Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chocolate Mousse and Graham Cake

It can be argued that chocolate is mankind's favorite dessert. May it be in candies, bars, truffles, syrups, ice cream or hot drinks; the dark yummy goodness has captured the love of many worldwide. 

Today I decided to do something different. I'm usually cooking or baking but this particular cake needed no baking at all. It's called the Chocolate Mousse and Graham Cake. I got the recipe from the back of the box of graham crackers. It's one of the easiest desserts that I had ever made. The ingredients are simple and easy to acquire. The results are to die for. Creamy chocolate cream interspersed with crushed graham crusts. My family do agree with me that this is one of my best kitchen creations to date. 

1 pack of Graham Crackers
6 tablespoons of Melted Butter

2 packs of Nestle All-Purpose Cream
30pcs of Flat Tops Chocolate 
2 Sachets of Milo Energ Drink

 The Graham Crackers are crushed first. I used a blender to do it in record time. It's easier than pounding the cracker into bits using a mortar and pestle. I melted six tablespoons of butter and mixed it into the crushed crackers. The butter will help keep the crust together. I then used a cake pan and lined the bottom with the graham and butter mixture. This will be needed to be refrigerated for 10 minutes in order for the crust to solidify.
The mousse is made next. I melted the Flat Tops by putting them in a metal bowl and hovered it above boiling water. The steam helped to melt the chocolate to a semi-liquified state. After this I added the All-Purpose cream and Milo and mixed everything with an electric Mixer. It is important to have the cream chilled before putting in with the chocolate. It will make it easier when layering the graham in between. 
After this, take out the crust from the refrigerator. Pour in the ready made mousse into the pan and intersperse with cream. Garnish with Graham crumbs, a bit of cream and square graham crackers on top to make it look wonderful.
See! It's quite easy. Definitely my best cake to date! It looks amaking and tastes absolutely delicious. It's a winner with my family and I do look forward to making it again for family get togethers and special family events.  
The cake must be chilled for more than three hourse to make it more solid. I do think that I should add clear gelatin to the mousse next time so that it wouldn't melt too easily. The extreme heat here in Manila had melted the cream about 15 minutes after I had gotten it out of the freezer. Adding gelatin to the mixure will make its shape last longer.
Bon Apetit! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cooking Katsudon!

It's not a secret that I love Japanese food. There came a time in my life when I was obsessed with everything Japanese. Their culture was intriguing to me as a child and I always watched those anime shows that were shown on TV. As I grew older I also loved to make Japanese food and the best way to express that love is to learn to cook my favorite dishes. I usually make Sushi or Onigiri when I think about Japanese cooking. I had also experienced making Miso Soup and Sukiyaki. But I never experienced making Katsudon until now. Kinda ironic since it's quite easy to make!

The wonderful thing about the internet is that you can find a recipe for absolutely anything. So I visited youtube and looked for a recipe. Lo and behold I found a really cute Youtube channel called "Cooking with Dog". It's a online based cooking show hosted by a grey poodle named Francis and a Japanese chef whose name is not disclosed.
I have almost all the ingredients but I we didn't have any ready made bread crumbs available so I crushed two packs of Sky Flakes crackers to substitute for it.
 I then rolled my pork cutlets with seasoned floor, dipped it into a bowl of whisked eggs then covered them with my home-made bread crumbs.
 After that I fried with olive oil until the pork cutlets turned a wonderful shade of brown. It looks wonderful.
The breaded pork cutlet must be simmered in a mixture soy sauce, sugar, mirin and bonito stock. A lightly whisked egg would be poured on top after that. The ready made Katsudon can now be put on top a steaming bowl of rice.

I'm really proud of this achievement. The rosemary made the Katsudon look pretty in the picture. It looks even more yummy in person.

Although when I tasted what I had made I realized that I should have added some more sugar. The mixture was okay but it lacked a bit more sweetness. Overall I think I did good but I think I could do better next time. I guess that's the problem with just following a recipe without tasting it first. At least I know what to do next time. Lesson learned!

For anyone who wants the recipe, just click on the video link.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Claim and Declare

It's easy to fall back upon bad habits, to rely on what is comfortable rather than jump up to do what is relatively unknown. Right now I find myself being held back by fear. By my fear of rejection, fear of the future, fear or failure... The list can go on and on and on. But what is important is that I should be able to get myself up again after a particularly bad fall. It doesn't matter how many times we make mistakes. What is important is that we learn from it move on to improving ourselves.

But saying that is the easy part. Applying it to my day to day life is where the real challenge lies. For there are certain thoughts and fears that have been ingrained into me since I was a child. These thoughts and fears may not necessarily be true and I think that most are definitely products of bad experiences in my past.

My challenge to myself is to transform these thoughts and fears into something positive. I've been wallowing in a depressive state on and off for quite some time. I don't like feeling this way and I'm sure that no one wants to fall into that pit of sadness and despair. Like a butterfly escaping its cocoon I want to change into something more beautiful. Not in the physical aspect, really, but more of the spiritual, mental and emotional parts of my life. But I think not settling for what I am right now is the key to transforming what I am feeling into something more.
I want to change. I want to feel fulfilled with my life. I want to have direction and I want to be someone who can be proud of myself.

I watched a youtube video about Oprah's Life Class. In this one particular episode she had invited Pastor Joel Osteen, someone whom I do respect. And they had shared that one must declare and claim what one wants to become - even if the prospect of it happening looks bleak. I guess it also makes a person prepared for what he or she wants to happen in their lives.

So I will start the day by declaring the traits that I want to imbibe into my life.

Instead of saying "I want to change" I will say "I am changing". Instead of saying "I want to feel fulfilled in my life" I will declare that "Day by day I am learning and changing my ways to that I am feeling fulfilled and contented with what I am". I am focusing on what is positive. I am moving on towards my goal. I am focused. I am creative. I am successful and I am going to achieve great things.

For what its worth, even the simple act of typing these thoughts have already started a positive spark in my life. It might be a psychological effect but I do know that I feel lighter already. It's a good move into the right direction.

Try it. It might do some good for you too.   

[All photos in this post belong to me taken with my Olympus Pen EPM-2 :)]

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The little things that makes life wonderful

I woke up today feeling refreshed and peaceful. It's been a long time since I've felt this way and to tell the truth i really makes me happy to feel at peace with myself. It's like a butterfly who had just left its cocoon. I feel alive, reborn.
What I'm feeling inside is already being reflected in my physical self. I have clearer smoother skin, shinier hair, and my body no longer feels numb. I used to suffer from physical ailments like my arms and and shoulders aching or my legs being numb with pain. Today I no longer suffer and feel any pain. I feel free physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I'm taking my life one day at a time and I try to do the things I love since I now have time to do those. I may have lost my job last year but I actually think of it as a blessing. I feel as if I've been freed. Now I have more time to do photography, art and even dabble with a side business where I can have the opportunity to earn some money. So I'm not worried at all about my future. In fact I'm quite positive about it. 

One of the tings that I love to do right now is taking pictures of the things I see around me. My house is filled with plants and flowers. Gardening is my mother and late grandmother's passion so it's not surprising that our home is surrounded by a lot of trees, shrubs ad flowering plants. Birds of different kinds and sizes visit out place a lot. Today I saw a new species that I haven't seen before.
I wonder what kind of bird this is. It's not a Maya for sure. I'm thinking of making a painting of this bird. Let's see if I'll be able to do it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Embracing 2013!

Once again another year has just ended and a new one has begun! Welcome to 2013 everyone! I'm quite joyous about new beginnings and January 1 is usually the best time to get that feeling. I am happy and I want to look forward to a more wonderful year.
 2012 was a mix of good and bad things. It was a big improvement from 2011 and all the heartache I endured during that time but I still had a lot of big ups and downs. I guess it's a big part of life to have to go through all those changes but in the end I think I changed for the better.
Now I'm looking forward to a better year. I've started the day right by waking up early, fixing my bedroom, praying and meditating and even finding time to do a bit early morning exercise. I was even able to walk through our garden and experience nature at its finest. It's really uplifting to be able to do those things in the morning. It's definitely better than waking up late almost at noon and already wasting half of the day. I've decided to make it my morning ritual to wake up early.

I've decided to be more in tune to my inner self this year. To be more spiritual. To let go of the emotions that are hindering me and to have more peace ad harmony in my life. I hope that today will be a perfect catalyst. A perfect start to a better and more fruitful year.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Year-End Cleaning!

Year 2012 will be over soon and what better way to end the year than to create a new blog post. I know I haven't been blogging much but I want to try to blog more. I do hope that 2013 will be a better and more fruitful year. Here's to life and more blog posts!

I always clean my room during the last day of the year. It's a tradition that I've kept since I was small. There's something wonderful and magical about dusting off dirty furniture and wiping off grime from my belongings. In a way I also feel that I'm clearing away the bad vibes in my life and in turn welcoming the new year with positive vibrations.

I added something new above my bed. I just recycled an old calendar that I owned. I cut off lower portion with the dates and months then I used a long string to tie the pictures up in a row. It really looks pretty and interesting. I do think that it adds a bit of character to my room.


The photos remind me of old Polaroid pictures. The calendar featured different things and places in Tokyo. Which is something that I LOVE. I find the photos inspiring. I do hope that in this coming year 2013 I would be able to take wonderful photos like these too.

One of the things that I do love in my room would be the Owl Bag that my sister Larisa gave me. It's supposed to be used as a shoulder bag but I thought that it would be a cute addition to my room instead.

So here's my last post for the year. It's quite short but at least I was able to update! My wish for this new year is that I would be able to blog more and to share more photos. Let's see if I can do it :) Good luck and well wishes to me!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life and Learning

It's been a long time since I've updated this blog. And to tell the truth I really haven't had the urge to update at all. I could blame it on a lot of things but I guess in the end it really doesn't matter. I'm just happy that I can update it again even if it took me a while to do it.

Life is really complicated sometimes. I know that don't have any room to complain. I have a wonderful family, awesome pets, a really good job and friends whom I trust and love. But there's been always a part of me that I've been struggling with. Sometimes I think that I am having bouts of depression. Other times I just want to smile and just tell myself that I can get through this. 

I've always been looking for a purpose, for meaning as to why I am here on this earth. There are times that I lose the urge to do the things that I used to love. I guess, in the process of probing for meaning, I had forgotten about what is important and that sometimes we just have to do things just for the sake of it. That having a purpose isn't important. Experiencing life in all its facets is.

Today, I've done some activities that I have just stopped doing for no reason at all. I've ridden a bike again. I cycled around our small garage area and even if it was a small space it made me happy that I could do it. I also took my camera out again. The pictures that I had taken aren't really stunning but at least I've done something and that in itself makes me happy.


I hope to get better at taking photos and even be more active at blogging. I'll do it one step at a time.

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