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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Texas: Spice and Everything Nice!

Spices:  Watching too much Food Network programs has taught me more about the beautiful state of Texas.  First and foremost, it is famous for their intensely flavorful food.  Yes, food!  Texas barbecue, fajitas [oh… I am addicted to this one] and the tex-mex cuisine --- ring a bell?  Of course, food will never taste good without spices, seasonings and blends.  If you have hot chili peppers and Texas barbecue smoky and spicy grill sauce in your kitchen, then Texas is in your heart.  You just don’t know it yet.

Fajita
Ta-dah!  My chicken and pork fajitas.  I also baked my own pita bread.

Everything Nice: Aside from good food, Texas is also known for its San Antonio River Walk, Sea World and Zilker Botanical Garden - only to name a few.

The San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk
Photo credit: http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

Texas Sea World Park

Texas Sea World
Photo credit: http://seaworldparks.com/

Zilker Botanical Garden

image
Photo credit: zilkergarden.org

Are you starting to drool?  Don’t you worry.  I know the feeling.  Owning an Austin condo or a house is a lot better than just looking at these pics, right?  If you still haven’t gone through pages of condos Austin has to offer, do it.  Anyway, you do not need to make a purchase.  E-window shopping is good for the soul too,  you know?

So, have you been to Texas?  If yes, when and which places have you visited?  Which food have you tasted?  Do you love Texas food like I do?



Thursday, 29 March 2012

Homemade Crunchy Chicken Balls - I Like!

Craving for chicken nuggets one night, I was let down because we did not have chicken fillet in stock at home.  Good thing was Bebe purchased ground chicken meat a day earlier which gave me the idea of making chicken balls instead.  With a dash of different spices, seasoning, flour, an egg and pieces of finely chopped yellow onions, the result  of these chicken meat balls was remarkable.  Here are the first eleven golden brown pieces that night [I made around 30 pieces that night]:

Cruncy Chicken Balls

We ate these crunchy balls with rice and soy sauce while watching telly.  It was so good that we did not stop munching on them until nothing was left on the plate.

You bet.  Another batch was made two days after the first try.  Uhmmm.  Yum yum!

How about you?  Have you tried crunchy chicken balls?



Friday, 23 March 2012

Restaurant Heating and Ventilation

Just like any other working stations, a restaurant’s heating, cooling and proper ventilation play a very important role.  Think about it.  Would you enjoy your three course meal in a fine dining restaurant with a dysfunctional air conditioning system?  You wouldn’t, would you?

IMG_1637-1
Fine Dining at Statts Restaurant [located at the second floor of The First Hotel, Söderhamn, Sweden]

So far, the restaurant where I am spending my culinary internship program in hasn’t encountered any air conditioning issue.  If in case you are having problems with your AC [commercial or residential], make sure to have it checked as soon as possible before your hard earned money stretches farther.  Do not forget to ask about warranty on all repairs.  It will come in handy in time!  [If by chance you’re living within the Texas area, call in a professional AC repair Round Rock or Austin hvac technician to help you fix your problem safely.]

The Kitchen - Proper kitchen ventilation is a must in every restaurant.  Ranges without proper ventilation is a very bad thing.  It’s a hot place.  It’s smelly and definitely smoky.  It is important to always keep the kitchen fans and hood clean and regular check up is necessary.  Yes.  Working in the kitchen entails so much responsibility.  It’s not only about dicing, mincing, slicing, cooking and plating.  It’s a whole lot more than that.

How about you?  Do you or have you worked in a big kitchen?  If you haven’t, do you at least make sure that your home kitchen fan is always clean and in good condition?



Ketchup on my Hamburger, Please.

I am a bit of a ketchup junkie.  I like ketchup with fries, ketchup on my pizza, ketchup for my chorizo plus rice and of course, ketchup on my hamburger.  I can’t remember the first day I’ve begun to fall in love with this sweet-and-tangy food sauce.  College, maybe?

Burger2
Hamburgers with home made beef patties, coleslaw, cheddar cheese, mustard, onion and tomato slices.  Want one?

One patty is enough for me while Bebe goes for the double option minus the ketchup.  A glass of cola [regular for me, Zero for Bebe] and a bowl of fries always go right with burgers.  What a delight especially on a Friday or Saturday night!

Burger1
My homemade beef patties

How about you?  Do you enjoy your food more with ketchup in/on it?  For you, which food tastes better with ketchup?



Friday, 16 March 2012

Siopao. Bow Wow Wow.

Whenever I want a siopao or two, I simply visit the nearest food court and order the one with asado filling, my favorite --- well, this will be the scenario if I am still residing in the Philippines.  However, because finding a place that sells siopao here in Sweden is like looking for a needle in a haystack [not to mention how expensive a piece is], I’ve attempted one day to make my own siopao from scratch.  Surprisingly, the result has been great.  Happy with my recipe, I’ve made more batches since that first try.

Baozi [Cha siu baau] in China, Pau in Hong Kong, Salapao in Thailand or literally steamed buns, SIOPAO is the Philippine version of all these terms.  Siopao is one of the most popular on-the-go food.  They can be bought from food carts on the streets, in restaurants, bakeries, tiny canteens and food courts.  There are a variety of fillings.  Asado, bola-bola, chicken and more.  I am not sure how much a piece is priced these days in the Philippines.  Php50 [plus/minus USD1.10] in restaurants and Php15 to 20 [35¢ to 45¢] if you purchase it from street vendors… not a hundred percent sure but hmmmm… something like that.

Anyway, here’s my first batch of siopao filled with pork asado and slices of hard boiled eggs [sometime in September 2010].  Fully rested and are ready to go into the steamer for 12 to 15 minutes:

siopao

Ta-dah … steamed buns --- done!  Soft buns, delicious filling and still hot!  I always have it with ketchup.

siopao1

Making siopao at home is quite a complicated process.  To be able to come up with a really soft bun, patience is required but all in all, it’s worth it.  Every bite is heaven sent.  Even Bebe has siopao in his list of favorite food!

How about you?  Have you tried this delicious treat?  Love it?  Hate it?  So-so?  Have you ever tried making it at home?



Saturday, 10 March 2012

Kitchen Misc.: Knife. Cuts Life a Knife. The Deglon Meeting Knife Set.

“knife
cuts like a knife
you cut away the heart of my life”

Okay.  For no reason at all, I was humming this tune while searching for something interesting on the internet when I stumbled upon this intriguing set of 4 knives, the Deglon Meeting Knife Set.  Why use the word intriguing?  See for yourself:

DeglonMeetingKnifeSet1
DeglonMeetingKnifeSet2

This set is made  in France, is designed by Mia Schmallenbach and consists of 4 knives and block which are all made of high quality stainless steel.

The knives:
a 3-1/4-inch paring knife
a 5-1/4-inch utility knife
an 8-inch chef knife
an 8-3/4-inch slicer

So far, the Deglon Meeting Knife Set has been receiving really good reviews.  I am quite skeptical about the handle shapes but as a culinary student, I do hope to get myself the set one day.  My heart says I deserve it.



Wednesday, 7 March 2012

In My Heart, You’ll Find Biko ❤

Googling around, I realized that Biko could be quickly related to two popular things:

One, a protest song by Peter Gabriel, a British rock musician and two, an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the person of Stephen Biko.  But obviously, I am talking about another biko --- a traditional Filipino dessert, something that’s really super close to my  heart because … it’s sweet and I so love desserts [but then again, who doesn’t?]!

It was during the third quarter of 2011 when I finally got hold of malagkit [sticky rice/glutinous rice] and that was all thanks to Bebe and his patience for looking for Pinoy food for my sake.  Thing was, I did not know how to make biko.  When in the Philippines, my mom and I would just head to the market to buy biko slices to take home.  I could say that Sweden did really turn me into a cooking monster when I was able to make my own biko at home.  Finally!

As always, I turn to Google for recipes then adjust the measurements and add or remove ingredients to suit my taste.  I always make my imagination go crazy when cooking and baking.  Great recipes [and even secret ones] come from experiments, you know?

So well, my first biko creation exceeded my expectations.  I was able to surprise myself with delectable bites of one of my favorite desserts.  Oh Bebe?  He fell in love with it right away.  I got jealous actually *kidding!*.

With so many variations on how to create this heaven sent creatures, here’s mine:

biko1
My first batch of homemade biko which was slowly cooked al dente [fully cooked, but not overly soft] in coconut milk, poured into ceramic baking cups, topped with caramel and finished baking in the oven.  Delightful biko cups - done!

I will be creating some more of these lovelies during the weekend.  My dear boyfriend has purchased me another couple of kilos of malagkit for me pour some magic into and for us to enjoy!  [Yeah.  I know.  He’s definitely clever.]

How about you?  Have you ever tried biko?  Love it?  Hate it?  So-so?



Friday, 2 March 2012

Doughnuts and Doughnut Holes - Homemade. Anyone?

Donut1Whenever I crave for doughnuts, instead of heading to the store I head to the kitchen and start making some. 

I want my doughnuts really soft, chewy and still hot which means when making them, patience is a must.  Regarding its toppings, I sometimes dip them in chocolate glaze but usually, I go for something super simple --- roll them in caster sugar and done!

The holes?  Oh.  I fry them, too!  Doughnut holes fry way quicker than with holes.  There are even moments when I only make holes and then fill half of them with vanilla custard for Bebe while mine’s totally fillingless [not a filling fan *wink*].  Just sugar always works fine for me.

Donuts
Newly deep fried doughnuts!
DonutHoles
Doughnut holes!  Ready, Get Set, Go!

Doughnuts --- I so Red heartyou!



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