December 4, 2013


Go vegetable heavy. Reverse the psychology of your plate by making meat the side dish and vegetables the main course.~Bobby Flay

Last week, I bought a bottle of bagoong isda (anchovy sauce) and decided to cook pinakbet. This dish was completely different from my favorite (veggies with coco milk), but I must admit, this was so darn good! The vegetables are sweet and the sauce is salty and fishy. It's like Yin and Yang, the combination of the two gives you balance of flavor and the taste is truly amazing. 

Here's the recipe:

250 grams pork liempo, chopped
300 grams squash (kalabasa), sliced
1 big eggplant (talong), sliced
1 bundle or 15 pcs string beans (sitaw), cut into 2.5 inch pieces
1 medium size bitter gourd (ampalaya), sliced
8-10 pcs okra
1 bundle of kangkong
1 bundle of kamote tops
5 Tbsp anchovy sauce (bagoong isda)
3 cups water
5 cloves garlic
1 medium red onion 
1/3 cup water (for the pork)
fish sauce and pepper to taste

1. Put 1/3 cup water and pork in the pan. Cook the pork until the water completely evaporates. Put a little oil and cook until the color of the pork changes to golden brown. Set aside and if the pork fat renders too much oil, remove some of it.
2. Add the onion then the garlic. Cook for a minute or until the onion becomes translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

3.  Put the vegetables (except for kangkong and kamote tops), start with string beans (sitaw) then squash (kalabasa), bitter gourd (ampalaya), eggplant (talong), lastly okra.
4. Add the anchovy sauce (bagoong isda).

4. Add water. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add kangkong leaves and kamote tops. Cook for a minute. Taste it, add pepper and fish sauce if needed. Turn off the heat.

5. Serve with hot-steamy rice. Share and enjoy.

1. Add 2 pcs of kamote/sweet potatoes (chopped) and 4 pcs of tomatoes (halved). I didn't have these 2 ingredients when I cooked the pinakbet but adding these 2 will surely make a difference in taste.
2. You may substitute pork with fried or inihaw na bangus, tilapia, or any fish available at your home.
3. If you want drier version of pinakbet, reduce the amount of water and bagoong isda.
4. Add lechon kawali or bagnet or pork cracklings (chicharon) for a nice crunch.
5. If bagoong isda is not available, you may use alamang (shrimp paste) or fish sauce.

Happy day always,


November 22, 2013


"A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe." ~Thomas Keller

It only takes four ingredients to make this wonderful dessert or snack. Nilupak can be made of cassava (kamoteng kahoy) or plantains (saging na saba) or sweet potato (kamote). All of them taste great but our all-time-favorite is cassava. 

Now, I'll be sharing with you my secret for creating the best nilupak using just your hand and fist... Yes, you're very own fist! Must do some punching techniques here. LOL! If you're not comfortable doing this, you may skip this step but make sure that you mix thoroughly the ingredients. But I suggest to try it, the milk from the grated coconut will slowly release once you punch the mixture and it will blend through the ingredients very well, resulting to moister nilupak.

So here it is, my version of cassava nilupak.

1 1/2 kg fresh cassava, boiled and grated*
2 1/2 cup coconut (niyog na mura), grated
3/4 stick butter or margarine, salted and melted
1 1/2 white sugar

*Use fine cheese grater for the boiled cassava


1. Mix the grated cassava, grated coconut, melted butter and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Using your hand (use disposable gloves), mix thoroughly the ingredients.
3. CAREFULLY punch the mixture. Since I'm not using mortar and pestle, I use the strength of my fist to blend the ingredients very well.
4.Arrange it on a plate or banana leaf.
5. Spread a little butter or margarine on top. Serve. Share and enjoy!
Nilupak in pandan casing

1. Put condensed milk instead of sugar for creamier texture. Start with 1/2 cup condensed milk, add more to your desired sweetness.
2. Store in the refrigerator. Consume within the day or up to the next day.
3. You can use boiled and mashed saba bananas or kamote to make another version of yummy nilupak.

 Happy day always,


I'm back!

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." ~Jeremiah 17:7-8  


A lot of things have happened over the last couple of weeks. Emotions are overflowing because of typhoon Yolanda and my heart aches every time I watched the news. Emotional drama and blame game also happened and several hoax news were circulating in the net. Despite the negativity, I can still see spark of hope for the victims. People of all races and religion were reaching out (through donations and prayers) and it's really overwhelming to see such generous acts.

And because the emotion was too high at that time, I stopped my food blogging for a while. But now that I can see that the relief goods are reaching the affected areas and the affected provinces are slowly rebuilding and the victims are now smiling, my heart is at ease and finally, I can start blogging again.

I want to take this opportunity to give a big THANK YOU to the people all over the globe who gave their hands and prayers to the Philippines. May our dear God bless you more!

For those who still want to extend their help, you may click the logo of Philippine Red Cross for further information. God bless you!
Credit: Philippine Red Cross

Lord, we thank You for demonstrating Your loving kindness and tender mercy to us. Thank You for sending relief to the persons who have been affected by typhoon Yolanda.  Lord, even though there are tragedies, yet You are still good and Your mercy endures forever. Amen.

To God be the glory! 


November 11, 2013

A short prayer for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

Let's take a moment of silence at this moment to say a short prayer for the victims of the recent typhoon Yolanda. Stand in faith Filipinos even when you're having the hardest time of your life! God bless us all!

Credit: This image provided by NASA shows Typhoon Haiyan taken by Astronaut Karen L. Nyberg aboard the International Space Station Saturday Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/NASA, Karen L. Nyberg) [].

In God we trust!


October 24, 2013

Black Forest Cake

I bake. I make a great German chocolate cake. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a great baker, the best... When I bake something, I swear to god, it's gone before it hits the plate. ~Kimore Lee Simmons

Did you know that Black Forest is a german cake? Its name is Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Traditionally, it is composed of chocolate cake, Kirsch, whipped cream, short crust biscuit at the bottom, and tart cherries. Kirsch is a clear fruity brandy made from cherries. Since Kirsch is not commonly found here in the Philippines, I used cherry brandy and rum. But you can also use other liquor like coffee liquor, or the regular brandy.  If you like the cake to be non-alcoholic, use cherry syrup instead.

Try making black forest. This is easy to make, swear! You only need time and patience to make it! Surely, your family will be impressed! Viel Glück!

Chocolate Cake: (I used Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake)
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F or 175°C. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

Cherry-Ganache Filling:
1 cup cream
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
1 bottle/can maraschino cherries , chopped(reserved some for garnish, 8-10 pcs)
1/8 cup cherry brandy
1/8 cup dark rum
syrup from maraschino bottle/can (used for brushing the cake layers)

1. Put the cream in a small sauce pan. Bring cream to a boil over medium heat.
2. Remove from heat. Stir in the chopped chocolate and vanilla until the chocolate is completely melted.
3. Add the brandy, rum and the chopped cherries.
4. Put in a bowl and chill it in the refrigerator.
5. Whip it before using.

Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Equipment for the Frosting:
chilled stainless bowl
electric mixer, chilled beaters

1. Put the chilled heavy or whipping cream in a stainless bowl.
2. Beat for a couple of seconds (low speed) then add gradually the powdered sugar and vanilla (increase the speed) until stiff peaks. 

reserved cherries, about 8-10 pcs
dark or semi-sweet chocolate, shaved 

1. In a serving plate, layer one cake and brush it with the reserved cherry syrup.
2. Spread a third of the cherry-ganache filling and top it with whipped cream frosting.
3. Lay another cake and repeat the procedure above.
4. Once all the cakes are stacked, spread the whipped cream over the top and sides of the cake.
5. Put shaved chocolates on the side.
6. Put the remaining whipped cream in a pastry bag with closed-star tip and pipe rosettes on top of the cake. Add chocolate shavings in the middle.

1. If cherry brandy is not available, you may use rum, brandy, or coffee liquor.
2. You may also use your favorite chocolate cake recipe for this one.
3. Do not over whip the cream. Your cream will separate and turn into butter when over whipped.
4. It is important that your cream, beaters, and bowl are chilled when whipping. The cream whip best when chilled.
5. Since the cake requires your "precious time", you may bake the chocolate cake a day before you assemble it. Wrap it with cling plastic to keep the cake's moisture then refrigerate it.

Happy day always,


October 18, 2013

Kare Kare

I love healthy stuff and junk an equal amount. Whatever I'm craving, I go for it. I'm never trying to lose weight - or gain it. I'm just being. ~Kelly Clarkson

If you're not on a diet and craving for traditional Pinoy food, try to cook Kare Kare. I used pata ng baka (ox legs) because it's so delicious. The broth of the ox legs tastes like milk (swear!), so creamy... fatty... beefy!

1 pata ng baka (ox leg), cut into pieces
1 bundle pechay tagalog or bok choy
1 bundle sitaw (string beans), cut into 2" long
4 pcs talong (eggplants), sliced
1 medium size banana bud (white part), sliced
1 pack mama sita kare kare mix, dissolved in 1 cup water
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup rice flour, toasted and dissolved in water or 1/8 cup cornstarch dissolved in water
2 Tbsp annatto or atsuete seeds
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium size onion, chopped
canola oil or any vegetable oil
water (enough to cover the ox leg pieces, about 1 inch above the ox legs)
salt and pepper to taste
bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)

1. Rinse thoroughly the ox leg. Put in a large pot and fill with water. Make sure that the ox leg is completely covered with water. Add 1 Tbsp salt then bring to a boil and remove the scums as it rises. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 2.5 to 3 hours. I cooked mine for more than 3 hours, until the meat easily falls off the bones.

2. Add the peanut butter, kare kare mix, and the rice flour or cornstarch mixture. You'll notice that the sauce will begin to get thicker. I added rice flour/cornstarch because I want the sauce to be thick.

3. Heat a little oil in a pan or skillet. Add the annatto or atsuete seeds, stir for a couple of seconds until it releases its color. Remove the seeds from the pan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few seconds. Add the vegetables (eggplant, string beans, banana bud) except for pechay. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

4. Transfer the cooked vegetables in the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pechay and cook for 3 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat.

5. Serve with rice and shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) on the side. Share and enjoy!

see the broth? look at the color then taste it! it tastes like milk with lots of fat! LOL! super love it!

1. If you don't like ox legs, you may use other parts like ox tail or ox tripe or beef slices. You can also use pork slices or pork legs or even chicken. Seafood kare kare is also great!
2. I used kare-kare mix for this recipe, but if it is not available, just add the quantity of peanut butter (about 1/4 cup) and also add 1/2 cup grounded peanuts. If you want the authentic one, don't use peanut butter, just use 1 cup grounded peanuts. 

Happy day always,


October 12, 2013

Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon sa Bayabas (Salmon Head in Guava Sour Soup)

Individuals who have learned to endure and persevere through the storms of hardships are those who can dance in the rain during a storm. ~Ellen J. Barrier

This is a very healthy dish, no saturated oil and packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and heart healthy fats (omega 3). Good for cold rainy days!

NOTE: The broth is purplish in color because of the purple kamote tops. You may use kangkong or green kamote tops if you don't like to alter the color of the broth. I just love the purple kamote tops, my mom said it's healthier. *wink

2 heads salmon, cut into pieces
1/2 kg ripe guavas (yellow green in color)
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion, quartered
1 labanos (raddish), sliced
7 pcs okra, halved
2 pcs siling haba (finger chili)
8 pcs sitaw (string beans), cut into 3 inch length
1 bunch kamote tops (sweet potato tops) or kangkong
7 cups water
2 Tbsp patis
salt and pepper to taste 

1. Wash the salmon heads with water. Set aside.
2. Wash the guavas and cut in half. Put in a pot. Add water. Cook over medium-high heat.
3. Once the guavas are cooked, place a strainer in a bowl and put the guavas in the strainer. Mash the guavas using a big spoon or fork, adding a little water one at a time to moisten the guava. NOTE: I didn't mash all the guavas. I leave 4-6 pieces in the pot.
4. Pour the guava puree back in the pot. Turn on the heat. Add the tomatoes and onion. Let it boil.
5. Once boiling, add the vegetables (labanos, sili, sitaw, okra) except for kamote tops. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add the salmon head. Cook for another 7-10 minutes. Put the patis and season with salt and pepper.
7. Add the kamote tops. Cover. Turn off the heat.
8. Serve hot! Share and enjoy!

1. You can use other fish or seafoods or meat like maya-maya, prawns, or pork.
2. If guavas are not available, you may use other souring agent like tamarind, kamias, green mango, or sinigang mix. If you will use kamias, cut it in half and put it in the broth. For tamarind and mango, you have to boil it until soft. Then mash it using a strainer. Don't put the seeds in the broth. My favorite souring agent is sweet tamarind, we call it "kinapal".
3. You may also use blender to make guava puree. When the guavas are soft, put it in a blender, add enough water into it. Pulse for a couple of seconds or a minute. Strain it using a sieve/strainer. 

Happy day always,


October 9, 2013

Bibingkang Kamoteng Kahoy (Cassava Bibingka)

I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food. ~Erma Bombeck

I'm not really sure if cassava cake is the same with cassava bibingka. They look and taste the same but not "exactly" the same. You get me? Sorry, I'm also confused! LOL! I tasted them both but for me, cassava bibingka is lighter than cassava cake... from the texture to the taste. Cassava bibingka is like suman balinghoy (plus coco milk in it) with custard. Cassava cake is like pudding with custard. Hmmm, maybe I should ask my mom tomorrow if they are really the same.

Here is my version of bibingkang kamoteng kahoy. I like it because it is not too sweet. You may add more sugar to bibingka if you prefer sweeter.

For the bibingka:
2 cups cassava, finely grated (fresh or frozen)
1 3/4 cup coconut milk (second extraction)
2 Tbsp salted butter, softened or melted*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)

*If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp salt

NOTE: Use 9x9 pan for this recipe. Since I don't have 9x9, I used 9x14 pan instead. The result is thinner bibingka.

For the custard:
1 1/4 cup coconut cream (first extraction)
2 tablespoon flour
1 1/4 can condensed milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/8 cup grated cheese

For the bibingka:
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C or 350 F. Grease your baking pan, or you may also line it with banana leaves if you like. Set aside.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
3. Pour the batter in a greased pan and bake it for 25-30 minutes. 
While the bibingka is baking, make the topping.

For the custard:
1. Put the coconut cream, flour, condensed milk in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thick.
2. Lower the heat, then slowly add the egg yolks. Mix well. Lastly add the cheese. Cook for a couple of seconds then turn off the heat.
1. When the bibingka is done, remove it from the oven. Pour the custard on top of the bibingka. Use spatula to spread it evenly.
2. Put it back in the oven and set the oven to broil. Cook  until the custard is slightly brown in color.
3. Let the bibingka cool for a couple of hours before slicing. It is soft and sticky while hot.
4. Serve. Share and enjoy.
1. Put the bibingka in the refrigerator to make it chewy.
2. I personally like to eat it the next day. It seems all the flavors merry together. Try it!
3. Keep it refrigerated since it contains coconut cream.
4. You may add more cheese for the toppings. 
5. Store up to 3 days (refrigerated).

Happy day always,


October 8, 2013

Passion Fruit Juice

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. ~Mother Teresa
We're so blessed to have a neighbor who sells local produce. Every Sunday, they go to the mountains of Tanay and Laguna area to find fresh and organic fruits and vegetables and I'm such a lucky bee to get these "natural treasures". My hubby encouraged me to buy fruits always. Instead of eating junk foods (like his favorite potato chips) or sweets (like my cupcakes and cookies, ahem!), fruits are great alternatives to satisfy our cravings. Also, we want to teach our children to eat "better" foods. I'm not saying that my baked goodies are not good, but I must admit, fresh and natural are always better!
I always buy fruits in season. Why? They taste great, fresh, and have the best quality at a lower cost. My favorite is lanzones (sorry, I don't have photos). Give me 1kg, and I'll eat it in one sitting. And just recently, I discovered my passion for passion fruit. Yeah, this is a tropical fruit but I just tasted it recently and you know what? I fell in love with it right away.
According to wikipedia, there are different varieties of passion fruit, one of this is purplish in color and the other one is yellowish. The one I have is the yellow kind. Ok,  what's the taste? It's tangy but sweet at the same time. This has the sweetest scent ever! Its smell overpowers the sourness of the pulp. It tastes like mango, guava, orange, four seasons Tang powdered juice, LOL! Hmm, confusing eh? But really, it tastes and smells good! 

I tried making juice out of it. They say ripe passion fruit have wrinkled and dimpled skin. In the picture below, both fruits are ripe, but the wrinkled passion fruit has more juice and sweeter than the smooth one.
I'm going to share with you how I make juice out of passion fruit. I used strainer and spoon because our blender is broken.

5 pcs passion fruits, cut in half 
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (I used light brown sugar)
3/4 cup water
clean (mineral/distilled/purified) water to fill your bottle/container

spoon or fork
small bowl
container/bottle (500mL)

1. Put the 3/4 cup of water in a small pan, add the sugar. Let it boil until all the sugar melt. Put in a bowl. Let it cool.
2. Scoop out the seeds of passion fruits and put in a strainer with bowl under it. Gently squish it with spoon or fork to release the juice. Also, take out big bits of pulps and put it in the bowl with juice.

3. Put the juice with pulp in a container or bottle. Add the syrup (sugar and water) and fill the container with water. Put in the refrigerator (I put in the freezer) and chill for couple of hours. Serve cold.
1. If you'll be using a blender, put the seeds/pulp in the blender. Whiz it for 2 seconds then strain. 
2. Use a sharp knife when cutting the fruit. Make a deep indentation with a knife and cut it at the spot where you made a hole.
3. You may combine it with other fruits like dalandan, orange, or mango. Do your own concoction!
3. Add more syrup if you find the juice sour. If you're asking if you can directly add sugar to the water, of course, you can. But I personally like to melt the sugar in boiling water. Because it takes time for the sugar to melt in water especially if it is cold. And sometimes you get fooled by the taste of the juice, it seems bland at first, so you'll be adding more sugar and when the sugar is completely melted, your juice becomes too sweet. 
4. For a healthier version, use honey to sweeten your juice.
5. You can consume it within a week. But it's better to consume it within the day.

Happy day always,

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