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Archive for the ‘food’ Category


And before you think this is about books  again, you’re wrong.

Sorry, I amend that. After blogging about my loot from Books For Less for the last few days, I switched to e-books for a change. Sometimes it is more convenient to read just holding your phone close while relaxing to the beat of some sentimental music, a somewhat low-key means of  spending the time away. I am currently reading The Glass Kitchen and I was inspired by the book thinking of what to bake for a change. Two days ago, I read one of the books I bought at the sale  (a Christmas story) and there were three recipes there for fruit cakes. One thing that intrigued me is the recipe for no bake fruitcake.  I would definitely try that one of these days and I will use locally produced dried fruits and nuts instead of using imported ones.

Banana and Chocolate?

This is my first time to try baking by combining banana and chocolate. I told Josef to leave two pieces of bananas that I could use for today’s experiment. It’s either chocolate (brownies mostly) or banana bread with nuts or raisins. I searched the net for a simple recipe and I found this, a yummy Banana Chocolate Cupcake recipe.

banana choco cupcakes

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. Pour or scoop the batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full, and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Frost with the Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low-speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (35 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup (120 ml) mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium sized banana)

1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable or corn oil

3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

3 ounces (90 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (120 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

 I didn’t bother with the frosting since it tastes so good even without it and it was moist inside.  I made  twenty mini cupcakes. The recipe was lifted from the joyofbaking.com

Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

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Early this morning, I was checking my news feed and saw this photo which Richard Paul Evans (my favorite author) shared on his wall. He has been on my mailing list for I think, more than ten years now and when I joined Facebook several years ago, we became online friends. I think and I presume he would not really mind my sharing this pic since he is always generous enough to let his fans  share his personal quotes (in pictures) lifted from his several published books. I actually have a whole album (around 192 photos) that I collected over the years.  He made one of  his favorite recipes – fried rice.

Richard Paul Evan's fried rice. It does look yummy!

Richard Paul Evan’s fried rice. It does look yummy!

I was envious. I was actually planning to cook fried rice too for breakfast using just  three cloves of garlic . Partnered with  longganisa (our native sausage)  with spicy vinegar as dipping sauce , it is really yummy.  His recipe is included in his Promise Me Recipe Book .  I made one  of my own. Here in our country, anything goes with fried rice, you can invent and add your favorite ingredients  and it is a meal in itself and since rice is a staple food in our country (we eat rice three times a day), it is easier to turn left-over food into something really yummy. Here’s mine.

Fried rice is a stand- alone meal mostly served in Chinese restaurants.

Fried rice is a stand- alone meal mostly served in Chinese restaurants.

I used four pieces of longganisa, cut into cubes, two eggs, two cloves of garlic, diced green bell pepper, diced carrot, a pinch of salt and white onion. Josef loved it.

Want to try it? Give me some feedback.

 

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It’s not our usual fare on the table, for one thing, it is costly when you buy it ready-to-eat unless you prepare it on your own. Sometimes though the thrill of eating something is when you just lift your spoon and fork and taste the delicious recipe in front of you.

Josef brought home a half-kilo of bagnet he ordered from their office. I sliced and fried it and he had it with fried rice and egg for breakfast.  Bagnet is a specialty in Ilocos. Actually, I find it bland and tasteless just like your typical lechon  without the sauce, but then when you mix it with monggo or with  veggies like squash, ampalaya (bitter gourd), eggplant and okra, you’ll have a yummy and tasty pinakbet. And the best partner for your bagnet would be fresh tomatoes mixed with a little fish sauce and  lazona, a  variety of onion  locally produced in Ilocos and other parts of the northern provinces in the Philippines. Or you could dip it with vinegar with lots of red chili, this is one of the best dips used either in pork or fish.

Bagnet, a deep-fried crispy pork with its skin on cooked like lechong kawali and chicharon.

Bagnet, a deep-fried crispy pork with its skin on cooked like lechong kawali and chicharon.

I haven’t tried cooking this yet, we don’t often eat fried pork. I prefer lean ground pork which is so versatile in the kitchen. I found a simple recipe for this from Sandy Daza. Why not try it?

How To Cook Bagnet

  • Boil a whole 3-kilo pork liempo covered for 1.5 hours. (You can use chicken broth instead of water.)
  • Deep fry the boiled liempo. Make sure the cooking oil is still cold when you introduce the meat.
  • Under a low fire, allow the oil to heat up slowly and fry the bagnet till it’s crunchy.
  • Fish out the liempo. Let the oil cool and then repeat the slow-frying step.
  • When done, get a spoonful of a mixture of spring onions, onions and tomatoes dressed in diluted fish bagoong. Then, add a piece on bagnet on top of it and enjoy.

Here’s a tip from Sandy I got from yahoo.com “Watch the bubbles on the surface of the oil. The bigger the bubbles, the more moisture the meat has.

 

 

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Despite the cold weather here, I woke up at an ungodly hour of 3:18am.  It’s nice to just enjoy the early morning in peace and quiet but the steady patter of raindrops brings that fear again of flash flood.  PAGASA said tropical storm Henry (yes, it is a he this time) won’t make a landfall but it would intensify habagat (southwest monsoon) to the rest of the country. The storm is northbound this time.

Josef brought home two large loaves of Gardenia bread from their team building the other night and I told him, we should consume it first instead of cooking breakfast and since it is his rest day, it’s a go. Mind you, I even googled a bit on the many ways to cook eggs. We usually have them scrambled, soft-boiled, sunny side-up and omelet. But what’s perfect for slices of warm toasted bread?  He likes it cooked with lots of white onions and fresh tomatoes so instead of mixing them together, I cooked the tomatoes in a little butter, granulated garlic and black pepper.

IMG_6144

It turned out so yummy, he had four slices of panini pressed bread.  We usually have fried rice for breakfast with longganisa(native sausage) or dried fish or a week-old adobo flakes. Speaking of adobo, the longer you keep them in the ref, the tastier and more yummy  it gets. It is a Filipino dish that never goes wrong with any meal, be it an ordinary breakfast fare or something special mixed with coconut cream.

I miss messing around in my garden and this rain makes it hard for us to trim the grass  and our Fukien tea plants. I miss taking shots of my garden blooms but all I have now are my Hoya, some new buds of Mokara orchids and my ever patient Crossandra flowers. Maybe when the rain stops, I’ll take photos of the water droplets clinging to the leaves of  the taro plants. Maybe in a while, the sun will show its face and I’ll be able to go out and explore.  I guess this is also a perfect time to finish that book of Ken Follett.

Go away Henry and let me see the sun.

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Here I go again with the same thought every time I don’t get to post for a few days at WordPress,  it is hard to start all over again. It seems as if the thoughts you have in your head vanishes like thin air when you are  ready to share and ready to write about it.

I’ve been sick for four days last week, that kind of feeling when you can’t do anything but shut your eyes and wish the pain of a gargantuan headache will just disappear. It was further aggravated by the  summer heat we are having at the moment and a fever that simply would not go away. I am not exaggerating. I’ve probably consumed gallons and gallons of water just to beat off the heat. I was still lucky  and blessed though because last week,  Mom, my sis-in-law and niece had a five-day short vacation with us so they did the cooking, cleaning the house and watering my plants while I was indisposed. My ten-year old niece was so attentive  she could pass for a nurse. She is good at doing those relaxing massages that make you feel sleepy.  She was seven when she last stayed with us during the summer and I am pleasantly surprised how she has grown to be a very responsible young kid.  I wish they could have stayed a little longer.

It is hard to go back to your normal routine when your body is weak.  I am taking things easy and that means the laundry is piling up, the carabao grass needs an immediate trim and our new puppy made a minced meat of my  bromeliad, even my angel plants didn’t escape from his roving eyes. This afternoon, for the first time this summer, it rained hard in our area, enough maybe to save on that much precious water for at least two days.

In between bouts of headache and fever, I was able to show my niece how to bake Chocolate Crinkles. I can still see the joy on her face and the smiles when she tasted the batter and said “ang sarap” which means  it is yummy. Since it was my first time to try the recipe, we have to go by the book, a step by step procedure that she could really understand. Surprisingly, they came out well, a good partner to the green tea our neighbor gave us when she learned that I was sick.  It was crispy on the outside but chewy and soft to the bite. She made me promise to teach her how to bake more goodies when she comes over again to visit us.

Yummy Chocolate Crnkles

Yummy Chocolate Crinkles

I learned two more designs to my growing fascination for Rainbow Looms. It is quite hard (at least for me) to follow the instructional videos on YouTube which an eight-year old can easily do. My son bought more colors and they are really expensive.  Maybe when I am well enough to sit in front of the computer, I will learn more.

 

 

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Let us not talk  about whether it is a fruit or a vegetable.  All I know is that fruits grow on trees and vegetables are harvested on the ground just like pumpkin, cucumber and squash. If it is a fruit, it is a healthy and refreshing one but then you’ll wonder if it is also considered a vegetable.

Yesterday, son and I bought a large watermelon at P100/head.  Watermelons are in season now and every summer you could enjoy them  served as desserts, mixed with other veggies as salad, refreshing coolers or if you are enterprising enough you can mix them with jellies or you can make them into ice pops. I love them cold and plainly sliced. They are anti-oxidants and so rich in vitamin C.

water melon

This reminds me of a recipe I tasted last week when some friends and I dined at Crisostomo Restaurant at Ayala Fairview Terraces.  It was my first time to visit this mall and  dine at Crisostomo. All branches serve authentic Filipino recipes and all the recipes are named after some characters in Rizal’s book, Noli Me Tangere and some biblical characters too. Crisostomo must be Crisostomo Ibarra.  One of the recipes we ordered was called Sinigang ni Eba and I was pleasantly surprised that they mixed it sliced watermelons. Oh boy, it was simply delicious. The blend of the tangy tomatoes and tamarind and the sweetness of the watermelons is just out of this world. Even their Laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream) was just as yummy. Would love to explore more of their recipes one of these days. Although, it is a bit pricey to dine there, you have lots of menu to choose from. Good ambience, friendly wait staff. They have a branch at Eastwood which is very near our place.

crisostomo

(note: second pic culled from the official website of crisostomo)

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It’s son’s day-off so we hied off to Cainta market early this morning to buy fresh produce. I always have a hard time choosing what kind of fish to buy nowadays since fish without scales are a no-no in my diet. The past days, I’ve dreamed of tasting a childhood favorite which we call onda-onday in our province. It is made of  powdered glutinous rice cooked like palitaw. The only difference is in the toppings.  The latter makes use of freshly grated coconut while this one is rolled in freshly cooked bucayo, matured grated coconut cooked slowly in panucha, a solidified molasses commonly used in preparing desserts. I cooked the glutinous rice in two cups of pure coconut milk then topped it with the fresh bucayo. Hmm…so yummy!  Son says he remembers Mom who cooks different recipes for glutinous rice.

IMG_5990

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The family  celebrated Mother’s Day today, a day earlier than May 11. We decided to meet at SM Megamall for lunch. Another day worth-remembering. One thing that highlights  the day is of course Nate’s presence. The moment he saw us, he let his dad undo the strap of  his stroller and let Josef carry him along. There is a special affinity between the “magninong” (that’s a Tagalog word for godparent) even if they don’t see each other often.  He can pronounce Nonna clearly now and I was so glad when he took my hand and planted a loud kiss on my face.  Nissa said he learned new words in the three weeks that I haven’t seen him.

We opted to dine at the newly opened wing of SM  Megamall. The Mega Fashion Hall  is the new high-end extension of the mall. It houses several restaurants and other international clothing brands. The set-up is somehow similar to the Ayala Malls. Aside from the more popular Vikings, there is another branch of  Lugang Café where we took our lunch. So it’s Chinese food for lunch. I took some shots but mostly of Nate banging a spoon and fork on the table and playing with the plastic green cup which they provided for him along with a green plastic plate and bowl. I had a good time watching him eat what was served on the table. He loved the Fried Beef Noodles and Fried Rice.

He was behaved...at first but he clearly knows when to stop and say sorry to Mom and Dad.

He was behaved…at first but he clearly knows when to stop and say sorry to Mom and Dad.

Mother and daughter team.

Mother and daughter team.

Three generations of Abuel.

Three generations of Abuel.

Nothing is more important than having the family around.

Nothing is more important than having the family around.

Busog na baby? Our little man!

Busog na baby? Our little man!

That's his way of saying,  "I'm full, it's your turn to eat Dad".

That’s his way of saying, “I’m full, it’s your turn to eat Dad”.

I love the Garlic Pork Roll and Steamed Fish Fillet. No room for dessert...

I love the Garlic Pork Roll and Steamed Fish Fillet. No room for dessert…

He is probably looking forward to going swimming tomorrow  with his Dad’s side of the family. Enjoy Nate  but be careful with the sun. I know how much you love to paddle your feet and splash water with your hands.  Until we see each other again.

(Note: This is my 1,440th post…can’t believe it)

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It’s been a while and I felt quite lazy to sit in front of the computer and blog. This afternoon, I experimented on another dessert recipe culled from the net. I was looking for a simple recipe for chocolate brownies, something easy to do with a minimum of preparation and found this. As usual, I tweaked it a bit adding grated Belgian chocolate truffles on top instead of frosting.  My son was all praise for it and said it taste more like a chocolate cake than a simple brownie mix. I smiled and said, “the one on top makes it so yummy” plus the unsweetened dark chocolate I used.

Yeay, it's so yummy!

Yeay, it’s so yummy!

Look at how it looked when I finished baking it and topping it with truffles.

brownies

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it. You can double the amount of ingredients if you want a thicker slice.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup  white sugar (since I used unsweetened chocolate, this is just enough)

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

Frosting:

3 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour an 8-square inch baking pan. (I just greased it).

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter, remove from heat and stir in sugar,  eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa powder, salt, 1/2 cup flour and baking powder. You don’t need to use a mixer, a spoon will do. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Garnish with grated chocolate truffles while still hot. Slice into squares when it is cool to the touch.

 

 

 

 

 

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“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.”~ Julia Child

One of best  volumes I’ve seen in cooking are that of Julia Child’s  Mastering the Art of  French Cooking. They’re available at Bestsellers. They come in four volumes actually but they cost the earth so I just look at the spines and indexes  and try to memorize some simple recipes  that don’t need  complicated ingredients.

We have some left-over food from yesterday and some ripe mangoes from the other Sunday that a friend gave us. I thought of  making mango bread and found this site on how to make a simple one.  The procedures are almost the same as making banana cake. Gosh, I burned my finger trying to take it out from the oven. I love the heavenly aroma of combined cinnamon and fresh mangoes.  There is something  so comforting about measuring ingredients, sifting the flour, mixing and such.  So here it is,  my yummy version of mango bread. Can you imagine a mango bread topped with grated Belgian chocolate truffles? Another friend who was on  vacation from Canada gave me a box of these sinfully addicting  chocolates together with some mint candies wrapped in dark chocolates.

IMG_5895

IMG_5896

I can proudly say, it  is really, really yummy. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it copied from  kitchenrunway.com.

Ingredients:

  • 2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ C Regular Butter, melted
  • ¼ C Oil
  • 2 Ripe Mangoes, finely chopped (or chunks if you prefer) I used 3 medium-sized ripe mangoes, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 180 ° C
  • Sift flour into a large bowl.  Add baking soda, sugar and cinnamon and stir the dry ingredients to combine.
  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs, add vanilla extract, melted butter and oil.  Combine the ingredients and add to dry ingredients.
  • Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Fold in the  chopped mangoes.
  • Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and let cool before slicing.

 

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