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Something We all Agree To Like — Mango Icebox!

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Quite a staple in Pinoy parties, this delicious mango icebox cake never fails to get you hankering for second servings. Why, the mega triumvirate of mangoes, grahams and sweetened cream are enough to make you beg for 2nd, 3rd or even a fourth serving!

Nevermind those extra love handles that might cling onto your waist after wolfing this down! Hello! We live only once! Cheers!

Okay, so how did I make it. Truth to be told, by just looking at the exposed portion of this cake, you will definitely have give-away clues on how it was put together. Just the same, let me spell out to you the ingredients.

For this Mango Icebox, you will need:
3 large ripe mangoes, seeded and sliced thinly in horizontal direction
3 cups whipping cream (plus another cup for frosting)
1 small can of condensed milk
1/4 cup Peotraco sugar
12 pcs graham crackers
1/4 cup crushed graham crackers

Whip cream until it reaches soft peaks. Fold condensed milk onto the cream. Set aside.
Meantime, whip another cup of cream and gradually add sugar to the mixture.

Now you are ready to layer your cake.

Layer Mango icebox cake such that:
1. 1st layer becomes the graham crackers.
2. Second layer is the cream mixture and sliced mangoes (optional at this point).

Repeat layering until you achieve your desired height. Top the icebox cake with the remaining whipped cream, crushed graham crackers and decorate with sliced mangoes.
Chill for 3 hours before serving.

 

 

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Cerealicious

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Strolling by my lone self in Robinson’s Galleria one lunch time not too long ago, I happened to pass by a Crealicious store and decided to try it for the first time. I figured, since I was on a diet, a cup of oatmeal would stuff and satiate my appetite for the day. Low cal, rich in fiber and good for the heart, I was sold that it was to be the perfect meal for me.

Scouring their menu, the list of cereal choices got me totally giddy. Fruit loops, honey gold flakes, honey stars, coco flakes, etc., it seemed like a wonderland of cereals waiting to be consumed. And since I was dieting, I thought that Cerealicious was excellent for my diet.

The lady behind the counter was gracious enough to offer, what appeared to be, a  list of products with the corresponding calorie equivalent per item. I could not begin to say how amused I was being able to actually count the calories I was taking in! Since that time on, I have been trooping over to Cerealicious very often.

Very recently, I discovered that their outlet in Megamall served savory dishes and ‘unusual’ desserts worth trying. While I examined the menu, I was so tempted to try not one or two dishes but FIVE! Hahaha!

Sigh, I heeded the call of the deep fried dishes!  My curiosity got the better of me and gave in to the chicken, shrimp, bread and potatoes all coated in the goodness of pounded cornflakes!

Hep! Before you judge my crazy appetite, lemme emphasize that these dishes down below were shared with a friend of mine, Trina.

I saw other choices in the menu for the hardcore figure conscious, though. The pasta in pomodoro sauce or pesto would not bloat you out. Of course, all the rest of the Cerealicious choices ARE predominantly low fat and gorgeous tasting!

Well, in the end, I was glad I trusted my instincts and had a fantastic feast!

Sorry but the “SLURP” button of this website is unavailable. Instead, you might want to check out the nearest Crealicious branch near your place (Mine is Megamall, Ground Floor, Bldg A).

Here goes my feast!

Bacon Cheese Munchers

 

Cerealicious Chicken Pesto Pasta

 

 

Bubba Shrimp

Cerealicious Cordon Bleu

Peanut Butter And Banana French Toast

BUrrrrrp. Love it!

My Mama, Her Food and Me

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Tinumis. A native dish from Nueva Ecija, where my late Lolo hailed from. Definitely a must try.

Once, I was asked, “What’s your earliest memory of yourself?”.

The immediate image that got to me was my Mom cooking something one rainy morning.  What she cooked, quite understandably, escapes me now.

This leads me to believe that, just maybe, my love for cooking started right about that time. Yeah, even before I got a grip on my cooking ladle, I knew I already liked cooking!

Sopas for the soul!

What is vivid in my mind now were those episodes in my childhood when I would give a third hand to my mom in the kitchen in between commercial breaks of Sesame Street. I might have resented it in the beginning, but the long ‘haul’ turned into passion, overtime.  Needless to say, I started growing into the idea of learning, loving and experiencing serious cooking.

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Calandracas. Soup with beef, chorizos and macaroni. Two thumbs up!

Serious cooking it was for Mom.

Our kitchen was always  abuzz with all the activities she did. Back then, my Mom spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. And despite her tedious load in the office, she never failed to nourish her family with only the BEST meals.

And BEST would mean exceptionally great tasting and  well plated dishes. Yes, kinda like those that you’d be proud to serve to the Royal Family when they visit you at home.

My Dad would hover around the stove hoping to get his share of “tikim” of the food my Mom was cooking. Oh, how we always hankered for her great and well thought out meals. It perfectly went well with all the ‘growing up conversations’ my family and I shared during meal time.

Sinigang sa miso. Fish, sinigang broth and mustasa leaves-- this triumvirate just spells yumminess to the core.

Today, she is still the main moving force in the kitchen. She continues to dish out excellent meals that are loaded with love and passion.

Nueva Ecijano Afritada-- Pork made into adobo 1st before they were made into afritada. Total winner!

Buttered spareribs stew. Mom will never eat meat that's tough. This stew is something else!

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma! Please do know that everything I know in the kitchen is just a by-product of what you have taught me in the many years that you have trained me.

You are the BEST Mom!

Love you!

Garlic tapa. You can't have enough of garlic!

Recipes of Mom:

Tinumis

Calandracas

Chicken Adobo Flakes

Buttered Spareribs Stew

Garlic Tapa

Afritada Nueva Ecija Style

 

One Glorious Morning On One Plate

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So, my daughter’s class for today got called off. That means extra three  hours for me to just stay home and take a respite from the horrendous traffic going to her school and the 3 hours waiting time I have before I pick her up. Yay, this calls for a celebration. Bring it on!

Okay, this morning saw me hitting the ref for my grilled eggplant spread and grilled some  few slices of crusty Raf whole wheat bread with   parsley pesto  sauce that I made and bottled up a few days ago.

The combination of the spread and the bread spelled HEALTHY and YUMMY, both in font 99! Yeah, one glorious morning on one big plate!

Turkey Breast Fillet With Blueberry Preserves And Herbed Cheese Sandwich

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It was in 1863 when Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in the United States. The Americans then started to use turkey as their dish centerpiece for Thanksgiving. The focal dish that it has become, its popularity in America and Europe has been immeasurable since.

The rich, juicy and taste -loaded leftover turkey breasts were sitting on the ref when I decided to make it into a sandwich. I thought a see-saw of flavors, salty and sweet would be perfect to go with the turkey.

So, here was how I did it.

To make it you will need:

500 grams tukey breast fillet leftover

4 slices of herbed or smokey dutch cheese (or any cheese you want)

3/4 cup bluberry chunky preserves

4 slices of bread

parsley for garnishing

Assemble the ingredients on top of a slice of bread. The blueberry preserves then about 250 gms of turkey breasts for each sandwich and cheese. Cover with another slice. You may heat sandwich if you wish.

Top with a sprig of parsley for garnishing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Classic Puttanesca

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Twirling the puttanesca onto my fork, I was reminded of my date nights with hubby, Jake, when we  used to troop over to our favorite Italian resto, Cosa Nostra in Malate when it was still abuzz with the gimmick peeps.

We would order  plates of light-coated pasta that were peppered with sauces that tasted fresh, light and very Italian. The ingredients they used were nothing but top quality, authentic and flavor loaded. Am totally clueless now, though, how they are today, 10:29 PM of November 16, 2010!

Fast forward to today, I decided to dish out some puttanesca to go with the chardonnay that begged to team up with the pasta. Awesome, I knew we were in for a great dining chitchat with the yummy food at the backdrop.

Just a sidebar– puttanesca is always best with mashed anchovies. It binds the flavors together and defines its flagship taste. Easy to make and delightful to eat!

Puttanesca

1/4 kilo spaghetti noodles

1 can Del Monte tomato sauce (petite cut)

3/4 cup olive oil

1 head of garlic, minced

3 pcs anchovy fillets, mashed

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

1/2 cup capers

1/2 tsps chilli flakes

1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp chopped parsley for garnishing

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Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a skillet, saute garlic, anchovies, capers, chilli flakes and olives. Add tomato sauce. Simmer for about ten minutes.

Toss in cooked spaghetti and  sprinkle with cheese. Top with chopped parsley for garnishing.

Lisa’s Bread Pudding

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Lisa’s Bread Pudding

“I wanna learn how to cook!”

Six big words from a serious culinary newbie then got me drawing up a menu for a cooking session. Having been raised knowing, tasting and devouring good food, it wasn’t hard coaching my high school buddy, Lisa Marie Virginia Monique Roa Africa-Carandang (Whew, Lisa, I’m insane having remembered your full name since the late 80’s!).

She was to leave for Tokyo, Japan with hubby, Eric, and kids when she got us to cook together. So, here was how Lisa looked like when we did the lessons:

And she made this:

Stewed beef in marinara sauce

I thought she was excellent during the session. Now the tougher challenge, doing dishes on her own in faraway Japan. Ha!

Only recently, I was so thrilled getting a recipe from Lisa (which I requested for) plus a photo to match. I could not believe what she just made– bread pudding. Not that I did not believe she could whip upsomething like that but more like– I was green with envy because I cannot, for the life of me, bake!!!! Haha!

Lisa, you are awesome!

Here goes her note and recipe for us:

Hey Caren!  Would you believe it’s been exactly a year since we moved to Tokyo…and since our cooking lesson?!  The move to Tokyo has been both fulfilling and a challenge for all of us.  It truly is a wonderful and dynamic city;  a melting pot of cultures.  We have been really blessed to have been given the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a society that is so unique, diverse and as rich as Japan‘s.

Living in Tokyo has been life-changing.  The biggest one, as you very well know, is cooking!  Having been married for over 11 years, not once did I feel the need to familiarize myself with the kitchen, (except for the refrigerator)!  I mean, I can’t even cook rice!  So, you can imagine the terror when I found out I had to cook!

The first night was a nightmare!  We decided to just have spam and eggs for dinner.  Albeit simple in theory, it was not easy in reality.  Mare, Spam na nga lang…nasunog ko pa!  I failed to notice that the knob of the range started with “high” temperature (I.e. to ignite the fire).  To save dinner, Eric just decided to cook the eggs himself…lest I burn that too!  (Maybe I was subconsciously testing my family’s love for me as my daughter said, “It’s okay Mom, we can just take out the brown parts.“) 

There are a lot more “funny” stories along the way, (one of Eric’s favorite is my mistaking vinegar for oil when I was making scrambled eggs and suspecting that the eggs were rotten), but thankfully there are more successful stories to share .

Since then I am proud to say that I have served a variety of dishes including Meatloaf, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Sukiyaki, Kare-Kare, et al.  I’ve even ventured into baking simple desserts like Brown Sugar Bars and Bread Pudding!  Of course, all of which were products of a lot of trial and error.  Even if the ulam is as basic as Adobo or Sinigang, it still took some time before I could perfect the taste and consistency. 

The greatest fulfillment of course, is seeing the satisfied faces of Eric and the kids!  My kids even talk about my “delicious snacks” to their classmates!  They are the best customers I could ever wish for…supportive, not mapili and the most forgiving of critics.  Although at times the food does not turn out as expected, they never fail to show their appreciation for the “work” that I put into it. 

You were right.  Just do it!  Stop obsessing with recipes but trust in your “panlasa”…  

So yes!  I can cook na…finally!  Thanks for helping me take out the trauma of cooking.  Naturally, I still have a lot of things to learn but at least now I have that peace of mind knowing that…hindi na mamatay sa gutom ang pamilya ko!  Hahaha! 

Here is the recipe for Bread Pudding.  It’s a very simple dish which my kids love to do with me.  I found the recipe on the Internet but I made some changes according to my family‘s taste…

BREAD PUDDING RECIPE

Bread Pudding Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

¼ cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups bread, tore into pieces (any bread, although French bread or raisin bread is the best)

raisins (I use about ¼ cup only)

Bread Pudding Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoon butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon flour
dash of salt

Directions

Bread Pudding

1.  In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk.  Add butter.  Stir constantly until butter is melted.  Set aside.

2.  In a separate container, combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla.  Slowly add milk mixture.  Set aside. 

3.  Place torn pieces of bread on a casserole.

4.  Pour batter on top of bread.  Sprinkle raisins.

5.  Bake at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. 

Bread Pudding Sauce

1.  Mix everything together in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Set aside for a few minutes and then pour on warm bread pudding. 

2.  ENJOY!