Oct 31, 2013

Spinach and Cream Cheese Crostini

Crostinis consist of small pieces of toasted or grilled bread served with toppings. They are essentially Italian appetizers which are great for entertaining. I thought since the holidays would soon be with us, it would be great to share a recipe that's easy to make, elegant  enough to serve with company and most of all - delightfully delicious! This recipe for Spinach and Cream Cheese Crostini is all that! Make it this holiday season for your family and friends or as a quick and delectable lunch option! We love these these yummy toasted bread for lunch with our favorite salad! Enjoy! 

Oct 30, 2013

Delectable Chocolate Chili

Fall and winter calls for comfort food that will not only keep you warm but also make you feel really good - to help battle the winter blues! And we all know that kind of food has got to be Chili! I have already made a chicken version last year so I thought it's about time I make a beef one. I have seen some recipes that use unsweetened Cocoa powder to add more flavor to their Chilis and I thought it was a wonderful idea. So here's my version of a Chocolate Chili that uses cocoa powder to add more flavor to your regular Chili recipe.

Oct 26, 2013

Ground Beef Stroganoff with Thyme and Red Wine

I didn't realize that I have back-to-back pasta posts this week as the recipe I shared earlier was already a pasta dish. Oh well, this week has truly been a Pasta week for us and even our dinner tonight is another pasta dish - Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe though I added some Asparagus to the mix. Obviously, this week has not been low-carb at all though partly gluten-free as hubby only eats gluten-free Pasta. But my whole family was happy with all the dishes and that's all that matters. :-)

Oct 23, 2013

Penne with Beef and Roasted Pepper Sauce

I had some ground beef, red wine and roasted peppers at hand. What should I do? The obvious answer was to make a delicious pasta sauce. I wanted a quick recipe that doesn't require many hours of simmering yet still deliver robust flavor. So, inspired by my Bolognese recipe, I used the red wine to add flavor to the Beef. I boiled it and let it evaporate so that the beef retains that subtle wine taste that truly adds depth of flavor but without too much alcohol. I then stirred in  the roasted sweet peppers and fresh chopped/diced tomatoes plus some dried herbs and, wow, the result is a very delicious sauce that tastes like it was slow-cooked for hours but actually is not. Enjoy this easy and yummy pasta sauce over your favorite pasta!

Oct 19, 2013

Scrumptious Apple Cake with Vanilla Custard Sauce

This scrumptious Apple Cake is moist and flavorful while the custard sauce is simply divine! | manilaspoon.com

This Apple Cake with Vanilla Custard Sauce does not need much introduction. It is a show-stopper, indeed. So pretty to look at - my hubby says it looks like it came from a Patisserie! When you make it you are sure to impress your guests and they will think you really fussed over it. It's not really difficult (you don't even need a mixer though you may use one for convenience) and it's guaranteed to please apple lovers and even those who may not care much for them. This fall season this delicious cake has become our family's new favorite sweet treat - after all, I already made this 3 times and looks like I will be making this some more! :-)

Oct 17, 2013

Travel Feature: Oxford, England

Last summer we went to England for my parents-in-law's 50th Wedding Anniversary, which incidentally coincided with our 10th Anniversary so we had the chance to not only celebrate with them but to go around some lovely parts of the country. Whenever we are back in the UK, I often request hubby for a quick trip to Oxford - home of my alma mater University of Oxford. I spent one year here for my masteral degree and had the most wonderful time. I always want to go back and visit whenever I get the chance. It is such a unique and beautiful city as you can see in the photo.

This time I was very excited that the two tots could join us. I have wanted them to see this glorious university town - home of some of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires" in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings.

The name Oxford comes from the old term Oxanforda which literally meant a ford (shallow crossing) in the river where the cattle (Oxen) could cross safely. Watch out for these cows! I was actually so happy to see these cows just by the river and I thought this photo perfectly described Oxford!  Thankfully, they didn't mind me taking their photos as they took their afternoon nap. :-)

Just one of the magnificent spires in this wonderful city. I believe this one belongs to Magdalene (pronounced - maudlin) College. You would often see a similar view in postcards.

Close-up of this splendid spire.

This is my college - Wadham in Parks Road. It is one of the oldest colleges in the university (though the youngest among the oldest) - built in 1610. This was my residence while I took my studies at the Faculty of Law. It is very centrally located as it is just across the Bodleian Library - Oxford main library.

The entrance to the college.

Quite an imposing and really tall door. 

This is what you see upon entering - we have a lovely courtyard that they maintain meticulously.

This is our dining hall. The tutors and professors sit at the table at the end. Sometimes they invite a student to dine with them. That is quite special as they have some ceremony of sorts and the dinner does not end here as they move to another place and give you drinks. My tutor invited me to join them one time and it was quite an experience. (Photo is from http://claudeschneider.com.)

Perhaps the most well-known of all the colleges in Oxford - Christ Church. It is one super-rich college and has for me the most beautiful grounds. As some of you may know, Harry Potter was shot in this college - particularly - the stairways and the dining hall. This college is just so grand and you need to pay to enter it (though Oxford students go free so I took advantage of this a few times!). There's always a queue to get in.

On the way to Christ Church coming from the River Thames. Gorgeous and lush! 

Just outside Christ Church is this cute and quaint little store - Alice's Shop - inspired by Alice in Wonderland as its author Lewis Carrol (Charles Dodgson) taught at the college. There is actually a real girl named Alice - Alice Liddell - the daughter of the Dean at Christ Church who was a friend of Lewis Carroll. She immortalized Alice in his books.   

Bridge of Sighs at Hertford College. This is quite near Wadham, just on the other side of the road.

The Sheldonian Theatre which was built by Sir Christopher Wren (perhaps the most famous graduate of my college - Wadham) for graduation ceremony. I had my graduation here in 2001.

Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street

Lovely and colorful buildings along Broad Street

Courtyard of the Bodleian Library. Harry Potter was also filmed here. I was actually in Wadham when they filmed this movie as I remember seeing some of the kids who were in the film (though not the main characters). Bodleian is just right across my college and I saw the film crew but little did I know what they were filming then. Disclaimer: I have not seen the movie(s). :-)

William posing.

Sophie had to have one outside Bodleian.

This is the iconic Radcliffe Camera which is part of the Bodleian Library.

By All Souls College just beside Radcliffe Camera.

Love navigating these tiny streets and yes, am glad I still found my way to the covered market.

This was my habit when I was a student - I would go to the covered market to buy Ben's cookies - yes, they are the world's best cookies!!! These cookies are so well known now and some stores/branches can now be found in London.

Three prominent Protestant church leaders were memorialized in Oxford's Martyr's Memorial after being burned alive on Broad Street for they did not renounce their faith during the reign of Queen Mary. Apparently, they were all Cambridge educated.

Can you see the tots? At St. Johns College.

Cornmarket street is often buzzing with pedestrians. This is the shopping area.

Beautiful Tudor House at Cornmarket.

Back at the River Thames near Christ Church. So beautiful by the river.

If you ever come to Oxford during the summer, this is one thing you should never miss - punting! It is fun and I wished we had the chance to do it, perhaps next time.

Here's us by the River Thames. It was a wonderful day, indeed!

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Oct 15, 2013

Scrumptious Carrot Cake Cookies

Fancy a slice of carrot cake but don't have the inclination to fuss over making one? Then why not try this quick and easy-to-make Carrot Cake cookies - soft and delicious cookies that are flavorful and perfectly spiced. If you wish, you can even make some cream cheese frosting to make these really taste like mini-carrot cakes. The sweet and warm Cinnamon and Nutmeg spices truly shine in these yummy cookies that aim to please! My whole family loved this and hope you do, too!

Oct 12, 2013

Triple Chocolate Wacky Cake with a Dark Chocolate Ganache

Hubby and I love to entertain in our home. Nothing fancy, it's just great to have people around and talk to them and get to know them better. Often I try to inquire whether some of them have dietary restrictions or they inform me that there are certain foods that they need to avoid for some health reasons. That was the case when we invited one of our friends over for dinner. She mentioned she cannot have dairy as her constitution does not agree with it. It wasn't much of a problem for me to make a menu without dairy as many Filipino dishes hardly use it so that's fine.

Oct 10, 2013

Creamy Beef and Italian Sausage Lasagna

Inspired by my Cheesy Baked Bolognese recipe, I created this delicious and creamy Lasagna. Instead of the usual plain ground beef, I added some ground Italian sausage to the mix. With some dried Thyme, garlic powder and some cream cheese and sour cream thrown in for good measure - there's only one thing to say about this - DELICIOUS! Please enjoy!

Oct 8, 2013

Bread and Soup Recipe Round-up (40 Delectable Recipes)

Lentil and Spinach Soup with Italian Sausages

Make fall and winter more comfortable with these scrumptious Bread and Soup recipes! Enjoy!

Oct 5, 2013

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

With just a few ingredients, this classic version of Spaghetti alla Carbonara is so quick and easy to make and totally delicious, too! A big family favorite!

With just a few ingredients, this classic version of Spaghetti alla Carbonara is so quick and easy to make and totally delicious, too!  A big family favorite!

One of the earliest pasta dishes I have ever attempted is Spaghetti alla Carbonara. This was when I was still in law school many years ago...don't wish to reveal my age too much! :-) Back then I used some cream to make the sauce and though it's not the most authentic Italian dish I have made, my family was quite happy with it. With bacon and cream,  how can you say no? :-)

Oct 2, 2013

Garlic and Thyme Roasted Chicken with Courgettes (Zucchini)

We went to England in 2010 and stayed with my hubby's very good friend, Robin, while in London. His wife was away visiting her family abroad at that time so he was left in-charge of taking care of us and feeding us. Wow, I was almost afraid for him - not that we are difficult guests (LOL) but just because I didn't want him to make a fuss or to be intimidated with our presence.

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