Thursday, January 31, 2013

Balinsasayaw / Nido Vegetable Chicken Soup

Flu, colds, and sore throat aside, this chilly weather and the food it brings is L-O-V-E. I just adore this wintry  weather. I hope, we have this kind of weather all year round so I could wear my cardigans and put layers on my wintry fashion more often. The crisp thin air of the morning also means snuggling and cuddling close to our love under the warmth of our big blanket after the long and blissful sleeping hours... a cup of coffee or steaming hot chocolate in bed on lazy mornings... a good time of year to stay indoors... or maybe outdoors, to do chores without getting sweat. Above all, it's about warm dishes and big elaborate meals (and delicious leftovers) are what I liked most.

Feeling feverish, I woke up late last Saturday, so I thought of simmering chicken soup. When I opened my grocery box to gather ingredients, the neglected Balinsasayaw (edible-nest swiftlet) wrapped in a small plastic bag caught my attention. So I decided to cook Balinsasayaw / Nido Vegetable Chicken Soup instead. I bought it in Coron last year when I travelled solo for a short vacation to see Kayangan Lake. I came accross a Tagbanua native inhabiting in one of the islands selling the rare ingredient at a very cheap price.

Balinsasayaw or edible bird's nest, regarded as the “Caviar of the East”, is a highly-priced delicacy in Asian cuisine. According to World Wildlife Fund, a kilogram of the processed (first class) white nest can cost as much as US$3,000 to $4,000 per kilo.  Tagbanua natives inhabiting the protected area harvest the edible-nest Swiftlet made of swiftlet saliva. Believe it or not, the nest is the solidified saliva of the edible nest swiflet locally called "Balinsasayaw".

A bit of history about the consumption of Balinsasayaw can be traced back to China nearly 1,500 years ago during the Tang Dynasty period (A.D. 618-907). It is believed that during that era, only the family of the Emperor and his court officials has the privilege of consuming the highly priced bird’s nest. Balinsasayaw soup, often times called “The Emperor's Soup” or “Longevity Soup” have high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. It is claimed, according to Chinese medical tradition, to provide health benefits such as; improving the voice, easing digestion, cure asthma and other respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and sinusitis.  Consuming this very rare delicacy prevents colds and strengthens the immune system as well. It's an aphrodisiac, which makes them a much sought-after property. According to National Geographic, however, analysis of bird-nest soup, has not revealed any special medicinal value.

Balinsasayaw's texture when cooked was kinda gummy, sort of sotanghon noodles (bean thread noodles) aka cellophane noodles. I should've soaked the bird's nest in cold water overnight before cooking but I didn't know.   It's tasted plain so I mixed it with chicken, spices, vegetables and other flavors. Fortunately, it didn't take too long to make this soup.

Here's the complete list of ingredients;

15-18 grams Balinsasayaw / Nido / Edible bird's nest
2 tablespoon cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 eggs
1 medium cabbage
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium chayote, chopped
2 medium chicken breast
2 knorr chicken cubes
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
5 cups chicken stock
Green spring onions, chopped
Ground black pepper to taste

In a stock pot, boil the chicken breast in 5 cups of water for 30 minutes to produce a homemade chicken broth. Separate and disassemble the chicken: Pull as much meat off of the chicken bones that you can, set aside. Throw away all of the bones and large pieces of fat.

While the chicken breasts are in the pot, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat in a wok. Add the mirepoix and sauté for about 4 minutes, until the onion has softened.

After the onion has softened, add the chicken stock, Balinsasayaw, black pepper, garlic and 2 knorr chicken cubes. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Add in the chicken meat and eggs. Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes until a light foam forms. Skim this foam with a spoon.

Have a taste and add salt or pepper to your liking. Pour in a bowl and sprinkle with spring onions.

Serve hot with Boling bread.

Recipe Notes:  Add evaporated milk if you want a creamy soup.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Food Bites: Start a Food Business

With the country's economy getting better and better, don't you think it’s now time to engage yourself investing and or start a business of your own?  What kind of investment or business would it be?

From my point of view, the most reliable and lucrative business is food. Why? Because it’s the basic need of everybody. No matter how many food carts, franchises, and restaurants would open in the future, the food business will remain strong. As long as human population grows, there’s always a profitable market for food, you could never go wrong with that.

In my opinion, the things that matter most for food business to succeed are vast. A few of which are; quality of food, value for money, and trend. Food really is trending. Nowadays, frozen yogurt is trending across all types of food market – young, adult, professional, etc.

In starting up a food business, I didn’t say purchase a McDonald’s franchise but will you? That’s a bold move if you are just starting. Well, if you have the desired capital, then by all means, go ahead. There are other kind food businesses to engage on. Think pizza, or start a frozen yogurt business. Independent business is a great start rather than jumping over the large scale business. Big-businesses started small, think about that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kitchen Gadget: American Home Coffee Maker

Hello foodies! 

What is up? What did you do last weekend? Does it seem short because you were pressured to catch up on the chores that piled up during your manic working week? Or you just rest and relax for two fabulous days?

Whatever it was, I hope y'all had a very good time and everything's great.

As for me, my weekend was very productive. I made the long overdue portable photo studio at home,...ugh, finally! I made it from illustration board and blank canvass bought at the National Bookstore. I used this American Home Coffee Maker as my medium to check out where I could get good lighting, ahm yes, I am using natural light. This coffee maker was a gift from Peachy of The Peach Kitchen last Christmas whom I share love affair with coffees. Thank you Ate Peachy! 

It was early in the morning when I shot the above picture so its kinda blue-ish. Now that my studio is ready, as I've promised couple of years ago, you could expect more recipes to be posted this year. Oh, I made Balinsasayaw soup yesterday and will be posted on Thursday :-)

Y'all gonna love it, promise. Stay tuned :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Very Tea at Teaberi

MBBCF - Matcha Black Beans Cheese Froth, Php 120.00

Comfort Drink.

That's what I need after the not so good experience with my bacon cheeseburger. So I went down my office building to try some tea drink at the newly opened tea house inside 7/11 store.

Staring at the menu, I asked the crew, "Hello, anong masarap bukod sa akin?"
(Hello, aside to me, what's yummy?)

Broad smiles and sincerest "how may I help you?" response were what I've received. I felt so good. That's how I usually ask to communicate, somehow, build connection with any restaurant's crew. Trust me, it works majority of time. She offered me to try their bestseller, winter melon tea. I am not a fan of winter melon but relieved when I saw their special fix, there was matcha green tea! 

The leafy taste of green tea never failed to put a molar-to-molar smiles to my face and I'm sure, to you too. Well, apart maybe to my cousin Anney, who describes green tea as "lasang halaman" (grassy taste). I was told that Teaberi's tea leaves were imported from the best tea-growing regions of Taiwan. Matcha with Black Beans and Cheese Froth was indeed a different and refreshing brew. There was a hint of the leafy taste and bits of black beans. The cheese froth complemented very well with the tea's sweetness.

Ask me if Teaberi's tea is yummy like me.

Very tea!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Heaven in My Eyes: Malcolm's Wagyu Cheese Burger with Bacon

I think I heard that it's an anniversary promo when Malcolm's branch near my office in Salcedo Village Makati City held their annual "buy one take one" promotion last Friday. There was an everyday countdown on their counter prior to that day making sure we customers won't miss the mouth watering promotion.  And just like last year, my colleagues and I were looking forward to that day to experience this once-a-year-offering again. At Php 140.00 I ordered Malcolm's Wagyu Cheese Burger with Bacon which I was about to share with Donna.

At first glance, the burger's patty looks tender, juicy and tasty. There were cheese, lettuce, 2 slices tomato and 2 onion rings. Tomato ketchup and a dressing were put in a separate containers - it was all good in my eyes. The only missing though was the drooling smell of Wagyu beef that I used to crave every time. 
I didn't complain and brought it to my office nearby to chow it down. The burger buns were though and aged. I was disappointed. I closed my eyes and searched for the high degree of marbling – or finely veined tender meat slash fat-that-melts-in-my-mouth but to my utmost regret, the patty was dry. My guess was, it's not Wagyu beef that Malcolm's claimed of their specialty. Veggies were crisp and fresh though.

Well, here's another culinary lesson, learned.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pastry Princess: Good Morning Cupcake!

Oh, hello there princesses, good morning!

How about a cup of cof...err cup of cake to start your day?

These cupcakes were from Pastry Princess and I am craving for their moist and delicious Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting and their Salted Caramel Cupcake at this early and foggy morning.

Would you like some?

Of course, I know you would.

Good thing, I kept their phone number when I met them at the Foodgasm event last August.

Here it is 09285990189 / 3994986. Call 'em if you feel like ya want to start a very sweet and beautiful day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Foodiscovery: Tupig and Kahel

At one of the bus' stopover, I had a culinary encounter with “Tupig” last year when I went to Baler Aurora for a short vacation. Tupig is an Ilocano delicacy - rice cake with glutinous rice as its base, wrapped in banana leaves and freshly roasted on a charcoal-fired oven. Tupig is seasoned with butter or margarine, molasses and garnished with grated coconut and sesame seeds.

I partnered it with kahel or dalandan (Philippine orange).

Your tastebuds are weird, my travel companions said. Well...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Must Try in Greenbelt: Bizu Patisserie’s 10-Hour Roast Beef and Mixed Ravioli

10-Hour Roast Beef, Php 655.00 net

Tired of the same old fast food fried flavors after a shopping spree?

If you happen to be in Greenbelt and your French palate desires for sophisticated, French restaurant that serves classic, tender and slow roast beef, try Bizu Patisserie’s award winning slow-roasted US beef belly. This slow-roasting method enhances the natural tenderness of the meat. Don’t worry, you don’t need to wait 10 hour before you could taste it. It was roasted in advance and served at room temperature when my friend Carlo and I dined here last December. It was served with grilled, succulent vegetables such as horseradish, potato gratin, and mushroom espagnole sauce. I paired it with available red wine but I forgot to take a pic.

Mixed Ravioli, Php 395

While waiting for me to arrive, Carl ordered Le Soleil, a combination of Mango, passionfruit, yogurt and honey. He partnered it with Mixed Ravioli - Duo of handmade spinach and cheese ravioli and mushroom ravioli, pomodoro, crumbled Feta cheese, and fresh basil chiffonade. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

KBOB: Korean Food and KTV

 KBOB Restaurant and Family KTV 
232 P. Tuazon Blvd. corner 13Th Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines
(02) 709 0941

The company we're working in had a separate and bigger celebration of the highly anticipated Christmas party last year so we opted to have our own holiday party exclusively for our team. Our team's holiday party was held at K-bob restaurant and Family KTV a week before Christmas last year with Korean Food and Karaoke, it was regarded as KKK (our common term for "pot luck") holiday party because we shared the expenses.

KBOB Restaurant opens at 11:00AM to 10:00PM but the KTV rooms are up 24/7 open. There's no entrance fee but they are charging per room - ranging from Php 500 / hour to 1,500 / hour. The KBOB Korean buffet hour has been changed. From 11 AM last year, it's now starts at 5:00 PM until 10:00 PM and the price was also raised from Php 350 per person December of last year to Php 400.00. Set meals and ala cart dishes are available though.

We came in around 9 AM and immediately accommodated by the polite crew. My colleagues grouped themselves and decided to order Filipino favorites (a la carte) dishes such as Beef Caldereta, Pork Sisig, Lomi and steamed rice. I sipped my ice-cold beer and munch on chicken wings and undercooked potato fries while patiently waiting until 11 AM to try their Korean buffet. The Caldereta was ok as well the Lomi but the Sisig was super spicy.

If you want to avail their Korean buffet, you need to take it in the restaurant downstairs. The food I've took was not allowed to be brought upstairs to avoid sharing. Although I missed Austin and Ert's Gangnam style performance and Gemma's belter voice, I made sure not to miss every single dish this Korean buffet had offered...

I started my brunch at the Kimchi station. Showcasing a variety of interesting Korean national dishes, I  tried a small portion of everything. Every dish has an interesting and strong unfamiliar flavors and I didn't hesitate to swallow it all, eyes closed! But my only concern was remembering each name.

It was eleven in the morning and the staff were unoccupied so I bug them with questions. One crew wrote down the name and translated every dish name for me but I never verified if it's correct. Here's what she wrote on a piece of paper I've found on my camera bag earlier today; Ojing Oche (Squid), Mannel Jong (Garlic Stem) Water Crest, Korean wood Myeok Jogi (Seaweeds), O'jin O Buggeum (grilled squid), Gamja Jorim (Baby Potato), Jang Jorim (beef like adobo), Gochu Samgyupsal (Grilled Pork), Black Kong (Black beans), Dak Tori tang (Chicken Spicy Sauce), Dweji Galbi Jjim (Pork), So Galbi Jjim - Pork,Jeyuk Buggeum (Pork Guisado).

The buffet also includes dishes that we all know and love. From the soup section, kimbap, bibimbap to samgyupsal, everything looks fresh, clean and yummy.

For dessert, they offered fresh tropical fruits, buko-pandan salad and macaroni but I had no more room for dessert so I just took some pictures.

I would say that our experience in KBOB is average and is recommended. If you are looking for a post holiday party venue with good, affordable food and great sound system KTV rooms, hold your party in KBOB Restaurant and Family KTV located at the heart of Cubao.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

FROYO - Coolest Food Business

Non-fat and gluten free frozen yogurts blossomed in 2000s and have been a brilliant treat to everyone particularly to those who opt for refreshing and healthy dessert rather than sweets and fats. Since then, frozen yogurt machines, frozen yogurt shops and donper vendor machines have rapidly increased and are popping up in malls and business establishments all over the world. It has become a globe wide trend to health-conscious consumer who wants to eat well and look great. Surprisingly, “froyo” appeals to young adults, women, and people who are health conscious or the middle age range. The market share of this age group is the highest and therefore, very lucrative.

In starting up a yogurt shop, one could get a franchise or learn the basics and concoct his own recipes and mixes depending on the target market. Tangy, sweet and creamy or chocolate-y with a variety of fruit toppings are in demand for kids and teenagers while  green tea and cafe flavors are "in" for older generation.

Frozen yogurt business has a good chance of earning money at a reasonably low start-up cost. Brand new frozen yogurt machines price range are from $5,000 to $18,000 depending on the brand, capacity, durability, etc. There are also machines for rent. If you just want to test the waters in froyo business this could be the best option without risking your money. Great frozen yogurt machines were manufactured by donper. They offer a complete line of donper soft serve machines and batch freezers not just for frozen yogurt treats but for ice cream and other cold desserts and snacks.

Either you are looking for food business opportunity or an established entrepreneur, the popularity of frozen yogurt proved to be profitable and highly lucrative. With an accurate ounce of business concept, precise location to your market, durable equipment, and good luck, this food business could be a huge benefit to you.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Maya Kitchen Presents Chef Jessie Sincioco

Hello 2013!!!

What  are your expectations this year?  Have you decided what to prioritize over that long list of "to do" this 2013?

If learning how to cook great tasting food is one of your new year's resolutions that you've wholeheartedly decided to start this year, join Chef Jessie Sincioco On January 26, Saturday, 9am-1pm at The Maya Kitchen as she shares her recipes for light, healthy yet delicious dishes to usher in the New Year. Josefina Cruz Sincioco, then a novice baker, won the grand prize in the baking category of the Great Maya Cookfest way back in 1983. She credits this as the start of her career in the kitchen. Her 3-month training at the Hotel Inter-Continental Manila after the competition turned into a full time job with the property. She was sent to train abroad, joined local and international competitions and in 1990, she became the first Filipina Pastry Chef in the history of the hotel. The chef who, at first, did not have a liking for the smell of the kitchen found initial fame when she, along with expatriate partners, turned the restaurant Le Souffle into a fine dining mecca. Chef Jessie is now President and CEO of JCS Gastronomie Inc. that operates fine dining restaurants Chef Jessie Rockwell Club and Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie. She is also a co-author of KULINARYA, a Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine. Dedicated, hard working, feisty and in the end all talent, this is what Chef Jessie Sincioco is all about.

Other courses for January include: COFFEE 101 on January 12 Saturday from 1pm to 6pm. , TINAPAYAN Go Negosyo Workshop on January 12, Saturday from 10am to 3pm; EXPRESS COOKING, January 19, Saturday, 9am-1pm;  BEST OF MAYA BAKING RECIPES, January 19,  Saturday, 1-5pm;  and BAKING SECRET OF COFFEE & TEA CAKES, January 26,  Saturday, 9am-2pm. Certificate courses with hands-on include: BASIC CULINARY (Weekdays) January 8-11/22-25, Tuesday-Friday; (Weekends) February 2, 9, 16 and 23, Saturday,  9-3PM;  BARISTA: January 12, 19 and 26, Saturday, 1-6 PM, 120 hours with On the Job Training (OJT); CATERING: January 16-18, Wednesday-Friday, 10am-4pm. FUNDAMENTALS OF BAKERY PRODUCTION, January 15-18/January 29-Febuary 1, Tuesday-Friday, 10am-3pm; CAKE DECORATING (Basics & Advanced): January 31-February 2, Thursday-Saturday, 10AM-4pm.

For more information on other courses offerings, log on to  or e-mail  or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F  Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 / 892-5011 local 108 / Mobile No. +63947 835 2290.

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