Monday, November 17, 2014

My Veggie Moussaka

One of the things I love doing, especially when I'm alone, is experimenting in the kitchen. And the recipe I'm going to share today is a healthy Mediterranean dish called Moussaka. Moussaka is an eggplant and potato-based dish dating back to the Ottoman Empire.

There are many versions of Moussaka but with my recipe, I'm only using vegetables. Hope you enjoy! :)

Veggie Moussaka

2 Eggplants
4 Potatoes
1 Can Tomato Sauce
1 Carrot (minced)
200g Champignon Mushroom (minced)
1 Paprika (minced)
1 Onion (chopped)
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
2 Tsp Parsley
2 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
3 Tbsp Red Wine
Olive Oil

1) Slice the eggplant thinly, marinate with salt.
2) Peel the potatoes, boil them until soft then slice them and set aside.
3) In a large pan with olive oil, fry the thinly sliced eggplants until they turn soft brown. Set aside
4) In the same pan, add a little more olive oil then sauté minced garlic and chopped onions until they are fragrant then add the minced mushrooms, minced carrots and minced paprika. Dash some salt and pepper. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
5) Add the can of tomato sauce, stir for 5 mins , add cinnamon powder and red wine. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Bechamel Sauce:
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Milk
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Ounce Parmesan Cheese
2 Ounces Grated Cheddar Cheese

1) In a deep pan, turn heat to medium, melt the butter. Add milk.
2) Slowly dash flour into the pan, mixing it with the melted butter and milk.
3) Add Parmesan Cheese and Cheddar Cheese
4) Dash some salt and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Make sure it doesn't burn.

-Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.
-In an oven safe container (like pyrex), arranged some eggplant and cover the whole container. On top of the eggplant, do the same with the potatoes, cover the container with potatoes. 
-Pour some of the vegetable tomato sauce and spread all over the container. 
-Pour the bechamel sauce all over the container covering the tomato sauce.
-Repeat doing this until they are all finished.
-Dash Parsley on top.
-Then put inside pre-heated oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve while hot! :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bodegas Salvador Poveda

For my husband's love of Spanish wine, we decided to visit the wineries in Spain during our summer holiday. We went to Monòvar, a small town in the southeastern part of Spain to see Bodegas Salvador Poveda. The winery was founded in 1918 and it's currently managed by the 3rd generation of Poveda's. SP produces high quality wine including the classic Fondillón, a favorite of many influential people including King Louis XIV of France, Ferdinand Magellan and even mentioned by Alexandre Dumas in his fictional novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Fondillón is a red wine produced in an oxidised style from overripe Monastrell grapes, and is typically semi-sweet. SP produces about 3,000,000 bottles of wine per year and the wines are mainly exported to Denmark, Holland, Germany, Sweden, France, Belgium, UK, Russia, Brazil and the USA.

Bodegas Salvador Poveda offers wine tasting to visitors and we were so lucky to have met the very accommodating Rafael Poveda, the Director of Bodegas Salvador Poveda. He offered us different varieties of wine that they're producing like Red wine, White wine and Rosé. And for the first time in my life, I actually finished a glass of nice and smooth SP White wine. Aside from the wonderful smelling and tasting of different wines, Mr. Poveda also showed us the process of making wine, from the grapes to the bottle.

Bodegas Salvador Poveda
Address: CV-830 Ctra. Monóvar – Salinas Km, 3 – 03640 Monóvar- Alicante, Spain
Coordinates: 38°28'02.6"N 0°54'16.1"W

Entrance to Bodegas Salvador Poveda

Wine Tasting! So glad to have finally found the white wine for me.

Rafael Poveda pouring Fondillón for us to try.

My turn to pour the very special style of wine, The Fondillón.

A tour to the Bodega.

With Rafael Poveda, Thank you for showing us around! :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dolphin Watching in Maldives

Dolphin Watching- one of the very best things to do when in Maldives. Many of the resorts offers this exciting Dolphin watching safari. And for 50USD per person, you will experience a one-of-a-kind nature trip. The tours available are either early morning or late afternoon, as thousands of Spinner dolphins appear into the atolls every morning then leaving again for the open ocean in the late afternoon.

Spinner dolphins, famous for its acrobatic displays, are the most common species in the area and they appear in their tens of thousands. These dolphins are very athletic and many of them leap out of the water as they swim; they can also gracefully flip their bodies round and round in mid-air before splashing back into the water.

My Dolphin Watching in Maldives was truly an amazing experience!

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Trip to Taal Volcano

So I've been gone from blogging for a long, long time. The past months I was very busy hosting friends visiting us in Vietnam. Anyway my most recent travel was in the Philippines and I am so glad to share that I have finally been to one of the most popular volcanoes in The Philippines, The Taal Volcano.

Located in the province of Batangas about 50 Km south of Manila, Taal Volcano and Taal lake depicts as one of the most attractive views in the Philippines. Its picturesque scenery, which can be viewed from Tagaytay ridge, are often shown in Philippine postcards, Philippine maps and tourism posters. Taal Volcano is the smallest active volcano in the world.

Travel from Manila to Tagaytay would take about an hour or two by car, depending on the traffic. And from Tagaytay to the volcano island, you will have to travel about 20-30 mins by boat. When you reach the island, you could either walk or rent a horse to reach the top of the volcano's crater. But I recommend to take a hike to see and appreciate the nature around. Horseback riding is very uncomfortable especially going uphill and downhill.

Although the area is crowded and surrounded by vendors; But when you reach Taal's crater, it's definitely a breathtaking view! 

View of Taal Lake.

The nature around the island.

Smoke coming out on the side of volcano.

The magnificent view!


with good friends! :)

Taal view from Tagaytay ridge.

My great college friends based in Manila, pleasantly suggested to go and see the crater of Taal Volcano. Despite their busy schedule, they generously offered their time to accompany me and my husband. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Capital of Maldives- Male

After a week stay at a resort in the southern part of Maldives, We headed back to Male and decided to stay there for one night to be able to see the capital. A small island located at the southern edge of North Male Atoll with one third of the nation's population, Male is definitely not the picturesque scenery of Maldives. The capital is heavily urbanized and there isn't much to do in Male unless you're interested to go to the local market and shop local products like batiks, pearls, spices, etc.


Muliaage- The Presidential Palace.

Jazz Cafe- Serves good food! Recommended by a Filipina working at our hotel in Male. The chef and the staff working here are also Filipinos. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Hong Kong Favorites

A former British colony, Hong Kong is known for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. With a population of 7 million, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Even though Hong Kong is one of the largest metropolitan cities in Asia, you can still relax and enjoy the city.
Below are the things I love to do when in Hong Kong.

1) Sightseeing. Want a breathtaking view? Go to Victoria Peak. Still a kid at heart? Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Ocean Park Hong Kong will surely delight your stay. A nature-lover? Visit Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. Check Discover Hong Kong for more attractions.

 Hong Kong Disneyland

2) Shopping. Hong Kong- A shopper's paradise, the city where shopping never stops. Hong Kong is a haven of Luxury brands as well as Designer Outlet shops. For the best luxury shopping experience, head to Central District. If you want big discounts, check Citygates Outlet and Prada Outlet. If you're on a budget, no problem! Mongkok and Wan Chai Street Market are good and cheap place to shop.

Shopping at Prada Outlet

3) Eat. Known as one of the best culinary destinations in Asia, Hong Kong offers a lot of Michelin-starred restaurants with a mixture of savory dishes from Dim Sum to Western cuisine. There are also nice places to try out various local street food.

Yummy Street Food!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Food Trippin' in Con Dao

If you're a seafood lover, Con Dao is definitely a place to go for food tripping. An exotic island with only 5,000 inhabitants, most of the restaurants in the island prepares the best seafood with a Vietnamese twist and offers a tantalizing menu that surely excite your taste buds.

About 40 minutes away from Ho Chi Minh City by plane, Con Dao is definitely a seafood paradise not to be missed if you're travelling to Vietnam.

Below are the must-try restaurants in the island.

1) Thu Ba Restaurant
Address: 7 Vo Thi Sau, Con Dao, Vietnam
Locals recommend Thu Ba as the best seafood restaurant in Con Dao. When we went to try, YES, it's absolutely the best seafood restaurant!!! They serve a wide variety of the yummiest seafood that we actually had dinner there thrice during our week stay in the island. Price-wise: reasonable!

Deep-Fried Calamari- Must Try!

Stri-Fried Squid with Paprika
Garlic Prawns- Highly Recommended!
Stir-Fried Squid with Vegetables
Garlic Rice- Must Try!
Seafood Glass Noodles Wrapped in Banana Leaves

2) Con Dao Sea Travel Resort (Beach Club Restaurant)
Address: 6 Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Vietnam
If you want to have a cozy dinner, this is the perfect place to go. The restaurant menu offers a balance of tasty unique Western dishes and old Asian favorites at affordable prices. With breezy outdoor dinning area facing the ocean, you will surely enjoy the delicious food as well as the view!

Vegetable Spring Rolls- Must Try!
Seafood Fried Rice
Grilled Squid with French Fries

3) Tri Ky Restaurant
Address: Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Vietnam
Also known for it's fresh and tasty seafood menu at affordable prices. Tri Ky restaurant is also a locals' favorite.

Buttered Squid- Highly Recommended!

4) Infiniti Cafe and Lounge
Address: Pham Van Dong Street, Con Dao, Vietnam
Had enough seafood? Craving for hamburgers, pasta or ice cream at reasonable prices? Then this is the only place in the island that mainly serves Western food. Also a very cool place to enjoy your cocktails!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Day Trip to Maadhoo Island, Maldives

Maadhoo is one of the 1,192 coral islands of Maldives. With soft white powdery sand and calm turquoise waters full of marine wildlife, it is a perfect place to celebrate parties or simply join the ''picnic tours'' offered by the island resorts and hotels in South Male Atoll.

With less than a hundred dollars, a day trip to Maadhoo island will surely be worth it if you want to enjoy the beach, partake a delicious barbecue lunch prepared by your resort and see the Maldivian marine wildlife like reef sharks, dolphins, moray eels, Manta rays, stingrays and even turtles.

Tour Cost: 40-60 USD per person (depends on the resort)
Tour Includes: Speed boat transfer + Barbecue lunch
Maadhoo Island Entrance: 11 USD per person