From Our Table to Yours



from our table to yours cover.indd


Before I got my new the new kitchen, I cooked probably twice a year. I knew I could cook but I just didn’t enjoy it. I told myself (and Patrick) that if I got my dream kitchen, I would be a lot more interested in cooking. And it’s true. Now I cook almost every other day — ranging from breakfast fare to simple stir fry veggies, osso buco, bacalao a la Vizcayna, baby back ribs, all sorts of chicken dishes and a weekly baking activity with the kids. I thank google for many recipes but I rely a lot on my parents and my brother for family recipes and the more important wisdom and tricks.

I’m so glad there is a new recipe book that compiles some family recipes from the Philippines’ top foodies. In From Our Table to Yours: A Collection of Heirloom Recipes and Family Memories, chef Angelo Comsti shares generations-old and time-tested recipes. It is a treasure trove of stories, heirloom recipes and family memories from some of the country’s most influential foodies such as Antonio Escalante of Antonio’s (who shares my favourite Ilonggo dish Kadyos with Pork), Joel Binamira of Zubuchon, Aileen Anastacio of Goodies N’ Sweets and Pixie Sevilla-Santos of Forget Me Not Specialty Cakes.

There are more than 50 recipes featuring main dishes, snacks and desserts with personal photos and short stories accompanying each recipe. Some of the recipes which have clear step-by-step instructions and food preparation tips include: beef shank soup (pochero), stewed pork knuckle (estofadong pata), caramel custard (leche flan), prawns with coconut milk and bilimbi fruit, fried pork spring rolls and Christmas cheese balls.


Angelo Comsti_1
Angelo Comsti graduated with a degree in professional culinary studies at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, Australia and has long been working with food. He is a food writer for TV and various print and digital periodicals and a food and prop stylist for magazines, print ads, billboards, restaurant menus and cookbooks.


From Our Table to Yours: A Collection of Heirloom Recipes and Family Memories is exclusively available for P795 in National Book Store, Powerbooks and Bestsellers branches. Shop online at Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for the latest events, promos and contests.



Pepito’s Pinoy Sorbet



Pia and Nor Domingo


Meet my friends Pia and Nor Domingo. Pia is my friend from childhood. Her husband Nor may look familiar. He is an actor who’s done a number of commercials and movies. He appeared in Philippine Educational Theater’s “Haring Lear” (a Tagalog adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” featuring an all-male cast) as Goneril and a restaging of “Care Divas” as Jonie. He was also in the KC Concepcion-Richard Gutierrez movie filmed in Santorini and a number of  more current ones. Nor also works behind the camera as a cinematographer and director.

In between acting stints, Nor thought of starting a small enterprise. He did some research and taught himself how to make sorbet – Pepito’s Pinoy Sorbet. It is now a real family business with their kids Pepe and Pilar helping out at times. While Nor creates the sorbets, Pia does the management side as she is used to running a home-based food business, having been a wedding cake baker at some point.

Pepito’s Pinoy Sorbet is a homemade frozen dessert made from all-natural flavors with no artificial colors, low on fat, zero cholesterol and 100% yummy!!! They only make flavors with fruits found in the Philippines.






Me: Why and how did you come up with the idea of getting into the homemade sorbet business?
Nor: Why? The real answer is I was really getting depressed that my work was taking me away from my kids too much. It was really getting painful everytime I see my kids faces everytime I leave and they ask how long I’ll be away. Iana would start counting the days before I even step out of the house.These were precious times. Pretty soon they’ll stop caring and the roles will reverse. I don’t want to miss this and regret! So I thought why not start a business I can do at home? I can work at the same time be with them.

Me: What was the inspiration behind creating Filipino sorbets?
Nor: The original plan was opening an Italian Ice store much like the one I go to in Staten Island. About the time I was perfecting my product, Italian Ice kiosks opened in a couple of places. I had to think of a way to be different from them. I can’t remember who (probably Pia) suggested that to make it unique, I should try making sorbets with local fruits. I thought it was a great idea! Get a product that is ‘foreign’ and give it a Pinoy flavor! It could be attractive to locals and at the same time showcasing Philippine fruits to tourists in a form that is refreshing and familiar to them.

Me: What are the flavours of Pepito’s Pinoy Sorbet?
Nor: Our current flavors are Sampaloc, Guyabano, Passionfruit, Dalandan, Avocado Berry, Pinya’t Sili and Santol. I make Kamias but only when our tree bears fruit. But I always make it a point to come out with a new one every month.








Pepito’s Pinoy Sorbet is available at P190 per pint. Half-gallon (4 pints) and one-gallon 8 pints) orders accepted, at least three days in advance.

It is available at 241 Connecticut St., Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City. Also at Connie’s Kitchen Deli, 4th St. cor. Broadway Ave., Quezon City and The Food Bin, Katipunan Ave. Ext. inside Wham Burger compound.

Aug31 at Mercato Centrale BGC from 7pm to 12mn

Call 925-5817, 0920-907-2901 to 02. Or check out their Facebook page.



Gluten-free vanilla cupcakes



I really love my new kitchen. Since it started operating, I think I have improved my cooking skills. I should say, at least I have increased my interest in cooking and baking. I’m not yet brave enough to show you photos or share recipes. Perhaps one day…

Yesterday the kids and I baked cupcakes. Now I won’t pretend to be Martha Stewart. I’ve used boxed bake mixes. Hey, I like to keep our lives simple. But lately I haven’t been seeing Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines and other brands on the shelves. I haven’t seen any of those canned frosting either.  Then I saw Stonewall Kitchen‘s gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes (mix) in Rustan’s and decided to give it a try.


Baking gluten free vanilla cupcakes with Lily.
Lily and I waited 20 minutes for the cupcakes to rise. The mix instructions are easy. Just add butter and egg. So if you are allergic to dairy, this isn’t for you. Please look for substitutes.


Waiting for our vanila cupcakes to cool. Then we frost. #vanillacupcakes
Lily chose from our pretty cupcake liners. We have a huge collection (because I love to acquire them). These are from my sister Johanna in Toronto. Here they are waiting to cool. Note, the vanilla part smells so good! The entire house was salivating…


Finished product by Soph, Lily & Stella. Food colouring freaks me out. But boy, did we have fun mixing them.
The frosting mix comes in powder form. You have to add milk and butter then blend. It’s all white. My kids have been watching a lot of Nerdy Nummies (she is awesome!) and told me that it’s easy to turn the frosting into different colours. Lo and behold I just happened to have food colouring in my pantry (have no idea why). And we came up with purple and pink! The sprinkles were purchased in Toronto but they’re all over baking stores here in Manila.


The verdict? YUMMY! All three kids loved it. My brother in law who is trying to have a gluten-free diet loved it! Patrick and I loved it. I’m buying more!

Back to school food



Comfort food
Chicken fingers


This is for those whose kids have gone back to school. I need your help please.

Every year I struggle with my kids’ lunch. They are not of the age where they can be left alone to buy food at the cafeteria. (My eldest may be capable of handling money, but I’m not ready to trust her with daily lunch choice, haha. And she prefers to bring lunch from home.)

Aside from chicken fingers, like the photo above, I need easy, quick ideas to add to our menu. We do our chicken fingers and fish fillet from scratch because the packaged ones come with artificial flavours. There are a few extra steps but everyone is used to it. Sometimes we do adobo, cooked the night before. We also do fried egg with cheese. It’s just been the third day of school and I’m already running out of ideas. Help, please. And feel free to add snack ideas.

Please post in comment section. Thanks!!!



My sister’s “Everything-free Brownies”



My sister's brownies. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and lacto-ovo-free. It's all good. #brownies @tipsyo
My instagram caption for this, “My sister’s brownies. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and lacto-ovo-free. It’s all good. #brownies @tipsyo”


Who knew a photo of fudge brownies would get so many readers asking for a recipe? We had this for dessert tonight at my sister’s house. She has a toddler who’s got some food allergies. In an effort to manage his food needs, my sister changed her and her husband’s diet as well.

Even before Gwyneth released her cookbook on gluten-free meals, my sister was already living this lifestyle. The past couple of months have taught me a lot about managing food allergies because of my little nephew. And yet I still know so little. My kids don’t have allergies, thank goodness. But I, on the other hand, am starting to show intolerance toward seafood and shell fish, I think. I’m not really so sure. I am still in denial. I’ve loved shell fish my whole life. So those are my issues.

Back to the brownies.

My sister made an allergen-free batch of brownies. Everyone loved it — the other toddler nephews, my daughters and all of us adults. It was chewy, moist and chocolatey! It contains no nuts, no eggs, no gluten, no milk. And it had dairy-free chocolate chips!

She got the recipe from Imperrfections blog. I’m reposting it…

(makes one 8×8 pan)

1/3 C white rice flour (or any gluten-free all purpose flour)
1/3 C white sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
1/4 C oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

optional: 1/3 C dairy-free chocolate chips (my sister used dark chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8×8 inch square baking dish. In a medium size bowl, mix together the rice flour, cornstarch, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add applesauce, oil, and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips then spread batter in the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or so. My sister cut them into one bite pieces.


My sister doesn’t have a blog or a public Instagram account, yet. We are encouraging her to start one. I think if she did, she could be of help to so many parents whose kids are dealing with food allergies. Or anyone on a special diet. She has so many awesome recipes!

Speaking of allergies, in the US 1 out of 13 kids has a food allergy. It’s a serious issue. And tomorrow is the start of Food Allergy Awareness Week. I got this info from my friend Heidi G. Find out more here. Please spread the word.

Anyone in the Philippines dealing with food allergies? Feel free to share your stories, recipes, links in the comment section. Thank you!