Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pancakes from scratch

I'm taking an online course (through on The Science of Gastronomy. It's being offered by the University of Hongkong's Professors Lam Lung Yeung and King L. Chow. The class is very interesting and exciting because it explains the basic scientific principles that are applied on food preparation, just totally brings out my inner geek. We just started today and after watching the video lectures, it inspired me to brush up my basic cooking skills. And what could be more basic than re-reading Michael Ruhlman's Ratio.

                                   2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1/2 part butter: 2 parts flour

Using the book's basic ratio for simple cakes, I made these pancakes from scratch for our afternoon snacks (note: the original recipe calls for milk, but I thought I could never go wrong with buttermilk). And, using an organic vanilla paste wouldn't hurt either.

So, here's the recipe (and I am telling you this is waaaay better than a store bought pancake mix):

Wet ingredients:

8 oz ( 1 cup) buttermilk, you can also use homemade yoghurt or milk
2 large eggs
2 oz butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

8 oz flour ( you can replace 25% of the flour with cornmeal, whole wheat flour, or other ground cereals for complex textures and flavors).
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Whisk until properly mixed.  Press through a strainer to get rid of lumps. Cook it on a griddle with a lightly oiled surface. A film of bacon fat would give it a nice crisp crust.

This will make 8 medium size pancakes. You can double or half the ratio depending on how many people you are feeding.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Smoky Chorizo and Artichoke Pasta

Scott was doing a strict raw food diet for many months and decided to slowly come out of his diet by introducing a few animal protein for his lunch (he still takes smoothies in the afternoon and at night). He likes salmon, tuna steak or any fish, and occasionally would have meat. I was in a rush for an after lunch appointment  last week, so I planned on throwing in artichokes on the pasta. The chorizo was just an after thought when I realized that it needed a bit more sustenance and I have a few left-over in the fridge.

If you are entertaining but you don't have the luxury of time (yet you still want to impress your guests), this is the pasta to prepare. It will be bring out your inner Nigella (hopefully, sans the choking -- ok, that wasn't funny).

Just sauté the chorizo, onions and garlic in the artichoke's olive oil marinade. The chorizo already has oil so make sure that you don't put a lot. Add the artichoke, boiled pasta, and half a cup of pasta water (the water that you used to boil the pasta). Toss. Add pepper, add a dash or cayenne pepper, parsley and paprika. That's it!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Demystifying the secret of Jollibee Spaghetti

When a Filipino abroad hears a greeting like this, "Hello, Welcome to Jollibee!", it evokes deep-seated and strong emotional connections that instantly brings that Pinoy living far away from the motherland, a sense of being home.

 I can say this based on experience. After living in Thailand for more than 4 years, I went to Singapore for a weekend on the 1st week that Jollibee Singapore opened. It's been a year since the last time I visited the joint so we decided to brave the long line to have our Jollibee fix. And when I heard the staff welcoming everyone in, it was like music to my ears (but maybe because I also stood in line for 1.5 hours and it was more of a relief).

That's me waiting in line for 1.5 hours

Anthony Bourdain with Chef Roi Choi recently gave Jollibee a thumbs up in his new CNN show Parts Unknown, which shows that this iconic fast food eatery known to cater to Pinoy sweet taste  is slowly becoming more accepted internationally.

But the spaghetti, in my opinion, is still an acquired taste. You have to be Pinoy to accept that a sweet pasta using a banana ketchup actually makes sense. I had second thoughts on trying to add sweetened condensed milk (!) on my pasta, seriously! that sweet? But there is no denying that this is the food of my childhood, it's the first pasta that I have learned to love. So, when my friend Romeo, a professional chef based in Manila, tried to hack the recipe for the popular spaghetti for fun, he sent us a copy. I didn't have all the ingredients since most of it is not available where I am. But, my other friend Raymond tested it and he can affirm that it tasted exactly like the original.

Without further adieu, click on the picture and it will direct you to the step-by-step guide on how to make a spaghetti ala Jollibee.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tres Leches Mango Float

My birthday falls on Cinco de Mayo, so it's a no-brainer that I picked a Mexican theme when I decided celebrate it this year. Since I did all the cooking, I chose an easy dessert to prepare. It is not an authentic Mexican dessert except for the Tres Leches part. Mango Float is actually a popular Filipino dessert, one that most Filipinos learned to do at a very young age. After I posted this photo on Facebook, I got a lot of private messages from friends asking for the recipe. So, here it is.

You will need:

For the crust:
 2 cups of crushed Graham Crackers or digestives
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter

For the filling:
slice 4 ripe mangoes into thin wedges
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup whipped cream
16 pcs of whole Graham crackers
1 1/2 cup mango puree

-Pour the crushed Graham crackers, melted butter and sugar in a rectangular pan. Mix and flatten then cover with a cling wrap and chill.

-In a bowl, pour equal parts whip cream, heavy cream and condensed milk. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat the cream mixture until it is double in volume. Add a small can of mango puree (about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cup). 

-Assemble the mango and Tres Leches mix on the crust. Line a layer of Graham crackers and repeat the process (do as many layers as you want). Make sure that you end with the Tres Leches and Mango mix on top.

-Chill for 3 hours and you can decorate it with whipped cream and mangoes before serving.

the doodle that lit the idea to put a twist on my Mango Float

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fried Chicken glazed with Orange and Bacardi Reduction

Warning: this chicken is highly addictive.

We first made this in a private stag party that we catered the other weekend. The Fried Buttermilk Chicken was an all-time hit in the previous stag parties that we did, so I always make sure that it is included in our repertoire of beer foods. But my usual sous chef couldn't make it last minute so I have to recruit my friend Adrian ( short story: we met way back when I was working for a TV network, he recently transferred to Phuket, did some kitchen time in restaurants when he was in uni in Vancouver, so voila--instant sous chef!).

I have to prep and pack everything by myself so when we got to the venue, I found out that I forgot the breading for the fried chicken. Adi, found a carton of orange juice, and since it was a stag party, we had so many alcohol at our disposal, he decided to make an orange and whisky reduction. It turned out so good!

Fast forward at lunch earlier, I didn't have time to go out and buy Thai food from my favorite stall. So when I opened the fridge and I saw chicken wings and orange juice, I knew exactly what to do with it.

I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and little dash of soy sauce. Fried the chicken till it's golden and crispy. At the same time I put in a pot, a cup of orange juice and about 3 tablespoon of Bacardi Oro, a dash of Cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of light corn syrup (you can also use sugar syrup), reduce it till it's in a syrup consistency. Toss the fried chicken in the orange reduction make sure that you coat it well and enjoy!

It's messy but it's yummy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

And we are getting busier and busier

Here are photos on some markets and bake sales that we've been to. Next month, we will be venturing to some parts unknown...the wondrous path of party catering. So, wish us well.

We will hopefully have a new logo for this blog and some reconstruction to update the over all look.

 Our Facebook page has been picking up a lot of likes last month (thanks to the Facebook suggested page scheme--it actually works).

Hopefully, all these exposures will be converted to more sales. I have finally acquired a "heavy duty" mixer from my Christmas market earnings but it didn't turn out to be that heavy duty when it conked out while I was making a big batch of pan de sal..tsk, tsk.