25 March 2014

My First Ever Butter Naan!

If you have been reading my posts for some time now, you have probably read about my monthly goals for self improvement. For this month, one of my goals is to learn how to cook at least 2 Indian dishes. And as of this moment, I am happy to say that I have already accomplished that goal.

One of the dishes I was able to cook to meet my goal was butter naan. I personally like it better than roti. In fact, I like butter naan so much better that I can eat it on its own. So without further ado, let me share with you guys my first ever butter naan!

Puffing is a good sign of cooking your naan (or even roti) right.
Typically, yeast is one of the ingredients when making naan. I did not have that handy so I googled the web for a recipe that does not call for yeast. I tweaked the recipe a bit so continue scrolling below to know more about it.

Butter Naan Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm/room temperature milk
  • 1/2 cup sweet yogurt/curd
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp butter
Procedure
  1. Sift all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a container.
  2. Create a well at the center of the sifted ingredients and pour in the milk and sweet yogurt in the "well".
  3. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients to the wet (milk and yogurt) until a soft dough has formed.
  4. Let the soft dough sit for two hours.
  5. After two hours, knead the dough for about three minutes then start pinching a good portion of the dough, about the size of a golf ball then roll it on a dusted flat surface.
  6. After rolling, wet one side of the dough using your hand and put it on an iron pan under medium heat (Indians call it "tawa") wet side down and then cover it with a lid.
  7. After about two to three minutes, remove the naan from the iron pan and cook the other side straight to the flame using a hand held griller for about thirty seconds under low heat.
  8. Once done, put the naan on a plate and brush it with butter.
My first ever butter naan!
As you can see on the photo above, my first ever butter naan kind of failed because while it was on its final stage of cooking (the hand held grill part), it took some time for me to capture the image so you can see some burnt portions. Nevertheless, it tasted fine. Not really the way I imagined it to be, maybe because I didn't use yeast, so it was not as light and airy as the ones I had from the hotel where Babs and I stayed before moving in to our new apartment. But overall, for a first timer, I think I did fine and Babs actually gave me an 8/10 rating and he is not the type to lie about my cooking just to make me feel good. Hihihi!

Yay! Cooked the rest of them perfectly. I guess. Haha!



So what dish did I cook to match my butter naan with? Find out tomorrow! It's also an Indian dish and a favorite in our household!

Enjoy the rest of your day guys wherever part of the globe you may be!

24 March 2014

My DIY Bookshelf Project


I am a fan of DIY projects and that is why I love Pinterest so much. I think almost any kind of project you are looking for, may it be a DIY drawer or how to decorate a dull wall on your own, you will find inspiration in Pinterest.

Last December, we (Babs and I) moved out from New Delhi and transferred to Jarkhand, another state in India. We really didn't plan on bringing with us our book collection since they are a lot and well, we didn't wanna include buying a bookshelf in our to-buy list.

However, when our stuff from New Delhi finally arrived at our new location, we found out that my father-in-law actually also let the packer and mover company ship our book collection! Hahaha!

And since buying a new bookshelf will be very impractical because we don't really plan on staying in this place for a long time, I've decided to consult Pinterest for some suggestions on DIY bookshelf. I was so thrilled when I saw how creative people recycled some old stuff or even junk from their own homes and made those stuff into one of a kind awesome bookshelves!

Photo Credits: www.pinterest.com
I immediately surveyed all the stuff that we have and my eyes darted at the pallet that the packer and mover company used for our flat screen tv. I knew that was what I needed! I checked the entire pallet and removed just a couple of planks that were nailed diagonally on both sides of the pallet (I assumed it was for extra protection) and removed a few splinter prone / husk like stuff that were sticking out from the edges of the planks and that was it!

This is my main peg for my very own DIY bookshelf. Photo Credits: www.pinterest.com
Check out the finished product below. Oh by the way, the picture was taken during the holidays hence our Christmas tree in the background. Haha!

Presenting my very own DIY bookshelf! Mission accomplished!
So wachuthink about my DIY bookshelf project? I didn't bother painting the pallet because I want it to look as raw and as rustic as it could be. I think it makes it look more awesome and natural. I tossed a festive stole on top of it and put a picture of Babs and I on it and thought it looked great!

What about you, any DIY project you might wanna share with us?

20 March 2014

Green Smoothie for a Healthy Me!

I have a confession to make. I only started eating fruits and vegetables when I met Babs. Well, it's not that I don't eat any veggie or any fruit at all. It's just that I can count on one hand the number of fruits I eat and two hands for the veggies.

I really don't know why I disliked vegetables (especially the green leafy ones) and fruits when I was growing up. Both my parents eat all kinds of greens and fruits but somehow, I never learned how to enjoy eating those nutritious food.

Anyways, fast forward to the present time, I am proud to say that my veggies and fruits intake have improved and not only that! I also enjoy eating them which is so unlikely if you meet me in the past.

And because I have been exploring all kinds of healthy food, I've decided to try concocting our very own green smoothie. Actually, this move was also inspired by a friend who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle by juicing. We don't have a juicer but we have a blender so healthy smoothie is what I want to focus on.

So guys, let me share with you Ankamil's Green Smoothie.



Ingredients:

1 bunch of baby spinach
2 medium size bananas (frozen)
1 medium size cucumber (frozen)
1 cup 150ml sweetened yogurt
water (accdg. to the consistency you prefer)


Serving: 3 glasses


How about you? Do you have a healthy smoothie recipe that you can share with us? Please do tell!

Cheers everybody!

17 March 2014

Holi Hai!

Holi Hai! Holi Hai! Holi Hai! (It's Holi! It's Holi! It's Holi!)


Today, India celebrated one of its major festivals that are being celebrated every year called Holi. It was my first time to actually experience it so I was really excited about it and was really looking forward to it.

Holi is famously known as the festival of colors because friends and families apply colored powder on each other's faces. Children will even go as wild as using water guns and water bombs filled with the colored solution when playing with each other.


Holi also marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

As much as I would like to experience Holi with a big bunch of people, we just don't have nearby friends or family to celebrate it with. Nevertheless, celebrating it with Babs was all I needed and I sure had a blast applying m̶a̶k̶e̶-̶u̶p̶ colored powder on Babs face. Ha!



How about you guys, did you celebrate Holi too?

Again, Happy Holi to everybody!


11 March 2014

To Have a Cooking Blog or Not

Hi guys!

Been under the weather the past couple of days hence my lack of posts during those times. Anyway, I'm feeling better now so I thought I should drop by and share with you what I have been thinking about for quite some time now.

You see, for the longest time, hmmm... probably about almost three years now, I've been thinking of creating a new blog where I can document each dish that I cook. I thought that in doing so, one, I can keep track of the dishes that I have successfully cooked and two, hopefully give inspiration to struggling cooks or kitchen newbies like me.

I have been married for three years now but my cooking experience is still very limited because of several reasons such as my lack of interest to learn and poor motivation to name a few.

But now, I think I'm almost ready to take up this new challenge. I just need to fix and straighten up a number of stuff and then I'm ready to launch my very own cooking show! Erm, I mean blog. Cooking Blog. Teehee!

Anywho, let me leave you guys with a few snaps of some of the dishes that I made.
South Korea's Bibimbap
India's Bhutta
Philippines' Pork Sinigang

Spreading good vibes to everybody!


07 March 2014

Our Foodie Experience in Palawan

Babs and I are never really adventurous eaters. I mean, we like to try new food but if it's exotic food, uhm, that's a different story.

Anyway, before flying to Palawan, I know that "tamiloc" is the must try food in the province. It is a mangrove worm that locals eat raw. All you gotta do is dip it in vinegar and then put it straight into your mouth! I remember in one of the episodes of Amazing Race way back, the contestants were ask to eat tamiloc and the look on their faces said it all. We didn't have the guts to try this local exotic food so yeah, we ordered room service for our meals most of the time (if we are not out gallivanting) and ate at one of the most famous restaurants in town.

Babs liked Dangkalan Resort's chicken afritada so we ordered it for lunch one time and another time during dinner.

Chicken Afritada and Garlic Rice
Aside from Chicken Afritada, we also ordered Pork Sisig for dinner one night.
Why so serious me? Us enjoying our brekkie of rice, sunny side up egg and fish (for moi) and beef tapa (for Babs).
Dangkalan Resort Menu as of March 2011

What we enjoyed in Microtel Palawan was their breakfast buffet. They had everything that we were looking for in a breakfast and if only we can borrow an extra stomach for breakfast, we would have eaten more.

The drinks area during the breakfast buffet. They serve coffee, juice and hot choco. I couldn't remember if they have tea too.
Dining area and you can see the buffet spread behind.
Yours truly munching on my favorite brekkie bread PANDESAL!

 During our island hopping adventure, we ate our seafood lunch at one of the islands we visited. The food was included in our tour package.

Grilled Seafood is LOVE
Another meal that was included in our tour package was the lunch we had during our underground river adventure.

Chicken Adobo and Sauteed Water Spinach with a chilled bottle of Coke served by the beach!

There are two famous restaurants in Puerto Princesa that tourists and locals alike rave about. We tried to book both several times but we only succeeded on one and that is at Kinabuchs. It is a sports bar/restaurant. I remember us enjoying all the food that we ordered but I already forgot how much the total damage (yes, I'm talking about the price of course! hehehe!) was. It was a nice restaurant with good food. Oh! I think they were serving "tamiloc" dishes but of course, we didn't order that.

Someone's busy stuffing her face! LOL
NOM NOM NOM
I am ALWAYS ready for a GOOD cheesecake!
Though we did not go to Palawan for a foodie adventure, we are still thankful that the province did not only fill our hearts and minds with fun memories but the place also filled our bellies with good food.

Are you hungry yet? Hihihi!

Happy Friday guys!

Til next time!

04 March 2014

How About in a Tree House? Our Accomodations During Our Palawan Trip

One of the most important aspects in every trip is the place where you will stay. I understand if there are people who would say that it doesn't matter where you'll be staying at if you'll just stay there during the night for some good snooze. It makes sense especially if one is being practical. However, it wouldn't hurt if you'll be choosy about your accommodation even just for a little bit if you are going somewhere to celebrate something special like in our case, we are on our honeymoon.

During our 5D4N honeymoon in Palawan back in 2011, we never really intended to stay at 2 places but our first choice couldn't accommodate the full four nights of our stay so we did not have a choice but to book another place.

We wanted to try something unique and special at that time and I have read about this resort in Puerto Princesa that offers a tree house for a room. I told Babs about it and he liked it so that was our first choice.

DANGKALAN RESORT

Clever! A spot where guests can take souvenir photos.
Dangkalan's Reception Area
For the first two nights, Dangkalan Resort became our home away from home. We were actually lucky to get the tree house for two consecutive nights because as I've said earlier, they could not accommodate our entire stay in Palawan because someone else had book the same room before we did on the dates of our last two nights. And mind you, there is only ONE tree house in the entire resort so we got really lucky at that time.

Look! There's our tree house! We stayed at the top room.
Rain maker on our door.
Our amazing view from the tree house.
What I really like about the Dangkalan Tree House is its rustic vibe. Once you enter the room, it contains the basic stuff you'll need during your stay such as a nice big bed good enough for two or even three if you have a small child with you, a television (with no cable though), an AC and a basic bathroom. I mean come on, you want to live in a tree house and you expect it to have 5 star room features? Where's the fun in that? Besides, the priceless thing about the tree house is the view you get to see whenever you open the door. It's beach front baby!
MICROTEL INN & SUITES

Front facade of Microtel
Our room was the second door on the right.
On our third day in the island, we left Dangkalan Resort and transferred to Microtel Inn & Suites. It is a hotel chain in the country that have other branches in places such as Boracay and Manila. I don't know what happened during the reservation of our room. We specifically requested for a beach front room on the second floor of the building but somehow during our check in, they were initially giving us a ground floor beach front room. Of course we refused and thank God our travel agency was able to rectify the situation with Microtel.

Back facade that faces the beach.
Pool area and the dining area where breakfast buffet is served.
Another angle of the pool with the back facade (right) facing the beach (left).
Our room consists of two double beds with a nice flat screen tv (with poor cable connection though) and a nice bathroom. Oh! Just a quick fyi for you guys. Did you know that we were in Palawan busy island hopping and all that when Japan experienced the strongest earthquake ever and thousands were killed because of the tsunami? I mean, thank God Palawan was not one of the other places who got tsunami warnings because if that happened, maybe I wouldn't be here now sharing my experiences and ramblings with you guys.

Anyways, back to the topic, now, if you ask me which one is better than the other, it actually depends on the kind of accommodation that you are looking for. If you are looking for something unique or that you really want to feel the country vibe of Palawan, you may want to consider Dangkalan Resort for that matter. But if you are after modern and stylish, then maybe Microtel is what you need.

I hope this post will help you even just for a bit if you are still on the lookout for the perfect accommodation in Palawan. And if you are reading this for time pass, I hope I still entertained you even just a little.

Laters!

03 March 2014

Save the Best for Last! Our Great Palawan Adventure Part 3

Yep! This is the final installment of our great Palawan adventure in 2011 and what better way to end this series than to show how much we've had fun during our 4th and 5th days in photos!


So without further ado, let's get the story and the photos rolling!

DAY 4

Before I start firing away photos, let me just give you a quick recap of what we did the entire day. HONDA BAY ISLAND HOPPING. Yes, we consumed our entire day visiting one island after the other, taking pictures, swimming and snorkeling in the waters and getting toasted under the sun. Haha!


Unfortunately, my memory could not help me remember exactly the number of islands we visited during that day. Babs said we visited three to four islands but I remember less than those. BUT don't worry because I remember the two main islands where we had so much fun and those are Pandan Island and Snake Island.


Pandan Island was called such because of the many Pandan plants found in the island. We stayed there for a good amount of time that we were able to snorkel (We found Nemo AND Dory!), take loads of pictures and eat lunch (seafood all the way baby!).


The name Snake Island was derived from the shape of the island that is similar to of course, a snake. In aerial view, the shape can be very obvious during low tide. Now, when you are on the island, you can still quite see the snake like shape since you can see the sand wriggling it's way all the way up to the other end of the island. We stayed here the longest so we swam, snorkeled and took lots of photos.


 





We had a blast that day that when we arrived back at our hotel, we had wide smiles on our faces even though we were bloody tired and got roasted by the sun.

DAY 5

Our flight back to Manila was scheduled early in the afternoon so we just enjoyed our last few hours in Palawan at our hotel. After eating breakfast, we just roamed around the hotel, took pictures then prepped up for our flight.





There you have it guys! Our 5D4N honeymoon adventure in the beautiful province of Palawan, Philippines!

Hope you enjoyed the entire journey as much as we did!

If you have not read the first two installments of this series, you can find them below.

And So Our Great Palawan Adventure Begins! PART 1

And So Our Great Palawan Adventure Just Got Better! PART 2

Now for my next post, I'll be sharing with you guys where we stayed and ate in Palawan during our five day adventure.

Laters!

And So Our Great Palawan Adventure Begins! PART 1
And So Our Great Palawan Adventure Begins! PART 1
And So Our Great Palawan Adventure Begins! PART 1

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