Twelve Round Fruits for Prosperity
31 December 2008, 11:57 pm
Filed under: Family, Fruit/Plant, General

My platter of twelve round fruits is all set and is standing by for media noche. The superstitious, the hopefuls, the optimist, the curious, and in particular the Chinese believe that the round fruits will bring in a well-rounded year of wealth, luck, success, and good health.

Being all of the above?  I also wish for  happiness and lots of laughter.

12 fruits

Peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, apple, orange, cherry, grapes, dragon fruit, and kiwi fruit

lime and blackberries

lime and blackberries


To market, to market
30 December 2008, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Family, General

I have always retained my childlike view on religion, much to the frustration, I think, of my hubby.  Hubby has a different ‘religion’ or should I say ‘political ideology’.  Where was I again?  Oh! Back to the market episode.

My daughter came home one day singing this amusing nursery rhyme:

‘To market to market with my brother Jim
When somebody threw a tomato at him
Tomatoes are soft and they don’t hurt the skin
But this one killed Jim it was wrapped in a tin’

Hubby made a comment that many of the popular nursery rhymes taught to young children are violent.  My Gosh!  Were they? I finally realized he is right.  Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Rock-a-Bye Baby, Oh My Darling, Clementine, There was an old woman, and more.   Was I not reading between the lines when reciting these songs?  Luckily not: I was one of the many lucky young children whose childlike view does not only apply to religion.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that these nursery rhymes should be classified.  What would it be? Perhaps I should amend the title of this column to Nursery Rhymes Exposed.

cJack and Jill, rated “C” – intended for children

pgHumpty Dumpty, rated  “PG” – Parental Guidance

pRock-a-Bye Baby, rated “P” – intended for pre-schoolers

m3There was an old woman,  rated “MA15+”  – intended to 15 and over

mOh My Darling, Clementine,  rated “M” – intended for mature audiences

eOR rated “E” – Exempt from classification


Sans Rival
30 December 2008, 8:02 am
Filed under: Cooking, Food

I couldn’t even believe myself when the ‘voice’ in my head declared that she will take a crack at baking for our  Christmas lunch.  How do you start? She, I mean, I have never baked a cake in my 40 something life.  I have no recollection of the women in my family; my mother and 3 older sisters baking.  Have they?  One sister couldn’t even remember me being a member of the family. After combing Google for the recipe and visiting Market Manila’s website for tips, I excitedly bought the ingredients: eggs, sugar, cream of tartar, toasted cashews, butter, eggs, corn syrup, and dark rum.

After reading the directions for the nth time, the willing spirit got overwhelmed and the ‘voice’ said maybe later?


Porkchop and stir fry Bok Choy for Lunch
29 December 2008, 6:14 am
Filed under: Cooking, Food

‘Cloudy with showers and gusty storms. Light to moderate westerly winds.’ — Is today’s weather forecast.  Rain started pouring at around 10:30 am as I was getting ready to prepare lunch.

I marinated 6 pieces of pork chops with lots of garlic, Thai fish sauce, lime and lemoncito juice, one chicken stock cube, and pepper – the usual suspects.

Rainy days and pork chops? A perfect match.

pork chop

fried pork chop

Leftover Christmas Ham-ba
29 December 2008, 2:44 am
Filed under: Cooking, Food

Encouraged by the recipe from Market Manila, I attempted to cook ham for Christmas. The first attempt, I would claim, was almost there.

I bought an Australian smoked leg ham and simmered it as advised by Market Manila in his December 24, 2006 article on Christmas Ham.

Picture the half leg of the ham simmering, not in the ‘Japanese hot springs bath’, but in a small pot with half its leg sticking out – duh….  I failed to remember to buy a big pot to accommodate the big ham.  This is just an experiment, isn’t it?  The ‘voice’ in my head advised to simmer the half leg at an hour-and-a-half interval, and vice-versa.  Half breaching MM’s: ‘Simmer over low heat for say 3-4 hours’.

Enough to my almost following the instructions in baby steps: the ham was cooked and eaten to the delight of my hubby who thinks it is better than Majestic Ham he is used to in Manila.   The same person who tells me I am the best looking woman on earth, EVERYDAY.  Yes, he is blind.

The second, but definitely not the final, attempt was made last Wednesday, 24 December. This time the ‘voice’ told me to buy a small ham.   Lo and behold! The ham fits in my pot! And it went ‘gurgling’ snugly for 3 hours.  This is just another experiment, isn’t it?  The ham was overcooked and it tasted like HUMBA.

Introducing the leftover of my Christman Ham-ba.  The moral of the story is; Buy a big pot?

Leftover Christmas Ham-ba

Leftover Christmas Ham-ba

Keeping up with Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Takas-Takas
28 December 2008, 9:36 am
Filed under: Family, General

The Keeping up with the Joneses catchphrase was adapted by my sisters to Keeping up with Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Takas-Takas and unreservedly claim this adaptation as their own. My analysis of these women:

Mrs. Jones still maintains the high living standard – fortunate enough to afford the luxury of life. Mrs. Johnson is the ‘Nouveau riche’, a career driven woman whose husband struggles so she is able to climb up the social ladder. A different story for Mrs. Takas-Takas: she is someone who does not want to be outdone by the neighbour’s house or by the neighbour’s wife. She spends money for the sake of flaunting her wealth to be admired and be recognized. Unfortunately, she tends to go into hiding when bills arrive.

My mother and older sisters would often say this statement when a family member, a close friend, a relative or an acquaintance tries desperately to keep up and maintain a lifestyle that is beyond reach or simply just TH (trying hard) to make an impression.

With the looming global recession the family, especially the women, is sympathetic towards Mrs. Takas-Takas.


Diamonds and pearls sans the diamonds.

My home, my sweet adopted home
27 December 2008, 2:57 pm
Filed under: Family

My family

In my neck of the woods, the coastline looks so empty but rich, tranquil and hot – synonymous almost to our of way life.

This is just 15 minutes drive from home

Low tide

'Very near and yet so far away'

Footwear in the sand