(#43 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine)

About a week before the deadline of the extended enhanced community quarantine, the announcement of yet another extension came…

The first thought in my head – I know that it is for my own safety but I am finding it more and more difficult to cope.

Well, when I am stressed… I do one of 2 things – I eat, or I cook/bake.

This time I baked and I looked for something that I really felt as comfort food.  And I remember in my youth how I loved Taisan.  I would buy it from the local (famous) bakeshop until my mom and I found a recipe for one that we were happy with.

I hadn’t baked it in at least 25 years!  And somehow, I don’t see it in the bakeshops these days…

Thing is, I tried looking for a recipe in my cookbooks.  I did find a couple but it is not come out the way I wanted.  Then it occurred to me that the first place I should have looked in was my mom’s recipes!!!  (Crazy of me, right?)

So there it was… in the middle of my mom’s clearbook!

(Sorry though, as always, I do not have her permission to share…)

Anyway, with the wonderful scent of the Taisan wafting throughout the house was comforting!

Bread, More Bread!

(#36, 37 & 38 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine)

I woke up at 3 am and could not go back to sleep.  So I went down to the kitchen and started making bread.  I ended up with hotdog rolls and parmesan tuna buns…


Then as a last hurrah, I made blueberry loaf (pictured on top).

The kid was happy to have the hotdog rolls for breakfast and we were happy to eat the parmesan tuna buns.  The blueberry loaf was what we snacked on the rest of the day.

After breakfast I went right back to sleep!!!

Bread, bread, bread!

(#30 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine)

It’s all over the internet – people are gung-ho about baking, specifically bread… so much so that in certain places, yeast and flour have sold out.  In my case, I have plenty of yeast (since I bought2 packs early this year) but I was running out of flour!  My usual sources of flour were closed due to the quarantine and I was down to my last kilo of bread flour and all purpose flour.  Hubby managed to find me 3 kilos of cake flour but I did not think it would work for bread!

Anyway I did find someone on an online shopping site who sold flour and order some, never mind the price was slightly higher and the delivery fee more expensive than the item itself!  But.  But.  The product never arrived.  Good thing I did not opt for prepayment and instead insisted on COD.

Just my luck when hubby told me that he found an online baking supply store that recently opened online even if their physical store was closed… I quickly made an order!  I had to be a little patient since there were little snags but all is well that ends well… I got a supply of flour – and it was enough (hopefully) to tide me over until quarantine ends (hopefully not extended any longer).

And then… wouldn’t you believe it, my mom calls and complains that there was no bread to be bought in their district!  Long story short… I made bread… bread… bread…

I sent over – a sandwich loaf, corned beef buns, spicy tuna buns, plain rolls, and raisin bread.

But I did not bake them YET.  i kneaded the dough, let it rise, and then formed them and placed them in disposable aluminum pans (with covers) and froze them.  So all my brother had to do was defrost them and let them rise (for the 2nd rise) then bake them!

The ones pictured here were the “leftovers”…

Happy 83rd, Lola!

(#28 & 29 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine)

Life goes on even if quarantine is in effect.  I know a lot of people who celebrated (or who will celebrate) their birthdays and Lola N is one of them.  Of course, birthdays have to have cake!

But since most establishments are closed, there really is not a lot of options for celebrants.  I even saw an FB post where the celebrant stuck a candle in a cup of whipping cream and that was it – that was her cake!

Of course in lola’s case, I she could have her cake of choice because I would bake it!  It would be smaller than usual since I have to conserve resources.  It’s my smallest (but tallest) mocha cake ever – 7x4x4-inches.

I thought it would be a plain one but I found the acrylic happy birthday sign we used for F-I-L’s birthday so i re-used it.  Then I was lucky to find some sugar flowers so at least the cake wouldn’t be plain!

The other thing that a birthday celebration should always have, at least in our household, is noodles.  My personal preference for birthday noodles is cha misua (or misua guisado or stir-fried wheat noodles).  But of course, it is the celebrant’s choice that’s important on her birthday…

Lola’s preferred noodle is sotanghon!

Sotanghon is a mainstay in our household but for a birthday, no ordinary sotanghon is allowed.  Instead we have celebration sotanghon!  What’s the difference you may ask?  Well celebration sotanghon has a whole lot more sahog… ingredients such as shrimp, chicken, red bell pepper, cabbage, 2 kinds of mushrooms, scallop shreds…

HBD Lola!


Pata Misua

(#23 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine) [photo courtesy of hubby]

It is certainly not the first time I made Pata Misua.  But it is first time that I cooked the pata dish (Stewed Pork Leg) for the sole purpose of making the sauteed misua!  And I can say, with absolute certainty, that this Pata Misua is loads better that the ones before!

I think this may be because in the previous versions, the “sauce” is always diluted.  The misua dish is always the afterthought, so most of the time, we already ate some of the sauce as we poured it over our rice… This time though, the whole dish went into making the misua and it is way, way more flavorful!!!





Community Quarantine

For once I make an exception to write something not entirely or directly related to food.

Just yesterday we were placed under “enhanced community quarantine”. Honestly, I don’t know what it means, except that we are all told to stay home for at least a month. I guess some people haven’t taken it to heart so the government went one step further and ordered all public transportation halted, malls closed, recreational activity restricted, gathering and loitering prohibited, and all offices (even government offices) closed (except for health/medical related activities, food takeout or delivery, and other “essentials”…

It is day 2 and I have finished crocheting a shawl and have started on the second one! I have also made an inventory of what is in the freezer and have begun to make a list of stuff to cook (or bake) to slowly but surely use up old stocks… like overripe bananas that were frozen (hello banana loaf!) …

For once, I am grateful for my mom’s nagging – she always insisted that my household should always, always have food (in the pantry, ref and freezer) good for at least two weeks. In fact when she used to visit, the first thing she always did was to check the food in the ref and freezer!

And while I always lamented that my mom was/is a hoarder, today I am grateful that I inherited a small degree of her (bad) habit… (and I stress SMALL DEGREE) because I am reassured somewhat that my family has the basic necessities covered.

That is how I try to comfort myself but this is a new situation that has everyone fearful –

How I wish that when I wake up tomorrow morning, it would be mid April already… I don’t know how it will be day after day… and that’s what makes me even more afraid.

Radish Cake

This was not the first time I tried to make radish cake. My first attempt was a colossal failure. It looked like radish cake but the texture was all wrong. You see, I did not know that there was difference between glutinous or sweet rice flour and plain rice flour. As you may have guessed, I used glutinous flour when I should have used plain rice flour.

Years passed by before I decided to try again. Why? Because the truth is, it is way easier to just buy it, especially since there’s a reliable and authentic Chinese place nearby.

But why try again, if it is easier to buy it? Well, it’s the best reason ever – I found my mom’s recipe for radish cake! But, for some reason, her recipes are often for a large batch so I always scale it to at least a third, or in this particular case, to a fourth of the original.

The problem? I am rather lousy at math, and worse, afflicted with what my mother refers to as “carelessness syndrome”. Oh yes, there’s also the “not-listening-too-well sickness”!

Long story short, I still made mistakes!!! (Don’t I always???)

What did I do wrong? Well, I scaled the recipe to a fourth of the original, right? Problem is, I miscalculated the radish and ended up with twice the amount…

Fortunately though, in spite of my mistake(s), the radish cake turned out pretty well. The best part is both hubby and the kid loved it! Hubby said that it had a real and authentic radish flavor that was usually lacking in other (commercially-made) radish cake. The kid has been eating it for the last few days!!!

When I sent some to my mom and brother, they also liked it although my brother felt it lacked a bit of salt.

It’s a good thing that I am diligent in taking notes so my (mis)calculations are duly recorded. I will make it again as per “my” recipe (adapted from my mom’s of course) and if I get the same results, the recipe will be mine!

Raisin Bread

We have a favorite vacation spot up north, on a mountain.  Actually, it a vacation spot that is popular with everyone!  We go there at least once a year, although we make it a point to go when it is not peak season.  Why?  Because we don’t want to go with the crowd… traffic is horrible and the city becomes suffocating!

Anyway, aside from the usual walis (broom), ube jam, vegetables and strawberries, we buy the famous raisin bread.  Well, that was so until I learned to make it!

As usual, the recipe came from mommy’s files.  In fact, she used to make it a couple of decades ago… but I never appreciated it, simply because I did not like raisins.  Well, as my luck would have it, I married this guy who LOVES raisins, and our kid loves it as well,

So, here is the famous (albeit copycat) raisin bread –

My version is a less sweet version of the one up north, but so far everyone says that it is better that way (less sweet, that is)!

Apple Crisp

Over the Christmas holidays, while we were having Christmas lunch with my mom, we talked about (what else?) Christmas baking! It cropped up because I gave my godmother (who joined our Christmas lunch) fruitcake – my mom’s recipe (slightly adapted for my personal taste, of course) so then naturally my mom asked if I had successfully made her apple pie (she wanted to taste it again but did not want to make it).

I had to admit that while I was successful with her apple filling and the pie topping, I kept getting the bottom crust wrong. She then told me that the bottom crust was not important, so I could use whatever bottom crust recipe I wanted (or was comfortable with) because her secret was, first and foremost, the filling, followed by the topping. The crust, she said, was some recipe she picked up somewhere and was really nothing special.


But. But.

I am still chicken to make it. I did have moderate success a while back doing just what she suggested – generic crust for the bottom. But they were mini pies (baked in cupcake tins) and when I tried to make them in a proper pie pan… alas, same deal as before – nice filling and nice topping but blah bottom crust!

So, even if we have apples in abundance for the Christmas season, I am, yet again, still chicken to try mommy’s apple pie!

Instead I made her filling and topped it with my own oat-crisp mixture! And to make it extra special, I served it with vanilla ice cream (store bought) and homemade Brandy Caramel Sauce…

Personally I am happy with this Apple Crisp and would be just as happy to skip the apple pie altogether if only it were not an heirloom recipe as my mom claims it to be. (So as you can guess by now, my only interest in successfully making the apple pie is for my mom – for her to taste it once again, as well as to keep it alive for the next generation!)

Happy New Year!

It’s 2020!

For our media noche (new year’s eve feast), I decided to be lazy and do take-out. As much as I love to cook and bake, and will at every opportunity I can find, it made sense to take it easy and just enjoy the turnover from 2019 to 2020.

We usually clean up/out at the year’s end and hubby is in the midst of a massive reorganization… he even rearranged his side of the dressing room!

Me? I have loads to clean up but I am doing it bit by bit. Honestly I am too afraid to do it at one go – I am afraid that I would never finish! Hahaha

Anyway, i might have gotten take out but I made sure to make dessert!

In line with feeling “chicken” I have postponed, yet again, trying to make my mom’s apple pie. This year should have been the perfect time to try again since we received many apples this year but as I said, I did not feel confident to make the attempt.

As I’ve often said, my mom is known for 3 things at Christmas time… lasagna, fruitcake and apple pie… I have been successful 2/3 which is to say that I got her lasagna and fruitcake down pat but the apple pie? 2/3 still – that is to say that I’ve got the filling and top crust perfectly but I still flunked the bottom crust part. Sigh.

So what to do with all those apples? If there’s one thing I am good at with apples, it is apple crisp! This time though using mommy’s recipe for the filling (of course)!

For this year’s apple crisp, we spruced up by having it with vanilla ice cream and homemade light brandy caramel sauce!

As for the rest of the apples… maybe upside down apple cake… maybe…

Christmas 2019

To be honest, I was unprepared for Noche Buena… I’d been so busy with baking and finishing Christmas orders that right up to yesterday, I was not sure what to serve for our Christmas Eve Midnight feast!

In fact, yesterday morning, in total defiance of my decades-old policy (of not going with the crowd for last minute shopping the day before Christmas), we went grocery shopping for Noche Buena! Needless to say, the counters at the supermarket were ALL open, with corresponding long lines!

Happily though, we made it through the day and with a decent “feast” even if I was on my feet the whole afternoon until evening! What did we have? Simple fare – baked lasagna… pineapple ham… mixed veggies… and fruit salad!

Brownies Brownies Brownies!

As hubby says – this is THE BROWNIE I made for him… thirty years ago!!!  Look at the fudgy center and the thin, crispy, crinkly top!

Anyway, it has been years since I opened my kitchen for business at Christmastime. Somehow I forgot how hectic it was!

But it was too late to turn back and before I knew it I had orders for more than 30 boxes of brownies! As well as more than 40 bottles of cheese pimiento! Some more for fruitcake… and chocolate chip treats…

Here’s the 30 boxes of brownies!