A ‘No-Bake’ Day

No-bake desserts should be a no-brainer right? Well, that’s what I thought until I attended the No-Bake Desserts Class at the Joey Prats School of Baking and Pastry Arts last Saturday (June 27). Though excited about the class, I have to admit that a part of me thought I wouldn’t learn as much as I have from the past few lessons I took here since this particular class deals with no-bake desserts (Class #1 was “Cookies and Bars,” while Class #2 was “Macaron”). But then again, it’s Chef Joey… so with much anticipation, I went to the blue and green little house in Marcelo Green Village for my no-bake baking class.

There’s always something new to learn beyond the recipes in his classes – and I’m looking forward to learning more and more new things. Oh, and don’t forget the free food! I love being able to taste new flavors and Chef Joey Prats’ recipes are all to-die-for. By the way, if you’re going to take any class of his, try not to eat too much before the class. Trust me on this one.

The first recipe was the Strawberry Shortcake Tiramisu – a gorgeous twist to two classic desserts that’s sure to be the center of everyone’s attention at any party. The lady fingers used in this recipe is homemade, and is very similar to a sponge cake. The flavors are easily soaked in, giving us a ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feel with enough character brought about by the different flavors of each layer of the tiramisu. Another ingredient that’s difficult to find is mascarpone, so he taught us a good alternative to this – American Heritage Cream Cheese. I think this treat would be great for people who are working late at night — you’ve got the sugar for energy, strawberries for nutrition, coffee for focus, and alcohol for creativity! Yay!

strawberry tiramisu
the final layer of strawberries

Next up is the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Minted Fruits. Before teaching us how to make this, we were given a sample made with minted mangoes. I love the idea of putting it in a jar as it saves the hassle of transferring the panna cotta or packing it up for transport. During the actual demo, he used peaches instead of mangoes to show the versatility of the dessert (I’ll try making this with strawberries).

panna cotta collage

The third one is a No-Bake Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake made with American Heritage Cream Cheese. Again, we were all able to have a slice each before the actual demo. Now, I’ve never actually tried American Heritage before, but it’s nice how there’s not much water when you open a package of it – meaning it has more of the good stuff that you need. This particular recipe has no eggs and flour which gives it a texture reminiscent of a very light mousse, yet it’s stable enough to hold its shape when plated.

blueberry swirl cheesecake

I would say that my favorite recipe for this class is the Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream. The smooth ice cream was balanced off by the crunch that the pralines gave, and the flavor was just absolutely lovely. During this part of the lecture, it was also explained to us how ice creams differ in their texture, and how different ingredients play important roles in an ice cream. It was easily done with a KitchenAid stand mixer using the Ice Cream Attachment, and I just wish I can take one home and make ice cream immediately. I swear, this ice cream, by far, is the best I’ve ever tasted. No exaggerations, it is addicting.

churning...
churning…
warning: very addicting
warning: very addicting!

As absurd as a ‘no-bake baking class’ may sound, taking this class was absolutely worth every centavo. All of these four desserts were very easy and fun to make, and I’m 100% sure that family and friends will love them.

After the class, a classmate offered me a ride. We live very near each other so when she asked if I wanted to go with her for me to see her kitchen before I went home, I immediately said yes. When we arrived at her kitchen, this overwhelming joy filled my heart. (Thank you, Ate!) I felt like I walked right into dreamland. I know this might sound weird, but stepping foot in this kitchen made me so happy I was fighting back tears. (*^_^*) I’ve always wanted to be a pastry chef, and I’ve tried different jobs but I’m always strongly pulled back to my love for food. I’m still hoping it’s not too late. 🙂

SLTB

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Heavenly Cheesecakes by Joey Prats

If, for others, an event is incomplete without alcohol, then an event isn’t complete without cake for me! I’ve even baked some cakes before, although the last time I did was last year — it was a red velvet birthday cake with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries for BF. Seeing loved ones enjoy the baked goodies bring me a certain joy that totally beats store-bought cakes. It’s the appreciation for the cake that says, “I appreciate you.”

cake collage
Though I may not have baked for a while, I’ve joined Facebook baking groups and I’m also taking as much lessons as I could so that when I start baking again, I would be better equipped with skills and knowledge that I’ve learned so far.

dvd
Last week, I received my own copy of the Heavenly Cheesecakes DVD by Joey Prats. Included in the DVD are three recipes of cheesecakes — Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake, and Black Forest Cheesecake. I actually can’t wait to try them all! I think the one that’s gonna be easiest to do right away is the Dulce de Leche one because all the ingredients are readily available in my kitchen… plus I love dulce de leche! 🙂 Anyway, I might not be able to do it asap but I’ll be posting it up as soon as I make it. 🙂

I’ve taken 2 classes so far (the Cookies & Bars Class and the Macaron 101 Class) and I highly recommend the Joey Prats School of Baking & Pastry Arts. Though the classes I’ve taken were demo classes, I’ve learned a lot in those classes. They do have an upcoming 3-month certificate course so for those who are interested in baking, I’d suggest this course. I would enroll right away if I have the funds right now, but I don’t yet so I guess there’s gonna be a next time for me… but if you, my dear reader, is interested and you can, then please do so and enjoy learning how to bake at this school. 🙂

For those who want their own copy of the Heavenly Cheesecakes DVD, you can click here to contact them through their Facebook page. They also have other DVDs as well (Joy of Pastry and Best 100 Recipes) so there are a lot to choose from. BTW, those who aren’t in the Philippines can still purchase the videos — I think they’ll send the digital copy instead of the CD, so don’t hesitate to contact them. 🙂

Macaron 101 at the Joey Prats School of Baking & Pastry Arts

Last Saturday, June 13, was a very happy day for me — I finally got to attend the Macaron 101 class at the Joey Prats School of Baking & Pastry Arts! They have an ongoing promotion and this is the second class I’m taking (I attended the Cookies and Bars class last month) so I just have to get one more class and the next one is free! Always remember the green walls and the blue gate — I forgot the number of the house but remembered it was this brightly colored house and I didn’t get lost this time. (Yay me!) As usual with all of their classes, the class size was small — there were only six of us that day. I like the small class size because it allows friendships to be created and it’s a good environment for shy ones to be comfortable with the rest of the class. It also makes it easy for everyone to gather around near the chef if needed be. I sat beside a familiar face (she was a classmate from the previous class) then started a little chitchat with her and the Marketing Director, Eric, while we all wait in anticipation for the class to begin.

macaron recipe
Each student is given an envelope with the attendance certificate and all the recipes to be discussed, plus a box of macarons!

The class started off with an introduction to macaron — Chef Joey discussed its rich history (Laduree, Pierre Herme, etc), the different techniques that can be used (French and Italian methods), and the description of a perfect macaron. When a student sets foot in Chef Joey’s kitchen, not only does the student learn how to bake, but he surely will have a more critical palate for desserts and a much more inquisitive approach to them as well.

Chef Joey piping the macaron shells

Macarons are finicky to make which explains why a lot of bakers don’t make them much or don’t even try to make them at all. The baking began with the shells which are deceivingly easy to make: follow the procedure and you’re good to go; just don’t forget the correct preparation of the ingredients, the waiting for the macarons to set, the precise mixing needed for you not to over- nor undermix the batter… it’s fussy — yet easy, something you’d love to hate and hate to love. 😉 Next was the ganache — a simple yet luxurious treat made with the finest cream, chocolate, and ground almonds.

perfect macaron shells
perfect macaron shells

While waiting for the cookies to bake, we were surprised with a generous treat — a slice each of the best caramel flan (leche flan) that I’ve ever tasted! It has this gentle taste that’s creamy, and not overpoweringly sweet, that lingers on your taste buds even long after you’ve had it.

caramel flan
Joey Prats’ Caramel Flan

After the cookies were done baking, and have already cooled down, a generous amount of ganache was piped onto the cookies before being sandwiched by the top cookie… delicious. But painstakingly, we were told that the best time to eat a macaron is on the day after it’s cooked. Tempting as it may be, one must hold back and wait as each cookie is done with its “beauty rest” so as to achieve the different layers of flavor and texture that Chef Joey is proud of. The class ended with more chitchat and we were even able to try some liquid gold — Chef Myrna’s infamous Ultra Special Bagoong (no kidding, it’s so good that you can eat it with crackers). When we finally had to go home, we all left with a box each of macarons (for sharing…?) and a huge smile on our faces.

gorgeous dark chocolate macarons
gorgeous dark chocolate macarons

Although a very finicky treat, one must definitely try making macarons. Patience is truly a virtue one will need when making macarons (and trying very hard not to eat them on the same day it’s baked) but at the end of the day, I love macarons and I shall persist. As Chef Joey said, “mantra is ‘perfection’ and not ‘excellence,’ because the saying, ‘nobody’s perfect’ is just an excuse not to strive for perfection.”

For more reads:
1. Close to Laduree
2. My Sweet Story
3. Joey Prats’ Signature Desserts

For those interested in the Macaron 101 class, there’s another one coming up next month! I also found out that the macaron recipes can be found in one of the DVD that they’re selling. Check out their Facebook page for more details…  🙂

Baking with Joey Prats: Cookies and Bars

Last May 16, I went to the Joey Prats School of Baking and Pastry Arts to try out one of their classes. I originally planned to attend the French Macarons class but I wasn’t able to attend that one so I opted for the Cookies and Bars class instead.

Chef Joey was very friendly and I learned a lot of tips not limited to the topic/recipes alone. He willingly shared tips on different things such as how to improve baking, how to choose the best ingredients (and the best substitutes for those who are looking for more affordable alternatives to expensive ingredients), and different baking equipment/tools. I admire his philosophy on food being more than just something to make you full — he says it should be an experience that would make you feel as if you’ve gone to heaven and back. I can’t agree more because personally, I’d rather spend on something that can make me happy rather than just have something mediocre — that way I’m sure cravings are satisfied. He doesn’t scrimp on ingredients either, only using the best ingredients in the market in order to produce his luxurious treats (remember though, good quality doesn’t always have to mean sky-high prices).

yummy

For p3000 per class, I think this is super worth it. Cookies and bars are what may seem to be the easiest to make for beginner bakers; however, this class proved that making cookies and bars can be done in many different ways. Each participant is given a folder which includes recipes from the class and a certificate of attendance. At the end of the class, we all got to take home a box of goodies to enjoy and share with our family (or to keep to ourselves, whichever one pleases).

raspberry square

The school is located in a quiet village in Paranaque. To get there, you’ll have to get to Marcelo avenue via the West Service Road. You’ll see a 7-11 and a huge “Marcelo Green” sign so it’ll be easy to spot. Go through the village gate and turn left, then turn right when you see the Mango Corner Diner & Living Room Bar. It shouldn’t be hard to find (although silly me got lost the first time i tried to go there, haha!).  You can also refer to the map below.

address

Joey Prats Baking School offers different classes every weekend such as Macarons, Cheesecakes Cookies and Bars, and Artisanal Ice Cream. They also have a certificate program for those who want to take their skills further. For those who want to inquire about their classes, you can click here to check out their Facebook page or contact them through their numbers (refer to the picture below).

social media

SLTB

Outré Manila’s Nitrogen Ice Cream and More

“When thou art craving, thou shalt go to BF”
…and visit this magical place called OUTRE.

With all the hype on social media, I, together with my sissies couldn’t help but want to try for ourselves what this resto offers… so last Saturday, my sisters, their friends, and I went to BF, Paranaque in search of Outre Manila. Don’t get lost like we did! (lol!) It’s located right beside G-spot bar and just across Tous les Jours. If you’re familiar with Larcy’s, it’s just a short distance from there.

ice cream station

I love the quirky/artsy interior of the place. They had actual customers do the “vandals” on the walls and the whole thing turned out pretty awesome. (Yay!)

pasta
6-hour beef ragu fettuccine

We were supposed to only get ice cream but I haven’t had anything to eat yet so I ordered the 6-hour Beef Ragu Fettuccine. I’m so glad I did — this is by far one of the best pastas I’ve ever had! Seriously, I’m recommending everyone to try this heavenly piece of heaven. Also, I’m still really curious about the Prawn Mac & Cheese and the Pulled Pork Sandwich so I’m pretty much gonna be back soon! (Plus, they change their Gelato menu every month, so that’s another reason to keep coming back!)

Now, for the main show, please welcome…. THE GELATOS. We got the Milo Dinosaur, the Tiramisu, and the Salted Caramel — all for only Php150 each! Mind you, these are HUGE servings! I love the creamy texture of their gelato as its taste is simple and not overbearing.

3 flavors
pardon the messy picture, we were in a hurry to start digging in 🙂

 

salted caramel ice cream
salted caramel

Among these flavors, I would choose Tiramisu as my favorite with its perfect combination of flavors — as the smoothness of the gelato is being given a different texture by the broas.

magic

Eccentric, unusual, and extraordinary — true to what the word “outre”means, the food, the interiors, well, the whole vibe of the restaurant will keep conversations endless. Tag everyone along, specially the kiddos… it’s worth it. 😉

SLTB

Click here to check out Outré Manila’s Facebook page!

More reads:
(Pepper.ph) Outré in BF Homes Serves More than Just Over-the-Top Dessert
(
Primer.com.ph) Outré

Zark’s Burgers: You’ll Just Keep Coming Back

menu

The very first time I got to try Zark’s was in Taft, right in front De La Salle University. Their huge servings that comes in allowance-friendly prices are what makes this burger place really famous among students. They even have burger challenges such as the Jawbreaker challenge wherein a 1.5-lbs burger has to be consumed within 5 minutes, and the ultimate (warning: not for the faint hearted!) Tombstone challenge — a humongous 2-lbs cheeseburger smothered with cheese sauce and served with lots of fries… Finish this one in 10 minutes and you get featured in their Wall of Fame, plus you get a free shirt! Oh, did I mention they have amazing burger? 🙂
zarks storefrontMoving to Paranaque, I was eager to check out the places and finding Zark’s in BF was a homey find. I was just glad they have a branch around the area. I’ve kept coming back to this place, and the burger simply never fails.

zark's ultimate burger

For P130, the “Zark’s Ultimate Burger” is my choice. One will have to add P20 for the fries and Iced Tea since this is a Minor League burger — not a bad deal at all! 🙂

JackhammerFor P185, BF got a “Jackhammer.” I love how the cheese oozes out from the inside of the burger patty… Yum!! Since it’s a Major league burger, it already comes with fries and drinks. Imagine, a half pounder for only P185?!

To date, they have a total of six (6) branches. I think they’re still expanding, too.

To check out their burgers, click here for the menu.

What’s your favorite in Zark’s? 🙂