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!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Le Soufflé Mushroom Omelette

As I've mentioned in my previous post on how much I love breakfast, and also cooking them!  I am constantly in search of great and easy recipes I can whip up in the morning.

This one sounds really Frenchy fancy but not so hard to do.  This is one of those recipes that would definitely impress someone the minute your blurt out the word: Soufflé.

I got this recipe from this Canadian cooking show from Food Network Canada, the chef is named Laura Calder, French Cooking at Home.  When someone says French cooking, it is almost immediate and understood that it is difficult to do, and you'll have to go to a French Restaurant to eat it.  Well, Laura Calder breaks it down for you and make it easy for you to do it at home, like this one:

Soufflé is the past participle of the French verb "souffler" which means "to blow up" or more loosely "puff up".

Ingredients you'll need are:

1/4 cup of shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 pinch Salt and pepper
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


Wash mushrooms and slice then into thin pieces, stir fry with a bit of oil or butter.  When cooked, turn off the heat and set aside.

Put the yolks in a metal bowl and set over a pot of gently simmering water (make sure it's not boiling). Season with salt and pepper and whisk until thick and frothy. Remove from the heat.  

Beat the whites to stiff peaks and fold into the yolk mixture.  The correct way of folding is like drawing a line the middle using your spatula and turning it so that the ones under will be on top; turn the bowl 45 degrees and then repeat, til well mixed.  Do not over mix or else the air in the egg whites will deflate.

Heat the remaining butter in a large frying pan for the omelette (no-stick will simplify your life! -L.Calder). Pour the egg into it and cook until the bottom is set and golden and the top still fluffy and soft, three to five minutes. Scatter the mushroom all over the omelette, then the cheese. Cover for a few minutes to soften the cheese. Uncover, fold the omelette in half and slide it onto a plate. Serve.

Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ASADO (chinese barbequed roast pork)

One of the basics in Chinese food is barbequed pork. I don't think I have ever met anyone who dislikes this (well, except of course vegetarians and Muslims). It's a staple of all dimsum houses here and abroad. If you have visited a dimsum house, its the meat hanging on the window with all the roast ducks and crispy pork.

ASADO (what we call it here), is very versatile. The leftovers can be stir fried (yangchow style) with left over rice, a bit of eggs and some peas. It is also the filling for barbequed pork buns.

During celebrations (like chinese new year, all souls day or a holiday where we need to offer food to our ancestors-- as with chinese customs), this is one of the dishes you can order/buy and put on the menu very quickly.

In my never ending quest to cook all the foods my family likes ( this includes the barbequed pork bun)- I enrolled in some classes at HENY SISON. It is in the siopao and mami workshop where I got this recipe. So folks, you save 2000 pesos ($48) just by reading this blog!

I've made this recipe a few times and the my hubby says it tastes like the ones in the restaurants. I still have to make it for my in laws to judge though. (hahahaha).


1 kg (2 lbs) pork shoulder (kasim)
1 cup chinese wine
2 cups sugar

marinade (overnight)

1/2 cup gin
1/8 light soy sauce
1/2 cup yellow beans ( drained and washed 2x)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
orange food color- optional

1. Cut the pork lengthwise ( if its rounded, cut somewhere in the middle and try to make it like a roll). I try not to be too strict about this because this is only good for presentation (cutting lengthwise). I have tried doing this recipe with chunks of pork shoulder (adobo cut) and then cut it later to strips.

-- the orange food color is for the meat to have the golden brown color when its done (like what you usually see in restaurants)

2. marinate the meat with the chinese wine and sugar for 10 minutes.

3. place ingredients for marinade into blender and puree. add this to the asado and marinate overnight.

4. After marinating, you can opt to cook this two ways. you can pan fry it with a little oil (like what I did with the chunks) or grill it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. ( what I did for the this version). You can use a stove top grill if you like too, or your turbo broiler. Reserve the marinating liquid. You heat the liquid and it would be serve as the sauce for the pork. (if you want a thinner sauce, you can add 1/2 cup of water when you heat it up)

after its done, slice it into this....

on the cutting board

with the sauce poured over
Hope you try making these and we would love to get feedback if you do try one of our recipes!

PS: yellow beans is different from black beans (obviously) but if you can't find yellow beans, you can substitute black beans. This and hoisin sauce can be bought at your local chinese deli (or if abroad, asian food store)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Salmon fillets with Maitre D hotel butter

Of course we love salmon. By the sheer number of salmon recipes posted so far, you can tell we love cooking with this fish.
flaky with the butter all melted......

Usually, the other lady (meaning Candie) posts about salmon. so this is my first salmon dish to date. So far we have Farfalle al Salmone,   and Salmon en Croute 

This dish looks complicated (or sounds complicated) but really, it was a breeze to cook. You only need 4 ingredients and you are good to go.  

I was in the market doing my weekly buying trip when I saw these salmon fillets. thought maybe I could try to do something with them. As I have said before, my mother is a frustrated cook. I inherited a very old cookbook from her called POL MARTIN'S SUPREME CUISINE (I don't think she ever cooked anything from it) I haven't opened this book for years and decided to browse for a recipe there.

You'll need:

MAITRE DE HOTEL BUTTER (you can make only half of this)
225g (1 cup) butter softened
30ml    chopped parsley
5 ml chives, finely chopped
few drops of worchestershire sauce
few drops of tabasco
salt and pepper

4 salmon fillets
150g seasoned flour (1/2 cup) - seasoned flour is just flour with salt and pepper in it
30 g butter (a small slice)
5 ml vegtable oil
4 slices of maire d hotel butter

 - mix the ingredients of the maitre de hotel butter in a food processor. You can also do this by hand if you want-- just make sure the butter is soft enough. Spoon butter along center of foil and roll into cylindrical shape. twist ends shut and put in fridge to harden
(this butter will keep up to 3 months and can be used to top steaks and other seafood)

- season fish and dredge in flour; set aside
- heat butter with oil in frying pan over medium heat. when add, add fillets abd cook 6-8 minutes depending on thickness. Brown both sides
-- in the cookbook, you have an option to finish cooking the fish in the oven. I thought it was an extra step which could be skipped so I just continued pan frying it till done.

-- place a slice of the butter on each fillet and serve. (this will melt)

you can serve this with a side of grilled vegetables or as what I did, with what I had available (which was stir fried beans)

one tip: make sure your fillets are of even thickness throughout. If it is thicker on one side, better trim it to an even thickness or else you might get one side that is too well done while the other is a bit under cooked.

In asian cooking, we get a notion that if you are cooking with seafood, you ALWAYS use ginger... to get the fishy smell out... so, I was frankly skeptical on how this would turn out and if my husband would complain about it being MALANSA (fishy). However, I am not sure if it was the seasoned flour or the butter, but it tasted very clean. not fishy at all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baked Ham and Egg with Custard

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast, I enjoy cooking breakfast the most.  I love breakfast so much, that my dad and I are a part of a Sunday Breakfast Group, consisting of him and me. haha

On the weekday, I spend my breakfast with my mum.  She's so picky with food that sometimes she just eats bread and her nutritional drink.  She also has alot of constrictions in terms of food, so therefore, looking for a healthy alternative for breakfast is a challenge.

I found this great recipe from Sorted!  They are a group of young men from the UK who cater their videos to college students, teaching them how to cook and eat healthy.

Today's dish is like Ham and Egg Sandwich but with a twist from Sorted!

You'll need:

butter (100g)
8 slices of white bread
couple of fresh tomatoes
sliced ham (150g)
3 large eggs
milk (350ml)
chunk of whatever cheese you have (100g)
salt and pepper
handful of mushrooms

and this is how to do it:
  • soften the butter and use to spread over the sliced bread then remove the crusts. 
  • brush the base of an oven-proof dish with a little butter too. 
  • slice the tomatoes and ham and grate the cheese. 
  • half the bread slices into triangles and arrange into the buttered dish, layering with the ham, tomato and cheese as you go. 
  • beat the eggs into the milk and season well with salt and pepper. 
  • pour over the bread and leave to soak in for 10 minutes whilst pre-heating an oven to 180°C. 
  • grate a little extra cheese over the top of the pudding and bake for 35 minutes until golden and set. 
  • Serve with some sauteed mushrooms.

You can see their format in their website is very straight forward, if you still can't catch up, you can check out the video too :)  This recipe is quite hard to mess up, it was delicious because you can't go wrong with ham and eggs but the texture was nice and soft! :)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Braised Crab with Glass noodles (crab sotanghon)

I think the Philippines has the tastiest crabs around. If you haven't tried it... you should! Its WAAAY better than the hyped Alaskan king crab (the huge ones )-- you know, the one that even has a TV show (deadliest catch)-- hahaha.

I was really curious about the hyped alaskan crab and got my chance to try one when we went to Las Vegas-- the capital of over indulgence. (you can buy coffee by the PITCHER at dunkin donuts!!!) Everywhere you turn you run into buffets.. I was recommended to the one at Bellagio and me and my hubby went there to try it. VERDICT? Well, first all, they serve it cold with a side of butter.. (ugh!). It was quite tasteless. Here, we eat them plain since they are very sweet and tasty by themselves. I also tried Australian crab (quite pricey) and they were like the Alaskan crab-- tasteless. So I think it is better to save your money and buy a local mud crab and cook it yourself.

This is one of my favorite styles of cooking the crab. The other being Singaporean Chili Crab. (yummy!)

You can also cook this using prawns (if you don't have crabs). One thing about mud crabs is, (for those who don't know) you have to kill them. This means, it has to be ALIVE before you cook them. A dead crab is no good to cook. It already has a smell to it and it will taste awful.

I am lucky that I married a man who knows his way around the (wet) market. My husband can tell if the crab is fat or not. Also, I am not very good in KILLING the crab. You have to chop it up and clean it. ( there is a method to it) I usually have him do it for me. I just COOK the crab... (hahahaha).. I think I need to post a tutorial on how to pick and dress crab. (next time)

So, hungry yet? here's what you'll need.

Seasoned flour (1 cup flour with salt and pepper tossed in)-- for crab
350 grams prawn or 1 kilo cleaned crab (chopped into pieces)
3 tbps cron oil
3 tbps sesame oil
1/2 cup shallots (small red oinion)
5 slices ginger
1/2 cup garlic (whole)
2 stalks leek (sliced)
50 grams kutchay (garlic chives)
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/2 cup gin
1 tsp chicken powder
salt pepper to taste
1 cup soup stock
150 grams sotanghon noodles (glass noodles)

1. If you're cooking crab: take the pcs of crab and coat with seasoned flour. Fry in hot oil till it changes color (we need to pre fry the crab to make sure it is cooked...the flour also helps keep the roe in the shell together.... if using prawns, you can omit this step). Drain on strainer or paper towels. Set aside.

2. In a pan, heat oil and saute garlic, ginger, shallots till fragrant. add the leeks and sesame oil. Add the crab/ prawn. Then add the oyster sauce, gin, chicken powder and soup stock. Mix well. taste. adjust salt if needed.

3. Add the noodles and toss to coat. simmer till the noodles are done. add more stock if the dish looks dry and the noodles are not yet ready. Make sure the noodles are relatively even in color when you toss. Do not add too much stock (you kind of eyeball it to see if it is too wet/dry and adjust)

4. when done, add the kutchay tips and sesame oil and put into serving platter.

TIP: if using prawns, you can take them out when you put in the noodles so that they won't over cook. you can just put them back in when the noodles are done.

This is one of my "specialties" and I really love it when the roe of the female crab gets into the noodles. One of the things we cook for Chinese New Year.

I'll post on crab buying soon!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Easiest. Rum. Cake. EVER.

You wanna know a secret? SSSHHHHH.....

This is my most sacred rum cake recipe. I have been making this every Christmas to give as gifts to friends, neighbors and my kids teachers. Even if I wasn't a very experienced cook, they thought I was -- because of this recipe.

The rum cake comes out moist and the smell when you bake this is??--- ...just divine. When I was still living in our small townhouse, our neighbor stopped me one day and asked, "What were you baking? I could smell it from our house!" (of course I had to gift her with it too... hahaha)

Have you ever wondered why a lot of baked goods use rum? Well, rum is made from sugar cane... so it is has a natural affinity to baked goods. (bet you didn't know that!)

You'll need:

1 package yellow cake mix (with pudding in the mix-- I use pillsbury)~~~ told you it was easy!!!

4 eggs
1/3 cup rum
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup rum

Grease and flour your pan (rub oil or butter or margarine on your pan and then put some flour, swirl it around to coat and then remove the excess flour)

preheat oven to 350F or 180C

mix all the ingredients in a bowl (the cake mix, oil, water and rum) Mix until there are no more lumps in the batter. Pour in your prepared pan. Depending on what you'll be using this for or who you will be giving it to, you can use cupcake molds, loaf pans (what I used), bundt pans or cake pans.

If using cupcake molds, bake 25 mins. if using cake pans or loaf pans, bake 35- 40 mins. You can test the doneness by inserting a tooth pick IN THE MIDDLE of the pan, if it comes out clean, it is done. If not, bake for another 5 minutes. The tops should be golden. Take the cake out and punch holes using a toothpick on the top and sides. brush glaze over the top and sides. allow the cake to absorb the glaze. Continue doing this until you use up all the glaze. (let the cake sit in the pan to absorb the glaze)

FOR THE GLAZE: put water, sugar and butter in a pan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 minutes. turn off heat and pour in the rum.

after letting the cake cool and absorb the glaze..

slice the cake....

you'll see it is really moist.
note: you can use any brand or rum you like. You can also skip the rum glaze if you prefer but the glaze really adds to the moist texture of the cake.

To impress your mother in law or soon to be mother in law, make this and she'll think you studied in a pastry school... hahahaha.

PPS: if you are wondering about the rum in the cake.. you'll hardly notice it when it is cooked... however, if you over do the rum in the glaze, you'll definitely KNOW. So for those not wanting a very heavy rum smell. go easy on the glaze.

PPS: pillsbury yellow cake mix is available in supermarkets... usually in the section for flour and baked goods