The Princess and the Chicken Curry

Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lives a princess with her parents and siblings. The queen, the princess’ mom, loves to cook for the king and her children. Though they have house fairies, the queen wants to be in-charge in the kitchen. As the princess grows up, she has finally loved cooking. Sometimes, the princess takes charge in the kitchen when the queen is not around.

One day, the queen cooked a very delightful dish for lunch and she asked one of her children to ask the princess to come down at the kitchen. But no matter how many times she has been called, the princess didn’t come. The queen finally decided to open the princess’ bedroom door for her to smell the food her mother has cooked for them. After a few minutes, the princess finally went down to the kitchen with her big grin. 😀

thenotsocreativecook-Curry

Chicken Curry is my first favorite main dish and this is the first dish I have learned from my mom. I’ve been cooking this dish for years and haven’t changed anything in her recipe and

I will not trade this for any other main dish.

This dish is like my ‘signature dish’. Most of my friends will remember me when they see or smell Chicken Curry or anything curry. A friend even told me that I can make this dish perfectly even I close my eyes, hahaha.

This recipe is not complicated at all and uses only a few ingredients – the most common ones. I don’t know how other Chicken Curry recipes differ from mine… or maybe no difference at all. Or maybe there is – the LOVE I put into my cooking.

Anyway, here’s the very simple recipe of my Chicken Curry…

Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into cubes (about 1” x 1”)
  • 1 cup potatoes, cut into cubes or wedges
  • 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
  • 2 cups (500ml) coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • Red bell pepper, julienned
  • Green long chili
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a pot with medium heat, sauté garlic. Add onion and tomatoes. After a minute, add the chicken pieces, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder and chili powder. Mix to coat chicken pieces and simmer again for 5 minutes.
  3. Add veggies and coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.
  4. Add coconut cream and bring to a boil.
  5. Add salt, chili and red bell pepper, simmer again for another 2 minutes.
  6. Chicken curry is now ready. Serve with white rice.

Notes:

  • You can put more vegetables if you want to. Maybe celery, eggplant, string beans… You can also have a different slice of veggies, if you want – it’s up to your liking. 🙂
  • You can put more coconut milk/cream… or less.
  • This is not a spicy dish but if you cut the green chili and add it with the carrots and potatoes, it will be a spicy one.
  • I always use McCormick curry and chili powder. I haven’t tried using other brands. Using other brands of powders may alter the taste. You can use your preferred brand, if you wish.
  • Sometimes, I love to fry eggplants and eat it with the Chicken Curry.
  • I always add hard-boiled or medium-boiled eggs. 🙂

I really miss my mom when I am cooking, especially when I cook this. It’s been three years now since she passed away. Sometimes, I dream of her – cooking food for me. 😦

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Egg Sandwich Spread

A childhood favorite…

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My mom used to make the best ever Egg Sandwich Spread. She used to put about two cups (500 ml) of spread in a separate food containers. If I remember it correctly, she would put it in five separate food containers. Of course, one is only for me and the others can share on the remaining. 😀 I enjoy the sandwich spread so much that I even eat it without bread. It was like I was eating a dessert, like some kind of ice cream. I always take a peek at the spread inside the fridge… get a spoon and eat a spoonful of it. I do the same thing until I finish mine and take from other’s share. 🙂

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I am sharing you now the recipe I got from my mom.

Egg Sandwich Spread

Ingredients:

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • ½ cup cheese, grated or chopped
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, reserve syrup
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper or pimiento
  • 3 tbsp commercialized sandwich spread (the one with pickles)*
  • 3 tbsp condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp pineapple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Crush the hard-boiled eggs using a fork.
  2. Add cheese, crushed pineapple, red bell pepper (or pimiento).
  3. Add mayonnaise, sandwich spread, pineapple syrup and condensed milk.
  4. Give it a good mix. Chill for at least an hour.
  5. Spread on your favorite bread.

Note: *If commercialized sandwich spread is not available, you can replace it with pickle relish. I haven’t tried it but let me know if you’ll give it a shot. I used Lady’s Choice Sandwich Spread. If you cannot find one, you can add more mayo and some pickle relish. It will be just perfect.

I added some Red Bell Pepper (Sweet Pepper) to my mom’s original recipe to make it yummier. And let me tell you, I still do the take-a-peek thing until now. 😀

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I’d love to serve mine on a bread with lettuce and slice of cucumbers. I don’t mind if the bread is toasted or not.

 

Julia Child’s Chocolate Almond Cake

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That’s one of my favorite Julia Child’s quotes.

I have known Julia Child four years ago from the movie Julie and Julia. I’ve forgotten the movie since then. One day, I was watching TV and found out that the next movie to be shown is Julie and Julia. Even it was late, I decided to watch and finish the movie. I was surprised that I can still remember the scenes, knowing my memory doesn’t work well with movies I only watched once. That’s when I realized that the movie was funny and very inspiring. I will definitely watch the movie again. 🙂

Before, when the food I cook is not successful enough, I would cry and I would promise myself not to cook the same food again. I always envy those people who can cook so well and arranged their foods on their plates very nicely. I wished I could be like them. Later on, a good fairy told me two things:

I don’t have to be like anyone else – I just have to be me.

Some recipes may seem easy for me but difficult to others and there are also some recipes I might find difficult but easy for others.

Those two things stayed on my mind from then on. I’ve learnt how to experiment, accept my mistakes, smile on criticisms and try again if I fail.

When the movie ended, I’ve also decided to finally make a blog to share the recipes I’ve tried. 🙂

Today, my blog is now two months – I am going to share this recipe from Julia Child. You might think that this is special because today is 23 – my blog’s birth date. Well, you got that right.

As I have mentioned in the Espresso Truffle Brownies post, I wanted to make use of my almond nuts. I just found this recipe from Apron Strings by chance – I didn’t even search for an almond cake. But I guess I was lucky I found this very addictive cake.

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Julia Child’s Chocolate Almond Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 ½ tbsp coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
  • ½ cup or 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup almonds, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (or ½ flour minus ½ tbsp. then add ½ tbsp cornstarch), sifted

For the Icing:

  • 2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
  • 1 ½ tbsp coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions:

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the wire rack in the middle position.
  2. Butter and flour a cake pan.
  3. Place the coffee mixture and the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water. (Make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.)
  4. Beat butter and sugar until pale yellow in color.
  5. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks. Add 1 tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, mix the melted chocolate into the butter-sugar mixture. Stir in almonds and vanilla extract.
  8. Gently fold ¼ of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Slowly and gently fold the remaining egg whites and the flour alternately until all is mixed well. Do not overmix.
  9. Pour in your batter into the prepared pan, distributing evenly.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes. You know when the cake is done when it has puffed. It shall be about 2 ½ to 3 inches in height and when you insert a toothpick in the middle, it comes out oily.
  11. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Icing:

  1. Place the coffee mixture and the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water. (Make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.)
  2. Remove the pans from the heat and let the chocolate melt for about 5 minutes until perfectly smooth. Lift the bowl of chocolate and coffee mixture and beat in butter a tablespoon at a time. Place your bowl over water with ice and beat your mixture until cooled to spreading consistency.
  3. Spread the icing over your cake using an offset spatula. Add chopped almonds over your icing.

Source recipe: Julia Child’s Chocolate Almond Cake by Apron Strings 

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I know you cannot love something on the same spot with the same level. But when I have tasted this, I already knew I was cheating on my favorite cake – Mocha Cake. From then on, I asked myself if Mocha Cake can share its place with this new found love of mine. Believe me, it’s so heavenly!!!! Words are not enough to describe how much I love this cake.

Try this and you’ll never regret it. 😀

Mango Float

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I remember my mom and me used to buy mangoes every time we go to the market. Mango is my first favorite fruit, like I can eat this everyday. I used to save one kg for myself only and to tell you the truth, I can eat three mangoes in one sitting only… that’s how much I love mangoes. When we have mangoes at home, we make Mango Float for dessert. This is one of my favorite desserts and my siblings as well. This is a very easy recipe but has been an all-time love of mine.

I really don't measure. I think you can put as much as you want. You just have to make sure the condensed milk doesn't overpower the cream. :)
I really don’t measure. I think you can put as much as you want. You just have to make sure the condensed milk doesn’t overpower the cream. 🙂
(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)
And I think, you can put more than two layers if you prefer. I just want mine like this. :)
And I think, you can put more than two layers if you prefer. I just want mine like this. 🙂
(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Chocolate Espresso Scones

I have espresso powder in my kitchen shelf and I don’t know what to do with it aside to use it in baking. Honestly, I just bought it for baking. I think I spent a half day searching for baked goodies with espresso powder. I found many but I decided to try this recipe as I was not aware what a scone is. Through the help of Google, I found out that a scone is a quick bread – usually flaky on the outside but little soft on the inside. Since I wanted to try something new, I gave this one a shot.

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Chocolate Espresso Scones

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • 6 tbsp cold butter, cut in chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2  cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups semi sweet white chocolate chips

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • milk or cream to thin

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In a bowl, place all dry ingredients. Add chunks of cold butter and use your clean hands or pastry mixer to combine until you get a crumbly texture. (You can also use food processor in this step if you have one).
  3. In a jug or container, mix together buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
  4. Slowly, add the wet ingredient to your crumbly dry ingredients. If the dough is still crumbly, add more buttermilk.
  5. Mix in the white chocolate chips.
  6. Place the dough into a floured surface, kneading a few times if needed. Flatten the dough into 9 inch disk.
  7. Divide the disk into 8 and transfer them to a parchment lined baking pan.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes. Transfer on a wire rack to cool.
  9. For the glaze, mix vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk or cream to the powdered sugar and stir well. Add more milk or cream to thin the glaze, about a tablespoon by tablespoon.
  10. When the scones have cooled completely, add your glaze.

Source recipe: Chocolate Espresso Scones by The View from Great Island

 

 

Once upon a SALAD…

Last week, I spent my days watching Once Upon a Time. I didn’t really feel watching them on TV every time the show plays because I don’t want to wait for another days or weeks for the next episode, leaving me hanging – wondering what happens next. What I am doing is I am waiting for the full season to finish and download it. I already finished season one and tonight, I’ll be watching season two. After I watch season two, I know I’ll be waiting for months before season three comes… but it’s fine. I have another TV series to watch, anyway.

So, once upon a time… I was in the vegetable section of a supermarket to look for something to cook. Lettuce caught my attention and I realized that although I love lettuce, I have not tried it except for sandwich. While I was standing in front of the vegetables, I was thinking what I want to cook… or to eat. I didn’t know what came into my mind but I’ve thought of making a SALAD. Eating salad is really not my thing.  Though I love to eat, salad is not likely one of the foods that I thought of eating. But, guess what? I am proud to say that I took the lettuce with carrots, cucumber and tomatoes to make myself a salad. I don’t know from which side of my brain did the recipe came from but here is my simple salad. 🙂

ImageOh, what is that cucumber into small pieces?! Well, that depends on how you want to slice your veggies. You can also put as much as you want. As for mine, I really didn’t measure the veggies. Add 1 to 2 tbsp. of olive oil plus salt and pepper to taste. Don’t forget to squeeze juice of lemon.

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I finished this salad all by myself and I made the same a week after. 😀 And before I forget… thanks to my beautiful bowl. 

Banana Bread

Banana bread has been one of favorite breakfasts and even snack. You can make it and let is stay in the fridge and grab it when you want to eat one. When I want to make a Banana Bread, I prefer to buy good bananas three or four days earlier and wait for it to be ready instead of buying ripe bananas.

Aside from Laura in the Kitchen, I have another favorite YouTube channel – Joy of Baking and this is where I got this Banana Bread recipe. Thanks to Ms. Stephanie Jaworski!

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Banana Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 ripe large bananas, mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and place oven rack to middle position.
  2. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan. Evenly sprinkle flour and tap to excess any.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.
  5. Slowly and gently mix the wet mixture to the dry one just until combined. Make sure not to over mix.
  6. Pour the batter to your prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. This can be served at room temperature or warm.

Source recipe: Banana Bread by Joy of Baking

Serve with the drink of your choice. I love to serve mine with coffee and spread some butter and drizzle with pancake syrup.

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I love the crunchy side on the edges of this bread but they’re likely to be gone in seconds. 😀

Arroz Caldo: A Filipino Comfort Food

Two days ago, I’ve decided to take a break from the kitchen because I have something else to do. Sadly, I have not accomplished what I needed to do. My stomach is giving me a hard time since yesterday. So today is my rest day… how depressing is that?! It really makes me sick without doing anything productive. But I have to cooperate with my stomach today or else… this pain will stay with me for a few more days. 😦

Given that today is my rest day, I am posting one of my favorite comfort foods – Arroz Caldo.

Arroz Caldo is a Filipino rice and chicken porridge or congee. The chicken and rice are cooked together for about 30-45 minutes in a pot and served with hard-boiled eggs, topped with spring onions and toasted garlic. The addition of the juice of Calamansi or lemon makes it more delish!

My mom used to cook Arroz Caldo as it is our favorite at home. We usually eat this for breakfast and especially when it is raining… It’s really a Filipino comfort food.

I usually cook the chicken with the rice but sometimes I’d love to take the easy way out – to cook the rice in a separate pot while preparing the other ingredients. From the time my rice is done, the other ingredients are ready and I am ready to put the cooked rice with the sautéed veggies and chicken.

Arroz Caldo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup rice
  • 7 cups of water (or more)
  • 2 boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1 head of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • Spring onion, sliced, separate the white and green part
  • Chicken bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooking oil
  • 4 hard boiled eggs

Instructions:

1) In a large pot or a wok with a medium heat, put little oil and when the oil is hot enough, add in chopped garlic and toast until brown. (Just be careful not to burn it; you don’t want to start all over again.)

2) Remove the toasted garlic from the pan or wok and put in a paper towel to remove excess oil.

3) In the same pot or wok, add more oil, about 2 tbsp, and add in ginger when oil is hot enough. Cook for a minute. Next, add ¼ of the garlic you toasted earlier. Add in chopped onion and the white part of the spring onion.

4) When veggies are done, add the chicken and chicken bouillon cube. Add about 1 tsb of salt, mix and cover for two minutes.

5) Add the uncooked rice and add 5 cups of water and let it simmer until rice are very soft, checking it from time to time to prevent the dish from drying. It will take about 30-45 minutes. You can add the remaining 2 cups of water or more if you prefer to.

6) You can now do a taste test and add in you pepper and more salt.

7) When ready, you can ladle them in a bowl, garnish with some toasted garlic, spring onions and squeeze in some Calamansi (or lemon). Now, you’re ready to dig in with the hard-boiled eggs.

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You can replace the water with chicken stock and omit the chicken cubes. I am sure it will be tastier. I haven’t tried but I can imagine it. 😀

As I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s another way to do it. Before #1, have your pot ready with rice and water, heat it up with a high heat and boil until rice are soft, 30-45 minutes. While your rice is cooking, you can do the slicing stuff and do the sautéing after. So, let’s do #1 to #4. By the time you’re doing the #4, your rice may be ready by now. Add in the cooked rice (of course, you don’t have to wait for another 30-45 minutes because your rice are already cooked) and proceed to #5 to #7.

So, we have the “time-consuming way” and the “easy way out”. If I am in a hurry, I always take the latter.

Embutido: A Filipino Meatloaf

One day, I was in a friend’s house and she was making Embutido when I arrived. I watched her as she makes it. While she was in the process of making it, I was thinking how does it taste? My mom never made it, so, I did not have any idea. There are commercialized frozen Embutido available in stores but we never tried getting one. I don’t even know why.

When my friend’s done with the dish, I finally got to try it and I loved it. From that moment, I am really eager to make my own, too. It took years since I tried cooking one. I still have to search through the internet because I can’t anymore remember what my friend told me regarding the ingredients. I found a good recipe from Panlasang Pinoy.

Embutido

 

I love to fry the steamed Embutido and it tastes really good with rice and ketchup or sweet chili sauce. 😀

Embutido Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 6 pcs hotdogs, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 pcs hard boiled eggs, sliced in wedges
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup carrots, minced
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups bread crumbs

Instructions:

  1. In a large container, mix all ingredients except hotdogs and boiled eggs. Give it a good mix.
  2. Please the mixture in an aluminum foil and flatten.
  3. Place the 1 wedge of sliced egg and half hotdog side by side in the center of the flatten meat. (see video for guidance)
  4. Roll the foil forming a cylinder shape, locking the hotdogs and eggs. Lock the edges of the foil.
  5. Cook in a steamer for one hour.
  6. Place in the fridge until it gets cold.
  7. Slice and serve.

Note: You have the option to fry the sliced Embutido for a more delicious meal. 🙂

Source recipe: Embutido by Panlasang Pinoy