Friday, May 20, 2011

Whole Wheat Pandesal

I've been stressed the whole week not only because of all the preparation that I have to do but also because our help has not been showing up lately. My schedule has been totally screwed up. The worst thing was, I missed my Chickynet Lemon Meringue Pie Making Class. Before you would think that I am a spoiled brat for moaning about this.. let me explain that we are on assisted living because of Scott's condition and I cannot go anywhere unless I have someone to stay with him. Someone who should be reliable. But I guess the world does not revolve around me and we all have our own respective issues to deal with, so I should just let it go. But I find it not easy.

The whole afternoon I felt a little bit down. I realized that I missed baking. There is something about creating with your hands that makes you forget about everything else for awhile so you can focus on the task in front of you. There is also great satisfaction of being able to make something from scratch. So to bring back some positivity, I went back to baking.

 I was not so successful about my past attempts in making Whole Wheat Pandesal. The most recent one was so dense because I did not knead it well and I did not store my yeast properly on the previous one. These mistakes I learned from Michael Ruhlman's Ratio. When I could not get it right, I went back to the basic. And by basic it means

BREAD= 5 parts flour : 3 parts water (+ yeast and salt)

According to the book, that ratio will not guaranty you an exceptional bread but just an average good bread. If you know the basics then you know how to improvise. I am aiming for a Pandesal, the Filipino main breakfast staple, the one that I already wrote about in this post. A Pandesal, from its name means bread of salt but what actually distinguishes it is the sugar. It is a little bit sweet as compared to Western breads. This time I also want to incorporate stone ground Whole Wheat Flour to the mix. I did not use the recipe from my first Pandesal post because it required all purpose flour which means that since the flour is self rising, it already contains baking powder and salt..therefore the salt ratio will not be correct.

There's a lot of Pandesal recipes that you will encounter if you search for it in the net. Lots of them require milk, butter and egg. I think a lot of them work out well too. But I thought I'll start with simple ingredients to have that 'artisinal' flavor. Here's the recipe:

1 c. of lukewarm water (this is just to play it safe but I think a room temp water would do)
1 tsp. of instant dry yeast 
1 tsp. of salt
1/4 c. of sugar
1/4 c. of vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. of bread flour

additional flour for dusting
additional vegetable oil for greasing the bowl
1/4 c. of fine bread crumbs

1. Put lukewarm water in a bowl, add the yeast and leave it for 10 min
2. Add salt, sugar, oil and half of the whole wheat bread and the bread flour. mix
3. Add the rest of the flour and form a ball.
4. knead for 8-10 knead properly follow this video:

5. Let it rise for 2 hours. I usually place it inside the oven because its dry and warm.
6. Punch the dough and stretch it. Roll into into a log and cut it into Pandesal size.
7. Dredge it with bread crumbs and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
8. Let it rise for 45 minutes.
9. Warm the oven at 170 C (325F)
10. Put it inside the oven and bake for 25min or until it is brown on top.

Countdown to the Big Day: 10

Something old,
Something new,
Something borrowed,
Something blue

I was checking some wedding magazines and I saw this picture of a quirky wedding theme (it was the Union Jack colors) and the bride was wearing bright red shoes. It gave me an idea! My shoes would be my something blue! We broke all traditions already so why wear the traditional blue garter. I have not worn any proper shoes with heels for more than 2 years because I live in an island. That's why it has to be very comfortable or it might just ruin my special day by limping halfway through the ceremony.

This semi platform electric blue shoes just gives the perfect comfort and height. And it goes well with my traditional Thai wedding dress as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Countdown to the Big Day: 11

My first make up attempt! Plus I have a zit that I hope will vanish from this Earth by next week. I timed it, make up takes me 20 minuted  and hair 30 min. I don't want to be late on my big day :)) I'm confused though, should I go for a natural look but with a bold lip color..or, do you think a smoky eyes with a natural lips would be better? Help, I need your comments and I need more practice..

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Como agua para chocolate

I was writing my post on rose petals when an after thought dawned on me. The first time that I learned that rose petals can be food was after reading the book Like Water for Chocolate. My curiosity on magical realism got aroused that I even tried eating the roses that was given to me on Valentines Day when I was 19 expecting that I will be turned on. Alas, nothing happened. But one thing I remember from that experience..roses taste like vegetable. It is a plant after all. Here is a clip of that scene in the movie version when Tita prepared the Quail with Rose Petal Sauce as as the ultimate expression of her love.

Countdown to the Big Day: 12

Photo from Epicurious

When we first started planning the wedding, I was brave enough to even think that I want to make the cake on my own. I knew right away what cake to make. Its called a Persian Love Cake. I was intrigued by the ingredients and its name. But making the cake is just not feasible given the schedule that we have. I first thought of ordering the cake from a well known patisserie. But good thing that Sheila, my mother-in-law, volunteered to bring a traditional Scottish wedding cake all the way from Scotland. A Scottish wedding cake is a two tiered brandy flavored fruit cake. Traditionally, only one tier will be eaten on the wedding day and the second tier will be eaten on the birth of the couple's first child. It is usually cut by the groom's dirk or dagger.

When the baker told Sheila that apart from the fondant frosting she will not decorate the cake because it might not survive the flight to Phuket anyway, that made me happy. I might not be able to bake the cake on my own but at least I can decorate it. I will make in advance candied rose petals and I will roast some pistachios to put on top of the cake.

my inspiration (photo from B-Bake)

Here is how to make candied Rose petals:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Petals from 2 organic roses

Whisk egg whites in small bowl until foamy. Using pastry brush, brush rose petals on both sides with egg whites; sprinkle on both sides with sugar. Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.

Monday, May 16, 2011

30 minute meal: Beef Broccoli

One of the blogs that I subscribe to is Steamy Kitchen . I even have the Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. And it has been really handy specially when I crave for something Asian but not spicy. My favorite go-to recipe, the one that I like going back to when I feel lazy (but I still want a nice home cooked meal) is Beef Broccoli ( Steamy Kitchen, page 94). This recipe guaranties you to eat a lot of rice. Consider yourselves warned!

300g beef sirloin, cubed
beef broccoli. florets separated
1 tbsp cooking oil
minced garlic

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch (just use minimal amount)
1/2 tsp cooking oil
ground pepper

stir-fry sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine
2 tsp Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic will do)

1. Combine all the beef marinade ingredients with the beef. Leave it for 10 min.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the stir-fry sauce ingredients
3. In a wok or large saute pan add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and steam for 3 min.
The broccoli should be crisp but tender. Drain.
4. Discard the water and dry the wok. Add cooking oil and set on high heat. Add garlic till fragrant. Add the marinated beef. About 30 sec each side just enough to make it brown.
5.Pour in stir-fry sauce and stir. Simmer until sauce is thick enough and add the broccoli and toss to coat it well with the sauce.

Countdown to the Big Day: 13

3 years ago I became the first in our family (both sides) to leave the Roman Catholic Church and become a Born Again Christian. Scott was an atheist that recently turned into a believer. Getting married sans the ceremony would have been ideal but we did not want to be selfish and rob both our families with the chance of seeing their eldest offspring tied the knot.So we organized the 'blessing' (that's how we like to call it). And we found a very good compromise that is not bias to either my devout Catholic father or Scott's devout atheist dad hehe.. and its all in Thai so neither can understand it and  make any snide remarks. 

The traditional Thai Wedding Ceremony starts in the morning with the whole family welcoming the monks in the sala of our apartment (the one above the gym, near the lap pool). The monks will lead the chanting, bless our marriage with holy water and will put flower strings on our head to 'tie the knot'. We will then make merit to them with rice and other offerings.

After the monks blessing, we will kneel on the seats like in the picture above and exchange our vows. Then, Scott's parents will give me the flower necklace (garland) as a sign that they are welcoming me to their family and my dad will do the same to Scott.

All our family and friends will then take turn pouring water on our hands while offering a blessing, prayer, wishes and what have not.

So, that's it! Everything is all set and all I need to do is cross my finger that it will go smoothly as planned.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Countdown to the Big Day: 14

Blogger was down the other day so I figured I have to do a double post on the countdown to compensate for the day that I missed. So, here's  a screen shot of our invites. Yes, we are trying to be environmentally friendly and economical by using Paperless Post . Since all our guest will be coming from different parts of the world, using the website helps greatly because it enables you to send fast, track mail, have discussions, attached a map in your invites! Cool eh? And, it will not cost you and arm and a leg or it will not cost you anything at all!!. Less carbon footprint, no paper waste and if you want to have a memento, you can save a copy in a jpeg file and bring it to a printer. The designs are actually quite good as well. Scott and I had good fun doing this together.

B is for Bali

I was trying to locate a man who makes, arguably, the best lechon (roasted pig) in Phuket this afternoon. He is a friend of a friend of a Filipina that I met a couple of weeks ago (talking about networking). Thinking, talking and completely consumed on getting the manlelechon brought back fond memories of my Bali trip last March. Here are the top reasons that made my 'bachelorette getaway' super fun:

1. We stayed in Banyan Tree Ungasan. Out of the 3 Banyan Tree's that I already stayed in, I think the Bali one is by far the best. I am still very partial to Banyan Tree Phuket's Breakfast Buffet but the spaciousness, the restrained elegance of the decor made BTU more luxurious.

The welcome ritual

Our private pool villa

the infinity pool facing the Indian Ocean

2. The Beach. Or, to make it more specific, the private beach. I live 5 minutes away from the Bangtao beach. I like walking my dogs there at 6.30 in the morning because its quite. I go to the end of Layan Beach because its quiter. But nothing can be more private, clean and quite than this beach. Oh, did I mention that going down on your buggy, the view is amazing!

a book, beer and your own piece of heaven

3. Bintang baby!!! need i say more?

Maybel and I enjoying the first of the many Bintang we had

4. Babi Guling. We had Bibik Bingil (literally means dirty duck) and Beef Rendang and we love it. But it was  Babi Guling that made us love Bali! Its like! it is lechon. With bopis on the side. Honestly, had I known that traffic was a nightmare and the monkeys were scary and annoying, I would have just skipped visiting the temples. They're just tourist traps anyway. I would be happy going everyday to Ubod and eating Babi Guling at Ibu Oka's.

Bebik Bingil and Beef Rendang at Made's Warung

I'm in a happy place

the place to be
this is it!

And lastly, B is for Balat!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Countdown to the Big Day: 15

I was trying to write down the scene of the day that we officially got hitched but nothing can compare with how my Facebook message to a few friends captured that 'moment' forgive me if its in Filipino. But, then again there is always Google Translate and the translation may be doubly hilarious! ;p

Apple N. Kilgour March 8 at 1:50pm
So, kahapon tumawag yung Ministry of Foreign Affairs ng Thailand dahil sa wakas ready na yung licenses namin..may legalization at translation fee kasi yun na 5k kapag pinick up na namin.

So, kanina umaga nagpa appointment ako ng 11am. 9am pa lang naligo na si Scott. 15 minutes after alis na daw kami..WAIT lang bakit nagmamadali?! kailangan pa daw kasi namin i-exercise yung aso..

CUT TO APPLE, REACTION SHOT. OUHWM..kung kailan pa kami abala sa papers namin, nag-adopt na naman siya ng asong kalye diba!! so kailangan namin pagurin si Boo everyday para wala siyang energy patayin yung tuta!

CUT TO SCOTT. dahil nagmamadali sya, muntik ng nakalimutan yung mga passport (my fault kasi inuna ko ang pagmemake-up at paghanap ng outfit bka may pictorial)

Paalis na kami ng naalala niya ang chocolate croissant niya so binalikan pa..

SITNERS.  pinatakbo pa namin si Boo sa pinyahan at kung saan-saan rubber plantation..natapos sa wakas at pumunta na sa Foreign Affairs..

Sa Phuket Town ito..mga 30min ang layo..Ano daw ang nakalimutan?!?

Ang wallet lang naman niya!!

2k lang ang dala kong pera..paano daw yun? So bago kami ikasal nag away muna kami ng B.O.N.G.G.A!!!

Hahaha! Tangena..natandaan niya ang croissant diba! at concern nya yung aso pero yung wallet niya di na-check!

buti na lang talaga napaki-usapan na idaan na lang yung bayad later..

So, punta na kami sa Office of the Registrar..akala ko may seremonyas pa..BUT-A-NOH!

WALA. super typical office agency wae na pics. at super submit at in a flash ready na yung marriage certificate namin..

kinotongan pa ako nung manong kasi 12.30 daw ako dumating di tuloy siya nakapag-lunch so nanghingi ng lagay!
AT! dahil gutom siya di niya narinig na sinabi ko na 'wag niyang i-change ang name ko..nilagay pa rin nya ang last name ni Scott!

So yun, officially I am now NORRIZA NUEVAS KILGOUR!

muntikan ng hindi diba!


pag-uwi namin umebs yung tuta at nilinis ko pa..sana lang swerte yung di ba! S.A.N.A.. lol!





Thursday, May 12, 2011


There are Thai dishes that on the first taste the thought that would cross my mind is, "I've got to learn how to do this!". Satay is NOT one of them. Why? They are everywhere and they're cheap. But, it would be first on the long list of food that I will miss if we have to go back home. The best Satay that I have tasted is one from that small orange shop on Thanon Phang Nga in Phuket Town right after On-on Hotel. They also serve the best Rad Na Moo that I wrote about here.

In fact, our trip to Phuket Town would not be complete if we don't pass by and get a take away from that shop. Since we went yesterday to the hospital to see a friend's new baby and because they are only 20 Bht per set, I bought satays that would last me for 2 days! (I didn't know I bought a lot). I love the juicy pork and the spicy peanut sauce. I usually ignore the cucumber salad accompaniment and just throw it away!! But earlier, because I was not having rice I tried the cucumbers and a sudden rush of regret engulfed me..Why have I not tried this before!! It made perfect sense!

Tender juicy meat + spicy peanut + sweat cool cucumber = love.

On the other end of the spectrum, not all Satays are cheap. But my next favorite Satay is the one from Les Anges. Chicken Satay skewered in lemongrass and served with a bed of lettuce and mango. The salad is also called Citronelle Mangue which I think is French for Lemongrass and Mango. Anyhow, the dish would cost you around 250 Bht but it is definitely worth it!

Countdown to the Big Day: 16

If life is like a musical that I can break into a song, I would be singing this (heck, what's stopping me? hit it! )

All the things you are
cover by Aretha Franklin


You are the promised kiss of springtime 
That makes the lonely winter seem long 
You are the breathless hush of evening 
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song 

You are the angel glow that lights the star 
The dearest things that I know are what you are 
Someday my happy arms will hold you 
And someday I'll know that moment divine 
When all the things you are, are mine 

You are the angel glow that lights the star 
The dearest things that I know are what you are 
Someday my happy arms will hold you 
And someday I'll know that moment divine 
When all the things you are, are mine

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Countdown to the Big Day: 17

I have not really told a lot of people about the day that Scott and I got engaged or how we got engaged. It all started when Scott woke me up in the middle of the night because there was so much pain in his tummy. He wanted to be brought to the hospital. When he said that, I thought right away that it might be serious because he would never want to be brought to the hospital under lesser circumstance.

After more than 12 hours, a battery of tests and more or less 7 doctors with different specializations parading in front of us they finally found out that it was a burst appendix. They need to operate ASAP! But what complicated it was Scott doesn't have strong lungs for a major operation (his doctors in the UK said that). So, it was a very hard decision but it left us with no choice as well. 

Before I wheeled him to the operating room I texted my friends in Manila and I asked them to pray for Scott. At some point I remembered telling my friend Kate that if Scott will survive this and will ask me to marry him I would say yes. 

Needless to say the operation was successful. The funny thing was before he got unconscious with the anesthesia, he promised to God that if he will make it he will propose to me..and so he did ( in the hospital bed) and I said yes :))

The picture on the upper right is my engagement ring. It was Scott's grandma's engagement ring so it must be around 60 years old.

The band on the left is my wedding ring. I have been wearing that since March 8 because we got officially hitched on that date (but that would be another story..)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Countdown to the Big Day: 18

My DIY wedding almost called for back up but upon submission of the price quotation from the wedding planner, we decided to do it ourselves. I know, I know..this is Phuket and they just charge ridiculously if they know that you are a foreigner!!

But really, I just love challenges--not! Doing the organizing on my own is just not enough. So, I also decided to do my own hair and make-up (ala Kate Middleton but she had the help of a stylist, cheater!) ..Make up-- no problem, I'm quite good at it but doing my own hair?!?..I can't even properly comb my hair on a daily basis!

And that's why I'm need a lot of fact, I have 18 days to practice putting my hair are few of my attempts..obviously, one of the picture there is the peg.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies or one can never have enough cream cheese

Since I opened Cucina de Casuarina my Cream Cheese Brownies right away became the bestseller. The recipe (sorry that the recipe will have to remain a secret) for this requires 200g of cream cheese. Now, a box of cream cheese is approximately 230g and I tried not being stingy by putting all of it in the mix but it just feels too much and I fear that the cream cheese will overpower the chocolaty flavor instead of just complimenting it (an observation that was also shared by one of my loyal customer).

Cream Cheese Brownies

And so I end up with a lot of 30g cream cheese leftovers in the fridge. Before it will hardened or go off, I decided to make use of it .

I made some Double Chocolate Cupcakes and trying to experiment for a frosting I made Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.

I must say that it really went surprisingly well with the rich chocolate cupcake.

But what I was so excited about was that Scott gifted me with the 2 Baked Cookbooks for my birthday and I have been wanting to do their Red Velvet Whoopie Pies that has a.. you guess right..cream cheese filling. In fact, I made the cupcake version last year in this entry.

Oh yes! i got Michael Ruhlman's Ratio too!! love you Scottie xx

So, here's my Red Velvet Whoopie Pie and the recipe which I am sharing to you definitely did not disappoint. A few years ago Red Velvet had been a trend but the flavor has always been a classic in Southern recipes. The original Red Velvet is a cocoa powder and buttermilk-based cake. They said that in theory, the cocoa powder when mixed with the baking soda gives out a reddish shade but I really don't know how it ended up with the distinguishable red color of the Red Velvets today.

What I can be certain though is that a real Red Velvet should have Cocoa powder, buttermilk and shortening (the shortening gives it the flakiness and even if it can be substituted with butter, will not produce the same result).

To make the pies. You will need:

In a bowl,
2 1/2   AP flour
3         tbsp cocoa powder (use a really good one)
1/2      tsp baking powder
1/2      tsp baking soda
1/2      tsp salt

In another bowl,
1/4     cup canola oil
1/2     cup buttermilk

In a 3rd bowl, cream the butter/sugar mixture before adding the rest
1/2    cup butter, softened
1       tbsp vegetable shortening
3/4    cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4    cup granulated sugar
1       large egg
1       tsp vanilla extract
1       tbsp red food coloring

1. Add flour mix, alternating with buttermilk mix to the butter sugar mix in 3 separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mix. Mix on low speed.

2. Scrape the bottom and side of bowl using a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15min.

3.Heat oven at 350 F

4.Prepare Cream Cheese Filling, you need.
3    cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter
8    oz cream cheese, softened
1    tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

(this can be prepared a day ahead, just softened before using)..Cream the butter first then mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and beat it with a mixer on low or with a paddle attachment.

5. Remove the batter from the fridge and using an ice cream scoop put on baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-20 minutes (the recipe says) but I did mine at 15min and it turned just right.

6. Let it cool and assemble. You can roll the sides on finely chopped walnuts if you like. Put in the fridge to firm up before serving.