Sunday, August 26, 2012

mama's boys

friends came over to visit us the other day and here they are having a break... from crying one minute and then laughing the next, from chucking everything into the toilet and then bumping their heads pretty much just about everywhere :)  can't help but fall in love with 'em!
Joshua and Gabriel having their fruit-flavored tea

Monday, August 20, 2012

empanada mama

lately i have been cooking up a storm not because of a special occasion but just because.  i used to think cooking was so tedious and labor-intensive but i guess since i am forced to cook the foods i love here, i have began to love it and the tasks involved in making a dish offers me much-needed therapy.

today my post is all about empanadas.  the word "empanada" comes from the Spanish verb "empanar" which means to wrap or cover with dough. when i was younger i used to buy empanadas from a little neighborhood store after school and i remember it being so savory and sweet at the same time.  the pastry was crumbly and crunchy too.
ingredients for chicken empanada: 

one chicken breast, cut into small cubes 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized red onion, minced
1 carrot, cubed
1 medium potato, cubed
1/4 c. green peas (frozen or fresh)
1 tbsp raisins (optional)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 piece chicken cube
1/2 c. water
4 eggs, hard-boiled and cut in quarters
1 egg, beaten (to be used as egg wash over the pastry)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pack shortcrust pastry (you can make your own or you can buy the ready-made ones at the supermarket)

for a vegetarian alternative, you can also replace chicken with tofu cubes and the chicken cube with a vegetable cube.

procedure: making the filing

(1) saute garlic and onions in oil in a heated pan or wok (i use wok in almost all of my cooking)
(2) add the chicken and cook until light brown
(3) add the carrots and potatoes and stir for a minute or two then add the water and the chicken cube.  let simmer until the vegetables are about to get done
(4) add the peas, sugar and raisins and cook for a further 5 minutes.
(5) season to taste.  turn off the heat and let cool. drain off excess liquid.
roll out the shortcrust pastry until about 1/8 cm thick.  cut out circular shapes (i used a cereal bowl for this) and let it rest for about 20mins. after that, put about a little more than a spoonful of the filling and one piece of the quartered hard-boiled egg into the dough.  fold the dough over the filling so you have a half-moon shape and make sure to brush just a little bit of water on the outer edges to seal it.  press the edges with a blunt instrument (i used the handle of a knife) and then with a fork, press it again to create a sort of design.
brush the egg wash over your empanadas and place them in a foil-lined baking sheet or pan and cook in a 200deg oven until golden brown (about 30mins).

and there you have it!  empanadas con pollo :) high-fives to Sarah of Homeology Modern Vintage for being psychic and cooking these yummy goodness a few days ago!  check out her blog because she has uber-excellent taste in everything especially the home :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

asian fusion explosion

Merriam Webster dictionary describes fusion cuisine as "food prepared by using the techniques and ingredients of two or more ethnic or regional cuisines".

i love fusion cuisine especially asian-fusion and going by that definition, just about everything i cook or eat at home is fusion!  (except one or two. maybe.)  and it never occured to me when i was growing up in the Philippines that i was practically raised on fusion food!

Filipino food is a flavorful combination of Chinese, Malay, Spanish, Thai, Indonesian and a little bit of American cuisine.  its an amalgamation of the different cultures that sat down at our tables and contributed to a diverse and vibrant palate. 
as a nod to my north, i made scallops and prawns in tarragon and lime with spaghetti topped with spring onions (quite a mouthful, literally!) the other day and it was an explosion of flavors!  we wanted something light and this fits the bill.  perfect if you're staying in for a hot and humid summer night :)

here's how you make them (easy, i promise!);


cook spaghetti pasta for two in salted boiling water and set aside

a handful of prawns, peeled and cleaned
6-8 scallops
a tablespoon of butter
a tablespoon of tarragon
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
a sprig of spring onions (to serve)


(1) heat butter in a wok (or pan) over moderate heat.
(2) season prawns and scallops (make sure they are dry) with salt and pepper
(3) saute scallops and prawns (about 3-4 minutes). stir in lime juice and tarragon.
(4) toss pasta in and season (according to your taste).
(5) serve while hot and garnish with chopped spring onions on top.

remember:  feel free to add in or subtract from the ingredients featured here.  for my vegetarian friends, you can substitute prawns and scallops with shiitake mushrooms (always a yummy alternative).  after all, it is FUSION cuisine :) experiment and enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

treasured possessions: watercolor bag

talking about happy colors, i love everything yellow!  and one of the things thats so dear to me and always bring along with me wherever i go is this vintage yellow bucket bag from Christian Dior that i bought from a flea market in the Philippines ten years ago!!!!!

it sort of has an orange-y watercolor design mixed with ostrich handles and the softest buttery leather ever.

i use this very rarely now but i used to always bring this on overnight trips or picnics or shopping... because there is a lot of room in this ol' gal.
not only is this uber cool vintage and designer.... one reason i love it is because i bought it only for a dollar!  yes, i swear!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

self portraits in neon

my friends, here's a compilation of me in neon!  i am not too comfortable in front of the camera (as you can see) because i prefer to be behind it :) these pics are all randomly taken this summer featuring, of course, my favorite accessory for the season: NEON!

(1) in Mallorca
(wearing: Dorothy Perkins tunic in lime and lemon; Giorgio Armani sunglasses; Kate Spade crossover bag; fedora hat from a tourist shop in Mallorca)
 (2) lunching in Spain
(wearing: Mango white tee; Marni sunglasses; Accessorize rose earrings in turquoise; Accentz neon choker from an independent seller in Singapore)
 (3) just before we went to see a movie (Batman!)
(wearing: M&S Autograph raglan sleeve striped top; aviator sunglasses bought from a budget airline souvenir shop in the Philippines; Forever21 feather necklace)
 (4) lazy sunday
(wearing Dorothy Perkins tube top; Giorgio Armani sunglasses; Forever21 feather necklace)