For the love of books: September 2013

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

I started reading second week of this month and I am happy that I had finished six books. I’ve also had frequent migraines and I think that was from reading too much. What do you think?

Anyway, I’ve read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and another book but I’ll just focus on the former for today.

Photo from Pinterest.
Photo from Pinterest.

I think most of us know about the series or if not you, your children might. The series was about Greek gods, demigods (god and mortal offspring), different kinds of monsters and a lot more. I might not give a correct summary for the series so click here.

In 2010, a movie came out based on the book ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan which was the first book of the five. By that time, I have not read the book yet but I LIKED the movie. The movie did not stayed with me for a long time and soon, I forgot all about it. When I knew that the second movie (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters) will be out, I got suddenly interested in reading the book.

Photo from Pinterest.
Photo from Pinterest.

Honestly speaking, I loved the series so much. I stayed up so late just to finish the last two books and slept around 2:00 AM for two nights (or let me say very early morning). The book was well-written and I could not even imagine someone who could create a story like that. Of course, the author talked about the gods so he may be has so much interest on the same. The monsters on the story were well-described that you can imagine how they look.  Well, maybe not exactly the same as the author imagined but really, it was well-described! After reading the series, I watched the first movie again for two times. I have also watched the second movie (it’s good I got the chance to watch them) and I kept on smiling inside the cinema; I was so delighted. And I slept with a smile on my face on that day and on the day I have finished the series.

Ahh, what a great feeling! I think that was the reason of the migraine attacks! Haha! But that’s fine, it was worth it.

As they say,

“Don’t judge the book by its movie!”

Books are waayyy better than the movies. Agree?!

Until next book ‘review’…

Thanks,
Jhuls

Cellophane Noodle Soup with Fish and Squid Balls

I had my migraine for almost two weeks. The trigger? I don’t have any idea.

I have many triggers like cream cheese and oily foods; strong scent of perfume or not so-good strong scent; too much exposure to light; and lack of sleep. From those I have given, I think the one that triggered my migraine is lack of sleep. I sometimes sleep early (but mostly late) and wake up in the middle of the night and sometimes I stay awake for one hour to three hours. No matter how late I go to sleep, I wake up at 7:30 AM (sometimes earlier) and hard for me to sleep again. So I get migraine that lasts for one day and sometimes lasts for two weeks. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it happens? BOOM! It’s like I’ve been carrying loads of something on my head. Sometimes I can eat well and sometimes not. Thus, a soup like this is good for this migraine girl.

This cellophane noodles or Sotanghon (as we call it) stayed in the noodle storage box for months. I’ve forgotten about it because I have not checked that box for a long time. So when I saw it, I took it out from the box and put it somewhere where I can see it everyday to remember that I have to make use of it. It’s not going to expire soon but I just want to get rid of it. Days had passed and the noodles stayed at the top of the fridge, still have not made up my mind. I was actually thinking of a soup but I was not sure what soup do I want. I went to a grocery store to buy something and I saw the frozen squid balls and fish balls and grabbed one of each, planning to put them on the soup. When I came home, I decided to make a soup, unsure if it will be a success or a big failure.

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Cellophane Noodle Soup with Fish and Squid Balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 10 fish balls + 10 squid balls
  • 2 tsp roasted chili paste
  • 55 grams cellophane noodles
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 5 cups water (plus another 2 cups for soaking the noodles)
  • Medium or hard-boiled eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Spring onions
  • Cooking oil

Instructions:

  1. Soak the noodles in 2 cups of water and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a high heat, sauté garlic and onion in oil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add fish and squid balls. Add roasted chili paste and water. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the water from the soaked noodles and add the noodles to the pan. Also, add in carrots. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to your taste.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with spring onions and boiled eggs to serve.

This soup may not possess a very beautiful color nor has varieties of veggies but this is just my kind of soup for the day – simple and yummy! I thank the cellophane noodle that has been hiding for months. If not for that, I may not have discovered this delectable dish. 🙂 Yes, this soup was delicious! And of course, I am planning to make it again.

P.S. Sorry for the reflection of the light in the photo as this was taken at night and I cannot get a good shot without the light on the soup.

Tuna Salad

If you’ve read my post on my first salad, you would remember that I am not a salad person. But after eating salad for how many times, there are times that my tummy wants one. I was planning to try making a dressing myself but I was so lazy and also lazy to go out to buy one. For how many days I was craving for something with tuna but I really don’t know why I can cook one. Maybe I was a little ill for how many days and can’t figure out what to eat – if I’ll go for a Tuna Salad or a Tuna Pasta. But the salad won.

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This is again, of course, a very simple salad but I just wanna share my happiness as I am learning to eat something healthy.

For this salad, here’s what I included:

  • 1 small canned tuna in vegetable oil
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup of lettuce, chopped coarsely
  • Small slices of cucumbers
  • ¾ cup of kernel corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon, optional

Just mix everything together and enjoy a healthy meal. If you’d like to use tuna without the oil, you might want to add a little olive oil, or not if you don’t want. Well, it’s up to you. 🙂

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I hope I’ll be making more salad in the future. Mmm, is it weird that I ate this salad with cookies? Hahaha! But they were a good match, I promise! 😀

Have a great day to everyone. 🙂

AWARD: September 2013

It’s been five months and two days since I started my blog and I am very much happy with the feedbacks, likes and comments made. I enjoy every conversation I have and I love commenting on other’s posts. I love to chat and I don’t mind chatting with you the whole day or I don’t mind waking up in the middle of the night to reply comments. Yes, I do that! That’s how I love this family.  We might not be related or might not see each other, but I consider everyone as my family. 🙂 It feels so amazing the people you actually ‘meet’ in the cyber world could actually inspire you a lot to be who wanted to be and encourage you to follow your desires.

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Anyway, let’s go to the post. It’s just that… I AM SO HAPPY!! 😀

I would like to thank Dimple of shivaaydelights for passing me this very beautiful award and for considering me as one of her family members. I am so honored. 

For the questions:

What is your favourite quote?
It is not length of life, but depth of life. (Ssssh! I just searched it a while ago; I cannot think of one.)

Who is your favourite author?
Asking me who’s my favourite author is like asking me what is my favourite food; so I don’t think I could name one. But I can name some like Rick Riordan, Tahereh Mafi and Mitch Albom.

What song has a lot of sentimental value for you?
No One Else Comes Close by Joe.

If you had to name one essential beauty product, what would it be?
I don’t usually use beauty products except for facial cleanser. I am not fond of putting anything on my face.

Do you prefer the countryside or city?
Country side is perfect. I can imagine the beautiful view from the kitchen window.

What is the saddest film you have ever watched?
I have watched many, but for now it will be My Sister’s Keeper.

If your house was on fire, what three items would you save?
I always dreamed of me on a situation like the world is going to end, fire, and earthquake… and there’s one thing I always bring with me – my prayer mat/rug. So, I would say my prayer mat/rug, my mobile and my bag (that includes everything inside).

What is your favourite season of the year and why?
In the Philippines, we don’t have any season other than hot and cold. So, I prefer cold (but not rainy, please!).

If you could do any job in the world what would it be?
I want to be an Assistant Chef in a restaurant that serves international foods.

Everyone has something that comforts them when they are ill, what is it that makes you feel better?
Mmm, how do you define ill? When my migraine attacks (that’s the only thing that makes me sick), I would love to go to a bookshop and be surrounded by books or you can bring me to a HUGE grocery store where I can spend hours checking everything they have or you can bring me out to dine. Or… you can just give me a box of brownies and a coffee-flavored ice cream (or anything but not sweet). Too many, huh?

For the WordPress Family award, I nominate the following blogs:

myfavouritepastime

fae-magazine

sophiesfoodiefiles

tastytreats13

ineedafeed

sweetbakedlife

rabbitcancook

countybakermom

salsachica

butterloveaffair

These people are amazing that they always find time to drop good comments and really find time to get in touch. I would like to mention Liz of myfavouritepastime and thank her for not missing to visit my blog when I visit hers. She is my top commenter, by the way. 😀 Also, to Fae of fae-magazine for offering her assistance if I needed help and for the comments she had made that always make my day; to Rabbit of rabbitcancook for recognizing me and gave me the first award.

Thank you, thank you to everyone. Your likes, comments and thoughts are much appreciated. And I am glad to be a part of this beautiful family.

So, to participate, I will be asking the same questions above, copy the logo of the WordPress Family Award and link back to the one who nominated you. Nominate other family members and notify them on their blogs. 

I always love receiving awards and passing them to others. So I hope you enjoy this award as much as I did. 

Brazo de Mercedes

A sheet of meringue from the egg whites and a tasty custard filling from the egg yolks, which makes them like a jelly/Swiss roll.

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Aside from Mocha Cake, this dessert has been my favorite for a long time. I am not a fan of a very sweet cake but this really is an exemption. Although this is sweet, the meringue and the custard are so perfect together – match made in heaven as they say. 😉

When I was not yet into baking, I usually buy from sweets shop. When I started baking, I was so hesitant to try this because I was afraid that I can’t do the rolling perfectly. To be honest, the first try was not perfect at all. I meant the taste was perfect but the rolling was a failure. Well, not a total failure; there was a crack on the top of the meringue. The second one was the same. The third one was still the same.

One day, friends visited me at home and I offered them this dessert. They said it was great and they were so amazed because I knew how to make this very delicious dessert. And let me say that this dessert is highly requested! 😉

thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com-BrazodeMercedes1

I am so thankful to Vanjo Merano of Panlasang Pinoy for having a video on this. Because of that, I have ‘mastered’ how to make this divine Brazo de Mercedes.

Brazo de Mercedes

Ingredients

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 10 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 396g (14 oz) can condensed milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a rectangular baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer, beat together until soft peaks form.
  3. Gradually add the sugar while continue beating until semi-firm.
  4. Using a spatula, spread the meringue evenly on top of the greased parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the color of the top of the meringue turns light to medium brown.
  6. When done, remove from the oven and set aside to cool down.

Meanwhile, make the filling.

  1. In a small cooking pot, combine egg yolks and condensed milk. Turn the heat to low-medium and cook until thick, making sure to stir it continuously to avoid burning the filling.
  2. When done, add the vanilla extract to the filling. Mix until combined. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

Assembly,

(Make sure to let your meringue to cool down before putting the filling.)

  1. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the meringue, making sure that everything is covered.
  2. On top of the meringue with powdered sugar, place a parchment paper. On top of the parchment paper, place another pan similar to the size of the one on the bottom (or larger). (You will now have the meringue in between two baking pans.
  3. Carefully flip the meringue. So now, you will have the meringue upside down (the one with powdered sugar at bottom).
  4. At the top, you will now see the meringue with the parchment paper sticking to it. Carefully remove the parchment paper. Spread the filling evenly.
  5. With the longest side in front of you, roll the meringue away from you to form a log. (It’s like you are making a swiss roll.) I roll the meringue with the parchment paper attached so I won’t crack the meringue, then carefully remove them when the rolling is done. Make sure you don’t include the parchment paper with the filling. 😀
  6. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve cold.

Source recipe: Brazo de Mercedes by Panlasang Pinoy

thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com-BrazodeMercedes

This can be served as dessert or snack. I bake this from time to time and I always fall in love with this and I every time I take a bite, I always feel proud of myself. 😉

If you’re wondering about this Mocha Cake I always talk about, it is a Filipino version of coffee cake and I will do a post about it next month, hopefully.

Thank you for being with me as I celebrate my blog’s 5th month.

Have a nice week ahead to everyone.


Linking up to Sunday Sweets

 

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am amazed with kids learning to cook at an early age. I also have my siblings who are already exposed in the kitchen since my Mom passed away. My youngest sister is in fact, a member of a school organization which has something to do with cooking and baking. I call her My Little Chef. I asked myself, how do kids know that they like cooking or baking? I even want to answer that myself, recalling the times when I was in the kitchen with my Mom, but I did not get any answer. Maybe at that time, you just feel like doing what you like – whatever interests you.

thenotsocreativecook-ChocChipCookies

Checking WordPress Reader has been part of my day since I joined this wonderful community. While I was on the Reader, I noticed the recipe of Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies on Emu’s Eats and clicked it. I was surprised when I found out that it was her sister writing the post… and baking cookies. I immediately clicked the bookmark button. After a few weeks, I finally baked those cookies.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: about 21 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth (about 3 minutes). Add egg, corn syrup and vanilla. Mix until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Add in chocolate chips and mix until combined.
  4. Scoop out about 1tbsp of cookie batter and place on the baking sheet, with about 2 inches gap on each cookie batter. Flatten slightly each cookie batter.
  5. Bake for 11-12 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stay in the baking sheet for about two minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Source recipe: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by Emus Eats (I think the blog site has been changed or deleted) Anyway, thank you, Ema & Katie.

thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com-ChocChipCookies2

The cookies were soft, chewy and DELICIOUS!! After eating many cookies, I found it sweeter. I think I would lessen the sugar the next time I make them. Yes! I will definitely make them again.

 

French Almond Cake

This has been waiting to be posted on this blog for almost two months now. I still have a lot to post but I don’t know which one should be next to the other. If I can remember it correctly, the time I baked this was the time when I wanted to finish all the chopped almonds I have.

The name of the cake was intriguing to me so I chose this among the other recipes I’ve found. The main problem I had is that I didn’t know if the measurements of the ingredients were correct. I meant how I measured the ingredients. The kitchen scale I have is not digital so it was difficult to determine if I used more or less of the ingredients required. Although I was not confident enough at the start, that didn’t hold me back from trying this recipe.

French Almond Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 90g ground almonds
  • 40g self-raising flour*
  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate icing (recipe below)
  • Shaved/grated chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease round 8-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix ground almonds and flour. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix butter and sugar. Add milk, eggs, vanilla extract. Add in dry ingredients.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the cover and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Remove the baking pan from the oven and let the cake stay in the pan for 5 minutes.
  6. Run a thin knife around the edges and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Cover with chocolate icing and top with shaved or grated chocolate.

Note:

* If you don’t have self-raising flour, substitute with 40g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt

For the Icing:

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

  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.

Note: You can just dust the top with powdered sugar instead of using chocolate icing. Or you can top the cake with whatever frosting/icing you fancy.

Source recipe: French Almond Cake by Happy Home Baking

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As you can see, it is very noticeable that the thickness of the source recipe is different from mine. I almost burnt the top of the cake so I decided to put an icing on it.

No matter how the cake looked like, the finished product was so GOOD!! I promised myself I’ll bake this again and try to do something about the measurements. 🙂

I will let you know, for sure.

Spaghetti in Creamy Tuna and Tomato Sauce

How do deal with your cravings? If you crave for a certain food, what do you do? If you can make it, do you make it immediately or do you dine out if you can’t? How many days do you let your cravings stay in your head? If you get rid of your cravings in no time, then good for you. 😀

I’ve been craving for pasta the past few days but I have leftovers to think of and some expiry dates to consider, so I cannot let my cravings control me. When leftovers were gone, I finally had my quality time to make some Tuna Pasta. I made a Tuna and Tomato Pasta but I was not happy with the result. The flavor was great with the tuna, tomatoes and dried basil. I don’t know what went wrong but it’s not something I expected. I think dried basil overpowered the sauce. I kept the sauce and the pasta inside the fridge and spent the whole day thinking what to do with it. I knew that I can do something about it because I consider myself good at makeovers for failed/unwanted dish. 😉 But I was badly craving for this pasta that I almost lost my smile when I get to taste it. But anyways, the new dish is better, so no need to frown.

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Since I have made the pasta without the cream, I am going to share the recipe for the two sauces… just in case you’d love the Tomato & Tuna sauce only.

Spaghetti in Creamy Tuna and Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams pasta

For the tomato and tuna sauce:

  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 2 canned tuna in water (I used 2 cans of 185 grams of tuna)
  • 3 large or 2 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil or butter for sautéing

For the creamy white sauce:

  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ½ Garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. For the Tuna and Tomato sauce, sauté garlic in olive oil or butter until fragrant.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook for two minutes. Add tuna with the water. Simmer for two minutes. Season with salt and dried basil. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. For the white sauce: In another pan, sauté garlic in butter until fragrant. Add flour and stir until no lumps can be seen. Add in heavy cream, cream cheese, garlic salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes in low heat.
  5. Add in the Tuna and Tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
  6. Do a taste test and adjust according to your liking.

To do the shortcut method:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Sauté 2 tbsp garlic in butter until fragrant. Add tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add flour and stir until no lumps.
  4. Add tuna, cream cheese, heavy cream, dried basil, salt, garlic salt and pepper.
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes in low heat.
  6. Add in the tuna and tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
  7. Do a taste test and adjust according to your liking.

When the sauce is fine with you, pour the sauce over the pasta and enjoy! You may also add Parmesan cheese.

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 I know it looks yummy… It was delicious!! I enjoyed this pasta very much. I hope you do, too. 🙂

BULANGLANG: A Filipino Vegetable Dish

Pronounced as ‘Bu-lang-lang’.

Before I knew that this dish really exists in Philippines, this has been a part of our table for as long as I can remember. I thought that my Mom just got bored with all the dishes with coconut milk so she came up with this idea. It’s been a long time since I have not eaten this dish. There was a time that I was the one who got tired of dishes with coconut milk as I have been eating the same for how many weeks – I meant dishes with coconut milk. When I went out to buy some vegetables for dinner, the dish that my Mom used to cook suddenly appeared in my head. Still, I was not aware that this dish has a name. I bought the vegetables I wanted and some fish to be fried.

thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com-Bulanglang

It was funny that when I came across Google to find some Filipino dishes, I found an image almost the same as the dish I cooked. I clicked on it and that’s when I found out about Bulanglang.

Bulanglang Recipe (Vegetable Dish with Clear Soup)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups squash, sliced
  • 1 cup eggplant, sliced
  • 1 cup long beans, sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 large onion, sliced into wedges
  • 3 thumb-size ginger, sliced
  • 1 cup greens ( you may use Moringa leaves), I used water spinach
  • 4 to 6 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • Fried fish and cooked white rice

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a large pot and let all vegetables cook for 10 minutes or until all are tender.
  2. Do some taste test and you’re done.
  3. Serve with fried fish and white rice.

Please note that the cooking time will depend on how large or small you cut your vegetables. Make sure they are not overcooked. You can also add other vegetable of your choice like Okra and Luffa. I just used the veggies mentioned above because those are really my favorite veggies when cooking vegetables with soup or coconut milk. 

 

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This dish looks very simple and easy to cook; but it’s so delicious and healthy as well. This goes very well with white rice and fried fish… and let me mention that the best fish, personally, is fried King Fish. So bad that when I decided to take a photo and put it on my blog, there was no available King Fish and instead bought another fish. Nonetheless, I still loved my very delicious meal. I even cooked another batch after this! 🙂

Hope you could try this and let me know. Enjoy the rest of the weekend! 🙂