Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finally! a quick stint in the kitchen

Last Sunday, I joined my family in Manila where our sister is currently based. Since I was already there, I went to Sweet Craft and The Cocoa Pantry to buy some stuffs for me to use this Christmas. After a couple of hours, I found myself in the kitchen with ingredients to make rhum cake.

(my loot)

Let me be the first to tell you that my baking skills are rusty!!! This is what happens when I'm away from the kitchen for a long time. I forgot to preheat the oven. I forgot how to substitute cake flour with all purpose flour (no internet access at that time, so I had to guess!). I couldn't decide between using a regular bundt pan and mini bundt pans. Eventually though, I used the latter but I filled them with way too much cake batter.

(note to self : do not fill pan with way too much cake batter)

(brushing cake with rhum syrup)

(more rhum syrup)

The kitchen gods must love me inspite of my faux pas because after forty minutes, the kitchen smelled so good. Sweet goodies and vanilla heaven! Speaking of vanilla, I used the madagascar bourbon vanilla that my friend Geedes sent me. Made a lot of difference!

( i have two of these from Geedes)

Our house in Bauang is still being renovated. My dad had some people replace the wooden floor with tiles. My room needs repainting but we'll be able to move back home in a couple of days. A few weeks earlier, I had manong Rannie of La Germania check if the oven still works since it was submerged in murky water. He was kind enough to clean the oven. Yay! Baking and cooking galore here I come!


Monday, November 30, 2009

This post is for dog lovers only...

My blog was named after her. Well sort of. I wanted to use Cuppy Cakes for my blog title but unfortunately that title was already taken so I settled on Cuppy Creme instead.

Anyways, enough about my blog. We've been so busy that we forgot our cuppycupcakey's birthday last November 19. She turned 6. Converted to human years, she's now older than me!

Belated happy birthday Cupcake! We luv luv luv luv you!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

what do you do

when things go wrong...

when life throws you a curve ball, one after the other...

when all seem lost...

when you're down...

when the storm rages on ...

when there's nowhere to go but down ...

what do you do?

Pardon the post. I just feel so down right now. Pepeng (the typhoon that devastated Northern Luzon) happened. For the first time, water from the river reached our house, leaving mud and garbage and filthy water and other icky "i-don't-want-to-know-what-that-is" stuff all over. We've been living with our Grandma since October 9 and I am grateful that we have a place to sleep, bathe, wash, eat and be comfortable in, but I miss our house. I miss home.
I miss baking too. I don't know if my oven still works. It was partially submerged, along with our other furniture and appliances.

My friend Chet sent me the following message:

"I’m strong in the Lord. I’m blessed. I’m forgiven. I’m protected. I’m redeemed. I’m
equipped. I’m anointed. Healing flows in my body. New doors will open before me. I’ll
meet the right people, the right opportunities, at the right time, at the right place.
I’ll regain ten times what I lost. In Jesus name!"

I pray.
I thank God for keeping my family safe through the storm.
I pray for strength to get through the day.
I hope for better days ahead.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a doctor a day keeps the sweets away

I paid a visit to my new doctor today. The visit was long overdue actually.
I'm M and I'm what you call a borderline diabetic. Erase that. I'm definitely a diabetic. I come from a long line of diabetics.
So anyways, unlike my past doctors, Dr. R. explained everything to me properly and he told me what foods I should stay the hell away from and what I can consume. So it's bye bye sugar. Bye bye cakes. Bye bye sweets. He said that I have to take care of my pancreas otherwise it's bye bye oral medication and hello insulin shots. He also said that I have 1450 calories a day at my disposal and that I should use it wisely. I also need to monitor my blood sugar regularly.

So today marks the first day of my new routine. Will this routine stop me from baking and cooking? Definitely NOT!!! But I would have to cut back on the sugar bit. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 12, 2009

we need your help

Only days after Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) wreaked havoc in Metro Manila and neighboring towns and provinces, Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) turned back and did more damage than what it inflicted during its first visit last week. As of 6AM this morning in Region 1 alone 25,825 houses were damaged thereby affecting more than 772,285 persons.
Our town of Bauang, La Union was pummeled by Typhoon Pepeng.
According to partial reports as of october 12, 2009 4:30PM the total number of families affected in Bauang reached 2451 The total number of persons affected reached 12,138. Totally damaged houses reached 613 while partially damaged houses reached 1731
Damage to crops reached 200 Million already.

We need many dry clothes, blankets, relief goods, medicines and DRINKING WATER. Please help us in any way you can. You can send your donations (whatever you can spare) to the Office of the Mayor Municipality of Bauang, La Union, Philippines
Thank you very much.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Busy C in the Kitchen

Last Tuesday night, I decided to try out a recipe for Devil's Food Cake but instead of making one big cake, I decided to make cupcakes instead.
It took me about an hour to prepare, mix and bake 4 dozen (2 oz) cupcakes and 2 dozen (1 oz) cupcakes. I added coffee and rum. I can't taste the rum though so I might as well replace it equal amount of coffee. (or maybe increase the rum and reduce the coffee called for).

Then I decided to make some cinnamon rolls.
It took me quite a long time to make these rolls. I was afraid of over mixing them in my mixer. I was also afraid that my kitchen aid would overheat, so I decided to finish kneading the dough by hand. Very tiring!!!
After waiting for the dough to double in size (about 2 hrs), I had to roll out the dough with a rolling pin, add the cinnamon sugar mixture, roll the dough tightly (which I wasn't able to do) and cut it into 1 1/2 inch pieces (I wasn't able to do this too. ) Then I had to wait 90 minutes for the cut dough to proof before baking at 350F for 30 minutes.

Here are the final results. I used the same frosting for both goodies - cream cheese frosting with lemon zest.

plain cinnamon roll

cinnamon rolls with lemon cream cheese frosting

devil's food cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting

I am a happy kitchen camper :)

I've Got Mail

From MOO

How very exciting indeed!

Apparently, I'm their new best friend. Who am I to say no?

These are just some of the designs of my mini cards.
Aren't they pretty?

This is what's written at the back of every card.

Thank you Foodbuzz and MOO for my complimentary mini cards.

Luv 'em!!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pink & White Cupcakes

I love baking cupcakes.

Last Friday, I made some chocolate cupcakes and orange vanilla cupcakes.

Frosted them with vanilla buttercream. I tinted half of the frosting baby pink. To be honest with you I have no clue as to how to frost them properly.

I need to take that Wilton Class. Seriously. But I'm happy at how they turned out. Moist and yummy and chocolate-y and orange-y. The frosting was in my opinion, just right.

Cupcakes make me happy.

"me time"

Hi guys! I'm back. Well sort of. I'll be in and out of the blogging scene for the time being because WORK beckons. Yes, work! I'm working even in my sleep. Seriously. Work has a way of weaving itself into my dreams. I even wake up in the middle of the night thinking of how I can get through the following day unscathed.

Take today for example. I was at a loss on how to fund one final check. Sales were down because of the weather and people are spending less. Time was running out and so was my luck. I was about to go home defeated but I guess the Lord had other plans. I was able to cover that final check at the last minute. The bank closes at 4pm but they allowed me one final transaction at 4:45pm (thanks UCPB).

God must really, really, really love me. I am beyond grateful. I asked and He provided. (I wonder though if the extra stress is really necessary? Kidding Kuya Jess. Aylabschu!) Now I can enjoy my "ME TIME" on Saturday. "ME TIME" is the one day of the week wherein I can refrain from thinking about work. Although "ME TIME" entails waking up at 6:30AM on a Saturday, I don't mind because I get to don my ISCAHM jacket and toque and spend half a day in the kitchen learning different cooking methods and techniques from real chefs.

I first learned about ISCAHM (International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management) from Angkowl Neil, a friend from IRC days. He said "ok dun" but I wasn't sold on the idea. It was only when my aunt, Tina C. Diaz, answered my queries that I decided to enrol. She is the managing editor of Foodie magazine, by the way.

Here are some pictures from my "ME TIME ". I forgot to take photos of the different cuts of veggies and potatoes. My gosh my hand hurt from all that chopping. I didn't know that there are more than 10 ways to chop a potato. My knife skills were pretty rusty!

My classmates and I with Chef Sean and Chef Uli, Canadian and Swiss chefs.

different dressings and sauces.

Ceasar salad, pepper cilantro crusted tuna salad with shoe string potatoes, mesclun greens with apples and prawns, curried chicken salad, shrimp cocktail, thai beef salad, warm bacon potato salad. All plated by Chef Sean. YUMMERCH!!!

I will take, err, grab some pictures from my classmates and post them soon. Till then be safe!!!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009


Yup you read it right! Your eyes are not playing tricks on you.


I'll be AFK (that's Away From Keyboard ) starting tonight. I'll be in Manila for another medical procedure before my check-up. Nothing serious. Just need to make sure that I'm healthy healthy in time for my 3 month culinary bootcamp at ISCAHM which will in turn take up most of my time.

Having said that, I would like to apologize to my fellow SMS bakers and to our leader, Lorelei as I would be late in posting my completed challenges yet again.

Choco cookie baby!

Remember when I blogged about these cookies that I gave my grandma and Kate and how I hoped that they would enjoy munching on the cookies as much as I enjoyed baking them?

Well, I got an email from Kate yesterday with the following photo of Zandro after snacking on the double chocolate cranberry cookies. He's covered in chocolate goo!! Priceless!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Simple Pleasures

I had two easy days this week thus allowing me to do two activities that I love doing. I was able to cook and bake. Thank you Lord.

Tuesday was lasagna day.

I was checking out the cabinet, looking for something to cook when I saw the box of instant lasagna. Perfect. I don't have to boil water to cook the lasagna sheets. All I had to do was make the meat sauce and the bechamel sauce. Except for the bell pepper and milk, all the usual suspects for the sauces were in the cabinet. I asked Kuya Allan to chop the onions and garlic for me. Ate Cory bought quickmelt cheese and bell pepper while I scurried off to CSI for some other grocery items and the milk. Before that I dropped by my dad's office and had lunch with the parents.

At around 4 pm I began preparing the meat sauce. In the pan went some butter, olive oil, chili flakes. I added the chopped onions and garlic. I added about half a kilo of ground pork and then some chopped red and green bell pepper. Salt and pepper and paprika followed suit before I added the tomato sauce, some sugar, herbs, a dollop of heavy cream and a handful of quick melting cheese. At the last minute I decided to add some stewed tomatoes that I rough chopped.
I then checked if the sauce was seasoned properly then I let it simmer a bit while I began the bechamel sauce.

For the white sauce, I melted some butter (like Ina, I'm not afraid to use butter!) and added some flour. This is called a roux. After a couple of minutes of whisking, the roux had a consistency similar to cake frosting. I then added the milk slowly and slowly whisked the mixture until thick. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and nutmeg. I also deviated a bit and added some grated quickmelt cheese.

Everyone knows how to assemble this dish right? Ladle some of the red sauce onto the bottom of the pan then arrange the pasta on top of the red sauce. Ladle some of the bechamel sauce this time then add another layer of pasta. Alternately layer the sauces onto the pasta. Onto the last layer of pasta, I ladled some of the red sauce and some of the bechamel sauce. Then I sprinkled the top with some grated cheese. Since I used instant lasagna noodles I had to bake it in the oven 30 to 40 minutes. Reduce baking time if using fresh pasta or pasta that you cooked in boiling water.

Wednesday was cookie day.

Two weeks ago, Kate (she's the one in the white shirt) and I were chatting on YM and we we got to talking about food and chocolate chip cravings. About two days later she gave me a ziplock bag full of almonds, dates and a bottle of pho base which I will use on Vietnamese Night (heaven knows what that will be).

Last Wednesday, I decided to make use of the almonds and made some chocolate chip cookies using Melissa Murphy's recipe.

Here are some slices of cookie dough. I had to roll and chill the dough. See the specks of chocolate chips and almond?

After 15 minutes in the oven, the slices of raw cookie dough looked like this. Aren't they pretty? I also made some plain ones using half of the batter for my sister Tanya. Then I made some chocolate cranberry cookies as well. Please see previous posts for the recipes or better yet buy the Sweet Melissa Baking Book.

After cooling on the wire rack, I packed some cookies in 3 separate containers. One for Kate. One for my grandma and one for the family.

I hope they enjoyed munching on the cookies as much as I enjoyed baking them.

Till the next baking session :)

Be safe.

SMS Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies

I have a question.

Are these cookies suppose to like spread out a little? The reason I'm asking is because my cookies stayed exactly the same size.

They didn't spread out or have that sort of dome like top like the chocolate chip cookies I make. Maybe there's something wrong with the baking soda? Maybe it's because I used regular cocoa instead of the dutch processed kind. I dunno. I rolled them into small logs thus giving me bite sized cookies (think quarters) and placed them 1 inch apart on a lined cookie sheet to bake. Alas, they didn't "grow" in size. Not even a centimeter.

Don't get me wrong. These are yummy cookies. Moist. Like brownie buttons and I loved how the chocolate complemented the cranberries (sorry no cherries). I bet they would go well with a tall glass of cold milk.

I followed the other SMS bakers advice and I baked them no longer than 13 minutes.

Thanks so much Megan of My Baking Adventures for choosing this for the SMS challenge.

Do check out The Sweet Melissa Baking Book for the recipe, as well as my fellow bakers on SMS.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

There are no skeletons in my closet :)

Go ahead and take a peek.

Only clothes and shoes and bags

And linens and magazines and books.

Lots of magazines and books.

We had our house renovated two, maybe three years ago and what used to be our garage is now my bedroom. It's the biggest bedroom in the house and I opted to have open closets with lots of shelves to hold not my clothes but my books, cookbooks and magazine collection.

You see, I used to collect Gourmet and Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living but not anymore. The price is outrageous! At 400 to 500 pesos an issue(almost $10), no thanks. I can always go to and download the recipes hehehe (Yes, I'm cheap that way!).

I now buy local magazines like Foodie and Yummy. Sometimes though, back issues of Bon Appetit and Gourmet (50% off) find their way into the shelves.

My books and magazine collection used to occupy one column (5 shelves) of my closet but not anymore. They now occupy 8 shelves!

Have you met my friends?

Say hi to Julia, Ina, Giada, Tessa, Diana, Nigella, Caprial, Ursula, Maida, Gale, Dorie, and Martha. Boyfriends Jamie, Tyler and Ming and grandaddies Wolfgang and Nobu are somewhere in the mix.

The Kite Runner, The Alchemist, The Bonesetter's Daughter and The Book Thief are just some of the many who are in there either reading the Memoirs of a Geisha or cracking the Da Vinci Code while waiting for A Thousand Splendid Suns to rise East of Eden. You don't believe me? I swear on my pink devotional BIBLE ( Do you see it?).

I was in Manila last week and I bought 2 more cookbooks. Sad to say that I am now 3 books over my " 5 COOKBOOKS A YEAR QUOTA" which means that next year I can only buy 2 cookbooks. COOKBOOKS GIVEN AS GIFTS DON'T COUNT THOUGH!!! I'm also waiting for Dan Brown's new novel. I just want to make that clear.

I told you there are no skeletons in my closet.

Friday, June 26, 2009

SMS Posting Late

Life is way too crazy at the moment.

I will try to post my completed SMS challenges next week *keeping my fingers crossed*
I'm hoping things will get better by then:)

Please click here to check out how my fellow SMS bakers fared with this week's challenge.

Till then, be safe :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the cupcake project!

It was my dad's birthday last June 10. My sister turned a year older last June 2 and her T, last June 13. Since we were not able to celebrate with my sister last June 2 for reasons that I could not divulge, we decided to host a joint birthday celebration for the June celebrants last June 12.

One of my many tasks was to bake cupcakes for the party. My sister initially wanted orange vanilla cupcakes but she settled for chocolate cupcakes instead. Whew! Imagine how many oranges I'd have to squeeze to make 10 dozen cupcakes!!!

The night before the party, my sister Gelli and I worked on the cupcakes.

After mixing the ingredients for the cake (thank heavens for my kitchen aid mixer), I emptied the batter into a pitcher for easy pouring. This is faster than scooping batter into every cup.

Just one of the many batches headed into the oven. Less mess, no stress!

We made 10 dozen moist chocolate cupcakes before sleeping.

I love the dark color of the cupcakes. Dark brown to black, the cupcakes were rich, moist and yummy.

When I woke up at around 9 AM, I started working on the pasta sauce with my sister Tanya. When we were satisfied with how the sauce tasted, I started working on the buttercream frosting. It was too hot that day that I couldn't get the frosting to set properly. C'est la vie!

I was in charge of piping swirls of frosting on the cupcakes.

I pipped some light green swirls...

and some pink and blue ones too!

Pink, green and blue cupcakes. Aren't they cute?

I think I should take up a Wilton course in cake decorating so that I can learn how to make those cute designs using a piping bag and the tips that come with it.

Birthday girl Tanya tinted the frosting pink, green and blue. She also did the lettering.

She then decorated one cupcake this way!

Gelli sprinkled cupcake toppers onto some of the cupcakes.

Cupcakes ready to be transported to Lola Zita's house !
(The tray came back empty.)

*thanks tans and gelli for the pictures and for helping me with the cupcake project*