Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The myths and truths about INSTANT NOODLES… (Part 1 of 2)

Instant noodles are now recognized as staples in the Filipinos' dining table. With the enormous line of products available in the commercial food shelves right now, who else is not yet serving instant noodles to their family or have not tried at all? If you’re one of them, you’ve probably heard of the myths and hoaxes that roamed around for some time – 1) that noodles is the cause of “bangungot” (nightmare), 2) that instant noodles and its Styro container has wax and 3) that MSG in noodles became toxic when cooked. All these and more are nothing but misleading information. Instant noodles in the Philippines although growing is still at its infant stage relative to our other neighboring asian countries. Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Malaysia are far more large consumers of this product than the Philippines. Their noodle industry has grown full blown! Yet, none of these countries reported a single incident related to any of those “questionable claims”. Thus, we all ought to know the truth behind it. And here are the more enlightening facts straight from the country’s leading manufacturer of instant noodles:

“Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a flavor enhancer classified by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as a generally recognized as safe, or GRAS, ingredient. Likewise, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified it as “not specified”, the safest category for a food additive, and has chosen not to set a limit on Accepted Daily Intake (ADI) of MSG.

Generally, MSG is added to foods before, during or after cooking. It is a stable food element, which means that it does not change its molecular structure when added to boiling water or with other ingredients. Therefore, it is not (nor does it become) toxic.

Furthermore, instant noodles do not contain any wax. Noodle strands do not stick together because of cassava or potato starch, one of its main ingredients. Starch is what gives instant noodles its smooth texture and chewy bite. Its removal will cause clumping among the strands.

Neither do the styrofoam containers have wax. Styrofoam is composed of 95% air and 5% polystyrene. It meets stringent US FDA standards for use in food packaging and is safe for consumers. It does not in any way transfer its odor or taste to food because it is an inert, unreactive material.

One of the most dreaded forms of death - nightmare or “bangungot” in Filipino language, will not in anyway be caused by eating instant noodles. According to Dr. Eric Tayag, Director of National Epidemiology Center of DOH, the most common sources of nightmare have something to do with the state of mind, environment influences, genetic cardiac abnormalities and evil spirits. He also added that in medical parlance, nightmare is sudden and unexplained death in sleep and that the e-mail hoax on noodles will become part of the urban legend among urban legends that we have.”

Learning all that, don’t you think it’s really safe to grab a pouch now?










**photos courtesy of this site

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's not just PANCAKES

Here's the 3rd entry to our Breakfast Avenue - PANCAKE HOUSE! Those who have tried it may notice that the restaurant's repertoire goes beyond its name. In fact, it's home to most Filipino Favorite breakfast meals. Bangus Bonoan, Tocino, Native Longganisa, Adobo... make your good pick! Although this breakfast house is more popular for its pancake, it also boasts of a huge selection of good, filling morning meals. If you don't feel like going for an extraordinary nor any adventure and you don't want to stress yourself thinking where to go for that morning treat, Pancake house might be the place to visit. Although, we still feel that some foods here are overly priced thus, you have to make sure you order that, which will satisfy you best. For an added value, it's best to try their Tagaytay branch. The ambiance will give some lift to your dining experience.





CAFE MEDITERRANEAN... Sounds Greek to me Food

Got tired of always trying the usual and familiar, excited we feast at Cafe Mediterranean of Sounds Greek To Me Food Corp. Isn't the company name interesting already?, so was the food actually. We would like to try their pizza and sandwiches because they've got real appealing assortment however, it was already dinner time so we opted for the "Gyro Plates". We preferred the buttered rice over pilaf. Tastewise, all is consumed with much gusto. The blend of spices is delightful. What's surprising is the food is also affordable. With the taste and the serving size, we think it is fairly priced. And because of that this deserves another visit from us.

Moussaka with Buttered Rice (P175); the butter mildly flavored the rice giving it a subtle twist and not overpowering. The moussaka is a typical eggplant lasagna, creamy and tasty but also too filling.




Grilled Chicken with Buttered Rice (P160); this is the most preferred dish of the family. The chicken is deliciously spiced up plus the dips and salsa that go with it are superb.




Spicy Pork with Buttered Rice (P190); this is another delectable dish. The pork is juicy matched with the right hotness.


Cafe Mediterranean
Unit 2034-2038 2nd level
Alabang Town Center
Muntinlupa City

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A poignant goodbye to the luminous wizard of the imaginary and the real world


The most sought after story of all time, the brilliant modern day epic… the LIFE that became part of everybody’s - young and adults alike, Harry Potter came to its final halt.

Earnestly desired to finish the book within 24 hours or a little more, I failed way too much of my target. Three days of reading the final instalment is reminiscent of the ten years of waiting for the story to be told completely. With all the reviews and “pre-spoilers” thrown left and right through all forms of writing, all the more that I wanted to be over with the book. Perhaps, I have over estimated myself. Concealed by the longing to know the destiny of the boy wizard and his friends; whom I all learned to love and grow with, I have sloppily discounted the fact that there are other knotty roles that I have to take – work, home, kids, etc. that will challenge me in pursuing this goal. At any rate, I reached the 759th page of the “Deathly Hollows” a minute past 2300 hrs of Tuesday. True to what JK Rowling has told in her interviews, “bereavement” was felt in perusing the book. Sad, we will anticipate no more of Harry’s quests and the fate of the magical world at the same time delighted, the questions that had been lingering for years were finally been answered.

Deathly hollows was intensely narrated that I felt the excitement and terror in each turn of the page. It was fascinating to see how the links JK have kept for many years were unfolded smoothly, concluding a remarkable plot. The lives of the major characters such as Dumbledore, Snape, Dobby and Kreacher profoundly surfaced each with a tragic story to tell; the journey for the deathly hallows and the horcruxes happened with a heart-rending impact; the death of more than half a dozen of the characters we knew was too much to behold yet it was a relief that none from Harry’s closest friends suffered the same destiny (which most readers predicted but feared to happen); the realization of the foretold “neither would live while the other survives” drawn such a suspense thrilling experience; and never to be missed the few comical scenes from Ron and the other Weasleys which lightened the tension in the story. These were some of the “must be deciphered” events in book seven.

The last book did not fail its readers with its many surprises. The unfolding of the lives and lies of the most loved wizard Dumbledore, gave a well-meaning realization. Who would have thought that beneath the powerful mind, commanding figure and triumphs of Albus also lays his weakened and challenged emotions? What is more the surprise of all the surprises, the telling of the real Severus Snape bind with his magnificent qualities? He was all along a true “Prince” and the character in the book that probably deserved the most sympathy and respect. The way JK have ended her book is truly magical and this will perhaps earn a great deal of applause especially from the children.

Harry’s life transfigured not only in the pages of all seven books but also in the realm of humankind so much so that it’s effect touched the human heart. His story speaks of all shapes of feelings, of wants and desires. From pain, greed, anguish, hatred and revenge to love, friendship and hope. The tale of Harry Potter probably have ended in printing but the memories and the experience definitely left a “mark” in the lives of all those who journey with him, me included. I can hardly wait for the moment when I will read and share this same journey with my kids, and that I believe will be the next exciting series for me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

MOMMy, I am Sick... But it's You who needs my Doctor very Quick!

Pinoy Moms Network! - the network of blogging mothers, underwent a complete overhaul. It aims to be the e-zine rich in parenting resources online. I encourage all dear Moms to check it out and learn more.
This is my first post in the blogsite:
Rainy season strikes again!! What I personally find abhorring about this type of weather aside from the “gloomy atmosphere” it somehow elicits relative to the more festive summer, is the proliferation of all types of viruses that bring a lot of illnesses. Guess who are the front liners in the danger zone? No less than our little ones!... (read more here)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Brain Foods: The Smart Way to EAT!

Here's an interesting and informative article on Brain Foods written by Shawn McKee (eDiets Staff Writer), which is more than worth to share. Thanks to Gessa for forwarding me a copy. Similarly, we hope you'll find relevance in reading it to reward your brain with a real smart eat!

"Brain Foods: The Smart Way to Eat!
By Shawn McKee
eDiets Staff Writer

Food for Thought

Fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the essential fats that ensure healthy functioning of the cells in the brain.

Nuts and Seeds are rich in selenium, vitamin E and phytochemicals, nuts and seeds protect against brain aging. Their plant sources of omega-3 fats also contribute to healthy brain cells.

A cup of green or black tea provides polyphenols, special plant compounds that keep brain neurons healthy and blood vessels elastic so that nutrients can flow to the brain. Choose green tea to enhance memory and alertness and improve attention span.

Whole grains supply the brain with its preferred source of fuel: carbohydrates. Whole grains also contain three B vitamins important for brain energy: folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12. Whole wheat pasta, barley, oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain breads are all sources for complex carbohydrates.

A Cart of Many Colors

In general, think colors when perusing the produce aisle. If it’s brightly colored, it is brain food -- loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that maintain brain health and enhance mental performance.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables contains many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals essential for optimal brain function and memory.

All berries are good, but especially blueberries are rich in anthocyanin pigments and potent antioxidants that build a protective shield around the brain, guarding against aging and damage to the brain.

Spinach is an antioxidant powerhouse, bursting with beta-carotene, vitamin C and folic acid that help to keep blood vessels healthy and brain nerve impulses working properly. The iron in spinach is important for getting oxygen to the brain and improving concentration.

To improve your brain function, even out your blood-sugar level by eating and drinking water regularly -- try a meal or snack every three to four hours.

The best sugars for the brain are complex carbohydrates. Starches and fruit sugars (fructose) do not cause the roller-coaster mood swings that junk sugars do. The molecules in complex carbs are long, so it takes longer for the intestines to break them down into the simple sugars the body can use. They provide a time-released source of steady energy, instead of a sudden surge followed by a sudden drop."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My so called Culinary Journey...

If I’ll take a trip down memory lane, my book of “career dreams” will unfold that of being a Lawyer or Journalist to being an IT Professional or Psychologist. But becoming a Food Technologist? It did not even cross my mind in my youngster years. Even though I was surrounded by the culinary skills of my father’s clan and the “must be inherited” recipes of my grandmother, I would rather see myself in a trial court defending a case or out in the field doing media report than immersing myself in the science of food.

Back in my high school days, I can recall vividly how much I enjoyed practicing my rebuttals for a school debate with my grandfather. But the aroma of my grandmother’s delicacies and the influence of my mother’s craving for the cooking shows (especially that of Wok with Yan), reined supreme. At the age of eleven, my grandmother honed me with an early training to Food Entrepreneurship. While my grade school classmates spend their summer vacations playing, I got myself busy putting up my mini food kiosk in front of my grandmother’s noodle house (a modern day name for what was commonly known then as “Ma-mian”). I remember waking up at the crack of dawn just so I can join with my aunt on her daily market trips. She was destined to be one of my culinary mentors. With her, I managed to get used to my day to day market errands – of choosing the best banana for a yummy turon and tasty banana cue, of making sure we were among the firsts to go for “Manang’s” (old lady) home made rice delicacies, of selecting the freshest fruits in season such as green mango, turnip, santol and watermelon among others. Together, we made sure the ingredients for my luscious “samalamig” (sago juice) were not missed in our market list. This is the repertoire of my humble food stand.

What’s more, I got a sideline by working as one of the crews in grandma’s noodle house. Because of that, I had myself get accustomed to the aroma of noodle dishes such as Beef Mami, Chami, Pancit Canton and Pancit Bihon. Likewise, I learned how to make a flavourful Bulalo Soup and cook some family favourite native delicacies.

And so, it shouldn’t be any surprise really when I found myself queuing in the UPLB campus getting enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program in Food Technology. Far-flung from any of the professions I earlier dreamed of. Years after that, I became a “Professional Food Servant”. Now working as a Product Development Specialist for one of the country’s leading FMCGs, more and more my culinary journey is becoming exciting and fulfilling. If there is but one culinary challenge where I find great joy in taking, and is considered to be more taxing than contributing goods to consumers’ baskets, it is the challenge of raising gourmet kids. And that again is another journey.

Monday, July 9, 2007

For One More Day

Have you checked the latest book from Mitch Albom - FOR ONE MORE DAY? It's another "heart warming - reality check" story. Truly, he never fails his reader to wonder and reflect. I appreciate my being a mom all the more. It's a must family read kind of book. Highly recommended for parents out there. Grab your copy now!

The Improving DON HENRICO'S

Summer Salad (P198), light, healthy and truly appetizing. There's no better way to start a good meal. Thanks to Don Henrico's for continuously improving their menu. It's enough reason to always come back. There was a time, that we got satiated with their salads because we already tasted everything and we're really craving for something new. It's nice to know they're putting some innovations to keep their customers. I guess it's a must for any type of business. Also, they now offer lunch buffets on tuesdays and wednesdays. This is sure-fire, crowd inviting promo!

All that we savoured here, we haven't tried yet. Luckily, every bite matched to our liking.



Beef & Spinach Pasta (P220), creamy and mild without the satiating effect

Philly Steak Cheese Pizza (P275), sooooo cheesy and creamy




Who says a good pose is not possible while eating? :-)




Peek A Boo! Where's the other half of the pizza?

Must be scrummy, got wiped out easily


Don Henricos
2nd Level Festival Mall
Alabang, Muntinlupa City

Brunch @ SEATTLE'S BEST

Seattle's Best probably sits only next to the most popular coffee shops in town like Starbucks and Figaro. But it lives to its advantage of offering breakfast and light meals best consumed with its own coffee and other beverages. Hence, it also competes against Delifrance and Pancake House in this category. Seattle's got quite a number of choices but relatively more expensive than the later mentioned restos. The meal does not come as a set so you have to order your drinks separately. At any rate, it's still intriguing to try the other options in the menu. Thus, we'll put it in our list of what we called "Our Breakfast Avenue".






Here are your choices...






Clubhouse P140 (best seller in the house); good enough to fill your brunch but not any better to Delifrance's version




Pancake (P88); it's a triple treat giving you enough carbo to start your day




Vanilla Milk Shake (P135) & Brewed Iced Tea (P100)

Seattle's Best Coffee
Caltex, SLEX

TRIO MEAT MACARONI SPAGHETTI

Do you want to put some twist on your regular macaroni spaghetti? Are you looking for a kid friendly pasta recipe? This might be IT! I usually serve this pasta either as breakfast or snacks. My son loves this so much probably because it has the three "most requested" and kid loving meat ingredients - hotdogs, ham and longganisa. You can never go wrong with any of these in enticing your kids to eat.



Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 6 - 8

Ingredients:
500 g elbow macaroni
750 g Italian spaghetti sauce
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup hotdogs, cut in rounds
1 cup cooked ham, cut in squares
2 cups native longganisa, cut in rounds

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water
2 tbsp canola oil

Procedure:

1. Add butter on a heated pan. Stir fry ham and hotdogs. Set aside.

2. Heat the canola oil on the same pan. Saute onion, garlic and longganisa for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the spaghetti sauce, water, salt and pepper to taste.

3. Allow to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Cook the macaroni pasta according to package instructions and drain.

5. Mix the sauce with pasta and top with grated cheese.


Cooking Tips:
For a creamier version, add condensed mushroom soup in step 2

Friday, July 6, 2007

An Island that grills - GUILLY'S

Restaurant Grills have started to grow in the Philippines. The popular ones are Dencio's, Gerry's and Gilligan's to name a few. The newest addition to this growing segment that is also gaining popularity is Guilly's Island. Sta. Rosa City is fortunate enough to have one of their branches which, is specifically located in another booming community of Paseo de Sta. Rosa 3. Basically, this resto offers delicious foods at very affordable prices. We just paid a total bill of P600++ inclusive of taxes and service charge. This is already our second time to dine here, and tastewise we can rate it 4 out of 5 spoons. They also serve quite fast! Other than that, the food is not only limited to grilled, sizzling and fried, they have pastas and salads too. Overall, this island is really up and ready for the competition.



We normally order 3 -4 types of dishes on the average in sampling a restaurant (just enough for our tummy to carry). Here we sampled - Bulalo (bone marrow soup), Sotanghon Guisado (Stir- fried rice noodles) and Tofu with oyster sauce.
The Sotanghon Guisado (P160) has pronounced sesame note which complemented the sauted character of the dish. Generously served with vegetables.




Tofu with Oyster Sauce P90
As always, oyster sauce never fails in providing a good flavor; generally acceptable only, the tofu has a slight sourish aftertaste




Bulalo Soup P230
Flavourful and juicy, the meat's texture is just right (not too tough, not too soft), the vegetables balanced the overall taste of the soup



If you're dining as a group, you might want to try their Anchor's Away Treats ("Treats for 6") for only P1000++. Each set menu includes around five dishes with unlimited plain rice and bottomless iced tea. A real treat! If your group is more than six, you can just add some a la carte choices in the set. Their Boneless Crispy Pata is a must try, so yummy!

Guilly's Island
Unit 21A/B Paseo III Almeda Drive,
Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna
(049) 544 0541

EAT ALL YOU CAN! WHERE????

A former colleague is generous enough to forward this essential list of restaurants offering an eat all you can experience (Thanks much Chiqui! and to whoever is the originator; this is truly helpful to the foodies out there). Likewise, I would like to share it with our readers since it's so attuned to the theme of this blog. I just took those that are interesting though. When you get the chance to sample any of them, send us an e-mail and we'll give you an opportunity to be featured in this blog. Happy EATING!
1. GREENWICH ('til Oct 20 only)
EAT-ALL-YOU-CAN-PIZZA promo
2. SOMETHING FISHY
Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City
breakfast time (12 am -10am)
3. KAMAY KAINAN
Market Market, Taguig
with bottomless iced tea @ P295/head
4. CHINATOWN
Banawe, Quezon City
full Meal; P400/head
5. SAISAKI/DADS/KAMAYAN
P500/head
6. DRAGON PRINCE
BF Homes, ParaƱaque
lunch Buffet, P180/head
7. CABALEN
All branches
p275/head
8. RCBC PLAZA FOOD CENTER
Makati City
breakfast - P95/head; snacks - P65/head
9. BLUE BAY
Quirino Grandstand
P350/head
10. BRAZIL BRAZIL
Metro Walk and Power Plant Mall
meat all you can - P650/head
11. DIMSUM N' DUMPLINGS
Shopwise, Cubao
unlimited Siomai - P99 or P125
12. SWEET INSPIRATIONS
Katipunan
eat all you can Mongolian Buffet
P300/head
13. SEAFOOD CLUB
Greenbelt 3, Makati City
dinner - P275/head
14. CHUBBY CHINA
Greenbelt, Makati City
dimsum breakfast - P88/head
order all you can - P295/head
Snacks - P88
dimsum all you can - P88
15. RED CRAB
Greenbelt 3, Makati City
crab all you can
16. CIRCLES
Shangri-la Makati
quite expensive but large buffet
17. SPIRAL
Westin Philippine Plaza
Bigger buffet than Shangri-la
18. CRAVINGS
Katipunan Ave., Quezon City
salad all you can
19. TONG YANG HOT POT
Quezon Ave., Quezon City
eat all you can
20. SIAMESE GRILL
Bluewave, Marquinton Marikina City
pasta all you can - P85/head
21. TRAMWAY
Banawe, Quezon City
eat all you can - P160/head
22. MONGOLIAN STOP
all branches, P188/head
23. DON HENRICOS
eat all you can on tuesdays and wednesdays
24. KAMAY KAINAN
Kalayaan Ave., Quezon City
P199/head
25. RED KIMONO
The Fort, Makati City
P499/head
26. MANDARIN PALACE
Ongpin
P150/head
27. YAMCHA TEA HOUSE
Timog, Quezon City
lunch & dinner buffet - P349/head
28. ALING NENE'S BBQ
Magallanes
eat all you can on fridays & saturdays - P200/head
29. ALBA'S RESTAURANT
Tomas Morato & Libis, Quezon City; Jupiter St., Makati City
P550/head
30. JESTINE'S RESTAURANT
Jupiter St., Makati City
breakfast all you can - P99
31. EMPEROR VILLA
Ongpin St., Binondo Manila
lunch buffet - P180 - P200
dinner buffet - P350
32. UNA MAS
Greenbelt 2, Makati City
lunch and dinner buffet - P475
33. STEAK MD
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
eat all you can steak - P500

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Awesome Twosome - Fruits & Vegetable Salad

Who would not want to go healthy nowadays? Try this fruits and vegetable salad! It's so easy to prepare. Just a few cut, dice, mix, toss and voila! A luscious appetizer or dessert in your plate. To some, specially those who are on a diet, this might even be a complete meal.




Preparation time: 15 mins
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

1 med carrots, blanched and diced
1 med cucumber, seeded and diced
5 pcs cooked ham, cut in small squares
1 small can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 small can of pineapple tid bits, drained
1 med apple, diced, unpeeled
1/4 - 1/2 cup cashew nuts
2 - 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Procedure:
1. Completely drain pineapple; soak the diced ingredients in the syrup.
2. Combine mayonnaise, pepper, sugar and salt. Adjust to taste.
3. Fold in the crushed pineapple evenly. Add the diced ingredients and toss.
4. Top with cashew nuts and ham.


Cooking Tips:
Soaking the fruits in the pineapple syrup will prevent oxidation. This is what's causing the discoloration or browning on the surface of the fruits.

Good Morning @ DELIFRANCE

I really missed having breakfast at Delifrance. I used to spend my saturday morning meal at their branch in RCBC Makati when I was still having my MBA in DLSU RCBC Campus. You get to enjoy yummy food along with a book or newspaper on hand, how good is that huh?!. Their wide array of baked products is a great selling point. Giving customers variety prevents satiation. I also look forward to their clubhouse, salads and pasta, some are simply irresistible.
Now, I'm enjoying their coffee bun (P35/pc). It may only be next to Kopi Roti in terms of taste but it's a good alternative when your craving for one. For a filling and delicious breakfast meal, or for any other meal occasions, Delifrance should surely be in the list.
Ham & Cheese Omellette





4 seasons juice



Delifrance South Expressway
Mamplasan, Binan, Laguna

Monday, July 2, 2007

An Italian Feast @ CARLOS PIZZA

We did not have a very good "first time" experience with this resto in Tagaytay back in 2005. Aside from the quite slow service, their pizza did not satisfy our expectation. Hence, trying it out again is really a risk for us. On the other hand, we gave it a second thought on the premise that some improvements would have probably been made considering the 2 years that have passed. So, off we risked last sunday. Surprisingly, it's a lot better the second time around. Service is significantly improved, more accomodating and real fast even though their packed with customers at almost dinner time. The recommended best sellers in the house did not fail us at least for the pizza and pasta. They still have to do some works on their salad though. Overall, we enjoyed a real Italian Feast. We'll rate it 4 out of 5 spoons.




Riley showing Carlo's artistic and inviting interior


Sofie near the oven area and dough preparation counter


Chicken Ceasar Salad - P185
The Salad dressing is too much that it already wilted the leaves; tastewise - plain acceptable


Cheesedog Wrap - P70
Good enough to tame a tod!


Capriccioso Pizza (pepperoni, salami, ham, bacon, italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers & onions) P265 for a 9"size
Mildly flavored, creamy, cheesy with good overall aftertaste; pizza crust is not that crispy and crumbly just the way we want it to be, child friendly and gentle to the bite

Fettucini Alfredo - P275
Creamy with very mild meat notes; pasta still has its aldente texture


It's getting cold in here,... a sweet embrace is so much comforting


Ladies at Carlo's just can't resist to get hold of me... :-)
Carlo's Pizza
Tagaytay City (046) 4130707