Monthly Archives: April 2010

Summer Mango-Philly Maki Rolls


Growing up, I’ve always felt excited with the combination of mango and rice. There’s something about mango that makes rice so exciting to eat. Whether in an adobo-mango-rice combo or, say, chicken in mango salsa with rice– or, yeah, just plain mango and rice! Lol. And, to further team up mango with the linamnam of cream cheese plus the stellar taste of kani, avocado and cucumber rolled as one helluvah sushi, come on!,

Tonight, I made some sushi– of mangoes, cucumber slices, cream cheese and kani! 

I have a confession to make, it took an affirmation from an FB contact, Filemon Yumul, for me to use kani confidently. I mean, I’m allergic to crabs, as in I stop breathing as a worst case scenario, how’s that? Filemon says kani is fish and starch combined with crab flavoring. Okay, I’ve heard that before and he just kinda reassured my next 70 years in this lifetime if and when I decide to chow down the kanis, finally. 

Okay, my good friend, Ria Vinzon-Miguel (wife of culinary ‘rockstar’, Chef Carlo Miguel), just messaged me on FB asking about the recipe of this sushi rice. Okay, here goes:

For the sushi rice, you will need:

3 cups uncooked Japanese rice (I used sasashiniku rice, available at SM Hypermarket)

4  cups water

6 tbsps rice vinegar

2 tbsps granulated sugar

2 tsps salt

Wash rice grains until water runs clear. Soak in water for thirty minutes before cooking. Cook over low heat.

 Once cooked, let cool while fluffing rice. Never stir the rice so as not to crush the grains. As much as possible, use the sushi rice right away after cooking and letting it cool. Otherwise, put in a container and cover with a damp cloth to lock in moisture. NEVER refrigerate the sushi rice.

To prepare the rice vinegar mixture of the sushi that you will need for final sprinkling and keeping the rice moist, you will need:

6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat mixture just until the sugar dissolves (do not let it boil). Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Once cooled, sprinkle on sushi rice very gently.

Meantime, slice magoes, peel cucumbers, kani and cream cheese to serve as filling.

Using a Japanese rolling mat, place a nori sheet on top of the mat. Spread a thin layer of sushi rice. Top with mango, cucumber, kani and cream cheese. Roll lightly. Cut into maki roll size. Serve with Kikkoman and wasabi





Rib Eye Tapsi!


It’s amazing how a lot of Pinoys have come up with food combinations that have made its way to most of our top of mind comfort foods list. Personally, my favorites include tapsilog, pares and goto-tokwa’t baboy tandem with budbod of roasted garlic and chopped scallion stalks. The combinations just work in perfect harmony, needing each ingredient to orchestrate a palate-teasing taste. I cannot eat my pares without the chillies or the soup or the rice, unfried— no, no, no! These meals are definitely all or nothing!

I chanced upon a pack of rib eye meat (breakfast cut) when we did our grocery at SM Hypermarket at the Centris Station over the weekend. Adoring the pinkness and freshness of this choice cut, I grabbed a pack that I would turn into my tapa.

I usually choose the breakfast or the sukiyaki cut  when I buy my beef for tapa. It cooks fast and you get a grip on how you want your beef tapa cooked– rare,well done or medium well. I usually choose the latter, it is, to me, a middleground between retaining the right level of juiciness and the perfect degree of crisp it should have.

The rib-eye part per se is very tasty. That’s why I only use all of only four simple ingredients to marinate it with. Salt, pepper, loooots of garlic and vinegar. the rest of the flavor would come from the beef itself. I love eating beef almost in its naked taste. It’s simply a must try.

For 1/2 kilo of rib-eye, I used 1/4 cup white vinegar, 10 cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all ingredients. Marinate beef for 15 minutes. Fry in hot oil. Serve with fried rice, sunny side up and coleslaw or atchara.

Inagiku– Japanese Food At Its Finest


Japanese food’s got something in it that gets me all stirred up. The mere appearance of the food is always a sight to behold. Intricate, detailed and beautiful– the Japanese Chefs, no wonder, are famous for their excellent food artisanship.

Now this door leads you to one great restaurant find I discovered not too long ago:

One of the most famous Japanese restaurants in Manila is Inagiku at Shangri-La Hotel. Why, I was roused by the feast of Japanese dishes served to me along with two of my colleagues in the food press one fine evening. The fares arrived almost in a parade-like manner! Haha.

The plated dishes were too pretty to be gobbled up! Picturesque and loaded with all the oomph, my camera never stopped clicking away.

The restaurant’s kitchen was lorded over by Master Sushi Chef, Wataru Hikawa. He was  the one making sure that each plate of their world-class Japanese cuisine would be definitive of good quality– in both taste and appearance.

Their famous Kaiseki dishes include: Fresh Aburi Engawa (lightly grilled flatfish), market fresh Honmaguro Toro (blue fin tuna belly) and soft shell crabs. Their must-haves also include: Shiitake Ebi Nikutsume, Zensai Moriawase, Assorted Specialty Sushi and Sashimi. For the main dishes the topsellers are: Tempura Moriawase – 9 kinds Teppanyaki Live Lobster
Inagiku Kaiseki. For your sweet ending, you might want to try: Homemade Ice Cream: Wasabi, Red Bean, Black Bean or Green Tea.

With the city’s finest Japanese cuisine and an extensive list of Sake from which to choose, Inagiku redefines the art of avante-garde Japanese dining.

I’ve always been a fan of ‘fresh’– yeah, the freshest ingredients excite me no end. It’s got the stamp of the perfect quality I always look after in the food I eat. At Inagiku, fresh is a big word-ALWAYS.

After sampling Inagiku, I suddenly kinda raised the bar in Japanese dining a notch higher. It was such a delightful experience sampling their food!

Aside from the excellent food, the ambience was also something to check out. Cozy, laidback and perfect for some catch up chats, you’ll never feel the rush to leave.

(63 2) 840 0884

Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm


Level 2

Dress Code

Smart casual

Smoking Policy

Inagiku accommodates both smokers and non-smokers

Adobong Pusit


Was happy hearing from a High School friend, Cathee. Thanks my friend for this recipe!

ADOBONG PUSIT: A Promdilayf Special

Dear Caren,

Hi! How are you?  I guess we all got busy jumpstarting our careers and later became preoccupied with starting our own families.  I’m just so glad and thankful for the wonders of modern technology.  I’ve happily reconnected with most of our batchmates and schoolmates through Facebook and from time to time, get a chance to chat with them online.

Maybe I should keep you up to speed with what has happened to me over the last many years or so.  When we graduated from the university, I began my corporate life with what was Aboitiz Shipping then (now known as Aboitiz Transport System Corporation) and built a career in the Training and Development arena.  By 1998, I moved to Cebu to fill in a vacant Training position there.  It was so overwhelming for me as I’ve never been away from my family and comfort zone until then.  Slowly, I got used to independent living and later on, learned to love and appreciate the freedom I had.  It was in Cebu where I met my husband.  I met him in the middle of 1998 and we got married three years later. 

In late 2001, my hubby made a career shift that brought us to General Santos City.  By this time, I had left corporate life to concentrate on building my family life.  With so much time on my hands and my husband busy with out-of-town trips, I busied myself at home by getting reacquainted with cooking.  As a young girl, I’ve always loved to cook and learned so much about it from my Mom and Aunt.  Like them, I took the “ouido” style of cooking…I rarely measured my ingredients and would mostly go by look, feel and taste.  Being away from home, I had to learn old family favorites like Mechado, Adobong Batangas, Sinampalukang Manok and Adobong Pusit so that I wouldn’t miss them so much..Marrying a Cebuano, I was able to stretch my food repertoire to include Visayan fare like Utan Bisaya, Tinolang Isda and Inun-unan,  While the training room or conference room was my kingdom during my corporate days, the kitchen became my dominion beginning early 2002.  Suffice to say, I lord over it until now and have no plans to relinquish it anytime soon.  By the time we got reassigned to Butuan City in early 2007, our family has grown to include my firstborn son, Jarred Andrei, who is now 7 years old and Caitlin Alyssa, 3.5 years old.

When we moved to Butuan City, hubby gifted me with my very own range oven.  With my new cooking buddy, I started to reunite myself with an old love – baking.  Armed with loads of baking recipes from the web, I experimented with all sorts of cookies, pastries and cakes.  Over the Christmas holidays in 2008, I went full swing with baking and used my creations as gifts for family and friends.  I also learned several other recipes that make use of baking.  One of these is your famous Baked Macaroni.  It became the highlight of our Noche Buena feast that year.  Other goodies I’ve learned to prepare using the oven includes Meatloaf (which is my Mom’s specialty), Roast Chicken and Oven Fries.

Last year, we welcomed another addition to our growing family, another girl, Cathleen Janelle.  With hubby and three kids below 10, my hands are full with Mommy duties.  Cooking and baking have become great ways for me to express myself and at the same time please my hungry brood.  My two older kids love to see me in the kitchen all the time and they’re always excited to find out what surprise I’ve concocted for them every meal time.  And so from my promdi kitchen, I share with you a family favorite – ADOBONG PUSIT.  I hope you and your readers enjoy it.  I’m looking forward to more foodie discoveries on your food blog and maybe in the future we can have a cooking marathon webcast through Skype.  Wouldn’t that be something?

Anyway, here’s the recipe and I hope you’ll like it.

Take care and God bless.



1 kg pusit, washed and drained (be careful not to wash out the squid ink sac)
1 thumb-size ginger, sliced
1 head of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp canola oil
3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup vinegar
1 – 1.5 tsp coarse salt
1 cup water or 1 cup coconut milk (optional)
pepper to taste

In a casserole, place the ginger, bay leaves and half of the garlic at the bottom.  Put the squid over this layer, add in the salt and vinegar.  Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Add a little water if it gets a bit dry.  Remove squid and sauce from the casserole.  In the same casserole, heat some oil, then saute the onion, remaining garlic and tomatoes until wilted.  Add the squid pieces first and simmer for 5 minutes.  Put in the rest of the sauce and dash of pepper to taste.  If you want some flair, you may add in a cup of coconut milk (if you decide to go for the coconut milk, do not add any water at all during the entire cooking process) towards the end and simmer for a couple of minutes before turning off heat.

Serve hot with rice.

Sonya’s Garden In Tagaytay



My family hied off to good old Tagaytay over the weekend. Our mission was to scratch the itch to go back and experience Sonya’s garden once again.

We so like  the concept of the ‘eat-all-you want’ for P600 per person for all the fantastic eats  we could gobble up.  Excellent food, a picture-perfect  garden, great company– totally priceless.

Met the owner, Sonia.

The service is always excellent. You and your food almost arrive on the table together! Haha! Yes, that fast! The mixed greens and the bread along with  the other sauces, sidings and condiments get to you as soon as you are seated. The pasta is served as soon as you request for them.

The fun part is when you make  your own concoction using the ingredients/sidings  they serve you with. For those who don’t cook, it shouldn’t be a problem because the choices are simple, healthy, all good and ready to eat.

Everything they put on your table are all organic and homegrown– yes, including the uber tasty and tender bread which they bake.

The greens are usually a mega combination of romaine, iceberg and other varieties of lettuces, arugula leaves plus a host of other greens I don’t usually see in many restaurants here in Manila.

I am always overwhelmed by the flavors and varieties they offer their customers.I particularly like their pesto sauce, coarsely chopped, thick but moist and smothered with cubed feta cheese. The black olive pate is also a favorite, the play of sour and salty just hits my taste so suitably. Other choices include: sundried tomatoes, grilled bellpeppers, boiled eggs,jackfruit, ripe mangoes, capers, olives, etc.

All these with their excellent bread or as salad toppers or even tossed in the pasta along with the two pasta sauces to choose from– white chicken sauce or the sundried tomato sauce.

The dessert is made of a super moist slice of chocolate cake and a plate of some baby turons with langka. I just have to warn you to save some space for the sweet ending. The meal  prior to it may be totally crazy.

Of course the sight seeing around Sonya’s garden after the meal is always a treat as well. We were marvelling at the very opulent and sometimes whimsical interiors of the place. It just spelled MAJESTIC!

The interiors of each dining are were all sights to behold!

At the garden adjacent to where we dined

Awesome toilets

I was obsessing with their chandeliers!

Sam with her big, big smile!

 *With additional Photos from my Brother-in-law, Oliver Garcia.

Snapper Con Salsa


This post goes out to our good friends, Jed and Beng Busalla– May you have a blessed life in Jakarta!

The past Holy week had me cook quite a wide array of fish fares. I thought it was a welcome departure from the usual chicken and mostly veggies that  I cook on regular days.

I tried my hand in working on this pack of snapper fillets that I spotted at SM HYpermarket recently. I figured it would go well with some salsa made from fresh tomatoes, a few swigs from lime plus my favorite spices, cayenne pepper, chili flakes and cumin in particular to altogether seal the deal.

Okay what did I do? I seasoned 2 whole fillets of snapper with salt and pepper, drizzled juices from half a lime and lathered each fillet with 1/4 tsp of dried basil leaves. Lightly dredged them on flour and pan fried them until they turned golden brown. I set them aside for awhile to make the salsa.

In a skillet, I sauted 1 medium sized minced onion, 1 whole head of minced garlic, 1 big julienned bell pepper and about 6 diced overriped tomatoes. Added about 3 tbsps of balsamic vinegar. Let it simmer til tomatoes became soft and all juiced out. Seasoned with salt, pepper, 1/4 tsp of chili flakes, a pinch of cumin, 1/4 tsp cayene pepper and squeezed in the remaining half of the lime. Simmered some more for about ten minutes, adding water as needed to thin out the salsa until desired consistency was achieved.

On a large plate, I assembled my fillets and poured over the salsa on them. Sprinkled chopped parsley on top and was ready for the taking:)