Now where were we?


So this was my lunch today. I was checking out the fridge for what to eat (and also with the idea of planning dinner) when I spied a lonely eggplant in the corner of the veggie crisper. Voila! Lunch dilemma solved. I sliced it up, fried it and had it with leftover rice. Dipping sauce is made up of rice vinegar, soy sauce, chopped up garlic and a bit of salt. Yum!

While I was eating, I was reminded of the time D and I were making moussaka. Our version involved sliced up eggplant, which you then fry and layer with sliced cooked potatoes, sauteed minced lamb, white sauce and lots of cheese before baking everything to perfection in the oven. As we were frying the eggplant, I turned to D and said that in the Philippines, the fried eggplant alone with rice would be a complete meal by itself. D looked at me like I was crazy (but in that polite way Brits do it) and merely said that it didn’t sound appetising to him at all. I only laughed. Which got me thinking about the different ways we’re culturally conditioned to like certain things that someone from a different culture might find strange. For instance, D with the fried eggplant and rice (and probably a lot of Pinoy dishes; but this is probably more because of my cooking than the inherent qualities of the dish itself. I once cooked him adobo that had too much vinegar in it. He hates sour dishes, so that adobo probably, uhm, soured him on the dish forever!).

In my case, am still struggling to come to terms with his love for the quintessentially English baked beans on toast. We once had this for lunch at home in the UK, because we couldn’t be bothered to cook something and I was thinking then that it was a strange meal. I eventually mentioned that I found the combination of beans and toast was not what I’d consider a meal. He was amused and vowed not to serve it to me again, remarking that as a penniless university student, he practically lived on the stuff. I guess to him and many Brits, baked beans is a staple, same as rice for Filipinos. Or maybe instant pancit canton (fried noodles), if we’re going by the analogy of starving uni students. For me, that was the staple and even for a few years after uni, which is probably why I don’t eat it today. There’s a pack of six Lucky Me Instant Pancit Canton packets in the pantry that we bought last year (I think) and I haven’t opened it yet. I don’t know why I bought it. For nostalgia? Or a worst-case scenario for when the zombie apocalypse happens maybe and we’d need supplies? Who knows!

So what did you have for lunch?


Got the fright of my life today. I was thinking that I really should update ye ol’ blog again so logged on to WordPress via my laptop and while I got into my blog, all other pages were white with only the WordPress logo on them! WordPress did not even recognize my account name and password! I know I don’t post as much any more but this incident has made me realize how important this blog is to me! Any ideas why I could’t access my blog from my laptop?

Kitchen experiment: Tuna cakes

tuna cakes

What do you do when you’re not really feeling any of the leftovers in the fridge for lunch? If you’re like me, you experiment (so long as said recipe experiment wasn’t too complicated, of course! I don’t pretend to be a great cook).

So here was the situation: After a long morning wrestling with editorial plans, I was getting hungry. I could eat a banana or a tub of yogurt but that was not going to sustain me for long. A glance at the pantry showed that there were canned corned beef; I could make a quick corned beef hash (that’s always good, but we’ve had that recently). There were also packets of instant noodles (not an option, unless there wasn’t anything left to eat and we’re in a midst of a zombie apocalypse. Nothing against instant noodles, but I ate a lot of it growing up and during college. Also, I was trying to eat healthy)… Ooh, there’s canned tuna. Wonder what I can make with that. Quesadillas? An option, except that I have to open a packet of tortillas and only use one or two of them. I didn’t want to add to the leftovers in the fridge. Hmmm, tuna salad? Yes. But yikes, no bread.

Continue reading Kitchen experiment: Tuna cakes

[UPDATED] Monday blues

… in which I log out of this blog and when I sign back in, my header image and front page menu have changed! I tried fixing it but nothing’s happening. So I decided to change the theme, thinking that’ll fix the issue, but still no go. Sigh. This isn’t earth-shattering in the great scheme of things, but it’s not helping my stress levels. I think I will go ask WordPress what’s what.

In the meantime, please bear with the changes. Will try to figure out what’s wrong with the site. In the meantime, do you like the new theme? I’m undecided. It looks too boxy to me. What do you think?

[UPDATE] Well, it looks like everything’s right with the world again. WordPress said that it was a system error and fixed the problem right away. But my forum post generated a lot of responses. It seems like that there was a lot of folks affected by the error. Like I said, it was not really a big issue in the great scheme of things, but why did it feel like it was? The influence of tech and social media into our lives is growing apace, it seems. Anyway, all’s well that ends well.

I also changed the theme so it’s neater and I don’t have to fuss about header images. What do you think of the new look?

Things I learned while I wasn’t looking

(A short word from the birthday girl — that would be me)

terrie 44

That’s not my age, but it’s close enough. 🙂 (Photo by D)

This birthday post was supposed to be published last Thursday, but I was off doing other things, so I’m publishing it today. Here are some things that I’ve learned/am still learning: I’ve learned to chill out. I can still get preoccupied about my looks, weight, whether people like me or not, but most of the time, I have grown comfortable with myself. Too much drama in life can be tiring. It’s great to be able to sit and read a book, but it’s also great to do something you haven’t done before instead of just reading about it. Pushing boundaries doesn’t stop when you become older. In fact, it becomes imperative because there are no more excuses. Just get on with it already. Your first grade teacher was right: It pays to read the instructions first and follow them. But sometimes, you need to know when to disregard the instruction book and just go by gut feel. Bravery means taking the first step. It always helps to talk it out. Always be polite. A smile always works wonders; but so does a raised eyebrow. Know when to keep your mouth shut but know when to speak up. Always be there for the people you care about and never take them for granted. I also thought I’d borrow from Amy Poehler in her book, Yes Please. She expressed it better than I could, anyway:

Continue reading Things I learned while I wasn’t looking

Lazy Sunday: Chicken sopas* for the soul


I was in a lazy mood after being out two days celebrating Chinese New Year, so I ended up puttering around the house, doing the chores that I always end up putting off because they’re so tedious. Wasn’t even in the mood to think up of something complicated to cook. The drawback about living alone (essentially) is that it’s always difficult for me to estimate how much food to buy or make. I always end up buying more than I could consume so there’s always leftovers in the fridge. Today, there was some leftover roast chicken. I had pasta and there were vegetables in the freezer, essentially the ingredients for no-fuss chicken sopas (soup), the perfect weekend comfort food.

Continue reading Lazy Sunday: Chicken sopas* for the soul

The butter paradox

Butter = goodness. But also = evil.”Details Later

cacio e pepe

Quote was in reference to the lunch I made today — Cacio e Pepe. All that butter, I felt like I was channeling Paula Deen! Delicious though. Butter has the same effect as bacon — it makes everything better!

Grilled cheese sandwich!


I am not in the mood to prepare something elaborate for supper (not that I do, normally) so I thought I’d make this updated grilled cheese sandwich. It’s fairly easy and the caramelized onions add zing while the veggies add crunch.


  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, 1 medium onion (use the white or yellow, not the red)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • greens (like kale or spinach. I used spinach)
  • unsalted butter
  • sliced cheese (I recommend cheddar, but any melty cheese will do)
  • sliced bread (this recipe calls for thick slices of robust bread, think sourdough. But I only had multigrain bread so I used that)

To make caramelized onions:

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook a bit. Add the salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the onions are soft. About 10 minutes.


2. Add sugar and continue cooking for about five minutes. The recipe calls for two tablespoons of sugar, but you might want to add a bit more if you like your onions sweeter. Stir constantly.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking the onions until very very soft and dry — consistency of relish. About 10 more minutes. If you want the onions to have a bit more crunch, you may want to stop the cooking sooner (like I did).


4. You’re not going to be able to use all of the onions you cooked. Store in a plastic container for use in other sandwiches — or with meats.

To assemble the sandwiches:

1. Butter one side of four slices of bread and set aside.
2. On one slice of bread (unbuttered side), layer a slice of cheese, then caramelized onions, then the spinach, then another slice of cheese. Top with a slice of bread (buttered side up).
3. Repeat the process for the second sandwich.
4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches on the skillet until the bread is golden and the cheese melts. Flip the sandwich to cook on the other side.
5. Slice and enjoy!


As someone who doesn’t cook much (indeed, growing up, my brothers tended to cook more, while I washed the dishes), I am somewhat amused that people who peruse this blog check out the one and only recipe I’ve ever posted — the one on corned beef pasta. Either there is a mad love for corned beef out there (entirely plausible) or people who know me can’t believe I actually bestirred myself to prepare something that involves a stove (again, entirely plausible).

Anyway, this sandwich is great for a light dinner or for weekend lunches — or as a snack. All in all, from making the caramelized onions to grilling the sandwiches, it takes one hour to prepare. But if you cook the onions ahead, this can be assembled in 20 minutes.

Lessons from doing this:
1. Should have sliced the onions even thinner so they cook more evenly.
2. To balance the flavorful caramelized onions, use a strong flavored cheese, otherwise the onions might overpower the whole sandwich.
3. It would be interesting to try this with kale — as in the original recipe.*
4. Because of the components, you need a thicker-sliced bread.
5. Make sure the skillet is really hot when you grill the sandwich so the cheese melts.

I based the recipe on the one featured in A Cup of Jo. Click on the link for the original version of the recipe and the more photogenic sandwich. 😉