recipes

Leche Flan

I have a confession to make… we are blessed once again with another angel! I am currently on my 18th week and have already passed the rough days (and nights) of nausea, heartburn, and food aversion. Now, we’re just very excited, just like the first time.

Everytime Alexa sees my growing tummy, she would blurt out, “hi baby!” and would give my tummy a kiss and lots of love. She is such a darling, but at times, she can be an unstoppable toddler. She would run here and there, and would (baby) talk or scream nonstop. And that’s why mommy’s often exhausted.

During the weekend, I had more energy.. plus I have eggs and milk in the pantry! So I made leche flan!

Leche flan, also known as caramel custard, is one of the top desserts in the Philippines. I remember my lolo (grandfather) who used to make leche flan for his grandchildren, and my sister who would unselfishly save a very big piece for herself!

Leche Flan

Ingredients:

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 small can condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • granulated sugar

Procedure:

  • Beat all egg yolks in a big bowl with a fork or egg beater.
  • Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour in evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Mix well and set aside. (You can strain the mixture using cheesecloth or a fine strainer to make a smooth leche flan)
  • Put about 2 tbsp sugar in the mold (llanera). Place over the stove and heat over low fire until the sugar turns to caramel (light brown liquid). Spread the caramel evenly on the mold. Let cool a bit, about 5 minutes. (For the mold, I used three 8 x 4 inches aluminum loaf pan)
  • Pour the egg and milk mixture on top of the cooled caramel. Cover the mold with aluminum foil.
  • Steam for 30-35 minutes. After steaming, let the temperature cool down then refrigerate.
  • Serve for dessert.

It is so delish as much as it looks good on the photo, I swear! And it is so easy to prepare.

My sister has already requested me to make some leche flan for her when she comes over next month. She will have the whole llanera for herself!

Thanks for dropping by!

Alexa’s Mom

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Soft Pretzel Bites

A lazy Monday to all!

It’s always difficult to get up on a Monday morning and prep for work especially if you have slept so much over the weekend. Although I have done some DIY-ing which I can’t wait to finish (or HAVE TO finish before the big tummy pops!). I’ll keep you posted on that.

We had our gyne appointment last Saturday morning, and doctor has confirmed that I am already on my full term and baby Alexa may come out anytime soon. Nervous but excited!

After the fuss of researching on what to put in my hospital bag, doctor told us we don’t need to bring anything but the hospital admission letter, our ID’s, and our marriage certificate. Everything else is provided by the hospital. But of course, we need to bring our mobile phones and cameras to capture this important moment, and whatever else that we feel is essential to bring. At least knowing that would make our life easier.

Anyway, it seems like I cannot pass the weekend without doing some baking so I squeezed in some time to bake some pretzel bites which I wanted to learn to do even before I had the oven, ‘coz I love Auntie Anne’s pretzels but don’t buy them often ‘coz it’s kinda pricey.

I did two varieties from one dough: Salted soft pretzel bites AND Cinnamon sugar soft pretzel bites.

Ingredients for the soft pretzels:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 active dry yeast (I used instant active dry yeast)
  • 85 grams (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water

Additional ingredients for Salted soft pretzel bites:

  • Coarse sea salt

Additional ingredients for Cinnamon sugar soft pretzel bites:

  • 2 tbsp. sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon

Procedure:

  • Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. (I used instant active dry yeast, so it’s added to the flour and no need to sit for 5 minutes)
  • Add the salt and flour (4 1/2 cups first) and mix on low speed until combined.
  • Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
  • Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. (As with the previous recipes which require rising, I put the bowl inside the oven with temperature off.)
  • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.
  • Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches, about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon.
  • Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching.

Next procedure for Salted soft pretzel bites:

  • Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Serve with cheese sauce. (I did not do the cheese sauce ‘coz I have a store-bought cheese sauce at home.)
  • To make the cheese sauce:  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese until smooth and all of the cheese is melted.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Next procedure for Cinnamon sugar soft pretzel bites:

  • Bake the pretzels for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and immediately place the pretzel bites on a cooling rack.
  • Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops generously with cinnamon sugar. You want to do this over the cooling rack and not on the pan you bake the pretzel bites on or else the sugar will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  • Put the pretzel bites back on the first pan and continue baking for an additional 8-10 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Serve with Salted Caramel Sauce.

I tried to do the salted caramel sauce (‘coz apart from cinnamon, I also love caramel!), but I unfortunately failed! I was doing well until I added in the butter. It was a complete mess! *disappointed*

Not my photos. My pretzels did not turn out to be as eye-candy as theirs. (Click on photos for source.)

I find making pretzels to be a bit tedious, so next time maybe I would prefer to just buy from Auntie Anne’s. Or maybe yesterday just was not my day. (Still disappointed with the burnt caramel sauce!)

Have a lovely week ahead!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Today is DIY day. We are painting our old dark brown console white. But that post would be for later ‘coz we are still working on it.

I am not allowed to get long exposure to paint fumes so after just a few brush and roller strokes, hubby would fill in and do most of the work. So while he’s at it, I thought of baking some cookies for him and for a friend who’s visiting tomorrow.

I’ve always thought that making cookies is easy. But since I have never tried doing it, I googled cookie recipes on the “easy” level and found this Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies With Only 6 Ingredients by Baker Bettie. Love her food photography style too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar, preferable dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, preferably rolled oats
  • kosher salt (optional)

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Mix the butter and sugar together until completely combined.
  • Add the egg and mix until incorporated. If using, add the vanilla, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. (I used them, ‘coz I love cinnamon!)
  • Stir in the flour then the raisins and oatmeal until combined.
  • Drop rounded mounds of dough on ungreased cookie sheets and sprinkle with salt if using. Flatten the dough mounds slightly before baking. (You can use ice cream or cookie scoop for this. I don’t have any of those so I used 1/4 cup measuring spoon and pressed to half of it, which resulted to a big chunky cookie.)
  • Bake at 350ºF until just lightly browned on the edges and middle still looks undercooked, about 9 minutes. (I baked mine for 12-15 minutes.)

My new poster in the kitchen… Keep calm and COOK!

Total yield: 30 pcs of big chunky cookies! They aren’t as sweet as I expected them to be, but I love them! Not a sweet tooth, anyway…

If I were to make them for the baby shower, I would make them smaller and bite-sized.

Now going back to our painting job…

Thanks for dropping by!

Oven-Baked Meals

Wow, time flies really fast! It’s already August!

The last two days were dead-tiring! The whole Tuesday was spent packing, cleaning, moving, and unpacking… and some more unpacking yesterday, and a little appliance shopping. Once in a while, I had to remember that I cannot push myself to my limit because it would not be good for me and my baby.

Anyway, we already ordered the oven yesterday so I am looking forward to this Saturday for it to be delivered to us. I got the manual type of Rowenta Oven (OC3838), not the one I mentioned in my previous post. Aside from the fact that it is S$200.00 cheaper and space-saving (no extra bulk at the back due to the turbo fan), I just felt that I don’t really need the special functions of the Rowenta OC7891. I am not an expert in the kitchen, but I know how to follow instructions/recipes, so I guess I can manage. I just need to get to know my new BFF more. (Note: BFF stands for “Best Friends Forever”. In this post, it’s a.k.a. new Rowenta oven. haha!)

I have rounded up some oven-baked meals in my Pinterest board, Meals and Other Edibles, to get me started. (Click on the image for source)

Potato Overload

Doesn’t it look yummy? Here’s another one…

Simple, but would surely make hubby say “mmm…” with eyes closed!

This is called Loaded Baked Potato Salad, although when reading the recipe, I cannot find any instruction to bake it. Well anyhow, it’s still potatoes. *shrug*

Pizza and Pasta

Pizza and pasta in one!

Another must try. Maybe I don’t need to order pizzas anymore on pizza nights with friends!

Now let’s go Mexican!

Hungry already? I AM!

What’s your favourite oven-baked recipe? Please feel free to share.

P.S. To follow me on Pinterest, please click here. Thank you!

Sweet Tooth? Not really…

When I told my friends that I’m pregnant, they would always ask me, “What do you crave for?” And I would always answer back, “nothing unusual..” My normal, pre-pregnancy cravings are always salty food. Even up to now, although I try to eat less of it because of the little one. (Daydreaming mode ON: I can see about 2 years from now, me and little Alexa watching her favourite cartoons while sharing a big bag of Doritos.. yum! haha!)

Recently, hubby and I have been doing some window shopping for a table top oven to purchase once we have moved to our new house. Initially, hubby wanted a built-in type but with the additional cost for installation works, I told him that I can settle for the table top type. I’m a newbie in baking, anyway. After doing some research, I think we will be going for the Rowenta OC7891. It’s a bit pricey, but have read a lot of good reviews about it.

Because I am SOOOO excited about getting my hands on this oven, a lot of sweet treats have been pinned to my Pinterest board, Food, waiting to be tried and tested. (Click on image for source)

This is Nigella Lawson’s chocolate cake recipe, which, according to Ju, is a very easy, fail-proof recipe that even a child or a newbie baker (that’s me!) can make. So I guess this will be the very first recipe that I’m gonna try.

Cupcakes for breakfast? Why not? It has everything you would want to eat in the morning — bacon, eggs, hash browns, and cheese!

Cheesecake…

.. and another cheesecake…

.. and another cheesecake! Ooohh… this one I LOVE! Even without the cheesecake, haha!

My sister used to bake chocolate chip cookies really, really well. We even sell them in school or give it out as presents for Christmas.

Caramel-glazed apple bread.

Love salted caramel! Starbucks had the Salted Caramel Mocha drink for a limited time and it was a heaven of salty sweetness! Hope it comes back soon!

I’m kinda in love with brownies, so I’d probably be stocking up on this.

I also would like to try baking Filipino breads that I miss — Pan de sal (salted bread), Spanish bread, coconut macaroons, and this…

Napoleones! A favourite pastry from Bacolod City, Philippines, my mom’s hometown. We always ask our relatives from Bacolod to bring us some when they visit Manila.

Now I’m drooling just looking at those photos!

Will be trying these recipes soon. And I promised hubby that I will be making lots of healthy treats for him as well.

Just an update, I am now at the end of my 28th week. My tummy is getting a lot bigger and heavier everyday, and walking can be really tiring now. Little Alexa has been doing some stretching inside the tummy, I often feel one side of my tummy hard like her head is pushing against it. And hubby needs to give me a push when getting out of bed ‘coz I cannot sit up by myself, haha. We’ll be seeing the doctor tomorrow for some blood/glucose tests. Hope everything will go well.

Have a great Thursday!