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Beef Caldereta with Tsokolate 

Filipino Beef Stew with Chocolate – Pinoy dish with a twist! 

Ingredients (serves 5) 

900 grams beef brisket, cut into 2″ cubes

70 grams liver pâté or spread

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, diced

1 can tomato sauce

2 cups water 

1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

40 grams plain not-too-sweet chocolate or tsokolateng tablea (you may want to add some sugar for using tablea in this recipe) 

2 potatoes, sliced

2 carrots, sliced 

2 bell peppers or capsicums (red and yellow), sliced 

½ cup green peas or edamame beans 

2 pcs laurel leaves

dried chilis (optional)

1 tbsp cooking oil

salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

1. In a pressure cooker with heated cooking oil, sauté the garlic and onion then add the beef and cook until slightly brown.

2. Add the laurel leaves, crushed pepper and dried chili. 

3. Add the liver spread, tomato sauce and water. Mix until well incorporated. Cook until meat is tender (30-40 minutes in a pressure cooker) 

4. Add potato and carrots. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

5. Add the chocolate and stir. 

6. Add the bell peppers and green peas, cook for a few minutes more (add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste). 

Cherry Blossom Baking Essentials from Cuoca Shop in Tokyo

Jiyugaoka is indeed one of my favorite places in Tokyo. It’s classy, chic & laid-back like Daikanyama. Close to Jiyugaoka Station (自由が丘駅) is a classy dessert paradise (building complex) known as “Sweets Forest”. There are several small sweets shops from which you can satisfy your sweet tooth. The 1st floor has only one shop and it doesn’t sell cakes or crepes, but instead sells everything you need to make them yourself. This specialty store is called Cuoca Shop Jiyugaoka. This store is essentially geared for baking enthusiasts ー it specializes in all sorts of cooking supplies and ingredients. It’s an excellent resource for those who love to bake. The most impressive part of the store is that they have a “chocolate cellar” specially designed to keep high-quality chocolate at just the right temperature.

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I was introduced to Cuoca by a friend who also loves to bake and my culinary school in Tokyo (Le Cordon Bleu). I fell in love with this shop because they have almost everything I need for baking…plus its location! 

I go here every year to hoard some sakura ingredients for my spring desserts.

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Here are some of them…

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♡ Cherry Blossom Tart and Cupcake Liners ♡

Aren’t they so cute?

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♡ Cherry Blossom Cookie Cutter and Piping Tip/Nozzle ♡

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♡ Cherry Blossom (candies/chocolates) Cupcake Decorations  ♡CLR_0545

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♡ Freeze Dried Sakura (Petal) Flakes ♡

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♡ Powdered Sakura Flower ♡

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♡ Sakura Flowers in Syrup ♡

They can be used to make the most delightful sakura cocktails and jelly.

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♡ Sakura Honey Syrup ♡

This is so perfect for sakura-flavored pancakes on cozy springy mornings!

My family loves pancakes so much.

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Sakura Liqueur (22%) 

You can get much more depth of flavour in a recipe by using a liqueur. I am slowly building up my stock of liqueurs for baking like Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Kahlúa and many more. Love ’em all!

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♡ Sakura Essence ♡CLR_0502

♡ Pickled Sakura Flowers ♡

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They can be used for making Sakura-yu 桜湯 ー a traditonal tea made with cherry blossom. The clear, faintly pink tea tastes slightly salty. It has a very mild floral taste and aroma. You can also add them to green tea like Sencha 煎茶 for something a bit different. 

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– pickled sakura flower(s) in hot water –

♡ DIY Sakura Mochi 桜餅 / Cherry Blossom Rice Cake Kit ♡

  • glutinous rice
  • pickled sakura leaves
  • sweet red bean paste (koshian)
  • powdered pickled sakura flower

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By the way, sweeties…

Learn how to make Sakura Mochi and Cherry Blossom Cheesecake in my next posts…see you!

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So okay, if you buy more than ¥5000 worth of goodies from Cuoca, you are eligible for free shipping within Japan. It’s very convenient because you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy shopping bags afterwards…

Then after 2 days, I received my package. Voila! I also bought Matcha! *:)

There are two Cuoca shops in Tokyo – one in Jiyugaoka and one in Shinjuku.

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http://www.cuoca.com

Thank you for dropping by sweeties!

♡ ♡ ♡

Classic Lattice-Top Apple Pie

This is a classic homemade apple pie with a scrumptious filling and buttery flaky crust. Learn how to make a lattice top crust step-by-step. It’s easier than you think, and the results are as impressive as can be.

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INGREDIENTS
serves 6

Pie Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
200g butter, chilled
1/2 cup ice water
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Filling
5 apples (peeled, cored & sliced)
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 ground nutmeg
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

1.) Pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor. Add the butter, pulsing 10-20 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You can do it by hand, too! Although it is best to make your crust with a food processor to make sure the ingredients don’t have time to come to room temperature, but if you don’t have one, you can do it by hand with the “fork method”. Stir together the dry ingredients, and then use two forks in a slicing motion to cut in the butter. Just make sure all the ingredients are really cold, especially the butter.

2.) Add enough ice water over the flour mixture and pulse to combine. Test your dough consistency by squeezing a bit in your hand. If it holds together, it’s ready! Add 1 more tbsp of water if it’s dry and breaks apart. Pulse again.

3.) Place the dough on a work surface and divide into two equal parts (one for the bottom crust, and one for the lattice top crust). Place each portion onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten and form the dough into two discs. Wrap in the plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. *You can chill the dough up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

4.) Preheat your oven to 200°C  and start making the filling. Put the lemon juice and apple slices in a medium bowl and toss. Add the sugar, flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & vanilla extract and then toss to combine evenly. Arrange the apple mixture in the dough-lined pie pan and scatter cubed butter over the apples. Cover with a lattice crust. 

How to Do a Lattice Top

Cut the dough into strips. You can use a knife or a pizza cutter along a with a ruler to cut the strips. *It is easier to work with the dough if it is chilled, so if it the strips has softened too much, put them on a flat parchment paper sheet over a tray and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Lay the horizontal strips. Place 6 parallel strips of dough across the pie, leaving the same distance in between each one. Fold back strips 2, 4 & 6; this allows you to weave the strips easily and know which strip should go under and which should go over.
Weave the strips. Lay 1 strip of dough vertically across the pie. Unfold horizontal strips 2, 4 & 6 then fold back horizontal strips 1,3 & 5 over the vertical strip. Repeat the process until the entire pie is covered.
Trim off the excess lattice. Cut the ends with a knife or kitchen scissors to give the pie a finished look.
Seal the lattice ends. Pressing all of the lattice ends into the edge of the bottom crust to seal keeps them from shrinking during baking and detaching from the crust.

5.) Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes or until crust begins to lightly brown, then reduce heat to 180°C. Bake until the crust is golden and juices are bubbling, that takes about 50 to 60 more minutes.

6.)  Cool on a rack before serving or let the apple pie sit for at least 3 hours so the juices won’t escape when you cut into it.

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~ Bon Appétit ~

Many thanks to the warm, friendly and talented Food Photographer – Justin De Jesus – for collaborating and working with me in this food experimental pursuits. You can check out his craft and works below:

http://www.justinjapan.com

Au revoir!

♡♡♡

 

How to Make Sushi Rolls

Makizushi 巻き寿司 or “rolled sushi” is made by wrapping up a variety of ingredients in vinegared rice and nori seaweed. Since makizushi are wrapped in nori, they are also called Norimaki 海苔巻き. Makizushi is rolled in a flexible bamboo mat called Makisu 巻簾.

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There are four traditional types of maki and a more contemporary one:

  • Hosomaki (細巻き, thin roll) is thinly rolled maki sushi with only one ingredient
  • Chumaki (中巻き, medium roll) is a medium-sized rolled maki sushi usually containing several ingredients
  • Futomaki (太巻き, thick or fat roll) is a thick rolled maki sushi containing multiple ingredients
  • Temaki (手巻き, hand roll) is a cone-shaped maki sushi
  • Uramaki (カリフォルニア巻き) is a contemporary style of Maki sushi that is described as a roll that is inside out—with the rice on the outside—and has an outer layer of tobiko or sesame seeds. This style was developed in the United States to entice Americans to try sushi despite its unfamiliarity.

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Sushi comes in all shapes and sizes but sushi rolls are the most popular form and these rolls might include a variety of vegetables like cucumber and avocado. You can make a roll with any ingredient combination that you can think of…sounds fun to make, right? *:)

Tuna/Maguro Futomaki (makes 3 rolls)

INGREDIENTS

3 strips of sashimi grade tuna (cut lengthwise into 2-cm thick slices)
1 whole avocado, peeled, pitted & cut lengthwise (2 strips per roll)
1 cup minced tuna (divide into 3 equal parts)
3 full sheets of nori seaweed
600g sushi rice (2oog per roll)

DIRECTIONS

1.  Prepare your sumeshi (sushi rice). One of the important ingredients to make sushi rolls     is to have the right sushi rice.

  • Put the rice and water in a rice cooker, place kombu on top and cook.

  • While the rice is being cooked, in a small saucepan, put together vinegar, salt and sugar. Place it over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. You can also heat it in a microwave for 1 minute, or until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to let it cool.

  • When the rice is done, transfer into a large bowl (preferably Hangiri / Sushi Okeor flat-bottom wooden sushi tub) moistened with water so the rice won’t stick. While the rice is hot, pour the vinegar mixture evenly and using a rice paddle, fold it into the rice. Keep the rice covered with a damp towel (or paper towel) until ready to use.

2.  Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat (rough side facing up).

3.  Put 200g sushi rice on the nori and spread all over leaving 2 cm space at the top edge. Place sliced tuna, avocado and minced tuna over the rice.

4.  Lifting the edge of the mat closest to you, begin rolling the mat away from you, pressing it lightly to keep it firm. Cut into 5 equal pieces. Clean the knife with a vinegar water-moistened cloth between cuttings.

5.  Serve the sushi rolls with gari pickled ginger, wasabi and a dipping sauce Japanese soy sauce.

Salmon Uramaki (makes 4 rolls)

INGREDIENTS

16 sashimi grade salmon strips (4 salmon strips per roll)
4 full sheets of nori seaweed
1 cucumber, unpeeled, cut into lengthwise slices & seeds removed (1 stick per roll)
12 snow crab leg meat sticks (3 crab sticks per roll)
1 ripe mango, peeled & cut into 8 lengthwise slices (2 strips per roll)
1 cup tobiko/flying fish roe (divide into 4 equal parts)
1 cup ikura/salmon roe (divide into 4 equal parts)
1 cup toasted sesame seeds
800g sushi rice (200g per roll)
mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare your sumeshi (sushi rice). Follow the cooking instructions written above.
  2. Place a layer of cling film on a bamboo mat so the rice won’t stick. Put 200g rice and spread all over then place a sheet of nori on top of the rice.
  3. Put your filling (crab sticks, tobiko, cucumber and mango) in the middle of the nori and roll up as mentioned above. Cut into 4 equal pieces.
  4. Sprinkle each roll with some toasted sesame seeds on both sides.
  5. Place each roll with a salmon strip on top. Squirt a little bit of mayonnaise over the salmon strip and top it with a teaspoon of salmon roe. Garnish with julienned scallions. Repeat process.


Keep in mind that you can make your sushi rolls with anything you like. Mix and Match, and most of all, enjoy!!!

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Many thanks to the warm, friendly and talented Food Photographer – Justin De Jesus – for collaborating and working with me in this food experimental pursuits. You can check out his craft and works below:

http://www.justinjapan.com

どうぞめしあがれ
Douzo Meshiagare

♡♡♡

How to Make Ebi Tempura Udon | Japanese Comfort Food

Udon noodle soup is widely popular because of the minimalist taste of its nature – the secret of this scrumptious Japanese cuisine is actually in its dashi.

Dashi is a Japanese stock, and it is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes. The most common combination to make a basic dashi is Kombu (dried kelp) and Katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes).

In this udon recipe, the dashi stock includes 4 main ingredients such as dried shiitake mushrooms, niboshi (dried baby sardines/anchovies), kombu and katusobushi to bring out the rich umami flavor.

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Like many Japanese noodles, udon noodles are usually served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. Toppings are chosen to reflect the seasons. Most toppings are added without much cooking, although some are deep-fried like tempura shrimps and vegetables.



INGREDIENTS
serves 3

600g fresh udon noodles
1 cup shimeji mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped scallions or spring onions
1 to 2 cups pea shoots
8 tbsp mirin
8 tbsp soy sauce
a pinch of sugar
6 cups dashi
6 ebi tempura*
shichimi tōgarashi / Japanese chili powder, optional


*Homemade Dashi Stock
30g kombu (dried kelp)
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
30g katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes)
1 cup niboshi (dried baby sardines/anchovies)
6 cups water

  • Do not wash the kombu. Good kombu is covered on the surface with a fine white powdery substance. Do not wash this off. Soak kombu and niboshi in 6-7 cups of water for an hour or up to overnight.
  • Transfer kombu and niboshi dashi to a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Remove the kombu just before it boils completely, otherwise the dashi will become slimy and bitter. Add dried shiitake and let it simmer for 8 minutes. Add katsuobushi and simmer for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes then strain. After straining, the dashi is now ready for use.


*Ebi Tempura

1 cup ice water
1 large egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
6 large shrimps or tiger prawns
cooking oil for deep frying
extra flour, about 1 cup

  • Peel and devein the shrimp, but leave the tail intact (scrape the dirt particles off the tail using your knife). Make incisions in the belly of each shrimp. Press down firmly on the shrimp, moving from one end to the other, until the shrimp is completely straight. This is to prevent it from curving up while frying it. Lay aside on paper towels to absorb any moisture.
  • Combine ice water and egg yolk in a medium bowl, blend well. Pour wet ingredients over flour and whisk lightly (do not over mix, the batter should be slightly lumpy).
  • Pour extra flour in a shallow dish. Dredge prawns in flour and then dip into the batter. When the oil is hot (170-180°C), you are ready to deep fry the prawns.
  • Fry about 1 minute on each side. Place the tempura onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any oil.


DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine dashi, mirin, soy sauce and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add shimeji mushrooms and udon noodles, cook for 3 minutes. Add the pea shoots and blanch them for 10 seconds. Refresh in cold water and drain. Place udon noodle soup in bowls and top with pea shoots, scallions and tempura. Sprinkle some chili powder on top.

It’s done!!! You may want to add these cute little swirls – Japanese Kamaboko Fish Cake (narutomaki) to make it look more enticing.

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どうぞめしあがれ
Douzo Meshiagare


Many thanks to the warm, friendly and talented Food Photographer – Justin De Jesus – for collaborating and working with me in this food experimental pursuits. You can check out his craft and works below:

http://www.justinjapan.com

Au revoir!

♡♡♡

 

 

Classic Pavlova

Pavlova is a classic Australian dessert that involves baking a large meringue that is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, and then covering it with cream and fresh fruits.

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INGREDIENTS
serves 8

225 ml egg whites
330g sugar
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
375 ml heavy cream
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 cup cherries, stems intact
powdered sugar for dusting

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.  Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting 30 seconds between each addition. Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and whisk for a further 6 minutes or until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the vinegar and whisk for 4 minutes or until glossy and combined.

2. Pile spoonfuls of the meringue onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and using a spatula, shape to form a 20 cm mound. Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until dry and crisp to the touch. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely  in the oven.

3. Place the cream in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Add in the cream cheese. Mix until well combined.

4. Place the pavlova on a cake stand or plate and top with cream, raspberries and cherries. Dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!!!

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Recipe credits to amazing Donna Hay for inspiring me to create this classic.


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Many thanks to the warm, friendly and talented Food Photographer – Justin De Jesus – for collaborating and working with me in this food experimental pursuits. You can check out his craft and works below:

http://www.deliciousphoto.ph

www.facebook.com/deliciousphoto.ph

Au revoir!

♡♡♡

Poppy Seed Crusted Lamb Chops with Mushroom Truffle Sauce

Impress your family and friends by cooking this quick and easy roasted lamb chops with a twist!

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INGREDIENTS
recipe for 2

4 pcs lamb loin chops
10 pcs crimini “brown” button mushrooms, whole
110g truffle and mushroom paste (Fauchon Champignon Truffe)
1 cup poppy seeds
6 pcs baby onions, whole and peeled
sprigs of fresh rosemary
sprigs of fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp brown sugar
fresh ground black pepper
kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Generously season both sides of the lamb chops with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic until lightly brown and aromatic. Sear the lamb chops, as well as the onions and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add in the truffle paste, brown sugar, fresh thyme and rosemary. Mix everything so the sauce evenly coats the food. Turn the lamb chops over and cook for another 2 minutes.

2. Dredge both sides of the chops in poppy seeds. Place on a baking tray together with the onions, mushrooms, herbs and sauce. Transfer to the oven and roast for 5 – 6 minutes.

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3. Arrange on a plate or wooden board and garnish with fresh sprigs of herbs. Serve immediately. Enjoy!!!

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~Bon Appétit ~

Many thanks to the warm, friendly and talented Food Photographer – Justin De Jesus – for collaborating and working with me in this food experimental pursuits. You can check out his craft and works below:

http://www.deliciousphoto.ph
http://www.facebook.com/deliciousphoto.ph

Au revoir!

♡♡♡