Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bagwang by Manila Q

Php140 per serving; Php160 with rice
My sister could not resist these. Not surprising considering that she loves bagnet, that wicked crispy porcine Ilocos specialty. Crunchier than lechon kawali heftier than bacon, Manila Q's bagwang is said to be "better than bagnet." 

Manila Q serves its famous bagwang either cooked and ready to eat or frozen for cooking at home. Cooked at Manila Q's stall in Soderno @ Molito, it is served with vinegar for dipping and a fried egg. It is a very filling meal with rice, but my sister, having had dinner at the time, bought some to have as a pre-midnight snack so she ordered without rice. For those who prefer a non-pork ready to eat meal option, Manila Q's ingenious fish ham is the one to try.

Aside from bagwang, Manila Q also offers other frozen food that you can take home and enjoy for later-- tapa (Php260 for 1/2 kilo), spicy Vigan longganisa (Php190 for 1 dozen), fish ham (Php360 per pack of 3), shredded corned beef (Php310 for 1/2 kilo), and my personal favorite, corned beef pansigang (Php350 for 1/2 kilo). When I tasted Manila Q's corned beef pansigang, sinigang has never been quite the same for me.

Soderno @ Molito is located at Molito Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Visit its website at http://www.soderno.com/. Follow @soderno on Twitter and like it on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/soderno.

Soderno Night Markets (Friday and Saturday 6:00pm to 3:00am. Sunday 6:00pm to 12mn.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mochiko's Dainty Little Frozen Sweets

Mochiko Ice Cream Filled Mochi
Php70 each, Php400 for 6 pieces

Among the most unique and sought after desserts in Soderno @ Molito is ice cream filled mochi by Mochiko. Mochi ice cream traces its roots to Japan where the word "mochiko" refers to rice flour. The Japanese mochi is enjoyed on its own or with sweet fillings. This is similar to the Philippines' kakanin called the "buchi" or the Chinese delicacy of the same moniker. While of different variations, all versions share the same basic structure, which is basically a rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mochi).

The Philippine buchi is round stuffed with sweet red been paste, and deepfried until golden brown. The chinese buchi is more spherical, stuffed with sweet either white or red been paste, rolled in sesame seeds then deepfried. Obviously, mochi ice cream is the exact opposite of fried, being frozen to the core. Mochiko's mochi ice cream is available in different flavors-- green tea, azuki (red bean), black sesame, caramel, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mango, and avocado-- the mochi crust reflecting the same hue of its ice cream center. These pastel colored balls of mochi ice cream laid together side by side makes for a very pretty frozen dessert tray. Once you lay eyes on them, snatching one up can be quite irresistible.

Soderno @ Molito is located at Molito Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Visit its website at http://www.soderno.com/. Follow @soderno on Twitter and like it on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/soderno.

Soderno Night Markets (Friday and Saturday 6:00pm to 3:00am. Sunday 6:00pm to 12mn.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Deep Dish Pizza by Chicago Pizza

Deep Dish Pizzas
Php150 per slice
This is one of the biggest sellers in Soderno, often having long lines of customers patiently waiting for their turn to get their hands on a huge slice of deep dish pizza. At Php150 per slice, it is a pretty good deal.

Aside from super stuffed pizzas, Chicago Pizza also offers an extensive array of meal options. 

So if you are not in the mood for pizza, there is carbonara, lasagna, pesto pasta with chicken, chicken lollipops, chicken wings, and cheesy marble potatoes.

Soderno @ Molito is located at Molito Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Visit its website at http://www.soderno.com/. Follow @soderno on Twitter and like it on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/soderno.

Soderno Night Markets (Friday and Saturday 6:00pm to 3:00am. Sunday 6:00pm to 12mn.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwich of the French Vanilla Persuasion

French Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich
This ice cream sandwich is not of the Android kind. It's the real thing- amazingly good French Vanilla ice cream unlike any other commercially available vanilla ice cream I've ever had, sandwiched in between vanilla wafers. It's by Louie Luis and it's my most recent dessert obsession. We discovered this tasty little gem on a Friday night during one of our trips to Soderno@Molito.

Last Sunday, we had a late night craving for snacks and having been cooped up in the house for a couple of days, we felt like we could use some air. It's a great thing that Soderno is now also open for business at night on Sundays, from 6PM to 12MN so that's where we headed. On that trip, I found out that Louie Luis also offers a Belgian Chocolate version of their ice cream sandwich.

Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich
It's a deep dark super rich chocolatey ice cream sandwich that sure satisfied by ice cream, as well as chocolate, craving for the night. Aside from Louie Luis fantastic ice cream sandwiches, there are of course many other tasty treats that we found in Soderno, and I will tell you more about them next.

Soderno @ Molito is located at Molito Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Visit its website at http://www.soderno.com/. Follow @soderno on Twitter and like it on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/soderno.

Soderno Night Markets (Friday and Saturday 6:00pm to 3:00am. Sunday 6:00pm to 12mn.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Tower of Sweets for Mom

Cupcakes and Minicakes Tower
This dessert tower took a full Saturday to make (that is, in between watching a couple of episodes of Fringe, Big Bang Theory, and Game of Thrones reruns on TV) plus the whole morning of today to frost the cupcakes. Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, Chocolate Cupcakes with Bourbon Vanilla Pink Buttercream frosting, Banana Walnut mini cakes, and Banana mini bundt cakes- all for the love of mom.

Happy mother's day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Korean and Japanese Cuisines at Ginzadon

Gizadon's Canadian Maki
Ginzadon is a restaurant in Resortsworld that serves both Japanese and Korean specialties, two of my favorite cuisines. The moment I stepped foot into this restaurant, I was immediately impressed by the interiors and I remember thinking that if it were any indication of the quality of food served there, then I was in for a treat.

It was.

Canadian Maki
Inside out roll with crispy salmon skin

Steamed rice topped with beef and vegetables
(served with miso soup)
Chicken barbecue


Aside from the inviting ambiance, cozy furniture, and wonderful food, Ginzadon also provides superb service. I appreciate how attentive the servers were despite being almost unnoticeable while they go about their business. My teacup never ran empty and I barely noticed when it got refilled. Same goes for the neatly piled kimchi and its accompanying side dishes, all of which are quite delightful. All in all, it was really an enjoyable meal.

I want to go back for more.

Ginzadon is located in Resorts World Manila, 2/F Maxims Tower Hotel, Pasay City, Metro Manila.

Contact Information
Landline: (02) 908-8887

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Banana Mini Cakes

Banana Walnut Mini Cake
Do you have a favorite pastry in Starbucks that you seem to order all the time, even without thinking about it? I do. I am bananas over Starbucks' banana loaf. I order it together with a large mug of Full Leaf China Green Tips hot tea. That banana loaf is darker in color than most banana loaves I've seen. It looks so unassuming and ordinary in the pastry showcase where everything looks so pretty. But I think it tastes phenomenal. I revel in its heady aroma and I just love the rich flavor of bananas with every bite.

Banana Mini Cake
That particular banana loaf inspired me to make my own version at home. I turned to one of my favorite recipe sites online and found an entry for "Banana Banana Bread". This is such a great recipe. Versatile, too. Since I did not have a loaf pan at my disposal, I used my mini fluted mold pan. (This reduced the baking time from 60 minutes to 35 minutes.) Also, for some variety, I added some chocolate chips and walnuts before baking. The recipe yielded delicious and cute mini cakes. I love it to bits!

Banana Banana Bread

Banana Chocolate
Chip Mini Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beef Pares with Garlic Fried Rice

Beef Pares
There was once a time in college where I was enamored by Beef Pares. The thing with Beef Pares is that you never see it any upscale restaurant. If you want really good Beef Pares, you go to the hole in the walls, which are more often than not carinderias and located in hard to reach places. And that was what I did, for the love of Beef Pares. Once I even found myself under a fly over in EDSA. It was wild. I do not know why Beef Pares is not served in more Filipino restaurants. It is a delicious delicious dish. Made from the toughest part of beef, it is slow cooked for long hours until the litid (ligaments) is nicely gelatinous. The impossibly tender beef melts in your mouth and the sweet savory anise-laced broth warms the belly like a heartfelt embrace on a cold rainy day.

Of course it was only a matter of time before I attempted to make Beef Pares at home, which I eventually did after zeroing in on a recipe I found in Panlasang Pinoy. Sure Beef Pares is good with plain steamed rice, but I figured if I am already going through the trouble of making this dish on my own, why not make garlic rice as well? Just like having it in any hole in the wall carinderia.

Beef Pares

1 lb beef (uncut, preferably brisket)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium-sized onion, minced
4 cups water
1 piece beef cube
2 pieces star anise
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 tbsp scallions or green onions, finely chopped

Pour the water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Put-in the beef cube and beef then boil until the meat is tender (about 1 to 2 hours if slow cooked or 20 mins if using a pressure cooker)
When the meat is tender, remove from the pot and allow to cool down. Do not throw away the stock used for boiling.
Slice the boiled meat in cubes and set aside.
Place the oil in a pan then heat-up. Saute the garlic, ginger, and onion.
Put-in the sliced meat and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes
Add the soy sauce, ground black pepper, sugar, and 1 cup of beef stock (stock used in boiling the meat) then bring to a boil.
Put-in the star anise and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens
Garnish with scallions on top.
Serve with Garlic Fried Rice and soup
Share and Enjoy!
Number of servings (yield): 3

Garlic Fried Rice

3 cups cooked rice, fluffed
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt

Heat oil, saute garlic until it starts to brown. Add rice and stir fry for 3 minutes. Season with salt. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Beef Bones, More Fun in the Philippines

Nilagang Bulalo

Consider this my contribution to the country's latest tourism campaign.. While I would find myself often grounded and holed up in my room this hot summer, everybody I know seems to be traveling, either domestically or internationally. I could not honestly say that I am envious of my jetsetting friends. I am deathly afraid of plane rides and my last trip by boat made me pray like I have never prayed before. I also do not like taking pictures of myself like a tourist would, which is kind of an antithetical aversion if you think about it because I suppose if you are going on vacation, taking pictures of yourself is a big part of the whole shebang.

But I do enjoy the stories that my friends would share about their travels. I pride myself with having a remarkably vivid imagination and when I listen to these stories, I feel like I was actually there, in that same place and time, saying and hearing the same words, and experiencing the exact same thing. Sometimes, I even remember some of these stories out of the blue, like they were my own memories. One particular story came to mind when I was making lunch today, that of my friend in a meat market in Libya. She said that during one of their trips to the market, she and her friends noticed good bulalo being set aside in a bucket my the meat vendor. Thinking of making Nilagang Bulalo, they asked the meat vendor for the price. Perhaps perplexed that anybody would actually want to buy beef bones, the meat vendor gave them the crucial ingredient for their Nilagang Bulalo for free. Chalk it up for the adage, "One man's junk is another man's treasure".

Nilagang Bulalo

8 cups water
1 beef bouillon
2 kilos bulalo bone, with marrow and meat
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, with leaves, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2 cabbage, chopped
1/4 Baguio lettuce or pechay
2 stalks kinchay, chopped

2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
juice squeezed from one calamansi

In a pressure cooker, bring water to a boil and stir in beef bouillon until dissolved. Add bulalo. Cover and seal pressure cooker until it sizzles. Let pressure cooker sizzle for 30 minutes. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil in a conventional pot for about 2 hours or until meat is tender.)
Turn off heat and take out beef and chop into 2 inch pieces. Skim off oil from the broth. (Or if you have time to spare, you can let the broth cool at room temperature or in the ref until beef fat rises to the surface and solidifies. Discard solidified beef fat.)
Bring beef broth into a boil and return the beef. Add the onions, celery, and potatoes and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add cabbage and simmer for 5 minutes. Add Baguio lettuce and kinchay and simmer for 3 minutes.
Serve with patis (fish sauce) with calamansi for seasoning and dipping.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Marinated Tanigue: Part Deux

Butter Poached Marinated Tanigue
When my sister saw me prepping the tanigue steaks that I talked about in the earlier post, she asked me to set aside some for her to be cooked in melted butter. I gave her this "I think you're crazy" look but she ignored it and she told me about this hole in the wall restaurant near her school where they served tanigue that is swimming in melted butter. She says it was wonderfully soft and utterly rich and no matter how loaded in calories it obviously was, she would order the same thing a lot back then. I think my heart clogged up just listening to her talk about it. In any case, I eventually agreed. After all, I have read about this manner of cooking fish that I have been meaning to try and it sounded a lot like what my sister was talking about. It was an article from The New York Times called "A Date With a Warm Fish" and it talked about poaching fish in warm oil. There was really no straightforward recipe given, but more of a general idea on how to do it.  All you have to think about it what fish, shortening, and flavors you want to use. Easy.

For the butter poached tanigue I made for my sister, I used half of a tanigue steak that I had marinated, only because that was what I already had at the time. This was a point of concern for me because while the article mentions adding your seasonings, herbs, and spices into the warm oil to flavor the fish, it does not say anything about marinating the fish before hand. Also, I did not bother to cut the fish into cubes. Fortunately, it turned out quite lovely so I think I am keeping the recipe.

Butter Poached Marinated Tanigue

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 kilo tanigue, cut in cubes

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Combine first 8 ingredients to make marinade. Put in tanigue cubes and marinate for 30 minutes. Take out tanigue cubes from marinade.
In a small cast iron pan, melt butter in lowest heat on the stove. Add olive oil and crushed garlic cloves.
Put in tanigue cubes in warm oil and let it cook for 3 minutes on each side.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Marinated Tanigue Steak

Marinated Tanigue Steak
This is another post about fish, Tanigue to be specific. Tanigue, Dalagang-bukid, and Lapu-lapu are fishes that hold a special place in my family's heart, each one having a special family recipe behind it. Tanigue more than the other two makes more appearances on our dinner table though, because on days when nobody in the house cares to cook anything that takes more than 10 minutes to prepare, my mom would buy some Tanigue steaks from the market. All she would do after that is to season the fish with salt and fry them to a crisp.

We are immensely fortunate that we live near a wet market that offers abundant seafood and we get all these wonderful fresh fish practically everyday of the week. Last night, I found two beautiful tanigue steaks in the ref which are HUGE, compared to what we are used to. It was a good thing that I was not feeling lazy then and rather than just frying them, I figured to do something a bit more special with the Tanigue steaks. Most of the fish I grilled, but I set aside some portions to be poached in butter. The butter-poached Tanigue is for another post. As for the portions that I grilled, below is the recipe. I took inspiration from a recipe for marinated tuna steak from allrecipes.com, which is a great recipe and I would have followed it to the letter except that I did not have some of the recipes on hand.

Marinated Tanigue Steak

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (3/4 inch) tanigue steaks
1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a large non-reactive dish, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, parsley, garlic, oregano, and pepper. Place the tanigue steaks in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat grill for high heat.
Lightly oil grill grate. Cook the tuna steaks for 5 to 6 minutes, then turn and baste with the marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or to desired doneness. 
Pour remaining marinade in a small pan and bring to a boil. Stir in brown sugar and simmer for about 3 minutes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fish Balls, How Mother Makes 'Em

"Fish Balls"

My mother has this specialty that my siblings and I love to bits. I have, on many occasions, asked for its recipe but I have not dared making them myself because it is just too darn, for lack of a better word,  intricate to make. My mother calls them "fish balls" and as the obedient child growing up under her tutelage, that's what I called them- fish balls. They are no where near the fish balls we buy from our friendly neighborhood fish ball vendor though. Made with fish and potatoes, my mother's fish balls are technically more like fish croquettes. Whatever they are, they are delicious and they are wonderful when eaten with rice as they are eaten alone, maybe with sweet chili sauce for dipping, as hearty snacks.

They may take long to make but it only takes a minute for us to finish eating them once they are taken out from the pan.

Mother's Fish Balls

1 kilo dalagang bukid (or any white flaky saltwater fish), steamed and flaked
1/2 kilo potatoes, boiled peeled, and mashed
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, beaten
3 onions, minced
1/4 cup kinchay, minced

1 egg, for coating
oil, for frying

Combine flaked fish and mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold in eggs. Add cornstarch and baking powder and mix well.
Fold in onions and kinchay until evenly incorporated.
Fill a deep frying pan with cooking oil about 1/2 inch deep and heat the oil.
Form mixture into balls, about 2 inches in diameter. Roll the balls in egg and fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serve with sweet chili sauce.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Simply Pancakes

Fluffy Pancakes
I love pancakes. I am a big fan of Pancake House's pancakes, but not so much those that you get out of a mix in box. For some reason, they are not nearly as fluffy. I like my pancakes nice and fluffy. When I am feeling a little fancy, I like to have pancakes with all sorts of toppings. Pancake House's Peach Pancake immediately comes to mind. It comes complete with peach slices and whipped cream and dripping with peach syrup. Mmm mmm. I have been known to order their Blueberry Pancakes a lot as well. But having burned my tongue with the hot blueberry filling of this pancake once before, I have since tried to avoid it. I can never seem to wait long enough for the pancake to cool down a bit before digging into it.

When I am home though, I am perfectly happy with plain old pancakes, with no syrup or any other topping whatsoever. It takes very little effort to make them but the amount of joy freshly made fluffy pancakes brings is by no means little. Here is a recipe for pancakes from allrecipes.com.

Fluffy Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening, melted

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the egg, milk and shortening; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes; cook until the second side is golden brown.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

That's Fish with Tausi for Dad

Fish with Tausi
Fish with Tausi is one of those dishes of foreign origin that have assimilated into the local cuisine. It is a staple in most local Chinese and Filipino restaurant menus and makes regular appearances in a lot of Philippine dinner tables. My father has recently taken a liking to this dish, ordering it every time he eats at Max's restaurant. He came to like it so much in fact that he "suggested" that I try making it at home. Now my father is a very picky eater, for health reasons, mostly. So when he asks for a particular kind of dish, we make sure he gets it.

Below is my recipe for fish with tausi. In our house where we love fried food, this is a light and healthy option if you consider the vegetables that comes with it. That is, if you do not end up eating too much rice on its account. It is fantastic with hot steamed rice.

Fish with Tausi

1 egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup very cold water
1/2 kilo lapu-lapu fillet, cut in 2 inch squares
1/4 cup all purpose flour, for dredging

Oil for frying

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp. ginger, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
1 onion
1 small carrot, sliced
1 small can tausi
1 cup water
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes and fried (optional)

Heat oil.
Prepare batter by whisking together 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper. Beat in egg. Whisk in cold water.
Dredge fish in 1/4 cup flour, dip in batter, and fry in hot oil until lightly brown. Set aside.
Saute ginger and garlic in vegetable oil. Add in bell pepper and onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add tausi and carrot.
Pour in water, oyster sauce, and sweet chili sauce and bring to a boil.
Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup watter and add to the sauce to thicken.
Add the cooked fish into the pan and toss until all the fish are well coated with sauce. Toss in fried tofu, if preferred.

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