Saturday, April 9, 2011


I received a letter from my friend, Mia last night. Her letter was brief but it evoked vivid memories.  We have been friends for over 30 years.  We went to the same high school and eventually it was in college when we grew closer together.  We went on double dates and had lots of fun at the bars and restaurants popular in Manila during the late 80's to early 90's.  Places like Pep's, Rhythm and Booze and Reasons.  Receiving my friend's letter triggered a lot of powerful and pleasant memories in my mind.

I was inspired to make gambas and it clearly invoked in me the same memories.  I was transported back in time.  The vivid orange color and the smell made me recall the fun times spent in those places.  I heard the laughter and the cajoling, I could smell the fresh scent of Nenuco and Denenes.   I felt my hair fluff-up like the 80's hairdo and smelled the can of hairspray. I was dancing and singing to the tune of the Swing out Sister's Breakout. Similar to Proust and his madeleines, it awakened vivid memories and the excitement associated with it.

Yes this is the "in" appetizer to order during those days.  And before I get lost in all the memories from the 80's, let me go ahead and share the recipe with you.

Gambas Al Ajillo Filipino Style


2 lbs shrimp
1 small can tomato sauce
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp maggi seasoning
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter

In a frying pan add olive oil and butter, saute garlic, add shrimp and make a quick stir.  Add tomato sauce. Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add seasoning and cayenne powder.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Serve immediately.


  1. Wow, that gave me a flashback, too! Sizzling and spitting on a hotplate, bright orange to match my outfit (good, spatter stains won't show). Good food, good times, good friends.

  2. I can see why this was the "in" appetizer. All that spicy delicious tomato sauce slathered on those's enough to make a girl drool all over her laptop!

  3. the color on that gambas is so neon-- just like the clothes in the '80s!

  4. those are real good tasty spicy red hot shrimps you've got there :)

  5. Adora: I guess we come from the same genre then haha..

    Ron: thanks for dropping by.. great tomeet you!

    Joanne: you are hilarious but it's definitely mucho delicioso.

    carol: haha another 80's girl. welcome to the club LOL!

    Jean: it's spicy good...and I hope you get to try it.

  6. Yes! I needed recipes to use my Maggi seasoning I bought in Germany! This looks easy, tasty, and just perfect to test my bottle:)
    I visit the memories of the 80s very often, trying not to think of the horrible fashion, but to bring back wonderful and carefree moments spent with friends:)

  7. Hothothot!!! That looks amazingingly good!

  8. What a lovely simple recipe. I can see why it was so popular. That color alone is wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. this looks so good and bet your a good dancer he he thanks for the kind comment on the blog love ya


  10. Your post definitely brings back memories from college days . Drinking booze and eating gambas, hanging out at jazz bars......good ol' days. Cheers!

  11. These sound great and that color is incredible! Sounds like a fun walk down memory lane.

  12. Great lively post. Love how certain dishes evoke a memory and this one made me laugh with the hairspray and dancing!


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