Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rice sausage

No, this is not an entry about rice and sausages even if this story started about rice and sausages. I was salivating over some pictures of sausages or longganisa from Pangasinan in my friend's Facebook so I thought that was what I am going to have when I go to the market.

The sausage vendor was selling 2 kinds of local sausages a big one and these small ones on the picture..Our help said, these sausages can also be found in Laos. Intrigued and  i'm always up to try anything new as long as it won't kill me (some would probably do eventually). And, the vendor said that it has a vinegary taste which is exactly what I wanted..

so I got myself  some sticky rice and went home to eat my surprise these sausages have rice on it!!! its actually a rice sausage..a meal in one pop! it made the rice redundant! I'm going to have this again next time :))

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

I made Scott this breakfast today and it looked so cute so I can't help but take a picture..don't you think the poached egg looks so pretty :))..They were perfectly cooked too!


I miss Holy Week in the Philippines, the time were people fast (and eat fast ). There is something poignant when everybody goes back to their respective provinces, even if they have to fight for seats in any sort of transportation that they can get, just to share a meal, hear mass and walk in a procession with their family.

I also miss the Benignit (Ginataang halo-halo in Tagalog), suman, puto maya and the full array of carbs that you stuff yourself because you're supposed to be "fasting/ sacrificing". If that was sacrifice, I wonder why we wouldn't extend it to 40 days and 40 nights like Jesus did in the desert..I'm sure not a lot would complain.

One of my most cherished memory of Holy Week was when my Lolo Idroy was still alive(he suffered from a mental illness and is also a self-imposed hermit), every Good Friday he would always come out from his room dressed smartly in his old black suit to hear the Seven Last Words and bury the Body of Christ. It was the only time that I can see him as somewhat 'normal'.

Needless to say, I got homesick this Holy Week so I went to the market and looked for snacks that reminded me of home. Luckily, I found this sticky rice that looked like Biko (its exactly the same like Biko) with Sweetened Coconut Shred (Bucayo) and Custard ( Leche Flan)..I must say that its really a good combination :))

I might not have lechon tomorrow but I can go to the beach and maybe cook some pancit and maja blanca after..hmm..that's a nice prospect!!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken

One of the things that I miss living in the city is the Chinese take-out. Every time I call in to order from Chowking, my standard fare would be Sweet and Sour Chicken and a Halo-halo or a Buchi. Sadly, there's not a lot of choices when it comes to food delivery here, we only have Thai food, recently a McDonald's and pizzas so sometimes I wish there's Chinese delivery specially on days that I'm too lazy to cook.

I guess my wish wouldn't be granted in the near or even distant future, the chances being close to nil. So, I decided to make Sweet and Sour on my own instead. In case you want to do it too, I'm sharing this recipe with you.

Here's how to do it:

1. Beat an egg, then season around 500g. boneless and skinless chicken (like a fillet) with salt and pepper. Dunk the chicken on the egg and dredge it with cornstarch or bread crumbs. Fry it till it gets golden brown. Set aside.

2. Heat up some Canola oil in a pan and add a dash or sesame oil (put it on high heat). Put in some quartered onions and chopped garlic, you can also add grated ginger (optional). Add in some chopped tomato and zucchini and green bell pepper. 

3. In a bowl, you can mix equal amount of vinegar, ketchup and sugar or you can use a ready-to-cook sweet and sour sauce..I like to water down a bit my sweet and sour sauce.

4. Add some pineapple tidbits into the pan and put back the chicken. Then add the sauce..season to taste with salt and pepper.


Friday, April 15, 2011

From virtual to real

Last year, I got so addicted to the Facebook game Baking Life (thanks to my friend Romeo Vitug-Arci) that I would sleep at around 2am and wake up at 6am just to make sure that I serve my 'cakes' on time and that they will not burn. I even joined a bakery contest that I wrote about here. Christmas and New Year passed by and I got caught up with a lot of things that I was not able to take care of my 'bakery' anymore. So, my interest on the game got mislaid and it seems difficult to pick up were I left and I don't exactly have the luxury of time anymore because I still have a wedding to organize, so I gave up on it.

But it planted an idea in my head that I have been toying for quite some time now. I know that there's a need for baked goods in my area Bangtao/ Laguna/ Cherngtalay..I mean people celebrate birthdays, or have a need to give presents, or crave for something sweet everyday and food is the easiest thing to share. There must be a store somewhere satisfy your sweet cravings..hmm..there's Sheraton's Village Bakery in Canal Village..pricey and the cakes are a bit doesn't wow you nor comfort you. There's Bake by Twin Palms,  I wonder if they use real Valrhona chocolates? it seems okay but its too expensive to be buying from there everyday. The two establishments are both for tourist but what about the local market (local meaning resident-farang or thai)? Well, there's that cake shop across the police station, I tried it reminded me of the birthday cakes I had when I was celebrating it from my grandparent's province..In the end,  like I always do when I cannot find anything that I want here..I made it myself.

Armed with some valuable lessons that I learned from Baking Life, I decided to make my own online food stall ( I will not just be serving sweets). Lesson No.1, build your network, market your product to your friends and neighbors. Lesson No. 2, start small and build loans, no shortcut. Lesson No. 3, master your craft and your product, do it over and over again until you specialized on it, then you'll get known for it. Lesson No. 4, serve fast. Lesson No. 5, bring down the cost without sacrificing quality..believe me, if you have played Baking Life you know what I'm talking about!!

So, ladies and gents, here's my new online food stall CUCINA DE CASUARINA (that's the flash version) and here is the html version just in case you cannot open it with flash.

What do you think?

So far, I already have 5 orders of these:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Puff Pastry Saga

A few months ago, Chickynet  a social network for women founded in Phuket, followed up the very successful Lady Pie's Pie Making Class with Lady Pie's Puff Pastry Making Class. I totally enjoyed the first session in which I was able to make my very own Apple's Signature Pie that I was so excited to sign up for the second one.

the first ever apple turnover that i made

The Puff Pastry Making Class turned out to be more of a social activity because to those who cannot really perfect puff pastry making in one class. And it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon in the sweltering heat of tropical Phuket so it would be really really hard to make pastries puff. After a few instructions, we were handed pre-made pastries and assembled our turnover and then moved on and just enjoyed catching up with each other.

But I made a few notes and did my own research afterwards so I bravely attempted to tackle puff pastry making on my own. You need a lot of fats (butter, lard) and a lot of muscle power (your own) to fold and and refold the dough. Also, humidity is not your friend. Increase in temperature makes the fat molecules expand therefore it will not stay in its place in the fold (I hope I explained that well).

                                                         my chicken curry turnover

I was not satisfied with the result because I thought they were a little bit bordering to the empanada texture rather that to the puffy side. So, I did my 3rd attempt but this time I made sure that I refrigerate after every fold. I think I over did the puffiness or there was just to much butter because it turned out like this

                                                              my over puffed tuna turnover

What I usually do when I don't succeed in something is I usually leave it for awhile because the more frustrated I get the more mistakes I'll make. When I thought that it was the time to pick up my puff pastry challenge once again, I decided to make croissant that I wrote about in this entry. After I posted it, a few of you asked how I made it and since I am confident that I think I got it right this time that's why I'm sharing this recipe to you all.

How to make Puff Pastry:

1 kl bread flour
600 ml water
1 tsp of salt
1/2 kl margarine, butter but I used pure vegetable lard (for less guilt)

1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add water.

2. Mix and roll the dough to a rectangle, make it flat.

3. Spread evenly over it the lard.

4. Fold it like an envelope and roll again. Pinch the holes if there's any.

5. Roll it evenly. Put in the fridge for 2 hours.

6. After taking out from the cold, if its a little bit sweaty sprinkle a little bit of flour.

7. Roll and fold again. ( I usually refrigerate after every fold for 15 minutes)

NOTE: If its a little bit humid in your kitchen, do this at night or early morning. I also use a cold can of beer instead of rolling pin.

8. Leave on the fridge overnight.

9. When you are ready to use it, you can roll it flat and cut it in squares to your desired size:

- To make croissants place the cut squares like a diamond and roll it from the tip.
- To make turnovers you can put the filling in the center and fold it close.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Phuket Here and There: Trisara

Scott and I like checking out places specially developments near the Bangtao area. We first went to Trisara to have a look at their villas because we thought they might have a spectacular view being on the cliff facing the sea.

We then discovered that they have a nice set up for their restaurant and that it is not as busy as Catch on a Sunday. So, when Scott's bestfriend Hayden brought his parents for a visit, we went to Trisara for lunch on their last day before heading to the airport.


The deck was so lovely with a nice backdrop and view of the sea that we decided right there and then that we wanted to have it as a reception venue for our wedding.

The food ended up to be really good. It menu was light and casual that we thought would be perfect for a long table style lunch with our family and friends on our special day.

I got more excited because after we booked the place, the selection for the wedding menu was exactly how we envisioned our wedding should be..light, fun and casual. 

Binagoongang Baboy/ Pork with Shrimp Paste

The bane of 'No Carb Diet' are food that screams MUST HAVE IT WITH RICE! Binagoongang Baboy is one of them and I can't get enough of it. In fact, there's a full serving of it in my fridge right this moment. And, the only thing that keeps me from finishing it off  is I ran out of rice to cook. Note to self, must not buy rice..not even if its brown more so if it's white..waahh!! Must also make sure that yogurts should be on eye level and the Binagoongan transfered the freezer drawer ( to prevent it from spoiling till I can buy rice hehe..).

The reason that I always have this is because it's so easy to prepare. Cut the pork in adobo size, cover it with water on the pot. Add vinegar, about 3/4 in proportion to the water. Add, bay leaves, cloves of garlic, peppercorns, ground pepper. Boil for half an hour and take off the scum. Leave it till the pork is browned and tender from its own fat. Add the shrimp paste. I used the sauteed bagoong/shrimp paste so I do not need to sautee it with garlic and onion before adding it to the pork. Last, serve it on top of steamed rice.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Just Desserts: Ultra Moist Cheese Cupcake

One day, my friend Maybel and I were talking about snacks that we really miss back home and we both agreed that Lemon Square Cheese Cupcake was not only cheap and tasty but it was so addicting too. I resolved a long time ago that living in Phuket, if you want something and cannot find it, better start learning how to do it yourself. It took me 3 tries to tweak the cupcakes to "Lemon Square" perfection. Its very very moist and dense with cheesy flavor. The original recipe asks for Velveeta cheese but since cheese in Thailand is so expensive even if its the process kind, I settled for their 'Eden' version.

Here is how to make the cheese cupcake: