Project Cocina de Camilla #2: Puta-not’s Puttanesca

The first time I tried puttanesca, I swore to myself I’d try cooking it someday. And hey, guess what, this is that promise’s fulfillment. I finally made it! ^_^

Puta-not's Puttanesca 01

Part of my preparation for cooking this pasta was to check other restaurants’ puttanesca–Pizza Hut’s and Bigoli’s–aside from Friuli Trattoria’s to make sure I get the right taste of it. During my food testing, I realized that I don’t like those green stuff called capers so I vowed to look for a puttanesca recipe online that didn’t include capers on its ingredients. The Pioneer Woman’s recipe was the answer to my prayer.

 

The Essentials and the Expenses

Contrary to puttanesca’s rumored origin, some of its ingredients are quite expensive, at least in the Philippines, like the olives and olive oil. So just like in my Project Cocina de Camilla #1, I made a lot of alterations here, too, either because some of the ingredients on my recipe source were too hard to find or I simply didn’t like them.

The biggest change was increasing the amount of the ingredients by a hundred percent of those prescribed on The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. This was because my Mom told me the night before cooking that the serving suggested on the recipe wasn’t sufficient for a family with a monstrous appetite likes ours. Well, I got her point so I followed her.

Anyway, below are the essentials of this project with their corresponding prices:

Essential #1: 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Bought:  4 boxes of Dizon Cherry Tomatoes
Prices: 48.88 pesos (0.188kg)
43.16 pesos (0.166kg)
45.76 pesos (0.176kg)
41.08 pesos (0.158kg)
from SM Supermarket

Essential #2: 16 ounces (around 500g) Angel Hair Pasta
Bought: 1 500g San Remo Angel Hair Spaghetti
Price: 71.50 pesos from SM Supermarket

Essential #3: Whole red onion, sliced
Bought: N/A, readily available at home
Price: N/A

Essential #4: 4 cloves garlic
Bought: N/A, readily available at home
Price: N/A

Essential #5: Crumbled parmesan cheese
Bought: 1 100g Perfect Italiano Parmesan Cheese
(Already crushed)
Price: 176 pesos from SM Supermarket

Essential #6: Crushed chili
Bought: 1 25g SM Bonus Crushed Chili
Price: 39.50 pesos from SM Supermarket

Essential #7: 1 cup pitted olives
Bought: 1 140g Capri Pitted Green Olives
(140g is not enough. It’s only equivalent to 1/2 cup)
Price: 53 pesos from SM Supermarket

Essential #8: Basil leaves
Bought: 1 180g McCormick Basil Leaves
Price: 222 pesos from SM Supermarket

Essential #9: 4 tablespoons of olive oil
Bought: 1 250ml Doña Elena Pure Olive Oil
Price: 117.50 pesos from SM Supermarket

Essential #10: 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
Bought: 1 Knorr Chicken Broth Cube
Price: 6 pesos from a nearby store

Essential #11: 8 pieces tuyo or dried fish filets
Bought: 8 pieces dried fish
Price: 15 pesos from a nearby store

Essential #12: 2 cooking pots
Bought: N/A, readily available at home
Price: N/A

Essential #13: Mortar and pestle
Bought: N/A, readily available at home
Price: N/A

Total Project Expenses: 879.38 pesos

Puta-not's Puttanesca 02

 

Preparing and Cooking the Puttanesca

While cooking this, I found out that pasta-making is easy albeit the preparation is quite long. I got a little bit nervous only because hey, it was my first, and with the modifications I made, who wouldn’t feel butterflies in their stomach?

Anyway, the firsts in my preparation were to cook the 500g angel hair spaghetti for strictly two minutes (I used a timer! haha) as instructed on its plastic, boiled the chicken broth cube, sliced the onion and cherry tomatoes according to how the recipe I followed did them, then removed the heads, scales, and bones of the tuyo. (A note on the tuyo: Fry the tuyo first to remove their skins. I tried doing otherwise and discovered that the scales don’t get peeled off for they stick to the dried fish meat if raw.)

The next instruction goes, “Mash (in this order) garlic, [tuyo], and olives using a mortar and pestle,” but since the tool available at home is small, I ground only the garlic and tuyo first, placed them on a plate, then crushed the olives separately. I mixed all the three up on the plate.

Now here starts the best part: The cooking. I heated the olive oil in a cooking pot then added the sliced red onion after a little while and cooked it for a few minutes. When they were already color caramel, I put the cherry tomatoes and cooked them until they almost didn’t resemble being halved tomatoes (This wasn’t on the direction given, in fact, if you’ll look at the photo provided by The Pioneer Woman, the halved tomatoes were still visible on the finished puttanesca. But looking at the sizes of what I bought, I decided that they would be too big for the Asian mouth. hehe)

I then poured the broth and stirred for a couple of minutes. When I thought that the sauce was finally okay, I added the pasta and mixed everything with all my might (500g of pasta was a lot, I learned! Mixing it was tiring!).

As I was stirring for already a couple of minutes, I began to feel disappointed because my pasta had yet to achieve the same color as with that of The Pioneer Woman. I didn’t stop though. I sprinkled some parmesan cheese on it but stopped when I realized it won’t be enough. I’d just have those who would eat put some on their plates themselves. I also sprinkled generously the basil leaves I bought (No, not whole leaves as instructed, but pounded since whole ones were nowhere to be found on the supermarket.). Then I kept stirring to make sure the sauce and the pasta got mixed up well. After that, that’s it.

The whole time I was cooking, my Mom kept on going near me to comment on the heavenly aroma of puttanesca and check what I was doing. She was actually the first one to notice that my puttanesca looked dry, but still, when she had a taste of it, she instantly loved it!

At first I didn’t want to believe but when my brother tried it, he loved it, too. In fact, he had another plate right after the first and even bought a liter of coke for it. My sister also had two rounds of it the next day (She went home very late when I cooked because of her OJT, thus, “the next day”.) and also said it was delicious. WHOA.

Of course, I ate too and though it was indeed dry, it did taste puttanesca. The ingredients couldn’t be denied, especially the olives, albeit I only used 1/2 cup of it instead of 1.

The crushed chili I bought was sprinkled by the eaters to their plates depending on how spicy or not they wanted their pasta were. This made the taste of the puttanesca better.

 

So what’s my verdict for Project Cocina de Camilla #2: Puta-not’s Puttanesca? Still a SUCCESS despite it lacking in sauce! The deliciousness of the puttanesca prevailed. I just have to add more amount per sauce ingredient to avoid it becoming dry the next time I cook it. =^_^=

 

P.S. I think I get it now why they say those who cook the food lose the appetite to eat what they cook. As I said above, my Mom kept on coming to me once in a while to remark about the smell of my puttanesca, but I couldn’t relate to what she was saying ’cause I couldn’t smell a thing! Another, I was way too exhausting with all the stirring I did that I just wanted to rest when it was done. Anyway, at least I know how to cook my favorite puttanesca now. And hey, again, it was a success. 🙂

 

—-

SOURCE:
The Pioneer Woman

Summer Fun at Bosay Resort

Yeah, it’s summer and you’ve been yearning for not exactly its deadly heat but the fun and relaxation that go with it. Yet there are two problems: time and money. With time, I’m off limits there, since it’s you and your friends or family—or holidays—who have to make way for it, but money? I can lend you some. Haha. Just kidding, we’re on the same boat on that part.

Affordable summer getaways near the metro are getting more and more abundant these days. Just visit Antipolo City and you’ll never go out of great and budget-friendly day and night resort options. And with this, I chose Bosay Resort, through the recommendation of a co-worker, as my personal birthday treat and summer bonding destination with my family.

Bosay Resort

Bosay Resort (30)

 

Getting There

Since I’m from Pasig City, getting to the resort is soooo easy. From Brgy Rosario, where all the public utility vehicles going to Antipolo City and other Rizal provinces on one side and Cubao and Greenhills on the other pass through, my family and I rode a jeepney with sign boards “Antipolo Shopwise” and “Baras” for 20 pesos each person and got off at Unciano Colleges in Brgy San Roque, Antipolo City. At the side of the establishment is a tricycle terminal where we asked the first driver in line to take us to Bosay Resort for 50 pesos, and that’s it, we were dropped off near the resort’s cashier area.

Another route, as told by my friend, is from Ligaya Intersection in Marcos Highway where in would-be Bosay Resort guests have to get to an “Antipolo Sumulong” jeepney, drop off at Taktak Road in Antipolo City, then ask a tricycle driver there to take them to Bosay Resort. It is that accessible to commuters.

 

The Fees

Entrance fees are affordable at Bosay Resort. For only 170 pesos each for a day swim (from 7am – 5pm) for adults, 190 pesos per head for a night swim (from 7pm – 5am) for adults, and 140 pesos each for 4ft below kids whether night or day, everyone can already have fun at every part of the resort.Bosay Resort (10)

And then depending on the number of occupants, cottages are also available ranging from 600 to 3,000 pesos, pavilions from 10,000 to 12,000 pesos, and even houses from 2,500 to 3,000 pesos. Caretakers are stationed everywhere to keep all the areas clean and in order all the time.

Round Table Cottage for 600 pesos. It is good for 8 to 10 people.

Round Table Cottages, good for 8 to 10 people, for 600 pesos.

There are also additional charges for every electricity use (please see below).

Bosay Resort (12)

For those who want to stay overnight and have one of the most relaxing times, a hotel can also be found inside the resort vicinity with rooms ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 pesos. The hotel is located just at the front of the resort and it has a nice wooden facade.

Bosay Hotel with room ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 pesos

Bosay Hotel with rooms ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 pesos

 

The Resort

You’ll feel closer to nature at Bosay, a Waray term which means “waterfalls”, because trees are everywhere at the three-hectare land it is located in. Figures are also scattered everywhere like the photo below. Aside from those, pools are also positioned in many different areas.

I asked my Mom to take a shot  of me with this yellow statue, and look at the photo. hahahaXD

I asked my Mom to take a shot of me with this yellow statue, and look at the photo. hahahaXD

... So what I did is to take a photo of the icon by myself. hehehe

… So what I did is to take a photo of the icon by myself. hehehe

The one nearest the Round Table Cottages is the Therapy Pool, that one with the so-called therapy shower and 3 to 7 feet depth. Though just close to us, my siblings and I weren’t able to dip into it since there were already too many people in it. I don’t think the place is usually crowded though. We went to the resort on a holiday, the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), so naturally, it was a time to take advantage of and sneak into the best or/and nearest place to have some leisure just like us.

While taking some rest from going from pool to pool, I heard a stranger say in Filipino, “I don’t get why it’s called a Therapy Pool,” and I wondered just the same.

The Therapy Pool at near closing time

The Therapy Pool at near closing time

Next is the Turtle Pool which was as crowded as the Therapy Pool. We couldn’t understand why people settle in this and the other. Perhaps it was because there were more people in the inexpensive cottages where these two are in, so instead of going farther they just concentrate on these two…?

Anyway, that plus the water was cold, so my sister and I just tried going under the turtle then we decided to go to the next pool.

Turtle Pool

Turtle Pool

The Olympic Pool is really grand, and thank goodness there weren’t much people in it maybe because of the 4 to 6 feet depth. If only I could swim, I might have enjoyed this pool to the fullest, but since I couldn’t, all I did there was feel the water and watch my siblings swim ’cause they know how to.

Olympic Pool. (Photo grabbed from bosayresort.com)

Olympic Pool (Photo grabbed from bosayresort.com)

Oh, by the way, there’s a Nylon-Spandex-only swimming attire policy in some of the pools at Bosay Resort, and the Olympic Pool is one of them.

Swimming Attire Policy

Swimming Attire Policy

Right beside the Olympic Pool is the Disco Pool, or what seemed to me the Ursula Pool because it’s dark inside with paintings of sea creatures on the walls and a big  sculpture of an octopus right at the middle of pool. It is said on the resort website that it has disco lights, and if there are, we didn’t experience it maybe because it was daytime. I also saw a room for the DJ so maybe it’s really fun there during night.

This pool, though the swimming attire policy also applies here, is our favorite since the water is warm and we would just play with the water by constantly splashing it on to each others’ faces and not caring about the other people around.

Disco Pool. (Photo grabbed from bosayresort.com)

Disco Pool (Photo grabbed from bosayresort.com)

Have you ever felt like wanting to try the exciting long pool slide but couldn’t ’cause there were just too many people? Well, that’s what my siblings and I felt at the Pool with Slide. There were too many people that sliding was next to impossible. Anyway, we just looked at it and went away immediately.

Pool with Slide (Photo grabbed from bosayresort.com)

Pool with Slide (Photo grabbed from bosayresort.com)

And then there’s the Infinity Pool, the most relaxing if you’re up for some peace and quiet. My siblings stayed here a little long as my sister taught me how to dive and pass in between the legs of a person. It was awesome, I learned something in swimming! HAHA.

Infinity Pool (Photo grabbed from Bosay Resort's Facebook page)

Infinity Pool (Photo grabbed from Bosay Resort’s Facebook page)

The last pool, located near the entrance, is the best attraction of Bosay Resort, the StormWave (Please see topmost photo).

As its name suggests, it’s a combination of storm, because of its many fountains, and wave, courtesy of the Wave Ball located at the deepest side of the pool. I found it funny when I first saw it and realized that the big blue ball that kept bouncing at the far end of the pool was responsible for all the disturbances in the water.

from Bosay Website 03

Wave Ball at the StormWave (Photo grabbed from bosayresort.com)

Perhaps I was just used to Splash Island’s and Club Manila East’s wave pools where the system responsible for all the current is part of the wall of the pool not some funny big ball. Anyway, once I got used to it, the funny turned into all-out fun.

Bosay Resort (39)

Having fun at the Wave Pool. :)

Having fun at the Wave Pool. 🙂

 

When the Water Falls

Oh, here comes the hardest part, the cons. Errr… Maybe not. :P

I can’t say anything about the large crowd for the fault was ours, we went to the resort on a holiday. But that aside, one of the only two cons I observed was that since Antipolo is mountainous, naturally, guests would walk on slopes from pool to pool and it was absolutely tiring and I felt the muscles on my legs contracting as I walked around the area.

The second negative was a total turn off: The women’s shower room at the Round Table Cottage area was a disaster. Almost all the cubicles’ doors were broken and most had no locks making it hard for one to  take a bath after a nice time at the pools. And there was no anything to hang our wet and dry clothes on. Because of this, my sister and I took turns in washing ourselves off.

The worst part was that the drainage was clogged, creating a mini pool in the shower room with all the bubbles, empty shampoo and conditioner sachets, and for crying out loud, a used pantyliner, floating while we were washing ourselves clean. Talk about unhygienic! :-S I just hope the resort’s management would address this problem immediately for it would be such a bad feedback if this won’t be fixed soon.

My siblings

My siblings

My sister and I

My sister and I

All in all, the stay at Bosay Resort was satisfactory, especially because I got to spend quality time with my family. If you’re looking for a nice getaway destination on a budget and just near Metro Manila, you may try this resort out. Maybe just take a bath in other shower rooms. I tried taking a leak at that one near the Infinity Pool and it was perfectly clean.

 

 

Bosay Resort
Marigman Rd Ext. Brgy San Roque
Antipolo City
Tel. #: (+632) 695.1807
(+632) 661.9011
(+632) 661.9012
(+632) 703.7973
Mobile #: 0917.667.9382
0929.344.4403
E-mail: info@bosayresort.com
Operating Hours: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm – 5:00 am

Silver

Photo grabbed from http://yusper.tumblr.com

Photo grabbed from yusper.tumblr.com

This day marks the beginning of my 25th year–my quarter life, supposing I get to live ’til I’m 100. But am I entering some crisis? Nah. With this silver year shimmering right in front of me, why should I be?

Quarter-life crisis is a period in mid-20s when most people feel confused, depressed, scared, and lost. They feel so because they’re at the age when they’re supposed to be adults but don’t have any ideas where they currently are or where their lives would lead them.

It is the time to panic if you have yet established anything significant, and honestly, I somehow felt it at the start of 2013, when I realized that I’ll be getting a year older in a few months. But then the optimist in me kicked in and made me take advantage of the feeling and turn panic into anticipation of good things and experiences, and my 25th year as the starting point of my everything. My thoughts went, I am simply in the middle of my 20s, the decade when it is normal to get bruises, scratches, and even long stitches here and there, so why worry? Just enjoy the trek at the forest and never forget to pick up necessary lessons and bring them to the future.

 

Silver Goals

I stopped making big plans back in college when the carefully laid-out goals my teenage self created for myself crumbled due to some unavoidable decisions of the higher ups. I used to live in organization and precision, like after I graduate at this month of the year, I MUST take some rest for a month before finally going full-force looking for my perfect job and all. I wrote them in my planner, and I was the strict type that when I write something, they must come true the way I wanted them to. But I guess I wasn’t flexible at 19 so because of what happened, I threw my goals away and simply lived with whatever that came my way, anyway, plans were uncontrollable and could be taken away from me instantly.

I lived like that for a few years, just accepting whatever destiny showered me with. I got the good ones, mind you, which proved Lewis Carroll’s quote: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”, and I made sure that I was accompanied by God along the way.

But somehow, I knew that a journey isn’t worth all the sweat and exhaustion without any clear aspirations to grasp. So for my 25th year, I decided to give planning another shot. I am certain I’m a grown-up now and I believe I can handle hindrances better and I won’t end up doing tantrums when my goals get disheveled again. And when I say plans, I mean realistic plans, those I know I can reach considering what I have in my grips right now.

Goal #1:
Save enough money for a house (with my dream private library in it,  of course)

Photo grabbed from my unfinished projectmacoi365.tumblr.com

The Reyes Residence. Photo grabbed from my unfinished projectmacoi365.tumblr.com

This is no real rush, but I know I have what it takes to make this possible by the age of 30. I have a talent for saving money, in fact, my father used to remark that I would be rich in the future because of this ability. I am also on my way to my first year in my career as a researcher and though my salary isn’t exactly bombastic, with my abovementioned talent, I can save with what it gives me little by little without sacrificing a few luxuries I have come to live with, except perhaps for my dream of travelling outside Metro Manila yearly. I have a pending application for a part-time job, too, for this. The pay isn’t going to be big, in fact, it’s too low, but I think it’s a good start for freelancing, and if I won’t be accepted, I can look for other companies that can accept what I can offer.

Goal #2:
Open new career paths for myself

I’ve always wanted to be a little bit of everything. Right now, I’m a researcher, blogger, and writer, but I want my Linkedin headline to contain the careers, Researcher, Blogger, Freelance Writer, and Voice Talent. The part-time job I was referring to in my Goal #1 is the freelance writing, and when it comes to being a voice talent, I know that I already possess a good voice for it, it has already been a dream since grade school, and now I already found a company that does workshops for voice/speech every quarter and I would be enrolling for its July batch. It’s a bit expensive, but I’m aware that we have to invest if we want something. Hopefully, the company can help me start a career with voice acting, which will also help in my Goal #1.

Goal #3:
A lovelife!

At the beginning 2013, a friend told me that according to a feng shui expert, those born in the Year of the Dragon will be lucky in the love department this year, and not that I take it as something divine, but it got me thinking, maybe it’s time, maybe it’s time. But the thing is, being lucky in this may mean two things: either I’ll be able to find my soulmate and we’ll live happily ever after (ho-ho-ho!), or I’ll stay single and be saved from the heartaches and annoyance of being in a relationship (well, well, well). The latter is still a luck in the love department, right? Either way, I’ll be elated to embrace whatever the outcome is at the end of my silver year. But what are the necessary steps am I taking to find out which way I’m going with this? You’ll find out later. 😉

Goal #4:
Know how to cook a lot of recipes

At YakiMix at The Podium, Pasig City (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth Alegre)

At YakiMix at The Podium, Pasig City (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth Alegre)

I love food! I can eat non-stop as long as there’s food in front me. But one day I thought, a good eater isn’t enough, I must also be a good cook for fairness’ sake. And since I’m already making a goal list for my 25th year, I decided to make cooking part of it. Actually, this plan should’ve started in October 2012 when I got interested in the Pasta recipe book we have at home, but laziness took over so it always got moved.

Anyway, I think this time around is the perfect time to really, really start it ’cause as I said above, I’m making my 25th year as the starting point of my everything. And as a warm-up for this, I’ve already tried cooking thrice (Cooking at YakiMix wasn’t included because it wasn’t proper cooking) before this big year of mine to test if I should continue with it or not. I even created the food sub-category Project Cocina de Camilla in this blog to document my progress in cooking. So far, I’m doing okay and I’m looking forward to more recipes to learn how to cook.

 

#beforeiturn25

Speaking of warm-ups, I had three mini goals I created at the start of February 2013 to get myself ready for my silver year. The list, called Only 3 But Big Things! #beforeiturn25,  was posted at the sidebar of WoH. My original plan was to have five goals, but because of time constraint, I decided to cut it down to three, anyway, it was just a warm-up. I consider them all a success, by the way.

A widget at WoH's sidebar posted from mid-February 2013

A widget at WoH’s sidebar posted since February 2013

1. Do something remarkable and heart-warming.

This idea alone was what inspired me to make a pre-silver year goal list, meaning it was supposed to be only one, but I thought, hey, it’ll be more fun if there’s more, and can you believe it, I almost failed at this. The “remarkable and heart-warming” act I was originally referring to there was reconnecting with someone whose bridges with me I had decidedly burned a year ago due to a problem we got caught up with. I thought this was nice since I already began asking someone close to her how this person was doing and I was constantly mentioning her whenever I talked to another person very close to her. But then I realized that the next steps would be to crawl back to her, beg her for forgiveness, and make peace with her in my sweetest way possible. It may sound easy but just an imagination of what would happen humiliate me. I wasn’t the only one at fault and I don’t want to think of her triumphant reaction when I do that successfully, so I scrapped the idea altogether.

I substituted it instead with forgiving every person that hurt me the past year (Which included her, anyway) so I could welcome my 25th year with more positivity. I also believe that changing it to this was way better because it concerned not only one person but more than three. Yes, it also included that co-worker from another department who got angry with me and raged at my back for being too silent and failing to entertain her like it was part of my job description.

Forgiving is never easy especially for me who once I forgive, I completely forget everything that happened, which then exposes me to the repetition of the pain. So I until now I have to balance forgiveness with not forgetting to save myself–that I believe I can manage. Right now, I still don’t talk to this colleague, but at least, I don’t feel any grudge anymore whenever I see her. It’s like we just don’t know each other, and again, I think it’s better.

2. Finally embrace the fact that I’m just like everyone else and realize that I. NEED. IT.

Q:  What’s gonna happen to our love lives according to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? (You ask and you open a page and point to something.)A: “What is that?” he heard her say.

Q: What’s gonna happen to our love lives according to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? (You ask and you open a page and point to something.)
A: “What is that?” he heard her say.

It was love I was referring to there.

In 2011, my thoughts about love was this (Click here.), and after almost two years, I’m on my way to thinking the other way around. Okay, but did I succeed in this goal now that today’s the deadline, you ask?  Uhhh… Can I get an extension?

It’s a never-ending internal battle for me. Sometimes, when I get lonely and whenever there’s an event or place I want to go to but none of my friends are available, I think of finally searching for a boyfriend, but then I am reminded of a quote that says, “Love when your ready, not when you’re lonely.” So I try to deal with my loneliness by making myself busy with getting ready for any potential relationships, but in the process I realize I enjoy solitude more, the singleness, the freedom, and everything I do alone. So what happens is I get lonely, I try to get ready, but I never get there. Nice.

But I guess all those times I spent since February thinking, conditioning myself, and reading books and Internet posts about love paid off because “A lovelife!” made it to my silver year goal list (Please see above). Yey! LOL. I just don’t know what my reaction would be when I’m actually there. XD

3. HEY! That couple-of-months-late pasta. Remember? LOL.

This was a cinch. It only got moved often because I was either too lazy or preoccupied with other stuff. Anyway, what’s important is I was able to do it a couple of days before the deadline, and if you want to know what kind of pasta it was and how it was, watch out for it one or two posts from this one, it’s part of my Project Cocina de Camilla. 😛

 

As they say, prevention is better than cure, and maybe this move of making goals for myself is my way of evading a possible quarter-life crisis. So now I’m on my quarter life minus the crisis part. How cool is that? I’ve never been this excited about my birthday! I’m getting older? So what? At least my maturity doesn’t get left behind my age. I just hope and pray I get to reach all my goals in God’s perfect time. 🙂

 

FYI: The exact time I turned 25 this day was at 11:20am. :3

Project Cocina de Camilla #1: Homemade Potato Chips

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the launching of my Project Cocina de Camilla, a chronicle of my adventures in cooking now that I decided that it’s about time!

For my first try, I wanted something so easy since I still didn’t know if I’d be a complete nitwit about this art or not. Good thing I read Yahoo! News Philippines every morning after checking my Yahoo! Mail at work, so one day I saw a title “How to Make the Perfect Potato Chip“, clicked it, and tadaaa! it became the first in my little project.

I was excited about it ’cause I love potatoes, in fact, I can survive a day just eating french fries! (Errr… If you happen to have read my other food blogs, you might have encountered me saying a lot of times that I love this food and that. Well that’s because I really love food in general. haha). So without further ado, here’s my first try at cooking…

Homemade Potato Chips

 

The Essentials and the Expenses

It was my first try, so although I followed the directions to the dot, I made tiny alterations on the essentials. An example is that the article I read said I needed four Russet potatoes, and although I came to know through the Internet that they’re large, rough potatoes, I just asked my mom to buy me a kilo of potatoes from the public market, so I couldn’t be finicky, and besides, I didn’t think there would be any difference if I bought the regular ones.

Anyway, here are the essentials of this project and my expenses:

Essential #1: 1 kilo of potatoes
Price: 60 pesos from the public market

Homemade Potato Chips 6

 Essential #2: 900ml Sun Oil Peanut Oil
Price: 439.50 pesos from SM Supermarket

Homemade Potato Chips 5

Essential #3: Smart Cook Mandolin Slicer
Price: 399.75 pesos from SM Department Store

Homemade Potato Chips 4

Essential #4: Sanicare Jumbo-sized Kitchen Towel
Price: 54.75 pesos from SM Supermarket

Essential #5: 2 cooking pots
Price: N/A, readily available at home

Essential #6: 1 strainer
Price: N/A, readily available at home

Essential #7: 1 container for the finished chips
Price:  N/A, readily available at home

Essential #8: Iodized salt
Price: N/A, readily available at home

Total Project Expenses: 954 pesos

(#3 is optional, I could’ve just used a knife, but then I thought, hey, I love potatoes so I’m sure this isn’t the first and last time I’ll use it, and mom and I can still use it on some other vegetables and fruits. I also imagined the ease it would bring in cutting potatoes into thin slices. So I purchased it. ^_^)

 

Preparating and Cooking the Potato Chips

Since this is homemade potato chips and its main ingredient is real whole potatoes, making it isn’t as easy as the deep frying we see when we buy french fries outside. For one, they’re not ready-made, and two, they’re chips, so there are certain steps to take to make them crispy.

So as instructed in the article, I cut the potatoes thin to attain that crispiness which made potato chips popular back in the day. I used the mandolin slicer for this but somehow, I couldn’t do the 1/8-of-an-inch thinness ’cause it was too hard. I even cut my right thumb twice because I was still too stupid to figure out that my new equipment comes with a protective holder to use for my safety. Anyway, I still continued hoping that the slices I made, which were immediately tossed in a pot of water to remove the residual sugar, were still okay.

Homemade Potato Chips 3

Then the next step is to dry the potatoes out by laying them in kitchen towels and rolling and squeezing them to remove as much water as possible. If you’re wondering what’s this for, it’s because the second best part in potato chips after the potatoes themselves is the oil, so it’s important that each slice absorbs enough of it when being deep fried.

See how thick my slices were? Pffft.

See how thick and uneven my slices were? Pffft. Anyway, first time, first time… Hehe

And then there was the deep frying. I did this in two batches because a kilo of potatoes is actually plenty, and a 900ml of peanut oil isn’t enough after all.

Ahh… Wait. So why peanut oil? My mom was a bit surprised about this so she asked me why I bought an expensive oil when we have a canola oil at home. Well, aside from what I said above that I followed the directions to the dot, I read on the web and at the back of the bottle I bought that peanut oil, which is made from raw peanuts, is commonly used in frying because it has a high smoke point of 225 °C (437 °F), and it’s also healthy due the low saturated fat and high polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat contents. It smells great and so peanut-y, by the way, and it adds flavor to the potato chips.

Anyway, back to deep frying. My home doesn’t have a kitchen thermometer so even if the article said that the potato slices should be put in the pot at 200 degrees and then slowly heat up to the frying temperature of 350 degrees, I simply estimated this part by assuming 200 degrees is the middle size of the flame on the gas stove, while the 350 degrees is the largest. I guess our stove can’t be heated too much, though. The article said the potatoes would reach golden brown at 3-4 minutes, but according to my timer, it was already 16 minutes when mine got to the said color. Well, either that, or my slices were indeed thicker than advised.

Homemade Potato Chips 2

When my chips were cooked, I removed them from the pot and placed them in a strainer first before finally putting them in a container lined with kitchen towels around. As I write this part, I started wondering why I had to use the strainer when I could toss the chips directly to the bowl. haha. Next time, next time… XD

The Yahoo! article also gave the ingredients and how-to’s of the seasonings, barbecue and sour cream and onion, but I just used iodized salt because the peanut oil’s rich taste on the chips was already enough as a flavor. My family liked it, so was I, though my brother opined that some, those with bigger slices, tasted like cassava chips (Read: First try). Our favorite ones were those smaller and thinner slices which were a result of my inexperience in the use of a mandolin slicer and cutting stuff itself. Because of that, I already have a plan on what kind of slice I’ll do on my next try with potato chips, but it’s a secret for now. hehe

 

So what’s my verdict for Project Cocina de Camilla #1: Homemade Potato Chips? SUCCESS! =^_^=

 

P.S. I spent 954 pesos and more than two hours of my life for this project when I can simply buy a bag or two of chips for less than 100 pesos, open it, and happily gorge it. What a waste of time and money, you can say out loud. But, hey, at least with this homemade potato chips that I personally made, I can be sure that there aren’t any unnecessary ingredients on it like MSG and stuff, only potatoes and oil–I’m not saying that deep frying is healthy, but still, there isn’t any other way to make chips but to fry them, right? Moreover, I learned how to do it. There’s a big difference between knowing how something came to be and not knowing at all. So when the world ran out of our favorite chips, at least I can make myself some as I please and as long as there are potatoes and oils around. 😉

 

—-

SOURCES:
Yahoo! She Philippines
Serious Eats
Wikipedia

Whiterock Rocks!

Summer is officially on and we can definitely feel the scorching heat in the air! So if you’re up for some total fun and your skin is yearning to soak under water, it’s time to consider your options for that perfect getaway with your friends and loved ones.

If you don’t want to go too far from the metro but still want the perfect venue, a great choice may be Whiterock Waterpark and Beach Hotel, or simply Whiterock.

Photo grabbed from Whiterock Waterpark and Beach Hotel’s Facebook page

Located in Matain, Subic, Zambales, Whiterock is a resort covering a vast area of seven hectares. And just like what its name implies, it is a waterpark  and beach resort in one, so aside from the wide Subic beach in which guests can experience adventures like jet skiing and banana boat riding, there are also wave pools, water slides, and swimming pools to expect, and even other recreational activities like rappelling, wall climbing, and and ziplining.

It also has around 175 hotel rooms for those who want to spend a night or two in it. Guests can choose accommodations from the main building, Subic View building, Beach side area, and Seaside area as long as there as are still rooms available.

Whiterock map (Photo grabbed from its website)

Whiterock map (Photo grabbed from its website)

Hmmm… Actually, I haven’t really tried being a guest at Whiterock, I was just part of a little group on an ocular visit, searching for the perfect venue for our work’s company outing. And we aren’t exactly a department tasked for this stuff, it just so happened that the Admin Head, a friend and who’s assigned to this yearly, invited me and my package friend to join her, so along with one of the company drivers, we journeyed Zambales to check out different resorts.

Two of the rangers on a mission of finding the perfect location for a company outing! :P

Two of the rangers on a mission of finding the perfect location for a company outing! 😛 (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth Alegre)

Photo opportunity with our camera-shy driver, Kuya Allan. :)) (Photo grabbed from Deth Alegre Boss)

Secret photo opportunity with our camera-shy driver, Kuya Allan. :)) (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth Alegre)

Just a short tour around the resort was enough to get our jaws dropping. Coming from the entrance, the first we saw was the Team Building Grounds. It is so wide that I’m quite sure that the more-than 100 employees in our company can merrily run and roll at it–only if we want to, of course–all together.

Team Building Grounds

Team Building Grounds (Just guess what kind of weather we had while there)

Proceeding to the left, we passed by Pistahan ng Whiterock, a nipa-hut style  function venue, which was one of the improvements made last year.

Pistahan ng Whiterock

Pistahan ng Whiterock

And then there’s the kalesa to add to the native feel of the function area. It’s free to ride in for some photos.

Whiterock (15)

Whiterock (16)

After that, we were welcomed to a little colorful paradise for kids and the young at heart–the Children’s Play Pool area! This where my package friend and I spent most of our time talking and having fun like we were already on the actual outing. LOL.

Whiterock (17)

We just loved the playground ’cause it brought us to our childhood days where we didn’t have anything else to think about but silly stuff. A bit emo, but there really are those kind of days. hehehe

Whiterock (18)

Photos at the Children’s Play Pool area were taken by the funny Kuya Allan

Whiterock (19)

… In which he joked that when we get back to Metro Manila, he’d not only be a driver, but also a photographer. Good job on acquiring a new skill! :))

My package friend and I couldn't help but be crazy while at the swing. Photos were taken while our swings were in motion. XD

My package friend and I couldn’t help but be crazy while at the swing. Photos were taken while our swings were in motion. XD

Right behind the playground is the pool itself complete with kiddie slides. Off limits for us on this part as we didn’t bring extra clothes with us and hey, we were merely on an ocular visit.

Kiddie slides at the Children's Play Pool!

Kiddie slides at the Children’s Play Pool!

At the side of the pool

At the side of the pool

The Children's Play Pool taken from a higher place (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth Alegre)

The Children’s Play Pool taken from a higher place (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth Alegre)

A little while later, the Admin Head, Boss Deth, called us to the Grand Pool. And oh, this isn’t called such for nothing. Aside from being big, it has two big white rocks in the pool itself, and even a bigger white boulder that serves as a wall, in which, yes, the name of the resort was taken. The former rocks even have an interesting legend which you can read on the second photo below.

The Grand Pool also has a see-saw slide behind it

The Grand Pool also has a see-saw slide behind it

Legend has it...

Legend has it…

Of course, we couldn't leave the place without a photo one of the white rocks.

Of course, me, my package friend, and Boss Deth couldn’t leave the place without a photo with one of the white rocks. (Photo grabbed from BossDeth)

Because the pool is huge, guests can play ball in it complete with a net and even ride on the big life buoys. And guess what, its life guard was nice enough to let me and my package friend experience one of the latter for a few seconds. hehe

With this photo, who would think that we were only on a short visit? XD

With this photo, who would think that we were only on a short visit? XD (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth)

At the right side of the Grand Pool is the Rampage Pool then beside it is Big Bowl Waterslide which looks so exciting to slide at.

Rampage Waterslide

Rampage Waterslide

The Big Bowl Waterslide. Shame I could only imagine myself going in circles in it at the moment.

The Big Bowl Waterslide. Shame I could only imagine myself going in circles in it at the moment. 😦 😛

To complete the ocular visit, we went to the other side of the resort where in we passed by the Giant Wave Pool and Children’s Plunge Pools, before finally heading to the beach.

The Chilren's Plung Pool at our back. Please don't mind our silliness with the innocent statue. hahaha

The Chilren’s Plung Pool at our back. Please don’t mind our silliness with the innocent naked statue. hahaha (Photo grabbed from Boss Deth)

The beach is nice! The sand is white that I don’t mind sacrificing my fair complexion just to enjoy that part of the resort!

The beach area. See the mountains there? That's the Subic Mountain Ranges! Nice view,huh?

The beach area. See the mountains there? That’s the Subic Mountain Ranges! Nice view,huh?

Whiterock (27)

Photo op with white sand! :D

Photo op with white sand! 😀

We headed to the Viewing Island which I think is perfect for some solitary thinking while staring at the horizon. Haha Oftentimes, my thoughts are only good for the lovers of solitude.

At the Viewing Island

At the Viewing Island

Then since we weren’t official guests, we were only able to disturb the peace and quiet of the jet skis on their parking space. Well, at least the staff assigned to it allowed us to experience them albeit us looking stupid. The man had fun watching our wackiness, by the way.

Turn to the right!

Turn to the right!

Turn to the left!

Turn to the left!

Stand up and put your hands up!

Stand up and put your hands up!

Wait! We were already surfing on the parked jet ski! Wahahaha XD

Wait! We were already surfing on the parked jet ski! Wahahaha XD

Aside from the dining and entertainment areas, the only places we didn’t get to see were the accommodations since according to the crew that entertained us, all the guest rooms were full at the time, so of course, we couldn’t just barge in to check them out.

Despite that, we were happy with the visit, no matter how short, and we were convinced that it’s the perfect place for our company outing that all the other resorts we checked became so, so nothing compared to it. Sadly, it wasn’t approved by our work’s management because with a beautiful place like that, the company’s budget for the outing didn’t match with Whiterock’s rates. Pffft.

But looking at the brighter side, at least we got know such a wonderful and fun place. For free. 😛

Interested with the resort? Visit Whiterock’s webpage at http://www.whiterock.com.ph and find yourself wanting to be there in a jiffy!

 

 

Whiterock Waterpark and Beach Hotel
Matain, Subic, Zambales
Tel. #: (047) 222.2378 / 232.2857
Mobile #: +63922.813.3630 / +63917.863.0844
Telefax #:(047) 232.4446
E-mail: reservation@whiterock.com.ph

First Visit to Bookay-Ukay

I’d been wanting to go to Bookay-Ukay since college when I saw a photo about it on a social networking site, but never had the chance since it was far from home and I had no one interested enough to go with me. Then came last year and I thought I finally found that perfect Bookay-Ukay buddy, but sadly, our bridges burned a few weeks after we agreed on going there together. I couldn’t brave the big Quezon City on a search for it alone so I thought my desire for book-hunting at the store went to ashes along with my “incinerated” friendship.

But then at the start of the year, I went excited ’cause my friend and fellow blogger invited me to visit Bookay-Ukay. So without hesitation, a date was marked on the calendar.

Bookay-Ukay 01

To give a good picture of what the store is about and why I’ve been meaning to pay a visit to it, let me explain its name. Bookay-Ukay is a play of words certainly thought of by its lovers-of-words owners. “Book” and “ukay-ukay”, those are the two terms. “Book”, we have no problem about its description, but “ukay-ukay” is a  Filipino term for “thrift store“, so put them together, and we’ll know that the shop sells second-hand books that are still in good condition.

Since settling in Maginhawa St in 2008, it has been visited by cool and book-loving celebrities like Saab Magalona and Mercedes Cabral. Not that I want to look and be labeled cool, I’m actually proud to border on the nerd side, but Bookay-Ukay is a must-visit simply because it has books. And cheaper ones, I must say.

I didn’t know it was so easy to get there, but still, I wouldn’t know how to if not for my friend who frequented the area back in college (She studied at Miriam College and its near there.). We met at SM City North EDSA and took a jeepney ride to Quezon City Hall from its terminal for 8 pesos each person. After that, we walked to the side of National Housing Authority and told the driver of the first tricycle in line to drop us at the restaurant Tomato Kick for 17 pesos for two persons. As soon as we got off the tricycle, we were greeted by a two-storey old commercial building, and looking at the right side of its second floor is the sign of Bookay-Ukay. We finally arrived.

Contrary to what I imagined, the store is quite small, in fact, it’s only a room full of books. Perhaps I visualized it to be like those giant bookstores Fully Booked and National Book Store, which was so wrong of me. But at least its interiors speak of what it offers, unlike the formality and plainness of its rival book thrift store Booksale. The green wall on the left is filled with doodles and other stuff like a poster of local pop punk band Kamikazee, and the shelves just below contains other stuff sold in the store like magazines, CDs, and wall clocks which numbers are in counter clockwise. On the counter next to it are key chains from Pop Relief.

Bookay-Ukay 02

Bookay-Ukay 07

Bookay-Ukay 08

Then after those, everywhere else was filled with nothing but books, books, and yes, books on the shelves resting on the remaining walls and even on the floor. Just the perfect haven for book lovers like me and my friend.

Books on the wall

Books on the wall

Books on the floor

Books on the floor

For some time, my friend and I seemed strangers to each other as we both engaged in separate solitary quests for the books we like. From novels, both local and international, to medical books, Bookay-Ukay has second-hand books for everyone.

While I was busy on my hunt, a couple entered the shop and as the guy looked through the shelves, I heard him mutter to his girlfriend in Filipino something like, “I’ll be out of budget again because of books.” Hello there, fellow bookworm! Nice to meet ya! I wanted to tell him, but of course, that’d be crazy. hehe.

Bookay-Ukay 05Bookay-Ukay 04

At the end, I wasn’t able to buy myself a book (Booo! Shame on me!) as I remembered my pile of unread books at home and how I’ll just decrease the chances of finally reading them if I buy more. At least now I know where Bookay-Ukay is. Meanwhile, my friend was able to buy two books for only 350 pesos. She got James Clavell’s Shōgun and Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, and she was very happy with her finds.

My friend and fellow blogger, Claa (http://watchamacallit-claa.blogspot.com/) with her two new books

My friend and fellow blogger, Claa (http://watchamacallit-claa.blogspot.com/), with her two new books (Photo grabbed from her)

Are you a fellow bookworm who loves to hoard and read books for less? Visit Bookay-Ukay today and satisfy your book addiction! 😀

 

 

Bookay-Ukay
55 Maginhawa St, UP Village
Diliman, Quezon City
Mobile #: 0905.428.3125
E-mail: bookayukay@gmail.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bookayukay
Operating Hours: 1pm – 12pm, daily

Fine Dine with Fam @ Nagomi

Group-buying sites are blessings to both businesses and their customers.

For the businesses, these sites are the perfect spots for the promotion and exposure of their establishments, products, and services; while for the customers like me, we get to discover something new and avail them at lower prices.

In fact, it was because of Ensogo, one of the most popular group-buying sites in the country, that I discovered Nagomi Japanese Restaurant, which became the perfect venue for a dinner date with my family. And the best part is, I got the meal for four at a very affordable price.

Photo taken by my brother.  I don't know why he took it tilted. :P

Photo taken by my brother. I don’t know why he took it tilted. 😛

Nagomi 01

My brother, Carlo, Mom, my sister, Charisse, and me

My brother, Carlo, Mom, my sister, Charisse, and me

The restaurant is located at El Pueblo Real de Manila in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, a commercial area that used to be unknown to me though I always pass by it on my way to SM Megamall. It only got to have a name when I saw Nagomi’s address and I used Google Maps to know where it is.

Anyway, the thing most worthy to take note of when buying vouchers from these sites, especially those of restaurants, is that you have to call the establishment and make reservations of usually three days prior your planned visit. So when my family and I were already standing outside, hiding and wondering if we were in front of the right place, a Nagomi crew came to us asking if we were the guests under Ms Reyes’ reservation (Hey! That’s me! I thought.). I said yes and as we all followed her to our table, I remembered what I learned about a Japanese employer’s reminder to his workers that goes, “Okyaku-sama wa kami-sama desu”, or “Customer is god” in English, because the staff’s gesture showed just that: Superb customer service.

The interiors of Nagomi is dandy and very Japanese like those ones that can be seen on movies. It’s like once you enter the place, you’re instantly transported to the Land of the Rising Sun. Even the utensils and everything else on the table have a touch of authentic Japan which got me really excited since I love anything Japanese.

Nagomi Interiors

Nagomi - on the table

Nagomi - condiments

Then the food. I bought the voucher for 599 pesos and for such a price, my family and I were able to enjoy and share with each other Kani Salad, Ramen, Salmon Teppan Yaki, and Sushi with cold tea. The whole bunch is valued at 1,500 pesos and is good for 4-5 persons.

The Kani Salad is made up of crab meat sticks (“Kani” is the Japanese word for ‘crab’), crab eggs, lettuce, ripened mango, cucumber, and mayonnaise. The veggies were definitely fresh and Mom loved it mainly because of its healthy ingredients, while for me, it was okay except that I disliked the ripened mango (Even on maki!) because it seemed like it was disturbing everything with its sweetness. But anyway, that’s the Japanese style, I guess. Kani Salad’s real price is 170 pesos.

Kani Salad

Kani Salad

Then the Ramen showcases how healthy the Japanese are with how the dish is tossed with noodles, slices of meat, and various vegetables, making it one healthy meal. It was delicious and it brought warmth to my tummy because of its hot soup. I don’t know what kind of ramen was served to us, but according to Nagomi’s menu, its prices range from 260 to 340 pesos.

Nagomi - Ramen

Ramen

The Salmon Teppan Yaki was my sister’s and brother’s favorite for the night. The dish is salmon, either grilled, broiled, or pan-fried, and bean sprouts mixed with carrots, onions, and green bell peppers, then poured with a sauce for added taste. Because they loved it, my siblings couldn’t stop themselves from requesting me to buy them rice so I bought three for us. It’s 340 pesos.

Nagomi - Teppan Yaki (Salmon)

Salmon Teppan Yaki

Then finally, the Sushi Platter. It was my favorite because I love raw fish and good thing my family isn’t into it so I was able to masticate the two all by myself. The fish was really great and fresh. Nagomi doesn’t really sell the sushi in platters but an order of it costs 60 to 120 pesos.

Sushi Platter

Sushi Platter

Nagomi - Sushi!

 

If it wasn’t for Ensogo, I wouldn’t know that such a wonderful Japanese restaurant exists, and even if I knew, I wouldn’t be able to bring my family there and treat them because if you open the menu, you’ll see how expensive their offerings are. The three orders of Japanese rice even costed me already 214 pesos. But then maybe, that’s really the price of an authentic Japanese experience.

All in all, our dine at Nagomi Japanese Restaurant was memorable not just because of the sumptuous dinner that was friendly on my budget, and with wonderful ambiance and customer service, but also because my family and I got to spend quality time together laughing and chatting.

DONE. :)

DONE. 🙂

 

 

Nagomi Japanese Restaurant
El Pueblo Real de Manila
Julia Vargas cor. ADB Ave., Ortigas Center
Pasig City
Tel.#: 635.4546 / 632.1736