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A Twisted Sinigang!

Ever since I moved out of the Philippines and started living abroad, I had difficulties getting the exact ingredients for the Filipino dishes that I want to cook every time I feel homesick. The taste is different when I don’t use Reno liver spread for my calderata. The adobo will taste different, as well, if it’s not the local brands for the soy sauce and vinegar.

And when it comes to the sinigang, it is different when it’s not kangkong or water spinach.

Sinigang is a soup characterized by its sour taste due to the tamarind mixed into it, or any other sour fruits (such as kamias, guava, unripe mango, etc.) or leaves as a souring agent. When I was in Thailand, they asked me to describe it, and I cannot think of any other easy way but say that it’s similar to tom yum, but without the red-chili spiciness or coconut milk in it.

Sinigang is typically cooked with pork. But the variety is endless, as there’s an option to use seafood like fish or shrimp or chicken, as well.

And since I’m away from home, I just used the sinigang powder mix I can buy in the Asian stores. Sometimes, there’s kangkong in the fridge, but it’s too expensive. My friend suggested using spinach instead, since it’s the one she uses anyway, and it’s cheaper.

Hmmm! Sarap!

This turned out so good. I bought the fish from the Pinoy store, where a pack of 8 cut pieces is priced at 4.99Eur. I only used 4 of them for this recipe, and I enjoyed it because the fish is fatty, and it adds flavor to the dish. The long Japanese eggplant is bought at the Indian store. I am fortunate to have a variety of stores in this part of France! 🙂 I only miss this recipe using long chili, which adds flavor, spice, and more aroma to this dish.

Ingredients:
1 pc eggplant (any will do), cut into medium-sized pieces
1 kl spinach
2 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 kl long beans, cut into medium sizes
1 pc white radish, sliced
1 white onion, sliced
4 pcs fish, sliced in a serving portion (or pork or shrimp, amount is whatever you desired)
1 pack sinigang mix
pinch of salt
3-5 pcs long chili (if available)

  1. Boil 5 cups of water in a pot. When it starts to simmer, add in the pork if you are using pork. Cook it first until it becomes so tender.
  2. Once cooked and tender, add the onion, tomatoes and radish. If using fish as the meat, when the water starts to boil, add the fish along with the onion, tomatoes and radish.
  3. Put the sinigang mix, too. Stir gently to mix it in the soup.
  4. If you have long chili, add it in the pot after 5 minutes since you put the sinigang mix.
  5. Once the radish is cooked, put the long beans, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Put in the spinach (or kangkong, if you have). This is the last and the easiest to cook, so turn off the heat. Season with salt or a teaspoon of fish sauce, and mix it gently. Cover the pot. The heat will help to cook it.

After a few minutes, this is now ready to serve!

I usually don’t put salt or fish sauce; I tend to forget about it. I love my sinigang sour, and it works for me most of the time. I leave it to you if you want to season it with salt or fish sauce to add a bit of salty flavor. How about you? Do you have a different way of cooking sinigang? Let me know, and maybe I can try that one, too! 🙂

The Sunday Currently

I need to finish some presentation slides for this week’s session that I will be conducting in the office. But right now, all I want is to just lie down and relax. Today started with the sun greeting everyone with a smile, but after lunch, it started to get gloomy. I went to the local market this morning to buy some new flowers for my apartment, a small bottle of essential oil for my diffuser, some fruits and vegetables for this week, and cinnamon rolls in the bakery. Yummmmmm!

Currently

Reading.  Let me see what’s in my list right now… I never ran out of books to read 😛

Writing. None at the moment. Too many things to do at work.

Listening. There’s a rare bird flying overhead, an A320 Air France flight from Paris to Nice 😛

Wishing. For this pandemic to be over. For the vaccines for my family and friends. That everything will be fine soon.

Hoping. secret.

Loving. I have a mini-blender, and I love making fruit smoothies right now 😛

Needing. To finish those slides so I can relax.

The Sunday Currently by Siddathornton.

The Baked Cheesy Pasta is Worth the Hype

I just heard about this in early March because I don’t have a TikTok. A friend who loves cooking and trying out something new as much as I do share it with me. When the word easy and lazy days came out of her mouth about this recipe, I decided to try it myself. Haha. I tried to look for where it came from since several people posted about this already, hence being viral, and I found this video from the blogger grilledcheesesocial.

It’s as simple as this: get a block of feta cheese, tomatoes, pasta, and herb and spices that you want to mix it with. The idea of it is basic, and I could not wait to try it. Off I went to the grocery for some feta cheese and cherry tomatoes. I only got tomatoes, as it seems like the trend has already reached the French shores, and the shelf was already empty of feta cheese. Still wanting to try it, I took a block of cheese from the Boursin brand instead.

Continue reading The Baked Cheesy Pasta is Worth the Hype

Foodie!

It’s been a long time since I blogged something that is not ‘the Sunday Currently‘, and as I was browsing through my site, I am trying to come up with topics to put in here. It’s not easy right now, since the inspiration flew out of the window. But perhaps, what I can post is about all the food I cooked in the past months, some have been newly-discovered. I remember my excitement as I pore over the recipes I found online, listing down the ingredients I needed and making a trip to the grocery to get it. My Instagram had some of those photos, as well as the places where I tried to buy something to eat during lunchtime or over the weekend. I love eating, and that’s why I love baking and cooking. Once I organized my photos and content, I will post the recipes and my experiences in making them. 😉

But for now, let me share you this…

The Sunday Currently

Gosh, it’s been a long time since I last made a blog here. Work kept me busy, and on weekends, I would rather be offline and reading books or watching movies or series on Netflix or Amazon. By the way, this is the second or third (?) weekend since the full lockdown (again) was announced. Honestly, I lost track of the dates. All I know was that it had been a year since I’ve gone full-on working from home, and we’re on lockdown here in the south of France with fewer restrictions compared to the previous lockdowns we’ve had. But let’s not talk about this for now, because it’s getting wearisome not knowing when this will end.

For the past weeks, there were books finished and movies watched. Have you seen Coming to America 2 on Amazon Prime? I’m easy to please, and I find it hilarious despite some expressing their discontent. I like it, and it made me laugh, especially in those key moments like the introduction of General Izzi (Wesley Snipes’ character) and Morgan Freeman. C’mon! Last week, I also saw the Zack Snyder cut of the Justice League, which I found amazing and much better than the theatrical version. Everything made sense in the movie!

This week, I’m on my mental break – taking time off to regroup and refresh my mind. It has been a busy month, and I still got lots of work to do, which I’m always thankful for. I’m going offline, too, especially that this is the Holy Week for the Catholics.

Currently

Reading.  Another history book. I never ran out of them.

Writing. I had some ideas in my mind, so I’m going to write the scenes down later to add in the book I’m trying to finish. Trying being the operative word. LOL

Listening. Silence. Just the ticking of the wall clock.

Wishing. For this pandemic to be over. For the vaccines for my family and friends. That everything will be fine soon.

Hoping. secret.

Loving. Beef Bourguignon. I just cooked it for the first time today, and I’m impressed with myself, hahaha.

Needing. I plan to go back to that book I am reading. It’s relaxing to read on this quiet Sunday night.

The Sunday Currently by Siddathornton.

The Sunday Currently

I am sure that it’s not only me who has been taking those mental breaks since it dawned on us that this pandemic would be here in a while. When the 1st lockdown ended here in France in mid-May, I was able to adjust to the new norm – that we’re all going to be working from home longer than we thought. It’s not only me who needs this. We need this. We live different lives, but I’m sure that we go through things, and we need to have that opportunity to pause and re-group ourselves. A new year has arrived, the vaccines have been developed, but I’m still working from home for almost ten months. Not that I’m complaining. I am grateful for the work I have and love, and I was able to find a balance between life at home and at work. 

And that’s where the mental breaks come in. There was so much happening personally and at work in June. It’s my birthday month, but I was sad. And even when I love my job, it was also causing some strain in me. That’s when I decided to take the break during the week of my birthday. It did me some good, even for a short time. I had the time to relax and rest my mind and reset it for the coming weeks. Since then, I decided to take those breaks once a month. Besides, I need to use my holidays, and I have about forty-five more.

Last week, I took my first mental break for the year. But instead of going anywhere, I stayed home. I took off from social media. I went out for a walk, went to the market and bought myself some flowers. I went to one of my favorite cafes and tried their cinnamon rolls. I purchased another history book to read at the English bookstore in the old town. I enjoyed the calls I had with my family. I did anything but work. It was relaxing, and I’m ready for the coming week’s challenges.

Currently

Reading.  Another book about history. Did I tell you that I’m a sucker for history? One of the reasons that it was easy for me to be convinced about moving to Europe was knowing that this continent is rich with history that I have yet to discover. France is steeped in it, so does its surrounding countries.

Writing. None. I’m busy reading.

Listening. The sound of the wind rattling against the window frame. It’s a windy, cold night.

Wishing. For this pandemic to be over, so, I can go home and visit the family in spring or summer. I plan to get vaccinated, when it becomes available for the younger citizens, because I want myself and my family to be safe when I travel home to visit them.

Hoping. For that one wish that I have since two months ago.

Loving. My me time. I baked some chicken and cooked some vegetables as sides. I also made this Scottish shortbread cookies – thick, soft and crumbly. I love it. This week, I hope the sun would be back because I plan to test making that soft cheesy rolls that I miss having at Mary Grace in Manila. I love baking when the sun is out (during winter) because it’s easier to make the bread rise as I put the dough directly into the sunlight near the balcony, hahaha!

Needing. I plan to go back to that book I am reading. It’s relaxing to read on this quiet Sunday night.

The Sunday Currently by Siddathornton.

The Sunday Currently

We just got over the seven-day trial of 2021. Of course, we do not have any choice but to take it and continue forward to this year. It’s the first week of the year and to say that a lot has happened is an understatement. For me, a lot has happened at work where decisions have been made, as well as in my personal life.

Moving forward, I only wished that this year would be kinder to every one of us. In Chinese zodiac, the year of the Metal Ox will start on February 12 for the Chinese New year. I read that this year will be the year for relationships of whatever kind, and the year for economic recovery. I read these things because it’s interesting. Hehe. 😛

Also, 2021 is when the United Nations declared as the International Year of Peace and Trust, the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, and the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor.

Moving on…

Currently

Reading.  Like always, I’m reading a book. I have this one that I bought in Bangkok years ago and haven’t read yet. I plan to start reading it: Princesses Behaving Badly

Writing. None. I’m busy reading. 😛

Listening. I’m watching and listening to a Netflix series at the same time: The History of Swear Words

Wishing. Unpopular, but I wish that we can have a day of snow here. It’s too cold for the past days, and it’s like… just let it snow already!

Hoping. For a focused mind this week. There are lots of things going on behind-the-scenes, and I wish that for a while, I can forget them and just focus on my work.

Loving. I just had coffee and cake. I went out earlier this afternoon. I was hoping that the store Maison Bremond 1830 in the old town is open, because I am going to bake a bread, and I don’t have the confiture (jam) that the kind lady offered me last Christmas. She’s right, it’s so good. I was not a fan of jam for breakfast until I had it. It’s only a Christmas offer, but hopefully, they still have it at the store

Needing. As soon as I finish with the Netflix series, I need to go back to the book I am reading.

The Sunday Currently by Siddathornton.

Chicken a la Hainanese recipe

This is derived from the recipe in cooking Hainanese chicken, but I personally decided that I will not be able to make this dish perfect enough to be rightfully called as Hainanese chicken. I have tasted the said delicious Singaporean pride and it’s one of my favorites, one that I always should have every time I set foot in Singapore.

Now, with respect to this dish that I love so much, I made my own in the comforts of my French home because I miss it so dearly.

Continue reading Chicken a la Hainanese recipe

The Sunday Currently

It is always a big bunch of hope every time we end a year and face the new one. And from the previous one we all have had, it’s safe for me to say that we are all looking forward to a better new year. Of course, at the back of our minds we know that the virus is still there, and will be for quite some time, but with all the experiences we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned from these, we are looking forward to a fresh start.

On the eve of the new year, I spent my afternoon with my colleagues at one of their houses. We cooked (I did pansit, while they did tartiflette) and had late lunch / early dinner, and had some games and wine afterwards. Since there was a curfew here in France that starts at 8pm, and I don’t want to stay overnight in their house, I bid goodbyes and new year wishes to them at about seven in the evening. It’s a quiet, New Year’s eve for me, as I read my books and listen to others in nearby apartments having a party of their own. That certain kind of quietness might have been less appealing to some but I am most content in those simple moments. I love going out and be with friends, too, but there are times that I just don’t want to expend so much energy into. Before the clock struck at midnight, my sister called. She’s spending her holidays in one of the islands in Thailand because like me, she could not go home to the Philippines to spend time with our families, too. So, I welcomed the new year with my sister on a videocall, and it’s nice. It’s simple, quiet, but nice.

Since the new year is now upon us, I had plans of decluttering my apartment and I started already as early as November during the second lockdown. I don’t have a lot, but I felt like I have to still get rid of things that I don’t really need. The first days of the new year was spent indoors since it’s raining outside. I started with the pantry where I was able to empty two shelves! I re-arranged some kitchen stuff and my kitchen looks better and more spacious.

Then I went next for my cabinet and deliberated which clothes that I no longer need. I realized during the lockdown that I only favored a few tops, dresses and pants, and I don’t think I will need more. Then in the closet at the hall, I got rid of the boxes that I have been keeping but didn’t find any use at all. At the end of the day, I surprised myself to have more spaces in my cabinets than I thought.

But, there’s still a lot of work to do.

Currently

Reading.  Re-reading a regency romance novel by Julia Quinn, titled Splendid.

Writing. None. I’m busy reading, getting rid of stuff, etc. etc. etc. 😛

Listening. Bridgerton is playing again on my TV, haha. I was laughing at this part where Lady Berbrooke, Nigel’s mother, said during the afternoon tea with Violet and Daphne Bridgerton – “God did not bless me with another because perfection had already been achieved.” If you watched this series, you will know who Nigel Berbrooke is and how comical this is! Hahaha. You can find this scene in Episode 2.

I have lots of favorite scenes in the series and it’s one of these:

Wishing. For this pandemic to be over. I’m tired of it. Aren’t we all? There’s a new strain that everybody is talking about, and the Alpes-Maritimes region has gone into an earlier curfew of 6PM. It’s too early and I can imagine how much of an added strain that this has been doing again to the local businesses. So, I wish that this pandemic to be over. I just wonder how and when.

Hoping. I actually don’t know what to hope, perhaps a focused mind. There’s a lot of things to think right now.

Loving. I just had cake and tea. I love cakes. Better as I watch Bridgerton (again) today.

Needing. I plan to go back to that book I am reading tonight. It’s always relaxing to read on this quiet Sunday night.

Last week, we had a bit of a commotion here since there was an unexpected hail storm on the night of Christmas. Since then, it’s been raining for the whole week and even colder. I don’t have the energy to go out in the rain. I wish that the sun will come out soon, but after looking at the weather forecast for the week, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

PS. I uninstalled the Amazon app last night. 😛

The Sunday Currently by Siddathornton.

Looking Back to the Year 2020

To say that nobody expected a global pandemic to happen this year was an understatement. Like it always does to many of us, I had so many plans in early January about the things I look forward to be doing for the rest of the year. I was even planning to send my parents here for vacation in March and take them around Europe.

The first quarter was a mixture of many things. I had a scary bus accident, and thankfully came out with nothing but a bruise. Things were looking fine at work. And, it may have sounded cliché for some but I met a good man on the day after Valentine’s Day 🙂 And then, the half of March came and things have never been the same.

Continue reading Looking Back to the Year 2020

The Sunday Currently

It was Christmas two days ago, my favorite time of the year. This time, I celebrated Noche Buena, a traditional Filipino Christmas eve dinner with a few friends here in Antibes. Of course, in observance to the safe health protocols, we were only four. 🙂 But it was divine. I got to enjoy my time with these few but dear people, and I am fortunate to have them especially at this time.

In our Noche Buena, we prepared a fusion of our Filipino and the western culture, as we live through it now. We had paella, lechon, embutido, salad and roasted vegetables. The night was full of shared memories of the country we miss so much, laughter, a bit of games, wine and coffee, and of course, the exchange of gifts. 🙂

A few weeks back, I attended a coffee break meeting with some of my friends at work, and we had this topic about what are the things we are grateful of. We took turns to share the things we love and thankful to have. For me, it’s just simply that for everything that has happened this year, I am grateful for the good health and welfare of my family and friends, a job that I still have and love doing, and food on my table. It has been a very challenging year for everyone, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I guess, it was not enough to say that we should look out for each other. I think that it should always be something that we have to do to each other, because at the end of the day, our sense of humanity is fulfilled with simple acts of kindness towards each other in order to get through everything, especially at this time.

On the night of Christmas, I finally got to enjoy Bridgerton on Netflix. I have been looking forward to this since it was announced that the book series by Julia Quinn will be adapted into a Netflix series. To say that I binge-watched was an understatement. I love it so much that I am watching it for the second time today again, haha. At the end of the eight-episode series, I am very much looking forward to Anthony Bridgerton’s story (enjoy the Viscount’s wink below). I love him in the books and I love him more in the series. Actually, I love this Bridgerton family that I can’t wait to hear the announcement of Season 2.

Currently

Reading.  A regency romance novel by Julia Quinn, because I cannot get enough of the Bridgertons that I have to read them again.

Writing. None. I’m busy reading. 😛

Listening. The faint noise of my neighbor’s TV, wherever that is. And occasionally, a car or a motorcycle passing by the road – during curfew hours. 😛

Wishing. For this pandemic to be over, so, I can go home and visit the family in spring.

Hoping. For a focused mind this week. Only three days at work, and only a few people in the team in the last week of 2020.

Loving. I just had coffee and cake. I love cakes, and ordered the yule log version of my favorite Saint Barth from Lilian Bonnefoi for the holiday season.

Needing. I plan to go back to that book I am reading. It’s relaxing to read on this quiet Sunday night.

Also, on the night of Christmas, there was a bit of commotion that happened in this part of France. We had an unexpected hail storm. I looked outside and my balcony was a bit full of water and I thought there was some stones, before I realized that it’s hail. Oh, well. I hoped that everyone is fine now after that night. It was unexpected and I know that it’s dangerous to drive out in that storm when the car is not well-equipped with such weather.

The Sunday Currently by Siddathornton.

A Pinay Newbie in France

Two years ago, I made another big decision in my life by accepting that position in my job and moving to an entirely different world, aka Europe. For those who may not know yet, Europe is VERY different from Asia, in many aspects. To be culturally shocked might have been an understatement, even from me who’s always been a lover of world history and a regular in libraries to read and study it.

I decided to list down the things I learned and observed, and please be reminded, that these are only based from my experiences and it could be different with others. 🙂

Continue reading A Pinay Newbie in France