Taste of Home: chocolate chip cookies

I love the simplicity of the chocolate chip cookies, and this is my favorite recipe. I’m glad that I was able to perfect it.

These cookies are my go-to-snack or after-school-treat. They are good –thick, the outside is hard and the inside is soft. The aftertaste is a wee bit chocolatey but not too much. And these can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

chocolate chip cookies without cocoa powder

chocolate chip cookies with cocoa powder

My husband and son, who don’t like sugar, like those cookies. My son usually has at least 3 cookies. Our students enjoy the cookies too.

What makes this chocolate chip cookie recipe so delicious?

  • In these cookies, I only use 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 ½ tbsp. of honey. It adds moisture and more flavor. Plus, brown sugar and honey are wonderful ingredients to bake with.
  • I use fresh chicken egg at room temperature.
  • I use 10 pieces of semi-sweet chocolate strips, and cut them into small slices. It may sound a lot but you can’t have a good chocolate chip cookie without a good amount of chocolate chips in each cookie, right?

Try my easy recipe, and you will have chocolate chip cookies to serve, share, and enjoy in no time.

chocolate chip cookies without cocoa powder

chocolate chip cookies with cocoa powder

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 40 grams of salted butter, melted
  • 1 fresh chicken egg, freshly cracked
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. of honey
  • ¾ tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 10 pieces of chocolate chips, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla

chocolate chip cookies without cocoa powder

chocolate chip cookies with cocoa powder

chocolate chip cookies with cocoa powder

chocolate chip cookies without cocoa powder

How to make it:

  • In a mixing bowl, put in the butter, egg, vanilla, and honey. Mix well.
  • Add all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and brown sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Add chocolate chips. Mix.
  • Scoop a tablespoon of cookie dough and form it into small ball size. Drop onto prepared baking sheets. Then flatten it using a fork.
  • Bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated over at 175⁰C. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes.
  • Serve, share and enjoy.
Advertisements

Taste of Home: Pork Adobo

My family and I love adobo. It’s a humble Filipino dish of meat braised in vinegar and soy sauce, spiced with garlic and peppercorns. It’s one of the most famous Filipino food, served with plain steamed rice. It has a diverse and delicious story, and has long been part of our food culture and heritage.

pork adobo

There are many different versions of adobo across the archipelago since almost every home has its own adobo recipe. But whatever it is – may it be a recipe passed on by generations or an experimental recipe – for us Filipinos, adobo means home.

What I like about this dish: you can use different types of meat such as seafood, pork, chicken, squid, depending on your liking, and it’s very easy to cook. Our favorites are chicken and pork adobo since my husband doesn’t like seafood. I also found out that the secret to make the best adobo are: marinate the meat for at least 24 hours, and cook over a low heat to soften the tang of vinegar, to intensify the flavor of the meat and to create a mouth-watering sauce.

So, this is how we like our pork adobo – a delectable balance of salty and savory Filipino stew:

pork adobo

What you will need:

  • ½ kg of pork ribs, chopped
  • ½ kg of pork meat, chopped
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 3 tbsps of honey
  • 1 cup water
  • fresh Kampot pepper corn, to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced

pork adobo

How to cook it:

  1. Put the meat in a bowl. Add soy sauce and garlic. Marinate the meat for 24 hours or overnight.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Put in the marinated meat mixture. Let it cook, turning occasionally until the pork becomes slightly browned.
  3. Add vinegar, water and peppercorn. Mix well. Simmer over low heat for an hour or until the meat is fork-tender.
  4. Serve with steamed rice.

Taste of Home: Almond bread

I love almonds and I love almond bread. I like almond flour because it has a natural taste and it has high in proteins and low in carbohydrates.

homemade almond bread

This afternoon, I made almond bread using almond flour for our afternoon snacks. I’m really pleased with this recipe – it’s very easy to make and packed with healthy ingredients. It’s thick, dense and satisfying. And a small slice or two of almond bread served with homemade fresh passion tea make a perfect snack.

Whether or not you eat only gluten-free, I’m pretty sure you will like almond bread – it’s healthy!

homemade almond bread

What you will need:

  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 4 fresh chicken eggs
  • 1 tbsp natural plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda

homemade almond bread

How to make it:

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl: almond flour, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined.
  2. Crack the eggs in a separate small bowl. After you crack each egg, put the egg in the mixture, so that just in case you get a rotten egg, you wouldn’t ruin the mixture.
  3. Add in all the wet ingredients: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and yogurt. Stir thoroughly.
  4. Put the mixture into a baking dish.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180⁰C for 40 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve share and enjoy.

Indonesia: Temple hopping in Bali

Another interesting activity to do in Bali is temple hopping, as the island is home to thousands of Hindu temples. Each temple (pura in Balinese) has its own intricate architecture, great views, charming courtyards, and beautiful story. So, during our trip to Bali, we made sure we could visit a few of them.

The Temple of Tirta Empul

It is located in the village of Manukaya in Central Bali. The name Tirta Empul means “holy water spring” because it houses a mountain spring that is the source of a river. This temple is one of the most important temple complex in Bali built circa 960 AD, and considered as a national heritage site. According to the legend, the spring was created by the Hindu god Indra who pricked the earth to let out a spring of sacred water. This temple is popular among locals and tourists alike. Many people go there for a dip in the bathing pools as they believed that its waters have curative properties.

IMG_8040.1

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The holy water spring at the Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple (which means a small island floating on the sea) is one of the photogenic sites in Bali, situated on a rocky islet off the south-west coast surrounded by gently crashing waves in the ocean. The temple can only be reached at low tide, and only the staff can go inside for ceremonies and to preserve the place from further damage. We went there in the morning even though we heard that the sunset there is spectacular just to ditch the crowd. To me, the place is more than the temple itself – it’s good to visit with family, it’s very leisurely and calm.

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

Behind me is the Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Uluwatu

Uluwatu Temple, one of Bali’s iconic landmark, has stunning and dramatic views, especially views of waves lapping onto the rocks below. It’s built on a cliff about 70m above the sea on the south-western tip of the island. The tourists can walk along the cliff and enjoy the sea breeze and breathtaking views. What I love the most there is the elevated vistas stretching as far as the eye can see. Since many people go there at sunset when the sky is painted with a thousand shades of orange, pink and yellow, my family and I opted to visit the temple early in the afternoon to avoid the sunset crowds. It’s an amazing sight – to see this 11th century temple perched on a towering precipice overlooking the Indian Ocean.

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

We truly enjoyed our time there and the temples are absolutely well worth a visit if you’re in Bali.

 Little Lilly travel tips:

  • Beware of the notorious monkeys at the Temple of Uluwatu. They are awful. They might steal your mobile phone, glasses, cap, bag, etc.
  • We heard that there’s a dance show at the Temple of Uluwatu at every 6PM.
  • The entrance fee for every temple was very reasonable and it covers the cost of the use of a sarong.

 

Taste of Home: Sweet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream-cheese Glaze

It took me several tries to perfect this easy sweet cinnamon rolls recipe – a new addition to our family recipe book. I like this recipe because it is quite simple to make, and each time I make it, they always have turned out perfectly moist and fragrant and tasty.

sweet cinnamon rolls

sweet cinnamon rolls

These squishy spirals of buttery dough are incredibly delicious. And became one of our simple indulgence for afternoon snacks served with homemade passion ginger tea.

My family enjoys cinnamon rolls especially when it’s fresh and still warm from the oven. These pillow-y  rolls are just sweet enough, so if you don’t like too much sugar, this recipe is ideal for you.

So, raise your hand if you love cinnamon rolls! And happy journey into the cinnamon roll heaven.

sweet cinnamon rolls

What you will need for the cinnamon dough (for 12 cinnamon rolls):

  • 50 grams of salted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup of fresh milk
  • 1 fresh chicken egg
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 pack of instant yeast
  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

cinnamon dough

sweet cinnamon rolls

What you will need for the filling:

  • 5 grams of salted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tbsps of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon powder

What you will need for the glaze:

  • 50 grams of cream cheese
  • 10 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp of sweetened milk

sweet cinnamon rolls

sweet cinnamon rolls

sweet cinnamon rolls

How to make sweet cinnamon rolls:

  • Put the butter, milk and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add sugar, honey and yeast. Mix well.
  • Add flour. Mix well. Knead with your hand until the dough is not sticky anymore and no more leftover.
  • Form the dough into a big ball.
  • Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm area. Let it rise for an hour or until it doubles its size.
  • While the dough is still rising, prepare the filling. Put the brown sugar and cinnamon powder in a small bowl. Mix together.
  • Once the dough has risen well, flatten it into a rectangular shape.
  • Brush some melted butter and spread out the filling.
  • Roll the dough. Cut it in circular and arranged them in the baking pan. Then let it rise for another 30 minutes or until it has double its size.
  • Put it in a preheated oven and bake it for 20 min at 160⁰C.
  • Prepare the glaze. In another small bowl, put the cream cheese, butter and condensed milk. Mix it well.
  • Let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Drizzle the cream-cheese glaze.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Indonesia: Kopi Luwak in Bali

Have you heard or tried Kopi Luwak?

On our way to explore the northern part of Bali, we visited Lumbung Sari, one of the Luwak coffee farms as part of the tour.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

As soon as we arrived at the area, a very friendly staff assisted us. He showed and explained to us how they prepare the coffee beans.

We have learned that in Southeast Asia, there are jungle cats called Civet that loves to eat coffee cherries. The civet’s digestive system uses the fruit of the coffee for nourishment but it is only partly digested. The civet then pooped out the coffee beans. They collected the undigested coffee beans out of the Civet cat poop, and proceed to process: roast, grind, brew, and serve them just like any other beans you can buy from the coffee shop.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

We’ve also learned that it’s the most expensive coffee in the world probably because of its scarcity and experience value.

At first we were dead set on not drinking the coffee made from animal poop but we figured out “When in Bali…” So we decided to buy a cup of Luwak coffee (and shared it between me and husband).

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Our experience of drinking a Luwak coffee was really unique. It had a really distinctive aroma. In fact it was chocolatey, winey and had some sort of hazelnut tones. It was rich and delicious. It wasn’t gross or anything. It wasn’t strong and it had very little aftertaste.

They also offered a sample of various kinds of tea. And we got to meet a few of the Luwak too.

Civet “Luwak” is a nocturnal animal: sleeping the whole day long and very active and aggressive at night.

The view from the terrace over the Rainforest was gorgeous, tranquil and breezy. Great for photographs.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

It was certainly a pleasant stop. It was interesting seeing how the coffee was grown and ground into drinkable coffee. It was special and delightful, so combined with its really bizarre story – I think it’s worth a visit. Don’t miss out!

Taste of Home: DIY Family meal – succulent homeburger

Both my husband and I grew up with family dinners every night. So, we try to make it happen in our own family because we reckon it is the best way to connect and find out what’s going on with each other, and it creates memorable family meals.

On top of that, every week, we always have a night assigned for easy fun family meal – either we do a DIY family dinner or we order food for delivery. Thus, for tonight, we decided to make succulent homemade burgers with homemade buns and homemade patties and packed with fresh organic lettuce, tomatoes, and onions and herbs for extra flavor and Emmental cheese.

My customized homeburger – so juicy and tasty

homemade buns and homemade patties

I made the buns and my husband cooked the patties. In his burger recipe, he used minced pork and minced chicken to maintain the softness. He thinks that beef alone makes it too tough, chicken alone too dry and pork alone too fat.

We love juicy burger, but each of us has different opinions about what should be included. Plus, customizing our own burger makes everyone happy. It was certainly fun and we love the interactive dinner vibe. Overall, all of us enjoyed our delicious restaurant-style burgers.

Homeburger

What you need for buns:

  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (1 for the dough + 1 for the egg wash)
  • 1 pack instant yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

homemade buns

What you need for patties:

  • 500 grams minced chicken
  • 500 grams minced pork
  • 3 big onions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of flour
  • red pepper, freshly crashed and to taste
  • cooking sunflower oil

homemade patty

What you need for homeburgers:

  • 1 big tomato, sliced
  • lettuce
  • Emmental cheese
  • ketchup
  • mayonnaise
  • Tartare sauce
  • Rouille sauce
  • Aioli sauce
  • Mustard

How to make buns:

  • In a mixing bowl, put in the butter, milk, sugar, egg, yeast and flour.
  • Mix well. Let it rest for 1 hour until the dough has risen well or double in size.
  • Knead the dough until it becomes softer and no more leftover.
  • Form it into small balls. Let it rest for 45 minutes until they double in size.
  • Prepare the egg wash in a separate small bowl. Whisk up 1 egg and 1 tsp of water.
  • Brush the surface of the bread.
  • Spread sesame seeds
  • Bake it in a preheated oven at 160⁰C for about 17 minutes.
  • Take it out from the oven and let it cool down for about 2 hours.

homemade buns

homemade buns

How to make patties:

  • Put the minced pork and minced chicken in a mixing bowl. Add soy sauce and flour. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Sautee the onions until it becomes caramelized.
  • Put in the onions into the meat mixture.
  • Form small balls. Flatten it.
  • Fry the patties in a high fire.
  • Put them on a paper towel to remove some oil and to let it cool down.

meat mixture for homemade patty

Putting together:

  • Assemble your burger your way until it reaches perfection.
  • Enjoy!

Homeburger