01 Mar2011

Kansi a la Marketman

by Marketman

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This is the first time I have ever cooked Kansi, that Ilonggo soup redolent with beefy broth that is soured with mashed batuan, a fruit that is a cousin of mangosteen. Everyone in the house thought this was excellent. We are not Kansi experts by any measure, but as a flavorful, satisfying, substantial, heart-warming and memorable dish… this wins a prize in our books. Many thanks to comments of readers on this previous post, I was able to tweak my approach to the dish before embarking on this Kansi adventure. By the way, can Ilonggos explain why it’s called Kansi to begin with?

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To start, I hit the grocery. Purchased nearly 2.3 kilos of beef shank, imported from New Zealand. Why the foreign sourced beef? Amazingly, because it looked better AND was 10% CHEAPER than the locally branded beef, that probably also brought theirs in from abroad, or at least used cattle that started off elsewhere… I wanted to add a kilo or more of beef brisket, but they didn’t have any in stock, so I purchased some short ribs instead. Total amount of beef was 3.3 kilos, total price was roughly PHP820.

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At 630am this morning, I put all of the beef into a large stockpot and covered the meat with cold water. Stuck this on the strongest burner on the stove and turned the gas up to maximum. After about 20-25 minutes, the water started to boil and I lowered the heat a bit and let it simmer for 10 minutes and lots of scum floated to the surface. I then drained the whole pot, very quickly washed each piece of beef and set them in a colander. This step is a bit unusual for most cooks, but trust me, it gets rid of a lot of the impurities and you will have a nice clear broth. Most recipes just say to go on boiling until the meat is tender.

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Next, we dried each piece of meat on paper towels, removing as much water and moisture as possible, so the pieces would brown nicely.

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In a large heavy enameled casserole or dutch oven, add some vegetable oil and about 8 smashed cloves of garlic and saute until a very light golden brown.

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Add several of the “dried” beef shanks and short ribs and brown them on all sides, roughly 5-7 minutes worth per batch of meat cooked. I needed to fry in two batches. Remove the garlic before it burns and turns your dish bitter. I wanted to brown the meat (unlike most recipes for kansi again) because of the inherent flavor created by the caramelized parts of the meat. This also serves to partially de-fat the meat.

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Take your meat out of the casserole and put it in a strainer to remove any excess fat. Meanwhile, throw out most of the fat in the casserole you just browned the beef in and return it to the stove top. Put the browned beef back in the casserole over a low heat.

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For the volume of meat described above, I had to add 16-17 cups of water to just barely cover all the meat and bones. I also added two medium sized yellow or spanish onions, chopped, and about 10 wonderful bright red ripe organically grown tomatoes sliced in half, from Enya/Solraya (both readers of this blog who sell their produce on weekends). I put the flame on the lowest level, covered the pot and left the kitchen for half an hour.

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By the time I returned, the soup was just starting to “gurgle,” letting off a bubble every couple of seconds or so. I moved the dutch oven to a smaller burner, and had a low flame so that the soup would continue to just barely “gurgle” for another 2-2.5 hours. This part is absolutely critical. Do it on low heat and as slow as possible. You will not regret it. Bringing the beef to a rolling boil will simply cause it to seize up and remain tough. Low and slow. And I know, many will use a pressure cooker for this, but I don’t own one. And frankly, I suspect the pressure cooker does not result in as flavorful a broth, though the plus is in the pressurized and softened meat in a shorter timeframe. I would love to do this recipe in a large palayok some time. Meanwhile have your lemongrass, unripe langka or jackfruit and batuan washed and ready…

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This is what the soup looked like after approximately 2 hours of cooking. We cooked the soup for some 3+ hours and since that was only around 10am, I turned off the heat and left it on the stove for an hour, coming back to it at 11am to do the finishing touches and serve it piping hot and promptly at 12noon.

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At 11:15am or so, I turned the heat back on, and cut up roughly 700 grams (cleaned weight) of unripe langka in kind of big chunks. I added this to the soup. I also added three healthy stalks of lemongrass, lightly bruised, to the broth and brought it back up to a simmer. It should take about 15 minutes or more to soften the langka and for the lemongrass to infuse its distinctive flavor into the broth. Taste your broth at this point. If you want it beefier, you could have removed the meat and boiled it down for another 30 minutes to concentrate the flavor. But if you must have it beefier still, consider adding just one beef bouillon cube to the soup. I did. I don’t typically encourage the use of cubes, but it was useful in this case. :)

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Once the langka was soft and cooked, I added roughly 800 grams of fresh batuan (I suppose if you live abroad and have access to bottled batuan pulp, that would be an acceptable substitute) and after just 10-12 minutes, they seemed to get nice and soft.

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We fished out all the batuan and mashed them with a potato masher and returned the pulp to the pot. If you want more sourness, consider upping the amount of batuan to 1 kilo’s worth. The increased amount would also thicken the broth further. I also added 6 siling mahaba (finger chilies), with one of them chopped up to help it release a gentle spiciness to the broth.

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I read somewhere that if you put the batuan before the langka is cooked, it will interfere with the cooking process, so I did as I read. At this point, and only at this point, taste for seasoning. It will be a bit bland, so you will have to salt liberally. I used close to 3/4 of a tablespoon of kosher salt, and several twists of a large peppermill worth of freshly ground pepper. I had misgivings about the final step, the addition of achuete oil, which I gather is totally traditional and correct, but for which I wondered if it brought anything to the table other than a nuclear color and nearly no added flavor. My hunch was right. I am not fond of the bright orange color in what would naturally have been an already robust and flavorful broth. I agree with the use of achuete in chicken inasal (click on the link to one of the most visited recipes on this blog over the years), but when I do this soup again, I would use a lot less than the two tablespoons I added here. In fact, I might eliminate it altogether.

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The results were amazing. The beef was totally falling off the bone. In fact, all the meat fell off their bones while still in the pot. The soup was flavorful, meaty and subtly sour, not as strong as say raw sampalok (tamarind) in other sinigang type preparations. The broth had verve and was slightly thickened by the mashed batuan. The seeds were a bit of a distraction, not sure if they are edible, but I wondered if we should have removed them before returning the mashed batuan to the broth. I nibbled on a chili as I hungrily consumed a bowl of soup.

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Both Mrs. MM and I had a bowl just like this one above, my diet be damned. :) Actually, I was celebrating as I had already lost all the weight I had hoped to lose in one month in just 25 days. So I have 6 days to work off this totally “out of bounds” lunch. But I still didn’t have any rice with it, if you can imagine that from someone who can easily eat a “mountain” of rice on a good day. This was a slam dunk dish for everyone who tasted it. Total cost, not counting labor and gas, was roughly PHP1,000 for an enormous pot of soup that would easily have fed 12 people, or just PHP83 per serving, New Zealand shanks and all. Superb. I highly recommend it. many thanks to all the folks who left comments on this previous post asking for Kansi tips. :)

P.S. Notes for the next time. A little ginger might have been nice. Brisket instead of short ribs, definitely. And while no other recipes I have seen include cabbage or some kind of leafy vegetable, I think that would be nice as well.

Other dishes with Batuan:

Bangus Soup with Batuan
Roasted Native Chicken with Batuan

 

COMMENTS:

  1. EbbaBlue says:

    Its 3:11pm here at work.. and I just wanted to go home and cook sinigang.. I know, I know, this is different.. but no fresh batuan here in Texas…. so I am going to use the bottled one, lots of beef shanks though.

    I wonder, if local Catmon would do the same trick – you see my cousins in Quezon province has this tree and are not using the fruit for they don’t know what dish to add it to. Because of your blog, most of the time, ako (who is is here in Texas) pa ang nagsasabi sa kanila ng various dishes to try to cook.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 5:14 am

     
  2. bearhug0127 says:

    MM, my first reaction to the photo above was to say, “Pahigop naman”.
    It really looks to die for! Am sure, it was heavenly, otherwise you wouldn’t have eaten a bowl of it and damned your diet. Haay, saraaaaap! Isa pa nga!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 6:23 am

     
  3. Wyatt says:

    Oh God! Suddenly I’m homesick. I think “kansi” refers to the cut.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 6:46 am

     
  4. bearhug0127 says:

    Before I forget, Congratulations on the weight loss!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 6:51 am

     
  5. heavyeater says:

    wow slam dunk dish.what a great dish to start the day MM. grabe naglalaway ako sa kansi na to. we have one near our office and will definitely eat one for lunch. BTW, wherecan i source “batuan” here in manila?thanx and more power

    Mar 1, 2011 | 7:08 am

     
  6. f says:

    Hi MM, Is there a way to avoid “losing” the marrow in these types of soup? When we make nilagang bulalo at home, many of the bones arrive at the dinner table without marrow. Does that mean I over simmered the soup? Oh I actually like some scum in the broth, especially in sinigang; how weird is that?

    Mar 1, 2011 | 8:29 am

     
  7. natie says:

    way to go, MM!! that is one great-looking kansi, and delicious as well!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 8:41 am

     
  8. linda says:

    MM,we call that cut of meat here “osso bucco”. Your kansi dish looks delish!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 9:06 am

     
  9. yazi says:

    I agree with cooking this over low fire, coz if done otherwise, those precious marrows will get loose thus you’ll end up with “empty bones”. According to Bulalohan/kansihan/patahan in bacolod, kansi= if the bones lenght is 1 1/2″ – 2″ , bulalo= if whole bones was used.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 9:08 am

     
  10. junb says:

    salivating :) !!!!!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 9:42 am

     
  11. Mimi says:

    Maybe add kangkong at the last minute before serving? Also maybe a tad more really ripe tomatoes so you do not need to put achuete oil? Looks yummy!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 9:55 am

     
  12. millet says:

    if it were as rainy and cold here today as it was yesterday, i would be drooling now. looks mean! MM, i notice your photos have been getting meaner and meaner. new cam, or new cam skills? great!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:08 am

     
  13. Jeff says:

    yummy! nice one MM!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:16 am

     
  14. Ingrid says:

    oh my goodness, look at the bone marrow?! :)
    I hope MM your cholesterol levels are still good after having that kansi :)

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:23 am

     
  15. Ley says:

    It’s raining outside as I am reading this. This post is making me salivate!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 11:55 am

     
  16. palangga says:

    bravo! it looks uber delicious! we normally don’t put achuete, so the reddish color is something im new to. but by the looks of it, i know ur kansi passed with flying colors. mmmmm-mmmm…..yum yum.
    i’ll have to ask my mom and relatives why it’s called kansi.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 12:33 pm

     
  17. Joey in Dubai says:

    Wow….delish!!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 12:54 pm

     
  18. Garlicky says:

    This really looks nice and so yummy MM! I really haven’t heard of this batuan. Do we have it here in Manila?

    Mar 1, 2011 | 1:06 pm

     
  19. jakespeed says:

    i just ate lunch and i am getting hungry again after this post. i wish i can get hold of batuan here in Singapore so i can cook this dish.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 1:08 pm

     
  20. Quillene Petite says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!

    Mar 1, 2011 | 1:56 pm

     
  21. ami says:

    That bone marrow picture up top is making me salivate. Love.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 2:02 pm

     
  22. Anne Lorena says:

    Hi MM! Kansi is cooked with pechay. I think the method of cooking is referred to as generally LINAGA, and it’s Kansi if it’s made with beef shanks, then it’s called Pata if it’s made with the pata, skin, and ox tail.

    I think, kansi refers to the meat more than the method of cooking.

    I was born, raised and stayed most of my life in Iloilo City. So just my 2, 3, 4, 5 cents…:)

    Mar 1, 2011 | 2:59 pm

     
  23. migs says:

    Hi how can I subscribe to your blog? :) you really take good photos

    Mar 1, 2011 | 3:55 pm

     
  24. junb says:

    @jakespeed – you may want to try the Assam fruit that the malay/indian use for their Assam pedas or curry dish. The Assam gelugur fruit is known as “Garcinia cambogia” while the batuan is known as “Garcinia binucao”, looks like they are related. I do sometimes see a fresh one but it’s commonly available as dried one.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 5:27 pm

     
  25. ka_fredo says:

    Panalo! I just ate and after reading this I’m hungry again. I wonder why batuan isn’t common in Luzon.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 5:40 pm

     
  26. Marketman says:

    ka fredo, apparently it used to exist on Luzon, but fell out of favor or use for some reason. If you go back to my old batuan posts in the links above, it covers more information on the fruit. Jundb, thanks for that, yes, if both garcinias, they are related. migs, not sure what you mean by subscribe, the site is free and accessible to all, you can get an RSS feed to alert you about posts. Anne, thanks for that, yes pechay makes sense… Garlicky, hard to find batuan in Manila, but you can sometimes buy it bottled from EJC farms. millet, same camera, I just take more short and throw out 90% of them… :) Mimi, yes, kangkong would be nice, and yes to more tomatoes and no achuete… yazi, yes, you are right about the slow cooking… f, you are probably boiling the soup too much on heat that is excessive. If you cook low and slow, it should remain in place. But if concerned, as soon as the bone easily separates from the meat, take the bones/marrow out of the broth and set aside. Add them back in just before serving to heat them through…

    Mar 1, 2011 | 6:47 pm

     
  27. vcs says:

    Batuan is also nice as pickled just add sugar and tiny tiny water den wait for a week presto yammy pickled Batuan.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 7:57 pm

     
  28. ayabaw says:

    Best to take kansi/pata/linaga HOT, namit gid, or else watch out for that “carpet” feeling in your mouth, when the tambok is all congealed, yuck.

    MM, some kusineros in Iloilo use alubihod (I’ve no idea what it’s called in English though) and/or sampaloc-sambag leaves to add more sourness.

    And um…as an Ilonggo, tangkong in my kansi is quite off.

    Last. Old, old, corny joke: There are many trees in the forest batuan is the best.

    Bow.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 8:50 pm

     
  29. lee says:

    Nice. Marrowy :)

    Mar 1, 2011 | 9:01 pm

     
  30. akosistella says:

    Wow, namit gid! Thanks for posting the recipe, MM. And I agree, low and slow is the way to go! ;p

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:01 pm

     
  31. Jose says:

    Dang Marketman! That first pic just made me wet my lips. I could have easily finsihed off 3 cups of rice with that at minimum! Any idea how long you can store this in the fridge?

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:06 pm

     
  32. Marketman says:

    Jose, a few days at least, particularly if it still has a nice film of fat on the surface to act as a “sealant”…

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:11 pm

     
  33. stella says:

    hoowow!! ma iyak iyak ako sa sarap ng photos!!! suddenly I’m homesick! I can see the marrow and can imagine the silky feel of it with the soup!! namit sabaw nila ba…:)

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:25 pm

     
  34. tonceq says:

    that soup looks powerful MM! :)

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:44 pm

     
  35. britelite says:

    Anne Lorena is right–its called nilaga and changes name according to the meat used.Personally–pata is the best–its made of cow’s skin including the tail and feet.
    Nilagas normally does not use tomatoes–its the slow fire which makes it so delicious–

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:57 pm

     
  36. RobKSA says:

    kansi means beef shank with marrow (at least that’s what i think, hehe). for example while the name of the dish is kansi, you can be asked in a restaurant if you want the “kansi” meaning the shank with marrow or “lawas” meaning the laman of the beef.

    yes kangkong is not a usual kansi ingredient but while i’m illongo that would be a very acceptable fusion version of kansi, hehehe.

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:57 pm

     
  37. RobKSA says:

    wohoooo, i’m in the USA, hehehe :-(

    Mar 1, 2011 | 10:59 pm

     
  38. thelma says:

    it’s still cold where we live so a bg bowl of this soup will be
    perfect!

    Mar 2, 2011 | 1:04 am

     
  39. Joji says:

    Looks really, really good.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 1:08 am

     
  40. satomi says:

    That looks yummy!! The photos are making me hungry and your post is making me want to cook kansi. I will ask my brother-in-law to bring me bottled kansi in April. :) Thanks for sharing MM!!

    Mar 2, 2011 | 1:34 am

     
  41. Gerry says:

    That looks absolutely delicious. I would have to disagree though on your plan to use brisket. Shank is the best stewing meat, and there is a portion of the shank meat that is “marbled” with tendon than turns extremely tender when slowly simmered. It’s darker than the rest of the shank meat. It’s also called kenchi I think but I don’t know if they have a special term for this darker meat.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 2:20 am

     
  42. Pinky Sanchez says:

    Hi MM as for the greens you can add pechay/bok choy that’s the usual green we Ilonggo add to our linaga.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 2:23 am

     
  43. iFoodTrip says:

    Wow! I’ve never had kansi before and I’m just dying to try this recipe and I’m salivating looking at those photos.

    The achuete oil has a slight nutty slightly sweetish peppery taste but I think the sourness of the batuan will just kill it. The oil, i assume, is just for color.

    I agree with you regarding the use of a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker will soften the meat much faster but the soup will not reduce and its flavor will not develop.

    I’m afraid of draining the first boil of the beef. There might be some flavor included in that first boil that you might lose. Instead of draining it, try soaking the shank with a brine solution, the process which you do for your bone marrow recipe. The sea salt in the brine will release some blood and impurities from the shank. Soak for 24 to 48 hours and change the brine every 6 hours. This process not only cleans the shank but flavors it too. This will result in less scum coming out in the first boil. When the scum rises, simply clean it up with a strainer.

    Another process you can do instead of straining the first boil and instead of browning and without soaking the shanks is to directly roast the shank in an oven. You can achieve the same process of browning and caramelization of your beef in the heat of the oven, also the impurities will evaporate so there maybe no need to drain the first boil of the beef.

    Not sure if the two processes will work though but I think I’ll try it.

    Cheers to a wonderful post.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 2:46 am

     
  44. E J says:

    Kansi is probably how “kenchi”, the beef shank used in this dish, is pronounced in Ilonggo.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 3:31 am

     
  45. proteinshake says:

    Perhaps just regional differences in referring to the cut of beef.
    Kenchi = how tagalogs call the beef shank or “osso buco” that they use for nilaga
    Kenchi then transmogrifies into any soup or stew that contains beef shank= Kansi =Ilonggo soup with batuan?
    Just my theory.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 5:06 am

     
  46. proteinshake says:

    PS – soup looks wicked Ah-maaaaazing!

    Mar 2, 2011 | 5:07 am

     
  47. Best Food In Town says:

    thanks market man, now i am hungry! You really how to cook and probably your recipes are the best food in town!

    Mar 2, 2011 | 5:17 am

     
  48. atbnorge says:

    Pahingi naman, Marketman!!! Mayroon akong kanin dito, pero walang ulam (waaah) sawa na ako sa manok at isda, hahaha!!! Lovely dish for comfort eating.
    By the way, that first post with your washing off the scum after the first boil, I have been doing the same every time I boil some meat because I also want a very clear broth.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 5:51 am

     
  49. Maddie says:

    Yummy!

    MM, you could just freeze your fresh batuan instead of brining. That’s what our cook has been doing and it lasts till you’ve used your last batch.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 5:52 am

     
  50. Marketman says:

    Maddie, yes, we freeze batuan as well… ifoodtrip, yes, browning bones in an oven is a classic step for a dark beef broth. Pinky, thanks, pechay does sound good. Gerry, I wrote brisket instead of the short ribs, but definitely keep the beef shanks. The brisket would provide tendons and muscles and also work well for the broth, the shanks for the meat and the marrow.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 7:05 am

     
  51. millet says:

    so “kansi” probably is from the tagalog “kenchi” (the meat cut)! i guess it’s the same uniquely Bisaya tongue-twist that turned “tsolokolate” into “sikwate”.

    wonder where i can get a batuan seedling tord? plant in my backya

    Mar 2, 2011 | 8:49 am

     
  52. Enteng says:

    Wowww… Ako din, pahigop. :-)

    Mar 2, 2011 | 9:38 am

     
  53. lee says:

    The first picture oddly reminds me of the dominant Philippine election campaign colors.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 9:58 am

     
  54. redberry80 says:

    Hi…. I am an Illongo and loves kansi…..this really a Negrense dish. It is linaga in Iloilo :D. I’m not sure if the process of sauteing in garlic and browning the meat is done….as we don’t saute the meat in garlic. It’s boiled directly after removing the initial “water” with the scum. The achuete is extracted using a small amount of water and is really used as a coloring agent…thus soup is not so oily. Kansi is the cut of the meat used in the dish.

    Mar 2, 2011 | 10:27 am

     
  55. GJO says:

    I am from Bacolod but I dnt know why it is called Kansi, we just grew up with that name i guess, but I remember it was made famous by an eatery in Shopping ( Kuni Cansi House ) for Kansi you go to this place I don’t know if it’s still there.

    Your picture is to die for and the taste must be heaven. Waah I want to go home….

    Mar 2, 2011 | 8:27 pm

     
  56. jakespeed says:

    @junb -thanks for the info. will try to check out the malay/indian stores for those.

    Mar 3, 2011 | 12:05 pm

     
  57. Kai says:

    I miss eating Kansi! The last time I had this was during my last visit to Bacolod. I’m actually craving for Kansi right now.

    Mar 3, 2011 | 3:52 pm

     
  58. Anne Lorena says:

    Usually the kansi in iloilo, talagang buto lang and lots of tendons. tapos yung star syempre is ang marrow which we refer to as “utok”. That’s the kansi available sa mga carinderia. Too bad it’s not available sa may carinderia na malapit sa post office sa Iloilo.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 4:17 pm

     
  59. Anne Lorena says:

    hmmm…china talaga?

    Mar 4, 2011 | 4:18 pm

     
  60. athena says:

    meron bang pwedeng gamitin as substitute para sa batuan…wala kasi dito yun…help…gusto kong gumawa nito…miss ko na kumain ng kansi….salamat

    May 2, 2011 | 10:05 pm

     
  61. Jason says:

    I like my kansi spicy and sour, there are so many kansi houses in bacolod and each one has their own subtle differences. I go to them everytime I go back home to visit. Nice to see you using some kiwi beef:)

    Jun 8, 2011 | 6:47 pm

     
  62. Shan says:

    Just came from Iloilo. Tasted sinigang red snapper with batuan in Breakthrough. I fell in love with it and tried to look for it in SM Diversion. Bought some at PhP70 per kilo. Will have sinigang bangus belly tomorrow. yay! :)

    Jun 11, 2011 | 9:47 pm

     
  63. aryanas says:

    wow! i really love beef…oh… it makes me hungry

    Feb 26, 2012 | 3:59 pm

     
 

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