Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lia's Food Journey Is 9 Years Old Today!

Happy birthday Lia's Food Journey!

This birthday greeting is not just for me but for all my readers and followers, as well.

Wow! 9 years! I have been telling you my life story which just revolves around food and travel for 9 years already.

I gained new friends because of this blog and several pounds also!

I shared more than 400 recipes! I could not count them anymore.

My friends have been urging me to publish a cook book.  It has been an ongoing project for years now.

They said sometimes they are too lazy to check online.  They would rather have a hard copy.

Lia being Lia.... haaaay..... I only came up with the introduction and a working title.

As my anniversary gift, I would like to share with you what I have written last..... gasps.... January 8, 2018!!!

Oh my goodness!!!

Hahahaha  My dream is to be able to publish my cookbook before my 50th birthday this August!


Well, it's a dream!  We'll see what happens but for now.... let me share with you...

A Passion For Food

Passion - "A strong desire or liking to certain object or activity."

When I was younger I used to dabble in art and music but then someone told me my that my artwork and music lack passion.

Sure, I can draw, paint, play the piano and violin but there seem to be a missing element or two or three.

Heart ... Fire... Soul.

When I talk about food, there is a sparkle in my eyes.

"Sparkol" as my friends call it.

I could go on and on and talk endlessly about food, my love and devotion for it.

It is what I call passion.

Whenever I cook, I put my heart and soul into it as though I am sharing a part of myself to everybody through food I lovingly prepared and recipes I painstakingly developed.

I would take note of every measurement so the person who will try my recipe will succeed.

I am not just sharing recipes with you but I am hoping  to share my passion for food and cooking as well.

My wish is that for every dish that comes out of your kitchen....

To be continued....

Let this post inspire me to finally START writing my cookbook.

Happy 9th anniversary Lia's Food Journey readers!  Thank you so much!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Strawberries And Cream Cake

I have been practicing my cake baking skills these past few days.  I am very lucky I got some baking tips from my friend, Mei.

It is actually quite easy to bake a cake.  It's just like cooking pancakes.

If you search for Strawberry Shortcake in the Internet, you will see that most recipes use biscuits or scones so I called my cake Strawberries and Cream.  I used chiffon cake as a base, then whipping cream and fresh strawberries to complete the ensemble.

While it is strawberry season, take advantage!

Strawberries and Cream Cake

6x3 inch aluminum round baking pan

Pre-heat oven at 325F, not fan forced

In a bowl, combine the following ingredients:

1/2 C + 2 T. cake flour (70 grams)
3/4 t. Baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1/4 C. white sugar
1/8 C. cooking oil
1/8 C. water
2 egg yolks

Mix until well blended, set aside.


2 egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/8 C. white sugar

Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat with a wire attachment of the mixer.
When frothy, add the cream of tartar.
When the bubbles are fine, gradually add the sugar.
Beat until stiff peak stage.

Add the meringue to the batter in 3 installments.  Use the wire whip to fold the meringue into the batter.

Pour into the baking pan with no liner nor grease.  Drop the pan 3 times on the table to release the air bubbles.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean when you check.

Invert onto a cooling rack immediately and let it cool before frosting. About 2 to 3 hours.

Whipped Cream Frosting

Chill the bowl and beater in the freezer for 15 minutes.

200 ml. President or Anchor chilled whipping cream.  Do not use all purpose cream.
1/2 C. powdered sugar, sifted
250 grams fresh strawberries, sliced or cut in half
1 T. white sugar

Sprinkle sugar on the strawberries and set aside.

Whip the cream, add the sugar gradually.

When the cream is thick, stop whipping.

Slice the cake.

Put 1/3 of the cream on the bottom layer then add half of the strawberries on top of the cream.

Place the other layer of the cake on top of the bottom layer.

Use half of the remaining cream for the top and the last third to ice the sides of the cake.

Arrange the remaining strawberries on top of the cake.

Chill the cake for about 2 hours before slicing.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Winter, My 4th Season in Seoul

I just realized that I have been to Seoul in every season!

Spring, my 1st time in Seoul with my Mom in 1997.

Summer, with my Baliw travel group in June 2017

and with  Mr. and Mrs. Guanzon in August 2018 for my birthday.

Autumn, 2 X!  1st time by myself in 2017

and 2nd time with my Ate in November 2018.

I just love Seoul, do not ask me why.  I cannot explain the feeling, it's beyond words.

I do not even like Korean food!

Well, I have a few favorites but not much of the spicy orange colored food.

As soon as I arrived at Incheon Airport, I already ate donuts!

Krispy Kreme has a strawberry promotion.  The strawberry whipped cream was really sweet and creamy.

I took the Korean Airport Limousine bus to my hotel.

The ride took 2 hours because of the traffic in their version of Slex.

My favorite hotel is New Kukje Hotel.

I love the location

plus their staff is so wonderful especially the night shift Front Desk staff, Lee and Benjamin.

I had a problem in the bathroom on my first night and Lee fixed it for me at 1:00 am.  Benjamin always upgrades me to a better room on a higher floor.

First item on the agenda, my stomach!  Even though I had a meal in the plane and a donut or 2 in the airport, I was hungry when I got to Seoul.  I bought an egg sandwich and a can of soda in the convenience store on the ground floor of the hotel.

It was okay but not like the egg sandwich in the Family Mart of Tokyo.

I was fortified and ready to take on Myeongdong!

A shopping paradise for cosmetic lovers and street food lovers like me!

Of course, I do not consider myself a cosmetic aficionado.  Just food.

Odeng! Oh how I love Odeng!

I ate Odeng everyday I was in Seoul!!!

It is just fish cake simmered in dashi  broth with a soy dipping sauce.  More or less like our shabu shabu here.

It was perfect for the winter nights!!! And a serving is only 1,000 won!

You have to buy it near the Tourist Information Center near Zara upon entering Myeondong Shopping Street.

Another favorite street food is Hotteok.

It is a pan fried pancake with brown sugar inside.

I also bought grilled sweet potatoes!

I wanted to buy in Japan but my roommate Gilly did not want me to eat sweet potatoes!  She said the room was too small! Hihihi, you know what she means!

I have a new favorite! Ppopgi burnt sugar candy.

I have seen it several times before but afraid to buy  because it might be too hard and sticky.

But upon trying it, I am a new fan.  It is like the filling of Violet Crumble.  It shatters gently in your mouth.

And then..... TADA!

I met up with my friends! Doc BF, Dra. Cristina and Odinah!

We had dinner at my favorite BHC fried chicken place in Myeongdong.

Cheese Sprinkle Chicken with Honey Butter Dipping Sauce

Assorted Chicken Combo.

I really loved it! Thank you Odinah for the treat!!!

It was really cold at night but I had to have my coke with a cup of ice!

The strawberries I bought in Myeongdong were really sweet and big and plump and juicy!!!!

Yes! All the superlatives!

I bought my midnight snack in the convenience store on the way back to the hotel.

Honey Butter Chips, Onigiri, Coke zero and a cup of ice.

Yes, you buy ice in Seoul, 800 won per cup.

So excited to sleep.  My window was open.  It was so cold!  1C!

I had to wear a hoodie to bed.

Hahaha Take note of how smooth and shiny my hair is after showering and drying my hair.

Day 2 Snow Day!  So excited to wake up because I was going to Elysian Ski Resort in Gangchon on my own by train!

I looked at the mirror and almost screamed!!!

Who is this stranger looking back at me??? ANYARE??!??!?!


I had to close the window in the middle of the night because it was really cold then I got hot and removed my hoodie.

Fast forward to breakfast, I just bought a sandwich in Angel In Us Coffee shop and ate it in my room.

So excited for the upcoming day, I got ready for my excursion to the mountains.

I took the train from the City Hall Station and went down at Cheongnyangni Station to take the Korail up to Baegyang-ri Station.

Then I waited for the free shuttle bus to take me to Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort.

I was very happy again to see snow!!!

After my snow excursion, I took the train back to  Cheongnyangni Station where there is a Lotte Department Store, Lotte Mart and Daiso.

I ate my favorite Dunkin Donut!

And also another favorite in Seoul is KFC.

I absolutely love their fried chicken!

People always ask me, "You went all the way to Seoul to eat Donuts and Fried Chicken?!?!?!"

Yes!!!!!  The answer is a resounding, Yes!

I love Lotte Mart.  It is where I do my grocery shopping.

Lots of snacks and goodies!

Problem, how to fit all the chips in the suitcase.

Easy!!!!!  I opened all the chips and sealed with masking tape.

Hehe I also tried them all in case I want to buy more but it was not as salty as I want it to be.

After dropping off my haul in the hotel, I went to Myeondong to eat dinner.  Hard to find a restaurant because usually, if you want to eat Korean BBQ, you have to be at least 2 diners for them to fire up the grill.

Next, I did not want to eat the orange colored food nor the pork ribs wrapped in cheese.

Another problem is the cost.  It is quite expensive to eat in Seoul.  During dinner, the meal per person will cost from about 18,000 won up to 58,000 won. 1,000 won = U$ 1, more or less.

Finally at around 11 pm, I found a restaurant across the Chinese Embassy entrance.  They allow single diners to order Korean BBQ.

I ordered the pork ribs BBQ.  The meat was very tender, marshmallow tender.

And RICE!!!!

I haven't had rice since I got to Seoul!

Hahaha Which was just the day before and I even ate rice in NAIA Jollibee for breakfast and rice in the plane but it felt like I haven't had rice in a long, long time.

I walked briskly back to the hotel. I was not afraid even though it was past midnight but I wanted to be indoors because the temperature was 0 C.

Day 3 with friends in Insadong!  Call time was really early! 10:30 am! 

That's early for me when I'm on vacation because I am a night owl.

We took a short cab ride to Insadong.  I have never been there before. Did a little shopping. Just a little!

I wanted to get Snowball the Hanbok costume but it costs 30,000 won.  ($30.00)

It was way beyond her budget.

Doc BF looked for a restaurant for us.

We loved the food!

Especially the Salted Mackerel.  It was just a side dish but I really loved it!!!!

My new favorite in Seoul is the Salted Mackerel!

The banchan - side dishes were really delish! Some, I have not eaten before.

From Insadong we walked to Myeongdong.  I went to Daiso to buy pasalubong for Snowball.  Her budget is only 3,000 won or less per toy/treat/snack.

I got her a few things.

My friends and I went on separate ways.

I had a strawberry drink in Krispy Kreme on the way back to the hotel.

They wanted to go again to N Tower while I wanted to go to COEX Mall where they had been the day before.

FYI There is a Pierrot in Myeongdong beside Daiso in the center of the shopping area.

What is Pierrot???? Pierrot is Don Quijote in Korea.

I went back to the hotel to bring home the things I bought in Myeongdong and took a train ride to COEX Mall.

Wow! There is a huge library inside the mall!

There is a Flying Tiger Copenhagen, Aland and other nice cute stores like Miniso.  There is also another Pierrot!

People were lining up for the waffle so I tried it, as well.

Chateraise, Patisserie from Japan.

Choux with cream and custard filling.

I also tried the Horaku. Sponge fingers filled with Gorgonzola Cheese and Honey.

I can bake that!

Back at the hotel, I only bought a Quarter Pounder and strawberry milkshake at the nearby Mc Donald's.

It was so disappointing.  I did not even finish it.  The burger was dry.

And then the moment of truth!  That is why I choose my room mate very carefully. She must be able to withstand my mess.

I always get overwhelmed when I have to pack my things!!! I get so anxious.  I have to fix my room because the next day, my friends will move in because we extended for another day. Klook van will pick us up at 8:00 pm and we wanted to have a room so we can fix our things, rest and shower before we head to the airport.

I think I slept at 4:00 am so I could tidy up my room.

Feeling mighty proud of myself!

Day 4!  I did not hear mass at the Myeongdong Cathedral with friends.  I just slept in and waited for them to bring their suitcases in the room before noon.

We had lunch at the nearby eatery.

I had Odeng

and the mandu with pork ribs filling.

Surprisingly good!

Cristina and Odinah had Beef Bulgogi.

Doc BF ordered the Sundae, blood sausage filled with rice.

EWWWW  hahahahaha.  Doc was sad but he wanted to try the "must eat in Seoul" food.

After lunch, we walked to Nandaemun Market.

We ate "bicho bicho", Korean version.

We enjoyed trying out the winter jackets/coats in the Flea Market!

I tried on a polka dot coat!

Just for fun.  It wasn't my size. I was only able to put an arm in one of the sleeves.

Apparently, it was a hot item because women were fighting over it and were happy they were able to grab it from other women.

LOOK what I got Snowball!

I could not help myself and bought it for her even though it was not within her budget!

It fits her perfectly!

Too perfect that I could not close the last 2 buttons.

I bought my favorite Odeng!!!!!

I can eat it in Manila!!!

We were looking for the salted mackerel.  We wanted to bring home to Manila but seemed impossible because the fish was fresh but salted.  Hard to transport.

We discovered an alley in Nandaemun market with small eateries and they were serving different kinds of fish!

Yes!!!!! Salted Mackerel!!!

It was a huge serving, I could not finish my fish and brought home to Manila half of it.

Doc BF ordered something different, fish in orange semi spicy sauce.

They served steamed eggs

and salted fried Espada as a side dish.

Oh my goodness.  The only word I can use to describe the salted fish in Seoul is MASARAP!!!!

I am loss for words.  Maybe I am the only one who is delighted with the fish but we each have our own tastes.

It was time to head back to the hotel for last minute packing and to shower, change our clothes, etc.

When we got to the airport, the counter was not open yet so I wandered around and had ice cream at Krispy Kreme.

I also bought Chicken Cheese Sandwich from KFC.

We all ate our food while waiting for the counter to open.

Our flight was at 3:00 am and I was delighted to find out that there are sleeping lounge chairs you can use to rest.

I was with friends so I suppose it was okay but I don't think I can sleep/rest when I am alone and my belongings are unattended.

Thank you so much Cristina, Bernie and Odinah for letting me tag along to your Winter Sonata in Seoul.

I really had so much fun! I've been to places I have never been before and tried new food.

So happy to have had the opportunity to experience the four seasons in Seoul.