Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love is Red

Because I feel as heavy as that band after a month of cooking and gorging glorious food. How'd all your holidays went? Mine was fantastic (and still ongoing). My Christmas this year was extra special because I get to bake for the first time. You see, my Ma was a fantastic baker back in the day before work consumed all her time and I was too young to help. When I got old enough though, I developed a deeper interest in the stove than the oven so I never really got around to baking a cake. The most baking I did was macaroni.

A couple of months back I asked for an oven. What Ma did, she got our old gas oven fixed for half the price of a new electric oven which was alright with me. I spent weeks reveling at baking sites and pastry blogs, licking my lips, breathing heavy, (you get the picture) but not because I craved to eat it all. Instead, I craved to create. 

I was never a sweet tooth, that is true, and I guess I never will be. My palate prefers salty over sweet. I may have shared this fact in some of my old posts. I get light migraines when I consume too much sugar and instead of becoming all giddy and hyper with sugar rush, the opposite happens to me - I doze off - so it's no fun. 

But looking at these...

or this photo...

or this...

turns me into some sort of freak woman who wants to throw a mixing bowl up in the air sometimes and say 'ayooo'. For real, it can get outta hand! I think I'm going to blame it on that little inhibited artist in my brain just dying to create something so pretty like a cake!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December doesn't have to give you a heart attack.

By now, you must have noticed that I’ve been using this Safoco brand multi-colored vegetable macaroni when I whip up regular day pasta dishes. For one, it’s really cheap.  The last time I checked, it costs 31 pesos (less than a dollar) per 200g. Also, it cooks real quick (about 5 minutes in boiling water) and the texture and taste is just great and goes well with any sauce base may it be tomato, cream, or oil. Lastly, it’s made of vegetables! 

I’m crazy about pasta. It’s one of those home staples I couldn’t do without. There are just so many possible ways to turn it into awesome dishes so it never gets boring and it can easily be made into a complete meal.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I now interrupt this sort of sleepy blog.

You can actually track if my month had been busy or not by the number of posts in here. So, November had been one helluva busy time. A wedding, a friend's vacation here, two birthday parties, a gig and some side work I had to accomplish left me no time to make quality posts. I did a lot of cooking (via parties and gig) but without proper documentation, it just did not feel right to blog about any of those.

But there IS something bloggable that happened. I was nominated by Hungit Cebu's Jason to be a part of Best Cebu Blogs of 2010 and a few days ago, I got this news that I got into the Top 20. That wasn't the bloggable part though. Call me sentimental but man, I didn't really expect my facebook friends to shoot me up the ladder. I was shook to the core. I don't even know how to thank everyone but I did thank them and I am very grateful. I'm pretty much excited about that award's day (December 12) because it's going to be my first time and I really hope there's a long buffet table. Haharrr.

I started out this blog because I wanted to document my cooking, that's all (and some family and friends wanted the recipes). I have had a handful of blogs in the past, most are now inactive floating in cyberspace but this is something that would most likely to stay because I know there is no escaping the kitchen for me. As well as my other active blog, because there is no escaping the pen and paper for me either.

But really! This! A chance to get an award! I could only dream to win a badge for diy-eats. Call me old-fashioned but this blog doesn't have ads and I'm pretty set it will stay that way. As for being prompt, 2011 should be a promising year!!! (via new year resolutions LOL) Also, no matter how busy December is going to be for me, I'll be posting yumyum stuff I promise y'all!!!

Here's to a Merry Christmas!

♥ Chef Shak ♥

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oishii Omnomnom

I flunked Nippongo.  Big deal. 

Well, I didn’t really fail because it was that hard to tackle, what happened was, I dropped the subject mid-semester because I got too caught up with last year’s holidays (my sister and her family flew in from Europe and I got ‘busy’). Still, it wasn’t an easy class; we also had to write Japanese. 

I remember when I took up Fookien and barely made it. My Lǎoshī told all of us, we shouldn’t worry about failing because she totally understands how impossible it is for us to learn the entire module if we only meet 3 hours a week for 5 months. She spoke the truth.

I thought about how incompetent I am at anything Japanese. I’m not into anime like 90 percent of the population unless if it’s in the general category of cute (i.e.Totoro) and kikay (i.e.Sailor Moon). You hate me by now. I do like Japanese cars, noodles, Meiji chocolate, and was crazy about the perfumed stationery collection of my childhood aaaand my most favorite soy sauce in the world is Kikkoman

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fish are friends.

Some months ago, I decided my meals to consist mainly of fish. Not purely though, but I wanted to get by and look back at my weeks with fish at least in one meal each day. I requested my ma to go shop for fish. I want to eat fish. I've never been a picky eater all my life. I love meat and I love fowl and fish and vegetables, it's all good to me, it's just that I've become a lot more conscious with what goes into my mouth lately.

This family is carnivorous.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Y'all want it.

Y'all know how our African-American brothers and sisters want it. Smothered and deep fried. Every time I watch their movies and there are scenes of them dining and stuff, aaaaah! I want to stuff that chicken in my pie hole and drown in gravy. Oh yes, I've been wanting that a long time. I usually just bread my chicken but since I'm from the South, I want authentic "southern" experience even if it's actually from a million miles away.

As the saying goes, once you go black you can never go back!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Layered Love

Even with clothes, I love layers. If not for this Philippine weather, I'd have owned an extensive collection of  overcoats and plaid flannel and tapestry jackets and corsets and lace-y camisoles to be worn on top of the other. But no, we are born naked and are set to strip down for life. (Haha. Rant!) Sorry, it's just that I'm kind of frustrated with the fact that it's already October and I still feel as sticky as March.

As for food, layers are great. The textures aligned, the flavors of each ingredient perfectly recognizable. For example, the taste of a burger depends on how it was prepared and put together. Some burger chains in the U.S. are known for this creative layering of condiments and patties and cheese and junk. I don't know why, I'm no burger connoisseur (even if it is my favorite food) but I can sometimes sense a difference when I eat in different branches of the same fast food chain. I got the burger sense. Haha.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The first beef.

This is the first beef recipe I'm posting because we don't eat much beef at home (other than corned beef). Choice cuts are quite expensive and the beef we always have are soup bones which are my favorite. Nothing can beat beef soup bones for Pochero (meat stew) but that alone deserves a whole other post. 

So yesterday, ma requested me to cook Beef Kaldereta (beef in tomato stew or sauce) for lunch. She bought beef chuck cuts, some potatoes and pineapple chunks. The chuck section which is located at the neck and shoulder is probably one of the most flavorful and cheap parts of the beef. It's not a tough cut and is ideally slow-cooked under low fire in simmering liquid. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What You Can't Have

There are things I'm upset about like the sad fact that there aren't any onion rings available anywhere near me. And if there are, why does it have to cost as much as a quarter pounder when it's just onion? I know LOL I'm pretty cheap.

Not many people like onion.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Once a Week Veg

The internet gives you so many ideas that sometimes, it doesn't matter if you can evoke your own ideas anymore. You can just wait around, be resourceful in the blogospheres - click and click and you will eventually find a lot of relevant stuff. Just like this video that I found through a friend who found it through his friend's facebook wall or something like it.

So this guy right? His idea is awesome. If you can't give up bacon, why should you? Like me. I can't give up meat. My life will be meaningless without it. I live for meat. I love meat - almost all kinds.

But a part of me wants to become veg for health reasons. And yeah, if it should help save the world, going veg is totally worth it. I have tried it for about 5 months. Imagine me. Imagine someone who lives for adobo and cheeseburgers. I know. I know. It's heartbreaking.

So this guy, Graham Hill is a weekday veg. But I couldn't even do that. Not while living with my family. You have no idea! And weekend veg is kind of impossible too because the weekend is the only time we actually sit down together for meals. It's also the favorite part of the week because we get to eat out or cook out and be rowdy and messy and oily and loud.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who Do You Cook For?

(Meet my dining family.)

Ask yourself that. Some people, living alone, cook for themselves. Mothers cook for their kids. Some fathers cook for their families, like my dad. Wives cook for their husbands. Some of my female friends cook for their boyfriends. I don't know any of my male friends who cook for their girlfriends. Most of them just buy ready-to-eat food. Some would care so much to prepare instant pancit canton

But really, who would want to slave over the hot stove? 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Those Deep Fried Dreams

The most satiating and satisfying food is deep fried. No contest. I have tried the Ketogenic Diet in the not-so-distant past (and slowly coming back) and that was the time I experienced first-hand how sinfully good and beneficial artery-clogging food really is. Trust me, I checked my blood pressure everyday and it was systolic: 120 over diastolic: 70 and was told it was perfectly low for eating out. I lost 15 lbs in a month.

Now, I'm not urging everyone to go on a deep fried food binge but really, if you crave for it, I am living proof that it's totally fine. Just leave the sweets and the carbs out.

So here I am. It's a Monday that everybody despises but not me. I do despise the fact that it is the first Monday I'm not going to work at the restaurant anymore. . since I have completed my on-the-job training last Saturday. I woke up at 7am despite sleeping at around 3am. My body got used to it and I greatly miss work and everybody. So in the spirit of me firing up dishes at the saute station, I fired up a dish at home. Ransacked the fridge and voila!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Comfort Food

There are certain days when I am just a terrible mess. I'd like to think we all go through that. No, not that I like the idea of people suffering. It's just that I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone. 

Today had been heavy. I did not mean it to be. Went to work. Got through the morning fine and then by noon, a big breeze of melancholy rushed through my brain and ruined my day. Really, who wants that? And really, how could you get away from a bad situation when that situation is happening inside your head? I guess food is a good answer. Some people may buy it but I make it. I do it myself.

Right after my shift, I went over to the grocery and bought tofu and canned shiitake mushrooms and potatoes. Checking and jangling loose change in my hands and in my mind a plan to make things better before the day is through. I'm going PMA and veg for dinner.

This recipe is dedicated to those who feel me.

Monday, June 28, 2010


In all caps! I feel like a bad mother but I am back! Without a recipe to share. Just here to tell everyone I missed this blog and sharing with you whatever I can come up with in the kitchen. Two months plus I have been slaving over at a local specialty restaurant. I am not really sure if I can tell everybody the name of the place. I might not be allowed to do so, but the restaurant serves Greek food and it was my first time to ever work professionally in a restaurant kitchen. I had to do it for my 'on-the-job-training' to complete my college education and I can say it was one of the best experiences of my life. I have learned so much and I owe a lot from the people who work there everyday. They were always willing to show me the ropes and they were patient and so much fun to be with.

The 400 hours that I had to complete is almost done. I feel relieved and also proud that I dealt with it that long (without pay!) but I also feel kind of sad that it's going to be over and I had to leave that place when I'm finally comfortable with the people there and now that I know how to do the job quite well. But I gotta move on. This is an amazing chapter in my life and it's only the start of bigger things to come. (I hope!)

The best thing is, every single day I go to work, I feel a deeper love for what I do. I hate skipping a day of it and I hate being late. I found out I have never been so happy doing something. Other than the music scene that I've been a part of, I have never felt so fulfilled doing anything in my life. I want to do more, learn more, explore and dive into the heart of cooking. I might take lessons apart from college. Both my parents agreed. I'm just hoping for the best.

As for this blog, it will see my journey through. And you!

I will cook something for you tomorrow! :)

Back in action,
♥ Chef Shak

P.S. My view from work. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Liver Lover

I eat liver. I eat pork liver, chicken liver and a few times, beef liver. I know a few people who wouldn't even touch it. I really think they're missing out a lot in life. Liver is one of the most appetizing and gratifying animal products I have ever tasted and there are so many ways to cook it. 

My mom does the grocery shopping for home and liver is not a staple really. It's a luxury! There are just occasions when she brings home a little package of that creamy rose-colored stuff and it delights me all the time. Aside from chicken skin, chicken liver is one of my most favorite kind of barbecue. 

The pork liver couldn't even match the chicken liver's savory goodness and its mouth-watering softness that melts in your mouth. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hunger brings the best [recipes] out of people.

I was starving a couple of hours ago so I fixed myself late dinner. Early this evening, I did a 4km walk around the sports center oval and just had water. Last year, I started walking 4 to 5 km a night for almost 2 months then stopped in mid-December when my sister and her family flew back into the country for a month's vacation. It was all downhill from there. Last night, after 3 months of being a couch potato, was my first time back on the track. Tonight, my second time. I'm pretty much determined to keep it up since school is almost over and work is about to begin (hopefully next month). I missed the tracks. The hour's worth of freedom and free-thinking just going round and round the oval. It's priceless.

This recipe right here, is so good and so simple, I asked myself why I haven't thought of it before. It reminded me of ages ago when a friend and I wrote a song. It was around lunch time and we could seriously eat a horse but we opt to finish the song. In 30 minutes, we've written an awesome pop song. After eating though, we tried to make another one, something even better than the first. It took us the whole afternoon to come up with something we didn't even cared to keep. Also, there are times when I wouldn't eat before a test. I find my mind work better when my tummy is empty. I have never looked it up before but now, I did and here's what I found.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Chunk of Life

It's hot here in my side of the planet. I sometimes wonder if it's as hot anywhere else, but today I'm not giving you a recipe for a cool dessert. Last Monday was our final culinary function in school and it was quite a charming night. We got rave reviews from the guests which warmed our weary and sleepless hearts.

It does feel good when hard work pays off.

Yesterday, we get to clean up the kitchen and I get to bring all the leftover ingredients. I lugged home almost 2 kilos of white onions and thought up a good use for it since I love its sweet, juicy and biting taste. Found some chicken and coconut milk in the fridge and felt it's a perfect time to make a diy-eats comeback after being out of content for a month.

Here's my treat!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Leftover Makeover -- Well, almost!

Sorry! I know this is such a late post that I am pretty certain all your holiday leftovers are either long gone to the sewers or the waste disposal units. But hopefully, this recipe will be useful someday. January will be over in a couple of days. Oh how time flies! And now that the midterms are done with, I've been busy prepping for 2 major events coming up for my Banquet and Catering Class. The first one is on February 10 which is a pre-Valentine dinner. Here's the poster I made for Group 3 which my best friend, Mimie, is a member of.

Pretty sweet. For next month, the group I'm in, is in charge of the final event. I can't disclose the details just yet until the plans are finalized but we'll get there. I am super pee-in-pants excited.

So here goes my too-late recipe. I hate to be late. It's my pet peeve and now I'm doing it. Blah!