Archive for the All About Food! Category

Arab Custard with Cardamom and Rosewater Recipe

Posted in All About Dubai, All About Food!, RECIPES EXCHANGE :) with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2009 by ketchupplease

Hubby and I are so excited to visit the Philippines in a few weeks! 🙂 My in-laws are having a family reunion and our titos and titas would prepare their specialty dishes for our beloved Lolo… I assume they would appreciate my contribution as well… *pressure* *pressure*… Damn, I don’t have a specialty dish, boohoohoo! A lot of people loved my mango cheesecake though.. hmm…

It would be nicer to offer them something new this time… a traditional Arab food – maybe a dessert so it would be easier  to make *lol*… Here’s what I found at Sook & Cook… Fairly easy I guess.. Maybe I’ll just bring home the rosewater and cardamom.. I don’t know if I can buy whole milk in the Philippines, but I read on google that I can substitute evaporated milk + water.. I hope it turns out right and yum!!! 

Please, if you have other suggested dishes/dessert, I would really love to hear from you.. Thank you!!! 


Arab Custard with Cardamom and Rosewater Recipe

Preparation time : 15 Min

Cooking time : 30 Min

Level of difficulty : Low


4 servings

4 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons custard powder

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 tablespoons rose water

ground pistachios and nuts


– Put milk, sugar and cardamom into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower heat and taste for sweetness.

– Mix the custard powder with a little water to make a smooth thin paste and carefully stir it, little by little, into the milk mixture, whisking continuously. Continue stirring until the custard is smooth.

– Remove from heat and add rose water. Return to the stove and place over a very low heat to simmer gently for two to three minutes.

– Pour into small bowles, or a large bowl, garnish with pistachios and nuts and chill until ready to eat.


Arabic Ice Cream!

Posted in All About Dubai, All About Food! with tags , , , , on March 30, 2009 by ketchupplease

Hi! Sorry, I know I disappeared from cyberspace for a while… I guess I was a bit heartbroken with all the restrictions on WordPress that I just felt lazy to post anything… :-O

Anyway, just wanted to share with you a video I took in Global Village last month.. I like learning about others’ culture and tradition, so I enjoyed watching them prepare their local Arabic Ice Cream. They pounded the ice cream with a big wooden paddle, and banged on the tin with the music.. They kept on doing this, so the end result is a very, very compact ice cream covered in chopped pistachios, kinda gooey and not very creamy… and it takes forever to melt! It’s good, and has an arabian taste that I couldn’t figure out. I googled it and found out that it has arabic gum (hence the gooey/gummy texture), rosewater, and “sahlab” (an extract from orchids) — ohh so that explains the fragrant/flowery taste..

That night, I indulged in cotton candy, arabic sweets (deep-fried dough balls with caramel syrup), and lastly, the arabic ice cream. Understandably, my tongue was already sore from eating too much sweets, that I couldn’t finish the ice cream anymore. I went around the souks (stalls/markets) and waited for it to melt (so I wouldn’t feel too guilty throwing it).. but this ice cream just would not melt!
Enjoy the show! Welcome to my world in UAE… 🙂

Oh Please, Chopsuey.. Please… Just Disappear… ?

Posted in All About Food!, Personal with tags , , , on March 17, 2009 by ketchupplease



“Oh, Please, Chopsuey.. Please… Just Disappear…”  

That’s been sort of our nightly incantation for the past week, as hubby and I both cringe at the sight of  more uneaten chopsuey in the ref. We love chopsuey.. but honestly, everyday for the past 8 days??

Oh I didn’t tell you…  When our ref broke down and after I cooked the impromptu Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken with Cheese and Basil, and Shrimp Parmigiana, I still had loads of veggies wilting… ok so I panicked, I cooked them all into Chopsuey. Thanks to our new ref, we were able to save it from spoiling. But up to now, 8 days after, we still haven’t finished it!

After 3 or 4 days of chopsuey, I converted some of it into Chicken Mami, and it was tolerable for a while. But since I added noodles and chicken broth, it took us 3 days to finish it… believe me, it took us a lot of effort to finish it.

Still, I had some chopsuey in the ref… must have cooked it right coz the veggies were still a bit crunchy… It was perfectly fine, so no reason for it to go to waste. So last night, I converted it into Macaroni Soup… I removed the sauce, added macaroni, milk, chicken broth, turkey ham and a bit more of carrots and leftover cabbage (that were also wilting). Resourceful, but now, I have  Chicken Macaroni Soup in the ref to worry about.  We just can’t wait till all traces of that “chopsuey” is finally gone… 

One thing’s for sure. It won’t be in our menu for a very loooooong time! 😉

To Grill or Not To Grill? Or Not To Eat At All? That is the Cancer Question…

Posted in All About Food!, Health, Personal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 5, 2009 by ketchupplease

optima21I was so excited when Fed Ex delivered this (along with my Philips Satinelle Ice epilator – which I’m still mustering up courage to use). We got this from HSBC’s airmile rewards program.

We figured an indoor grill would be safer to cook with since it doesn’t use charcoal (carcinogenic). Boy, we were so wrong!

The moment we got it, I quickly googled about grilled foods. And much to my surprise (and dismay), I read information about cancer-causing HCAs, or heterocyclic amines, which are created when meat, poultry, and fish are cooked at high temperatures. 

I’ve been trying my best to cook the healthier way since cancer is in my genes, and I really don’t wanna get it…

Here are essential info that I found on the web, which are enlightening, but at the same time, very confusing! It basically leaves us with nothing much to eat except for vegetables and fruits! 

I wanted to avoid oil as much as possible, so I’ve resorted to cooking without oil (something like grilling) with our Teflon pan.. but I found out that cooking that way only increases the HCA’s because of meat’s exposure to high heat and longer cooking time. Then maybe it’s safest to boil.. but, no..?

  • Cooking with liquid—boiling, steaming, poaching, or stewing, for example—generates no HCAs because the temperature never tops the boiling point of water. Ditto for microwaving, so long as the food is not overcooked or dried out. 
  • Heterocyclic amines appear to form once the meat reaches a certain temperature regardless of whether it’s fried, sautéed, grilled, or boiled. (Hey I thought it was safe to boil? Ano ba talaga?)
  • The other potential cancer causing agent found in cooked red meat is also a product of temperature. These are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are formed primarily when meat is grilled. If you’ve observed those black, charred pieces on steaks after they come off of the grill, you’ve seen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Whenever fat drips on a flame, heating element, or hot coals, chemicals called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) form. The PAHs waft up in the smoke and can land on the food. They can also form directly on food when it’s cooked to a crisp.

So, that leaves us with baking or roasting, which produces less HCA’s (depending again on temperature and cooking time)

  • Grilling, barbecuing, broiling, and pan-frying are more likely to produce HCAs than baking or roasting, because they generate more heat.
  • Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard (ohh the yummy parts!). Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil.

I read that marinating meat would lessen the production of HCA’s, and sausage and hotdog casings offered some sort of protection from HCA.. so I thought, maybe not-so-browned fried chicken’s a bit safer after all… once again, no…  why, even the breading (carbohydrates) is carcinogenic!

  • Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.

Oh.. so hotodgs and sausage casings do offer some sort of protection from HCA’s?… Allelluia!!! …..NOT!!!

While HCAs do not form in grilled hotdogs, these highly processed meat products contain other carcinogens. Nitrates and N-nitroso compounds, preservatives found in processed foods such as hotdogs and sausages, have long been recognized as potent carcinogens.16

And… does this mean that McDonald’s burgers are the safer way to go? I am so confused now…

Fewer HCAs are found in fast-food burgers because they’re cooked so quickly. “They’re not exposed to the high heat over a long time that causes large amounts of HCAs,” says Knize. “There are some, but not what you get off the backyard barbecue.”

Ok, ok.. so processed meats are carcinogenic (spam, hotdogs, sausages, bacon, etc)… so what sandwiches can I prepare for my hubby’s breakfast at work? Ahhh, yes… my home-made cheese pimiento spread! It’s just made of cheese, butter, milk, and pimiento… what harm could it do? It must be the healthiest choice!  What, NO??? 

Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat

Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat are consistently associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter typically contain over ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat chicken and turkey.

Sniff! I’m running out of options here… happy to see some helpful tips:

Tips for safer and healthier grilling:

  • Cook smaller pieces: They cook more quickly and at lower temperatures.
  • Choose leaner meat: Less fat should reduce flames and therefore smoke.
  • Precook in the microwave: Doing so for two minutes may decrease heterocyclic amines by 90%, according to some research.
  • Flip frequently: That way, neither side has time to absorb or lose too much heat.
  • Before grilling or broiling, pre-cook meat or poultry in the microwave for two to five minutes and throw away the juice. “By discarding this juice, you can reduce HCAs by 90 percent,” says Lawrence Livermore’s Mark Knize.


Ohh… finally, a solution to avoid HCA’s! Just precook the meat in the microwave for 2 mins prior to grilling, or frying too maybe… Microwave is the answer! What… NO again???

  • Microwaving prepared meats sufficiently to insure sanitary ingestion caused formation of d-Nitrosodienthanolamines, a well-known carcinogen.
  • Ingestion of microwaved foods caused a higher percentage of cancerous cells within the blood serum [cytomas – cell tumors such as sarcoma]
  • In a statistically high percentage of persons, microwaved foods caused stomach and intestinal cancerous growths, as well as a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues, with a gradual breakdown of the function of the digestive and excretive systems. If you must use a grill to prepare meat, choose low fat meat as they form fewer polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Trim off any black, charred areas before eating.

That’s it.. it’s bad to grill, to fry, to broil, why, it’s bad to cook anything nowadays! Ok, maybe, I can settle for good ol’, boring chicken breast and fish.. the leanest, safest food there is… or maybe not?

  • Many people switch to chicken and fish, believing these to be healthier alternatives to beef. But that is not the case. On the grill, chicken produced more than 10 times the amount of the carcinogenic heterocyclic amines found in grilled beef. Furthermore, nearly all the HCAs detected were in the form of PhIP, which has specifically been implicated in breast cancer risk.12 This increased PhIP formation is likely due to the fact that chicken contains a large amount of phenylalanine, tyrosine, and isoeucine, amino acids that contribute to HCA formation. Fish also contains significant amounts of creatine, one of the other main ingredients for the formation of the carcinogens; not surprisingly, fish showed significant HCA formation as well.

The Five Worst Foods to Grill

Food HCAs ng/100g*
Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, grilled, well done 14,300 ng/100g2
Steak, grilled, well done 810 ng/100g3
Pork, barbecued 470 ng/100g4
Salmon, grilled with skin 166 ng/100g5
Hamburger, grilled, well done 130 ng/100g3

*100g portion equals about 3.5 ounces grilled

Ok I get it! Red meat, poultry and fish still have carcinogenics in them.. I guess this means switching to fruits and veggies, and vegemeats… *sob*

  • Consumers who want to reduce their cancer risk need not give up grilling. Reducing exposure to carcinogens is as simple as grilling veggie burgers instead of hamburger, or a thick portabello mushroom instead of a steak. 

I’ve actually tried vegetarian sausages and vegemeat, but it’s not even half as good as the real thing.. Googling about all these have made me more confused… and I wonder now when I’d ever feel good using our new electric griller… If all the foods mentioned really do cause cancer, then how come earlier generations lived so long? I mean, they didn’t have studies like this yet.. and they lived up to 100 yrs old…

It’s past lunchtime now, and I’m hungry.. but I kinda feel bad frying the Chicken Parmigiana I prepared last night.. It’s chicken breast, it has breadcrumbs (carb) and parmesan cheese (saturated fat)… Tsk.Tsk. Tsk. 


I don’t guarantee all these as facts coz I just got them on Google at the following sites:

Anthony Bourdain in the Philippines!

Posted in All About Food!, RECIPES EXCHANGE :), Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 18, 2009 by ketchupplease

anthony-bourdain*SOB* I just read my Ate Clarisse’s blog. I can’t believe this, Anthony Bourdain went to the Philippines last November – and I had no inkling! I like this guy.. he’s so cute and sexy, kinda like George Clooney.. and I LOOOVE his show, “No Reservations” on Travel Channel.  

If only I knew that he was coming, honestly, I would have volunteered to be a production assistant, or crew, utusan, or whatever (I’m dead serious!). I just wanna meet him and see him eat our native cuisine. (It would be nice to eat with him too. I can’t help but think that my mom would actually do a good job as host to Mr. Bourdain coz she loves feeding everyone.. and a trip to our ancestral house would give him a brief experience in Philippine history too– just some wishful thinking.. harhar)

I’m extremely proud of our Cebu Lechon, so I’m very happy to know that he loved it, and in fact,  gained the No. 1 slot in his “Best Roasted Pigs in the World List”.   Check out Anthony Bourdain’s blog and pics of his visit in MarketManila.

Sweetening up my Day with Suchero

Posted in All About Food! with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2009 by ketchupplease


I don’t like posting about negative stuff so enough of my yapping… 

I found the perfect thing to sweeten up my blog! 

My dear cousin Ivy gave us the sweetest Christmas gift – SUCHERO Coco-sugar! It has 50% lower Blood Sugar Response than regular sugar so it’s safe for diabetics.

I love it! I don’t know if it’s different from muscovado sugar, but they taste similar, except that Suchero seems to be more moist, less sweet, and has more of the coco-sugar taste.  (Reminds me of “Pakaskas” – a sugar-less Batangas delicacy made from the already sweet sap of buri palm tree) It tastes so good with oatmeal, or by itself. I’m pretty sure it would taste good in coffee too. 🙂

Splenda-holic people should try this alternative!!! 🙂

Coffee Alamid: Want some Cat Poop Coffee? :-)

Posted in All About Food!, Snippets of my Life... Priceless! with tags , , , on December 28, 2008 by ketchupplease




Last Dec. 26, we celebrated my mom’s birthday at Sophia’s, Alabang… Food was really good! My uncle brought with him a jar of  “Coffee Alamid” beans, literally made from civet poop or droppings hehe! The restaurant was kind enough to brew the coffee for us so we got to experience drinking it. After the first sip, I realized it didn’t taste anything like animal poop so I enjoyed drinking it with my cousins. I’m no coffee connoisseur so I can’t really describe it well but it tasted very good. Best of all, it was a great experience drinking cat poop coffee! Hehehe! 🙂

Here’s more info about Coffee Alamid:

Of all the coffee produced in the world, there is nothing more rare and expensive than the alamid coffee from the Philippines. But if you think this coffee comes from the usual sources, think again. The alamid coffee actually comes from the droppings of the Civet, a common cat like mammal related to the mongoose which is considered a pest by the Filipino farmers, but are also hunted for their meat.  

Civets are carnivorous mammals but they do eat the red coffee cherries that contain the beans which they are fond of. The consumed coffee cherries pass through the civet whole after fermenting in the stomach and that’s what gives the coffee its exquisite taste and aroma. Local farmers have discovered that their droppings are worth their weight in gold but its very hard to gather the beans from their droppings since they have to trek through the mountains and the thick undergrowth just to be able to gather the coffee droppings.

Once gathered, the beans are then carefully washed and left to dry in the wind and later to be packaged and mostly exported. Although the alamid coffee does have it’s charm and exquisite taste, like any other specialty coffee, it’s not everyones cup of tea. Some people might have trouble drinking it especially if they learned where the coffee comes from. (