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Cajun Chicken Pasta

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Whenever there are dinner parties at home, a pasta dish is always a staple. More often than not, it is my penne in cheesy-creamy tomato sauce that I serve and everyone seems to love this.

Just a couple of days ago, I celebrated my birthday and I thought of making this pasta dish again just for convenience. I have made this particular dish countless times, I can even make it with my eyes closed, really ;)

So, as I was walking along the grocery aisle looking for ingredients, I suddenly felt this need to cook something different and new. Searching for inspiration, I went to the the spices section to look for a new flavor profile. There and then, I saw a Cajun seasoning mix.

Looking back during my early college days, whenever my sisters would save up some extra baon and whenever I third wheel with them during their dates, we would go to TGI Friday’s and their Cajun Shrimp and Chicken Pasta is always a must order. Spicy and creamy, I find this simple chicken pasta dish to have one of the most amazing combination of flavors in the world of pastas.

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So after that flashback, I decided to make my own version of this TGI Friday’s classic.

Here’s my recipe:

Continue Reading »

Home Brewed Butterbeer

 

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“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

As long as I can remember, I have always been a fan of the Harry Potter series.

I’ve always imagined myself living in a magical world full of fantastic ceatures: from hippogriffs to centaurs to dragons (let’s not include Dementors and Goblins). The world of Harry Potter will definitely will leave you in awe.

And of course, their unique and enchanting culinary world.

The food and brews in Harry Potter are not to be underestimated as well. There were a lot of strange concoctions in the world of HP; aside from the famous Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans (earwax, anyone?) and Chocolate Frogs, the one that struck me most is the butterbeer.

What exactly is butterbeer?

 

Described as tasting “a little bit less-sickly butterscotch”, butterbeer is a popular beverage in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Available in Hogsmeade (at The Three Broomsticks and The Hog’s Head) and at The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, it is served both hot and cold.

 

But hold your Firebolts, there no need take a flight to these shops. You can create your very own butterbeer in the comforts of your kitchen.

 

Realistically, butterbeer is of high calorie content. It is made of sugar, butter and calories. It is NOT GOOD for people on a healthy streak. But if you’re feeling a bit mischievous (or magical) the taste and chance of having to experience one of HP’s magical brews is totally worth the “no goodness.”

With that said, prepare your cauldrons, here’s the recipe: Continue Reading »

Darling! Cupcakes

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A chocolate cupcake with a dulce de leche frosting, most people would assume it’d be called as such. Yet, why did I name it as so?

Well, let’s take a bit of a walk in my memory lane.

Back in high school, I used to buy this certain homemade candy called “yum-yum”, our local version of yema.  This delectable candy was sold by a friendly lady who never fails to call any of her customer “Darling!” (yes, with an exclamation point; she had that much enthusiasm). And because of this, most students have come to known her as Darling. I was one of her avid customers (at P3 for 2 pieces, it was a steal!)

Now, you all know that I’ve perfected my chocolate cupcake recipe. The great thing about chocolate is that it mixes well with a variety of flavors so, I’ve begun to experiment in making it even, uhmmm… yum-yummier.

Back to my past, growing up, I’ve always adored my Ahma’s Chocolate Decadence cake. It’s a chocolate cake, frosted with chocolate fudge icing and topped with a caramel glaze.

Looking into my previous posts, I’ve always been a fan of bite-sized treats and my grandmother’s cake is no exception; I just had to make a smaller version of this.

With that in mind, I wanted to incorporate yum-yum into my cupcakes; yum-yum, as delicious as it is, is a hard candy. I can’t necessarily use it as frosting as it’d be difficult to bite into along with the cupcake (believe me, I’ve tried). After endless contemplation, I’ve realized that the yum-yum was actually inspired from a more well-known sweet treat, dulce de leche!

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Dulce de leche and yum-yum are pretty much the same; they only vary in texture, with dulce de leche being the softer version. I’ve tried using real yum-yum for the cupcakes and it was disastrous! The frosting was tough and chewy, and would not pipe well. It was a mess! By using dulce de leche, you still get the wonderful flavor of yum-yum with just the right smoothness in a frosting.

Lo and behold, I give you one of the products from my small kitchen:

Continue Reading »

 

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Dulce de leche (or, DDL for short) is a classic South American confection that is prepared by slowly cooking sweetened milk in order to create a caramel-like product. Literally translated, it means ‘candy of milk’ or ‘candy made of milk’. A traditional recipe of DDL calls for a can of condensed milk to be boiled for hours until the contents caramelize and form a brown, viscous liquid.

Yes, you read it right – HOURS.

Depending on the consistency, it can take up to four hours to create this Latin goodness.

Personally, this takes too much time; so, I looked for ways to speed up the process and searching online directed me to the process of using a pressure cooker.
A bit of caution though,  a pressure cooker can be dangerous to use if you are not familiar with it thus it is important to have someone who knows how to use it help you with the process.
With that being said,  I’m coming clean – I didn’t make them myself. I am terrified of pressure cookers!!! So, I let some generous (and brave) souls do the work for me! I just gave the instructions on how to make dulce de leche.

So here’s the recipe: Continue Reading »

S’mores Cupcakes

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I came up  with this idea simply because I love S’mores. Come on, who doesn’t love the flavors of luscious warm chocolate and sticky roasted marshmallows sandwiched in rich graham crackers? With these flavors in mind, I knew that turning this favorite camping snack into a cupcake will definitely be a winner.

When I celebrated my birthday last year, I wanted a new cupcake flavor to serve. Fresh from a stormy camping trip,  s’mores was my top choice. The concept was simple, chocolate cupcakes frosted with marshmallow fluff and topped with graham and chocolate bits. Looking back, I made pretty tasty cupcakes but I knew something was missing; I have yet to perfect the fluff and more importantly, the cupcakes!

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When I finally discovered my new chocolate cupcake recipe, I knew I had to give my s’mores cupcake a second try. I also made necessary revisions with my marshmallow frosting along with the over all presentation of the cupcake.

Then I suddenly remembered something. A few years back, Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes made s’mores cupcakes in one episode of the Martha Stewart Show. I knew I had her recipe somewhere so I immediately searched for it in my little recipe folder. With my new chocolate cupcake and her recipe in hand, I finally perfected my S’mores cupcakes (which I consider one of my best cupcake recipes to date).

So, what makes up a S’mores cupcake? Here’s a diagram:

Smores anatomy

 

Now let me teach you how to make one. Here’s the recipe: Continue Reading »

Thank You!

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“Enjoy!”, that’s how I always end my posts, reminding you to not just enjoy the food, but relish the tiresome, yet satisfying moments in the kitchen as well.

My mission when I started this blog was to share my love for food through good recipes and I’m happy that I am able to do that. Thank you for joining me in discovering great food and wonderful recipes.

Cheers to 4 years of great food, and cheers to  4, 40, 400 years more!!!

Enjoy!

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CMStext Throwing parties at home is not new to me. In fact, I always prefer parties at home over dinners in restaurants. Not only are they cheaper, I always have fun preparing the food and experimenting with new dishes to serve. Since chopping ingredients and the cleaning the pots afterwards are tiresome, I always see to it that the food I make are easy to prepare. When my brother celebrated his birthday last month, he requested for some mini burgers for his party. I have always been proud of my burger recipe, however, making the burgers require careful attention, making sure that the patties are cooked just in time so that you don’t serve cold burgers. Unfortunately, it was just us two in the house at that time so I have to think of a replacement that can be prepared ahead of time. So goodbye burgers, and hello meatball sliders.

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So why meatball sliders? I have seen in a couple of Food Network shows meatball subs recipes. What I like them is that the meatballs and sauces can be prepared ahead of time and can just be reheated before serving, without losing its quality. In fact, the meatballs get even more moist, and the flavors meld as they while away the time, resulting into more succulent meatballs and a more flavorful sauce. Meatball subs are commonly served in a baguette and then cut into serving pieces. Since I want to make them individual sliders, I used mini french rolls instead. It is important to note that the recipe calls for Japanese breadcrumbs soaked in milk. Others would say that this is just a recipe extender. Well, yeah it is, but the breadcrumbs also has another purpose, its addition guarantees moist meatballs. The meatballs are then cooked in  tomato sauce. If you are pressed for time, you can use canned/bottled spaghetti sauce and that is just fine. Of course, making your own lets you personalize the sauce. Combining some techniques I use in my burger patty recipe and that from Allrecipes.com, here’s the recipe for my meatball sliders: Continue Reading »

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