Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chocolate Revel bars

My first encounter with a revel bar was at a friend's party. PURPLE OVEN's revel bar to be exact. It was an encounter that had me intrigued.

It was the blend of chocolate, oats and the fudginess of it all... 

In as much as I would like to take credit for inventing this recipe... hats off to better homes and gardens for a perfect revel bar!

Chocolate revel bar (recipe from

  • 1 cup  butter or margarine
  • 2 cups  packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons  vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 3 cups  quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 114  ounce can  (1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
  • 112  ounce  package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces ( I used bittersweet chopped into small pieces )
  • 1 cup  chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons  vanilla

1.Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter or margarine. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until well mixed. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In another large bowl stir together flour and baking soda; stir in oats. Gradually stir dry mixture into beaten mixture. Set aside. --- line your baking pan with wax paper or aluminum foil.

2.In a medium saucepan combine the reserved butter or margarine, the sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate pieces. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts and the 2 teaspoons vanilla.

3.Press two-thirds (about 3-1/3 cups) of the oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spread chocolate mixture over the oat mixture. Using your fingers, dot remaining oat mixture over the chocolate.

4.Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate mixture will still look moist). Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 2x1-inch bars. Makes about 75 bars.

fresh from the oven

-- one thing though... I put mine in the refrigerator first before cutting. It will make your life easier... 

It's pretty hard to cut it fresh from the oven.. although I guess you'd find it hard not to take a bite at the gooey goodness of it all.

gooey!!! yummy!!!
Try to pace yourselves folks...!! these are truly addicting and deadly. My friends were asking for MORE MORE MORE!!!...

Hope you get to baking these. Surely a winner!

* note on the chocolate pieces... I find blocks are better to work with and are easier to melt. you can buy chocolate buttons also in the supermarket--- because you'll need a kitchen scale to measure the blocks out. bittersweet, semisweet... your preference really. just don't use unsweetened.. it will be a bit more bland than usual

Usually semisweet chocolate (the ones for chocochip cookies) are harder to melt so I steer clear of them if melted chocolate is asked for

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Make your own CURRY!

I recently traveled to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see the magnificent Angkor Wat sunrise. It was beautiful and was most definitely picturesque.

Other than visiting Wats or temples around Siem Reap and partying at night in Pub Street, there really isn't much to do in Siem Reap; that's why my friend recommended me to attend a Khmer cooking class at the Tigre de Papier.  It is a restaurant cum cooking school for tourists.

You can check out their website to check their schedules of classes.  I also wanted to meet other travelers so I called beforehand to find out and make sure there were classes.  The meeting place for the class is at the restaurant, just make sure to talk to the waitresses and tell them you're there for the cooking class.  It is a bit inconspicuous so I really had to make sure they don't leave me out.  

I arrived there and talked to the other people who were going to take the class too; and while we were waiting for others, we were asked to look at the menu and choose whatever we wanted to cook.  It's cool because they don't dictate what recipes to teach you.

I chose chicken curry and spring roll.  I did not enjoy the spring roll so much but was amazed to learn how to make my own curry which I am going to share with you.

To make curry paste, you will need the ff:  
This recipe is good for 1-2 servings.

Initially I thought it would be hard for me to find tumeric, lemon grass and lime leaves; but lemon grass and tumeric were readily available in the market; while lime leaves are a bit of a challenge.  I did find it in more high-end groceries like S&R (chiller, by the lettuces, Salad Time brand in a resealable plastic bag, fresh) and Rustan's Supermarket in the condiments section (pepper corns, etc.) Thai Kitchen brand comes in a jar, dried.  Dried lime leaves are also sold everywhere in Cambodia for USD1 a pack, which is very cheap compared to getting them here.  For the dired lime leaf, you will need to soak it in hot water for about 15 minutes until it "un-dries"; chop everything finely.

Put everything EXCEPT onion into the mortar and pestle and start pounding until you see it turn into a sort of paste, then add the onion, and pound again.

*Warning: be careful of Tumeric, omg, its the agent that makes curry yellow and it will stain your clothes permanently and your hands for at least 24 hours.  Also stains your braces rubber into a permanent neon yellow.

For the stew itself you will need the ff, the amount is up to you, just keep in mind that this recipe is good for 1 or 2 persons:

a few pieces of chicken, it can be (4 pcs) wings, or 2 deboned thigh part, or white meat if you prefer, cut into pieces

  • sweet potato (yes! more delicious than potato we are used to in Filipino cooking)
  • carrots
  • string beans, sitaw
  • eggplant
  • bell pepper
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • water

First, boil half a can of coconut milk, then put in the paste.  When it boils, put in the beans, sweet potato, and carrots in, because they take longest to cook.  This wasn't taught in class, but I find putting extra dried lime leaf brings in more flavor.  When they simmer for about 5 min, you will notice the sauce is now thicker, so put in some water.  Let it come to a boil again, put the fire in medium low then put in the bell pepper and eggplants. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes, then put in your chicken.  I personally feel that it's weird to just put in raw chicken into the sauce, maybe since I am used to Chinese cooking, I felt more comfortable stir frying it separately until half cooked, then put it in the sauce.  Simmer for another 15-20 min until the meat is cooked.

You can, for sure, replace chicken with beef or fish, just adjust the cooking time :)  Then voila, serve over hot rice!

It was so good!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Buffalo wings

I wanted a simple yet accesible recipe for the New year. What more can I ask for than this one? I tried it for Christmas and my friends raved that it tasted like bonchon chicken.

You can also make the sauce and use it for dipping and coating chicken fingers

1/2 kilo chicken wings

2 tsp cornstarch
4 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce (optional if you have kids)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp minced garlic

---dissolve cornstarch in rice wine vinegar in a small bowl
-- combine the vinegar solution with the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium/low heat. Heat mixture stirring often until sauce reaches a boil, then  remove from heat. Let cool
--- to use sauce, pour 1/4 cup over cooked chicken wings (or nuggets) and toss gently

*note: I coated the chicken wings with cornstarch and deep fried till done

** also, depending on your kids, you can omit the chili or reduce the amount. Some kids don't like it spicy.

Hope you enjoy the recipe! Happy New year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chocolate bomb cupcakes

Its been awhile since my last post. Pls forgive me. I have been busy with work and had no chance to cook.

It's Christmas once again and in our house, I am required to cook cookies and goodies for my children's classmates. So, like it or not, I HAVE to cook.

I have been wanting to try a liqueur enhanced (adult) cupcake. So here it is. This is a chocolate cupcake filled with a chocolate whiskey ganache and topped with a bailey's irish cream buttercream frosting.

Cupcake ingredients:

3 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped fine
1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa
3/4 cup coffee
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
1 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

1. To make cupcakes: preheat oven 180C (350F). line muffin tin with liner. place chcolate and cocoa in bowl and pour hot coffee over the mixture and whisk till smooth. let cool.

2. Whisk flour sugar, salt and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. 

3. Whisk oil eggs, vinegar and vanilla into cooled chocolate cocoa mixture and whisk till smooth. divide batter among muffin tins and bake till set - about 17- 19 minutes. cool in wire rack 1 hour before frosting.

4. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

5. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

6. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

7. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

I reduced the sugar in the frosting and added a bit more bailey's (this from comments on the sweetness of the frosting).
The whiskey added a twist to the chocolate filling and created a different dimension to it.

Pls forgive me if I lack the "how to" pics. I promise to post more pictures on the next posts.

I hope you get to try this one. It s a bit labor intensive but gets you some "wow" factor.

adapted from cooks illustrated and brown eyed baker

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chocolate mousse

Who doesn't love a chocolatey chocolate mousse?

Yes, I know... pls forgive me if I digress from my healthy posts of late... but actually, this is one of the "allowed" desserts on maintenance. Plus it is not so hard to make. although you really need to make sure the egg whites are whipped up pretty good.

You'll need:
5 ounces of dark chocolate (semi sweet or bittersweet)
4 egg whites
2 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp cointreau
you can find this in a supermarket aisle

melt the chocolate (I used a microwave but you can use a double boiler method.) -- microwave, heat on HIGH for 10 seconds, check if a little melted, heat for another 10 seconds and stir. keep repeating and checking till you melt all of the chocolate (I used chocolate buttons for easy measuring). -- why do it in 10 second bursts you ask? We have to be careful not to over heat the chocolate or it will become unusable

next, beat egg whites till soft peaks and sprinkle sugar and keep beating till you reach STIFF peaks (see picture) - this is when you lift up the beater and the meringue can stand (like a dairy queen blizzard)

beat the egg yolks with the orange zest and add the cointreau in a bowl ( I used mandarin oranges bec that was all I had)
the yolks are so orange!!!-- they are organic eggs!

Whisk the chocolate in the yolks and fold a spoonful of the white in the chocolate mixture. Slowly fold the whole chocolate mixture with the egg white (make sure you fold it gently... do not beat!)

pour the mix into your molds cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator - when ready to serve, garnish with shipped cream and orange zest.

This recipe is good for 4 servings.. just enough for a small get together or dinner party.

You can use different serving cups (ramekins, margarita glass, rum shots) - enjoy the pictures while I wipe the chocolate off my lips....!!!


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Having adopted a healthier lifestyle, I not consume copious amounts of yogurt. (1kilo tubs a week). Add to that my husband who is now also a yogurt freak like me and we can finish off 2 tubs a week.

One tub cost between 350-400 pesos ($8-10). So, since I was already experimenting on doing a lot of commercial stuff at home (sundried tomatoes, pesto... ketsup). I researched and found the EASIEST way to make home made yogurt.

You'll never believe how easy it is.

You'll need:

2 liters of milk (I use low fat or non fat)
1/2 cup of regular yogurt
1/4 cup non fat milk powder (if using.. can omit)
cooking thermometer
slow cooker

See? so EASY!!!!

1. place two liters of milk in your crockpot and set on high for 1-2 hours until it reaches 180C. (if you don't have a cooking thermometer, 2 hours is about ok)

2. turn off the heat. Let stand until the yogurt cools to about 110C (this for me takes about 1 hour). 110c is about "warm" when you put in your finger.

3. Mix non fat milk into the reserved yogurt and pour into the milk. Mix well.  Wrap the milk with the cheesecloth or towel and cover. Let stand 4 hours or more.

-- I usually do this at night. I start at 6pm (have dinner) and at 8pm, turn off the heat. 9pm put in the yogurt and wrap. I let it stand overnight and in the morning, I have yogurt!!-- chill in refrigerator for later use.

You can make GREEK style yogurt by straining the regular yogurt in a colander with cheesecloth and putting in the refrigerator.

The water that comes out is called WHEY. You can put it in a container and put into your smoothies. It's protein packed and boosts your immune system.

*I found the greek version better tasting than the non strained one, so I usually strain mine. All in all, it depends on your preference on how you will make your yogurt. The first time I made this, I strained half and kept the half "regular" and taste tested. You add fruits when you are going to eat it. 


PS-- will update with actual eating pic.. forgot to take picture at breakfast

PPS -- the yogurt is the "culture" and they will multiply to make more when you let it stand.. so generally you can still keep on making yogurt as long as you have 1/2 cup to add to your milk (it's a bacteria like yeast). Best is about 3-5 day old yogurt so that the bacteria is still fresh

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gluten free Vanilla cupcakes

Been into eating healthy these past few months. One of the things I want to delve into is eating GLUTEN FREE.

I have read about all the benefits of a GLUTEN FREE diet. 

So, I decided to buy some books and try it. One of them is THE GLUTEN FREE ALMOND FLOUR COOKBOOK by Elana Amsterdam. One thing about Almond flour is that is is low carbohydrate/high protein substitute for regular flour. )which is good because you don't get that insulin rush from carbs)

The recipe is pretty easy to make and I was actually not sure at the outcome. (more on that later)

One of the cons of eating healthier is that it COSTS a lot more for ingredients than regular "sinful" fare.
But when you are concerned with health, I think you have to  invest in your body.

VERY VANILLA CUPCAKES (with dairy free almond frosting)

2 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

preheat oven to 350F (180C). line muffin cups with paper liners

In a large bowl,whisk egg yolks until pale yellow with a handheld mixer, then whisk in grapeseed oil, agave nectar vanilla extract and lemon juice.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold in egg whites to yolk mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda. Gently fold into the egg mixture. Scoop batter into muffin cups.

Bake for 20- 30 minutes till tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 30 mins. Frost if desired.

*to complete the health option, I used an almond whipping cream I discovered when I attended WOLFEX.

The company that sells this also sells almond flour and whole nuts. FRUITTI NUTTI - tel : 9759689, 2340872.  almond flour is about P350/pack and this small 16 oz cream is P300 (expensive eh?)

you can get grapeseed oil in SNR or healthy options. Agave syrup (about 700/bottle) is also available in healthy options. I will try to substitute SPLENDA with the agave syrup and see how it goes. (will update later on)

grapeseed oil is lower in cholesterol and is a good substitute for butter while agave syrup has a lower glycemic index than honey or sugar

The cupcake itself did not rise up too much... maybe because of the lack of gluten. I suggest you fill the muffin cups more till the top. Taste wise, it was quite good! Also, the whipped topping was better as you keep it more in the refrigerator. It was kind of hard to whip to stiff peaks. I refrigerated it to stiffen it more and found it improved the taste too. (the first time I tried the topping, I found it too "almondy"). I haven't tried piping it though. Might do so in the next attempt.

PS- I used 1/3 of the above box when I did the cupcakes, so the 16 oz one might yield you 3 batches worth of topping for cupcakes in this post.

PPS - these tasted better the next day after I baked them.!! moist and chewy! Most important is that I did not gain weight from eating TWO of them!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The IDEAL choice?

I HAVE arrived. Or, maybe it just feels like it since I was invited (as an"official" food blogger) to a launch of a sweetener.

This was at WOLFEX (world food expo) that was being held at SMX CONVENTION CENTER

I did a post on my other blog about it. see HERE

The launch was scheduled at 2pm and I arrived early so I can get to walk around and take pictures of the various booths. (there were tons) and can I say, the food was oh, so tempting!

The actual launch was delayed and we finally were able to go int about 2:30pm. My friend Lorraine was the host and we got to take some souvenir photos.

IDEAL is actually tauted as a NO CALORIE sweetener. One thing I noticed is that they have a BROWN sugar variety and a CONFECTIONARY sugar one. (hmmm!!!!)

This concept actually was very interesting since I DO bake a lot and would love to have a no sugar alternative for my frostings and cookies.

Durting the launch, they actually had PENK CHENG (the famous cake baker) talk about how she used the product, making blueberry streusel, teriyaki chicken and a mint orange tea. One of the other concerns about the product is how ARTIFICIAL was it?? --- the answer? - it is actually made from 99% plant sugars called XYLITOL. This was good to hear since we would like most of the thing we put into our body to be as natural as you can get.

Safe for pregnant women and children too! (this is getting better and better!)

Pretty hyped up about the product by the end of the launch and I was willing to spend some serious MOOLAH to buy the big bags of it to test at home....


Going to the booth, I was informed the product was NOT YET available and the stocks would be arriving (sometime) soon. ( wah wah wah.....)

To tell you the truth? It was a BIG letdown. My opinion so far? The company (re)launched it too soon. In launching, you should be ready for people to test it, buy it (I have YET to see it in stores)....

The company itself answered most of the questions of the audience who attended. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating right? or should I say, the baking... and I have yet to get my hands on the most prized one that I want to try... the confectionary variety!!!!

OH WELL, I still have my SPLENDA!