Bibimbap flavored Hallyu

Even before the influx of Korean pop culture all over the world I’ve already started to maintain a love/hate relationship with the country’s offering.

If I were to really think about it, its probably because of their
fast paced fashion style. The colors so bold. Style so eclectic.
People daring enough to wear them.

Or perhaps because I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with a
handful of good natured Koreans before and also because I adore
Sandara Park even before she became Dara.

Before I go on. I would like to emphasize that my opinion is solely
taken from: a: the littlest experience I’ve had with Koreans (who
came here to learn the English language because it is cheaper
compared to English speaking countries) b: watching Korean dramas,
TV news and entertainment and reading Korean pop culture related
blogs.

List of why I like South Korea

1. Jeju Island

That place just looks so beautiful and bountiful.

2. The piggy back ride

This is better explained by clicking this.
Sourced from one of my favorite websites http://www.dramabeans.com. My thoughts about it? At first I found it uncomfortably creepy then I got used to it. You see, its all over their K-dramas. Then I read the explanation from dramabeans and got over my initial discord with the gesture.

3. The seemingly bottomless liquor pit.

Really. Its as if they treat soju or beer as the would water. I so
miss that, the drinking I mean, I get an allergic reaction when i
do so I completely stopped drinking.

4. The digital locks on doors.

I must admit I don’t like that at all. I like using metal keys that
jiggle and dangles every time its being used. But hey, I do like the
sound of beep-beep-beep every time the code is keyed in.

5. The mini albums.

You know, I think, a standard record is a waste in Korea. Although
fan bases are very aggressive to show their support and dedication
towards idols they also seem to want and crave for “new singles”
every time. I wouldn’t know for sure but it seems like it, so correct me if I’m mistaken.

Now that I’ve said at least 5 of why I like about South Korean culture and lifestyle, allow me to move on to the more dispensable but highly appreciated K-pop!

I don’t have a specific group, duo or solo singer that I love entirely. Mainly because I might go crazy over one song by a certain performer/s BUT be totally disgusted with another.

Here’s a list of songs in play list this month:

Daybreak – Space
Flower – She
2NE1 – I am the best
NS Yoon-G – If you love me
Ji Hyun Woo- Baby Elephant
Juniel – Cat day
K. Will – Please don’t
Mighty Mouth feat Yoon Eun Hee
Park Jiyoon – V8 02 그럴꺼야
Secret – Shy Boy
Big Baby Driver – Spring, I love you best
M Signal feat Kim Ye Rim – The two of us
Big Bang – Fantastic baby
G Dragon – CrayOn

I have about 600 (really I do have about 600 mp3s and mp4s) more. No, they’re not all comprised of K-pop, some are 70’s and 80’s music from UK and the US, J-pop and C-pop and of course Original Pinoy Music.

One of the most important that I like about Korea is their food. Here’s one of my favorites.

I never heard of this until I watched an Edward Kwon show in one of his previous travel episodes, or so, I can’t remember. This one is the easiest to make though it may not taste like the authentic bibimbap.

What I find amazing about bibimbap (mixed vegetables in rice with sauce and meat) is that it can be eaten cold. Like making a take away from your fridge or left overs.

So anyways, I’d really like to talk about K-dramas. I do have a lot to say. However, I feel, they deserve the same space per post that I give my favorite American dramas.

Right?

Oh right, I’ve said this a lot of times and I’d like to say it again. I adore Sandara Park, now better known as Dara. Not because she’s become more fashion forward, confident and world famous but because I think she’s still the same Sandara who graced our local screen years ago. Afterall she’s an honorary Pinay. Thank you Oh-Dara.com for the updates.

 

misstang2

Lemon Pudding

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Lemon Pudding

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 30-60 minutes

You will need:
3 tbsp butter, extra for greasing
1 ½ cups fine sugar
3 eggs separated
3 tbsp all purpose flour, sifted
pinch baking powder
1 ½ cups milk
2 pcs lemons, juice and zest
hot water (for bain-marie)

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 4 individual ramekins or pudding mold (you may use a teacup or mug) or an 8-inch round baking dish.
2. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add in egg yolks. Combine flour and baking powder. Add into the butter-sugar mixture ALTERNATELY with the milk, mixing between addition to make a smooth batter.
3. IN ANOTHER BOWL, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Add lemon juice and zest. Gently stir to combine. Pour into prepared ramekins.
4. Place ramekins in an oven proof deep dish. Fill with hot water at least 3/4 full. Bake for at least 40 (up to 60) minutes for ramekins. The top should have a light golden brown texture.

Bicol Express and Laing

If one take a quick look at me, one would say I am unmistakably Filipina, mutya or otherwise. Perhaps my olive skin gave it away. Rather, I’d prefer it if my outlook and presence that enfolds my personality would be taken into account.

As of late there’s been a bevy of Filipinos all over the world. Most of them of pure Filipino blood, some with a mixed race, and some even with a foreign blood would claim to be “Filipino at heart.”

It’s completely on you to be the Filipino you believe you are. I am a Filipino and I am proud to be one. My feelings and thoughts are above me that no words can completely explain why I believe to be so.

So how about, I’m just curious, about those who are not of pure Filipino blood and those who are but were born abroad?

I am so curious that I will take some time and effort to search the web, my magazine collection and the internet again to find out. Only, I’d be searching those who I really like and love (celebrities and not).

Now that I’ve thought, wrote and talked about this. I’m suddenly inclined to make Laing and Bicol Express. One with a slight (in my standards) hint of spiciness and the other (still in my standards) has the ability to blow your heads off.

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Laing:

Ingredients:

2 porkchops cut into cubes
2 pieces of ginger, thumb-size, peeled and minced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed then minced
1 onion peeled then minced
2-4 chillies roughly chopped (I used red inch long chillies, I don’t know the variety but one was good enough to burn my tongue so it’s up to you to adjust the level of spiciness)

3-5 tbsp shrimp paste ( I used the one from Iloilo, the best I’ve had so far)
2 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
4 cups of coconut milk (if using fresh, combine the first and second extractions)
4 cups semi-dried AND fresh taro leaves
patis (fish sauce) to taste

Procedure:

1. Heat the cooking oil in a pan. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until the colour changes. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for a few minutes.

2. Then add the sliced onion and continue sautéing until the onion starts to caramelize. Keep it at medium heat and you’ll notice that the pork starts to brown and become a bit crisp.

3. Add the chillies. Then the tomatoes and sauté the tomatoes until the tomatoes start to soften.

4. Add the shrimp paste.

5. Add the taro leaves. It will look crowded, worry not, the leaves will wilt. Add the coconut milk. Cover the pan and let boil.

6. As it boils, press the taro leaves and stalk down into the sauce. Season with patis, stir some more. Turn down heat to low, cover the pan completely then simmer for at least an hour.

7. After that time, the taro leaves and stalks will be soft and so will the pork cubes. Adjust the taste to your liking. You may opt to make it dry, cook uncovered for a few minutes more until its dry enough for you.

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Bicol Express:

You will need:

½ kilo pork (shoulder or belly), cut into one-inch cubes
6-8 finger chilies
1 onion (or two shallots), peeled and thinly sliced
1 piece ginger, thumb size, minced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced (see tips)
3 to 4 tbsps cooking oil
1 ½ cup coconut cream
3-5 tbsp shrimp paste
patis (fish sauce), to taste

Procedure:

1. Heat the cooking oil in a pan. Add the pork and cook over high heat, stirring often, until it changes color.
2. Add the ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute.

3. Add the chillies then onion. Stir. Add the shrimp paste. Season with fish sauce. Pour in about a cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the pork is tender.

4. Stir in the coconut cream. Adjust the seasonings. When the sauce starts to bubble, turn off the heat.

This Bicol Express is very rich and creamy and very spicy. It is best served with steamed rice, lots of it.
Enjoy.

Mrs. Bonners Sweet Potato Pie (plus a few pointers)

You would forgive me if for sometime I would be posting an all-baked goodies won’t you? It’s not like that’s all I’d be posting just that I’ve been making every effort to bake and I missed it so much that I’m all over it.

This time I made Sweet Potato Pie.

You see that time I was contemplating on what to read and was browsing my bookshelf and found Two for the Road by Jane and Michael Stern. A couple, who according to Nora Ephron of The New York Times, “…write about food so simply and exuberantly that they deserve a room of their own in the Smithsonian Instiution.”

I hope I don’t get into trouble for this. I just wanted to give you an idea why i chose this recipe over what I already have. This exchange between Jane, Michael and Mrs. Bonner is something I might dread or not or booth, who knows?

Mrs. Bonner’s Sweet Potato Pie (page 181)

“Mrs. Bonner’s cafe was a restaurant without written menu. Mrs. Bonner went shopping every morning and cooked what looked good at the market, and when customers walked in and found a booth, she would size them up and decide what they ought to eat…”

Jane Stern had chicken and dumplings while Michael had smoked mullet. They declared that both dishes were excellent and so were Mrs. Bonner’s sweet potato pie. Here’s the recipe:

8 tbsp butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes*
1/2 cup evaporated milk**
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell***

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs. Beat in the sweet potatoes, then the milk, vanilla and salt. Mix well.
Pour into the pie shell and bake for 40 minutes, until dark-red gold (if using orange or yellow sweet potatoes). Cool and serve at room temperature.

* I used purple
** I used full cream milk
***Recipe available in my Apple Pie post.

Let me tell you it was heavenly. Everyone I served it to said, “Whaa, how did she make this, it’s delicious.” Even Shem, who’s a precocious and picky eater shoved one forkful after another!

Mrs. Bonner’s method of sizing up what her customers would eat is something I wouldn’t mind trying. As long as the comeuppance grave or rewarding would rest solely upon the cook ( it doesn’t have to be Mrs. Bonner, anyone brave enough or confident enough will do).

I’ve always, always been generous with tips (as long as the service and food is really good and satisfactory) and I believe it is just proper to be so. I have a high regard to those who treat food and cooking with dignity and pride that a lot of restaurant staff seems to have forgotten. I’ve been duped many times before by advertisements that doesn’t live to its claim and have handed my opinion in a very plain and exact manner. ” Uh, excuse me but this not how it is described in your menu. It doesn’t taste good.” Like so, I didn’t say that when I ordered curry ( the stew version) I expected curry (it didn’t even taste anything like curry) not a piece of meat drizzled ever so lightly with a light yellow coconut cream sauce. Really, how difficult is it to make curry? if you can’t make that then don’t for God’s sake open a restaurant and serve curry. Curry/ How can they shame curry like that?! Needless to say, I never ate or even looked at that restaurant again. ( It was in Davao City, SM ground floor).

Why the rant? I had a dream about it! Probably because of what I’ve read from Table for Three, Please and Dessert Comes First. I was highly influenced to write about my opinion, so I did.

***A Special Section***

It rained non-stop yesterday because of Tropical Storm Pablo (for news and donation efforts please click

Pump Up Your Kicks

Delightful pig out snack!

Delightful pig out snack!

I miss listening to the radio. I am a part of the generation who grew up listening to cassette tapes, on-air music countdowns and pages of song lyrics with guitar chords on them.
The best part back then was calling the radio station, make a request and when the DJ preludes a few words with your name then play the song?! How cool was that! My classmates would then talk about it the next day.

I thought of DJs then as local celebrities, someone ought to be amazed at. Now local celebrities are a dime a dozen with the help of a little click here, a little share there and a few hashtags and tons of comments, nasty or good.

Of course, we all know that music is universal (one of five), so who knows? There may be one other person in the world who loves the exact same music as you and I. There might even be one other person in the world who loves to listen to the radio as much as I did.

Now, I use my computer to listen to an eclectic collection of singles and albums I’ve downloaded. My mix would sometimes range from, The Lions Sleeps Tonight (The Tokens), 19 (Suga Shikao), Always on my Mind ( Willie Nelson), Pumped Up Kicks (Foster the People), A Movie Script Ending (Death Cab for Cutie), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) and a little bit of Park JiYoon, Lee Min-jung, M Signal, Joanna Wang and of course Tanya Chua’s Letting Go. When it comes to music, lyrics or words always came first before the melody or tune. Now, I no longer mind that much. Partly because the songs I’ve been collecting lately are either in Chinese, Korean or Japanese. Then I’d look for the translations ( I only understand a few words of Japanese , barely Korean and Chinese). It seems that my ears knows what my heart would love and I often end up falling inlove with the songs that my ears pick up.

There is a simple solution to this “I miss listening to the radio” thing, I could just turn the radio on,yes? So why am I NOT doing that? It’s the DJs. Of course there are still a number of exceptionally witty, convincingly articulate and seamlessly entertaining Disk Jockeys out there ( Magic 89.9 DJs back in the early 2000’s) but lately there’s too much tastelessness and crassiness and shallowness and more –ness. Bleh. So sickening.

I want something comforting and greasy and easy to make. Here’s a cupful of tater tots for my convenience.

I Am Song

I Am Song

I am cloaked in music, written in white pages
Your fingers dancing to the words and rhythm
A melody that fills the air that We both breath
Lyrics that fills a space in my head
Ah, the touch of your soul and whispers of your heart
All at once

It’s hopeless to explain
The magic your song made then
Soft, steady flow underway
Every time it holds my tongue
Lip twist in a smile, limbs quiver in delight
So I close my eyes, dance round and round
Until I fall asleep at night

I am in need of that music
That song we once sang
You’re holding someone else, singing a different tune
What’s left of me, just memories
Strung in a sheet with words on my lips
I’ve moved on and so have you
but that song remains for us two

It’s almost Christmas and I miss the feel of someone’s warmth by my side. Someone other that family. Perhaps friends, temporary overs and for discussion’s sake a paid prostitute will be interesting. Speaking of which, what sort of Christmas do you like?

Winter like? (no snow but close to chilly)
Winter (real snow and all)
Summer like (I’m thinking Australia)
or anything will do?

I’d prefer cool, chilly with projected rain showers here and there. I’m not really a fan of big Christmas events. I’m all for small gathering with really good food (mostly cooked by me, of course) and good company. Booze and merry making later that night is a possible option.

Hmm…this is not going anywhwere…As I write this I’m drowsy. Drowsy to the point where I’m almost feeling a headache in my temples and all I really want is sleep. I don’t feel like chatting with anyone and all I really want is lie down, close my eyes and off to dreamland I go.

However I’m working and I have to stay awake. So I amuse myself with pretty pictures, silly old love songs and a little typing and perhaps some eating.

Here’s an avocado and mango salad for you. The dressing is a basic vinaigrette. I just tossed a few ingredients together chilled them a while, tossed it with the dressing and bam!

Serendipity and I

Yesterday, as I told Jenny of http://www.jennysseredipity.com, I wasn’t in my best. I’m choosing not to delve into the details. It was just something that hurt, really hurt. I’m not a materialistic person, I’m rather practical. I’m also the type who’d find regret unnecessary once the path I choose doesn’t go my way. I take responsibility for whatever consequence it brings. Truthfully I feel no shame, pain or doubt within me about things like that. What hurts me however is when you take my passion for granted. A passion I often regard as so much a part of me that if I lose it, it equates to losing my limbs or sight. I never asked that person to appreciate me or my love for cooking. I never even asked to be understood. I’ve stopped hoping and expecting that person of anything at all. When you stop expecting, you’re hurt less and less. But you still hurt. And I was. I am. I may not be afraid of pain but I still feel it. Yesterday I can’t even cry even if I wanted to.

So I turned to ate Jenny. At first I just wanted to browse her site and perhaps drop a few words. She replied and my spirits were lifted. Yes, we don’t personally know each other and her respose might sound generic. It didn’t matter. I think she meant it and I was glad.

As a token of thanks. Here’s a really simple pasta dish (that I love so much) that I’d like to present as a token of gratitude. It would have been better if I made this for you in person but well…

For the recipe, click here.