Almost Gourmet Anniversary Sale


This is a great time for you guys to try the different things Almost Gourmet offers, they're having an anniversary sale!

What a great deal!


Almost Gourmet Frost


We fully intended to blog, once...twice...maybe even four times during our long absence. We really did! Unfortunately intention doesn't mean much specially when life takes over. Ruy's busy at work, and I was busy working at home. We had to make a lot of adjustments with our new set-up but generally, we are happy with the way things are.

I love that I get to stay at home and take care of Andrea and Ruy's happy that he gets to go home to food he didn't cook. YES, I now cook most of the meals at home. Oh how our roles have changed. I'm not complaining. It's rewarding cooking at home, albeit my repertoire is nowhere near as vast and as complicated as Ruy's...we get by. There are times though that even I get tired of my cooking. I was a bit confused, I was wondering if everyone experiences this or is my cooking just not that good that I was bound to get tired of it at a certain point. My unofficial survey showed that most people who cook really do get tired of their own cooking. Ha! So there, my cooking is not the culprit after all.

During one of those times when I was in a cooking rut, I received a text from a dear friend Joyce Miranda talking about their latest offering. Almost Gourmet (ALGO) frost bites are frozen dishes ready for cooking (that way you can also pretend that it's your own family recipe). So while my tummy was craving for the other ALGO treats I was already familiar with, I decided to trust Joyce's recommendation and I gave ALGO Frost a go.

Herbed Parmesan Chicken Sticks:
It looks so simple yet they were so flavorful. It also comes with a yummy honey mustard dip that adds another layer of flavor to this dish. You know what the best part about this dish is? KIDS WILL LOVE IT! Andrea was initially put off by the "green leaves" or the herbs but as soon as she tried a little bit, she was sold.

Aged and Seasoned Australian Steak:
The moment Ruy saw this on the table he smiled and said "Wow, am I at home? Parang nasa resto tayo ah". Yup, that's exactly what this feels like. A few minutes on the pan and ta-da. A gourmet meal at your house....and the gravy is part of the package too!!!

There are times when I want to go all out and cook the best meal for Ruy and Andrea but there are also times when I would rather put all that effort into being more present...doing things with them. And in the past, when I want more time to spend with them, it usually meant frying SPAM but it doesn't mean that anymore. Now I don't have to choose between having really yummy food and spending more time with my loves (yikee). (Photos to Follow)




Every single time we decide to eat somewhere other than our home Ruy and I always struggle. There are so many options out there and it’s a challenge trying to come up with one place that Ruy and I both want to try at that particular time. Usually Ruy asks me if I’m craving for any particular cuisine. Do I want Spanish? Italian? Chinese? Filipino? Etc, etc, etc. Never do we consider Portugese Cuisine. We Filipinos haven’t had that much exposure to Portugese Cuisine and I must admit that my knowledge of Portugese Cuisine is limited to the Portugese egg tarts. So to say I was hesitant when Ruy suggested trying out the newly opened Osonho in Eastwood would be an understatement..

Being the *ahem* obedient wife I went along with Ruy to Osonho and boy oh boy my palate thanks Ruy for suggesting Osonho.

We decided to try their bestsellers since it’s our first time in Osonho. We had their Coffee Marinated Roast Pork, Peri Peri Chicken on Fragrant Chicken Rice, Bacalhau de “O’sonho” and their Mint Iced Tea.

Coffee Marinated Roast Pork – Php 420

If I were to describe this dish in one word I would have to say it’s BOLD. The flavors are strong, in-your-face, and wonderful. Be prepared for a tug-o-war of flavors in your mouth – a bit of sweetness from the sweet potato, the familiar bitterness from the coffee and the rich flavor of the pork. As much as I wanted to hoard this dish to myself I literally couldn’t as the chops were huge. Ruy and I wondered how the meat remained moist despite the long cooking time.

Peri Peri Chicken on Fragrant Chicken Rice – Php 320

We have heard rave reviews about O’sonho’s peri peri chicken but I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down excitedly before tasting this dish. I’ve tried peri peri chicken before and the entire experience was unpleasant and I wasn’t sure I wanted a repeat of that experience.

When the chicken arrived I was surprised at how ordinary it looked. It was this ordinary appearance which gave me the courage to try peri peri chicken again. OH MY GOD. The skin was unbelievable. It was tasty and crisp and just beautiful.

The chicken was cooked perfectly. Moist, tasty with a wonderfully crisp skin. (It was so good I told Ruy I should have become a scientist and my life would be devoted to creating a kind of chicken with two layers of skin)

Bacalhau de “O’sonho” – Php420

I wanted to eat the whole bowl myself. I was trying to give Ruy the evil eye but he wouldn’t take the hint so I had to be content with sharing this with him. Don’t be fooled by the small container. There’s so much flavor in every spoonful you really don’t need much for all this bread….in fact we had to order more pita triangles as we still had a lot of Bacalhau left!

The restaurant looks a bit intimidating from the outside. The interiors have a somewhat luxurious feel to it that I had prepared myself to pay an exorbitant amount for the food. The price was surprisingly reasonable considering the quality of food, the location and the amount of food you’re getting!


Baking with Andrea


Make sure you have something you can use for sifting.

Sift the dry ingredients.

Then mix in the wet ingredients. Whisk everything together.

After baking, decorate with icing and any other decoration you might prefer. Andrea likes candy sprinkles.

You then need to eat the cake...for quality control purposes of course.

Mixing bowls make lovely hats don't you think?


Pasta 2 Ways: Aglio Olio (Part 1)


For dinner today we are having leftover Bangus Sardines. The sardines are so delicious they're actually one of my favorite dishes among those that Ruy make. The problem with this dish (or any other fish dish for that matter) is that Ruy only feels full for around an hour and then he starts looking for something else to eat. Because of this I needed to make something filling that he could snack on and since we have a lot of uncooked spaghetti from a Christmas basket we received last month.

I decided that I was going to make my version of Aglio Olio. My version has anchovies and olives!! Why? Because both Ruy and I love anchovies and olives so anytime we can put it in a recipe we sure as hell will.

Aglio Olio is extremely easy to make. First, heat a quarter of a cup of olive oil. Sautee 8-10 cloves of minced garlic, around 3/4 of a teaspoon of chili flakes and a tin of anchovies. Cook until the anchovies have practically dissolved into the cooking oil. Remove from the heat and mix the sauce with olives, cooked spaghetti and a handful of parsley. You can also put in parmesan cheese if you want to.

Here's my Aglio Olio:

And let me just share what Ruy and I have been obsessively drinking these past few months. Real Leaf Lychee Flavor!! It's so good!!

2009 Updates


Hi everyone. I really should apologize for our LONG absence but then we've done that one too many times in this blog already so I'll skip over the apologies and go right into the updates.

2009 has been an eventful year marked by major occurrences -- both positive and negative. The most noteworthy would be the following.

- We're finally living on our own.
- I have spent half of 2009 as a SAHM (that's stay-at-home mom for those who are not familiar with the acronym) and it's been wonderful and extremely challenging.
- I now cook more than Ruy does!
- We were very much affected by the Typhoon Ondoy and we spent the last quarter of the year facing the challenge of rebuilding our home.

To wrap it all up. The challenges of 2009 really made me realize what an awesome guy Ruy is...I also realized that we are exiting our newlywed phase and so we might have to change the description of this blog...hmmm


Peanut Monster


One of my favorite things to make:

Spicy garlic peanuts with green onions

I buy peanuts from a stand, fry lots of sliced garlic and put them together. After around 2 minutes of frying, I mix in minced chili peppers then quickly remove everything from the heat. As it cools down, I add lots of chopped green onions. Salt to taste.

Spicy peanuts with lots of toasted garlic is already awesome in itself, but with green onions, another layer of flavor and texture is added. A trace of sweetness with a fresh crunch.... I love it.

I’m usually found eating this while watching a nice film on dvd, reading a book or when I’m just lazing around the house with an ice cold beer.=)

Thanks to my dad for this recipe which he cooked every now and then while I was growing up.

My appetite was just ferocious when I was a kid. As a result, I've been given many food related nicknames by my aunts and uncles. Among those which I remember are "Lumpia Monster" and of course... "Peanut Monster". ;p


Kusina Teatro


Last Wednesday, Liv took me to the food street in Ortigas Home Depot to a place I enjoyed so much I’m blogging (again).

It all started when she attended a reunion of sorts with old officemates at a place set by their gourmet ringleader, Michael. It so impressed her that in the middle of their affair, I was receiving a blow by blow account of the food they were having. She was simply overwhelmed.

Naturally, we found ourselves there a few days after.

The place is Kusina Teatro. A novel operation serving classic Spanish food and tapas. Especially tapas. Upon seeing the place, I understood that it was special. If not because of the taste, then definitely because of its uniqueness.

Coming across a Spanish restaurant camouflaged in the middle of bar country was exciting enough. Seeing huge windows offering a view into Kusina Teatro’s kitchen was just exhilarating (ok, maybe just for curious wannabe cooks like me). Visible from the street and from inside the restaurant, everyone has a view of the chefs at work and all food being cooked. A curious feature for a Spanish restaurant for sure.

We arrived an hour early because as we found out, that particular night, they were opening at 8pm instead of the usual 7pm (understandable for now because Kusina Teatro is still in its soft opening stage and they are in the process of fine tuning their operation). Left with an hour to kill, we headed to North Park resto to feed Andrea her favorite food (pancit) first.

Let me share that I grew up eating Spanish food prepared mostly by my grandmother. Spanish classics were cooked in her kitchen (with me regularly manning the vegetable station) where I had the happiest time seeing, smelling, tasting the food before it was fed to everyone else.=) A warm experience resulting in an association between Spanish food and my grandmother. An association which caused me a bit of a shock when I saw the chefs who’d be cooking our food walk into the kitchen one by one. Actually, I was stupefied. I mean there I was half expecting to see my Lola Mommy (my grandmother) waltz into the kitchen, put on an apron and ask me to start chopping onions when in walked Chef Ritchie. Calm, with a choirboy type air and looking like he’s barely gotten out of school, he’s just so young! The shock continued when he was followed shortly after by the other chefs Myka (I hope I’m spelling their names right) and Donna, who were also around the same age as Ritchie. Together they looked like classmates working on some school project (or a science experiment)... Oh, and they were wearing cool black and orange chef’s uniforms which made me green with envy.

So began the concert of classic Spanish pieces punctuated by sizzling food, clinking utensils and dancing flames. An entertaining demonstration put on by the trio of young performers as they wove their flavors together.

My Favorites:

Gambas Al Ajilio – I loved this for the awesome, plump, nicely cooked shrimps in olive oil and garlic. No strong overpowering sauce, just beautiful mildness that highlights the big, juicy shrimps and perfectly toasted garlic.

Paella Negra- This dish really impressed me immediately by its appearance. With an option to get it for two or for five. It was presented mouth wateringly in a clay dish overflowing with shrimps, soft squid rings and other seafood which upon probing, reveal rich, squid ink covered rice underneath. The flavor is tweaked wonderfully by the citrus flavor of the lime and creamy garlic dip which it is served with.

Chorizo Flambe- My favorite beer match! Homemade chorizo served in what seems like a small serving definitely packs huge flavor. The moment I popped a cube inside my mouth I was floored by the of chorizo flavor. It was an assault of salty, sour and yummy that I enjoyed washing down with beer.

Pork Belly Confit: another good pulutan.=)

Soft and juicy outside, crunchy and tasty inside. This is Liv's favorite.
Bacon stuffed squid!!! What can I say, it has bacon. (Note from Liv: BACOOONNNN!)

Deep Fried Cheesecake! Topped with vanilla ice cream, this dessert banners a rich, creamy cheesecake wrapped in crisp skin. A brilliant dish I must say. Liv and her officemates claim that this is orgasmic and while I am not really a dessert fan, I can understand what they mean…this is really a must try.

Lead by a young and talented cast., the stars however are no actors of fiction. Kusina Teatro showcases an ensemble of young chefs with real talent, in a performance that turns the spotlight away from the setting of formal dining and ancient ancestral homes to a modern stage exploding with youth, adventure and enthusiasm.

Me and Chefs Ritchie, Myka and Donna. I just couldn't keep myself out of the kitchen...

The youthful spirit is best expressed by the establishment’s name: Kusina Teatro, an idea which casts aside what is typically fancy schmancy with something that is playful and familiar. Huge kitchen window in front, the chefs are able to visually allow passers-by to connect with their hunger through a Spanish gastronomic, voyeuristic, seduction (if I may call it that). Finally, its location along the watering hole laden strip of Ortigas Food Street, bridges the contemporary with the traditional and brings Spanish tapas to the modern, everyday crowd.

At P1,350 for a dinner of 6 excellent Spanish dishes for a company of 3. Kusina Teatro’s relatively inexpensive pricing successfully brings excellent Spanish food well within the reach of the working class for regular consumption.


San Mig Cafe in Ocean Park Part 1 of 3



Friends are one of the best things we get treated to in life. People you have chosen to share a bonding connection with not by a matter of circumstance but by a matter of affinity. Unfortunately, as we mature (meaning getting caught up in household responsibilities, debt and work, all of which have good meaning in life as well), our friends being understanding and supportive people become the ones we get to allocate time for least. Not to say that Liv and I are evil people. We’d always make time for any friend in need but during regular days, our natural predispositions lean more toward spending most of our time with Andrea, doing the grocery, household chores, bonding at home…. And eating. So, needless to say, when an opportunity to reconnect with old friends over food and a possibly fun activity for Andrea presented itself, we had to go. The mastermind: Liv’s BFF and Andrea’s ninang, Carmi (spelled with an “I” and not an “IE”) and San Mig Cafe.

It was to be a food tasting and reunion of sorts which was made more fun by the presence of our friend, the coolest bachelor in Manila, Manila Boy Spanx.=)

The Itinerary: Lunch at San Mig Café in Manila Ocean Park, kwentuhan, take Andrea to see the fishies (fishes) and shawks (sharks).


I have never eaten in San Mig Café and I didn’t know what to expect. Considering that it’s named after the country’s favorite beer brand, I imagined it having a bar-like feel but what I saw was far from a bar. The place had a light, open and family-friendly feel to it.

This feeling is also reflected on their menu. They stick to the classics, the comfort food, those we’re all familiar with and those we all love.

The appetizers all looked wonderful and so instead of choosing just one we went for their Super Platter. If you’re not hungry don’t even attempt to order this and a main dish -- you won’t survive. It contains, nachos, flautas, ribs, and Hungarian sausage. One order can easily satisfy a party of 4!

Ruy and I couldn’t get enough of the sausage. It had just enough spice without being overwhelming. The platter had two heavily flavored appetizers ( Hungarian sausage, and baby back ribs), it also has two milder flavored appetizers (nachos and flautas) – this , I’m afraid is the only balance my diet will ever experience.

The boys won’t let us visit San Mig Café without trying their Cerveza Negra Seafood Sampler. I was already so full and so I was not able to taste it but the boys err men seemed to enjoy it. Spanx remarked that, although subtle, you can really taste the Cerveza negra on the batter. Ruy was a fan of their fish which was moist and yummy (I was able to take a bite of this)

After the appetizers I was stuffed, happy and ready to call it a day. But there were more food coming. (to be continued...)


Food and the Law of Signatures


Have you guys heard of the Law of Signatures? It's somethign which I think most of us have received through email. The law states that the shape of the fruits and vegetables can somehow guide us into determining what we should be eating? How so? Read on to find out:

  • Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.
  • Egg Plant, Avocadoes and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervicle cancers. And how profound is this? .... it takes exactly 9 months to grow an Avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.
  • A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebelums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuro-transmitters for brain function.
  • Some observers have said that the figs look like the male genitals when two of them are hung together (apologies, don't mean to be crude!). Figs are full of seeds and the nutrients in them are said to increase the number of sperms to overcome male sterility. In many cultures throughout the world, figs are associated with fertility. They seem to act like nature's Cialis however unlike Cialis figs don't protect against Prostate Cancer
  • A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye...and YES science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

I have received several variations of emails like these and while they sound so promising and wonderful but I have heard arguments against them as well. For example, it is apparently a misconception that carrots are good for the eyesight. One website claims that this was news spread by the British army to cover up a certain technology they had at that time that allows them to track things, so they just told people that they fed their army carrots that's why their eyesight are all excellent.

Figs on the other hand, don't appear on the list of things good for one's sexual organs. Soy, tofu, soymilk still top the list of food that promote prostate and sexual health in men. It has been said that these kinds of food lessen the need for cialis and viagra...figs have never been cited in medical journals.

I am now confused as to the veracity of the Law of Signatures. Do you guys think this is true?



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