Monday, September 24, 2018

Challenge Accepted : Max's Spicy Fried Chicken

Perhaps, 10 years ago, I'd never, in my wildest dreams, would ever take a challenge like this. I've always shy away from anything with a littlest hint of chili on my food so what was I thinking saying yes to Max's offer to take on the challenge to try the new Spicy Chicken?

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Well, living in the Lion City has changed me. It has trained my palette so well that I can now take on spicy food with ease. Chili Padi? Laksa? Chili Crab? Pfft... easy peasy! Kidding aside, I simply just miss having that spicy kick in my meal once in a while so when I heard about Max's coming out with a spicy version of their award-winning, daydream-inducing Fried Chicken, I was so game!

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Running up until the 15th of October, you can avail of the Spicy Chicken Platter for only Php.1399. This comes with 8 pcs of Chicken (all leg and thigh portion, mind you!), a generous serving of plain rice, soup of your choice and for dessert, you can have either the Caramel Bar Ice Cream or the Buko Pandan. I'll tell you more about this in a separate blog review very soon. :)

Meanwhile, here's a short video that I've created to show you how the challenge went. Happy viewing!

...and in true "vlogger" fashion, I'll end this by saying: Thank you for watching! Don't forget to subscribe. Hahahaha!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Franny Mommy : On Baby-Proofing with Warble, Shangri-la Plaza

I can't believe that my twins are about to turn a year old in a month's time. They've literally went from being newborns to curious toddlers in just a snap of a finger. WOW. I just can't help but feel so amazed as I watch them grow. I think one of the most memorable moment for me was when they learned how to crawl without any assistance. It started with small, wobbly careful steps to crazy rapid speed at present. We literally always have to be on alert level as there's no telling where they'd be crawling or cruising towards to. More often than not, my twins love going towards my direction. For instance, when I'm sitting at the corner of the bed, they'd both crawl towards me so fast as if they're racing against each other. Babies being babies though, they still haven't grasp the concept of pain, falling or fear. There are no breaks when they crawl and L, for instance, has had her first fall from the bed a few months ago. Luckily, Paul was sleeping on the mat underneath and was able to catch her.

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Speaking of mats, I really do give a lot of importance to baby-proofing not only our room but our house. Babies, no matter how big they are, are still very fragile. My mom would always remind me to take extra careful of their head as it's still very delicate. There are a lot of playmats in the market but one thing that I learned is that not all playmats are created equally. Some are made so thin that it's not capable of supporting or protecting your baby's head or body. We used to have this really thin rolled up mat that we got from a bazaar and Jacob accidentally fell flat on that. I really head a loud thud and that really made my heart stop for a bit. He cried so loud and I was so scared that he might get an concussion. Luckily, his chubby cheeks (bless them haha) broke the fall so all we had to do was to apply ice pack and he was okay after a little while.

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Paul and I recently visited the newly opened Warble Store at Shangri-la Plaza and we were allowed to test the mats there. My twins totally enjoyed it! It was such a fun play time for them as they got to crawl and cruise around without us pulling them back or catching them every so often. Warble Store is the official distributor of Fold Away Mats and one thing that I noticed is the thickness of the mats. I was told that it passed the egg drop test which I guess is one way to measure if it's safe enough for babies should they fall.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Best of Boracay at Hole in the Wall here in Manila!

The beautiful island of Boracay will always have a special place in my heart. It's there where I had my first sunburn and literally looked like a lobster for weeks, it's also there were I learned to love the beach life and continued to yearn for it on a yearly basis, lastly, Boracay was also where Paul and I spent the last leg of our 3-part honeymoon at.

Related post: 10 fun things you can do in Boracay

So, when our government suddenly woke up one morning and decided that "hey, today sounds like a good day to shut down the island." My heart broke and cried together with everyone, who in one way or another, called Boracay their...home. Such was the case of our dear friends N and O. They were our "neighbors" back when Paul and I were doing our mini food business at Mercato Central. We always look forward to chatting with them on a weekly basis and their sunshiney personality would always make a bad sales day much much brighter. Plus, I just love treating myself to their delicious mochi ice cream. Anyway, they ran a number of restaurants in the island and due to this very sudden closure, they sadly had to put all their businesses on hold.

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One reason why I love the F&B world here in the Philippines is because of this -- people helping one another. In order to help N and O as well as their employees make good of the sudden closure, Hole in the Wall gave them the opportunity to do a pop-up of 4 restaurant concepts namely: Fat Rice, Spice Bird, Poketo and Coco Mama. This is actually good news for Manila folks like myself as I get to enjoy the best dishes from Boracay without having to book a plane ticket.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Tea Time with English Tea Shop Philippines

I've been a tea drinker for as long as I can remember. It started with the very mild and caffeine-free Chrysanthemum Tea which I would have whenever my family and I would go for our Sunday dimsum lunch. This later progressed to trying Genmaicha Tea which I love as it tastes like popcorn and I continued on by trying a wide variety of teas from black teas, green teas, herbal infusions and more. Before I found out that I was pregnant with my twins, I would have cups after cups of green tea every single day at work. In fact, i would drink tea just as much as I would drink water especially after a heavy meal. You can just imagine how difficult it was for me to refrain from having tea all throughout my pregnancy up until the first 6 months of my twins' lives.

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So, when I got an invite to the launch of The English Tea Shop, I immediately said YES! I love this brand as I would have this when I was in the Lion City and I'm so glad that it's finally here in Manila.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#FrannyCooks : Curry Sausage with Garlic Noodles

The hubby has been extra busy with the opening of our newest baby project that he rarely has dinner at home. Despite how hectic our family schedule has been, I really am so proud of what he has accomplished and what he continues to do at his very best.

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So last Monday, in order to give him a good start to his week, I prepared a special lunch using one of our favorite pantry staples -- Japanese Curry. We always have a good stock of Japanese curry mixes in the house as it's so easy to use. Literally just saute veggies and meat, add this in, pour in a good amount of water and wait for it to boil. The result is this very umami meal that will make you say "oishi desu"! I got four types of curry to choose from -- Kokumaru Curry, Vermont Curry, Java Curry and the ever reliable Instant Curry. I've featured the Vermont Curry previously so this time, I decided to use the Kokumaru Curry variant instead. What makes this different is how it produces an extra creamy texture. I figured that it would go well with Garlic Noodles so shall we start cooking?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Titallennials : The "Tita" That Makes Home Cooking Easy

"I'm so DONE with all my yaya dramas!"

This is one line that I've been telling my family since Yaya D left us. I realized that no matter how nice or kind you are, you are never assured of their loyalty to you. I can't believe that my twins are barely a year old and we've gone through 3 nannies already. My friends actually told me that I have a pretty normal yaya count as some went as far as 10 nannies in the span of a year. Unbelievable. Indeed, good, loyal and honest helpers are hard to find.

That said, I made a resolution to train my kids to be self-reliant as they get older. Doing small household chores until they graduate to doing bigger things. Personally, I grew up without a nanny and I think I turned out okay. In fact, I find it even better as our small family of 4 became really close with the absence of a nanny. My parents have been very hands-on since Day 1 and helping out in the house never felt like a chore but rather something that Pan and I instinctively do. Simple things like fixing our bed, putting away the dirty dishes, washing the dishes, getting our own glass of water, organizing our closet and more. Even so, I still had a lot to learn when I migrated a few years ago and was faced with a helper-less reality.

Anyway, cooking is one of those things that I find easy and fun to do. More so, there are a lot of ways to cut your cooking time in half. There are special kitchen appliances that speeds up the cooking process, there are various alternatives to almost anything and there's Titallennials. These rising businesses that offers good, healthy food items where you can just re-heat or fry up at home.

My SIL has been telling me about this small store near my niece's school that sells organic veggies and frozen meats. They started with frozen meats and seafood which moms would buy to cook at home. Later on, they started to offer organic veggies, milk, nuts and more! On Wednesdays, they have their organic veggie day so Mom from my niece's school would line up to buy at their stores or they have a very active Viber account too that keeps everyone updated on the available items.

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I was able to try four frozen goods from Titallennials and one thing that I totally love about it is that it's MSG and preservatives free. Let me start with my most favorite one -- the Vietnamese Spring Roll (Php. 270). I honestly didn't thought much about it as I normally like the fresh option and having this deep-fried made me thought that it would be like the Filipino lumpia. Well, looks-wise, it does but as you take a bite, you'll love the well-packed content consisting of vermicelli noodles, a bit of minced pork and veggies. I was told that the best way to enjoy this is to wrap it in fresh lettuce, dip it into the Vietnamese vinegar and enjoy. I totally forgot about the lettuce but even without it, we all loved the spring rolls. It was so good.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wok with Mom : Hokkien-Style Dishes Party Trays

The Chinese cuisine is probably one of the most varied types in the world. We all know about the Cantonese-style dim sum or the fiery hot Szechuan-style dishes but there's also Beijing-style, Shanghai style and the one that's closest to my heart... Hokkien-Style. The reason is simple, my ancestors came from Amoy (Xiamen), China which is the province of the hokkiens. Thus, I can speak Hokkien (our dialect) and grew up eating Hokkien-Style dishes which were lovingly prepared by my mom or my kongkong.

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Hokkien-style of cooking makes use of a lot of vegetables and seafood. This is because Xiamen is located at the Southern portion of China where it has direct access not only to its neighboring provinces and countries but to water resource as well. Given that, I feel that each dish gives a very comforting taste and feel or maybe it simply because it's the kind that I would also link childhood or home memories with. Some of my favorites are my Kongkong's Kiam Peng, my mom's traditional Birthday Cha Misua, Mommy's Ma Wan (Pork Meatballs), Kongkong's Pata Tim (with omg, lots of collagen) and more.

One thing also with most of the popular Hokkien-style dishes is that it's not easy to prepare. In fact, some would take hours or a day to stew or to cook in order to bring out the flavor. Take the Amoy Fresh Lumpia for instance. In order to prepare that, one would have to carefully minced/grate every single ingredient -- the carrots, the cabbage, the seaweeds to be tossed with fried beehoon, the peanuts in sugar, the coriander leaves and so on. I am so amazed at how Kongkong can do this so well and if you think about it, one can easily consume this faster than how it was actually made. If you don't have the time to cook your favorite Hokkien-style dishes at home, then Wok with Mom comes to the rescue.

I was able to sample some of their signature dishes and here's what I think:

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Pat Po Kwe (Eight Treasure Stuffed Whole Chicken with Glutinous Rice Stuffing and well, 8 delicious ingredients too) Php. 1,380
This was definitely my favorite from Wok with Mom. The chicken was very very tender as the meat falls off the bone. I love how it's stuffed with chestnuts, mushrooms, lotus seeds and more. The rice has a smooth texture and no hard or burnt piece at all. For the price, I really feel it's so worth it. This is definitely one that I would happily order on our next family gathering as I'm pretty sure everyone will love it the same way I do too.

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