Roast Pork Belly: Dinner is served...
On those days when you find yourself craving a good, rib-sticking meal but haven’t got the time to cook, it’s good to know that many supermarkets in this part of the world offer a wealth of options from properly done casseroles to magnificent roasts like the one shown above.
Grab and Go at Shopwise in Alabang is one of my favorite ready-to-eat go-to’s. Their pork belly roasts (P 270.00 each) are generously portioned and every roast I’ve bought from them so far has had beautifully tender, flavorful meat, and moreish crackling skin. The roast pork loin, on the other hand, practically melts in your mouth, as do their roast chickens which come either barbecue- or apricot-glazed.
Grab a ready-made salad from the veggie section (I recommend Goolai‘s crabstick, mango, and mixed green salad with mango vinaigrette; so good…), and you have a lovely meal to end a busy day. 😉
Tiramisu and Strawberry Cheesecake Gelati
Since we’re already on the subject of ice cream and all manner of frozen treats, I may as well show you all this little gem at the Festival Supermall: gelati from Dolci on the third floor.
This particular cup is a combination of tiramisu and strawberry cheesecake. Just mildly sweet and you can actually taste the mascarpone and cream cheeses in these. Molto bene!
Kuromitsu Ice Cream
The heat in this part of the world has become unbearable of late, prompting people to seek edible relief in ice-cold water, chilled beverages of all sorts, and – naturally – ice cream. From the “dirty” ice cream peddled by neighborhood carts at P 5.00 a pop to cups of authentic Italian milk ices at upscale gelaterias, everyone has been screaming for ice cream of late.
This particular soft-serve find was, in fact, not found at any ice cream parlor but at Pepper Lunch. This is the kuromitsu ice cream, a lovely, drooping swirl of vanilla soft-serve with rivulets of black sugar (kuromitsu, a very dark brown sugar produced in Okinawa) caramel.
‘Tis lovely, this syrup-drizzled ice cream: the dark syrup is somewhat smokier tasting than a caramel made with conventional brown sugar with a rather ferrous tang to it that is softened by the vanilla-infused cream. It’s not a dessert you’d shovel into your mouth; it’s one that needs to be savored in small dabs, each melting wantonly in your mouth and filling it with smooth coolness.
And at P 39.00 a demitasse, it’s certainly an affordable indulgence. 😉
This is how I start my day.
Coffee and words. I have been starting my day with this potent combination since my sophomore year in college when I began drinking coffee on a regular basis. There’s just something uplifting about sipping a rich, smoky brew with a touch of cream while writing either journal entries by hand or blogging about new dishes or writing poetry on my other blog. Thinking back on the debacle of months past, I’m seriously starting to wonder why I ever took that doctor’s advice and gave up on coffee and nearly gave up on writing. Tsk tsk…
Cafe au lait, un croissant, et un omelet avec epinards et champignons
On days when I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll throw a croissant into the equation. There is just something about biting into that crisp, flaky, buttery crust that makes my brain perk up on even the darkest of days. Delifrance‘s croissants – authentic stick-straight croissants au beurre as opposed to the more common crescent-curved croissants ordinaire – are perfect for mornings when I still have an hour or so to kill before the start of my workday. It’s the sort of croissant you don’t just munch into willy-nilly; it demands to be eaten with a knife and fork. One ought to cut one flaky bite after another, smearing it with more butter (Is there such a thing as too much butter on a warm, buttery croissant? Of course not!) and a dab or so of d’Arbo‘s tart, jelly-like strawberry jam.
Sometimes, as in the snapshot above, I’ll have an omelet filled with mushrooms and wilted spinach for the extra vitamins and iron. It’s what I need to face a potentially gruelling day.
I sip my coffee, nibble my croissant, and scribble a few lines. I take stock of my life and watch Makati’s corporate denizens rushing out the shop window. Sated, I smile and head on out, becoming one with the mad rush to work.
Anyone up for cookies?
I have to be stark-raving mad for baking in what’s rapidly getting to be a heatwave in this part of the world. But when my mother and I saw this fascinating little cookie recipe from a back issue of Martha Stewart Living, I just had to head to the kitchen and get to work ASAP. Fancy: an oatmeal cookie studded with white chocolate and dried apricots – evokes summer now, doesn’t it?
As it happened, I actually had some dried apricots in the pantry. However, I didn’t have enough to make up the seven-ounce measure called for in the recipe, so I threw in some dried mangoes to add a tropical touch and substituted a very nutty muesli for some of the oatmeal. Plus, I used Splenda rather than granulated white sugar since I was fresh out of the latter. The end result was a deliciously chewy cookie interspersed with tart fruit and crisp nuts. Oddly enough, despite the apparent richness lent by the white chocolate, these cookies made perfect snacks for this sultry afternoon.
These are perfect with a tall, icy glass of milk!
Chewy Apricot-Mango Cookies with White Chocolate
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup muesli
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 4 ounces pecans, chopped
- 4 ounces dried apricots, chopped
- 4 ounces dried mangoes, chopped
Cream together the butter, Splenda, and brown sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, and baking soda; mix till well blended. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well-combined. Chill for about thirty minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4. Line baking sheets with waxed paper or Silpat mats. Drop the chilled batter by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Makes approximately forty cookies.