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Sunday, 25 December 2011

A Merry Christmas Indeed!

After weeks (or a month) of absence, I am here to greet everyone of you a wonderful Christmas!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This is my second Christmas here in Dubai, and I have to confess that here, I barely feel Christmas at all. Unlike here, in Philippines, as soon as ber months enter, you can already warmly feel the holiday spirit enveloping the whole country. Soon, lights and decors will fill every house, smell of delicious Christmas delicacies will embrace the air in the streets, and the love of giving and sharing will entwine every people's hearts.

But even if I am miles and miles away from my Motherland, I am still here, smiling and celebrating. Christmas is not about where you are and where you stand, it is not about those beautiful lights and glorious decors, and it's not about those fancy gifts and presence either. But I realised that being able to celebrate God's love and blessings with your family and friends is more than enough to give heartwarming joy as we rejoice our Saviour Jesus Christ's birth.

My Kimmidoll mug in Noriko (beauty)

So what have I been up to for the past 3 days? Preparing for Nochebuena. It literally means "Good night" in Spanish, but this term is used to describe a traditional family dinner on Christmas Eve. I baked Red Velvet Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and Traditional Cheese Cake. We also prepared dumplings, baked macaroni, pancit bihon (thin noodles), and Kare-Kare (oxtail beef stew in peanut sauce).

After the dinner and eating came everyone's favourite part -presents. Okay, I was excited too. I mean, who does not like gifts? I got a Japanese stationery, a Kimmidoll mug in Beauty, a Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer, and some pocket money.

So basically, that's how my Christmas Eve went for this year. Tomorrow we'll head to church and attend Tagalog Mass, and hopefully go to an amusement park. I want to make the most of this holiday as I would be really busy as soon as the new school term starts next year (and also the reason why I was on hiatus for a month; exams and volunteer work). 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Foodie Day: Carrot Cake

Carrot cake for my dear mom's birthday.

Another cake for another celebration.

It was my mom's 36th birthday yesterday, 10th of November. And she had this little request for me; to bake anything for her. Thus, I did the much-anticipated (for me, that is), ever popular, carrot cake.

I am never a fan of vegetables, let alone carrots; so I was really intrigued on how this piece of cake, with a vegetable in it, would taste. Not wanting to let my curiosity kill me any more, I decided to give this a try since as I have promised before that I would make something 'not-chocolate' and is somewhat healthy. And believe me, this cake does not taste anything like carrots at all. The cake itself is moist and full of spice, while the frosting just melts into your mouth, with your buds savouring its sweet, tangy, sour taste. I undeniably fell in love with this cake right away.


Carrot Cake
Recipe by: Stephanie Jaworski
Source: www.joyofbaking.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (100 grams) pecans or walnuts
  • 3/4 pound (340 grams) raw carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated)
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) safflower, vegetable or canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Carrot Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper.  
 
Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

Peel and finely grate the carrots. 

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. 

In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 - 4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.  

To assemble: place one cake layer onto your serving plate. Spread with about half the frosting. Gently place the other cake onto the frosting and spread the rest of the frosting over the top of the cake. If desired, garnish with toasted nuts on the top of the cake. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 10 - 12.
Cream Cheese Frosting: In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, just until blended with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Beat in the vanilla extract, and lemon zest.  

-----------------------------

And that was it! This cake is actually easier to make than I thought it would be. The only crucial part for me was grating the carrots as it took me a lot of time and had the skin of my finger peeled too. But forget about that, this cake is just heavenly. I just never knew that carrots would taste this good. And now, I think I'm a bit of a fan of this vegetable.

Happy 11/11/11 to everyone, may all of our wishes come true.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Foodie Day: Pastillas de Leche

Pastillas de leche (also known as milk candy bars)

Pastillas de leche, also known as milk bars or candied milk, is a traditional Filipino delicacy that is usually served for dessert. This sweet is really easy to make; no cook, just mix up ingredients, wrap it up, and voila, you can already satisfy your sweet tooth craving!

The authentic recipe actually calls for Carabao's (water buffalo) milk and does actually require cooking. But since I am thousand miles away from Philippines, I just used the common recipe which uses your everyday powdered milk.

(a) the dough-like mixture; (b) coating it in sugar; (c) a closer look

Pastillas de Leche
Own recipe by: Patricia
Please take out with full credits and link, thank you.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of powdered milk
  • 3/4 cup of condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • granulated sugar for coating

Directions:
Just one piece of candy wrapped in a parchment paper.
1. Place the condensed milk into a mixing bowl.

2. Sift and gradually fold in the powdered milk until it becomes a sticky, dough-like mixture.

3. Pour in the melted butter and blend it well.

4. Afterwards, knead the dough and let it set for about 5 minutes.

5. Shape the dough into small shapes of your liking, e.g. cylinder, round, and coat it well with sugar.

6. Wrap into a coloured cellophane, or any non stick paper you have.

I remember back when I was still in Philippines, I used to buy these candies every morning in sari-sari stores before going to school, never knowing that one day I would be making them. And these candies just brought so much memories from past.


A promise to keep this short, and as my body is aching for the bed; I just wish everyone a very sweet dream.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Foodie Day: Rich Devil's Food Cake

 Yes, you are right. This is yet another food post.

A very exhausting day to everyone. It's been a very rough month for me, filled with all the stress and pressure. In this eleventh year of my education, I am literally bombarded with volunteer works, projects, homework, and tests. And this is where food comes into the story because I eat when I am stressed or depressed. So that's why you are reading an another cake post. 

What is on the table now is Rich Devil's Food cake. I am truly sorry because I can't post the recipe here since I got it from a cookbook that I bought in Borders, so technically, republishing the recipe would be unfair for them.

(i) mixing the cake batter; (ii) layering the cake (iii) frosting the whole cake!

Just a brief summary of what I did and about this cake: it is triple layered cake, having the height of at least 5 inches; this cake lives up its name, it is really rich and dark;  its not-so-sweet frosting is so luscious and tempting; just perfect for Halloween.

I want to keep this post short, but I have last few words. I am perfectly aware that this blog is turning into a food blog, and I am also perfectly aware that I've been doing so much chocolate. But it's chocolate! No one can blame me, haha. Even so, I'm planning to bake carrot cake for the next Foodie Day post. So let us all look forward to that!

And oh, by the way, this cake is also for my beloved bestfriend unni/sister! Happy 17th birthday Unni!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Foodie Day: Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nope. It's not Nutella Day. But that doesn't stop from baking these cookies. And seriously, who doesn't love this ever famous hazelnut spread, Nutella?!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies; pardon for the low quality picture

These cookies were actually baked three weeks ago, 7th October to be exact. Initially, I did not intend to post it here. Reason is I burnt badly the last batch of it as I failed to check the oven's temperature. What a shame, seriously. But my conscience won't let me be in peace; it feels like I have neglected these cookies and I feel bad, so here am I still doing it after all!



Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe by: Sarah
Source: Sugar Cooking
Originally adapted from: alphineberry

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (it's just what I had in my pantry. feel free to just add more of the regular chocolate chips instead)

Directions
  1. Mix together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
  2. Cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in egg.
  3. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips.
  4. Chill for 1 hour. (This step can be skipped if you want, but I always chill my cookie dough because I think it makes a huge difference).
  5. Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 for about 11 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.
As you can see, compared to her cookies, mine are a bit darker in colour because I added half tbsp of unsweetened cocoa.


Despite the burnt cookies and all, they were still warmly loved. And of course, Nutella did all the wonders. I am really excited for the next recipe I can try, so let's all wait and stay tune for the next World Nutella Day!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Foodie Day: Moist and Tender Chocolate Cake

Pick one: A chocolate cake?  Another chocolate cake? Or... chocolate cake? Moist and Tender Chocolate Cake!

Nestle Toll House's Moist and Tender Chocolate Cake

Last week, I looked through my random to do list, it noted "bake a cake by the end of this week". And wanting to narrow down the list of things that I should do,  I quickly visited my favourite food blogs for a cake recipe. Since it's my first time baking a cake all by myself, I decided to start off with the classic, renowned, well-loved dessert of all time, a chocolate cake.

But as the days of the week pass, anxiety flooded through me. Looking back to my baking history, I limited myself only to cupcakes, brownies, mini bars and cookies. I had never stepped inside the world of cakes. So with all the worriment and hesitation, I was thinking of not doing it after all for the meantime. I just had a feeling that I will mess up everything. Haha.

A good thing though, a friend of mine asked me"Can you bake a cake?", and taken aback because of this, I decided to take this as a challenge for myself. Plus it wouldn't bite hard to learn something new, right?

I absolutely love the rich, shiny frosting! 


Moist and Tender Chocolate Cake
Recipe by: NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE
Source: www.verybestbaking.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • Chocolate Lover’s Frosting

Directions

1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch-round baking pans or one 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

2. COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with water. Spread into prepared pan(s).

3. BAKE for 25 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan(s) for 15 minutes; invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

4. FROST
with Chocolate Lover’s Frosting 

mixing the gooey chocolatey cake batter(left); cooling the chocolate cake fresh from the oven(right)
Instead of Nestle's, I actually used Hershey's Cocoa powder because Nestle Toll House is nowhere to be found here in Dubai (sorry Nestle!). I was actually worried if using another cocoa powder is fine, because I have no idea if the cocoa noted in the recipe is sweetened or unsweetened. So only relying with my guts, I went for unsweetened one, and phew! The batter came out fine.

Frosted the cake, added some garnish, and voila!
It was already quarter before 8 pm when the fun part came frosting the cake. Like a kid, I was really excited with all this decorating, but I'm already happy with this not-so-perfect frosting. And to add a little bit touch of my own, I just grated some chocolate I found in my room and sprinkled them around it.

Tasting came after dinner. The frosting was just perfect for me. I totally fell in love with it; it's luscious, melting, and has just the right taste of sweetness I was looking for. The cake didn't come as moist as I wanted it to be, but that didn't change anything. The cake was still tender, rich and oh-so-yummy. It really does give you the "chocolate cake" feeling. I was surprised this morning when I found out that half of the cake is already eaten. It usually takes us weeks to finish one whole cake we bought from bake shops, so I am truly glad that my family love it. 

Not bad for a first time, right? Happy October to everyone!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

2 Days and 1 Night Birthday Trip at Fujairah

Last Friday, 23rd September, was my dad's birthday (and Key's too!) and to celebrate his 42nd years of living, our whole family decided to travel out of Dubai and head to Fujairah. And I must admit, after two weeks of coming back to school, I really need a little bit of relaxing. Haha.

This post is a bit of a travel post and a foodie post. And just a little bit of a warning, this will be really long (as I am a very detailed type of person) and will be picture heavy. Nevertheless, let's get into it :)

Done a bit of selcas before leaving the house!
Day 1

Woke up at six in the morning, and started to get ready right away. We packed our things  and food and settled them into our car and immediately drove into the road. We were in kind of a hurry since our reserved check-in was pretty early and also to add that it's our first time travelling to Fujairah by car so we definitely knew that we will get lost in the road. And like what we sooth-said, we really got lost.

Clay mountains in Fujairah
The car travel from Dubai to Fujairah was supposed to run for 3 hours at most. But with all the unwanted roaming around Sharjah, and a lot of asking random people for the way for two hours, we finally reached Fujairah in total of 5 hours with my legs all cramped and my stomach crying out for food. And in fact, I knew we finally reached Fujairah when I started to see those beautifully carved clay mountains standing so gracefully on the side of the road. The small picture on the side is not even enough to depict on what I really saw through my own eyes. Even though this is already my second time of seeing these mountains (first one was when I was in Oman), I was still really enthralled and amazed as you cannot see any of these in Philippines. And for the last time of asking for directions, we finally reached Hilton Fujairah Hotel and Resort.

Reaching our destination at last, we checked-in in the hotel. We were warmly welcomed, served us with smiles in their face, and got into our room with ease. We rested a bit for an hour and had our lunch, my mom packed Sinigang na hipon and Kare-kareng baka and for our dessert, the hotel gave a complimentary cake for my dad.

The pool view in Hilton Fujairah Hotel and Resort
In the afternoon, with all my sister's whining and such, we went swimming in the resort. The pool was big and clean, and on the other side you can hear 3 gorgeous Latina ladies singing and performing in the pool bar spicing up the mood of the audience. We swam for hours and as usual I got hungry again, haha. So I ordered a Hilton Burger and a can of Pepsi. I will give the burger a 4 out of 5. The beef was tender and juicy and so are the sauce, the only downside I had was the sesame seed, I really prefer my burgers without it. I admit it was really good, but in all hotel burgers I had taste, the Crowne Plaza one is still the best for me. After the snack and a little bit of sun bathing, me and my dad decided to have a match of table tennis. The match took us for almost an hour too, and unfortunately, I had a really humiliating defeat while my dad had all the glory of winning. With all the swimming and playing, I felt so exhausted and pain started to creep on my body so I went back to our room alone while the rest of my family wandered of to the beach. I took a time of my own and relaxed as the sun set down.

Seafood Fettuccine with Red Tomato Sauce, Al Ghorfa

Evening came after the tiring afternoon, so we headed downstairs to have a dinner. We found a restaurant offering international cuisine beside the pool named Al Ghorfa. A sweet Filipina waitress served us and took our orders. I chose Seafood Fettuccine with Red Tomato Sauce and a glass of vanilla milkshake for my refreshment. I would give the pasta a 3.5 out of 5, the fresh seafood and fettuccine was a bliss on my mouth but the dry tomato paste was just too sour for me, and my oral ulcer does not help at all, just a bit of it and it stings my mouth so bad. My milkshake did the wonders, though I still feel that it was a bit of waste since I was not able to finish the dish at all.

Day 2

Second day of our trip came fast after a 10 hour of sleep. I could not get out of the bed at all, but we had to grab our morning breakfast buffet before 10:00 am. The buffet offered a variety of delicious breakfast food. But as I am an absolute meat lover, half of my plate was filled with bacon -- pork and veal, sided with egg omelette filled with vegetables and cheese. For morning drinks, I ordered a fresh orange juice, but to heat up my stomach, I also went for my ultimate favourite, a healthy milk tea. A 5 out of 5 for this breakfast.

For breakfast, egg omelette, pork and veal bacon; cup of milk tea and orange juice




After a very refreshing breakfast, my sister and my parents went for another round of swimming, while I decided to just lay on the bedroom because I figured out that loads of homework is waiting for me in Dubai.

We checked out of the hotel past noon and headed back to Dubai. Thankfully, this time only took us less two hours of drive even though I was not able to take any nap during the ride. When we reached back Dubai, we went straight to Dubai Mall to have a late lunch. We thought that we should have an Asian cuisine this time and thus, we picked one of our favourite Asian restaurant, the Noodle Factory. This time, I had Korean-style Noodle Soup with Marinated Grilled Beef  and just a glass of lemon tea. I would give this 4 out of 5; Like other Korean dishes, the soup was spicy and flavourful -- you can really taste the red chili paste, so as a Korean food lover as I am, I endured all the agonising pain I felt because of my mouth ulcer plus... I just could not resist the marinated beef at all!  Two thumbs up!

With our bodies tired and all, we went back directly to our sweet abode afterwards. And just like that, our two days and one night trip ended. I got really worn out, but it was truly an enjoyable experience, plus spending it with my family was a real blessing from God :)

Last few words, my humble apologies for a really long post. It's past 11, and the pillow is already calling out for my name, so I'll end this now. A wonderful night to everyone, until then :)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Foodie day: Food for the Gods

Well, this is really awkward. I know I said that I will fill this blog with many posts and it took me a month to make this second post. My apologies, shame on me.

Anyway, this post is about food! As you can see, I labelled it as Foodie Day, and I will make more food post under the same label on the future. All throughout my life, I always have loved food. But on the contrary, I'm not that experienced in eating. Well if you ask me, I would say I love eating food than making them ;p Still, I got interested on baking and thus, I'm learning how to. I'm actually planning to take Baking and Pastry Arts, but I'm still newbie though. So enough of these! Let's get to the food post.

A slice of Food for the Gods ; Again, my apologies for the lame photo, I'm still new with this :)













So today, I (and also my mom) made Food for the Gods. I first tasted it when one of my Filipino friend brought a piece and I totally fell in love with it. It just has this sweet, chewy, heavenly taste that I definitely cannot resist even though I was eating it like a ninja so that my teacher won't catch me :p 

Without further ado, here's the recipe:

Food for the Gods
Recipe by Junjun de Guzman and Andoree Uy from Manila bulletin
Source: Joywww.gourmeted.com

Ingredients
A snapshot of the ingredients and materials used.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in the upper middle position.  Line a 9″ x 13″ rectangular pan with parchment paperand set aside.
  2. Sift all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Put half this mixture in another bowl and dredge the chopped dates in there.
  3. Combine melted butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Mix until batter is uniform. Add honey and mix.
  4. Fold flour into the batter using a rubber spatula. Lastly, fold the dredged dates and walnuts.
  5. Pour the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Pour the mixture to the prepared pan. Spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes when using a 9”x13” pan, and 15 minutes when cooked in a jelly roll pan. It should be done when you poke a toothpick through the middle and it comes out clean. The center would still be wet.
  6. Cool completely before slicing into bars.
And done! The experiment ended successfully and the sweet was a pure bliss! My whole family totally loved it and I did so too! I have few more bars left... so gotta finish them now, haha. So happy weekend :) Ta ta~

Friday, 19 August 2011

A blog born out of boredom!

I am no experienced blogger. Though I have been planning to create one ages ago, why I didn't? Well, I'm too lazy. Too lazy when it comes to editing, designing your page, and blah. So why did I create it after all? Boredom.

Okay, let's get serious here. I created this blog mainly to blab all the thoughts and feelings I have inside. To show who really I am without having a fear of being judged and getting laughed at. There are some people who run their lives with other people's opinion and for me that is just pathetic.

This blog will show who Patricia is, how filipina blood runs through her veins, how important her family to her, how her sincerity lead her throughout her life, how music expresses every emotions that flow in her heart, how love left her in heaven or in vain, her enthusiasm in every things, even to the most random things such as her Asian fetish, her anime otaku-ness, her love for pandas and cats, her absolute soft heart for shopping, and more importantly, her 15 years of serving God and spreading His love to everyone else.

To tell you the truth, I truly suck when it comes to describing myself, so please excuse me for that paragraph above. Sigh. But I do love talking :D And as I said, the most important point of this blog is to convey my unheard thoughts and hidden feelings. I want to fill (hopefully) this blog depicting how I see the world with my own eyes.

So few things! Random and irrelevant posts? Don't tell me I didn't warn you. Something's wrong with my grammar? Sorry to tell you but English is not my mother tongue. Hate me? So be it :)