Saturday, November 30, 2013

Media Noche Memories at The Maya Kitchen

Chef Fern Aracama

Last Saturday, my mom and I attended November's featured class - Media Noche Memories with Chef Fern Aracama at The Maya Kitchen. I first knew about Chef Fern from the culinary magazines then later on as a celebrity host/judge for the Philippine version of  Master Chef. Aside from being a celebrity chef, Chef Fern is the man behind Aracama Filipino Cuisine and is also the culinary consultant for Philippine Airlines.

Media Noche Memories at The Maya Kitchen

This event focuses on dishes one can serve for the upcoming holidays, and were inspired by dishes the chef grew up eating as well as those inspired by his travels.

Dishes prepared:

Malunggay and Cheese Dip

Malunggay and Cheese Dip
A signature appetizer at Aramaca Filipino Cuisine, this one was the local response to the well known Artichoke and Spinach Dip, using Malunggay or Moringa to replace the artichoke. A very, very easy dish to make and was mom's favorite from all the dish prepared. Will prepare this at home this week and share you the recipe on Friday.

Patatas Riojana

Patatas Riojana
A dish inspired from Chef Fern's Spanish trip. Another simple and easy dish to make, but I found the broth a little too salty for my taste. The chorizo tasted great, by the way.

Grilled Ensaimada
Grilled Ensaimada

Grilled Ensaimada - Media Noche Style
The heartiest and the richest dish of the day... Ensaimada cut in half and turned inside out and filled with Chinese Ham, mustard, Quezo de Bola then pressed and grilled in a butter greased pan. The dish prepared for the photo shoot was a little burnt, but the dish served at the end of the event was grilled perfectly. I loved this one as it had a great balance of sweetness and saltiness.

Insalata Uva

Insalata Uva
To counter the richness of the Grilled Ensaimada, Chef Fern prepared Insalata Uva, a signature salad dish chef's old restaurant called Uva. I do love to eat salad, but I rarely prepare vinaigrette, so this was something I am thankful for. Means I can now include vinaigrette on my salad as well.

Bunuelos with Spiced Chocolate Dip

Bunuelos with Spiced Chocolate Dip
A dessert that was my favorite dish that day. It was like profiteroles, but this one's lightly crunchy on the outside and very soft and moist inside. At the demo, this was paired with a chocolate dip, but at the buffet, this was served with another dip - Dulce de Leche. The Spiced Chocolate Dip was great, but I personally loved the Dulce de Leche more.

With the Christmas coming around the corner, people are not only stressed with thinking which gifts to wrap, stress from thinking what to serve also wears us down. All these dishes were very easy to make and not only would these make the Christmas table look great, these were also great Christmas gifts to family and friends.

I am not sure if there will be a featured class this December... if there will be one, I will share details here on my blog as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weekend Eating at Manang's Chicken SM Fairview

Manang's Chicken - SM Fairview

My sister and I anticipated the opening of Manang's Chicken at SM Fairview, but it was just last Sunday that we finally got to go out and enjoy our favorite double deep fried chicken with soy garlic sauce.

Manang's Chicken and Spaghetti Meal

Chicken and Spaghetti Meal
It was very early to eat dinner, so I just went for the chicken and spaghetti meal. I chose the mild spicy sauce and it was a little spicier than what I remembered, and it surely went well with the slightly sweet sauce of the spaghetti. If there was one thing I was sad about, it would be the amount of serving of the spaghetti - either it was little, or I liked it so much that I ate it quite fast. I had lemonade as my drink :)

Manang's Chicken 2 Piece Chicken

Two-Piece Fried Chicken Meal
My sister got home early that morning and went to bed right after and it was already mid-afternoon when she woke up, totally not able to eat breakfast and lunch. I guess she was so hungry that she went for the two-piece chicken, also with the mild spicy sauce.

As soon as the meal was served, my sister thought the rice had a small serving. Recalling a food trip we had at Manang's Chicken late last year, the restaurant introduced a bigger rice serving and she was sad that it went back to the small rice serving. The thing was, the rice serving might be small, but they now offer unlimited rice, so the initial rice serving doesn't matter anymore... as one could have as much rice as they want.

Also, we found out that on two-piece (or more) chicken meals / packages, the customer has the privilege to choose different sauces - one opt to have a mix of the original or mild spicy or the extra spicy sauce.

Potato Chips

Large Potato Chips
This is a staple whenever we eat at Manang's Chicken, and was served as soon as we placed our orders, so this became our appetizer, if I can call it that. As usual, we went for the Mayo Garlic and Cheesy Cheese dips because we just love combining these two dips for our potato chips.

Red Velvet Sundae

Red Velvet Sundae
Another one of my sister's usual order. She just love the contrast between the warm cake and cold sundae and the texture and the feel of the cake in the mouth.

Free Sundae Cone!

Free Sundae Cone
For a limited time, Manang's Chicken SM Fairview is offering free sundae cone for rice meal orders amounting more than 100 pesos, and because my sister ordered the Red Velvet Sundae, I ate the free sundae cone. Sweet!

Ultimate Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Ultimate Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Something sister took home. Like I said, it was early to eat dinner that time, so she decided to take home this sandwich or her to eat for late dinner. She ate this around 9pm and loved it a lot because the sauce soaked up the chicken good, the way she liked her Manang's Chicken to be.

The overall dining experience was great. As with every Manang's Chicken outlet we visited, we were treated with respect and bubbly friendliness, which made us love this restaurant more and more.

Manang's Chicken at SM Fairview is located at the lower ground floor, near Dulcinea and Office Warehouse.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recipe | Banana PB&J Cupcakes

When I posted about the Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Cupcakes, I mentioned that I wanted to bake Banana PB&J Cupcakes next time. This has been something I wanted to do because we all know bananas go well with peanut butter and peanut butter goes well with jelly. When my sister and I once visited a pastry shop, they were selling this kind of cupcakes, and we tried it to give us an idea of how it will taste like once we create it at home. It was delicious, but there were things about it that we didn't like so we decided to tweak it. For this recipe, I once again used Maya Oven Toaster Cake Mix, because even if wanted to do something from scratch, we fear our oven toaster might not bake it good.

Time to Bake

Banana PB&J Cupcakes
{yield - 12 cupcakes}

Ingredients - Banana Cake

  • 1 box (3.11 oz) Maya Oven Toaster Cake Mix - Banana Cake
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 to 3 pieces of bananas, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons water
Ingredients - Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • 1lb. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • milk (optional, on stand by)
Other Ingredients
  • Fruit Jelly
  • Chocolate Bar Pieces
Let's bake!

Banana Cupcakes

Start with the cupcakes.

> Preheat your oven toaster.

> In a bowl, combine egg, water, and oil then whisk lightly. Add mashed bananas and mix.

> Sift the banana cake mix and combine with the wet ingredients. Mix or beat until well combined, without over mixing or beating it.

> Line your muffin pan with paper cups and pour batter until 2/3 full. Tap the pan once. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, without letting the foil touch the pan as the batter might stick to it while baking.

> Pop in the oven toaster and bake for 7 and a half minutes. Take the foil out and continue baking for 2 and a half minutes, or until the surface is brown and the toothpick comes clean when you poke it.

> Line cupcakes on cooling rack.

While the cakes are cooling, time to make the frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

> Cream softened butter and peanut butter until it turns light in color.

> Add powdered sugar slowly and beat for a while then add the vanilla extract. Continue beating until it becomes fluffy and light.

> If the frosting was too dense, add milk (1 tablespoon at a time). If it's too watery, add powdered sugar until you get the consistency you like.

> Place in a piping bag.

Once the cupcakes are cool enough, start piping the frosting. This frosting is a little on the rich side, so even if you love peanut butter, please don't over frost as the peanut butter flavor might over power the banana cake. There has to be a balance of all flavors.

Finally top it with fruit jelly.

Banana PB&J Cupcakes

I let my sister bake the cakes this time, but I did guide her with the aluminum foil and when to take it out (I made the frosting). Making 12 cupcakes, it meant us three girls have 4 cupcakes each, so the day we made this recipe, we only allowed ourselves to eat 2 cupcakes and I topped it with strawberry jam and pieces of Krackel chocolate.

Going back to the pastry shop visit we did, they presented their Banana PB&J Cupcakes by spreading peanut butter on the surface of the cake before piping the frosting, creating a well in the middle where they placed the fruit jelly. We found the strawberry jelly a little too tangy for our taste, so for these cupcakes, I decided to just drop a little strawberry jelly - just to provide flavor. It was tangy, but the peanut butter and Krackel chocolate balanced it all.

Banana PB&J Cupcakes

At home we have two jars of fruit jelly - strawberry preserves (the syrupy kind) and orange marmalade (from Good Shepherd). Whenever I make my own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I always go for the orange marmalade because I loved to chew on the orange rinds. Seeing the bottle in the fridge made me go for it for our next set of cupcakes.

We all agreed that the one with orange marmalade tasted better.

With these cupcakes, as well as the whole wheat carrot ones, we are very sure that we won't be buying cakes this Christmas anymore, we will just bake it at the comforts of our own home.

Hmmm... what if I add oatmeal to this next time? :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Food Trip Flashback | Tokyo Tokyo

Tokyo Tokyo

There was a moment when Tokyo Tokyo at SM Fairview was closed for renovations. My sister and I happened to be at the mall when it re-opened, and because it was near lunch time already, we decided to eat there.

There was a very big change - for one, the counter was directly across the entrance of the restaurant and the dining area became spacious with ample amount of lighting.

Chicken Karaage

Chicken Karaage
As usual, my sister went with her favorite Tokyo Tokyo meal - the Chicken Karaage. The place may have changed, but the food remained the same... it was still as delicious as we once tasted it.

Chicken Donburi

Chicken Oyakudon Donburi
My favorite Tokyo Tokyo meal is the Beef Misono, but because Tokyo Tokyo just released new dishes, I decided to try it out. Japanese food is something I am teaching myself to appreciate and love, and this didn't fail me. Serving was more than enough to fill the tummy, the sauce was just right, and it gave me a new reason to come back at Tokyo Tokyo.

I am liking Tokyo Tokyo more and more. They provide good Japanese food at affordable prices, and whenever cravings for Japanese food arise, we know eating there would satisfy that.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Imbento Istapegi

My blog wasn't updated regularly since last Friday because I am actually struggling if it's "right" for me to post about food - when I know thousands of my countrymen were in dire need of food and water after super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit the country, causing massive destruction on all the provinces along its path.

Still, I feel the need to update this blog, so for today let me just share something that is not really insensitive.

- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -

Have you ever felt those moments when you can't think of anything to cook? We do feel that every now and then, and last week... while thinking of what to eat, we just had the sudden cravings for spaghetti. Knowing we have spaghetti noodles, hotdogs, and ground pork, I decided to cook spaghetti for brunch, but I was faced with a little setback when I realized we already ran out of spaghetti sauce.

Like what they say, "necessity is the product of all inventions," and using what we have in the fridge, I came up with this dish.

Obviously, I started cooking the spaghetti. We all know spaghetti noodles take a lot of time, so to save time and fuel, we at home boil the noodles until halfway through then cover the pot and let the residual heat cook it. Of course, this meant checking on the noodles few times to make sure it doesn't overcook. If we are to eat it right away, I drain the water once it's al dente... but if we are to serve it to guests and dining time is uncertain, we drain it just before it's cooked, so the heat remaining would further cook it. Quite a tricky thing to do, but we've mastered it already. Also, we don't run cooked spaghetti under water after cooking because it washes out the starch on the surface of the noodles.

Anyway, while waiting for the residual heat to cook the noodles, I sauteed finely chopped onions and garlic on lite butter, before adding ground pork. I sauteed all together until the meat turns opaque and season it with salt and ground pepper. I then added the hotdogs, tomato sauce, sour cream, and a spurt of McCormick bread spread (herb and parmesan) to add more flavors. Simmered it until pork was cooked and mixed it with the spaghetti noodles, and topped it with grated cheese before serving.

This was the first time I used sour cream with our spaghetti sauce. It provided an interesting twist, which blended well with the bread spread. For an uncertain dish, this turned out to be okay, and since I didn't receive any violent reactions from mom and sis, I knew I did well with this dish.

Thank heavens for creativity.

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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}