Archive for the ‘ Occasion ’ Category

An advance birthday gift!

I just arrived at home from work (yes, I worked on a holiday – All Saint’s day!) and was greeted by my sister, Maricar who arrived from Batangas this evening. She was already half-asleep and told me not to get cookies from our kitchen which she bought from Bizu .  Just hearing the word Bizu, in a few seconds, my face transformed from excitement to disappointment  for she told me she bought the  cookies for a friend.  She knows I have been craving for some cookies in Bizu.Even as sleepy as she was, she laughed at the transformation of my face! Hahaha!  Oh well, I can’t describe how that was.  LOL.

Cookies she bought for a friend. Hmm, I wonder to whom.

Until finally, I learned she was only kidding me and she told me I have a pack of 8 different flavors of  macaron de Paris!!!  She laughed again as my eyes sparkled of her news and told me it’s her birthday present.  I immediately checked her present and was ecstatic seeing these beauties in our refrifgerator:

Aren’t they beautiful?  I was too excited to munch them!  LOL.  Make a guess which I took first.

After about a minute or two, this is what was left. Hahaha! Talking about being ravenous…of sweets or of macaron de Paris to be specific. LOL.  I started with my favorite – Pistachio flavor, followed by Blueberry and Vanilla.  As of this writing, I only have three left as I already finished the mango and raspberry. Darn, I can’t help it!

The truth is even if I was disappointed as the quality deteriorated, I could still finish all 8 flavors in one sitting.  That’s how addicted I am with this French cookies.  I fell in love with them 5 years ago.  It started with reading too much about these cookies from the blog of  “The Girl Who Ate Everything” when she was still studying in Paris.   Then it progressed to visualizing how they taste like until I got my first bite from Bizu’s branch in SM Mall of Asia before it closed. That didn’t stop me there. When I learned there was a class offered by Chef Vicki Villanueva at Heny Sison Culinary School, I immediately signed up and took it. Unfortunately, I didn’t practice what I learned for I didn’t even try to bake a single cookie for I find them complex to make.

I hope one day I will have the courage and confidence to bake them.  I wish too that I will have the chance to go to Paris to taste the authentic ones from Laduree, Fauchon or Pierre Herme!

***Gracias, Maricar for the sweet treat!!!  😀

 

Nice to know facts from Wikipedia:

macaron is a sweet confectionery. Its name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” or “maccherone”. This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient.[1] It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.

The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot”), flat base, mildly moist and easily melted into mouths.[2] Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The macaron is commonly filled with a buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two macaron cookies.

Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new (truffle, green matcha tea).[3] Since the English word macaroon can also refer to the Coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling of the cookie. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonyms.[4]

 

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A birthday treat of a childhood friend @ Siam House

Yesterday, my childhood friend, Riza gave us a birthday treat.  She surprised me and my other childhood friend, Grace by telling us she’s in Pampanga and would want to go out with us.

So, we gave in and went to have lunch out at one of my favorite restaurants in Angeles City, Siam House.

Siam House is a Thai restaurant that serves authentic Thai food since the owner/chef is Thai (as I heard).   I have been to this place a couple of times and never have been disappointed.    Though the ambiance is not the typical well-decorated, lit and air-conditioned dining place, this restaurant gives a “homey” feeling for its “kitchenette” look.    Anyway, what’s important is we get a clean place, friendly staff and delicious food that we get value for our money.

There are two beverages that I always order from this place.  One is the Thai Iced Tea which is shown on the picture below.  Another one is their Tamarind juice which comes in a can.  You should try both for the experience (since some are not really into this type of drinks, my friend is one who didn’t like the taste of the Thai Iced tea).

On the upper right of the collage is the TomYam soup in coconut milk . We chose seafood for this one.    I love how the  milk blends well with all the Thai herbs, vegetables and seafoods.  Very delicious!

For the appetizer the “birthday lady”  recommended the Chicken Salad which is my a first try for me.  I super love it!  I ate it with fresh cabbage.  The salad is a mixture of ground chicken breast, red onions, Thai herbs and a sauce that’s spicy and sweet.  YUMMY!

For our main dish, we had the famous “Bagoong Rice” (left picture).  I forgot all the Thai names so I would just be telling them in English.  This is my favorite dish.  You can eat it as it is.  Why?  Just check the toppings on the dish.  It has a flavorful pork, prawns, scrambled egg and sliced green mangoes.  Fulfilling!

On the upper right of the collage is Prawns in Red Curry sauce.  It’s tasty and creamy but it’s not something I will order again.  Check our local eggplant (circle variety) that were diced and the green circles which resemble green peas.  They are actually called Thai eggplants!   They are somewhat spicy and taste like peppers.  Great combination huh?

The last on our meal is the Seafood in Basil.  I like the simplicity of the sauce and the taste of the basil.  Well, basil is on the herbs that I love.  Be it, the Thai variety or the Italian ones.

The birthday celebrator with me and Grace.

From Siam House, we headed to SM Clark and ended our date at Divas Kaffe.  I ordered Green Tea Frappe to compare it to that of Starbucks.  Not disappointing.  The taste actually comparable but I will still go for Starbucks.  Hehe!  I forgot to ask Riza on how she paid for the drink so I can provide detail on this.

The dishes we had were mostly priced at 180 pesos and I can say not bad as we left the restaurant very full.

Thanks, Riza for the treat and belated happy birthday again!  😀


***Siam House is located  along Fields Avenue in Angeles City.

Mom’s birthday

Today, mom turned 58 years old.  My sister, Mylene and I prepared food that was shared with my sister’s boyfriend, friend, aunts and cousins.  We missed our 3 other sisters, 2 brothers-in-law and niece for this event though.

Actually, it was only Mylene who prepared all of  the food except for the pasta – Linguine in Seafood Marinara which I cooked.  You will see in the picture that we mostly had pizza.   This is because she put different variations of toppings on them.  It’s Mye’s favorite food to prepare during celebrations. Hehe!  When there’s pizza, calzone (A calzone (Italian “stocking” or “trouser” or “drooping sack” or “hanging fold”[1]) is a turnover that originates from Italy. It is made of ingredients similar to pizza,[2] folded over and shaped like a crescent before being cooked.[3] The typical calzone is stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, and may include other ingredients usually associated with pizza toppings. – Wikipedia) is also included in the dishes she prepares.

We had two meat dishes – Crispy Pata and Fried Chicken (uncooked chicken brought by our friend, Tin)  to pair up with rice for we  know our father wouldn’t be satisfied without eating rice for his dinner.  The rice  and Crispy Pata you see on the table was devoured by my father and my other sister, Manel.  LOL.  It’s a good thing , I was not up for rice, otherwise I would have joined them in voraciously finishing the meat. Haha!

This time, it’s Mye who baked the cake, a Black Forest.  She has been my apprentice at home for so long since I started baking.  Now, she can whip any cake, I guess, as she’s getting more and more experienced with her current job in the Pastry Kitchen of Hotel Vida in Clark.

Lucky, Mye’s boyfriend brought one of my favorite flavors of ice cream- Green Tea to add to our desserts.   Wine and Tequila were also served but no one asked for a shot or serving.  Some opted for the Absolut Vodka which wasn’t served and got it from my collection of alcohol for my baking needs.

Even without planning as I only received a text this morning where Mye asked me to buy ingredients for the pizza she will make and me deciding what pasta to prepare, it turned out to be one of the happiest celebrations as all enjoyed the company and food.

After blowing of the candle.  It’s  a funny picture of my mother and father.  Hehe!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA!!!  May you have more birthdays to come.  We love you!  Mwah!

Happy 4th of July!

Today, my family unknowingly celebrated America’s Independence Day with a sandwich that my sister and I prepared.  She grilled the frankfurters and later on we loaded them with vegetables – romaine lettuce, sliced pickles, sweet tomatoes and topped them with mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and melted cheddar cheese.

Yummy!

Some information about today’s celebration from Wikipedia – In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States.[1][2][3]

Happy Independence Day, America!  🙂

Happy Father’s Day, Tang!

Today is another special day as the world celebrates the day of one of the most important people in the planet, our fathers.

If you read my blog about Mother’s Day, youou would know that we don’t pass this event as we always celebrate occasions that involves our parents.

So, today is no exception.  Even though four of my sisters were not around and only my youngest sister and I are present to celebrate it with my father, we still tried to make it a happy occasion.  How?

With the contribution of everyone, we bought a gift for him – Bvlgari Aqua and bought and prepared food for a dinner treat at home.

Here’s a picture of him proudly showing our gift.  He loves it much as he’s very fond of perfume. Thus, it’s so easy to find him a gift.

Our family loves to eat a lot so cooking and baking is just second nature. We opted for a take-out of pizza thoughwhich is one of my father’s favorite food instead of making one for time is limited as my sister and I had work today.  I ordered  the Cheezy Volcano and Hawaiian pizza from Pizza Hut.

To complement the pizza, I had ready ingredients at home so I just cooked a simple pasta dish.  A combination of  supposedly olive oil (we ran out at home and stock was in the farm so canola oil was used instead), garlic, a tomato based sauce (for this one we used the Del Monte Tomato-Basil sauce), chili flakes (excess ones we get from Yellow Cab or Xtremely Espresso, LOL), some herbs such as ground oregano, salt and pepper and lotsa mozzarella cheese.  I like the bow tie pasta with this kind of sauce. PERFECT!  My father who’s not  fond of meatless pasta likes this dish much. This is the 2nd time I cooked this for him. The first one was on his birthday last April and he really fell in love with it. Hahaha!

Sweets will never be out of the picture for the Manaloto family.  So to complete the dish I bought ice cream, one  for my father, Vanilla flavor that  is Sugar Free as he has a high Sugar.  The other one for us, well especially for me as Green Tea is one of my favorite flavor for life! LOL.

Lastly, even if I know that he’s prohibited to eating sweets, I whipped up his all-time favorite cake, Peaches and Cream before I reported to work this morning. It indeed made him happy when he saw me decorating the cake with cream and peaches.

Here are some pictures to look back:

My father and I on a speed boat in Pearl Farm on our way to the restaurant for dinner.  Many people say I got my features from him. Do you agree?
@ Brazil Brazil Restaurant in Rockwell. He loves posing for the camera.  My sister Azha got this from him. LOL.
@ Parola Bar in Pearl Farm.  Just like my mother, I am his stylist too. Just thinking of it now, I am my family’s stylist.  Hahah!  They all ask me to buy clothes or complete outfit on their behalf! Anyway, it looks like we got our “kakikayan” from our father.  He would always be the one who would be “maporma”  for an occasion as well as would comment on our clothes or how we look like whether we look good or not while our mother would just be silent or indifferent.
Happy Father’s Day, TANG!  My sisters and I are  proud to have you as our father and very thankful that you have worked harder for us to have a good education and better life that you missed during your younger years.  I bet your father is very proud of you as well.  We hope we get to celebrate more father’s day with you. Thanks so much and we love you!

Abe’s Farm – Sage’s Christening reception venue

It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes from Mabalacat or Angeles gate  in Clark to Abe’s Farm in Magalang.  The roads are in good condition so traveling is very comfortable.  Be alarmed though that you are reaching the foothills of Mount Arayat as you are nearing Abe’s Farm so expect a little rockiness on the road.

It was my first time here though I have heard and read about this restaurant from friends and blogs.  I had very high expectation of this place and was thinking this will equate my Bale Dutung experience.  Unfortunately, it didn’t.  Well, I should haven’t expected it that way as it’s wrong to compare them for each have different offer to its diners.  Abe’s Farm is authentic Kapampangan food while Bale Dutung is Kapampangan food with a twist,  talking about fusion.

The entrance.

On the way to the restaurant/dining area.

Abe’s picture on the left and Sage’s picture on the right welcoming visitors in the restaurant.

Being a true-blooded Kapampangan, I can say I find the taste ordinary but very delicious.  Contradicting, huh? Don’t be confused.  My family is known to be good cooks except for my mom who’s an Ilocano (Hehe! She’s good with pinakbet and pork tapa though.)  I grew up tasting loads of food on every occasion especially fiestas and Christmas where I have sampled the dishes prepared by the best cooks in our town as well as have tried numerous restaurants in my lifetime so I can say I can pass as a critic for true Pampango dishes.  So I should say again that the food at Abe’s farm is ordinary but delicious.  It’s like the dishes were from fiestas that I go to when I was younger.  I miss those days!

The buffet table.

My plate.  I finished all its content! Told you the food is delicious.

My dessert – Ube & Macapuno.  Indeed a tandem!

Me with Sage’s parents in cream & white and friends at work.

Aids loves modeling her new bag. 😀  Isn’t she pretty surrounded with greenery? 😀

Lovely couple, Pao and Ambo.  Is the adjective appropriate for them? LOL.

Refreshing and relaxing view of Abe’s farm.

I may go back to this place to sample their other dishes and bring some friends or family especially when I want to relax and when I crave  for authentic Kapampangan food.

http://abesfarm.com.ph/

Samantha Sage’s Christening

Last Saturday, I attended the Christening of one of my closest friends’ first-born, Samantha Sage  in Mabalacat, Pampanga. I was the first one  in the church. The invitation posted 10 AM but the celebration starts at 10:30 AM. Silly mommy. Hehe!

So while waiting for all the people to arrive, I was able to take pictures and a nap as well as say a short prayer, of course.

I noticed the church’s interiors.

I saw too that Filipinos are not fond of anonymity as donors’ names are everywhere, be it on the streets, schools and even churches!

I noticed too that there were names of the departed who are engraved on the walls and kept me thinking the reason until to this date.  May they rest in peace.

The ceremony took place in less than 15 minutes.  It was really quick. I was not able to take a picture as I was part of it.  Here are post ceremony pics.

The Godfathers.

The Godmothers

Welcome to the Christian World, Sage! 😀