Tuesday, July 28, 2015

German Schichtsalat

I suck at making salads. Period. Its  non-existent appearance  in this 5 year old blog is a proof of that. Growing up in a  farming town in the Philippines, the only salads I know are those swimming in Nestle cream, condense milk and mayonnaise. Where I came from, salads are practically desserts and therefor,  an indulgence.

Imagine my surprise when I finally realise that a salad does not necessary comes with cooked macaroni, kaong and loads and loads of sugar. It took me a while to start liking (and  almost mooing) healthier versions. Greens,  crunchy fresh vegetable and fruits are permanent fixtures in my German family's parties and eaten with or before main dishes . Young and old love salads and there's usually  enough variety  to suit everybody's taste.

Among the usual smorgasbord of salads on our family dinner table, this German Schichtsalat  or layered salad is my favourite. Maybe because it's one of the closest I could get to my childhood treat. Instead of the usually lemony or soury vinaigrette used in many salads, it is creamy ,mayo- based and is actually sweet. Plus, it uses many canned  fruits which is all too familiar in Pinoy cooking.

A college classmate is coming over  this Monday and to make use of the  rare and warm weather, I decided to throw her and her family a BBQ dinner. I skipped rice and sawsawan for her sake and tried to be as German as I could get.

Schichtsalat or German layered salad

1 medium sized  celery root, julienne
2 apples
1 can of corn kernel
2 and 1/2 cups Miracle whip Balance
150 g sliced ham
1 big can of pineapple chunk , save 1/2 cup juice
1 large stalk of leek, cut into rings
4 eggs, cooked
150 g gouda cheese

1. Peel celery root and cut into thin strips. In Germany,  prepared and ready to used, julienned Celeriac is available in many groceries. If you are using bottled one like I did, remove any liquid using a colander. Put julienned celery root in a large serving bowl.
2. Core and cut apples into small chunks. Spread over celery.
3. Remove excess liquid from the canned corn kernel. Spread kernels over apples.
4. Mix miracle whip or any mayonnaise of you choice and 1/2 cup of pineapple juice. Drizzle 1/3 of it over the corn.
5. Cut ham into strips or square, your choice. Arrange over corn kernel.
 6. Spread pineapple chunks.
 7. Add another 1/3 of the mayo-pineapple mixture.
8.  Cut leek ( only the white portion) into rings. Spread over pineapple chunk.

9. Slice hard boiled eggs and put it over the leek rings. Dump the rest of the mayo mixture . Arrange grated cheese over it. Cover with cling foil and refrigerate overnight. Toss everything before serving. Done!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Balinese Peanut Sauce

I developed a strange addiction to this rich, thick and sweet sauce while on holiday in Bali. Often served with satay, this peanut sauce is just as good on roast, toast, sandwiches,  tortillas or steamy rice , I realised.
Among the numerous peanut sauces I've cooked and tried, this recipe is the closest I could get to the one I fell in love with in Bali. Thank you Mr. Google! (^_^)


3 tbsp. light soy sauce
3 tbsp. kecap manis
2 tsp. tamarind pulp
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. palm sugar
2 tsp. minced lemon grass
4 gloves of garlic, finely minced
2 shallots, finely minced
1 tbsp. peanut oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 glass ( 350 g) chunky peanut butter
Optional: 3 bird's eye chillies , chopped ( if you like it hot)

Cooking Direction:

1. Mix everything in bowl expect peanut butter.
2. Put into a pan and bring to a gentle boil.
3. Add peanut butter and stir until well incorporated and thickens. Done!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10-Euro Foodtrip Singapore 2015

It's amazing what 5 years could do to a growing metropolis such as Singapore. Compare to the sleepy and stagnant   town where I'm living for almost 10 years in Germany , Singapore's progress  and development  is just astonishing . Everything  looks  familiar yet new . We spent almost a week here in 2015 and although our favourite spots  still linger,  new  and upscale establishments now stand along with it .

The towering buildings in the commercial district could now rival Hong Kong,

Revamped attractions such as the Garden by the Bay offers scenic stroll by day .

 And with its jaw dropping and extravagant light shows, it  attracts tourists and locals like moth to  flame at night .

Locals and visitors alike still flock in Sentosa . The gondola ride offers a birds eye view of the island. It's like a riot of all things green and growing , silently tussling  for space and attention.The island mirrors the rest of the spruced up city .

The changes is not only visible, it's also palpable especially to our wallet. The hotel where we stayed at five years ago, now cost almost twice as much! Since my mother and aunt will be joining us this time , we settled for a more reasonably priced  lodging near Clarke Quay, still my favorite hangout at night in SG.

One thing that we did not manage to visit five years ago were the hawker centres. The only thing that seems unchanged and unfazed by the glitz of modern world. Like an old tradition that stubbornly clings to every Singaporean soul . It also warmly welcomes any outsider.

The Old Airport Hawker centre in your typical local eatery. It's open aired and sultry, thanks to SG all year round hot weather, buzzing with people  and activity. The smell and sight of all things cooked and eaten gives an impression of  orderly chaos. This is the place to be. The old Singapore.

Masters at work, most doing exactly the same stuff for years if not decades, perfecting whatever recipe they discovered or handed down by older generation. This is one tough business to venture, with thousands of stalls out there, each competing  for attention and loyal patrons, only the good one stays and the  best of the best flourish.

I took 10 euros with me, that's about 15 Singapore dollar, which could get you 1 simple dish in a restaurant  or a mere appetiser in more opulent places in the city.

So what can you actually buy with 15 SG Bucks/ 10 Euro /500 Phil. Pesos  in this hawker centre? Surprisingly, enough!

These babies are about the size of my fist, freshly baked, it almost burned my tongue! The filling is abundant , meaty and spicy. Not bad.

First stop: Curry Puff :SG$: 1,60  /1 EUR / 53 Phil. Pesos. 

 I found a treasure! Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff Stall in my favourite so far. I came back for dinner after tasting ONE curry puff and I should have stayed longer and eat my way through all those flavoured puffs! They got tradition curry , sardine, black pepper chicken and yam.

I ordered black pepper chicken puff and it was sensational! The shelled puff is buttery and flaky, it literally crumbles in my mouth. The filling is juicy and generous with huge chunks of well seasoned meat. It's highly addictive.

Second stop: Black Pepper Puff SG$1,60/ 1 EUR/  53 Phil. Pesos

FF's been craving for satay so we ordered some from an  Indonesian stall for 50 cent a piece. I tasted better ones in Bali but I'm not complaining.

3rd stop : 10 pcs. Beef and Chicken Satay with peanut sauce
 5 SG$ / 3,30 EUR /166 PhP

Bought 2  Paus, each the size of a baby's fist and cost about 50 cents a piece. There's variety of filling to choose from.
4th stop: 2 Mini Pau for 1 SG$ / 0,66 EUR/ 33 PhP

Considered as Singapore's national dish. This is Hainanese chicken rice. There's a loooong list of hawker stalls and restaurant to choose from and an equally long discussion of which is the best . There are few joints recommended and praised by big named TV hosts such as Bourdain and Zimmerman. While many locals readily approve of  their choices, others disagree  thrusting another unheard hole- in- the -wall eatery in the spotlight. I don't want to be in the middle of this debate since I'm no expert and there's a lot more to consider in this simple dish than meets the eye. Way lot more before one can actually proclaim it as good, bad or average. There's the chicken skin, the texture, the flavour,  the chili sauce , the rice, the condiments and more. Tackling these issues is as complicated as my Algebra subject in college and I hate math! It also shows how obsessed and how serious Singaporeans are when it comes to their food.

Among many stalls in the old airport, this place sells one of the cheapest  chicken rice. For 2.50 dollars, I got a serving of steamed chicken, a bowl of steamy soup, fragrant rice and the usual condiments of chili, sweet soy  and ginger sauce. FF wiped the whole thing off in minutes, came back for dinner and ordered it again. That's from somebody who do not like steamed chicken!

5th stop: Hainanese Chicken Rice for 2.50 SG $/1,66 EUR/ 83 PhP

One can not be in Singapore and not eat Durian! Many foreigners , including FF shy away from this fruit because of its pungent smell and less than appetising sticky consistency. Fortunately, Singaporeans are rather creative in masking both and in making this exotic fruit more pleasant to the eyes and palate. My family is crazy about Durian along with probably 80  percents of the Phil. population. I  convinced FF to give it a try. He did, and still did not like it. Oh well.

6th stop: Durian Monchi 2 pcs for 3.80 SG$/ 2.50 EUR/ 26 PhP

That's 6 different nibbles and gnaws for 15.5 SG dollars, 10,33  Euro or 515 Phil. Peso.  If you want to eat cheap and eat good, look for the nearest hawker centre when you are and Singapore and be prepared for a one of a kind gustatory adventure !

  1. Old Airport Road Food Centre
  2. Food Stall
  3. Address: 19 Old Airport Rd, Singapore 390019

Just a reminder: Other hawker places sells  more expensive stuff. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Chocolate Flan

Hubby and I were invited for dinner two days in a row and I promised to bring dessert to both . I was contemplating and  planning for days which dessert to make, from ice cream cake to lavish trifle. Alas, the day before the first celebration, I was so exhausted from work and was really not in the mood to do anything in the kitchen , however, a promise is a promise. So  I decided to make something quick and simple and the last Cheesecake Flan recipe came to mind. I whipped one the night before the first party, refrigerate it in the morning and bring it cold that evening. It was wiped out in no time. The same family members are coming to the dinner party the next day. This time, I made a chocolate version of the first flan. Why what do yah know, I liked it even better! This is not for the faint hearted! It was dense,  deliciously heavy and sinfully chocolatey.  Encore! Encore!

Chocolate Flan

I was not able to take a picture of the preparation since it was late and making this is such a brisk.

1 cup white sugar
500 ml cream
250 ml chocolate milk
300 g bitter chocolate, chopped
1 pack Philadelphia cream cheese
250 g Mascarpone cheese
4 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1 can condense milk

Baking Instruction:

1. Heat white sugar in the pan until caramelised. Pour caramel into your flan mold/ ramekins. Allow to cool.
2. Put together chocolate milk, cream and chopped chocolate in a sauce pan. Let it simmer gently until chocolate melts , stir and let the mixture becomes homogeneous. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
3. Using a blender or electric mixer, mix cream cheese, mascarpone , eggs , egg yolks and condense milk. Blend/ mix until smooth. Slowly pour chocolate-milk-cream mixture . Continue mixing until everything is well incorporated.
4. Pour flan mixture over caramel .
5. Bake Bain-Marie ( water bath) for 40 to 45 minutes , depending on the size and thickness of your pan,  at 165 °c until edges are set but the center still a bit jiggly. The flan will harden as it cools. Allow to cool off completely before refrigerating.
6. To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the flan, invert onto the serving plan. Serve cold.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bewitching Bali day 10

After being spoilt rotten with what seems to be endless breakfast choices in Komaneka, breakfast at our new hotel was comparably modest . FF got croissants with jam and I got to enjoy some pancake with blackened bottom. Well, there are worst things than burnt and bitter pancakes in the morning.

We spent a lazy morning at the pool, which was noticeably empty. 

Few minutes before noon. A car, organised by Ibah Warwick Hotel came to pick us up and brought us to another worth checking property in Ubud. The Maya Resort and Spa .Security was really tight at this place, I noticed. 

Our day trip to Maya was my anniversary gift to FF. It came with  lunch and 90 minutes pampering from Maya's renowned and award winning Spa. After  confirming our appointment at the resort lobby we were told to proceed to the Spa reception, The walk was scenic. 
 The resort is massive with numerous private pool villas sprawled all over.

 It has this picturesque pool overlooking  Ayung river.

Lunch was delish and healthy.

 I'm not a health buff but also don't mind nibbling crunchy vegetable sticks once in a while. FF ordered Petano Jamu Tonic ( above, left) which contains tangerine, lime , honey, turmeric and cinnamon. It is said to  have anti-cancer properties, improves metabolism, clears livers and also claim to  provide the drinker a happy dispositions. Cheerio then!
After several visits to the urologist last year,  Kidney Kick Start ( above , right) with green apple , pineapple and watermelon, seems to be a sensible choice . It is said to be excellent for my kidneys and bladder as well as expelling excess salt in my system. There you go, zum Wohl!

 Our mains:
Left: FF's Gluten Free Ricotta and green peas gnocchi with wild mushroom ragu.
Right: My Hot Stone deep sea Tuna steak with lemon pepper.

Left: Black rice and coconut porridge with sweet orange glaze.
Right: Vegan chocolate mouse, which was toe curling good.

We took a walk around the property and enjoyed the view. Our Spa appointment was later that afternoon. Products used for  every Spa treatment were laid on the table at the reception. Ff and I also choose our massage oils .
Another cleansing tonic was served to us along with moist towels as we waited for our messauses .

Then we were led to one of the beautifully appointed massage rooms along the river. 
The therapy room is spacious and is as close to nature as one could get. I can hear the river below  while being expertly massaged . The ladies behind the wondrous enfleurage and petrisage certainly know what they are doing. The products used are of high quality and certainly do wonders to my sun-ravaged skin.The constant expert pressure, is just as heavenly  to my deeper tissues. 

On the negative part, yes, there's unfortunately a '' but'' in here. The lack of privacy disturbed me. After the marvellous pampering, we went to take a shower, which is basically within a peeking distance from the massage bed. It wouldn't have bother me if our masseuses leave and give us few minutes of privacy but they did not. With nothing  but tiny disposable ( free size)  undergarments to conceal our err glorious privates, we took a shower where I could see them fixing and cleaning the bed, and they could see us.   Not that they're looking , but it's nevertheless very discomforting. Could be a haven for flashers, though. 
Also , service is efficient but impersonal. They looked pretty serious the whole time. While we still in the room,  they are already preparing everything for the next guest. I feel rushed. 

We were led back to the reception with our therapist way ahead of us, just like the way in. No small talks, no friendly  chatter about the place and surrounding . So atypical of the people that we met in Bali. But then again, its late in the afternoon, maybe she's tired and and already saving her energy for the next anticipating guest in line.

The slow walk back to the reception perks my darkening  mood. I mean, look at this, the place is so beautiful it  simply repel any negative feeling !

The people behind the reception are noticeably friendlier and more accommodating. FF and I were served with healthy post-therapy nibbles  and drinks.

Ubud has long evolve from being a sleepy village.  There's rarely a trace of the placid and quite place it once was. Throw in Julia Robert's scenic bicycle ride along its green paddies in her movie Eat ,Pray & Love   and Ubud became a mere shadow of its quiet past. Restaurants, Spas, yoga barns and more filled the town centre and beyond, bringing thousands of tourists with  it. Each searching of a piece of quiet  relaxation, lurury within the cocoon of their private villas, a luxurious  pampering , good and delicious foods or simply channeling there inner Elizabeth Gilbert in search for spiritual enlightenment.

Looking for a special place to dine in Ubud is not a problem. On the contrary, options are more than abundant , choosing which, is the real challenge.

Among the growing number of swanky restaurants in Ubud, FF and I choose to dine at Bridges restaurant  for our last night in the Island.  The restaurant offers fantastic view with a wide balcony facing the river and an old bridge .

 Seared Foie Gras, sesame crusted Barramundi Fillet, roasted lemon-infused baby chicken with Mediterranean veggies are just few of the delicious foods we had that night. FF and I literally had a feast!

Bridges Bali
Address: Jalan Campuhan, Ubud, Bali 80581, Indonesia

With rose petals scattered on our table..

and a complimentary dessert that greeted us , our anniversary trip to Bali is one of the best holidays I ever had , up to date. I will be forever looking back to this island and the wonderful memories that came along with it.

So long Bali, and see you again!

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