Just desserts

I know, another food related post! I originally intended to post these individually photos over several days but never got around to it. So, in a post that’s enough to give you a craving for something sweet yourself, here’s some we’ve been having for dessert these days.

We went to a Pinoy shop last weekend and bought a pint of Queso (cheese) ice cream as hubby has been hunkering for some cheese flavored “dirty” (or street sold) ice cream for quite awhile. He said it didn’t taste the same but it’s the nearest thing we could lay our hands on so it’s good enough. I’m sure some people would think it odd to create a cheese flavoured ice cream but not Filipinos. I remember how shocked an American boss in my previous work was when he found out that there are ube (yam), avocado and buko (young coconut) flavoured ice creams in the Philippines. I wonder what he’d think of this one?

Oh, and since all processed food here in Australia have food labels showing the product’s ingredients and nutritional information, one was slapped on the side of the ice cream’s container too. It made some interesting reading, what really goes into a cheese flavoured ice cream? Hey look, the label states that there’s really some cheddar cheese in there – all 5.4% of it. Unfortunately, the exipiration date was stamped over some of the ingredients. Click on the photo’s label for a closer look.

I normally don’t like KitKat chocolates (or milk chocolates, for that matter) but I really took a liking to these peanut butter flavoured ones. Notice that it has “New” on its label but what they really meant was that it’s limited edition. I can’t find it in any of the shops anymore. That bar in the photo was the last of my horde and I discovered too late that it was beyond its best before date but I didn’t care, I ate it anyway! Wouldn’t want to let a good bar go to waste now, would we?
Then there’re the green and white M&Ms. I remember Pamela Anderson coming down here in Australia to launch the green M&Ms a few months back. We thought it’s just a new colour and didn’t pay much attention to all the hoopla surrounding it. As it turned out, green actually means mint. There were 3 colours to the bag we bought – dark green (lightly minty), light green (medium) and white (very minty). They’re okay but not something I’d be in a hurry to buy again. Why, oh why, don’t they just release the M&Ms with the dark chocolate here?
Now, these dark chocolate blocks are more up my alley. I’ve been trying several brands of the grocery-type dark chocs and these three are my recent purchases. Unlike in the Philippines where most things could be bought in small packs, most junk food and chocolates here look like they’ve all been supersized so I had a choice of either passing up on these chocolates or buying them in the only size they come in – huge! I wasn’t too keen on the Whittaker’s one and chucked it after only finishing a few squares. Next came the Old Gold, which was so-so. My favourite of the lot is the Nestle Club one. Although it has the highest amount of chocolate at 85%, its a bit on the sweet side although the label declares it only has 45.5g of sugars per 100 g compared to Whittaker’s 59.7g/100 g. It seemed fresher to compared to the other two, which were a bit dry and seemed like it has been sitting in a shelf for too long. That’s 1 out of 3. Could have been better, but then again, it could have been worse too.
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Published in: on June 30, 2006 at 1:27 am  Comments (4)  

Teach them well

I wasn’t in the mood to cook tonight so I had hubby call the local Pizza Hut for some pizza. When we went down to the store 15 minutes later to pick it up, there was a Caucasian woman with 2 kids, who I presumed were her daughters. One of the girls look about four, while the other I would guess would be around six. They were waiting for their order and as we came into the shop, one of the daughters gleefully shouted “Chinese, Chinese! Chinese people are coming!”

As hubby walked directly to the cashier, the other daughter chanted, “Chinese, Chinese, go away!” The two kids giggled while the mom half-heartedly shussed the older of the kids. I wasn’t amused. I looked at the mother to see if she’ll apologise but she kept her head bowed, busying herself by rummaging through her purse. Having pre-ordered our pizza, we only had to pay for it and go. Hubby was oblivious to it all as he hurried me out the door, he didn’t even hear a word of it! (Too hungry, maybe?)

I could forgive the kids for not knowing better than to discrimate based on our skin’s colour, not so the mother. Disgraceful.

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 8:40 pm  Comments (9)  

Socceroos’ loss heart breaking

Although we don’t really follow sports, the loss of the Socceroos this morning could only be described as heart breaking. The penalty shot by the Italians with only seconds left in the game spelled the end of the World Cup dream for the Aussie team. Shock, disappointment and frustration were rife, specially among die-hard fans who watched the televised game in Federation Square. That said, it doesn’t excuse the behaviour of some fans afterwards.

Published in: on June 27, 2006 at 11:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spot the difference

We came home tonight quite famished and I had to cook dinner quickly. I prepared ginisa (stir-fry) and we were having dinner in about 25 minutes. Could you tell what’s different with this dish?

Well, the difference is in the meat (or lack thereof). I cooked it with the new Vegie Deligths Mince, which is a meat free substitute for vegetarians. The product came out of the packaging in a sheet and had to be separated for several minutes. I had to add some water to soften it since it was quite hard and dry. After a few minutes though, this fake mince crumbled easily and became soft, not quite like mince at all. Too bad really, as I was hoping that it would at least be able to emulate the texture of real mince. And what of the taste? Not much to report there either as it was quite bland, good thing that I’ve put in chicken stock and some soy sauce that gave the dish some flavour.

Published in: on June 27, 2006 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Are eggs bad for you?

I’ve always loved eggs. Can’t get enough of them while growing up. Even now, actually. But for some time now, I’ve considered eating eggs a somewhat guilty pleasure. It’s a popular conception that eggs are high in cholesterol and, hence, bad for you and me. Since I’m not overly fit and getting older, I’m a bit worried about cholesterol and high-blood pressure.

Well, lately, Raquel and I have been watching this new health show on Channel 9 called What’s Good For You where they tackle health and food related issues every week. Some parts of it remind me of Mythbusters but instead of common and Hollywood-related myths, they target food and health related myths/truths. For example, in a previous episode, they wanted to find out if spinach can really boost your strength significantly like with Popeye (answer is no).

Last night, they sought out the truth as to whether eggs are good or bad for you. In their experiment, co-host Dr Andrew Rochford (also 2004 winner of the Australian home renovation reality TV show, The Block) had to eat four eggs a day for two weeks. No kidding! That much eggs. And guess what? By the end of the experiment, not only has his cholesterol level dropped from his initial level of 3.8, but it has dropped so low that the cholesterol testing unit doesn’t have a number for it!

Meaning, eggs actually help reduce bad cholesterol in the body! Rejoice!

Brisbane cardiologist Dr Karam Kostner explained on the show why:

“People who eat a lot of eggs actually shut down their bodies production of cholesterol. So the more eggs somebody eats, the less cholesterol our body produces. So that’s why a lot of people who eat a lot of eggs don’t get heart disease necessarily,” he says.

Eggs do contain cholesterol, but it’s the HDL kind (the good kind), not LDL (the bad kind). However, even though eggs lower cholesterol levels, saturated fats eaten in other foods might just counter the good effects from eating eggs.

Anyway, I’m no expert on the subject matter so I’m not qualified to go into details. To read the full write-up on the topic as seen from the show, go to the What’s Good For You website. And for another article we found on the web regarding this issue and is not related to the TV show, go here.

What this means for me now? I’m going back to eating eggs more. And to make sure I get the full benefit from eggs, I’ll just eat them boiled, poached or cooked through the microwave without any cooking oil.

Published in: on June 27, 2006 at 8:32 am  Comments (2)  

Lili Unleashed

Here is a digital drawing of Lili, a sorceress-in-training from my fantasy webcomic series Lovarian Adventures. She’s flying from above the trees while using the enchanted wand passed on to her by her father, Desideratus — the most powerful sorcerer in Lovaria (according to him).

This was drawn for the cover page of chapter 7 of my series. I didn’t ordinarilly drew “cover pages” as I didn’t think my work would eventually published anyway. Still, when I moved the comics hosting to a new host, I thought that covers for each chapter to separate two different chapters while “flipping” through the pages on the system.

Published in: on June 25, 2006 at 9:53 pm  Comments (2)  

Mercy emergency

Werribee Mercy Hospital is about 5 km from where we live and with a public hospital less than a 10-min. drive from home should give us some measure of peace of mind. If ever anything happened to us, a least there’s easy access to the hospital nearby. Or at least that’s the idea. In the past month, six doctors have resigned from Mercy because of rostering difficulties. The health administrators have said then that the resignation would not affect the quality of service they provide the public and that the remaining doctors could handle the present work load.

Then reports came in last week that the hospital’s emergency department was forced to close for five hours when the two doctors who were supposed to be on duty called in sick. Patients have to be redirected to the next nearest hospital, Western Hospital in Footscray, which is about 30 kilometres from where we live. It was lucky nothing much was happening during the closure or the consequences would have been dire indeed.

A quick look at Victoria’s Public Hospital System website shows that there are only four hospitals in Melbourne’s west – Sunshine, Western, Williamstown and Werribee. With the western district’s growing population, news of doctor shortages such as these are worrying. More people and less doctors spell trouble and the powers that be seem none too concerned. I just hope that it doesn’t take a horrible emergency for them to finally notice and take action.

Published in: on June 24, 2006 at 9:59 pm  Comments (4)  

Mmm…Donuts

American donut chain Krispy Kreme opened its first shop yesterday here in Melbourne. Free newspaper, MX, splashed the news of the opening in its front page and dedicated another page inside featuring interviews of consumers, some of whom have driven across town and queued up to about an hour in the rain just to purchase these hot, sugary stuff.

When rumours about the shop’s opening started spreading several months ago, the question on everyone’s lips was why they chose Narre Warren as the first suburb to host their first branch in Victoria. A lot of people had assumed that the franchise would put up the first shop right in Melbourne’s CBD, where more people would have access to it. After all, not everyone would opt to drive to the outskirts of town just to pick up a box of donuts, no matter how good they’re supposed to be. One columnist of The Age has a theory as to why Krispy Kreme chose Narre Warren as the first suburb to host a shop. His theory is that people who live in disadvantaged councils are more susceptible to junk food because of its low price and convenience.

But are these sugary treats really as good as they are being made out to be? Would they really live up to the hype? Well, I’ve only eaten half an Original Glazed piece when I went to friend’s picnic party in Sydney and I’ll have to say that it’s certainly better than all the other donuts I’ve tasted before. It’s warm, sweet (but not cloyingly so) and melts in your mouth. It’s a good occasional treat but I don’t think I’d buy a whole box just to eat one nor would I drive to the other side of town for it.

Published in: on June 23, 2006 at 12:51 pm  Comments (4)  

Webcomic Artist… Again

If you’ve been following our blog for some time now, you’d come to the conclusion that I have a lot of hobbies and varied interests. And I do realise that I tend to concentrate on only one or two hobbies at a time. It seems like I have hobby phases, as it were. A couple of months ago, I was in my guitar-playing phase and just a week ago, I was still in my gaming console playing phase.

So, what phase am I in this time? It’s back to my comic book creation phase. Yep. After informing the long time loyal readers of my online graphic “novel”, Lovarian Adventures, that I have given up on the it completely, I started drawing the next comic page to the series.

All I intended to do was review my story notes and write up one long summary of the events that was supposed to come after the pages I’ve already drawn. I wanted to at least let those loyal readers know how the story was going to progress and, ultimately, end. Just for the sake of closure. But, while rereading my notes and my script for the unfinished chapter seven in the series, my enthusiasm for the project was rekindled. There were some things I’ve written in my notes that I have long forgotten about that inspired me to once again take up the mantle of artist/writer/creator.

However, this time round, I will no longer be hoping to make a living out of it. I’ve accepted the fact that there are a lot of better webcomics out there and they’d all probably have a better chance of earning something from doing comics. I’ll just stick with telling the story and improving my art. And although I wouldn’t be as concerned about promoting the comics as I did back when I started it in April 2001, I still hope that the comic will begin to attract new readers again.

I don’t think that keeping the series hosted in the Palabok site would help get publicity for it. I wanted to move the comics to another host where it could stay forever (or as long as the host is still in operation). So, I moved Lovarian Adventures to DrunkDuck, a free webcomic hosting company and webcomics community. Emphasis on community. There, just as long as I submit new comic pages, there is a chance that members of the community will know because page update information is posted on their home page.

So, I’ve spent last night uploading all 140+ pages of my archives on my new DrunkDuck home. And tonight, I’ll be uploading a new page I’ve drawing just the other day.

Now, I just wonder how long would I be in this phase before I move on to another phase?

Published in: on June 22, 2006 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Anniversary

We’re celebrating our wedding anniversary today. Nothing spectacular planned except for dinner and a movie, maybe. It would have been great to travel somewhere and spend the day alone together but we got lazy (or distracted by numerous games, perhaps?) that we didn’t plan anything. Maybe a belated few days off work and a get-away soonish would be in order. Don’t know yet. Anyway, to my loving and extremely patient hubby, happy anniversary!

Published in: on June 20, 2006 at 5:25 pm  Comments (10)