Recipe: Soft and Moist Milk Bread-a failure.

Despite having lived in California where artisan breads abound,  I am craving for soft and moist white bread. Hah, the healthy living of California didn’t really grown in me, despite best efforts. Looking at recipes on the internet, I found that to achieve this kind of consistency and texture, a roux is needed. They call in zanshoung (sp) in Asian baking.

The second time, using different recipes, both failed. The first time, the dough was too sticky, the second time the bread was too hard, it didn’t rise property.

There is nothing wrong with the recipe that I  used, my mistake for not testing my  yeast, it is dead. I tested it as an afterthought. I know, I sure will figure out the mystery of baking eventually.

Rant: Bake-me-a-wish cake order

It was my friend’s birthday at goldie-six, I wanted to celebrate her birthday with a surprise. Didn’t post anything in social media, she’s in California, am in the Philippines. So I ordered a cake from bake-me-a-wish. They were touting gourmet and that a portion of the earning will be spent to send cakes to military personnel overseas.  I liked that, the third time that I ordered. My mistake was I didn’t ask my other friend how the cake was when it reached him early this year.

316(1) What I ordered

This is what came. I have no words, but man, this looks like shit.


I communicated with the company, because heck this cake is not cheap and this is not what I paid for. They said they are going to replace, which they did, but what was received is in the same condition. I indicated to them but it may not be the fault of UPS, the package by the way came at past 10:00 in the evening, (shoot, English is my second language but that is not end of the day as they claimed it is). Sent them another message but nada, no response. What the….

This is just not acceptable, what a disappointment.

Recipe: Caramel Squares

I was looking for  recipe that I have used  for caramel salt to pour over chocolate melts when I chanced upon this recipe for caramel squares.  It looked doable, so I did.

The recipe called for condensed milk instead of cream, putting together sugar, corn syrup, milk, and butter in a medium-thick bottomed sauce pan, over medium fire, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Once it reaches a soft ball temperature (light brown in color) It is done.  I got scared a bit because it was light in consistency (my brother said to put it in low fire). Instead of lining the pan with wax paper I used edible rice paper thinking I can get away with individual wrapping.


I added more sugar a little milk as the consistency didn’t look like it in the recipe, I also added the vanilla and the salt, while still cooking.  Not sure what it did, my research later indicated that it should be the recipe says, once out of the fire and it has cooled down a bit.

I don’t really care for nuts in my candies so I didn’t. Ii didn’t let it sit for 24 hours as suggested so when everything has been cut and put in a container it tended to stick together. But hey it is still good, as is, or as an add-in to sans rival ice cream.

I know, I know, it doesn’t look pretty worthy of publishing but for a first attempt, it is acceptable to me and oh there is nothing wrong with the recipe linked here.



Breakfast at Pancake House in Alabang

IMG_2630 IMG_2631

coming from a funrun (a story for another day) I had a craving for french toast and sausage. It is sort of reminiscent of how my Saturdays were, when I was still “gainfully employed”. Where I will meet up with friends or singly walk around the lake, stopping at the farmers market-final destination will be a diner /greasy spoon.

So on our way back, I asked if we can stop at the pancake house.  Pancake house is an old establishment, a place that I have frequented so many years ago.

Food was typical, coffee was good, the french toast could use more butter and maple syrup.  I’d rather the side of breakfast sausage (that’s what they said it is) was plated with the french toast for easy access.

Waddya say, how is this post for a comeback, too light? 

Recipe: It’s a wonderful world with Arroz a la Cubana

It is a wonderful world indeed. It is starting to rain in our area, typhoon Ruby has landed in several areas last night. The government is prepared for this, more prepared than last year’s typhoon. Of course, the preparedness extends only to as far as getting the residents to evacuate and providing for the food and shelter during that time. Homes, personal effects, memories, death of family members, and other difficulties resulting from the typhoon are borne by the residents. The sad part about it is some of them have not even recovered from the previous events. Hope is not lost among the affected and those who are on the sidelines praying for them and extending help when they can.

So many days after, Pope Francis visited the Philippines; I am amazed at the devotion and the number of people who went despite the rain and the crowd. It was heartwarming indeed, even for people like us who just watched the television. About 6 million people gathered at the Quirino grandstand to listen to him. There were non-Catholics who were awed and showed respect, there were instances of disrespect of which I will not dignify a mention on this post.
It is indeed a wonderful world when there is hope, love, and compassion.
So, let us talk about arroz ala cubana, this dish is not really from Cuba but perhaps brought by the Spaniards in their colonization efforts from way back. The main ingredient is ground beef or port for that matter, tomato sauce, egg, and banana. I am thinking that it is popular because it is a one-dish meal.
I first tasted this dish from the cafeteria of the bank that I used to work for in Intramuros. It was a special then, several versions have since then evolved, but I would still remember when I savored it first. It is like my mom reminding me that her cooking methods have not changed but my palate has matured. Therefore the memories of how my tastebuds encountered a dish the first time will always be different. There is no expectation.


The fried banana can provide as a palate cleaner to tone done the richness of the mean and the fried egg. You will notice that the sunny side-up is prepared with crispy sides and almost cooked yolk; I guess, this is still the Spanish influence in our culture. The North American egg will be over easy, soft, not firm. At any rate, arroz a la cubana is prepared by cooking beef in a small amount of water until the juice has evaporated and oil has come out. Add a little bit of olive oil and sauté onions and garlic, if preferred add green peas. Once cooked add tomato sauce, put in raisins when the sauce has thickened. Fry bananas and egg separately. This is best enjoyed with rice but will go well with dinner rolls too.

It is an easy prep and the picture didn’t do it justice but it will hit the spot. Enjoy it with gusto, just as how you would savor the beautiful world around you.

Fading Summer by Monange

This post is written by Monange, but she didn’t want to be a formal contributor, here goes:

Fading Summer.

I feel like summer slowly fading as the next season comes that I am beginning to count my blessings by the day, at least since I reached my golden year.

There were lots to be thankful for…so much that I am not sure whether I can still track them, but I guess I can line them up as my Life’s Meter:

A family – makes my life complete, though there were times we have difficulties I realized that the most important thing is that we fought the battles together. I have been blessed with parents who enduringly taught me a lot about life itself…resilience, patience, love, faith, and contentment.

I have wonderful kids whose eyes reflects their love and faith in me as a person, and a husband that says ‘I love you’ whenever he feels like saying it, and mean every word of it.

A shelter – a place I come home to every end of even the most gruelling day. With weary eyes and tired feet I can easily crouch on the seat to savour the smell of the would-be dinner.

Friends who make every day worth laughing about, and worth forgetting, too…Now you see them, now you don’t. But at least they’re in my heart forever. They include some whom I never had the chance to meet face to face, but by today’s technology I was able to chat with and exchange humour and nonsense.

My old but reliable car. Its name is Maldita and I love it, and it endured being a very big bin for bits and pieces of my everyday struggle to work, to the supermarket, to the unscheduled trips and weekend outings. It still survives the countless distances, too, to wherever the tank can bring us to.

Some pairs of shoes. We always reach our destinations with them… and mine have weathered tough summers and rainy days… some pairs of shoes that pad my way as I trek down life’s many byways.

Things that I needed and those that were not, which will serve their purpose to those who need them more.

I have some pennies that jingle in my pocket and in my cookie jar. That reminds me that everyday survival is the most important thing. That I have to live my life by the day and savour every moment of it.

I have my faith that always remind me that there’s Someone up there who’s always been watching over me.

Some turns and runabouts that show life is indeed full of roses, and full of thorns, too…

Everyday people that makes me wonder the why’s and how’s… faces of longing, sadness, happiness and awe, worry and gladness, beaming around me like life’s gauge for meaning..

Those hands that stretch out to me whenever I need to have something to cling to, and those ears that listen to whenever and wherever…

I have those places, though limited, that remind of everything that passed …youth, joys, laughter and tears, agony and triumphs…

I have a place to sit and lie just thinking about life…and how it’s gone before and past me…along with my mistakes and lessons learned…

Surely, I have been blessed with so many ups and downs, with more or less of the things I have wanted and needed. For some extra bonus, I have been granted wishes that I wanted for so long.

Life’s meter, indeed, all within my golden years. Though every time I think of how life has become for me, I’m not sure how I’d be measured.

How much more on my twilight?


Life, death, taxes and russian pasta salad

These past months has been an interesting turn of events. We sent off my cousin’s husband to his final resting place, they were married for oever 30 years with grown children all professionals and starting on with their lives. Just realized that my cousin married young, just out of high school. He was born with a defective heart but he was able to make good use of it albeit some complications along the way until he was 60. Life well spent, I would say.

Not sure if it is an awareness thing, but I seem to hear accounts of defective heart some are able to recover some don’t. The heart (core) controls our body our feelings, emotions is controlled by it too. My prose is not rhyming correctly this time, but you get it right? Of course, life goes on around us, despite all these. I have reconnected with friends, my nephew is now staying with us, life is still good. Then I found out that the Franchise Tax Board levied my account for alleged back taxes..that really screwed up everything..

Such compendium of events and feelings prompted to make russian pasta salad to eal with it gastronomically. Checking the larder (I was watching a european movie, hence the word) I found a piece of beet root, carrot, fruit and nuts, crushed pineapple, egg, celery stalks, olives and cheese. I boiled 2 cups of macaroni pasta (barilla or similar kind, would have been nicer) following the directions to add salt and oil and to run cold water when it is cooked. The beet root, carrots, and eggs were also boiled. Everything has been cut into small dice pieces.

One and a quarter mayonnaise was placed in the mixing bowl, salt (I found that it is more effective to start the mixture with mayo, then onions, salt, and pepper. To ensure that the ingredients is evenly distributed it is best to mix in gradually. Oh, I said it is Russian because of the beet root, but it is still your typical pinoy macaroni salad. Best served chilled.

life, yours, mine, theirs – loose, random — aging gracefully, discovering, cooking brazenly and eating wisely


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