Posted in Baking

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

After attending my cookie class and saw how easy it was to make cookies, I searched for recipes online to experiment on.  Initially, I was planning on recreating my cousin’s white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies but ended up with a chocolate chip cookie due to the cost of macadamia nuts.
I have baked this cookie several times with different results each time.  The only thing that is consistent is the soft and chewy texture in the middle and the slightly crunchy texture in the edges.  It’s one of the most requested items by my friends during parties.
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients:  (yield 24 medium-sized cookies)
  • 2/3 cup butter (151g)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2/3 cup all purposed flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 ounces chocolate chip (I just pour whatever amount I want)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F or 175C
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs then stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  
  4. Gradually stir into the creamed mixture the flour mixture.  Preferably in two parts.
  5. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 10 mins in oven or until golden brown.
Posted in Food

Homemade Strawberry Jam

My dad owns a farm in Northern Cebu.  On one of our conversations, he mentioned that he was giving away some of his fruit produce for free so that it won’t rot in the farm.  This made me think that maybe he could preserve and sell them in the local market.  I was also thinking that maybe I can study how and perhaps add this to my line of cookies that I plan to market in the future.  When The Hutong opened a Strawberry Specials class, I didn’t hesitate and join.
Homemade Strawberry Jam

Ingredients: (yields 4-6 cups of jam)
  • 2kg  strawberries, rinsed, hulled and cut into i-inch pieces (almost ripe strawberries)
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Put a small plate in the freezer.
  2. Place berries and lemon juice in a non-reactive 10-litre pot set over medium-high heat.  Using a wooden spoon, mix in 1/4 cup sugar with berries.  Cook, stirring, until berries are juicy, approximately 5 to 6 minutes.  Stir in a third of remaining sugar until dissolved.  Repeat until all the sugar has been added and dissolved, about 7 minutes.
  3. Bring mixture to a full, rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  Stirring constantly, boil until most of the liquid is absorbed, mixture thickens and temperature registers 105-degrees Celsius (220-degrees Fahrenheit) on a candy thermometer, about 30 minutes.  The mixture will spatter as it boils so be sure to wear oven mitts and an apron.  When the jam reaches the temperature, turn off the heat.
  4. Perform a gel test:  Place a spoonful of jam on chilled plate.  Wait 1 to 2 minutes and run your finger through the jam.  If the jam does not run back together, it is ready.  If it’s still runny, boil it longer and perform the gel test again.
  5. Skim off and throw away any foam on top of the jam with a metal spoon.
  6. Pour warm jam into sterilized jars; seal, label and refrigerate up to 4 months

The beginning
Starting to turn jelly & Gel Test
Hygiene and Safety Tips for Making Jam
  1. Thoroughly clean all surfaces and equipment before you begin.
  2. Thoroughly clean the fruit.
  3. Was the jars and lids in warm, soapy water and then sterilize the by either Boiling Water Method or Oven Method.
  4. Ladle hot jam into hot jars.
  5. If you heat process the filled jars, the jam can be kept at room temperature for around two years.
  6. If you do not heat process the filled jars, the jam must be stored in the refrigerator and used within three months.
  7. Exercise caution at all times as you are working with hot jam and hot jars.

My Jam Making Experience:

Boiling Water Method
I don’t know what to expect with this class but everyone was excited to bring home their own strawberry jam.  We pour roughly 4 kg each of strawberries in two pots and lime juice.  Afterwards, the hard part begins.    
I had an arm workout while stirring the mixture.  I think I gave up after 5-10 minutes of stirring constantly and passed it to my classmate.  The initial stage when the strawberries are still in chunks was hard stirring.  Once it turns juicy, it’s smoother stirring.  Once it slowly turns to jam, it’s hard stirring again.  We took turns stirring until the mixture was ready for ladling.  Using an electric mixer is not doable as the pot turns really hot.  
Do I want to do it again?  I’ll put it in my reserve list as I’m not really a jam person.  However, I think there’s a market for jams and jellies so maybe when I’m ready to retire will I do it again.
Posted in Cooking

Simple Chicken & Mushroom Soup Recipe

Since the local courier service wasn’t able to deliver the box of mushroom which I won during our annual company dinner, I asked around for simple Chinese recipes which I can cook with my dried mushrooms.   With the cool weather outside, a soup dish is something to look forward to warm our bodies.  Here’s to chronicling my two attempts of fixing a simple Chicken and Mushroom Soup from scratch.


Chicken and Mushroom Soup
Ingredients:
  • 200g chicken breast, cubed in 1.5cm
  • several thin slices of ginger
  • several slices of green onion (white stalk portion only)
  • dried shiitake mushroom, sliced in quarters
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions:

1.  Boil water in a soup pan.
2.  Add ginger and green onion.  Let it boil for 2 mins.
3.  Add chicken breast cubes.  Let it boil for 3 mins.
4.  Add 1 tsp light soy sauce and shiitake mushrooms.  Let it boil for 10 mins.
5.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let it boil for 10 mins.
That’s it!  Simple right?  The first time I did this dish, the mushroom flavor was strong and  made the soup yummy.  The second time I did this, the mushroom flavor was lighter and the ginger flavor didn’t come out that much.  I guess the freshly opened mushroom bag and fresh ginger helped.  You can also put rice noodles for some carbs.