Archive | August, 2010

Last Song Syndrome: Bring On the Day

31 Aug

I have this song in my head that seems to be on constant repeat.  The funny thing about it is that I didn’t hear it anywhere.  It just seems to be stuck somewhere in the recesses of my long-term memory storage area.

It’s a song from the Sweet Home Alabama that stars Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas (mmmm Josh Lucas! okay moving on…).  I guess my subconscious thought it was an appropo song to play over and over (and over and over and over…) again in my head!

I’m not all too sure that the term “last song syndrome” (aka LSS) is appropo for it but it seems to be behaving like it at the moment.


When I feel like I’m falling
I’m still on my feet
Reality is calling
But that don’t bother me
Cause I’m on my way, I’m OK

I’m ready to get ready
Willing to get by
Able to imagine what it’s like to fly
Into the blue, it’s all down too

Hey, hey, hey
Come on Bring on the day
Cause I just might get everything I need
Hey, hey, hey
Give ’em what it takes
I’m ready as I’m ever gonna be
So, bring on the day

Like a diver in the water
Everything feels slow
But my caramel macchiato really gets me in the flow
And I’m on my way
Whatever it takes

Hey, hey, c’mon bring on the day
Cause I just might get everything I need
Hey, hey, give ’em what it takes
I’m as ready as I’m every gonna be
So, bring on the day

What you get is what you see
Open up your eyes
Let it set you free
It all works out eventually
Gotta keep on keep on
I can rock, and I can roll
I know I wanna move, gotta take control
Whatch out world cause here I come
And I can’t stop till I’m done

Hey, hey
I’m finally on my way

Hey, hey, c’mon bring on the day
Cause I just might get everything I need
Hey, hey, hey
Give ’em what it takes
Cause I’m as ready as I’m ever gonna be
So, bring on the day

Gotta keep on, keep on, keep on

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The internet is really, really great

30 Aug

Not having internet for over 24-hours was an eye-opener.  I had not realised how important it was, and how much it was a part of my life now.  I use Facebook and Twitter and emails and instant messaging to keep in constant touch with my family and friends.

I felt like I’d lost a limb for a while.  But the internet connection is now back.  Hurrah!

God bless technology!

Wannabe Domestic Goddess Pancakes

26 Aug

When I was growing up, hotcakes, or pancakes, were a breakfast staple.  For some reason, my mom would almost always cook them on a Saturday.  It was pancakes out of a packet but I thought it was the bees’ knees!  How my mom could make so many pancakes from one egg and a smallish looking packet of dry ingredients was beyond me.  I think all you had to add was either water or fat…I can’t remember now.  But I know that the brands we used to have at home were Maya and White King.  Eventually we did try to use Pillsbury…but I think Maya or White King was still the best.

When I was older, and fancied myself the capable cook, I experimented and tried making apple pancakes.  It was a DISASTER with a capital D.  My baby sister, Duckie, was ever so polite and she said it was okay…I don’t know if she remembers that day, but it was the first time I had given Duckie something to eat that she didn’t immediately finish (well that and anything aubergine!)!  So for a while I stopped experimenting with pancake recipes.  I’d given it up as a lost cause…for the meantime.

My favourite TV Chef is Nigella Lawson (stay with me, I’m not digressing! mentioning Nigella will eventually serve its purpose!).  While a lot of her recipes are absolutely rich and wonderfully calorific, some of them are absolutely practical and really quick to do.  Forever Summer is the Nigella series that, I think is, my favourite.  It’s where I got 2 of my favourite recipes.  A tamarind-based fish curry that’s absolutely deeee-vine over rice (ayayayayay!!  over rice again!  but then again, I am Filipino!) and pancakes from scratch.  Here’s my version of her recipe.  I’m finally learning to cook in smaller portions.  Hurrah!

This version is made with cream cheese.

Ingredients:

Makes 8 – 10 6-inch pancakeswannabe domestic goddess pancakes

  • 150 grams cream cheese (you can use full fat, low fat, non-fat)
  • 200 ml skim milk (the fattier the milk, the richer the pancake! butter milk is the best! yum yum!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar (you can add more, but if you’re topping pancakes with syrup this is enough)
  • 2/3 cup self-raising flour (I use this so I don’t have to add baking powder)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (the better the vanilla, the better the pancakes 🙂 also, I’m very liberal with the vanilla!)
  • butter for greasing the pan

Directions:

  • Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, and set aside.
  • Add the sugar to the egg yolks and beat until the egg yolk and sugar mixture turns very pale yellow.  Add the vanilla.  Add the cream cheese and mix until well-incorporated.  Add the flour slowly, making sure that there are no lumps.  Add the milk.  Set aside.
  • Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until well incorporated and then fold in the rest of the egg whites gently
  • Grease a non-stick pan with a little butter (don’t put too much butter as this will FRY the pancake—you don’t really want that).  Ladel pancake batter.  Wait until the larger bubbles burst before flipping over, this should take 1-2 minutes, depending on how hot the hob is.  The pancake is relatively ready if you shake the pan and the pancake moves around relatively easily (if you’re not using a non-stick pan, you may have to check if the pancake’s bubble-side is cooked).
  • You can garnish with whatever fruit tickles your heart strings and drizzle whatever flavoured syrup you want.
  • You can also cook a non-cream cheese version and just do away with the cream-cheese.  It still works! 🙂

Salted Duck Egg and Tomato Salad

25 Aug

itlog na maalatItlog na maalat (Filipino for salty egg) or itlog na pula (Filipino for red egg) is not something that I can get from my local Morrisons, Tesco or Sainsbury’s.  And I missed it terribly.  I missed just being able to pop down to the market and buy a couple of eggs, one-fourth kilo of tomatoes and run back home and pick a few basil leaves from my dad’s garden.

It’s one of the simplest Filipino dishes ever.  You just cut the salted duck eggs (they’re hard-boiled) into cubes, cube the tomatoes, chop the basil leaves finely and mix them together.  It’s a great accompaniment to rice and fried fish or a roasted chicken or roasted pork (liempo to us Pinoys).  Sometimes, when I can’t think of what to cook to accompany my rice, this is the quickest viand to put together, no cooking required.  Since I’ve moved to the UK, I’ve made variations.  I’ve added an onion in the mix.  Another version of this salad is to add dill (fresh or dried) instead of basil.

I can’t go down to Chinatown in London all the time or head to the Filipino store in Colchester.  It’s not every day that I can get duck eggs but I daresay, it’s easier to get duck eggs from somewhere than it is to go down to London!  So I had to find out how to make my own salted eggs.  And this is the recipe.  It’s the one that works for me best.

As found in: http://www.lilligren.com/homestead/duckeggs.htm

Ingredients:
1 dozen duck eggs (any breed of duck will work)
1 to 1-1/2 cups of sea salt
5 cups water
1 gallon glass or plastic container

What you should do:
1. To make the brine solution, dissolve salt in warm water.
2. Wash eggs thoroughly and put them in the container.
3. Pour in the brine solution. Cover the container with a towel.
4. Let stand at room temperature for 30 days. Turn the eggs every 4 days.
5. After 30 days, remove the eggs from the brine solution. Wash with water.
6. Cook the eggs by boiling in water for 30 minutes.

BUT if you can’t wait for the 30 days, you can do this:

1. Boil the eggs in the brine solution.
2. Make a fresh batch of the brine solution. Peel cooked duck eggs. Place them in the fresh brine solution and soak for 24 hours.

**Note that it won’t turn out as good as the ones made to soak for 30 days, but sometimes, instant gratification is good too! 🙂 I also don’t use that many eggs (I did 2 for my tomato salad)! So the brine solution can be scaled down to about 3 tbsp of salt to 500ml of water is good 🙂

Today, I want to be a superhero!

24 Aug

I don’t want to be faster than a speeding bullet, nor do I want to be more powerful than a locomotive, nor do I want to be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.  I just wish I had the super power to fly.  Or will myself to be in Manila.

I am not going to be at my friend’s wedding today.  Of all the weddings to miss, this was one of those that were on my DO NOT DARE MISS list.  And I am definitely going to miss it!  As a matter of fact, it’s probably happening right now.

My mom has just sent me a text message.  She’s with my Aba and they’re at the church where the wedding is.  I’m happy our family is being represented at the wedding.  BUT I WANT TO BE THERE TOO! 😦

There are friends and then there are friends.  And if I sit here and list down why this friendship is important, this will be one very, very long blog entry.  Suffice it to say that our friendship is cemented because we grew up in the faith together.  Faith is an excellent foundation and when your friendship is founded on that, it, well, makes it the strongest bond ever.  And now, I’m going to stop talking about how much I value this friendship because there won’t be enough kleenex in my handbag (I also don’t intend to help solve the water shortage in England by boo-hoo-ing at work!).

To my dearest Joanne and Allo (who is now dear by association, even though we haven’t met yet):  Have a wonderful day today.  While I cannot be there, and I know I can, probably, never make up for not being there, I am hugging you in my thoughts!  May this day be the beginning of a life blessed with love, bound by faith and filled with every happiness 😀

Needing change

22 Aug

I took on the diet challenge, albeit slightly impetuously (this word makes me smile! I rarely use it but when I do it makes me feel like a Jane Austen heroine—impetuous!  Oh Mr Darcy! :)), because in my heart of hearts, I knew I needed a change.  I knew that I was losing weight but I needed a big push.  Thanks to my friend Rhoda who proposed it.  It was the proverbial kick in the bum that I needed.  I now look at food quite differently.

One thing I have noticed, after the no-rice challenge is how one’s stomach expands with the rice.  I’ve never really paid much attention to things like this.  It was very much shovel-in-food-ooooh-at-how-good-it-tasted for me.  But now, I plan to choose my food wisely, to eat intelligently…

Oooh have you heard of the Twix Fino?  I just saw it this morning.

Ha!  So much for eating intelligently, hey?

Day 6 and it's Friday!

20 Aug

Don’t you just love Fridays?  I don’t necessarily think that Friday is my favourite day.   I like most days, I think.  And I also have my reasons why I don’t like some days of the week.

It’s supposed to be a changeable day today.  And it is.  Work is slow and fast at different intervals.  Today I find myself looking for things to do.  One thing I’ve learned (and I’ve learned this lesson well, especially this week!) is I need to make sure that I go through my work with a fine-toothed comb.  I usually do, but somehow, this week, I let my standards slip.  Not that it’s unlike me, I have moments when I’m not so meticulous, but I keep kicking myself for past mistakes that I don’t think I want to add to my list of mistakes as am still kicking myself for mistakes that I made in high school!

I had seafood pasta for lunch.  It was a good lunch and I was ready for it.  It’s the second to the last day of The Challenge and I am approaching the end of this challenge with mixed feelings.  I’ve enjoyed it though, surprisingly.  I don’t want to sit here and become to cerebral about the diet.  Because that’s what it was, a diet.  I must admit, I do feel better and I have a better feel (for lack of a better word) for how it feels to overeat.  I am more aware of how much rice expands in my tummy after I’ve consumed it.  But like I said, I don’t want to be too cerebral…not on a Friday! 🙂

I looked out the window because I could hear the wind blowing.  It was whooshing!  The sound made me smile and I remembered a phrase from a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that we were told to memorise in elementary school:  Oh wind, a-blowing wind all day long, Oh wind that sings so loud a song!

I feel that I have to share the entire poem now:

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies’ skirts across the grass—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!