Sunday, June 28, 2009

There are no skeletons in my closet :)

Go ahead and take a peek.

Only clothes and shoes and bags

And linens and magazines and books.

Lots of magazines and books.

We had our house renovated two, maybe three years ago and what used to be our garage is now my bedroom. It's the biggest bedroom in the house and I opted to have open closets with lots of shelves to hold not my clothes but my books, cookbooks and magazine collection.

You see, I used to collect Gourmet and Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living but not anymore. The price is outrageous! At 400 to 500 pesos an issue(almost $10), no thanks. I can always go to and download the recipes hehehe (Yes, I'm cheap that way!).

I now buy local magazines like Foodie and Yummy. Sometimes though, back issues of Bon Appetit and Gourmet (50% off) find their way into the shelves.

My books and magazine collection used to occupy one column (5 shelves) of my closet but not anymore. They now occupy 8 shelves!

Have you met my friends?

Say hi to Julia, Ina, Giada, Tessa, Diana, Nigella, Caprial, Ursula, Maida, Gale, Dorie, and Martha. Boyfriends Jamie, Tyler and Ming and grandaddies Wolfgang and Nobu are somewhere in the mix.

The Kite Runner, The Alchemist, The Bonesetter's Daughter and The Book Thief are just some of the many who are in there either reading the Memoirs of a Geisha or cracking the Da Vinci Code while waiting for A Thousand Splendid Suns to rise East of Eden. You don't believe me? I swear on my pink devotional BIBLE ( Do you see it?).

I was in Manila last week and I bought 2 more cookbooks. Sad to say that I am now 3 books over my " 5 COOKBOOKS A YEAR QUOTA" which means that next year I can only buy 2 cookbooks. COOKBOOKS GIVEN AS GIFTS DON'T COUNT THOUGH!!! I'm also waiting for Dan Brown's new novel. I just want to make that clear.

I told you there are no skeletons in my closet.

Friday, June 26, 2009

SMS Posting Late

Life is way too crazy at the moment.

I will try to post my completed SMS challenges next week *keeping my fingers crossed*
I'm hoping things will get better by then:)

Please click here to check out how my fellow SMS bakers fared with this week's challenge.

Till then, be safe :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the cupcake project!

It was my dad's birthday last June 10. My sister turned a year older last June 2 and her T, last June 13. Since we were not able to celebrate with my sister last June 2 for reasons that I could not divulge, we decided to host a joint birthday celebration for the June celebrants last June 12.

One of my many tasks was to bake cupcakes for the party. My sister initially wanted orange vanilla cupcakes but she settled for chocolate cupcakes instead. Whew! Imagine how many oranges I'd have to squeeze to make 10 dozen cupcakes!!!

The night before the party, my sister Gelli and I worked on the cupcakes.

After mixing the ingredients for the cake (thank heavens for my kitchen aid mixer), I emptied the batter into a pitcher for easy pouring. This is faster than scooping batter into every cup.

Just one of the many batches headed into the oven. Less mess, no stress!

We made 10 dozen moist chocolate cupcakes before sleeping.

I love the dark color of the cupcakes. Dark brown to black, the cupcakes were rich, moist and yummy.

When I woke up at around 9 AM, I started working on the pasta sauce with my sister Tanya. When we were satisfied with how the sauce tasted, I started working on the buttercream frosting. It was too hot that day that I couldn't get the frosting to set properly. C'est la vie!

I was in charge of piping swirls of frosting on the cupcakes.

I pipped some light green swirls...

and some pink and blue ones too!

Pink, green and blue cupcakes. Aren't they cute?

I think I should take up a Wilton course in cake decorating so that I can learn how to make those cute designs using a piping bag and the tips that come with it.

Birthday girl Tanya tinted the frosting pink, green and blue. She also did the lettering.

She then decorated one cupcake this way!

Gelli sprinkled cupcake toppers onto some of the cupcakes.

Cupcakes ready to be transported to Lola Zita's house !
(The tray came back empty.)

*thanks tans and gelli for the pictures and for helping me with the cupcake project*

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

THE MELISSA MURPHY chose Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds for last Sunday's challenge. Boy! am I glad that she did!

For the longest time, I've been using the Toll House Cookie recipe and I love it but I've been trying to find ways to cut down on the sugar content. I don't like sugar free stuffs because, well, most of the time they taste like blah!!! So when I read Melissa's recipe, not only did it call for lesser amount of sugar, it also called for less salt. Wee!

I think the only down side to the recipe is that the dough must be refrigerated for an hour. I can be very impatient. I hate waiting which is why I consider baking bread and making pie crusts my Waterloo.

The recipe also calls for the dough to be rolled into logs. I find this step to be really helpful. I didn't have to scoop the dough and drop them by rounded teaspoonful. All i had to do is slice the logs and lay the cut slices onto the cookie sheet. No more messy fingers and it saves you time.

I divided the batter into two portions. One portion I left plain for my sister.

I added more than a handful of chocolate chips to the other portion.I omitted the nuts because my dad prefers his food without nuts (but he likes pesto. go figure!). I baked the cookies for 13 minutes and then arranged them on a wire rack to cool.

I'm glad that I tried out Melissa's recipe. The Toll House Cookie has finally met it's match. If you want the recipe you can check out the Sweet Melissa Sundays website. Melissa Murphy was nice enough to post it there or better yet buy her book, The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Bear's Peach Cobbler

I know! I know! I was suppose to post this last Sunday but I've been so busy with work (I've been uhhh "detained") and preparing for the joint celebration of my dad and sis that I just could not squeeze two challenges in. I'm grateful that our leader over at Sweet Melissa Sundays is so understanding and nice. Thanks Lorelei.

Now on to my first Sweet Melissa Sundays Challenge, Bear's Peach Cobbler. I've never had cobbler before. I've never made cobbler before but it was surprisingly easy to make.
The recipe calls for fresh peaches which I of course didn't have so I used canned peaches instead.
I had to drain the syrup though and reduced the amount of sugar called for in the recipe.
After baking in the oven for an hour and thirty minutes, I let it cool a bit and then dug in with a spoon. The filling was moist and you can taste the cinnamon but my favorite were the biscuits.
The biscuits were delicious and tender. Very tasty thanks to the addition of the lemon zest. Maybe I can use the cobbler topping as the base for my lemon bars.

I can see myself making this dessert again. If only I could get hold of fresh peaches here in the province. :)