Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Surprise Mixer

To give a little light on this "baking thing". My family's been into making bread and pastries ever since I was a kid. My parents owned a bakery. My mom and dad made Pandesal, Cheese rolls, Ensaymada and Spanish bread etc... everything became everyone's favorite. 
My mom and dad knows how much I wanted to own a KitchenAid mixer. But as we all know, buying one is no joke. Here in the Philippines, a KitchenAid mixer costs around Php25,000. If we're to spend that much, it's best to take baking a step higher and that's probably the best time to put up a business. 

 But as of the moment, this Homemaker Bench Mixer will do. With Planetary Action , 6 Speeds plus Pulse, 1 Dough Hook, 1 Beater, 1 Whisk, 4 litre stainless steel bowl (detachable), it's a great partner on enhancing one's baking skills. My friends with the same hobby gave a full thumbs up on this lucky buy and it's red. I haven't used it yet.

I'm thanking my dear parents for being thoughtful and supportive. I'm turning 35 next month, married for 10 years with 2 kids, but it feels like I never left home... My parents has always been there for me and my siblings. I'm so blessed to have this kind of relationship with my family.

My week started wonderfully with a call from my mom and told me that they bought a stand mixer. And when I talked to my dad. 

Here's what he said:
"Anak, yan na muna pang practice- practice, tapos bibili tayo ng KitchenAid".  ( For now, this mixer is good for practicing your baking skills, then we will buy a KitchenAid Mixer). 

I didn't even ask for it, but they're saving up for the big one. I'm so inspired that's why I want to bake a cake!

 And yes, my intention is to learn not only to make some sweet pastries but my mom's pandesal and her famous cheese rolls as well. Baking my mom's famous breads is a planned surprise. I just want to surprise them one day and serve some hot bread on the dining table.

With a new mixer, it doesn't mean I am going to let go of my mom's 20 year old hand mixer. Our hand mixer is working just fine, it's perfect for making small recipes and quick mixes. I just love the thought that I have both mixers!

It's happiness having freshly baked bread coming from your own oven first thing in the morning. I experienced that thru my parents when I was a kid. I want to do it for my children and my husband. It's one of the fond memories I had as a child and I will cherish and pass it over to my family.

VISIT: Homemaker Stand Mixer 2014 post  for more information. Thank you.
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Pastries By Enchie

 I love to cook, but baking is another story. So here are some of the pastries I've made for the past weeks. I have to say, it's really hard to perfect something I don't really have knowledge of. My interest in making pastries started early this year. I just wanted to do something new. Something that my family can also enjoy, especially my 2 kids. Right now, making pastries has become a hobby. I try to bake every weekend, either a new recipe, or I stick with an old one and improve it.

 Most of the goodies I make are baked to my preference. From the texture, the taste, down to the frosting. Pastry shops are everywhere here in Manila and boy they're expensive. And come to think of it,  not all pastries being sold are as appealing and tasteful as their dining room or the "cute- looking" bake shop itself. I learn from those unsatisfying experiences  as a customer, then I imagine making my own.

 Putting up a business is far to be considered as of the moment by the way. I just want to be the mom who can bake for her children. It's very rewarding to personally bake pastries as snacks. Before, I go to a local bakeshop to get some sweet fix. Now, I make my own. My eldest son loves my cupcakes as his "baon" for school. And he even told his best friend whom he share his cupcakes with "his mama" makes them.
 Soft, moist Fudge Cupcakes coated with rich dark chocolate. 

 There's still a lot to learn. Some people they enroll in baking classes to have background. As much as I want to, I don't have the extra time for it, so I try my best to learn by reading recipe books, watch videos, demos then practice, practice, practice whatever I can absorb. And when I'm finally graced with the said time, I will get myself the proper education.

 Most recipes I've tried are good for 12- 24 pieces. Once I've perfected the recipes, I will share a couple here in my blog. 

 It relaxes me every time I create something. The Dark Chocolate Coated Fudge Cupcakes in particular was requested by my sister. I was happy to make some for her. She would often by commercial cupcakes. 

Her favorite is the chocolate coated ones. Instead of buying, I can always whip- up something heavier, richer, delightful and healthier because the ingredients I use are all from the finest quality.

Blueberry Muffins sugar-cinnamon crust, topped with cream cheese frosting.

 As much as possible I don't add coloring or anything artificial. It's just the basics enhanced to the top. Well anything for my family has got be from the finest. It's fun baking, especially when it's for the family or for the simply reason that you want to share and make people happy.

 One of the achievements I've made was to be able to make my own caramel. I immediately tried it with my fudge brownies. It blended well. It's chewy and it gave my brownies a distinct taste and an extraordinary texture. I can't wait to try my caramel as filling for my cupcakes. Caramel has always been a favorite. With caramel alone, one can concoct other pastries, it's up to the maker's imagination ;)

Made of rich cocoa mixed with some homemade caramel and almond shavings.

For the mean time, I've skipped 2 weekends of baking. I'm kinda busy gathering and preparing for materials needed for baking cakes, cheesecakes and mousse. All 3, mix and combine... a 2 or 3 layer cake in the making.
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Oyakodon

Oyakodon is my favorite Japanese rice bowl. It's a simple rice bowl topped with egg, chicken and a special Japanese sauce. Since we can't always eat in restaurants, I've practised cooking and preparing rice bowls like Oyakodon from my small kitchen. The only ingredient that's missing in this recipe is Mirin, which is a sweet rice wine, a staple Japanese condiment. I was able to find ways and other alternatives to get the taste of an authentic Oyakodon sauce without the use of Mirin.
 Servings: 3-4 regular bowls

Ingredients:
  • Cooked rice prepared in individual bowls
  • 2-3 chicken breast fillet (chopped into pieces)
  • 1 white onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion leeks
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chicken stock or plain water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • a dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cooking oil

Directions:
  • In a small pan, caramelize chopped white onion. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan, simmer Kikkoman soy sauce, sesame oil, water, minced ginger, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked. Add water if necessary so it wouldn't dry out.
  • Pour chicken and sauce in prepared rice bowls.
  • In a separate pan, fry beaten eggs half-cooked then divide cooked eggs in individual bowls.
  • Garnish each bowl with chopped onion leeks/ scallions and roasted sesame seeds.
In restaurants where I've eaten Oyakodon, they serve the egg raw. Usually, a whole raw egg topped in the rice bowl. Others, would prefer beaten raw eggs. As for this recipe, just to be safe for the kids and those sensitive, scrambled eggs is also a good option.
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Friday, October 4, 2013

The Burger Project

Located at 122 Maginhawa st. Teachers Village Quezon City

Here's another food trip we made along Maginhawa st. After braving the long line in the recent S&R Members' Treat, my husband and I decided to have lunch somewhere along the way back home. As always, Maginhawa street was a good stop for affordable, great food choices. For a change, we went to The Burger Project.

If you want real burgers cooked to perfection and is ready to be customized according to your preference, this food chain is well- known for that.
The air-conditioned dining area at the Maginhawa branch was a bit cramped. There were more tables outside the restaurant, but most diners prefer to eat inside where it's much cooler. Anyway, we were able to get a table good for 4 and we enjoyed our meal to the max. Friendly staff too.
Upon ordering, the cashier will hand you a checklist to customize your burger. From there, you choose the burger patty (beef, tofu or chicken). Then the bun, the cheese, the set of toppings and dressing for your burger. They also have a menu of burgers that they can create for you. 

It is known as the Designer Burgers: (Php200-250)
Western Bacon Melt
Bleu Buffalo
Tokyo Pop!
Italian Stallion
Sloppiest Joe
French Lick
and Jugs and Teddy Tandem BRGR

Italian Stallion Angus (php230)
Mozzarella Cheese
Sun-dried tomatoes
Pepperoni
Pesto 
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Plain Beef Burger (Php105)
Single beef patty
Lettuce
Cheese
Dressing
Tokyo Pop! Angus (Php215)
Sauteed Mushrooms
Teriyaki Sauce
Wasabi Mayo
Sliced Onions
Lettuce
Other than their delicious Designer BRGRs, The Burger Project is also famous for their milkshakes and sidings. We had an order of Oreo Cookies& Cream milkshake and Strawberry milkshake (Php150ea) which were very rich and refreshing. It matched our sunny afternoon.  Soda in can is also available at (Php40ea).
The sidings are another set of goodies in their menu. With our visit over the weekend, we ordered some plain french fries (Php65) and onion rings (Php75). Both were made from fresh potatoes and onions. 

I just love how crunchy my onion rings were. It was cooked to perfection. The coating is light brown and crunchy, the onion is just right, it's not over-cooked and it's not half -cooked as well.

At The Burger project, everything is delicious. I can consider it as a healthy choice for burgers too since they're using 100% beef. The mere fact that you can make your own burger, this I have to say, is also a good place for the health- conscious.
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Mondates

We get exhausted with the weekend rush, especially when pay day steps in as well. One of the routines that my husband and I came up with is to do errands and other things on a weekday. Monday is one of our relaxing days of the week. My husband gets to go to work late and most of the time, since we opt to stay at home the day before, we're able to well, same with our kids. Result: A happy Monday for all! It's a great way to start the next 5 days of work and school.

Here's our Monday routine:

We get up early, I cook breakfast for the kids, prepare my eldest son's lunch bag, get him ready for school.
By 7:30 am we're out, the whole family brings Frankie to school.
After dropping our son, my husband and I will plan as we drive around looking for a restaurant where we can have breakfast.
Most of the time, we eat at restaurants near our place, Katipunan Ave., Eastwood and Cubao. Spots that have restaurants that offers breakfast. Last Mondate we went to Eastwood and had buffet breakfast at Something Fishy. It's not our first time in this restaurant, but it's been months since we had buffet for breakfast. Other choices we go to are 24 hour fast food chains like Wendy's, KFC, Shakey's. It all depends on what we're craving for :D Cubao alone, has so much to offer. Most of the restaurants along Shopwise Araneta are open 24 hours.

Mondates are seldom documented with pictures, because we're just occupied with our special time. We eat out like we're on our dating stage, talk about things, eat food we've never tried before or we haven't eaten for a long time... With our recent Mondate, I thought I share it here on my blog. It's a good option of staying away from the usual crowded Saturday or Sunday.

It's good to be blessed with free time on a "Monday". Maybe if you get some time off, try going on a Mondate, it will surely boost you up for the rest of the week.
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