In the Aftermath of the Typhoon…

A family in San Mateo, Rizal flees their flooded home (Photo for the Philippine Daily Inquirer by Romy Homilla)

A family in San Mateo, Rizal flees their flooded home (Photo for the Philippine Daily Inquirer by Romy Homilla)

SybDive is pausing a bit on food blogging to give way to this serious shout-out for assistance.

25% of Metropolitan Manila is still underwater as of now (7:11 PM, Manila time) due to the heaviest downpour we have experienced in nearly forty years.  Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) dumped about six months’ worth of rain on us within six hours, putting the country’s capital and 23 other provinces under a state of calamity.

According to the most recent bulletin on the Philippine Daily Inquirer website, over 300,000 people have been displaced by massive flooding in various areas of the city.  52 people have been confirmed dead, including five heroic servicemen who drowned whilst rescuing people in the province of Laguna.

Please help the families currently holed up in evacuation centers or, God forbid, are still awaiting rescue by sending donations in cash and kind.  Please get in touch with any of the following:

  1. Philippine National Red Cross (143, +632-5270000)
  2. Philippine National Red Cross Rizal Chapter operations center hotline: (+632-6350922, +632-6347824)
  3. Go to GMA Facebook page & post complete addresses and names of people in need of immediate help.
  4. ABS-CBN Typhoon Ondoy Hotline: (+632-4163641)
  5. Jam 88.3: (+632- 6318803) or SMS at JAM (space) 883 (space) your message to 2968
  6. GMA Kapuso Helpline: (+632-9811950-59)

Vanilla Treacle Coffeecake

One of the best things I did on my birthday yesterday was to help spruce things up for the monthly meeting of lay vicariate coordinators over at the Diocesan Chancery of Paranaque by baking what I feel is the most interesting bread in my repertoire.

You’ve all read about my recipe for zimtschnecken (German-style cinnamon rolls).  This particular recipe takes those incredibly yummy spiral-swirly treats to new heights via the addition of vanilla to both the batter and the syrup, as well as the use of molasses rather than plain maple and golden syrups to add a somewhat smoother, richer vibe to the finished rolls.

Two coffeecakes may seem like too much, but these are so good that people will be going for seconds…and thirds!  😉

Vanilla Treacle Coffeecake
For the rolls:

  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 50 grams granulated white sugar
  • 150mL milk
  • 1 sachet fast-acting yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the syrup:

  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • scant 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar.  Put the milk and butter in a heatproof bowl and microwave on HIGH for a minute and a half.  Whisk until well combined, then add the eggs and vanilla extract.  Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients.  Mix until you achieve a shaggy mess of sorts.  Knead for about twelve minutes; dough will be very soft.  Cover with a clean dishtowel and leave to rise for about an hour.

Grease 2 8-inch pie plates or cake pans.  Make the syrup by mixing all the ingredients together.  Divide evenly between the two pans.

Punch down the risen dough and cut into half.  Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small dish.  Roll out half the dough onto a floured surface; brush the surface of the dough with milk and sprinkle over half the cinnamon-sugar mix.  Roll and cut into twelve pieces.  Place the cut rolls cut-side up onto the prepared pan.  Do the same with the remaining dough and filling.  Cover with a dishtowel and leave to prove for about 15 – 20 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.

Bake the rolls for about 20 – 25 minutes.  Allow to cool before turning over onto a serving dish.  Makes two coffeecakes; 24 servings.

The Birthday Post: 33 – and Counting!

Squash blossoms from our home garden
Squash blossoms from our home garden

Don’t the flowers look nice?  They’re actually edible.  I think all foodie-girls should get a bouquet of squash blossoms on their birthdays.  🙂  It’s a most appropriate gift: you can appreciate their beauty at once, then batter ’em up and deep-fry them.  That way, you get to enjoy your flowers twice.

I have to admit that the past twelve months of my life have been the most unusual I’ve had so far.  As far as my culinary inclinations are concerned, they have been quite exciting: I discovered the pleasures of single-origin chocolate and nama at Heavenly Chocolates.  I spent a blissful morning at the Salcedo Market.  I made my first-ever batch of chocolate truffles, started a small business selling cookies and cupcakes, tried new recipes out of cookbooks, created new recipes out of either curiosity or a panicked need to substitute ingredients at the last minute.

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Shoyu Ramen for Breakfast

Long-time readers of this blog know this: I’m the sort of person who will eat a bowl of ramen for breakfast.  I actually crave for the stuff in pretty much the same way other people yearn for a cholesterol-raising platter of tapa (fried smoked beef) and sinangag (garlic-infused fried rice) or a savory bowl of congee or even a full English.  There is just something so comforting about a bowl of noodles in broth that helps me face up to the challenges of the day.  (Actually, I also crave for Spam; but that’s a story for another day…)

So, I guess it was a lucky break when a recent supermarket jaunt put a pack of Nissin’s Shoyu Ramen in my larder.

Shoyu – soy sauce – is one of the four major broth bases used for cooking classic Japanese ramen.  The other three are shio (salt), miso (fermented soybean paste), and tonkotsu (pork bone – also known as “the rejuvenator” because of its high collagen content).  But I seriously prefer shoyu best as it is very flavorful and it isn’t so salty. 

However, making your ramen from scratch is a tedious process and going to an actual ramen shop at five-thirty in the morning isn’t exactly the most brilliant of ideas.  So, while it doesn’t exactly have the same oomph as a bowl of soup done by a professional cook, instant ramen isn’t so bad.  Indeed, all I need to do is toss in some diced leftover tonkatsu and poach an egg in the broth as it boils.  Top your bowl off with the shredded nori that comes in the packet and you’re all set. 

It’s a fine way to start your day.  😀

A Bit of Chocolate Indulgence

Oooh, cake!

Oooh, cake!

I was at Secret Recipe about a week ago and found myself craving for something sweet as opposed to my usual laksa fix.  So, I found myself looking at the cake display and pondered on a classic question: Will it be cream cake today or cheesecake? Ahh, decisions, decisions…

What settled the question for me was this glorious, chocolate fondant-coated confection that goes by the fetching name Chocolate Indulgence.  What it is: chocolate cake layered with dark, milk, and white chocolate mousses.

That’s right: mousses – plural; three kinds of ’em.

Looks tempting, doesn't it?

Looks tempting, doesn't it?

As pretty as this slice of cake looks, I’m all for the old adage about how the strength of a pudding lies in its eating.  I took a bite and I frowned at the texture of the cake part of this torte.  The chocolate sponge used was a tad on the dry side; quite disappointing because, having tried Secret Recipe’s cheesecakes, I was hoping that the sponge cakes they use for their cream tortes would be of a similar high caliber.

The mousses, on the other hand, were just delectable.  So, being the little chocolate fiend that I am, I quickly dispatched with the sponge cake (Waste not, want not! ;)) and left the mousse parts for last.  The white mousse is a milky delight – and I do not often say that about white chocolate desserts!  The chocolate mousse – the chocolate fondant! – made me sigh in sheer delight.

Honestly, save for the cake part, this is one dessert that really lives up to its name.