Ugu Bigyan: Light and Easy Filipino Fare

I was very lucky that Ugu Bigyan’s was part of the itinerary during our short vacation with our relatives. It’s not my first visit but it is always lovely to go there. Sure I feel sorry that I can’t flood this blog with photos of the food we had. But not that sorry because I couldn’t bring myself to stop people from enjoying it sooner. I didn’t hold back myself and had a piece of the action. I glanced at my camera a couple of times and thought, Nah, I’ll do that another time. We weren’t hungry. In fact we had a heavy eat all you can breakfast at Villa Escudero just a few hours before getting to Ugu Bigyan’s in Tiaong. But it was as if we were starving when we ate.

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I’m far from being eloquent which is why I often hope the pictures would do the talking but let me try at least. Ugu Bigyan’s menu was simple and straightforward Filipino fare. I loved it that nothing was too overpowering and you can still have the natural taste of food: the hint of sweetness and flavor of the sea was in the seafood they served including shrimp, clams, mussels, fish and squid. I welcomed the original dishes which did have refreshing twists. But, nothing was bold to make it too far modern from the Filipino recipe. The pako salad had apples. The ginataang hipon was deshelled and deveined. There were no shells in the ginisang tahong. The ensaladang talong had gata. The sweet and sour fish had soft tofu bits in its sauce. The calamares was paired with a light sour chili dip. Everything from the soup to the dessert was light to the palate, very Filipino and perfectly complementary with each other.

Complete Menu:

  • halaan soup
  • ginisang tahong
  • pako salad
  • ginataang hipon
  • sweet and sour fish
  • calamares
  • ensaladang talong
  • barbecue spareribs
  • kapeng barako
  • ginumis

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Of course the food is only one of many reasons to visit. Check out my older post about the ambiance here.

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30-minute New Year Feast by Ina

We usually spend New Years’ at one of my uncles’ so our family went gaga when that did not happen. I went crazy in the kitchen and prepared a 5-course feast out of random food items in the fridge in a little less than 30 minutes.

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  1. The soup was easy because there was a packet of chicken and vegetables and all I had to do was heat it and serve it with parmesan cheese.
  2. I was also lucky that we had half a loaf of whole wheat bread. Toasted bread is already fancy with butter but I just had to add truffle honey.
  3. the salad was simply made of wansuy, mandarin oranges, spiced almonds and honey (all of which were leftovers I had to live with)
  4. I sliced morcon into small pieces and just tossed it with cooked pasta before a drizzle of chili oil and sprinkling of truffle salt.
  5. The tomato-based pasta with slivers of fresh garlic and chopped onion also had a drizzling of truffle oil.
My family left to eat out and went back home with Chinese takeout (Kowloon specifically) because all of the establishments were close. Haha papa! That’s what you get for not listening to your eldest who knows everything. and I mean everything!
I used up a pair of red candles I’ve been saving for about 7 years to make this meal more special. Happy New Year!

Menu: Karlos and Papa’s Tapas!

And so I prepared my camera and got ready to take a lot of pictures. It’s the first ever tapas party I mainly planned and executed and I ended up with a few shots of sliced vegetables in the beginning and the aftermath of barely there food platters in the end. So, just like any other party I have planned I’ve no photos to brag about. And like all those other instances, I hate Phil for knowing I want pictures of everything and not doing anything about it. No matter. As much as I sucked in the documentation part, Papa and Karlos’ joint celebration was a huge success. I’m good! Haha.

I – nuts/laing over French baguette and Focaccia/Spanish sardines

II – sliced meats platter (salami, chorizo, pepperoni etc)

III- shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes + olives + cheeses

III – baked mussels and stove-top gambas

V – twice cooked rosemary beef, fried eggplant and potatoes, green capsicums and white onion served with sour cream

VI- coffee (care of Phil) and leche flan (something I really want to learn!)

The good news is that I did take photos of half of the food served but not on the day itself. I have no photos of the platters I arranged but more or less this post can illustrate the gastronomic affair. Enjoy!

Missing from the pictures: gambas, potatoes, eggplant, Leche flan

Irene prepared laing and Phil took care of the coffee.

The rest is me with a bit of assistance from Irene and Mylin. Also I’d like to point out that I also took care of the layout/setup. (Yes naghugas din, as always). Cheers!

Menu: Tea Party and Fondue for Jodi and Andre (TPFJA) haha!

Most of the time I am not too happy about not following the menu as planned. And no it doesn’t help even if I know few people take notice. But anyway, I have more hits than misses so I guess it’s not as bad as I think it is.

<-(what the fuck! this photo?! is that really the best I can manage)

The tea party was one big mess. The candles went missing and there weren’t any tea light candles available at the nearest marts and fondue without candles is no less a nightmare. Phil screwed up the coffee many times over. First he used ugly cups. Second he let the guests have their way with the sugar and creamer. Third he leaves out milk. I worked hard to clean the balcony and make it look as pretty as I could and my effort goes to waste with those mugs he used. I love coffee and I always make it either too bitter or too sweet but Phil sort of gets away with his random measurements but he didn’t do it for the guests at the time. and Coffeemate?! Seriously?

alright.

I missed out on making my tropical shrimp because I forgot to ask someone to get me fresh shrimp paste. I skipped making pesto cream because there’s no more time. I skipped making applets salad because the jalapeno we bought were too mushy. I also ended up serving pasta because all of them haven’t had lunch yet. There was a misunderstanding because I said it’s a tea party and I guess everyone assumed it was just a theme and not a real “tea party”. I served chicken fritters and forgot about the gravy and the dip. The mashed potatoes were served cold because our microwave oven is busted. Plus I think the hot and humid weather was really bad for the milk in the potatoes.

That’s a mouthful… Moving on to fondue.

The cheese fondue was a mixture of Edam, cheap quickmelt and parmesan. I thought it was perfect for first timers because I was a little bit shocked at the bitter tones of the cheese fondue we had at Old Swiss Inn when we had our first. I am really not as hot as mixing liquor or liqueurs. The selection included shrimp, slices of roast beef and steamed asparagus that I overcooked. haha. For the chocolate fondue, the choice was between dark chocolate buttons and a slice of semi sweet bar. I made french toast cubes out of whole wheat bread. There were also chilled slices of mango, melon, apple plus a banana bunch for some tang and texture. There was a huge pack of sliced almonds and an almost finished jar of maple syrup. Both would have been lovely only if they weren’t that full and if I did not take too long looking for the stupid tea light candles.

For drinks, there’s real iced tea with slices of oranges, coffee murdered by Phil and standby soda cans in the fridge. And oh, how can I forget, that as always I did not take much pictures of the food, what I did to the place and the people holding my big coffee cups because I was too busy cooking and looking for the candles. hahaha. Cheers tayo diyan!

Oh and Jodi brought cakes! (and pistachio ice cream spells greed!!!)

Menu: Breakfast for Dinner

I wasn’t at all ready to prepare for a grand feast so soon but as I felt we really had to, I opted for a simpler menu. That is precisely why I chose breakfast for dinner.

  • tapa
  • salted egg salsa
  • tinapa cheese sticks/ chili cheese sticks
  • sausage medley
  • saba & tapioca

The tapa was quite easy with garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. The most difficult thing about that is probably waiting for the meat to be tender. If you want it spicier, you can make use of chili flakes or siling labuyo. However, I am more sensitive of people who don’t dig spicy food so I just let them add their heat on their own.

The salted egg, red onions, tomatoes and green chili were cut into smaller pieces before mixing in a bit of vinegar. I topped it with Italian cilantro and served it on a bed of shredded lettuce. Its a little bit salty but it was my intention as the taste of my tapa is not overpowering.

Flaked tinapa, chopped red onions and quickmelt made up my tinapa cheese sticks. Meanwhile the chili cheese sticks simply had a halved green chili along with the slice of cheese. For this recipe I used lumpia wrapper. I have tasted chili cheese sticks many times so I didn’t need to taste it. The tinapa cheese sticks however is something new so I am a bit annoyed I forgot to taste it. I was planning to make honey mustard dressing for these two. I guess I got too busy.

The sausage medley wasn’t really a part of the original menu. It was supposedly just for back up if ever the there wasn’t enough tapa. I still cooked it however for variation. It’s just basically made of three kinds of sausages (bilbao, Purefoods angus  & Swiss Deli’s mini hungarian). I just sauteed garlic and onion and mixed the sausages with a bit of Sriracha.

And finally I am quite happy with the dessert (a rarity for TSG affairs). Mylin prepared minatamis na saba and we served it with tapioca pearls for everyone’s enjoyment. I actually bought eggs for that evening and I was planning to ask how they want their eggs but… Well, most of the time not everything I plan unfolds. But it was alright. Krissy, Karlo and the rest chipped in for beer. It was just right for the occasion.

Paul who was out of the country for a long time came to visit. It was also the first time that Jat, Jonas and Gia joined us for dinner. Cheers for more! (No pictures of the food were taken. Damn.)

5: Leftover Makeover for Fia’s Party Menu

This post is #1 under the category leftover makeover!

Alright. So for Fia’s surprise birthday costume party the menu comprised of pumpkin soup + baked mussels + mushroom and spinach in cream + classic spaghetti-oh + mexi chicken with sour cream and vegetables. As usual, I was too busy doing stunts in the kitchen to actually think of taking pictures of the food. Boo. Yep, no pictures for this post. But I have other tricks up my sleeve. For this post, I’ll give a sampling of what I do with leftovers.

  1. I used the leftover pasta sauce as filling. First I sliced some onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. Next, I grated a bit of cheese. Then I spread the pasta sauce over a tortilla before adding the others and folding it like a sandwich. I toasted it until I got the cheese melted. And there you have it, instant heavy snack of hot quesadillas from the leftover pasta sauce.
  2. As for the leftover pumpkin soup, I turned it into a different kind of sauce. First I sauteed finely sliced garlic and diced tomatoes then fried slices of ham to a crisp. I mixed the pumpkin soup and stirred the noodles in. I added a bit of parmesan. They say it tasted like palabok but I think it’s psychological because of the color.
  3. Some corn, red capsicum and yellow capsicum were still in the fridge so I mixed those with jalapenos, added some lettuce, then I drizzled olive oil, sour cream and a lot of sriracha before putting a bit of grated cheese on top. The result is a hot and refreshing salad.
  4. I also used the same set of veggies (red capsicum, yellow capsicum and corn) for a breakfast omelette. If you want something a bit more complicated, a bit of seafood such as squid or shrimp and a bit of sweet sausages are more than enough to whip up tasty fried rice.
  5. Lastly, the leftover pasta sauce can also be used as topping over hotdogs. Just like the quesadillas, I added tomatoes, jalapenos and onions but if you have more then you can make it fancier. You can add  lettuce, pineapple, green capsicums,  mustard and ketchup. It’s a filling snack for hyperactive teenagers like my brother.

I’m gonna prepare a grand dinner again next week so we’ll see if I can make a second post under this category. It’s quite challenging and it interests me so! Cheers!