Homespun and Fun


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When the temp tops 90 degrees, Snookie cooks smar...



Liven up the landscape, grouping pots and containe...



The Bicol region's stellar attraction, Mayon volca...



Story by Joy Manalac
Credit: Hawks Nightingale

When the temp tops 90 degrees, Snookie cooks smart. There's quesadillas, that like sandwiches, take little prepping. For basic quesadilla to do in a hurry, she uses cheese for filling that melts and turns gooey good! For heartier, more appetizing combinations, she opts for leftover chicken and meat, cold cuts, avocados, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, bell pepper, and lettuce in the fridge. Simple but hearty when paired with soup/salad and fruit.

flour tortillas
grated cheese

Coat skillet with butter. Heat flour tortilla on one side. Flip half while spreading cheese on the other half, then fold. Flip each side again to toast until golden brown.

For more fillings :
Slice ingredients into small bits. Heat butter or vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté onions until soft. Add chicken, meats, and other ingredients. Stir occasionally and sauté until the meats are done. Season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat. Clean and return over medium heat.

Meanwhile, assemble quesadillas. Sprinkle cheese onto 4 flour tortillas. Top with the mixture. Top each tortilla with a second tortilla.

Working one at a time, transfer quesadillas onto the heated pan. Cook until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. When ready to flip, cover the pan with a large plate. Invert pan to transfer the quesadilla onto the plate, then slide the quesadilla back onto the pan, toasted side up. Heat until golden-brown. Slice into triangles and serve warm.

Other Articles


Story by Joy Manalac
Credit: Zita Manalac

Liven up the landscape, grouping pots and containers. It's the practical way, eliminating tedious, expensive, time-consuming weeding and grass cutting. My sis Zita sets planters and containers here and there with a wildcrafter's rustic touch. It's craftsy the way she does it- upcycling old, natural baskets into planters for her daffodils, pink ranunculus, pansies, and violas. She dressed them up with Easter eggs, country-themed garden stakes, pine cones, and English ivy.

Potscaping works best for small spaces and gardens. Group planters, hang a few, set some on upturned pots for elevation, and enjoy the show! They make dramatic statements for parks, flower shows, parties, store displays, and special events too.


Story by Joy Manalac
Credit: Rhian Amores

The Bicol region's stellar attraction, Mayon volcano, is back in tiptop shape as the world's perfect cone. It's amazing how nature restores the damage with lava formations on Mayon's surface by successive eruptions. In a matter of time, ecosystems around it thrive once more. Vegetation flourish with the richer soil and the help of farm aides- butterflies, birds, bats, and bees. The benefits cascade to the richness of the region's cuisine. It's a tourist draw as well, with bold, spicy, lip smacking flavors. What's distinct about it is the use of chilies and coconut milk that meld perfectly with meat, seafood, and veggies.

Rhian Amores shares his Pinangat (also known as laing) recipe, among Bicol's popular specialties. Enjoy the depth of flavor that whets the appetite of locals and tourists. And pass the rice please! (Pics by Rhian Amores.)

1/2 kg shrimps, peeled and seasoned with 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 kg pork
tinapa (dried fish, flaked)
coconut meat, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger
6 cloves garlic
some chilies
4 to 5 cups pure coconut milk
gabi (taro) leaves
salt to taste

For coconut cream and milk:
Freshly extracted coconut cream yields more flavor. For the first press, add 1/2 cup warm water into freshly grated coconut and squeeze directly into a bowl, about 4 3/4 cups. Set aside. For the coconut milk or second extract, pour 1 cup warm water over squeezed coconut milk. Squeeze over another bowl to yield about 1 1/2 cups. Strain and set aside.

Mix first eight ingredients in a bowl.
Spoon 3 tablespoons of the mixture into overlapping gabi leaves and wrap, tying it with a coconut leaf or kitchen twine. Set the pouches in a pot. Pour in the coconut milk or second extract first, and let boil, covered with a lid. Lower the fire from time to time and shake the pot to prevent the pouches from sticking together. When there is little of the coconut milk left, pour in the coconut cream (first extract.) Add chilies. Let boil until the sauce thickens. Serve with warm rice.


Story by Joy Manalac
Credit: Sue Tanada

With Sue Tanada's culinary skills, replicating her fam's fave meals comes easy. This delights her hubby and grandkids when they hanker for their fave resto dishes.

Her recipe for Salmon Teriyaki is straightforward, clear, and user-friendly for home cooks, even beginners. What's great about teriyaki sauce is its sweet, salty, savory flavor that smacks of umami. It's best paired with baked, pan-fried, grilled meats and fish. Scrumptious for Easter, yet quick and easy!

salmon (2 slabs)
2 teaspoons mirin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake wine
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
sesame seeds (optional for garnish)
scallions (optional for garnish)
1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1/4 cup water (slurry)

Mix mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar, sake, sesame oil in a bowl and set aside.
Wash salmon and pat dry with a paper towel. Marinate in the sauce mixture for at least an hour. Bake till flaky at 375°F for 25 minutes. Save the marinade sauce.

Make cornstarch slurry. In a small skillet, heat the saved marinade sauce on low fire. When it starts to boil, pour only half of the slurry. Then discard upon reaching the desired thickness for the sauce.

Set baked salmon on a plate and pour marinade sauce over the salmon. Sprinkle sesame seeds and scallions. Serve warm.


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About the Author

Joy Manalac is a writer with an extensive background in Marketing Services and Communications. She studied Communication Arts at St. Paul College Manila.

She wrote the corporate stories in “Simply Delicious,” the 50th anniversary cookbook of Liberty Commodities Corp. In 2016, this bagged 1st prize in the “Gintong Aklat Awards ” and 3rd prize in “The International Gourmand Awards," likened to the "Oscars" for the food industry.

She likes to write short and crisp lines, taking to heart her late Dad’s advice to write simply. What she loves most about writing is the cadence. As a tip, she suggests for writers to find their rhythm. There is melody in the play of words and phrases – the pace, lilt, and sway that lend music and grace.

Joy loves to tinker in her garden that needs a lot of tending. She enjoys the company of school chums who are keen about plants, coffee, and cakes. She takes inspiration from two spirited sisters, Monica and Zita . She can cook with a cookbook on hand and can craft with just enough nudge from Zita.