Friday, March 28, 2014

Blueberry Cheesecake From My Kitchen

My love for Blueberry Cheesecake took a notch up. Why? Well, this time, the Blueberry Cheesecake I enjoy is prepared and baked straight from my kitchen. This featured Blueberry Cheesecake was actually my first try on making cheesecakes. One fine afternoon, I was itching to bake something, so I thought I go for a cheesecake.
The recipe I followed for this cheesecake came from the Good Housekeeping Bake It! recipe book. It was my sister's Christmas gift for me last year. I followed the basic New York- Style Cheesecake recipe then I topped my plain cheesecake with my special sour cream mixture and some blueberry preserves. It would be more fun is mobidev will create something for baking enthusiast like me. Easy access recipes online.

I like the golden light brown result of the cheesecake. Some would prefer coating the sides with crushed graham.
My first cheesecake turned out great. It was soft, the taste of the "not too sweet" cheesecake matched the rich flavors of the sour cream and blueberries. Since I started baking, I've lessened my visits to pastry shops in our area. Being able to come up with my own cheesecake is another baking achievement.
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Friday, March 21, 2014

All- Natural Food in Baler, Aurora

If there will be a reason why my family will want to have a property in Baler... aside from the beaches, food is a big factor, everything in Baler is all- natural/ organic. It's a big blessing to have a friend from Baler. Every time we go there, we're served with home-cooked food from breakfast, lunch to dinner.

Upon our arrival, a local fisherman and his wife with their fresh catch paid us a visit. Who wants fresh Tanigue?! In Manila, a kilo of Tanigue costs from around 280-300+php and it's not as fresh anymore.
Aside from 2 big Tanigue's, the fisherman also brought some small fishes. The farm we stayed in is just 5 minutes away from the ocean, so imagine the freshness of these fishes they delivered to us that day. In the evening, our host grilled slices of the Tanigue for dinner and paired it with Pako Salad (Vegetable Fern Salad).
Pako is another organic vegetable that's very abundant in Baler, Aurora. It's by luck to find fresh Pako in Manila. Pako grows along "clean" riverbanks or sapa. The tips are often blanched then used for salads or to match with any Filipino viand.
Pako is one of the food I enjoyed when we were in Baler. As a matter of fact, I bought 6-7 bunches at the Baler market. It survived our 6 hours of travel back to Manila. Aside from fishes and vegetables, Aurora Province also offers a vast variety of seafood. During our 2011 visit, my husband and I was already at the Baler market as early as 6am picking and buying fresh squid to be taken home. Same with mangoes and other fruits like watermelon.
Other things that can be very useful in cooking which you can find in Baler is coconut vinegar or sukang tuba, red/salted eggs, rice, potatoes and onions. Life in Baler is very healthy because processed food is not part of their lifestyle. Not a fast- food chain around.

When in Baler, it's either you eat at the only 5 star hotel in Sabang beach, dine at the small eateries by the beach,  rent or get a house where you can cook the fresh ingredients you bought from the market and enjoy healthy home-cooked meals throughout your stay.
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Cream Puffs

After a month of being not able to bake, finally I was able to find time again. With my next project, I made some Cream Puffs. As for each pastry I try to bake, I don't expect it to come out perfect on the first try. But for some reason, I'm blessed to have good results for every first attempt I make.

I learn so much even without proper training through some readings  and continuous practice.  Let me share a few of the baking rules I've learned.
  • Follow and understand recipe instructions all the time.
  • Take note of the right baking essentials used for every pastry or cake recipe.
  • Never rush into things.
  • Right temperature is key.
Following these may have been the key that helped me yield how pastries should be. The first batch of Cream Puffs I made turned out pretty well, as if I bought them from a local pastry shop. I was very happy and satisfied.
The recipe I used for my Cream Puffs was from a pastry book. Since I started baking, I always use ingredients of the highest quality being sold in the market. With that, it's easy to achieve the right consistency, texture and over-all mixture in making the pastry.  I saw the difference between now from the time when I baked my first- ever set of cupcakes, I used cheap products then.

The custard filling was easy. My mom taught me how to make it. It's just a mixture of condensed milk, egg yolks, cornstarch and water. (As advised, not to put the egg whites to waste, with sugar and cream of tartar, you can use it to make meringue.)
With regards to the Cream Puff recipe, in case some of you might ask, please give me a little more time, I plan to post it. I just need to fix it accordingly and the right way so you guys can get the very same result. It's hard to post something and get complaints of not getting the right outcome. Since I made some adjustments, it may lead me to concoct my own recipe basing it on those changes made.
The cream puff shells can also be used for chocolate eclairs. For a palm-size cream puff shell, a table spoon or a scoop using an ice cream scooper of the dough will do. Of course, the smaller it is you get bite- sized cream puffs. Cream Puff/ Chocolate Eclairs are my favorites. Being able to bake my own was truly a personal achievement. I never thought that I will come to a point in my life when I'll be baking the things I love.
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Prom Dress? Make It Red!

Long or floor-length dresses are elegant and timeless. Precious piece when it comes to gowns or formal attire for women. It's prom season and I understand the pressure of nailing the right outfit for prom night. 

Most of the time, we all end up with plain shades of nude or pastel pieces. I thought it would be fun and different to add a little spice to a plain prom dress.... why not make it red. Red is a striking color, but it doesn't mean that it can't be worn to prom. With the perfect design or cut that goes well with the dress, plus accessorizing it right, a red prom dress can turn into the most classy and unique item in the ocean of pastels, black and nude.
You can find this A-Line/Princess V-neck Floor-Length Chiffon Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading Sequins and a whole lot more at www.jenjenhouse.com.

This dress is Made-To-Order. Whether you choose a standard size or custom measurements, our tailors craft each dress to order. Your dress will be personally tailored for your exact fit.

Aside from the attractive red prom dress featured above, you can browse through http://www.jenjenhouse.com/Prom-Dresses-c18/ for more or for the prom dress in your mind. You can go for a strapless or a one- shoulder. Empire or A-Line Silhouette. Beaded or embroidered embellishment. Chiffon, satin or organza. There's a lot of styles and designs to combine that will surely make your red prom dress one of a kind.
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