Sunday, April 24, 2016

Vertical Garden

Insomnia makes you want to be productive. When I can't sleep, I usually watch home improvement or cooking videos on Youtube and a vertical garden has always been on top of my list. Since Reg is out this Sunday, I decided to just go for it. 

After having lunch with my family, Camille and I didn't have anywhere to go. I told her we can check out QC Circle because I've read somewhere that I can buy plants there at a low cost. I was also in search of the wire mesh which will hold all my planters. The one in Wilcon costs Php850+ for a single piece! I needed 4 pcs., so no thanks. Haha.

Entrance to QC Circle is only Php15/car. There was only 1 store selling the wire mesh. Initially, she gave it to me for Php250/pc but I haggled until she gave it to me for Php150. I also bought my planters there for Php10/pc.

The stall beside that was selling herbs for Php35/pc but I was able to ask for discount as well. I bought 2 pots of 6 different herbs! Total I paid is Php350 plus Php100 for 2 pots of Rosemary from another store.

On the way home, we bought concrete nails from Ace Hardware too.

Transferring the plants was easy but tedious. You just need to tear the black plant bag and transfer. Make sure you don't cut any of the roots. Wear gloves if your hands are sensitive. Beware of earthworms for newbies!

We nailed the wire mesh horizontally so the sun can reach the plants better.

Here's the finished product!

From top left :
Basil, Italian Oregano, Dill, Ashitaba

From bottom left:
Rosemary, lemont Mint, Tarragon, Coriander

Do you have a vertical garden? :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Braised Mushrooms

My husband told me that their cook at home/ office is on vacation. Since only he and his mom eat lunch there, I decided to make his "baon" tomorrow vegetarian so they care share it. My mother-in-law is vegetarian, fyi. :)

I have limited ingredients in my pantry because I have't been to the grocery yet. Good thing my mom gave me a big pack of beautiful dried mushrooms that I have yet to use and I stocked up on vegetarian sauces and condiments (in case my in-laws come by for a visit) during my last trip to Bee Tin in Chinatown. Looking at the mushrooms, an image of a delicious looking plate of braised mushrooms came to mind! Luckily also, I still have half a head of Taiwan pechay inside the refrigerator. It all seems meant to be! Haha.

I have never been the kind of cook to measure ingredients so these are just estimates. :)

Here's the recipe:

1. Wash the dried mushrooms, maybe around 10-15 large pcs. Soak in boiling water for 25 minutes.

2. When soft, cut the stems out. Reserve the soaking water.

3. In a large pot, place the mushroom and soaking water. Boil until you only have around 3 tbsp. left of the soaking water.

4. In a separate bowl, mix 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce, 3 tbsp. of vegetarian oyster sauce,1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 5 tbsp. of water. I also added a splash of sesame oil.

5. Put the sauce in with the mushrooms and keep stirring until thick and shiny. Add 1 tbsp. sugar, or to taste.

6. Blanch the Taiwan pechay in boilig water with a little oil for 30-40 seconds. Immediately place in cool water to stop the cooking process. Arrange in a flower form on the plate.

7. Scoop the mushrooms onto the plate one by one. Top with the sauce. Serve hot!

Please let me know if you tried this recipe! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Homemade Carrot Cake

When we went around the neighborhood, I also wanted to try cakes from this place. I was craving for old-fashioned chocolate cake so we went in to check if they had some. Fortunately, they did!

Price per slice is Php75. A little too expensive for such a small slice but I was desperate! 😁 

Surprisingly, I really really liked it. It wasn't too sweet. The cake was soft but needed more moisture. The frosting was delicious! It was the exact thing I was craving. Lucky me!

We also got a slice of carrot cake. Haven't tried it yet but I will update you guys tomorrow. We're too full!

I recommend this place for their cakes! Try it! :)

Blake's Wings & Steaks

Reg and I still had after dinner munchies so we decided to explore the restaurants around the neighborhood. We've been eyeing Blake's for sometime now because wings + steaks = happy tummy! Haha. We called around 7:30PM to ask if they deliver but they said that they don't anymore. We decided to go there instead.

We ordered 1/2 kg sweet and spicy chicken wings with bleu cheese dip and nachos. We waited 20 minutes as they cook everything upon order. Walking home took only 5 minutes so the food were still hot when we ate them. 

The nachos were disappointing. Although the serving was huge for the price, we didn't like it at all. The nacho chips were crunchy but they were "durog". I think they gave us the bottom pieces. They were very hard to eat because you need a full piece to transport the toppings to your mouth! #piggyproblems Lol. The toppings were generous. We would have liked the ground beef to be less salty though. Only half of the box was consumed! 

The wings looked and smelled good but they were also too salty. Reg, who can usually finish at least 10 pcs. of chicken wings only ate 3. I, on the other hand, just had 2. We didn't want them anymore. The bleu cheese dip was too runny and lacks flavor.

Overall, we probably wouldn't order from this place again. I'd only give it 2/5 stars.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sweet Purple Yam - 2 Ways

I went to Sonya's Garden last Sunday with my in-laws and bought some sweet purple yams for Php50/kg. The first time I had this was when I accompanied my mom and sister, Camille, to her school field trip. We trekked Mt. Pamulaklakin in Subic and had a delicious lunch prepared by the Natives. The dessert was boiled sweet purple yams and I really liked them.

Anyway, since it's our 2nd Monthsary today as a married couple, I decided to give Reg a break from the his diet and air-fry some Bagnet from Ilocos. 

He bought this from his recent trip. I air-fried a slab at 200C for 16 minutes. Make sure your knife is really sharp to get that clean cut.

We watch Grimm every night so instead of the usual unhealthy chips, I steamed some of the yams and made the rest into fries.

For the steamed yams, I just washed them really well and steamed them for 25 minutes using my Philips steamer. Check if they are tender with a fork. If they are, let them cool then peel them. You can eat them right away.

For the fries -

1. After washing, I peeled the skin off with a peeler. Wash them again.

2. Cut them into wedges. Soak in water until ready to cook.

3. Drain the wedges. Place in air-fryer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and rock salt. 

4. Air-fry at 200C for 15 minutes. Once done, transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with rock salt and SUGAR! Yes, you read that right. This is the thing that binds everything together. *wink wink

The fries were really crispy and the insides were soft. They were yummy! 

Try it for your next movie night. :) 

Homemade Barley

One of the things I miss in Singapore are the barley drinks sold in hawker shops. I love their sweet subtle taste. I always, always make sure I drink this when I visit SG.

My mom has been cleaning up a storm in their house and has been giving me food that she bought from her travels.

This was one of the things she gave me. Since Reg loves his juice and I want him to eat healthier, I decided to make some barley drink.

1. I filled a big pot with water and added 1/3 of the pack. I boiled it for 3 hours, adding water as I went along; making sure the water level is always the same as when I started. 

2. After 3 hours, I tried some of the barley to test for softness. The texture should be like overcooked pasta - pasty and soft.

3. Add rock sugar or whatever sweetener you prefer. Make sure everything dissolves before turning off the heat.

4. Let it cool then refrigerate, covered. 

Since there were only 2 of us drinking it, it lasted us 4 days. :)

It's a very refreshing drink for the summer! Try it and let me know what you think. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dohtonbori at 8 Missouri

A new Japanese restaurant opened late last year and we have been going there quite often. The restaurant's specialty is okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese pancake mixed with a variety of mixed meats and vegetables. The food is simple but delicious!

Nate, my godbrother, and I went there yesterday for late lunch. We ordered their 4-cheese Pizza and Mixed Okonomiyaki. Nathan is usually very picky but HE ATE A LOT. As in A LOT. Haha!

He had fun making his own pizza. The crust is like a pancake but after cooking it for 5 minutes, it becomes really crunchy.

That smile says it all! You can cook the food yourself or you can ask the staff to do it for you. 

Can I just say how happy I am that my favorite pink chef's jacket fits me again? :)

Look at how full this little boy's plate is! Haha! He finished every single thing. He loved it!

You can visit Dohtobori at 8 Missouri Building in Greenhills, in front of Gloria Maris Restaurant. They have a lot of different restaurants there that we like so I'll be blogging more about them too!