February 26, 2014

Brownies (by Tous les Jours)

"Count the memories, not the calories." ~Anonymous

We bought the TLJ Brownie Mix last December for 248 Php. We baked it last week and you know what? it is super easy as ABC. Unlike other premixes which require egg and oil, this one only needs water, seriously! I made it using our oven, 180 C for 7-10 minutes but if you're using a microwave, you can cook it for 3-4 minutes for a 700W microwave. To check if it's done, insert a toothpick in your brownie. If it comes out clean, it's perfectly done.

Here is the instruction from the box

I added 55 mL of water instead of 70 mL, why? I want it to be fudgy and chewy. But if you like it to be moist and soft, add 70mL of water. At first, I thought 55mL of water wasn't enough for the dry mixture but miraculously it turned out ok. Put it in a small microwave safe plastic/glass container (if you're using microwave) or baking pan (if you're using an oven). I put baking paper on my pan so that it won't stick. Also, I added some toasted cashew nuts to jazz up my brownies. You can also add marshmallows or sprinkles if you like.

So what's my verdict? Honestly, I like the TLJ Brownies because it's so easy to make, just combine, stir, bake, and tadaaah! you'll have an amazing brownies. It's also convenient, you can bake it in the oven or microwave. Taste wise, it's sweet and chocolaty but what amazes me is the texture of the brownies itself. It's crusty on top but moist and chewy inside (see the glossy, wafer thin top crust in the picture). I love the feeling while munching on this goodness.

Will I buy it again? Hmmm maybe. If my kiddos will ask me to buy it, I will. But if it's just me, I will give a second thought. Why? Because... it's expensive! I made 10 brownies and it roughly cost 24.80 Php each (less the cashew nuts+labor+gas). Yeah, I know this is an imported product and I also know that I'm being frugal again, but I just think that I can make an equally delicious brownies without spending 248 Php (note: this is just my opinion). 

Will I recommend it? Of course yes! If you're a novice baker, or a mom who wants to impress your hubby and kids, or a girl who wants to give something to your bf or soon-to-be in laws, or a friend who is friendly enough to share something sweet to her friends, I recommend you to try TLJ Brownie Mix - it's worth a try. I assure you, your loved ones will love you and they will be bedazzled by your creation.

Happy day always,


February 24, 2014

Adobong Manok, Atay at Balunbalunan (Chicken adobo with liver and gizzard)

"You are not defeated when you lose, you are only defeated when you quit!"
~Paolo Coelho

Of all the Filipino food I know, adobo is the hardest to cook! I have high standards in adobo and I admit I can't cook a perfect adobo. My kuya (brother) and my in-laws are the best and I can't copy their versions. The secret to a perfect adobo is the proper proportion of saltiness and sourness. It should never be sour or salty, these two flavors must complement each other to achieve the classic adobo taste, ah! and don't forget the garlic, it should be garlicky! It's a must!

Oh well, I've tried so many times and so many versions, but to no avail. I nearly gave up but the little chef in me keeps on telling me to try again. Ok fine! What I did is I used measuring cups for the soy sauce and vinegar. I think I need it so that next time when I make adobo again, there'll be no more estimation.  I tried a couple of times and am proud to say that this version is somewhat close to my kuya's adobo (less the laurel or bay leaf). I'm missing my kuya Alberto so... kuya, this is for you. I'm sure if you tasted this, i will hear again the magic phrase "ang sarap!!! (it's delicious!)" with matching thumbs up!

1 kg chicken, thigh, breast and legs, chopped
300 grams chicken liver and gizzard
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce
4 heads garlic, about 40 cloves, crushed (with skin or without)
pinch of peppercorns
canola or any vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Put half of the garlic (about 20 pcs), vinegar, soysauce, peppercorns, chicken, chicken liver and gizzard in a bowl. Marinate it overnight or for at least 1 hour.

2. Put in a pan or sauce pan. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Heat a little oil in another pan. Brown the chicken, liver, and gizzard and the remaining uncooked garlic. Do it by batch. Don't overcrowd the pan. 

4. Once all done, return the chicken, gizzard and liver in the pan and pour the sauce. Simmer it for a couple of minutes (about 5 to 10 minutes). Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. You may strain the sauce if you don't want garlic on it.

5. Serve with rice. Share and enjoy!

1. You may add potatoes in adobo. Quarter the potatoes and fry it or just put in the pot and cook it together with the chicken.
2. You may also use pork or combination of pork and chicken. I recommend to use liempo (pork belly).
3. If you love eggs, you may also add hard boiled eggs.
4. Some versions add onion and bay leaf. It's up to you if you want to add it. It'll still tastes delicious.

Happy day always,


February 12, 2014

Mango Float or Frozen Mango Float

"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul." ~Judy Garland

Frozen Mango Float, it tastes like an ice cream cake. Hmmm yum!
When my hubby and I were still in college, I always find time to make mango float for him. I'm so happy and moved whenever he said that this was the best dessert he ever tasted. I loved it when he said that! I remember it was the time when I started pushing myself to learn how to cook and it was also the time that I discovered my passion for cooking. I felt happy whenever I put smile on somebody's face through my creations especially if it's my family. So on valentine's day, surprise your loved ones with this very easy to make dessert, no need for an oven or exact measurements. Just put some love and it's perfect! I know they will love it and they will give you the biggest smile, kiss, hug ever! Good luck and advance happy hearts day!

1 to 2 packs of 200 grams graham crackers
3 cups ripe mangoes, cubed
1 to 1 1/2 cups whipping cream or 2 packs of 250 ml all-purpose cream, chilled *
1/2 cup to 1 cup condensed milk (300 ml condensed milk)
1/2 cup chocolate syrup

beater / electric mixer (optional)
chilled and clean bowl
8x8 glass / plastic pan or container

*I used whipping cream. 

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I've just learned that a thick filling is possible even if you're using the all-purpose cream. Check the notes below.

1. Place 1 cup of cubed mangoes in a blender. Blend it until it has smooth texture. Put in a bowl and set aside.

2. Using a clean and cold bowl, put the whipping cream and beat it until medium peaks form. Fold in the condensed milk and mango puree. Start with 1/2 cup of condensed milk, taste-test for sweetness, add more until you achieve your desired sweetness. 
Note: If you're using all-purpose cream,refrigerate the cream and condensed milk for at least 2 hours. Once chilled, beat the cream and condensed milk for at least 5 minutes or until thick and stiff. Slowly and carefully fold the mango puree into the cream mixture.

3. Add the remaining cubed mangoes. Fold it carefully.

4. Arrange graham crackers at the bottom of the container. Pour half of the cream mixture if you're making 2 layers, or 1/3 if you're making 3 layers. Lay another layer of graham crackers, and repeat the process. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top. Chill or freeze it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

1. You can use canned peaches, pineapple tidbits or fruit cocktail instead of mangoes. Drain it well.
2. Add chopped roasted cashew nuts or pili nuts to make it extra special.
3. You may also put cream cheese on the cream mixture. Use half cup whipping cream and 1 cup cream cheese. Or 1 cup all-purpose cream and 1 cup cream cheese.
4. If you'll be using all-purpose cream, make sure to use electric mixer to achieve the desired thickness and fluffiness. If you don't have electric mixer, please prepare your strong mixing arm! :D 
5. Do not over beat the cream. Stop once the consistency is thick and double in size.
6. You can chill it in the refrigerator. But I suggest to put it in the freezer, it's so good, promise! It's like you're eating an ice cream cake. Hmmm super yummy. Try it!

Happy day always,

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