Japanese movies make me hungry

No matter what kind of Japanese movie it is–whether it’s horror and there’s a foreboding water stain on the ceiling while a mother and child eat their meal (Dark Water, 2002, or I may be remembering it wrong), or it’s a bloody action film and there’s a killing rampage the following day after the young trained assassins have dinner together (Azumi, 2003)–as long as there’s a dining, cooking, or any food-related scene I suddenly get a craving for Japanese food.

A bento of sushi goodness in Maruchan

So I especially get hungry when the food is an integral part of the plot. Continue reading

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Make yourself a banh mi

When you return from a trip to another country, do you also crave for the familiar flavors of food from back home? I do. Without fail. No matter how glorious the food is, after several days I start to miss eating a plate of tapsilog, a bowl of adobo that’s been simmered deliciously in vinegar and soy sauce, or even just tortang talong. Nothing like travel to make you appreciate and long for what you have back home. But it can also expand your tapa-adobo-tortang talong lineup in the kitchen.

From our trip to Saigon, I knew one of the  dishes I wanted to recreate from the Vietnamese city was banh mi. The popular Vietnamese sandwich is found in many street corners of Vietnam. The ones I got to try in Saigon didn’t really have the best ingredients and they were exposed to the elements all day (it is after all a street food), but the baguette made the sandwich–it always had this crispy thin crust and a soft and airy dough that managed to make this street corner staple memorable. It was cheap, filling, and packing a lot of flavor in a sublime piece of bread.

Online search on how to make banh mi led me to this recipe, which I made with a few alterations on the serving size and the meat I decided to use (one thing about the banh mi–unless you want to make a strictly Vietnamese version, you can substitute the cold cuts and pork belly slices with other kinds of meat). I was quite pleased with how the pickled veggies turned out. The baguette I got to use though was more dense than airy, but the familiar flavors easily reminded me of Saigon street corners.

Halfway through my banh mi (I’m not very conscientious about taking photos)

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Make your own mojito

Is Monday too early for a mojito? This is what happens when you have four projects to finish on your plate. You can’t do the essential things in life, like drink or blog. (Preferably not in that order) But I am not complaining.

I can always pass by the grocery tomorrow on the way home and buy these ingredients.

Tanduay rhum WHITE
white sugar
lime or lime juice
carbonated water
mint

For drink inspiration: Mojito at Hey Jude! Bar in Boracay Island. One of the best mojitos I've had, but the sunset view and the white sand may also have something to do with it (The bar though has closed so I have to try and recreate it or just find a new bar to get some mojitos when I find myself back in the island)

How not to make banoffee pie

Kiera Knightley never looked as lovely as when she was in the 2003 flick Love Actually, standing by the door of Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead), and uttering the words, “Banoffee pie?” Oh, get inside, woman.

Banoffee pie is one of the few desserts that makes me forget I’m not too keen on desserts.

Years ago in Manila, there was a furniture store and cafe called Area, which gave me my first memorable taste of banoffee pie. Slices of bananas covered in sweet, soft toffee and whipped cream and resting on a buttery crust. I’ve loved it ever since.

Perhaps, it’s because of some anxiety (I try to distract myself when I’m anxious) or seeing the British rom-com again a few weeks ago, that I decided to try and make one. I looked online for recipes; my only requirement being no oven required. I don’t have an oven yet, so I tend to do no-bake desserts (refrigerator cakes, crepes, and whole lot more I discovered courtesy of my friend Kris’s old blog Married2Chocolate when she used to do No-Bake Mondays).

I chose to do this banoffee pie recipe below from All Recipes, because the time spent in front of the stove, cooking the sweet toffee filling, was shorter compared to the other recipes I found. I didn’t get to strictly follow the procedure though, so this is how it turned out…

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Crazy over bok choy

Bok choy. Just the name makes you want to chomp on it. More known as Chinese cabbage, I didn’t use to pay so much attention to this green leafy veggie until I had to cook something that called for it a few months back. I was going to cook a Ginger Fish Stir-Fry (see recipe, below), which called for bok choy. Since all I had was pechay (another cabbage variety) in the fridge, I ended up using that instead. The next time I cooked the stir-fry dish, my mom brought me bok choy from the market. A bunch just looked so lovely and green. When I used it for the dish, it came out more tender than pechay.

A bok choy bouquet

Since my wonderful mom bought bok choy in the market this morning, I decided to cook the Ginger Fish Stir-Fry again today for lunch. I may have gone a bit crazy over the amount of bok choy that was called for in the recipe, added more soy sauce, and it came out a little more salty than before.

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