Category Archives: Food

Red Velvet Cupcakes with a touch of angst

I have been staring at this page for almost an hour. I have nothing to write. Do you realize how much wasted time that is? Just to give you an idea…

As of 2010, 4.45 babies are born every second, that’s 16020 new babies every hour! And 1.8 people die every second. That 6480 souls. Think about that for a second. Every time you feel stressed, or down, or the world is upon you, just think that the mere time spent that you realized that you feel that way, about 5 people have already died. Just be thankful you are not one of them.

Me? I just bake cupcakes.

Why cupcakes? Well, I don’t know. Why do you wear underwear? IT DOESN’T MATTER.


So yeah, cupcakes. Where were we?

Yeah, I chose to make red velvet cupcakes. Why? Because they’re red. Why red? Because red symbolizes leadership, strength, power, wisdom and possibly every positive adjective there is. Who says so?

These guys.

Red Ranger from the Original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Red Turbo from Bioman

Red Mask from Maskman

Red Hawk from Jetman

Steve fromVoltes V

Blame these icons for my generations bad fashion choices. Mono chromatic clothes with imposed and suggestive curves, it only works on TV!

Stop with the nonsense! I fuckin lost my mojo.

Most cupcakes start with the very basic step of creaming butter and sugar together I never really understood the importance of this until one time I tried to bake cupcakes with melted butter. Came out like a fucking nightmare that involved the devil, warm gel and elongated vegetables.

"I'm the Devil, I can do what I want!"

So from then on, I squeeze a little elbow grease and make sure my butter and sugar are creamed well and the eggs are added gradually.

In a separate bowl, I added my buttermilk substitute and my food coloring. 2 notes here. Buttermilk is not actually milk with butter, of milk with high fat content. It’s actually a fermented milk product that…. let’s just say it’s close to sour milk. According to the ever so convenient internet, buttermilk can be substituted with milk with vinegar. So yeah that’s what I did.

You’d expect I’d put an image of the milk and food coloring mixture here. I would But because the shot was blurry, I decided to edit it out and put something that will surely grad your attention. Boobs. So here it is. Milk + food coloring + boobs.

You're welcome.

Another note is the usage of food coloring. I don’t like to use food coloring that much. I just added it so that the name makes sense. I think there’s something a little weird about a brown Red Velvet cake.

But of course, there’s a history behind it. Originally when they made cocoa powder during the times where internet was not even on the minds of humans and it is still legal to beat your wife with a stick as wide as your thumb, cocoa powder reacts to acidic substances like the buttermilk and vinegar (yes, there is vinegar on this recipe aside from the one I used to re-create buttermilk) . Hence the name. As technology advances, food scientist, or whatever you call them, invented a method where the cocoa powder no longer reacts to acidic substances. This is when Red Beets was used. Sometimes red beets were boiled and the water was used to color the food but most of the time, they added grated red beets to the cake itself for it to retain moisture.

Well, I am a man of the future. And I say use food coloring.

As a standard procedure on most cake products, we are advised to mix all the dry ingredients first, mix all the wet ingredients and then combine them together. I usually don’t do this because I am lazy as fuck but what the hell.

I did it anyway!

Mix them all together until you get the Devil’s Shit.

Yes, this is the devil's shit right here!

I love making practical uses of those single purpose products. Like an ice cream scooper. Who would have thought it works wonders on cupcakes. Definitely not Alfred L. Cralle.

Baked em in a standard baking temperature with a standard baking time and it came out looking like magic!

I took them out of the pan, and let them cool down while I make the frosting.

Just your basic Cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar frosting.

Cupcakes need frosting. Muffins don’t. I don’t usually make cupcakes because it needs frosting and I can’t have too much frosting (you know, diabetes) but this is different! I specifically made this recipe to test out the new toy I bought! It wa ssooo cheap that even a cheap guy like me cannot resist it!

TADA~~~ 😀

I just had to try them out!

I was supposed to try most of them and see how they look. I tried this one…

And this is how it looked.

I made some more and then I realized that my frosting was too soft. I placed it in the ref for about 5 mins and it turned out ok. But it still cannot stand the way other cupcake frostings do.  I considered adding more powdered sugar for stability but I decided not to because I want to eat more than one! I just piped them the way I liked and me and my girlfriend considered this as a practice batch. Next batch will be much better.

If I can get fresh red beets, I’ll re create this recipe without the food coloring!

O yeah, 22,680 people wdied while I was writing this post.



Filed under Food

The road to Macaron

Necessity is the mother of invention.

True. Contrary to most people believe, majority of things was invented accidentally. No it wasn’t.

It was discovered, not invented.

In the case of meringue, who the hell thought about whisking egg whites until it foams up? I just don’t know how our ancestors comes up with this shit. Maybe he’s the same guy who first saw crab and instantly knew it was delish.

Hmmm. Extended eyeballs, very hard and spiky exterior, claws that can cut my finger... YUMMY!!

What was he trying to do or prove? Whatever that was, I wont dig it up anymore. What’s important is he made one of the most elegant and versatile (and tiring) confections in the kitchen.

Meringue is basically whipped egg whites with sugar. It tastes like… Well… If clouds have a taste, it would be this. Soft, airy and dense at the same time. I can’t explain it.

I first made meringue when I made my Baked Alaska. It was pretty easy, just very tiring.

Thinking of a new thing to bake, I searched the internet. I found my self looking at Parisian Macarons.


I’ve always wanted to make them but found them very intimidating. Well, maybe this is the right time to do it. I did some more research on these cute little bastards before making them.

If you’re hear or read Macarons and immediately thought about coconuts, that’s not it. Those are Pinoy Macaroons (notice the spelling). These are more, you know, up scale a little bit.

I have to admit, I have never really tried real Macaron before so I really have no reference taste wise, but as long as it looks good, it’ll taste good! You can’t really go wrong with sweets right?

There are literally thousands of Macaron recipes. Most of the things I read states that Macaron is a pretty hard dish to make. Most people wont get it the first time the make it and if they do, they probably wont be able to make it the second time around.

Surprisingly enough, I found may uh, how can I say this… Intricate or odd (for the lack of better term) steps on this. Like the one that I read said that the egg whites to be used needs to be ‘aged’ in the ref for a few days before using. The kind of powdered sugar to be used, the process used in the nuts, ‘resting/drying’ before baking and environmental temperature.

Personally, I tend to skip ‘unecessary’ steps. It’s basically meringue with nuts and sugar. How hard can it be?

I browsed a bit more and stumbled to this site, Bravetart which specifically tackles about ‘Macaron Myths.’ I read the whole thing and she’s basically saying that IT’S JUST A FUCKING PASTRY. IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. So yeah, Thank you Bravetart for that confirmation.

Sooner or later... (thanks Nano for the image!)

So… lets start cooking? Ok!

Basically, Macaron is made up of stiff meringue, almond flour and powdered sugar sifted together, flavorings and colors, and that’s it! But as you know, I’m a cheap and lazy guy so I had to tweak somewhere there.

Almond powder. Yeah. Never heard of it. Like the word Lupozaituim, I’m sure you’ve never heard of that before. Many sites say that they grind their own almonds. So I’ll just have to do it myself. But yeah, almonds are not easily accessible in this side of the crater so I’ll have to improvise!


Yes, peanuts! Very cheap and very accessible. I’ll just ground them up into a fine powder right?

I was actually VERY hesitant. Mainly because, well, I know I can’t ground peanuts into a fine powder necause they’ll become peanut butter. But what the hell.

I roasted then and ground them using my a simple household blender.

Then mixed it with my SIFTED powdered sugar.

And I didn’t bother sifting them together because the nuts are just too fucking big to go through, get it? Nuts are too big… ehehe…

After which, I started to whip my meringue. And instead of showing you pics, I decided to film it. You know I love you guys!

Then I folded them together. And according to some sites, this is called… the Macaronage…

Macaronage. 90's dance craze.

A quote from bravetart: “Instead of coming to recognize the qualities of a good meringue and the consistency of proper macaronage, you fret over how many days the egg whites aged. This prevents learning from mistakes and subsequently improving technique, causing you to begin each macaron venture from square one.”

So from what I understand here, having a good macaromage means you have a high chance of getting a good result. What is a good macaronage you ask? Well, the internet says that the consistency is like of a molten lava. Here is a video of my macaronage…

and here is a Molten Lava video.

Ehh… Not exactly lava-like… That’s because i’m scared of over beating the mixture…

fuck off

I separated the batter into two and made one chocolate by adding cocoa powder and the other one strawbrry by adding flavorings and colors.

Polka dots

Lined my pan with wax paper (I’m out of parchment) and piped them in. Does not look too uniform as it should but that can be easily corrected… in the next batch.

Baked them and watched every moment of it.

18 minutes in front of the hot oven gave me…


Yes. I failed. It cracked. The Macaron Feet did not show. What feet?

Macaron feet

Those curly, crunchy looking stuff under the shiny dome is called the feet.

So yeah, my first try failed. Mainly because I fucked with the recipe. What did I expect? Nevertheless the result was still delicious!

Crunchy on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside!

And yes, this is actually my yummiest failure to date. First attempt down, many more to go. The focus of my next attempt will be getting the peanut to be sifted with the powdered sugar and having a good sense of macaronage.

And fuck almonds for being too expensive!


Filed under Food

How my childhood inspired my cooking :)

During my high school years, there was an anime that was aired in a local channel. It changed my life.

Yes! Cooking master boy. I was pretty much oriented and inspired by my father to a very basic Filipino way of cooking, the one pot style cooking. Add this, add this and add this then boil. That’s pretty much it. Everything tasted delicious and made people happy and that’s why I wanted to learn how to cook. The comes this anime. It somewhat intensified my desire to cook back then. So much to the point that I wanted the ‘Super Chef Seal (the one in his sleeve) to be tattooed in my arm. And I am still considering it.

The anime that certainly stood out. Everyday we were bombarded by violent animes, this was a very peaceful one. Although there was some violence here, there were more hurt feelings that hurt persons. And they do not kill each other. They just cook and beat the bad guys. Also, in this anime, the bad guys play fair.

Yes way!

Even then, I know a lot of the things they show there are bullshit. Even so, I laughingly said to myself that I will re-create the epicness they once showed me. It’s like every episode, there comes a guy with a certain trait and skills equal to, ah forget it, just look at these:

This is Steel Rod Shell. He claims to be the number 1 dimsum chef in all China. He can make paper thin dumpling skins with equal thickness using his steel rod as seen in the left part of the picture.

And this buff guy here is named Al, the younger of the two dumpling brothers. He can swing hot metal balls in the air weighing close to a full grown man each, punch them open. At first I thought he’s just training, apparently he’s frying dumplings in them.

AND THIS. This has gotta be one of my favorites in the whole series!

Believe it or not, that majestic looking this is actually a dumpling. The Ascending Dragon Dumpling as Mao calls it. It’s nothing but a shrimp dumpling (you can see the nose of the dragon is actually a shrimp head). The cool thing about this dumpling is that it can actually stand and move like a dragon! It’s easy to let it go if they said that the sheer skill and ability of Mao can make the dragon move. But noooooooooooooooo! They really have to provide us with a realistic explanation that will haunt me forever.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasically, the trick was he used two types of skin for the dumpling. The rate of expansion of the two skins are different when steam is blown in so the other is pulled by the other. But it still doesn’t explain why light exploded from the steamer when it was opened.

One last thing is the reactions of the people eating it. Luckily, there is a youtube video that compiled some of it.

But youtube fucked this part up for me. Fuck you youtube.

So from the things I showed you, you’d thing that this show is all mystical magics of cooking. That’s where you’re wrong. The protagonist’s mother, Pai, once cooked a simple dish that invigorated a very tired messenger that is now- –fuck. Let’s just say she cooked something really good and that was Mapo Tofu.

I looked at it and it looks fairly simple enough. Its basically tofu with a spicy sauce. But at my young age, the only method of cooking tofu was only to fry it. And the tofu here doesn’t look like it was fried so I got a little scared and left it rotting at the deepest darkest part of my mind.

A few years later, I researched the recipe but there was one ingredient that I can’t find. Szechuan Peppercorns. For 4 years, I’ve searched every grocery and supermarket I know but I saw nothing. Then I met my girlfriend which happened to be part Chinese and I asked her if she could ask her relatives about this coveted ingredient.

A week later, I now have the ingredient that took me 4 years to find. So what did I do? I started cooking.

I refreshed myself with the recipe, read a lot of blogs, combined them all and added my own touch. That’s how I came up with my own version of mapo tofu. Not very authentic, but who cares? I’m not after any legendary cooking utensils unlike Mao. Or am I?

Epic enough for me...

Lets get started!

Now, cooking this is fairly simple. Chop, saute, add liquid, you know the drill.

Also, if you notice, this is actually my first uh, non-baked or non pastry post because… *insert sad music here*

A month ago I got my blood checked for my diabetes maintenance and it showed that I am failing. Failing at living basically. So had to stop making those for me to stop eating them.


And tofu was always my savior when I was looking for something filling without a large impact on my blood sugar. So yeah that’s is.

Ok now really, lets get started!

As a kid, I believed there are 2 types of tofu. The dirty one and the clean one. The clean one (it’s actually silken tofu) was the one with packaging. The dirty one was the one that had cloth marks on it and looks really… undesirable, for the lack of better term. And now, being of age, I know how to choose wisely.


I chose the dirty one because, well, its cheaper! And also because the silken tofu is actually softer and I assumed it will not withstand the poaching and frequent stirring in this dish.

I cut most of the tofu into large cubes and some of them into small cubes.

The real recipe calls for some red chili paste. But because I didn’t have one (I actually never had one) I opted to go to the easiest way out. Fresh chilleh!

Onions, garlic and fresh chili.

Also, here’s a tip for you.

2 words. FREEZE. GINGER.

Yes, frozen ginger is very effective. Almost no loss in flavor and saves you most of the hassle. This is actually a lifesaver since we do not tend to use ginger everyday unlike onions and garlic that we can buy in bulk. When you buy ginger in bulk, it usually just wilts away. So yeah, it saves time and money, the two most important things in the world.

Just a notch higher than candied bacon.

Now the major flavoring. Fermented Chinese Black beans. Or as we call it, Tausi.

BLACK CHINESE. Hard to imagine actually.

This is the only brand I trust and this is the only one I use. I actually don’t know the brand, I just know it by the yellow plastic container. (Yes I have tried black beans in cans and tetras, they’re all crappy.) I read the writings on the packaging (which is very rare) and it actually says there the brand. And it did not change my life.

Pic related. Your argument is invalid.

And of course, the meat.

So you were expecting the, uhm, other type of meat?

And the thing that makes Map Tofu really a Szechuan dish…

Szechuan Pepper Corns!

If you think they look like shriveled flower buds, it’s because they are. They are no way related to black or white peppers.

I am convinced that these are actually Szechuan Peppercorns (pink peppercorns) but the greatest quality of this kind of pepper aside from its aroma is the numbing effect to your tongue which makes it perfect to pair with intensely spicy dishes. Though honestly, I don’t feel any. SO I guess I’m still lacking here. Nevertheless, it’s still the said ingredient.

As I said earlier, cooking this is very simple. Even a monkey can cook this! Or a pig.

Just saute all the ingredients together, minus the tofu.

Looks like uh... nevermind...

Add water until it boils.

Kinda looks like our living room during the rainy days.True story.

And add cornstarch to thicken it.



While my wok was boiling, I spent a good 15 mins searching for the damn box of cornstarch. Until I just gave up and decided to turn the flame down and run to the nearest grocery at 9:30 pm. Who wouldn’t?

It’s like you’re taking a shower, you’re already wet when you realized you’re out of soap. Wachugonnado?

So in record time, I ran through roads and dodge cars and jeeps.

Even on a rush, I still managed to give time to take a snapshot.


Salvation! Only 22 pesos!

Really, in record time.

Turned up the flame up again and made a slurry (that’s just chef talk for cornstarch and water).

Oh yeah! I the small diced tofu was fried.

Until it reaches golden, crunchy perfection!


I added this in the last minute for it not to soak up much of the sauce. It needs to stay crisp because this is a major player in the texture part of your dish.

Chopped cilantro

Added the large cubed tofu and let it simmer for a minute, turned off the heat and… you be the judge.

Don’t they look great? I just remembered, the reason why I don’t post much stove-top dishes here is because they’re very hard to photograph! Luckily enough, an angel lend me her camera for me to play with! I am now a happy boy! 🙂

But I guess my tummy is happier!



Filed under Food

My Own Cheese, My Own Cake.

In cooking, I believe that the ingredients in a certain dish are there because an element of it is needed. For example, pie crust. A pie crust recipe needs some kind of solid fat. Why? as you cut the fat in the dough it incorporates itself in chunks, and when you bake it, the fat melts away leaving the former space it occupied almost empty. This is what makes pie crusts flaky.

Get rid of flakes in just one wash!

The most common type of fat used in pie crusts are butter and lard. I won’t go into the debate on whether the former or the latter is better, in the end they’re all the same fat that becomes solid in the ref and melts away in the oven.

So I can take any type of solid fat and make it into pie crust like… Margarine for example? Or that white layer of fat that forms at the base of your left over roast in the ref? My point is, as long as you can ‘replicate’ a certain property from a certain ingredient, then you’re as good as having the said ingredient. We’re not talking here about flavor, mainly, I’m talking here about structure and how it stands as the dish.

This idea came to my mind a couple of years ago…

A professor of mine was telling the class while holding a milk carton that “This is not milk, this is white water.’ Or something like that. Maybe throw a couple of fucks and shits there.

I had no Idea what the hell he was talking about. I mean, milk is milk right? What, there is now some kind of milk ranking where in cows from this certain place or breed has a higher check price?

Ohh, hipster cows.

On that same year, I developed a habit of reading the nutritional facts and ingredients of things in the grocery. Amidst all the milk cartons in the dairy section, I saw a very familiar looking box of milk. Yes, it was the ‘white water’ my professor was talking about. Usually, when you buy packaged ‘fresh’ milk, it does not have an ingredient list. Probably because they DID NOT make them. But this particular brand of milk has three ingredients.


Ya really. And it was Water, Reconstituted Milk Powder, Milk Fat.

I was actually surprised by that. They were selling us the stuff that we can make on our home all this time! I double backed and thought maybe they were using some kind of special milk powder. You know, with nothing added in it? Cause I always believed that the locally available milk powders has a lot of vitamin-like additives that changes the taste.

I went to the milk powder isle (or something like that) and checked the ingredients. There was only one listed, it was like 100% dried milk or something like that. I don’t really remember the exact words but it was quickly processed in my mind that its just fucking dry milk. Add water and it will be ‘real’ milk again!

From tits to glass!

From this, I started my experiment. From cheese to yogurt. And of course, cream cheese.

Now, why would I want to make my own cream cheese? For cheesecake of course! Everybody here loves cheesecake. The thing is, it’s pretty expensive compared to any cake or pie. Even making them home is quite expensive.

To cut the long story short, I made my own cream cheese using milk powder. How? Well actually, the ‘cream cheese’ I made was sometime called ‘yogurt cheese’ because the process was draining the yogurt with most of the whey it had, thus leaving us with a thick cream cheese-like consistency.

Like what I said earlier, you don’t actually need the ingredient, you need the properties it comes with. So What I need to do is make an inexpensive mush of white with a creamy texture.

Not exactly what I have in mind...

So the experiment began.

The first step here is to reconstruct the milk. Gradually sifting the milk in warm water while stirring works best. If you google how to make yogurt, you’ll see a lot of process that sometimes require a thermometer and a whole lot of other equipments. I developed a shorter method.

The real method is heat the milk up to 180ºC to kill the competing bacteria present in the milk and then cool it down to 110ºC. After it cools, add any amount of yogurt you want. Like 3 tbps for a liter of milk? That should do.  Then mix it. Next comes the incubation period where you need the live yogurt germies to multiply, thus turning your milk to yogurt.

It's actually kinda gross if you think about it...

You need to keep them in a warm place to multiply and do their magic.

Kinda complicated? This is what I do: heat the milk until it’s warm enough for you to bathe in. Wait for 10 mins, add the yogurt then ‘incubate’ them inside the oven, turned off. What I do to keep it warmer there is to boil a pot of water and put it in the oven then leave it for 12 hours. Simple enough for you?

Sir, yes sir!

After 8 hours, you now have your yogurt!

Now the obvious got me thinking again. If it’s called cream cheese, should I add cream?

That’s the thought I had while taking the biggest dump ever. I chuckled. But I remembered an article I read about milk powder. It said there that commercial milk powder does not contain fat. It’s even called skim milk powder in some places. Cream is fat and cream is milk so… I went up, washed my hands (of course!) and got started already.

I made 2 batches of yogurt. The normal one, and the one with cream. I made them according to my normal ways on preparing yogurt. I took a very close look at them during the fermentation.

At the 4th hour, the one with no cream shows very little development. The one with cream however is already dense. I incubated them more, strained them for 12 hours and put a weight on them on the final hours. These are the results.

Specimen A. No cream.

Specimen B. With cream.

Looking at them both, we can clearly see their difference. Specimen A gave me a hard time getting it out of the cheesecloth, while specimen B popped out like a pimple. I gave them both a stir then weight them.

Specimen A. 280g

Specimen B. 290g.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that Specimen A has obvious lumps while Specimen B may look lumpy, but it is very smooth when you spread it.

The smell difference of the two is very significant. Specimen A has this very sour yougurty smell, close to keffir, while specimen B has this very creamy smell, the sourness is just a hint.

Taste wise, A is pretty sour and B…

It fucking tastes like cream cheese! FUCK YEA.

It tasted very creamy! Unlike the cheeses I made before, they almost tastes like Greek yogurt.

What, shall the experiment end here? Hell no! We still want to see how they stand as a cheesecake, that’s the point of this experiment after all!

So I got started.

Wait before that, how do you crush your grahams? Before, I do it Mano y mano. With my bare fucking hands. After that, my hands felt like they came through a grinder or something. So I used my brain for a while and came up with a brilliant idea.

The towel is actually for you, wiping your blood after I hit you with this shit.

Yeah, a towel and something to hit it with (in this case, a French Rolling Pin). This combination of modern equipment can turn this

Yes, that's a potato masher. Don't ask.

To this…

In less time that it will take you to blink half way.

Now because I am doing 2 kinds of cheesecake and 290 grams of cream cheese is not enough for 1 I figured I should follow Mrs. Jaworski’s recipe for mini cheesecakes.

Prepped the muffin tin with liners and pressed the crust with the best tool for the job.

Can you guess what that shit is?

If you guessed meat thermometer then you’ve just won your self a kiss on your left butt cheek!

Multi-purpose Meat Thermometer

I made the batter without adding anything that can greatly affecting it’s taste. I usually add limes to my cheesecake but I opted to leave that out for now for me to identify the taste difference between the two (and it just so happened that I’ve ran out of limes at that moment so…).

Specimen A. Thin and runny.

Specimen B. Thick and dense.

As expected, they kept their original properties. A is still runny and B is still thick.

Poured them in my prepared pan and placed a toothpick on B for easy reference.

Those are unused toothpicks of course...

I still got some leftover batter so I just combined them and bake them some other time. I don’t like to waste food you know.

Yes it's an ice cream scoop. Again, don't ask.

Baked them according to the recipe and they came out looking like…

Again, those toothpicks are clean.

As I look at the two, I can clearly see holes in specimen A that kinda looks like a creme brulee or some sort of egg based dish. I theorized that since Specimen A was runny to start with, the eggs were the one that stabilized the cake. While in specimen B, the cake has no holes and looks pretty heavy. Maybe because the cheese has its own body to start with.

Cooled it a bit and sliced them like a full-sized cake and took the first bite.


As expected, the light looking tastes light and the dense looking tastes dense. So yeah, I guess we can declare B as the winner here. But really, if there’s anyone who’d won, it’s probably me. The cost of this is very partial compared to the price of real cream cheese. If my calculations were right, I can probably save 70%!

Not just that, but I was able to put real effort what I cook and I think that’s what is most important (well, money is still…).

This strongly proves my point on this blog. Don’t get me wrong. This may be seen as an excuse for not spending too much cash but really, who wanna spend more than less?

This has quenched a large part of my thirst for making things from scratch. Maybe next time… water from scratch?


Oh and by the way, even losers taste good. Look.

You might wanna lick those crumbs too...

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Filed under Food

Scaled Empanada?

During my college years I had a huge craving over empanadas. This is mainly because the only type of empanadas I get are those that you can buy on train stations and filled with unknown types of meats. Yumpanada. Say it again… Yumpanada…

YUM + Empanada?

I have to admit, they were pretty satisfying. The 20 pesos I spend for 4 mini empanadas is enough to last me until the next station. But somehow, I feel there’s something lacking. I have tasted better empanadas from my childhood and I wanted to taste them again but I don’t know how. Seriously, I don’t even know if it was a dream. All I have is this vague image of me biting a very flaky and tasty empanada. The crust got me hypnotized. Am I the only one who can taste in their dream?

My favorite blog is, of course, MarketManila. His posts are very entertaining and he responds to emails! I read his blogs often hoping to find tips and inspiration.

So I was casually browsing his site and I got a little bored so I searched his site a bit and found a post about empanadas. I found his empanadas a bit weird. We all know how empanadas look like right? But his has this scale-like surface!



Yes! Scales! Although his post was about how he felt challenged by the empanadas and how he kind of failed on making them, I thought they looked great! One look and you know it’s flaky! He didn’t give the exact recipe but his pictures show how to do it. But I can’t just blind shoot there, I need some kind of guide.

So I searched google for… scale empanadas. I failed. Not until I read the comments and found that it ‘s actually called “Empanada de Kaliskis!” I hurriedly searched the net and clicked on the first link that appeared! I raged on how easy it is so I got the ball rolling immediately!


Picture Related


The recipe calls for 2 types of dough, a water dough and an oil dough. Obviously water dough has water and oil dough has oil. Duh…


Oil and water don't fucking mix.


Then closed and folded together, puff pastry style!



I'm Filipino! Not French!

Folded it a few more times and flattened it.




If we counted it correctly, I’d say we have 64 layers of fat and dough there. Equal to 64 chestpains.




Rolled the dough into a log and cut them into half an inch disks.


Cross section

Cross section. How many layers?

You can see how the layers are distinctly separated by the pork fat. How many layers are there?


Leonidas and Vegeta fusion.

Filled it with random odds ad ends of our refrigirator.



Let's see... Pork, beef, chicken, eggs, shell, nuts, bolts, screws and the fucking kitchen sink.

Crimped it, friend it…





Fat in fat.

The solo uncooked empanada up there was actually meant for my practice. I can’t do the rope braid pretty well so I had to do it numbers of times before I got it right. The next picture your going to see is actually the end product of my rope braid practice.



Can it get any flakier than that? 😀


I jumped of joy when I saw that the layers actually looked like the way it should! I was carefully watching the pot while this trial empanada was frying and got a bit worried since I can’t see any layers. But hell yeah, the god of empanada must have smiled below the pork fat laden clouds to greet this god-assisted creation!

But I heard his phone rang and he got busy. So my following empanadas did not really looked like it was made from pure fucking win. But hey, my rope crimping skills are kind of improving!


"A bit more," the Gods said. Then the heavens opened.

My following empanadas ranged from “They’re kinda… ok.”



To “they’re kinda oily…”



Not all that glistens is gold. Most of the time, it's fat.

To downright ugly!




What the fuck went wrong?



Beats me...

No, but seriously I think it has to do something with the temp. Probably because my following  empanadas took too long for me to make them all, the fat probably melted and fucked up the layers, the sun loves us after all. Also, I find the layers toooooooo delicate for my liking. Ye, it tastes good, very flaky and flavorful but it’s just too brittle. They layers can crash by just the force of my tongs while getting them out of the pan.

The force of my thongs.

Also, the crust is just tooooooooooo darn flaky. It became too oily. The fat from the dough melts and the fat from frying seeps in between the layers. It kinda feels like eating a whole bar of butter… not that I have done that before…



The bar has just been fucking set!

The next time, I’ll reduce the number of layers and will try to bake them to reduce the fat involved. When is that next time? Tomorrow. You know why?





Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday and tomorrow is fucking Saturday. Thanks Rebecca Black for that wonderful realization.


Filed under Food

It all started with a Blow.

It all started with a blow torch.

I just love it on how some chefs incorporate power tools into cooking. Like how Ming Tsai used an air compressor to make Peking Duck in an hour, or how a Band Saw looks like a modern torture equipment, or how these guys whip cream.

I know, a Blow Torch is a far cry from a real powertool but it kinda resembles a mini flame thrower in my own perspective.

Minus the epicness!

I have seen versions of baked Alaska ages ago but only through pictures. It wasn’t until I trained in a hotel that I saw one of them in the flesh. They were really pretty. Imagine my eyes glistening like a heavily oiled pan. I immediately searched the net when I got home. I got the recipe and it was only made up of three parts: a cake base, a big chunk of ice cream and some meringue. The process was straightforward enough and was very easy to follow, until I got to the last part where I realized that I needed a fucking blow torch to create the signature caramelized meringue look.

Somewhat close to my reaction

At that point, I said to my self that a blowtorch is a kitchen luxury. It just blows fire like a cigarette lighter, it can do the same fucking job.

I searched more, looking for a recipe that doesn’t require a blow torch. Some recipes require the whole dish to be baked (hence the name?) but I was not too keen on baking ice cream and expect it to hold it’s shape. Until I saw a video that made me realize how stupid I am (not the first time though).

Do you ever had those moments when you just want to slap yourself? Like when you failed to see the big fucking elephant in the room until it farted?


Blow torch is an alien technology given to us by some numeric planet residents for us to learn how to make Baked Alaska because it’s their fucking Global Dish. Kids, before speculating or bashing something, try to even just visualize it first (like what you do in your alone time). I was so stupid back then to realize in how I can actually heat up the meringue with a lighter when (obviously) fire naturally rises. A blow torch, well… blows fire to a direction of your choice making it the weapon of choice for this job. Silly silly boy.

Lay off those fucking brulees. You got the job!

Ok! So now that little torchie here got the job, shall we start?

Pretty please~~!

As I said earlier, baked alaska has three parts. A bread base, ice cream and a meringue coating. I made the base just because I can (like hating). It’s the ever so boring chocolate banana bread. It has become a household favorite.

Choco Banana Bread batter. The only reason why I'm still in this house.

While baking, I made the meringue MANUALLY and… I just ran out of words to say on how tiring it is.


I eventually got it but I feel that it can stiffen up a little more. With more elbow grease perhaps. But hey, a peak stands so it’s kinda in that stage too. A little stiffness won’t hurt. PUN PUN PUN.

Stiff peak is stiff.

I immediately cooled the cake after it cooked. Shaped it to match the size of the ice cream I molded earlier. I used Very Rocky Road for my ice cream. Why? Cause the old road was not rocky enough. Get it, get it? …eheheh.

When the road is not fucking rocky enough.

Stacked them together and watched how the ice cream melt like… like… let’s just say that it melted pretty fast. So I placed it in the freezer for a couple of hours, and pray that my meringue won’t fuck up.

Tropical weather blows sometime.

After a year in the freezer (it certainly felt like a year), I got started on dressing it up. My meringue’s giving me the stinkeye and is getting very pissed. Luckily, she was able to hold through. I got started with this…

Looks kinda like like a church?

And I ended up with…


You didn’t see the double word on the image caption? Gotcha!

Anyway, I ended up with this PYT (that’s Pretty Young Thing for those who know MJ only as a man who liked little boys).


GIRLY PEAKS! Be a man! Stiffen up!

I didn’t wait any longer. Still with meringue with my hands, I grabbed the weapon and torched it like a pro!


See that weapon in all it’s glory? You can even see the first victim behind. It didn’t stand a fucking chance.

A few seconds, a look what I got!

Aint it purdy?

Purdier up close!

And the inside?


Ever heard the term “I wanna be inside you.”? This is what they really meant. Don’t you just wanna be inside this PYT?

The taste? Explosive. Warm meringue with cold ice cream and a little crunch from the crust of the bread. I’m thinking of more ways to flavor this. I just made the three main ingredients of this dessert without really taking into consideration how well they harmonize with each other. But yeah, you can’t really go wrong with sweets.

This post is a few days late. In between that time frame, my family already asked me to make this again and again. Looks like a keeper eh? 😀

Here’s a bonus video that I made. This is when I was torching the meringue. Enjoy!


Filed under Food

Bananas, banana muffins and a kid named Edison

Banana is probably the most exploited fruit in the planet. After all, banana is one of the worlds most consumed foods, next to peanut butter.

As stated by The King himself.

Since bananas are that popular, wouldn’t it be fair to say that banana bread, or muffins for that matter has the same popularity? I wouldn’t even consider you a modern human if you have not tasted any baked products infused with bananas. They are generally adored by the public as a staple and it would be difficult to find a person that doesn’t eat bananas. He’s bananas.

Except for this kid named Edison. He was my classmate when I was in the first grade. He was like one of the stupid kids back then. We always make fun of his quiz scored because he almost always flunked them. Yeah, kids can be too cruel sometimes.

So my science teacher asked us to bring fruits. Any kind of fruit. I don’t know, maybe to shove it up our ass or something. I brought apples, Edison brought bananas.

Our teacher told us to bring out our fruits… and eat it. Maybe she had a fetish on kids eating fruits or something. I don’t know, we just ate it. This is when I saw the first fucked up thing in my life.


I was literally like this. Minus the spaghetti.

He was eating the banana like a corn in a cob! He was like munching it like a typewriter, from left to right. I forgot to ask him what tribe he was from because maybe if he’s a native Dumfuk, maybe I’ll reconsider.

I asked him, “Hey, why do you eat it like that?” He responded with a straight dumbfounded face: “Because I don’t like the tip. It tastes bitter.”


The only acceptable reaction at that time.


I was feeling like a smartass back then so I answered him back, “Why don’t you just cut off the tip, you’re wasting much of of the banana.” At a certain point, I believed that I managed to change his life. But nooooooo. He just looked at me and made this reaction:

Your argument is invalid.


And I just went on with my life. I wonder what ever happened to that guy. I don’t really recall his last name so I can’t find him in facebook. Meh, he probably still eats bananas the same fucking way.

Moving along to the real point of this post, Banana muffins.

Oh wait. Before anything else… I must say this first. Banana isn’t just ‘banana’ here in our country. If you happen to ask your local banana vendor for a ‘banana’ you’ll get a strange look and/or a very irritated response asking what KIND of banana you need. You need to be as specific as choosing your deodorant.


Oh don't you fuck with me, boy!


So here, I present you the 4 banana staples. Thank me later.


The Lakatan


The Asian cousin of the Cavendish

Lakatan or Lacatan os probably the most popular type of banana here. They are almost always present in the dining table along side with another favorite, the Mango. I can’t really say if the bruises and cuts are actually from mishandling since this is they’re like an extra feature, like a birthmark. Compared to Cavendish Bananas that are so smooth, you’ll even have a hard time telling it apart from a crayon.

Nice looking banana you got there, mate!

The second one is the Latundan.


For plain eating, I actually prefer this kind of banana. They have thinner skin compared to the previous banana and the taste is lighter. If I didn’t have any health conditions, I can probably ate a whole bunch of this in one sitting! Oh, they’re really paler than Lakatan, it’s not just because of the quality of the picture.

The third on is Saba.


This banana right here is the most versatile of them all. Most bananas are just for eating (and a little baking) but this… I don’t even know where to start? How about some pictures?


Here are 6 images of different forms of Saba. I’ll try to discuss them one at a time.

1. Banana Cue. Here, when a word is suffixed by “cue”, most probably, it’s in a stick. Theoretically taken  from the word ‘barbecue’. Banana cue is just Saba cooked with caramelized brown sugar and put on a stick. Great afternoon snack with soda in a plastic bag.


You heard me. Don't pretend you didn't.


2. Maruya. It’s basically banana fritters sprinkled with (optional) sugar. I could really just stop here rather tha…

3. Turon. It’s like banana cue, but it’s first wrapped with like big wonton (shanghai) wrappers, filled with jackfruit and fried. It’s very crispy and very sweet.

I noticed that the bananas used in Turon is somewhat softer, or more ripe than the banana used in Banana cue. My theory is that, the banana’s that were bought today will be used for banana cue since they still have firmness in them. The next day, the leftovers will ripen up a bit. It will be too soft to be fried and we would not dare throw them away! It needs a casing to be fried… BAM! Turon was born.


Moral lesson? Shanghai Wrappers are not good condom substitute.


Dude, it's for your... other head.

4. Minatamis na Saba. The bananas are boiled in water and a lot of sugar. So much that it can kill a diabetic within 50 miles. This is a very versatile dessert. Can be eaten hot or cold. Added with ice and milk and you got Saging con Hielo (Bananas in Ice). Can be kept in the ref as a present for your future grandson.


Literally translates as 'Diabetic Poison'

5. Boiled. I can go on and on and on… you wouldn’t even care.

6. Let it ripen end eat it.

The forth is the very cute Senorita.

Senorita~ As small as your pinky!

This littlest little banana here is called the Senorita, because, you know, it’s small. This little banana is also the sweetest of them all. The flesh is very soft and very smooth.

As small as a bee. As sweet as honey!

See guys! Not bigger is not always better! I feel sorry for you though…

And as a bonus banana, the freakishly amazing Red Banana.


I have seen this many times but have not gotten the chance to taste it. It’s kinda scary actually….

I better stop here since this is turning into an Filipino Foodie Lecture most of us got when out teachers get bored during elementary.

And now, as promised… FREAKING BANANA MUFFINS.


Mashed Lakatan

First of all, I used Lakatan since it’s much more fragrant that any other bananas. Next time though, I’m gonna use Senorita~

The recipe calls for at least 400-500 grams of peeled and mashed bananas but I wanted mine to be more moist and soft so I added more. No one’s gonna shoot you if you do.


Sticky, gooey and yummy. I think it's better... unbaked.

The recipe instructs that I first mix and sift all the dry ingredients first and fold them to the wet. I say Neigh. Add them together and mix them! With respect to the original recipe, there’s a clear reason why she instructs it that way. No one’s gonna shoot me if I do. Let’s just put it at that.



Naked Nuts!

The original recipe suggested that walnuts are best for this dish. I wouldn’t disagree on that, however, walnuts are not readily available here. The only available type of nut available within the vicinity are peanuts, so I used them. Heck, no ones gonna shoot me if I did.

Just a side note though, my mom’s comment was: whenever peanuts was used in any of my baked goods, they all tasted cheap and industrial. I don’t know. She’s probably right. She’s my mom after all! 🙂


Spooned them in muffin pans~


Spooned them equally… and equally messy on a muffin pan. So I messed it up! No one’s gonna shoot me if I did!

After 25 mins… You know what’s next?



You know what’s great about muffins? Aside from it’s really easy and really tasty?


Very very moist!

You don’t need to rest them! Unlike banana loaves or banana cakes that need at least 30 mins to cool before consuming to take it out of the pan as clean as possible. This, as long as your pain tolerance can handle it, pop them out of the mold! Eat them while it’s hot! Crack one open, stick your nose in and get hypnotized by the subtle smell of bananas and a hint of cinnamon.

I actually had 2 of them. No one’s gonna shoot me, right?



Filed under Food