Baked Chicken and Potatoes

When I was young ( a long time ago! ), the turbo broiler was a popular kitchen appliance.  We often had turbo roasted chicken.  The seasoning/s we used were rather simple – rock salt, pepper, garlic and calamansi.  The problem I usually had with the turbo broiled chicken was that it was almost always a dry bird!

But, to be honest, I didn’t know if the dryness was because of the turbo broiler or human error.  In any case, the turbo broiler was never a priority in my kitchen because it seemed to me to be a heavy, bulky appliance that was only good for one thing…  And since I have my little electric oven that was a rotisserie as well, I did not really need a turbo broiler!

What I wanted was a taste of my childhood chicken sans the dryness!

Unfortunately the market was out of whole birds, so I had to settle for the drumsticks.  But I forged ahead…

There wasn’t a “real” recipe for the chicken of my childhood…. it was more of a just do this and that and pop it in the broiler thing – basically juice from several calamansi would be rubbed all over the chicken.  Then a mixture of rock salt, coarsely ground black peppercorns and minced garlic would be rubbed on the chicken and under the skin ( if there were gaps ).  The chicken would then be placed in a cellophane bag and left in the fridge for at least an overnight.

In the present case, I thought since I veered away and used chicken drumsticks, I might as well make another change, which was to put thinly sliced potatoes under the chicken… the drippings from the chicken would surely make the potatoes really tasty!!!

And it did!  The chicken was even better than I remembered as a child and the potatoes? well, let’s just say the hubby is a happy hubby!!!!









Bolo Rei

Like I said, this is the year of fruitcake for me.  And I know I said I had baked my last fruitcake, but hey, technically, this is not cake, it is bread!

Bolo Rei is the Portuguese Christmas King’s Cake, but like I said, it is really bread, with yeast and everything.

I basically followed the recipe here – but I scaled the recipe down to a third.

Yes, this was Christmas Day breakfast!



Food for the Gods, take 2

I couldn’t sleep last night.  Eventually I stopped trying.  I went to the kitchen instead.  I looked at the list of recipes I (said I) wanted to try… and picked one…

Then again, I could never just follow a recipe, I always have to “personalize” it.  But to give credit where it is due, the original recipe is from  How did I “personalize” it?

Well, for starters, I did not have muscovado sugar, so I used my vanilla sugar instead (reduced too) and added molasses (omitted the vanilla extract while I was at it).  I reduced the flour (but not really by choice because I discovered, too late, that I only had about 3/4 cup of flour left in the pantry!) and since I reduced the flour, I reduced the baking powder as well.

All is well that ends well.  So far, everyone says these bars are fantastic!  I did discover, however, that it is best after being stored in an airtight container for 24 hours!


This is the first food for the gods bars that I baked using the small electric oven!  And it is perfect for a small batch that just enough for our household.


Ensaimada (or ensaymada) is a Filipino sweet bread that is slathered on with butter, sugar and cheese.  It may or may not have its origins with the Spanish ensaimada (mallorca) but it has evolved to be the quintessential Filipino bread (pandesal notwithstanding).

I have been on a quest to make THE ensaimada that I like for almost 5 years!  My attempts have all been flops… until this one… and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a no-knead one!

As always, I based the recipe on one that is in the The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  But I tweaked the brioche recipe in order to make it even richer because as far as I knew, the dough for ensaimada has more egg yolks and virtually no egg whites!  (I kept a couple of whites in the recipe though).

Wonder of wonders, I not only succeeded, but it was the perfect one for me!


Abalone and Scallop Nest

For special occasions, I break out the special stuff.

The occasion I’m talking about this time was hubby’s birthday… not a special numbered birthday, but for me any birthday of his a special day!

For this dish, because the ingredients are stars by themselves, no special recipe is required.  What is crucial, however, is a good (and I do mean a REALLY GOOD) can of abalone!  Of course, fresh scallops and properly prepared bamboo shoots are important too, but these 2 ingredients can be substituted with any other seafood and vegetable.  The abalone (and its sauce) is the true star of the dish.

Drain and reserve the sauce from the canned abalone.  Sauté the bamboo shoots (cleaned, sliced, boiled and drained).  Pour in a little of the abalone sauce.  Stir-fry until the shoots and coated.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bamboo shoots to a serving dish.

In the same pan, sauté the scallops with a little more of the abalone sauce until the scallops are almost done.  Again with a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to the serving dish, mounding the scallops in the middle of the dish.

In the same pan, pour in all of the abalone sauce and heat until it boils gently.  Add the abalone and heat through (do not over-do it or the scallops will become tough).  Using a pair of tongs, transfer the abalone to the serving plate, arranging them decoratively in a circle.

Pour the heated abalone sauce all over the dish and splash with a few drops of black sesame oil.

Enjoy while it is hot!


Choco Chip Oat Scotchies, in a Pan

The little girl had a project for school – “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up”.  It’s nothing new.  A couple of years back, she had a similar project.  The difference?  Last time, she wanted to be a teacher, specifically teaching young kids how to bake and cook.  This time, she wanted to be a baker with her own pastry shop!

The project this time around is more elaborate; the rubrics specified not only props but materials that showed realism, as opposed to a slide show.  Good thing the little girl really knew how to bake, after all, she has been my assistant since she was 2-1/2 years old!  In fact, she had made pancakes by herself (doing all except fire up the gas range), chocolate cupcakes (with chocolate icing, who cares if the frosting was messy), and granola bars!  She even has her own cookbooks (age appropriate, of course!)

So, anyway, for this project, she prepared a short script (or should I say I prepared most of the script 😛) and brought our her tools (her Uncle M gave a baking set for kids that’s for actual use).  Her coup de grace?  The actual product!


In the interest of full disclosure, though, this is not a recipe that she did all by herself.  Project submission was in the middle of the week so she didn’t have time to everything herself, given her other school assignments.  But she helped and I have no doubt she could pull it off all on her own.

We got the recipe from this book –


But, as always, with slight changes.  We had originally planned to make cookies but at the end of the recipe there was a note on how to make them in a pan.  We thought it was better, especially for presentation.

Our adaption of the recipe:

1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft butter
1-1/2 cups raw sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old fashioned and/or quick cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 13×9-inch pan.

Combine the flour, cinnamon and salt together; set aside.

Beat butter with sugar until light and creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add in vanilla.

Stir in the flour mixture.  Fold in oats.  Reserve 1/3 cup each of the chips for topping and fold the rest into the dough.

Spoon into the prepared pan, smooth top with spatula.  Sprinkle the reserved chips all over.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done.  Do not overbake or the bars will be hard.

Slice into bars or squares when fully cooled.  (We cut ours into bite-sized squares and wrapped them in colorful cellophane.)

The verdict?  “Sooo yummmy!” the little girl said.

Oh, and she got an A on her project!

😜 😜 😜 😜

Soft American-style Loaf

Several days ago, I mixed up a half a batch of the Soft American-style bread and used a third of it to make Raisin Bread.  For the remaining 2/3 of the dough, I made it into a loaf bread since the little girl and Lola N like sandwiches.

I divided the dough into 4 and formed each piece into an oval piece.  I placed the 4 pieces in a lightly oiled large loaf pan and I let it rise for at least an hour and a half.  Then I placed the risen loaf in the fridge and baked it the next morning!

So what did we have for breakfast the next morning?  Spam and egg sandwiches, that’s what!





Year of the Fruitcake

For someone who does not like fruitcake, it is THE one thing that I have been baking consistently and regularly this year!

I started early – in August! Testing various recipes, trying to formulate my own, trying different fruit mixes… even re-working my recipe (of last year) that I had already thought was THE fruitcake recipe for me.

This year I ventured into different kinds of fruitcake – a black one, a white one, a boiled one, a dry one… all with one thing in common – RUM!

So, I decided to make one dedicated to RUM!  In fact, the recipe uses a total of 1½ cups of it!

Basically, I used my favorite pound cake recipe and added rum to it.  I added a mix of dried and candied fruit (pre-soaked in more rum) then after baking, I brushed even more rum (!) on the cake!

What did hubby think of this fruity rum cake?  He LOVED it!

Who else loved it?  My mom, that’s who!

(and yes, it is the last one for this year…)