29 April 2013

something to try: chocolate mousse express

this is something i will have to try to make AFTER the wedding. because if i do it now, i will probably have to run for 4 hours to burn it off. haha! enjoy!

27 April 2013

the dove beauty sketch

as one of three girls in the family growing up, there would always be inevitable comparisons among my sisters and i. i would often hear people say: "mas maganda si insert any of our names here, kaysa kay insert any of our names here". but i never really paid much attention to those, because mama said we were ALL beautiful.

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                                                                   back in the 90's

personally, i prefer being smart and kind to being beautiful. because being beautiful is subjective. people have their own ideas about beauty, ie. a V-shaped face (at least that's what locals in Singapore seem to like), long lashes, straight, shiny hair. whatever. people will look at you differently and say you're pretty or ugly. but being smart, being kind? these are objective. either you are or you aren't.

but sometimes, those beauty magazines tell you otherwise. there was a time in my teenage years where i experimented a lot with makeup. i would sit in front of my mom's dresser, and put on her makeup, just to see if i could look like those models in the magazine. more often than not, i didn't. haha.

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a glamour shot you need to take at least once in your life. haha

i believe that there are no ugly people in the world. only people with ugly hearts, you know, those people who radiate negative energy towards others, that sometimes it warps your perception of their beauty. and sometimes, we ourselves think we're ugly. who isn't their own worst critic, right? there are days when i look in the mirror, and seriously think i'm so NOT pretty. and then i snap out of it, brush my hair, powder my face, put on a nice outfit, smile and then voila! i'm beautiful again. 

this dove ad is going viral around the internet these days. and it does put in perspective how we see ourselves. really touching and an eye-opener for us girls. 

16 April 2013

engagement shoot


we had our engagement shoot last saturday. here's what my sister captured via her phone while the photographer was at work.
engagement

wee! we are excited to see the result of our whole day (take note: WHOLE DAY!) shoot around singapore.

03 April 2013

how i cooked paella!

for our easter sunday lunch, we decided to be festive by having paella! there is no better way to celebrate than having a nice warm plate of paella on your table. it's no wonder that this dish is almost always on most filipino family's menu whenever they celebrate a major life event. 

i have two things to say about paella: one, there's so much effort put into this dish, what with the ingredients and having to chop them all up, cook them, and make sure it tastes just right. you really have to appreciate and give a big "thank you" to whoever cooked it for you. second, there's just so many ways of cooking it. i did a google search for paella recipes, and i got really confused. so i read through several recipes, and what i ended up doing was a mash up of the instructions i got.  i think in the end, it will taste how YOU want it to taste. 

here's what i used:

bell peppers, onions, green onions, coriander leaves

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green peas, tomato paste, chopped garlic, eggs (really more for garnishing), chinese sausages, and a small packet of paellero (note: this is a powder mix that i think consists of saffron and some spices. you actually want to use real saffron, but since i brought this to singapore from manila, i wanted to use it this time). you also need paprika powder (not in picture) for marinating the chicken.

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squids, shrimp  (you can also have scallops, clams, mussels, but my sister is allergic, so i didn't put those in my recipe) and chicken (i bought the chicken along with the bones,  because i boiled it in water and used it as chicken stock for cooking the rice.

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oh yes, i forgot to take a picture of the rice (main ingredient. haha). our iron chef friend, kman, suggested i use arboro rice. but i couldn't find any at shop and save, so i used jasmine rice, which i soaked in water before i put in the pan.

here are some of the ingredients when i chopped them up. see the can of peeled tomatoes there? yep, that's one more ingredient. side note: there are people who, when they cook, the kitchen gets really messy. personally, i cannot tolerate messy kitchens. i really like to prepare everything  first before i start cooking, kind of like what they have in cooking shows. it's really just neater and helps you cook more calmly and efficiently.

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i cooked the chicken first, after marinating it for about 30 minutes in paprika, salt an pepper. then i cooked it in oil, garlic and onions, after which, i set aside on a plate with paper towels.

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i did the same thing to the shrimp and the squid (except the marinating part).

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then afterwards, i sauteed the following: garlic, onion and bell pepper, plus some of the coriander leaves. added the tomatoes and mixed them well. i added the rice, which was previously soaking in water and to cook the rice, then i put in the chicken stock that i made earlier.

you really have to guard it while cooking, because you don't want the rice to dry up (kind of when you cook it in the rice cooker). and just when the rice is almost cooked, i added in the paellero powder (or the saffron strands, if you have it). and also mix in the chinese sausage, chicken, shrimp and squid. when you do that, it's an arm exercise, because you will have to stir the dish several times. to make sure everything is evenly distributed.

when it's done, it will look like this:

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you'll probably want some lemons too:
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jp was so happy that he took a picture and posted it in Facebook (he rarely updates his facebook page), so that was special. haha. PLUS! he treated me to some ribeye steak for dinner. 

this is what i posted on instagram:

happy easter! #paella

there you have it, our easter lunch. it will probably be another really special occasion (or a special request) before i make this dish again. it takes a lot of effort and time in the kitchen. so next time you eat paella, remember to send your regards to the cook. i think he or she would really appreciate some kudos for making this special dish. 

*here are some of the paella recipes i looked at:

01 April 2013

cooked: ginataan/binignit

in keeping with last week's "no meat" plan, jp requested for binignit. i didn't really know what he was talking about until he described it. and then i went: "ah, ginataan!" so apparently, according to jp, they usually eat this during holy week. in manila, we ate this all the time, especially during afternoon merienda.

i was supposed to prepare this last tuesday,  but it took me a while to find the gabi and the pearl sago. so i cooked it on wednesday, after going around several groceries to find some of the ingredients. i was really frustrated when i went to fairprice finest and giant, because the attendants at the grocery couldn't understand what i was saying. i asked for "tapioca balls", "the one you put on bubble tea", "sago", and most of them looked at me with a blank face. hello, it's used all the time in their desserts, so i don't really understand why they can't get what i was describing. in any case, our friend evan, tweeted me to look for it in the dry goods section, and we FINALLY found them.

here's what i used:

rice balls (can be found on the frozen food section), gabi, camote(sweet potato), saging na saba (i think it's called plantains?), coconut milk, and the  hard-to-find pearl sago and sugar. lots of sugar.

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the original recipe calls for purple yam (ube) and some langka (jackfruit), but i couldn't find yam at the supermarket, and though there was jackfruit, i couldn't bear to buy it, simply because it was peeled already, and it has a certain smell (but not as strong as durian). and i didn't want to stink up the bus when i commuted (i'm a conscientious commuter, not like some people who bring durian on the bus!)

so i cut the gabi, camote and bananas into bite sized pieces. then proceeded with cooking the pearl sago. these instructions proved to be useful, since i'm really used to buying sago already cooked at the wet market, and it's my first time to cook it. and the result is this:

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i also cooked the rice balls, which was really simple: just put them in boiling water and wait for them to float. i chose the colored balls, just to make the dish a bit more colorful. 

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after that, it really was just a matter of cooking the gabi and camote in coconut milk, then adding sugar (depends how sweet you want it), and the rest of the ingredients when they soften a bit. let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, and voila!

ginataan... or as jp calls it: binignit!

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here's a link to a recipe, with instructions how to make the rice balls, if you don't want to purchase frozen ones. 

next up: my first paella for easter!
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