Monday, September 27, 2010


The September 2010 Daring Baker's Challenge was hosted by Mandy of "What the Fruitcake?!" Mandy everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on the recipes by Peggy Porschen and the Joy of Baking.
Oh my, it's the end of September already!! And it's time for the Daring Bakers! For this month it was a fun challenge, I'd have to admit this is the first time I've decorated my cookies with icing. When I first read the challenge, I heaved a sigh of relief, no more ice cream! I mean, I love ice cream but it was time for a change. And what a refreshing change this is! I haven't had this much fun baking for a while.
This is by far the best sugar cookie recipe I've tried, I used another recipe of sugar cookies when I baked with some kids from a kinder class and it became unmanageable after a while, but this particular recipe was not as sensitive as that.
Mandy said to decorate the cookies with the theme of September and what it means for each of us, well September is when I start the countdown for my trip to the I made my cookies into marine animal shapes.
And I couldn't resist making flower shapes just because they are cute and girly when decorated with pink :)

Thank you Mandy for this month's challenge, I had a lot of fun and in the process learned to be a bit more patient. Love the cookie recipe!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Simple Tomato Sauce

So I finally made the sauce for my fresh home-made pasta and I decided to make a simple tomato sauce to go with it. This sauce is very easy and can be modified in a lot of ways, meat or seafood and other vegetables can be added to it, but I preferred it this way with just the tomatoes and the basil.
Crushed Tomatoes 400 grams can
Garlic 3 cloves, crushed and minced
Onions, 1 whole, minced
Basil leaves, fresh, chiffonade
Olive Oil, 1tablespoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat pan with oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent and mixture is fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add fresh basil towards the end of cooking. Serve over cooked pasta. Garnish with basil.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kulinarya Cooking Challenge--FILIPINO-SPANISH DISHES

The Philippines was colonized by Spain for 300 years and their influence in Filipino culture is very much felt in food and religion--I don't want to talk about religion, because this is a food blog so let's focus on food. Even if the Spanish conquistadores have left for many many years, they have left an indelible mark on Filipino cuisine, many of our food have Spanish names and we have very similar dishes. Whereas in classic European cooking they use mirepoix which is a combination of carrots, onions and celery, we use tomatoes, onions and garlic which has been passed on to us by our Spanish colonizers. And one very good example of this is Pochero.
For this month's Kulinarya Cooking Challenge, I made Pochero, the Filipinized version of the Spanish Cocido which is a very similar stew made of chickpeas, potatoes and meat. When I was growing up, we didn't really cook pochero a lot because everyone wanted Nilaga which was a simpler stew made by boiling meat, cabbage, beans and potatoes--kind of like pochero but without the chickpeas and tomato paste. So it was really a treat if pochero was going to be the main dish. That's why I really wanted to cook this, I wasn't disappointed--the combination of the meats and the sausage with the rich tomato soup was delicious!
Chicken thighs 2 pieces
Beef round, cubed 250 grams
Chorizo de Bilbao 1 piece, sliced
Tomatoes, diced 2 pieces
Onions, minced 1 piece
Garlic, minced 3 cloves
Tomato paste, 1 tablespoon
Spring onions, 5 stalks sliced
Red Bellpepper, 1 piece, diced
Cabbage, small quartered
Beans, cleaned and sliced
Potates, 2 boiled
Chickpeas, canned, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a medium pan, cover beef and chicken with enough water and bring to a boil with the spring onions. Cook until beef is tender. The chicken may be taken out first to prevent it from getting too soft and breaking apart. Strain the broth and save for later. Set aside the meats.
In another pan, saute tomatoes, onions and garlic until onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, add the sliced sausages also. Pour in the strained broth. Add the meats and let it simmer. Add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper. Do not overcook the vegetables. Serve hot with rice.
Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine.
Each month, we will showcase along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


What in the world is tupig? No it's not two pigs--although that's how it sounds like when you say meat product in there. It's a native rice cake that is common in the northern part of Luzon. It's made of rice flour and coconut and sugar wrapped in banana leaves and grilled. I've almost forgotten how good this is, the aroma of the tupig that I warmed up in the oven toaster was intoxicating. A hundred pieces were sent to us and had to be refrigerated and warmed as needed. I'm going to be a little bit stingy with these--I don't think I've seen any here in Manila and if ever there were, I'm sure it's not as good as the ones from the province.

A warmed-up tupig is excellent when paired with something hot, like tea or coffee--maybe that's just me. You can enjoy it whichever way you want.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The September 2010 Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge the Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John's source for food preservation information was from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Can you believe how fast time is flying? It's whizzing by, I swear. Wasn't it just a few days ago when we made pierogis? And now here we are with the new DC challenge!
I was both intrigued and intimidated when I read about this challenge. First because having been born and bred in a tropical country, home canning was not familiar with me, I don't remember my grandmother canning her vegetables and fruits because they were readily available most times of the year, secondly I'd have to admit, those charts made me dizzy. But after I read of the completed challenges in the forum, I began to see that it wasn't as hard as I initially thought. Thinking that perhaps I should can something I really like, I decided to make the bruschetta in a jar, and it was fun and easy! Now I can't wait to try making the rest of the recipes that John had provided.
I had a problem looking for the canning jars but I finally found two which were so expensive but I bought them just so I can participate. I used green and red tomatoes for my recipe, because I wanted them to look pretty when I plated them, and I wasn't disappointed!
Thank you for this challenge John. I am a convert to preserving food now!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fresh Pasta

I've been wanting to use the pasta maker that was sleeping inside the cupboard for a long time, I just didn't have enough motivation until today. And am I glad, I did! It was the easiest most rewarding thing I've done this week--well except, for the foot spa and shopping trip I did this morning.

What else could be easier than the standard recipe of pasta which is just flour and egg and a lot of elbow grease?

2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 large Eggs, beaten
In a large bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, make a well in the center and pour in the beaten eggs, mix well. The mixture will be lumpy, so I began mixing it with my hand and when the dough was coming together, I transferred it to the worktable and I kneaded it for 10 minutes.
Let dough rest covered with a kitchen towel for 20 minutes.
Flour the pasta machine generously and roll the dough, adjusting the machine as the dough gets thinner.

I used the attachment of the machine that makes the fettuccine. If you dont have a pasta machine, this can be done by hand. Roll pasta with the rolling pin until thin enough and cut with a sharp knife. And there you have it, how easy is that? Now if I can just decide what sauce to cook for my fettuccine...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Curried Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin Soup

I love soups during rainy days, and I love pumpkin so it's but natural for me to make it into soup. I like roasting the pumpkin and garlic first before making it into soup. The roasting and the curry powder adds another dimension to the taste and makes it different from other pumpkin soups.
Olive oil
Coconut oil, 2 tablespoons
1 head garlic, top sliced off cleanly
1 kilo pumpkin, sliced
1 whole white onion, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 liter chicken stock
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit, place the prepared garlic, and sliced pumpkin on a pan, drizzle with a little olive oil. Put pan in the oven, take out the garlic after 20 minutes leaving the pumpkin to roast for another 20 minutes (for a total of 40 minutes). Squeeze the garlic, the bulbs will come off easily from the peel. Mince finely. When pumpkin is done, take it out of the oven, wait for it to cool, peel and dice. It should be soft.
Preheat a pot with oil, add minced white onion, and then the garlic. Sprinke the curry powder and cook until just fragrant and the onion is translucent. Add the chopped pumpkin. Coat with the curry powder and add the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes.
Transfer to blender, process until smooth, being careful not to let any of the hot liquid splatter. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with parsley. Enjoy hot.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fruits From My Childhood

Anyone who first sees this fruit always asks...what is that? And when I answer LITUKO, I get more questions. Lituko is the Ilocano word for Rattan Fruit, as far back as I can remember, it's always been available at certain months in our Northern province.

I made an unexpected trip back home last of my dearest cousins passed away. I will always cherish the memories of this fruit for me because he always brought lituko for me whenever he would drive to Manila. And when we made the 7 hour drive trip back to the province, lituko greeted me at the numerous vegetable stalls that dotted the mountainous highway.

It was a bittersweet reunion for our clan, it is sad that we always seem to be brought together by sad events (funerals). And it's especially hard this time because Kuya Tito was the oldest cousin and was always in charge of things. But I believe that it's not goodbye but really "see you again" . You will be missed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brown Butter Pound Cake with Chocolate Cream

I'm currently loving the brown butter pound cake recipe from the August 2010 Daring Baker's Challenge that I made another cake based on it. I got a lot of feedback that the cake tends to dry up when it's frozen which I didn't experience because I ate all the trimmings as soon as it was cool enough to make into a baked alaska. But I wanted to make sure my cake wouldn't dry up or lose any flavor so I soaked the sliced cake in a rum syrup, sandwiched a creamy middle and covered it with a simple chocolate cream.
I made the exact same recipe as the brown butter pound cake, I baked it in a 9-inch cake pan. Sliced it in half and soaked it in this syrup:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Rum

Cook sugar and water in a pan over low heat. Until sugar dissolves and caramelizes. Take off heat and pour in the rum, set aside to cool.

250 grams All-purpose Cream
Cake trimmings
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatine
1/4 cup water
Sprinkle gelatine in water and leave to bloom for 10 minutes. Melt over double boiler. Set aside. Slice trimmings and chop them roughly. With the whisk attachment of your KitchenAid mixer, whip cream and the chopped trimmings, slowly pour the melted gelatine into the cream and cake trimmings. Whip until doubled in volume, scraping down the sides.

100 grams Bittersweet Chocolate
250 grams All-Purpose Cream

Chop chocolate into smaller pieces, melt over double boiler, set aside. Whip cream and chocolate with the whisk attachment of your mixer until well-blended and doubled in volume. Set aside in the refrigerator while assembling your cake.

Slice Cake in half, soak both sides with rum syrup. Spread the cream filling evenly on bottom half, top with the other half and press lightly. Cover with chocolate cream and decorate.

I love the taste of brown butter pound cake and is it just me or saying it in French makes it sound yummier :) Beurre Noisette--Yum!