8.10.2011

Hainanese Chicken with Ginger Sauce


Sunday is my second favorite day of the week, Saturday being the first. On a typical Sunday morning, everyone is relaxed, everyone gets up a little later than usual, even the little one. We go through the same routine, the moment Berto opens his eyes, he wonders out loud what would be his menu for the day. I often wonder how it is that while the idea of going to the market and cooking for our family is such a torture for me, he relishes every moment of it.

One Sunday he decided to try his hand at cooking Hainanese Chicken again. His first attempt wasn’t too successful. Even after more than an hour of boiling, the chicken still was bloody inside when sliced. This didn’t make the dish too popular especially for my dad who shared his opinion with all the good intentions in the world (“the chicken seems still lacking a few more minutes inside the boiling pot”). Disheartened, Berto didn’t try to cook this dish again… until recently.
Let me share with you Berto’s latest attempt in cooking one of his favorite dishes, the hainanese chicken with ginger sauce. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

Chicken:
1 whole chicken
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 slices fresh ginger, peeled
about 12 cups water
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Ginger sauce 2-inch chubby section ginger (about 2 ounces), peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation: Wash chicken and be sure to remove excess fat. Rub the inside of the cavity with salt. Mash garlic and ginger slightly with the ladle, to produce the spicy juices. Place garlic and ginger inside the chicken cavity.

Bring the water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold the chicken. Make sure the whole chicken is submerged. Add the chicken, breast-side down. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes, turning chicken halfway through the cooking process, until chicken tests done (juices from thigh should run clear when pricked with a fork).

Carefully remove chicken, drain the liquid from body cavity back into the boiling pot. Plunge the chicken into ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process and tighten the skin. Drain, rub with sesame oil, and let cool to room temperature.

For the ginger sauce, put the ginger, oil, salt, and 1 tablespoon of hot chicken broth. Taste and add up to 2 more tablespoons of poaching broth. Transfer to a dipping sauce dish.

To serve, the chicken is supposed to be sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces, however hubby had no more time so he just kept the original sizes of the chicken. Plus a hungry tummy isn't really picky when it comes to presentation... but officially you're supposed to slice it thinly...

He then served with boiled brocolli seasoned with salt and pepper.

Being Berto’s number one fan, I personally thought the chicken turned out great! Still a little bloody inside, but still delicious just the same.

My father, already suspicious of anything boiled, didn't touch the dish, opting to eat the last night's leftover dish.. oh well.

7.21.2011

A Toast for Toast Box's Delectable Fare



Friday nights are Berto and Kwala Date Nights. We didn't really choose the day, it's just traffic is so terribly horrible on Fridays that we choose to wait it out, hoping that by the time we hit the road, the traffic would have eased up. 


Last Friday, we decided to try the dining offerings of Toast Box, a Singaporean restaurant located at the 3rd Floor of Greenbelt 5. We've passed by the resto a number of times and I've always been intrigued by
the bright and cozy interiors. I've been bugging the hubby for a dinner date there. He's been making excuses, but the last time we passed it, wenoticed that they offered one of our favorite chow of all time, hainanese chicken! That was all the convincing that Berto needed. We went inside and were surprised to note that although it looked like a semi-fine dining resto (the interiors looked a bit like that of Rack's) actually wasn't. We had to line up and give our orders to the counter.
Toast Box's interiors gave off the shabby chic feel. Almost everything was painted in white, emphasized even more by the bright lights. White wooden tables and chairs, scattered around the restaurant, reminded me of those comfy sets one can find on porches (if you had one) or by the breakfast nook (if you're English, I guess). There are also some couches available for those who want to lounge and drink coffee comfortably. It exuded a laid back atmosphere.

Since it was our first time, we asked about some items on the menu, the girl manning the counter dutifully answered our questions, albeit unsmilingly. In the end, hubby settled for his favorite, a hearty serving of hainanese chicken (P239), which came with greenish looking rice and ginger/soy sauce dips. Hubby enjoyed this dish! He said it was flavorful and the chicken had just the right texture. I opted to try Nasi Lemak (P225) which turned out to be a huge portion of fried chicken leg served with coconut rice and fried egg. It also came with an interesting siding of sweet-spicy dilis and beans. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't taste like the usual fried chicken, it was more flavorful, not to mention really crunchy. It tasted more like crispy pata than fried chicken. Yum! We washed our heavy dinner down with their Iced Lemon Tea (P30), a strong blend of brewed tea with 2 slices of lemon. BURP!




After that sumptuous dinner, Berto and I decided our tummies still had
room for dessert, and I will share our dessert goodies in my post.
With Toast Box's savory fare and huge servings, food was indeed value
for money. We'll definitely come back for more.

7.17.2011

Max's Chicken-All-You-Can


Just a quick thank you to our fave chicken resto, Max’s. Thanks for the chicken all you can promo for two years in a row. Berto and I almost couldn’t belive our eyes when we saw their billboard along c5 that said bubusugin nyo kami ulit. When they had this promo last year because of their anniversary, families and friends trouped to the different Max’s branches to enjoy the endless helpings of yummy chicken. This year was no different… Our family spent father’s day wolfing down chicken… and as if I didn’t feel full enough, I met my college friends for more chicken the next day.



Here’s more or less how every dining experience with max’s end up with….See you next year!

7.13.2011

Ace Water Spa Kapitolyo Pasig Branch Now Open!




Hubby and I have been loyal customers of Ace Water Spa in Quezon City ever since we discovered it a few years ago. There’s nothing like hydromassage to relax our weary muscles. The facilities are great, the personnel friendly and the experience definitely worth it! The only problem is that it is located so far away from our place. We have to really make the trip to San Francisco Del Monte in QC if we want a respite from the hustle and bustle of our daily routine. Imagine our surprise and joy when we found out that Ace Water Spa opened a branch Pasig! It is definitely a better location for us since it is on our way home from Makati…


Address: Ace Water Spa Pasig Branch, United cor. Brixton St, Kapitolyo Pasig
near Pioneer Supermarket // across Uncle Moe's Shawarma Hub ) You may traverse Pioneer street and when you get to Jollibee, turn right. It is a new building with a sign that says Ace Water Spa

Daily operating hours: 6am to 11pm

Contact Number: 451-1111

Prices are still the same :
Adults P550 and Kids(4 feet and below) P250

When we went there, they had a Buy 2 Take 1 Promo. You can avail of your free ticket within two weeks of the initial spa schedule. Wonderful! That is a P550 value right there! My husband is already excited to claim the free ticket!
Same friendly personnel, but with better parking, since free parking space is allotted on the 5th floor of the building. (unlike in QC where there is limited parking in front of the spa, and when this is full your other choice is to go at the back of the building where a guard will look after your vehicle.) You’ll have to take the elevator down to the ground floor to enter the spa itself. It is basically the same set up, only smaller spa area since the lapping pool is bigger than the one in the main branch. All the hydro machines are still there but there is less space to move around in. I also noticed a few machines that were out of order, I never encountered such problem in the main branch. Unlike in QC where there are separate herbal pools for males and females, in this branch both sexes get to share in 4 herbal pools. Sadly we didn’t feel relaxed when we dipped in them since there were boisterous kids all around. Grrr… sorta defeated the purpose of those herbal pools.

All in all it we enjoyed the same relaxing feeling off the original Ace Water Spa, but sadly, no free soup afterwards. =(

6.15.2011

Computer Classes for Me


Last April, I decided to enroll myself in a computer class. It has always been a dream of mine to finally get formal training in photoshop. I was self-taught and considering that I am not the world’s greatest teacher, this leaves me with a lot more to learn. I was initially intrigued with the concept of digital scrapbooking. I saw a lot of mommy bloggers getting into it big time so I also wanted to join the bandwagon. Apparently you had to know something about photoshop or corel to do this, so I went ahead and bought a book about photoshop and digital scrapbooking. It has been my therapy ever since.

Last October, I decided I wanted to learn more. I called up First Academy of Computer Arts to inquire and learned that photoshop classes don’t come cheap. They had this course that my “advisor” recommended, Graphic Design which is just a more impressive way of saying basic and advanced photoshop. It costs more than Php20,000. I almost dropped the phone. I shoved that idea at the very back of my head, along with liposuction and singing lessons. It was just not practical! Dishing out that much money only so that I can make prettier scrapbook pages.


Fast forward to March. We already launched our digital photography and photobooth rental business, BK Pixels. I have been creating layouts for our photobooth for months and it has been such a fun but painful process. It would take me hours to come up with a measly mediocre layout. I needed help. I am officially the artist (naks!) in our business. If you told my younger self that people will pay me in the future for my artistic prowess, my younger self would’ve died laughing and I wouldn’t be here anymore. I didn’t want to let my business partner/husband/best friend/prince charming down. I wanted to come up with better layouts and processed pictures for our business. I figured it would be an investment, plus I’d also get to make prettier scrapbook pages. Hence another call to my “advisor”.

Fast forward to June. Classes finally started. It has been 2 sessions already and I have to say, I am having fun! My classes are 6-9pm after work. I get to class with caffeine furiously coursing through my veins to keep awake because sometimes even my enthusiasm is not enough to keep my energy levels up. After 3 hours of dragging, selecting and ctrl-alt-clicking, I drag my bum off my ergonomic chair and fling myself into the open arms of my husband waiting outside the classroom. Even my weary body will agree though, I am learning a lot!

Later we’ll be having our third class, and my instructor will be checking our very first homework. Gee I feel like a grade schooler again. Hahaha. I’m excited! I just need some more caffeine to get that photoshopping mojo going.

For those interested in taking classes, contact my school:

First Academy of Computer Arts
2/F Saville Bldg. 8728 Paseo de Roxas Ave. cor. Sen Gil Puyat (Buendia) Ave., Makati City, Philippines
Telephone:+632 8982724 to 26 | +632 5015144
TeleFax:+632 8975502



5.17.2011

Dinner at Buddy's



Yesterday, Berto and I decided to dine at Buddy’s at Makati. We ordered the Pancit Lucban (P155), Budin (P55) and the Lumpiang Ubod (P70). I also wanted to try out the Longganisang Lucban but I reminded myself that I’d have to eat rice too, and I really need to lessen my food intake during dinner…This can be such a test on my conviction. Eating is one of the many things my husband and I have in common. Hence, the constant need to lose weight!


Berto suggested that instead of putting kalamansi on our pancit, we should try the suka (vinegar) instead. We were not disappointed! The vinegar had been mixed with other spices, and the resulting taste is just right. Mixed with the pancit, the distinct flavor is released adding to the yummy experience.

The lumpiang ubod was so good too! It tasted naturally sweet. Unlike other lumpia we’ve tasted, it didn’t rely on the sugar sprinkled on top for the sweetness. The natural taste of the fresh ubod is just perfect. A crushed peanut bar is placed on top instead of the usual crushed peanuts.

For dessert, we opted for Buddy’s famous budin, a delicious cassava cake that gives you value for your money. It is affordable at only 55 but can serve up to 4 people. My tummy was able to accommodate only 1 slice, Berto had to chomp down the rest. He pretended to complain at first, but then happily finished off our budin.

5.08.2011

New Wedding Rings to Celebrate our Wedding Anniversary

10 years ago, we bought our wedding rings at Sta Cruz, Ongpin Manila. Good thing my husband is so familiar with Manila, we didn’t have a hard time looking for a “good” and “trustworthy” shop. (Beware there are a lot of shops out there looking to fool shoppers) We knew exactly what we were looking for: a simple band made of yellow (Saudi) gold. This design is similar to my parents’ wedding rings. Hubby also liked the design. We found a shop which not only sold, but also made the jewelry. They assured us that we will be getting a ring that is made with 100% gold as compared to other shops that sell “gold rings” but are actually just gold plated and is actually just steel inside. They even went on to show us a cross section of a wedding ring they made to prove that it was all gold through and through. Our rings cost us 7,000 for the pair. We just loved it!

Fast forward to the present, we haven’t been wearing our wedding rings for a while due to a few reasons. #1 through the years, our fingers have grown too fat… #2 most of our jewelry and watches are made of silver/white gold/steel. The yellow tint of our wedding rings didn’t blend well.

To celebrate our anniversary, my husband and I decided to start wearing our rings again. What better way to celebrate our union as husband and wife than to start wearing the very thing that symbolized our marriage. We had to have our rings resized.

Let me digress, we had 2 pairs of wedding rings. A few years before our church wedding, we already had our civil wedding and we had our simple (thin) gold bands from that wedding. Then, we also had the rings from our church wedding. We decided that it really was no use keeping 2 sets of similar looking wedding rings. So we decided to combine the two rings into one, and as an afterthought, we also decided to add a solitary diamond on each ring to celebrate the past decade that we’ve been together.

We found a wonderful jewelry shop in Shoppesville, Greenhills, Bernardo Jewelry(?). A woman was kind enough to assist us and even gave us discounts on top of the already reasonable price. It cost us another 12,000 to have all the adjustments made, since they had to add a few grams of their 24k gold. The result was just wonderful! Our rings looked new! All shiny and heavy and sparkly!




On the day of our anniversary, we attended mass. After the mass, we were blessed by the priest, he also blessed our rings. He was amused that we still had our original rings and that they still seem new. Hehehe =) We placed our rings on each other’s fingers in front of the priest the way we did 10 years ago, with a whisper of hope and love from our lips and a promise of forever from our hearts.

Happy Anniversary Hunny!

Last Wednesday, my husband and I celebrated our 10th year anniversary. Whew! Where have all the years gone? It seems only yesterday when we were fretting about which catering service to get for the wedding. Hahaha! More on how we celebrated our anniversary… soon! ( have to go to church now with the family)

2.08.2011

Our New Venture is as Perfect as a Picture

Maybe this is the path we’re supposed to take… Apparently you can teach old dogs new tricks, at 34 we’re no spring chicken anymore but we definitely are learning new tricks.
Last year, hubby and I launched our digital photography and photobooth rental business. Call it fate, but last year everything just fell into place. First we got our very own DSLR, purely for personal use only. Hubby became interested in taking pictures and I have always loved documenting our daily lives. Our digicam is like a third limb to me. Having a precocious little toddler, lugging a camera around with me every waking moment is a must. It seemed only natural to eventually buy a DSLR so we could take “prettier” pictures.

Next, we enrolled in Leo Castillo’s photography class. This class came highly recommended by my sister, and we eventually understood why. His teaching style is simple and endearing. He assumes that no one knows anything… as in. So DSLR newbies like us didn’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed at all.


After the class, a friend offered to sell me his barely-used DSLR, the exact same model we already had, we went ahead and bought it since the price is totally worth it!
Then sometime last year, I started channeling “The Secret” and wanted to attract infinite wealth. I wondered what business we could get into. It must be something we love. I love books, but I can’t think of any business I could do with books. Hubby loved cars. I started thinking about selling car parts on the net. While I was surfing the net looking for samples of other online business we could get into, I chanced upon an ad about photo coverages. Hmmm. We could do that. I mean we had the gadgets and the know-how. How hard could that be? So we launched ads on the net saying we were offering digital photo coverage. 2 photographers for the price of one. Business started coming in!
Then one day as I was surfing the net, and I saw ads about photobooths. Hmmm. We could do that too… And we did. We put together a booth in no time and launched ads saying we are now also offering photobooth rentals for different occasions. We made a killing last December since Christmas parties and reunions happened left and right.
I can really say that this business of ours is guided. I feel that everything just fell into place. A big plus is that we are doing something that hubby and I both really like. Here’s to our new business, may it flourish and expand more this year!
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