Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Trip Friday 023: Malaysian laksa

I missed last week's Food Trip Friday and I'm coming back with a vengeance! *lol* Yes, check out my FTF entry:

... an authentic laksa from Sophia's Kitchen somewhere near the Sorya Mall along the back alleys. Served in a large bowl, the laksa is packed with lots of fried tofu (my favorite!), mushroom, boiled egg, clams, and a dollop of chilli all swimming deliciously in creamy and spicy coconut milk. I was a little disappointed because they used rice noodles instead of the usual yellow egg noodles but it was nevertheless heavenly. Tasty and very filling. I mentioned "authentic" because  the owner of this canteen-style kitchen is from Penang, Malaysia where laksa is one of the popular local fares. What's more, it comes with a free dessert and bottomless tea for only $3! What a bargain!

Happy first anniversary, Food Trip Friday! Many, many thanks to Mommy Willa for creating this wonderful meme. My eyes feasted on yummylicious dishes featured every week from different countries and most of all, I get to borrow other food trippers' recipes and try it at home. Thanks to everyone! Now, on to our second year...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A promise is a promise

I've been meaning to post this but it keeps getting delayed and stayed in the drafts folder longer than intended. Friends from Food Trip Friday have requested me to publish the recipe for the cold soup gazpacho which I featured in Food Trip Friday a few weeks back. I did promise them but I kind of got distracted by some things. A little trivia first, one of my Spanish visitors, Zaida, is from the Andalucian region of Spain where gazpacho is a specialty. Andalucians like her prepare gazpacho especially during the hot summer season in the region, a wonderful way to cool down and start their meals.  Anyways... so I  accompanied my Spanish visitors to the market to select the freshest ingredients available and watched as Zaida prepared gazpacho in my kitchen. Please do note that I merely recorded the ingredients and the procedure mentally. I bravely made gazpacho myself from memory, so here it goes:

For 4 persons, you will need:

half a kilo of red (ripe) tomatoes
1/2 medium-sized onion
a clove or two of garlic
1/2 medium-sized cucumber
1/2 medium-sized green bell pepper
3 tbsps of olive oil
2 tbsps of vinegar
a dash of ground black pepper and salt to suit your taste
a small piece of stale bread, soaked in a cup of cold water

Dice the tomatoes, onions, garlic, cucumber, and bell pepper and, together with the bread and cold water, put them all in a blender and blend for a minute or two. This results to a chunky consistency which both my husband and I like. If you prefer it to be completely smooth, blend it for about 5mins or more until you achieve the preferred consistency. Others put the blended ingredients through a sieve to take away the unneeded lumps. Then transfer the mix into a bowl and, at this point, you may add more cold water to get the thickness that you desired, and stir in the olive oil, vinegar, ground pepper, and salt. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge before serving. Garnish every serving with diced tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and croutons.

That's it. So easy to prepare. I hope you enjoy a refreshing and healthy bowl of gazpacho!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Food Trip Friday 022: Vego Salad Bar

There's a newly-opened salad bar in town called Vego and my friends went there last Wednesday to check the food.  We were sort of in an adventurous mood and,being meat-lovers, we were surprisingly very eager to try an all-green lunch. Turns out, it's a make-your-own salad joint. How fun! For $3.50, I had this:

                         You pick your green leaves, 4 add-ons, condiment, and dressing:
                                 Greens - Ice berg,  Romaine
     Free add-ons - cherry tomatoes, mushroom, green olives, cucumber
                                 Free condiment - boiled eggs 
                                 Dressing - Vego dressing

Once you had your pick, they will make it for you. For $1 you get to choose another cheesy add-on, and, another $2, there's salmon, tuna, prawns, crabmeat and sundried tomatoes for choices.

Set in a small but a nice, cozy, woody interior, which I really, really like. During lunchtime, customers usually queue for take-outs and so the place doesn't really get crowded that much. Diners are guaranteed to enjoy chemical-free vegetables and the dressings are freshly made. Ratana, the owner, said the Vego dressing is a secret family recipe.

How odd it seemed, but I chose a nice concoction of pineapple, orange, mango, and banana drink they call the Power Punch to go with my salad. Power punch nga - it was so powerful enough to cause my insides to revolt hours later. But that's another story for later. I was quite happy with my pick, enjoyed the ambiance and service. Ratana is so friendly and accommodating. My friends and I are happy to come back to this place again when the urge to eat greens strike us again. And by the way, they do accept deliveries for free! 

Vego is located along Street 51 (Pasteur), about four doors down off Sihanouk Boulevard, and just a stone's throw away from Wat Langka and the Golden Street. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Food Trip Friday 021: Cold gazpacho to beat the summer heat

Two nights ago, I was not really in the mood to prepare dinner. Aside from the fact that I had no idea what to make, I also didn't feel like turning the stove on a stuffy, warm Wednesday evening. On the 11th hour though, I sluggishly dragged my butt to the fridge, one good look at my veggies bin and saw this lot staring back at me:

Tomato and friends

So what to make of these?

The hot summer days are upon us again on this side of the planet and we've been getting our money's worth out of our airconditioner. So I reckon, why not make one of those refreshing cold soup for this barmy night? With an over-supply of tomatoes,  gazpacho came to my mind  and I immediately sprung to action.

The cold gazpacho soup didn't fail to satisfy me and the mister. Served cold, we enjoyed a bowl of this with a French baguette dipped in olive oil-malt vinegar mixture and giant meatballs that I prepared earlier in the day. Gazpacho is a very light and rehydrating meal (it tastes even better the following day) and saved a whole lot of tomatoes from ending up in the garbage can.

P.S. The downside is that the husband and I got hungry a couple of hours after dinner and raided the fridge for some late-night snacks! Ah, sira na naman ang diet regimen namin.