Oct 5, 2006

Apple Crumble

Malou cooked up a party for her husband, Lito and invited us over. I actually asked her what she wanted me to bring for dessert -- leche flan or refrigerator cake -- and she said, "Kahit ano, aprub!" But I got tied down at the office to the last minute and didn't have time to beat eggs for leche flan nor enough time to cool a ref cake so I opted for dessert that could be served warm. Incidentally, the something warm I thought of is something I've been dreaming about for months (since the time I last ate them at The Bellevue) -- Apple Crumble.

The preparation wasn't without glitches though. On the way home I was worried that I didn't have cinnamon left and was pondering substitutes -- will vanilla work as well? When I got home (45 minutes before we were due at Malou's) I ran to my pantry, found I have more than enough cinnamon, thanked God out loud, then went to work with the apples and the crumble.

Then during baking, my 10-year old Turbo Broiler conked out (the loose power plug had melted the insulation, blah-blah-blah...) and I was left with a half-baked crumble and no dessert to bring to the party. Waaahh!

Good thing the man I married is a handyman and he tweaked the wires and connected new lugs, and in ten minutes the turbo was broiling again. :) We were a little late for call time but made it to Malou's with a pan of Apple Crumble anyway, which, by the way, was wiped out at dessert time. :)

This is a good alternative to apple pie, can be made in half an hour, best served warm, with whipped cream or better yet, vanilla ice cream on top.


What's In It?

  • 5 apples ( I use Fuji)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp. butter, room temp.
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 2 tbsp. apple juice or orange juice
Kitchen Conjugations:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan or a casserole of the equivalent size, then dust it with flour. Peel, core and slice the apples, and arrange them in the pan.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the oats, brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, salt and allspice on low speed until it forms a coarse meal. Crumble the mixture evenly over the apple slices and sprinkle with the juice. Bake for 35 minutes (Turbo Broiler bakers: see note below).

Makes 6 servings.

I don't have a conventional oven and used a Turbo Broiler. Baking time is shorter, about 15 minutes, or until the crumble turns golden brown.

Oct 3, 2006

The Old Spaghetti House

Have you tried the TOSH at Festival Mall? How was your dining experience? For me it was a Hit-Miss-Hit-Miss-Hit experience.

The HITS come from the fact that their house spaghettis are generally good and affordably priced. (Cheapest is Pesto at P90.) I like the variety of sauces too, compared to those of similarly priced Sbarro's, where you only get to choose between Meat Sauce, Tomato Sauce and Cream Sauce.

How do I like it? Let me put it this way: we've been at TOSH eight times in the last two months (yes, unbelievable-but-true). And in those eight times I've had Pesto with Grilled Chicken (top right) FOUR TIMES (yup, unbelievable-bordering-on-weird), and Pasta Negra (top left) twice. I had Puttanesca and Oriental Spaghetti the other two times.

Mike likes the Seafood Marinara (bottom left) so much he's had it FIVE times. [Yep, the man's LOYAL :)] The other times he's tried Pasta Negra, Arrabiata and Pesto, both of which earned his thumb's up. :)

My kids like the Four Cheese pizza, and the Nachos Supreme, which comes with salsa, cheese and aioli dips. We've also tried Cheese Logs (deep fried rolled pizza crust stuffed with cheese), Calamares. At one time, Gambel had their Grilled Pork Chops while my lola had the Pork Scallopine with Wild Mushroom Sauce. Both got good reviews.

The MISSES come from inordinate waiting time (to be seated; to be served) and inconsistent service quality. At one visit Mike's glass of red wine, and the pizza we ordered came when we had already finished our meal and had asked for bill out! On another visit one waiter simply slid my pesto from his tray to the edge of our table, turned his back and walked away, with the unspoken instruction of "Go get it yourself." (Gasp!) The tables are also so small, space is cramped for a party of four or more. You need to finish a dish or two and have them cleared out to make space for your other orders. They don't have condiments ready on the table and you'd need to ask for parmesan, pepper or chili flakes. And horrors! No knives! How do you cut your pizza?

The saving grace has been the taste of their food. Kundi lang yon, naku...

September Birthday Cakes

Wow, is it October already? And I have unposted entries and recipes from as long ago as May? Whoa!

September is birthday-busy for us. Mike's and Gambel's birthdays have 10 days in between them, and in the interim too is my lola's birthday, on the 19th. So what dates are Mike's and Gambel's birthdays? You do the Math. :)

Gambel's 6!

Gambel's birthday this year actually falls on a Saturday, so I didn't make any plans for a party in school. (We had planned to eat out.) But Gambel my Boy Wonder beat me to the no-party plan and broadcast to the whole baranggay the news of his upcoming birthday, complete with details of his supposed party fare. Kahiya naman, so I threw a mini-party anyway in his school. I hosted some party games, and served home-cooked spaghetti, chicken lollipops, and his birthday cakes:

The Banana Cupcakes answer the need for nutrition (at least the cake's not all sugar-- it packs some Vitamin A and Potassium in there) and the need for individual portions (so as to save the effort of slicing the cake). I put in a candle each so every child will have a candle to blow and there wouldn't be a wrestle for a turn at blowing the birthday candle. :) On Gambel's cupcake I put a number candle 6 for distinction. :)

Mama turns 82!

I had wanted something a little grand for Mama (my lola) because this is her first time to celebrate her birthday with us after a while of being away in NZ. But her birthday fell on a busy Tuesday, and on account of my fatherin-law's condition at the time she insisted on scrapping party plans. So instead we treated her to simple, impromptu lunch at Max's Pacita.

I bought a Mango Cake roll from the restaurant's bakeshop and decorated it with some meringue, and a birthday candle:

My lola, the gracious lady that she is, appreciated the simple celebration, despite the fact that she deserved so much more. God bless my lola.

Mike's Birthday

We marked Mike's birthday without much fanfare in the family residence in Makilala, North Cotabato -- at 12:10 am we called him inside (he was out with friends and relatives who have come to condole with us) and sang him his birthday song.

Later in the day I made Banana Cake (again) -- this time, two unbelievably large trays. It was my first time to bloat the recipe to such large proportions, I was second-guessing myself and silently praying (that the recipe turn out okay) as I mixed. 'Twas my first time too, to bake in a wood-fired pugon.

The cake turned out okay, I guess, judging from the fact that the first tray (which made 100 slices) was wiped out within 5 minutes of placement on the dining table. :)

Oct 1, 2006

Maize Picadillo

To me this is Maize Picadillo; to some, it's made with chicken and ampalaya (bittergourd) leaves and called Suam na Mais. This version uses malunggay, is made flavorful by fresh shrimps, and has a clear broth. I learned the recipe from watching my lola who used to cook it for Saturday lunch when it's corn season. Back then she used white young corn; my version uses the sweet corn I prefer.

My lola was home from New Zealand last month and this was among the dishes I lined up for her enjoyment (to match the fried tilapia I knew she missed so badly).

Maize Picadillo/Ginisang Mais

What's In It?

  • 6 sweet corn cobs
  • 100 g. pork, diced
  • 50 g. small shrimps
  • 1 med. onion, peeled and sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium-sized ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1 c malunggay leaves
  • 3 T cooking oil
  • 3 to 4 T fish sauce
  • 6 cups tap water or pork broth

Kitchen Conjugations:

Wash corn and remove hair. Using a serrated kitchen knife, scrape off the kernels from the cobs to make about 4 to 5 cups. Set aside.

Heat cooking oil in a wok or carajay over medium heat. Saute onions, tomato slices and garlic. Add in pork and stir fry for one minute or until pork loses its pinkish tint. Stir in shrimps and corn kernels then stir fry for half a minute. Stir in fish sauce, cover, turn down heat and let simmer for about a minute and 30 seconds, to allow ingredients to sweat.

Pour in water or pork broth and let boil for 10 minutes or until the kernels are tender. Adjust seasonings, then stir in malunggay leaves. Allow to boil for half a minute to blanch malunggay. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Best with crispy fried tilapia, daing na bangus, or fried galunggong. :)