October 12, 2021

Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta Breadsticks

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Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta Breadsticks got my attention on last Friday's The Great British Baking Show. Ciabatta should be flat as the name means slippers. What makes this ciabatta recipe not an authentic ciabatta is the method and lack of biga. Ciabatta recipe normally requires a biga and therefore 2 days to complete. But...whatever. 

The fillings are also interesting - green olives, Spanish Manchego cheese, chopped red onions, and coriander leaves - then dipped in tzatziki. It's a mash-up of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Greek cuisines. I included Portuguese because the other 3 European countries rarely use or maybe never use coriander leaves in their food. Portuguese cuisine uses coriander leaves, maybe influenced by Brazil and Macao.

Paul's recipe is quite large so I reduced it to just a third, making only 6 breadsticks. The breadsticks have crunchy crusts and soft crumbs. I thought the flavor will be weird because of the coriander leaves (cilantro) but it's actually good. The salty olives and cheese dominate the flavor anyway. The tzatziki is not really necessary but is an okay addition to the flavor mix. I suggest you use store bought or eat them without tzatziki.

October 1, 2021

Prue Leith's Malt Loaf

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I've never heard of Malt Loaf until Friday last week when it was presented as the technical challenge on the 9th Season of The Great British Baking Show, currently streaming on Netflix. My reaction of course is Must Bake A Loaf. But the recipe needs a small amount of black treacle and I didn't want to spend $9.00 for a 16-ounces tin of treacle that I know will end up in the cupboard unused for millennia. I made half a recipe that is available from food bloggers and it was disastrous. I slightly burnt the caramel so I made a second one which was a success. I adapted TGBBS Prue Leith's recipe and the loaf is surprisingly moist, malty, and delicious. Nice with a smear of salted butter. The recipe has flame raisins but I used ordinary dark raisins because raisins are raisins and both of them are dark as opposed to golden raisins.

August 7, 2021

Mini Waffles

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Milo mini waffle topped with a small scoop of malted milk ice cream

As usual, I'm late for the party. Mini waffles have been around for years already but I only made them recently. The Dash mini waffle maker makes 4-inch waffles, same size as Eggo waffles and perfect for chaffles.

Chaffles are low carb waffles made with just egg and cheese. Some people add almond or coconut flour but I don't care for both. Almond is tolerable once in a while but coconut flour is a no for me. The chaffles are perfect for low carb hamburger sandwiches or the much mocked avocado toast.

Simple Mini Chaffles
makes two 4-inch chaffles
1 egg, beaten and equally divided (use a 1-ounce measuring cup)
½ cup shredded cheese, mozzarella or sharp cheddar
crispy bacon chips or chopped ham, optional
  • Place waffle maker on a piece of aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and plug in to preheat. When the light turns on, the maker is ready.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of cheese evenly on bottom of waffle maker, pour half of the egg, half a tablespoon of bacon or ham, if using, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons shredded cheese evenly on top.
  • Close the lid and bake until the light comes off, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Repeat with the remaining cheese and egg.
  • Leave for a minute before serving to make the chaffles crispy. I like them slightly soft for burgers.
chaffle burger with sauteed onions and mushrooms

I've been reading about avocado toast but have never tried it. I only make ice cream, milk shake, and guacamole with avocado. Older people like myself make fun of millennials who pay incredibly steep price for avocado toast at restaurants. Well, there comes a the time to finally find out what the fuss is about although I made them with chaffles instead of sliced bread. The verdict: it is very nice with or without adding anything except sea salt. The avocado is smooth and feels like you are eating a stick of butter over bread. Really.

July 25, 2021

Cheese Ice Cream

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homemade cheese ice cream

Kraft has recently introduced for a limited time Macaroni & Cheese Ice Cream flavor. Here are the ingredients from the ice cream maker VanLeeuen which they label GOOD INGREDIENTS 😏😏😏
cream, milk, cane sugar, egg yolks, Kraft cheese sauce mix (whey, milkfat, salt, milk protein concentrate, sodium triphosphate, contains less than 2% of tapioca flour, citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, with paprika, turmeric, and annatto added for color, enzymes, cheese culture)Contains: milk, eggs
I have no intention of buying it just to have a taste because all the ice cream in the US are overly sweet. Cheese ice cream has been a favorite flavor of mine and many people in the Philippines. Ice cream in carts, usually parked outside schools, sell this flavor along with perennial favorites mango, ube, and jackfruit. The cheese flavor became very popular in the country that the big dairy companies started making and selling the flavor at grocery stores for many years now. The ice cream is labeled either Keso, the Tagalog spelling of Spanish Queso (cheese) or Queso Ice Cream.

I loved the ice cream sandwiched between soft buns called monay. I have made cheese ice cream  several times with just whole milk, cream, sugar, and shredded cheddar cheese. I don't like it with egg yolk or any flavorings like vanilla extract. The flavor of just salty cheddar cheese and sweet cream is the best IMHO. I don't use thickeners and colorants in my homemade ice cream either, although the cheese I use has annatto coloring. If you have cheese powder in your pantry, you can use that instead of shredded cheese. I prefer the salty little bits of cheese on my tongue when I eat this ice cream.

June 16, 2021

Challah Buns With Tofu Cream Filling

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I never liked caramel-topped cream puffs made with PÒte à Choux but could tolerate eclair because of its chocolate topping. I find it dry, flavorless, and cardboard-y. I made faces whenever the snack cart where I used to work passed by and I couldn't understand why anyone would eat it. But day after day twice a day, the cart came with them without fail. Needless to say, I never made the pastries, ever. Oh, and don't make me start with that horrible croquembouche (croque-en-bouche). Yikes!😡

I recently finished watching a Japanese dorama, EdoMoiselle. The female lead is a high ranking courtesan in Edo, now Tokyo, who time travelled to present day Reiwa period. She started working in the coffee shop owned by a father and his daughter. They also gave her a room in their house. Senka, the Edo courtesan, loves the shop's Cream Puffs filled with Tofu Pastry Cream. The tofu surely piqued my interest but I can't stand the cardboard treat puff pastry so I baked half a recipe of challah and formed the dough into round buns. The tofu cream filling I made has no egg yolk nor flour and the end result is yummy, light, and not too cloying. If you are a fan of cream puff, try this tofu cream filling. It can also be used to fill Scottish Cream Buns or mini Chocolate Waffles instead of sweetened whipped cream.

Senka and her favorite cream puff with tofu cream filling

June 15, 2021

Milo Polvoron

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I bought a large tin of "Original Version" Milo made in Singapore. The previous tin of Milo I bought years ago was made in Malaysia. I remember it was grainy and crunchy just like the Milo I grew up eating, sometimes by the spoonful. It's perfect to top Milo shake - you scoop up the crunchy Milo on top before drinking the rest.

This new tin of Milo is powdery, tastes very little of malted powder, and not as chocolaty either. It's a huge disappointment. I cannot return it so I might as well use it but I always add at least 2 tablespoons each of malted milk powder and homemade chocolate sauce in shaved ice treat called Milo Scramble in the Philippines. I recommend the small tins from Colombia which has more chocolate and malt flavor although a tad sweeter. In other words, not all Milo are the same. Ovaltine is out because I find it too medicine-y and tastes even worse. Maybe I'll try Horlicks next time when I finish this tin of Milo.

The polvorones I made today is similar to the Spanish polvorones because I used fine almond flour instead of all wheat flour although I didn't bake them. Filipino polvorones are never baked.

April 13, 2021

Homemade Silky Tofu For Taho

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The Korean grocery store stopped selling pudding-like super soft silky tofu to make into sweet Filipino taho. I never thought of making my own taho from soy milk until I sprouted soy beans, the result of which I didn't like at all. I didn't know what to do with the dried beans and decided to make it into bean curd. Searching for recipes, I found lots for making taho just like the ones sold by ambulant peddlers in the Philippines, at the wet markets in Hong Kong, and in Dim Sum restaurants. 

It is not too complicated but it needs the correct coagulant for a silky smooth taho that is almost like almond gelatin. I used GDL coagulant that I found at Amazon. My first try in making it is a success. I made the soymilk which takes just 1 day or in my case, 4 days because I sprouted the beans first. The result is super silky soft taho exactly like the ones in restaurants and from peddlers. There is no hint of acidic flavor as others have described. I find the result superior to the store-bought tofu. I also recommend making your own soymilk instead of using store-bought because there may be added ingredients in ready made soymilk like sugar and thickener.  


GDL coagulant makes the softest smoothest silken tofu pudding taho. For firm tofu, use magnesium chloride (nigari) or calcium sulfate (food grade gypsum). These coagulants won't make tofu that is smooth and soft as the ones made with GDL.

February 10, 2021

Peanut Tikoy Rolls

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I've been reading about tikoy rolls or balls filled with peanut butter which is similar to mochi and Filipino mache. They're all cousins and each Asian country has its own version of filled glutinous rice flour steamed cakes. Chinese New Year starts in 2 days so I might as well make some. The peanut butter filled tikoy is addicting. Delicious!

Peanut Butter Tikoy Roll
1 cup glutinous rice flour
6 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup water
1 cup ground roasted peanuts
4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • Mix rice flour, sugar, and water.
  • Pour into an 8 x 8 inch silicone pan.
  • Steam for 1 hour or until translucent.
  • While rice is cooking, transfer peanut butter into a Ziploc or icing bag and set aside.
  • Sprinkle or spread ground peanuts evenly on top of cooked rice cake.
  • Cover rice cake with 2 layers of plastic wrap. 
  • Invert silicone pan on kitchen counter and carefully peel the rice cake from silicone.
  • Snip a corner of the Ziploc bag and squeeze a half inch thick line of peanut butter at one end of the cake.
  • Roll cake with plastic wrap until peanut butter is completely covered and formed into a roll.
  • Cut the covered portion and pinch seams. Repeat filling and rolling the rest of rice cake.
  • Cut into 1½ inch pieces or desired length.
Brown Tikoy
1 cup glutinous rice flour
6 tablespoons coconut sugar
¾ cup water
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
banana leaves softened in hot water
  • Line 4 ramekins with 2 layers of banana leaves. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir sugar into water until sugar dissolves; add vanilla extract.
  • Stir in flour and mix until fully blended.
  • Pour rice mixture equally into the ramekins.
  • Or line a 6 inch pan with 2 layers of banana leaves and pour all the rice mixture.
  • Steam for 2½ hours.
  • Enjoy while soft and still sticky.
  • Refrigerate leftover; microwave to soften or slice, dip in beaten egg, and shallow fry in butter.

 
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