EzRA Cooks: How To Make Pasta Carbonara Without Pissing Italians Off

Ejii-chan is a big pasta fan; admittedly, these are the kinds of dishes that she cooks best. Being a fool who spends downtime during duty hours watching Vincenzo’s Kitchen and other Italian cooking channels on YouTube, I thought about trying out a dish that definitely won’t piss them Italians off. This dish is analogous to the Pinoy Adobo. Fuck it up, and the whole Filipino cyber community will gang up against you. Fuck Carbonara up, and you’ll forever be a stupido.

One lovely afternoon, we thought it would be great to stop by a nearby deli to pick up some ingredients.


250g spaghetti/spaghettoni/linguine
4 eggs (3 yolks + 1 whole)
150g finely grated Pecorino Romano
150g sliced Guanciale
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Starchy pasta water

For those seeking good quality pasta, paler yellow is the optimal choice! But if you happen to encounter pasta that is overly yellow in hue, exercise caution and avoid direct contact with your skin. Our selected pasta for this dish is spaghettoni–a slightly thicker variation of spaghetti–perfect for a hearty meal. A special shoutout to Ejii-chan for imparting her culinary expertise to this.

Guanciale and

To cook the pasta, follow the instructions on the package. If you are using spaghettoni, 11 minutes should be enough to achieve an al dente texture. Add some salt and pepper to the water, but avoid using too much, as we will add more flavour to the dish later with the Guanciale and cheese.

Guanciale and Pecorino Romano.

“Don’t use bacon. Don’t use pancetta. They’re for poor people. If you can’t find guanciale, then get your sh*t together and move to better neighbourhood.”

Uncle Roger
Sliced guanciale.

Slice the guanciale into strips.

Pecorino x egg yolk mixture. This will become the base of your sauce.

Grate the pecorino finely and mix it with the egg yolks. Whisk until the mixture has a pasty consistency.

Savouring the guanciale’s aroma while cooking. It just smells so good!

Gently heating the guanciale will cause the flavorful fat to melt and infuse the dish with its rich, savory essence. Taking the time to render the fat from the guanciale is crucial in creating a dish that is bursting with irresistible meaty flavor.

Starchy water from boiled pasta.

Once you have boiled the pasta, be sure to reserve some of the starchy water. This water is essential for creating a more cohesive sauce and pasta mixture, as it acts as a binding agent. Furthermore, the starchy water will enhance the overall taste of the dish, thanks to the salt and pepper seasoning that was added during the boiling process. So, don’t forget to set aside some of that starchy water!

Gently mix all the ingredients together in a pan, making sure to turn off the heat before the eggs cook and become scrambled. The final result should be a luscious and velvety texture with a subtle smoky flavor and a hint of peppery spice.

Top with more finely grated pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy your Carbonara! However, stick to the traditional recipe that excludes cream or milk. If you deviate from the original recipe, you might risk an Italian’s wrathful punch landing on your face. So, beware.

EzRA Cooks: Takoyaki

Even though it has been prepared at home, I can make an assurance that dish maintains a high standard of quality. To create this culinary delight, we visited a local Japanese grocery store to procure all the essential ingredients. But before anything else, let’s take a step back and delve into the details.

I procured a high-quality takoyaki pan from the online marketplace, Shopee. Despite the surprise it caused, I assured Ejii-chan that this impulsive acquisition would lead to a remarkable culinary adventure, offering an array of delightful flavors.

So here’s how you do it:


All purpose flour
Corn flour/cornstarch
1 egg
Dashi stock
Cooked octopus pieces, preferably tentacles
Spring onions
Beni shoga (Japanese pickled red ginger)
Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
Aonori (dried green seaweed flakes)
Takoyaki sauce
Japanese mayonnaise


  1. Make a batter by combining 1 egg, all purpose flour, and cornstarch. I didn’t really measure my stuff here. I just used ‘feelings’ like how Uncle Roger does it. Fine. Combine 1 egg with approximately 30g of flour, 30g cornstarch, and dilute it in 200mL of dashi stock. Consistency should be diluted like evaporated milk, not condensed.
  2. Prepare your stuff. Chop your spring onions, beni shoga, and the tako in small pieces that would fit inside your takoyaki balls.
  3. Pour oil in your takoyaki pan. Fill to probably about 1/8th or 1/6th of each pit.
  4. Pour batter on each pit. Drop everything in the cooking batter – chopped cabbage, beni shoga, spring onions, tako.
  5. Flip once side is formed enough to be flipped. Pour some batter again and form balls out of it.
  6. Your balls are done. Time to top them with everything umami – first with the takoyaki sauce (we bought the Otafuku brand but there’s a recipe on YouTube if you feel like doing yours from scratch), then the Japanese mayo (Kewpie), finely ground katsuobushi (I used a suribachi to finely grind mine into powder), the aonori, and lastly, with the katsuobushi flakes.
  7. Enjoy it while it’s hot.

(Yields 12 takoyaki balls)

Ejii-chan highly praised my initial attempt at preparing Takoyaki, referring to it as a “restaurant-grade”. She further requested more servings for her younger sister, who also expressed her utmost satisfaction with the dish.

Could you kindly suggest how we might best utilize the remaining 1kg of cooked octopus tentacles?

Why Coffee Tonya Is An Amazing Place

Coffee has always been our cuppa drink-to-go when we feel moody, depressed, sluggish, or tired. Having known for its beneficial effects in boosting our daily energy, drinking coffee is also cardioprotective (protects our heart in medical terms) and can increase our productivity and performance. Coffee addiction is a real deal. As someone suffering from hyperacidity and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease – a digestive condition causing stomach acid reflux into the esophagus leading to heartburn), I can’t imagine a world without coffee. Maybe, well, as for me, caffeine is something worth struggling for. It has always been my morning slap to get me through the day.

Being a person who is in a long-term kind of relationship with coffee, to share with you, this place has always been my secret haven — Coffee Tonya. And, if you are a coffee enthusiast, this place can unquestionably give you a variety of coffee selections.

Coffee Tonya’s Coffee Beans

Coffee Tonya is a Japanese coffee specialty shop located at 4970 P. Guanzon St., Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City, was founded in Yokohama City, Japan 1988. They offer diverse types of coffee beans — be it from local to international origins. Coffee beans sourced from Ethiopia, Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam, Laos, Kenya, Philippines, etc., will leave you undecided about which ones to try. The staff is also friendly and accommodating, and they will help you choose which coffee is the best for you.

Why Coffee Tonya Is A SUGOI (Amazing) Place To Go For Coffee Lovers Like Us?

SPECIALLY-MADE COFFEE BEANS FOR YOU & ME — What I like about their store is how they customize the beans’ grinding and roasting process. They will fit it to your liking, and you’ll have freshly roasted beans every time, whether you want it raw, from light or medium roast to specifics like Italian or French-type roasting. As well as whether you like it coarse or fine (graded as 1-17), depending on the coffee equipment/maker you own. We have a Delonghi Espresso Machine, so we chose the No. 6 grinding preference (as recommended by their staff) and French Roast for an espresso-type of coffee.

FREE COFFEE, “Do you like it iced or hot?”

After purchasing coffee beans from them, they’ll also offer you a free in-house coffee drink. It is served either hot or iced, subject to your preference, while waiting for your ordered beans. Who doesn’t like free stuff anyway?


The coffee bean types are described based on their aroma, acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and body. These specifics are numbered from 1 to 5, from less to more, so 1 = less acidic, and 4-5 = more acidity. You’ll know which ones to skip if you have a known history of hyperacidity (like me, an unlucky child).


If you want a strong-flavored Philippine “Kapeng Barako” sweet Ethiopian coffee beans or a Vietnamese Arabica for your moka coffee pot, they’re all available here at Coffee Tonya. Since they have a variety of coffee bean flavors and origins to offer, we still haven’t tried everything yet. Still, my favorites are Columbia Supremo, Mocha Sidamo, and Ethiopia Guji.


Quite a combination, right? But you can’t get away with their thinly crusted pizzas. Happily, because we’re always-hungry-type of Pokemons, they have a restaurant-grade food menu — from breakfast sets or sandwiches to pasta and pizza, and of course, teas and coffee. We ordered an 18-inch Margherita pizza and fell in love with it. Even the crust itself is superb.


You’ll earn one stamp when you purchase a minimum of 100g of any coffee bean type. A total of 10 will make you a free 100g bag of coffee beans. Ours is > 6 months validity, but that still offered us a free 100g of coffee beans – but we opted to save it for now and plan to redeem it on our next visit. I am eyeing Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee Beans – costing at least Php 1,200 per 100g. Quite expensive, hmm. Curiosity it is!

It’s incredible how the world begins to change through the eyes of a cup of coffee.

Donna A. Favors

Thank you, Coffee Tonya, for making my heart full. See you again!

The Reason Why “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*CK” Is A Must-Read

As I randomly search for a book that I believe can help me become a little bit more courageous and assertive, as being born too introverted and softspoken in this universe of ours, I came across with “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*CK” by Mark Manson.


This book showcases on how to have a counterintuitive approach to living a good life. Manson’s advice to every reader emanates the idea of getting to know our limitations as a person, thus, be able to accept every small bit of it. It is indeed a source of fulfillment and empowerment. This book also includes short anecdotal experiences of renowned individuals. Hence, conveyed how their choices affected their own happiness and sense of completeness. The book itself became an international bestseller. Well, as for me, maybe it’s because of the essence of it posing confident and overpowering lines that can trigger every emotion – be it anger, desperation, confidence, and gratitude.

Life is Short

As I read each chapter, I realized that there is more to life than giving a f*ck over unnecessary things in this finite world. Life is indeed short. Short of cliched but as it was said in the book, “we have limited f*cks to give”. Thus, “we need to make use of it wisely”. Our goal is to give our few f*cks to the things and people we truly care about. This could be our career, family, relationship, true friends, and most importantly, yourself.

A Book You Can Relate With

Honestly, this book is life-changing. To give you an idea, I am an introvert with mixed anxieties and depressive tendencies. I rarely speak up. Overthinking and rumination are my best friends. My mind sometimes is filled with circling, neverending emotions that are hard to break. So after spending time reading page-by-page, this book has taught me at least to not give too much attention to things that do not matter. Remember, if we are going to give our limited “f*cks” (attention, time, self) to everything that is happening around us and will keep on happening around us, we will be left feeling exhausted and empty until there’s nothing more to give eventually.

Give it a read, mate, and you might be surprised. Who knows? In the next few days, aside from learning some good vibing lines and anecdotes, you could master how to curse better. JK!

The book came with a free bookmark. “Your mind is the asset that must be work on most and understood best.” – Ryan Holiday

Thank you, Hungry Mind PH, for this authentic book copy!

Need books about anxiety? Read Declutter Your Mind by Scott and Davenport

Thanks and happy reading!