Archive for the ‘ Herbs ’ Category

Fresh Herbs, Cooking and Gardening

Before I started baking, cooking was on top of my hobbies.  I started at an early age where I would watch my paternal grandmother cooks for us.  I get fascinated at how she does the delicious dishes she serves us.  When I grew older and took up Hotel Restaurant Administration, I got more interested with it.  I was even the Chief Cook on both my Quantity Food Production and Catering classes where we served guests of about 100 to 150 from soup to dessert.

In connection to cooking are the ingredients that make the dish unique.   I remember we had this “marketing” class, not the theoretical one but literally the “market place”.  In this class my classmates and I would bravely visit Divisoria and Cloverleaf/Balintawak  wet markets during wee hours.  We would check  and get ourselves familiar with the different ingredients necessary in cooking.  We need to master them as well for questions on our practical exams would be coming from information available on those markets.

Aside from the ingredients we see in the wet market, I remember myself checking the supermarkets of SM North Edsa and Super Sale where I would look at the names and the appearance of every fresh herb that is displayed on their shelves and I would tell myself, ” I wish we have these supermarkets in Pampanga so it would be easy for me to try recipes that require fresh herbs.”  My dream happened a few years after.

Today, we not only rely on the big supermarkets for fresh herbs.  But, we can grow them at home in our backyards and if land is a problem, we can put them in pots so they are readily available when we need them.

This is the reason I am adding another hobby on my lists. LOL.  Since I ordered the herbs from Selle (, I am looking at gardening as another hobby that can relieve me of boredom. I guess it’s in the genes.  My maternal grandfather is a farmer and was able to collect 76 hectares of land (including the land where the Millenium tree – one of the largest if not the largest Balete tree in Asia sits) before he died. He used to plant coconut, coffee and citruses like calamansi, pomelo, and mandarin. My parents are entrepreneurs and farmers as well.  Currently, we have Guapples and Papaya on our land that are on harvesting stage.

So that gives me reasons to start planting too.  Heheh! For now, I have these 6 beauties to take care of.  I feel like they are my pets because the moment I wake up, I think about them and go immediately to them to water and check if they’re still alive. Haha!   I hope I would be able to grow them beautifully for  I need them for my baking, cooking and tea.

L-R – Tarragon, Basil, Thyme, Mint, Chocolate Mint and Rosemary

Since I am interested in gardening now, I am planning to attend this seminar on Saturday.  It’s cheap considering you get a lot of freebies from the Seminar.  I know my friends will laugh at this and would say, “you always study or attend to a lot of seminar of different things”  Well, I know there are just people who are thirsty to know a lot.  Oh! I have other reason too why I need to attend to this.  I’ll disclose that on a different post. 😉

Anyone, who cares to join me in this seminar?  😀


My IT friend and The Village Chef

I have a number of pending activities and happenings to post but today I’ll write about something that’s fresh as it just happened a few hours ago.

I had a great time with my high school and college friends and dormmates.  Aileen, my IT friend whose two-week vacation ends today will be flying back to Singapore in a few hours.  I was out-of-town and busy for the past two weeks,  so it’s only last night that our date materialized.

Aileen and I met with our other friend, her roommate actually in college, Arceli, the historian turned lawyer turned Village Chef.  Isn’t that amazing? Yes, she’s the chef of a restaurant in Marisol “village”, hence the Village Chef. LOL.  I don’t know if that is where the name came from, I just put that up, so don’t take it seriously.

It’s my first time to visit this restaurant and I must say everything is “eccellente”.  It’s not that I am biased because the chef is my friend but the dishes that we’ve tasted are all delicious and the ambiance is really great, a very cozy one.

The main entrance. Photo credit: The Village Chef’s Facebook account. Heheh! My friend and I were excited to see the chef so we entered the restaurant immediately.

The Menu’s cover.

Homemade Iced Tea, a refreshing one.  P50

Four Cheese Pizza, P320 (12 inches).  A must-try dish. I sooooooo love it!  I am not a fanatic of thin crust as I always get disappointed on thin crusts I have tasted before so when I order pizza it’s always the thick one. There’s one exception though, I am addicted to “panizza”.  And the crust of this pizza is close to that so I am loving VC’s thin crust now which  has changed my view of the thin crust.

Arugula! This herb has now been a  common name for those foodies who love Italian food. It’s a nice touch to top it to the pizza as it gives a twist to its flavor.

Cannelloni, P170 or P180. For those not familiar with it, here’s what Wiki has to say – “Cannelloni (Italianlarge reeds) are rectangular pasta sheets that are rolled into a cylindricalshape encompassing a filling. After a pasta sheet has been boiled, it is typically filled with asavory stuffing which may include ricotta cheese, spinach, and various meats. It is then covered with a sauce, typically a classic tomato or béchamel sauce”

I love this too!  For those meat lover, this is for you.  The pasta was fresh and cooked al dente.  Cheese is also generously included in the dish which makes it more delicioso.

Photo credit: The Village Chef’s FB account.  Panna Cotta, P80.  I got excited to try their Panna Cotta as this is one of my favorite desserts so I forgot to take a picture of it. LOL.  It was HEAVEN when I tasted it!  Its creaminess melted in my mouth!  The mango and cream topping added more flavor and contrast to the dessert.  I now know where to find the best panna cotta in town.  HEAVENLY!

Okay, after the dessert, we got a tour of the VC’s kitchen.  Me and Aileen posing with the VC’s chef, Arceli.
Outside the kitchen and into the garden.  The 3 of us.  Darn! I can see the burnt I got from the North and the fats.  Calling more sunblock and diet (ooops not that)  exercise. Heheh!

Aileen, who never grow old, modelling a pot arugula .  She still looks like the baby-face, sweet high school friend that I had back then.

The Village Chef has a beautifully landscaped garden and a green house where different types of herbs grow.  They also sell most of them which includes Arugula, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Oregano and Mint. Prices range from P60 to P150.   Here in the picture is the Italian Oregano which was added to our pizza.
Arceli also studied in The Blue Elephant in Bangkok, so some plants and herbs that are used in Thai cuisine grow in her garden.  Kaffir Lime is one of them.
After our tour in the kitchen and garden, we were served the Tarragon tea.  This is new to me and I like it so much! I can’t wait to grow my tarragon and have this tea every morning.  Very calming!
Thanks, Aileen for the dinner treat. It was nice seeing you again after more than a year.  Thanks Arceli for the free desserts.  I super love your panna cotta. You bet I’ll go back to your restaurant and bring my friends and family soon.

The Village Chef
406 Broadway Street, Marisol Subdivision
Angeles City, Philippines, 2009
Fri – Sun:
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm