Thursday, November 30, 2006

Homemade Granola Bars (Crumble)

It may be a granola alright, but definitely not a granola bar/square. With Em buying so much of the expensive Quaker Granola Bar in an attempt to munch on healthy snacks in the office, I decided to make a healthier, less expensive version. Not much success though, as you would have guessed by now based on the pic. While it tasted great, even better than the commercial ones if I may say so myself - I couldn't get it to stick together properly. I slice, and it will just crumble right off the pan. What could I be doing wrong? Perhaps too much butter in the recipe? Or lacking in honey? Perhaps I should have added rice krispies? Yah, that should have done the trick. If anyone has any idea, I'd be glad to hear it. In the meantime, here's the recipe. I aptly now call it the GRANOLA CRUMBLE.

You will need:

1 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup nuts, sliced into small pcs (I used an assortment)
1 cup dried fruits (I used dried cranberries, raisins, apricots)

Place oats, coconut, sesame seeds, and the nuts in a baking sheet. Roast in preheated (300C) oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, simmer honey, butter and sugar together in a pan until sugar is dissolved and it is brought to a soft boil. Take off heat and add the vanilla.

Remove oat mixture from the oven and transfer to a square baking pan. Add the fruits and stir well. Pour honey mixture over it making sure it is well dispersed. Press firmly in the pan, and bake for another 20 minutes.

Take out of the oven. Wait to cool a bit then slice into squares. Wait until completely cool before removing the squares from the pan. Wrap individually in foil if desired, or store in an airtight container up to two weeks.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Sometimes called 'kaki' or 'caqui' in Spanish, persimmon is a fruit that grows only 3 months in a year. Seems this is the time of the year, and so several fruit vendors are now carrying it in the markets. This is not common in the Philippines, and I first saw this in a roadside while walking in the streets of Hong Kong two years ago. Today, Manila's markets are vibrant with different fruits and veggies reaching our shores like never before.
It was a nice surprice when I saw this in my office desk as a gift yesterday. Soft and supple, and having been told that it it best eaten a bit chilled, I immediately placed it in the ref at home. After two hours, I got the ripest of the lot and ate sans any condiments. It was a delight, somewhat a cross between a plum and orange with the texture of a tomato. I know, i know... doesnt make sense but that's just the best way I can describe it. I imagine it a nice addition to a salad with light vinaegrette. Searching the net, I even found a cookie recipe with persimmons, although I wouldn't really go that far.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Great Spanish Deli

These are just some photos I took inside a favorite deli. There are rows and rows of different kinds of olives, olive oil, spanish sardines, a whole stand devoted to cheese (parmigiana-reggiano included!), blood sausages, jamon serranos. Wow, it was dizzying - in a good kind of way. In the end, I bought some durrum wheat pasta shaped like alphabets for the Little Bee, and some spanish sardines. Oh, and at the back of the store is a huge cellar full of what else but wine - Im no wine expert but Im sure they have the best Spanish ones.

Next up on my list of must-buys are the olive oil with truffle shavings and the great truffle oil.

Terry's Delicatessen
Lower Ground Level, The Podium Mall
Ortigas Center

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Party for a dear friend

A dear friend is on a rare visit to Manila, and five of us gathered for dinner to see him. Its always great to see old friends, and the nice dinner prepared by A consisted of a plateful of bbq, potato chips and the best tuna macaroni pasta.

Macaroni with Tuna

1 pack medium mayonnaise
1 small jar pickle relish
1 400gram macaroni pasta
3 cans tuna in vegetable oil

Cook the macaroni pasta according to package directions. Let cool a bit before combining all ingredients. So easy, yet so yummy...

Which brings me to the next post, the dessert...

The Best Leche Flan In Town

This is a post to pay homage to my dear friend's leche flan (the Philippines' unofficial dessert) , which is the best I have ever tasted - and I'm not saying this coz she's one of my best friends. Really, it is just the right amount of sweetness, and the right caramelization, the right texture. Im sure if I ask she will give me the recipe, but I rather not. I like it that I have something to look forward to whenever I swing by her place (which is always nowadays), other than the fact that it's always a pleasure to see her. To Aye, consider this a tribute to your now-famous leche flan. Its really yum!

The Little Bee's Bday Cupcakes

Im still recovering from the dizzying amount of cupcakes for the Little Bee's bday party in school. The cupcakes were Strawberry Shortcake - inspired (the Kid's current favorite character). Two sections of 4-year olds feasted on these cute little things. I was a bit paranoid baking my own to feed the little mouths, so I was very strict on hygiene more than ever. I dont ever want to encounter other parents complaining of upset tummies. But its hard to have upset tummies with sweet little things fortunately. They keep well overnight on room temperature just covered with foil, still unfrosted of course.

For the cake, I used the amazing one-bowl Amazon Cake, with some slight modifications. Instead of white sugar, I made it half-half with firmly packed brown sugar. I found it is a lot moistier with the substitution. Next time, Im going to try all brown sugar and see how it goes. And since Im making cupcakes, I reduced the baking time to half. This is the basic recipe, though for 50 cupcakes, I had to increase everything 5-fold.

Amazing Cake
Adapted from Cafe Beaujolais by Margaret Fox and John S. Bear
Serves 6-8
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cups unsweetend cocoa (Double Dutch Dark)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar ( I used half-white, half-brown)
1/2 tsp salt
5 T corn oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 T cider vinegar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla and vinegar with 1 cup cold water. Whisk in the dry ingredients, blending until completely lump-free. Sccop into cupcake pans with liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before removing from the pan and frost.
The frosting recipe is from Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Frosting recipe. I ran out of vanilla though, and luckily had Lemon Extract, which worked out beautifully especially for the kids' tastes. I found some gummy red berries, and used this to top the cupcakes.
Im quite happy with the results, and will surely do this again. It was a hit with the kids and were all gone after class!