Saturday, April 26, 2008

For Francis

Got a message from Francis Ocampo yesterday, he is now based in Australia. Kakaiba ka Ocams! Here's what he wrote:

ayan ka eh! grabe yung fiesta mode mo! ang grepalife lang ng concept db?asan ang banderitas at palayok! or since napasok na rin ang eksena ng fiesta!db default activity yung papsok sa sala yung bisita nyo ng tangahaling tapat para makikain at iba browse nila yung album ng famil nyo db?la lang!nostalgia!anu daw?grepa db?dont get me wrong!pabawi?or patanong!masya ang grepa for i have live a grepa life! love 'et!anu na?asan ako dun?ako la ko namn my special partcipation ako sa blog mo! ang laki namn yata ng hinihingi mo okams kay apol! ikaw?gawan ng blog! teka lang! isa isa lang!

nway,miss you sop so much apol!or ate apol (sarah geronimo yung voice nun!sweet yung approach) yung delivery nun parang ganito!set:interview with some up and coming teeny booper star! reporter:sinong idol mo sa singing?

teeny boopeer:si ate reg po!


parang ganun yung delivery ko miss you ate apol!hahha!

nway,mabuhay ang cross cultural realtionship! sooner or later (deafault yung sooner or later) magiging global citizen ka na nyan! san galing yun?

sa bulsa ko!sinagot ko?hhaha

message mo ko! wla ng dapt pang pag usapan!

So for you Francis..we dedicate this moment to your kapampangan pride (ayan tayo eh..regionalistic ang labanan)

(hmm..sarap lang ng razon's di ba?)

"ang perfect lang di ba?!!"- Francis Ocampo on Razon's Halo-halo

hmm.. dinuguan at puto..perfect din!

para sa yo to francis dahil miss na miss ka na namin! mabuhay ang mga OFW! (ang third world ng concept hahaha!):

Dinuguan Ingredients

  • 1/2 kilo pork (diced)
  • 2-cups stock/ hot water with pork cubes
  • 1/8 kilo pork liver (diced)
  • 1-cup pig blood (frozen or super fresh)
  • 1 small head of garlic (minced)
  • 4 long green peppers
  • 1 small onion (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pieces laurel leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)


1. In a pot, simmer pork for 30 minutes and remove the brown froth
that rises to the surface. Keep stock.

2. In a casserole, heat oil and saute garlic and onion
for a minute.

3. Add in pork, pork liver, laurel leaves, patis, salt
& pepper and saute for another 5 minutes.

4. Add in vinegar and bring up to a boil without

5. Lower heat and allow simmering uncovered until most of
the liquid has evaporated.

6. Add in stock and allow simmering for 5 minutes.

7. Add in blood, sugar and long green peppers.

8. Cook for 10 minutes more or until consistency
thickens, stirring occasionally to avoid

9. Serve hot with puto.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


the question, who was my greatest culinary influence is a bit tricky.. i wish i could answer that my kitchen god is no other than Anthony Bourdain. I like the guy. The first time i saw him in a cook's tour he made a lot of sense. i totally get him..going the expanse of the earth to find something not actually gold but has the same him its food. other people will probably think its Bourdain, food is love. the reason that i have a strange level of respect for people who were into drugs (e.g. bourdain, or recently Richard Quest) is that they have the propensity to make a usually mundane thing into an obsession, and sometimes, just sometimes with the stroke of brilliance, it could actually be beautiful (this goes out for the quest show in cnn too). or i am just probably blobbing. but going back..nope, its not bourdain who made me love the kitchen.
when i got kicked out from the university dorm my first thought was actually..'how will i feed myself?' (my mom if she will eventually read this will now learn the truth..that yes, she suspected right..i was kicked out from the dorm)... with a few spare pesos, i invested to now in my opinion my best kitchen find...'Let's Cook with Nora' by Nora Daza..for 60 pesos (at that time) certainly made home cooked meals less intimidating to klutz like me..( i nearly burned our house down heating up canned sardines).
Nora Daza was the answer to my prayers. No later than transfering to my own pad did i learn
to whip..Mongo, Sweet and Sour Pork, Pancit, Escabeche and even Maja Blanca.. i could still remember the first chapter..appetizer- chicken liver wrapped in bacon haha! funny because many years later when i lived with herbs he would prepare his sunday special..sinigang na baboy relying heavily on his 'let's cook with nora' newsprint copy first edition..and for everybody who knows how to read, this recipe book could not by any standards make you into a gourmet..but you can eventually pass for a good carenderia cook..and believe me..that's not bad!
And so, i learned the basics as they say, from Nora here..i really have know idea what she looks like because at that time the term "celebrity chefs/cooks" have still yet to find itself in Philippine shores..i think the closest one that we have at that time was Nora's son Sandy..who would do the Kitchenomics with Toni Rose Gaida.. i relied on this book so much that i even secured a copy when i went back to Cagayan de Oro in 2000. i guess once a Noranian will always be a Noranian.. :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

hot! hot! hot!

at 37 degress its like the earth is having a fever! i can barely move without sweating! i created a playlist in my ipod that consisted of all the songs that has rain and water on it hoping that it will make the temperature cooler. i mean a lot of people say mind over matter works dba?.

(here's the list):

-rain by madonna
-no rain by blind melon
-come on in out of the rain by regine velasquez
-through the rain by mariah carey
-here comes the rain again by annie lennox
-rainy days and mondays by the carpenters
-naked in the rain by red hot chilli peppers
-another rainy day by corinne bailey rae
-ambon by true faith (magiging ulan din yun)
-basang basa sa ulan by aegis
-tuwing umuulan by regine velasquez
-pumapatak na naman ang ulan by apo hiking society
-waters of march by basia

but if plan a fails..let's proceed to plan b..

and poof! there goes my diet!
(i would like to thank ria regino for the food styling and photography. the fake ice cost $1 daw. nothing beats the real thing talaga..)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

sibling rivalry

my brother melon

Like any other kid I had childhood issues, I was jealous of my brother for being a boy. He was closer to my mom then. My Nanay (mom) would always tell me to go to the "dirty kitchen". Until now it always amuses me why Filipinos call the family kitchen "dirty" when it is always never dirty. As a girl, I was trained early to cook rice. The secret of cooking rice is to place equal amounts of rice and water in a pot. Being an

'expert' on this, i learned how to measure water by using the line at the back of my finger joint as a gauge. Put the pot in heavy flame and when it starts to boil bring the fire to simmer but do not stir. Put pandan leaves on top give it aromatic flavor. Make sure that its done, there should not be any hard starchy taste when you bit a morsel.


In school, during recess I would go to the back gate and buy Aling Mona's Maruya. I haven't tasted anything better than Aling Mona's Maruya. The bananas are not too ripe that it crumbles when deep fried. And she always serves it hot wrapped in banana leaves. This was the time that I had a crush on Almer and Federico. Back then I was almost as smart as Almer except in Math (he went super smart in university). My bestfriends then were Richelle, who just became a lawyer and, Lilac who is now a doctor. Lilac was far vainer for our age and was already seeing boys at 10 while Richelle and I would be this two geeks who likes playing Battle city and Super Mario with the boys after class. In sixth grade, the whole class would go to the ice cream parlor and buy Snowball. It’s crushed ice with strawberry syrup and cream just perfect to cool us off after a game of patintero in the plaza. The Snowball episode was the time that I had a crush with Glenn Rayat. He was my seatmate in history class and everybody seems to have a secret crush on him which made me decide to like Avon instead. Avon was this silent kid who seats at the back. Our parents hang out together so he usually eats dinner in our house and we do our homework together. He was very good in math which gained him acceptance in a special science high school. In between hanging out with Avon at Nouel's house and playing marbles, I discovered Nouel's homemade refrigerator cake. Nouel turned out to be a great pastry chef. Gerald, one of my childhood friends did not belong in the honor's section so we spent less time with him and he spent more time courting girls and the reputation of being a player never left him to this day. He once asked me if I ever liked him in grade school but I can't place him with any food so it is just fortunate that I never got attracted to him.

Going back to the Maruya, in college, I had a crush on Philipp whom I would always place with Bigby's Banana Fanna, probably because I think me and my friend George would always sneak to Bigby's to have this snack during that episode. It is the restaurant's version of Maruya served ala mode deep frying banana fritters in caramel served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup drizzles.

Funny, because looking back, it all prepared me for Scott and his "Yummy! Banana". Yummy Banana is semi ripe bananas sliced like a fan...sprinkle cinnamon and and brown sugar and pop it in the microwave for no more than 3 sec. (or else the banana would melt)...then you can add the usual vanilla ice cream. But I seriously recommend Rocky Road.


Siesta time is after lunch. My Tatay would read me Disney stories and fairy tales while papaya or mango shake is being serve. Unlike other kids, I prefer reading than watching cheesy noontime shows. Then after our storytelling. He would then prepare to go back to work. My Tatay is my dad. He likes to be called Tatay because he likes things Filipino, I think I got my strong sense of patriotism from him. He was a banker at the time and was always strict about time so I never got late in school because he would drive me to school before he goes back to the bank.

i learn to love this papaya shake preparation in college, i think this is better than my yaya's papaya and milk concoction:

Papaya Shake

1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded
and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
12 ice cubes
Fresh mint leaves

Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add ice cubes; process until frothy. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

Makes 3 cups.


When I talk about my life, food plays a great part on it. Its easier to associate memory with what I was eating at the time. So, my earliest memory was with the Tinola. It’s a chicken soup usually prepared with unripe papaya and malunggay. My mom reserves the liver for me because its good for my blood. As a child I remember having bruises all the time which the doctors would later found to be vitamin e deficiency. Filipinos tend to find ways to eat almost all the parts of an animal. So the chicken without exception, has to be cooked with the gizzards on. The boys get the gizzards every time we have Tinola its supposed to make them more macho. But not me. I'm forbidden to eat it because it will bring me bad luck. Girls who eat gizzards will turn out to be old maids. Now, I'm wondering if I ever ate one.

Here's how i prepare my tinola now:

  • 1 - 3 to 4 Lbs. Chicken, chopped into 16 pieces
  • 3 large cloves - Garlic, sliced thick
  • 1 large - Yellow Onion, chopped large
  • 5" piece of Ginger, peeled and cut into thick chunks
  • 2 - Chayotes, peeled, white core removed, and sliced top to bottom into 1/2" wedges
  • 3 Tbls - Canola Oil
  • 1 stalk - Lemon Grass, roughed up with the back of a knife enough to release the aroma and flavor but not so much to make it difficult to remove before serving.
  • 2 Tbls - Fish Sauce (Filipino Patis, or my favorite 1/2 Vietnamese Phu Quoc Fish Sauce and 1/2 Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce)

Garnish Ingredients

  • 5 - Green Onions - white and green parts chopped separately
  • 5 - Red and Green Thai Chilis - coarsely mashed to release flavors
  • 5 Tbls - Cilantro, snipped with scissors
  • 3 Tbls - Fish Sauce (see above)
  • Red Chili Sauce
  • 4 - Limes, quartered.

Add Canola Oil to a heated 5 quart sauce pan. Saute Garlic and Ginger for 1 minute, then add chopped Yellow Onion and saute 1 minute more. Add all the Chicken pieces, lower heat, and cook 5 minutes more, stirring to coat chicken pieces with the pot flavors. Add the Fish Sauce

(Note: do not add any salt, the fish sauce takes care of that).

Add 5 cups hot water to the pot, bring to a simmer. Add the Lemon Grass and Chayote wedges. Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour over low heat or as much as 2 to 3 hours for chicken that falls of the bone.

While the Tinola is simmering, prepare the garnishes by combining the Limes, chopped Cilantro, and chopped greens from the Green Onions in small bowls, and the mashed Thai Chilis, Fish Sauce, and white portions of the Green Onions. Serve the Red Chili sauce separately or paint it on the side of the chili garnish bowls as show above.

Just before serving raise the heat under the Tinola pot and remove the Lemon Grass. Serve piping hot in bowls with garnish.

Only 8 Carbohydrate grams per serving.


I have this constant thought of vanishing. Just walking in the city street one day and getting lost in the crowd. If my life would be a movie it will end that way. I'll be wearing white, the rest in black. It’s a long shot, with my back on the frame then the crowd engulfs me. Fade. Roll credits. Kind of like the Joe Black movie, only he vanishes into darkness. I think there's more irony in a crowd scene and drama too. Surreal even.

But what's more dramatic and I think most tragic is vanishing into oblivion. Not being remembered. What can be more sad than having no one to witness your existence. How you laugh, what makes you cry, how you overcome challenges, how you survive. That's why I'm writing this story. So I'll remember me

(If my life has a sound track this is how it is going to be)

Opening credits: Ben Harper, "Diamonds On the Inside"
Third Eye Blind "How Is It Going To Be"

Waking up: Jack Johnson, "Sunshine"
Gatto Barbeiri, "Straight Into The Sunrise"

Average day: Blind melon " No Rain"

First Date: Nicole Kea "Breakfast in bed"
Jack Johnson "Wasting Time"
Ella Fitzgerald " Cheek to cheek"

Falling in love: Bob Marley "Guava Jelly"
Red Hot Chili Peppers "Rollercoaster of Love",
Maroon 5 "She will Be Loved"
John Legend "Ordinary People"

Wedding: Marvin Gaye' "Let's Get It On"
Beatles "All you need is love"

Anniversary: Jack Johnson "Do you remember?"

Love scene: Dave Matthews Band "Lover lay down"
Marcy Playground "Sex and Candy"
Marvin Gaye " Sexual Healing"

Fight scene w/guns or knives : Theme from the movie Kill bill

Breaking up: Bob Dylan "Don't think twice, it's all right"
Jane Arden "Insensitive"

Dumper: Meredith Brooks "Bitch"

Dumpee: Lauryn Hill "When It hurts So Bad"
Toni Braxton "How could an angel break my heart"

Getting back together: U2 "With or Without You"
Sinead O'Connor "NothingCompares to you"
Kylie Minogue "Can't Get you out of My Head"

Secret Love: Jack Johnson "Bubbly Toes"
Joss Stone "Fell In Love with a Boy"
Julia Fordham "Girlfriend"

Life's Okay: Jack Johnson "Nothing"
Duran Duran, "Ordinary World"

Mental Breakdown: No. 5 , Beatles white album
Coldpaly, "Don't Panic"
Red Hot Chilli Peppers "Under the bridge"

Driving: Tracy Chapman "Fast Car"
N.E.R.D. "Rockstar"

Learning a Lesson: Jack Johnson, "Brushfire fairytales"

Deep Thought: John Lennon, "Imagine"
Jewel,"Who will Save Your soul"

Falling Asleep: Joss Stone, "I Had A Dream"

Flashback: Incubus, "Wish You Were Here",

Sports theme : Queen, "We are the Champions"

Partying: Phish cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice"
Outkast' "The Way You Move"
Madonna " Holiday"

Late nights, good friends: Dave Matthews Band, "Dancing Nancies"
Snoop Dog" I Love To Give You Light"
Eagle-Eye Cherry, "Save tonight"

Happy Dance: Madonna :Ray of Light"
Spice Girls " Wannabe"

Regretting: Coldplay, "The Scientist".

Long night alone: Ben Harper, "Another Lonely Day"
Janet Jackson, "I Get Lonely"

Death Scene: Madonna,"Die Another Day"
Bob Dylan, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
Louis Armstrong, "Baby, Its Cold Outside":

Closing credits: The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony"
Dido, "Thank You"
The White Stripes, "Dead Leaves And the Dirty Grounds"