Monday, December 1, 2014

Vegetable- Clam Marinara

In a way, Marinara is an all- around sauce. Since it's made with fresh tomatoes/ tomato sauce, herbs, garlic, red wine, olives and capers it's perfect as:

1. Pasta Sauce
2. Dip/ salsa for croquettes, chips,  burrito, etc...
3. With a little water, as soup paired with your preferred bread.

I personally thought with it's name "Marinara", the sauce should come with seafood. Apparently, it's just basic tomato sauce made of fresh ingredients.

Today, I made some Vegetable- Clam Marinara. The clams in this recipe is optional. I just so happen have a supply of my favorite red clam sauce so I decided to throw in a can.

Ingredients:
  • 250g spaghetti noodles or any pasta of your choice (cooked al dente)
  • 1 whole garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper (sliced thinly or chopped)
  • 1 eggplant (chopped)
  • 2 medium red tomatoes ( chopped)
  • 1 can of whole button mushrooms ( chopped, I prefer fresh mushrooms)
  • 1 400 g can of chopped tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can Red Clam Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried basil or 1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil  
  • 1/8 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2tbsp Parmesan Cheese
  •  a dash of salt and black pepper granules


Procedure:
  • Cook pasta until firm/ al dente. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan, heat olive oil and saute minced garlic until light brown.
  • Add chopped red tomatoes, green bell pepper, egg plant and mushrooms. Stir until vegetables are half- cooked.
  • Add Red Clam sauce and simmer for a few seconds.
  • Add, canned tomatoes and Parmesan cheese then mix everything evenly. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve sauce on top of the pasta or mix the pasta in.

Note: 

Set aside a little of the chopped parsley for garnishing.
Add red wine as desired. I did not include red wine in this recipe, because the Red Clam sauce is already a good base for seafood marinara.

Meat or any seafood is an option. You can add anything you want to make this your own. I just like mine to be filled with vegetables and I did not add any meat or sea food because the Red Clam sauce is just amazingly rich with flavor and real clams.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

An Early Gift For My Kitchen--- ELBA Cookware

I've been using an induction cooker for 3 years now. It just so happen that the unit we are renting while we wait for the other condo to be finished doesn't allow gas ranges or anything that runs on gas. Since it's just temporary, I agreed to use an induction cooker and ditched my old gas range.

Through the years I've seen the miracles an induction cooker can do. The only downfall is in case there's no electricity, it won't run. Which leaves you with nothing if you don't have left- overs or anything cooked ahead if there's a situation that will require to shut down power.  But I'm thankful that for every emergency situation like typhoons, sudden Meralco maintenance and the likes, I'm able to keep up and still serve my family home-cooked food. One will just have to check the news, get updates, be aware of  anything that involves emergency measures.

Over-all with an induction cooker around, our monthly budget increased because we don't buy Gasul anymore, the budget for a gas tank that costs around 800php went back to our savings. At the same time,  there's no big increase with our electric bill even with an additional induction cooker. Also, we've freed ourselves from the threat of a gas leak.

Now, that we're preparing our new home, my new kitchen, I've decided to stick with an induction cooker. But this time, I've upgraded my equipment, an ELBA cookware.
ELBA Cooktop Induction
E 230 - 002 IS

ELBA Range Hood 
706AP Series
Since, we will live in a condo,  I feel that I don't need anything bigger. I've decided to buy a double induction. At the moment, I'm only using single induction, but I can already cook more than 2 viands on special occasions, what more if I have 2 burners. 

With an induction cooker, food cooks faster with the right amount of heat which is supplied evenly throughout the pan being used. The stove top remains cool even when in use--- so safety (check!) and of course, it's easy to clean.

I've also included a range hood that will suck in unwanted smell and oil. This will also protect my kitchen walls and cabinets from stains.

I chose ELBA because of it's durability. My parents' cookware is also ELBA, but theirs is bigger. Most kitchen items nowadays are made in China, but I was able to find something from Italy. It's more expensive but hey, it's okay as long as I know I'm using a reliable cooktop that will make cooking more fun and easy.

We haven't installed the ELBA set yet because we're having our kitchen counters custom- made. I'll post about it as soon as it's installed or I must say, once we've moved- in our new home.

Next on my list are new pots and pans and other kitchen accessories.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

LEGO Utensil Holder

I found inspiration to make this through a pin on Pinterest. Check it here.

Since my little boys are LEGO masters and my husband is a collector, I made use of some extra bricks not being used to make my own LEGO utensil holder. Here's what I've accomplished so far.
I want to make it bigger, I'll buy my own LEGO bricks soon so I can make a small LEGO corner in my kitchen.
Inside, I made a divider so that my cooking ladles won't slip and so that it will not get tangled with each other, especially with my spatulas.

The fun part of having little kids around is I get to play myself. I thought they would ask for the bricks back. But when they saw my utensil holder, my eldest son told me to keep it and he likes it a lot and I should make some more. He even gave me his opinion to make it higher. Well, that's my goal so it can hold my kitchen stuff properly.
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Cake Pieces

From cupcakes and small pastries, I've shifted to baking cakes. My family loves cake. Even on a regular family lunch or any gathering there should be cake on the table. We've tried almost every cake in the market. From commercial birthday cakes and specialty cakes sold at any bake shop and even restaurants. These cakes doesn't come in cheap. A regular specialty cake can cost for as low as 700php and as much as 1,000++php.

Since we're so into cakes, I've decided, why not bake our own. For the past 2 months, I've made a total of 5 cakes in different flavors and types. My first project was my son's birthday cake. I made an 8", 2 layer Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache. It was very good. From there, I went on with more. There's Red Velvet which is my Dad's favorite, a traditional Sponge Cake and recently, I made 2 cakes in a span of 1 week: 

Chocolate Chiffon and Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Other than the old-fashioned sponge cake, I concentrated on Chocolate cake recipes because everyone loves chocolate. Chocolate is easy to make and is easy to coat around the cake. Chocolate can perfectly go with any other frosting as well. 
My Chocolate Chiffon was soft and fluffy, but my mom advised me that I could have gotten better results if  I used a tube pan. Well, the reason why I didn't use the usual tube pan was because I want to decorate the cake and fill it with chocolate ganache.
My Chocolate Chiffon is a 2 layer cake that has a thin chocolate filling in between. Coated with my favorite chocolate ganache and with swirls of buttercream frosting and chunks of dark chocolate on top.

The kids loved it! My siblings  and my parents ate it with their coffee. I was at my mom's house when I baked both the Chocolate Chiffon and Chocolate Mousse. She has a bigger oven and her kitchen is more spacious. It feels good to be able to work in a bigger kitchen, I also noticed that work is done faster.

Chocolate Mousse is one of my favorite desserts, whether it's served as a cake or as plain mousse with some fresh fruits.

My first Triple Chocolate Mousse turned wonky:

1. The cream for the top layer did not turn stiff that I have to just pour it on top and straight in the fridge.
2. Some time in the middle my dad lowered down the temperature of the fridge.

So imagine... the topping problem could have been solved if the cake was refrigerated longer and was in proper temperature. The following day, my mom and I tasted it and well, it's still okay with me. It's ridiculous not to have a slice. Later in the day, the whole cake looked better after setting the right temperature.

This picture was the wonky part. Please bear... Over-all, it was delicious!
The following week, I went for another try this time, in my own kitchen. I made half of the recipe from what I originally prepared and I used my Chewy Brownie recipe as cake base.  The second attempt was way better.

The chewy brownie at the bottom held the whole thing together. I also used a glass baking dish so when refrigerated, it cooled the whole cake easily.
Wonky or not, I'm still proud of myself being able to come up with such treats. Before I spend so much on a box of cake. Now, as long as I have the ingredients around, I can bake more than 1 cake of different types. It's all worth it, especially if it's for the love of seeing my family happy and for the fun of  baking!
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mustard Greens Salad

Mustard Greens salad is one of my favorite salads served with any Filipino viand. It goes well with everything that it can enhance the food and the mix of flavors even more, making one's food experience extraordinary, fun and unforgettable.

I learned to make mustard greens salad thru my dad, who grew mustard leaves in a small vacant lot beside our old house when I was a kid.

Eating organic has been in our diet since I was a little girl. We practically ate whatever vegetable was grown from our yard. It's one of the things I enjoyed in my life. I experienced and witnessed my dad plant, harvest and cook those simple greens which in a way, kept us all healthy.

Here in the Philippines, the local name for it is Mustaza. It is often added to any Sinigang dish. We also love to pair Mustaza with Burong Hipon (fermented rice with shrimp).

One famous way of serving Mustaza is as a salad. Mustard Green Salad is easy to prepare. By the way, a bunch may cost 8-15php in a regular grocery store. But if you'll buy from the market (palengke) it's cheaper and fresher.

Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch of Mustard leaves ( Mustaza)
  • 3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 medium white onion (chopped)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp cane vinegar or lemon juice (optional)
  • drizzle of olive oil (optional)
Procedure: 
  • Remove the roots and wash the leaves well.
  • Chop the leaves with the stems into thin strips, set aside in a  bowl.
  • With a little water massage and squeeze the juice from the leaves to lessen its bitter- spicy flavor.
  • Set the squeezed batch in a serving bowl.
  • Toss the rest of the ingredients (including the lemon juice and olive oil or anything you want to add)  and mix everything evenly.
Personally, I don't squeeze the leaves anymore. I like it a bit bitter, because it goes well with the tomatoes, onions and lemon juice. Then, I prepare an amount that will last us for a week then store it in the fridge. My goal is for every meal, there should be a little to go with whatever viand I cook. Makes me feel secure that my family is getting a dose of fiber everyday.
Chicken Katsu with Wasabi Mayo and Mustard Greens

Health Benefits:

Lowers the risk of Cancer. It acts as a strong antioxidant, detoxification, anti- inflammatory agent. Studies have linked mustard greens to the prevention of bladder, colon, breast, lung, prostate and ovarian cancers. -source-
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Homemaker Stand Mixer

Baking has become a hobby since middle of last year. I started with a hand mixer, then eventually, my mom and dad saw that I was enjoying it so they gifted me with a Homemaker Stand Mixer.  My parents used to own a bakery when I was a kid, so baking in the family isn't new.

I made this special post on a Homemaker Stand Mixer to answer questions/ inquiries that were and still are often asked in an old post.

* I am not a an expert on any field, not a certified pastry chef, baker etc... I did not take any baking lessons that can approve or disapprove anything when it comes to baking. Anything stated on this post is solely based on my experience as a Homemaker Stand Mixer user for 1 year.

Here we go!

My Homemaker Stand Mixer was purchased from HMR Surplus, Sta. Rosa Laguna. If I'm not mistaken, it was at 1500php. It was the only mixer available, brand new, boxed and sealed. 

Inside:
Manual
1 Dough Hook,
1 Beater, 
1 Whisk, 
4 litre stainless steel bowl (detachable)

It was a lucky find I must say, because we were informed that the items sold in that surplus outlet comes in randomly.  Sometimes, there are other stand mixers of different brands, and most of the time quantity goes 1 or 2 for each kind. It wouldn't hurt to ask, but don't expect that they'll give you "new stock" when you go to any surplus shops.
If you can't find it in HMR, try Save On Surplus, Market- Market, Taguig. They sell Homemaker kitchen equipments including the Homemaker Stand Mixer for 3990php. I've visited the place several times, and they always  have the mixer on display. Over the weekend, I went to check again and the mixer is still there.

Performance/ durability:

This Homemaker Stand Mixer has planetary action , 6 Speeds Pulse. Take note, it is not comparable to a KitchenAid Mixer. There's a reason why it's way more affordable than a KitchenAid. 

With what I mentioned in a separate post, for beginners like me, it's perfect for practicing. In one year, I made lots of pastries and cakes using this mixer. I always have 2-3 mixing bowls ready. If I need to make a huge amount of pastries, I don't mix it all at the same time. I cut the recipe so it will not overwork the mixer. Then, I just throw in another load.

I placed it to a test last Christmas. I made 4-5 dozen cupcakes (with frosting), more than 100 chocolate crinkles (in one day) and brownies all as our Holiday giveaways.  I often use my Homemaker Stand Mixer because I bake a lot. On a weekly basis, I make 6 to a dozen cupcakes with frosting and a cake. It depends on what I want to make and no, I don't sell them, I just like to bake. I save a little for myself and my children then the rest goes to my parents and siblings or I give some to my husband's team at work.

For business purposes, I can't really answer for that inquiry. But personally, in case I'll be putting baking a notch higher like selling my pastries, I will definitely invest on the best mixer around. 

With all that was mentioned, my Homemaker Stand Mixer is working like brand new.

Quality of pastry:

I did not take any baking lessons. But I've learned that the secret to baking is to follow the recipe step by step. That includes use of the right materials, measurement and ingredients. The mixer is just secondary for me. If I wasn't given a stand mixer, I will probably continue with a hand mixer. But then again, nobody wants to overwork their arms and hands right? it gets really painful especially if a recipe requires a certain level of consistency this Homemaker Stand Mixer works for me.
Here are some of my creations made with the help of a Homemaker Stand Mixer:
In addition, I haven't used the dough hook attachment yet. I'm giving it some thought, been gathering old bread recipes from my mom's bakery. Soon!

I hope this entry is going to be useful for those who love to bake. The Homemaker Stand Mixer is a good choice for starters. It mixes well, it gives perfect results. I'm satisfied with its performance.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

No Bake Lasagna Rolls

This is my favorite of all the things I came up with in my kitchen. I didn't have an oven then, so I thought that one way to come up with lasagna is to spread some sauce over the pasta as filling, roll it , top it with my special white sauce, cheese and pop it in the microwave. It was a success! It's delicious and easy to make. Perfect for parties and gatherings.

Servings: 4-5
Materials:
  • Sauce pan for boiling pasta
  • Sauce pan for spaghetti sauce
  • baking sheet or anything with flat surface for rolling the pasta
  • microwavable containers

Ingredients: Pasta and Sauce

  • 1 454g box Lasagna
  • 1 kilo ground sirloin (boiled)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 kg spaghetti sauce 
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • a dash of salt
  • a pinch of black pepper granules
  • *(optional) Bechamel sauce (can be found anywhere online)

Procedures:
  • In a sauce pan boil Lasagna al dente then set aside.
  • In a separate sauce pan,  heat cooking oil.
  • Saute garlic until light brown.
  • Add onions and red bell pepper.
  • Stir for a few seconds.
  • Add boiled ground sirloin.
  • Simmer for 30 seconds.
  • Add spaghetti sauce and simmer in low fire for a few seconds. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

  • Using a tray, line cooked pasta.
  • Spread some spaghetti meat sauce over each.
  • Roll it up slowly so it won't break.
  • Arrange each lasagna roll in a microwavable container.
  • Pour some white sauce and quick melt cheese.
  • Pop it inside the microwave for 30 seconds.
* if you do not have white sauce, just add extra cheese.

Enjoy!
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Ampalaya Con Carne

One way to make bitter gourd more enticing and interesting to eat is by mixing it with beef or any meat that will surely balance its bitterness. We all want our little ones to eat vegetables. As a mom, I introduced eating Ampalaya or bitter gourd to my eldest son as early as 3 years old, same thing will follow with my youngest.  With my experience, to be able to get my kids eat bitter gourd, I make the dish saucy. Tomato sauce will do, oyster sauce and serve it with their favorite food (fried chicken, fish, etc). It's also best to just serve it on the table, let them eat  it (but don't force them) than say a lot of things about it.

Here we go!

Servings: 3-4
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups beef cubes (boiled until tender)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 medium red tomatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Ampalaya (sliced into thin pieces)
 To lessen the bitterness, get rid of the seeds and the white lining beneath it then soak it in water.
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper granules
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
Procedure:
  • Boil beef cubes until tender. Drain the meat and set aside 1 1/2 cups of beef broth.
  • Mix soy sauce, water, cornstarch and black pepper granules then set aside.
  • Saute garlic in olive oil until medium brown.
  • Add onion and tomatoes, stir for a few seconds.
  • Add beef cubes and stir for a few seconds.
  • Add bitter gourd or ampalaya.
  • Add beef broth and simmer for 30 seconds or if vegetable is at least half- cooked.
  • Shift to low fire then add soy sauce mixture and stir evenly.
Ready to be served!
Of course, bitter gourd has a lot of health benefits. One is lowering/ balancing blood sugar levels. Every part of the plant is useful, that's why some prefer to juice it. But personally, would rather cook it.

For leftovers, check this out!
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Easy Chili Con Carne

The key to a healthy and delicious Chili con Carne is to boil the ground meat ahead to get rid of all the fats and oil and grease. Or better,  choose the lean part of the beef and ask your local butcher to grind it for you, now that's fresh. My recipe is made up of ingredients that can be found at any grocery store or market. Instead of using fresh beans, I went for the ones that's already precooked and packed.

Servings: 3-4
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 kilo lean ground meat (boiled and drained)
  • 1 large or 2 medium red bell peppers chopped into small pieces
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped into small pieces (or canned tomatoes)
  • 2 medium onions (red or white) chopped into small pieces
  • 1 150g tomato paste
  • 3 100g pack of Hunt's chili Beef & Beans (or 1 can of Hormel Chili with Beans)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried cilantro (or chopped fresh cilantro/ wansoy)
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper granules
  • 1/2 tsp cooking oil
Procedure:
  • In a sauce pan, saute onions in oil for a few seconds.
  • Add tomatoes and red bell peppers and stir until cooked.
  • Add ground beef, mix evenly.
  • Add Hunt's Chili Beef & Beans, stir and mix until well- blended.
  • Add tomato paste and mix until even.
  • Add chili powder and cilantro stir for a few seconds.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Mix for 30 seconds or when everything is mixed well and cooked.
Aside from using this easy Chili con Carne as usual topping for nacho chips, I also like to pair it with hot rice. Use it as dip to my thin pretzel crisps, crackers and biscuits.
I also love it as breakfast filling for my hot pandesal. It's also perfect for bagels, ciabatta, baguette etc... It can also make an ordinary Bruschetta more enticing by topping it with sour cream or cheese.
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SPAM Tocino

Tocino: is a famous breakfast dish here in the Philippines. It is pork belly marinated in anise wine, annato water, sugar, salitre and salt. But most tocinos found in supermarkets nowadays are free of preservatives. It is often served for breakfast with eggs, tomatoes or atchara. But because it's so delicious, it is also considered as an all-day meal.

Here's something I've been meaning to share... I found out about SPAM Tocino thru a friend via Instagram. I never really asked where to buy it until I saw it from the racks of S&R Congressional branch. I bought 1 at that time just to try it. That evening, I was having breakfast with my husband and kids. Yes, it is good, it actually taste like real tocino only in cuts of a SPAM.

The search continued as I check if other grocery stores sell it, but I was not successful I only saw it in S&R. It is a limited release maybe that's why it's not being sold in local supermarkets.
With SPAM Tocino, there's no way you'll get charred meat as to what we often get from real tocino if we overcook it. It taste like "tocino" but not as sweet.
It's now one of our favorite SPAMS. For this month's S&R Members' Treat, I was hoping to hoard on SPAM Tocino. But I was able to go to S&R on the 4th day of the sale, and as expected, they didn't have any SPAM Tocino in stock at the BGC branch. I always find it in S&R Congressional I'm gonna check next week.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pork Asado

Believe it or not, my husband cook better Pork Asado than I do. He made some a few months back, I was so impressed that I wasn't able to take down notes. One afternoon, he left to buy ingredients and took over the kitchen. He was just putting stuff together in a pot, then voila! Pork Asado restaurant style.

I only get to taste Pork Asado everytime I eat in a Chinese Restaurant or if my dad is in the mood to cook some. Yesterday, I was totally bored with the same old, same old dishes. I was on the look for something different to kick our mid- week.

I went online and I came across an easy recipe.

Please check the link for the Cooking Demo.

I made some changes with my Pork Asado. First, instead of using onion, I added ginger which were sliced thinly. I also prefer black pepper granules more than whole because it gives more flavor. For health reasons, I used Coco Sugar (6 packets or about 1 1/2 tbsp). Other than that, I followed the rest in the cooking demo
The meat plays a big part to a delicious and tender Pork Asado. Pork loin, tenderloin has always been the best choice. Easy to cook and has less fat.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Baliwag Sinigang na Ulo sa Miso

The food court is one of my go-to places every time I can't figure out what I want to eat. Sometimes I crave for food that restaurants not even in fast- food chains can offer. For years now, I go to Baliwag for a heavy meal that's Filipino inspired, with the sabaw (soup), rice and big portions combined. Everything is there. Even with my kids, they always find something delicious and healthy from Baliwag.
I particularly love their Sinigang na Ulo sa Miso. An order costs around 99php and that includes a cup of rice. But once you see the large bowl of this viand, a diner will definitely go for another round of rice.
Baliwag's Sinigang na Ulo sa Miso reminds me so much of my dad's version that's why I love it. A sip of the soup makes me forget that I'm in a food court and suddenly, there's this feeling like I never left home.
A large bowl contains half of the Maya-maya fish head and lots of fresh Mustard leaves. For lunch today, after running some errands, my husband asked me if I want to eat in a "more formal restaurant" I said no because I want to check the food court and luckily, they have Baliwag. I was so full. My day was made special sharing a bowl Sinigang na Ulo sa Miso with my other half and... 2 cups of rice.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sancho Churreria Manila

Girl bonding was spent at Sancho Churreria Manila. My sisters and I wanted burger from The Burger Project but our mom was craving for pasta. Good thing that Sancho was just right beside The Burger project, we didn't have to look any further. 

They say, Sancho Churreria Manila, taken from the name and by word of mouth, serves one of the best churros in the city. So weird because we totally forgot to order some during our visit. 
And for first timers, I gotta say we enjoyed the over-all feel of the restaurant. It was so homey. The dining area has limited no. of tables and chairs but it's not cramped. The staff was very friendly and courteous.
For our food, we all ordered pasta and Brazo de Mercedes for dessert.
 Pasta Puttanesca
Pesto
Classic Carbonara
 Baked Macaroni
The pasta dishes we ordered came with 2 slices of buttered bread. The portions for the pasta is big. For a single serving, it's a lot for a person to enjoy. As a pasta lover, I can say that Sancho Churreria Manila serves delicious pasta. I love it. It's tasty but not salty. I can actually distinguish the mix of flavors thru the freshness of the ingredients from my Puttanesca. My mom enjoyed her baked macaroni, the sauce was very rich. Same with my sister's Carbonara. The Pesto was not oily and the mix of Parmesan cheese with the basil added texture and more flavor. By the way, extra Parmesan cheese is available by request.

The prices of our pasta dishes went around 175-190php
A slice of Brazo de Mercedes 35php

Sancho Churreria Manila has a wide range of food choices. From pasta, sandwiches, appetizers, main that goes around Filipino viands and desserts. One of their house specialty is their line of desserts: Chocolate eclairs, Cream puffs, Traditional Chocolate cake, Brazo de Mercedes and Churros.

My husband noticed this post while I was making it. He was not around when I took my mom and sisters at this restaurant. With that, this coming weekend, we will pay Sancho Churreria Manila a visit and taste more of its scrumptious dishes.


Location: 122 Maginhawa St., Teachers Village, Quezon City
Tel no: 436-5539
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Easy Banoffee

This was not my first attempt on a Banoffee Pie but this was the only one that gave me a more presentable result. The previous ones were delicious but the filling turned out runny. I don't really expect to get perfect results on the first try, but every time I want to make something new or I'm not really familiar with, I take note of the things I need to work on and I do it again.
First I needed to learn how to make caramel (Dulce de leche/ caremelized milk). Lucky if you're living abroad because they sell this in can ready- to- use. For us here in the Philippines, all you have to do is to get a pot of water sink your can of condensed milk side ways and boil it for 1 1/2 hours- 2 hours. Make sure that the can of milk is always submerged in water or it's going to explode if it dries up. Once done, let it set in the very same pot of water for 15- 30 minutes and slowly add tap water until it's cooled down.

A lot of work huh? It's gonna be all worth it later on once you're used to it. The fact that you can already make your own caramel is already a +++.

Materials: 
  • Spring form pan or any container you want to use and that is easy to cool.
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Mixer 
  • Grater for dark chocolate
Ingredients:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 pack of crushed graham crackers
  • 3 ripe bananas (sliced into thin pieces)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (from the refrigerator)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 300ml can of caramelized condensed milk
Procedures:

Crust:
  • In a mixing bowl, mix crushed graham crackers and melted butter. Mix until well- blended.
  • Pour crushed graham into pan or molder.
  • Spread the crumbs evenly from the bottom to the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Filling:
  • In a bowl, mix banana slices with half of the caramelized milk.
  • Pour and spread banana filling on the prepared crust evenly.
  • Pour the remaining caramelized milk and spread again evenly.
Cream Topping:
  • In a separate mixing bowl and on medium speed whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Add cream cheese and mix until well- blended.
  • Top cream over the banana and caramelized milk mixture, spread evenly. 
  • Garnish with dark chocolate shavings.
  • Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before slicing.
Since this is a no- bake Banoffee, it is important to keep this dessert in a cool place all the time. Please bear with how my Banoffee looks, I made boo-boo on the less banana filling and more cream topping part. Well, I just gotta keep trying right? I'll try the bake version some time and post it here too. But for now....

Enjoy!
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Margherita Frittata

Frittata or egg cake is a famous Italian dish. It is egg- based and often baked. It's like pie or cake. Only, the egg holds the ingredients together. I made some for breakfast today. It can be served for lunch and dinner as well, it will depend on what type of Frittata you plan to make. Some have pasta in it, potatoes, vegetables and meat.

Like my usual omelet, I used basic, onions and tomatoes. Then I added button mushrooms, fresh basil leaves, Vienna sausage, yellow bell peppers, cheese and white sauce of my own. It perfectly matched my favorite fried Danggit.
Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (chopped into small pieces)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (sliced into round pieces)
  • 1 medium white onion (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 small can Vienna sausage (chopped)
  • a cup of button mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 medium bell pepper (sliced into sticks)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 2 tbsp  olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (melted)
  • a dash of salt and pepper
Procedure:
  • Preheat oven at 375 degrees.
  • In a frying pan, heat olive oil.
  • Saute chopped onions and tomatoes. Stir for a few seconds.
  • Add vienna sausage and mushrooms, stir until cooked.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add chopped fresh basil, stir for a few seconds. Set aside.
  • Butter baking platter or pan.
  • Set stir- fried vegetables and sausage in buttered pan.
  • Pour in beaten eggs.
  • Arrange sliced tomatoes and whole basil leaves over the egg mixture.
  • Top the platter with grated cheese.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • Cool it a bit in room temperature before serving.
Tips: 
1. Frittata can also be fried also known as open faced omelet.
2. Add cream or white sauce on top to make it soft and smooth.
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