Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reference material!

I want these, but they're expensive... T_T

I particularly want the sushi book because it's got all these sushi combinations and recipes which I've never heard of, like Cream Cheese sushi. HOW CAN I NOT WANT IT??????????

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back from the dead!

Hehe... back. Moving house and work in general has pretty much kept me from doing a whole bunch of stuff, including making bentos. In any case, I do still have a bunch of unposted photos from previous cooking sessions, so here there are I guess until we manage to buy a new ref and I can start stocking food and cooking again. ^_^

It's just a plain one:
- salted rice and tomatoes
- tofu and vegetable stir-fry with oyster sauce and cinnamon (the dash of cinnamon powder did the trick)
- flower marshmallows and cheese cubes for dessert

All good for three, as usual. ^^

On tonkatsu sauce, and a curry story

I just wanted to feature two of my favorite things which can be found in a Japanese grocery. And yes, what you're seeing in the photo is a box of Golden Curry and a bottle of Bulldog tonkatsu sauce.

Now, both those things are special to me if only because during the times when I was still too shy whenever I entered a J-grocery (well... I was always afraid that I'll look like another trying-hard baka-gaijin-otaku to the Japanese folks who frequented the same grocery), those were the first two things which I dared to try out. I was afraid because I thought I looked like a baka-gaijin-otaku, because these things are a lot more expensive than the usual stuff I pick up from the grocery, and because I was afraid that I'd waste my hard-earned money on something that tasted awful.

Anyway, I ended up buying it, taking it home, and then ultimately loving the darn things.

Now, my kitchen doesn't seem to be complete without tonkatsu sauce around (although it doesn't necessarily have to be the Bulldog brand), in much the same way that it isn't complete if I had no salt handy. I use it on a lot of things. Besides using it for dip for fried things and some veggies, I've discovered that it also makes a tasty substitute for Oyster sauce in some dishes. I've also used it as dressing once, and I've even used it on pasta and I've also made plenty of tonkatsu-flavored onigiri.

The curry, however is a different story.

At first, I got accustomed to buying the pre-cooked, ready-to-serve variety which already had bits of meat and potato in it. All I had to do was heat some water in a bowl, then soak the curry packet in the hot bath for a couple of minutes before I could tear off the top and start eating.

I later heard that Golden Curry was a good brand preferred by most, so I decided to try it. UNFORTUNATELY, when I opened the box, I found two foil-sealed plastic trays which I honestly thought was also filled with the ready-to-eat variety which I got used to. So, I opened the corners of the trays and soaked them in hot water.

Lo and behold, after the requisite three minutes, I was surprised that the curry inside the trays was still NOT in the slushy state that they were supposed to be. I took off the foil completely and was dumbfounded to find BLOCKS of dehydrated (?) curry whose sides were only a tiny bit soft to the touch.

Since I had to serve it soon, I panicked, and it was only then that it occurred to me to dump the stuff in a pot and add water. Here, I made two bad mistakes:

- since I was caught off-guard, I didn't have any fresh meat and vegetables around. Some potatoes, some carrots, and an onion would have been nice...

- I placed BOTH blocks of curry in the pot. I found out later that unless you're planning to feed about four or five people, ONE should have been enough.

So, I ended up with way too much bland curry which I and my boyfriend then had to bear with for two days. @_@

Thankfully, the curry was yummy, even by itself, but I couldn't help but feel absolutely silly about my botched cooking session. I still do, actually...

At least, I now know that by next time, I WILL have meat and vegetables ready. And some milk to serve with it. :p

Friday, January 05, 2007

K's food haunts #2

One thing that I've been meaning to do with this blog is to be able to show other people the food places that we know of, in the hopes that maybe it might inspire others to maybe get a bit adventurous as well and try out unknown and untested restaurants. Also, I wanted to show others eating habits that they may or may not be familiar with. Maybe we'll all get a good laugh out of it. However, before we start touring fancy places and all that, let's go back to our roots a little bit.

Enter, the Jollijeep.

To those unfamiliar with the Philippines, Jollijeep is a coloquial name for a type of roadside eatery. It's derived from putting together the word "Jollibee", a local fastfood chain which has been popular since the early 80's (also one of the first words that infants learn), and "jeepney", one of the local forms of transportation. Both are also words that are associated with the masses.

Personally, I absolutely LOVE jollijeeps. I'm picky with which jollijeeps I eat at, but I firmly believe that they are there to make the average yuppie's life easier. For one thing, jollijeeps are normally found scattered in posh areas where the average meal of rice, a viand and a drink can cost you anywhere from 100 to 200 pesos (about US$4. 50 pesos = US$1). However, at the Jollijeep, you can get a full meal with a drink for less than 40 pesos. If you're really hungry, then your 100 pesos is bound to go a long way.

There's a catch, though, as the jollijeep is not for the squeamish or the prissy. Here, you eat standing up. You finish your meal quickly, make way for the next hungry person and go on your way. There are also no dishes. Instead, you make do with paper plates and plastic utensils, or plastic plates that are covered by plastic bags, or basically anything which helps keep the required dish-washing to a bare minimum. Also, as with most jollijeeps (though not all) servings of rice and viands are already measured out and bagged, so if you wanted two cups of rice and a viand, the lady will then just simply toss you the required eating implements, a plastic bag containing your viand which you have selected from a pile of various other food stuffs, and two plastic bags containing a cup of rice each. It's then up to you to break open the bags, get on with your meal and toss away your trash afterwards.

Bags of food and bagged plates.

Now, that's all how lunch goes. IF you happen to pass by in the afternoon, instead of rice and viands you'll instead find popular afternoon snacks such as the turon (banana with sweetened jackfruit, wrapped in egg wrapper, dipped in brown sugar and deep fried), banana-cue (fried banana with brown sugar on a stick), local rice cakes, congee or noodles.

One of my favorite local snacks, the turon!!

It may sound unpleasant, but it's actually nicer than one might think. In fact, me and my boyfriend often eat at these places (especially when we're broke. Haha!) since the food is good. Also, these little roadside eateries tend to blur the distinction between classes as everyone eats there, from people in suits who happen to work at the office building accross the street, to gas attendants and security guards from the nearby establishments.

Again, jollijeeps are the saviors of the hungry and the broke. Amen.
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