I heart you Bain Marie!

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This photo is of poor quality and does not really give justice to the divine melt-in-your-mouth taste of the leche flan ūüėČ my apologies for rushing into taking the photo ūüôā

Leche Flan (that’s how we call it here in the Philippines), also known as creme caramel or caramel custard, is one of my favorite desserts. ¬†Here in the Philippines, ¬†the method which is widely used by many is the steaming method where upon preparing all the ingredients and mixing them and putting them in the individual molds (we call them llanera, an oval-shaped aluminum container), you cover it tightly with a foil, although some llanera come with their own lids. ¬†Some prefer the water bath or the bain marie method. ¬†I always fail using the former method.

Last weekend, I invited over my sister and her family to sample the second batch of Gourmet Tuyo which I made and jarred and labeled and sealed! ¬†Husband and I plan to launch it as a home-based income generating project on the side ūüôā ¬†While contemplating on what other dishes to go with the Tuyo Pasta I have already set, ¬†I told myself, ¬†“why not make a leche flan using the bain marie?” ¬†So I made one.

So what really and how is a bain marie (ban mah-REE) method done? ¬†For a much detailed instruction, ¬†you may refer to this website, or simply put, ¬†it’s when you put the leche flan mold into another bigger pan which is filled with hot or boiling water enough¬†so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the leche flan mold. ¬†After which, ¬†you¬†bake it for about 30 –40 minutes(baking time varies depending on the size of the container and the temperature of the water) or just until the leche flan is set.

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Here’s the recipe:

I am not fond of using only the egg yolks so I used whole eggs instead.
3/4 cup white sugar (for the caramel
1/4 cup water (for the caramel)
6 pcs. whole large eggs
1 cup condensed milk (i used full cream condensed milk as it is much creamier than just the sweetened)
1 1/2 cup fresh milk (you may also use evaporated milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp zest of lemon (optional)
Mold (i used an 8 x 8 square pan)

Caramelize the Sugar:

You may refer to this website on how to caramelize sugar.

Once the sugar has caramelized, pour into the mold where you intend to cook your leche flan. Set aside.  Prepare the leche flan mixture.

For the leche flan mixture:

In a bowl, carefully and gently mix all the other  ingredients.  We do not want to create any bubbles, thus, the gentle mixing.  It really takes a while and is quite tedious but once you get the hang of it and see the final results, the pain in your arm from mixing will all be worth it.

Once the mixture is smooth,  strain and pour it into the mold.

Using the bain marie method mentioned above,  place the mold into a larger pan filled with hot or boiling water enough to reach halfway up the sides of your leche flan mold.

Place inside a pre-heated oven (170 deg celsius) and bake for 30-45 minutes.

To check whether the leche flan is done, poke the center of the leche flan with a toothpick and once it comes out clean, then you’re good to go.

Take out of the oven, let cool, before putting into a serving plate ūüôā

Enjoy! Ciao!

 

Sambal Belacan

When hubby and I lived in Malaysia, ¬†one of the things that was really harnessed in us are our palates. ¬†I personally think that most of Malaysia’s exotic and surprisingly delicious dishes require an acquired taste. ¬†They simply grow into you and eventually, you just realized you are already hooked by it.

One of those which got me and my husband really hooked into are the different sambal concoctions in Malaysia.  Sambal is a Malaysian condiment which is primarily made of chilis.  It varies depending on the other ingredients that one add into the chilis.

Of all the sambals which hubby and I have tasted,  there was one distinct variety that really stood out.  It was made of chili boh (chili paste), kalamansi juice, onion, and tamarind juice.  Our landlady who also owned a restaurant was the one who unselfishly shared her recipe for her own Sambal Belacan.  Belacan by the way is a block of fermented shrimp which is also the base of all the sauces and condiments in Malaysia.  It literally stinks and is not for those who abhor stinky food.  Well, as for hubby and me,  the smell simply just grew into us that whenever I would smell it from our neighbors then,  it was simply divine!!!

When we came back here in Manila, ¬†it was a sad reality that we had to face — NO MORE SAMBAL BELACAN. ¬†And for the last 4 years (that long!!!), ¬†we have not had sambal belacan. ¬†So you can just pretty much imagine my happiness when I found the basic ingredients for Aunty’s Sambal Belacan when I dropped by a supermarket ¬†last week. ¬†Without any hesitation that I might have forgotten about the recipe (I did not write it down!), ¬†I immediately bought the ingredients:

SambalIngredients

Tamarind Paste, Natural Chili Sauce, Belacan

And so, presenting to you (drumroll please!!!!!)…… I have not forgotten the recipe!!! The moment I tasted it, oh boy did it bring so much memories from our Malaysian sojourn, I suddenly missed our friends and adoptive parents there ūüôā

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In case you’re interested for the recipe, here it is:

Sambal Belacan ala Aunty Liam ūüôā

2 tablespoonfuls of Belacan (roast in pan until the “aroma” comes off)
1/2 cup of the chili sauce
1/2 cup of kalamansi juice
1/4 kg of onions (sliced)
4 tablespoonfuls of tamarind juice

Process all the ingredients together until it becomes smooth.  Enjoy with any fried dish that you have.  You can also use it as a dip for green mangoes!

Enjoy!

Ciao!

Linguine in homemade Pesto and Chicken Strips stir-fry

I made a chicken sandwich spread last weekend¬†which I packed as part of hubby’s weekly meal plan. There were leftover boiled chicken breast fillet which I only kept in the fridge saving them for future dishes.

As I was checking the fridge earlier to see what I can cook for dinner, I saw these: ¬†a bunch of Thai Basil, ¬†leftover boiled chicken breast fillet, ¬†a piece of lemon…. it’s like seeing an orchestra coming together! ¬†Hubby and I just bought a gallon of olive oil last weekend for our Gourmet Tuyo and I have a jar of roasted cashew nuts in the pantry and several pieces of garlic. ¬†It was indeed an orchestra… oh, and yes, I have some leftover uncooked linguine!!! Yey! So I guess, I need not say more…. ok, I do not have parmesan cheese, and if you’ve been reading my posts, you would know why ūüėČ

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Homemade Pesto Recipe

Dump the following in a blender or food processor then pulse or blend altogether until you reach the consistency that you want.

about a cup of basil leaves (I used Thai Basil)
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup roasted cashew nuts (most recipes would call for pine nuts but I much prefer the flavor of the cashew nuts)
juice from 1/2 of a lemon (optional)
2 cloves garlic
a dash of chili flakes (optional)
white pepper

As for the stir-fry chicken strips,  I just cut into strips the leftover boiled chicken breast fillet, tossed them into heated olive oil and butter in a pan with sliced garlic until the chicken strips turn a bit brown and you can already smell the aroma of the garlic.

Add in a few tablespoonfuls of the homemade pesto and mix with the chicken stir-fry.  Toss in the cooked pasta.  Top with grated cheese (I just used the regular cheddar cheese)

Enjoy!

Ciao!

 

 

Beer Battered Chicken Tenders

A month ago, when my sister came to visit us, brother-in-law bought a few beers and when it comes to buying one for me, I would always request Cerveza Negra. I simply love the robust malty flavor of cerveza which somehow is similar to Guinness Stout. No, I don’t drink beer on a regular basis (well, not anymore! and it’s been years!!! do i sound defensive here?!?), so whenever I get the chance, I make sure I drink what I really want.

After they left there’s one extra bottle left of the Cerveza; and since I really do not drink regularly, let alone by my lonesome, I just kept it in the fridge.

Last Friday, that’s when the Cerveza was put to good use. I was reminded of a recipe I saw from Travel and Living where the chef dipped the chicken tenders in a beer batter before frying and so that’s what I did with the chicken tenders I bought. ¬†The result? It was good and every bite of the chicken had a hint of malt in it.

And for the recipe:

1/4 kg of chicken tenders (around 6 thick strips)
1 egg
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of beer (Cerveza Negra in my case)
1/2 tsp baking soda
soy sauce
salt
pepper
oil for frying

  1. Pat dry the chicken pieces. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients for the batter.
  3. Heat enough oil in a pan making sure that the chicken pieces will be submerged. Medium heat will do.
  4. When the oil is heated enough, dip each chicken tenders in the beer batter and put into the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan to cook the chicken pieces evenly.
  5. Once the chicken pieces turm golden brown, around 5-6 mins on each side, drain on paper towels and serve with any dip that your palate prefers.

I asked hubby to make the dip. He just mixed tomato catsup, mayonnaise, and hot sauce together. As to the measurements, hubby doesn’t measure ūüôā

Enjoy your chicken tenders! We did! Hik!!!

Gourmet Tuyo Pasta

 

This is a delayed post. ¬†I was supposed to write about this last Saturday but something family related emergency happened which led from one thing to another and I ended up grieving…. hmmmm…

I just thought now that if I write about (not the cause of my grief) the verdict which my husband handed over the gourmet tuyo I made last week,  it might at least lessen whatever pain I am going through now.

I know, you are more interested in asking about my pain (huh?!?) but it does not fall into any categories in my kitchen misadventures so I hope you will understand.

Back to the gourmet tuyo,  I decided to cook it last Friday for dinner even if it was just 3 days old from the time I made it.  The blogs which I read clearly stated that for one to really enjoy the fullness of the gourmet tuyo, it has to at least be kept for 1 week prior to consuming it.  Anyway,  I tried to break the rules.

And so, I prepped all the needed ingredients.  I browsed the internet for pasta with tuyo recipes and found a few, tweaked a few, mixed and matched a few, and finally, I came up with my own version.

Most of the recipes call for parmesan cheese. ¬†However, I am not a fan of parmesan cheese so I skipped it. ¬†Besides, I didn’t have it in my pantry, I think it’s a more realistic alibi? ¬†Some called for mushrooms, capers, and olives; ¬†but, ¬†I didn’t want to smother my gourmet tuyo with other ingredients. ¬†I really wanted the tuyo to stand out so that I would know if it was that good.

I added fresh tomatoes though and bell peppers just for texture and additional flavors which will just complement the tuyo and will not overwhelm it.

So here is the finished dish.  By the way, I used linguine pasta.

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Husband’s verdict? ¬†“Masarap! Hindi maalat yung tuyo, tamang tama lang, and hindi malansa. ¬†Masarap baby, masarap!” Yeah, yeah, I know he is my husband, but to tell you honestly, ¬†my husband is my worst critic – remember, we had our marriage vows, “…for better (days) or for worse (criticisms???)…..”

Here’s the recipe. ¬†Feel free to tweak and modify it according to your taste buds!

Linguine con Gourmet Tuyo

1 bottle of gourmet tuyo (240 ml)
250 grams linguine (you may use any other pasta)
2 medium size onions (i prefer the white ones but you may use the red ones), chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium size bell pepper (green, yellow, or red), cubed
2 medium sized tomatoes (you may use cherry tomatoes), deseeded and cubed
1 tbsp dried basil leaves
chili flakes (depends on your palate)
salt and pepper
lemon wedges (optional)
parmesan cheese (optional, at least for me)

  1. Cook pasta per package directions.
  2. Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until it becomes translucent
  3. Add in the tomatoes and bell pepper, do not overcook
  4. Pour entire contents of the gourmet tuyo
  5. Add in the dried basil leaves and the chili flakes
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Toss in the cooked pasta
  8. Serve with lots of love! Squeeze in a wedge of lemon just to put some contrast with the other flavors ūüôā

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Spicy & Garlicky Tofu

I was never a fan of tofu  or tokwa while growing up.   Maybe because my Mom never cooked any tofu based meal at home.  My only rare encounters with tofu was having taho for breakfast whenever I would spend my summers in Manila. Beyond that, I had no other affinity with Tofu.

But, things change, people change, and so did I. ¬†My relationship with tofu began when hubby and¬†I¬†lived in Malaysia. ¬†Apart from having a daily dose of chili-based dishes, ¬†hubby and I constantly crossed paths with tofu-based dishes. ¬†And so, I got familiarized with the different types of tofu… the very soft ones that simply melts in your mouth, the in-between ones, and the firm ones. ¬†Finally, I gave in and began to embrace the art of cooking and eating tofu.

When we returned here in Manila,  my affair with the Tofu never ended.  I even attended a vegetarian cooking class where the main source of protein for the faux-meat dishes was tofu.

For my lunch today, ¬†this is what I cooked. Spicy & Garlicky Stir-Fried Tofu. ¬†It is my husband who taught me how to cook this. ¬†It’s really a fast & furious (because of the chili!) stir-fry dish.

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Ingredients:

1 block of firm tofu, cubed

8 cloves of garlic, minced (you may add or reduce the garlic depending on your palate)

5 green chilies, sliced (you may also add more or reduce)

cooking oil

salt

Simply fry the cubed tofu until golden brown.  Remove from pan, drain excess oil and set aside.

In the same pan,  saute minced garlic and green chili until cooked.

Add in the fried tofu and season with salt.

It is a good appetizer or side dish but I always eat it as a main dish together with steamed rice ūüôā

It’s a yum for me!

 

Gourmet Tuyo

and for my first kitchen recipe try, drumroll please…… Gourmet Tuyo!!!

just a backgrounder, ¬†my addiction for tuyo started when i was constantly visiting the hospital last year. ¬†and by constantly meant, it was on a weekly basis. ¬†and during that time, ¬†my husband and i would also frequent Tapa King. ¬†Tapa King? ¬†Tuyo? yes, they serve gourmet tuyo, and with the number of times that we had lunch there, i would always order tuyo! ¬†my husband already came to a point that he didn’t want to bring me there anymore because according to him, “nag Tapa King ka pa, tuyo din naman ang oorderin mo.” well, he had a point. but what can he do, i fell in love… with their tuyo!

i haven’t visited the hospital for quite some time now, although i am already overdue for my follow up test… hmmmm…. which means, no more visit to Tapa King.

lately, i have been craving again for Tuyo so I searched the internet and found some worthy reading blogs which shared different recipes and takes of the gourmet tuyo.  the one that most appealed to me was from this blog, Le Misstache.

so, this morning,  i bought all the ingredients, gathered enough courage (courage daw!!!!) to try the recipe.  i even sterilized my hoarded bottles (a separate blog entry for sterilizing bottles coming soon!)

these are what i bought and prepped in the kitchen ūüôā

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minced garlic, chili flakes, rice vinegar, tunsoy lapad tuyo, olive oil

i followed the recipe as shared by Le Misstache.

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i fried the tuyo using corn oil until the scales started to come up from the skin.  i then removed them from the pan, drained them, and set them aside to cool down.

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afterwhich, i carefully removed the head, tail, scales, and the tiny tiny bones of the fried tuyo using my hands (my hands were clean!) it was kind of tedious and brought me to¬†wonder why i even thought of doing this and why not just simply buy bottled gourmet tuyo from the supermarket…

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from the same pan where i fried the tuyo, i just wiped it clean and sauteed the minced garlic and chili flakes in olive oil. i then put back the fillet tuyo, careful not to stir them altogether lest the tuyo might break apart furtherly.  i then put off the fire, let the whole batch cool down and prepared the sterilized bottle for storage.

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i then transferred everything from the pan to the sterilized bottle.  i then poured in the rice vinegar enough to reach the brim of the bottle.

the recipe says that for the whole gourmet tuyo experience to be complete, i have to wait for a week in order for that to happen. however,  i will try to cook it in linguine pasta on Friday when hubby gets home from his provincial assignment.  then i would be able to update you guys how it went.  if it were a blast or an epic fail.