Category Archives: **Tips, Supplies & Preparation

10 ways to prepare noche buena dishes with California Cheese

california cheese platter

Will you be using cheese for your Christmas dinner? I will be preparing Chicken Cannelloni and fondue for our dinner and lunch menu. If you want ideas for a noche buena with cheese as an ingredient, here are some of my recipes. Click on each link.

1. Filipino style spaghetti
2. Cheezy beef patatas
3. A Raclette dinner
4. Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
5. Chicken Cannelloni
6. Malunngay and cheese dip
7. Macaroni and Cheese overload
8. Cheese Fondue
9. Blinis Shrimp Torte Canapés and Cheesecake crunch bites
10. Chicken Cordon Bleu

When you shop in any leading supermarkets, you will discover that there are different Califorina Cheeses to give you more flavor to your Pinoy holiday dishes this year. California Cheese, served on a platter and paired with your favorite wine is great for  conversation.  My family and I often use a variety of cheeses in our noche buena table not just Queso de bola.  Incorporate California Cheese in your favorite Christmas dish and it can warm your family’s heart with its comforting creaminess.

california cheeses from california milk advisory board


While shopping today, I discovered South Supermarket Pasig displayed California Cheeses.

california cheese at south supermarket

Just what is the secret of California Cheese? The answer: California milk produced by happy cows. “The climate of California and the specialized care given by farmers to their cows allow their milk to attain its premium quality,” said Ms. Reji Retugal-Onal, USPB Country Representative.


California is the largest farming state and leading milk producer in the US, leading the nation in the production of fluid milk, butter, ice cream and non-fat dry milk. Of all the state’s milk and milk product categories, California Cheese is the largest and fastest growing category. California has been producing cheese for as long as it has been making wine – more than 200 years and is the 2nd largest cheese and yogurt maker in the US.

How do you know find the California Cheese that is right for your needs? Here is a guide.

california cheese mozzarella

  • Fresh: these lovely cheeses have not been aged or ripened, retaining much of the mild flavor of fresh milk. Cottage cheese, Mascarpone, Mozzarella (water-packed) and Ricotta are some of the more familiar examples. I use mozzarella cheese to top lasagana and Cannelloni.

califorina cheese cheddar

  • Semi-Hard: the broadest range of varieties and style, these cheeses include many of what we commonly refer to as “table cheeses.” They can be anywhere from soft and creamy, having been aged only a few weeks, to moderately firm, aged a month or more. Their flavors also vary, giving you a wide array to choose from. Examples include Cheddar, Feta and Gouda.

california cheddar cheese

  • Soft & Soft-Ripened: delicate and delicious, these cheeses are typically mild when young and develop a fuller flavor with age, often becoming softer and creamier in the process. Brie is an example of this type. Most of its varieties are mild and rich, although Oaxaca and Schloss can have strong flavors.


  • Very Hard: Beauty often comes with age and aged cheeses are no exception. These are the cheeses that are hard enough to grate or crumble. While the Dry Jack and the Enchilado Anejo can be mild, the Asiago, Cotija and Romano can have sharp or strong flavors.


  • Hispanic Style: a broad family of cheeses that reflect the cheesemaking styles and traditions brought to California from Mexico, Central and South America and Spain. You can find varieties that are mild and mellow, as well as ones that are strong and pungent.

califorina monterrey jack

  • Spiced & Flavored: packed with flavor, these are natural cheeses to which a cheesemaker has added natural spices, herbs, and/or vegetable for flavor. You can find flavored versions of Brie, Cheddar, Feta, Gouda, Havarti, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Panela and Provolone.

california cheeses

No matter which variety you choose, you can be assured that it is Real California Cheese made with California Milk if it carries the Real California Milk seal. It is a certification mark that assures consumers they are purchasing natural cheese, made in California exclusively with California milk.

I love that there is an ample supply at the grocery since cheese will always be a primary ingredient not only on Christmas dinners but in most special occasion dishes.

Check out , follow them on twitter at @RealCalifMilk and instagram at

A romantic Raclette dinner to celebrate our 30th anniversary

severin raclette grill

You can purchase the Severin 4 pan Raclette Party Grill online at Lazada. Just click here.

How does one celebrate 30 years of married life? A romantic dinner at the hotel or a romantic dinner at home? 30 years married Then I remembered  our Afternoon Delights with  Braun and Severin kitchen appliances. During that event, I got to bring home this Severin Raclette Party Grill (1,895.00 pesos) because I just knew it would great for interactive cooking during family dinners. WHy not test it out for our anniversary dinner? Having grills on the dinner table turns out to be a great bonding experience with family members. .I have done this many times with Korean grill and the Cheese fondue set. Too bad, my girls don’t live with me but I am sure they would have loved to have been part of this celebration. racletter party gril by severin

You can purchase the Severin 4 pan Raclette Party Grill online at Lazada. Just click here.

I did a little research on the preparation of a Raclette dinner. Raclette is a firm, pungent cheese from Switzerland that is the center of a popular winter social event in the Alpine parts of Europe. The cheese is made of cow’s milk and is salty, and can come in variations made with wine, pepper, and herbs. I bought my Raclette cheese at Shopwise Libis for 145 pesos /100 grams. It is interesting to know the history behind the Raclette dinner and its modernized version .

Photo via
Photo via

The word “raclette” comes from the French word “to scrape.” Raclette makes up a simple meal that was enjoyed by shepherds in the fields. They would boil up some potatoes, and heat a stone and melt a bit of the raclette cheese on the hot stone. Once melted, the cheese was scraped off and served on top of boiled potatoes and sliced cold meats, charcuteries, cornichon pickles, and pickled onions are traditionally served on the side. A dry white wine is best to accompany this dish. severin raclette Raclette preparation does not have to be limited to the classic way it was prepared in the medieval ages. Here is another useful site on “A Guide to Easy & Fun Gourmet Raclette Recipes“. Many raclette recipes are surprisingly easy to make . Just Innovate!  I decided to create my own simplified version using a combination of Raclette and Emmental Cheese. Here is my Raclette dinner version: Sliced Baguette (instead of potatoes) Sliced Pickles (I couldn’t find pickled onions) Raclette cheese, 100 grams (Bought this at Shopwise for 145 pesos/100 grams) Emmental Cheese, 100 grams ( 100 pesos for 100 grams) Asparagus Cherry Onions Bacon slices Swiss sausage raclette grillI heated everything on the top grill and added slices of raclette and emmebtal into the small nonstick pans. There is only one switch for the Severin Raclette party grill so I turned that on. raclette prepration The veggies , cherry tomatoes and asparagus were brushed with olive oil.  The degree of heating depends on you. I just turned it off when the cheese melted below the grill. raclette grill by severin   Then I plated the bread, sausage and other veggies first before pouring the melted cheese on it.  My husband loved it. He wants to try out other cheeses in the future like our native white cheese in combination with Swiss cheeses. What do you think? raclette melting   That’s it.  A very simple and humble meal, yet very filling. My husband and I drank “Yellow Tail” red wine (instead of white sine) to celebrate our 30th years of married life.  What a great conversation piece.

severin raclette grill

You can purchase the Severin 4 pan Raclette Party Grill online at Lazada. Just click here.

raclette melted cheese

Having Braun and Severin appliances in your kitchen

Mom bloggers were in for a treat when we got introduced to German quality brands : Braun and Severin appliances . My kitchen has almost all of the appliances I needed but for sure, I need additional ones to complement my existing ones. Well the treat is we got to know two quality and reputable brands with modern design and practical features. They are  affordable too. Let me give you a preview on some of their small appliances.

For instance, the Severin appliances makes an outstanding impression in any kitchen, like tasty snacks can be prepared at the touch of a hand. Take a look at the Crepe Maker ( 2,195 pesos ). You can have a crepe station for their family members. It is such a fun way to prepare snacks.

severin crepe maker

Severin makes cooking and baking create sweet treats easily with their mixer ( 3,995 pesos ) and bread maker ( 5,695 pesos).

severin mixer


severin bread maker

One of the easiest way to prepare healthy food is through juicing. I usually drink green juice just before bedtime. You will be glad to know that Severin has a slow juicer at an affordable price of 8,995 pesos.

severin juicer

You can purchase Severin Style Juicer online through Lazada. Click here.

My favorite appliance is the Raclette Party Grill ( 1,895.00 pesos) because this is good for interactive dinners and great conversation. I plan to have a Raclette dinner during our wedding anniversary .

severin raclette

Braun TributeCollection Food Processor( 8,795.00 pesos) is very useful in any kitchen , to facilitate repetitive tasks in the preparation of food.
braun food processor

Braun Omelette Multiquick 3 Hand Blender ( 3,695.00 pesos) is quite handy for the preparation of omelettes and quick mixing of liquids.

braun mixer

I am such big fan of home cooking . With the help of kitchen aids and small appliances, the convenience of cooking makes it so much fun. Whip up culinary delights with food mixers and processors. Create your own delicious loaves with a Severin breadmaker. Whether you’re a rising cook or see yourself as an expert cook, Braun and Severin offers a wide range of small kitchen appliances that is perfect for your kitchen.

severin products

Braun and Severin appliances are carried at Gourdos, Rustans, and major appliance stores. or

You can purchase Severin appliances and Braun appliances online through Lazada. Browse Severin appliances and Braun appliances .

Tips in Cooking Adobo

My husband is fond of buying me recipe books or any books about food. One such book is The Adobo Book (Traditional & Jazzed Up Recipes) by Reynaldo Gamboa Alejandro and Nancy Reyes-Lumen. Not only do you get recipes of various authors but trivia and essays on adobo. The Personal Styles reflect the cook’s preferences. You should read the more than 100 adobo recipe variations ranging from Pork Adobo in Buco Juice, Adobong Tsino, Microwave Adobo, Fresh Oysters Adobo, Adobo sa beer and so much more.

My daughter who is now based in Germany once asked me how to cook Adobo. I told her there are many ways to cook Adobo, of course. What I’d like to show from the “Adobo Book” are tips for cooking adobo which is entitled the “10+ Commandments in Cooking Adobo”. I am sure you will learn a tip or two even if you have been cooking adobo for years.

1. Pork Liempo is best, tastiest and is better with skin-on. When cooked, becomes sticky and gelatin-y and helps thicken the sauce gloriously.

2. Simmer! Cook meats in low fire from start to finish (till meats are tender) and sauce is reduced [Cook uncovered in the last 10 minutes]

3. The usual ratios are

  • 1 kilo meat (chicken or pork): 1/2 cup native vinegar (reduce accordingly to acidity of vinegar).
  • 1 kilo meat (chicken or pork): 1/2 cup vinegar: 1/4 cup water
  • Soy sauce can range from 2 tablespoon to 4 tablespoon per 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 kilo meat: 1/2 cup vinegar or acid: 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2-4 tablespoon soy sauce: 5- 10 peppercorns: 1 laurel leaf

4. Cook chicken separately from pork. Flavors come out better. Then combine later when serving.

5. Always have salt in adobo. It helps balance the acidity.

6. Crush peppercorn at the last minute to retain its aroma.

7. 1 medium-sized laurel leaf can add flavor and aroma to 1/2 kilo meat. If you have the chance, use fresh laurel leaves.

8. Garlic. Crush only when about to be used. If left in the marinade overnight, it will lose its strong flavor. Be generous with garlic.

9. Braise meat first in, first out till brown. Then simmer till tender. For a better finish, bake at the last 15 minutes.

10. Mix with liver spread or mashed liver. Broiling or roasting liver over coal adds a nutty flavor.

11. Adobo with gata. Gata can be combined with coco milk and coco cream.

12. Do not stir vinegar till it has cooked. That is, when all the acid has evaporated. Your nose will tell.

13. Cook covered and on low heat (also called simmering)

14. The “Flow Chart” of Cooking Adobo

Marinate –> braise–> simmer –> tenderize –> fry –> reduce –> keep for a day –> serve!

I bet you didn’t know all of the above tips. I must admit that I wasn’t aware of Tip number 10 where you add liver for a nutty flavor.

When it comes to the adobo dish on regular basis, I serve 3 variations of adobo: the Classic Adobo Recipe, the Chicken Adobo in coconut cream and White Adobo.

What about you? How many adobo dishes do you regularly cook?