Food & Recipes
What you see up there is my mom’s pièce de résistance this Christmas season. Our Noche Buena centerpiece this year was a giant piece of beef from Santi’s roasted to lovely pink perfection by my Iron Chef of a mother.
Sorry, I can’t tell you how this was made because I actually don’t know. I was working the whole of the 24th and I came home to a lovely spread already prepared. The beef was roasted over a bed of carrots, potatoes and celery, which made for a yummy veggie side dish. We also had macaroni salad and a cheese platter, which was my special request. Dessert was a homemade fruit salad with red and green nata de coco for that extra holiday cheer, and a chocolate cake from my sister’s friend Koko.
The holidays may have been busy, but there are few things more important in our family than spending Christmas eve together. Over dinner, my siblings recalled the one Christmas eve where we weren’t together for Noche Buena. It was the Cuyugans’ last Christmas in the Philippines, and Mr C, the kiddo and I stayed over at their place. I called my family via video call on my then high-tech Nokia phone to see what everyone was having for dinner at home. My sister says the whole family just slept early that year because Christmas eve wasn’t the same with someone missing.
For me, Christmas is all about family. We have never celebrated the holidays apart, and we continue each year to celebrate it together with our extended families on my mom and dad’s sides. My one wish is for us to be able include my new Cuyugan family in our busy annual holiday schedule. Today we will celebrate the first day of the new year with Ate Baban, and I think that’s a good start.
I hope everyone’s holiday season was as meaningful and memorable as mine was. And I wish you and your families a blessed year ahead.
My Halloween celebration began last October 30 with back to back events at Festival Supermall and Westgate Center. At the end of that day I was simply exhausted and craving for comfort food. The boys and I decided to have dinner at Whistlestop, which opened its doors to Westgate customers just a few weeks ago.
Whistlestop has actually been around since the 70’s. It closed shop sometime in 2005, and just recently reopened in Makati with a new look. Many hold this place close to their hearts like my mom who recalls good times spent at Whistlestop, which was one of the few restaurants open 24/7 back in the day. Meanwhile, I think I had only eaten there once before, and I can’t even remember if I enjoyed the food or not.
The boys went into the restaurant a few minutes before I did, as we were still packing up after the Magical Halloween event. When I arrived they had already placed their orders – Nasi Goreng for Mr C and a Bacon Cheeseburger for the kiddo. They also ordered Mozzarella Sticks as an appetizer. After a quick scan of the menu, I decided on Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings with Bleu Cheese Dressing. I was surprised that it took quite a while for our food to arrive since there was only one other family dining at the same time as we were. Luckily, the little guy got a prize at the event earlier and that kept him occupied while waiting.
The mozzarella sticks arrived first, and they weren’t exactly what I was expecting. I didn’t read the description of the dish on the menu, so I was thinking they would be breaded and fried. Instead, we were served a stack of cheese spring rolls with what I think might have been cilantro (yes, I know I should have checked the menu). I really loved the marinara sauce that came with the dish. It was tangy and just a little bit spicy, absolutely perfect with the cheese sticks.
The little boy’s burger and Mr C’s Nasi Goreng followed a little after the appetizer. The servings were pretty big, definitely worth the price. I didn’t get to try the burger, but since Tristan was only able to finish half of it, I’m guessing it’s pretty heavy. We actually took home the uneaten half and had my brother eat it. He said it reminded him of a thicker, denser Tropical Hut Hamburger, which means it’s pretty good in a Pinoy burger kind of way.
The hubs seemed to enjoy his Nasi Goreng judging from his clean plate at the end of our meal, and there was quite a lot of it at the start. I took a bite and found that it was pretty good but nothing extraordinary. My last encounter with Nasi Goreng was during our honeymoon staycation at Sofitel last September, and that is still by far the tastiest bagoong rice I have ever had.
While waiting for my meal I decided to order a glass of Iced Tea with Mango Juice, which sounded weird at first but was actually really good and refreshing. Finally my food arrived, and it was a good thing that it was worth the wait. The chicken was tender and really tasty, and the serving was pretty big. The bleu cheese dressing was a perfect match, though at PHP 50.00 it was a pretty pricey add-on.
There was more than enough food for three people on our table, and as expected we had a lot leftover for takeout. We were all full after such a big meal, but since there’s always room for dessert, I decided to stop by UCC before heading home to grab a piece of my favorite Red Velvet Cake to go.
There were some other interesting items on the Whistlestop menu, and I am definitely looking forward to coming back to give them all a try.
Whistlestop Restaurant and Bar
Westgate Center, Filinvest City
UCC Coffee Café, Westgate
Unit C 801-802 Westgate Center, Filinvest City
(+632) 771-1550, (+632) 771-1549
After our high school reunion last Saturday, Mr C and I stopped by Army Navy for a very late dinner. We were both super hungry, but decided to drive back to Alabang before stopping to eat in case we got sleepy once our bellies were full. This proved to be a good idea, as our yummy midnight meal really hit the spot, and we were glad to be within a few minutes from home after we had eaten.
I’m glad that Army Navy is open 24hours. While I usually try to avoid eating really late at night because it means a morning tummy ache for me, I was just too hungry to even think about skipping dinner since I didn’t have anything to eat at the party. We ended up waiting a bit for our food to arrive, and decided to play with the camera to pass the time. [Read more…] about Awesomesauce Burritos at Army Navy
I work six days a week and whenever I get a full weekend off I always feel extra sunshiney. October has been a very busy month for us at the mall, and since I’ve been working straight into my weekends, I was able give myself an extra rest day today. It’s our tenth year highschool reunion tonight and I don’t want to look and feel all haggard at the party.
Every Saturday morning spent at home requires a good breakfast as far as I’m concerned. I decided to take care of preparing food for the family this morning since I had so much fun in the kitchen yesterday. Comfort food was the theme of today’s meal, and I prepared all the usual favorites – bacon, spam, hotdogs and eggs. Since I’m trying to stay away from beef and pork, I got a pack of smoked turkey hotdogs from the grocery store the other day. Thing is I cooked the bacon before the sausages so they ended up covered in bacon fat, and that kind of defeats the purpose. Oh well.
Breakfast shared with the family is always a meal enjoyed. That alone is enough to make it worth the calories.
I took a leave from work today because of a Royal Rumble in my stomach (which is added motivation for me to stick to my diet, but I’ll save the diet musings for another post). My little guy was home today as well because of an activity in DLSZ, so I was really looking forward to having some precious mother-son bonding time. We spent the morning being lazy, which is always fun.
I wanted to prepare a nice lunch for the kiddo since it would be just the two of us sharing a meal. I asked him what he wanted to have and he cheerfully replied, “Pancit”. Unfortunately we didn’t have any ingredients for pancit, and I actually don’t know how to cook the stuff. Since I’d been craving for Pinoy style spaghetti for a few days now, I decided to make that instead. It was actually my first ever attempt to make pasta sauce from scratch. After some research online and a few tips from my cousin Zita, I bring you my version of Pinoy Spaghetti. It still needs some adjustments and tweaking, but for a first timer, I didn’t do so bad if I do say so myself. At least Tristan thinks it’s the best spaghetti ever.
1. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, remove noodles from the pot and set aside.
2. In a medium sized saucepan, heat oil and saute garlic and onions. Add ground beef and cook until light brown. Throw in carrots, Vienna Sausage and beef cube. Simmer over medium heat until bouillon is melted. Season with pepper and fish sauce. Pour in enough soy sauce to add color to the meat.
3. Pour spaghetti sauce and banana ketchup over the meat mixture. Mix well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the sauce is boiling, lower the heat then add the granulated sugar and condensed milk. Mix well until the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to simmer until the sauce is as thick as you want it to be.
4. Remove sauce from heat, pour over cooked noodles, put cheese on top. Serve and enjoy!
Since Tristan had so much fun helping me prepare lunch, we decided to make another batch of banana bread for our afternoon snack. I have a whole lot of bananas in the freezer leftover from my Herbalife Shake days. My mom can’t wait to get rid of all of them and reclaim her freezer space, so a new batch of banana bread is always welcome in our house.
The kiddo had so much fun mashing the bananas, mixing the dry ingredients with a whisk, and watching everything swirl around in the electric mixer!
Of course, the little guy insisted on wearing an apron, so I let him borrow the one from Tupperware that I got from my CCA Kitchen Discovery Course day at Oceana.
I really enjoyed my day at home with Tristan despite the discomfort of the rumbly in my tumbly. After an afternoon spent in a hot kitchen, we decided it was time to clean up and cool of in our nice air-conditioned room with The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh.