dory in a foil, sprinkle basil and pepper. 
3. Fold ends of the aluminum foil to ensure that the fish is covered tightly. This is to ensure moisture is not lost.
4. Steam fish for 20 min.


Note: I cut my fish into bite sizes to easily absorb marinade and for faster cooking.