Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! 
Cheers to all the moms and the moms to be! 

This is for all those times when all we need is a quick boost of energy (or maybe a nice bottle of wine).  

An easy peasy healthy recipe.


Honey Glazed Energy Bars: 

Line 8″x 8″pan with parchment paper. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups large oats 
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut shredded (unsweetened or sweetened) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond milk 

Method: 

1. Place the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. 

2. Combine the egg and milk in a bowl and stir. Then, pour into the oat mixture.  Stir until well combined .

3. Place in a 8″x8″ square pan.

4. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. 

5. Let it cool then cut into bars! 

You can add sweetness by drizzling honey! 

Enjoy! 

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Purple Yam Jam | Ube Halaya

I love this stuff!! Did I mention that it’s purple? Like, it’s naturally purple. They told me that making Ube Halaya would be a little difficult. I thought to myself: how hard could it be?

Well, 3 hours of constant stirring later…
It’s definitely time consuming and also very labour intensive. While ready-made purple yam ‘jam’ is available in most Asian groceries, I wanted to try making it from scratch.

You can eat it as is (I do) or use it as a filling when you make ensaymada, maybe a pie filling too. You could also try this: Ube Trifle. It’s not as heavy as you think, the delicate whipped cream and soft cake balances it out. It is super delish! 

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Ube Halaya | Purple Yam Jam Trifle

Here’s the recipe for the purple yam jam.

Ube Halaya | Purple Yam Jam

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups purple yam, grated/mashed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups condensed milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Method:

1. First, boil purple yam in a pot until it softens. Remove from heat and let it cool.

2. Once it has cooled down, peel off the skin.

3. At this point you have several options: You can grate it or simply mash it or use a food processor or if you have a ricer you can use that.

4. I used a wok, I’ve read somewhere that you need to use a widemouthed cooking pot. I guess for a quicker evaporation of the liquid in the mixture (makes sense to me).

5. Place butter in the wok, once butter has melted add the coconut milk and condensed milk, stir to combined.

6. Add the mashed/grated purple yam.

7. This is when you do the non-stop stirring. I’d say about 3 or more hours. You’d have to keep stirring to avoid scorching the bottom.

8. You’ll know it’s done when it has thickened, like in this photo.img_5725

If you simply want to re-create this trifle without making the jam, you will need: store bought ube halaya/purple yam jam, sponge or chiffon cake and whipped cream.

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Enjoy!

 

Easy Chicken Teriyaki 

I like quick and easy dinners. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking but there are days when you just don’t have the luxury of time. If  you’re looking for something simple and easy to add to your weekly menu, give this recipe a try. 

 Although, I listed the toasted sesame seed and green onions as optional, they add flavour and texture to this dish.

     

Easy Chicken Teriyaki

 Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts boneless and skinless, sliced in to bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 – 4 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  •  3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly  on a bias (optional)

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice wine and honey. Set aside.
  2. Dredge chicken with cornstarch. 
  3. Heat oil in the frying pan then add chicken. 
  4. Halfway through cooking add the soy sauce mixture.   
  5. Continue to cook until the chicken is done.
  6. Serve with rice, garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds. 

Happy cooking! Cheers! 

A Wine Night

Nothing is more welcome than an evening spent in engaged conversation over a bottle of wine with good company. I prepared seafood appetizers, just for the occasion. I’m always thrilled to make flavourful appetizers!

Here are some things I’ve prepared: tuna meatballs filled with bocconcini, smoked salmon with cream cheese in wonton cups, scallops and mangoes in endive leaves, scallops on zucchini with feta and tomatoes. 

In accepting the Marine Stewardship Council’s Ocean To Plate Challenge, I used MSC-certified seafood for my ingredients.  Quick and easy recipes that are not only delicious, but socially responsible as well! You can find more information on MSC in their website.

Check out the MSC products, I’ve used. Not in picture is the Cod though which was MSC certified too.

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MSC labelled products: smoked salmon, scallops and canned tuna

And below are the appetizers I have created using those products.

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I’m sharing a quick and easy recipe from our wine night…

Smoked Salmon in Wonton cups

You will need a mini muffin tin and a piping bag (makes it easier to fill the cups with cream cheese)

Ingredients:

  • 24 pieces of small wonton wrappers 
  • 1 package smoked salmon
  • 1 8oz brick of cream cheese
  • 3 – 4 tbsp chives,finely chopped
  • Sprigs of dill, to garnish
  1. Lightly oil muffin tin and wonton cups, use a cooking spray. Place the wonton in the muffin tin and set oven to 375F. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Watch this closely, it can quickly get overdone. Once done set aside and let cool.
  2. Soften the cream cheese and add the chives, mix well. Transfer to a piping bag (it’s easier to do it this way)
  3. Pipe enough cream cheese into the wonton cup, place the smoked salmon on top. Garnish with dill and serve.

Easy enough right?


Find products that are labelled with MSC logo to support sustainable seafood products.


This post is in partnership with Marine Stewardship Council ,who covered the cost of the ingredients.

Postre Chajá

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My version of Postre Chajá

A friend recently asked me to bake a cake for some friends from Uruguay, suggesting Postre Chajá.

From what I gather, it’s quite a popular dessert in Uruguay. My version of this cake is made of layers with chiffon, peaches, whipped cream frosting and finished with meringue. It’s very light and the cake layers are just so soft. This would make a perfect summer cake. Well, except the frosting is whipped cream- it will be best to stabilize the cream on warmer days.

For inspiration, I used this recipe from Marian Blazes, which you can find here. But I always tend to use my go-to layer cake recipes which I will share with you. Most of my baking measurements are by weight. I know it’s handier to have a measuring cup, but if you’re seriously considering baking, might I suggest that you consider investing on a digital weighing scale for accuracy.

This will be a long recipe, with a step by step instruction on how to assemble the cake.

Postre Chajá

You’ll need chiffon cake layers or sponge cake layers, 35% whipping/heavy cream, peaches (I used canned peaches), meringue cookies. This makes one 8″x4″ round cake.

Chiffon Cake:
All ingredients at room temperature
Prepare 3 8″ round cake pans, line only the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

You will need your stand mixer and a hand held mixer to foam the eggs. if you have 2 stand mixers(good on you) use those

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 250 g  Cake flour
  • 200 g  Sugar
  •  6  g  Salt
  • 12  g  Baking Powder

Wet Ingredients:

  •  125  g  Vegetable Oil / Canola Oil (I use canola)
  •  125  g  Egg yolks
  • 188  g  Water
  • 6 g  Vanilla Extract

Egg foam:

  •  250  g  Egg whites
  •  125   g  Sugar
  •      1   g   Cream of tartar

Method:

  1. Sift dry ingredients. Place in the bowl of your stand up mixer.
  2. Using the paddle attachment, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients gradually  in a steady stream. Scraping the bottom and the sides to ensure even mixing. Start with the oil, followed by the egg yolks, then water and vanilla extract.  Mix until smooth without overmixing. Set aside.
  3. Make the egg foam: place the egg whites in a clean, grease free bowl. Start to whip the egg whites and add the cream of tartar. Gradually add the sugar until it forms firm but soft peaks, at this stage it should not look dry.
  4. Working quickly but carefully, deposit the egg white foam into the flour batter and fold egg whites until fully incorporated. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites though.
  5. Divide the batter into the 3 cake pans. Fill it halfway and bake at 375F / 190C for 20 -25 minutes
  6. Once baked, let it cool with the pan inverted (upside down). Once cool, run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to release the cake.

Whipped Cream frosting:

Chill the bowl of your stand mixer and the whip attachment. Remember that whipped cream does not do well in warm temperatures.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of 473ml 35% whipping/heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
    • You can opt to use WhipIt whip cream stabilizer, follow the instructions on the packet, it usually comes in 10g packets. If you’re confident that your whip cream will not run, you don’t have to use it.

Method: 

  1. Using the chilled whipped attachment and bowl, pour the heavy cream and confectioners sugar. Mix at slow speed to dissolve the sugar and stabilizer under 30 seconds just so it doesn’t end up blowing all over the place. Then proceed to mix at high speed.
  2. Continue beating the cream until it reaches stiff peaks.

Peach Filling and Garnish:

You will need 1 can of peaches in heavy syrup

  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of pureed canned peaches, use a blender to puree
  • 4 – 5  halved peaches, to garnish slice thinly
  • Don’t discard the syrup, use it to keep the cake moist later on

For the Meringue Cookies, I used this recipe to make a small batch from Joy of Baking .

To put everything together:

You will need: 10″ cake pad, serrated knife, pastry brush, offset spatula, piping bag with plain round tip IMG_5287

  1. Level /Trim your cake using a serrated knife.
  2. Place the first layer on your 10″ cake pad.
  3. Add syrup to moisten the cake, use a pastry brush. Dip the pastry brush in the syrup and just dab all over the cake layer – it shouldn’t be drenched with syrup.
  4. Fill your piping bag (fitted with a round plain tip) with the whipped cream.
  5. Pipe whip cream to “outline” the cake creating a well so that the peach filling won’t run on the sides of the cake.
  6. Fill the layer with pureed peach, just enough to create a thin layer. Then pipe whipped cream to cover the layer.
  7. Place the next cake layer on top, gently press to secure it. Repeat steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.
  8. Place the last cake layer and again gently press to secure.
  9. Mask and cover the cake with whipped cream using an offset spatula or just pipe with whichever decorating tip you prefer.
  10. Garnish with sliced peaches and meringue cookies on the sides of the cake.
    • For this cake, I crushed the meringue cookies to give it a more balanced look. But you can decorate to your heart’s content.

Happy baking! 🙂

Can you say “Tzatziki”?

Tzatziki!

I  was thinking of Greek flavours today, but I wanted to try something simple. The fresh taste of tzatziki sauce with the salty feta cheese came to mind.

I also thought of making meatballs, not only because they are easy to make, but also quick to stock in the freezer for use at a later date. The best part is, I think it can possibly be paired with any type of sauce that you might be craving for, from gravy to marinara.

For making the meatballs or hamburger patties, I like using panade. It’s a mixture of bread and milk or cream. Panade keeps the moisture in, making the meatball tender. So, we’ll start the recipe by making this.

Tzatziki Sauce, Meatballs and Lemon Pilaf Rice

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Panade:

  • 3 slices of white bread, remove the crust, cut into small pieces or simply tear it
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of heavy cream or milk

In a bowl, place the white bread (that’s been cut into pieces). Add the heavy cream or milk to moisten.

Meatball:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of ground beef (use lamb or veal, if preferred)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic puree (use a garlic press, makes life easier)
  • 2 tsps cumin powder
  • 2 tsps dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Prepared panade, (we’ll squeeze out the excess cream or liquid before adding)
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Place the ground beef in a bowl.
  2. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the panade, add it to the ground beef.
  3. Add the onion powder, garlic puree, cumin powder, dried oregano, parsley and eggs.
  4. Mix until it combined.
  5. Form the mixture to a ball to however size you prefer. *If freezing, just place in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer, of course.
  6. To cook, I prefer to “brown” them in the pan, just to give it a nice colour and finish in the oven at 375F for about 30 minutes or until the meat probe registers 160F or 71C. Always best to check: safe cooking temp

Easy Tzatziki 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cucumber, finely chopped or use a food processor
  • 2 garlic cloves grated or use a garlic press, add more if you wish
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

-Combine all the ingredients, mix well and refrigerate. Best to let it sit for a couple of hours or make it the night before use.

Lemon Pilaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups basmati
  • 3 cups chicken broth (you can use store bought, but you can do this at home from scratch quite easily)
  • A pinch of salt and a dash of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon,
    • when zesting lemon, make sure you don’t include the pith (white part, this is bitter)

Method:

  1. Wash the rice about 3 – 4 times. Until water comes clear.
  2.  In a sauce pan, add oil and butter. Use medium heat.
  3. Once the butter has melted add the finely chopped onion, cook to sweat – not browned, just until it has turned translucent.
  4. Add the rice, and let it toast for approximately 3-5 minutes. Don’t burn itplease.
  5. Add the the broth and turmeric powder. Season with salt and pepper give it a quick stir then add bay leaf and lemon zest.
  6. Leave the heat on medium and let it simmer. Once it simmers, switch to lowest possible heat.
  7. Cover with a tight lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
  8. Discard bay leaf and fluff rice with a fork.

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Greek Inspired Flavours

Serve  the meatballs with the tzatziki and feta cheese over lemon pilaf rice! Serve with roasted tomatoes and lemon and garnish with chopped parsley.

Pilaf Recipe inspired from Tyler Florence, see the original recipe here.

 

Cheesecake Brownie Dessert

Do you know what’s better than cheesecake brownies? Cheesecake brownies with ice cream! Salted Caramel Ice Cream, that is.

I shared the brownie base in my previous post Rich Custard Brownies. Using the same brownie base minus the custard, top it with this cheesecake recipe. Now you have an amazing cheesecake brownie recipe! I’ll include  the brownie recipe in this post again.

cheesecake brownies

 

cheesecake brownie dessert

 

Cheesecake Brownie Recipe: 

Line a 9″ x 13″  pan with parchment paper and extend it an inch above the rim, for easier lifting after baking

Cheesecake Ingredients: 

  • 1 package 8oz Cream cheese (full fat), softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk

Method: 

You can easily double the cheesecake if you feel you need more

1. Using a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until smooth.

2. Add sugar and vanilla and mix in until smooth at low speed.

3. Then add the egg yolks. Mix until incorporated. Set this aside and prepare the brownie recipe.

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bread Flour
  • 2 /3 cup Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 2/3 cup Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups Butter
  • 4 large Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 325F

Method: 

  1. Melt the chocolates (unsweetened and bittersweet) and the butter over a bain marie. Once melted, set this aside and let cool to room temperature before adding any of the other ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla until well blended.
  3. Blend in the chocolate mixture into the eggs mixture. Then sift and fold flour.
  4. Pour the brownie mix in the baking pan, spread evenly.
  5. Add the cheesecake mix on the brownie. with a small spatula, give both the brownie and cheesecake a swirl for that “swirly” look.
  6. Bake at 325 for 40 – 50 minutes.
  7.  Cut into 2″x 2″ squares.

To get a clean cut of the brownies, let it cool completely. Wipe your knife with a damp paper towel after every slice you make.

To make this plated dessert, you need: 

2 pieces of the cheesecake brownies, caramel sauce, strawberries, chocolate chips, walnuts and ice cream (best to use vanilla, chocolate, caramel flavours)

On a plate, place the 1st brownie cheesecake side up, scoop 1 – 2 salted ice cream (or any flavour of your choice). Place the 2nd piece of brownie on top (cheesecake side up) like you would with a sandwich. Drizzle with caramel or add the caramel sauce around the brownie Sammie. Garnish with berries, nuts and chocolate chips. Enjoy!!

 

cheesecake brownie ice cream sandwich

 

Cheers to French Toast

Happy weekend! Well, whatever’s left of the weekend that is. Nothing says the weekend quite like a good French toast made with homemade brioche loaf.

For this version of French toast, I substituted heavy cream or milk with coconut milk. I thought the brioche might be rich enough with all the butter that’s been added to it, so I made blueberry compote instead of adding maple syrup. I absolutely love the blueberry compote paired with the French toast!!

My son insisted on making his French toast with savoury flavours. What a foodie! 🙂 He actually asked me to prepare longganisa (filipino style sausage) with fried egg, which turned out really good! He absolutely loved it! I’m glad that he’s not afraid to try out different flavours; although he’s lived here for half his life, I’m glad that he still enjoys Filipino food.

So, let’s start making brioche, shall we?

brioche french toast with blueberry compote

 

savoury french toast with a filipino twist; longganisa, fried egg and french toast

Brioche loaf

Ingredients:
Makes 1 loaf (8 x 4)
Butter the loaf pan, I used 8 x 4 for this

  • 60 g Milk, scalded and cooled
  • 60 g bread flour
  • 6 g Yeast, instant dry
  • 150 g eggs
  • 240 g bread flour
  • 15 g sugar
  • 6 g salt
  • 180 g Butter, softened but not melted

Method:

1. Use the hook attachment, mix together milk, bread flour and yeast. Set aside and let rise until it doubles in size.

2. Using the paddle attachment, mix in the eggs gradually followed by the bread flour, sugar and salt.

3. Beat butter in small quantities making sure it is well incorporated with every addition. The dough will be sticky.

4. Transfer the dough in a buttered loaf pan. Let it rise and egg wash the loaf before baking. I braided the dough, simply by dividing it to three equal parts. Roll it into a log, pinch the ends so it sticks together and braid it. You don’t have to, if you prefer not to.

5. Bake at 375F for about 30 – 40 minutes.

To make French toast:

Prepare baking pan lined with parchment paper, and a skillet

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsps sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 – 5 tbsps of butter, or as needed
  • confectioners sugar, as needed

Method:

  1.  Mix coconut milk, salt, eggs and sugar together until sugar is dissolved.
  2.  Heat the skillet and add butter. You will be doing so for every portion of  toast you will be making.
  3. Soak the slices of brioche with the coconut milk mix. Don’t over soak otherwise the bread will be too soggy and will just fall apart.
  4. Transfer the soaked bread to the heated skillet with butter to “brown”. Making sure to do it on both sides of the bread.
  5. Transfer the browned bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 375 for 8 – 10 minutes.
  6. Dust some confectioners/powdered sugar and add compote!

Blueberry Compote

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blueberries, either frozen or fresh
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp water

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Stir frequently and cook until for 6 – 8 minutes.

french toast with blueberry compote



Chicken Quesadillas

Want to whip up a quick and easy meal? Try making Mexican style quesadillas.

I also made tomato salsa and guacamole, both yummy additions to the quesadillas. In case you want to prepare those yourselves, I’ve included the recipes for those too. And while you’re at it, throw in some tortilla chips and don’t forget the margarita!!

Cheers!

Chicken Quesadillas
Serves approximately 3 -4
In preparing the quesadillas, I prefer to fill just half of the tortilla. This way, it will be so much easier to flip it over.

Ingredients:

  • 1 -2 tbsp canola oil / olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pureed / chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 pieces chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut in cubes 3/4″or if preferred smaller
  • 4 tbsp fajita or taco seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to tast
  • Tortillas as needed, store bought
  • 6 tbsp butter or more, as needed
  • 2 – 3 cups grated cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, extra old fort, your preference)
  1. In a skillet, heat oil and add the chicken and sprinkle with the fajita / taco seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Once the chicken is fully cooked set it aside in a bowl.
  2. In the same skillet, add oil if needed. Sweat the onions, followed by garlic cloves and then the red and bell peppers. 2 -3 minutes will do. Add the chicken and give it a good mix. Cook for a minute then set aside in a clean bowl.
  3. In a clean skillet, melt about 1 tbsp butter. Place one tortilla and make sure coat the tortilla with enough butter, it helps to move it around the skillet.
  4. Now add enough of the cooked chicken to cover half the tortilla, then add a generous amount of cheese. Fold over the half to cover and slightly press the tortilla.
  5. Cook until cheese is melted and the tortilla surface has been toasted but not burned.
  6. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 until all of the filling has been used up.

Tomato Salsa
Recipe can easily be doubled or halved, depending on how much you are serving. 
Serves approximately 2 – 4
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1garlic cloves, pureed or grated
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeded
  • 1 lime, zest it before cutting and juicing
  • salt and pepper to taste

This can be done using your food processor. Personally, I like to chop it up by hand.

Place tomatoes, onion,  cloves, cilantro and jalapeno in a small bowl. Add lime zest and lime juice. add salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together and let the flavours develop for a couple of hours.

Guacamole
Recipe can easily be doubled or halved, depending on how many you are serving. 
Serves approximately  2

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, pitted and mashed
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the tomato salsa prepared, depending on how big the avocado is
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Mix everything together and season with salt and pepper.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, this is yet another cookie post, it will definitely not be the last. I just can’t help it, these are really amazing cookies!

I think you would’ve figured out by now that I love cookies. I go crazy for all sorts of cookies, from arrowroot cookies to wafers. I love them all. I have a preference to all things chocolate, and this cookie recipe is definitely at the top of my list.

So, when  chocolate chip cookies are not enough…there’s always this. What’s not to love?! It’s chocolate and chocolate chips!  What’re you waiting for? Get your bake on!

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients:
Makes about 3 dozen
Have ingredients at room temperature, line baking sheets with parchment paper, pre-heat oven to 350F

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pastry flour (substitute half for bread flour, to make it chewier)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of chocolate chips (white, semi-sweet, dark, the choice is yours :))

Method:

  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl, set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar and salt in your stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment at low speed. *For light cookies, cream until the mix is light and fluffy. For denser cookies, blend to a smooth paste, but do not cream until light.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and continue to blend at low speed.
  4. Add the sifted flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Use spoons (you’ll need 2 because: one for scooping batter, the other to aid when you’re dropping the batter on the pan) or use an ice cream scoop to drop batter on the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to leave space in between.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes, let it cool on the wire rack.
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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Frittata: Wonderfully Easy

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When you open your fridge and you have eggs, kale, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms,bell pepper and cheddar cheese, Frittata is the way to go!
Or when you’re craving for quiche…make frittata! It’s essentially like quiche without the crust.
The wonderful thing about frittata is that you can pretty much make it with whatever you might have in your fridge. You can make this with cheddar and broccoli. If you have chicken and mushrooms, go for that. The possibilities are endless!
You can have frittata by itself, or you can fancy it up by adding avocado toast and some cherry tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze. Now those are some really amazing flavours right there.
Not yet convinced? Just take a look at the photos.

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Frittata with avocado toast

 

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Frittata with Kale, Mushrooms, Red Bell Pepper, Cherry Tomatoes and Zucchini


Kale and Mushroom Frittata
Makes 6 – 8 servings
Please make sure that your skillet is oven safe

Ingredients:

  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup onions, julienned
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 cup cremini mushroom, sliced
  • 2 – 3 cups kale, roughly chopped, (will wilt when cooked)
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Set your oven on broiler at 375F.

Method:
1. Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in skillet, stove top. Sauté: onions, garlic, followed by pepper, mushrooms and kale. Once cooked, quickly toss in the cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. ***you may add the zuchinni after step 3, placed along the edges (you’ll see in photo) just cause it looks prettier.
3. Now, add the eggs and milk mixture to the skillet.
4. Once the edges of the frittata has set, add the cheddar cheese or any sharp cheese that you prefer. Then transfer it to the oven set on broiler, let it cook for another 2 minutes (approximately), or until the egg are set and the cheese has browned.

If you want to make avocado toast. Simply toast your preferred bread, add sliced avocados, add the halved cherry/grape tomatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze.

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Happy cooking!

A Cake Post 

Today, I would just like to share a cake I made for a baby shower. I love how it turned out, and I had so much fun making it! I was going to post a Frittata recipe today but, this trumps that.

For now, please allow me to share this cake creation with you.

Cheers!

 

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Rubber Ducky Cake in Fondant

 

 

 

Practicing Food Photography

I’ve been practicing food photography the past few days and here are some photos that I just want to share. All photos were shot using a 50mm lens.

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Exposure 1/800, f/2.2, ISO 800

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Exposure 1/640, f/2.2, ISO 800

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vinegar with garlic and salt

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simple Filipino dipping sauces

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fish sauce (patis), common dipping sauce in the Philippines

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Everyone knows that oatmeal is healthy, but this cookie might just have negated its goodness. Seriously. But, we shouldn’t feel guilty just for having a few cookies every now and then. After all, we’re not having the whole batch in one sitting, are we? To tell you the truth though, I almost went Cookie Monster with these.

This recipe makes about three dozen cookies, more if you make them smaller. If you prefer to have these with walnuts and pecans like I do, simply set some batter aside and just add those.

Happy baking!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with a book

Exposure 1/160, f/1.8, ISO250

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup and 2 tbsps butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, tightly packed
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 medium Eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 2/3 cups pastry flour
  • 3 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
    • 1/2 cup Walnut and Pecan pieces (I added 1/2 cup because I only used a quarter of the batter)

Directions:

Ingredients must be at room temperature

Sift dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon(optional)

Line baking sheets with parchment paper

Pre-heat oven to 375F

  1. With your mixer at low-speed, cream butter, sugar and salt. (At this stage it is important to watch the consistency of the butter and sugar. Light and fluffy will yield to lighter cookies. For denser cookies, mix just until well blended.)
  2. Still mixing at low-speed, add the eggs gradually making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with every addition.
  3. Combine the oats with the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture. Mix until combined without over-mixing. Stir in the raisins. ***If adding walnuts/pecans, set aside a quarter of the batter and fold in walnuts/pecans.
  4. Use spoons (you’ll need 2 because: one for scooping batter, the other to aid when you’re dropping the batter on the pan) or use an ice cream scoop with a spring release to drop batter unto to the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to leave space in between.
  5. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Exposure 1/160, f/1.8, ISO250

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut

Exposure 1/125, f/2.2, ISO 250

Making Patties

Last week, I got a little bit patty crazy! I prepared empanadas and Jamaican patties.

The initial plan was to make a nice Pecan pie. The pie turned out rather nicely, but sadly, it didn’t quite make it to the photo shoot. Fortunately, I had another disk of dough left. Rather than feel guilty about making (and eating) another dessert pie, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to try empanadas.

I have one go-to pie dough recipe which I use and it has never failed me. Although the original recipe made use of shortening, which doesn’t quite appeal to me. So, I replaced shortening with butter – because everything is better with butter! While shortening will make your dough flaky, you can certainly achieve the same amount of flakiness using butter as well.

For the empanada filling, I used a Tex-Mex  flavoured chicken filling made with diced potatoes and green peas. You can find many other empanada fillings if the Tex-Mex flavour doesn’t strike your fancy. For the Jamaican patties, I added a little bit of turmeric powder when I prepared the dough to give that colour. You could also use yellow curry powder.

Since I’m trying out new things, I experimented with taking photos of the patties as well. I wanted to play with light and shadow to create something different from the usual soft shadow food photos. I used a Manfrotto LED continuous lighting for this shot and it was very effective for what I wanted to achieve.

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Chicken Empanada Photo: Exposure 1/60 sec  f/4.0 ISO 800

The Jamaican patty was shot on a very dreary winter afternoon, so another light source was essential. Here are photos of the Jamaican patties, I think they came out quite nicely.

So everyone, get your bake-on! 🙂

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Jamaican Patties: Exposure 1/60 sec. f/4.5 ISO 800 Focal Length 50.0 mm

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Exposure 1/125 sec. f/3.5 ISO 800 Focal Length 50.0 mm


Pie Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4  cups all-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 3/4 cup butter, unsalted (keep it very cold)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Sugar (optional)

Method:

  1. Sift flour into a bowl.
  2. Dissolve sugar and salt in cold water.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers or cut the butter with a pastry cutter, work on it until it the fat particles are “pea-size”.
  4. Add the water to the flour mixture. Mix very gently just until the water is incorporated and the dough has formed.
  5. Divide the dough into to 2 place on a parchment paper and flatten into a disk and cover with saran wrap. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of water

Mix the egg and water.

Tex-Mex Chicken Filling  

This recipe yields to about 6 empanadas. You can double up the recipe if you’re planning to make more. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breast skinless (use boneless for easier prep)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil / Canola Oil
  •  1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup red potato, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Season both sides of  the chicken with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of cumin powder.
  2. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil to fry the chicken until fully cooked. Once the chicken has cooked, shred the chicken by using 2 forks.
  3. In the same skillet, add olive oil / canola oil if needed and sweat onions and garlic then add the potatoes followed by the tomato sauce. Season with cumin, oregano, and chili flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the potatoes are done, add the green peas and remove from heat.
  4. Add the chicken, making sure to evenly distribute the shredded chicken. The consistency should not be runny. Let it cool and set aside.
  5. Prepare egg wash.
  6. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4″. Cut out the dough in equal sizes, you may opt to do it in squares or circles. I opted for the squares for this, easier and maximizes the dough without and dough scraps. You may likely be able to roll-out roughly 8″ x 12″ inches at minimum from half the pie dough recipe.
  7. Fill the squares with the chicken mixture, fold over the each square and crimp the edges with a fork. Place the empanadas on your baking sheet.
  8. Brush with egg wash and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on the wire rack.

Jamaican Beef Filling

Makes about 10 patties

Use the same pie dough recipe above, with that you can add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder or curry powder for that yellow colour. Mix it in with the flour before sifting. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola / olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper (I substituted 2 green chili instead, didn’t have it my fridge)
  • 1  lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tsps all-spice powder
  • 1/2 tsps Dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup beef stock

Method:

  1. In a  skillet, heat oil and sweat the onion, garlic and pepper.
  2. Add the tomato sauce then the ground beef. Make sure to break down chunks into small pieces. Season with salt, pepper, all-spice, dried thyme and give it a stir. Let it cook for about 10 minutes or until the beef has browned.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs and stock, stir. Let simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid evaporates, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Sprinkle flour on your work surface to roll out dough. Once you’ve rolled out the dough, cut into cirlces about 6″ diameter (I don’t didn’t have a cutter that big, so I used a bowl with the approximate diameter – worked out fine).
  5. Fill each circle dough then with the meat – about 5 tablespoons (more or less, depends how much filling you’d prefer). Crimp with a fork to seal.
  6. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and bake at 375 for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

 

Filipino Pork Belly Adobo

Adobo is one of the most popular Filipino dishes and you will most likely find different ways to prepare this dish. There are recipes that call for coconut milk and add sugar while others will make use of chili peppers. I’d say it’s all a matter of preference.
This recipe though is the Adobo that I know and grew up with. I must warn you that Adobo is an extremely rice intensive dish (meaning: you will most likely eat more of your usual rice portion).
Enlight

Pork Belly Adobo
Ingredients: 

  • 2 pounds pork belly, cut in big chunks about 1 1/2″ – 2″ cubes
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 garlic head crushed (use half for marinade)
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 2 tbsp Canola oil, or as needed
  • 4 bay leaves

Method:

1. Skin and cut the pork in big chunks about 1 1/2″ – 2″ squares. I used the skin for pork cracklings. (You can opt to throw it out or reserve to make pork cracklings for garnish)

2. Marinate the pork in soy sauce, vinegar, add about half the head of the garlic and peppercorn for a minimum of 2 hours, best to marinate overnight.

3. Remove the pork from the marinade( reserve this )

4. Heat the skillet, add 2 tbsp of oil. (If using the pork skin otherwise proceed to step 5) Start with the pork skin first and cook until it becomes crispy. Set aside.

5. Start to ‘brown’ the pork a few pieces at a time to ensure proper searing. Do this several times, however many batches depending on how big / small your skillet is. With the last batch of the pork add the other half of the crushed garlic.

6. Once all the pork has been seared. De-glaze the pan with the marinade.

7. Braise the pork in the same skillet. So, put all the seared pork back into the skillet along with the bay leaves, add a bit more peppercorn (if you wish).

8. Braise the pork uncovered. Cook until the vinegar + soy sauce has thickened / reduced.

9. Serve with steamed rice and if you wish to add the pork cracklings to garnish.

I know it indicates Pork Belly, if you find it too fatty, easily substitute it with pork tenderloin or even make it with chicken!

Happy cooking!