Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cheesecake Flan

He's crazy about  cheesecakes. I love flans.   Today is our 9th wedding anniversary and to celebrate our union, I bake a cake that would please us both.  Being compromising and  accommodating are just few things  that made our marriage work, after all.
Now back to the cake, it has the volume and the richness of a  cheesecake, but the sweetness of a flan. He likes 'em heavy, I want 'em sugary. It's a perfect mélange  of two different things ,  both good on its own,  but when combined, will knock your socks off,  big time!
It also doesn't hurt that making it is so quick and easy, it  gives you more time to do other things to make such a day, extra special.


1 pack ( 175 g) Philadelphia cream cheese
1 pack ( 250 g) mascarpone cheese
1 can condense milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
200 ml cream
3 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
3/4  cup white sugar

 1. Heat a sauce pan under medium low. Add sugar, cook until it turns into amber yellow liquid. Carefully pour liquid sugar in your choice of baking pan. It's my wedding day anniversary, I'm allowed to be cheesy, so I used this heart shape pan along with two small ramekins just in case there's enough cake mixture. Tilt to spread caramel and cover the bottom of the pan. Set aside to cool down.
 2. I used my blender for this recipe. Cake turned out perfect! Put cream cheese, mascarpone, vanilla , condense milk and eggs in. Blend for a minute or two until mixture becomes smooth snd homogenous.
 3. Pour in cream. Turn on blender for another 30 seconds.
 4. Pour mixture into your caramel lined baking pan, through a sieve.

5. Place a deep roasting pan at the middle of your preheated ( 165°c) oven. Pour hot water into it and carefully put your baking pan in the middle until half of it is submerge in hot water. Bake the cake bain-marie ( water bath)  for 40 to 45 minutes or  until set but the middle still bit  jiggly. Allow to cool complete  then refrigerate for at least 6 hours or more. 

Run a thin knife along the edge of the cake. Invert onto a plate before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bewitching Bali Day 6

Hello,  Ubud!  
Aaaahhhh no fog, no mist, no rain but  pure undulated rays of sunshine greeted our morning .
How fast time flies when one is on holiday . Just like any good movie , I know that this too, will eventually end. But before it does, I'm going to sit back , savour and enjoy every minute of it.

And that's exactly how we spent our 6th day in Bali. 

To start off, we ate while enjoying this gorgeous view.

Sat and laze around and aid our metabolism by doing...nothing.

FF felt guilty after hours of inactivity so he took a plunge into our private pool. I on the other hand, exercise my imagination by burying my nose in a book..

Muscles eventually got to be stretched and flexed.  So we asked somebody to do it for us. For 2 glorious hours,  we were wondrously knead like a pliable lump of unresponsive dough. I died  and went to heaven...

After a post pampering nap , we were resurrected and went back to our room and ordered lunch to be delivered. Our 'lazyness' is  surprisingly strange but Komaneka is guilty of pampering us like royalties.  You will get accustomed to it eventually.

After the late lunch,  we walk around the resort. I don't intend to wind up with pulmonary embolism before this holiday is over.

 Gun's  friendly and wide grin und korean-ish peace sign greeted us at the pavilion later that afternoon. Right in front of him and his colleague were arrays of sweets and snacks for the taking. I enthusiastically  said hello to them.....and the sweets.

Today is  a special day. It's our 8th wedding anniversary and we got the resort pool all to ourselves for this special and very private dinner. Gun,  was once again, our personal miatre . We couldn't be more happier.

Like a telenovela scene..

We went back to our room rapturously sated and happy only to find our  entire room  all turned down.

With our nightgowns and storytelling book  laid on the four poster bed.

It oddly reminds me of my childhood, being tucked in bed by my mother.  Komaneka however,  is all love and never nag....

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bewitching Bali Day 5

The hypnotic sound of the  water hitting the rocks  could be heard all the way from this cliff.  The mighty Indian Ocean rises few meters off the ground as it collides, raging onto the immovable walls of Uluwatu, leaving a  bubbly white trail as it rolls back into the deep . Ahhh nature's glorious landscape and wonder. This is FF's favourite site in Bali. Many will understand why.

The cool breeze dampens the seeping heat from the sun, providing a much appreciated relief.

We are halfway through our Bali trip and today, we meet up close and personal,  some according to  Charles Darwin humans' possible forefathers....... The monkeys.

Oh hello Lolo!

I don't really believe in this evolution theory, but there's something distinctly familiar about how these chimps rule in Uluwatu. They are cunning, quick to snatch things that don't belong to them and cooperate only when bribed . If only it could shed a tear , play sick and  sit on a wheelchair when cornered ,  then these macaques  might carry some ( Filipino) politician's family names on the registry. I don't have enough time to prove that theory since were onto our next destination.

Dreamland Beach!

Ohhhhh look how tall those waves are! FF barely containing his glee.

 What happens next...  Hello wet underwear!
Caption this....
 A visibly half soaked FF , walking the walk..

challenging the waves... again! Men!

After realising he can't outplay Poseidon, we sat and sip some cold drinks sold at  some restaurants along the beach.

 Due to the strong and unpredictable current, some beaches in Uluwatu are not suitable for swimming.
But it also make them, a surfers paradise.

 Before travelling to Ubud, we decided to take a quick peek inside the bustling  Kuta.

The long stretch of bay and the streets behind  was as lively and jam packed as I imagined it .

After  scoring ourselves some souvenir shirts,  we devoured a gigantic ice cream topped brownie at Hard Rock Cafe and hurriedly left  Kuta without it sparing a second glance.

The serenity of Komaneka at Tanggayuda was welcoming sight. Now this, is the place to.

 To commemorate our first day in this special place, FF and I  had a special, private dinner  at resort's restaurant.

With frangipani flower tucked behind our ears, we feasted on delicious foods, plenty enough to to feed a family.

  Springrolls were the first to be served.

Then a Megibung serving of chicken, satay and vegetable. We barely finish this one. Delicious as it is, the portions is just overwhelming. That's one whole chicken and relatively good sized at that!

And a plateful of tropical fruits and a bowl of sweet pudding with coconut milk.
We went to coma after that....

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bola Bola Recipe

Some like 'em big, while others prefer 'em pop-in-the-mouth-small. Beef, pork, veal or poultry , anything slaughtered and minced could be turn into this bite size delectable treats. Deep fried or baked, spicy or not, dry or with sauce, making Meatballs or ''Bola Bola'' as Filipinos fondly call it,  is as versatile as it could get.

The are probably thousands of Meatball recipes out there, but this I keep. I got it from my husband's aunt. You know those terse and tight lip Tantes, who spend most of their lives in the kitchen, making sure that the rest of the family is well fed and deliciously so? She is that kind of Tante. A Tante who plays deaf to this silly little nonsense called   '' diet'' and doesn't tolerate '' too-much-carbs'' or '' too  much butter'' gibbering at her dining table either. No wonder everybody and I mean everybody in the family is keen to be in her kitchen..on diet or not!


Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
400 g minced beef
200 g minced pork
2 large eggs
1 cup Parmesan cheese
a handful of parsley, chopped
1 bun or 2 slices of loaf bread, soaked in 1/4 cup of milk
1 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
Tabasco sauce, optional

 1. Soak bun or loaf bread slices in milk until it absorbs the liquid.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan, sauté onion until soft and translucent. Add in minced garlic. Take out from the heat and let it cool. 

 3. In a mixing bowl, put together minced meat, cheese, parsley, eggs and milk- soaked bread. Mix  everything until well combine.

 4. Add in sautéed onion, garlic and Worcestershire sauce and tabasco sauce , if using.  Season generously with salt and pepper. Form into balls. I like them not too small and not too big. About the size of a golf ball.

6. Heat olive oil in a pan, brown meat balls .

7. Transfer in a baking pan, lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven ( 180° C) for about 15 minutes.

Serve on rice with ketchup like any sensible Pinoy, or go Italian and eat it with tomato sauce and spaghetti. Your call!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bewitching Bali Day 4

Juli's boyish grin greeted us on our 4th day . He is once again, today's tour guide  and was  noticeably  less shy compared to our initial meeting.  Today, we are about to explore the east side of Bali and can't hardly wait. The more we discover and see the island, the more we learn to love it.

The first place we visited was a  unique temple that centred around a cave full of bats, thus its name Pura ( walled city ) Goa ( cave) Lawah ( Bats).

 Pura Goa Lawah , holds many religious ceremonies during the year and we are lucky to witness and observe one of it at a distance.
Worshipers pray, give offering like flowers, incest and sweets to their gods. Holy priest bless them in return. In Bali, Goa Lawah is  a place to worship a god that rules the oceans.

 And just across the temple is a scenic, black sanded beach which provides no greater reminder .

After a breath of salty air, we drove off and  stopped by this  indigenous Tenganan Aga village . This historic village  gives  a glimpse into the old Balinese lives. There's  a communal hall, where talks and story tellings by villagers were once held. The place is in the midst of restoration with some building visibly spruced up while others, still stood in half ruins.

There are crafts sold in this place and we are able to look at the artisans' work closely without being pushed to buy it. The villagers are friendly and welcoming and  not in any way intrusive.

 We stop at a nice area along Candidasa Beach. I asked Juli to pull over so we could check the place out and stretch our legs. We saw few stalls along the bay and the fragrant smell of barbecued sea creature lured us to take a closer whiff.  We were greeted by the sight of sizzling meat . Exactly how  how I want my animal to be.. grilled and on a stick.

The food was honestly not as good as it smelled. Whatever it was, it was tough and leathery. The over generous starch in the gravy did not make it better. But the view and the cooling breeze was gorgeous.

Our next destination,  Tirta Gangga in Karangasem, is one of my favourite spots in Bali. Beautiful gardens, stunning landscape, impressive pagodas, stone steps,  tranquil ponds with mammoth sized koi fishes and  interesting statues sprung amidst the lush greeneries and mountainous backdrop. The air is cool, making walks and exploration relaxing and serene. One could spend  lazy afternoons , napping under the shadows of trees.

There's an elevated restaurant within this compound that offers a great view of the water palace. We went there for lunch. Ordered a traditional set menu called Megibung.

Traditionally, Balinese enjoyed eating together off one large plate or banana leaf at ceremonies or at preparation of a ceremony. People would sit crossed-leg around it helping themselves with their right hand scooping a portion of food onto a banana leaf or eating it straight off the plate. This communal way of eating is called Megibung. In east bali, the karangasem Regency, people still practice the megibung style. It's a very intimate and social way of sharing food.

Lunch: Begibung Menu for 2. With with white and yellow rice are minced mat sate, vegetable urab, spicy prawn, grilled chicken, pulled udang, pepes ikan and babi kecap.

We were full to the brim! 

Just few minutes drive away is another water palace. Taman Ujung. Compared to Tirta Gangga, this area is massive with a colonial palace smack in the middle of its man made lake.

Due to the wide area and less abundance of shades, this place was scorching hot. Bring an umbrella and enough water when visiting.

Still within Karangasem, Juli asked us if we want to see a less touristy and less crowded beach. It has many names and ' White sand beach' and ' Virgin beach' are just few of them. The road up and down the area once really bad, I'm happy I'm not driving. There are few stalls selling drinks and foods by the bay but no hotels in sight, making tourists and visitors scarce. 

Dinner was in the dim lit and romantic  Sarong restaurant. Where gorgeous and chic ladies in stilettos and satin dresses and despite the dress code,   flip flops  and beach short clad men dine and socialise.   The foods was the best I had in our 10 day trip in Bali. It's a modern Asian fusion. Food, service and setting is top notch. I highly recommend it.

Sarong Restaurant Bali

Jl. Petitenget No, 19 x
Kerobokan, Bali 80361
T. +62 361 4737 809
F. +62 361 4737 810
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