A classic Filipino breakfast favorite

One of my fondest memories of my childhood was of champorado. Not the instant out of the package kind of gruel, but one that was made from scratch. On rainy mornings for breakfast or as merienda, a steaming bowl of the rich rice pudding really hits the spot. Since it was so much richer, it remained indelible in my mind, and sometimes I crave for it. The following recipe is one that I found stashed among my notes. It  works well. And it’s a quick recipe. In fact, I just made it this morning. Feel free to serve this with evaporated milk or condensed milk. Cheddar cheese, fried fish tuyo, danggit or even dilis goes well as accompaniments.


1 cup sweet rice (malagkit)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup granulated brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
sweetened condensed milk (optional)


1 Cook Rice in a medium-size saucepan with water.

2 Stir constantly.

3 When rice is ready, rice should be somewhat transparent and it'll feel thicker as you stir.

4 Add the balance of ingredients except milk.

5 Serve in bowls with swirls of milk on top.


Chilling out on a Wednesday afternoon

After pulling an all-nighter, I took a cold shower this morning to freshen up, climbed into bed, switched on the telly, and just zoned out. Since school was called off, I didn’t have to stay awake to get Maxine ready. Sleep came slowly, and by the time the tv’s sleep timer kicked in, I was out of it.

Woke up about 6 hours later, groggy, hungry, and mentally listing the things i have to do for the rest of the week. I would like to have some time to go see the new Transformers movie. And have dinner at a good restaurant.

A local spa has contracted my services for one of their clients who is having a wedding shower sometime next week. Some health food, serene selections that match the zen like state that they might achieve. I was thinking of cocktail food that are out of the ordinary…such as Shrimp mousse on melba toast, baby squid with penne and pomodoro in a small tea cup, Chicken liver pate on tartlets with olive pesto, gingered pork skewers and stewed apples with ube ice cream. Maybe. Seems good.

I sit back now as i am typing this. Glancing once in a while out the window into the rainy excuse for a neighborhood, I would like to reflect, but can’t. Don’t feel like it. I have a sore over my left shoulder, a pain I have not felt for three years. The arches on my feet are killing me. It IS peaceful, but I would rather be in a snowy climate teaching my kid how to snowboard.

I would reflect on one thing though: Go google Facebook vs LinkedIn. These social networking sites are popular nowadays. But I am of the opinion that these two will never link up. Why? LinkedIn is for professionals; Facebook are for people who are on their coffee break. LinkedIn connects you to employers, companies and past coworkers. Facebook connects you with friends and gives you the opportunity to stuff your face silly with inane applications. LinkedIn has your professional life logged and maybe even mapped out for you. Facebook has your personal life spread eagled for all and sundry to see. I keep accounts in both. And they serve me well. Have a look at my facebook account and LinkedIn account. Who knows? We may connect somewhere down the road.


A simple tiramisu recipe

I have always loved tiramisu. The first time I had that rich coffee dessert in mouth was when during my travels I had the crazy urge to splurge on sweetness. At one trattoria they had this on display, layers of cheese topped with really dark chocolate. The sensations of coffee liqueur mingled with the sweetness and texture of ladyfingers were inspiring at the time. Had to get the recipe.
Over the years several recipes have passed through my hands and my mixing bowl. Some very complex, some traditional;, some pretentious, and some, like the following recipe, simple and straightforward. So try this one out.
  • 6tbsp kahlua
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp espresso, fresh pressed or 2 tsp nescafe instant coffee powder
  • 2 x 225g Philadelphia Cream cheese, whipped
  • 2 C Anchor whipping cream
  • 2 tsp Hersheys cocoa powder
  • 1 can lady fingers
  1. Combine Kahlua, sugar and espresso (or instant coffee mixed with warm water). Stir until well dissolved.
  2. Whisk together cream cheese, cream and half of kahlua mixture with sugar until light
  3. In a springform pan, layout one layer of lady fingers evenly, leaving as little space as possible.
  4. Brush layer with the remaining kahlua mixture
  5. Spread cheese mixture over lady fingers evenly
  6. Add another layer of layerfingers on top. brush with remaining kahlua mixture.
  7. Spread the remaining cheese mixture evenly on top
  8. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until set.
  9. Before serving, top with sifted cocoa powder


Let us make OREOS at home

Came across this recipe while searching for a way to get my kid to get her hands covered in food. She loves Oreos, Presto Cookies and Stick-O's. So this recipe is set to be easy. Have a go at it and let me know.

For the Chocolate Wafers
1 1/4C All purpose flour
1/2C Hersheys Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2C Sugar
1/2C unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg

Thoroughly mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar through a sieve into a mixing bowl
Gradually add butter into the bowl, then the whole egg
Mix together with a wooden spoon until dough comes together
Line baking sheets with parchment paper
Spoon batter individually unto the tray 2 inches apart
Slightly flatten dough
Bake in preheated oven at 375F for 9 minutes. Then let cool

For Cream Filling
1/4C unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4C Vegetable Shortening
2C Confectioners Sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl. Cream with sugar and vanilla
Beat until light and fluffy
Place in piping bag

To assemble:
place one wafer on the tray
Pipe in enough of the filling on top
place 2nd wafer on top
press lightly to spread filling evenly
Refrigerate then enjoy!


How to Answer Dumb Questions About Vegetarianism |

How to Answer Dumb Questions About Vegetarianism |

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I came across this site while researching about vegetarians. Though the vegetarian lifestyle is much accepted in society, people still get a lot of flak about it. It's a choice. And for all the vegans and vegetarians out theree, here are a few retorts that you can dish out.


Paotsin happy

Paotsin happy 2
Originally uploaded by chefiacm
Me and my daughter recently had dinner at a local mall foodcourt, hungry that she was. After a few hours of playing in the playground, she developed an appetite natural to all growing little angels.
Maxine loves dumplings, siomai, fried or steamed.
Now I know the foodcourt is not exactly the mecca of fine cooking, but PaoTsin caught my eye. For one the line was long compared to the other food outlets. Long. What is so great about it?
For P45 you get a serving of fried sharks fin dumpling, Hainanese rice and chili garlic sauce. I got two. And an extra rice. Total price? P108. Placed on environmental-unfriendly styrofoam plates, the rice servings are big, and the four pieces of dumplings are the size of golfballs.
Maxine's eyes lit up at the sight of the dumplings, but was hesitant about the green Hainanese rice. So I cut a small piece of dumpling, spooned some of the rice, and asked her to close her eyes. I told her to just feel the taste, to just not think that it is green. Then another spoon, then another.
As you can see from the photograph, she loved it. Loved it so much she scooped out of my own plate as well.
The dumplings were filled to the brim, crunchy in texture. The chili garlic sauce was really reeking of the garlic. The spiciness was not over powering. And the Hainanese rice? Real flavorful. For this price, I would go here again, with or without my daughter. Even If i have to line up for ten minutes to get my order in. It really is that good.
We left the foodcourt with full tummies. She did not even ask for dessert. We talked about the food. She says that she would like to have it again next time we go out. Cheap date. We enjoyed ourselves, and it was a joy to photograph her wolfing down the sharks fin. I do have my doubts about it being filled with real sharks fin, but what the heck. It was delicious.

Pots and Pans in a professional kitchen

Originally uploaded by chefiacm
I took this photo while working in a professional kitchen. Amidst the chaos of heat, noise and bumping and grinding, I saw the arrangement as a kind of zen because it looks as if something is getting done, something is being created. It was also a unique site that hot pans are jostling over limited burners, the food steaming over, the smells permeating throughout. Ah, the professional kitchen. Lovely


The environmentally friendly cutting board

I used to have a plastic chopping board. It was white when I bought it, light, sturdy, and relatively convenient. But after years of continuous use, it had become dangerous. Though the surface does take care of the knife edge, other factors contributed to my lifting a finger and chucking it. Over the years the board warped, maybe through heat or abuse, but it eventually was not stable enough. Along the edges dark stains started appearing, and even in minute scratches on the surface. Grime, mold, and other undesirables got lodged, no matter how well it was cleaned. Can it be recyclable? Not that I know of, at least not here in the Philippines.
We found a very good chopping board while shopping at the local mall. It was made entirely of bamboo, light weight and it had a hanging hook.Made with laminated bamboo, it proved to do the job right. It took care of the knife edge. No scratches are evident since the wood is harder than most hardwoods such as maple which is the material used for most boards. Easily washable. At a great price, too. I do most of my cutting on this board.And it is environmentally friendly, since bamboo is a renewable resource.
I really do not need those expensive heavy chopping boards. The bamboo chopping board dries faster than the normal wood board, thereby eliminating moisture which those pesky bacteria and mold thrive on. The boards absorb less moisture, so they are less likely to swell or shrink. Since it is not made of plastic, no chemicals were used. Really organic. I would recommend this to all the chefs in the world. It really would be easier to lug this around since it is light weight, and it comes in different sizes. It is already a mainstay in some Asian countries, and I want to pass on the benefits.


Varied clients, equally varied requirements

Now the heading is not a complaint. In the business of the Personal Chef in Manila, I get to cater to different people all over the metropolis. I get to go into their homes, condos and get intimate with what I call their inner sanctums: the kitchen.
All are different, all our unique in their own way. The heart of every home is the kitchen, a very close second is the bedroom, but that is another story. The variety of cooking equipment are limited only to one's domestic skills, and having worked professionally for the hotels, I tend to regard the kitchen inventory as a kind of book to read clients with.
One client I catered to recently had all the kind of spices you could think of. Even though the kitchen is not what a professional chef is used to, it is interesting that these culinary school graduates love to eat, love the variety, love exploring.
Then there are clients who cook to live, who eat to live, basically. You can spot them even from anyone's college days: one solitary electric burner, a mismatch of pots and pans, ingredients that would perfectly with assembly cooking, such as the client I had last night. The irony of this is that they have some ingredients that point to an occasional gourmet dinner - whole wheat pasta, mixed peppercorn grinder, balsamic vinegar from Modena, vialone rice grains, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, dried garlic, garlic flakes, and even the ever necessary extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany.
A Filipina and an Australian resides in this small cozy apartment, and their kitchen is a small nook next to the dining table. Though limited in space, as such is the case in most condos, They had some equipment that made up for the lack of convenience one would expect to be living independently. A slow cooker is a good substitute for an oven when braising, and I have to say, the braised tilapia in lemon came out great. Since they did not have a proper pasta drainer, the linguine was cooked 8 minutes al dente in a pot then drained into a hand held strainer. The electric stove top was difficult to control, but the caramelization in the pomodoro sauce was near perfect. I made use of every form of bowl in their china to make the avocado mayo dressing and the balsamic marinate for the chicken breasts.
Cooking was done in two hours, and was able to leave heating instructions, since the menu involved a week's worth or pre-cooking. I left to brave the torrential rains outside, forgetting to get coconut cream that I had to get for dinner at home.
30 minutes later, I got a text message from the client saying 'the dinner was awsome! looking forward to tomorrow's entree'. Despite the cold, miserable weather, despite being crushed in a bus on the way home, despite the gray that has colored Metro Manila's streets, a warmth came over me knowing that once again someone is enjoying good company over a good meal that which otherwise they would have not experienced. I intend to change the world, one dinner at a time.