Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cha Soba

Brrrr....the temperature continuous to drop here in the gulf. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. In fact, this is my favorite season, I mean who doesn't want a break from the scorching hot summer in the desert? I love the winter here. It rarely drops below 10*C which is just perfect. These days, a hot soup is just what I need to warm my tummy. I've revisited an old post, Zaru Cha Soba (Cold Green Tea Noodles served with a hot dipping dashi broth). This is pretty much the same as that except instead of using the dashi broth as dipping sauce, The noodle is served right in the hot broth. Whatever and whichever way you serve it, it will taste amazing!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

400g dried cha (green tea) buckwheat noodles
water for boiling the noodles
a big bowl of ice cubes

For the Hot Broth:
4 tbsp dashi granules
4 cups water
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup Kikoman soy sauce

Toppings & Garnish:
shredded kani (crab sticks), as desired 
togarashi (red chili flakes), as desired


1. Place Cha noodles in boiling water and cook as directed in the package. Drain and transfer the the noodles on a bowl of ice cubes to stop the cooking process and prevents it from becoming soggy. Set Aside.

2. In a sauce pan, dissolve the dashi granules in water and bring up to a boil. Bring the heat down then add mirin and soy sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

3. To serve, transfer the cold soba on a bowl, pour a few laddleful of broth, top with shredded kani and togarashi. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings

Homecooked Meals
24 Nov 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peppermint-Choco-Mallows Stirrers

I promised my friend, Joyce I will be posting the recipe for this treat, if you can call it recipe at all. There is no cooking involved and I made it with very little effort. It's a perfect gift for the holidays. In fact, I made this last year for Rocky to give-away to his friends.

So this is part of my holiday "Edible Gifts" Peppermint-Choco-Mallows Stirrer-- store-bought marshmallows dipped in chocolate and covered with crushed peppermint candy cane. That's pretty much it, 3 ingredients, no cooking required. This ideally serves as a stirrer for hot cocoa or hot milk, let the peppermint and chocolate-covered marshmallows melt in the hot drink before you drink and enjoy. Some of Rocky's friends gobbled it by itself. I don't blame them, I may have had a stick or two,(...ok maybe more!), when I was packaging them, you know, for quality check.

It perfectly pairs with your hot drink especially on Christmas morning or after the "Noche Buena" (Christmas dinner). And, if you've been naughty this year, this might score you some "nice" points with Santa if you leave a stick next to his hot milk and cookies under the Christmas tree.

peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I

Difficulty: Super Easy!

Prep and Assembly Time: 30 to 40 minutes

What you will need:
1 pack popsicle sticks
Double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water
shallow bowl for the crushed candy cane
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

1 pack large white marshmallows, (approximately 50 pcs)
4 cups dark, milk chocolate or white chocolate, (1 used 2 cups dark chocolate and 2 cups of white chocolate)
10 x 8in peppermint candy cane, finely chopped


1. In a double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt/temper 2 cups of dark chocolate, make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. 
*Alternatively, you may melt the chocolate in the microwave, set on high, at 20 seconds interval until melted.
**For tips on tempering chocolate, click here.

2. Dip 1 inch of the popsicle stick in melted chocolate, stick into the marshmallows and immediately roll over the chopped candy cane. Let it stand to cool and harden on the baking sheet. Repeat process until half of the marshmallows are well coated.

3. Repeat the process using the white chocolate and the remaining half of the marshmallows and candy cane. Let it cool completely at room temperature.

Makes approximately 50 stirrers.

For more Edible Gifts suggestions, you may want to check these out:
1. Bourbon Dulce De Leche
2. Almond Butter Cups
3. Dark Hazelnut Butter
4. Vanilla Extract
5. Rocky Crunch

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours! xoxo

peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I

peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bourbon Dulce de Leche

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is just around the corner. My tree is up and decorated in gold and silver, my holiday table is set. Oh yes, we're on festive mode before December hits! Why? Why not!

If you're like me, you'd probably be collecting ideas of what to give to friends and family right about now. I put a lot of thought into it. I'm not Oprah that money is no object, but with little creativity and a bit of (fun) work, I can give my loved ones some of my favorite things. I started that last year, I decided to give them something handmade and homemade. I hope they liked them 'coz I sure enjoyed making them.

So I thought I'd share some of the recipes with you. You can find the links for the recipes on the home page under the label "Edible Gifts". They're so easy to make anybody can make them.

Here's one that I gave to some of my girlfriends, my Dulce de Leche spiked with Bourbon whiskey and spiced with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans. I loooove dulce de leche. It's great with vanilla ice cream, (way better than caramel!), on top of cupcakes, brownies and slathered on top of  my mom's "suman sa lihiya" (sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf). It's also good by itself, just grab a spoon, dunk it in the sticky pot and indulge!

It's simple to make but time consuming, that is if you take the route that I took. There are so many ways to make it, from simple to scary, (the thought of putting a can of condensed milk inside a pressure cooker gives me goosebumps!). The simplest I think is the method recommended by Donna Hay. I tried it many times but it does not give me the result I was looking for, I always get a darker top. And so I take the road less traveled and go for the longer method. Turns out perfect all the time!

Bourbon Dulce De Leche

Cooking Time: 60-80 minutes depending on the consistency and color that you like. It becomes darker as it as you cook longer.

2 x 395g can condensed milk
2 tsps Bourbon Whiskey
Beans of a 2 inch Organic Grade-A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Pod 
Pinch of Salt

1. Slowly cook the condensed milk in a double boiler until it thickens and changed into a darker, caramel color, stirring occasionally. Careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the pot where the milk is in. Add more water into the double-boiler if needed.

2. Once you've achieved the color and texture that you like add the bourbon, vanilla beans and salt, stir until fully incorporated and remove from heat.

3. Let it cool completely before transferring into sterilized decorative bottles.

Note on Storage:
This will keep for 2 days at room temperature or up to 1 month in the fridge but might lose it's creamy texture. To reheat, transfer into a heat-proof dish and microwave at 15 seconds interval until you get the desired temperature and smoothness.


Makes 2 cups