Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homemade Almond Fudge Brownies - Celebrations by Sharon

My niece, Gaby, came back from her afternoon class showing me her multiple stars stamped on both of her arms. I told her to get her reward inside our Lola's old jar. I've just baked Fudge Brownies to be brought to my officemates courtesy of Maya Kitchen's Fudge Brownie Mix again. I adore my Lola's vintage jar! I took a picture before I let her get a piece of brownie. 

"Hmmmm", she said while smelling the freshly baked fudge brownies as she opened the jar. I also get one... it was very delicious. It was my first attempt to bake brownie (ooppps my second actually, here's my first)... and I'm proud, it was a great brownie, a fantastically moist with a fudge-like density. The secret? Do not to overcook it if you want to achieve a moist, fudge-like density brownie.

Before I knew it, we've already eaten almost half of it. More hhmmm and uhhmm, I have nothing left  to bring to my officemates. Well, maybe next time *wink

What You Need:

1/4 cup oil
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup almond nuts, roasted
1 pack The Maya Kitchen Fudge Brownie Mix 230 grams

Here's How I Did It:

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees celcius.

Brush sides and bottom of a 9 by 5 by 1 inch brownie pan with oil.

Blend oil, egg, water, nuts and cake mix in a bowl. Mix until smooth, about 30 strokes. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.

Pour batter onto prepared pan and smoothen the top.

Bake for 15 minutes or until done.

Cool then cut into 3 by 5 inch squares.

For oven toaster: Line the sides and bottom of an 9 by 5 by 1 inch loaf pan with aluminum foil, glossy part side down. Brush with oil. Follow steps 3-4. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake in oven toaster for 20 minutes, turning the pan sideways every 4-5 minutes or until done. Cool then cut into 3 by 5 inch squares.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Ayala Triangle Project - Amici and Caramia Gelateria

 Linguine Al Prosciutto E Tartufo, Php 288 

Mama Mia! Amici was sooo Italian. We felt like we were on Italian holiday when me and my two good old friends, Lady and Jim, dined here two months ago.

It was "pay" day and as I've expected, Makati yuppies were all heading to Ayala Triangle Gardens. The parade of restaurant that I passed through Amici were crowded. Dissapointed when I can't find vacant table inside, I stepped outside to smoke and told one of the crews to reserve 3 seater table. She handed me their menu and I chose our dishes while waiting at the al fresco area.  As usual, both of them sent me an sms that they will be arriving a little bit late. 

Amici is located at the farthest side of Ayala Triangle Gardens. Like the other restaurants in the garden that I've featured, it has a cozy ambiance. Occupying inside is Caramia Gelateria, an extension of Amici that serves homemade Italian gelato.

Mozzarella Frito, Php 225.00

My friends, whom I met when I worked in Cisco, arrived soon in perfect time when the crew called me to show the just vacated table. We settled down and requested for our drinks to be served - a large pitcher of iced tea. We started our conversation and over the three pieces of golden fried mozzarella sticks served with tangy pomodoro sauce. It was crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  Each bite was so flavorful and left us craving for more.

Iced Tea, Php 170.00/Pitcher

Gossip sharing was interrupted with the familiar scent of the salt in the sea from the freshly baked Pizza Napoletana, the smell awakened my Italian palate. We dug in immediately when served. I was expecting the first bang of an authentic Italian cuisine and on my first bite, I found out that the anchovies with olives and mozzarella cheese pizza was kinda salty but indeed, a remarkable Italian classic.

 Napolitana, Php 318.00 - Anchovis and Olives

Soon enough, oil and cream based Linguine Al Prosciutto E Tartufo and  Linguine Al Salmon Cremoso were served. Linguine Al Prosciutto E Tartufo is a flavorful combination of prosciutto, truffle oil, porcini, and shitake mushrooms. This dish became my utmost favorite in an instant - and is highly recommended. Linguine Al Salmon Cremoso on the other hand, is an Al dente Linguine pasta in thick cream mix with zesty salmon, and glorious white sauce. The servings were big and good for two. In the spirit of fairness among my Amici (friends), we divided the few salmon cubes into three, lol! Seriously though, I think, more salmon cubes would make this dish extra special.

 Linguine Al Salmon Cremoso, Php 305.00

Caramia Gelateria - Ayala Triangle Gardens

Dinning in Amici is like living la dolce vita where good food has that power. And this is as good as it gets with our beautiful desserts from the dessert and Italian gelato extension of Amici, Caramia Gelateria. 
Mango Passion is made of Mango chunks mixed in gelato nestled in layers of rich shortbread pie crust and covered with luscious stripes of mango slices - a fresh and tangy take on a hot summer day while Rouge is a refreshingly fruit-bursting treat of delightful blueberry strawberry, and vanilla gelato on a crust of crushed graham recommended for a romantic Italian dinner date.

Mango Passion Php128.00 / Rouge Php 134.00

Food Quality : 5
Ambiance      : 4
Service           : 4
Cost/Prices    : 4

The project's criteria are; Food Quality, Ambiance, Service, and Cost/Prices, where  Five (5)   indicates "Exceptional Experience", Four (4)  indicates a place "worth a comeback", three (3)  means "a casual place to eat", two (2)   means "acceptable", and one (1))   means "poor".

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Easy Banana Cake from The Maya Kitchen's Mixes

Last two weeks ago, while the tropical cyclone Gorio devastated multiple islands with heavy rain and strong winds causing power outages, cessation of transportation services and displacing thousands of people...I was thinking and craving for yummy banana cake. But I can't go to the nearest mall to buy one. So I made my own, courtesy of the Maya Kitchen's mix. 

This Banana Cake is very easy to make, moist and flavorful with the sweetness of mashed bananas. Great if you have peanut butter or chocolate for frosting and best to eat for morning or afternoon tea.


3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/4 cup water
2 ripe bananas (approximately 150g, any kind, mashed)
Maya Kitchen's Banana Cake Mix
1 medium egg


1) Line the sides and bottom of an 8 x 3 inch loaf pan with wax paper
2) Combine the cake mix, oil, water, bananas, and egg in a wooden bowl. Beat with wooden spoon until smooth, about 50 strokes.
3) Pour the mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly.
4) Cover loosely with alluminum foil and lightly seal at the edges
5) Bake in the oven toaster for 10 minutes. Turn the pan sideways and bake for 10 minutes more.
6) Check if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick at the center. if it does not come out clean, continue baking for 3-5 minutes until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean and dry. Let cool and serve with  peanut butter or chocolate for frosting.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Ayala Triangle Project - Omakase

 Stuffed Chicken (Chicken roll with bacon inside served with tartar sauce) Php 230.00

The connotation of Japanese food, for me, was looking good but tasting bad. That was before I tried to dine-in at Omakase in Ayala Triangle Gardens last month. There was a scary moment on my way to the restaurant as I compose myself to taste raw food. Honestly, I am not a fan of raw Japanese food but they say that the better way to appreciate food is eating it raw. I admire Japanese food presentation though. I've tried to eat sushi multiple times when I was working in Hotel Fleuris in Palawan where we have a Japanese restaurant (We Be Sushi) but I really didn't like it. Maybe today it would be different, I told myself.

Upon entering the restaurant I was greeted with a warm welcome by the staff wearing black Japanese inspired dress at the door before being taken to a well lit table at the corner of the restaurant. The restaurant has a polished interior and smart furnishings against the backdrop of soft sweet music. Half empty when I arrived, the same staff assisted me throughout the menu and invited to try Kani Miso, a Japanese soup made of crab stick, wakamo and spring onion while finalizing my order. I decided to skip my plan of eating raw Japanese food when I saw their Stuffed Chicken from the menu. The soup was warm and tasted good. As I sipped the soup I noticed that the restaurant has an al fresco area overlooking the greenery of the Ayala Triangle Garden. In the central business area of the busy Makati City, Omakase is a good area for a solitude lunch for anyone.

 Kani Miso (crabstick, wakamo, spring onion) Php 55.00 Kalamansi Juice, Php 60.00

Twenty minutes after, my order arrived: California Maki, Stuffed Chicken, and Kalamansi Juice were placed on my table. I was very much looking forward to tasting the food. The waiter told me that Banana Nut a la Mode will be served later and asked me if I need anything else. I asked a glass of water. Apart from me asking a glass of water, the service was impeccable.

 California Maki, Php 140.00

The California Maki was beautifully presented. I could smell the wasabi that I hate. There's the classic taste of California Maki, it was good but nothing's new. The highlight of my culinary evening is the stuffed chicken: Chicken roll with bacon inside served with tartar sauce. The smell of bacon,  crunchiness of the chicken skin and the creaminess and tartness of Tartar sauce was divine. The portion was good for two but just enough for my big meaty appetite. Not powdered, my juice was from fresh local citrus fruit, Kalamansi, which I really liked. I sealed my Japanese cuisine dinner with Banana Nut a la Mode; 4 pieces of banana spring rolls with peanut butter inside, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup on top. Overall, Omakase is perfect for rare and special occasions. The food is really good.

 Banana Nut a la Mode, Php 120.00

Food Quality : 5
Ambiance      : 5
Service          : 4
Cost/Prices    : 4

The project's criteria are; Food Quality, Ambiance, Service, and Cost/Prices, where  Five (5)   indicates "Exceptional Experience", Four (4)  indicates a place "worth a comeback", three (3)  means "a casual place to eat", two (2)   means "acceptable", and one (1))   means "poor".

Omakase Japanese Cuisine
Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati Ave., Bel-Air
Makati City, Metro Manila

Phone:(02) 467 3150

The Ayala Triangle Project:

Amici and Caramia Gelateria
Chef Laudico's Bfast
Kanin Club
Golden Spoon
Poco Deli
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

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