Thursday, March 31, 2011

Culinary Adventure: Mexico

As stated in the  previous post, the Babbling Spoon is off for a culinary adventure , wishing to know a bit about other lands through their cuisine. And off she flew ( virtually of course) ,first stop:

Hola y bienvenidos a  Mexico!

Ok I will not pretend to know a lot about Mexico. I suck at geography in highschool and to suddenly start sounding so factual and appear like a National Geographic reporter would be ridiculous. Come to think of it, the only things that comes into my mind when I hear Mexico are tequila, siesta, sombrero, err cactus?!, Salma Hayek ( I hope she is from Mexico!), Antonio Banderas ( well, he did play  as a  Mexican guitarrista/havoc shooter  in the movie  Desperado  with Salma Hayek, right?!) and of course nice beaches and shore that Jennifer Aniston visit everytime she has a new boyfriend. Told you, I don't do geography , I'm more of a  Life and Style magazine reader.

picture taken from

Mexican cuisine in not at all  foreign to the world. It is as a matter of fact well represented in any region. Come to think of it, even in Asia, Nachos and Chili Con Carne is quite well known. Mexican flavored chips are a common sight at the groceries too. Although, I'm not an expert when it comes to   Mexical foods, at least I know that their staple food is corn . When corns are not eaten in a cob, then it is grounded and used to make doughs for  Tortilla,Taco or Tamales . Mexicans also has  undeniable penchant for beans and chilis as well. A co-worker of mine who had been to  Mexico for 2 weeks  said, that the hotel where she stayed serves spicy beans for breakfast...everyday. The result of that was.... well is not worth mentioning here since where talikng about food. (°:°) Ok, if any of you want to know more about Mexican foods, like I said Google is just one click away. I on the other hand, searched and found a recipe that is quite common in Mexico. An easy to make yet delicioso Quesadilla!  A savory snack made  of tortilla, filled with cheese and other ingredients. From cooked meat and seafoods, beans of course and other vegetables. Sounds good to me so I wll be it a try. I hope no Mexican or Mexican food lovers going to send me hate mails for this, saying how could you? Or how dare you?! So here we go!


Brush a non stick pan or skillet with a bit of oil. Cooking the quesadiila without it is a healthy alternative but well, you know me. I won't say no to greasy foods. Place one Tortilla and scatter a bit of melty  shredded cheese over it. I would love to use Cheddar but our local gorcery run out of Cheddar so I used Emmentaler and Mozarella cheese instead. I was happy with how it turned out.

Now fill the Tortilla with everything you desire from cooked seafoods and meat, vegetables or fruit, and sauces.
Left: Mine with drained canned tuna flakes, slices champignons, red bell pepper and onion  strips and chopped scallions.
Right: FF's who went for some champignons with cooked shrimps , corn, peas, kidney beans and chopped chili peppers. Sounds more mexican flavored than mine,no?
Now scatter a handful of grated cheese over the stuffing.

Now to seal the Quesadilla, you can simply cover it with another tortilla sheet like shown at the picture above ( left) or simply fold it into half ( right) which is more suitable for bigger tortitallas. Cook Tortilla under medium heat until the filling is thoroughly heated and cheese melts, takes about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Take out from the heat at cut into wedges and they are ready to go. Quick and easy! Quesadilla tasted good as it is but it would taste even better when eaten with dips and accompaniments. Here are three options you can choose from or better yet, be like me and make all three!

Guacamole: Simply mix 2 peeled, pitted and mashed   avodo with a small finely chopped red onion, 1 chopped Jalapeno chili pepper ( add more if you like it hot), a handful of chopped parsley, drizzle with  lime juice from 1 lime, season with salt and pepper and toss in 1 finely diced tomato before serving. I also add a tsp of chili flakes. FF loved this dip, he was digging the contents of this bowl with so much gusto and enthusiasm as if there's a gold nugget hidden at the bottom!

Tomato Salsa. Dice 3 big tomatoes and toss in 1 small chopped red chili pepper, 1 small red onion, handful of chopped greens ( coriander or parsley or scallions), 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp. lime juice, season with salt, pepper and a bit of sugar 

Sour Cream Dip: Mix 200 g of sour cream with finely chopped chives, 1 garlic clove, finely diced and season with salt and pepper. I loved this dip! I'm Pinoy, I love anything with garlic on it.


I don't know about you but I'm starting to like Mexico! I might ''revisit'' it again someday.

Buen Provecho!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sights and Eats: Singapore Day 2

We ended our  first day in Singapore with a wide spread buffet and to start our second day with another buffet is something both of us were not overly excited about. If our gastrointestinal tract could speak out loud, I bet it would display its displeasure of having to work overtime. But since hotel breakfast is on our bill ( cheapskates!), we rolled ourselves down to the restaurant Global Kitchen to have the most important meal of the day....Breakfast..Ugghhh already?
I did a more checking out than eating. Here's whats on the counters or at least some of it. Singapore hotels take buffet business pretty seriously. (^^)

The savory: left: Dimsum that changes everyday, middle: cold cuts and sausages,hash brown, and bacon, ham and baked beans  and right: egg station with a chef who could do almost everything with eggs except lay it  and some local delicacies featuring mostly Indian cuisines as well as pancakes and waffles.


Left: Fresh salad and cheese station.   Center: Carbs  spread    Right: Fruits and Joghurt


One of the best way to visit Singapore's tourist spots is getting a day tour at Hippo Hop on Hop off bus. These tours provide different routes ( land and water) allowing visitors to explore Singapore at their liesures. Simply go to their ticketing station ( just across our hotel at Suntec City, hah!) and buy a day or 2 full day pass. You will be given a map with the different routes stated on it as well as the bus time schedules. Costumers get a ticket and  a sticker which  should be put on their garments so any Hippo tour bus driver could easily spot it  and take them in. Tours usually starts in the morning and costumer could get down at any given bus stop, explore the place of their choice and wait for coming bus that will bring them further to the next tourist destination. Convenient as a taxi, only bigger.

Tour buses are usually open-top and doble decker. It provides passengers an excellent 360 degree view of the city. Looks like it's going to rain, no wonder nobody's with us on these exposed-to-nature's-mercy- seats. 

 We have been reading a lot about the beauty of Singapore's Botanical Gardens. Tucked in the middle of the city, this is a paradise made my man. No flowery and flattering words could describe how enchanting this place is. I hope these pictures will give the place some justice. I doubtfully think so.

Trees so big and almost as old as the city. A remnant of what Singapore was before it's transformation into a modern metropolis that it is today.

The place holds artificial but never the less beautiful water bodies  like water falls, streams,lakes and fountains like the one above.

FF marvelling at the beauty of this place. Trully a man of nature, this was his favorite tourist site. Well, babbling spoon's favorite place is naturally where the foods are.

The place is relatively cooler compared to the other sites we've been to in Singapore. Perhaps because of the surrounding  greeneries.
And then its started to drizzle and then it poured. Fortunately, scattered all over Botanical Gardens are cozy Pavillions such as this. We took our shelter .

Although admission to the Botanical garden is free of charge, getting inside this Orchid Garden  requires some payment. For 5 Singapore dollar, you are in for a treat.

Samples of the  hundreds and hundreds of breeds of orchids that adorned the place.

Like a kaleidoscope of colors, each  flower from
 these extensive collection of orchids is an  absolute eye catcher.

The beautiful white Gazebo. I won't be surprise if this is used for some romantic wedding ceremonies.

The entire place is very clean, spacious  and inviting.Each plant, tree and flower graces the landscape harmoniuosly. The wide lawns are perfect for liesure walks and picnics.

The Swan Lake. I could almost picture somebody taking shelter under shades of the trees with a good book in the  hand. Such as place could make anybody forget stress and take a  breather from the hustle of a  rapid paced city.

It took us half a day to explore every nook and crannies of this 74 hectar haven. We literally forgot the time! It was around 3 PM when the slumbering monsters in our stomach woke up and and make themselves known and audible. It's a good thing that Botanical Gardens has  few restaurants . We enjoyed a cozy lunch while being serenated by some chirping birds . The downfall was the satay which tasted too strongly of spicy curry. I used the whole pack of Tempo paper to wipe my dripping nose while eating these kebabs. Not as good as the ones I had before.

After the very late lunch, we headed back to the entrance of the Botanical gardens where tour buses drop and pick the travellers up. No having any particular destination in mind, we simply hopped in and  enjoyed the ride.

Oh look! Somebody decided to join us in our longer-than-any-stretch limousine-and-hair-tussling-ride.

Not really knowing where to go, we  got down at a relatively busy street. After few turns we found ourselves facing  the famous and legendary Raffles Hotel. Thanks to google I found out that  a night of stay at this place could get as high as 600 euros and more! It made me curious. What made this hotel so famous and yeah so darn costly. Feeling a bit unsure, I almost pulled FF and headed to the open courtyard. The place has a colonial look with a  classic flare and undeniable timeless elegance, different compared to the  other new and modern neighboring hotels. I am expecting to see ladies in big pearls, 20's hairstyle and perfectly dressed patronizing the place but to my surprise  the Courtyard  was filled with normal  looking costumers, mostly casually clad in   shorts and flipflops. Not so different from what we have on so I suddenly felt more comfortable! They are probably tourist who wants to check the place out (like us, uhurm).
We took a seat and have some refreshment. What do you know, the Raffles Hotel  serves San Miguel beer! Even few service crew were Filipinos! FF  enjoyed his San Miguel and I had some cold fruit shake. The spoon and the fork looked at each other and shared a grin. Nothing beats enjoying life's simple joys  in a lavish surrounding. Good things don't need to cost a fortune.
After 30 minutes and   liters full of cold liquids later, we headed out, walked our way to the Marina bay and enjoyed a free concert by the sea. Some great things comes unexpectedly. It was a fun day. We went back to our  hotel as the sun sets down.

The Babbling Spoon's face is full of love and it shows!

Later that night, I met some old college friends and classmates who are now working at the different hospitals in Singapore. With a nervous and quieter than usual FF  in tow, we headed out to the nearest mall and decided to eat some Indonesian foods. Bintan blues? 
So what do nurses talk about when they get together? Certainly not health issues and catheterization! Between laughter and gulps, we spend the night talking about family, friends, facebook ( hehe) and yes...weight issues. We realized that sharing talks and gossips (!?) over dinner is not enough  so we decided to go back to our hotel. I sent a very relieved FF  back to our room while I stayed downstairs with the girlfriends.
 He can't stand hearing me cackle and quak  in my language  for hours and told me I  sounded like an excited chicken  when talking to  my friends! 
   The girls and I had a private cabana at the The Atrium Bar all to ourselves and without FF, we got even louder! Girls need no alcohol to get crazy, we were on sugar rush. We ordered the entire dessert  menu.....weight issues forgotten! My throat felt rather raw from all the yapping and  yelping  and I went to bed slightly light headed but grinning  at dawn. I don't know how did  those women manage to go back to  work in 3 hours time  but hey I still was on a holiday! Hah!
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