Monday, June 11, 2012

French Macaron Recipe

It started with our "piggery's" craving.  They discovered Bizu's French Macarons and can not get enough of them. After we got introduced to these yummy pastries, my husband and I got hooked as well.

The more our piggery kept eating them , the more obsessed I was in finding out how to make them. I attended a module at Heny Sison's just to learn how to bake them.  But we were told we would need a convection oven to recreate them at home if we want to come up with macarons with "feet". 

I went ahead  though and baked macarons in my electric oven. I tried so many times, I lost count. All of my attempts were epic fails -- no feet. I was getting tired seeing the same results , I almost gave up. Then one day, I stumbled upon a  recipe  in you tube and tried one more time. Imagine my joy, when I saw "feet" at last....Yay!!!!

Here's the recipe :

Ingredients :
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup almond powder
1/4 cup sugar
food color
6 tablespoon egg white
parchment paper
cookie sheet
Method :

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg C
2. In a bowl, sift confectioner's sugar and almond powder together. Set aside. This is your dry ingredient.
3. In a mixing bowl  , whisk the egg whites till foamy. Add a pinch of salt and mix till egg whites are white. Add granulated sugar gradually . Mix at high speed till stiff peaks form. Add desired food color ( gel paste pls) and mix again till color is uniform.
4. Fold in the dry ingredient to  colored egg white batter. Fold till everything is incorporated.
5. Put a non-stick parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
6. Fit a pastry bag with  a round tip and pipe the batter into 1 inch disc in the parchment paper. Be sure to have a1 1/2 inch distance between each disc.
7. Let stand at room temperature till tops of the batter are dry.
8. Bake for 10 -15 minutes with door of the oven ajar.

Note :

1.  You really need to know your oven in order to come up with macarons with feet. So do not be disheartened if at first you don't succeed. It would help if you have an oven thermometer inside your oven too.
2. I used electric oven and midway I had to rotate my pan.
3.It would also help to record your steps per attempt so you know at which step you failed. In my case, I had issues with sifting the dry ingredients, texture of the egg white, piping correctly etc before it all came together for me.
4. It took a whole lot of egg whites I tell you before the much awaited "feet" came out. But when it did, all my frustrations, angst and negative energy flew out the window. It is worth it to make macarons with feet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crispy Kare-Kare Recipe

This is a fresh take on the classic Filipino dish Kare-Kare ( oxtail in peanut-coconut cream- atchuete stew) and the crispy pata ( crispy front leg crackling)

My mother-in-law and I got the idea when we dined at C2 Classic Cuisine Restaurant in Rustan's Shangrila Mall in Mandaluyong, Philippines.

It so happened that Crispy Pata and Kare-Kare are the favorite dishes of my father-in-law. So to have a dish that combined both was a sure winner.

Ingredients for Crispy Pata

1 front leg
salt and pepper to taste
5 cups of water


1.Boil the front leg in 5 cups of water with salt and pepper til tender.
2. Cool, let dry and set aside.
3. You can deep fry the leg or turbo it. I usually turbo mine for an hour. Spray some water on the skin from time to time to make it crispy.
4. Pata is done when brown and crispy. Set aside.

Ingredients for Kare-Kare Sauce

1 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoon toasted rice grain
half cup ground peanut or peanut butter
a tablespoon of achieve in 2 tablespoon hot water
eggplant, pechay leaves, banana heart,
shrimp paste or bagoong

1. Put coconut cream, toasted rice, peanut butter in the blender and puree til smooth.
2. Put atchuete seeds in 2 tablespoon hot water to make the red color come out. Set aside
3. In a separate pan, blanch the pechay leaves, banana heart and egg plant till cooked. Do not overcook.
4. Put the coconut cream-rice-peanut butter mixture in a pan and let boil.
5. Add the red water from the atchuete seeds and drain on the pan with the coconut cream mixture.
6. Put fish sauce to taste. Dish should be a little sweet from the coconut cream and a little salty from the fish sauce and its color should be reddish orange. Simmer for 5 minutes till all the flavors blended well.
7. In a big white plate, assemble a bowl of the sauce, the crispy para and arrange the vegetables in the plate. Do not forget to put a small bowl of  "bagoong" or shrimp paste on the side. 
8. Enjoy with freshly-cooked white rice and some green mangoes on the side.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Home-made Mango-Banana Gelato  
or Fro Yo ( Frozen Yoghurt ) Recipe

I am a fan of Donna Hay. I often watch her in TLC.  I got this recipe while in the treadmill watching her show. This is so simple, delicious  and healthy.  I ate this ice cream without a single twinge of guilt or desire to hop on a treadmill immediately...hahaha.

I guess " you can have your cake and eat it too"  or in this case, it's yummy gelato.

Ingredients :

3 ripe mangoes cubed
3 bananas diced
1 cup Nestle creamy Yoghurt
Honey for added sweetness

1.  Put the cubed mangoes and the diced bananas in a container then freeze  at least for 4 hours.
2. Take out the cubed mangoes and diced bananas and put in the blender with 1 cup plain Nestle Yoghurt or whatever brand of yoghurt you have. Puree till smooth and all ingredients are incorporated. 
3. The sweetness of the mangoes and bananas should give it the natural sweet flavor but if you feel its too bland for your taste, you can add honey to taste.
4.  Freeze in the ref overnight.
5. Serve in a tall wine glass and garnish with mint leaves or cherry on top or simply put a scoop in a sugar cone. Enjoy :)

Sweet and Sour Lapu Lapu Recipe
( Grouper fish in sweetish-sour sauce)

 My mom used to cook this for us when we were little kids. I remember I don't really like fish in general but when mom cooks this, I forget my dislike for fish and just dive in. The combination of crispy fish Lapu lapu and the sweetish tangy sauce makes it an irresistible dish.


julienned carrots
bell pepper
spring onion
oyster sauce
soy sauce
brown sugar
chicken broth
1 lapu lapu fish

Method :
1.  Dredge the lapu lapu fish in flour or corn starch. Fry in oil till crisp then set aside.
2. Saute ginger, garlic, julienned carrots, bell pepper and shallots in the pan where you fried the lapu  lapu.
3. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar .  Let it simmer till the vinegary smell dissipates.  I don't actually measure the amount. I go by taste. Dish should be sweet-sour and a a little salty too.
4. Pour in a little chicken broth at a time. We don't want our sauce to be watery.  Optional :  You can add corn starch if you want to thicken the sauce.
5. Pour the sauce over the fried lapu lapu.  Garnish with spring onion, julienned carrots and bell pepper.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Easy as 1-2-3 Barbecue Recipe

I just love this recipe. It's simple, fast , easy and no need to marinate. If you are faced with having unexpected guests for lunch or dinner, this recipe is  for you. 

Ingredients :

1 cup soy sauce
2 cups oyster sauce
3 cups brown sugar
to 20 pcs chicken thigh or
1 kilo of sliced pork belly 

That's it.  Just use the formula 1-2-3 and you are ready to grill your pork or chicken thigh ( tried it with chicken wings and drumstick too but found it more flavorful with thigh). Just pour the soy-oystersauce-brown sugar mixture to your chicken or pork belly and grill. No need to marinate at all.Baste once in a while with the mixture and some oil and you'd be amazed how tasty and delicious it is.

Try it and let me know how it turned out for you.

Enjoy ! :)

The Anatomy of  A First Attempt
 at Making a Purse Bag Cake

It was to be my  sister-in-law's surprise 50th birthday and her husband , my brother-in-law requested me to make a cake for her. I thought this would be a wonderful gift for her plus a chance for me to hone my skills in cake decorating ..... perfect.

I've baked and decorated a cake full of Kit Kat bites and fingers and made cupcakes with different 3D cupcake toppers  using gum paste and fondant before. I have also made a cake with fondant/gumpaste baby for my infanticipating sister's birthday.

This was to be my first time to make a 2-tiered cake with an edible Purse as topper and it excited me and filled me with anticipation. I didn't have any blue print  unlike some pro friend-bakers-bloggers I know. I just try to visualize how my cake would look thus my difficulty.

I go by feel. Impractical I know. But that's how I did my previous cakes. I just know I wanted to make a purse cake but I didn't know the colors I like, the kind of purse it would be,  its size etc.

pound cake batter
pound cake in the oven
A week before the event and  I'm feeling the pressure. So I went to the fb pages I like to try and choose a cake that would inspire me. I also visited You Tube to watch tutorials on how to make a purse cake. 

Three days before the event and I have baked  and crumb-coated 3 chocolate cake and 3 pound cake. But I still haven't decided on my final colors and final design....hopeless me. I know I wanted roses and the purse bag. But I haven't consolidated the final design in my head.

So off I go and I decided to make my "bottom cake".  My bottom tier would consist of 2 layers of chocolate cake  ( see my Kit Kat Overdose Cake Recipe) crumb-coated with chocolate ganache with chocolate buttercream in between.

1 layer brownie cake, 2 layers chocolate cake

I made an extra layer of chocolate cake which was to be my "just-in-case-cake" or my plan B in case plan A (which didn't doesn't work. I'm still waiting to be "inspired" you see.

I wanted to make a rose but I didn't know how to incorporate it in the overall look of the cake. I made a pink rose initially and before I knew it ended up making roses of different colors and sizes. Ah inspiration at last.  I enjoyed myself making the roses.  It felt zen-like. My hands were busy molding the roses while my mind traveled elsewhere....nice and relaxing.

finished bottom layer
I wanted a clean camvas, so I had to cover my bottom cake with textured white fondant. Actually, this was a calculated move on my part. Im still honing my skills in making a smooth fondant  finish and failing. Thank God  for Wilton mats. Textured fondant is the way to go if you can't hack making a perfect fondant finish. But it's still hard work-- rolling the fondant on the mat and unrolling it on the cake.  The heat and humidity is affecting the fondant making it tear in some places. I got lucky on my nth attempt ( sorry lost count ) Note to self: work in an air conditioned room next time.

So I finished the bottom layer in  about 7 hours more or less. I knew this because only daughter left with ardent suitor at about 1 pm that afternoon for some errands I requested for her to do,  and I was still not finish with the bottom layer when they came back around 6pm and till we finished dinner  around 8 pm. I packed everything up and had the bottom layer in the ref before 10 pm I think. And by that time, I was dead tired and ready for bed.

The next day, I was still vacillating between doing an echo of the bottom cake for the top layer or going ahead with the purse cake idea.  Frankly, I was a bit terrified that I wouldn't be able to pull off making a cake bag. So my idea was to make a smaller round fondant cake for the top layer for insurance. But I was running out of time and energy.  I had to decide.

I conditioned myself to do the purse cake  and started carving the pound cake to the shape of the bag.  I watched the tutorial again and affirmed to myself  " Yes, I can do it and it will turn out beautiful". I hovered on the edge of the cliff, closed my eyes and jumped. I was committed and gave it my 200%. Here is the finished product....whew!!! Next time, I'll make a designer bag -- Hermes or Channel would be nice :))))