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    Foods, PinoyFood

    Embutido

    June 18, 2018

    My challenge last week was to take a break from stir fry dishes ‘coz my husband started to request some viands. To take the challenge to the next level, I decided to finally make an Embutido, a Filipino style meat loaf. The first time I made an embutido was when I was in Grade 6 as part of Home Economics project. This dish takes a lot of effort to make. I just like to cook those which I can finish within 1 hour. Making embutido surely will take me hours with constant break to take care of my daughter. After more than two decades, I tried again. That decade thing surely makes me feel old. Hehehe.

    My husband came from a family who’s used to eating embutido because his mother knows how to do it well and tasty. Why not ask her recipe? Ok. I will. But time difference and her schedule and mine did not meet. So I ended up googling “Panlasang pinoy embutido” and this was my guide in making one.

    Normally, I don’t follow the exact ingredients and procedure. I still stick on what I have in the kitchen and adjust according to the recipe. Because of this, my dishes are sometimes tasty, sometimes nasty(but edible) lols. Sweet pickle relish is one of the important ingredients of embutido. To be honest, I don’t know what sweet pickle relish is. I went to the supermarket and voila! there are lots of pickled stuffs. Which one to choose? I spent a lot of time reading all the labels with pickle word in it and ended up choosing sweet mustard sandwich pickle spread. I know it’s not the same pickles that we have in Philippines but I couldn’t find anything close to what it looks like and we can use the remaining stuffs as sandwich spread. I changed tomato sauce to tomato paste. I just prefer paste over sauce for cooking. I did not use cheddar cheese but the flavored cheese I have and use the herb & garlic breadcrumbs instead of the plain breadcrumbs.

    As for the procedure, I put all the ingredients in the bowl(except hotdogs and boiled eggs) and mix everything. I don’t have a steamer so I used the small steamer which comes with the rice cooker and two sauce pans. After steaming, I can’t wait to taste it and I was disappointed with the texture. It’s too watery. Huhuhuhu! But soooo delicious!!

    The next day, when I open the foil, it was no longer watery. It’s tasty! Woohoo! And guess what, my husband and my daughter love them! My heart is overjoyed. The 5 hours I spent for making this dish were worth it. But I will not do it again anytime soon. Hahaha. See some of photos in my instagram post.

    Migration

    Moving to a new home

    June 3, 2018

    After moving to the new apartment, I became busy finding the right furniture and appliances. Right means, within a budget but trusted brands and can fit on the allotted space. This is again something new to us. We had never shop for furniture and appliances before because we rented fully furnished HDB units in Singapore. Thanks to AU-NZ trips last year and the airbnb where we stayed. They gave me the idea of what to put in the small apartment and how to use a dishwasher. I even messaged the owner of the airbnb property to ask where she bought those items in their unit. Hehehe! She was very helpful. If ever you decided to visit Melbourne, I will recommend this airbnb listing: Cosy, light-filled with harbour view Lynda and David are wonderful hosts and their property is within the free tram zone and the station is right on your doorstep.

    Back on the furniture and appliances hunting, I list all the items we needed and compare prices. I would say that the furniture is difficult because there are so many suppliers and shops online and around Melbourne. For appliances, we only have 2 options: Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi. My first goal is to buy bedroom furniture which can be delivered as soon as possible. I had to frequently go out to check the shops I saw online. I went to Ikea Richmond and the other shops in Victoria Gardens, DFO South Wharf, Target in Bourke Street, Factory Outlet near us and QV Mall.

    Sometimes I will ask my husband and daughter to go with me on weekends. One day when we were heading to Ikea, my husband commented that the place was too far. Oh well it was his first time to go out of the free tram zone and going to Ikea takes more than half an hour. Only then he realized how far I traveled to find a house. We managed to complete the important furniture and appliances in 2 weeks.

    Some tips I can share for beginners like me are:
    1. Buy a tape measure. Measure the allotted space for each item, take note of them and bring the tape measure when going out.
    2. Measure the width, height and depth of the allotted space. Normally shops will display or include the dimension of the item.
    3. List the important stuffs and consider your budget without sacrificing the quality. Necessary furniture and appliances are investments.
    4. For renters, don’t forget that you are renting. Buy stuffs which can be installed without breaking the tenancy agreement and it can fit in the door once you move out. The last one is specifically for those furniture that you assembled by yourself.
    5. If you have a small kid, choose kid-friendly furniture as much as possible and leave enough space where your kid can play.

    It has been 3 months since we purchased the following items and we they are still as good as new. If you need ideas where to buy, here are the things we bought and where we bought them.

    Regal Sleep Solutions South Wharf – bed frame, mattress, headboard, pillows, pillow and mattress protector
    JB Hi-Fi South Wharf – fridge, washing machine, dryer, rice cooker, TV (but they have lots of products)
    Harvey Normal (QV Mall) – vacuum (just happens that the vacuum we wanted was cheaper in this shop so better compare with JB Hi-Fi)
    Adairs DFO – quilt cover, fitted sheet, pillow case, bath towels (Adairs is more expensive than target but the quality is better so watch out for sale)
    Target Centre Melbourne – quilt and other small stuffs in the house like clock
    Ikea Richmond – kid’s table & chairs, shelves, storage container, dining set, kitchen utensils, bath mat, rugs
    Kogan – shoe rack, coat rack

    Although starting a new life will hurt your pocket but it’s a wonderful experience. Since I do not have a job yet, there are more factors to consider when getting money out of your pocket. The joy of hearing the intercom because it means new items are coming. The satisfaction of seeing the transformation of the empty space into a livable one. We learned a lot of things and it started to feel like, you’re home.

    Foods

    Pancake with Strawberry and Salted Caramel

    May 23, 2018

    Pancake is one of my daughter’s favorite food. I guess most kids love pancakes. Since she turned 2, we are almost eating pancake weekly or fortnightly. Inside or outside home or even outside the country, she’s requesting for pancake. So last week, I made a pancake but I don’t want to be just plain buttermilk pancake. Sometimes I try different flavors such as honey, cheese, fruits, chocolate. This time I want to try something new.

    I went to Woolworths to buy salted caramel. On my way back, I kept thinking what I will do. Should I mix it in the batter, as a topping or while it’s in the pan? As usual, I checked the fridge and the shelf. There were strawberries, whipped cream and icing sugar. I cut the strawberries into small pieces and tasted it. It was not as tasty as the other brands I bought before. I could make 6 pancakes and strawberries were not enough.

    After cooking the pancakes, I put the first one on the plate. Since the strawberry was not sweet, I sift a bit of icing sugar before putting the 2nd pancake and sift icing sugar again. On the 3rd pancake, after sifting some sugar, I put half of the strawberries. I put the remaining 3 pancakes with sugar on each layer. On top, I put the whipped cream, then strawberries and the salted caramel.

    While putting the salted caramel, I noticed that the whipped cream was melting. OMG! Noooo! Slowly the strawberries on the side were falling one after the other. Oh my, it was a failure because the pancakes were still hot. I used the fork to mix the salted caramel and whipped cream and this is the result.

    What a disaster! hahaha But don’t judge the look ‘coz it was so tasty that my husband and daughter requested for more. P.S It was not soo sweet. It’s just sinful. I hope next time, I will do better. 😛

    Migration

    When finding a place to rent feels like finding a job

    May 23, 2018

    Migrating to another country is really a tough one. In Australia, at least in Melbourne, finding a place to rent is more difficult than Singapore and Philippines. Here, when I was looking for a place to rent, I felt like I was looking for a job and when I got it, my heart was overjoyed.

    We booked an airbnb apartment unit in Docklands for 3 weeks. Our requirements for the house/apartment were: near to tram/train station, not too far from the city, near to supermarket (Woolworths or Coles), as much as possible newly built or newly renovated or well-maintained one, lots of natural light and most of all within our budget. First area is of course Melbourne City. As you know or may not know, Melbourne means Melbourne City and inner suburbs. Come the first inspection day in the city, I was so excited. When I reached the place, it was like I am queuing for a blockbuster movie. But the place was not as good as I expected it to be. After few more inspections in the city, I decided to forget the city and focus on searching in the inner suburbs. This means I will be travelling outside the free tram zone and a bit far.

    After our first inspection in St. Kilda suburb with my husband and my daughter, we realized it was more expensive and tiring if we all go together for inspection. Expensive because we have to take the taxi so that we can reach the place and return as soon as possible. Why? Because my husband is working remotely so he cannot be out for long during office hours. Tiring because my daughter can be very impatient, very active inside the property and sometimes she had to give into the call of nature and we have to find a nearby toilet.

    The tram stop in the middle of the street in an unfamiliar suburb and I was alone.

    I am not good in direction. I know in this journey that I will get lost but I have no choice. I can only pray and rely on maps. I just ensure that I have cash in case my myki card, use for paying in public transports, needs reloading. Yes, extra cash for reload not for taking taxi. In Philippines and Singapore, I use extra cash for taxi if I get lost. Taxi in city has taxi stands and you can’t just hail them. It is also difficult to get a taxi outside the city. On the first week, that was Saturday, I booked 8 inspections in a day. Unlike on weekdays that I can only leave after lunch, that time I left at 9am. I went to Hawthorn, Armadale, Malvern and St. Kilda. I traveled in 5 trams with total of 68 tram stops, walked almost 2.5 hours in total and guess what, I have to give up the last 2 inspections in Coburg because I was too tired. I came home at 5pm and submitted 3 applications.

    One week had passed but negative. I inspected many properties but there are 10 or more who viewed and probably submitted their application too. Our chance was small because I have no job and we are new in Melbourne compared to others. We revised our profile in 1Form. This is the website where you submit your application to rent a property. Agent and owner will review your profile and they will decide whether they will accept or reject your application. We wrote almost 2 paragraphs stating why we were the best candidate for the property we applied. Sounds familiar? I know right, it’s like when you are writing a cover letter for job application.

    I thought I can find a place and at the same time find a job. But actually, I cannot do both. It was stressful and not to mention there is a toddler and I have to do household chores. My husband is working at the same time taking care of our daughter while I am away. It’s a teamwork but still stressful. Maybe because we were used to a comfortable life in Singapore.

    On the second week, I could not find a good property. All my inspections didn’t meet my standards. We decided to stretch our budget a bit more to increase our options. I started to lose hope and thought that maybe we need to extend our stay in airbnb.

    After 12 days, while I was viewing one property, I received a call from the first property I inspected outside the city. She asked about my husband’s job and called my husband for more details. Later in the afternoon, she confirmed verbally that our application was accepted. We were so happy and thankful. The next day we received the confirmation email and we can get the keys after 4 days. That’s 3 days before our booking ends in airbnb. Thank you Lord!

    The place we get is actually the best among the properties I viewed and the first property I inspected outside the city. It’s near to tram station and few stops to city. One minute to supermarket and near to the wet market. The place is newly built and we are the first tenant. It has 1 bedroom, 1 study room and a balcony. Just enough for the 3 of us.

    In those 2 weeks, I got lost twice. The tram stops do not look the same. Some has nice-looking tram station. Some are in the middle of the street. Some are in the same lanes as the cars and you will only rely on the signs. That is where I get lost the first time. The second time was navigating through the map. I went to the wrong direction. Hehehe. But that’s ok. I still reached home and didn’t need to call for some help. Getting around Melbourne and inner suburbs to look for a place to rent was part of our journey. I learned a lot and I got to know Melbourne more. And I will write about it next time.

    Bake, Foods

    Banana Bread with Cheese

    May 20, 2018

    Our typical breakfast is having a bread and a cup of coffee or chocolate drink for adults and a soy milk for the toddler. It has always been my task to think of what bread to serve. My husband and I are not fans of eating the same food at least in 2 weeks unless we don’t have any other choices.

    One week ago, I bought the Paradise’s banana bread mix in Woolworths. It is exclusively packed for woolies anyways. I like this brand because I can use our overripe bananas coz banana is one of the staple foods at home. Again, the same question, what could be different?

    My daughter has allergic reactions on cow’s milk that is why when baking, I use soy or almond milk as replacement. At this time, I am currently doing the Home Introduction and Immunology program from my daughter’s paediatrician to slowly introduce dairies, cow’s milk and tree nuts(except peanuts). I checked the fridge and found excess cheese from the pizza I made few days ago. Baking with milk and cheese is part of the program. I asked my husband if it’s okay for him to eat banana with cheese and he said ok.

    I added the cheese on the last 10min of baking. The result is yumminess! It is really tasty. Although to be honest, I can work on the texture next time. Maybe I will add the cheese 5 min before baking or I will include the cheese in the batter. That’s for the next version of banana bread.

    Oh, my daughter did not show any sign of reaction with the milk and cheese. Another milestone, yey! 😛

    A post shared by kusinelda (@kusinelda) on

    Foods, PinoyFood

    Tortang Talong with Minced Pork and Spices

    May 20, 2018

    Few weeks ago, I started to introduce the eggplant to my daughter. Having a child who shows food allergic reactions, I introduce food one at a time. I was thankful that the first Tortang Talong, a Filipino dish which consists of eggplant and egg”, she ate did not show any reactions on her skin. Whew!

    So this week, I cooked it again. What could be done to make it something new? I checked the fridge and found excess minced pork and of course eggs. I got this idea from the packed lunch of my friend when we were still in Philippines. I checked the spices I have. Hmmm, basil and cayenne pepper. Let’s do this. I add the spices when it is almost cooked. As a routine, I will take a photo of it but it looks plain so I sprinkle some dried parsley herbs. Still boring but anyways it won’t stop me from taking a photo.

    When I serve it, my daughter is very excited because she saw while I was preparing that it has eggs. She loves eggs. But to her dismay, she cannot see the egg(those with white and yellow thing).

    Foods

    It’s a Wrap on Mother’s Day

    May 18, 2018

    It’s Mother’s Day and I feel like serving something new at the same time consuming our leftover foods from yesterday. The leftover rice becomes fried rice with egg and spinach. To put the “adobong chicken na may gata” in a wrap, I cut them into strips using fork and fried 3 slightly scrambled eggs.

    All are still well until I warm the wrap in the oven. I played with my daughter and forget to remove them immediately. By the time I remember, they are already crispy wraps. It’s a failed dish but good thing my daughter likes her big “biscuit”.

    Migration

    This is how it started…

    May 17, 2018

    I moved to Singapore in 2010 and my life becomes so comfortable. I have a career as a Software Engineer. I have a husband and eventually a child. We have a helper. Singapore is a beautiful country. It’s known for a very low crime rate and convenient public transportation. That is why many are asking why are we here in Melbourne.

    Our answer is maybe the same as the others who migrated in Australia. Although life is comfortable in Singapore, everything is temporary for a foreigner. Having a child makes you look into the future and we want to settle in a place where we can be a permanent resident. How about Germany? At first we did not consider it because we thought it’s difficult for my husband to get a job there. How about Canada? That’s too far and too cold for me. How about New Zealand? Oh I love it. But after we talk to a consultant, he recommended Australia.

    Sydney Opera House

    After receiving the visa, we have to choose between 3 cities: Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in New Zealand. We went to these cities during our first entry. Sydney is surprisingly beautiful compared to what we read in the internet. It was raining and gloomy when we arrived in Auckland. Something that made me feel uneasy. Hahaha. New Zealand is really good if you want a very laid back place. It’s very relaxing. But Melbourne gave me the “this is it” feeling when we arrived. I like the trams which for me is a plus if you don’t know how to drive. We were really confused on where to move after our trip but eventually Melbourne won.

    Cornwall Park, Auckland

    For 7 years, I develop good relationship with my friends in Singapore. I like the comfort that Singapore is giving me. I know I will terribly miss this and them once we move out. The thought of migration makes me sad, scared and excited. Sad for what I will leave behind. Scared for what is in store for us in the Land Down Under. Excited for the thought of living just the 3 of us.

    Tram Restaurant in Melbourne CBD

    We started planning our migration. My husband will find a home-base job. We will temporary stay in an airbnb property for 3 weeks while looking for a place to rent. I will look for a full-time permanent job and my daughter will go to childcare 3 days/week. My husband will learn how to drive, we will buy a car and a house.

    Everything is settled and well-planned when we board the flight to Melbourne early this year. We are aware that starting a new life will be difficult. But how difficult it is? As of this moment, all our initial plans seem not to be working. Surprise, surprise. I will write it on my next blog.