Tiramisu (no booze)

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2014 at 3:09 am


KIA ORA! This would be my first and official post from the Land of the Long White CloudNew Zealand. The country where sheep are 7 times larger than its entire human population,  the country that I choose to be my 2nd home.

Trivia: As of today, there are only 4.5 million people in New Zealand.


I can’t believe 4 months have passed since I packed my suitcase and left home. It was exciting and tough to move to a foreign land that is 14 hours away from home, no friends or family around and most especially no assurance if you’ll be able to settle and land to a job of your field – its a gamble.

Surprisingly, things suddenly fell into its places accordingly, it seems like everything is planned well. Met some good friends along the way, land to a permanent job and now able to support my family back home. I am forever grateful that God and the universe heard my prayers and brought me to this beautiful country.

I choose Tiramisu for my next project simply because it doesn’t involved any baking. Unfortunately, the oven in our flat is used as food storage cabinet at the moment that’s why I’m limited to create just “no bake” desserts.

Authentic Italian way of making Tiramisu uses raw eggs – I don’t want that!  What I did is I made a custard pastry creme and mix it with cream cheese (substitute for mascarpone cheese). Typical Tiramisu contains a hint of alcohol which I really love. Sorry alcoholic people (especially you Danee) but I’m kinda frugal in buying a bottle of whole brandy.


Tiramisu (no booze)


For the Custard Pastry Creme

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 and one half cups of whole milk
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cream Filing

  • Cream Cheese or Mascarpone 
  • Prepared Custard Pastry Creme

1 and a half pack of Savoiardi/Lady Finger Cookies

3/4 strong coffee + 2 tbs of sugar

Cocoa powder


For the Custard Pastry Cream:

1. Warm the milk in the saucepan until you start to see traces of steam –  NOT boiling.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Add the egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients. This will form a thick paste. It’s fine if the paste looks crumbly or smooth; the important thing is that the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

3. Pour a little of the hot milk into the eggs and whisk to combine. Continue pouring the milk slowly into the eggs, whisking continuously. When all the milk has been added to the eggs, pour everything back into the saucepan.

4.  Set the pan back over medium heat. Whisk constantly at low heat. At first, the pastry cream will look very thin and frothy, but it will start to thicken after a few minutes. When it has thickened to a pudding-like consistency, pause whisking every few seconds to see if the cream has come to a boil. If you see large bubbles popping on the surface, whisk for a few more seconds and then remove the pan from heat.

For the Cream Filing

1. Mix prepared custard pastry creme and cream cheese until smooth in consistency.


1. In a shallow dish, place prepared coffee plus 2 tbs of sugar and mix well. (this is where you add your alcohol – like brandy or amaretto)

2. Dip the Savoiardi/ladyfinger in the coffee mixture (3 sec) and line the bottom of the deep big shallow dish.

23. Scoop 1/2 of the cream filling over the lady fingers and spread/flatten it out.34. Sprinkle top with cocoa powder. Repeat the process again by dipping the Savoiardi into the coffee mixture, then cover with the cream filing and sprinkle again cocoa powder on top.  This makes 2 layers. Chill overnight.





Homemade Pesto Sauce from Scratch

In RECIPE on January 19, 2014 at 7:26 am


Basil is by far the most well-known herb in Italian cookery. It’s perfectly paired with any tomato based dish and of course the body and soul of a good Basil Pesto Sauce. My mom introduced me to this pesto madness when she sent over several bottles of prepared one from Italy, I’d almost consume the entire bottle in one sitting. I’d like to eat it alone with a nice warm pasta with a background of sax music. Very nice!


It’s my second time to make this Basil Pesto Sauce from scratch, did some tweeks from the previous recipe I found over the net like adding more garlic and olive oil. I made this Pesto Sauce the day before I left the Philippines for my youngest brother, it’s his favorite so I made a big good batch for him. We’re fortunate that our mom sent over some pieces of authentic Parmesan wedges and pine nuts from Italy that’s why this sauce was born in my kitchen. You can substitute any kind of nuts available in hand in making a pesto sauce, almonds and walnuts just worked perfectly fine.

Homemade Pesto Sauce from Scratch


  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of half lemon
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup of Olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor add the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper & grind to a rough paste. Now slowly add, Olive oil slowly & keep blending till you get a smooth paste & desired consistency of the sauce. Ensure to keep the consistency thick & not too runny else the sauce won’t stick to your pasta.


Nướng Bánh Mi Gà (Vietnamese Sandwich with Grilled Chicken)

In RECIPE on November 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm


I’ve know Vietnam through its famous coffee with condensed milk (cafe sua da) when I had breakfast in my cousin’s place in Beijing 3 years ago, it has this very distinct strong taste that I have never tried before that’s why it became my instant favorite. I haven’t had much knowledge and information about this country, so when I got the chance to do a backpacking in south-east Asia I included Vietnam as my  final destination.

Vietnam would probably be my favorite country that I have been when it comes to food. Literally every corner of every street in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) has a food place to eat and its super cheap! You can grab a filling large bowl of beef Pho for VND45,000 (Php95) and VND15,000 (Php30) for a refreshing iced cold coffee with condensed milk. No wonder why Vietnam is a favorite place of foodie-travelers around the world.

To be honest, my biggest regret in my Saigon foodscapade is trying an authentic Banh Mi. I know that’s alot! It’s like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.  I don’t know why I didn’t mind to grab one when I stroll along Pham Ngu Lao Street or even in the alley near Saigon Square, maybe I’m so occupied about my thoughts of hoarding some trung nguyen coffee when I go home. Haha, well I’m actually successful on that part.  But anyway, I’m bringing Vietnamese vibe in my kitchen and made a very satisfying and delicious traditional sandwich. For this recipe, you must prepare ahead the Do Chua (pickled carrots and daikon radish) and then proceed in the assembly of the sandwich. Enjoy!


Nướng Bánh Mi Gà (Vietnamese Sandwich with Grilled Chicken)



  • 4-5 chicken thigh, deboned and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 brown cup sugar
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs ground pepper
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 2 shallots, minced.
  • 3 vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs thick soy sauce or regular soy sauce will do
  • 1 tbs seasame  seeds
  • 1 loaf of french baguette cut into half
  • half cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • optional chile, thinly sliced
  • liver pate
  • mayonnaise
  • liquid seasoning

Do Chua (Traditional Vietnamese Picked Carrots and Daikon Radish):

  • 1 medium size Carrots, cut into julienne sticks
  • 1 medium size Daikon Radish, cut into julienne sticks
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • equal amount of salt and sugar to taste

For the Do Chua:

Add the julienne carrots and daikon raddish and vinegar together in pickling container with just enough vinegar to submerge the vegetables.  Season with roughly equal amounts of salt and sugar to taste.  It should be tart, sweet, and salty. Use a large plastic covered container. If you’re only doing a small batch, a glass jar will do.  Pickle for at least 1 hr before use. Keeps in the fridge for months.


1. In a bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients well. Put in the chicken slices and marinade for about 2-3 hours/overnight.


2. Preheat grill or pan until ready to use.Grill/Fry until the chicken is nicely charred on both sides and meat is thoroughly cooked.

3. Assemble the baguettes with mayonnaise spread on the first face and liver pate on the second face, add chicken and then top it with sliced cucumber. Finish off with a handful of Da Chua (pickled carrots and daikon raddish), cilantro leaves and add some liquid seasoning mix to taste.



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