Friday, May 27, 2016

Cowrie Grill by Manila Hotel

Of all the steak houses here in the Philippines, Cowrie Grill has always been my favorite. Aside from their tender, perfectly cooked steaks, they also have a great service. No request too big for their diners.

My sister, Cla, and I had lunch there the day after my birthday because she was not able to attend my celebratory dinner the night before. 

I developed an appreciation for cheese when I went to London for training last year so I decidedly to try their cheese platter. This was listed under their dessert menu but I think this is more than what anyone can finish after a full meal.

The cheeses available were Goat, Brie, Roquefort, Oveja and Gruyere. It also has dried fruits - cranberries, raisins and apricots - cashew nuts and grapes! I loved the goat cheese and gruyere. Never really liked soft cheeses so Brie was meh. Cla asked for some honey and it brought everything to a whole new level.

Someone looks happy!

I was too! I was going to get my wisdom tooth extracted later that afternoon so I was determined to EAT MY HEART OUT! Haha.

Caesar salad is a-must! We never eat here and not order this salad. They make it right in front of your table. Very very yummy!

I ordered their Salmon Steak. I usually order their Ribeye but I was craving for some well-grilled fish. Perfectly cooked down to the vegetables!

Cla ordered the New York Cut. This is only half. The steak is so big that we always split it into two. Our younger sister, Camille, was also joining us. The steak came with mashed potato, which was very creamy.

As always, everything was wonderful! Beautiful place, beautiful food and beautiful service. Bring your special someones here!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pan-fried Porkchops

When our helper left us last week, I discovered that we still had a lot of meat in the freezer! I hate seeing our freezer so full so I decided to cook them one day at a time.

Today was pan-fried porkchops. I marinated the pork yesterday with soy sauce, calamansi, sugar and garlic. I didn't use any measuring tools so just eyeball it. Marinade should be a salty/sour with a touch of sweetness. Marinate meat for at least 1 hour.

To cook, add some oil into the pan. Make sure it's hot before adding the porkchops. Cook each side for 5 minutes. Add the marinade and cook with the porkchop. Serve hot!

This is a very easy recipe. Let me know how it goes!

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. :)