Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

This is this year's birthday cake for myself. Very nice, moist and chocolatey. I especially like the cream cheese icing. I think I prefer it chilled straight from the fridge since the icing is on the soft side when at room temperature which caused a bit of problem when I brought it to work for my colleagues. The cling film covering it stuck on it so much that it didn't look too appetising.

This recipe is from my favourite epicurious.com food website



Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

195 g  [1-1/2 cups] plain flour
3/4 cup  cocoa powder
3/4 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
1-1/2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp  fine salt
1 cup  sour cream
1/3 cup  water
2 tsp  vanilla extract
250 g  [1 cup] unsalted butter - softened
270 g  [1-1/3 cups] light brown sugar - firmly packed
3 large eggs

*For icing:
185 g  [3/4 cup] unsalted butter - softened
250 g  [1 cup] cream cheese - room temperature
115 g  dark chocolate (70% cocoa) - melted and cooled
1 tsp  vanilla
2 cups  icing sugar - sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch pans or 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine the sour cream, water, and vanilla in another bowl. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
  6. Add eggs one at a time making sure to beat well after adding.
  7. Add flour mixture in batches alternating with the sour cream mixture beating well until well blended.
  8. Pour and spread the batter equally between the pans and smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes for the 9-inch pans (40 minutes for 13x9-inch) pan or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Turn out in rack and cool completely.
  11. Cake layers can be made 1 week ahead and frozen, wrapped well in plastic wrap. Thaw layers before putting on the icing.

*For the icing:
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until well combined.

*To assemble:
  • Lay first layer on the cake plate and spread some icing on it.
  • Top with the second layer and spread the rest of the icing on top and around the cake.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's another version of the classic chocolate chip cookie with emphasis on being thick and chewy. This recipe is adapted from The Best New Recipe of Cook's Illustrated. There is an optional step on chilling the dough to make it spread less when baking. I prefer to chill it after balling it since it is easier to do so rather than the other way around.


Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

300 g  [2 1/2 cups] plain flour
1/2 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp  fine salt
185 g  [3/4 cups] unsalted butter - melted
200 g  [1 cup packed] light or dark brown sugar
70 g  [1/3 cup] granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp  vanilla extract
200 g  [about 1 1/2 cups] chocolate chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F. Grease or line baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt in a small bowl until well mixed.
  3. Mix, either by hand or electric mixer, the butter and sugars until well combined.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended.
  5. Add the dry ingredients until combined.
  6. Add the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon and stir until combined.
  7. Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch (about 50 g) balls.
  8. [Optional] Chill the dough balls for about 2 hours or until firm.
  9. Arrange dough balls on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake for about 11 minutes or until the outer edges start to brown and the centres are still soft and puffy.
  11. Cool the cookies right in the baking sheets for about 5-10 minutes.
  12. Remove from the baking sheets with a wide spatula and cool completely on a rack.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Cranberry Pistachio Brownies


Tried jazzing up the brownies with fruit and nuts. So I got this recipe from the BBC Good Food magazine of years gone. I don't even know what month and year it came out. All I had is the torn out page with the recipe. It turned out quite nice being a quite different variation of the usual brownies. Although I noticed that it isn't as popular as the ubiquitous intensely chocolatey brownies. Nevertheless, quite a good change from the usual especially if you have some dried fruits and nuts to use up in your pantry.


Cranberry Pistachio Brownies

200 g  [1/2 cup + 1/3 cup] butter
300 g  dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa content)
300 g  [1-1/2 cups] light muscovado sugar
4 Tbsp  milk or cranberry juice
4 medium eggs
200 g  [1-1/2 cups] plain flour
1/2 tsp  ground cinnamon
80 g  dried cranberries
100 g  [1 cup] pistachio - chopped
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 180. Grease a 9-inch/23 cm square baking tin.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, chocolate, and milk (or cranberry juice) gently while stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and everything is well combined. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add the flour, cinnamon, and dried cranberries. Mix well.
  5. Pour in half the batter to the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle the pistachio over and then pour the rest of the batter.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out with no wet batter.
  7. Turn out and cut into squares while still warm.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Pancit Canton

Pancit Canton

There are many variations in cooking pancit canton. You can be as elaborate as you want with cooking/blanching each vegetable to something as simple as a all-in-one cooking method. This version of mine is a happy compromise. It is very similar to what I do with pancit bihon but the main difference is in the type of noodles used. The one here is wheat-based which is certainly more flavourful than the bland rice noodle bihon. Also, liver and mushrooms are used lending difference in the filling. Do serve this with lemon juice to foil the saltiness of the sauce.

As with most of my recipes, this is a work in progress so I will be updating this from time to time.



Pancit Canton

250 g  pancit canton noodles
100 g  chicken meat - sliced into serving pieces
100 g  chicken liver - sliced into serving pieces
50 g  prawns (optional)
2 Tbsp  cooking oil
2 pieces  dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tsp  minced garlic
1 medium onion - sliced
1/4 cup  julienned carrots
1/2 cup  shredded cabbage
1 1/2 cup  chicken stock
1 Tbsp  oyster sauce
2 tsp  light soy sauce
1 Tbsp  cornstarch
2 Tbsp  water
salt and pepper
  1. Divide the garlic and onion. Soak the dried mushroom in boiling water for at least 30 minutes. Once mushroom is soft, remove stems and slice into thick strips. Set aside.
  2. Combine the cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water and mix well. Set aside.
  3. In a wok, heat 1 Tbsp of the cooking oil. Saute half of the garlic and onion.
  4. Add in the meats, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetables, saute for 30 seconds and then add about 1/4 cup water or stock. Bring to boil and simmer covered for about 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are almost done.
  6. Transfer to a bowl or container and set aside.
  7. Heat up the same wok with the rest of the cooking oil.
  8. Saute the rest of the garlic and onion.
  9. Add the chicken stock, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Bring to boil.
  10. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook until thick.
  11. Add in the pancit canton noodles. Bring it back to boil. Lower heat and simmer until noodles are soft (about 5 minutes).
  12. Mix in the vegetables and meat. Stir to combine well. Dish up and serve while still hot.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies

This is another hit from my trusted The New Best Recipe cookbook from Cook's Illustrated. I especially love the intense chocolate taste of this cookie while remaining quite soft and chewy. I do have to go grocery shopping for 50% cocoa content dark chocolates since my baking chocolates in my pantry is always 70%. The coffee in my opinion can be omitted since it really made the flavour very intense. But other than that they were very nice cookies indeed.


Double Chocolate Cookies (Thick & Chewy)

260 g  [2 cups] plain flour
35 g  [1/2 cup] cocoa
2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
4 large eggs
450 g  dark chocolate (50% cocoa content) - chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
185 g  [3/4 cup] unsalted butter - softened
300 g  [1 1/2 cups packed] light brown sugar
100 g  [1/2 cup] granulated sugar
  1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine eggs and vanilla and beat lightly. If using, sprinkle the coffee over and beat until dissolved.
  3. Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water. Cool slightly and set aside.
  4. Beat the butter with the sugars.
  5. Add the egg mixture while beating.
  6. Mix in the melted chocolate.
  7. Add in the combined dry ingredients while mixing at low speed or with a wooden spoon.
  8. [Optional] Cover bowl and chill in th fridge until scoopable (about 1 hour).
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  10. Scoop or shape the dough into balls about 1 1/2-inch in diameter or about 55 g in weight and arrange in baking sheets 1 1/2-inches apart.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 11-12 minutes or until the edges have begun to set but the middle is still soft.
  12. Cool in the sheets for about 10 minutes and then transfer to racks and cool completely.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

One of my favourite comfort food is Bread and Butter Pudding. It has that ability to be classified as both a dessert or a snack depending on how you serve or how much you eat.

A lot of bread puddings I have the experience of buying in shops are too stodgy. They resemble more like slightly sweetened thick chewy bread. But not this one. I do love this recipe because is lighter and the ratio of the egg to milk/cream is just right. Plus the sugar is just right - not too sweet. I got this from an old ripped-off page of the BBC Good Food magazine with the recipe coming from the chef Paul Heathcote. Thanks Paul.

Bread and Butter Pudding

I know I burned some of the pudding top but believe me it's not that badly burnt. It's probably just the lighting angle of the picture. Not a problem for me because I'm partial to slightly charred food!


Bread and Butter Pudding


Bread and Butter Pudding

6-7 slices of white bread - crusts removed
65 g  [1/4 cup] butter - softened
100 g  sultanas or raisins
250 ml  [1 cup] full-cream milk
250 ml  [1 cup] double cream (heavy cream)
3 medium eggs (or 2 large eggs)
50 g  [1/4 cup] caster sugar
1 tsp  vanilla extract
25 g  icing sugar
25 g  apricot jam - warmed and sieved (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F. Grease a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish, about 2.5 inch deep.
  2. Butter the bread slices generously and cut each into 4 triangles.
  3. Arrange a layer of the bread in the prepared dish.
  4. Sprinkle the sultanas on top.
  5. Then arrange the remaining bread slices on top of this.
  6. Make the custard - mix the cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and caster sugar in a bowl.
  7. Strain the cream mixture over the bread slices and leave to soak for about 5 minutes.
  8. Put the dish in a larger roasting tin in the oven. While the oven rack (with roasting tin) is about a third out of the oven, carefully pour hot water in the roasting tin to come halfway up the side of the dish.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the custard is lightly set.
  10. Remove the dish from the roasting tin and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
  11. Preheat grill to the highest setting.
  12. Generously dust the top of the pudding with sifted icing sugar and glaze under the grill until golden brown. If it starts to puff up remove and leave to cool a little longer before returning to the grill.
    Note: It will be more efficient if you use a cooking torch to glaze the icing sugar.
  13. [Optional] Brush the top with the warmed apricot jam. Serve with clotted cream or warm custard.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Daing na Bangus

Daing Na Bangus

One of the ways Filipinos flavour and preserve fish (especially bangus or milkfish) is by marinating and drying them. One such technique is called 'daing'. By which the fish is marinated for hours and optionally dried out in the sun afterwards.

I don't have the luxury of having the delicious bangus in our neck of the woods. So I go for the nearest one available - sea bass. The one advantage of sea bass over the bangus is its got less bones. So there's less to be wary about.

It's been years since i have marinated bangus and I have forgotten that it takes several hours or overnight to make the vinegar-based marinate to permeate the fish completely. Otherwise, once you've pan-fired it, the flavour is hardly noticeable. So make sure to marinate it for a long time - I reckon at least 8 hours or overnight.

Daing Na Bangus


Daing na Bangus
(Fried Marinated Fish)

2 pieces bangus (milkfish) or other white fleshed fish like sea bass
2/3 cup  palm vinegar or any white vinegar
2 tsp  sea salt flakes
1 tsp  black pepper corns - cracked
4 cloves (or more) garlic - smashed
  1. Ask your fishmonger to butterfly or fillet your fish.
  2. Combine all the other ingredients and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  3. Put in a non-reactive container (plastic, glass, or ceramic) and marinate the fish in it for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove from marinade and drain briefly.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Pan fry the fish about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve hot with steamed rice.