Apr 23, 2010

Beard Papa's Cream Puffs

Last time, I made a post about Happy Cream Puff's marvelous eclairs and cream puffs. Their utter simplicity paired with great taste and balance of sweet and creamy made them a favorite in my diet. But I happened to pass by Beard Papa's in Robinsons Ermita, where their very tempting and eye-catching display of cream puffs and silvannas caught my hungry attention.

Their cream puffs were as big as Happy Cream Puff's, not to mention with a lot more toppings than the latter's. I wanted to try all of them but my food conscience told me to start with the basics. If their original cream puff is great, then everything else is. Although I can;'t resist the silvannas anymore, and I bought one as well.

Please do forgive the fuzzy phone pics, as I forgot to bring the camera with me on this somewhat special trip. The silvannas were okay, as compared to Red Ribbon's and Brownies Unlimited's. Somehow it was lackluster. I expected more from their confectioners sugar-coated-cream puffs. Sad to say, the pastry itself was bland, as compared to Happy Cream Puff's crisp caramal coated pastries. The powdered sugar never came through, there just wasn't a little sweetness in there that would make your sweet tooth aching for more. It wasn't satisfying at all. The cream wasn't custard-y, and it was a little soggy on the inside. With that in mind, I don't think I will be sinking my teeth into any of their chocolate covered cream puffs, although they look a whole lot more promising than their original counterparts.
Caramel Cream Puffs on Foodista
Apr 22, 2010

Eating out at Superbowl of China

Lunch for two, you ask? If you're really hungry and in the mood for tasty food, then skip out the fastfood joints and make your way to Superbowl of China in Mall of Asia, near Marithe Francoise Girbaud at the ground floor.

The servings are huge, which they claim to be good for 2 to 3 persons each dish, but for very thin gluttons like us, three full dishes coupled with bottomless iced tea would be just fine. The dishes which we ordered were Crispy Fish Fillet in Light Soy Sauce, Crispy Fried Shrimps with sweet and sour dipping sauce, and a huge heaping bowl of Yangchow Fried Rice infused with generous slices of sweet chorizo, shrimp, mushrooms, vegetables, and roast chicken. The last pic shows the leftovers, which were the garnishes and dips.

I can say that the food was superb and very tasty, not to mention very filling, but if you're watching out for sodium I would not recommend buying the crispy shrimp. They were a little too salty for my taste. The iced tea is good, but not remarkable. The service is great.
Quick and Easy Crispy Baked Fish on Foodista
Apr 21, 2010

Frostings Cupcakes in Mall of Asia

As I was strolling around Mall of Asia in Metro Manila together with my classmates, we came upon a delightful little stall called Frostings. There were lots of colorful and really yummy looking cupcakes in all sorts of flavors, colors, and sizes. The prices were very affordable, a dozen mini cupcakes were priced at Php 140 only. And they carry different flavors in them, just like a sampler! The packaging was so simple yet so cute that I don't want to open it.

The regular sized cupcakes were just lovely! My favorite was the mango tart, with chunks of real mangoes and the perfect blending of just the right amount of sweet. The kind that melts in your mouth. Just writing about it makes my mouth water as I crave for those gorgeous desserts! Darn! Make sure to give it a try by visiting the Mall of Asia. The stall is on the ground floor, near the exit towards the back building going to the seaside park. But I am warning you, buy a lot because you'll be craving for more!

Cupcake on Foodista
Apr 18, 2010

Philippine Guava Jelly: Very Scrumptious!

If you have grown tired of your other fruit jellies, then try the Philippine guava jelly. Even I ate it, and I am a sworn guava hater. I never liked them, but I absolutely love this! It's what's in your American PB&J's, only a more Asian and native one. You can buy Mountain Fresh Guava Jelly at roadside stores where I bought one of my special spices, the dried kamias. That's where we bought them on the way home from Gonzaga, Cagayan, where we held our family reunion. I'm not aware of any other stores that sell these, but I'll be on the lookout!

It's not too shabby, as it is jam packed with all the nutrients in your ripe guava fruit that Filipinos love to eat with salt as the pass by vendors near bus stations.
Guava Jelly on Foodista
Apr 16, 2010

Special Spice: Dried Kamias

Me and my family have gone to Gonzaga, Cagayan for our grand family reunion which was held last April 13, 2010, at the splendid Baua Beach Resort. On the way home we took our time to shop at the famed roadside market where you can stop and eat, buy special furniture, and shop for very unique finds that can only be bought there. One of the few things I have bought was the dried kamias, which was so potent that only three very small and thin slices are equivalent to a heaping cup of tamarinds when making sinigang dishes.

There are other ways to cook this, just add a slice to any dish you want to add a tangy sourness to, and viola! No need to use those unhealthy MSG-filled sinigang mix available at supermarkets. I personally don't like using those, since they give dishes the average rating, with an aftertaste of MSG, also locally known as vetsin. I bought these for a very low price of Php 50 per kilo. Trust me, a quarter of a kilo would last you a long time, unless you're cooking very big batches of sinigang.


Sinigang Na Isda on Foodista
Apr 15, 2010

Tuna Sisig, the Easy Way!

On mornings when my duty shift is scheduled in the morning, I always cram for what to cook so that I won't run late for my duty which starts at 6 in the morning. This time, my eyes fell on two flat and round cans of Century Tuna flakes in oil. If I open the cans and just transfer them to my lunchbox together with some freshly cooked rice, then my meal would be plain and very boring. I always like to experiment when I'm bored with what I eat. Sometimes those experiments go bad, a lot of times it goes well. This is one that went incredibly well, that my classmates practically took spoonfuls at a time. Luckily, it was spicy and really tasty that we ate a lot of rice together with it, and we became full fast.

The fuzzy phone pic would show how much of a hurry I was in to actually look for the digital camera. Which also explains why it is reddish, as my phone's resolution of a low 3.2 megapixels doesn't adjust to indoor light automatically. Nevertheless, it was very easy to make, and took only 10 precious minutes of my morning cram time. Here's my recipe:

2 flat cans of Century Tuna flakes in oil, drained
2 medium white onions, chopped
3 tablespoons of soy sauce (adjust to taste)
4 tablespoons of vinegar (adjust to taste)
2 bird's eye chili or siling labuyo, seeded and finely chopped
a pinch of ground pepper

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil in the pan. Add the onions and saute.
  2. When onions start to caramelize, add the tuna and saute well. 
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and let simmer at medium to high heat until liquid is almost gone. Stir from time to time to avoid scorching.
  4. Adjust the ingredients to taste. Serve hot.
Tuna Panzanella on Foodista
Apr 14, 2010

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes

These cupcakes were victims of experimentation, just like my tuna sisig. The difference is, this one has a higher percent of success than the sisig experiment I did, due to the small fact that I used a brownie mix on this one. Yes, cheating the taste buds of those who exclaim that your cooking is great. :p

How was it fudgy when it looks cracked and dry on the picture, you ask? The outside is crunchy, with the inside moist and delectable. Just what I want my brownies to be. Just lovely, with those colorful cupcake liners that I bought.

Here is how I made the fudgy brownie cupcakes:

First, I preheated the oven according to the box instructions, then I mixed all the ingredients according to the boxed brownie mix. After which I added 1 more egg white, and half a stick of butter. A few chocolate chunks also made it into the already rich-smelling batter. I mixed them well by hand, then transferred the batter to a well greased muffin pan. What I did was to place the cupcake liners on the holes in the pan, then lightly grease the cupcake liners, and pour batter into each of them until 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

You might notice cracks on the surface. This will make the tops crunchy and nice!
Fudge Brownies on Foodista
Apr 7, 2010

Really Tasty Ampalaya Egg Scramble

Our household helper has certainly made things interesting in our quiet home when she went AWOL for three days, with a cash advance of her next month's pay, courtesy of my very generous dad, and with a text message that she would only go to church for the Easter Sunday Mass. God bless her wary soul as she has lied to us, despite our treatment to her as part of the family. Now while she is away, my sister usually does the cooking, but unfortunately for me she is only home during the weekends.


And so I had to wake up extra early despite the fact that it was my summer vacation, just to cook breakfast for the early birds: my dad, whose body clock wakes him uo in the wee hours of the morning, and my two younger brothers who can't wait and starts playing with their PSPs and DS lite as early as 6 in the morning. And I find it funny because it is so difficult to wake them up during school days.


So I find myself in front of the fridge, scouring for something really easy to cook so I can get back to sleep. I saw pork, chicken, and hot dogs in the freezer, and I thought that it was time to make the carnivorous family of mine to eat vegetables. So I opened the vegetable crisper to find out that dad has not yet gone grocery shopping for the week, and all that's left are withered, wrinkled eggplants, and ampalaya. Of course, the eggplants go to the trash bin while I prepare the ampalaya for breakfast.


To cut the long story short, they actually loved it and ate it like it wasn't bitter at all. Here's the recipe for my tasty ampalaya egg scramble:


Ingredients:


1 medium sized ampalaya, washed and sliced thinly
salt
pepper
basil
1 eggs, beaten
garlic powder
onions, finely chopped
butter



Procedure:

  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in 1 cup of water. Place into a bowl and soak the sliced ampalaya in it for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, squeeze the amplaya in the water to release its bitterness. Rinse the amplaya after and set aside.
  • Beat  the eggs lightly, then add salt to taste, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of basil. Beat until well mixed.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan. Saute onions until just cooked, then add the ampalaya. Add a dash of salt and 2 tablespoons of garlic powder. Some people like to add instant seasonings like Magic Sarap or Ajinomoto at this point but I really hate those stuff so none of those come into my pan. 
  • Saute for 5 minutes, then add the egg. Scramble them in the pan so that the ampalaya is well mixed with the egg. Serve while hot.
Stuffed Bitter Melon on Foodista
Apr 6, 2010

Coconut Yema Balls

I made these very scrumptious yema or custard balls a month ago using pinoycook's recipe. The coconut addition was her very delicious idea, and I loved the change it made to the taste of those regular yema you can buy at pasalubong stores. I'm a very avid reader of hers, by the way. Due to the excitement I experienced when making my first batch of yema balls, I made too much and had to bring them to school. Not surprisingly, everyone loved it, and asked for a second batch. But the heat in the kitchen drove me off, and it is not until now that my boyfriend reminded me of my debt. He demands that I make more.

So I bought a few ingredients, just enough to make 25 1-inch balls. What I did was add nutmeg and vanilla, and viola! A fuller taste with a twist. Here's the recipe for the yema balls:

Ingredients:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 50g pack of coconut powder
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups powdered milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:
  • Pour the condensed milk into a thick saucepan and heat under low heat for about 5 minutes. 
  • Mix the yolk into the pan, then add the coconut powdrer while stirring.
  • Stir in the melted butter, then add the vanilla and nutmeg. For a stronger flavor, you can add more nutmeg and coconut powder.
  • Put into medium heat and stir in the powdered milk. 
  • Continue stirring until mixture thickens a lot and the sides show hardening (not burning!) at the unstirred portions.
  • Remove from heat and let cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Shape into balls and roll in powdered sugar.
  • Put in colorful mini cupcake liners.

    Pastillas De Leche on Foodista
    Apr 5, 2010

    Chocolate Ice Candy Treats



    When I was still a child, me and my playmates would always buy ourselves some ice candy from the stores around the street. These ice candies, also known as ice pops, come in different flavors and are very popular all summer. What distinguishes Philippine ice candy from foreign made ice pops is that they are put in long and slender plastic bags made specifically for them, and they are eaten in them too. All you have to do is tear the plastic ends off and you get to the sweet treat!




    I've made some ice candy for my younger brothers to cool on in this summer heat. They are chocolate flavored, made from Tim Horton's Hot Chocolate, evaporated milk, and some sugar. See the bubbles in the pic? I haven't really mastered the art of tying those plastic bags real tight so air ends up in them when I tie them off. Yum!


    Ice Cream Candy on Foodista
    Apr 2, 2010

    My sister's baked green mussels



    We had baked green mussels (also known as Baked Tahong here in the Philippines) for our meatless lunch for Good Friday. It is a well known tradition here in our country that every Lenten season we either fast or go meatless during Good Friday and Black Saturday. This is to commemorate the death of our beloved Jesus until Easter Sunday comes.




    Tahong or green mussels are abundant here in our country, which sells at around Php 60 per kilo. This version is quite sinful, though, as it defeats the simplicity of Lenten meals. But I loved it! Baked to perfection with butter, canned cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, garlic and spices, this dish is certainly a special meal to share with your family. =)


    Here's our recipe for baked tahong:


     

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 kilo large green mussels (tahong)
    1 big can of cheddar cheese (use a large box of quickmelt for substitute) - grated
    4 to 5 ripe tomatoes - finely chopped
    1 1/2 head of garlic - finely chopped or processed
    1 stick of butter (half of a bar) - melted or 1/2 cup olive oil
    3 tsp. ground black pepper (add more if desired)
    1 tsp. dried basil leaves
    1/2 tsp salt
    a thumb of ginger


    Procedure:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Celsius.

    Melt butter in pan, or us olive oil and saute garlic, tomatoes, and basil. Do not brown the garlic. Mash the mixture in the pan for five minutes. Cool and combine with half of the grated cheese and pepper. Set aside.

    Place washed mussels in boiling water together with ginger and salt for about 10 minutes. Cool and open shells. Discard empty half-shells.

    Arrange on baking pan, and top each opened shell with cheese mixture. Make sure that there is at least 3 to 4 tbsp of water in the pan so that the mussels won't dry up. Top with remaining cheese.

    Bake for 10 minutes.

    Serve while hot. Enjoy! =)

    Green Mussel on Foodista