Posted in baking, family life, food, guilty pleasures, life, recipes, what's cooking?, tagged Apple Pie, baking, family life, kitchen adventures, recipes, the joy of baking, Vanilla Cake on March 10, 2014 |
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“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell-the smell of hope, the kind of smell that brought people home.” - Sarah Addison Allen
One thing I love about baking, be it a simple banana bread, moist carrot bars or cookies is the smell that permeates the whole kitchen once you place the baking pan in the oven. I love the combined smell of cooking raisins, nuts, vanilla or cinnamon or whatever ingredient a particular recipe calls for. This afternoon, I baked my second apple pie confident enough to tweak the recipe a bit and experiment on brushing just egg whites on top instead of a beaten egg with the yolk. The top part of the pie may not be as silky as when you use the whole egg but it adds a flaky feel combined with sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. Whereas before I didn’t even know how to make a dough, it’s now as easy as kneading something for our local steamed bun called “siopao”. I also sliced half and half of Fuji apples for a natural sweet taste and the tart flavor of Granny Smith. It came out good, son said, “it’s yummy”. I laughed when he asked, “did you take pictures?” He knows that I document almost everything that I cook in the kitchen just like I do with my flowering plants when they are in bloom. He cut a slice even before it cooled down. I got three remaining apples, would love to try making apple sauce and use it on my next baking adventure.
Here’s one more that I experimented on a month ago, a simple recipe for vanilla cake. I didn’t put icing because I love the flavor without being too sweet.
I love the quiet, concentrating on the task at hand , the calming effect of kneading, measuring and mixing to make something yummy and scrumptious.
I got a lovely surprise this afternoon when a friend sent me a lovely tin of Fannie May Colonial Assortment chocolates via LBC. Aren’t I lucky? Can’t wait to take a bite. Thank you Ex. :)
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Once in a while, I see it in the wet market and it looks so fresh that I am always tempted to buy. This morning, my son and I did our twice a month marketing and saw it, there were just four bundles on sale, I bought two and we had it for lunch along with lumpiang shanghai.
Locally, fiddlehead ferns are called pako. They are wild and nutritious greens which you can make into salads or cooked in coconut cream. Either way, they taste wonderful. Here’s the simplest way to prepare this delicious treat. I just blanched it then topped it with fresh tomatoes, red onions, strips of fresh ginger and sautéed ground pork.
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Posted in baking, dates, family life, food, recipes, tagged baking, date bars, food, life, Pitted dates, the joy of baking on January 24, 2014 |
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Two weeks ago, a friend from Hongkong sent me three packs of pitted dates and a pack of dried yellow raisins. Eating the pitted dates direct from the plastic pack is not really an option because I find them too sweet to my liking. I searched the internet for a simple bar recipe for dates. What do you know, it came out really yummy. As usual, I reduced the sugar since the dates are naturally sweet.
If you want to try this, here’s the recipe.
You would need:
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar (reduced it to 3/4 cup since the dates are sweet)
1 cup old-fashioned oats (I always use rolled oats when baking)
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (equal to 1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Rub butter on an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Set aside. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to simmer in a saucepan. Add dates, simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature then stir in vanilla.
Combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl, stir to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps forms. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture by pressing gently. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Cut into bars and serve.
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Posted in AFCC Global Tambayan, Apostles Filipino Catholic Community, blessings, blogging, Closer to God, entertainment, food, friends, friendship, guilty pleasures, journeys, photography, tagged Apostles Filipino Catholic Community, Closer to God, Faith, food, friends, friendship, get-together, guilty pleasures, life, photography on January 14, 2014 |
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Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
- Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
I’ve been a lazy bug lately. No, don’t get me wrong. I am just resting my weary body from fatigue. The last few days, I was so busy that I was not able to check my blog and post something. Finally, I found time to sit here for a while and update my blog. When you haven’t been blogging for a week, it seems as if you’re starting all over again.
It’s all worth it though because our little potluck lunch party was a success – lots of food, laughter and sharing. Those precious and priceless moments that only friends can enjoy together, something worth-reminiscing and the thought of it makes me smile. We were joined by two priest friends, Fr. Tacky, a Franciscan and Fr. Boy, a Dominican. Not that it matters that they belong to different congregations because they both studied in Rome and met there. We took lots of pictures of course, what’s a party without those wacky poses and shots that make us laugh. We even have to use a tripod so we could all fit into the frame. There is this picture window at our house that never fails to attract our friends and visitors to have their pictures taken there. Believe me, it has become some sort of trademark for the members of our Catholic community who drop by when they are on vacation.
We had an exchange of gifts just for fun. Imagine the laughter we had when we simultaneously opened them and found things like a roll of tissue paper which Darlene said she will take with her on her trip back to Abu Dhabi, a small bottle of efficascent oil from Reena which Matt got, packs of marshmallows and so many more. What do you think, the gift should only be worth P30 and what can you buy with P30? Reymon, aside from bringing three whole roast chicken gave us individual bags of gifts from Bench.
They were surprised to learn that eating green mango with the skin on is the best way to eat one. I asked Joan to bring me some and when they saw me eating a slice, they all tried it except Matt :) Endless laughter!
We can’t get enough so the party extended on to early dinner with ice cream, Fuji apples and suman na pinipig (the best suman I’ve tasted) for desserts. And they all said, “sa uulitin”. Until next time guys.
One of the best gifts that we could ever have is the gift of friendship.
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||Meat & Seafood
||Quick and Easy
The term teriyaki means shining(teri), broiled or panfried(yaki). Mirin, a sweet fortified rice wine is used. This is one of the recipes that I have collected from our BPI Culinary Club many years ago. It is very simple to make, you can use either pork, beef or chicken.
1/2 kilo pork (lomo)/beef(serloin)/chicken
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Vino blanco or Anisado wine
1 onion, chopped
8 pcs. garlic – poundDirections:
Mix all ingredients and cook over small fire for about 2-3 minutes.
Let cool, then marinate with the meat/pork/chicken for about 6-24 hours.
Grease pan with little oil, stir fry fast until brown
Serve with bun, loaf bread or rice.
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Call me a little OC when it comes to entertaining but as much as possible I see to the tiniest details that are sometimes overlooked when one is a bit busy in the kitchen. This morning, I made a list of the things I need to do and posted it where I could check everything before my friends arrive tomorrow. Earlier on, we have decided on a potluck lunch and merienda but I will prepare baked macaroni with meatballs and marble potatoes with ham and cheese spread. I was busy the whole day despite an occasional headache that makes me rest after each task that I finish. They say they are okay with disposables – paper plates, plastic spoons and forks and whatever you can use to save on washing later. I am not used to it though so I washed two dozens of china ware, several Pyrex trays, three dozens of spoons and forks and lots of drinking glasses. Never mind that there will be chaos when the party is over, I just don’t want to balance my food precariously on a delicate paper plate, one wrong move and everything topples over. Neither do I want using plastic spoon or fork that sometimes breaks in the middle while you are eating. I think that’s more practical when you are attending a children’s party or a pica-pica type of food, when kids can’t handle a big plate nor hold a glass safely in their hands.
I’m looking forward to meeting all of them again. Hopefully, this would be a success. There is always a certain kind of joy in meeting friends, kindred souls who would make you smile even if they tell and share with you the ugliest anecdotes , repeated stories that become longer with the retelling. At least four of them are coming here for the first time.
I am excited.
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Posted in baking, food, life, photography, recipes, tagged Apple Pie, baking, Butter Pie Crust, life, New year 2014, photography, the joys of baking on January 1, 2014 |
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I dreamed of baking apple pie since I got interested in simple recipes like bars, cookies and the like but I never tried making pie crust from scratch. Last month, Grace, a friend who now lives in Canada forwarded two recipes for making really flaky pie crust that one could use for apple pie. I tried the butter pie crust recipe without shortening and made two single crusts that I used yesterday for my first ever Apple Pie. The fillings of course would depend on how you want your pie either with a bit of tartness or a little sweet. I always prefer Granny Smith apples for baking. They don’t easily spoil and stays fresh longer inside the ref. Besides, I learned from a famous pastry chef ( from TV) that Granny Smith are baking apples. I used to bake Apple Crumble and Apple Crisp in different variations but yesterday, I finally tried making a pie crust from scratch. It’s an achievement to be able to come up with something really flaky and crunchy to the bite. Here’s the recipe.
Butter Pie Crust Recipe
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter (I used Magnolia Unsalted) cut into pieces
1/2 cup ice water
Combine flour and salt in medium bowl, cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle water, 1 tbsp at a time over flour mixture, tossing lightly with a fork until mixture forms an even dough.
Divide dough in half, flatten and shape into disks and wrap each in plastic, refrigerate for an hour.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface into circle, about 12 to 14 inches round. Carefully fold in quarters, lift gently and unfold into a 9-inch pie pan.
Gently press pastry against bottom and sides of pan, trim overhang to 1/2 inch, then fold the edge under. Pinch edges to flute.
You might think this is a daunting task, and I thought so too but when you get the hang of it, it is quite easy. I took some pictures of course. I am that excited :)
I didn’t put the recipe for fillings since it would really depend on your taste. Green apples are of the tart variety so you can add sugar if you want. Look how flaky the pie crust turned out to be.
Happy New year by the way, we had this on our table last night for media noche.
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