When I was away

Well, there’s really no reason or point in explaining why I haven’t posted a single thing since months ago. NO matter how swamped I was I could’ve always made time to post, yes? I didn’t and that’s it. Meanwhile, I can tell you what I’ve done so far. I got a job that I knew I wouldn’t like and kept at it for 10 months. I made new friends. I went to the gym, lost the weight I thought I never had. I’ve genuinely embraced a healthier lifestyle.



I do love the feel of the cool breeze in morning when I take my bike for a ride.

Oh and I took a Competency Certification for Cake Making and Petit Fours in TESDA. I learned a lot! Lots and lots! I baked weekly for like 3 months! I’m sorry I haven’t posted any of them, I didn’t take as much photos as I normally would have.

Here’s some photos (some with recipes) I did while I was away.


A cookie sandwich made of nutty meringue and covered with rich buttercream that originated in the Philippines. It is the cookie version of San Rival. Best served with coffee or bitter tea.

(recipe slightly adapted from yummy.ph)


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted cashews (reserve half to coat cookies, see step 6)
egg whites from 4 larges eggs
3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup super fine sugar dissolved in 3/4 cup milk (chill for at least 1 hour)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened

Procedure for the buttercream: Whip butter until fluffy, Gradually add in the milk until well incorporated. Chill.
Procedure for the meringue:

1 Pre heat oven to 300F. Grease and flour cookies sheets, set aside. Grease and flour 3-inch round molds.

2 Make the meringue: Compbine flour and cashew in a food process fitted with the blade attachment. Process until nuts are finely chopped,but not powdery. Divide into half.

3 Pan roast the half of the flour-nut mixture in a non stick pan until slightly brown.Set aside.

4 Using a handheld mixer, whip eggwhites on high speed until stiff but not dry. Add sugar a tablespoon at a time. Fold in the flour-nut mixtre in 3-4 additions.

5 Arrange the round molds on the prepared cookie sheets. Evenly fill each mold using an offset spatula.

6 Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from molds. You will make a total of about 40 meringue discs.
7 Assemble, spread buttercream into one side of the meringue disc then cover with another meringue to make a sandwich. Cover the sandwich with the buttercream completely then roll into the pan roasted flour-nut mixture.

Serve chilled.


Mango and cream float

mango and cream float

I’ve been jonesing for this dessert for a while now and finally two days ago I was able to make it. I wanted something with the same soft and delicate texture but has different tastes, namely, bitter (chocolatey bitter), sour (almost ripe mango kind of sour) and sweetened cream.

Although I normally make this dessert in big portions using a relatively medium sized rectangular pan (with lid), I ended up using one of my single serve tin cans that I use for baking muffins before. I was hoping to take a really enticing photo. It didn’t go exactly as planned. While I was removing the dessert from its mold, the cream part started to lose its shape and it seemed that I choose the wrong materials for the shoot.I had no choice but to continue because I have already removed it from the tin can and it was starting to melt.

As for the recipe, you’ll need the following: ripe mango, oreo cookies, condensed milk and 1 can heavy cream.

Separate the cookies from its cream filling then grind them to make a fine powder. For every three pairs of cookies, use at least 2 tbsp of melted butter to glue them together to make the base. Press the cookie and butter mixture into the tin can. Set aside. Slice the mango flesh as thinly as possible. I did use an overripe mango for this one but it still turned out a bit sour, I don’t know why. Anyways, once sliced layer them on top of the chocolate base. I used about 3 spoonfuls of sliced mangoes. Next, mix the cream and condensed milk. I suggest you start with the cream and slowly add the condensed milk checking the level of sweetness as you go. Some people like it really sweet and I don’t so I usually go for 1/2 cup cream to just about 1/4 condensed milk. Pour over the mango layered base. Cover. Then freeze for at least 4-6 hours.

My cousin didn’t like the layered tastes but I loved it. For some reason it made excited so I decided to make more.

This week I was filled with boredom due to the fact that my sleeping habits’ been disturbed. I was in a middle of finishing a project and I was in a hurry so I had to shorten my sleeping hours. I’m almost finished now with the project so I guess its fine.

Oh yeah, it’s that the beginning of the school year once again. That soon huh.

Polvorone cookie bars (with chocolate cookies)

polvorones cookie bar

You’ve heard of polvorón, right?

Every Filipino child, past and present, knows what a polvoron is. I’d say that this generation is lucky enough to have the opportunity to sample a wide variety. The most commercially known are the ones sold in every Goldilocks bakeshop. I’m certain however that there are more of these specialty shops out there who grew its increasing number of customers solely through word of mouth ( and perhaps through food bloggers like myself). I have yet to sample their polvoron but I’m sure they’re out there.

I won’t consider myself to have an special affinity (read: addiction) towards these sweet treat. I like it, that’s a fact. The polvoron and I prefer to meet once or twice a year. Like a meeting of long lost friends or lovers making the union feel refreshing, renewed and rejuvenating. It’s like falling inlove. I’m romanticizing, uh, before I go chanel cupid let’s go back to my main topic.

I’ve been considering making polvoron for my little pals (Vince, Dian, Hanna and Kevin) as their summer break treat but I didn’t realize it would be difficult looking for a traditional recipe.

I wanted to make something that isn’t like the ones sold in sari-sari stores OR the ones from Goldilocks. So, by the power vested in me, I searched online for an alternative treat and there it is. Popping in on my screen like a rabbit out of a magician’s hat.

I found one from Spicie Foodie’s April post. I had to make changes in her procedure and recipes due to my limited kitchen equipment namely: oven. I know, I’ve been complaining about that busted oven since last year’s oatmeal cookie and red velvet cake failure but it is not wise for us to buy a new oven since I’ll barely use it anyway.

So yes, I used an oven toaster. Please check Spicie Foodie’s site for the oven baked recipe, if you’d prefer that.

Here’s my version.

polvoron cookie bar

Polvorone cookie bars (with chocolate cookies)
makes 16-18 bars
1 cup flour (approx value)
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
¼ cup powdered sugar***
Pinch of salt
6 pcs chocolate cookies, omit the cream filling (oreos, crumbled THEN powdered)
2 tbsp powdered milk


In a large bowl, mix the flour, powdered sugar, pinch of salt, powdered chocolate cookies and powdered milk. Then add unsalted melted butter.
Line the small oven toaster tray with parchment paper. In the center of the tray, gather a small amount of the crumbly dough into a cookie cutter to shape your polvoron, press gently so it contains its shape.
*My oven toaster was a bit smaller than (about 4.5″ X 7.5″) most so I can only make at five each time.
**Please test at least one cookie first. I didn’t have a digitally measured heat so I timed the cookies to cook in 5 minutes (+ 2 minutes cooling time in the toaster). Spicie Foodie’s recipe stated she pre heated the oven at 180°C then baked at 8-10 minutes.

The polvoron should come out holding its’ shape but still soft and crumbly when eaten. That’s how you’d know you’ve made it right. Just a reminder whether you’re using the traditional oven or the unconventional oven toaster like I did, should you bake some more, take notice of the residual heat from the oven first.

Continue baking until you’ve used up all the crumbly dough.When your done baking and cooling, wrap the cookies in colorful cellophane wrap or Japanese papers.

*** I find that powdered sugar is the best way to control the sweetness of this polvoron version.

I have here a piece of information that you might find useful.

polvoron info

And yes, the kids loved it, specially Vince. I think Vince is my biggest fan. His mother said that he eats every and any type of food I feed him even if he normally doesn’t eat them. Isn’t that the nicest compliment of all? I remember one time when he ate a big fat piece of bitter gourd and red pepper egg roll and asked for more. Oh that was a surprise for his mother and I he was around 2 1/2 year old  that time.



Churros con Chocolate

churros con tsokolate

There was a time in my teen age life where all I thought about was Gaia Moore. Gaia Moore is the female protagonist in one of Francine Pascal’s book series Fearless. The Fearless series made me scrap all of my SVH (Sweet Valley High)collection (also by Francine Pascal) and focus on Gaia’s life. She was a teenager born without the fear gene (hence fearless). Back then that kind of premise sounded really outstretched but now with the slew of SciFi TV shows it’s not that hard to get into anymore.
Perhaps Gaia was a part of an experiment? Her family was after all were/are some kind of super spies/ double agents.

Well, I could tell you a lot more but the thing about Gaia that I loved the most is her undeniable “eat-all-I-can-sweets” habit. She loved junk food and sweet treats. She really does. She even buys a one dozen Krispy Kreme and gulps them in one go in Central Park. I tried that, with Dunkin’ Donuts (there was no Krispy Kreme in the Philippines at that time) and I conclude it is best left poetically prettier in books.
One of the memorable is the churros scene.So as I went on and left my teen age life behind I kept a few of her habits for myself.

Here’s a recipe for churros that involved a lot of dipping in hot cocoa.

tsokolate in a cupita


2 cups water
1 cup unsalted softened butter
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)*
8 whole eggs

Paste: Boil together water, butter and salt. Stir in flour and sugar. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball. After about 1 minute remove from heat.

Add eggs one at a time. Continue stirring until smooth. Spoon mixture into a piping bag with a star tip (large-sized).

Deep fry.

Hot cocoa (Kablon Farms tablea)

1 tablet 10 g tablea
1 cup water 180 ml
milk sugar to taste

Finely chop the tablea and place it in a saucepan with salt(a pinch) and water. Melt over low heat stirring constantly and taking care it does not burn. When the chocolate is smooth and shiny stir in milk and sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Be careful because the chocolate will bubble up and thicken rapidly.

Serve hot.

So now it’s time to have that afternoon churro con tsokolate merienda (snack).

churro cocoon

YOU WOULD NOTICE that the churros’ shape doesn’t look anything that came from a piping bag with star tip.

Yes, it did not. You see after placing the paste in my piping bag (which isn’t really a piping bag but a re-purposed thick plastic bag) it burst after piping one flimsy lame 2 inch churro. So since I was in a very dire (with a smoking hot oil in front of me) situation I pulled the closest shaping kitchen utensil I could find, which was vegetable cutter.

At first once I saw the finished product I thought of cocoon. The thing that births a butterfly, those pretty fluttering things that wander about in the garden on a misty morning. They do look like cocoons don’t they?

I suppose you may eat these with melted chocolate milky bars instead but nah, this is way more precious. You may also just sprinkle powdered sugar.

So, now that you the cup of hot cocoa and plate of just fried churro in front of you, time to eat. Dip a piece into the hot cocoa, savor the sweet warm sensation. Yes, that’s it. Now, continue popping this rich fried (Thank you Spain for creating these treats) dough into your mouth.

Have a nice day.

*The recipe I based this from (The Mandarin Oriental Hotel via Food magazine) did not specify what type of sugar they used (It was either white or brown, I presumed) but since we have been using brown sugar for years, I used that.

sweet potato: sugar coated, fried, steamed and free

When you live in a place where farming is the life that feeds most in the community. You expect to receive a few if not a lot of generous gifts from a few of those who’ve worked for you. In the past few days, a middle aged woman who sold a parcel of her farmland to us began sending “rejects” from her produce. A couple of 5-kilo really sweet (but pale) watermelon. A strawbag filled with eggplants, bittergourd, string beans and cucumber came in next. The other day she gave us a selection of sweet potatoes. I’ll determine them by their uncooked, peeled color: white, yellow and purple.

the basket

Based on my latest amazement with the color purple (or anything close to it) I decided to write a post about these free local sweet potatoes.

First, the regular kind, white fleshed. Here in the Philippines, this is the kind that you will usually find sprawled on a display stand, ground, or stalls on market days or any given day. It almost always available. Cart businesses turn them into what we call, kamote cue – like bbq only it is sweet potato. After peeling, it is often cut into either chunks or thick slices. Over high heat, the pieces are first fried to get an even browned surface then fried again (in oil with muscovado sugar) as people buy it. You’ll get it freshly made most of the time.

Second, the yellow fleshed sweet potato opted to be boiled. It literally made me. I know root crops are demanding aren’t they? One look and I know how they must feel. I’ll stop I sound inebriated again.

Third (and last) of course is the purple fleshed sweet potato. Holy kamote it is! I truly felt my “purple summer” groove on while I was peeling these. They are naturally sweeter than the first two varieties. So I decided to make a salted version. I’ve mentioned before that I like savory over sweets remember? Hence, salt for vanilla. After peeling them, using a gadget (created by the heavens) called peeler ( a mandolin slicer is ALSO suggested), start slicing away. Meanwhile heat about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a relatively small frying pan. Sprinkle a teaspoon of fine salt over an estimated 1 1/2 cup worth of thinly sliced purple sweet potato. toss it around to coat it evenly with the salt. Deep fry. The pieces will start curling up and they’re ready. Scoop ’em out of the pan. Place it on a paper toweled dish to drain excess oil. Serve immediately.

Now the pork lover in me said, “Omo, they look like bacon.”

if you’ve noticed (I’m pretty sure you haven’t) the pictures are now in jpeg format instead of the usual png. I can’t tell if this will work but we’ll see.

In this country, the sweet potato is an important root crop especially in the rural areas. It is as staple among the impoverished families since they are easier to cultivate and costs less than rice. The young leaves (shoots, kamote tops) are steamed and served with bagoong (fermented baby shrimp or fish) and piping hot rice. The kamote tops are also added in simple fish stews. the leaves themselves have no distinct taste and texture but not necessarily bad. Try it.

What to do this summer?

It’s almost officially summer. Good thing about summer is the expectation that guests will come in and out unannounced, it amuses me. Better thing about summer is I get to go and do summery things (swimming, fishing, outing ). The best thing about summer (this summer) is that I discovered something magical. I won’t share, it’s got nothing to do with you anyway.

What I will share however is the myriad of food possibilities!
This first feature doesn’t scream summer but is a nice substitution to a heavy evening meal on special summer nights. Say, after a tiring walk on the beach on afternoon …

Salad with fried cheese (and optional boiled egg)
For the fried cheese
1 ½ cups Mixture of hard cheeses (cheddar, pecorino or our local quezo de bola)
2 cups Japanese breadcrumbs (panko) seasoned with
1 tsp each, dried rosemary and thyme
1 cup flour
1 pc egg, slightly whisked (add one more if necessary)
Oil, for deep frying
First, combine the cheese as evenly as you can Prepare batter station. Flour—egg—seasoned panko. Using a spoon, scoop the cheese and form a ball with your clean hands. Dip it in flour first coating evenly. Then dip it in the whisked egg, shaking off excess before covering the cheese ball with the seasoned panko. . It is important to at least freeze the cheese beforehand for easier handling and to prevent it from bursting when deep frying. Deep fry when needed.
Add to a bowl of arugula with basic vinaigrette or do as I did here. Iceberg lettuce, red radish, boiled egg, tomato and mustard vinaigrette dressing. (The mustard vinaigrette dressing recipe is in my other entry, just type “Batman” in the search bar on you right.)
Now here comes, summer snacks.
My melt in the mouth bichu-bichu (fried ground sticky rice coated in muscovado sugar)

Oh yeah, here I present my little pals.

By the way, I got my hands on these and didn’t know what to do with them. Later I realized I could’ve turned them into jam.

Yes,I love. (recipe for crepe two-ways)

Precious Joy

This is always difficult. Talking about love and all. It’s easier for me to just show it or feel it. Be it thru a song, a meal or a sucker punch.
Just like right now, I really have nothing to say. Literally even.
I tried preparing what to post in advance but still nothing. My head is filled with Dan Humphrey and Four Tops.

So instead I’m sharing a poem from a Chinese artwork. This is an almost ethereal longing spreading all over me. This for is far better than the wedding vow “’till death do us part.”

Jiang Cheng Zi (Su Shi)
For ten long years,we two have been separated by life and death;
I say I do not yearn, yet I cannot forget.
Your grave separated us by a thousand miles, leaving me unable to pour out my grief.
You would not recognize me even if we were to meet; me with my face covered in dust,my hair streaked with frost.
At night, I fly home in my dreams,
I see you through your window, brushing your hair and painting your face.
We watch each other without a word, only with tears making thousands of streaks.
I suppose at the grave every year, the bright moon shines in the night,on a hill with short pines.

Maya Crepes Two-ways

Basic Crepe:

2 large eggs
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 cup full cream milk
1 cup Maya Original Hotcake mix

Beat eggs slightly,then add butter, milk and hotcake mix. Beat with a wooden whisk until mixture is free from lumps. Heat an 8-inch non-stick pan or flat skillet and lightly brush with oil. Over low heat, pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into pan. Quickly tilt from side to side to spread batter as thinly and evenly as you can. Cook until set. Flip to cook other side. *Do the same for the remaining mixture.

chocolate drizzled crepe

Sweet: Chocolate Drizzled Crepe
Drizzle with chocolate syrup after tilting from side to side. Wait until set, then flip to cook other side.

Ham and Cheese Crepe

Savory: Ham and Cheese Crepe Packets
Right after tilting from side to side,arrange a slice each of ham and cheese in the center. Cook until crepe is set. Form a packet by folding all four sides towards the center making sure you cover the ham and cheese. Brush the last fold with butter then flip to cook the “seal”.