Friday, August 10, 2012

Spinach and Artichoke Fondue

Isn't it wonderful to have pre-prepared food in your fridge, just in time for the rainy days?

Call it coincidence, I have made a lot of it last week and tucked them in the fridge. Just in time when the heavy rain continuously poured down and flooded almost the whole of the metro and some provinces. Some roads were already not passable since late Monday night. Thank God I made it safe from my husband's office. I had to take him there as he has a flight to Cebu for a business trip on Tuesday. I made it home past 11PM at turtle speed. The wipers cannot much fight the strong rain no matter how fast it swishes. 

So we live in the east and we were part of Ondoy's history. This time, however, our street was spared from the flood but the entrance to our village and the first streets were flooded, knee-deep. 

Since I already made cheesy spinach dip, The next on my "to try" list is to re-create Cyma's Spinach and Artichoke fondue. I have searched for and saved recipes that are close to it or at least can lead me to the right direction and I then just added other ingredients.

Here's what i used:

about 500 grams of spinach leaves (can use more as the leaves will wilt after you boil them)

about 1 1/2 cup artichoke hearts

about 1 cup of sun dried tomatoes sliced thinly

olive oil

about 4 cloves of garlic minced
1 tub sour cream
1 block of cream cheese
1/2 cup quick melting cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese for the mixture + 1/4 cup for topping
about a tablespoon of feta cheese
mozarella cheese
1 chicken bouillion cube
milk or water (to act as a thinner)
salt and pepper to taste

lemon slices, toasted bread slices to serve

Directions: boil spinach and artichoke until tender and discard liquid, chop leaves and artichoke to your liking, set aside.

in a pan, heat oil and saute garlic, put on low heat and pour the sour cream and cream cheese. mix well until texture is soft and creamy. put in spinach, artichoke, sun dried tomatoes, quick melting cheese, parmesan cheese, feta and the chicken cube. add milk or water if its too thick, then salt and pepper to taste (or just pepper if you find it salty already)

assemble the dip on a baking pan, sprinkle with parmesan and mozarella cheese and pop in the oven toaster for about 10 to 12 minutes until top is a bit toasted. (my toaster is at 175C)

Serve hot with toasted bread or pita, also great when drizzled with a bit of lemon juice.

For the past few days, aside from the flood,  it was a busy time for work too (though it has always been busy at work). This has saved me during breaktime and beyond!

Glad that as of yesterday, the rain stopped, the flood gone almost all over. The sun is up and I look forward to sunnier days ahead. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cheesy Spinach Dip

I love eating at CIBO. hmmm, who doesn't? :)

It was my friend Sheila who recommended Spinaci Zola and when I tried it, i instantly liked it. I religiously order it whenever we go there.

Last Father's day, we found out that Javie likes it so much, that he did not want to share it with us. Hmph. haha! Well, of course we did not let that happen! ;)

Cibo's Spinaci Zola has Gorgonzola cheese. I would like to recreate the same thing at home, but it hurts to say I do not have any deli store nearby. Here we go with improvisations (or shall we say: maski-paps!).

So here's our home-made spinach dip:

Water for boiling
250 grams spinach (i bought 3 bunches from the grocery)
about 4 cloves of garlic
olive oil
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup guick melting cheese, grated (1/2 cup for the mix and 1/4 for topping)
salt and pepper
about 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated (for topping)

Prepare boiling water. While waiting for the water to boil, wash the spinach, drain and take off the leaves for boiling. Put spinach leaves in the pot of boiling water and allow 2 to 3 minutes to boil. drain well and wait for it to cool.

Chop spinach as fine as you can. You may want to use your electric chopper/food processor.

Pre-heat your oven toaster at 175C

Heat olive oil in a pan, sauté garlic, add the chopped spinach. Give it, say, 2 to 3 minutes to cook with the oil and garlic, then put off the heat, add the cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the grated guick melting cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well until everything is incorporated. At this point you may also want to add a glug or 2 of olive oil again.

Then put the mixture on your baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of  grated guick melting cheese,and parmesan cheese. Put baking dish into the oven for 10 to 12 mins or until you see the top bubbling and cheese is a bit toasted already.

Best eaten with toasted bread, or like what you see on the photo, I used Fita biscuits (my favorite combination!). The other time I ate it with soda crackers, but it was just so-so!

While it's not anywhere near Cibo's version, I am happy to say that it still is good n' cheesy no to forget healthy! What's important is, Javie really liked it! 

Ahhh, joys of motherhood :) 

Next project: Spinach and Artichoke dip!!! :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Potato Gratin with Creamy Cheese Sauce and Bacon Bits

One of the joys of working from home is being able to spend a little more time in the kitchen, even if you barely have a minute left to "log in". I like the adrenaline rush when the pot is boiling  and there goes my alarm saying "hey you gotta go now". Then come the sprinting and running up the stairs to my little office space. :)

We had so much potatoes last weekend. When Archie and I have our market day, he's actually in-charge of the vegetables. Because of too much excitement, he kind of "unintentionally" hoards tomatoes, onions, garlic (which I don't mind by the way because I love garlic!), carrots and potatoes. 

The first four are fine as we use them most of the time. Lately, the potatoes aren't used much. I have been watching on my diet for the past couple of months that I veered away from eating starchy foods (and lessened my carb intake and blah blah!)

So with all the potatoes piling up on our veggie tray, I figured they need to be given the attention they deserve! I thought of making mojos, mashed potatoes, sautéed potatoes with rosemary and gratin. I know, potatoes are very versatile! OK, so the debate in my mind (and tummy) went on for a few minutes and the gratin won! Which hubby was so happy about :)

I have no proper recipe for this, nor I followed a classic procedure on how to make a potato gratin.

Here's what I had and what I did: 

8 medium-large potatoes

8 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
about 2 tbsps butter
about 200 grams of bacon, chopped
3 packs of all purpose cream 
1/2 cup fresh milk
salt and pepper

2 blocks of quick melting cheese, grated
about 1 cup of grated mozzarella

First I buttered a 9 X 13 pan, set aside and pre-heat the oven at 180C.

I boiled the potatoes until they're tender enough but not to the point that they're mushy (I think this took about 30 mins to boil and make them tender) peeled and sliced them in rounds about 1/4 inch thick (I think this is thicker that the usual) and set them aside.

For the creamy cheese sauce and bacon bits, I sautéed the garlic in olive oil and butter, then added the chopped bacon. When bacon was cooked, I poured the cream, about 1/2 cup of grated quick melting cheese and fresh milk, a little salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, I placed the first layer of the sliced potatoes on the buttered pan, poured some the sauce, just enough to cover the layer, sprinkled some grated cheese, then onto the next layer and so on. For this batch I had 3 layers. For the final topping, I used a combination of quick melting cheese (what's left of it) and mozzarella cheese. (I forgot I had Parmesan cheese. totally!)

I placed the pan in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through until the top was already a bit toasted and cream is bubbling. I placed the pan on the cooling rack and waited for a few minutes before serving.

So this was what I had for lunch on my busy Tuesday and Archie's "baon" for work! :)

Ahhh, the perks of working from home = the joy of having home cooked meals, served warm with love <3


Days are getting busier and fuller. My little boy will be back to school next week! I didn't forget that it was my blog's 3rd birthday last May 16. Belated happy birthday bloggy! I so wanted to write a birthday post but that day was packed, as well as the following day! So better late than never! ;)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dulce de Leche Vanilla Cupcakes

Happy Easter! :)

As happy as Easter, I am delighted to share with you that I have made my first vanilla cupcakes from scratch. My good friend, Kitty has requested for vanilla-ish cupcakes. After searching for recipes, I believe I found inspiration from Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla cupcakes.

The Magnolia Bakery recipes I found in sites use self-rising flour + flour combination. I have no access to self-rising flour here so I researched on how to make it. It also requires 2 cups of sugar and 2 sticks of butter.

One of my best friends, Toni, who's based in LA, mentioned to me that she finds the original too sweet
and a bit dry (must with the butter cream frosting?) I value her opinion a lot. So for the sugar, I reduced mine to 1 and 3/4 cups.Also, based from my experiences in using butter alone (in cakes/cupcakes), the output usually ends up on the dry side even if I "undercook" it. So with that, I also added oil in the recipe.

The use of Dulce de Leche as topping was inspired by Estrel's Caramel Cakes. I've been dreaming to try it since Archie's a fan but I was scared to try out chiffon! While I was at the planning stage for these vanilla cupcakes, there was a light bulb moment and I had a strong feeling that Dulce de Leche would be a perfect topping.

And it was!
Husband-approved. Yey!

So without further ado, here's my take on Vanilla Cupcakes (
inspired by Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla cupcakes):

2 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 170C/350F. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Put softened butter in a bowl. Cream butter until smooth. Add sugar, mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time.

Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Mix well.

Fill the cupcake liners with the batter, about 3/4 full, pop in the oven, rotate pan halfway through.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (or 22 minutes max, in my opinion)

Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack. Serve plain, or with your favorite topping/frosting.

The cupcakes were a bit crusty on the outside, moist on the inside. The crusty part eventually became softer and moist after a few hours.

Note to self: On the next batch, I will add some more oil, maybe 2 more tablespoons, and will try a combination of brown sugar and white sugar to make a moister cupcake.

For the Dulce de Leche, as you can see in the photo, I made it 2 weeks ago and stored in the fridge.
Tips and directions can found in Manang's blog :)

Remove label of condensed milk and clean the can. Boil the can of unopened condensed milk for 2 hours in a pressure cooker, or 4 hours in a regular pot.

Fill the pot with water and make sure there's enough water to cover the whole can. About 2 to 3 inches above the can is okay.

After the boiling process, set aside first and leave the can to cool before opening.
Spread over the cupcakes and enjoy! :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scrambled Eggs with Chorizo and Bell Peppers

Can I just drop by real quick to say I'm stll here? :) Yes I am. Of course, still busy as always!

I am so amazed with Instagram that I had to post this shot as/for my comeback post.

I hardly post breakfasts here, not that I don't love breakfast, but I just (sad to say) have no sweet time to prepare breakfasts specials for the past few years, given the erratic schedule that Archie and I have, plus our school boy. Pre-school at this time is not all-play. Did I mention I make reviewers for exams? Did I mention that we have homework almost every-single-day?
If you're an '80s or '90s kid, in your head I can hear you say WT_ for that. But really, I can honestly say, it's good training for our boy! :)

Today is one of the lucky days/lucky mornings that I rarely had - that I was able to prepare a breakfast special with my pantry's special guest: the Spanish Chorizo. I got it from Santis Delicatessen. This is actually a justified version of what I tried to make 2+ years ago. I am a longganisa fan since birth, so Chorizo is no exception. My bosses gave us an authentic spanish chorizo back in Dec. 2009 and I tried to put it together with the same cast (peppers and eggs) though aesthetically didn't look cute hehehe but reeeeeaaaaaaallly tasted soooo goood! Since then I craved for it but never met a nice chorizo since last weekend. So here you go with my initial breakfast special this year:

vegetable oil (about 3 tablespoons)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
Spanish Chorizo (it's about 8 inches long), sliced
salt and pepper to taste (easy on the salt as the chorizo is already tasty!)

vegetable oil (3 tablespoons)
6 small eggs
3 tablespoons milk
salt and pepper to taste

First, heat oil on your skillet, sauté the onions until translucent, add the garlic, then the bell peppers, then Chorizo. Mix everything until Chorizo is done and its own orange oil is already out.
When finished, put the chorizo and peppers on a plate / bowl and set aside.

For the scrambled eggs - before you start, slowly and carefully clean your pan with a paper towel to remove the oil, unless you want your eggs to be orange in color :)

After cleaning up, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper, heat oil on your skillet, then gently pour the egg mixture on the pan. make it low heat, then scramble!

You may want to put the eggs beside the chorizo on your bowl/plate, or you may also present it as what you see on the picture above. Serve with garlic rice or bread, or eat as is. I super like eating it with Ciabatta bread.

Mmmmm I can still smell it's fragrance.

Well, good morning everyone! :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes

2 New Years have passed this month!!! Happy New Year and Happy Chinese New Year to all!

Hope everyone had fun during the holidays! Mine was! It was pretty much packed with reunions here and there, cooking, baking, gift wrapping and last minute gift shopping! With work still included, you can say it was really a busy holiday!

Sharing a photo of the Christmas-themed Chocolate Cupcakes I made for my cousin Kuya Bobby and his wife Ate Pam.

I used Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Cake
recipe for the cupcakes. They are soooo moist and chocolatey. This recipe never failed me! This makes 24 cupcakes, or even 30 if you fill the pans halfway only. I also use this for our chocolate caramel cake!

For the butter cream frosting, I used Wilton butter cream icing recipe. I just lessened the amount of the powdered sugar to 3 ½ cups as it can be really sweet.


I got the Christmas toppers from Manna Ingredients. They have loads of stuff there for baking,food packaging etc. I am happy to say that they don’t overprice their goodies. Promise. So to anyone there who will come across this entry and if you’re at the East side of Metro Manila, go ahead and visit their humble store. It’s along Marcos Highway, beside the entrance of Town and Country Village.

Ok, I do know the fact that I have so much backlog and making up to do! I wish I can still find time somehow to share something here – at least once a week to or maybe once in 2 weeks? monthly? Quarterly? Tell me about it.

With all the busyness before and what’s going on, though I am still very much inspired to cook (never lost that touch, thank God!) I feel that along the way - I lost the inspiration to write... Or, was I just too tired or too preoccupied?

Signs, signs, signs.

On a positive note - I believe that this year has a lot of beautiful promises. I will just go with the flow and try to stay focused at least 99% of the time, if not 100%!

This year’s going to be busier in all the corners of my life as an individual, a mom and a wife (no, Archie is not into politics, he’s just going to be busier too!). Despite that it will be busier; I will try my best to rest more, play more, reunite myself with writing… and playing the guitar (this is another side of me).

Well, here I am, back for the new year! So, here's to a busy but wonderful, healthy, happy and successful 2013 to all! And here’s to another entry next week!? :P Cheers!