Noms

Champorado for the Soul

Now that it’s the rainy season, mornings are cool, wet, and sometimes dreary. One of the best ways to battle the blues that the rain brings is to warm yourself with good old soul food (best kind of cure for all kinds of the blues). And in my world, the very definition of rainy day soul food is a bowlful of steaming tsokolate champorado. Just like our lolas made for us back when we were still cute.

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Mmm.. Can next week be rainy again?

Last Christmas, a friend gifted us with a jar of tablea tsokolate balls and up until the rains began, the jar served as a lonely display on our kitchen counter. No one really knew what to do with them. Then the rainy days began and one wet Saturday morning, I had a lightbulb moment (these don’t come very often) and thought to learn to make authentic champorado right there and then. I followed a recipe from the Internet (no way?!) and with I few tweaks, I proceeded to make my own.

It didn’t turn out too well. More than an hour in the kitchen trying not to mess it up and I ended up with a barely eatable warm brown paste (really, this blog should be renamed to “Mel’s Mishaps in the Kitchen”). Okay, it wasn’t that bad but instead of having a chocolate porridge with congee-like consistency, I had a sticky rice chocolate cake with some half cooked grains. Not exactly the champorado that lola made, eh?

Good thing we haven’t ran out of rainy days just yet and I was able to try again another week later. But that didn’t turn out too well either. All the grains were cooked this time, but I still ended up with globs of sticky brown paste that resembled bico* more than champorado. But like they say, third time’s the charm. This time, finally have the recipe down pat. This time, we have the recipe for Champorado for the Soul, as I like calling it (humor me).

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Malagkit rice, ablea tsokolate, brown sugar

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Champorado for the Soul (serves 2-3)-

  • 5-7 tablets of tablea tsokolate
  • 1 cup of glutinous rice grains (malagkit)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 5 cups of water
  • some evaporated milk (the amount really depends on your preference)
  • good stirring arm
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Add the melted chocolate as soon as your rice becomes translucent, to let the rice absorb the chocolate flavor

What to do:

  • In a small saucepan, pour in a cup of water and all the tablea tsokolate tablets and melt it over low fire. Don’t let it burn or boil too much. Just as soon as all the bits have dissolved, pour it into a small bowl and set it aside.
  • In the same saucepan, pour in the rest of the water and the rice grains. You may wait for the water to boil before stirring (trust me, you’ll need all the stirring energy you have for the next part).
  • As soon as it starts to boil, stir the mixture regularly to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • After about 15 minutes of stirring, your rice grains should be half-cooked and will appear slightly transparent. Then you can pour the melted tablea and let the rice grains seep in the flavor of the chocolate. Don’t forget to keep stirring!
  • After about 15 more minutes of stirring, or until you can’t feel your arm anymore, whichever comes first, check to see if the rice is thoroughly cooked. Scoop out a grain or two and find someone willing to ingest a maybe-half-cooked rice grain.

Test 1: Bite through the grain. If it’s soft all the way through, it’s done. Otherwise, keep stirring!
Test 2: Chew and swallow the grain. If you don’t hurt your tonsils, it’s done. Otherwise, keep stirring! (notice a theme in the instructions?)

When you’re done, pour the mixture into bowls, drizzle with evaporated milk and though your arms may be sore, serve and eat with a smile. This, together with the champorado, should warm your soul and make for a happier rainy Saturday. 🙂

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Enroll at Global Academy and cook for me, please?

Boys and girls, if you want to build a career in the culinary arts or you simply want to learn the ins and outs of a kitchen (because you’re afraid of setting the house on fire *ahem*), Global Academy may have just the thing for you.

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The setup in Mercator Centale, free sweets and free fans!

In all honesty, I almost feel guilty for writing about this just now because it has been some Saturdays ago when the students of Global Academy did a demo at Midnight Mercato (still my favorite night food market). Together with a lucky few who were there that night, we were able to see the soon-to-be pros at work and more importantly (to my grumbling tummy), to sample their masterful creations.

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Chefs of the night (image ganked from the Global Culinary & Hospitality Academy Facebook page)

They started things off with the Parmesan Meatball Slider and Coleslaw with Walnuts and Chili Dressing. The meatballs are baked and then sandwiched inside a dinner roll and can be served elegantly on a platter. They gave us free samples (the best part!) to try and taste for ourselves. It’s a light burger that’s good to serve as an hors d’ oeuvre for a cocktail party, or as an appetizer before the main course, or actually, even as a simple afternoon snack while the coleslaw set off a tangy flavor to complement the meatballs. Recipe can be found here.

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The Parmesan Meatball Slider

Next came the desserts. Now, I may be biased because dessert is my favorite part of ANY meal, but the desserts were just superb. They tarted walking us through the recipe for this choco surprise cupcake thing (Guess who wasn’t taking down notes and can’t find the recipe anywhere?). This sweet little thing had a surprise choco filling that did a whole lot of wonders to this cupcake. It was great but it doesn’t hold a candle to what she made next.

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The Choco Surprise Cupcake (I don't remember the name, so I made one up)

The chef saved the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie for last. This red, bite-sized pie made of all things joyous and wondrous won many hearts that night, mine included. Although it looks like a macaron, it definitely isn’t one. It’s chewy instead of light, addictive and perfect, and did I mention addictive? We couldn’t stop ourselves from shamelessly begging asking for more. It was delish. Again, I can’t seem to find their recipe for this and would be eternally grateful to anyone who can point me to it.

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The Red Velvet Whoopie Pie needs a whole lotta whoops.

Global Academy is a culinary school that offers a variety of courses that caters to foodies with different needs. Whether you’re a casual cook who loves gourmet dishes done right at home or an aspiring chef, eager to whip up one intricate dish after another, they have the course for you. For more detailed info on the available courses, check out their website- http://globalacademyph.com/. Enroll now, and then cook for me please.

Noms

The Amazingly Sweet Krispy Kreme Spider-Man Donuts

Although we both find Andrew Garfield adorable, it was agreed that Bim should write about these donuts. Who better to talk about the Krispy Kreme Spider-Man donuts than the guy who worships the webcrawler in the blue and red Spandex suit? Incidentally, it is also his birth week this week. Here’s the part where I shame greet him publicly: Happy birthdayweek, Bim!

What’s up, everybody? It’s me, Bim, from GeekOut.ph! I come to you bearing my opinions on the recent Spider-Man donuts because 1. I love donuts and 2. I like Spider-Man, so I would like to think my opinion bears some weight here. Okay, here’s a short background on the donuts. They were released a few days before the Amazing Spider-Man movie came out, most likely to ride on the hype the Spider-Man movie was enjoying. It’s a great way to sell circular deep-fried dough. They released two variants – the red and blue and yellow mask one and the more kick ass looking spider logo one.

The face mask is a regular donut that has a sugary coating on top and a strawberry filling. It looks pretty weird – like the way Spider-Man would look after he’s decided to retire and eat donuts all day. The yellow eyes don’t even make sense; in the movie, his eyes pieces were from dark sunglasses, which were mostly black.

The black one with the logo is a chocolate filled donut with powered sugar on top. The way they put the logo there is pretty clever and must take a long time to do. Where there’s the logo, there’s no powered sugar. Mind = blown. Continue Reading

Noms

8065 Bagnet is a Hidden Makati Gem

I’m a bring-what-you-need-only type (or the lazy type, pick one), which means that my real camera only gets to see the outside when I’m going to an event or on a trip further than 30 kilometers from homebase. Within 30 kilometers, I use my phone’s puny camera. It’s doesn’t take awfully bad shots but sometimes, I wish I had an actual camera in my purse to take better pictures of surprise nomfinds. This was what was on my mind when we had a quick bite at 8065 Bagnet one random workday.

8065 Bagnet right in the heart of Makati

It was the middle of the work week when I was brought to this magical place in one of the inner streets of Makati. I didn’t have a real camera on me and had to use up the last of my phone battery juice to be able to take pictures of the noms in this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the heart of Makati called 8065 Bagnet.

Located at Estrella street in San Antonio Village, 8065 Bagnet has gained popularity among Makati yuppies as a place to have a quick after work bite. Although they have a variety of menu choices, the small house-turned-resto’s claim-to-fame is their special Bagnet (whoddaguessed?!). For the benefit of those who have no idea what a Bagnet is, a formal definition of it is “chopped pork belly bits deep fried to perfection”. My own definition would be “artery clogger masked as a delicious pork dish”.

Bagnet, Bagnet, and more Bagnet!

The picture above is the Classic Bagnet with a side of sliced green mangoes and shrimp paste. Besides the classic, 8065 took the liberty of taking it a step further by offering different flavors of the Bagnet, among the choices are Bagnet Curry, Bagnet Binagoongan, Bagnet Sisig, Bagnet Spicy Gata, Bagnet Dinuguan, and the Bagnet Kare-kare. All under 200 bucks and good for sharing (they also have solo meals that are served with rice and soup). Where else can you get all these types of Bagnet all week long?

Besides bagnet, 8065 Bagnet also offer other kinds of Filipino fare. They’re.. aight (for lack of a better fitting term), but bagnet is is what you go there for. Bagnet and cinnamon rolls. Yuh huh.

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This (kinna) rivals Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. I kid you not.

The plan was actually to get dessert somewhere else, but after demolishing the bagnet and before getting the bill, we noticed the stacks of cinnamon rolls on the counter. They came highly recommended by our server and my curious sweet tooth needed to be appeased. Boy, am I glad I listened to my inner sugar junkie. The cinnamon roll was served warm on a plate and all soft and gooey and sweet but not too sweet and cinnamon-y but not too cinnamon-y. I’d even go as far as to say that 8065 Bagnet’s Cinnamon Roll can (kinna) rival Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Ya, it’s that good.

If you’re near the area, you gotta head over and check them out for yourself. Map below.

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