Beating the heat and laziness with home-made iced tea

April 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Summer in the Philippines involves temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius  for about  eight hours daily. When I’m in Manila, it usually means either taking a shower thrice a day, staying in an air-conditioned room, or sipping cold refreshments.

Working at home in this weather is kind of difficult for it entails having to keep myself awake in the vicinity of my bed. To fight the laziness, I normally prepare coffee. But with this heat and the high acidity I get from coffee, I have switched to iced tea (just for this week).

Today’s drink was made with ground tea leaves from Sri Lanka left to steep in less than 200 mL of hot water for 5 minutes.

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Using a coffee/tea press, I extracted the dark brown tea into a tall tumbler.

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To sweeten, I used maple syrup since no honey was available. I filled it with ice-cold water.

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The resulting drink was still a bit warm because of the tea so I added a whole tray of ice cubes.

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With a salty snack, I got to enjoy the tea in front of my computer.

Try other caffeine-free flavors. Mint blend is also refreshing.

Repeat preparations as needed.

Alright now, gotta work.

The tomato-basil combo saves the day

March 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

The days when I go home with a grumbling stomach have become a routine. I eat whatever’s at home since I don’t have time to prepare anything else. One evening, though, I had the luxury of time and decided to drop by the supermarket for two things: tomatoes and basil.

There’s so much you can do with plump red tomatoes.

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You can slice it into discs for a salad or cook it whole or sliced with just about anything requiring some acidity. That night, the tomatoes served as the star of my easy-cook pasta along with fresh basil leaves. Since the preparation for this dish is so fast and simple, I decided to put in writing what I did (but only after eating two servings).

I follow no formulation when I cook. There are no figures. Everything’s measured by estimation. And I actually don’t do a taste test while cooking. Haha. Do whatever’s necessary to adjust according to your  preference. Prepare the following:

1. Tomatoes: I picked the reddest, ripest, and biggest ones from the bin. Rinsed. Cut into wedges that could fit perfectly as a mouthpiece. It’s better if you can blanch them first to remove skin prior to cutting but this is optional.

2. Basil: Rinsed. Leaves separated from the stalk.

3. Garlic: Skinned. Sliced into ~2mm thick discs.

Once the ingredients are ready, heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. It doesn’t have to be extra virgin. Sometimes I use pomace. Throw in the garlic and cook in medium heat until golden brown. Add tomato wedges and cover. While this is being done, boil in a separate casserole water with at least a tablespoon of rock salt (I like the pasta tasting a bit salty by itself). I used San Remo’s fusilli. Cook according to instructions or just wait until the color changes from light yellow to almost creme. Test firmness after about 7 minutes of boiling to keep it al dente.

Back to the sauce pan. Wait until the tomatoes soften. I usually mash it with the spatula to further extract the juices. Add basil leaves. Mix until the leaves get a bit darkened. You’ll begin to smell the basil by this time. Sprinkle with rock salt (two-three pinches) and lots of ground peppercorn.

When the sauce is ready, and the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat in the casserole. I don’t drain the pasta immediately. What I do is transfer the pasta into the sauce pan with a strainer, allowing some of the pasta water to get into the pan. This will leave your sauce slightly creamy. Mix the ingredients. If the pasta is overcooked, it will begin to break while mixing so be careful. In just about 15 minutes of actual cooking, your tomato-basil pasta dish is ready.

To add contrast to the acidity of the pasta, I topped my  dish with spanish sardines and uncooked basil leaves. Drizzling with Tabasco Pepper Sauce gave that kick.

That’s it. Easy. Tasty. And meat-free. 🙂

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Sorbetes

August 24, 2011 § 3 Comments

Whom do you know does not enjoy dirty ice cream on a cone?

Ice cream, sorbetes, has never tasted any better, been eaten any simpler, enjoyed at any cheaper price than the one from your local ice cream man, the sorbetero.

Have a graphic taste of this all-time street-food fave.


Shot with:
Nikon D90 body with 18-105mm lens
Pentax K10 body with 35mm lens

Location:
University of the Philippines
Diliman Campus

Best. Pesto. Ever.

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Best. Pesto. Ever.

Cafe Uma Pesto Special is made of creamy pesto sauce with some crushed nuts and fresh crunchy basil served with smoked salmon slices, pork cubes, and a big-ass piece of garlic bread. If you are not a heavy eater, it’s best to share this serving with someone else. However, a girl like me with a different kind of appetite can finish it in 30 minutes. Either way, every strand of spaghetti is worth devouring. Remembering how it tasted actually makes me salivate every single time.

Cafe Uma Pesto Special is the bestseller in the restaurant priced at PhP400.00.

CAFE UMA

http://www.cafeuma.com

15th & Lacson Streets, Bacolod City
Negros Occidental, Philippines

Telephone No. (63) 34-7099966    Telefax No. (63) 34-4323853

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