Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Garci and the Thieves of the Decade

i would not be quick to judge garci for his consistent lying.  sinful and totally kapal he is, i have to commend the guy for not ratting out on his allies and cohorts. because despite being state-sanctioned thieves, there exists a form of 'honor' among thieves nonetheless. to preserve the duty of omerta (silence) and guard the volatility by which the deck of crime would be exposed by the fall of just one card. for the conspiracy in thievery that the arroyo administration has enmeshed itself rests on the strength in which the silence on sin and discretionary power could be maintained, and for any intrusion (questioning, probing, whistleblowing) diverted away from it.  i do not salute garci or the arroyos and their minions. nor am i condoning what they did (forgiveness is indeed of the divine!). instead, i am presenting part of the dynamics of crime, where 'gentleman' rules prevail and where positive concepts of 'honor', 'trust' and 'integrity' take new form depending on the perspective.  think about it.  garci is the perfect ally in the distorted world of the arroyos.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Groovy Chick's Bedroom

Welcome to my bedroom. First a perspective of the four corners. The right side upon entering the door is occupied by a working desk.
The left side where the coat hooks are. That's my pink bathrobe, quite indispensable when entering and leaving the bathroom on wintry days like today.
The far right side where the closets are...
And the leftmost which contains the bed...I do have fear earthquakes will make the closets tumble and squash poor old me while sleeping...
The choice is whether to turn this lovely Igorot weaving into table runners (as it's supposed to be) or a wall decoration. I chose the latter.  It's sort of a memento wall, from Yaman (her characteristic pink hearts), Stephii (the muscled guy), Salma (the ant drawing - looks like), and my favorite passage on 'Success' by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Ok, details na.  These closets are also here when  I moved in. I love it because it's classically spacious with numerous drawers.
Hmmm, how can I explain a table that contains vaseline cream (rubbed all over my feet every night for it to be smooth and crack-free), a pink storage box that contains my earrings, my prayer books and a chalice-shaped wood cup filled with rosaries and a St. Benedict medallion, a ceramic open vase containing lipsticks and pojo for headaches and a basket that contains toiletries used after taking a bath. This means, I'm finicky about my feet (to compensate for three dark toes ewww!), a trying-hard religious and just generally low maintenance. Oh before I forgot, that my hair is growing so I need to wear headbands while exercising. 
Stacks of books and notebooks (all fieldwork notes). Some are books bought for Yaman, cookbooks (wow!), books bought from swap mart of second hand bookstores, and books I don't do without: Nietzsche's Gay Science and Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones.
A mini desk bought from swap mart at A$5.00.  That green folder contains journal articles for reading this weekend. Yeah, no rest here.  That's my exercise towel. That maroon one is a table runner used whenever eating here in the room.
Cookbooks stacked with currently read books, Umberto Eco's The Name of Rose and Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, the latter borrowed from Murdoch Lib. I'll connect all Jane Austen novels when in Manila na.
My writing desk, with mugs on the right (one for water, the other for tea or coffee and the brown one for goji berry juice dranked every morning after waking up. 
Apple cider vinegar and castor oil pertain to practices carried over from doing Hcg therapy. Yes, I have notebooks for everything. Stacked above the brown jewelry case is a notebook for recipes picked online, on food and can wraps and food catalogues; the other is my food and weight diary while the hidden moleskine is for exercises and numbers game played during flights.
That's Joel Harper's exercise video and my pumps (pair of 0.5kg and 1kg). I think it's obvious now that I love stacking things. See my bedside table above where abubuts and whatevers are in baskets, vases, storage boxes. In here, the pumps in a pink cube container while the white plastic one is for the charger, earphones, usb case and cords, and whatever electric.
See this blue basket? Bought from a garage sale for 0.50c. It's for my mobile phones.
The basket holds my slingbag, umbrella and mini-ladder (from Salma), the yellow enviro bag containing all other grocery bags. The black one contains my baon for lunch. The corkboard pinned with all grocery bills and the numerology chart from Mr. Nora for 2009. How I miss him...
I could not do without a thermos bottle for hot water and a refill bottle for ordinary tap water.  
Because I store water in my room to save trips to the kitchen...
Dried olive branches blessed last Holy Week.

And finally Yaman's Pride Wall!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Coconut Walnut Cake (Pilot)

 just observed that when i'm at stressed with this phd writing, i resort to cooking or baking.  so this morning, as i can't make up my mind whether to read, write or type-up interview transcripts, decided to bake this coconut recipe shared by one west australian named Shirley in our suburb directory.  the recipe is simple as all you have to do is mix self-raising flour (2 cups), dessicated coconut (1 cup), white sugar (3/4 cup) and milk (1 1/2 cups). it's a no-fuss recipe because the directions were pretty straightforward: just mix dry ingredients in a bowl, add milk and mix with a wooden spoon. pre-heat the oven at 180C and bake for 35-40 minutes.  so OK. i decided to improvise by adding in a tablespoon of crumbled walnuts. i won't be vitti if i'll just follow the recipe he he.

I intentionally lightly mixed the ingredients. To overmix or undermix is the question.  Ano baga Gie?

The sleeping dough will soon rise...

Smells good although I should have adjusted the heat of 180C to its fan-forced equivalent (150C perhaps).

Looks tough 'no? indeed it is! but Roxanne liked it. either the batter was so undermixed or the oven heat was so high for fan-forced. the cake felt heavy on the stomach, very filling because of the coconut. so one slice would do. why don't you try making one. just make sure the batter is well mixed and the heat has been adjusted depending on your oven specs. this deserves another try. nevertheless, c'mon, let's eat!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Politics of Reform (in Diagrams)

It's raining today in Perth, heavy with a hailstorm occurring around 6am.  Home but still working.  Around 830am, I started off, using the back of the May 2011 calendar. There I developed the mother framework.  Since Roxanne advised that Matt would want the rest of the calendar because of its lovely Chinese drawings, had to use plain bond paper for additional markings and taped them accordingly on whatever available white space there is on the wall.  That's a glimpse of my working desk, with a jug of water on the right and 2 separate mugs for hot water and tea or coffee.  Liquids are far from the pc to prevent any mishap of water splashing over it.
The diagrams had to be in pencil to be amenable to erasures and yes, corrections. The mind has to be translated in lead black and white.
By 330pm, the diagrams looked like this.

The central framework contains the key actors in concentric relations and placement: the core being urban poor households, the urban poor organizations where they belong, the urban poor federation under which these organizations are affiliated and the City Government that administers the program. These actors and relations are part of the Politics of Reform.

Mapped out the Kaantabay program in its explicit policy objectives (right) and implicit political objectives (left). Here I suggest the study of development impact to look into how well policy objectives have been met.  Beyond impact, however, the subsequent analyses, combined with the study of political objectives and its effects on tenure reform is covered under the study of development effectiveness.  Development impact and development effectiveness are therefore inseparable in the study of Kaantabay.

The overall methodological approach is Structural Political Economy which looks into power relations and the varying access to and control of resources.  In my study, the relevant threads to this structural approach are the literature on social capital formation and mobilization, the institutional models behind participation and contestation, and development effectiveness which looks into politics as a key factor in development and arena for engagement.
Still, the mother question is this.
right now, i feel i'm on stasis. i want to read on, nervous and insecure, about the strength of this framework. knowing though that i need to write, the remaining section on chapter 5 on Kaantabay's formalization process and the resulting formal and informal structures in assisted sites.  dai man mapagsabay pero pareho dai pwedeng limanan. ano na daw gigibuhon ko?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The PhD Quilt

at a time when i'm comfortable with the writing comes the prospect of recrafting the theoretical framework of the study. from tenure security to enabling and good governance to the politics of reform. i am being asked to focus so as to help in finetuning the writing. but in my mind, i see not one big whole but connections and common spaces between and among circles, and the challenge right now is how to weave these common spaces into one.  it's like making a quilt. each piece is a patchwork with a story. but each story blends in with a universal theme.  the universal theme in my mind is still a work in progress and the patchworks have yet to be sewn.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lightworker Bakes Choco Devil Muffins

it's normal i figure. when one becomes familiar with the intricacies of cooking, baking is not far behind. below marks my first try at baking. it was yesterday, 25 july. just held off to have my say on the tragedy in norway.

it's not the classic baking style of sifting ingredients and measuring them in exact ingredients. this choco muffin recipe comes from a pack but even though, i am proud of myself just for the sake of trying and for yes, blazing a new love affair with baking.

The choco mix is blended with one egg, goat's milk (better substitute to cow's milk, 1 cup) and olive oil (3tbsp). Stirred thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Laying them out on a cupcake tray.  This is Roxanne's plastic bakeware. The multi-color cups are mine, bought with a baking magazine, on special (A$2.99), just yesterday morning.
The recipe mix is good for 12 muffins but since using a 6-cake tray, had to stack the ingredients that's why the chocolate hills turned to mountains of mix and choco chips. Baked in a pre-heated oven at 175C (fan forced) for the first 20min. Had to bake further for another 10min, but at a lower temp of 150C because the insides were still gooey.
Whoa! The finished product! Just letting it stand for 2 minutes and more. Look like little horny devils huh? C'mon, let's eat!

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the Norway Tragedy

the evil that women and men do have a purpose. in my view, they are meant to rouse, to start a questioning of both status quo and change.  i too have my doubts on multi-culturalism. especially if i take it from the eyes of a filipino in the philippines. somehow, i feel uneasy with koreans in the streets. on other nationalities dominating not only beaches and malls, but schools and neighborhoods. why are they here? why are they intruding in spaces supposedly for filipinos? generally, i don't like arabs not only because they smell but also because i identify them as oppressors and rapists of filipinos working in the arab world.

but as a filipino here in australia, i embrace multiculturalism as a concept because i want to be embraced, to be accepted, to be free from harassment, to be left on my own. but still here i am wary of arab-looking men because of the taint in which their reputation as slave drivers and rapist-masters remain.

and here you can see my bias.  as there are spaces of my own that i want to exert and maintain as mine. this space wrapped around my identity as a filipino and the sanctity of it in the boundaries established as i have known them since childhood. an identity that i exert against the biases formed against filipinos (gold-diggers, swindlers, opportunists) and the memory of oppression suffered against other races americans, japanese, arabs, the spanish).

and i am trapped in the paradox of identities under multiculturalism. because despite how much i want to belong, i would always be a second class citizen in this country which is not mine. and at home, i struggle against other races claiming first-class citizenship because they can afford to be, which challenges my rights as so.

the massacre in norway is not mindless, senseless violence. it is not just the politics of hate.  it is a mirror in which we have to look at ourselves and squarely face our racism not a tendency but a natural sense as breathing. we are all racists because self-preservation matters. to inflict violence is to make a point that multiculturalism is a precarious state we have embraced blind to its consequences.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Making Love with a Jesuit

i had reservations. how could lovemaking be with someone with such a religious background? someone prim and proper and could only muster an awkward laugh when teased online.  but it's true. the best surprises do not come in a flashy box wrapped with ribbons. it comes from those laid simple and bare. those that say, 'you may not like this, but this is all i have.' like the chalice of jesus christ, not embellished in gold. but polished plain, a carpenter's cup. sim-ple, pero WOW!

this is what i feel when we make love. that i am kissing a real man, who kisses back not only as if i'm the only woman in the world, but in all the world, i am the only woman he loves. the first time we kissed, i almost drowned. his is not the kiss of an amateur. not the kiss of someone who has spent his youth as a religious. i really wondered --- am i being had? and had to ask him directly --- are you sure you haven't kissed anyone this torrid, this ravenous before? his hands reached for the right places, grasped them almost as if my body was his entirely. i was melting under his power.

yes, his power. you will never know the extent of how much you can succumb to a man until you've made love to the right man. 'right' not in the sense of being perfect in body and endowed with energy like a stallion. but 'right' because his desires are intertwined with yours, and sex becomes just one expression of a multitude by which you can express love for each other. his power over me comes from the willingness in which i give expression to that love. we are there to enjoy each other, but not to the point of showing off. not to the point of overpowering.  and while i led the discovery, now, we are both exploring new terrain. the man has found his own expression, his own rhythm.

now the awkward laugh is no more. he is almost as crude and savage in the dark as he is decent and collected to the core. he is complete. he is really the man. and no one can beat him. to the honey and hunger in his kisses. to the depth and the peaks which his thrusts can lead. to the energy and passion in which such true love swells. he is the supreme, the prime, ever.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Yaman is sick today. as an absentee parent, i see how vulnerable i am. she barely talked, was on the sofa, lying, most of the time. through my mom, i wished to embrace her. check her temp, massage her feet and just lie with her there, her feet on my lap. i want to be the one to carry her to bed, check she's comfortable underneath the covers, make sure there's enough water for her to drink in case she wakes up feeling dehydrated, as she usually does when sick. Yaman sleeps straight through the night but now in this condition, i know she'll wake up very two to three hours, grumbling, moving about, sometimes crying.  i almost cried as i told her, 'how i wish i'm there with you anak. mommy should be the one caring for you.' and she pushed her cheeks back, controlling the tears. here so far away, i am vulnerable.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Dinner

dinner was fine. the crowd was good. can't wait to sleep.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

After 11,542 words

there's no other way to go but home. to leave the bulk of a slingbag and exchange it with the smaller black oakley, enough to carry this coin purse, this wallet and the house keys. to just go around the small district mall in kardinya where the waft of coffee and cappuccino makes me salivate but tests once again, my endurance on food i used to crave for. the 'treat' was to just do nothing cerebral, to shun away from readings, and transcripts and microsoft word even for a half a day.  brain work would just be limited to how logic works in the minds of Inspector Morse and the classic Sherlock Holmes of 221 Baker Street. against these, the range of CSI series are of no match because here the work of logic is made to work by thinking through the motives and connections, without the aid of technology, which seems to be the lord of criminal detection, nowadays, well as far as it is portrayed on TV. nevertheless, this is how i spent the whole afternoon, away from the bondage of the PhD. after writing 11542 words in the last two weeks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


on lonely days here at windelya, they keep me going. in time, we will be complete.

This is the afternoon sunlight from my room. This is the light when I write. In between writing and reading, I look over and see them, my Yaman and the Hubby and I say, 'in time, in time'.

Yaman is still 3 in this picture, taken just before leaving for Perth in July 2009. Next to her is the Hubby in a natural smiling pose which I first described to him as 'delicious' (naughty naughty me!). Got the sweetheart bee figurines from the swap mart at 0.50c only. With small round magnets as lips, the bees are eternally kissing.  They are the first in my collection of sweetheart figurines.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Whatever Anak

whatever you give
is enough
in this divide
real and artificial
whatever words
you can articulate
any gesture made
is enough to fill the day

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cappuccino from Cafe au Lait

This is the cappuccino from Cafe au Lait, in Bullcreek. From Michel's to Aroma to Club M(urdoch) to the Murdoch Lib Cafe, no one beats the barista in this coffee shop in making such foamy concoction as this.  Because this is how I take my cappuccino:  skimming off the top froth before drinking the coffee. Hmmm siram...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Picture Perfect Day

On a day less than perfect, I return to the Wednesday of this week, the first time the sun came out a splendor in Perth, after more than a week of rain. The sun warmed my cheeks and I decided not to wear shades. It was a bright bright day. Auspicious of what I'm getting at with the writing. So on days like today when plans have gone awry, I will just remember, always, there will be perfect days like this.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rusk, Nicole and Daval

now i owe daval, nicole's partner, a vegetarian spring roll. i got to like this toasted indian bread which unlike our own, is sweet without being drenched by sugar and margarine on top. the taste of rusk, as this bread is called, is just perfect, a perfect partner with cereal coffee and tea. even roxanne loved it on first bite. so in the coming days, i have to conjure a spring roll without meat. perhaps one with firm tofu, vermicelli. coriander, shitake mushrooms and egg will do. it all started when i told nicole, i'll make her some beef matarbak. then i realized it could be quite unfair without making a vegetarian counterpart. you see, with all the german meat-loving goodness that nicole is, so is her partner, daval, a vegetarian down-to-earth indian.  so who can beat a combination like that singing sweet music together for 10 months now. veggie roll for rusk. it's a good exchange.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dinner with Asep's Family

it was no one's birthday. not a day made special by the day, but the people. i thank asep's family for that. the food spoke for itself: the warmth, and openness of our fellow asians.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wishes to the Ones I Love

i wish to be home by december 2012
to be there when the little girl brushes her teeth
than just seeing her flash her new barbie toothpaste online
to cook dinner for the hubby
than just see him struggle with liver spread over skyflakes
to finally tell my mom it's ok whatever she is
to thank her patience, for her never ending silbi
to have real long conversations with the brod and sis
because we never seem to unless we just have to
so much to wish in 2012
wishes that could just really happen when one is there
wishes that could just really be wished out here

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two Lines Only

reading through initial batch of literature on clientelism, political machines et al. it's so hard to think politically.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Fire

when writing is on fire, the hands are steady, the mistakes are few and the connections are clearer than 20/20 vision. the eureka moment is emboldened by the crystallizing of facts and evidence, the arguments become thick. time becomes immaterial, as if it has stopped like the clock outside at 2pm. one can only savor the writing, and the joy that as the day draws to a close, one has written not just more than 1000 words. one has written the meaningful, powerful words.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lamb Adobo

The technique is to not thaw the meat* (so from the deli, wash the meat lightly then store immediately inside the freezer).  Fry the still frozen meat in olive oil for about 5 min on both sides.  When the meat has separated, transfer everything to a strainer placed over a bowl, to separate the meat from its juices. On the same frying pan, put a little olive oil then saute garlic and white onions. Add back the 'dried up' meat and fry for about 5min, or until the sweet pungent aroma of the lamb is released.  Put the juices back to the pan and season with organic soy sauce (about 5 tbsp), apple cider vinegar* (about 5 tbsp), pepper and bay leaf (3 pcs).  Do not add water as the meat will cook in its own juices.  Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour under low heat (No. 2 in gas stove). Check occasionally to check whether drying up or not (water may be added at this point as desired, e.g., 1/4 cup). But do not disturb the dish to allow the vinegar to work through the meat.  After 1 hour, further seasoning may be add to one's taste.*  Serve with veggies like choy sum, celery or carrots. C'mon, let's eat!

*Got this tip from 'somewhere' (Master Chef? Connie Veneracion? Just forgot.) The purpose is to get as much of the meat juices as possible.  
* This is optional. White vinegar or lemon juice could be used. Will try the latter next time. 
* Mint or rosemary could be added to reduce the 'wild' taste of lamb.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ginataang Shrimp with Pumpkin and Snow Peas

Saute garlic, ginger and white onions in olive oil for 2min over med heat (No. 3 in electric gas stoves).  Add shelled shrimps and cover for about 1min. Season with sea salt and pepper. Pour in the coconut milk (canned coco milk is available from Asian shops).  No need to add water because the coco milk is enough as base.  Put in next the pumpkin slices, cover and simmer for 5min (or until about the pumpkin 'smells' which means it's already cooked). Lastly, add the snow peas (chicharo) but simmer now for only 1min to keep it crispy. Remove immediately from heat to not overcook the pumpkin.C'mon, let's eat!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Writing is Sex

i am supposed to write just 2 sections. but now the writing has dragged on and it appears, the chapter will contain 4 sections. the first 2 more like foreplay. it's taking so long to write and it's not even the meat of the matter. the consummation takes so long. the orgasm is delayed (and will there ever be?). so writing is much so much like sex after all.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bayang Magiliw

Yaman is singing Bayang Magiliw. the way she sings it, of course, as a child, it's not by heart but by memory and the desire to sing it in tune. it's too young for her to understand. i never got to absorb its lyrics till i was past my 30s. quite sad for an Iskolar ng Bayan. ira was still 7 years old, so i must be 35. she asked me to interpret the lyrics. what does 'alab ng puso, sa dibdib mo'y buhay' mean? then how about 'may dilag ang tula at awit sa paglayang minamahal?'. wow, i may have been pregnant at that time but the weight inside my womb was nothing to the weight of my thoughts back then? how could i explain what i haven't adequately comprehended in the first place? so now as i listen to Yaman sing, i know it's a matter of months before she asks these weighty questions. i hope i won't falter as much as i did with ira.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

EDSA in Murdoch

This sight greeted me on the way down that dirt road en route to Windelya. I don't believe it at first but for the first time, in 2 years that I've been here and in the 15 months actually spent in this state, that I would get to see this! Traffic build up on the way to Freo!

There must have been an accident up ahead.  The scene reminded me of EDSA, although ours is of course, worst! But this has never been this way, in this laidback suburb of Murdoch. Glad to have captured one just as the was closing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Home by 5pm

because of the cold, i've imposed a 5pm hands down policy on my work. no matter what paragraph, sentence, endnote entry etc., should be off already when the clock ticks 5pm.  so 15min to it, i should be up and about. saving files in the box, in the passport usb; clicking out of this and that webpage, this and that microsoft program. and sending a sign-off chikka to the hubby.  i know by summer this will change because one rather avoids the hot hot sun and the raging heat that could extend until 9pm. i've been told that in the previous summer, the sun was out until 930pm.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why Free Write

wrote more than 2000 words today, from 930am to 330pm. but it was not the required PhD level of writing. free writing, as it is called. and it helped. just described the dynamics of four diagrams prepared way back this may.  but it helped set out the structure for section 2 (e.g., policy environment that instigated City land acquisition), the connection between sub-sections (e.g., entry as histotrically situated than just structurally determined), and hints of important dynamics (e.g., the conditions of illegal entry under formalization). these points i gathered from just describing the diagrams in plain simple english.  and on the side, just writing any thought related to them. 

this is essentially what free writing is. the purpose is to just release the dam of thoughts arrested inside your head, and make sense of them by looking at them in black and white words and ideas. like gardening, what you free write is loose soil. but the more concrete it becomes like the soil you can touch, so can you decide the planting, potting or re-potting. one needs to churn out words as freely as possible to make good sense of it. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Writing, Therapy

since june 21, i've been asked whether i'm ok by three people who know me (already) quite well by this time. nicole, the german roommate; jane, the supervisor; and the Hubby, the man.  according to them, it's because i look sad, brooding, rarely smiling, just managing a simple 'just ok" response when asked, 'are you ok?'

i need to write.

tomorrow i will.

writing is therapy.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Name for her Sister

magkaka-anak ka pa ba mommy? (will you have a baby again mommy?)

bakit mo naitanong? (why do you ask?)

kasi gusto ko ng magkaroon ng sister? (because i want to have a sister)

magkakaroon ka naman talaga ng sister. diba si ashleigh? (you will indeed have a sister. ashleigh isn't it?)

ayoko na ng ashleigh kasi si sarah mae meron nang ganun din ang pangalan...(i don't like ashleigh anymore because sarah mae has a sister with the same name)

ok mag-isip ka ng pangalan...(ok, think of a name...)


ay, wag princess. pag matanda na sya di na bagay..(oh no, not princess. when she's old enough, it wouldn't sound right)


lalo na! aling Queenie hindi bagay...(even so! mrs. queenie's doesn't sound right)


ano ba (what!)?! Lola Lola (laughs) ayoko din ng...(and i don't also like)


sabi na...lalong di pwede...(said so...much more inappropriate)


hmmm...ikaw ba nag-isip nyan o si tita...(did you think of that or tita)

oy! di ako sainyo nakikialam ha...(hey, i'm not meddling between you two...)

ok, anong nickname nya? parang si ate irs...(so what will be her nickname, just like ate irs')


ok mag-isip ka pa ng ibang pangalan...dapat dalawa tulad ng saiyo...(ok think of another should be two like yours...)

and so the little girl mulls over another name for the one to come...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Braised Trout an Snowpea Shoots

Braised fish, or here, braised trout, is one of the easiest dishes to cook.  This recipe is from Connie Veneracion.  All you have to do is mix 3 tbsp of organic soy sauce and 3 tbsp of honey in a wok with about 2-3 cups of water (I use the standard cup in rice cookers. Adjust water level with the size of the fish but don't overdo it. The water should just be below the fish's belly).  On the side, chop ginger into thin slices and place some inside the fish's belly. Once the mixture boils, place the fish in the middle, including the remaining ginger slices.  Cover the pan and simmer for about 30min under low heat (No. 2 for electric stoves). Refrain from opening the lid as the fish will cook on its own (just make sure there is enough water,so it won't dry out).  After 30min, take off the lid and garnish the fish with chopped coriander. You may also put fresh chili if desired. To thicken the sauce, sprinkle with a little psyllium.  If you're eating these with veggies like snowpea shoots (above), all you have to do is cook the veggies in the sauce (after removing the fish) for about 2min until crispy green.  The remaining sauce can be stored in a small bottle (refrigerated for at most 5 days) as 'stock' in cooking or adding flavor to blanched veggies.

This dish works for fish with tasty flesh like tilapia, bangus and trout.  I like trout because of its pink tender and tasty flesh.  Since it has no scales, I eat the skin as well. Bon appetit!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Halo Halo Soup

The secret to this Halo-Halo soup is vegetarian seasoning and white onions. Just boil 3 cups of water. When boiling, add the white onions and three tsp of vegetarian seasoning (available in Asian shops), a little salt and pepper, plus the fish balls, crunchy tofu,dried seaweed, shrimp and Japanese buckwheat noodles.  Stir occasionally to check consistency of noodles, for about 5 min. Then just add carrots and sliced chinese pechay.  Enough to warm your stomach on a cold cold day. Bon appetit!