4 Kitchen Lessons that I Learned the Hard Way

Cooking is one of those activities that I will always enjoy, no matter how old I am. So even if I am already elderly, I think that I will still be getting involved with the cooking in my household. Whether it’s with preparation, the actual cooking or cleanup, the kitchen will always be a part of the places in my home where I find my solace.

Growing up, I didn’t learn to cook from anyone. I simply experimented on techniques and dishes that I wanted to taste. I never thought it would be important for me to learn cooking from a real class so I did things my own way. Needless to say, I went through a number of cuts and bruises from the kitchen. Even if they have left a scar, I like to think of them as marks that show who I truly am.

Here are 4 kitchen lessons that I learned the hard way:

#1- Learn to Hold Your Knife Properly

One of the most important things I learned was to hold the knife properly. This can help a lot as it helps avoid cuts on the hand. Needless to say, my deep scars were because I carelessly held the knife. This was when I was first learning to cook and prepare dishes on my own. Back then, I didn’t know how to hold the knife correctly so it often slid to my finger. Always remember that being in the kitchen is not a game (although there are games that are set in the kitchen like cooking games, and you should take objects such as the knife more seriously.

#2- Clean as You Go, Always

Another lesson I learned is to clean my work area as often as possible. This meant that if I no longer needed to use an ingredient, I should store it back to its right place. By doing this, I get to free more space in my countertop to allow me to move easier. In addition, it is better to clean things this way.

#3- First In, First Out

When it comes to using ingredients, especially raw ones, I like to follow the rule ‘First in, First out.’ This means that whatever you put in first, should be the one you remove first too. Even if you are fond of restocking your ingredients, you need to remove the oldest one in your pantry. I learned that by doing this, you can avoid spoiling ingredients. Remember this mantra and apply it all kinds of foods, especially the expensive ones.

#4- Have a Glass of Ice Cold Water with You

Especially when you’re baking or cooking, you need to have cold water with you. This is because the heat from the stove can be too much to bear. In order to relieve yourself from the heat, it is recommended that you drink water.

These lessons are the ones I learned from my years in the kitchen. Cooking is pretty easy to do actually, if you'll just follow your heart. Now that you know these tips, you can easily avoid making the same mistake I went through. Thus, your kitchen experience can be an enjoyable one.

This post is provided by a writer of Articles Help-Kim Tyrone Agapito's Article Directory.

How to Find A Sustainable Sushi Restaurant

Sushi is a truly wonderful delicacy but when you eat it, you should always seek to guarantee that
you are purchasing from a source that is dedicated to providing sushi dishes that have been acquired from a sustainable source and not of a species that is considered at risk in the world’s oceans such as the blue fin tuna.

I personally love sushi and living in London, there is no shortage of sushi restaurants to pick from but I’m always careful to ensure that the sushi restaurants in London I choose to visit have a sustainable seafood policy that ensures the environmental friendliness of dishes they serve. With this in mind, I feel that I should mention my local sushi restaurant called Feng Sushi because they only sell dishes that have come from sustainably sourced fish. I cannot overstate the importance of eating sustainably sourced fish because many species are becoming perilously close to be wiped out and we are compounding the problem with the over-fishing of the world’s oceans.

There are various sources of sustainable seafood around the world and it is important that more sushi restaurants, and restaurants in general as a matter of fact, need to do all they can to make sure all their fish is obtained from such sources. There really is no excuse for restaurants to continue to serve fish that is dangerously close to becoming extinct – it is difficult to put into words just how irresponsible this is and shouldn’t be condoned. Restaurant goers can help do their part by boycotting restaurants to fail to get on board with sustainable fishing as this fall in business is likely to compel them to see the importance of providing their patrons with sustainable seafood.

One of the best ways of ensuring that the sushi restaurant that you are visiting or ordering food from has a good policy when it comes to sustainability is to check their websites and see what sort of endorsements that they have from the main regulatory bodies in the field of seafood and commercial restaurants. Again, using Feng Sushi as an example, will show that they are endorsed by the major bodies in the UK, such as the Marine Stewardship Council, Fish2Fork and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Which Species of Fish are At-Risk?

It is always a good idea to be aware of which species of fish are on the at-risk list as this will help you to make your decisions when choosing a sushi restaurant to eat at. The list below shows some of the species that you must avoid as their levels are dangerously low and rapidly becoming unsustainable (both the Japanese and English spelling are included as this will make it easier to spot in a sushi restaurant):


Ankimo/Monkfish Liver
Ebi/Shrimp (imported)
Hamachi/Hiramasa/Yellowtail (imported, farmed)
Hirame/Flounders, Halibut, Soles (US Atlantic, except Summer Flounder)
Hon Maguro/Bluefin Tuna*
Izumidai/Tilapia (Asia farmed)
Kani/Crab: King (imported)
Kodai/Tai/New Zealand Snapper (trawled)
Maguro/Tuna: Bigeye*, Skipjack,
Tongol, Yellowfin* (except troll/pole)
Sake/Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)*
Shiro Maguro/Albacore Tuna (imported)*
Tai/Red Snapper
Toro/Tuna: Bluefin*
Unagi/Freshwater Eel (farmed)
Uni/Sea Urchin Roe (Maine)

If you eat at a sushi restaurant, you should try and avoid eating the species mentioned above as their levels are dwindling and they need to be replenished. Conversely, the species mentioned below should be seen as the best choices for you to go for when eating sushi or other forms of seafood:


Amaebi/Spot Prawn (BC)
Awabi/Abalone (US farmed)
Gindara/Sablefish/Black Cod (AK, BC)
Ikura/Salmon roe (AK wild)
Iwana/Arctic Char (farmed)
Iwashi/Pacific Sardines (US)
Izumidai/Tilapia (US farmed)
Kaki/Oysters (farmed)
Kani/Crab: Dungeness, Stone
Katsuo/Bonito/Skipjack Tuna (troll/pole)
Maguro/Yellowfin Tuna (US troll/pole)
Masago/Smelt Roe (Iceland)

Mirugai/Giant Clam/Geoduck (wild)
Muurugai/Mussels (farmed)
Saba/Atlantic Mackerel (Canada)
Sake/Salmon (AK wild)
Sawara/Spanish Mackerel (US)*
Shiro Maguro/Albacore Tuna (troll/pole, BC and US)
Suzuki/Striped Bass (farmed and wild*)
Toro/Tuna: Yellowfin (US troll/pole)
Uni/Sea Urchin Roe (Canada)
Source – Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
The onus is certainly on the sushi restaurant you visit to supply sustainably sourced seafood but you can definitely play your part as well by only visiting restaurants that openly exhibit their dedication and efforts to actively purchasing sustainably sourced seafood. There has, of course, been a lot of media attention surrounding the issue of sustainable fishing all over the world of late and whilst it may feel removed from your day to day life, you can play a role by only eating species that are currently at risk in the world’s oceans.

This guest post is written for the purpose of supporting sustainable sushi.

Century Park Hotel's Deli Snack 35th Anniversary Cake and Black Forest Cake

It is our family tradition to always give a cake as a gift in every occasion and family gathering we visit as a token for their invitation and hospitality.   So naturally, we often purchase cakes and one of our favorite bakeshop is Century Park Hotel's Deli Snack.  My mom has been a loyal customer of Deli Snack for more than 25 years.  Aside from their cakes, they also sell delicious varieties of rolls which we enjoy having for breakfast.  So, as an avid customer who has probably tried all their cake offerings, let me share with you my personal favorites.

Pistachio Lemon Cream Cheese Cake (750 php)
Pistachio Lemon Cream Cheese Cake (750 php)
The Pistachio Lemon Cream Cheese Cake is the 35th Anniversary Cake which is only available for a limited period which is until the end of the year.  This is one of the most unforgettable cakes I have ever tasted!  I never thought that pistachio and lemon could ever be combined into a masterpiece.  Aside from the taste, the texture is perfect.  The cheesecake is light and the jelly is fun to eat.  I can't completely describe the wonderful sensation it brings so I suggest you should try it out for yourself.  This cake is so good, we bought this on twice within the same week.  I highly recommend this.  Why not try it while you can right?  

Black Forest 
We're not really a fan of chocolate cakes but Deli Snack's Black Forest is one of a kind.  Unlike other Black Forests I've tried, their chocolate is mildly bitter-sweet.  The cherry filling is also just enough to complement the chocolate. Once you try a slice of Deli Snack's Black Forest, you will be amazed at how they are able to balance the ingredients to create the perfect taste.  

Their other Cheesecake varieties and Tiramisu are also good.  But, their not as unique as these two.  However if you want to try their other cheesecakes, I recommend the Blueberry Cheesecake. 

*post submitted to FTF

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Deli Snack Menu
(cakes vary daily and new cakes are introduced on a monthly basis)

Deli Snack
Business Address

Century Park Hotel
599 P. Ocampo St. 
Malate, Manila
Business Hours
Service ChargeNone
(02) 528-5855

Deli Snack Map

Lunch Buffet at Corniche at Diamond Hotel

Corniche is one of the newest restaurants located at the lobby of five-star Diamond HotelCorniche has a sophisticated and elegant interiors.  I also loved that it has large windows so you can appreciate the beauty of nature outside.


This is our seat view
We've been curious about Corniche since it had opened so Kurt and I decided to book our lunch date there.  Upon entering, we were greeted and led to our reserved seats which was near the dessert station.  It had a beautiful view of the outdoors.

Corniche is a spacious restaurant with numerous stations.  What we loved about Corniche is that most of their stations are interactive.  You can actually see the Chefs cooking the food they serve.  Some of the stations even let guests decide what ingredients they want to be prepared for them.
Grilling Station
We even witnessed someone being sang a birthday song
The Appetizer station had the most offerings.  There was Fresh Seafood, Assorted Sashimi, Assorted Sushi and Assorted MakiAssorted Cheese, PastriesSalad Bar, Pate and Terrine
Fresh Seafood
Fresh Seafood
Assorted Sashimi
Assorted Sushi and Assorted Maki
We noticed that they have a lot of selection for their Japanese appetizers such as the Assorted Sashimi, Assorted Sushi and Assorted Maki.  We tried some of the Sashimi and Maki selection and they were pretty good.  We would also like to note that they were very quick in refilling these making sure that none of the selections were empty.
Assorted Cheese
I'm always eager to try out new varieties when it comes to cheese.  Although they had a few options, I'm glad I was able to taste the Sage Derby and the Taleggio Cheese. 
They had a wide variety of pastries.  I noticed that they made it very convenient for the guests by offering them the option to choose among rolls, toasted bits, fresh whole bread, sliced bread and un-sliced bread.
Fresh Salad Bar
Fresh Salad Bar
Salad Bar
If you want to opt to make your own fresh salad, the Fresh Salad Bar offers a lot of ingredient selections and dressings. 
Salad Bar
They also have prepared international varieties of salad in case you choose that over Fresh Salad.
Pate and Terrines
They tried all their all the selections here such as the Seafood Terrine, Pork Pate w/ Shitake Mushroom Pistachio Nuts, Vegetable Terrine and Chicken Terrine.   I loved the Pork Pate w/ Shitake Mushroom Pistachio Nuts and the Vegetable Terrine.

Fresh Pasta
Fresh Pasta

Check out the beautiful and fresh ingredients for the Fresh Pasta station.  You can choose your own ingredients kept fresh and chilled by the ice and choose your preferred pasta sauce and have their chefs prepare them for you.

For the soup, we had the option to choose between prepared soups like the Pumpkin Walnut Soup and the  Chinese Pork Balls and Noodle Soup or create your own soup by selecting the noodles and other fresh ingredients you want to put in and have the chefs cook them for you.

Roast Beef and Pecking Duck
Roast Beef and Pecking Duck
The Roast Beef and Pecking Duck was our favorite part of the buffet.  We would've eaten more if only we weren't stuffed already.

They had a lot of Indian Cuisine Selections.  Although Kurt was not a fan of Indian dishes, he enjoyed all of Corniche's offerings.  All them were hot off the pan so they were really delicious!

Roti and Chutney
Other Dishes
Fresh Fruits

Juice Bar
Juice Bar
No drinks were not included in our buffet so we were not able to try any.

Overall, we were overwhelmed by their varieties in food selection that we were so stuffed.  We were very satisfied in terms of the food and the service.  The food were all freshly cooked and warm.  Refills were quick.  The staffs were very attentive.  

Update (Nov 30, 2011): My family dined here again and were very satisfied stating that it is the best hotel buffet they've been to.  They would like to note that they coffee and tea selections that came with the buffet are very delicious!  The ice cream selections are specially-made and yummy.   The fruits are of quality and they were fresh and sweet.

Update (May 12, 2012): Visited Corniche again for Culinaria Capampangan by Chef Sau Del Rosario (see separate entry)

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Corniche  Menu
Business Address

Diamon Hotel
Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos Street Manila
Business Hours
Service ChargeNone
Budget/PersonLunch Buffet: 1,420 php
(02) 528-3000
Email: bizcenter@diamondhotel.com
Facebook Fan PageWebsite 

Corniche Map

Foodie Galore At Tokyo Cafe SM Mall of Asia

Whether its for a family dinner or hang out with friends, Tokyo Cafe has always been one of our favorite options.  It offers a cute modernistic ambiance which gives of a cozy feel.  In fact, last saturday, I spent long hours just eating and hanging out with foodie friends.

After dining at Tokyo Cafe for several times, let me share with you all the food I've tried out at Tokyo Cafe during my own personal visits with family and friends and during my visit last Saturday with foodie friends.  

Japanese Fair
Oyaku-Ju (238 php)
When the Oyaku-Ju was ordered by my family, they all said it was okay.  When I ate with fellow foodies, they too said the same.  I think the Oyaku-Ju is good but it was outshone by the other better options that Tokyo Cafe as to offer.
Unaju (393 php)
The Unaju is one of the best meals at Tokyo Cafe.  All the of foodies agree that this was very delicious.  It was tasty and soft.  I'm very particular when it comes the fishy stench when it comes to an eel dish and I am very happy to say that the way this was cooked was done perfectly.  It is one of the best eel dishes I've tried. 
Kalbi-Ju (241 php)
The Kalbi-Ju had a salty taste to it because of the Yakiniku sauce.  My fellow foodies liked this.  However, having a lower tolerance for saltiness, it was a bit salty for me.  But, I was impressed that the meat was very tender is fun to chew.  

Katsu-Ju (240 php)
The Katsu-Ju was served in perfect golden breading.  The crispiness of the breading was done just right.  The cutlets was also very tender and the sauce complements it well.
Ten-Ju (238 php)
The Ten-Ju has generous servings of delicious deep fried shrimp tempura.  The crunchy shell and the tender shrimp inside makes it a popular option among many.  My little sister orders this every time.

Salad & Soup
Mango Chicken Salad (191 php)
As soon as the Mango Chicken Salad was served, my family and I had the impression that the it was so fresh and beautiful.   My family always order salads at different restaurants but this is the first time we have with this combination of ingredients and it was delicious!  We just loved how the grapes and mango complemented the taste of the chicken salad.  


Creamy Ebiko Pasta (270 php)
The Creamy Ebiko Pasta was recommended by Jerome who frequented the place too.  Surely, it did not disappoint us when we all tasted it.  All of us foodies agreed that this is very delicious!  The sauce is very tasty that even if you eat it with the shrimp, its still very good.  

Hamburg & Shrimp (293 php)
Whenever I dine at Tokyo Cafe, someone always orders one of the bugersteak varieties.  Last Saturday, we ordered the Hamburg & Shrimp.  I've always loved the tender juiciness and rich meaty taste of the bugersteak at Tokyo Cafe.  This time was no different from the rest.

Chicken & Cheese Roll (260 php)
The Chicken & Cheese Roll was ordered for our appetizer.  I enjoyed it because upon first bite, you'd feel the crispness of the breading.  Then,  the mozzarella cheese will ooze out as you bite the tender chicken meat.

Chicken in a Basket Family Pack (7 pcs) (420 php)
The Chicken in a Basket  is a popular dish to order whenever dining in groups at Tokyo Cafe.  A great thing about Chicken in a Basket is that you can choose the size depending on how many you are.  Last Saturday, there was six of us so we opted for the Family Pack.  Noticed the pricing gets lower, the more quantity you order. =) I was so stuffed by the time this arrived that I took the smallest wing part.  The breading of the Chicken in a Basket was very tasty.  It was unlike any fried chicken I've tasted before.  I've tasted something similar but not as  perfect as the crunch and the taste combo factor here.  

Coffee & Smogee
Coffee Jelly Smogee (131 php)
While waiting for the others, I ordered the Coffee Jelly Smogee which was recommended by their staff.  I had fun chewing the jelly that hardly noticed the time passing by.  

Milk Oreo (130 php)
When we decided to order food around three hours later, I ordered the Milk Oreo as a kicker.  I opted for this non-expresso based smogee since I already had enough of caffeine.  

Cappucino (107 php)
My mom loves coffee so she orders one after every meal.  She ordered the Cappucino.  She said it was pretty good.   The froth was done just right too.

Here's what my fellow foodies ordered:
Caramel Smogee (131 php)
Mango (130 php)
Matcha (130 php)
Tokyo Affogato (Ice Cream in Expresso) (185 php)

Azuki Parfait (123 php)
I am a big fan of green tea ice cream with azuki beans so when I saw the Azuki Parfait, I just couldn't resist that temptation.  This cool treat  just made my day.  

Choco Banana Almond (130 php)
One of my companions ordered the Choco Banana Almond so I had the chance to try Tokyo Cafe's crepe for the first time.  To my surprise, their crepe was actually pretty good.  It was light and airy so it was fun to chew.  


Japanese Cheesecake (125 php)
Our friend ordered the Japanese Cheesecake out of curiosity admitting that he has never tried one before.  He was surprised that it was light and spongy in texture unlike the heavy cream cheese based cheesecakes he is used to eating.  I've always like the Japanese Cheesecake.  But, I guess it was not for everyone.

Tiramisu (150 php)
Everyone agreed that the Tiramisu  was the best dessert for the day.  It was served chilled and melts in the mouth.  The layers of expresso and mascarpone cheese was heavenly!  

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Tokyo Cafe
Business Address
Ground Level South Wing, 
Main Mall Bldg.
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Business Hours
(SM Moa Mall Hours)
10am-9pm / 10pm(fri and sat)
Service ChargeNone
(02) 556-0517

Tokyo Cafe Map

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