Hello Everyone! First and foremost, I would like apologise for my absence last month. I had a theme all planned out, and even had the dishes ready to post – but life got in the way and disrupted my writing and posting schedule for two weeks. At the beginning of September, I was on a family trip to Singapore and Malaysia for my youngest sister’s graduation – it was a jam-packed week filled with much activities and therefore gifted me with a fever, cough, and flu from over fatigue after the trip.
Alyssa’s Graduation Ceremony – Diploma in Contemporary Music from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
Day Trip to Legoland, Nusajaya, Malaysia
And because of that, I decide to take a small break for September and just start fresh with the theme I had planned out for the month of October! (Details in a bit).
Secondly, before I dive into the theme for this month, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends and fellow foodies who have contributed a recipe or two for my Auguest series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. I hope that you guys enjoyed both the sweet and savoury breakfast fixes that they have shared with you! If you’d like to participate in next year’s Auguest series, drop me an email and let’s see what we can do!
Thirdly, I just want to put it out there that have some news to share with everyone so stick around until the end of this post (or you can skip ahead and scroll down to read it now).
Moving on, a new month means a new theme and for the month of October, where I will be sharing with you some of my favourite Filipino Breakfast staples! I’m kicking off the theme with few ways you can enjoy a traditional Filipino “silog” breakfast. Silog is a suffix in which the si is short for sinangag (garlic fried rice) while the log is short for itlog (fried egg). For example, Tapsilog is an abbreviation for Beef Tapa, Sinangag, and Itlog. The popular Filipino breakfast dish is a harmonious combination of sweet, sour, salty and umami flavours that sing in every mouthful you take.
Traditionally, tapa was a means of extending the shelf life of meats and other proteins such as chicken and fish. Beef Tapa is similar to that of Beef Jerky where it is prepared by curing the meat with sea salt and then left to dry directly under the sun for the purpose of preserving the meat.
Nowadays, Beef Tapa is simply marinated and cooked (either grilled, sautéed, or fried). The marinade mixture consists of, but is not limited to: soy sauce for saltiness, calamansi juice for a punch of tang, sugar for sweetness, and garlic for warmth. You can even buy Beef Tapa from grocery stores across the Philippines that have already been marinated for you, either fresh or frozen. Of course, the best way is to do it yourself so that you can adjust the levels of salt, sweet, and tang to your liking, and also know what actually goes into the marinade.
PREP TIME 15 MINS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4
*For ready marinated, store-bought Beef Tapa. If marinating yourself, allow for a minimum of 4-6 hours of marinade time, or 12 hours overnight in the fridge for the flavours to really soak into the meat (maximum 24 hours).
For the Beef Tapa marinade
- 500g beef sirloin (New York Strip or boneless rib eye), sliced thin against the grain**
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed calamansi juice
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
To serve with
- Garlicky fried rice
- Fried sunny-side up egg
- Fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped (optional)
- Spicy vinegar
**When using beef, it is best to slice against the grain (grain referring to the muscle fibres), as this will result in easier to chew, more tender pieces of beef.
- Add all the marinade ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and mix until the brown sugar has dissolved.
- Toss in the sliced beef and make sure that it is well coated in the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours (up to 24 hours).
- Strain the beef from the marinade and arrange on a grill pan (you may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your grill pan). Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook the beef until well browned on each side, about 2-4 minutes per side once they start to sizzle aggressively.
- Serve hot with garlicky fried rice, fresh tomatoes, a spicy vinegar dip, and fried egg – browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs.
This dish is all about balance. The contrasting flavours and textures all work together to keep your palate salivating for more. While Tapsilog is most popular for breakfast, it can also be enjoyed at any time of the day, even as an occasional midnight snack after a night of drinking!
Okay, now down to business – the news. If you have been a frequent follower of my blog for the past few months or so, I’ve vaguely mentioned multiple times of what has been going on in my life that I couldn’t exactly say back then. The time has finally come…
I quit my job back in Brunei.
Or more like, I had finished my two-year contract with them and I decided not to be tied down for another two years (which I had been looking forward to since the beginning of the year). The working environment just became toxic to my mental health. I also felt that I had lost myself – I didn’t know who I was anymore, as a designer. I was either designing for a client who knows nothing about design, or for my supervisor who thinks she’s better than the designer. She would push for her ideas to be realised, but when everyone criticises it, she puts the blame on the designer. When I push for what I want and then praised for a job well done, she would steal the spotlight. There were just so many things wrong with the system, and I decided to put my foot down and just leave altogether.
I grew tired of fighting and standing up for myself amongst vipers with childish and petty attitudes, and to be honest, my mental wellness is so much more important than dealing with these kind of people 6 full days a week for the past 3 years – and I am not going to allow myself to endure another 2 years if I had decided to renew my contract with them.
With that being said – no job in Brunei for me means no valid visa to work there. No valid visa means I can’t stay in Brunei anymore, and so after more or less 26 years, I finally left my home away from home, my birthplace, and have settled for just over two months now back to the motherland – the Philippines.
This is also why for the month of October on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I have decided to share popular Filipino breakfast staples – something that I have been enjoying and indulging in for the past two months so I hope you enjoy my Filipino Breakfast series for the upcoming month!
To end, apologies for the super long post!
– Ally xx