Jun 27, 2006

Pan de Sal Pandemonium

She adores the smell of freshly baked bread. He likes biting into the warm dough, savoring the crusty softness of each bun.

It's been their daily indulgence for weeks now, starting their mornings with Pan de Manila pan de sal and a cup of freshly-made coffee which they share between the two of them.

Sometimes she spreads butter; sometimes he chooses cheese. Sometimes he plops spanish sardines on open sandwiches. Some days it's liver spread for her; some days it's peanut butter when she craves for something sweet. Most days though they tear the pan de sal with their fingers, and take turns dunking the halves in their shared cup of coffee.

Days aren't the same when they start without this ritual, like when he failed to buy their daily ration on his way home one night, and they awoke to a pandesal-less morning. Gingerly they sipped their coffee, trying to compensate with almost every item in their bread basket. Ube Piaya, Red Ribbon Banana Crunch, mongo ensaimada and corner-bakery-pandesal bites later, they found themselves still longing for the aroma and the texture that's uniquely in their favorite Pan de Manila.

And so it has been that, when their supply is spent, they hie off to the nearest Pan de Manila outlet and replenish to ensure they have a ready stash for breakfast the next day. Oh, they laugh about this craziness between themselves, but he drives and she comes with him anyway, whether it's after dinner or the early hours of the morning (sometimes, still in their pajamas!), to the Pan de Manila outlet they fancy. The staff at the Zapote Road, South Expressway and Guadalupe must know them by now, this Bonnie and Clyde of pan de sal.

Jun 26, 2006

Tom Yum Thalay (Thai Hot and Sour Seafood Soup)

We had originally wanted soup because it's a rainy evening, but since we haven't gone Thai for quite a while and I have a handful of coriander leaves (wansoy) in the ref the idea of Tom Yum hit. It would have been simply Tom Yum Goong (prawn soup) but my husband wanted his tanigue chunks in, so I decided to go the whole nine yards and do the seafood version. As the picture shows I put in some squid too. Oh yes, we have the whole ocean in our freezer. The story of that, later, in another post. Kung hindi ako tatamarin. :P

And of course it helped that I have three thriving pots of lemon grass in my garden. I can't say it enough -- the unknowing would have found it weird and funny that this house grows GRASS in pots. Hehehe. The maid waters them everyday too! :P


What's in it?
  • 8 medium sized prawns, shells peeled but tails left intact, and deveined
  • 2 large squid, ink sacs removed, body cut into rings
  • 150 grams fish nuggets
  • 4-6 cups rice washings or tap water
  • 5 stalks fresh lemongrass, lightly pounded, cut into 1" pieces
  • 4 T fish sauce
  • 3 knobs ginger, peeled and pounded
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1/2 cup straw mushroom
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 6 crushed chili peppers
  • wansoy leaves for garnish

Kitchen Conjugations:

In a pot combine rice washing, lemongrass, ginger, red onion and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, fish sauce and lime juice, let boil for two minutes.

Add in prawns, fish, squid and chile peppers. Let boil for a minute then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with the coriander/wansoy leaves. Serve hot.

Some notes:

1) The real recipe for Tom Yum called for:

  • Galangal, a better, more aromatic relative of ginger.
  • Kaffir lime leaves, used with regularity in a wide array of favorite Thai dishes for its unique luscious perfume and striking flavor
  • Prik Pao, chili paste with soya bean oil. It's made up of sugar, shallots, soyabean oil, garlic, dried chili, fish sauce, dried shrimp and tamarind paste. This gives the soup its characteristic red color.

I didn't have these three so I improvised, substituting with ginger for galangal; adding a little calamansi for the lime; and doing without the color from the Prik Pao.

2) Alternatively, if you are in a hurry or simply want to simplify things, you may want to try the various mixes and pastes available in supermarkets. Some brands I have tried (with satisfactory results) is the Lobo brand (with Thai markings), about P36.00; and Kim's (I forgot how much, but less).