Mad Mark’s Part II: Cos We Just Can Get Enough

Wow! I’ve been gone for a long time! I’m so sorry; I’ll try to get back on track. 🙂

In line with this, I would like to share my 2nd Mad Mark’s experience— this time, with the resto’s trademark ice cream!

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The last time we were there, my food buddy and I had an amazing time (read all about it here). And this 2nd time? Well, let me tell you one thing: Mad Mark’s doesn’t disappoint. Mad Mark’s always impress.

For dinner, we ordered Steak & Frites (USDA steak with mushroom sauce, fresh salad, and herb fries, P265) and Yamazaki Steak (Osakan-flavored steak with fries, P265).

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(His, the Yamazaki steak)

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(Aaand hers, the Steak and Frites)

We didn’t order Patatas Bravas anymore because, as you can see, we already got that covered. Haha. Anyway, as usual, I looove the food! I asked for my steak to be well done, and they did it right. I didn’t regret my decision to order mushroom sauce— it went well with the steak. The herb fries is good too, but I’d prefer the regular patatas over that.

Now join me as we journey to the “dessert moon…”

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We were excited to try the ice cream, but since we’re on a tight budget (as always!), we just agreed to share on one cup of  ice cream. We had a slightly hard time choosing the flavor, but fortunately, Mad Mark’s have flavor combinations up on their board, and the waiter suggested Madagascar Vanilla Bean with Javan Hot Chocolate.

The result? Amazing!

Both flavors were neither too sweet nor too plain. They have their own attitudes. 😉 But if I were to choose, I like the Javan Hot Chocolate better. Why? Because it’s dark chocolate! I’m a sucker for dark chocos, and this ice cream hits the spot. The fact that every Mad Mark’s ice cream is homemade, well, made our experience more awesome.

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We still have A LOT to try on that resto. Mark loves it, I love it… and we’re definitely going back soon! (Maybe after 3 months again… or less. Lol.)

Happy blogging (and eating!)
Jane

Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats: Insanely Yummy (and Heavy!) Food

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Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats, located at 2/F Glorietta 5Office Dr., Ayala Center, Makati. Other branch: 23 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig (Contact # (02) 342-6802)

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Wow! A blog post about food. Haven’t done a foodie post in a while… geez.

Anyway, just recently, I was able to try something new in a not-so-new place for me: Glorietta 5. Hahaha. (I know, I know. Shame on this Makati girl.)

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For dinner, my food buddy Mark suggested Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats (or simply Mad Mark’s) in Glorietta 5 because, well, it’s his namesake. Haha. He initially picked the place because of its name, but we were surprised that it’s actually a good place with very sulit food.

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Mad Mark’s actually started out as a quaint, hole-in-the-wall creamery in Kapitolyo, and eventually made its way into the fast-laned city of Makati. They serve the whole package– from appetizers to the desserts, which is their made-from-scratch ice cream, I believe.

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Now for the grub we had. My pig-out buddy ordered the Signature Steak with two sidings (bacon potato salad and garden grains) and bootstrap sauce (P265.00), while I had the Yard Bird and Bacon Slab (P290.00). As a starter, we ordered Patatas Bravas (P75.00).

IMG_20140724_191944(Signature Steak with Bootstrap Sauce, Garden Grains and Bacon Potato Salad)

IMG_20140724_192259(Yard Bird and Bacon Slab)

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I had every bit of what we ordered and, in fairness, they’re all “Janey Approved!” I absolutely love the steak and the bacon– their chunky goodness just had me begging for more. The chicken’s also good, but honestly, I prefer the bacon and steak. Hehe. The fries (Patatas Bravas) are great, too! I love it when I chance upon long pieces of fries– no fast-food fries can amount to that!

IMG_20140724_192315(Yours truly, amazed by how chunky and heavy the serving is. Lol.)

Mad Mark’s offerings literally filled our tummy to the maximum level. Each meal was so heavy that I had to loosen up my belt! Haha not kidding. Not ideal for dinner (especially if you’re a weight-watcher), but they’re delicious anyway, so why not? Hahaha.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to try any of their ice cream products, but at least we’ll have more reasons to come back SOON! We shall, and we will!

IMG_20140724_192751(Fatties!!!)

For a very satisfying food fest that’s not so hurtful on the pocket, try Mad Mark’s! Just make sure to list your name once you get there, because I think they’re jam-packed most of the time. 😉

Check their website for more information: click!

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Happy blogging (and eating!)
Jane

V is for Vanilla Cupcakes

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For my letter V entry for this year’s A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ve decided to share one of my many attempts to perfect the art (and science!) of cupcake-baking. Yes, V stands for vanilla cupcakes!

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Vanilla-flavored cupcakes are considered as staples in any bakeshop. Aside from chocolate and red velvet, vanilla cupcakes are the ones we usually see in various pastry cases. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re moist with just the right amount of sweetness… my mouth’s watering right now. Lol just kidding!

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Of course, I was so excited to make my own batch of fragrant vanilla cupcakes. Fortunately, I found a perfect recipe in Easycooking‘s website— simple yet delicious! I love this recipe because it doesn’t involve “rare” ingredients and it’s so easy to follow. Now I’m going to share it to you as well. (But don’t forget to visit Easycooking’s site! Divya has a lot of good recipes posted there. :))

Vanilla Cupcakes
Yield: 18 cupcakes

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Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (I always use unsalted)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup milk (I always use fresh milk)
2 eggs
2 tsp instant coffee powder

Procedure:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt thrice, then set aside.
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3. Combine butter and sugar; cream well.
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4. Add eggs one by one; beat well.
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5. Alternatively add the flour mixture and milk thrice; mix very well.IMG_20140201_194305IMG_20140201_1943336. Lastly (for the mix, that is), add vanilla extract. Reminder: taste your batter before putting it in the oven!

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7. Line your muffin pan with liners and, with an ice cream scoop, fill them with 2/3 batter each.

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8. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
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After patiently watching your cupcakes rise up in the oven (hihihi), you can now let them cool and top them with your choice of frosting!

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I used my leftover coffee buttercream from last time’s recipe (though I didn’t include it in the post hehehe) and, in fairness, they blended nicely. The frosting itself needs a lot of work, but taste-wise, they’re delicious together! Oh by the way, I got the coffe buttercream’s recipe here. 🙂

Vanilla and coffee… never had them this good! Hahaha.

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Happy blogging (and baking)!
Jane

 

M is for Milk Oatmeal Cookies

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Baking time again! For this A-Z Blogging Challenge post, I’ll share my first attempt to make cookies… using my cupcake pan. Lol.

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I don’t have a cookie pan yet, so it was kinda hard to bake. 😛 Anyway, I got the recipe from this website. Easy procedure with basic ingredients. 😉

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Milk Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups Quaker Oats (yes, the milk one)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs

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Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Sift the baking soda and flour, mixing them really well.
3. Cream butter and sugar.

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4. Add the flour mixture. Mix well.

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5. Add the eggs, one by one. Again, mix well.

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6. Now it’s time to put the oats!

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7. Put the vanilla extract to taste.

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8. Bake for 8-12 minutes

Aaaand here’s the result:

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Baking cookies in a muffin pan is hard. You have to be careful with the measurements, baking time, etc. Fortunately, most of the cookies turned out well. Tasted great too, but too simple in terms of appearance (according to one of my critics lol).

While majority of the batch looked okay, some didn’t look like cookies at all. Hahaha. Here’s how the first ones turned out:

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Still… they’re delicious. 😛

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Happy blogging (and baking)!
Jane

C is for Chocolate Crinkles

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For my 3rd A-Z Blogging Challenge entry, I will share our (my officemates and I’s) first attempt to make chocolate crinkles.

Disclaimer: We are not professionals. Lol.

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If you’re an avid visitor of my blog, you already know by now that I bake cupcakes from time to time. But this time, I tried my hand on crinkles as per my officemate’s request. It was a Valentine’s Day favor that I couldn’t say “no” to.

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Enough blabbering. Here is the step-by-step guide! Recipe followed: this one. We just improvised with the ingredients.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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Ingredients:
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 eggs

Procedure:
1. Combine butter and cocoa powder in a microwaveable bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir.
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2. Mix the chocolate mixture with sugar.
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3. Add the eggs one by one. Beat well.
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4. Add the flour and baking powder into the mixture. Stir with a spatula until it becomes a soft dough.
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5. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2hours.
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6. Remove from the refrigerator. While bringing the dough to room temperature, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
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7. It’s time to shape the dough! Form small balls by hand. Then, completely cover the dough balls with powdered sugar by rolling them on it.

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8. Place on the cookie pan after (or in this case, my muffin pan since I don’t have any cookie sheets. Ugh.) Bake for 10-15 minutes. After that, let them cool for 5 minutes.

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They weren’t what we’re expecting them to be, but they taste good. *thumbs up* I just wish they cracked more and were softer to bite. They’re not so hard; it’s just that they’re not chewy. Oh well. Beginners! I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to improve our crinkle-making skills.

The hard work was worth it, though– my officemate pulled it all off and I think the girl appreciated the crinkles.

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Note to self: buy a cookie pan! Hahaha. Till the next baking session! 😉

Happy blogging (and baking)!
Jane

 

B is for Bibimbap

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Bibimbap – literally means mix mix rice. A dish consisting of rice, topped with meat, seasoned vegetables, raw egg, and chili pepper paste (gochujang).

(For more information, Google it. LOL)

Bibimbap is one of my super favorite dishes on the planet (the top one is fried chicken with gravy). It all started when my college friend (and co-blogger at Meeka & Lexy Project) “dragged” me to Kogi Bulgogi while strolling around Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo. She recommended jeuyuk bibimbap and when a spoonful landed in my mouth, I was like in Korean food heaven. I’ve been in love with bibimbap ever since.

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(Jeuyuk bibimbap from Kogi Bulgogi. Read my post about it here.)

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(More authentic bibimbap from Bugkyoung resto in Manila. Read my post about it here.)

So for my 2nd A-Z Blogging Challenge entry, I’m gonna share my “feeling-chef” attempt of making this sumptuous dish. Yes, B is for Bibimbap!

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Since it’s just easy to prepare, I decided to my make my own version. I used carrots, chayote, bean sprouts, crab sticks, and ground pork. For the flavoring, I tried the Kewpie Roasted Sesame Japanese Dressing that I discovered from a friend of my friend. Why? Its taste reminds me of the bibimbap that I always buy for lunch. And oh, I can do without the chili paste. I don’t eat spicy food.

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Well, like what I said, it wasn’t that hard to cook. But slicing the veggies takes a lot of time because they have to be thin. The thinner, the better.

Here’s what my bibimbap looked like after it was done:

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I made it super simple; topped with sesame seeds. Drizzle some Kewpie Roasted Sesame Japanese Dressing and mix them all and voila! Your very own bibimbap!

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It was delicious, but I know I can do better next time. Yes… till the next bibimbap attempt! 😛

FYI: I had bibimbap for lunch prior to this post! Missed it!

Happy blogging (and eating)!
Jane

Cupcakes by Sonja: Simply LOVE

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Cupcakes by Sonja, located at 2/F Glorietta 2 Bridgeway, Ayala Center, Makati (with brances at Serendra Piazza, Rockwell, Shangri-La Plaza, Rustans Fresh Forbes Park, Greenhills Shopping Center, Robinsons Galleria, and TriNoma). Contact: 625 48 84

Date: February 1, 2014

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Wow! I can’t believe I finally had the chance to start my so-called “Cupcake Journey!” 🙂 It’s been long overdue since I don’t have enough riches to pay for the sumptuous but pricey cupcakes that bakeshops offer. But thanks to my finance provider (my sister hehe), I was able to taste some of Cupcakes by Sonja’s mouth-watering cupcakes.

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I’ve always wanted to try Cupcakes by Sonja ever since I saw their branch in BGC. Back then, I didn’t have any money to splurge, and it was kinda far from my place. Fortunately, they opened a new spot in Glorietta 2, which is definitely nearer. Yay!

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I absolutely love the decor and feel of the place. It’s simple and cute; not heavily decorated because the branch sits right in the middle of Glorietta 2 walkway. I like its 360-degree style and, best of all, the bulbs surrounded with wire whisks! How creatively crazy is that?

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Okay, now the food. Last Saturday, my sister and I decided to satisfy our sweet cravings and ordered two cupcakes: red velvet and peppermint patty.

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In fairness, both cupcakes were of right sweetness and fluffiness. Good job!

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(Red velvet cupcake)

The red velvet is my personal favorite. I like the fact that there’s a slight tanginess in the frosting and it compliments very well with the sweetness of the cake. For P85.00, this cupcake sure is worth it!

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(Peppermint patty cupcake)

Meanwhile, the peppermint patty’s good too. I ordered it because I like all things mint (from my usual Starbucks drink to my favorite ice cream flavor), and I was excited to taste a peppermint-flavored cupcake. Unfortunately though, I didn’t taste enough mint. The frosting’s too sweet for me— in fact, I didn’t finish the whole thing. The cake’s good, though; feels smokey chocolate in the mouth, but not my kind of choco. Peppermint patty’s not entirely disappointing, but I guess next time I shouldn’t expect too much. 😉

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Overall, it was a splendid experience. My sister and I sitting on a high stool (just because the place’s packed and there were no low seats available), munching on cupcakes while watching people pass by… Cupcakes by Sonja is definitely a must-visit. I wanna try more of their offerings soon!

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(The finance officer… LOL)

Happy eating!
♥ Jane

(Mis) adventures of a cupcake rookie part III: Coffee Cupcakes

The newbie baker is back! 🙂

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I’m actually a bit excited to share my third cupcake baking experience with you folks. Why? Because this time, I chose my favorite drink in the world as my cupcake flavor— and the outcome is really good!

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I looooooove coffee. I started appreciating its wonders when I worked as a part-time barista in Starbucks. Being exposed to different kinds of coffee beverages (pure black or Frappuccino) made me realize how amazing coffee really is. Since then, coffee would always be in my everyday routine. If I go on a day without drinking coffee, I feel kind of incomplete.

That’s why when I stumbled upon a super simple coffee cupcake recipe, I immediately saved it in my laptop and happily waited for the weekend to come… and here we are! (I owe my coffee cupcake knowledge to Divya of Easy Cooking (thank you so much!). Click the link to see her recipe and step-by-step procedure.)

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I really liked this recipe because I already have all of the listed ingredients! I’m still saving up for my Boracay trip next week, so the fact that I don’t have to buy anything really helped me (and my pocket) a lot. 🙂

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Okay, now the cupcakes. They were so easy to make and, in fairness, they taste great! Aside from their “mocha-like” taste, I really like the texture and firmness of the cupcakes. My past attempts weren’t so great— first ones were mistaken for brownies, and the second ones were “too airy and soft.” So I’m proud of myself for finally doing things right. 🙂

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Oh, by the way, these cupcakes are great on their own— frosting or no frosting. But since they’re a bit too plain for me (in terms of appearance), I decided to dip some of them on my leftover chocolate ganache. The taste is, well, acceptable, but I think I prefer the plain ones. Lol.

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So there… my third attempt to bake awesome cupcakes. Surely not the last time, too. 😉  Stay tuned for more (mis) adventures!

♥ Janey

Mis (adventures) of a cupcake rookie part 2: Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache

So the cupcake (mis) adventure continues…

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Last Saturday, I spent my “first weekend after work for 2014” in the kitchen. After my first attempt to bake a decent batch of cupcakes last week, I’ve decided to try again… still with chocolates.

Actually, I was planning to bake red velvet cupcakes because it’s my other favorite flavor, but I changed my mind because I’m saving up a bit. This month, I’ll be going to Boracay (first time!) with my officemates, so I’ll be needing lots of pocket money. Because I’m experiencing shortage in terms of cash, I’ve decided to make cupcakes out of my existing ingredients from last time’s attempt. Luckily, I still have enough flour, chocolates, etc.

For my second time in “mastering the art of being a self-educated cupcake baker,” I used Aikko Aragon‘s chocolate cupcake recipe from Our Awesome Planet. I made some changes in the ingredients and topping, but aside from that, I just followed her instructions. 🙂

About the changes, well instead of using chocolate chips for the ganache, I just used my existing SureBuy Bittersweet Baking Chocolate to save money. For the heavy cream, I used Nestle All Purpose Cream.

Meanwhile, my chocolate batter turned out nice. After filling all the cupcake liners, I giddily put them in the oven and watched them puff up. So much kilig feels.

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When I took them out, though, I was a bit disappointed. Yes, they were softer than the dark chocolate cupcakes (too soft, I think), but their tops looked kinda rough, cracked and crispy (but I guess that’s normal…?)

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Moving on with my life (LOL), I let it pass and cooled them while I was preparing my ganache. After countless manual beatings with my wire whisk, the chocolate ganache still didn’t meet the right consistency for piping; it’s too thin to put into the piping bag. Since it was getting too late, I decided to refrigerate it (and the cupcakes) and see what will happen on the next day.

The following day… disaster welcomed me as I opened the ref and peeked at my ganache. It became too thick and crumbly! I panicked for a moment (yes, typical me), then I thought of a way to make things work. I heated the ganache for less than a minute, took out the cupcakes (which turned out moist and a bit sticky), dipped some onto the ganache, and refrigerated them again.

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After almost an hour, they looked like this:

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I may not have pulled off the swirled chocolate ganache I’ve been dreaming of, but I’m still glad at how things turned out. Glazed cupcakes, anyone? 🙂

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In terms of taste, well… according to my “taste testers” at home, my chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache taste just right— not too sweet and not too bland. When I asked my sister, she just gave me a thumbs up. Works for me! Hahaha.

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Of course this is not the end of my cupcake adventure. If I have the time and money, I’ll bake my third set of cupcakes. (And by that time, I hope I get the frosting right. Lol.)

And yes, I know I’m not good with plating and food photography. Oh well… :3

♥ Janey

Ready, set, CUPCAKES!

As part of my “slight obsession”  with cupcakes (lol), I’ve decided to go on an amazing journey… cupcake journey, that is.

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(Photo: http://vagendamag.blogspot.com)

This 2014, I’m planning to scout every cupcake shop in town and taste their best-sellers, as well as their other offerings (if I have the money hahaha). I’ve already been to Vanilla Cupcake Bakery, and the experience was super awesome! I’m going back there to try the other cupcakes they have. 😉

Also included in my list of “places to go, cupcakes to eat” are Cupcakes by Sonja, Mom and Tina’s Bakery and Cafe, GIGI Coffee & Cupcakes, Frostings Cupcakes, Vanilla Bakery and Cafe,  Sophie’s Mom, The Flour Girl, Twelve Cupcakes and Blenz Coffee, which is near our office.

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(Wow these cupcakes feel nostalgic. Reminds me of my days as a barista. Hahaha. Photo: pixiecrust.blogspot.com)

Let the cupcake adventure begin! 🙂

P.S.: How about you? Do you know any cupcake shop that I can put on my itinerary? Don’t hesitate to inform me! 🙂  Thanks!