Banananananana Cake

 

El Boaman is not fond of eating the bananas for snack but oh he loves Banana Cake. He have been asking me to bake this for him for ages and after searching the net for a doable recipe, I finally made him one as one of anniversary gifts for him last month.

The recipe that I used was from this site. I was unable to find molasses to my chagrin and it’s suppose to ‘give it an aromatic smell and nice golden color.’ I substituted it with 1/4 cup of packaged brown sugar instead. Next time, I will experiment and probably add ingredients such as chopped walnuts or chocolate chips. El Boaman enjoyed and I hope that you too!

Recipe by Ernest Reynoso Gala:

Moist Banana Cake

Ingredients:

4 whole eggs (about 1 cup eggs)
1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh milk
1 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups overripe banana (bongolan, lacatan or latundan)

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F or 175°C.
  2. Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with wax paper.
  3. Beat in a bowl with a hand mixer at high speed or heavy-duty mixer for two minutes the eggs, granulated and brown sugar, molasses, salt, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Turn the mixer to low, and add milk and cooking oil. Mix for a few seconds to blend. Add flour and oatmeal, and mix until there is no more visible trace of flour. Add the mashed bananas. Increase the speed to high, and mix for another 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the batter and spread on the lined pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until a cake tester or barbecue stick inserted in the cake center comes out clean. Cool in a pan, then loosen out and invert. Remove the wax paper.
  5. You can also bake the batter in 24 paper-lined 2-1/2-inch muffin pans for 20 to 25 minutes.

 

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Plagiarism Flat Out Sucks

I wasn’t looking to updating my long-dormant blog with a post reeking of such bad vibes as I’ve recently finished a few cooking projects that I am about to post soon but I just have to get this out of the way.

The lowdown is that I woke up earlier today to a comment that was waiting to be moderated about a review I made for a brand of cheese cracker a few months ago. The concerned commenter included a link of a blog entry in her comment inquiring if I was also the same person on that blog as an entire paragraph of my review have been used for a review of the same product WITHOUT proper citation and reference to my post. The other blog posted her entry about 4 months after I posted mine. She must’ve thought that since my last post was way back in June I have not been maintaining my blog. Still, not an excuse to copy someone else’s work and to post it as your own. Shame on you!

Now I know what Marketman feels like. I was so infuriated. I was so upset. My readership is not wide. It had been so easy for her to just copy and paste a measly review and to pass it off as her own. Case in point, took me three months before I found out; thanks to the commenter who notified me.

The good news is that I’ve after I’ve left a comment (I would’ve done it via email but there was no option), the post was taken down immediately. I may not be a big-time blogger but I am not without resources. After some sleuthing of my own, I found out that she owns a confectioner’s shop thru her FB page. I would’ve pulled out the big guns and do some damage to her small business, but I’m thankful that it did not come down to that.

Tsk. Tsk.

Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce

Just happy to be back and blogging.The last few weeks were real busy: my mother-in-law’s birthday, the French Film Festival, the French Music Festival. Plus we’ve had some amazing breakthroughs at work so I had been real tied up on that end. Wolf started school and it had been a pain trying to work out a schedule with me working in the night shift. Thank heavens, he was transferred to the afternoon schedule when classes began regularly. I get more sleep now! Hallelujah!

So now that things have settled down for a bit, I plan to blog on a regular basis (that’s the plan. Following through is the hardest part :)). I know I kinda promised a cupcake post the last time, but it’s still a work in progress. I think I have managed to perfect the actual cupcake but I still have to find the perfect frosting recipe and have lots to learn when it comes to decorating. I want to do a perfect swirl! I really do.

Anyway, I came across a shawarma recipe on one of my cookbooks (“Daily Delights” by Nestle) and it seemed easy enough and it was! I prepared it yesterday for our mid-afternoon snack and it was a hit. I still have half a bowl of garlic sauce left because the batch that I made was too garlicky for their taste. Feel free to adjust the seasoning according to your liking. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber, Tomatoes, White Onions, sliced thinly
  • Pita or Tortilla Bread

Marinade:

  • 1/2 Kilo, Chicken breast fill
  • 1-2 tablespoon of BBQ-flavored liquid seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Juice of 1-2 calamansi or half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • And because it was a Nestle cookbook, they included their product: 1 packet of Maggi Magic Sarap.

Garlic Sauce

  • 250 ml plain yogurt
  • All purpose cream (This is optional. I had to use this because I put too much garlic and I ran out of yogurt and this was the next best thing on the fridge.) El Boaman hated the after-taste of yogurt and he commented that the addition of cream improved it somehow.
  • Juice of 1-2 calamansi or half a lemon
  • 3-4 garlic (depends on how strong you want the sauce to be)
  • Again, Maggi Magic Sarap for additional flavoring

Make it:

  1. Mix the ingredients for the marinade and marinade the chicken. Minimum of 30 minutes but best to marinade it overnight to infuse the meat with the flavors.
  2. Grill the chicken and slice or chop into small strips.
  3. Set aside. I kept it warm on the electric griller while preparing the other ingredients.
  4. Blend or process the ingredients for the garlic sauce. Adjust to your liking.
  5. Assemble it the way you like it. Whatever floats your boat.
  6. The easiest part: Enjoy with loved ones!

 

Resolving Mommy Frustrations

After a month-long hiatus I am happy to be back and blogging!

So what have I been up to for the past month of absence? My brother is on medical leave and undergoing a whole lot of check ups and tests and therapy. I have been playing the part of dutiful sister by accompanying him (with Dad as the designated driver) on his hospital visits to do ‘runner’ duties and dealing with the HMO paper works.

Visits to the hospital which, incidentally, is also my Alma Mater happens 2-3 times a week. So between that and my full time job in the evening and taking care of my family (Wolf and El Boaman) there was not much time for me to blog or do cooking projects.

The good news is that the whole thing is now winding down and I was even able to get out with friends last weekend (Yay for dinner and coffee date with friends!) and did a major cooking project: Vanilla Cupcakes with Butter-cream Frosting (posting soon).  I am on a major baking mode as of late so next up is Fluffy Mamon (Sponge Cake) once I get my hands on some Cream of Tartar. 🙂

The other thing that got me sidetracked from blogging was prepping Wolfie for school this year. Preparations include reviewing him from the entrance exam that he totally passed with flying colors! Smart kid aced the Math exam (definitely didn’t get that from me) and just got one error on the English exam. He earned two new Hotwheels for that feat. I was so apprehensive because I wasn’t allowed in the testing room and I knew, I knew that he’s just gonna run around and play. Proctor was nice. She let him play with stuff while she asked the questions. Worked well for Wolf.

Enrollment was a bit easy but the paying part isn’t. :). Uniform, shoes, and books are ready. His trial classes start next Monday so his snacks for that week are now prepared. Regular classes will start on June 13.

The other things I had to prepare him for school is managing separation anxiety, potty training, and weaning him from the bottle.

Separation Anxiety. I am proud to say that even when I was working in an office away from home, Wolfie never had separation anxiety issues. I guess it was because of the way we did it, no drawn-out drama when I’m leaving for the office. No hiding or trying to sneak from him. Making sure to call him at least once during working hours to touch base with him and to always let him know that mom will come back at a specific time. Earlier this year, he attended a 30 minute trial class at his preschool and not once did he cry or look for us. He was just there, happily investigating his surroundings and interacting with the other kids so we had this one covered.

Potty Training and Bottle Weaning. These were a bit of a challenge. We started him out late because I cannot concentrate on training him while I was still working and working at odd hours at that. When I’m at the office my mom and dad minded him and I didn’t want to impose on them with things like this anymore. It’s gonna be up to me and El Boaman to teach him the rudimentary of answering the call of nature on his own and to let him know the joy of drinking his milk from a glass.

The first months we were met with a lot of resistance. Crying and whining are common occurrences if his diaper was removed or if we sat him down in the potty. It didn’t help that the grandparental units were totally spoiling him and giving in at the first hint of tears. So we were all frustrated and decided to stop for a bit and put the whole thing off for a few months.

We did mind conditioning: we showed him a nice picture book on potty training. When he started referring to himself as Kuya (Big Brother) to his cousin Jarrett, we told him that Kuyas don’t wear diaper anymore nor drink from the bottle and used his older cousins as an example. His dad and uncle brings him whenever they pee so they could show him how it’s done. I don’t ask.

I started by removing his diaper a few hours at a time and made him drink lots of liquid. There were times when we waited at the bathroom for about 15 minutes. I just let him play with the water and hang in there until one day finally he did pee on his own.  Everybody was just patting the guy on the back. We were so proud of him! A few days later he pooped on the toilet on his own without even needing his potty trainer seat!  Now he only wears diaper at night and when we’re out but if it’s just a short trip I don’t let him wear diaper anymore. It’s a work in progress but progress, nonetheless.

It helped that I talked to my mom and dad and ask for their cooperation. I told them that Wolfie will never learn if they coddle him. Accidents will happen while training and it’s nothing that cannot be cleaned up afterwards.

As for weaning him from the bottle, what my mom did was fed him insane amount of food every night so that he is too full to ask for a bottle before going to sleep. In the morning I prepare his milk on a glass and put straw on it which he enjoyed. I have now officially retired his feeding bottles!

The lesson here is not rushing your kid. He will do it and learn it once he is physically and emotionally ready. I have stopped pressuring myself by stopping from reading parenting books and articles that offer differing (and sometimes contradicting) advices on how to raise a child. When I accepted that following my maternal instinct is the best way to raise my child, I have become more relaxed and less pressured.

Happy parent, happy child. 🙂

The ‘Okay, Fine’ Mango Ref Cake

For days, Bro3 had been bugging me to make a Refrigerator Cake but I didn’t take him seriously. First of all, he’s not a Ref Cake dude as far as I knew and I have never made Ref Cake.

On Black Saturday, I woke up and was informed by Bro3 that I’m making Ref Cake. He was gleeful and smug because he knew I wouldn’t say no. Bastard already bought the ingredients.

Okay, fine. Ref Cake it is.

So I scoured the net for recipes, and as usual, Ms Connie Veneracion came to my rescue. Her Mango Royale recipe seemed simple enough to follow and we had the precise ingredients on her list.

Everything was okay except for the fact that the required for the Cream and Condensed Milk to be chilled ahead of time for best results and we didn’t follow that bit. I woke up late in the afternoon and they didn’t put the stuff in the ref and Bro3 wanted me to make the thing like, that day.  But if I should do this again, I am definitely gonna start chilling at least 24 hours ahead.

Another thing, I put out my mom’s best Pyrex dish (just to piss her off) and I already prepared the graham crust when Bro3 said that he wanted them in layers but I already used up all the crust.

Okay, fine. Layers it is.

Basically I was bullied to make this. But it’s a fun-type of bully. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of fresh ripe mangoes, about 3 pieces
  • 2 cups of cream (or 2 225-g. cartons)
  • 1 c. of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 c. of crushed Graham crackers
    • Bro3 bought whole graham crackers because he wanted to try out the food processor. We used about 30 crackers to make 2 cups
  • 6 tbsps. of melted butter (more if you want a less crumbly crust)

Make it:

  • Mix the melted butter and crushed graham crackers to form the crust and press into the bottom of your desired container. The crust can be chilled while you are making the cream topping.
  • Slice the mango flesh thinly (that’s my mom. I cannot be trusted with a knife for delicate tasks sometimes :))
  • Mix the all purpose cream and condensed milk until blended. I used an electric mixer but you can just use a regular spoon to mix it.
    • Ms Veneracion noted that the cream should not be of pouring consistency (so chilling is required) so that the mixture will be firm and the fruit will not sink when you placed it on top. But of course, we didn’t do that. 😦
  • Pour the mixture on top of the crust and top with the sliced mangoes. If you’re doing layers, just repeat the process.
  • Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for another 2 hours (or longer) to make sure that the cake is firm enough to cut and serve without falling apart.
  • We had leftover crust, cream, and mango to make a smaller batch. So cute!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Well, mom doesn’t but I suspect that it’s due to some genetic anomaly. Because really, who wouldn’t? It is made of cream cheese which is good perfect. It looks hard to make, and it is but practice makes perfect. And you can use any topping:  blueberry, strawberry, peach, Oreo cookies. The possibilities are endless!

It is becoming a tradition for me to bake this during the holidays because El Boaman wants this on the table for New Year. Baking this once or twice a year makes it more special. 🙂

 I cannot claim that this recipe is mine. I just found it years ago while searching for the easiest way to make a cheesecake and I forgot which link was it. So if you happen to stumble to my blog and recognize the recipe, then I thank you.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1. 1 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

2. 3 tbsp butter, melted (not melted butter. 🙂

3. 1-2 tbsp sugar

For the cheesecake:

1. 2 packs of cream cheese (around 225 grams per pack), softened. Sometimes I add more. I l-o-v-e cream cheese.

2. 1 cup sugar.

3. 4 eggs

4. 1 cup cream (I use all purpose cream)

5. 1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling: Whatever your heart desires. :).

Make it:

1. Line your spring form pan with foil. If you don’t have a spring form pan, it’s okay. You can use a regular baking pan but line it with baking paper. Make sure that it’s hanging over the edge so that you can easily lift the cake once it’s cooled.

2.  Mix the ingredients for the crust and press into the bottom of the pan then I put it in the ref to chill while making the cheesecake. I don’t know why I do it. I really don’t.

3.  Using an electric mixer, I mix the cream cheese and sugar together, making sure that the sugar gets really incorporated into the cream cheese.

3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Fold the cream into the mixture.

5. Add the vanilla extract.

6. Blend well for another full minute. If the consistency of the batter is not as thick by this point (like a pancake batter) it’s okay. I thought I was doing it wrong the first time but it will come on its own once placed in the oven. Which, by the way, you should’ve preheated to 275oF by now. Sorry about that. 🙂

7. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Every once in awhile I peek at it (using a flashlight. Don’t open the oven while something is baking inside) to make sure that the top is not getting burned.  At this point, I usually adjust the oven’s setting to somewhere in between the low and medium flame (but closer to low).

8. Let the cake cool down to room temperature before chilling. You can put the filling after 2 hours but with cheesecake, patience is a virtue rewarded so I chill it overnight. If the top sags in the middle after a few minutes of getting it out of the oven, it’s okay too. It’s actually nice because the edge creates a barrier so that the filling will not spillover.

9. Top with your desired filling, slice, serve and enjoy!

Speedy Spaghetti

Spaghetti is one of the first meal that I learned to cook when I flew the coop and lived on my own. The meat sauce spaghetti is one recipe that I admit I take a shortcut  when I’m cooking it. I use instant spaghetti sauce (Hunt’s is a preferred brand) and store brought pasta because sometimes if we have company over and I have limited time to prep, then instant is the way to go. It’s different though when I cook Baked Macaroni or Spaghetti and Meatballs. I don’t take shortcuts there. :).

Some key points for this recipe:

  • This recipe is not carved in stone. You can change the ingredients to suit your taste. You can use ground pork instead of ground beef, you can add sliced mushrooms, or add hotdog or smoked bacon.  Your call.
  • Don’t skimp on the garlic and onions. They add flavor to the sauce and it smells so damn good when you saute them. I prefer lots of garlic when I’m cooking spaghetti. I’d probably use an entire head of it if nobody stops me. 🙂
  • Season away. Basil and oregano are my favorites for my meat sauce. Dried or fresh is okay. I love the scent of fresh basil.
  • In the Philippines, we have what we call the birthday spaghetti and it is sweet.  Just go to any fast food chain that serves spaghetti like Jollibee and McDonald’s.  I kid you not.
  • Tip on cooking pasta: I put broth cubes in the boiling water used for cooking the pasta. it adds extra flavor. In fact, if cooked in broth water, it’s okay to eat it on its own. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 450 grams of pasta, cooked according to package directions.
  • Olive oil
  • Onions, sliced
  • Garlic sliced
  • 400-500 grams of ground meat
  • Optional ingredient: sliced sausage/hotdog/ham/bacon, mushroom, bell pepper
  • Seasoning (salt, pepper, sugar, herbs)
  • Grated cheese

Make it:

  1. Heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic
  2. Add the ground meat and cook until brown. You can start seasoning with salt and pepper at this point.
  3. Add other meat ingredients if you’re putting any
  4. Add vegetables (if any) and cook until soft
  5. Add the spaghetti sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat
  6. Season according to taste
  7. Serve in two ways:
    1. Put the sauce, pasta, and cheese and separate containers,  buffet style
    2. Mix pasta and sauce and top with grated cheese
  8. Enjoy!