Recipe ideas

Fluffy, Spongy Homemade Marshmallows

What’s these? Homemade marshmallows? Nooo way.

So I’ve been reading Baking Trends in 2013, saw homemade marshmallows on the list and been itching to try it since. Me and my niece adore these cute, fluffy confections – plain or chocolate flavoured, in standard squares or flower shape. Making this at home is much better and results in fluffy, spongy marshmallows, unlike some commercial brands that are dry and crusty.

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Recipe ideas

Creamy Caesar Salad

It was only recently that I started my love affair with salads. I guess familiarity took over from the very start and I had only learned to appreciate them when I started writing articles on  health, particularly the status of childhood obesity in the US. Let me tell you, it’s like seeing salads in a whole new light.

Among the different kinds of salad, Caesar salad tops my list. I’ve tried Tamasin Day-Lewis’s “authentic” Caesar salad recipe, and while it lists a surprising few ingredients, it still manages to be delicious and one of a kind. However, my favourite would still be the recipe I’ve written below. It features an excellent balance of ingredients, and it’s not difficult to prepare either.

If you’re searching for the creamy Caesar dressing, the least that I can say is that this qualifies. It rivals that served in nice restaurants, and the dressing is so good that I always leave some for bread dipping.

caesar salad

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Tips and tricks

Valentines Day Post: How to Crack an Apple in Half Using Your Hands

The Script says that “when a heart breaks, no, it don’t break even,” but you can break an apple in half — evenly — and using your hands! Make that in quarters. That’s my sense of humor there, if… uh, that helps.

 

Here’s a video that shows how crack an apple in half using your hands. I learned about it when browsing Quora: What’s a cool/useful skill that only takes five minutes to learn? (I’m not sure, but I think you need to sign up to view the contents; it’s your choice.)

 

Here’s another one that uses a different hand position. See what’s easier for you.

It’s a good hack if you’re outside and don’t have a knife with you, at least much better than (a) gripping it and then throwing it at a wall or (b) calling Chuck Norris. The secret is in the technique, which you can view in the video. Unless you have superhuman strength, you won’t be able to rip the apple in half, so you have to apply  pressure from the apple stem outward. Try it with different kinds of apple, as apparently some varieties are easier than others.

In general, a good trick if you’d prefer eating apple in half or want to impress somebody. Heck, you might even get a date this way.

 

Have you tried splitting an apple in half? And, oh yeah, Happy Valentines Day!

 

Recipe ideas

Baking in February: Black Forest Cake Recipe

This morning I logged in on my FB account and found a status saying “Love Month.” I actually have a joke about this but then I’ve read about The Oatmeal’s The Worst Thing about Valentine’s Day and then thought, nah. He said it better in the comics.

Anyway, Valentines Day means different things to people. My office best friend wants to have a romantic dinner celebration with her fiance, my college professor is sure to be contacted by lots of his former students – mostly singles, heart-broken ones – for a group dinner (he’s a sympathetic ear), my older siblings are already in happy committed relationships and will probably go on separate dates and I’m looking forward to the discounted chocolates. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it holiday.

Oh, and I also want to bake something chocolate just because it’s the love month. I was browsing through cake recipes and settled with this one – Black Forest Cake. I highly recommend that you make this cake a day prior to serving.

black forest cake

Press dark chocolate shavings on the side instead of crumbs to make the Black Forest Cake look gourmet.

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Drinks

Favourite Cocktails: Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

I thought I’d start the year with a post on Long Island Iced Tea. I cannot emphasise how I’m a big fan of this drink. If I’m not mistaken it’s consistently on the list of most popular drinks and is featured in television programs, the latest being The Big Bang Theory (I hope I can say, “upvote if you’re watching this too!”).

Long island iced tea was invented in 1970s by a certain Robert “Rosebud” Butt while he was employed at at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, NY. Variants have since been invented. read more »

News and updates

2012 in Summary

Hi guys!

I haven’t been around for a while since I’d been busy — mainly with helping my mom around the house, get-together with old friends and older siblings who’re living with their respective families somewhere else and lazing around the house, as I believe a vacation is not a vacation unless you do completely nothing.

So, let’s look at 2012. It was an interesting year. I remember reading that some fortune tellers use the word interesting to describe adversities/life challenges, and that’s how 2012 is like. It has lots of good and bad stuff and some that are blessings-in-disguise. I’ve also started this blog sometime last year, and it’s definitely one of the good things I’ve done in 2012.

 

What are the things I’ve learned in terms of cooking and food?

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News and updates

Christmas Traditions around the World

Parol or Philippine Christmas lanterns

Star-shaped lanterns (called parols) in the Philippines

I was inspired by Christmas Food around the World and decided to read a bit about how other countries celebrate Christmas. Christmas here in Australia can’t be more different from the White Christmas conveyed in Bing Crosby’s song since it falls during the summer, and most of the festivities are held outdoors — barbecue in the backyard or picnic at the beach, you know how it goes.  Of course I have to mention the traditional Carols by Candlelight, which is broadcasted live every Christmas Eve.

Now let’s look at the Christmas traditions in some parts of the world.

 

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Fruits and salads

Chilled Young Coconut Salad

I once heard someone said that you can live with just coconuts – drink the coconut water and then consume the meat. In the Philippines, it’s even called the “tree of life.” The point is that coconut is a very versatile fruit. Coconut water makes for a refreshing drink, coconut milk has many culinary uses such as in curry or as a creamy sauce, coconut oil is used for frying and coconut meat can be eaten scraped fresh from the shell or used in a variety of baked goods and desserts (coconut pie, anyone?).

young coconuts

I’ve mentioned these things because it’s nearing Christmas, and I love to use shredded coconut mixed with fruits for dessert. A sweet young coconut salad doesn’t require any cooking; just toss everything with cream and condensed milk. I like it better when there’s twice more coconut strips than fruits and I only like a bit of pineapple chunks, but everybody has their own preference.

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Recipe ideas

Creme Caramel: A Family Christmas Dessert

You know Christmas is just around the corner when you start hearing Christmas songs in malls, when you and your friends start planning about exchange gifts and probable Christmas get-togethers, when you start thinking about where you should spend (or whether to save) your bonus, how many nieces and nephews you’ve got and what to give them (toys? candies? clothes?) and when your mom starts planning on your family’s Christmas menu.

Check, check, check, check, check.

So I’m here to share a creme caramel recipe that my family never fails to serve in the dining table on Christmas. I’m telling you beforehand that you need a sweet tooth to appreciate this one. I myself am satisfied with a few bites, while some of my older sibling can’t get enough of this dessert.

The custard is soft yet firm, with a layer of soft caramel syrup.

creme caramel

 

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Recipe ideas

A Quick Quiche Recipe

What’s not to like about quiche?

It’s both delicious and nutritious, something you can’t say about other foods nowadays. It’s also easy to make, and a bit like stir fry dishes, you can use various veggies — asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms or sun dried tomatoes — or whatever else you have on hand. There’s so many varieties of quiche that you can try, so you won’t get tired of the same thing. You can make it vegan or add some bits of meat such as bacon or ham.

This recipe for bacon and spinach quiche features a crispy, flaky crust, with a tasty mixture that’s nicely set up. It’s perfect for breakfast and, if you have some leftover, for lunch. It’s also easy to tweak to your liking.

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