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Posts Tagged ‘desserts’


I am listening to some afternoon 70’s and 80’s music as I write this. When you’re used to blogging and posting something every day, you miss the hustle and bustle of the blogging world. I’ve been busy for a while though, catching up on gardening (finally finished replanting Crossandra  that just sprouted in all corners of the garden, regrouped them together in one line) and reading e-books, Christmas stories that warm the hearts and lift the spirits.  When it’s Josef’s days off, we work together to finish pending household chores that need his help. We found fresh zucchini and honeydew melons on our trip to the wet market last Saturday morning. Honeydew is juicier  than your regular melon found in the market. Low in calorie, rich in vitamin C and rich in fiber too. I don’t know if zucchini are in season now but  they are cheaper than a few months ago. It’s time to experiment on some recipes using zucchini. I normally use them for pasta dishes and crispy fries. I found out to my delight that there are about a hundred ways to cook zucchini. Here’s one simple dessert that I just baked a few minutes ago. The recipe is for muffins but I tweaked it a bit and came up with this yummy loaf.

Zucchini loaf

Zucchini loaf

Last week, I made a variation of Puto (steamed buns) by adding Pandan flavoring. Just love it. I always reduce the sugar in the recipe, although I like to bake, I am not fond of too much sweets but my son is.

Puto pandan with cheese toppings

Puto pandan with cheese toppings

Josef gifted me with a three-tier Camel food steamer. It’s a late birthday gift, another gadget in the kitchen that I love. I have the bigger aluminum steamer which I use for embutido (our local sausage) and siomai (pork dumplings) but this one is easier to use and you can steam several kinds of veggies and meat in one cooking.  Healthy eats with no messy oil to think of. I tried it last night with carrots, sweet corn and deboned chicken breast with lemon.  Yummy! How was your week?

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This afternoon, I got really, really bored  so I started to update my journal, transferring some recipes I culled from the net for future kitchen experiments. I have to check our pantry if there are available ingredients for what I am planning to cook. Then I saw a pack of dates (my last one actually…huhuhu) which I am saving for my no-bake fruit cake. I don’t know where I could buy dried dates here (aside from the fact that they are expensive locally) but I was craving for something sweet. I’ve baked dates  bars before but I recently found a simple recipe sans vanilla extract and cinnamon powder.  Baking saved the boring afternoon. I love the smell of something cooking in my oven, the calming moments while waiting for it to bake, the oh-so-yummy look of it when it’s done.

Date Squares...oh so yummy!

Oh so yummy Date Squares!

If you want to try this, here’s the link.  I reduced the sugar because the dates are naturally sweet and used calamansi instead of lemon. Happy baking.

 

 

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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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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.

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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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“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.

IMG_5754

IMG_5756

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.

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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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It’s a lovely, sunny morning and mom urged me to go out and buy ingredients for Ginatan, that sweet Filipino dessert complete with sticky rice balls, sweet potato, taro and Saba bananas. She was craving for it but I was so lazy to go out this late because of the traffic. I baked her a simple banana bread instead, using four medium Lakatan bananas left over from yesterday. You don’t need a mixer to do this.

IMG_5124

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it with just the basic ingredients:

3-4 ripe medium-sized bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. banana extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) or 175 degree (C). With a large spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas. Then add the sugar, egg, vanilla and banana extract into the mixture. Sprinkle with baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix together. Add the flour last.

Bake for an hour. Let cool and serve.

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Here’s another kitchen experiment. I was looking for the easiest way to bake banana cake and I found this on the net. Yes, it was easy enough and the smooth texture of the cake and the yummy taste makes me want to do more…with nuts if possible.  Here’s a list of what you will need:

125 grams butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1 egg

3 ripe medium-size bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour ( you can use all-purpose flour for this and the ratio is: 1 tsp baking powder + 1/4 ts. salt to 1 cup of all-purpose flour)

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. cinnamon powder (this is optional but I love cinnamon)

Melt the butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium-sized saucepan. Remove from heat. Add mashed bananas and stir through until just blended. Add egg and mix in well. Stir in flour, cinnamon powder then add milk and mix lightly. Bake at 170 C for about 40 to 50 minutes depending on the baking pan you’re going to use.  Let cool and slice.

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The whole morning, I searched the net for some menu/recipe to prepare for Noche Buena. I told my son that I won’t make embutido  nor siomai  this year. It is always part of our Christmas tradition to have them on the table, but it  would be nice to have other recipes for a change. Nor would I prepare fruit salad,( it’s not really a favorite for us except for mom). I prefer fresh fruits sliced into bites or just eaten without any heavy cream or syrup, besides, canned varieties of fruits are not that healthy. My son said that   I should at least serve fried chicken (his all-time favorite), lechong kawali  and Filipino style pasta (in his dictionary, that means something sweet). I prefer Italian, I like pesto, he doesn’t so I guess we have to compromise.  Would love to try carbonara  and lemon chicken or maybe stir fry tenderloin in pineapple sauce.  I came across this site  featuring  mostly Filipino food complete with video and I saw this simple recipe on making cheese puffs. It looked so yummy so I searched the cupboard if I had ingredients to make  some and I came up with this.

IMG_3644

IMG_3646 And here’s how it’s done. It came out yummy, I was surprised because the ingredients were so simple and was quite easy to prepare.  The good thing about it is, it has no sugar, just perfect finger food for a hot cup of coffee or green tea. I was able to make ten pieces out of the recipe.

IMG_3651

I wonder if I could mix some nuts to have that crunchy feel, will definitely try it on the next batch that I will make. Have some, they’re still hot from the oven.

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