Friday, July 20, 2018

#FrannyCooks : Dona Elena Tuna Macaroni in Creamy Red Pesto Sauce

Pasta is one of the dishes that I am most comfortable in preparing. It's one that I can easily whip up when pressed for time or when I'm just craving for some comfort food. Normally though, it would take me at least 30 minutes to an hour to prepare a pasta dish as I have to cook the pasta noodles till al dente, prepare the sauce, incorporate both together, plate it, sprinkle with garnish and set it on the table. This doesn't also take into account the time spent in preparing each ingredient such as chopping the garlic, pulling out all sauces and sometimes, cleaning the seafood too.

A month ago, I received one of the best things that has ever graced my kitchen counter -- the Instant Pot. I have yet to tell you more about it but basically it's one powerful kitchen appliance that can cook rice, make porridge/congee, saute, cook even the hardest and toughest meat under high pressure, delay cooking and make yogurt. I have yet to explore all the functions but so far I've cooked a number of dishes there and I haven't been disappointed since. One thing that I love about it is I can actually cook my pasta dish using one single pot which helps lessen the hassle of dishwashing. It was indeed the best birthday gift that I've received this year.

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So, with cans of Dona Elena Tuna in Sunflower Oil and bottles of pesto sauces and olive oil, I was suddenly inspired to cook dinner the other night. Not wanting to go through the hassle of sweating it out in our main kitchen, I utilized my Instant Pot to create one of my favorite pasta dishes -- Tuna with Creamy Red Pesto Sauce.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Luxe Sunday Brunch Buffet at Mireio, Raffles Hotel Makati

A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from one of my readers (hello to you!) asking me for recommendations on the best brunch buffets in town. I had to stop a while and recall in order to give her my best recommendations as I didn't want to let her down. Eventually, I answered: "Personally, I love Mireio at Raffles Hotel, very good selections." To my reader, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. :)

Anyway, let me tell you more about my Sunday Brunch experience and why I think it was one of the best there is in town. First of all, the venue. Who doesn't love the luxurious feel of the Raffles Hotel in Makati. It may have a more corporate vibe as opposed to its Singapore counterpart which gives off a more garden feel but well, it's located right at the heart of Makati's busy district so it perfectly suits the vibe there. From the moment I arrived at the entrance of the hotel up until we were ushered up to the 9th floor where we were led towards the restaurant, you can really feel so relaxed and comfortable which is apt for a Sunday brunch affair. I brought my twins with me that day and I was so lucky that they were so well-behaved. Okay, not counting that short cry-fest that J had as we were in the elevator. I think my little boy has a bit of claustrophobia but he was all okay the moment we entered the brightly lit restaurant and more so as we settled at the table by the window overlooking Makati's beautiful skyline.

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On to the food. The selection is not much but is definitely well-curated. This is quality over quantity which is one thing that I love in good buffets. After all, we have to watch what we eat and Mireio's buffet spread can assure you that all you're having are the best of the best.

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Let's start at the salad corner. I really enjoyed the fresh greens mixed with the yummiest cheeses and tossed in Mireio's homemade dressings. I went for two rounds of arugula with goat cheese as well as some cold cuts such as the marinated salmon which was so good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Potluck Favorites : Crabs and Noodles from Ley's Kitchen

If there's one thing that I miss about living abroad and having our own place is how we would host dinners and invite friends to come over. One of the best dinners that I've had was probably when my friends came over to celebrate my birthday. Paul prepared his signature BBQ Ribs and Steak while I made Baked Salmon ala Conti's and I even had the time to put together a cheese board.

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I guess when the kids are much older, we can go back to hosting dinners or organizing potlucks too. Luckily, here in Manila in case you're too busy to cook or prepare your own dish, you can easily order and have the dishes delivered straight to your doorstep (or to wherever you're having your party to ensure it gets there hot). One that I highly recommend is Ley's Kitchen. I recently got to try some of their specialties and all 4 dishes were so good. Not the mediocre type of good ha, I'm talking about the kind that's out of this world good...the kind that will make you go "oohh lala" and will surely make you crave for more. ♥

If you're a big crab fan like me and my family, you have to try these two types of crab dishes that she makes:

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First is the Garlic Crabs (Php. 6,900). One order gives you 5 plump crabs approximately 600g per piece which is probably good for 8-10 pax (depending on their appetite, of course). My family, in general, has a smaller appetite so we just managed to consume two whole crabs shared among the 6 of us and we even had enough leftovers for the next day. This is one of Angel's best-sellers and I can totally understand why. After all, how can you not love this garlicky, finger-licking crab masterpiece. Mommy was so impressed at the quality of the crab as she found it to be so juicy and plump. Take note, it's not easy to impress Mother dear as she can be rather a picky eater. So good job, Angel!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Snack Time : BBQ Mayo Crispy Chicken Sandwich and the all new McSpaghetti

McDonald's will forever be one of my favorite fastfood chains. I just love how they continue to innovate and add new and interesting items on the menu. I'm pretty sure it's fun to be part of their R&D team.

Imagine, in just a span of 3 months, they've introduced a number of new menu items and they've made improvements to an old favorite.

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First off, the new BBQ Mayo Crispy Chicken Sandwich (Php. 49)

Yes, it is actually possible to dine at McDonald's for only Php. 100 or less. We tried this for merienda today and I actually liked it! You get one whole chicken fillet that's topped with a generous amount of tangy mayonnaise and smokey BBQ sauce. The bun was rather on the thin side similar to the ones they use for the Burger Mcdo but it was all alright. I like how the barbecue sauce complemented the mayonnaise and it definitely went so well with the fried chicken fillet. Have it with fries and soda and you got yourself a complete meal .

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Franny Mommy : 10 things I've learned about Breastfeeding

Before I start this post, let me tell you that I am no breastfeeding advocate. Yes, I do recognize and believe in the benefits that it bring but I promise that this won't be the type of post that will lecture you on and on that breastfeeding is the only way to go. I still do believe that fed is best. That said, I do respect whichever way a Mom feeds her kid. Breastfed, bottle fed, formula, pureed solids, baby-led weaning... for as long as the baby is properly nourished and fed, I am all for that.

What I would like to share is my personal experience as a breastfeeding mommy to my twins for the past 8 months (and still counting..whew!). It was actually silly of me to think that I won't have milk to breastfeed. Well, I do have some basis. Looking at my genetic line, neither my Mom nor my Ama breastfed and my sister actually didn't had much so I saw how she struggled and persevered to be able to feed my niece A up until she reaches a year old. Pan totally won the determination award for that. So, while I was pregnant with my twins, I didn't even bothered to read up nor to at least read the manual of how to operate my pump. Believe me, my breast pump was still safely kept in the box up until I delivered my babies. Paul and I agreed that we won't drive ourselves nuts to breastfeed if I eventually have shortage of milk. So, remember that turning point on my 3rd day post-partum when I tried to pump my colostrum in the hospital and what do you know, I actually can produce enough for my twins! It wasn't much but it sure was enough to sustain them for that particular feeding. That was when I officially entered the world of breastfeeding.

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It has been 8 months of nursing my twins and while I have been mix-feeding them as they're already eagerly taking more and more solids, I still make sure that they stay breastfed at least all throughout the night. That said, let me share with you my top 10 learnings as I breastfeed my twins:

1) Take it easy.
Understand that your baby's tummy grows as he grows so on his first few days and weeks of life, his tummy is so small that he can only take in about 10-30ml of milk per feeding. However, expect that he will cry for milk at least every 2 hours so it's best to be ready for that.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Eat. Travel. Love. with Singapore Airlines

It's no secret that I am a big foodie traveler. This is also one of the reasons why Frannywanny.com came about. For the past decade, I've been sharing with you my travel adventures which leans mostly on the restaurants and food hops that Paul and I would come across in whatever destination we'd be in. I also got to admit that I am also a luxury traveler. By that, I mean I tend to be very picky when it comes to my choice of airline, hotel and mode of transportation. Comfort is always my top priority. After all, we travel to recharge and feel rejuvenated right?

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Singapore Airlines has been my top choice of airlines since I used to shuttle back and forth Singapore and Manila for four years. I realized that the cost of flying via Singapore Airlines is not that far from our local budget airline and if this means getting an extra legroom, bigger seats, a hot delicious meal and a wide selection of in-flight entertainment as I fly to and from Singapore, then I'm totally for it. I somehow feel that my vacation starts the moment I step into the beautiful aircraft and is warmly welcomed by their friendly flight staff.

My best memory flying Singapore Airlines was exactly a year ago. It was our last flight to Manila from Singapore and I was already pregnant with my twins. Aside from giving me that extra legroom by letting us occupy the front row seats, they also surprised me with a delicious birthday cake and complimentary plushies for my twins. We also purchased Business Class tickets then so I got to try their Book the Cook program and I loved the Steamed Cod Fish that was served to me as well as the free-flowing freshly warmed bread too. That experience was definitely one for the books.

Read: Onboard Singapore Airlines : SQ916 Business Class

Given the numerous routes that they have available, Singapore Airlines can take you on an amazing food trip all over the region.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

First Taste : Ramen Nagi at Ayala Malls The 30th

Summer is definitely over and in comes the rain. Lots and lots of rain! I won't lie, I was really glad that we're no longer experiencing the warm weather and somehow, I do welcome this bed weather. The kind what makes you want to curl up in bed and sleep all day. Well, if you're a twin mom..."sleep all day" may not happen anytime soon but still, one can always dream.

This is also the perfect weather for soups and warm congee. I recently started experimenting with a number of soup recipes which I will soon introduce to my twins as they seriously need to level up on their solid intake. Speaking of soups, I suddenly have this craving for ramen. It's really funny as back in 2015, I think I had way too much ramen and I somehow stopped having ramen since then. I think the last bowl of ramen that I had was during our trip to Tokyo sometime in 2016. I suddenly remembered my favorite ramen in Singapore -- Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu Four Seasons. I loved it so much that I remembered celebrating my first birthday in Singapore there.

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Anyway, after a quick search online, I found out that Ramen Nagi has a very similar concept and this made me so excited to give it a try. Similar to Ramen Keisuke's style, the menu consists of four main flavors : White is the Original King -- plain tonkotsu style ramen with pork slices. Black King has lots of garlic infused into the broth giving it a very aromatic flavor. Green King is the favorite of the younger crowd as it's the pesto-flavored ramen consisting of basil and cheese. Lastly, the Red King, is the fiery, spicy ramen. In addition to this, they have a monthly special depending on the theme of the restaurant. We dined last May and they had the White Tantanmien King. This was perfect as we both love tantanmien a lot.Tan tan mien, as you all know has a slightly spicy taste profile. What makes it so yummy is the additional of peanut into the soup stock. I just love the spicy, nutty flavor that goes so well with al dente ramen noodles. It's normally served with less toppings as you really just want to fully enjoy the soup and the noodles and having it fully loaded might just feel too much.

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Ramen Nagi's version of the White Tantanmien King makes use of the same chili found in the Red King ramen. Look at how sturdy and al dente the noodle is! I love my noodles firm rather than soggy. If the Red King ramen is too spicy for you, you can definitely adjust the spicy level by indicating it in the order sheet.

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