Banana - Garbanzos con Hielo

It's another day in quarantine here in El Nido and I can't wait to go outside the town on May 1 when we enter another phase of quarantine: General Community Quarantine. I miss my home in the nearby town of Taytay and I'm planning to go home for at least 2 days should the border patrol allows inter town travels and if public transport would be available. 

While waiting, let me continue to explore food and share my Halo-halo hack today. Halo-halo is a much-loved treat in Philippine households for decades, a current fave for summery celebrations, deliciously sweet and creamy but I don't like all its ingredients especially the kaong, so here we go, I made my own! 

Ta-da! Halo-halo treat transformed with my only favorite ingredients: Banana and sweet chick pea (garbanzo). (Say hello, Diabetes and Gout!)

Prepping up is so easy, we just bought ready-made sweet chickpeas and we cooked sweetened plantains. The only hard part is to wait until it cool down. Here's how to make sweetened plantains or Minatamis na saging.

6 pieces ripe plantains, sliced
1 cups water
1 cup brown sugar


Combine all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, simmer until plantain are cooked and sauce becomes syrupy.
Turn off heat and let it cool.

Serve cold with Garbanzos, crushed ice and evaporated milk.

Mushroom Porridge in Truffle Coconut Cream

When east meets west - that is exactly what my dish today: Mushroom Porridge in Truffle Coconut Cream. 

An original take in exploring food by combining the sophistication of Italy's truffle and mushroom and exotic Philippine coconut milk. Should I let the consistency a bit firmer and thicker, reduce some coconut milk or eliminate heavy cream, it could've been the Pinoy version of my favorite Risotto Tartufo Funghi at Mama Lous  which I'm a huge fan of. But I decided it's a porridge, not risotto. Let's stick to that for now, okrr?😉

Consider this as a developing recipe, and should I open a restaurant, I will definitely add this on the menu...  with more or less, 100 more cooking tests to achieve the right amount of creaminess of this dish.

Absolutely right, this recipe is super creamy, combining heavy cream and big amount of coconut milk was a bit over my calculations. Could have been perfect if coconut cream and heavy cream were reduced into two. Balanced cream was my challenge to refine this recipe, I failed, but I still liked it. I will post it anyway in case someone wants to try, just cut the cream and coconut milk in half, or totally eliminate heavy cream because I think its overpowering the coco milk. 

If you prefer an over creamy dish, oh yes, this one is for you! Go on and try this recipe but don't say I didn't warn you 😋


3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. olive oil
150 grams shiitake mushrooms, sliced
250 grams glutinous rice, rinsed
3 tbsp. truffle oil
2 knorr chicken cubes
Salt and pepper
4 cups coconut cream
250 ml nestle cream
4 cups water


In a large pot, add in 1 tbsp. olive oil and sauté garlic and mushrooms.

Add in a pinch of pepper and salt, then cook for a couple minutes until slightly dry and aromatic.

Add in glutinous rice, chicken cubes and water then bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. If porridge gets too thick at any point, stir in 1/2 cup water to dilute.

Add in Coconut cream and heavy cream. Bring to boil and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Sprinkle truffle oil and turn off the stove.

Plate, take a photo for insta, and serve. Happy eating!

Homemade Milk Tea: Lipton Earl Grey Milk Tea with Nata de Coco Sinkers and St. Dalfour Orange Blossom Honey

If you are one of the people who has “milk tea” as your blood type, I have great news for you: You can make Milk Tea at your home!

Having quick summer beverage to quench your thirsts while experiencing more scorching hot temperature to 36 °F as forecast today, is very easy. With just 3 to 5 ingredients, few tricks and tweaks, you can actually make it in just 10 minutes. Plus, this tea is surprisingly cheap if you compare to the prices of your favorite tea house. Probably three folds cheaper than my favorite Macau Imperial's Black Pearl Milk Tea. Its hand crafted by you, with just the right amount of sweetness level, especially for you. 

Put many ice cubes, this is a very refreshing, summer beverage drink of the year 2020!

One option is to make it classic: Just combine steeped or brewed tea, milk, and sugar or honey. I used Lipton's Classic Earl Grey a traditional British flavor tea instantly recognisable by distinctive flavor of bergamot. It’s totally classic, bold and easy.

Another option is to make it something more exotic with infused tropical flavor, which I did on this recipe. A combination of British and Philippine tastes by adding deliciously refreshing twist of sweet Nata de Coco as sinker. Shall I put my own label and trademark into it, I will call this Lakan Diwa Tea, lol!

4 Lipton Classic Earl Grey Tea bags (Ratio: 1 bag to 1 glass of tea)
Nata de Coco (Optional)
2 cups water
200 ml Alaska Evaporada or any Evaporated Milk
4 oz. St. Dalfour Orange Blossom Honey, or sugar, or any sweetener

Bring water to a boil, turn off heat add tea bags and steep until tea is dark, about 5 minutes and let it cool.
In a clean pitcher, add Nata de Coco.
Add lots of ice.
Pour in cold tea, add honey and evaporated milk 
Stir until honey is dissolved. 
Pour in a glass and serve. Happy drinking!

Avocado Toast with local Ham, Sunny Side-up Eggs and Arugula

I am one of majority Filipinos who rejected Avocado in savory dish. People who eat it in salads or dip were psychopaths, I thought haha. I always wanted it to be sweet, creamy and ice blended. It’s not even my favorite, don't have any cravings at all. I probably eat it once a year when its season. Imagining eating it in a savory dish makes me feel sick.

Not until today when I tried making chunky and creamy avocado with local ham that has been on the fridge for more than 1 month, sunny side-up eggs and fresh arugula on top of toasted sourdough batard bread. Honestly, I just want to make it because it’s photogenic plus I’d like to give a chance and to appreciate it in a salty, fatty brunch today. Heck, I promise myself to be open minded when it comes to food and so I have to, YOLO!

Little did I know that it will be on the list of my favorites. I really liked it! Just dash of pepper and salt, God, it was so goddamn delicious! Nice and healthy substitute for mayo or any dressing if you are on a diet. It was bursting with color and flavor too! 

It was luscious, today’s brunch experience was so rad!

Rich in polyunsaturated fats, Avocado needs more protein to balance the taste. You may add salmon, beans, chicken, eggs, or bacon. Arugula leaves were the bomb, don't miss 'em!


2 slices of sourdough batard bread
1 small ripe avocado, cut in half and sliced
3 slices ham or any protein
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili flakes (optional)
Sesame seeds


Spread butter on top of bread and toast in oven for 5 minutes
While toasting, fry eggs in a non-stick pan
Fry ham afterwards.
Assemble in a plate: Bread, Ham, Avocado and sprinkle with salt, pepper, sesame seeds and chili flakes. Eggs and arugula by the side
Serve and enjoy. Happy Eating!

Truffle Mushroom Scrambled Eggs

Food is my art. A sway in every dance, lyrics to a melody, pigments of color in a canvas. The essence of my world.

It’s my presentation of my experiences both real and imagined from my eyes and palate. Food, for me, should evolve and should not be limited, accurate, nor govern by rules. Well, except of baking which require exact amount of measurements. But other cooks and known chefs were able to defy baking rules too and were proven very good. Hmm.

Our food should be precise and bold according to our liking and should be respected. Don't mind them if you'd like to put pork in your Adobong Pusit or put eggplant in your Sinigang. It’s your canvass, it’s your stage, it’s your music, it’s your dance… it’s your drama. No apologies needed.

The most important is: You are happy and satisfied.

Western food is extraordinary and I am currently interested, if not obsessed, to appreciate and make them. My utmost favorite is the introduction of batard bread courtesy of the artisan baker who moved here in El Nido (thank you!). It taste really good and looks beautiful in photos too.
Presenting my breakfast today: Truffle Mushroom Scrambled Egg. Paired with Nescafe Gold and artisan Sourdough Batard bread with mozzarella and tomatoes, toasted and topped with Arugula I bought from Art Café. I also made TikTok video and Youtube vlog in case you want to try them. Happy eating!


100g shiitake mushroom, sliced (I used dried shiitake soak overnight)
15g butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium eggs, whisked
1 tbsp. Truffle Oil (I used Urbani Truffles: White Truffle Flavored Olive Oil)
Salt and pepper to taste

For Bread:
2 slices of Sourdough Batard Bread
Mozzarella Cheese
1 medium tomato, sliced
Arugula Leaves


1) Melt butter in a small pan and saute the garlic.

2) Add sliced mushroom over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes until aromatic. Add salt and pepper to taste

3) Add the eggs and stir continuously until softly cooked. 

4) Drizzle with truffle oil and plate.

For the bread: Put mozzarella cheese on top of sliced bread, top with sliced tomatoes and toast in oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Top with arugula leaves and serve.

Garlicky Squid in Olive Oil

In surviving this Covid-19 crisis, we have to draw a clear line between wants and needs, set a budget, and adjust spending as millions of households are wondering how they will cope with a big drop in income because of measures prompted by the Corona virus pandemic.

A spare from last week's budget after all my household spending, I was able to afford "Pusit" or squid from a tour-guide neighbour turned fishermen who was also offering home deliveries. Wholesale buyers and tourists are gone and demand affectedly plummeted, squid price dropped from Php 350 a kilo (pre-lockdown) to Php 180.

With just few ingredients and my freestyle, unapologetic cooking skills, this is by far, my ultimate quarantine dish: Squid in Olive Oil and Garlic.

750g fresh squid, skinned, cleaned and sliced into rings
2 heads garlic, 1 head slightly crushed, 1 head cut
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 pcs. bay leaf
1 tsp black ground pepper
1 tbsp peppercorn
chili flakes (optional)


Sprinkle whole garlic with olive oil and salt and roast in the oven until brown and aromatic.

Heat olive oil and garlic in a pan until olive oil is fragrant and garlic is brown on the edges.

Set heat to medium and add sliced squid and pour in fish sauce. 

Add bay leaf, pepper and peppercorn. 

Stir-Fry for about 15 to 20 minutes until squid is tender. Make sure you don't over-cook it.

Add lemon juice and give it a quick stir before turning off heat.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with roasted garlic.

Serve with steamed rice

Quarantine Recipe: Easy Burger Steak in Buttery Mushroom Gravy

Hello everyone, happy Easter Sunday! 

May the day of resurrection give us all hope, love, and peace from any worries, hatred, and uncertainties as we are facing the big crisis of coronavirus pandemic that has forced us to alter our routines and we are all stuck in quarantine.

How do you cope up? I’m sure there are so many ways, from watching Money Heist TV series and accepting TikTok challenges to reading books, cooking, and actively engaging in any online activities. Whatever it is that you are involved-in, while on self-isolation, I wish you are happy and respectful to everyone’s choice of keeping their sanity. For Catholics, I hope you were able to take time to reflect and observe the holy week while maintaining social distance to everyone else.

As for myself, to take the edge off during this very difficult time for a calmer and efficient me, I've decided to make my time to be more productive by reviving this blog and taking advantage of time to learn Photoshop online and stay away from reading provocative comments on my social media platforms while trying to control any urge to be involved in any arguments by which I have tremendously failed days ago, lol!

So, here’s the first batch of images taken earlier today using my old, phased-out DSLR camera and edited from Adobe Photoshop CS6. I’m trying to fine-tune the best quality of pictures for my blog and I’m just learning the basics so forgive the over exposures and inappropriate watermark placements. It will be improved along the way, promise!

This dish is one of my favorites made easy, lifted and altered a bit from my favorite food blog, The Peach Kitchen.

4 pieces of prepared beef burgers I bought from Tuko Restaurant before the lockdown
¼ stick of butter for frying

Mushroom Sauce
¼ stick of butter
3 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 knorr chicken cube
2 tbsp flour
2-3 cups of water
½ cup sliced button mushrooms,(I used canned mushroom)
Salt and pepper to taste
To Serve
Steamed Rice

Heat butter in a non-stick skillet until dissolved and fry thawed burger patties until cooked. Place in a plate and set aside.
Using the same pan, put more butter in low heat. Add garlic and onions until onions becomes translucent. Then add the chicken cubes and dissolve.
Add the mushroom. Simmer for 4 minutes.
Add the flour, mix well until it forms a roux.
Pour in water and whisk until free of lumps.  Add more water if sauce is too thick.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Put the patties back in the pan with the sauce. Cook it a little bit with the sauce for tastier burger patties.
Serve on top of steamed rice or mashed potato.