International Women’s Day 2014: Beyoncé feature

As seen: http://forgetoday.com/lifestyle/international-womens-day-2014/

Beyoncé’s songs expose the societal pressures women face today; her music inspires me to strive for independence and success without following the traditional paths women are expected to stick to. Her record-breaking self-titled album of 2013, and sold out world tour reaffirm her dominance in the music industry. The lyrical promotion of feminism and empowering beats make Beyoncé a modern and accessible role model. As Beyoncé dropped her visual album, a precedent was created, encouraging fellow artists to follow in her footsteps in the new year.

Baked eggs in a Mediterranean tomato and chilli sauce

As seen on: http://forgetoday.com/lifestyle/recipe-baked-eggs-in-a-mediterranean-tomato-and-chilli-sauce/baked eggs

Ingredients

Half an onion, chopped
Clove of garlic, chopped
Half a can of chopped tomatoes
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of pitted olives
1 bird’s eye chilli, deseeded
2 tbsp of capers
1 tsp of olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 medium eggs
Fresh parsley, to garnish

Serves 2

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil.  Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until softened.
  3. Add the chopped chilli.  After cooking for a minute, add the chopped cherry tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes before adding half of the can of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Season the tomato sauce well with salt and pepper and add the paprika and cayenne pepper.
  5. After simmering for a further 10 minutes, add the chopped olives and capers.
  6. Make 2 dips in the sauce and crack an egg into each hole.
  7. Take the pan off the heat before placing the pan in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the eggs are cooked whilst the yolk is still runny.
  8. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top.  Serve with sliced, fresh baguette.

Gluten-free brownies

Based on Nigella‘s recipe, these rich and gooey brownies make for a perfect dessert, served warm with some cream or ice cream.  These are suitable for vegetarians, too.

Being a student on limited funds, I am used to tweaking recipes based on the quantities and ingredients readily available to me; this recipe was no different.

Ingredients

Makes 12 brownies

158 g dark chocolate (I used Waitrose’s cooking chocolate but Bourneville works great, too.)

158 g salted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

100 g ground almonds

75 g chopped nuts (I used walnuts and brazil nuts)

Method

1. Preheat oven to Gas mark 3/170 °C.  In a saucepan, melt the dark chocolate and butter over a very low heat.

2. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the sugar and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture.

3. Let the pan to cool a little before beating each egg and folding it into the mixture.  I was careful to fold it in as to not knock out any air.  After this, fold in the chopped nuts too.

4.  Carefully transfer the mixture into a foil-lined baking tin (traybake tin or a loaf tin will suffice) before baking it for 30-35 minutes.  After this, the top will be cooked but the inside will still be gooey – this is how it is supposed to be.

5. Once cooled, cut into 12 squares.  Best served warm.

What makes me Filipino?

“I’m too white to be Filipino, and too Filipino to be white” – Ryan Songalia

As I read the tagline of Ryan Songalia’s article on the Inquirer website, I smell a sense of familiarity: sitting on the borderline of two races.

I was born in Manila, Philippines on one faithful Friday in the 90s.  My parents do not exactly embody ‘typical Filipino features’: both are fair, have dark brown, wavy hair and posses sharp noses.  It is obvious that both families have Caucasian roots, namely European, but having been born and bred in the archipelago, they rightfully consider themselves Filipino.

Growing up in Manila (and later on, the province), I would be referred to as a mestiza, an ode to my slight European features.  I don’t consider the word a compliment nor an insult but more of a categorical term.  I was in a category.  When I was younger, I would be singled out for my features and I thought nothing of it.  Besides, it was an everyday occurrence and would soon become the norm.

Circumstances did not change much when I migrated to the UK.  Having moved to a middle-class, quaint English town, I also stuck out like a sore thumb; my small eyes, petite figure and olive skin can be detected a mile from the sea of Westerners.

Growing up a Filipino in the UK, I’ve been wanting a real sense of belonging that I begin to question whether physical features ultimately define race.

I’d get comments questioning the legitimacy of my Asian roots after joining some form of ‘Asian Society’ on a now-defunct social media site.  Really, though? I also used to be stared at a lot when I visited the Philippines in 2009; some people even thought I could only speak English.

It was irritating, to say the least.

I have lived in the country for 11 years of my life before moving.  Though I do not speak Tagalog that much anymore, I can still understand what you’re saying and write fluently in the language (yes, I can cuss you to oblivion in Filipino). I just don’t understand why I am deemed ‘less Filipino’ due to my features and mannerisms when I was born in the same soil and spoke the same language as most.

The Philippines is a nation of different races and cultures, many thanks to our perfect Pacific location and invasions of the past.  What I’m saying is that, strictly speaking, the ‘native Filipinos’ we have left are the indigenous tribes.  Most of us are likely to be a mix of different races, whether it be of recent or distant mixing.

So, it does not matter if a person appears too white.  As long as they’re a proud Filipino, you should be satisfied.

Intro

Barcelona, two summers ago.
Barcelona, two summers ago.

As I write this post, I’m wondering what makes this blog different/unique/cool/worth reading but I can’t think of anything right now.

I was born in Manila, Philippines and moved to the UK when I was a skinny, naive 11 year-old.  Nine years have passed and much has changed, albeit the fact I’m still quite naive, I am now a calorie-counting 20 year-old thanks to my lower metabolism.

I guess I’m here to write what life is like as a a) student and b) a Filipino in a Western society so expect food, music, fashion, night life, movies, alcohol and more food.

If these prospects attract you, feel free to follow this web chronicle.

So, here goes.
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