Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Prawn Salad



So, here is something for the New Year dinner. Chinese hot prawn salad. I got this from the new cookbook of NORA DAZA called FESTIVE DISHES. One the first cookbooks I got was one by Nora. She is like the Ina Garten of her time. Most of her children are either cooks, food critics or restaurateurs.

I highly recommend the "Galing Galing " cook book. My first cookbook when I got married. It is cheap and all the dishes are doable.

Festivities in the Philippines are not complete without some kind of salad being served. be it macaroni, buko or  fruit)... so here is the hot prawn salad. (something new for the new year eh?)

For this you will need:
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp oil
1/2 kilo prawn or shrimp - shelled and deveined
oil for frying
caramelized walnuts

Sauce:
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup fruit cocktail

 In a bowl, combine salt,egg, cornstarch, baking soda and oil. Mix to make batter.
Heat 2 cups oil until hot and dip shrimps into batter and deep fry until golden brown. set aside

In another bowl, combine the condensed milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and fruit cocktail. mix well. Toss the hot shrimp in the sauce. Add walnuts. Serve hot.
The problem with the mixing of the prawns was that the batter kept coming off when you try too hard to mix it. Tastewise, this dish was pretty spot on with what you could get at a chinese restaurant. I think I need to inprove my batter more. I'll update this blog after I do another round of this salad.

addendum: when mixing the batter for the shrimp, it's best to use COLD ICE water


Monday, December 19, 2011

Caramelized walnut

I have always loved walnuts. I particularly like them caramelized. You know when you get those salads where you have caramelized walnuts? You get something soft and a bit sour (lettuce and vineagrette) and then something crunchy and sweet (walnuts)


Forgive me if I only have the recipe for the walnuts. 






I am planning to serve something with caramelized walnuts for Christmas. This is a pretty straightforward recipe and I am guessing you can use this for several recipes I will be testing in the coming weeks


You'll need just three ingredients:


1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cup walnuts
combine sugar and vinegar in saucepan until sugar melts. about 3 minutes. add walnuts and toss.
make sure the sugar is well melted


mix mix mix

pour into a lined baking sheet. I used a baking liner for mine but you can use wax paper or foil. I find that investing in a liner reduces the wax paper consumption because you can reuse the liner and the items won't stick. (eco friendly too)


cooled walnut
I have read some recipes that instruct you to bake the walnuts in a oven some more. But I found that not baking it works too. At the time, I was using my oven for some other recipe and my walnut cooled. I tasted it and it turned out quite good so I skipped the baking part. I broke the walnuts in chunks and readied them for my recipe. -- here I used them to top my salad. (picture above)... if you want to know, its just tossed lettuce, some leftover ham, chopped tomatoes and a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 


Watch out for my next recipe involving caramelized walnuts!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mussels in white wine

Christmas means a lot of cooking lately. Especially since we are hosting our annual family Christmas lunch at our new house. I was wracking my brain on what meals to serve. You know, I had to be creative.

Of course, I did not dare try new recipes on the day itself. I had a whole lot of people coming and I had to make sure the dishes I was serving was at least yummy.

Here's one that passed the taste test. It one of our favorite dishes when eating out. Mussels in white wine. The good thing about this is you can serve some french bread and they can dip it in the sauce and you have something like a appetizer too! (ala ITALLIANI'S)



Here I am using frozen mussels from New Zealand rather than fresh mussels. I find them sweeter and feel they are cleaner (new zealand having less pollution-- mussels being bottom feeders)... have you seen Manila bay lately??? ~~ don't ask......

You'll need:
1 package 1kg frozen mussels
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tomatoes chopped
1/4 cup garlic
1 cup of parsley
1 1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup butter (about 1/2 stick american- 1/4 block regular sized philippine butter)

In a bowl, stir fry garlic with a little olive oil, add wine and bring to a boil until the mussels are defrosted and warm. Add the tomatoes. continue simmering about 2 minutes. take out the mussels and place in a bowl.

This is available at SANTIS or S&R

stir fry till defrosted


Add parsley and butter to the remaining sauce in the pan. heat till all the butter melts. taste and season as needed. (no need to salt.. the mussels are naturally salty). Pour over the mussels and serve with toasted french bread.  You can serve too with Bruchetta



enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hummus!

Hummus is one of my favorite things to eat!  I normally dislike chickpeas or garbanzos when they're in Filipino dishes like Afritada but apparently when they're mashed up in cream, I really love them.


It's really easy to do, and it's one of the things I've wanted to make since I bought my hand mixer!

So I invited my friend Jennifer over, who is currently a vegetarian, for dinner and catching up.  I also invited my other good friend, Zara to come over.

What goes into Hummus:


a big can of garbanzos, drain, but save the juice -- if you're using fresh garbanzos, make sure to soak them over night to make them softer, so it makes more sense if you use canned garbanzos;
about 4 cloves of garlic;
olive oil (make sure to choose a good kind); and
Tahini (Tahineh) 100% Sesame seed paste -- I got my tahini from Santi's it's a bit pricey, but if you're gonna make it often, it's ok.

Tahini is the most important part of hummus according to a recipe that I read, you can omit it, but it is NOT replaceable.

Put a little of the garbanzos juice in and a splash of olive oil, then MASH AWAY with your hand blender!  If you like Hummus, you know what the consistency should be like.  So just add the garbanzos juice and olive oil and adjust until you get the perfect consistency.  You can sprinkle some granulated garlic powder over the top and drizzle some olive oil before serving it with pita! I got mine from our neighborhood Middle Eastern restaurant but I guess I can try looking for a recipe to make them next time! :)

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Macademia cookies

Baking in my house has gone into overdrive. This is one of the recipes I tried using leftover egg white I had from baking a batch of oatmeal cookies. (I was actually baking several batches).

The cookies are very light and airy because they only have eggwhites in them. If you like cookies that have a very light texture, this one is for you.

Forgive me if I don't have a lot of pictures for this post. (too busy baking)

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/3 cups macadamia nuts (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

preheat oven to 180C.

process nutswith 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor and grind into fine powder

put egg whites and salt in a bowl and whisk with electric mixer until soft peaks form. add the remaining1/2 cup sugar until the egg white form stiff peaks. Add hazelnut mixture, flour and vanilla. mix on med- low speed until combined. refrigerate covered until cold (about 1 hour)

with spoons,  mold heaping tablespoons of dough into pyramids (although you can just do a mound of dough). space about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

bake until edges begin to brown. 15-18 minutes. Let cool on sheets and on wire racks.

cookies can be stored in airtight container up to 3 days



adapted from martha stewart cookies cookbook

Hope you get to try these if you have some left over eggwhites too!

enjoy!!!



Friday, December 2, 2011

Cinnamon Apple crumble


When you think of baking, there is always some part that "needs" to make an apple pie. I guess, its like a hurdle on the checklist of things you should bake.


Since I am not expert in crust making, I opted to do a "crumble" topping instead of the usual covered pie. This version had lots of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a extra OOOMPH.


Crust: (you can use a version done by candie on a earlier post... click HERE)

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup frozen solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling

  • 3 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For crust:

Mix flour, salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter and shortening; rub in with fingertips until coarse meal forms. (you can use a pastry cutter to mix the butter in, or two forks) Mix 3 tablespoons ice water and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Drizzle over flour mixture; stir with fork until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch; turn edge under and crimp decoratively. cover with wax paper and weigh down with beans. bake for 10 minutes. 

For filling:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl to coat apples.


For topping:
Blend first 5 ingredients in processor. Add chilled butter cubes; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles wet sand.
Toss filling to redistribute juices; transfer to crust, mounding in center. Pack topping over and around apples. Bake pie on baking sheet until topping is golden, about 40 minutes (cover top with foil if browning too quickly). Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until apples in center are tender when pierced and filling is bubbling thickly at edges, about 45 minutes longer. Cool until warm, about 1 hour. Serve with ice cream.



These really were beautiful when they came out of the oven. I gave some slices to my friends over the course of two days. They ate them cold and said they were delish. I actually used a pie pan with a removable bottom. This made taking out the crumble  easier. I also had some left over and filled some ramekins with them. I baked them -- although, the filling shrunk, I think these would make nice individual desserts topped with vanilla ice cream in future dinner parties.

What's your favorite pie?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Red Velvet Cupcakes

The first time I've ever heard or tasted of Red Velvet cake was from this place called Patisserie Caroline.  I had no idea what went into a red velvet cake and why it was made red in the first place.

I do remember though, loving my first red velvet experience.  I looooved the cream cheese icing because it was genius! haha the flavors just complemented each other very well.

I've tried a recipe before by Laura Vitale but I thought it was too sweet for my taste.  Then Chef John of Food Wishes and I used his recipe to make a batch.



So you'll need these ingredients for 12 Red Velvet Cupcakes:

Dry:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt (skip the salt if you're using salted butter)
1 teaspoon baking powder

Wet:
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring or depends on the color of red to your liking

Just mix together the wet, then mix together the dry, then mix only by hand to avoid over mixing.  I actually only used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of a cup, but realized I should have used 1 cup instead.  Never the less, they still tasted good.

A tip for buttermilk, if you can't find buttermilk, you can use 1 cup of milk and add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice, set it aside until it bubbles. This will make your cup cakes moist. 

Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Make sure not to over bake it too because this will cause for it to dry up.  Once you start seeing the cupcake cracking, cover it with aluminum foil then continue baking.

Cream cheese frosting is the best for red velvet cake, although other recipes use butter cream icing which I think does not qualify as red velvet, but hey, I'm just a lady with a spoon with very strong opinion on red velvet cream cheese frosting. For me, if ain't cream cheese, it ain't right.

Here's a recipe of cream cheese frosting by Martha Stewart

You'll need:

1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
 pound (2 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, and then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

You can also mix by hand, you can use the wire whisk and a spatula instead of the electric mixer, just make sure your cream cheese is really soft and in room temperature.

If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chicken roulade with pumpkin and kesong puti

One of the joys of having your own home is hosting your friends. It was such a treat to get together last week with my blog partner and have the opportunity to  cook and have dinner together.

One of my dilemmas was what to serve. I was frantically searching for something to cook that I went through a whole bunch of cookbooks for ideas.  Of course I had to balance the meal with something healthy.

I had subscribed to a digital magazine in ZINIO (application in both android and itunes) called CLEAN EATING. Most of the recipes are low cal. so I was quite happy to test one of them.

One of the featured ones in the november issue was this chicken roulade. I had to substitute the kesong puti (carabao cheese) for the soft cheese in the recipe. First, because I really had no idea what it was.
(anyone heard of chevre'?)



So, here is my adapted recipe

INGREDIENTS:
olive oil or cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced pumpkin
2 shallots (sibuyas tagalog)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp chopped sage (you can substitute dried- reduce to 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup goat cheese (or kesong puti)
1/4 tsp salt
6 boneless chicken breast
6 slices bacon (you can use ham)

preheat oven to 400F (you can use a turbo broiler if you don't have an oven). mist baking sheet w/ cooking spray

In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium. Add the pumpkin and shallots and cook till tender., stirring occasionally. 4-6 minutes. Transfer to bowl and stir in the bread crumbs, goat cheese, sage, pepper and salt. set aside.


Arrange chicken smooth side up on flat work surface. Using a meat mallet, pound chicken to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. place bacon (or ham) on the work surface and top with chicken. season with salt and pepper. spread squash mixture on top of chicken and then roll. Secure with a toothpick.

Arrange in baking sheet and roast for 25- 30 minutes till internal temperature registers 165F. remove from oven and cover with foil. let rest 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks and serve.



I have to say, I was really in a rush to cook this dish. My bacon was frozen so I had to chop pieces off to wrap the chicken in. (I had to top the bacon instead). If you attempt this, you might get a better end product if you WRAP the bacon over the chicken. (there was a time constraint because I had guest coming over. It was a MASTERCHEF moment)

I also paired it with spagettini with a dulong  (small fish) pasta sauce I had on hand (w/c I bought  at a weekend market). I indicated that you need to season the chicken breast before you wrap it. The original recipe did not call for this but I felt it needed more seasoning after cutting into the end product. I don't know if the original goat cheese called for was more pungent but using kesong puti (carabao cheese) was mild. If you like it to have more "body" maybe you can experiment with a different cheese in the filling. (maybe feta?-- just make sure it's a soft cheese)

My husband had a nice solution to that though. He popped open a few bottles of wine and started pouring! Maybe he thought getting my guests drunk would make them enjoy the food more. (hahahahaha)

It was pretty good for my first "dinner" party. Maybe I could attempt a more complicated menu next time. (and maybe I can devote the whole afternoon to cooking it)





Monday, November 21, 2011

Tomato Basil Bruchetta


We had our very first dinner party (the ladies got together) at my house last week. We've been talking about this for quite some time. I was really excited to host my partner at my new house.

I decided to serve an appetizer and a main (I had no time to prepare a soup) and it was only me, Candie and my husband.(well, at first...) Candie also decided we would bake  a red velvet cupcake at my house when she arrived.

One of the best and easiest starters is bruchetta. 




You'll need:
1 french bread loaf
8 tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh basil (you can find this at the supermarket)~ chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1-2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

slice bread and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes (you can brush with olive oil before putting in oven to make it more brown)

boil 2 cups water in a pan, make an X mark on the top of the tomatoes with a knife and dip them into the boiling water for 30 seconds. (get a water in a bowl and put some ice ~ this is called an ice bath). scoop the tomatoes from the pan and plunge into the ice bath.
By this time, the skin would be easy to peel. Take the skin off and chop in half. Remove the seeds and chop into cubes. (deseeding and taking the skin off the tomatoes makes for a nicer end product). Mix all the rest of the ingredients together.

When ready to serve, take the slices of french bread and top with the tomato mixture. Get a nice plate and SERVE!!

We kindda munched on the first batch of these while cooking the cupcakes and waiting for Candie's friend to arrive. (Hey Zara!!!) The kids also wolfed the bread down pretty quickly. (I had to make another batch)~~of course, my basil plant kindda went bald after that night... hahahaha

The crunchy bread and the sour/sweet tomato balsamic was perfect! hope you try this!


delicioso!!! (if I do say so myself!!)



Mini Chicken pot pie with herb crust





I have been doing a lot of dessert lately so I decided to do a savory pie this time. One thing about this dish is that it can be individualized-- like if you are having a intimate party for your friends. (if you want to save time, you can also make this as one big dish).


I bought some lovely cups of different sizes from Landmark and some at Gourdo's (they are quite inexpensive. I think only 25 pesos/ pc.- depending on size ~ that's about 50 cents US)-- it looks so much more presentable and it's not pricey. Don't you just love it?


TIP: Do the pastry first and leave in the refrigerator to chill.


You'll need:


one recipe SHORT CRUST PASTRY


2 tablespoons mixed fresh herb leaves, such as flat-leaf parsley, sage, chives, thyme, dill, rosemary, and oregano (in my case, I used sage and oregano I had in my garden)
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Filling:


1 whole chicken (4 pounds), rinsed and patted dry 
4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock 
1 large onion, halved 
2 bay leaves 
½ teaspoon black peppercorns 
3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 tablespoons thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
1 celery stalk, cut into thirds 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
9 ounces red potatoes, cut into ½-inch chunks (about 1 large potato)
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds and rinsed well 
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds 
6 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and halved (quartered if large) -- you can use canned button mushrooms)
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
1 cup milk 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 
2 teaspoons coarse salt 
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


 1. Put chicken, stock, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme sprigs, and celery in an 8‑quart pot. Add water to cover. Cover pot; bring to a boil. Uncover; reduce heat. Simmer 1 hour. 


2. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and discard. Cut meat from bones; discard bones. Using a fork, shred into bite-size pieces. 


3. Pour stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Set aside 2 cups stock. (Reserve remaining stock for another use.) 


4. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and pearl onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes begin to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add leek, carrots, and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes more. Add flour; cook, stirring, 1 minute. 


5. Stir in reserved 2 cups stock and the milk. Bring mixture to a simmer; cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken, chopped parsley, thyme leaves, zest, salt, and pepper. (at this point... do a taste test to see if the salt and pepper is enough) Divide chicken mixture among eight 4-by-2-inch ramekins, filling almost to top. Let cool slightly. (you can use a big pie plate if you're lazy to do individual ones)



6.Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough ¼ inch thick. Arrange herbs on top; roll out dough ⅛ inch thick, gently pressing herbs.

7.Using a 4½-inch fluted cutter, (or a large coffee cup) cut out 8 rounds of dough. Brush edges of ramekins with egg wash. Place dough rounds over filling. Gently press to seal. Freeze until dough is firm, about 10 minutes. 


8. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush dough with egg wash. With a paring knife, cut 4 steam vents in each round. Bake until golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool 10 to 15 minutes, and serve.


recipe adapted from Martha Stewart PIES cookbook


The herb crust really adds a lot of flavor to the usually tasteless crust. I should note that you should adjust the seasonings according to taste. I think I needed more salt and pepper in my pot pie. (taste before you put on the pastry)-- These can be kept in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the oven at a later time. (the taste actually improved in the reheating)


Get some white wine and enjoy!






Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sundubu Jjigae Sniffles

I used to be an exchange student in South Korea.  One of the most difficult thing that I had to adjust over there was eating their SPICY food.  The pre-Korea Candie was the lamest, non-spicy food eater, ever.  I remember my first week in Korea, I ate McDonald's for a week, denting my student pocket because it was so expensive.  I remember I had an episode of home sickness and was complaining to my mom how everything in Korea is red because they're all spicy!  I even hated Kimchi.


Fast forward 3 months later, I started speaking novice Korean and realized I loved Korean food!  The lame pre-Korea Candie is now spicy hot haha.  I could eat hot rice with just kimchi, and it would be a meal.  Especially loved the restaurant across the university where they served Kamja Tang (Potato Soup), Sam Gyop Sal (grilled bacon strips) were weekly staples with Soju!  I was basically a Korean (I already look the part anyway)! haha


A few years ago my sisters and I got a great deal and bought cheap tickets to Korea, it was my first time to go back after my exchange student program.  Anyway, I'm blabbing too much about me so I'm gonna get to the food.  haha.  The trip with my sisters to Korea was for sure a food trip!  We love Korean food and we LOVED Sundubu Jjigae!


We've been searching everywhere in Manila for Sundubu Jjigae, but Kimchi Jjigae is more popular here, and then I found Maangchi, wherelse? Youtube.




You'll need the ff:


Soup Base:


12 pcs dried anchovies -- or 1 tbsp of anchovy powder
1/3 cup of kelp

half onion
5 cloves of garlic
3 shiitake mushrooms
5 cups of water (1 cup of which is soup from clam)


For Sundubu Jjigae:

100 grams of beef
1 cup of clams
3 pcs shrimp
2 pcs green onions
1 pc green chili pepper
1/4 cup of Red Pepper Powder
2 tubes of soon du bu
2 tbsp of fish sauce
2 pcs eggs

*all Korean stuff can be found in your local Korean store or Nice Mart.



The most important part of any soup is the soup base.  Basically, it's seafood.  Koreans use alot of clams.  I like the flavor of clams, so what I did was to boil the clean clams in 2 cups of water until cooked, put a bit of ginger in while boiling to remove the fishy smell.  Measure the clam soup and add more water to make 5 cups.  Add in the all soup base ingredients and boil for about 20 minutes.

Prepare the stone pot, put it over the fire and put some oil in it, stir fry a bit of the beef for flavor and remove it again (I do this so that the beef wouldn't be too tough), I leave a piece or 2 of beef for flavor.  Then, get the boiled mushroom in soup then chop them up in medium sized pieces and stir fry.  Put about 1/4 cup of Red Chili Powder and put it in the pot then mix


Then add about 2 cups of the soup base or about 3/4 the way full then boil, try the soup if it's spicy enough for you, you can adjust the spiciness by adding more chili pepper powder.  The powder really isn't as fierce as it looks, it's actually a bit sour and a little spicy, so adjust from putting in 2tbsp to about 5tbsp to 1/4 cup -- but then again, you'll only try this recipe if you life spicy food, so add more! 

By this time, you can add in the fish sauce for flavor.  Cut the tofu packaging in half and just put all 2 pcs in then break it apart with a spoon lightly.  Do not stir it vigorously because you still want solid pieces of tofu when you eat.  Boil some more until the some thickens a bit, throw in the chopped green big chili.  At the last minute, you put in the cooked clams and beef into the soup, then mix, finally, crack in 2 eggs into the soup and boil.  Serve with tissue for the sniffles haha!

Chal Mogesumnida! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chocolate cream pie

Both Ladies have been busy lately, so apologies for not posting on our regular schedule. Work is such a bummer.

I was discussing cooking with some of my friends and brought up the idea of retiring from my day job and just staying at home and cook. (yah right.. roll eyes..)

My other "taste tester" volunteered to co finance a coffee/pastry shop in case I wanted to open one.~ hahahahaha (I don't want cooking to be WORK... so not yet considering this option)

I am still cooking from MARTHA STEWART PIES. This is the first recipe on the book. Maybe because its so easy to do. Just mash, mix and freeze.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Behind the Scenes of a Wedding Cake

My friend Michelle was getting married, she actually already got married on the 30th; her brother, my friend too, Jordan, is a pastry chef, agreed to make her cake for her!  When I found out about this, I immediately pestered him to have me help out!  The only credential I have that I could present to him was that I've watched 3 seasons of Cake Boss! haha

Fondant is a paste made from sugar syrup, it is made by boiling sugar and water together , and then agitating the mixture by stirring, scraping, and kneading it as it cools.  Jordan said making fondant is time-consuming,  he said you have to knead it by hand and you can't use machine; even bakers just buy ready made fondants; but if you fancy to hassle yourself, or maybe fondant isn't available, then here's a recipe i got off the net.

Jordan made a 6-tier GORGEOUS Ivory wedding cake, all of which are made of styro except for the hald of the 5th from the top which was vanilla pound cake with lemon zest with lemon curd in the middle.  Design was I would guess, was Victorian; in which design stencil were painstakingly pinned one-by-one.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Mango marble cheesecake

One of the cupcakes from my cupcake frenzy weekend!!!The original recipe was for raspberry. Since we live in a tropical country, I could only get my hands on mango, so I turned it into a mango marble cheesecake (cupcake)




1½ cups finely ground graham crackers (about 12 sheets; use a mini chopper or food processor)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar
3 pcs mango chopped (leave some extra for topping)
3 packs (225grams ) cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Devil's foodcake cupcake



It's been a busy weekend. Hubby had his birthday and I decided to make several flavors of cupcake (So, you might be getting some more recipes this week) to make a cupcake "tower"

I used the Martha Stewart cupcake cookbook I mentioned in the previous post. (I really wanted to try every recipe)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Strawberries and cream cupcake



I have been messing around with a 7"viewsonic tablet (given by a friend) and found it to be amazing! I could download cookbooks via amazon kindle and it gives me freedom to lug the cookbooks during my trips (to and from work)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fudgy Brownies

My friend asked me to find her a fudgy brownie recipe. She's one of those chocoholics. Searching and testing recipes takes work. The first recipe I tried was made with just cocoa powder and it was a little too cakey for my taste. The second recipe (this one) was WAAAY better. (made with baking chocolate)

When I was starting to cook and bake, one of the first things I tried to do were cookies and of course, brownies. You don't even need too many gadgets to make brownies. You just need a spatula and a bowl. (maybe a whisk too)



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lamon Mamon



Mamon - the filipino sponge cake. Its soft buttery texture is in the dreams of overseas pinoys and locals alike. It so popular, I would always bring boxes of a dozen pcs to my suppliers in Hongkong and Thailand. (they really love it). It has become so popular that I saw someone open a shop in Thailand named MS. MAMON - and they also call it mamon ( although I doubt if they taste as good as ours)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Restaurant Review: Balamban Liempo

I was  at Greenhills (shopping center) the other day. I was there to get my frequent member card from  GOURDOS- a shop I had mentioned earlier where I get my baking supplies.


It was lunch so we (hubby and I) decided to walk to CRYSTAL JADE RESTAURANT which serves my favorite xiao long pao (meat dumplings with a bit of soup inside). On the way, I bumped into my friend, Jojo. He had opened a new business (he has a clothing store inside Greenhills Theater Mall) and it was Balamban Liempo.


For those not familiar with liempo- it is pork belly. It is a popular dish here in the Philippines and we like it either roasted over a rotisserie or fried crispy. For Jojo, his version came from the south of the Phillipines- Cebu style. He offered me a free taste and asked his staff to chop up some for me. (I was shy so I said half a slab would do.... but hey, it was free so who am I to say NO?)


I looked over as the girl was chopping and I could see the pork belly was stuffed with different kinds of herbs. Jojo said one of these was tanglad (lemongrass). I tasted a piece and it was quite flavorful. Lemongrass is often used to stuff roast pigs and chicken so I knew it would impart a nice flavor to the meat.


I peeked over the counter and saw several pre marinated, ready-to-cook liempo.


"How do you cook these?" I asked


Jojo smiled and answered, "We just put them on a skewer and let them roast on the rotisserie.."


"Won't the  filling fall out?" I asked as I surveyed the plump uncooked leimpo looking like it was about to burst.


"No, they sew it shut and the fillings don't fall out"


I opted to bring the take away box to the Crystal Jade. (Hubby wanted to just buy rice and eat by the wayside).


Inside Crystal jade, aside from ordering some of the regular fare, we order rice so we could taste the liempo. I kind of picked at the filling and tasted it while waiting. It was really delicious. As with any cook, I was mentally thinking of what was put into it. I think the meat was super marinated by the way it was colored. It reminded me of TAPA (without it being rubbery)




so full of delicious fillings

The meat itself was very tender and juicy, like being roasted in the oven for hours. Maybe the marinade had something to do with it. (sooo curious)


You know how sommeliers swirl the wine around in their mouths? or how coffee tasters gargle the coffee? Well, I was finding myself munching and swirling the filling of the pork around trying to get the "flavors" of the herbs. (yum... more pls!).. I just stopped munching when I ran out of the filling! hahahaha


Aside from the liempo, they also have some other items that they serve with rice. On fridays, they have "specials" like pancit (stir fried noodles) with liempo topping for only 35 pesos. I'd say that is a great deal!


If you are in Greenhills- you might want to stop over and try this. It is waaaay better than any Andok's.



BALAMBAN LIEMPO is located at
Promanade walkway near Greenhills Theater Mall
right across San Juan Police Station

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Emboti-do it right!

Embotido is Bangus (milk fish) de-skinned whole, cook the meat and stuff it back in the fish skin.  It actually sounds brutal, but what can you do?  It's delicious!



This is one Filipino dish that's quite easy to do, if you don't need to de-skin the fish yourself.  You can have that done in the market! :) So here's what it looks like, much like rubberized fish.


Take all of the meat of the fish, make sure to pick out all the bones, stir fry them in a pan until almost cooked, set aside.  Stir fry some onions, until they're translucent, red bell pepper, also add a some raisins and soften them, and add back in the fish meat.  Ground the fish meat til it's all flaky.  Season with salt and pepper.


Traditionally in an embutido, you hard boil and egg and get the yolk and mash it in the mixture, but the quicker and easier way is just to put in the yolk and stir it in the mixture until cooked.

let the mixture cool down and stuff the mixture back into the fish.  Make sure to stuff it real tight so that when you slice it, it won't break apart too much.

Now after you've stuffed and sealed the fish, wrap it with aluminum foil and then fry it.  This is to protect the skin from sticking to the pan, but I guess a non-stick pan will do the trick.

Serve and eat!  Kain na!