Tag Archives: filipino

Growing Up Asian

So, my housemate links me this video, and goes ‘You have gotta see this.’

He’s a mutt, so before anyone screams racist, his Dad was from India; so when I brought home some indian sweets the other week, he just couldn’t get excited; though he did tell me the store I got it from had some delicious spicy stuff – and I guess that explains his cast iron stomach.

Anyway, a lot of this was relatable – some wasn’t,  because I had an allowance, for example, and while my dad, oddly enough, never really pushed me to have super good grades, my mom kind of did; even though my grades were pretty good (80+ to 90s… well, except PE and Filipino, because I hated those classes) and I spent my youth pretty much with my head buried in a book. I’m not really sure what gave me my study ethic, other than “if I get this all done and out of the way already I can go do stuff I like to do” so I tended to do my homework during recess (which some teachers had issues with, and some didn’t; but this saved my ass in college because holy crap the reams of homework I had to come home with.) These days kids barely have a fraction of the seatwork or homework we had! Such low standards these days… /asianmomgrumbling

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Mocha Chiffon Cake Filipino Style

Double layered mocha chiffon cake with mocha meringue buttercream

Mocha Chiffon Cake Filipino Style, aka ‘Goldilocks Style’

Mocha Chiffon Cake – Filipino Style aka “Goldilocks Style”

This is my own version of the Filipino style Mocha Chiffon Cake that I did a roll cake of the last time.  I use more coffee in the mix,  as I found that the flavour was a little too mild otherwise.

The little coffee bean chocolates came from the Phiippines, and are basically ground coffee granules, in very dark, very coffee-infused chocolate. They are yum.

I like my cakes moist and buttery, so you may want to experiment and reduce the butter on the recipe of the cake. Have fun and enjoy!

Print Recipe
Filipino-Style Mocha Chiffon Cake
A moist, yet fluffy chiffon cake filled with surprisingly light coffee flavor, covered in smooth meringue buttercream frosting.
Course dessert
Passive Time 4 hours to overnight
Servings
8 inch 2 layer cake or 1 roll cake
Ingredients
For the chiffon cake:
For the meringue buttercream
Course dessert
Passive Time 4 hours to overnight
Servings
8 inch 2 layer cake or 1 roll cake
Ingredients
For the chiffon cake:
For the meringue buttercream
Instructions
Make the cake:
  1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until pale yellow and creamy
  2. Dissolve coffee & cocoa powder in a tablespoon of hot water, stirring. Pour into egg mixture with melted butter, and beat until well combined.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and fold in with wooden spoon or with the stand mixer's paddle attachment.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the 6 egg whites & cream of tartar on high until they form stiff peaks. Fold into mocha batter, until just incorporated.
  5. Divide into 2 prepared 8-inch cake pans. Place each pan onto a baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade, for 20-25 minutes or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
  7. Cool on a wire rack, for 10 minutes, before removing completely from the baking pans to cool on wire rack.
  8. Cool completely (even overnight) before frosting.
Make the frosting:
  1. Set your mixing bowl in a pan of simmering water (for ease of use, use your stand mixer's bowl) and whisk egg whites and sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, until fluffy, marshmallow-like and hot. You may need a separate hand-held electric hand mixer for this.
  2. Remove bowl from heat, scrape the handheld's whisks free of marshmallow meringue, and then using your stand mixer, beat the meringue for another 5 minutes with the whisk attachment.
  3. Add half the butter and beat until smooth. (You may opt to use the paddle attachment for this, or stay with the whisk attachment) Add the rest of the butter, beat until smooth again. Scrape sides, stir buttercream mixture quickly, then go back to beating for 6 to 10 minutes.
  4. Dissolve cocoa, coffee and vanilla extract in a very small amount of hot water, stirring vigorously.
  5. Add to buttercream and beat on high for a further 2-3 minutes, scraping as needed.
  6. Use to put a layer of buttercream between the cakes, and to frost and decorate the cake.
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Why Humans Have Different Skin Colors

I  mentioned that I went back to the Philippines recently, and brought back lots of stuff. One of the things I also brought home was a container of whitening lotion – to use on my elbows, which tend to darken because I lean on them a lot while typing or drawing, and since I do a lot of that, they darken (as well as dry out) on a regular basis. I’ll cheerfully admit to my vanity that I have even skin tone – a lovely golden toast color, that I have no desire to whiten, the way a lot of Filipinos, and well, Asians want to. I don’t agree with the latter explanations of the post; white skin in Asian culture is tied to wealth and nobility, and existed as a paragon of beauty (for both men and women) – note the reference to pre-Qin China.

Personally, skin colour is one of those things I’ve never paid attention to in my dealings with people. I treat everyone the same – entirely dependent on how the person I am interacting with behaves. (Apparently, that’s ‘racist and discriminatory’ to some folks who haven’t picked up a dictionary within the last 50 years, the claim of which makes no sense, since it’s the other person’s behaviour toward me that I’m judging them by, e.g. their own actions and words.) I’m big on treating people as people, which is far less stressful and aging than constantly being on the lookout for something small and petty to be offended by. There are bigger things to get upset about, but that’s a discussion for some other time.

Me, I like my golden toast skin hue (It’s a permanent, perfect sun-kissed tan that I never have to work on!); although since I live in Australia, it makes it a bit hard to find make up at times. Fortunately, I am not the only Asian in Australia, and there are Asian grocery stores and such that I can source the occasional specific-to-my-ethnic-mix cosmetic needs, which are not, fortunately for me, that great a need. (Just need a thin layer of foundation so that the make up has that to cling to, in order to last longer. (More of the blush than anything else, really.) I should’ve picked up a pack of that face powder while I was back in the Philippines, but I forgot, having other priorities at the time. No biggie; and I’m not going to scream ‘BUT THAT IS UNFAIR’ (if I do, I’m joking; much in the same way I make fun about my being short, and there being no lovely thigh-high boots for someone as short as me that also has curves in my calves and thighs.) Also, seriously, there’s the Internet, and if I really was looking for that and willing to pay for it, I am pretty sure I could find that face powder.

Still, the reality is, folks have skin hues, as part of their physical descriptor; and frankly, that’s a better alternative to transparent skin. Can you imagine what that would be like? Seeing one’s muscles, bared? No thanks. Besides, this completely ignores the benefits of skin hues and melanin. Long and short of it is though, physical description is part of of how we tell each other apart – it’s how humans are able to identify a friend or a member of your family, because unlike other animals, we don’t identify each other by scent. We do it with our eyeballs and the use of our disproportionately huge brains. There are numerous theories why different groups have different skin colours (my main one is ‘evolutionary development in response to environmental exposure to the sun and it’s strength in varying regions of the world’) as well as legends, myths and folk tales that served as an explanation for our ancient fore-bearers. They served well enough that these folks got on with the business of living instead of sitting there, paralysed by ‘why?’ and starving to death.

A friend of mine recently told Rhys one of the more humorous Filipino folk tales as to why human beings all have different skin colours. It goes somewhat like this:

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A Visit Back To The Mother Country

Wedding couple at the San Augustin Church

The wedding had all the ceremonies observed; we did our parts too!

 

The family all visited the Philippines for the first time in 6 years; for my youngest brother’s wedding. It was a short visit, hectic – but ultimately fun and wonderful. I sadly didn’t have time to interview my Mom for stories as I would have liked (so I can start writing those family stories), but she had fun being Lola to her (currently only) grandchildren, and ‘spoiling her baby daughter’ – so I have a load of daster dresses (yay!) and having Rhys and I eat with her at her new favourite food places. I went home with the intention of being able to eat some of the foods I seriously missed while overseas, and while that ambition was partly fulfilled, I feel rather sad that I didn’t get to sample more of the smorgasbord that is Filipino food and restaurant variety.

The Tombstone Hamburger Stack challenge

We didn’t have the time (it was late at night) to try this challenge, alas.

(To our amusement, the kids simply adored Jolibee, though Vincent found the burgers ‘too small’, and Rhys could eat three Filipino-sized servings of food by himself.) I didn’t get a chance to eat fishballs, or Goldilock’s Cathedral Windows, but I did manage to have some Red Ribbon (and introduced Vincent to the joys of mamon, that fluffy Filipino angel food-sponge.)

I did bring home lots of powdered juice mixes and Mom, upon finding out that Nescafe Berry Coffee was something Rhys – the consumate tea drinker – deeply enjoyed, made it a point to ensure that her only son-in-law had a package of single-serves to bring back to Australia. Note to self: next time, bring even LESS clothes, and bigger suitcases for the children, because while I sent home two balikbayan (return to homeland) boxes full of pasalubong (‘welcoming’ gifts) we got given so much there’s a huge plastic chest of stuff we couldn’t fit on our baggage allowance (30kg per person) that Mom says she’ll send in parcels – with more food things that we liked, but didn’t get a chance to bring home more of. (Waah, I realised just now I left behind my little cookies with the little drop of hard icing on top. I wanted to nibble on those while on the plane ride home!) The pasalubong will mostly go to folks my Mom knows; as they’re mostly ‘thank you for taking care of my Mom for me’ appreciation gifts.

I will have to learn to make taho myself though. =/

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Pot-ability

(Yes I know, not quite the same thing, it’s a pun, for the humor impaired.)

See that pot above? I have a smaller version. You can boil water in it, cook rice with it, or soups or stews. I didn’t feel right about migrating to Australia without one (or without a tabo. I use it to rinse out the tub or when cleaning the shower, it’s really good for pouring water where the spigot doesn’t reach.) You can buy them from any market in the Philippines, and even some department store groceries.

This are originally my comments from Larry Correia’s post fisking the flaming idiot who said it was too much for us to expect poor people to cook. If the fool’s hypothetical poor people throw out their whole damn kitchen and all their eating utensils every. single. time. they cook, they are not poor, by any stretch of imagination. Seriously, give the whole fisk a read. It’s totally worth it.

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Trying something new

Mocha Chiffon Roll Cake with Mocha Italian Meringue Buttercream

So tomorrow is Brandon’s birthday, and I decided to make a mocha chiffon cake roll using  this recipe. It was me trying out new things, all things I haven’t done before: chiffon cake, roll cake and Italian meringue buttercream – all things I was scared to do because they’re easy to mess up. I’m happy to say that my fears were overcome! I’m still not super awesome at frosting the cakes, and the roll wasn’t very smooth in rolling, but from the nibble of crumb that I had, the cake is delicious, and it was sooooo fluffy!!!

It’s a Filipino style mocha cake – there’s no chocolate involved here.

We’re having fried chicken for the lunch; it’s marinating in buttermilk right now; and then I’ll be making cookies and cream cake for Vincent (well, devil’s food sponge with cookies and cream cream cheese frosting.)

Looking forward to having the roll cake tomorrow!

Small Amusements and Memories

 

I like cups with funny sayings on them – funny to me, mind. A source of very minor contention in my household is my tendency to accumulate mugs – lots of mugs, a lot of them with amusing little phrases (one has an old-fashioned poison logo on it). I also have some plain mugs, and a while back I saw on Pinterest that there was someone who took a sharpie to their plain mugs and wrote on them, then baked the mugs to make the writing permanent.

Well, to satisfy my wanting more funny mugs, I decided to write on my plain mugs and not bake them, so that when the writing washes away, I can put a new funny saying. David was saying he needed a mug that had little lines on the side, measuring “Don’t talk to me… don’t talk to me…” and at the bottom, “You may now speak.” I retorted that he would probably never put the last bit on his mug, and he laughed and said I was probably right.

~~~

Mom told me today that she was unable to sleep because of memories triggered by a documentary about the Philippine Martial Law era. She remembered how my father came very close to being arrested along with one of his friends, who was also a student activist – like most of the students of the time. They were to meet at the University of Diliman campus, but Dad was a little late. By the time he got there, he saw his friend being hauled off by police. The friend, Vic Mendoza, was able to discreetly signal to my father to pretend that they didn’t know each other. So my father, heeding that, walked past him, looked past him, even though it likely hurt him deeply to pretend that he didn’t know his friend.

Vic Mendoza was detained for a long time. Just before my father and mother were married, he was finally released. One of the first people he visited after his release was my Dad. Previously a man with a mischievous sense of humour and intelligent wit, he and Dad were known as a pair of clowns. Afterward he was a rather changed man – quieter, my Mom remembers. When my father asked him how he was, and what happened, Vic said, “Let’s not talk about it.”

Mom says that he and my father were very popular with the girls back in their college years because of their love of bouncing repartee back and forth. They were popular because you spent a lot of time laughing at what they said and how they said it.

She says that Vic later became a doctor, and indications that he hadn’t completely lost his mischievous nature from what torments he suffered while imprisoned surfaced around then. He had an American classmate, and for one reason or another they needed photo IDs. Vic offered to obtain one for the fellow. When the friend agreed, Vic got him an ID… with Vic’s face on it!

Ghosts and bathrooms

What is it about ghosts haunting bathrooms? It’s not something I really understand – I mean, if I was going to haunt someplace as a ghost, a library seems so much more comfortable and interesting, you know? Yet despite that, stories and legends of ghosts haunting bathrooms and toilets abound throughout the world. Or is it just an Asian thing?  Maybe it isn’t; I don’t know. I mean, J.K. Rowling put Moaning Myrtle to haunting Hogwarts bathrooms, so maybe the story of ghosts haunting school bathrooms and public loos aren’t just aren’t an Asian ghost encounter thing?

Japan probably has some of the most well documented ones, from the akai-kami, aoi-kami ghost – a ghost who asks ‘red paper or blue paper’? and will either skin you alive or strangle you if you pick one; Hanako the ghost, who is a bit of a cross of the Bloody Mary type of ghost story and ‘schoolgirl who died at school’ story; akaname the filth-licker, a Japanese yokai that dates back to well before the 20th century at least, and the noppera-bo, another yokai that has no face and has been described to also haunt toilets (there’s a story about a woman encountering one in Hawaii, in 1959.) (Note: that blogpost is worth a look at, as it describes that there is no lore in Hawaii that resembles the story; and it seems to folklore that transferred from Japan.)

Ghost stories about bathrooms aren’t something I’ve read about only online though; even when I was going to school there were stories of a nun supposedly haunting the showers in Miriam; as well of course as the stories of a ghost that would peek over the bathroom stall dividers. Every school seemed to have at least one bathroom stall ghost story, regardless of whether or not the school was a Christian or Catholic school, or a secular one. However, stories of ghosts haunting the bathrooms also occur in buildings and edifices other than schools. Continue reading

Pineapple Chicken

This is a lovely, summery dish that goes for a savoury sweet flavour instead of the usual sweet-n-sour. Unusually, it also uses evaporated milk as part of the broth, yet doesn’t end up soured. In the Philippines, we call this pininyahang manok. I think it makes a good midweek dinner; and my kids definitely agree.

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Battered Eggs

When I was a teenager, I encountered deep fried, battered hard boiled eggs for the first time. Mom and I were on our way home one afternoon and I smelled something delicious being fried at a street vendor’s cart. There was a mound of orange bunlike things and he was heating up a couple for another customer. The odd orange tinted things were tokneneng.

Since I was curious, and they would make a fine afternoon merienda, Mom bought some, and selected the seasoned vinegar. We brought them home, eggs soaking in vinegar in plastic bags. After pouring them out into bowls we broke into the eggs with our spoons and swirled the hard yolks into the vinegar before taking a bite.

I was hooked. Continue reading

Welcome to the Philippines

This story is one I keep thinking I’ve told, for some reason. Yet, I check my logs and there isn’t a record of it, nor a post draft.

This story is one of an experience my husband Rhys had during his first time visiting me in the Philippines when we were newly in a relationship. I had visited him in Australia first; it was his gift to me after I graduated from college; and he decided to visit during his university holidays – which, being December, was our Christmas holidays. We were looking forward to having him experience the fun that was a Filipino New Year.

As Rhys’ flight arrived late in the afternoon, my mother decided that to save on space, it would be she and our driver who would pick him up from the airport. Our car – rather, my brother Al’s car – was a small Kia Pride, which was the butt of many jokes as it frequently required repairs. “Al’s Pride is broken again” We didn’t want to chance it breaking down.

Night had fallen by the time they had reached the subdivision where we lived; and it was also raining, which probably added to the delay in getting back. Continue reading

Arroz Caldo

 

Everyone has a favorite type of congee. I love the Filipino version, called arroz caldo, which in typical Filipino form, can be eaten at all times of the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, or merienda (well, more like a small meal between meals. Hobbits would love us!), or snack or as a side dish or opening item!  My family’s version is very garlicky and ginger-y. If you want to reduce the salt, use a low-salt chicken broth and omit the chicken broth cubes. Some folks like putting toasted, crispy garlic and onions on top, or chopped up green onions, or, in my case, cubed, fried tofu. Experiment with toppings if you like, but you might find that my recipe is flavorsome enough.

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The White Lady of the Mango Tree

The plot of land on which my parents’ house sits was, I think, purchased by his parents for their surviving children back when the area was still nothing but rice paddies and the entire gated subdivision was a notional area with a plotted out map that featured roads that didn’t exist yet. My father wanted the spot that was the end of the road, given that he tended to deal with lots of people and wanted a place that, when he went home, he could have peace and quiet. So we lived on one side of a dead-end cul-de-sac, and the wall that was the border of the village as well as the end of the road was further made inaccessible by virtue of a creek.

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Chicken Sopas

chickensopas

Quick, light and easy, this soup suits both cold nights and summer days back in the Philippines. Some versions include using diced Tender Juicy Hotdog (which resembles the red-covered frankfurter, but tastes different) or diced ham. This is the simplest version in the family and is also a nice side dish, especially if the chicken is cut into even smaller cubes.

It can also be made with chopped up store-bought roast chicken meat, cutting down the cook time even more.

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Nilagang Baka

nilagang_baka1

Nilagang Baka, or “boiled beef” belies the very delicious and richly satisfying soup that results from the ‘mere’ boiling. Best done with cheaper soup bones with meat still clinging to the bone and with cheaper cuts of beef, my prefered method is to add all the ingredients together and simmer for at least four hours in a large stew pot.

Because I have a large family, when I make this it’s a huge batch, with leftovers that the kids like to have later on. You can reduce the amount of ingredients as needed (Or, for single-person amounts, 1 osso bucco, 1-2 corn cobs, a handful of cabbage, one large carrot, a handful of beans, and two medium potatoes, 1 beef broth cube!)

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