Category Archives: Christmas

buco-fruit-salad1

Buko Fruit Salad

buco fruit salad

New Year’s Eve media noche must have a fruit salad on the dinner table. The most popular fruit salad is the Buko salad. The popularity of fruits during New Year’s Eve celebration is part of the tradition to bring in good luck, fortune and prosperity. Even before the New Year arrives, my children already wants to eat it.

Ingredients
5 large cans of Del Monte Fruit Cocktail (Imported)
Grated Coconut meat from 10 buko (young coconut)
2 cans lychees
1 small bottle nata de coco (green)
1 small bottle nata de coco (red)
1 small bottle kaong (green)
1/4 kilo seedless grapes
3 small china apples , cubed
2 can condensed milk
2 packs Nestle Cream
1 can Peaches for topping
Optional : walnuts, water chestnuts for extra texture
Few red or green kaong for topping

Procedure
1. Drain the fruits from the can for at least 2 hours. This is to prevent a soggy fruit salad.

2. When all the juices have been drained, mix all the fruits together in a bowl.

mix fruit salad

3. Add the condensed milk and cream till well blended.

4. Transfer to serving bowls and top with peaches and cherries. I also add green kaong for additional decor.

fruit salad

5. Freeze or Refrigerate properly. (Buko spoils if not refrigerated or frozen. I prefer to freeze the rest of the buko salad if it isn’t eaten within the day.)

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Baked November 25, 2014

A taste of home: My Golden Fruitcake recipe

Update: Use the banyo maria or Baño Maria (or bake steaming) to prevent over-drying of your fruit cake.

December 2013
December 2013

It’s the time of the year when one needs to plan for the holidays. As early as September, I already know what to bake for Christmas. A childhood memory that never fails to remind me of the Christmas season is Fruitcake. I used to bake a lot of fruitcake in the past but the girls never really got around to acquiring a taste for it. They preferred the Gingerbread Man Cookies because of the story behind it , after I bake the first batch.  It must have been the empty nest that inspired me to start baking Fruitcake.  The memory of my mom baking this every Christmas season gave me so much comfort. The aroma of the fruit cake adds to the festive spirit of the season.

I am also surprised that more and more people are raving for fruitcake. I see it in my facebook wall. In the past, friends hated it when they were given a fruitcake. It was only last year that I started baking two batches. Two good friends received my fruitcake because I was sure they appreciated fruitcake. This year, I showed the fruitcakes that I baked in Facebook, and I was again surprised that some even wanted to buy. Maybe next year, I will bake a few for sale. At least, I will be prepared to buy the ingredients at wholesale prices.

Anyway, fruitcake flavor is best when it has been aged for a few months in a cool place (preferably the refrigerator in the Philippines). Ideally, one month of storage is a to bring out the best flavors. I know others age starting January. I should try it too.

golden fruitcake slice

Fruitcakes taste better with age. This is called “ripening.”

For those of you who want to bake Fruitcakes for the Holidays, here is a recipe which I call Golden Fruitcake. I’ve modified this based from my mom’s original fruitcake recipe. My Golden Fruitcake does not have a strong taste of brandy nor is it too sweet. Anyway, there’s a lot of preparation so make sure you run down the list carefully.

Here is my Golden Fruitcake recipe

Prepare 2 loaf pans (a 8.5×4.5 pan) or 5 loaf pans (6 x 3 pan)  or a combination of both

Ingredients

I buy most of my ingredients at Chocolate Lovers in Quezon City (see Facebook Page)

1 Cup butter (I use Golden Crown)
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
4 large eggs (1 cup) or 5 medium eggs
3 cups all purpose four
1/2 cups flour (to dredge fruits and nuts)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
5 Tablespoon prune juice
3 Tablespoons Molasses
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (mix in molasses)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups nuts (Combination of walnuts, pecan, cashew, pili or almond slivers)
1 1/2 cups dates
1 1/2 cups fruit glaze (combination of local and imported fruit glaze)
1/2 cup cherry brandy

Extra Cherries, fruit glaze,nuts for decorating on top of cake
Cherry brandy to brush top of the cake (use wine or even a fruit juice of your choice)

Preparation

Fruit Mix

1. Soak fruits in 1/2 cup cherry brandy overnight.
2. Drain the fruits for 1 hour. Set aside.
3. Dredge fruit and nuts with 1/2 cup flour so they won’t sink in batter. Shake off excess flour and use in the recipe.

Preparing the Baking pan

1. Don’t use waxpaper.
2. Use thick cellphane (1 piece only) and use enough to cover the cake after baking.
3. You can also use aluminum. More messy but more sure.

Batter

fruit cake batter

1. Heat oven to slow.

2. Cream Shortening and add sugar slowly until fluffy.

3. Beat in egg one at a time, beating after each addition until light.

4. Blend Flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg.

5. Stir in alternately with milk, molasses, juices and vanilla beginning and ending with flour.

6. With 1/2 cup flour. add to fruit mixture.

7. The batter is then mixed to the fruits. Add the nuts on top of the batter.

8. Put batter in cellophane lined or aluminum lined pans (4 pans)

9. Bake for one (1 1/2) hour to 2 hours at 300 F. ( But do check the temperature based on the pan you use. Never bake beyond 325 F)

bano maria

IMPORTANT: To prevent dryness in the fruit cake, use the banyo maria. Place the pans in a larger pan containing an inch of water, the result of which is bake-steaming the fruit cake batter.

10. At 45 minutes baking time, remove pans from oven and decorate top with cherries, nuts and fruits.

11. Cover pan with overlapping aluminum foil to prevent burning.

12. Bake one hour or so until done. Test for doneness by placing a metal/wooden skewer in center of cake. If it comes out clean, cake is done. Be careful not to over bake.

13. Always cool fruitcakes completely in pan and remove when cold.

After Baking

  • Keep cellophane or aluminum intact with the cake
  • After baking and the cake has cooled down, brush the top of the cake with cherry brandy
  • Wrap the whole cake with the overlapping cellophane or aluminum , then more aluminum foil to cover the whole cake ending with colored cellophane.
Baked November 25, 2014
Baked November 25, 2014

Tips

1. It’s important to drain the fruit mix for 1 hour. This is because alcohol destroys the cake batter.
2. Nuts are not placed in the batter; rather it is placed ON TOP of the batter. I still mix in the buts anyway. I use a combination of nuts.
3. Never use peanuts but do use pili, cashew, walnuts, or black walnuts.
4. The batter is mixed to the fruits so that the emulsion in the batter is not destroyed.

Storage

1. Once a week, brush the cakes with more liquor/cherry brandy. (or wrap the fruit cake with cheese cloth soaked in liquor)
2. Seal the cakes in plastic wrap or in plastic storage bags.

Yield: 2 loaf pans (a 8.5×4.5″ pan)

5 loaf pans with 6 x 3 pans
In another batch  I had 3 cakes 8 x 3 and 1 cake 6 x 3

I have 5 recipes for fruitcake but based on my past experience, the above recipe gave me the best results.

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Maple Rum Cake using Anchor Maple butter

anchor maple butter pack

My Noche Buena menu is always special. I honor the day with something lovingly baked from my kitchen. I plan my groceries ahead of time so I never ran out of supplies. Butter has to be Anchor because I prefer to source my ingredients from either Australia or New Zealand. To my surprise , the grocery offered “Anchor Holiday Pack”, with Buy 2 Anchor Butter and get 1 FREE Anchor Maple butter. It’s my first time to come across Anchor maple and right away thought of a butter cake. At the back of the carton was a recipe for “Maple Rum Cake”. What a brillant idea. My kids are not too hot about Fruit Cake. Something new like “Maple Rum Cake” might be a better idea for our Noche Buena.

maple rumcake

I turned out a more festive Rum Cake in keeping with the Holiday season. The recipe as shown below came from the back part of the Anchor Maple butter carton. The only modification I did was soak 1/4 cup of raisins in 1/4 cup Tanduay Rum.

Ingredients

anchor maple butter
1 bar Anchor Maple (200 g)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 pieces eggs

Glaze

1/2 bar Anchor Maple (200 g), melted
1/ cup sugar
water for syrup
Rum (to taste)
Optional ( soak 1/4 cup of raisins in 1/4 cup Tanduay Rum)
Grapes, cherries to decorate the Rum Cake

Procedure:

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Adds eggs one at a time.

3. Add Vanilla

4. Mix together the baking powder,flour and salt.

5. Stir into the mixture.

6. Pour into a greased loaf pan (I used a round pan to make it look festive.)

7. Bake at 180 Celsius until the toothpick comes out clean.

8. Cool then glaze.

freshly baked rum cake
In case you want to shop for a KitchenAid mixer, you can purchase it at Lazada. Click here to buy KitchenAid 5KSM150PS 5-Quart Artisan Stand Mixer

Here is the freshly baked Rum cake. (Don’t you love my Raspberry frosted Kitchen Aid?) I decorated the cake with seedless grapes, maraschino cherries, green glazed cherries and raisins soaked soaked in rum. The decors make it look even more festive.

Glaze

1. Dissolve the sugar into water.

2. Add in the melted butter and rum.

Optional: stir in the raisins soaked in rum.

3. Pour all over the Rum cake.

4. Decorate with seedless grapes, cherries and green cherries.

maple rum cake-decors

And the verdict. My daughter loved the texture. She wished I placed more rum though. Maybe next time?

In case you want to shop for a KitchenAid mixer, you can purchase it at Lazada. Click here to buy KitchenAid 5KSM150PS 5-Quart Artisan Stand Mixer

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Marks & Spencer Food Line to celebrate the Season

Window shopping can be quite an amazing experience especially when browsing for Christmas gift ideas. While passing along Marks & Spencer in EDSA Shangrila mall, I spotted their window display of festive food gifts. I’m quite a huge fan of giving the gift of food and drink. With friends or relatives coming over for Noche Buena, food will always be needed on standby.

I asked for the gift brochure from the sales personnel and glanced once again at the pretty window display. I know my husband will surely buy wine as gifts for his wine lover friends. Wines are ideal gifts during Christmas and New Year as one toasts in celebration of the season.

Vintage from across the world comprise wine duo sets such as Festive Wine duo with Italian Red and White Wine (1195 pesos); the Celebration wine duo of Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon and Gold Label Chardonnay (1495 pesos), and the Luxury Wine Duo of Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo and Asti (1795 pesos).

Don’t know what to give someone on short notice? Almost everyone I know appreciates the gift of food. You can never go wrong with gift baskets or the food gift trays from Marks & Spencer. From perfectly made pasta and refreshing wines to decadent chocolates and delectable biscuits, I can tell that the selection were hand picked carefully for discerning tastes. There are three food gift trays: Classic favorites (2850 pesos), Pure Indulgence (3350 pesos) and Luxury Collection (3850 pesos).

Want to peek inside the “Luxury Collection”? There are items to prepare for a special dinner or for tea. Even the young ones get chocolate treats. Check out the South African Red Wine 2011 75 cl, Italian Farfalie Pasta 500 g, Carbonara Pasta Sauce 340 g, Dark Roast Café Noir 100 g, English Breakfast teabags 50 teabags, Chunky Winter Vegetable Soup 400 g, Smooth Peanut butter 340 g, Triple Chocolate Crunch – 500 g, Extremely Chocolatey Milk Chocolate Rounds 150 g, Mint Humbugs- 225 g, Swiss Milk Chocolate Bar – 125 g, Cranberry and Raspberry High Juice 1 L.

Want the more affordable “Classic Favorites”? The contents are almost similar to the “Luxury Collection” but has lesser chocolate treats. There is something to prepare for that surprise guests and even for the kids. Check out the House Red Wine 75cl, Italian Penne Pasta 500 g, Bolognese Pasta Sauce 340 g, Classic House Blend One Cup Filters, Organic Green Tea with Lemon Infusion 20 teabags, Traditional British Porridge Oats 500 g,, Bourbon Biscuits 400 g, Swiss Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts 200g, Sparkling Lemonade 1 L, Cream of Mushroom Soup.

I was surprised to find more treats inside that will surely please everyone in your list. Such a delight to browse and ponder which family member might want this food item.

There is a wide array of collectible tin cans for the Scottish Shortbread Biscuit Selection. Shortbread is a classic Scottish dessert consisting of three basic ingredients: flour, sugar, and butter. In the good old days, shortbread was quite expensive and reserved as a luxury food for special occasions such as Christmas. The texture of the shortbread biscuit is crisp, lightly sweet, deliciously buttery with just a tinge of saltiness. Gifting someone with this Shortbread biscuit can be a start of a new tradition.

The London Bus Shortbread tin is only 1195 pesos.

This Telephone booth Tin Can is just too cute with various perspectives in the four sides of the can.

The Scottish Shortbread Assortment Tin is 995 pesos only.

Who can’t resist Percy Pig? Marks and Spencer developed Percy Pig into a brand in its own right. With Percy Pig Biscuit Tin at 595 pesos, the tin can is s cute keepsake.

You know that I bake Gingerbread cookies. Occasionally I give Gingerbread cookies as gift items but only if I am able to bake a lot. Now you don’t have to look far to buy these festive gingerbread men.

Chocolate lovers will surely love the assortment of mouth-watering chocolate treats. You could fill everyone’s Christmas stockings with sweet chocolate cheer. Here are some ideas.

A collection of Belgian chocolates.

Mint Chocolate boxes

Even kids will get thrilled to receive chocolate candies inside their stockings. I found some ideas that I can stuff into my girls’ stockings like these giant coins.

There are a bunch of smaller coins and Percy Pig chocolates. I think chocolate Christmas gifts are festive, and fun to give away no matter the age.

I am showing only some of Marks & Spencer’s food line. While one might find the Marks & Spencer a premium brand, there is wide range of packages for every budget. It gives value for money so I can get a reasonably priced gift that is extra special and will be appreciated by the recipients.¬¬


With the Marks & Spencer food line, I found so many delicious ways to bring the warmth and joy of the Christmas spirit to my special friends and loved ones.

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How to bake and decorate Christmas Sugar Cookies

Baking sugar cookies are not my cup of tea. It’s labor intensive. I’d rather bake bar cookies because they are so much easier. You dump all the dry, wet, mix and voila, one gets a yummy cookie. Not with sugar cookies. Whenever I bake sugar cookies, my kids know it’s a labor of love. It’s the love that makes me continue on with this tradition even if they are now adult children. Let me share with you the Christmas Sugar cookies that have been a continuing Christmas tradition for the past twenty years in my family. You can even prepare sugar cookies weeks ahead before you give them to your friends and relatives. Just store them in a cool, dry container.

If you are located in Manila, Philippines, you don’t have to go far to Divisoria to buy your ingredients. You can purchase at Chocolate Lover.

NOTE: The Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe can be used only for your personal use and cannot be posted in your website, blog or any other site, form or means without my WRITTEN permission

Ingredients for Cookie dough

4 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft butter
2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Procedure

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, nutmeg, and salt.
2. In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, eggs and flavoring.

3. Cream on Speed no. 7 for 2 minutes.

4. Turn to speed no. 3.
5. Add milk and flour mixture gradually beating until blended (3 minutes)
6. Refrigerate dough until easy to handle
7. Set oven to 375 F to preheat
8. Grease Cookie Sheets
9. Roll dough on lightly floured board (Tip: in this case, I rolled straight onto the cookie sheet)

10. For crisp cookies roll to 1/8 inch thick
For soft cookies, roll to 1/4 inch thick

(Note: I prefer crisp cookies because I can hang them on garlands)

12. Cut with floured cookie cutter

13. Place on prepared cookie sheets, brush with milk (optional)

(note- since I rolled it on the cookie sheet, it makes dough handling easier)

14. Bake at 375 F for 10-12 minutes until edges become light brown

15. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on brown paper or paper towelling.

Some of the cookies tend to burn easily if the rolled dough is thin.

YIELD: 10 dozen 1/8 inch thick cookies

Icing for decoration

3 Egg Whites (1/3 cup)
3 to 4 cups Confectioners Sugar
(this yields around 4 cups of icing which you can use for Christmas cookie decorating)

Procedure

1. Beat egg whites until stiff.

2. add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

3. Add confectioner sugar until well blended

To decorate

You will need sprinkles, icing and imagination. I assume you know how to use an icing tip. If not, then I will have to teach it in another entry.

Prepare sprinkles. I buy my sprinkles from “Chocolate Lovers”

Just outline the shapes, or ice and add sprinkles

After the icing has set, I wrap the cookies individually and hang them on the Christmas garlands

I am not an expert in decorating cookies. For more ideas , watch this video:

Contact address of Chocolate Lover– to buy baked ingredients

45 P. Tuazon Blvd. corner
C. Beniztez St. Cubao
Quezon, 1109 Philippines

(632) 411-7474
(632) 724-5752
(632) 724-4964

[email protected]

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Lechon Paella for Filipino Christmas Lunch

lechon paella
If you’re inviting over a large number of family members and friends for Christmas dinner and have no time to prepare all that food for them, consider ordering an entire lechon paella. Lechon paella is a succulent, roasted, boneless young pig stuffed with hot, seafood paella, make the whole fare a meal in itself. The whole lechon can feed a group of about twenty people with healthy appetites and you might even have some left over for paksiw.

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Order Traditional Noche Buena Filipino Dishes

roast turkey
You suddenly find that your holiday dishes are not enough for your guests. What do you do? Cooking can be stressful especially if one is faced with a lot of visitors. The thing to do is to order your Holiday dishes from reliable restaurants. Here are a few ideas of traditional Noche Buena dishes from Mario’s Restaurant:

  • Embutido at 975 pesos
  • Chicken Relleno at 1,100 pesos
  • Chicken Galantina at 1,275 pesos
  • Pastel de Lengua at 1,800 pesos
  • Cochinillo at 1,250 pesos a kilo
  • Paella Valenciana at 1,500 pesos

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Puto Bumbong at Via Mare

puto bumbong at via mare
Puto Bumbong from Via Mare

This is the almost perfect puto bumbong you can ever eat in an urban center. And you can order two pieces at 67 pesos at any Via Mare Restaurant. After a stressful shopping spree at Landmark Makati, I chose to rest at the Via Mare on the second floor right beside the ladies bag section. I was thrilled that they offered Puto Bumbong. I forgot how puto bumbong tasted like after my horrifying experience with the Puto bumbong vendor at the church grounds. Before I talk about Puto bumbong of Via Mare, allow me to share how some commercial puto bumbong vendors “cheat” us out of the real puto bumbong experience. Here is the puto bumbong which I bought for 20 pesos from the vendor after the misa de gallo.

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Gingerbread House from Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Gingerbread HouseThe Gingerbread House is an impressive centerpiece in the noche buena table. The attractive candy colors will surely delight anyone of all ages and serve as a conversation piece. This particular Gingerbread house is made by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Christmas Tradition. The Gingerbread house is made with chocolate and royal icing. My friend, Reggie sells it at her online shopping site at Regalo Service for $87.00 (approx. PHP 3,741.00)

Place your Gingerbread House orders here.

Now if you want to make your own Gingerbread House, I found this Gingerbread House dough recipe and the steps in assembling the house.

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