Spicy Bangus Spread

I had been looking for a spread using bottled bangus and found this recipe for Bangus Pate.  Although it was not right on the dot, I used the recipe as a springboard…

1 bottled spicy bangus, drained and mashed
1/3 to 1/2 cup cream cheese
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice, to taste
reserved oil from bangus bottle, for thinning
chopped spring onions, for garnish

mix everything together, that’s it!!!

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Lemon-Strawberry Roll

Friend C gave us these big, fat, juicy strawberries last week.  We wanted to eat them as is but I gave specific instructions to leave some because I wanted to make this cake!

Truth be told though, I bought some more strawberries because I wanted strawberry curd for the filling and real strawberry buttercream for the frosting!

For the cake, I used a different recipe.  I found this book in a second-hand bookstore –

with the recipe for Lemon Jelly Roll on page 234.

While I already have a lemon sponge cake recipe (which I believe to be the best), I am always ready and willing to try other recipes!

Anyway, I got the recipe for the cake from the book.  My adapted version –

Prepare the jelly roll pan first of all! I usually just line line with greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Sift together then set aside –

1-1/4 cups AP flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine and beat (on low-medium speed), for 2 minutes*, –

3 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon, plus soya oil to make a total of 1/2 cup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a separate bowl, beat 3 egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar until frothy. Add 1/2 cup sugar by tablespoonfuls and beat until stiff peaks (but not dry).

Fold half of the whites into the yolk mixture. Gradually add the flour mixture to the yolk batter (I used an 1/8 cup per addition), folding gently after each addition. Fold the remaining egg whites into the yolk batter.

Place the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 15 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a tea towel** slightly larger than the size of the pan. (The recipe specifies that it be dusted with powdered sugar but I don’t do it.) Immediately after baking (make sure that the cake is really done but not overdone), invert the cake on the cloth and remove the paper. Gently roll the cake on the shorter end. Leave the cake until it cools.

Fill the cake with strawberry curd and re-roll. Frost with strawberry buttercream and garnish with strawberries and strawberry syrup.

Notes –
* the original recipe specified that the lemon and orange juices be heated but I did not follow that instruction.
** I used the material from a flour sack, sewing 2 layers together to make a sheet that was 1 inch larger than my pan on all sides. So far none of my cakes have gotten stuck. I was told that the material is muslin but honestly I don’t know!

For the rest I wanted STRAWBERRYYYYYYYYY!!!!!  Strawberry curd for the filling, strawberry buttercream for the frosting… I wanted more strawberry so I decided the cake would have strawberries for garnish.  And to make things even more strawberry, I thought of making a strawberry syrup or glaze, ALL from REAL STRAWBERRIES!!!

All in all, I used about 1 kilogram of strawberries!!!!

For the filling, I got the recipe for strawberry curd from bakedbyrachel – that was 450 grams of strawberries right there…

For the buttercream and syrup, I followed the advise of a friend – Macerate about 350 grams of strawberries with some brown sugar for a couple of hours.  Lightly mash the strawberries to draw out more of its juice.  Drain well. Heat the strawberry juice liquid until reduced.  Add sugar as desired to obtain the sweetness level that you like.  This is the strawberry syrup (it’s actually loose and not thick at all).  For the rest of the mashed strawberries, place in a heavy pot and add the juice of 1 lemon.  Heat over low heat and blend using a hand blender.  Heat gently and cook until thick.  Cool completely.  Chill.

I like my buttercream to be looser and less sweet so I generally use (considerably) less powdered sugar.  But basically, it’s softened butter, powdered sugar, and the cooled strawberry puree!  That’s it!

Having said and done all that, it does not have to be THAT complicated – instead of using homemade strawberry curd for the filling, use your favorite strawberry jam.  For the frosting, there are many ready-to-use frosting available off the shelf; same with the strawberry syrup!  The cake will still be good!  Promise!

Anyway, we served a slice of the cake to the kid’s piano teacher.  And he raved about it!!!!

Kamote Buns stuffed with Ube

We had some kamote (sweet potatoes) left.  Actually, I did it on purpose and asked everyone in the household to leave some for me to make bread!  I followed the recipe by Fleischmann’s, although I formed them into buns and filled them with ube halaya (purple yam “jam”)

I loved them!!!!  But the kid didn’t really care for them…  She thought it was a bit weird!

Coconut-Rum Cupcakes with Ube Halaya Centers and Ube-Coconut Buttercream

Coconut is never my first choice when thinking of baking cupcakes.  But I had leftover coconut cream in the fridge, as well as coconut flakes… so for hubby friend’s birthday, coconut cupcakes it is.  And, since I had leftover ube halaya, the cupcakes got an ube halaya center and ube-coconut buttercream on top!

Of course I did not have a coconut cupcake recipe on hand!  Thank goodness there’s a number of them on the internet.  I picked one from Brown-eyed Baker.  As usual, I changed a few things…

my adaptation –

1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/2 cup butter (I used butter flavored Crisco)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream (well-stirred)
2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place paper cups in cupcake tins.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt and coconut flakes together (I did not process the coconut flakes); set aside.

Beat Crisco and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat to mix well.  Add vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the coconut cream and coconut rum.

Scoop mixture into the paper cups.  Place a small teaspoon of ube halaya in the center of the batter.  Bake for about 18-22 minutes; rotate pan midway.

When the cupcakes have cooled.  Frost as desired.  I used ube-coconut buttercream for mine.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup ube halaya
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut cream (well stirred)

For the frosting – Beat butter and halaya until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar (adjust according to personal taste). Add coconut cream by tablespoons, beating well after each addition.

 

 

Sukiyaki!

It is undeniable that sukiyaki is one of the most famous Japanese foods.  The usual is beef sukiyaki but since hubby doesn’t eat beef anymore, the one I made is with pork.

I keep thinking that sukiyaki is a complicated dish, because it looks that way when we order it at the Japanese restaurant.  It is definitely impressive, so when 2 of my best buds were coming over to have dinner, I wanted to impress!!!

Not that I haven’t tried to make sukiyaki before but it has not been 100% successful… but this time I think I’ve got the right mix.  I based my sukiyaki on the recipe in this book –

While I did follow the recipe to the letter, especially with regard to the ingredient list, I did think that the most important part of the recipe was the soup base – the sukiyaki sauce.

The difficulty I encountered with the previous recipes was that they all required dashi stock… from scratch.  While it is a good idea to make stuff from scratch, I really did not know where to get the ingredients!!!  What I looooove about this recipe is that it used “instant” dashi, which was available at the nearby Japanese specialty grocery!

As for the other ingredients, I used Chinese tofu, enoki, shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, fish cake slices, Baguio pechay, sotanghon (vermicelli), pork sliced in sukuyaki-style,

As for the sukiyaki sauce, my perfect proportion is 1 part mirin, 2 parts Japanese soy sauce, and 3 to 4 parts water, with sugar to taste (I was actually ok with skipping it) and a couple of pinches of instant dashi granules (although truthfully I’ve also make it without and it was still ok!)

Now, I wanted a prettier presentation but my guests came earlier than expected so I did not manage to arrange the ingredients in organized areas… in the end everything got mish-mashed together… but what counts is that it is delicious, right?

RIGHT!!!

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe for these cookies came from one of my favorite cookbook authors/chefs – Dorie Greenspan!  My brother recently got me a copy of Dorie’s Cookies and of course I just had to try the peanut butter (that being my favorite cookie flavor and all…)

I followed the recipe faithfully, even using Skippy which was the recommended brand! But I swapped the chopped peanuts with chocolate chip cookies… (and halved the recipe while I was at it)

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup Skippy smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder, and nutmeg; set aside.

Beat peanut butter, butter and salt together until very smooth.  Add the sugars, continue beating.  Add the egg and beat some more.

Stir in the flour mixture then fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, place dough mounds onto parchment or silicone lined cookie sheets.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes or so; or until the cookie edges are set.

We loved the cookies!!!!! And again, the kid praised me for being the best in the kitchen!

The original recipe can be found here.

Parmesan-crusted Sole

There were nice sole fillets in the market and I could not resist buying some. We usually just sauté fish fillets but I thought of using oven this particular time…

I don’t remember exactly which book I found the recipe from but it is definitely one of the ones in our library.  I copied it hurriedly in my small notebook but forgot to write the source…

about 500 grams sole fillets, cleaned and patted dry

1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1-3/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 tablespoons mayonnaise
fresh juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 375F.

Arrange the fillets in a baking dish; set aside.  Mix together – breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasonings.  Lightly spread over arranged fillets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes then switch to broil; broil 3 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

 

Fruitcake Cookies

This is another recipe from Mrs. Fields; but not from the same book as the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (the post before this one).

And, because we are not exactly fruitcake lovers, I halved the recipe!

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup molasses
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1-1/2 cups mixed fruit (glazed and dried)

Sift the dry ingredients together; set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar and molasses together; add brandy, vanilla and egg. Stir in the dry ingredients (do not overmix!) then fold in the mixed fruit.

Drop by tablespoons onto greaseproof-paper-lined cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 12 to 18 minutes or until the cookie edges are light brown.  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes after removing from the oven; then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I was pleasantly surprised when the kid ate one and declared it delicious!  You see, she does not like mixed fruit of any kind!!!

 

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s good news… and there’s bad news…

The good news is that the kid loved the cookies.

The bad?  The kid was disappointed because the recipe for these cookies came from someone else.  She has this idea that I am the world’s greatest cook and baker (let’s see up to when that lasts… but I am absolutely enjoying it in the meantime!)

Anyway, these cookies were BFF’s request.  And the original recipe is from Mrs. Fields.  Although technically I changed it since I did not like raisins (and BFF did not like it either!) so it got swapped out for chocolate chips (dark mini chips and bittersweet chips).  I also used only 1 kind of sugar (raw or washed sugar that is available locally) and baked the cookies at 325F instead of the original 300F.

1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter (1 225g bar); softened
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Eggs

2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats

1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes?)

Add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.

Sift in the flour, soda, salt and oats. Don’t over-mix.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop mounds of cookie dough on to greaseproof-lined cookie sheets (I used a small cookie scoop); lightly press to flatten slightly. Bake about 15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Do not over-bake!

Cool on cooling racks.

I made about 5 dozen (approx. 1-inch) cookies.

Nevertheless, the kid loved the cookies and asked that I make some more!

Sticky Orange Cake

Who knew that orange would be a fantastic flavor for a cake?  I certainly didn’t.  I didn’t even want to find out.  But with several oranges in the fridge in danger of spoiling (and we were getting tired of orange juice), I was desperate!

Basically, I substituted the milk in a vanilla cake recipe with orange juice and added the zest to the batter.

Then, following a friend’s suggestion, I spread orange marmalade on the top of the cake immediately, right out of the oven.

Wow!!!!  It was simply fantastic!!!  Even my usually picky mom did not complain at all…