Category: ANNOUNCEMENTS

Salted Caramel Milkshake Recipe

Salted Caramel Milk Shake, Photo by JMorton

Salted Caramel Milkshake Recipe

I had a salted caramel milkshake when we last went to Gourmet Burgers in Brent Cross.  I absolutely loved it.  The slight saltiness greatly compliment the sweetness of the caramel.  It was really refreshing.

I wanted to make it at home and found a very easy recipe to follow which I have posted below.

Enjoy, kindly let me know how yours went! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 300 ml cold milk
  • 1 ½ tsp caramel sauce
  • sprinkling of sea salt

Directions

Tip the ice cream, milk, caramel sauce with a little sprinkling of sea salt into a food processor.  Blend until smooth and frothy.

Pour into tall glasses and share.

Max’s Fried Chicken Recipe

Max’s Signature Chicken, photo by JMorton

Max’s Fried Chicken Recipe

During a recent holiday in the Philippines, we visited Max’s Restaurant a lot as we were staying in a hotel nearby.

I have to say, Max’s fried chicken is really something.  It is soft and moist in the inside and it is crispy at the outside.  Simply tasty.  If you happened to go to the Philippines, be sure to try one of Max’s chicken. 🙂

I thought since we eat a lot of chicken in the UK, how can I make it taste like Max’s?!!!

So I trawled the internet and this is the recipe that I got.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium size whole corn-fed or organic chicken
  • 4  dried bay leaves
  • 2 heaped tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves, garlic, minced finely
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • oil
Instructions
  1. Use a large steamer; if the steamer is not large enough to contain the whole chicken then cut the chicken in half.
  2. Add the water to the steamer and bring to a boil.
  3. Drop in the bay leaves and chopped parsley into the boiling water
  4. Arrange the chicken into the steamer and cook for 50 minutes.
  5. Take out the chicken from the steamer to let any excess liquid drip out.  Set it aside for half an hour.
  6. Rub minced garlic, salt and pepper all over the chicken and the inside cavities.
  7. In a deep-fryer or large casserole pan, heat the cooking oil.
  8. Deep-fry the chicken.  If the oil does not cover the whole chicken, carefully turn the chicken round until it is golden all over.
  9. Remove the chicken and let it drip and cool down a little.
  10. Serve hot with gravy or choice of sauces.

 

Congee With Dried Anchovies

Congee with Dried Anchovies, photo by PH Morton

Congee With Dried Anchovies

When we stayed at the Armada Hotel, in Malate, Philippines for almost a whole week, everyday, I started by breakfast with congee or lugaw topped with crispily fried dried anchovies or dilis.

It was strange at first as I have never had dili in my lugaw before but I quickly developed a taste for it.  It sets the day right.

Now back in London, I am missing this little treat.  Thank goodness it is pretty easy to make at home.

Here is the recipe –

Ingredients:

Congee
  1. 3 tsp sesame oil
  2. 1 small onion, chopped finely
  3. 1/2 cup long-grain rice (uncooked)
  4. 4 cups vegetable stock or 3 vegetable cubes dissolved in 4 cups of hot water
  5. 1/2 ” piece of ginger (grated finely)
Toppings
  1. 2 tbsp chili oil
  2. 2 tbsp dried anchovies, fried until golden and crispy
  3. 1 egg (boiled)
  4. 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely and then fried until golden brown
  5. 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
  6. Fish sauce
  7. Calamansi or lemon, juiced

Preparation:

Congee

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and fry until translucent.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook for a couple of minutes until well covered with the oil.
  4. Pour in vegetable stock, add the ginger and bring to a boil.
  5. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer but ensure to give it a stir once in a while.
  6. When the rice had softened and absorbed most of the liquid and has a porridge-like thickness, then it is cooked but if a more runny consistency is wished, add more hot water.

Toppings

  1. Fry the anchovies in wok or frying pan with a little oil.  Stir for 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy all over.
  2. Ladle a good portion for one in a bowl. Add a bit of fish sauce to the congee.  Sprinkle with the fried garlic and chopped spring onion then add the chopped boiled egg and dried anchovies.
  3. Finally drizzle with the juice of calamansi or lemon according to taste.

Enjoy!

Max Restaurant Vs Aristocrat Restaurant

Max Restaurant Vs Aristocrat Restaurant

Before we left the Philippines we held von voyage parties and treated our family to a couple of dinners.

Prior to Marilou’s departure for Los Angeles, on 7th July, we went to Max Restaurant in Malate.  We thoroughly enjoyed the meal, the service was good and the venue was family-friendly.

The food was so good.  We had sinigang na hipon (there were lots of shrimps on the two pots provided, Max’ signature dish of fried chicken was delicious.  It was soft and moist in the inside and crispy at the outside.

The kare-kare was to die for.  It was so delicious in itself, the bagoong that went with it was almost redundant.

The fried pork bellies were so  crunchy and good portion.

The fried bangus came with the most sour vinegar I have ever tasted that it send me coughing for a little bit.  It was delicious though.

The glasses of pineapple juices were very much appreciated.

For afters we had a very cooling, very colourful buko pandan.

The amount of the food was too much for the nine of us that we had to have doggie bags for some of the leftovers.

Anyway fun and full stomachs were had by all.

On the eve of our own departure for London on the 12, we decided to bring the family we were living behind in the Philippines to Aristocrats Restaurant, also in Malate an adjacent to Max Restaurant.

I was feeling unwell then so I was unable to go.  Instead Peter went with the Family.

After the meal they came to the hotel full of negative comments about Aristocrats.

They said it was so different from Max.

The service was atrocious.  They had to remind the restaurant staff about their orders a few times.  The food was okay to be fair but nothing special.

I think Aristocrat has become a victim of its own success.  Once upon a time, it used to be the haunt of the moneyed class.

But due to Filipinos having more disposable income, there are more customers and potential customer wanting a bit of the Aristocrat’s reputation of long ago.  Unfortunately the staff can’t cope with the increase demand, thus the service is  now rudimentary.  The waiting staff appear rather indifferent.

Peter was so annoyed that he wished now that he did not leave any trip, as the waiters did not deserve any. 🙂 🙂 🙂

So if I have to choose which restaurant to go to?  I would definitely go for Max!

Max’s Restaurant, Bon Voyage To Marilou

Max’s Restaurant, Bon Voyage To Marilou

After 3 weeks, Marilou is going back to Los Angeles, California tomorrow!

And as such, we had a family celebration at Max’s Restaurant in Malate, nearby Aristocrat.

Though we remembered our Mother dearly, the reason why we are here in the Philippines,  Marilou and I as well as Peter that is, the dinner at Max was also fun, filled with laughter and food galore.

The family were in full force.  There were Jon (my youngest brother), Alma (his wife), Ella May (their eldest), Michael (their middle child) and Jomari, their youngest.  Our lovely Dayday was also there, Marilou, Myself and Peter, are of course in attendance too.  We were missing our other brother, William, but his situation can’t be helped at the moment.

Anyway, we had a really sumptuous meal.  We had a starter of Lumpiang Sariwa (fresh lumpia) made from finely chopped ubod, garlic, lettuce with sweetened sauce.

For mains, we had deep fried bangus with vinegar dip ( I must say their vinegar is really potent, it was so sour if almost blew my sinuses away), there was roasted crackling of loin pork with lechon-like sauce, there was sinigang na hipon (large shrimps in sour tamarind base soup), there was also kare-kare with a complementary shrimp bagoong. And of course, we had Max’s signature dish, their own recipe of roasted chicken.

There where so much to eat that we were all struggling in the end only to be given a dainty glass full of emerald-like jelly and tapioca/sago called buco pandan pudding.

These were all washed off with glasses of delectable pineapple juice and gallons of iced-water.

I can’t fault Max in anyway, the food was truly good and the service was exemplary.

I supposed, it comes from experience.  It all started in 1945, when Maximo Gimenez, a teacher, started serving chicken and drinks to American troops he befriended stationed near Quezon City.  Maximo’s niece, Ruby, more fondly known as Nanay Ruby was part of the making of the brand according to a caption on a picture proudly displayed in their restaurant.  She created the now famous Max’ chicken, which is tender and juicy in the inside but crispy outside.

The dinner celebration is a fitting homage to a wonderful, beautiful sister.  This is not goodbye but an au revoir, Marilou.  We will see each other again soon.

Be safe in your trip back home!

Our love from us all.

SM Megamall, Mandaluyong

SM Megamall, Mandaluyong

Today we ventured farther out of Manila into Mandaluyong, Rizal to visit one of SM superstores.  This branch is called the Megamall, so named because it is so huge.

Once upon a time, the mention of Mandaluyong would send most young Manilanians into fits of uncomfortable giggles. Mandaluyong used to have a reputation for being the asylum for the mentally ill; it was where the mental hospital was located and you hear all this gossips about electric shocks and the likes!

But now, it is a different place where high rise apartments and buildings are touching the heavens, filling the skyline.

Beautiful expensive hotels have sprouted, circling the SM Megamall.  Mandaluyong is now a fun and happening place.

It was rather an overwhelming tiring time at the SM Megamall, lots to see, lots to browse, lots to buy but sadly so little time.

Having said that, I was able to get two Filipiniana blouses, which I love so much.  We also got some knick-knacks ready to take home.

Marilou bought herself a new Samsung phone, which she loved.  She was initially after an Oppo but funnily enough it was more expensive than the better known Samsung.  So no contest really.

We also ate at this mind-boggling food court located at the lower ground floor.  The eatery is made up of so many mini turo-turo (literally means point point) that it would make you hyperventilate if you have been starving.  All the most delicious Filipino recipes from the entire country cooked and ready to serve for your delight and to assuage your hunger pang.  But what to choose?!!!

We were ravenous and we had to make a choice.  We finally settled to having nilaga, kare-kare, bopis, dinuguan and rice.  Fantastic.

Actually we would have eaten at the 4th floor in that eat-all-you-can restaurant but at barely 2:00pm it was already only serving merienda (afternoon snacks).  How ridiculous was that?!!!

There were so many to see that we don’t really know where to start.  In the end, we just got what we wanted to buy and grabbed a Grab to get to Quiapo.

And this is another story!

Goodnight!

 

Club Manila East Resort

Club Manila East Resort

Club Manila East resort is located at the heart of Taytay Rizal.  It is a 7-hectare of water haven suitable for the little pygmae pandaca in you or even if you happen to think you are a beach whale!  🙂  🙂 🙂  What I am saying is that there is something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

There is also an option to stay longer as large family rooms are available to hire for a night or two.  Perfect venue to amuse the little ‘uns.

There are plenty of water activities to do.  There is a wave pool, where one side is for surfing while the other side is for the adventurous or the masochistic, being continuously pummelled by waves after waves.  Enjoyable though it was. 🙂

There was also that gargantuan water slide.  It took time to climb up above and took even longer to get down.  My brave sister said that the slide is lacking that slippery factor that would keep you continuously going.  She said that she had to stop mid-way as she got tired pushing herself down.  She is not heavy, she is very slim in fact.  🙂

There are children’s pools, with fun water accesesories and with mini-slide as well.

My favourite I must admit was the pool for kayaking.  I found that I had quite an aptitude for it. 🙂

The staff are friendly and ever so helpful and the food and drinks are not going to break your bank.

Aside from busted eardrums, we came home with dodgy tummies.  We had stomach pains so severe we had a dose of pain relief as well as a few imodiums for loose bowel movement (LBM) and some also exhibited vomitting like myself.  We don’t know whether we got the lbm from the food or there was something in the water!

A day on and we are still suffering.

National Book Store @ 75

@ National Book Store, Tutuban Centre, photo by PH Morton

National Book Store @ 75

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my favourite book store in the Philippines is now 75 years old.  Many a time I have spent in this bookstore when I was growing up in Manila.  I was so proud to be one of the Laking National Bookstore kids of the 70s 🙂

I love all the knick knacks you can buy to make your school bag heavier to carry. 🙂  My poor shoulder!!!  I love the smell and looks of the new notebooks, the new pens and the lead from pencils, the dinky erasers, which were just too pretty and too good to use.

One thing that I did find rather weird and bothersome about the National Bookstore nowadays is that they have now enclosed their reading books in plastics wrapping, fending off browsing or quick read.  I think this prevents engaging people to love books.

I love looking at books in bookstores, I love turning the pages and having a quick browse before buying, that is why I prefer buying books at bookstores rather than getting them delivered by Amazon.

Anyway, to the National Book Store, I hope you continue to celebrate an anniversary year after year!

Duterte @ Manila Hotel

The President’s chopper, photo by PH Morton

Manila Hotel, photo by PH Morton

Duterte @ Manila Hotel

I was so annoyed when we finally got to our hotel.  We were staying at the Manila Hotel.

Almost halfway the long drive of Manila Hotel, our uber was stopped.  Apparently it can no longer go past that point as the President, Rodrigo Duterte, was currently at the hotel attending the 2017 ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nation) conference.

It was a muggy night and rather dark everywhere.  So I complained that it was unfair to hold a meeting in an expensive hotel and putting customers out who paid good money.  I suggested, why not hold major conference in CCP or PICC or even Folk Arts Theatre?!!!

I have to say the hotel security guards as well as the presidential guards were all politeness and apologies.

We walked all the way to H20 hotel and then to Manila Hotel by foot in the dark!!!

Along the way, we noticed a helicopter, which was heavily guarded.

So again, I went mental about too much expense when Malacanan Palace, the official residence of the First Family of the Philippines, was just around the corner.

Peter very sagely reminded me of the horrendous traffic in Roxas Boulevard.  The President would have been seating in traffic for too much time that he probably doesn’t have from his busy schedule.

Ooopps, Peter was so right.

A chopper is the best presidential tool to overcome ‘tanginang’ traffic!!!  🙂

MyPal Economy

MyPal Economy

Due to my mother passing suddenly on 19 June 2017, Peter and I booked immediately for a couple of seats with Philippine Airlines.  We chose PAL (Philippine Airlines) because it provides the shortest time of travel, being a direct flight with no stop-over.  From 16+hours to just 13-14.

We were happy with PAL.  The plane has two-seater on each side, which is more convenient if you want to go to toilet or go for a quick stretch of legs, the food is good as good as what you can expect from an airline dinner (though Peter was complaining that the beef stew menu was an abomination of English dinner.  It should be with dumplings and mash potato not rice) LOL.

The flight attendants were friendly and courteous.  Although Peter did happen to mention that the customers from the right side seats get a faster and more proactive service! An attendant was always walking, attending 🙂  We would order a glass of water and it would take 10-15 minutes for it to come by but there is a service with a smile.

The baggage allowance is also very attractive.  One is allowed to bring 23kg weight of items in two two suitcases, totalling to 46kg check-in baggage for each person.  Not only that one is also allowed a hand-luggage no more than 7kg.  Plus you can also bring a bag, a camera, small jacket and laptop.

……………

14 July 2017

Return Flight with MyPaL did not have an auspicious beginning.

As has been widely expected with Philippine Airlines, it was of course late.  The flight for Manila to London was supposed to be on the 13th July 2017 at 1:00pm Philippine time.

We got up early and finished our packing, by 9:00am we left our hotel on a P600p hotel shuttle or taxi.  We were at the airport just before 10am.  At Terminal 2, we browsed the miniscule Duty Free and got some last minute chitchiria and presents.  But there was no restaurant really to speak of.

We just got a Chicken mami and waited patiently for our call out.

At about 12:00pm hoards of well dressed Flight attendants came into the lounge to wait with us.  The ladies were well presented, not a hair out of place.  All crimsoned red lipsticked.

We thought as the flight attendants are here, surely we will be called to board in soon.

Well no!

Apparently our plane is late from its internal flight from General Santos.  Just like that, our flight time was changed to 2:20pm.  I was just thanking the Good Lord that we did not have a connecting flight somewhere else.

Finally we boarded.

It was fairly uneventful.  I think our pilot was a woman, someone called Capt Ginifer or something.

As much as the flight attendants are visually pleasant, they were rather jaded doing their job.  A stewardess would come with a bottled water and some comes but would not engaged in eye to eye contact with the passengers.  Therefore, there are those who were truly parched that get ignored.

I was travelling with Peter, the hubby, who independently mentioned that these attendants are rather ineffectual.

And so were the iPads given on loan in return of boarding pass.  The iPad was supposed to show current or fairly new films but most of the time ipad did not work and was rather fiddly to manage.  I just couldn’t be bothered in the end.

I was very unwell with cough and cold during the flight and my appetite was gone.  I could not really eat much.  I noticed too that Peter was not eating, he said the food was particularly horrible.  I did noticed that too comparing the fare we got from Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airlines and Cathay Pacific, PAL food was beyond par.

Just before we got to London, a couple of male attendants armed with a couple of aerosols each started spraying the ceiling of the plane.  They were working on opposite aisles.  The reason they gave was that it was for quarantine.  They did not mention what the quarantine was for.  I did weakly protest about my basic human rights!

I googled later at home of this rather strange thing.  Apparently it was for the Zika virus.

Having said that, there is something attractive about PAL.  It flies direct with no stopover.  Additionally they have two seater seats by the windows.  This made easier for Peter and I to go to the toilet and just stretch our legs.

I just hoped that PAL get its act together otherwise they may be banned for flying Europe once again!

*****
5 Stars out of 10

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