Thursday, August 2, 2012

Picking fruits from the tree...

I always can't resist picking fruits from a tree. I remember those times in my childhood when I looked forward to visiting grandfather on his farm in Bulacan. Usually he has some native fruit ready for picking and he'd invite us to pick. He has a variety of fruit trees (indian mango, santol, star apple, sampaloc, balimbing, aratilis, guava, atis, mabolo), but only a few of each. My favorite is the aratilis.

It may look like cherries, but isn't really similar in nature and its like the size of small grapes. Its very sweet when its ripe. I also love that its tree is not so tall so its easy to pick the fruits by just reaching out to it.

Most of the fruit trees there are sour-tasting though, like indian mango and most of all the santol, but its those trees that bear the most fruits. Those were also the big trees, but just for fun we tried to climb it (only the lower branches) or jump high to get some of the fruits. We also did some picking using sungkit (an improvised wooden stick with a hook  used to pick fruits). After all our energies were exhausted and we have a handful of fruits, he'd then ask his handyman to pick some more. Said handyman is like Tarzan, who can hang around every no time he has filled a basket with fruits for us to take home ;)

Back here at home, the only tree left that I can get some fruits to eat from is the Rambutan. Picking time is about July/August. Its a big tree, but luckily its near our second floor balcony where I can handpick some fruits, or use a sungkit to get some more. Our sungkit is quite heavy, and I think I used up more energy than what I can get eating the rambutan fruits that I picked. Nevertheless, its one of those natural activities that can be beneficial in some ways, though most people don't care much to do. 



Baked Macaroni

Other than spaghetti dish, baked macaroni is the usual pasta dish that I can prepare for my family of three. An 8x8 inch pan-full is good for four persons, but I usually eat less than 1/4, and my two sons easily finish it up. I don't really follow a recipe, and most of the time it tastes like my spaghetti too ;)

I used butter, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Kraft Cheddar Cheese for the topping. I just browned it a little in our toaster oven.
I forgot to take a shot of the pasta dish on the plate, I guess I was hungry and tired already :p My sons enjoyed the meal so it was worth the trouble even if they don't help me with the dishes and cleaning up ;)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A well-stocked pantry...

I used to think I can get by without stocking so much goods, since there are now so many supermarkets nearby our place. But in anyone's kitchen nothing beats a well-stocked pantry. There's no harm in stocking items that have a long shelflife, and at the same time we always have to be prepared for emergencies, even minor ones.
Its about time I review the items that my family needs. My list will be far different from yours...
My ideal pantry would include the following:

1. Canned goods - as always, its the best emergency food. My canned goods would definitely exclude SPAM and similar processed meats. It would also exclude spicy hot-flavored anything. I would definitely stock up on good-quality Tuna, sardines, mushrooms, garbanzos, corn, baked beans, chili con carne and other canned fish or meat for variety.
2. Vegetable oils - Extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, sesame oil and coconut oil
3. Bottled items - Spaghetti sauce, Black olives, green olives, marinades
4. Tetra-packed - Soymilk, almond milk, cow's milk (used only occasionally and mostly to add to recipes)
5. Grains - rice (different varieties, including glutinous rice), quick-cooking oatmeal, spaghetti
6. Dry beans, peas and nuts - kidney, white beans, lentils, green peas, peanuts, pistachios, almonds
7. Beverages - Coffee (mostly 3-in-1), Green tea, other herbal teas, distilled water
8. Spices and condiments - Sea salt, black pepper, Kikkoman soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, white wine for cooking
9. Flour products including hotcake mix, used occasionally.
10. Sweets and desserts - brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, cooking chocolate, dark chocolate bar
11. Fresh produce - green leafy vegetables (esp. malunggay, kamote tops, leeks), tomatoes,  cucumbers, lettuce, lemongrass, lemons, oranges, bananas, mangoes, other fruits and vegetables in season.
12. Meat, poultry, eggs, some lean ground beef, chicken for soup stock
13. Butter, Cheese - Parmesan, cottage cheese, cheddar and others to try.

I read some good tips here on how to have a well-stocked pantry.
I better start stocking up, and maybe I can also show you a photo of my pantry :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

A sad breakfast meal from McDonalds

Some weekends when I really don't like to prepare breakfast, first thing that comes to mind is to order breakfast from McDo. Its hot and its fast, and there's no minimum order required. However, I don't remember the food there being this pathetic:

This is a Longganisa meal. It doesn't look good, and doesn't taste good either. The egg is so small and overcooked. The longganisa is thin, dry, kinda cheap tasting, not meaty. (The brewed coffee is good though.)

This is what its supposed to look like:

I think this one will taste a whole lot better!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Simply Coconut!

I really love eating coconuts and drinking the fresh juice. It is the most refreshing and energizing drink you can find, for a very affordable price. (Here in the city its about P25., in the provinces, much cheaper.) However, it took me a long while to get accustomed to buying coconuts and most of all in cutting it up by myself. The shell looks intimidating, but in young coconuts it really is easy to cut and slice. If I can do it, you can do it. Just make sure you got young coconuts. It is full of juice (even up to two glasses), and its meat is soft and sweet. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For the love of almonds...

I love nuts! My favorites are pistachios, macadamia, almonds, cashews and pecans. Unfortunately, those are all expensive and its even hard to find especially the raw, unprocessed kind. Luckily, my brother gave me a pack of fresh almonds from Australia on his visit last August. I was saving it in the refrigerator and now for the holidays I'm baking some goodies loaded with almonds! I don't have a real oven anymore, so I just used my toaster oven. It was more time consuming since I'd have to keep an eye on it, and turn the pan to brown it evenly.

The first recipe I made is Almond Macaroons. I wanted to make marzipan, but I didn't have time for it. I also needed a grinder to make almond paste. I just pounded the nuts manually for the macaroons. When it was baked it turned out fine and not so gritty.

Almond Macaroons
(recipe to follow...)

The second recipe is Date-Almond Brownies, but I wanted to make it like a this one I named Browniscotti ;)

(recipe to follow)