A simple chocolate and beer celebration cake

Today is my Mother’s birthday and here I am in Japan with my Dad. I’m feeling kind of guilty about missing her birthday so I thought I’d write a blog post about her plus this cake that reminds me of her a lot– No-frills on the outside, but packing a punch on the inside. Don’t let this cake’s simplicity fool you. It actually has magic powers.

My Mother eats anything that’s chocolate but she is a big fan of fudgy brownies, and the thing with this cake is that it turns into this fudge-like cake once refrigerated. As in if you cut it thin enough it’s a surprising melt-in-your-mouth fudgy. I think it’s even wow-worthy enough to give as a birthday present. You can’t go wrong with a moist chocolate cake. With booze.

A drunken chocolate cake, with a good drizzle of rich chocolate glaze. Maybe it’s not layered, and maybe I cheated to make it look more spectacular by baking it in a bundt pan. But one bite is all it takes to dispel your doubts. You get what I’m saying?
Get the recipe! >>

Edible horns filled with Nutella cream anyone?

The world of food is fascinating. It seems there is always something that gets created everyday that can serve each and every person’s gastronomic whim. Whatever version you prefer of a particular dish or food item, there’s bound to be a recipe for it. It’s bound to exist.

Food is one of those things you will never run out of opportunities to discover. You will always have the chance to form opinions and establish favourites because eating is an everyday thing. I guess that’s why I enjoy this whole food blogging business so much. I feel like with every dish that I make, or every plate that is set down before me, there are endless possibilities. Endless options and tweaks and new flavours that can be added.

Let’s take bread as a classic example. Bread is easily the most customizable food item out there and so it is one of my favourites to make in the kitchen. I feel like at any moment I can create something amazing.

There are people who like crusty breads and people who like fluffy breads. There are people who like breads filled with a savoury concoction while others like it sweet. I consider myself a lover of bread (both eating and making) in general, so usually my preference depends on the situation. Crusty bread is better eaten with soup and pasta, or with dips. But fluffy breads are typically already filled or flavoured, and you can eat it on its own without having to “soak” it in anything.

Crusty breads are rustic and absolutely beautiful, while many of its fluffy counterparts tend to be cute, especially the Asian versions. Enter any Asian bakery and you will see their breads in all odd shapes and sizes, some even with faces piped on them. (Not necessarily a bad thing!)

Cuteness aside, most days I feel partial towards softer kinds of bread. Breads made using the tangzhong method in particular are a personal favourite of mine. Considering that I’ve made many a tangzhong bread recipe in the past, I’m surprised I’ve only ever managed to share one on the blog! It’s about time I change that!
Get the recipe! >>

Sometimes I wonder about Spanish Bread

When I was in high school and history was a required subject, zoning out in class seemed to be a contagious disease among students. Whenever the teacher asked a question you can practically hear the crickets sing. At times some of us would get sick of the silence and raise our hands to answer just so the discussion could move along, whether we be right or wrong. I’m one of those students– kind of passively listening and observing in the background but active when necessary. But I do remember liking it when I got the answers right.

It didn’t occur to me at that time that I had an interest in world history until I found out I was practically the only one who would read our history books in advance. Like waaay in advance. Kids don’t care about stuff like that during that age, and I didn’t think I did either. For me I was just doing my due diligence, and advanced reading was pretty normal for me. But then the teacher started calling my name everyday and somehow I always knew the answers to who did what, where at what point in time.

I don’t have a photographic memory, if that’s what you’re thinking. Eventually I did realize that the detail retention was caused by a genuine interest; that whenever I read my history book I am always filled with this shining curiosity. I guess I have some strange fascination when it comes to knowing how things as they are today came to be. I’m pretty sure plenty of people can relate to this.

This sort of curiosity has thankfully extended to and melded well into my interest when it comes to food. These days instead of reading about Charlemagne or the Han Dynasty, I’d find myself reading about the origins of coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches.

But this one kind of stumps me.

The Spanish Bread has been around for as long as anyone can remember, but no one can seem to fully explain how it managed to get its name. Some say that it’s because the Spanish bread is the rolled version of an ensaymada, and we all know where that originated.
Get the recipe! >>

Mediterranean “spring rolls” + wishing for a touch of spring

It’s incredibly hot. There’s a perennial flurry of dust on the sidewalk near my house, left over from the road repairs that finished a month or so ago. Every time a car rushes by and I happen to be walking past, I don’t know whether I should cover my nose and mouth, or my eyes. Always a mini dust-storm. I can’t remember the last time I saw actual legitimate rain in these parts– a little shower might’ve helped clear up some of that dust.

I’m sweaty even indoors. I’ve been lazy about putting on make-up because it feels like gunk that melts on my face in this heat. This weather is such a departure from the cool January-February months, and even though hot weather is what we have in the Philippines 90% of the time, I can’t help but miss those colder days. When it gets too hot I get irritable. The only thing that this heat deserves credit for is making me sweat twice as much when I work out. At least it’s good for something right?

The funny thing is, I know I’m supposed to be used to this dang weather having lived here my entire life. And that is precisely why I crave for something different. I have to fly all the way to another country to experience anything other than summer and rainy days. (Not that I’m complaining.) A break from hot weather is nice, but I can’t stand too much cold either. It’s why I love autumn so much.

But believe it or not I have not yet experienced a proper spring day. That moment when life seeps out from the earth like a magical rebirth. How profound it must feel! (And how cool the weather must be!) For some strange reason, all my yearning for spring has resulted in the most ridiculous non sequitur of all. Spring rolls. Must be the word spring on them. I’ve never felt a stronger urge to make some until now. And because I don’t want to make just any spring roll, I made a phyllo roll instead, with some Mediterranean flavours inside.
Get the recipe! >>