Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten Best places to Live in! =)

VIENNA (Reuters) - Vienna's excellent infrastructure, safe streets and good public healthservice make it the nicest place to live in the world, consulting group Mercer said in a global survey which put Baghdadfirmly in last place.
German and Swiss cities also performed especially well in the quality of living rankings, with Zurich, Munich, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva and Bern in the top 10.
The Austrian capital, with its ornate buildings, public parks and extensive bicycle network recently reduced the cost of its annual public transport ticket to 1 euro a day.
                                           Related: 10 healthiest U.S. cities for families
Serious crime is rare and the city of around 1.7 million inhabitants regularly tops global quality of life surveys.
But Mercer warned that top-ranking European cities could not take their position for granted in the survey, which assessed more than 200 cities.
"They are not immune to any decrease of living standards should this (economic) turmoil persist," Mercer's senior researcher Slagin Parakatil said on the company's website.
Mercer, which also ranked cities according to personal safety, gave Athens a poor score because of clashes between demonstrators and police and political instability.
"In 2011 Athens is ranked in Europe among the lowest in the personal safety ranking," Parakatil said.
Oslo also fell to 24th place in the separate safety survey because of Anders Breivik's mass killings in July. It would usually be in the top 15, Mercer said.
Baghdad's political turmoil, poor security enforcement and attacks on local people and foreigners made it the worst place to live in 2011, both in terms of life quality and safety, Mercer said.
Political and economic unrest in Africa and the Middle East also pushed down scores in those regions.
"Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably," Parakatil said.
"Political and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region."
He said that while the outlook is uncertain for most of the world because of economic and political turmoil, cities in Asia-Pacific look set to benefit thanks to political stability and solid growth.
Auckland, Sydney, Wellington, Melbourne and Perth made it into the top 20 for quality of life in 2011 while Singapore was the highest-ranking Asian city in 25th place.
Top 10 in Mercer Quality of Living survey
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Duesseldorf Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Bern Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark http://www.mercer.com/qualityoflivingpr#city-rankings
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall)

Monday, November 21, 2011

philippine Star Kitchen Spy: KC Montero

special thanks to Madam Sol Vanzi for archiving articles i have written for the Philippine Star in Philippine Headline News Online that made it possible for me to grab this and repost on my blog. 
MANILA, March 26, 2004 (STAR) KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng - The so-called MTV generation knows who KC Montero is. He is one of the lucky video jocks who is watched over MTV broadcasts around Southeast Asia and the Philippines. His job is enviable: He gets to travel free, hang out with his music idols, interview global superstars and become popular, doing all of these in front of the camera.
Some people dismiss him as just a good- looking lad who can’t speak straight Tagalog. However, he’s got talents beyond just good- looks. He can rap, dance and sing, and he has done a pretty good job of hosting as well. In fact, he has three shows on MTV – MTV Jam, Lokal, which is the local version of MTV, and Diyes, which ranks among the top 10 music videos in the country. His talents are honed by being part of the Sunday variety show SOP, airing over GMA-7, where he shares the stage with veteran entertainers Janno Gibbs, Ogie Alcasid, Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez, soul divas Jaya and Lani Misalucha. Gabby Eigenmann, hot R ’n B prince Jay-R and actor Dingdong Dantes jam with the whole crew as well. KC loves doing live shows in schools, because it offers a more personal interaction with his audience.
He models, too. His first modeling gig, which he counts as his most memorable, was in 1998 with Levi’s. He toured Cebu, Manila and Davao because of those shows. Before that, he was in the Philippines for a year, accompanying his Mexican—Filipino best friend here. He stayed mostly in the north – the Ilocos region, La Union and San Fernando – just hanging out with his buddy and his relatives. The following year, his older brother Troy Montero got an offer to model in Manila, and KC offered to go with him, since he could take Troy around town as he was here the year before. KC eventually got into modeling himself, because of his height and good looks. Standing at 6’3" with his mestizo looks, he was on his way to fame.
He dabbled in sitcoms, like Beh Bote Nga, with Aubrey Miles, Anjo Yllana and Janno Gibbs and Hiwalay Kung Hiwalay, with Assunta de Rossi, Christopher de Leon and Zsa Zsa Padilla. He also came out in a movie with Judy Ann Santos. However, his biggest break was winning the 1999 MTV VJ hunt. Together with Belinda Panelo, he started hosting MTV Philippines, the Philippine version of MTV, that is actually produced in the country.
Last Feb. 14, when he was in Singapore for the MTV Asian awards, he got to hitch a ride with the band Simple Plan to the after-event party at Equinox at the Swiss Hotel. I guess when you are an MTV VJ, you get to hang out with the music industry’s demigods and act as if you’ve been friends with them for your whole life?
But KC still gets starstruck. Unbelievable? He tells us that the first time he met Brian Mcknight, he even had to call his mom to tell her. He’s got all his albums and meeting him was a surreal experience. His mother even told Brian Mcknight on the phone that KC is his biggest fan! Well, there went his play-it-cool attitude, thanks to KC’s Filipina mom.
His other favorites are Black Eyed Peas, Simple Plan, Britney Spears and Michelle Branch.
But still first on his list of faves is Geneva Cruz.
Geneva, who is now in the States, is indeed KC’s girlfriend. Yes, he made no denials during our interview. Geneva’s son, Heaven, actually helped him in creating their kind of funny pizza. Heaven is now 7 years old and stays with KC while Geneva is abroad. It is clear that KC and Heaven have bonded well. Heaven even calls him Daddy-O. They share the same fondness for wrestling and sports and the same pet peeves in terms of TV shows. Heaven counts ketchup, buffalo chicken, fish fillet, shrimp, squid and baby octopus as his favorite foods. It is Heaven’s dream to become a chef some day, and working on his own pizza with his Daddy-O at Don Henrico’s that day, all dressed up in a toque and an apron, his dream became reality.
For the dough:
250 g. flour
7.5 g. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1tsp. salt
1 cup water
For the sauce:
2 ozs. tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
For KC’s half of the pizza:
Italian sausage
black olives

For Heaven’s half of the pizza:
Mix all the dry ingredients first, then add water. It will appear to be too dry. Do not add extra water. Keep working the dough until it is smooth. Let the dough rise once (approximately 1 hour). Push it down and knead again.
At this point, you may choose to freeze some of the dough. If you do freeze it, be sure to wrap it well and freeze it quickly. With either fresh or thawed dough, let the dough rise a second time.
After it has risen, punch it down and use it for your pizza. The dough will rise a little while you put the rest of your pizza toppings on it. Then bake.
The great thing about pizza is that you can put whatever toppings you like in the quantities that you prefer. Use mozzarella cheese for real pizza goodness. Quickmelt cheese may serve for homemade pizza.
* * *
Special thanks to Don Henricos, West Avenue for hosting the shoot. Call its easy-to-remember numbers at 3-717171 and 3-727272 for pizza delivery, party reservations and other inquiries. Thank you also to Eli Roque, Miss Tess and company of the Don Hen statistics/planning unit for their assistance.

Philippine Star Kitchen Spy: Borgy Marcos Manotoc

special thanks to pinoyexchange.com for posting this article, thus making it available for me to repost it in my blog. Thanks to you guys! 
Yes, Borgy Manotoc knows how to cook!

The Philippine STAR 05/06/2004

Who doesn’t know Fernando Martin "Borgy" Marcos Manotoc? Nicknamed after tennis great Bjorn Borg, Borgy is every girl’s dream boy. With his chiseled face, perfect teeth, lean body, and enviable lineage, he’s one of the country’s much sought after bachelors.

Borgy first stepped on the ramp for Rhett Eala who is a good friend of his half-sister. That modeling stint made him popular. Eventually, he landed a stint as a Bench endorser. Since then, there’s no stopping him. His face has graced numerous magazine covers and he now endorses Swatch watches.

His good looks might have brought him fame, but his background is enough to bring him to public attention. His grandfather, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, and his grandmother, Imelda Marcos, continue to be political figures in the country. Whether you love them or hate them is a different matter altogether. His aunt, Irene Marcos Araneta, is a regular in many society pages for her inherent style and flair, while his mom, Rep. Imee Marcos, and his uncle, Ilocos Norte Governor Bongbong Marcos, are active in politics. His dad, Tommy Manotoc, is a famous sportsman. If you don’t know Borgy, can you guess what he will be like in person by just knowing who his relations are?

You may think Borgy’s every inch the perfect American since he grew up in Hawaii and Fort Lauderdale in Florida. But he’s really more than that since his family lived in New York for six months, in Rabat, Morocco and Sintra, Portugal, 18 months in London and 5-1/2 years in Singapore.

He is currently on leave from New York City College where he is taking up advertising and public relations. Next month, he plans to go back and hopes to enter New York University this fall.

A man of the world, you might think, but no, I think he’s just smart. At 21, he has had the chance to live around the world. He doesn’t think the experience to be glamorous, but sees it as just part of growing up, making friends and moving from one city to another.

When he talks about his years abroad, his favorite memories are not of celebrities he met or of the expensive restaurants he dined in. Rather, he tells me of Snowy, the white pony he used to ride in Kensington Park in London, as well as the time he got an upset stomach from eating four dozen oysters in a hotel in Singapore.

A Marcos scion would probably be someone who could only be described as having an insular upbringing, characteristic of those in the highest circles. One would think he would be choosy about the people he chooses to hang out with, but he is quick to point out that he prefers being with his real friends who do not care about his celebrity status.

In fact, when I asked him about this, he merely answered, "There have been times I have been star-struck myself. But as much as possible, you learn something from anyone, not just celebrities or famous people. You will never really know who you will make a connection with."

He adds that race is not an issue when it comes to relationships he has had in the past. Currently, he is a certified bachelor, who is in touch with his feminine side. He admits to crying and shares that "sometimes, crying is the solution in most cases."

Being handsome and having a powerful name, you would expect women to fall head over heels over him. However, Borgy shares that he, too, has been dumped three times. It might be unbelievable, but he swears it’s true.

Many might think Borgy lives a charmed life, never having to lift a finger at home with maids, bodyguards, and drivers waiting after him. However, he tells me this is farthest from the truth.

Growing up the eldest of three siblings required him to do household chores while they were living abroad. He did the laundry and cooked breakfast for his brothers.

That is why Borgy is a good cook. He learned how to cook when he was eight years old and the family was living in Portugal. The first thing he learned was how to make omelets and cook scrambled eggs. If there was no one at home who could make dinner, he found himself in the kitchen cooking for his brothers.

He believes cooking isn’t a hobby, like reading or diving, but rather a necessity. "If you don’t do it, you die," he declares with a laugh.

He had fun cooking when I met him at Don Henrico’s West Avenue for this interview. He was Mister Suave in the kitchen, chopping onions, mincing garlic, peppering steaks, and boiling and mashing the potatoes.

He’s no spoiled brat, cleaning his mess along the way and offering to do much more. At that point, I just knew that Borgy is just your typical boy blessed with loads of charm, disarming intelligence, and sprinkled with cooking talent. Borgy’s Steaks And Potatoes

2 12-ozs. rib eye steaks
pinch of garlic salt
1/4 cup soy sauce

Marinate overnight. Grill or pan-fry as desired. Borgy’s Chunky Mashed Potatoes
3 medium-sized potatoes
3/4 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Boil the potatoes. When done, with the skin still on, mash the potatoes with a fork. Pour the milk. Add butter, cheese, salt, and pepper. Mash well. Top with bacon bits and chives. Veggies On The Side
2 carrots
400 g. long beans
onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. butter

Boil the carrots and the long beans. In another pan, sauté the onions in 1 Tbsp. butter. Add the boiled carrots and long beans. Salt and pepper to taste.

STOP killing whales and dolphins in Faroe Islands, please!

from Hoax slayer -Subject: Denmark, What a Shame


While it may seem liar even today continues to be made this time of year BRUTAL, Dantesque, bloody slaughter in the Faroe Islands, which belong to Denmark. A country supposedly 'civilization' AND EUROPEAN UNION country. For many people this attack to life is unknown , to sensitivity. IN THIS bloody slaughter to attend Moz to 'show' entering adulthood (!) Is absolutely incredible that no one does ANYTHING to prevent this barbarism that are committed against Calderon, an intelligent dolphin who has the particularity of approaching People out of sheer curiosity. fwd this everywhere, PLEASE.

Pass it on to your friends around the world! It is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!

Make Denmark STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 1

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 2

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 4

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 5

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 6

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 7

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 8

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 9

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 11

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter 10

This protest message decries the killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands and includes a series of photographs that graphically depict this bloody slaughter. The message calls on Denmark, of which the Faroe Islands is a part, to stop the slaughter and urges recipients to pass on the message in order to raise awareness of the issue.

The claims in the email are true. Such whale hunts do indeed occur in the Faroe Islands, usually during the summer months. The Faroe Islands are made up of a number of small inhabited islands. Every year, hundreds of Long-finned Pilot Whales are killed in such slaughters. The hunts are non-commercial and anyone in the island communities can join in at will. When a school of whales is spotted close to shore, messengers are dispatched to inform local inhabitants of the particular island involved. A formation of small boats is then used to drive the whales ashore, where they beach themselves in the shallow water and are killed by waiting islanders. A special whaling knife is used to sever the animal's spine near the dorsal fin. Information on a Faroe Islands website about whaling in the province describes the killing process:
Men gather on the shore to kill the beached whales. Ideally, most of the whales will strand far enough up on shore that it is unnecessary to secure them. However, those remaining in the shallows must be secured and hauled closer. Traditionally, this is done by driving a steel hook, or gaff, with a rope attached to it into the back of the whale. A new blunt hook inserted into an airsac in the whale’s blowhole has now been widely tested in practice and it is hoped that this new equipment may eventually replace the traditional gaff as the standard method for securing whales. The whale is killed using a sharp knife to cut down to sever the spinal cord, which also severs the major blood supply to the brain, ensuring both the loss of consciousness and death within seconds.
These whale kills have occurred in the Faroe Islands for hundreds of years and are considered by Islanders to be an important part of their social culture. It is generally only Faroese men who take part in the killings while female islanders look on. The whale hunts have caused international outrage and have been roundly condemned as unnecessary and barbaric by conservation and animal rights groups around the world. However, Faroe Islanders vigorously defend their right to engage in the hunts. A Wikipedia entry on the subject notes:
Most Faroese maintain that it is their right to catch pilot whales given that they have done so for centuries. The Faroese whalers defend their actions before international organizations like Greenpeace with three arguments: one, that grindadráp is not a hunt as such, but a dráp meaning a kill (ie that they do not regularly take to sea just to hunt for pilot whales, but only kill those which are sighted swimming to close at land); two, that the pilot whale hunt does not exist for commercial reasons, but for internal food distribution among households; and three, they do not believe the pilot whale to be an endangered species.
They further argue that most people in the modern world have become so far removed from the harsh realities of animal food production that they have formulated unrealistic notions of how food actually gets to their tables.

However, conservation organisations do not consider these factors to be valid arguments for the continuation of the slaughters. They argue that modern day Faroe Islanders have ample food and do not require whale meat to survive as in earlier centuries. Moreover, they point out that Pilot Whales in the region are known to have high levels of mercury, PCBs and environmental poisons and excessive consumption of whale meat could be detrimental to the health of Islanders.

In spite of its cultural significance, the continuation of the practise is very difficult to convincingly defend and even some Faroe Islanders have began opposing it.

It should be noted that, although the Faroe Islands are indeed a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, they are largely an autonomous entity. A home-rule law was brought into effect in 1948 which gave the Faroe Islands a considerable degree of political independence from Denmark. The Faroese are self governing in most matters other than foreign affairs, the legal system and defence. Furthermore, although Denmark is certainly part of the European Union, the Faroe Islands are not. Information about the Faroe Islands on theUK Trade & Investment website notes:
Denmark granted the Faroe Islands a measure of Home Rule as a self-governing populace in 1948. Over the years the ties to Denmark have gradually relaxed so that, whilst being part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the islands have their own parliament and flag and issue their own bank notes and stamps. The special status of the Faroe Islands means that their policies and tax regimes do not always coincide, indeed some differ greatly, with those of Denmark. For example, the Faroe Islands are not a member of the European Union and all trade is governed by special treaties with the EU. In November 2003 the Faroe Islands agreed with the EU and acceeded to membership of the Pan-European System of Cumulation of Origin. In principle this is a mutual free-trade agreement.
Thus, demanding that Denmark put a stop to the slaughter may not be the most effective approach. The continuation of international condemnation and pressure to stop the whale kills might be more effectively aimed directly to the Faroe Islanders themselves.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

From Yahoo sports- Tearjerker!

While most of the talk from Saturday's game between the Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres is focused around Milan Lucic's(notes) run at Ryan Miller(notes), the game also featured another moment worth revisiting.
In honour of the Veteran's Day weekend, the Bruins invited Darren and Lori Jacobs, the parents of Lt. Charles Jacobs, currently serving overseas, to drop the ceremonial puck. For the past seven months, Charles has been in Afghanistan with the 182nd infantry of the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Or better, "had" been. Unbeknownst to his parents, the Bruins brought him home on leave to join them at centre ice and present them with the puck. Watch and weep:
Pretty awesome.
Here's an exercise: watch Mrs. Jacobs the entire time and try not to get misty-eyed. I submit that, if you're human, it's nigh impossible, like listening to Adele's "Someone Like You". In terms of moments that induce sobbing, it's up there with the last 15  minutes of "Toy Story 3".
I feel like I've divulged too much.
Lastly, it's a common observation, but Zdeno Chara(notes) is pretty tall, huh? With his arms hanging down at his side, his elbows are nearly above Mrs. Jacobs's head.

Philippine Star Kitchen Spy: Erik Santos

Cooking with the talented Erik Santos
KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng (The Philippine Star) Updated November 30, 2006 12:00 AM Comments (0)View comments

Erik Santos has become a familiar face and voice because of his numerous hits, such as It Might Be You, I Believe I Can Fly, This Is The Moment, Pagbigyan Muli, Di Ko Kaya, Now That I Have You, I’ll Never Go, and many more. Not bad for a young guy who only became familiar to many TV viewers for being the grand champion on Star in a Million 2003.

Talent is something Erik definitely has, and it seems that the lucky stars are smiling upon him. Avid viewers of reality-based talent shows will remember that Erik had earlier been eliminated from the contest; he was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the contestants to return to the show when they needed new talent. Months of grueling and intense competition followed, and he survived further elimination, eventually landing a spot in the finals. He recalls, "Bumawi sa last night. That night para akong sinapian ng 10 angels. In my mind, I was already satisfied to be runner-up, but noong kumanta na ako, nagbago ang ikot ng mundo ko (I recovered on the last night. It was as if 10 angels were watching over me. In my mind, I was already satisfied to be runner-up, but when I sang, my world turned for the better)."

As champion, he received a house and lot worth P1 million, a recording contract, and a hosting stint on ASAP. He adds: "Akala ko, doon na natapos ’yun, but mas naging triple pa ang blessings. Nag-multiply. Nakabili ako ng sasakyan, bahay (I thought it would all end with that, but my blessings tripled. It multiplied. I was able to buy a car, a house). I had concerts abroad. Nakasama ko ang mga biggest stars sa Philippines, Middle East and the US. I was able to perform with Regine Velasquez, Pops Fernandez, Gary Valenciano, Sharon Cuneta, Lea Salonga, Martin Nievera, Vina Morales and my co-champions, like Sarah Geronimo, Christian Bautista, Sheryn Regis and Mark Bautista."

What is charming about Erik is that he is down-to-earth. He knows too well that all these are blessings. He is not boastful, still very refined, even if he obviously gets excited talking about his accomplishments.

In 2004, he went on to win Aliw Awards’ Best New Male Artist and Best New Male Artist. He also won the People’s Choice Awards’ Most Promising Balladeer, and the Star Awards’ Most Promising New Male Artist 2004. In 2006, he was awarded Pinoy Music Awards’ Most Favorite Song by a Male Recording Artist, and MYX Awards’ Most Favorite Male Artist 2006. And why not? Despite being a newbie, his album "Star In A Million" has gone double platinum, "This Is The Moment" went triple platinum, and "Loving You Now" has already reached platinum. His latest album, "Erik Santos: Your Love" has the carrier single Your Love and Maging Sino Ka Man, which is the theme song for the new teleserye on ABS-CBN.

On the concert front, he will have a repeat concert of "When Erik Met Rufa: The Repeat" at the Aliw Theater. He will also be going abroad this November and December touring the Middle East and the United States.

He surely deserves all the breaks he is getting. Talent is not something he lacks. In fact, he was born with it. Erik grew up in a family of singers. His brother sings in a band, his father was a member of a combo and plays the clarinet, while his sisters can belt out a tune as well.

The talent translates to the kitchen, too. Both his parents cook. His paternal lolo actually owned a restaurant in Malabon and was popular for his puto bumbongkare-kare, and bibingka, and is known to make the best okoy in Malabon. Aside from his family’s influence, he learned cooking during his school’s observance of Nutrition Month, during which he trained in cooking pasta and chicken pastel. This recipe he shares today he got from watching an episode of Del Monte Kitchenomics when he was younger. Who would have thought that the young boy who used to watch a lot of television would be the same young talent watched by millions of televiewers?
Erik Santos’ Pininyahang Manok
1 whole chicken
1 can pineapple tidbits
2 onions, chopped
Garlic, ground
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can liver spread
1 can Nestlé cream
2-1/2 cups evaporated milk
2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
4 medium-sized red and green bell peppers
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 kilo sausage

Heat the pan and add oil. Sauté garlic until it turns golden brown. Add onions, then mix in the chicken. Wait for 15 minutes until the meat softens. Then add the liver spread and the water. Mix well. Add the Nestlé cream and evaporated milk at the same time. Mix until liquid boils. Season with salt and pepper. Add pineapple tidbits, sausage, and bell peppers to the mix. Cover for five minutes untilcooked.
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E-mail comments to starkitchenspy@yahoo.com.

Philippine Star Kitchen Spy: Rachel and Barney Alejandro

MANILA, April 25, 2005
(STAR) KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng - Rachel and Barney Alejandro turn heads wherever they go. With their tanned skin and toned bodies, it is hard not to notice them. The sisters make you feel like you really want to go on a diet after seeing them. However, they are quick to point out that the bodies they have now are products of changing lifestyle habits, instead of just doing fad diets.
In fact, Barney says she used to be 20 pounds overweight, and would nag her friend’s mom why she was so thin and sexy. She later learned that her friend’s mother was a vegetarian and did yoga. Not quite ready to shun meat from her life, Barney then turned to making lifestyle changes that resulted in her desirable body. Both she and celebrity sister Rachel have turned to eating and cooking low-fat dishes. They now buy wheat bread instead of the usual white; they avoid using refined or white flour; and they use olive oil on their bread.
They say, "It is all about choosing the right foods. Let’s say instead of using ricotta cheese, we just use 98 percent fat-free cottage cheese. We eat brown rice and we have learned to substitute bad ingredients with healthy ones."
Incidentally, it was the sexy mother of Barney’s friend that inspired her to change her eating habits. She gave Barney a cookbook and a spice rack as a gift that really inspired her to cook, since she already had her first tools. And Rachel encouraged Barney by buying her more cookbooks, so she could cook healthy dishes for them. After that, more people learned that Barney could cook healthy dishes and started asking her to cook and deliver food to them. Thus, their catering business started to take off.
They do the cooking and delivering to people who want a healthier alternative to homestyle cooking. They also cater to people with food allergies. They are even working on producing a fat-free dessert line. It’s like sort of saying that you can now have your cake and eat it, too! Their specialties include meatballs made with low-fat cheese, and stuffed green bell peppers with melted cheese. Now, they are sharing with Philippine STAR readers their delicious recipes for Japanese sukiyaki and Chicken Capri.
When Rachel leaves for Alaska and Europe soon for a concert tour for The Filipino Channel, her sister Barney will be running the catering business with the help of the many cookbooks Rachel gave her for inspiration.
She now finds her newfound passion more fulfilling than her comfortable former job as a preschool teacher. Rachel encouraged her to go back to school, leave her comfort zone, and make a sacrifice. The sisters both love the movie Million Dollar Baby because it tells people to put their selves out there and that you have to sacrifice to get what you want. "Never settle" is the sisters’ mantra.
Moreover, the play Rent influenced them both with its inspiring message of going for what you want and living life to the hilt because, as the cliché goes, life is too short. Barney is going full blast with their catering business, while Rachel will be having a series of concerts in the States and Europe with dad Hajji Alejandro, going around provincial tours with Ogie Alcasid, following up her demo album and shopping around for a record label in the States.
While working on their business, Barney still finds time to go salsa dancing with her boyfriend, take belly dancing lessons and play badminton. Surely, these women know how to work hard and play hard, too. Isn’t that what life is all about?
1.5 kg beef, sukiyaki cut
leeks, 1-inch slices of white and green parts
1 head Baguio pechay
1 box tofu, cubed
For the sauce:
10 cups beef broth, made with 10 cups water and five beef cubes
1-2/3 cups Kikkoman sauce
1-1/4 cups mirin
1-1/4 cups sugar
Sauté beef and leeks in canola oil and set aside. Combine all sauce ingredients in a pot and add the pechay. Heat the sauce until pechay is cooked. Add the beef, leeks, and cubed tofu. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Chicken Capri
20 chicken breasts, big-sized
2-1/2 cups reduced-fat cottage cheese
1 liter tomato sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups grated reduced-fat cheese
2-1/2 tsps. oregano
3/4 tsp. salt and pepper, each
garlic powder
Process cottage cheese with oregano, salt and pepper, and set aside. Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides. Place on a Pyrex dish. Pour cottage cheese mixture on top.
For the sauce, sauté onion and garlic. Add tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken. Top with grated cheese. Bake on gas six for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. Serves 10.
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Thank you for your letters and suggestions. E-mail starkitchenspy@yahoo.com.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
All rights reserved

Philippine Star Kitchen Spy: Regine Velasquez

November 10,2005
The Philippine Star
Kitchen Spy
by:Heidi Ng

***the other article was all about reflections only so i just have to share the cooking part..hehe***

"We had a househelp,but she didn't know how to cook.So,Iwould experiment with cooking.That's how I discovered I could cook pala."

The recipe for tuna she shares today is her diet fish."I guess ang mga mahilig magluto ay mga taong mahilig kumain.Basta marunong kang manggisa,you can learn how to cook.Nag-uumpisa naman sa gisa lahat eh.(I guess people who love to cook also love to eat.As long as you know how to saute,you can learn how to cook.Everything starts with just a little sauteing.)"

Someone gave her a cookbook and she followed the recipes there.She feels very proud to have been able to bake lasagna the first time she followed the recipe.She also makes delicious French toast.Her sister Dianne adds,"Masipag si Ate magluto.When we were single pa,we had dates,like we would go malling,and we would ask Ate to cook,and magaagawan kami sa mga niluluto niya(we would make a grab for her cooking)."However, REgine normally does not follow recipes and cooks by taste,so she just gave us the ingredients and procedures,giving Philippine STAR readers leeway on how to personalize the recipes according to their individual tastes.Happy cooking!

olive oil
black olives
fresh tomatoes
angelhair pasta,cooked according to package directions.

Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil.Add the tuna,black olives,capers and anchovies.Add the fresh tomatoes and crush into the mixture.Finally, add the cooked pasta.

spicy tuyo,bottled
spaghetti,cooked according to package directions
olive oil

Saute the garlic in olive oil.Add the tuyo.When done,add the cooked spaghetti.

whole kernel corn
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
fish sauce(patis)

Shred the lettuce.Place in a bowl.Add the drained tuna,drained corn and shredded crabsticks.Boil the eggplant and slice into half.add to the greens.Mix the balsamic vinegar with olive oil.Add patis or pepper to taste.Pour over dalad greens.

Philippine Star Kitchen Spy: Phoemela Baranda

Phoemela Baranda is a DIY snack master
KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng (The Philippine Star) Updated March 10, 2005 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

People who know Phoemela Baranda swear she can be crazy and funny. She is a child trapped in a woman’s body. For her age, she has amassed a great resume, a successful modeling portfolio, and a burgeoning television hosting career. Most famous for having been part of the top-rating show, Extra Challenge, she can only relive stories about her stint with the GMA-7reality program. She cannot forget rappelling down a billboard on EDSA, diving in Boracay with very little time to actually learn the sport, and playing a taong grasa on Roxas Blvd. It was a truly humbling experience for Phoem.

"Pinalakad kami sa Roxas Blvd. rummaging through trash cans. When you see people doing it, you begin to realize and appreciate what you have that other people don’t," she shares.

Her 10 months with the show proved to be a memorable one. Controversies aside, she can only count her blessings for being part of the program. Because of her exposure on Extra Challenge, she was awarded the PMPC Star Award for Best Female Host. She adds, "It is really because of the show that I became known by the masa crowd."

She just wrapped up a one-month hosting gig for Morning Star and is now seen Sundays on the showbiz talk show The Buzz as segment host for "Barangay Buzz." This time, she brings celebrities to barangays, so the artistas can be personally interviewed to make them more popular with the viewers.

However, this model was long known in the modeling world before she joined showbiz. She started in the business at 13, modeling forbeauty products. She always looked up to Tweetie de Leon as a role model ever since she was little. She tried out as a Pink Soda Club member, but only managed to place seventh. Alas, when the sixth placer backed out for some reason, she was called in to take her place. Pink Soda’s six included hunk-of-the-moment Wendell Ramos and supermodel Grace Tagle.

She was later invited by top model Apples Aberin to join the Professional Models Association of the Philippines. She went to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Thailand for regional shampoo commercials, and later to the romantic city of Florence for a De Beers diamond campaign. After her Florence shoot, the group even went to culturally hip Rome. Talk about the perks of being a model!

Even though Phoem gets good breaks in commercials, modeling and TV hosting, she is seriously thinking of pursuing her masters and try to be better in the kitchen. Her do-it-yourself snacks include: her version of mango crumble using Graham crackers, ripe mangoes, and vanilla ice cream topping; a version of Smores using Graham crackers to sandwich Wrigley’s chocolate-covered marshmallows; and her baked tahong topped with mozzarella cheese, garlic and pizza sauce.

I wonder how this snack-a-holic can be so fit! She gorges on high-calorie snacks, loves chicken feet, dim sum and spareribs rice from Le Ching, and is not gym-obsessed. It must be in her genes.

Do try her version of pasta puttanesca. It tastes just right, not too salty, and does not pack a wallop of calories unlike her sweet snacks.Bon appetito!
Phoem’s Puttanesca
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. onion, minced
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 anchovy fillet
2 Tbsps. capers
2 Tbsps. black olives
250 g. spaghetti noodles
3 whole peeled tomatoes
50 g. green and red bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 small can tomato sauce

Cook the spaghetti noodles in a pot for 15 minutes or till al dente. In a sauce pan, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil. Pour in small can of tomato sauce, add the bell peppers and anchovy fillet. Throw in the capers and olives together with the whole peeled tomatoes. Squash the tomatoes. Toss the spaghetti noodles into the pan. Add onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
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Thanks for your letters! E-mail the author at starkitchenspy@yahoo.com.