Monday, May 21, 2012


SQUASH SOUP IN HOME-MADE ITALIAN BREAD BOWL RECIPE

For the Soup :
Ingredients :
1/4 squash
1 small tetra pack Nestle all purpose cream
10 pcs bacon
garlic, onion
chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
spring onion or parsley  for garnishing

Method :
1.  Peel, chop in to cubes and boil squash  till tender. Set aside. Put in a blender and puree. Strain squash.
2. In a pan render bacon shreds till brown and crispy. Saute garlic and onion in bacon fat/shredded bacon till onions are transluscent.
3. Add a little water when dry. Then add a pat of butter...melt. Add 1/4 cup flour. Whisk. If mixture becomes dry, add water or chickn broth. Mixture should be creamy.
4. Add pureed squash. If  mixture is a little dry, add broth or all purpose cream.
5. Season to taste. Strain before serving to make sure smooth and creamy  consistency of soup. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and bacon bits on top >3

For the Home-Made Italian Bread Bowl
Ingredients :
300 grams bread flour
200 grams wheat flour
2 tsp yeast
300 ml water or milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp yeast
1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

METHOD :
1. Put 300 mlwarm water (115 deg C) in a container. Add 1 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tsp yeast. Stir then set aside. 15 minutes or until mixture looks foamy.
2. Mix the  bread flour, wheat flour, salt and olive oil together. Set aside.
3. When water-yeast-sugar mixture is foamy, pour over the dry mixture and mix by hand or via KitchenAid with a dough hook for 5 minutes at low speed ( alternate between speed 2 and 4) or until the dough forms a ball.  If dough is too wet, add more bread flour. If it is too dry add water a little at a time until the dough pulls away from the bowl.
4. In a separate bowl with olive oil, put the ball of dough and coat with olive oil. Cover the bowl with the ball of dough inside with a cling wrap or damp towel and put the bowl somewhere warm and dry. I put mine in the oven ( which is turned off) with a bowl of hot water to create a warm and moist environment for the yeast to rise....about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour.

5. After 1 1/2 hour, dough would have risen to double its size. Punch it down and knead it to your desired shape.  Add rosemary and italian seasoning and knead a bit before molding into desired shape. I mold mine into a medium size ball and  place it in a cookie sheet covered with non-stick parchment paper. I usually make  2 slashes on top of the ball to prepare it for its second rising.  1hour
6.  Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
7.  Before baking, brush the dough with water and spray the oven with water to create steam. Bread will have crunchy exterior while being soft and chewy inside. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Check the temperature of the bread inside with an oven thermometer. Bread is done when temperature inside the bread is   180-200 deg F.
Note :
1. You can shape the bread into baguettes too
2. Stale bread can be converted to crostini -- great with spinach artichoke dip


Thanks to Chef Jackie of Heny Sison Culinary school for my home-made bread recipe. Squash-potato soup is my own recipe <3

Sunday, May 20, 2012




  The Marriott Cafe Buffet Experience 

19 May 2012. Bring your appetite and be ready to be  pampered. Marriott Cafe promised....and delivered with its bountiful and sumptuous buffet spread and wonderful service from the Chef to the service staff.

Sea Bass
It was my parents-in-law's 50th Wedding Anniversary and to make it special we chose to enjoy a buffet dining experience   in one of  the posh hotels in Metro Manila.  I am so happy that we chose Marriott Cafe this time.
Prawns

We've already experienced Circle  of  Makati Shangri-La , HEAT of Edsa Shangrila, Escolta of The Peninsula Manila, Season of the Manila Pavilion,  Spiral of Sofitel ( a couple of years back ).
Curacha
I would put Marriott  Cafe in the top 3 of my favorite Buffet experience.

Here are the reasons :

1.  Per our experience, only Marriott includes Sea Bass in their spread.

2.  Service par excellence

3.   Different types of coffee- macchiatto, latte, cappuccino, americano, etc. and tea included in the buffet

Peking Duck
4.   International spread ( Japanese, Indian, Italian, Chinese, American)

5.   Salmon Sashimi, smoked salmon, steak, peking duck -- our favorite things

6.   Their prawns are sweet, juicy and succulent. Their curacha and crabs are delicious. We asked if we could have them steamed and if they can make us lemon-butter sauce and the Chef complied with a smile and with great alacrity which made us really happy .


7.  My kids love their gelato station especially the ferrero-flavored ice cream.





At P1,550 per head, you get value for your money. We are definitely coming back, if only to experience Marriott Cafe's exceptional service and the delicious Sea Bass again.  It would be doubly great if they include oysters, lobsters, crepe station, more sushi and an expanded cheese selection  too.













LAZY PANCAKE-COVERED-OREO RECIPE

It was  730 in the morning when I sent off the love of my life to the office after a breakfast of  easy-add water-and-eggs pancakes. I was in a zombie-like mode thus the mix pancake was a no-brainer. After a cup of coffee  and  my early morning shower, I was refreshed and felt more inspired to make my "piggery" something other than the regular pancakes for their breakfast.

Head and Tails Oreo Cookies


Ever since I baked the Chocochip-covered-Oreo Cookies inspired by PICKY PALATE, my kiddos aka "piggery" have been nagging me to make the pancake version for an encore.

Ok so I decided to do it .  Just get your regular Mix pancake box. Follow the directions in the box and make the batter.  Put butter in the pan and pour the batter. Wait for the bubbles to form which is my signal that the other side is almost cooked. Put one oreo cookie head and tails  or double stuff  or whichever you prefer) and fold it like an omelet. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup. Enjoy!!!

Next :

Pancake covered Kit At
Pancake covered Reese's
Pancake covered cheese
Pancake covered bacon
Pancake covered banana and Nutella
the possibilities are endless........<3








Saturday, May 19, 2012


STUFFED CHOCO CHIP COOKIES RECIPE




Inspired by the original idea of PICKY PALATE,  I made my version of STUFFED Choco Chip Cookies using Martha Stewart's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Cookie recipe which I tweaked a bit, for my "piggery". You can of course use your own choco chip cookie recipe  and sandwich your favorite chocolate ( nestle crunch,  aero, hershey's kisses, sneakers, musketeers, reeses peanut butter. cadbury, kinder bueno, ferrero, Lindt truffles, etc )  for a decadent treat.

My piggery loves Kit Kat  and oreo so you will see choco fingers, white chocolate fingers and Kit Kat bites here. Enjoy :))


INGREDIENTS :

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup Nestle's semi-sweet choco chip
Two-Toned Oreo Cookies
Double Stuff Oreo Cookies
Kit Kat Chocolate Fingers
Kit Kat White Chocolate Fingers
Kit Kat bites


METHOD :

1. Pre heat oven to 375 deg F
2. Put the flour, baking soda and oatmeal in a bowl. Set aside.  These are your dry ingredients.
2.  Cream butter and 2 sugars for 5 minutes or until incorporated - max 5 minutes at speed 6 in Kitchen Aid
3. Break 2 whole eggs and mix with 2 tsp vanilla. Then add to  butter-sugar mixture one a t a time. Mix at low speed about speed 2 for 1 minute.
4. Add salt then beat at low speed.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients ( butter-sugar-egg mix) in 3rds at low speed till incorporated. About 1 minute
6 Turn off mixer and fold in a cup of Nestle's semi sweet choco chip cookie
7 Scoop the mixture and place in a cookie pan with parchment paper.
8.Put  an oreo cookie on top of the scooped batter. Press. Then put another scoop on top and seal with spatula.
9. Optional : Add more choco chip on top
10. Bake at 375 deg F for  10- 15 minutes or  till cookie is brown on the edges


KIT KAT FINGERS STUFFED- CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES



Kit Kat Fingers and cookie dough




Kit Kat Fingers sandwiched between dough

After 10 or so minutes....voila!


TWO-TONED OREO-STUFFED CHOCO CHIP COOKIES


 Batter is soft and will spread so give ample space between each cookie



Oreo inside has melted too and blended with the cookie dough.
Rich and delicious!

Note :

1. You can refrigerate or freeze extra cookie batter for future use.  Put in  a cling wrap and shape into logs for easy cutting when frozen.


DOUBLE STUFFED OREO CHOCO CHIP COOKIES

Double stuffed Oreo sandwiched between choco chip cookie dough

How the Oreo -Stuff  Choco Chip cookie look inside....yun!


KIT KAT WHITE FINGERS-STUFFED CHOCO CHIP COOKIES

Cookie dough +  Kit Kat White Fingers + Cookie Dough 



Melted Kit Kat White Chocolate and wafers inside...delish!


KIT KAT BITES-STUFFED CHOCO CHIP COOKIES

Cookie dough + Kit Kat Bites + Cookie Dough



Voila!!









Friday, May 18, 2012





Learning How to Make a Rose out of Fondant

I just love fondant cakes with flowers.  They fascinate me. I so admire Petal Sweet Cakes, Bella Cupcakes, Manilena Cakes who can create them so realistically. So I knew I had to learn how or perish....LOL. This is me discovering myself.

This is my first attempt after watching an instructional video in You Tube. So be kind hehehe. I promised myself I will  create a 2 tiered fondant cake with flowers very soon. An ambitious undertaking I know, but  I love challenges so Why Not?






To create the petals , I prepared small balls of fondant which I flattened out  like in the picture.








Tried a small rose first


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


HAINANESE CHICKEN RECIPE


It's the ginger sauce that made it a hit with the "piggery". At first glance, the "piggery" were not at all enthusiastic to try it. Reared in "chicken with color " i.e. golden brown if fried, saucy brown if "adobo. reddish orange if "afritada ( a spanish dish with tomato and potato) , yellowish if curried.....simple poached chicken ( which the Hainanese is ) is strange or looks "unfinished" to them.

Anyway, the honey pie and I persuaded them to give it a try but explained to them that initially it might be "bland" but taken with the ginger sauce, the first bite would be lovely. We described further that it is a beautiful dish that is meant to be subtle.

They tried it and they haven't looked back since. This dish is now a regular staple in our dining table and is also regularly ordered when we find ourselves in a Chinese restaurant.

You can also try Hoisin sauce or add soy  to your ginger sauce ( like my son Martin does ) as an option to plain ginger sauce.

Here are the ingredients :

1 whole chicken
pandan leaves 
onion
ginger
garlic
salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil
soy sauce

Method : Chicken

1.  Put pandan leaves, slices of ginger, cloves of garlic, half an onion inside the chicken's cavity. Tie the legs with the pandan leaves.
2.  Half-fill a pot with water, salt, pepper, ginger, onion, garlic . Boil.
3. When it starts to boil, submerge the chicken. Chicken should be under the water. Put an oven safe plate to weigh down the chicken. Cover the pot. 15 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes, turn off the fire. But keep the lid close. Wait for 15 minutes.
5. Take out the chicken so as not to overcook. If there is still blood coming out,  turn on the heat again. Wait for the water to boil and submerge the chicken for 5 minutes.  Turn off the fire and leave the lid close for another 5 minutes. Take out the chicken.
6. Set aside and cool. 
7, Chicken broth can be used to make Hainanese rice

Cutting chicken :

1.  Cut whole chickening half  lengthwise.
2.  Cut the whole leg
3.  Cut the wings.
4. Cut the leg part into 3 parts; the breast  into 4   
5. Arrange in the plate
6. Garnish with cucumber and ribbons of leeks
    or dices spring onion

Options:

Sesame-soy sauce-brown sugar Sauce

1. If you want a little color in your chicken. Make a  sesame oil-soy-sugar sauce. I don't measure it. I go by taste. Then brush it on your chicken to give it a sheen and a hint of brown color
2. OR just brush the chicken with sesame oil



Ginger Sauce

1. Grate   1 big ginger about 3 inches long  or less depends if you love ginger like we do :)
2. Squeeze to remove the juice. But save the juice  to flavor the next hainanese chicken :)
3. Add sesame oil  and vegetable oil to the pulp and a little salt to taste










SPICY PRAWN IN OLIVE OIL AND GARLIC
RECIPE

If  you're a guest for dinner in our house and it so happened that prawn was being served for dinner, be alert. Notice that the "piggery"  is in a tense mode during our prayer before meals.  Observe their stance as if they are  ready to spring anytime ( not at you silly) but at the poor prawns in the center of the table. Imagine that we are in a race  and there's an invisible rope reining all the contestants in before the sound of a gun shot catapults them into a burst of movement so fast that in a blink of an eye, everything vanishes.  Tension disappears though when I tell them dinner will be served ala "sit-down" and not "family style".  What? party-pooper!...more fun in "family style"...LOL

Wish you could see us, it's  hilarious actually . That's  why the question "Whats for dinner ma?" is very important.  The answer can make or break my precious "piggery's" day.  I actually love that they love food now. There was a time when they were picky eaters. I always worry about their health, all of them being so thin and me wishing  they'd have a more voracious appetite. Oh well " be careful what you wish for".....hahaha.

Anyway, this is one of their favorites. Its actually my version of the popular "Gambas"

Ingredients :

50 pcs deveined prawns  ( right I have to count them, so I can distribute equally..LOL)
salt and pepper to taste
chili flakes
lotsa garlic
olive oil
butter
optional : red chili pepper for an additional kick

Method :

1. Saute garlic in olive oil and butter to give the oil garlic flavor.  Take away the garlic before it browns. Set aside the garlic.
2.Saute the prawns in the garlic-infused olive oil-butter combination until it changes color. Take a bite of one prawn to make sure its succulent and cooked.
3. Turn off the fire and add salt and pepper to taste. 
4, Transfer to a plate. Add chili flakes and/or red chili pepper before serving. You can add chopped spring onions for color.

Note :
1.  Have loads of rice ready if you are having  this dish for dinner. 
2. This would also be delicious with linguini or spaghetti topped with parmesan cheese
3. If you are on a diet. Roll a wheat tortilla  with lettuce, tomato , mango, and this prawns and voila you have a Prawn Tortilla Wrap.
4. This would be great with green salad too
5. Enjoy <3

















Monday, May 14, 2012


 MOLTEN CHOCO LAVA CAKE

Every weekend is pig out day. On second thought,  I think everyday is easily becoming "pig-out" day. The "piggery" are on their summer vacation thus the perennial question " What's for dinner ma?" or the never-ending whining "there's no food in the ref ma" or " when are you going to the grocery ma?"

Oh well so little old me is almost always in the grocery, the attendants know me by my name already! And my oven is almost always churning up something to satisfy their bottomless appetites. Its nice to be needed but sometimes I feel like a short order baker....baking what they are ordering from an invisible menu card.

Last week, they went gaga over my peach-mango , chocolate and cheese croissants ala "Porto's" which I will be posting soon. Today, I will be resurrecting my Molten Choco Lava Cake .

Got the recipe from You Tube's " Show me the Curry "...thanks girls <3

It's so simple ANYONE can do it....so try ok <3

here's the link 

and their recipe .. ( with my personal notes)


Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients:
Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate – 4 oz (113g)  ( I used nestle's semi sweet choco chips)
Butter – 4 oz (113g)  
Eggs – 2 (room temperature)
Sugar – 1/3 cup (75 g)  ( tried brown sugar, sifted)
All-purpose Flour – 1/4 cup (40g)
Butter – for greasing ramekins  ( don't throw away your butter wrap. You can use the butter wrap for greasing ramekins and other baking pans)
Method:
1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat Eggs and Sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Once chocolate is melted, remove pan from heat and add in butter. Mix until the butter melts fully.
4. Add chocolate/butter mixture into the eggs, add all-purpose flour and mix until well incorporated.
5. Butter bottom and sides of ramekins (small glass/porcelain bowls) and pour in mixture about 3/4 way full.
6. Place ramekins on a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C) for 10 – 15 minutes. Shorter for gooey (molten) inside, longer for stiff inside.
( my choco lava only took 11 minutes...any longer and it becomes just a regular chocolate cake). 
Note : Take it out at 11 minutes even if the middle portion looks liquify or wet.  It will still continue to cook in the hot ramekin. After 5  minutes, carefully take it out of the ramekin and dust with powdered sugar.  When cool, scoop a vanilla ice cream and place on top....winner!
7. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.


















Bacon-wrapped Chicken Breast
with Gruyere Cheese and Sage Filling 
Recipe

Whoever invented bacon is a sage ( pardon my pun).  Among our 4 kids aka "piggery", only my son Joaqui loves to eat chicken breast.  
I personally  am not keen on eating this part of the chicken because its dry.  But cover it all in bacon and it becomes moist and flavorful and make a filling of cheese and sage inside...succulent and yum!  My family and I just became converts :))

I saw this recipe in one of the reality shows in TV.  The title escapes me at the moment but its about regular people ( not chefs) who take turns preparing dinner for the other participants who rates the dinner prepared by the host. Whoever gets the lowest score will be eliminated. The dish looked so good, I had to try it :)

So here's the recipe :

chicken breast fillet ( no skin)
gruyere
sage
salt and pepper to taste

Method :

1. I asked my butcher to fillet the chicken breast for me and make me a pocket to put my sage and cheese in.
2. So 50% work already done by the butcher....yay!!
3. Just put in a slice or 2 of gruyere ( or any cheese you prefer ) which I love and a little  portion of sage leaf or a dash of dried sage powder ( if   sage leaf is unavailable)  inside the pocket of the chicken breast.
4. Tuck in the edges of the chicken and cover the whole breast fillet with bacon. No need for tooth pick to secure the filling inside, bacon does the job for me.
5. Set aside and let rest in the ref for 30 minutes to an hour.
6. Preheat your oven to 375deg F
7.  In the meantime, ready your pan and make sure its in medium heat. We want to sear the bacon part of the ensemble till its brown and crisp. But we don't want to burn it. I normally don't put any oil in my pan anymore because the bacon has its own fat. Its like rendering.
8.  If you are using a cast iron pan like I am, you can put the pan-chicken breast/bacon/cheese/sage ensemble in the oven and bake them. Or you can put the seared bacon/chicken/cheese/sage combo in an oiled pyrex dish ( just to make sure it doesn't stick and ruin everything) in the oven.
9. It takes about 15 minutes for the insides of the chicken to be cooked and the cheese to melt. I check halfway though for cast iron pan to turn the chicken breast...wouldnt want to burn the bacon.
10. If you think the bacon might burn, you can cover the whole thing with an aluminum foil.
11. Serve over a bed of green salad or rice or mash potato

Options  for filling :

1. I also use home made pesto mixed with cream cheese, cheddar, blue cheese and asiago  for filling. I just mix it all together and stuff it inside the chicken before covering it all up in bacon.















Saturday, May 12, 2012



ELVIS THE PELVIS PIE RECIPE


I baked this pie and a Nestle Crunch Chocolate cake last March for my son Martin's birthday .
Since our bday boy dances very well like the late legendary Elvis Presley, I thought baking this pie would be perfect for this special occasion.

This was also nspired by Twicia's favorite banofee pie from Banapple which my pretty niece Reg Dominguez also bakes from time to time.

Elvis Presley ( per write-ups) loved the peanut butter-banana-chocolate combination thus the name of the pie :)

Found this in a food magazine and just upped and did it. I made a few tweaks here and there (see my note below) and everything else I adjusted per my kids'/ "piggery's " preference ( ie texture, sweetness etc.). I am not a chef so my  ( fearless ) tweaks are basically a "hope-to-God-it-turns-out-fine" kind of thing...and it came out more than fine. Kids wiped it out in no time.....happy happy me  

For the crust :
2 1/2 cups crushed graham
2/3 cup butter --  * I used 2 sticks butter
1/4 cup sugar

For the peanut butter filling :
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter ( for more texture)
or creamy ( depends on your preference)
1 cup whip cream
1/2 cup brown sugar -- I used 3/4 cups, we love it sweet :)

For the ganache
1 cup semi sweet choco chips ( or milk choco) whichever you prefer
1/2 cup whip cream

5 sliced ripe bananas

For the icing :
1 cup whip cream 
1/4 cup powdered sugar 

dark choco shavings for garnish

My take :
1. I reduced the graham crumbs to to 1 1/2 cups -- original measurement made a very thick crust which my "piggery"  doesn't like.
2. You can either use  chunky or creamy peanut butter depending on your preference
3. I always use Nestle Toll house semi-sweet choco chip cookies for the ganace
4. I use a vegetable peeler for the choco shavings effect 




SHREDDED BEEF TERIYAKI OVER STEAMED SILKEN TOFU RECIPE


The family ate last Sunday at  Nasi Lemak ,  a restaurant specializing in Singaporean dishes.  Goodness,  we loved their Sizzling Tofu with Minced pork in sweet Soy sauce! It was a familiar dish, one that can also be found in Japanese restaurants with a different take on the spices used though.

As always , whenever the "piggery" raves over a particular dish, I immediately try that food and attempt to guess what ingredients went into it.  I take my time figuring out which flavor stands out,  the texture of tofu, what the over-all look should be, etc and I also make it a point to ask the "piggery" why they think its delicious and what part of the dish made it their favorite.

When the mood hits me and I crave to create a new dish , I dig into my memory of food orders that were selected by the family and which they really liked, and I recreate  the dish for them with  some twists here and there so that it becomes my "own" dish.

Today I was inspired by 2 packs of Australian shredded beef I bought from the grocery. What if instead of ground pork , I use shredded beef to recreate the Nasi Lemak dish? Hmm...so here's what I did :)

Ingredients

garlic
ginger
onion
500 grams shredded beef or sukiyaki beef strips is also ok
silken tofu ( steamed or can be served cold, depending on your preference )

For Teriyaki sauce - I make mine from scratch but if the ingredients are not available in your country, you can buy the bottled teriyaki sauce from the supermarket  


2      Soy sauce 500 ml
1 Sake 250 ml
1 Mirin         250 ml
2 Sugar 250 g
1 Dashi Konbu 5 x 5 cm
Katsuo bushi 10 g
  1. Keep in the ref  when not in use. Can last up to a month
  1. If you will use again after ref, boil one time. Can add new batch to old
  1. Katuso bushi is dried fish sliced so thinly its almost feather-like in texture.
  1. Dashi Konbu - is dried hard green leaves also use to make Miso soup. Dashi can also be bought in powder form
Note :
        1. boil  sake, mirin and Dashi Konbu together
        2.    After boiling add soy sauce and sugar
        3.    Boil again. 
        4    After boiling add katsuo bushi in a strainer for 1 minute only.
        5.  Take away the katsuo bushi. Simmer for 20-30 minutes reduce by 20%

METHOD :

1. Saute garlic, onion and ginger til onion is transluscent.
2. Add beef and sauté till beef changes color.
3. Pour in the teriyaki sauce and simmer for 15 minutes till beef is cooked and tender.
4. Optional : Add 2 lightly beaten eggs. Do not stir. Cover the dish for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and set aside.

5. Silken Tofu -  steam the tofu just to heat it up
    5.1 Transfer the rectangular tofu in a plate.
    5.2 Top the tofu with the shredded beef mixture. Garnish with spring onion and red chili       pepper ( optional). Serve while hot