Pastillas-de-leche2

Pastillas de Leche (Candied Milk)

Hey folks!  It’s sweets time again.  I had a hankering for some pastillas de leche (pronounced ‘pastilyas de leh-cheh‘) over the weekend and because we no longer live near any Filipino grocer, I decided to make them myself. Of course, it’s not as authentic as the pastillas from Philippines but I guess it’s close enough.

If you’re not Filipino, you’re probably wondering, “what in the world is pastillas de leche?“.  Well the name is Spanish and it literally translates to tablet (pastillas) milk (leche)  but we know it as candied milk.  It’s a milk dessert or milk candy traditionally made with carabaos’s milk.  “What is carabao?”, I hear you ask.  Well, it’s a type of water buffalo that can be found in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia.  Since there’s no carabao to be found here, we’ll have to use condensed milk and powdered milk.

Aww, aren’t they cute?  I almost feel bad having to nom nom nom on it :D

Pastillas de Leche – makes roughly about 45 milk candies.  I did not know it would make so many!  This would be a good amount to make to give as presents.

400g condensed milk
2 1/4 cups powdered milk
1/3 cup caster or regular white sugar
cold butter

cellophane

1. Cut the cellophane into small squares, roughly about 14×10 cm’s. In a large bowl, mix condensed milk and milk powder until well combined.  I suggest that you use a wooden/rubber spatula to mix and put some elbow grease into it.  It’s quite hard work mixing it through. DO NOT use your hands to mix it as it’s very sticky.

2. Rub a small amount of butter on your palms and spoon out a small amount (cherry size) of the dough on your palm and roll it into a ball.

3. Begin to shape the ball into a cylinder shape about 5-6 cm.

4. Roll the candied milk onto the sugar making sure to cover it entirely.

5. Place candied sugar on the bottom of a cellophane and wrap it by rolling it all the way to the top.  Twist the ends to close the wrapper.

Oh, just for fun, I made a video tutorial on rolling and wrapping the candy.  Check it out if you like. :)

The pastillas will start to harden a little bit (but still chewy) once they’re all wrapped up and make sure to store them in an airtight container.  Consume within 3 days or they can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  They would be so much prettier with different coloured cellophane wrappers but I didn’t have much luck finding coloured ones on the weekend.

As I mentioned before, this would be a lovely gift idea for friends birthdays and for colleagues at the office for christmas .  I’ll share mine with the office.  I hope no one’s lactose intolerant :P

Enjoy

MJ

tuna-pasta-salad

Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill

Well, hello! You’re probably thinking, finally, something healthy for once! Haha! Well, almost.  I do eat the odd healthy lunches at the office sometimes and there was a tuna pasta salad I had from a takeway place around the corner.  It was fresh tasting (hope it was fresh) and I wanted to re-create it at home.

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a go:

Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill- serves 4

250g bow tie pasta (or whatever short pasta you like)
425g canned tuna
4 Tbsp of whole egg mayonnaise
1 medium size red capsicum (diced into tiny little pieces)
4 hard boiled eggs
1 Tbsp of dried parsley flakes (chopped fresh parsley would be the healthier option)
pinch of salt and pepper
dill
lemon

Cook pasta until al-dente, drain and set aside.  Drain the tuna from the can and in a large bowl, mix the tuna with mayonnaise, capsicum, parsley and salt and pepper.  Mix until all is well combined. In a large salad bowl, throw in the tuna mix and pasta and mix thoroughly being careful not to bash the pasta (use your clean hands if need be).

In a bowl, serve the pasta with dill and a couple of wedges of eggs and a tiny squeeze of lemon.  Voila, healthy salad. It’s surprising filling so if you feel like you ate too much, don’t feel bad, it’s a salad. :)

This salad finally gave me the excuse to use the pasta bowls that have been sitting in our cupboard for yonks! :)

Enjoy folks!

MJ

French-Toast-with-Bacon1

How to make sexy French Toast

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, dim the lights, it’s about to heat up in here! LOL! Here’s my take on what I believe is a sexy french toast – with crispy bacon and loads of maple syrup. Uh-huh.  This would be the “grown up” version of the french toast I made before.

Normally I would sleep in on Sundays and skip breakfast but I remember we had loads of eggs in the fridge and I bought sourdough bread and bacon the day before so I could make french toast for brekkie.  So I woke up early to make this uber-licious breakfast and I was such a happy girl for the rest of the day.

I used sourdough for this recipe as I’m in love with sourdough bread and it’s also very good for you (except in this instance where we lovingly dip it in egg and cream batter and smother it with maple syrup) but of course, you can use your favourite bread.

This recipe is for 6 thick slices of bread, you will need:

3 eggs
3/4 cup of thickened cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp of sugar
butter for frying
170g rindless bacon (roughly 8 small pieces)
strawberries
dusting of icing sugar
good quality maple syrup
and of course, 6 slices of your fave bread

Whisk eggs, cream, cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl until combined.  Heat up frying pan to about medium to high heat.  Dip a slice of bread into the batter and cover all sides of the bread.  Melt butter on the pan and drop your battered bread into the hot pan and fry for about 1 -2 mins each side. Any longer and it will burn (from the sugar). Repeat for the remaining slices of bread. Once all the toast is done, put them aside and on the same hot pan, fry all the bacon until crispy.

Now to make it sexy:  place 2 slices of french toast on a plate with 3 (or 4) pieces of bacon and strawberries on the side.  Dust the french toast with icing sugar and pour a good amount (don’t be shy) of good quality maple syrup on top.  The cheap variety maple syrup just doesn’t have a nice smooth sweetness as the other expensive variety.  So use good quality syrup.

This is now the hubby’s favourite brekkie. I only used 4 slices of bread in this instance but the amount of egg batter can easily be used for 2 or 3 more slices.

Go on, make love to it ;)

Enjoy, happy eating.

MJ

Coffee-Swiss-Roll3

Coffee Swiss Roll

Hi there!  So I have non stop been craving for coffee cake for weeks and weeks and I have finally satisfied that craving.  I made a coffee flavoured swiss roll for the first time on the weekend and it turned out really well.  Except maybe it looks a little rustic.  I know you’re probably thinking, “why didn’t you just buy it?”.  Well I could have but I’ve also been wanting to learn how to make a swiss roll. Firstly, I had to learn how to make a sponge cake.  I scouted the net for sponge cake recipes but there was just too many and I didn’t know exactly which was the correct way as so many different sites had their own variations.   I finally came across a video tutorial from DessertzHouse (thank you!) on You Tube and thought to try it out.  Here’s the link.  I have changed the recipe slightly.

That’s how I (Swiss) roll, baby!

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out:

3 eggs
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar
500 ml thickened cream
crushed walnuts
2 Tbsp of coffee (dissolved in 4 Tbsp of hot water) – divide this in two like in the above photo

Step by step procedure:

1. Line and grease a baking/cookie tray with baking paper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs until frothy and then add the 1/2 cup sugar in 3 portions until you get a soft peak.  Add the flour in 3 portions and gently and carefully fold this through the mixture.  At this point, you can pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit).

2. Add coffee (the other coffee is for use later) and gently mix through.  Pour mixture into your lined baking tray and spread evenly.  Tap out the tray a few times to get rid of the bubbles.  Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

3. Once sponge cake is baked, rest on wire rack for 5 mins.  Place a big sheet of baking paper on a flat surface and flip the cake onto the paper.  Carefully peel off the lining and gently flip the cake back. The side where we peeled the paper is the outer side of the swiss roll.

4.  Mix the thickened cream on high-speed until thick like buttercream consistency.  Add the sugar and mix again on high speed for 10 seconds or so.  Add the rest of the coffee and mix through the cream carefully with a spatula.

5. Use 2/3 of the coffee cream to spread evenly on the sponge cake.  Roll the cake carefully (roll from the longer end of the sponge cake).  Use the paper to guide you.

6. Carefully, lift the cake and place a large sheet of glad wrap/cling wrap on the bottom.  Use the rest of the coffee cream to spread evenly on the rolled cake. Sprinkle some walnuts on top.  Wrap the cake with the glad/cling wrap and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.

7. Take the cake out of the freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving.  Un-wrap and slice into even portions and enjoy!

I know the rolling and the sponge cake isn’t perfect, but hey, it’s my first time and I will just need to perfect this and I’ll have me a nice round swiss roll :)

Ooh, yum!  Food looks so much yummier when it’s up close.

Have a good weekend and happy eating.

MJ.

cafe-bello-mocha-pancake

Breakfast at Bello Cafe – Burwood

Hey folks! Just a quick post because it is a long weekend and I’ve got to enjoy this extra day off with the fam.

The hubby, little one and I were at the Burwood area on the weekend and decided to have breakfast/brunch at Bello Cafe. I know this place has had a lot of mixed reviews but all I knew was the hubby and I were hungry so we ate there. We used to often dine at this cafe before heading off to watch a movie at the cinema.  I enjoyed it, the food is always great although I haven’t tried everything, I can’t complain about the dishes I’ve ordered.  One thing I can say is perhaps their service could be a little faster.

They have an all day dining breakfast menu which is great for those that want their waffles, pancakes and bacon and eggs for dinner.

I love pancakes and mocha so had to try this Mocha pancakes ($12.90) with tiramisu ice cream, warm chocolate belgian sauce and that leaning tower of whipped cream.  Yum! I finished it!

A man’s breakfast is a Big Breakfast ($18.90). Eggs (your way) on toast, grilled bacon, breakfast sausage, baked beans, mushrooms, hash brown and roasted tomato. You know, I think I’m going to order this one next time :P

Happy eating. Off to enjoy with the little one :)

MJ