Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Fresh Pasta Maker Experience

The handsome and thoughtful hubby gifted me wifh a pasta maker on my birthday last year. But it has sat on my baking shelf forlorn and seemingly abandoned for quite some time now.  In the midst of the chaos of   meeting orders for cake, baking,  exploring other forms of cake art and other culinary interests, the Atlas 150 was unfortunately relegated to the "archives" section of my mind.  There it sat until  a  couple of weeks ago.

Amid my  involuntary verbalized wish in jest for a sous vide machine  and ice cream maker, I was gently chastised and reminded  that I still have a brand new pasta maker  gathering dusts  on my shelf. Toinks.

Maybe it's all that endless watching of Gary, Jorge and Matt in Master Chef Australia. Maybe it' s the good-natured ribbing of the piggery. Maybe it's because it will be my birthday again in a couple of months. Maybe I finally just felt the urge to find out how my pasta maker works. Or maybe it is really the not-so subtle nudge of the hubby ? LOL. Whatever it is, just a  couple of weeks ago I finally made my first batch of  fresh fettucini from scratch via my brand new stainless Atlas 150 pasta maker.  Yay!

Ingredients: (recipe by Mario Batali)

31/2 cups all purpose flour
4 large eggs


1 . Flour on a flat surface
2. Make a well in the middle
3. Put the 4 eggs  in the well
4. Slowly incorporate the flour and the egg in the well without letting the egg escape.

5. Keep incorporating the flour into the eggs until it forms a ball.
6. Knead for 3-5minutes. It will be sticky.  Put flour on yiur hands so that dough wont stick.
7. Using a bench scraper, scrapeall dough from the bottom of your table and continue to knead until it forms a ball
8. It will be messy but fun!

Using the Pasta Maker :
1.Wrap your dough in a cling wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
2.After 30 minutes,  divide  your dough into 4 pieces.
3.Get the first piece. Dust with flour before rolling it through your pasta maker using setting number 1.  Feed it thru the pasta maker 2x.It will be  flat and thick.
4. Set your pasta maker to 6 or 7. Roll your dough 2x. You will notice your dough became thinner and transluscent.

5.Switch to the futtucine cutter and roll your pasta at setting 8. Notice how thin and precisely cut your fettucini are.Beautiful. Dust with flour and set aside in a line on a  parchment-covered tray . Repeat for the three remaining dough pieces.
6. Meanwhile fill a pot . Season with salt. Boil.
7. As soon as it boils, drop the fresh fettucini. Give it 3 minutes.
8. Take out the fetuccini and let cool.
9. Make your pasta sauce

Note :
1. Sen Miriam Defensor Santiago passed on today. She is 71.
2. Sen. De Lima is still the apple of Duterte's eye to date

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


For our Sunday dinner/s with Papa, Mama , Tito Luis, Ape, Papadu, Kuya and Brie,  I try to serve something new or "experimental" depending on what my inspiration was for the week.  

I stumbled upon a bagoong rice recipe in a magazine a week ago and I can't get it out of my head. You would think that a Bagoong Rice recipe would include just that -- bagoong and rice.  But what intrigued me was a unique ingredient in the recipe....I had to try it. Read on and try it at home. Its a winner :)


5 cups of dark rice ( I had no dark so I used  our regular sinandomeng white rice)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter ( choose your favorite brand)
1/2 cup sweet spicy bagoong ( if you don't like spicy use the regular one)
1/4 cup sesame oil


1. Cook the rice. Set aside.
2. Saute the garlic in sesame oil. Do not brown
3.  Mix the bagoong and peanut butter till incorporated and sauté with no 2. Set aside a small portion for garnish
4. Put the cooked rice and mix
5. Garnish with green mango slivers and the sautéed bagoong-peanutbutter combo

Perfect with inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly ), grilled tilapia or daing na bangus ( friend milkfish). We had ours with crispy pata and bangus. Yum!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Romance of Dining at La Cocina de Tita Moning  

Imagine walking back in time while our guide gave us a tour of this ancient mansion and relayed stories when American bigwigs and their  coterie enjoyed repasts prepared by  Tita (Aunt) Moning during the  Commonwealth era.  

The year was 1937  and  this magnificent home was one of the first "art deco " houses built in Manila. One can almost visualize the genteel life of Don Alejandro Roces Legarda (a doctor ), his wife Ramona and their four children as the guide told the story behind each antique "aparador" ( armoire) or expounded on the good doctor's  precious camera and radio collection. The Philippines then was in transition having been previously liberated from 333 years of Spanish colonial rule and was on its way to gaining its sovereignty after  the subsequent American occupation which lasted for  four decades . I swear I gained appreciation for tutoring my grade 5 son in his Araling Lipunan ( Social Studies) subject because of this.

It was an idyllic existence for the Legarda's at least until the first world war when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. At any rate, despite making Manila an open city yet being bombed just the same by Japan,  the mansion escaped unscathed and its precious contents preserved to this day .

One can understand why the recipes have a strong Spanish influence.

If you are like my husband and I  who love to discover restaurants  off the beaten track,  are museum geeks , are wary of run-of-the mill food and are presently in Manila, you will enjoy dining at La Cocina de Tita Moning  ( the kitchen of Aunt Moning) in Malacanang. I have been hearing superlatives  from foodies every time   the simplistic name of this restaurant crops up. The whispers got louder when word got out that even  our President PNoy is a regular patron.

So since the hubby was on vacay, I found it an opportune time to check out if  there is substance to all the hype. Note, that the restaurant does not accept walk-ins. One must reserve two weeks prior to be ensured of slots.

The verdict :

The food was  generally wonderful and the ambiance romantic. The feeling of exclusivity was evident.  Instead of waiters, there were well-trained unobtrusive uniformed servers who have been with the family for decades. One felt spoiled, every whim attended to. 

Here's my take on our four course meal

Tapas Sampler
Pork Belly in Almond Pili Milk
Gaspacho Shot with Crab and Avocados
Gambas and Chorizo Pincho

I just love the gazpacho. It is fresh on the palate especially with the creaminess of the avocado and the hint of crab.
The pork belly in almond Pili milk was a bit bland probably a perfect foil to the hot and spicy Gambas and Chorizo Pincho which was easily my favorite among the three appetizers.

The Salsa Monja
It is what the nuns used to make for the Spanish friars to accompany meals. We were advised to eat it together with our dinner to make everything more flavorful. It is made of fermented shallots , olive and some secret ingredient . It was indeed a perfect taste bud "cleanser".  When the palate becomes too overwhelmed by the rich flavors, the salsa monja was a perfect fodder preparing the tongue for the next round of delectable course.

Salsa Monja
Table Setting with  Rose Petals -- sets the mood :)

Roasted Beet Salad with Organic Greens, Torched Davao Goat Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts

I love salads and cheese so I enjoyed this course tremendously. Note to self : must make one like exactly like this for the "piggery" when I get home. The sweetness of the sugar beets and the creaminess of the torched goat cheese complemented the crunchy sweetness of the caramelized walnuts...yum yum yum

Beef Osso Buco Gremolata with Saffron Risotto

Alas the husband had to add salt to his   a-bit-bland Osso Buco . It was really tender though and the love-of-my-life enjoyed  the more than generous portion after he added a pinch of sodium chloride . The carnivores with humongous appetite would love this.

Seafood Potpourri with Saffron Nage,
Julienne of Vegetables
Per wikipedia , A nage is a flavored liquid used for poaching delicate food typically seafood. A traditional Nage is a broth flavored with white wine, vegetable and herbs in which seafood is poached.
 I can't stop waxing poetry over this dish. My prawn ( yes singular but humongous) was tender and flavorful and so were my squid , fish fillet and clams. The broth was divine. One can't help but spoon every bit of the gorgeous goodness of this wonderful plate till every morsel and drop of liquid was gone , never to be seen or tasted again....burp.
Dessert Sampler
Home made nut cake with citrus Ice cream
Home made fritters
Tita Moning's bread and butter pudding
Polvorones of Fresh Mango
I had mine with hot tsokolate. Maybe I was full or fully sated by my Seafood Nage because after the magnificent Potpourri, the  dessert  sampler was ....frankly speaking quite ordinary. I love the idea of  polvoron for crust in the mango pie though. Note to self : must recreate  this with my mango cream pie.

 The Zalameda
This "Sailboat" painting was  by Filipino artist Oscar Zalameda. It was painted in the French Riviera when Zalameda was based in France. This was purchase in early 70's for P3,000 only by Ramon Legarda. Today it is valued in the millions.

La Inocencia
This treasure was painted by National Artist Felix Resureccion Hidalgo in Paris in 1901. It is an original and is worth millions at present currency.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ginataang Taba ng Talangka Fussili
( Fussili Pasta in Crab Paste and Coconut Cream Sauce)

It  was Good Friday and it was a challenge to come up with dishes other than our traditional Bacalao ala Lola Tunying and the usual fried Tilapia with fried eggplant and soy-calamansi for dipping.

Since the piggery love their crab paste ( taba ng  talangka -  red/orangey fat of the crab lets) and the handsome hubby loves his pasta, I thought I'd combine both and give them this rich, divine pasta with a local twist.

The dish is simple and easy to do. Note that I don't actually measure. I go by taste. Try it :)

Ingredients :

taba ng talangka ( crab paste)
kakang gata ( fresh coconut cream ) or canned if not available
pinch of curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
chili flakes
hot sauce if you want it really spicy 
or siling labuyo (jalapeño) if you want it fiery hot
dash of calamansi ( or lemon) for acid

your choice of pasta ( follow package directions)

Method :

1.  Heat olive oil in a pan. Add curry powder.
2. Add the shrimps. Cook till pink. Take out of the pan and set aside
3. Saute garlic and onion in the same pan till translucent
4.Add crab paste to taste. I used 1 tablespoon.
5. Add 1 calamansi or a dash of lemon (optional)
6.Add the kakang data and simmer till thick
7. Salt and pepper to taste. Fish sauce (patis ) optional.
8. Add hot sauce or siling labuyo ( jalapeño) if you want it spicy
9.Add and incorporate the cooked pasta.
10. Mix in the cooked shrimp. Leave some for garnish on top
10. Add  diced spring onion as finishing touch.
11. Bon Apetit :)

Friday, November 9, 2012


polvorón (From polvo, the Spanish word for dustCebuano: polboron; Tagalogpulburon) is a type of heavy, soft and very crumbly Spanish shortbread made of floursugarmilk, and nuts. They are produced mostly in Andalusia, where there are about 70 factories in that are part of a syndicate that produces polvorones and mantecados.[1] Under the name mantecados, these sweets are a traditional preparation of other areas of the Iberian Peninsula as well.[2]
Polvorones are popular in all Spain and ex-Spanish colonies in Latin America, as well as the Philippines, during the Christmasperiod. Traditionally they were prepared from September to January but are now available all year round. There are authors who claim a possible Levantine origin, based on a similar sweet known as ghurayba,[3] but the recipe is too simple and one of the traditional main ingredients in the polvorones is pig fat.   
                                                                                                            -- Wikipedia

Memories of my mom making this addicting "candy" ( for want of a better word) brings back  warm and loving childhood vignettes. Mom was a  creative homemaker and to this day , I still remember her special dishes and pastries . I even  inherited some of her classic recipes.  One of which is this polvoron.  Fortunately for us especially her grandchildren, she makes it a point to  come home for a vacation ( from California) every year. Dad passed away 12 years ago so its only Mom now.  She  is 72 and we thank God  for her good health and we cherish every moment spent with her.

Yesterday while in  a mall with mommy, we spotted a polvoron molder. So right then and there , I decided we would make a polvoron together.  What happened though was, I made the polvoron and  Mommy did the wrapping  in the green

Here is the recipe :
Ingredients :

4 cups of all purpose flour - apf ( sifted)
2 cups of powdered milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1  melted 225 g salted butter ( 1 block )
Optional for flavor :
a. toasted pinipig
b. cocoa ( if you want chocolate flavor0
c. ground nuts. etc

Method :
1. Toast the flour in a heated pan till light brown in color. Do not burn.
2. Turn of the heat and mix in the powdered milk with a wire whisk.
3. Add in the sugar till incorporated
4. Pour in the butter . You can add a tablespoon more if mixture is too dry.
5. Use a molder and wrap in a cellophane wrapper.

1. Important to choose a favorite powdered milk. I use either Bear Brand or Nido
2. I use salted butter so I don't need to add salt anymore
3. You can eat the polvoron as it is or use a molder and  wrap in a cellophane. or japanese paper whichever is easiest for you.  The texture of the polvoron is a little crumbly but moldable.
4. You have to push the polvoron against the molder really tight so it comes out compact. 
5. Refrigerate after wrapping.
6 Best to eat the next day when it sets firm and hard.
7. But if your kids are like my "piggery", sometimes the polvoron doesn't get to the setting part and are wolfed down as soon as molded.....hahaha

...will add more pics later  :))

Monday, October 15, 2012


Pastillas de love them, kids at heart are also crazy-addicted to these sinful treats. They can be lovely desserts or sweet-in-between snacks. The best part is they are quite easy to do. 

Whenever we find ourselves in the mall which is every Sunday, our youngest  child Job more often than not will not let up until his dad buys him his favorite pastillas de leche.  His dad normally buys him a big box with 25 pieces and with the "help" of his sibs , finish it all of in under 2 minutes.. Not surprising, considering how small the pastillas are, rolled  inside   what looks like a bond paper wrapped in white japanese paper.

Last week, Job came up to me and requested me to make him pastillas de leche. So I went and googled the recipe plus checked out You Tube too.  Here's what I found in Panlasang Pinoy. Only 3 ingredients and its the "no cook easy way".

Ingredients :
2 cups Nido or Bear Brand powdered milk sifted
1 can 14 oz Alpine condensed milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Method :
1. Just mix them all together
2. The final mix will have a dough-like consistency
3. It is very sticky so I used two teaspoon  to roll the pastillas in the granulated sugar
4. Roll in a pre-cut parchment or bond paper

Pastillas de leche literally means candies with milk and the "lazy" version ( which I adapted from panlasang pinoy)  uses two kinds of milk - condensed and powdered and granulated sugar to roll them in.

A more complicated recipe uses boiled carabao milk before adding the powdered milk.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Exciting Journey into Chocolate Ganache, Covering 
with Fondant and "Edging"

In our decorating class a few weeks ago , there was a part where we were told to cover our chocolate-ganached-crumb-coated-cake with fondant. It is a one-shot deal. If you don't get it right the first time, you ruin your fondant and your set ganached cake  and you have to do both fondant and cake-ganaching all over again. To say that it was a nerve-wracking moment was an understatement. We were  only 7 students in Chef Joanna's class and it would be humiliating if Im the only student who can't get it right.  This was my Basic 101 class. Pressure, pressure...

I kept kneading my fondant trying to calm my fears and making sure the dimensions of my fondant is correct for the 8 inches  round cake I will cover. Then harnessing all my positive energy and fully committed, I dove in. I think I forgot to breathe for a while, just concentrating in making sure the whole cake is covered, acting  quickly to smooth out all the creases. A few seconds or so after the last wrinkle have been evened out, I realized I just covered my cake...Yay!!! I was grinning from ear to ear. Now with more confidence and a bit of a swagger ( hehe), I proceeded to the next edges.

But Im getting ahead of myself...must discuss ganche( ing) first......:))

Part I :    Ganache ( ing)

I didn't even know that one can use Chocolate Ganache as crumb coat.  B.C.G. (Before Chocolate Ganache) I  crumb coat my cake with SMBC ( Swiss Meringue Buttercream) previous to covering them with fondant. Don't get me started with fondant. That would require another post hehe.

For now, lets just discuss my fascination with chocolate ganache. Thanks to Chef Joanna of Cuppy Puppy,  a whole new vista opened itself to me.  I use 3:1 ratio ( 2 parts semi sweet chocolate to 1 part cream). I heat up the cream via microwave and pour it over the chopped chocolate. I let it rest for a minute before it stir it all up. Once the chocolate and cream are incorporated , I let it cool at room temperature overnight.

The next day, if the ganache is not pliable, I heat it up for less than 10 seconds in the microwave. One is looking for a peanut butter consistency. One has to work real fast covering one's cake because ganache tends to set  fast in an air-conditioned environment and melts when the room is too hot.

Step 1:                
Divide your cake into three parts .

Step 2:                  
Glue your cake to your cake board with ganache (top side - reverse the cake so that   top is glued to the cake board)

Step 3 :
Put buttercream filling or ganache per level

Bench Scraper and Acetate - important tools in ganache(ing) with edges
Step 4:
Check that your cake is level with a cake leveler.

Step 5 :
Cover the cake with chocolate Ganache. Use a spatula and bench scraper. Work fast as ganache tends to set quickly. Position your bench scraper at 90 deg angle against your  cake board. Fill in the gaps.

Step 6 :
If a squared   cake, move your bench scraper from corner to center

Part III :    Making Sharp Edges with Fondant

Tools needed :

1.  Two kinds of fondant smoother
2.  Acetate
3. An air-conditioned room if in a humid tropical country like ours
4.  music
5. lots of patience and a positive attitude

As in anything in life, practice makes perfect. For a novice like me,  making edges via the fondant smoother and acetate is hard work indeed.  It seemed like a no-brainer when Chef Joanna demonstrated  the why's ,wherefores  and the hows. But as they say, its easier said than done. A day after our class, my arms , wrist and fingers are still sore from all the rubbing, smoothing that I did just to get the aspired for edges. It was frustrating,exhausting but exhilarating at the same time . You get an unexplained high for realizing that yes with a vast amount of patience initially, I can make edges like a pro too Yay!

For now though. my bench scraper-acetate-fondant smoother-patience are my best friends :)