Monthly Archives: October 2006

Garlic Shrimp and Chilli Pasta

This has to be one of the easiest pasta dishes you can make that will taste really good no matter what. The main ingredients are all up there in the title. Garlic. Shrimp. Chilli. (Just go easy on the chilli if it’s not your thing.)shrimp.jpg

  1. Clean the shrimps, de-shell and de-vein, keep the tails and heads but trim the whiskers.
  2. Sauté lots of chopped garlic and chilli flakes (or chopped up siling labuyo) in butter and olive oil.
  3. Add shrimps and let cook.
  4. Add cooked pasta of your choice. Sprinkle oregano and paprika. Salt to taste.
  5. Blend all over low heat, to infuse the pasta with the flavors.
  6. Serve with lots of parmesan cheese.

Mike’s returned from his trip so I just made this for dinner. Unfortunately, none’s left for a photo op so here’s a sketch again. Yep it really is as simple to do as it looks.

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The Force Field is Down

Last Friday, we stepped out of the office to a haze filled night sky. Thought it was the fireworks from the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration although, having walked several blocks away from Chinatown, we got the sense it was not of the pyrotechnic kind. Also ruled out smoke from volcano because there is no space for volcanoes in this little island nation, hee hee. So it can only be haze. Yes. It was haze blown into Malaysia and Singapore, from the forest fires raging in Indonesia.

The thick smog smelt of burnt dry leaves that got even thicker the next day, Saturday. There were very few people out in the streets. McDonald’s at the East Coast Park did not have its usual large breakfast crowd. We ourselves thought we’d skip the bike ride and just stare at the sea. Pollution index shot up, according to the news, “the highest pollution reading in nearly a decade”. The last was around 1997-98. Heard some people were rushed to hospitals for respiratory problems caused by the haze.

So this is how Singapore feels without a force field. Being in super-sanitised Singapore for more than a year now, you get lulled into complacency and feel safe, like being in Camp Big Falcon with the force field protecting it from attack. What more with people who’ve been here forever, shielded from big typhoons and earthquakes, untouched by poverty and strife. Of course they had their big scare with SARS and dengue, but found ways to keep them under control. If you think about it, everything here is under control, all happy-happy joy-joy. You know like Disneyland or Epcot Center, as my friend Lisa J. puts it. I’m not complaining. I love Singapore. It just feels surreal when you grew up on reality Manila-style – big floods, landslides, coups, riots, kidnappings, etcetera. But things like this make you remember, this is not Disneyland. This little country is as vulnerable as any other place on earth.

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Wock n’ Woll Wabbit

When I was in college, a very patient first cousin of mine made it his mission to teach me how to play the guitar. He himself just learned to play it, passed on the guitar to me and moved on to bass guitar. I think his motivation for teaching me, apart from making me a well-rounded individual, was simgp6373.JPGo that I could be background rhythm guitar to his bass. Oh I was fast learner, I learned the chords and grew calluses on my fingertips in no time. It hurt a lot, what with steels strings to work with, but it felt good to actually be able to play music and jam with my cousin. I played every tune I found in chord books, you know those called songhits and jingle. Our favourite was Jingle’s 60’s Hits which had hundreds of songs from one of my favourite music eras. It had everthing from the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, the Beatles, and yes, Matt Monro, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Petula Clark and the Platters. I played and played and played even as the guitar went out of tune. That’s when I realised, I might been tone-deaf. Hee. Thankfully, my cousin was always there to put it back in tune. But we lost track of each other…That was also the end of my dream to be a rock star. Sigh.
And then, just very recently, I decided to start playing again and found out I had unlearnt everything! So after more than 15 years, I’m back to beginner guitar. Although, I noticed my fingers are not as flexible as they used to be. Holding a chord for several beats makes them as stiff as twigs. Nevertheless, that’s not stopping me from playing Colin Hay’s acoustic version of Overkill. Hearing him play that tune in one Scrubs episode was inspiring if not frustrating. I’m learning his other tunes as well, like My Brilliant Feat and Waiting For My Real Life to Begin, and Guided by Voices’ Hold on Hope. Very ambitious, I know. My versions are far from perfect, I tell you, I can make a guitar weep on account of my bad playing. Further proof that I was not really meant to be a rock star. And to think my hubby’s even planning to buy me an acoustic amplifier. For what? To amp my lack of skill even more? Hee hee. Ah well, Who am I kidding? Playing to a captive audience of one is enough. Must remember to buy him earplugs.

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Who’s afraid of the big dark bat?

batnight.jpgMike’s out of the country on a shoot. So not only have I no art director to work with, I also am missing a hubby for the next three days. Sigh. So right now, Batman is keeping me company. Hee-hee. Hubby doesn’t know yet. I finally bought the game Batman Begins for our Xbox. Friends raved about it so I thought it’s time to play it myself. Besides, I am quite a Batman fan and so love Christiane Bale in the role. Double hee-hee. He’s lent his voice to the video character and there are clips of him from the movie that get unlocked every time a level is finished. That’s enough motivation to keep playing. Batman’s going to keep me up all night.

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Happy Birthday, Mama!

“…Think about the days of me and you…you and me against the world.” No song was as meaningful as this one was to me in my younger days. It summed up how my mom and I were, right after my dad went AWOL. I related to every word, including the line about being frightened by clowns, because truth be told, I was scared of clowns, mascots, and even the ati-atihan folk who used to go from street to street during fiestas. I used to run and seek out Mama so I can be “safe” from them. Mama’s my shield, my best friend, my sounding board, my greatest fan, my guide, my reason to dream big.imgp2858.JPG

We were “you and me against the world” for a long time, until I got married. But one thing I made sure was my husband accept that me and Mama were a package deal. I didn’t have to convince him because he already knew it was not negotiable, and I loved him even more for that. He and Mama are so close now, sometimes it feels like, them against me. Haha. Mama turned 61 a few days ago. I wish we were in Manila with her or she with us here like last year. I gave her a call, I know it’s not enough but I hope she felt all my love. Happy Birthday, Mama! Now there’s you and me and Mike… but the days of me and you will always be a special place I go home to.

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Creamy Tropicana Cornucopia

This recipe is so simple that I thought I’d jazz it up by giving it an exotic name. This is after all, just a fruit mix in a cup. But, but , but… I can guarantee your sweet satisfaction.imgp6372.JPG

You will need a cup of strawberries cut in bite-sized pieces, banana slices, pineapple chunks and a spoonful of condensed milk. You can use yoghurt, instead of condensed milk, if you’d like it lighter.

Just mix them up, pop in the chiller and then serve cold. You can try other fruit combinations too. Melon, peaches and bananas. Good. Apples, pineapple and cherries. Good. Watermelon, lanzones and duhat. Hmm not good. (There is a reason why they’re not found in a regular can of fruit cocktail.)

With that, I will leave you to find a fruit mix that you can enjoy!

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Vitamin it, like you mean it.

I’m getting old. Things that used to mean one thing now mean something else. When I was a kid, minerals like Calcium just meant strong teeth, or Vitamin C, anti- scurvy. Or Vit B for beri-beri. Vit D to prevent rickets. I memorised these like I did the multiplication table. They were a bunch of nutrients that made every kid go, glow and grow. They were fun to read and say but I didn’t even touch them.

Recently though, time spent away from Lupang Hinirang, had hubby and I popping these pills daily. Almost like staple, together with a full meal, one set in the morning and another in the evening. One is a multi-vitamin aptly called Ultra Mega which has everything and more: vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, etc. etc. It seems that as you grow older these nutrients take on a more expounded role. They reduce risks of certain cancers, promote healthy urinary tract, cardiovascular health, and even improve childbearing. Apart from that big dose of health, there’s the combination of fish oils for good cholesterol and extra vitamin E for heart health, extra vitamin C to fight infection, and this anti-oxidant called CoQ10. And as if these weren’t enough, I also bought a bottle of greens. Yes, greens, if you aren’t eating enough veggies, you can have chlorella, algae, wheat germ, barley, spirulina and kelp, grounded to mix with water or juice. I am not a big fan of green, the sight and the taste is very, algae-ic, if there was such a word. But better this than a plateful of spinach and seaweeds, yeah.

So how am I faring amidst the pill-popping rage? Pretty well, I guess. No sniffles for the past 6 months, although my tummy has become less stable. Probably not used to processing healthy stuff.

I’m getting old. And guess what? Happier. Happier still, as I grow even older. Cause that only means my fabulous ultra mega vitamin-mineral-organic cocktail is doing everything from A to Z.

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