Monday, March 30, 2015

Visiting a Grape Farm in La Union

I had this memory back when I was a child. I was travelling to La Union to spend the summer vacation, and when the bus passed by a certain town in La Union, bus passengers went crazy, trying to grab grapes from the road (those were the days when ordinary non-airconditioned buses were abundant). I always knew this province used to grow grapes, but for certain reasons, planting grapes mellowed down (though there are still a few farms planting grapes) and farmers focused more on different crops - tobacco, rice, and corn.

About a few years ago, I heard that the town of Bauang started growing grapes, but even if I planned to check out the farm and see other fruit plantations (the town is also known for growing guapple - guava the size of apples - and dragonfruit), but I just didn't know how. Thankfully, when my mom and I traveled to La Union early March in time for dad's death anniversary, my sister sent me a text message, with someone's mobile number - someone who is working at a grape farm.

Her name is Liezl, and she responded to my message right away. After visiting daddy's grave, we went for a quick lunch and took a bus going to Bauang.

Liezl wasn't available the time we reached the farm, but her husband showed us the way to the farm. It wasn't a very big farm, but enough to make one go "wow!" {more after the jump}

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Jollibee Glazed Chickenjoy - #Extraordinarilicious!

Whenever there is something new at Jollibee, we here in the family seemed to want to try it as soon as possible. The glazed fried chicken seemed to be the trend, and I have tasted a few of those, so when Jollibee came up with their own version - the Glazed Chickenjoy, I knew I just have to try it out.

chicken for dinner, book for dessert

My first taste of it wasn't as good as I hoped - it was too sweet for my liking, kinda like eating Chicken Tocino, but there's something in it that I liked, so while the first taste didn't send me to the moon, it was something I am still looking forward to eat in the future. My sister loved it a lot, and told me maybe the one I ate was already cold that's why I didn't appreciate it much. She knows I prefer my soy chicken / glazed fried chicken piping hot.

the book is mine, by the way.

Last Valentine's Day, friends at Jollibee sent me this bucket of Glazed Chickenjoy, and it was great timing because it was lunch time, and my mom and I haven't cooked yet (we just spent VDay at home). It was still very hot, so thinking of what my sister told me about my last Glazed Chickenjoy experience, I said to myself that if I still didn't quite like it while it was still hot, then probably this food and I aren't on the same page.

Well, I loved it the second time around. The sauce wasn't so sweet like it was the first time, it had a good mix of sweet and savory (the classic Chickenjoy flavor is very much present), and it was simply Extraordinarylicious! When I told my sister about it, all she could say was "Now you know you have to eat it as soon as possible." What I loved - the chicken cuts are big, the chicken are juicy and very flavorful on the inside, and that they didn't skimp on the glaze.

I can see my reflection... hahaha.

The gift I received contained these cute IOU Coupons... some already have prints, some were blank, which I could fill out using the red pen. This coupon made me laugh - told my mom "Can I just give you a bear hug instead?" Hahahaha, I am so lazy to clean my room, that's why.

The Jollibee Glazed Chickenjoy is now available in all Jollibee stores nationwide, the Jollibee Glazed Chickenjoy meal with rice and a regular drink is at 90 pesos, while their Super Value Meal with a side dish of buttered corn is for 102 pesos. If you want to go for sharing, you may go for the bucket meals - 6-piece bucket with 3 rice and drinks is at 378 pesos while the 8-piece bucket with 4 rice and drinks is at 499 pesos. If you want the best of both Chickenjoy worlds, go for the mix of classic Chickenjoy and the Glazed Chicken, so everybody will be happy.

*** Jenn ***

Say "I Love You" with Chocolates


Valentine's Day was last weekend, I know... but there wasn't any rule saying you only need to express your love during Valentine's Day, right? In fact, I think it is sweeter whenever people express their love and appreciation when it's not Valentine's Day.

Some people find it difficult to say the words "I love you" for a number of reasons, but that doesn't mean one cannot express love anymore. There are a number of ways to show and say it, but if chocolate's your way, these three recipes from The Maya Kitchen will surely be of great help.    

Angel Food Cake Tiramisu
{makes 8 servings}


{for the angel food cake}:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon MAYA Cake Flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 +1/3 cup egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar

{for the coffee syrup}:
1/2- 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup hot water
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur

{for the cream topping}:
1 bar cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons low-fat milk
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 piece vanilla bean pod
1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons cocoa powder, for garnish

Directions for baking:

Prepare angel food cake. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF/177ᵒC. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan. Set aside. Sift flour, salt and ¼ cup of sugar 4 times. Set aside. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add vanilla extract and remaining sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff. Fold in flour mixture gently; blend well. Pour into the prepared pan and smoothen the top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until done. Loosen the sides by using a spatula or dinner knife and invert cake on a wire rack to cool for about an hour.

Prepare coffee syrup. Dissolve coffee powder and sugar in hot water. Add coffee liqueur and stir well.

Prepare cream topping. Beat cream cheese, sugar and confectioners’ sugar until the sugars are dissolved. Beat in milk and yogurt. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise and scrape the seeds; beat in the mixture. Set aside. Whip the cream until double in size. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Transfer to a piping bag with a round piping tip.

To assemble. Transfer cake to a plate. Brush with coffee syrup until well-soaked. Pipe cream on top of the cake. Dust with cocoa powder on top.

{makes 4 servings (4 x 4” squares)}

1 pack MAYA Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix 500g
1/2  cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts
dark chocolate, melted, as needed
chocolate heart cut-outs, as needed
whipped cream (optional)

Directions for Baking:

Preheat oven to 325°F/163°C. Grease and line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir brownie mix, butter, water, eggs and nuts (set some aside for topping) until well blended.

Spread in prepared pan and top with reserved nuts.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. Drizzle or spread melted chocolate on top of brownies and decorate as desired.

{makes 15-20 pieces}

1 tablespoon MAYA Cornstarch
6 tablespoons sugar
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch salt
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
dark chocolate, melted, as needed

Directions for baking:

Preheat oven to 300ᵒF/149ᵒC. Line one cookie sheet with baking paper and set aside. In a bowl, combine cornstarch and sugar. Mix well then set aside.

Using a stand mixer on high speed with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the cornstarch and sugar mixture. Return to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cocoa powder.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe meringue kisses on the cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the tray inside the oven for one hour.

Let the meringue kisses cool at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Once cooled, dip half in melted chocolate.

Let the chocolate-dipped meringue kisses set on a lined cookie sheet and transfer to an airtight container.

I hope these three chocolate-y recipes come as a great help. The brownies are the easiest to make since the Maya Brownie Mix is available in most groceries and we have used it several times and believe me, it tasted like the brownies we usually buy. I am personally going to try the meringue, I think it is a very good party giveaway and gift to friends...not to mention it has the potential to turn in money (if I did sell them, of course).

*** Jenn ***

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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}