Homey Mediterranean Fare at Socrates’ Secret + snaps from my Halloween weekend

See that charming little place above? Well before I get to that I wanted to talk a little about how I spent my Halloween weekend this year. My life lately has pretty much consisted of work from Mondays to Saturdays. Admittedly it kind of sucks the life out of me, but that’s how it is right? You have to work to earn your keep. The good thing about working six times a week all-year long is that whenever I get any break from that routine, I find myself appreciating those “stolen moments” tenfold. This feeling did not come naturally to me before.

When you’re young you’re very idealistic. It’s not wrong to have big dreams, but sometimes it’s all you focus on until everything else becomes a blur of insufficiency. It’s hard to fall into that kind of hole; one where you think that nothing else except the things you want can make you happy. I was stuck in that hole for a while some time ago, but I’m glad that I’m slowly climbing out. Now, there are a lot of small random good moments that feel magnified to me no matter how simple they look from the outside. These small things suddenly feel “worthy” of holding on to, and bit by bit I am beginning to understand what the words ‘gratitude’ and ‘blessed’ mean. I think I’m even beginning to realize that finding happiness doesn’t have to be so hard. Or extravagant. The words I just wrote are perhaps what people might call cliche, but I bet most don’t even truly grasp what they mean.

My weekend was well-spent with my family down in the countryside. It’s funny because at first I wasn’t supposed to go with them but I changed my mind at the last minute. We were on the road for hours so it gave me ample time to edit my travel videos that have been on my to-do list for literally eight months. (EIGHT. OMG. If that’s not slacking off, I don’t know what is!) I am really really glad I finally finished it.

When we got to our destination, we spent a good deal of time just generally frolicking outdoors. I generally enjoy being outside, just not in the city. Not only is it dirty and polluted, but it is less safe too. Down here on the countryside, I get to freely run around and appreciate nature right outside our house. The fact that we are not Wi-Fi wired definitely helps in my spend-more-time-breathing-fresh-air campaign too. The positive energy was all around and it’s hard not to get caught up in it. Add to that the golden hour was exquisite that day. Thanks to the brief rain a few hours earlier the droplets of water made everything sparkle as if bathed in gold glitter.

As the sun was setting I remember thinking, ‘It’s the first sunset of November. How time flies!’ It’s almost Christmas, you guys! Seems only yesterday when it was the new year!

Soon enough, it was time to head back to regular life in the city. On our way back we stopped by the Greenfield-developed compound Paseo de Sta. Rosa. I had received an e-mail (how very timely as well) inviting me to try out this baby restaurant in the area called Socrates’ Secret. It’s barely a month old I think, so there hasn’t been much written about it on the Internet yet. All I know is that it serves Mediterranean food. This cuisine is totally my family’s style.

First things first: I adoooore the interior of the restaurant. The colours inside are vibrant, giving off a feel-good vibe upon walking in. I love the carefully-placed decor against the wooden shelves and walls; the white curtains that attract the light and make the area a lot brighter. I love the patterned tiles on the front counter. The restaurant has a very cozy Mediterranean-style ambiance that draws you in and makes you want to stay a long while. I feel like if you remove all the dining tables, this would be a nice living space.
Continue reading about Socrates’ Secret! >>

A sweet and sour surprise to show some sisterly love

I suppose I’ll have to apologise for my extended absence after my birthday post, but this is going to be a long one to make up for that. It’s actually two different recipes rolled into one post, but recipes that complement each other in ways that the first bite will immediately make you understand.

Let me put it into a simple equation: macarons + ice cream = ultimate indulgence.

I’d have this over cake any day, any time.

Now a little backstory for how this recipe actually came to be made: It was actually Jason’s request for our birthday. I told him I’d make him whatever he wanted as a birthday gift, and immediately he announced it would have to involve macarons in some way. It was then I realized it just might be my chance to try out the recipe I bookmarked from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home. I wordlessly handed him the book, showed him the page, and he said ‘THIS!’ without hesitation.

The next step was picking out the ice cream flavour. Now I would never say this to Jason’s face, but I trust the kid’s judgment when it comes to these things. He knows all about flavour balance and good combinations, so I let him pick out an ice cream flavour to go with the macaroons (chocolate, he specified) and after a few minutes of browsing he decided on lemon. Of course I was ecstatic! LEMON. Mmmmm.

But neither of us were even aware that this was going to be one of the best desserts we would ever put in our mouths.
Get the recipes! >>

{Filipino Food-Love} Introducing one of my ultimate comfort foods

I’ve talked about comfort food before, but lately I’ve realised that nearly nothing else can comfort me in the same manner as this simple little porridge can. We call this Filipino breakfast staple the champorado, and it’s basically a chocolate rice porridge, served with milk. Tell me which part of that doesn’t sound comforting– not to mention delicious?

There’s just something so homey about eating mushy warm food from a bowl. I know it sounds a little icky when I put it that way, but these kinds of food oddly make my soul feel at ease. That’s why most of what I consider my comfort foods share this particular characteristic (except maybe ice cream which can also be mushy but is cold). The champorado is one of my top comfort foods at the moment for reasons I can’t describe. Perhaps my love for chocolate plays a role in it?

Ironically, I didn’t use to care much for champorado so thank goodness tastes, people, and circumstances change with the passage of time. I don’t really need to find an explanation for why I suddenly find myself loving this, but all I know is: Champorado has the power to turn my mood around, and that’s all I care about.
Get the recipe! >>

A tall cake for the tall birthday boy

I have three younger brothers:

  • the first one is a year younger than I (more on him later)
  • the middle one has the same birthday as I do, only six years later (I think this is why we can get along the best when things are on the up and up– because we share the same kind of interests and for the most part have similar qualities. On the flipside, we also have the worst kind of fights.)
  • the youngest one is my sweetie pie, because he is the sweetest little boy I know

I’d be lying if I said we all got along perfectly fine, but I’d also be lying if I did not admit that a big reason why I love my life is because of these three doofuses. I’ve talked about my middle brother before because we inevitably make joint decisions on birthday cakes given that we share the same birthday, but today let us focus on brother number 1.

It was his birthday last Saturday, and of course I made him a cake. After singing him his birthday song, I let him cut the cake and he went, ‘Whoa! This is a tall cake!’

So I told him, as if I did it on purpose, ‘Well, your cake is supposed to be as tall as you!’
Get the recipe! >>