How I became barista for a day thanks to Nestle Coffee-mate

Coffee is my fuel. You know those people who always say their day isn’t complete without at least a cup of joe? Yup, I’m one of them. It’s a real thing, people! To be honest if I ever fall into a situation where I need to stop drinking coffee for a length of time… Let’s just say it ain’t going to be pretty.

However despite my love for the stuff I am generally “clueless” about coffee. I’ve been wanting to learn more about it beyond simple reading, but it’s hard since I live in an area where most of the coffee shops that provide in-house coffee lessons are far faaaar away. There’s also that thing about not having time.

I am just full of excuses aren’t I?

Anyway, I want to make it a mission to learn more about all the things I am interested in, so it is completely understandable how I practically jumped at the opportunity that Nestle Coffee-mate gave me to do just that with what is in my opinion one of the best things that exist in this universe: Coffee!

But I’m not just talking about coffee here, my friends. Have you ever wondered how your favourite coffeehouses concoct these luscious drinks that keeps you going back for more? As someone who likes to recreate stuff at home it is practically ingrained into me to ask these types of questions, so I was really happy to get to attend Nestle Coffee-mate’s Barista U as a “student” for the day.

I’ve always known that there’s so much more to Nestle Coffee-mate beyond it simply being coffee’s perfect mate. Even though I went into the event not having an extensive knowledge of coffee, I did at least have an idea of just what Nestle Coffee-mate can do. I have used it quite a few times to make my own milk tea at home, and I have to say that after trying and failing with a different mix of ingredients, I find that a good creamer like Nestle Coffee-mate is actually the secret ingredient to achieving milk tea with a similar rich creaminess as those from the stores.

I should probably share that recipe up here soon! In fact I can’t wait to make more drinks using Nestle Coffee-mate’s new creamiest ever formulation, as I’m sure the experience will now be at a whole new level of awesome. The drinks we made during our Nestle Coffee-mate Be Your Own Barista class is proof of that, and I’m here to share with you the things I learned so you too can elevate your coffee experience with the new and improved creamiest ever Nestle Coffee-mate!
Learn more! >>

Great home-style Korean lunching in DAOM

Korean food is a recent addition to my list of favourite cuisines. I mean I’ve tried it before but maybe I was too young and too dumb to appreciate it as much as I did with Japanese food, which I’ve loved since I was a kid. I must admit the sudden surge in popularity of Kpop and Hallyu played a big part in why I decided to give Korean food another go some years ago.

I haven’t turned back since. I mean I just got a craving for some jjajangmyeon after a character in the drama I just finished watching mentioned it. Ugh.

Thankfully there are quite a few Korean restaurants here in Manila run by real Koreans, which mostly already ensures that we get some pretty authentic fare. Personally I always try to go for those places rather than the commercialised ones because I feel that they don’t try to scrimp on the ingredients and subsequently the quality of the food is much higher. They also don’t give you a teeny tiny serving and charge a ridiculous amount for it.

My family is adventurous with trying different cuisines in general, which I’m really grateful for, because at least we’re all on the same page when it comes to Korean food. We all really love it! And we all agreed that we loved the food in DAOM Korean BBQ Restaurant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

This little place is nestled up on the second floor of the Paseo de Sta. Rosa shopping compound, a small and simply decorated restaurant with a very homey ambiance.
Read about DAOM! >>

Dreaming about spicy coconut milk dishes

One of the things I love the most about Asian cooking is how nearly every cuisine in Asia has a coconut milk-based dish. The more I cook (and eat), the more I realize that I have a very strong preference for dishes that have that rich touch of coconut milk. In fact, I think it is fast becoming a comfort food of mine. There isn’t one dish in particular, but the whole lot of them. From the more complex-tasting dishes like curries with coconut milk, down to something as simple as string beans with canned spicy tuna in coconut milk, set it down in front of me and I’ll happily munch away while inside a blissful bubble of my own.

Tell me you know what I’m talking about. It happens to all of us when we’re face to face with our favourite foods right?

The thing is, I love how the coconut milk makes any dish even saucier than it already is. It adds a richness that isn’t overwhelming by any means. It’s a pleasant richness, even kind of milky. And it’s great how it lends itself to pretty much any recipe, adapting to whatever you infuse in it or flavour it with.

This recipe is a personal favourite of mine because of the presence of another of my favourite ingredients– cilantro. The herb just permeates the sauce and makes the dish smell and taste wonderful. And because I do like spicy food, the addition of the chopped bird’s-eyes chilli PLUS the chilli sauce adds a wonderful kick.

It’s really such a colourful dish in terms of appearance and taste, and you can eat it with rice OR bread because the sauce is totally dip-able. Heck, it’ll have you cleaning up the bowl in no time!
Get the recipe! >>

RiCo Corn Rice, a rice-lover’s dream come true?

We all know about carbs being the bane of every dieter’s existence. Here in the Philippines, that carb is rice– a staple that in many cases you will find on the dining table from breakfast to dinner. Some people even eat it for merienda or snack-time. Filipinos can’t help it. It’s programmed into them. And I say “them” because it has been years since I cut out rice from my regular meals.

I used to eat a lot of rice but now the only times I do is when I eat sushi or Japanese rolls, or bibimbap and stuff like that. Special occasions. Maybe I’m a strange one but I know for a fact that about 90% of the people I’m acquainted with think I’m crazy for abandoning rice. It’s just too much a part of the Filipino lifestyle! But most of them also have a rice-overdosing problem that leads to weight gain, and with the shifting of the tides towards the recognition of living a healthier lifestyle, they are constantly on the lookout for healthier alternatives that will satisfy them the same way rice does.

Frankly speaking, I think they may no longer need to look further.

RiCo Corn Rice has been on my radar a while, but like I said, since I don’t eat rice on a regular basis it’s not a priority must-try for me. I was however curious because of the corn aspect of it. I love corn a lot, my friends. I wondered whether this corn rice was going to actually taste like corn and give the same nutritional values as corn. Being one of the lucky people to receive this package from La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp, makers of the RiCo Corn Rice, I was about to get my answer.

RiCo Corn Rice is made from 100% Philippine-grown corn. And as most of you know corn has low glycemic index which is ideal for diabetics and dieters alike because it helps slow down and stabilise absorption of blood sugar in the body. Corn is naturally rich in beta-carotene too, which helps prevent certain types of cancer. Then there’s lutein for the eyesight; fiber to help better digestive disorders, keep you feel full longer, and lower blood cholesterol levels… Basically, RiCo Corn Rice supplies the same filling satisfaction as regular rice with all the health benefits of corn. RiCo has no cholesterol so it is good for the heart as well.

And if all that’s not enough, it might be good for you to know that RiCo is fortified with B-vitamins that boost the immune system; calcium that strengthens bones; and iron that improves blood circulation. That’s an impressive list of health benefits, I have to say.

All the stuff I mentioned above are written on the packaging alongside the cooking instructions to make things easier. You don’t need to wash the grains like you would typical rice and just need to dump it straight into the water. All you need is to BPS – Boil, Pour, and Simmer! Pretty convenient, I must say.

On its own it does not really have any flavor, which is to say, it tastes like regular old white rice. However that color is extremely attractive, and maybe I’m just saying it because it’s my favorite color but it is a lovely yellow. The rice is nice and puffy after being cooked. Now I don’t know about all the other claims but I must admit I thought it was more filling than regular rice. It didn’t take a lot to render me full. In fact, I stayed full until 7PM, which is unheard of for me since I typically get hungry around 4 and tend to gravitate towards a snack.

Now I know what you’re thinking: I probably stayed full because I’m not used to eating heavy stuff like rice. That’s what I was thinking too actually, until I shared my observation with the rest of my rice-eating family. That’s when they realized that they too indeed stayed full until dinner-time, which again is not the normal scenario for a house full of food-loving still-growing boys. My brothers would normally get a hankering for some afternoon snacks by 3 or 3:30, yet on the days we ate RiCo Corn Rice they managed to stay full up until the evening. That’s something!

I think this is a pretty brilliant solution for those who want to eat less rice without giving it up completely. Right now RiCo Corn Rice comes in 3 sizes: 1 Kg is Php 70 (SRP), 2 Kg is Php 125 (SRP), and 5 Kg is Php 300 (SRP).

Here are a couple of recipe suggestions for you, but you can cook RiCo Corn Rice in any way you would regular rice. In the photo up at the top we mixed the RiCo Corn Rice with some crabmeat and onions and garlic to create a crab fried rice type of dish, then ate it with ulam. Try it out and tell me what you think! :)

Full disclosure: I received a free pack of RiCo Corn Rice for trial purposes, but all opinions stated above are my own.