Archive for December, 2008


What the h*ll is that word?
UKOY ~ U (sounds like the ‘o’ vowel in TWO); KOY (sounds like COY in McCoy)

Seriously, Ukoy is Shrimp Fritter in Pinoy language.

Ukoy is one of only few (alas!) Pinoy dishes my husband likes. Mr. Wonderful is NOT a foodie. He does not get excited about it; will only eat for the sake of survival, nothing more. Now if you add BEER, then that’s a different story there. Anyway, one Christmastime years ago, we discovered a Filipino restaurant somewhere in SoHo, NYC called Manila. No doubt, just the name itself is well-known as the biggest city in the Philippines, the hub of the country. Manila, the restaurant (I don’t think it’s still around anymore), had a splendid array of regional Filipino dishes, one of which was the UKOY. Mr. Wonderful was amazed with the taste of the dish. He was sold to this dish; wanted me to replicate it. But I couldn’t promise him that I would/could. Cooking does not come naturally to me. It’s considered an absolutely necessary chore, like ironing; not quite the joy of dancing.

After reading about Ukoy from the blog, Burnt Lumpia, decided it’s time to make it. Burnt Lumpia is such an inspiration to me. First, because Marvin loves to cook. He’s dedicated himself to hang on to his parents’ heritage especially when it came to cooking. He’s detail-oriented. Second, he’s one funny guy.

So, the best person to describe this dish would be Marvin. I promised him that I was going to test-cook this dish. I did mention to Marvin I was going to make the dish on my husband’s birthday. However, the hubby requested prime rib instead and I never mentioned about the Ukoy. I did buy the ingredients at that time and I really, really wanted to make the dish soon enough. And here it is. So check out Marvin’s blog for the recipe, while I provide that not-so-great photos of my attempt on the dish.

 Ukoy Ingredients     Ukoy Being Fried     Fried Ukoy & Fish Sauce Dip

Shrimp Fritters

My only substitute to Burnt Lumpia’s Ukoy recipe was jicama for the red onion; and added mushrooms as well. And the sweet potato and jicama were roughly cut since I do not have a mandolin to finely julienne them. Also, PATIS (fish sauce) was not included in the batter. That would have been a HUGE TURNOFF for the hubby; it has a strong smell and taste that some non-Asian folks have a hard time getting used to. However, having no patis around, a store-bought Fish Sauce for Springroll was substituted. Good enough. And not as smelly.

The dish is a success! Mr. Wonderful asked for seconds and thirds.

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By now, everyone had either liked their holiday presents and are very happy with them; while others had to return or exchanged them. This year, gift cards were the big winners when it came to gift-giving. Gift card was the non-thought searching, easiest way to give someone who were either hard to give to, or didn’t know what they really wanted.

Has everyone gotten their holiday presents that they wished for?  Let’s surely hope so. This year, my request was for a simple present from the hubby but, none from the working, self-supporting child.

Well, I got what I wanted and then some. My Precious got me a gift card from my favorite coffee shop called Barry’s Espresso & Bakery. See this blog that describes Barry’s. I love Barry’s for its unpretentiousness. When I have cravings for Jewish food, I go to Barry’s. Challah bread is a must-have, so is the potato knish. And his pastries are super-delicious but not too expensive. And the soups are so original; one of which the Senegalese Peanut Soup, is my bestest favorite. I was really surprised that My Precious even knows what his mom likes. He always seem not to care about what mom does. But I think that’s where he’s at full attention, when you are off your guard. Or pretends that he’s the least bit interested in you and what you do.

Then Mr. Wonderful gave me these:


The Spirited Walker by  Carolyn Scott Kortge,  the book I requested. I wanted to read this to get me psyched up for my anticipated New Year’s resolution to walk seriously since I cannot go rowing anymore.

The other book, Dewey by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter, was a surprise addition to my Xmas presents.

I’ve already started reading the Kortge book. Dewey will have to wait a little bit, like the rest of the books on my long list of reading.

Then, both boys presented me with a whopping gift card from my LYS. The hubby said that the $ should be enough to stop me from further bleeding the bank account. Right………for the time being. hahahahaha!

As for Mr. Wonderful, he has his birthday presents, remember? And more Xmas gifts in the form of…..you guess it, bookstore gift cards. He already used one of them last night when he had to drag me to Borders. This guy lives on books as some men live ‘watching sports’ on TV. This is one thing that I really, truly like about my hubby. He’s not into sports, glued to the TV.

Oh, he has gotten a sweater that we have named FUD, short for fuddy-duddy. It’s an old fashioned front-zippered sweater that would look good on Mr. Rogers of the famed Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood TV show. The hubby loves FUD.

Now for My Precious. As all parents know, children are to be lavished with gifts that are on the verge of getting them spoiled-rotten. This year, we had to tone it down. But My Precious still got what he didn’t expect we would give. Gifts of Necessity. He, who is now self-supporting in every way, got the following gift cards from:

  • Market of Choice, his favorite grocery store
  • Fina Taqueria, a favorite local Mexican fast-food joint
  • Barnes & Noble, his favorite hangout (he’s a bookworm too!)
  • Local Movie House

My son has turned into his dad. Dad’s famous: ‘oh, don’t give me anything’ has been handed down to his son. His request to NOT give him anything this year fell on deaf ears. And I’ll tell you why My Precious does not need anything (he thinks). He only wants knives, custom knives to be exact. He knows there’s no way we’re going to spend money on such things. If he wants them, he has to earn his own money. So far, he didn’t get himself one, not that I’m aware of. Ever since he has lived away from home, he has been so budget-conscious.

He was pleasantly surprised with his gifts and was truly happy. I can tell, because he actually SMILED.

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Chocolate Truffles


Or rather chocolate truffles.

The holiday season is no fun without these truffles. Every year, a co-worker takes off for a few days right after Thanksgiving, to make these to-die-for candies. He’s the Truffles King, as we call him at work. Everyone looks forward to the holidays because of these. This ever-so generous co-worker gives EACH one of us in his department and his wife’s department a box, I mean, A BOX OF CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES.

A Box of Chocolate Truffles

There are now over 30 people in my department alone, even if his wife’s department has less people than we do. But just imagine, how he and the wife, out of their love to make these special candies, tirelessly give out of the goodness of their heart. Everyone is ever so grateful for these.

Sorry, they’re almost gone Lampaii! Can’t send them to you!

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Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon!

That’s the Pinoy version of Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Happy Holidays To All! Hoping that everyone is safe at home having a most wonderful time together with the family and friends.

What better way to hear Christmas music and a favorite dance to go with it.

click here if Youtube vid does not open automatically.

And how about the lively tune, Wonderland, sung by (surprisingly) Heidi Klum.

I’m still awake at 1 a.m. And no, I’m actually off from work.

Just came back from Simbang Gabi (that’s Midnight Mass for those who aren’t familiar with the traditional Pinoy’s/Catholic’s special Christmas mass). Unfortunately, there’s nothing to pig out on, another Pinoy tradition of eating to your heart’s content after a midnight mass. I miss Puto Bong-bong, a sticky rice dessert that is one of my favorites.

¡Disfrute de su Navidad con sus seres queridos! Enjoy your Christmas with your loved ones!

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Giveaway Preview #3

This is my 130th posting!

One more item being added to the 150th Post Giveaway box. It’s a great short read of a book. Here’s one review about it.

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

Please click here plus here for the other items that are being given away, as well as here to explain why I’m doing a giveaway.


It’s officially Christmas now, but where is Santa at this time?

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Sort of.

Mr. Wonderful had a birthday yesterday. This year, I thought to make him a special dinner. As Christmas overshadows any other event close to it, anyone who has a birthday days before or after it (or even on the 25th itself) knows not to compete with the ultimate holiday celebration. Or they lose that special attention bestowed on their special day. Some years, I just blend his birthday dinner with the Christmas dinner.  It’s just easier that way. But this year, he didn’t want anything special not even gifts, so I thought I will do the reverse.

A perfect dinner has been prepared. Everything was ready. My Precious came home just in time. Except, the birthday boy wasn’t getting home any sooner. He got caught in holiday rush traffic. 

But finally he got home and brought tons of birthday and Xmas presents from work. After all the excitement of checking out his presents, we proceeded with dinner.

There was prime rib and crimini mushrooms; mashed potatoes and gravy; baked squash and onions with cheddar cheese sprinkle. Everything was delicious! I was surprised to discover that prime rib is one of the easiest dishes to make. I should make it a point to have it either on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas from now on.

Prime Rib with Crimini Mushrooms

Baked Cheddar Squash w/Onions

Then it was time to attack his birthday cake, a Vanilla Fudge cake.

Store-Bought Birthday Cake

After which, he opened his presents from his family. It looked like he received more bookstore gift certificates than ever before. He is a book fiend! Out of 52 weeks in a year, he devours about 30 to 40 books. And he’s picky with his reads. The other gifts consisted of what I might call men’s usual gifts of shirts, socks, pants, sweaters.

Two presents he received, top the list; both of which came from his boss.

Jameson is an Irish Favorite

This would put a smile to any Irish out there.


Plain Looking Binoculars

His boss has such a sense of humor. He gave him a pair of binoculars. Not just any plain binoculars.



Binoculars with a different purpose.

Dual Purpose Binoculars The Jameson can fill both flasks.

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Top this, Lampaii!

Jingling Pig Reindeer!

Show me on your blog!

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