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Wow! Just thought this is amazing. 111,111 views as of now, Feb 24, 2014. 

I thank everyone who still keeps visiting this blog even if I don't really have new things to offer. I would really try harder this time. As I check the stats now, the top 10 viewed dishes are:

Ginataang Tambakol - 4,889 views 
Hotdog and Cheese Bread Roll - 4434 views
Tonkatsu and Buttered Vegetables - 3,809 views
Pork Humba - 3,793 views
Cheese Cupcake - 3,461 views
Puto Pandan/ Cheese Puto - 3,139 views
Arroz Caldo - 3,124 views
Kalderetang Batangas - 3,040 views
Paksiw na Pata - 2,821 views
Labanos Kilawin - 2,055 views 

So, if you have anything in your mind you'd like to learn how to prepare or cook, please do share. Let's learn together. Just like you, I am also learning as I go along. I believe good dishes are a product of a lot of hits and misses. So to be a good cook, let's not be afraid to try. My first dish which I learned when I was 10 was 3-step Adobo, taught by my Tatay. First chop all ingredients, dump them in the pan and cook. Done. It was good actually. But along the way, I started experimenting. Adobo sa Star, Adobong Dilaw, Spicy Adobo and even Adobo Fried Rice. Any and all kinds of Adobo, until finally I got tired of it. It's now my least favorite dish. LOL! 

Last night, as I was making Fish and Chips, which ended up as Fish Tempura, for our dinner. I suddenly realize that even the girls' perception of home cooked meals had now changed. They now are active participants in planning our menu. It was a funny thought that they now see our kitchen as they're personal restaurant where they just call in their orders and I would prepare it for them. Even before going to sleep, they enumerate the breakfasts, lunches and dinners they want me to prepare for the week. It looks like they think they have a personal chef at home! There were even times when they would ask for burgers or steaks or mashed potatoes but refuse to eat out. They wanted me to cook them at home instead. Life had just suddenly become harder! LOL! 

But I love it. I love when the fam loves the food that is served to them. I love when they finish up everything. I love when the Expat Daddy takes photos of the food before we devour them. I just so love food, cooking and everything that goes with it. In our home, meals are always a thing to look forward to. Specially weekend meals, they're such big events.

Some people suggest that I should put up a restaurant or make any of my cooking a business. And I pray, with God's grace, in time that could happen. I think the happiness I get now will be multiplied a hundred-fold. 

So to all you foodies out there, here's to all of us who loves food, cooking and eating!!!! 

See you in our next Kitchen Adventure!

Oh by the way, and since we're "talking blog", please check out my mommy blog too, 3 Mini Ladies and a Mommy. Let's share our mommy-hood experiences and some future planning and personal finance too! 

Boneless Lechon Belly a.k.a Lechon Cebu

Look how beautiful this baby is! We are definitely in Lechon heaven!
I have not been able to post any entries on this blog in the last months, that was sad, really. I really really wanted to keep this blog going. More so, to improve it. I just didn't know how to do it. I really think I need help to design this blog, plus the other "mommy" blog which I also wanted to keep active as an online diary for the girls. Unfortunately, the drive just wasn't there. But, now is a totally different case. I have just had a major major accomplishment in my cooking adventures and I think, this one is really for the books. Maybeone of the most successful kitchen experiments I've had. Although personally, I think this one really tops them all!

Last week, the Expat Daddy's and my chats on Facebook while we were both at work revolved around the Cebu Lechon that we have been craving for. We both agree that it would be a good idea to try it out since all ingredients are now readily available in Qatar. We were both so motivated and from the first conversation, it had developed into a full-blown plan!  We don't have any of the ingredients, but our major set back was the butcher's twine which we didn't know where to get. I even asked in one of my groups in Facebook if they knew where to buy. I received a couple of store recommendations and I relayed it to the Expat Daddy who was tasked to buy all we need. In the end, he came home with a yarn. LOL! 

But who cares?! We are really set on making it for our Friday lunch. So, yarn it is! My concern only was that the yarn may burn and not hold the meat while it cooks. Fortunately, my anxiety was for nothing. The yarn held just as well. 

Our little kitchen adventure  started on Thursday night. After another complicated dinner of steak, mashed potato, salad and roasted mushrooms. I didn't care how tired I was with the dinner preparation. I was really set on the lechon. So after Yaya finished washing up and cleaning the kitchen, the Expat Daddy and I tackled the task at hand. We already had the boneless belly thawed and now it's sitting in the kitchen counter at room temperature. In a bowl I mixed salt, crushed black pepper and coarsely chopped lemon grass, bay leaves and scallions. then I rubbed it on the non-skin side of the meat. After that the Expat Daddy helped me in rolling the meat and tying it (yes that was his only role! LOL!). I then mixed more salt and crushed black pepper in the same bowl and rubbed it on the skin side of the meat. After that I kept the meat back into the freezer overnight. 
Pardon the tying, we are amateurs :)

The next day, after waking up, I immediately took out the meat from the refrigerator to thaw up to room temperature.

In a Pyrex flat dish, I prepared the marinade by mixing soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, lemon grass, garlic, onions, bay leaves and scallions. I then transferred the rolled pork belly in to the marinade. Untied it so that I can also marinate the meat-side of the pork. I marinated it for about an hour, turning it over from time to time to marinate both sides evenly. After an hour, I scooped all the solid ingredients of the marinate and put it on the non-skin side of the meat and rolled the meat back again. 

I then turned on the oven to high and let it heat up for about 10-15 minutes before putting in the pork belly. I baked it for about 2 hours on medium heat and another 30 minutes on low heat until the skin is crisp.  After 2.5 hours, Viola! 
Crisp skin and tasty skin that's peeled off the succulent meat. Did I say Lechon Heaven? :)
We let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool down before chopping it. I mentioned that the skin was too crispy it just peeled itself off the fat portion of the meat. This really is oh so yum! We served it with steaming hot rice and Philippine mangoes for dessert. And then had an evil laugh right after! LOL! 
We kept the stuffing with the chopped lechon for added kick! 
Oh, I am so pleased with myself. Now 2 days after. I couldn't help myself but share the success with you fellow foodies out there. I am just too giddy with happiness. We all agree that we did well on our first try and we can't wait to try it again. I have actually boasted about it on Facebook and with our family, friends and relatives. And they're as excited as I am to try it out again and sample it to them. Yes people, it wouldn't be so far away. This is happening again!!!!  :)

Project 57: Beef Wraps

So good and filling, you won't even feel like you're on a diet! :)

Ok, you might be wondering what's Project 57 is. Well, that's just my code for my perpetual struggle with the bulges. As I turn a year older again next month, it would be exactly a decade when I was down to that weight. Hihi! And in a month's time too, that would be 10 years of Day 1 in my diet program. Can't seem to make it to day 7! LOL!
So anyway, for the record I am currently on day 4 of my salads and wraps diet. Yes, it is quite an achievement to have reached this stage without rice and Coke intake! My gulay! It was a struggle, but I'm so proud! Woohoo! Actually, at this point I am not looking too far ahead. My only goal is to at least keep away from rice and Coke for about 2 weeks. Hopefully by then, I'd be able to fit in the clothes I have just recently bought. My goodness, they were just about a couple of months old I guess, but I just keep on getting bigger and bigger by the day. So yes, I now learned to make SMART goals, and I am keeping it SMART this time. I'll make sure that I have realistic goals to avoid frustrations. :)
So to start off, I'll share with you this very delicious wraps that's been keeping my tummy happy this past few days. Mind you, it's so good that the Expat Daddy and the girls share them with me. 
So yeah, Project 57 is project going back to 57kg. The goal is to achieve it in about 1.5 - 2 years. Yes, that's how realistic my goal is. No crash diets, no diet pills this time. Just healthy eating and exercise. :)

Ingredients:
Flour tortilla
Beef strips (I used rib eye, but any cut will do as long as they're not hard and chewy)
capsicum
white onion
avocado
lettuce
1/4 tsp light soy sauce
olive oil 
dash of salt and steak pepper to taste
garlic dressing (optional)
cheese (optional)

Method:
Sprinkle some salt and steak pepper on the beef and set aside.
Heat pan and add olive oil, throw in the onion and capsicum. Roast until soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the beef strips. When cooked, add the light soy sauce. Stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Set aside.
To prepare the wrap, layer the tortilla with lettuce, the cooked beef, avocado and cucumber (You may also want to add the garlic dressing and cheese, if not on a diet. The photo above was for the Expat Daddy, mine doesn't have cheese.)
Roll and serve. You may also heat in the oven toaster if you want to eat your wraps warm. Enjoy!




Chicken Maring

Best for the rainy weather :)
Sounds familiar? It's because this was the chicken recipe I cooked at the time when Typhoon Maring was wrecking havoc in the Philippines. At that time my mind was too occupied with the people affected by the typhoon and the floods that followed. So no, it wasn't inspired, because honestly, the news were nothing but depressing. But I guess we could empathize, because at the exact same time, there is just nothing in our pantry and refrigerator. So for dinner, I just cooked whatever was available. But as it turns out the Fam loves the dish. The Expat Daddy even kidded our dinner is very timely. The perfect relief dish! LOL!

So here goes my no nonsense Maring dish. I will definitely make it again! And by the way, these recipe is so non restrictive, it's just basically chicken  Sautéed with veggies, so you can add whatever veggies are available for you. Feel free. :)

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, chopped adobo size
2 medium sized potatoes, cubes
1 small can sliced button mushrooms (including brine)
cabbage
string beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tbs cooking oil
1 chicken broth cube
salt & pepper 
2 cups water

Method:
Heat oil in the pan, add garlic and saute till lightly brown. Add the onion, cook until soft and translucent. 
Add chicken and chicken broth cube. Cover for 10-15 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking to evenly cook the chicken.
Add the potatoes. Cover and cook for another 5-8 minutes.
Check the potatoes, when soft, add the mushrooms (including brine) and beans. Return the cover and cook for about 3 minutes then add half of the water. 
Simmer for 5 minutes then add the cabbage. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
Add more water as desired and adjust taste buy adding salt.
Turn off heat. Serve with rice. Enjoy!