Simply consistent
13 January 2010, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family, Food

The family does not suffer from kainophobia, the fear of anything new or of change. When dining out at D Wharf Precinct, an area with its cool sea breezes and a wide range of alfresco eateries featuring many national and international dishes, we continually order the same dishes.

Fish and chips, special fried rice, spaghetti bolognaise, and fried calamari dishes are tested, tasted, and guaranteed to fill us up.


Soups, soups, and more soups
13 January 2010, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Family, General, Soups

Weather conditions have been consistent over the past weeks, unlike how my children have been behaving over the school holidays. Monsoonal showers, storms and heavy rain at times overnight — the weather warning advises.

Pressure due to boredom developing and is expected to deepen over the next few days. Isolated drama and teenage depression in the coming weeks might occur – my tip-off.  While the two little ones are looking forward to their swimming lessons every afternoon, the teen-ager is bored to tears.

Two more weeks to go and things will hopefully return to normality.

Mongo soup, Chicken sopas, and Beef soup

Biko (sticky rice with sweet coconut sauce)
7 January 2010, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Family, Food, Sweets

My late father was a quiet man and only talked when spoken to.  On rare occasions he showed his sharp, amusing side which was often taken for rudeness by some who did not know him.  He was at ease on his own, seated in his favourite chair, and was contented monitoring the ins and outs of his household.  He amused himself by listening to CDs of Frank Sinatra, Handumanan 1 and 2 (A Piano Anthology of Immortal Cebuano Songs), Beethoven Piano concertos, or playing his favourite songs which includes Sentimental Over You, Stardust, Tenderly, Laura, It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie, The Nearness of You, Sunshine of Your Smile etc. on his piano or singing the same songs in his head and tapping his fingers to follow the beat.

I have neither seen him cook nor seen him spend even 30 minutes in the kitchen, except when he turned on the water kettle for his morning coffee.  Surprisingly, he often provided suggestions on proportions or techniques for some dishes.

When I started experimenting with biko, he directed that I should base it on 1:1 ratio.  After several trial-and-error attempts, I am sure that my late father‘s response if asked about my version of the biko would be ‘lami’ (tasty).

1 ½ cup coconut milk (400 ml)
1 can coconut cream (270 ml)
1 ½  cups glutinous rice
1 ½  dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt

Cook glutinous rice like how rice is cooked (1:1 ratio).  Allow this to cool once cooked
Boil coconut milk, coconut cream, sugar and salt over a medium fire
Stir constantly until the mixture becomes sticky and thickened
Add the cooked sticky rice and mix thoroughly
Turn off the fire and let it stand for about 5 minutes

Note: The biko is watery at first but dries up when the finished product cools down.The custard topping recipe I found on the Internet did not work out well with my biko (second photo).

What are we doing on New Year’s Eve?
1 January 2010, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Family, Food

No rest for the wicked.  My body still aches from the number of hours spent in the kitchen getting ready for Christmas celebration.  I sensed my digestive system had not been able to make up its mind as to which food group I digested should be sorted out first.

Then a family member asked, ‘What are we doing on New Year’s Eve?’  Duh! I am still full and I’ll think of something later.  New Year’s food was mainly impromptu fare. We all arrived at my sister’s place with a plate or two to welcome the year 2010.

Fried chicken, fish escabeche, humba, seafood noodles, roast pork and pork sinigang.

Sweets consist of 2 types of biko — one with custard on top and the other one plain, custard cake, fruits, nuts and fruit punch.

I want a bracelet and this
15 December 2009, 8:46 pm
Filed under: Family

My youngest daughter loves collecting junk mail catalogues. Not just any junk mail but the ones from jewellery shops and distributors. Any chance she gets, she does not fail to stop by every jewellery shop at the shopping mall and collects catalogues or brochures on display. She also requested her father to buy cookies for Santa. She was annoyed when I accidentally took the plastic cup and bowl she prepared for Santa’s visit on the magazine table. How was I to know that she has started the yearly cookie and milk ritual?

She did have an ulterior motive when she suggested that we prepare the Christmas tree. I took photos of her set up which has her wish list and a few of the jewellery brochures she collected — for Santa to take a pick?

Bring a Plate
4 December 2009, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Family, Food, General

A different one this time, was the unanimous decision for this year’s family Christmas party.   The family is taking time-out from the over-used dishes constantly prepared and laid on the table during parties for the past years.

Cooking lechon at the back of my sister’s place was suggested; which means seafood sinugba is not far behind – with the coal from the lechon.  Scanning the pages of my recipe books for an uncommon dish is not easy.  Indian, Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian or Chinese?

I have started to conduct a series of experiments for my contribution to this year’s Christmas festivities. The Indian tomato rice and the masi, which I think is the Cebuano adaptation to the Chinese new year sweet dumplings, are not bad.

Three Candles and the Full Moon
7 November 2009, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Family, General

Three Candles and the Full Moon
by: Hingpit

Remembering all the saints and martyrs
Remembering all the faithful departed
All Saints’ Day
All Souls’ Day
Loved ones who have passed away
Yearning for loved ones to pray
‘We miss you’
‘Rest in Peace’
‘You are always in our hearts’
Words conveyed to affirm love and affection
To loved ones who are gone but will never be forgotten