Yelly Eats

Chocolate Guinness Cake

I made this cake yesterday to bring to work today.  We were having a buffet for someone’s leaving do.  I thought as I wanted something chocolatey and the person was Irish (or at least I think he is), I thought an Irish-themed cake would be a great idea.  So I went and baked a chocolate guinness cake!

The recipe was from Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days cookbook.  I’ve made this several times now and one thing that I completely love about the Hummingbird Bakery books is that if you follow the recipe to the letter, the cakes turn out beautifully!

Yelly Eats

Baking is the best medicine?

I called in sick today because I got up and my head was absolutely pounding and I felt absolutely horrible.  Nevertheless, I soldiered on.  I jumped into the shower and went through the motions and got ready for work.  30 minutes into my morning rituals, I just sank into bed and said to myself that I was well and truly too ill to even finish getting ready.  I got back into my bed clothes and dived back into bed.  I got up after a couple of hours and only to call in sick.  I didn’t feel human until nearly lunch time.

I forced myself out of bed and tried to just sit up.  I knew that the longer I stayed in bed, the more I would feel horrible.  I knew my body well enough.  If I gave it a chance to wallow in illness it would wallow until it was well and truly pruney!  So I got up.  I thought I’d do a spot of baking because baking always made me feel better.  Although, as an afterthought, I was breaking an unofficial rule that I followed: never to cook or bake when I’m not feeling well (whether it was illness or just a general tiredness)!  I thought doing a spot of recipe development would help me feel better.

I’ve been trying to develop this base recipe.  So far, it’s worked for banana bread, blueberry cake, and apple sauce cake.  I recently baked a lemon and poppy seed cake and had a few leftover lemons and loads of poppyseeds so I thought I’d bake another lemon and poppy seed cake.  I had this great idea that I’d try making mini lemon and poppy seed bundt cakes using my lovely mini-bundt cake tin.  I’ve only used it once, making my Lola Lucing’s torta cebuana (which reminds me, I need to try  making them again!).

So off I went and baked.  I think they turned out quite well, except the seemed to be a tiny bit drier that I wanted them to be.  I think the tweak needs to be that the temperature needs to be a bit lower and there needs to be more syrup for the cakes to soak in.  But otherwise, they looked adorable!  I didn’t necessarily feel better after baking because I felt even more shattered if that was at all possible.  I’m not exactly going to complain though because I made 12 beautiful mini bundt cakes and 4 cupcakes as a result!

Yelly Writes

Happy birthday Abbadabbadoo!



It’s my Abba’s birthday today.  He’s in the Philippines and miss him terribly.  I miss our chats and the jokes that we share (our weekly Skype sessions help though!).  And everytime I think back to my childhood, I think, my goodness, I have the coolest dad!  Not only is he Jewish, he’s a geneticist too!  This was the man who helped me make a science project about electical circuits without going to the hardware store.  We made everything from recycled materials!  This happened even before recycling was the fashionable thing to do!  And, while I always laugh at him when he does his version of the Bill Cosby father dance, I think it’s very cute!

As I grow older I appreciate more and more everything that he has done for us, given up for us and taught us so that we could be the best that we can be.  I did follow most of the advice almost blindly at the time but only now do I understand why he would tell me to do certain things a certain way.  He’s been through a lot of things and he has always wanted his children to not make the same mistakes he’s made, that’s why he insists that we do things his way.  When I think about the times when I thought I was being smart and independent by doing things MY way, I just shake my head.  I should’ve listened and did things my way.  I would’ve saved myself a lot of heartache!

Thank you for everything Abba.  Without you, quite literally, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Happy birthday!  I love you!

Yelly Eats

Rum baba, yum baba!

One of my favourite sweet treats is a rum baba!  I had one in Manila AGES ago and never forgot how good it was.

Alan had this waiting for me when I got home from work on Friday.  My tummy thanks you very, very much for the lovely surprise! ♥

I saw Paul Hollywood make this on the Great British Bake Off masterclass this week.  And, of course, because I love it, I’m going to HAVE TO learn how to make them myself!  I HAVE TO!

Yelly Eats

Sweet and sour fish!

I few weeks ago, I finally managed to go to Hung’s in Chinatown in London, upon the recommendation of  London foodie, Helen Pang.  Helen has never recommended anything that has disappointed.  She was the one who introduced me to Gelupo Gelato and Gelupo is now a mainstay of my London trips–whatever the weather.  So when Helen recommended Hung’s, I made a mental note to try the food there.  I’m still, sort of, mourning the loss of Tai Ka Lok and I was still sort of looking for a restaurant to replace it in my list of absolute London Chinese restaurant maintstays.  The first visit to Hung’s was so amazing that when we went to London again a few weeks later, it was a definite must-go-to.

We had a lovely supper: braised mushrooms and pak choi, a portion of crispy pork, sweet and sour fish and boiled rice.  The sweet and sour fish was absolutely divine!  The fish was lovely and sweet and it kind of melted in your mouth!  I’ve been dreaming of Hung’s sweet and sour fish that I had to do something similar at home.  It was a pretty good idea because I had frozen basa fillets lounging in my freezer!

My mom used to make sweet and sour sauce from scratch, Filipino style, but I wanted to see if  I could make something closer to the Chinese style of making the sauce.  I googled it and found a recipe that was so similar to my mom’s that I knew it was going to taste really nice.  You can find the instructions for the recipe here.  It cooks in 5 minutes and you can add anything you want to it.  You just put together all the ingredients and cook it until it’s as thick as you want it to be.

  • 1/3 cup white or rice vinegar (Note: rice vinegar gives better results)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water

I breaded the fish before I fried them.  I sort of love breading anything really.  I do a little conveyor belt of the elements bowls of  seasoned flour (or cornstarch), beaten egg and breadcrumbs.  Depending on what you’re making, seasoned flour to me usually just means salt and pepper mixed in with the flour.  One tip I learned from either Nigella or Ina Garten (it was so long ago that I can’t remember!  It might even be Giada de Laurentis!) was to use just one hand so that you kept the other hand clean because breading things can be quite gluggy!

After breading the fish, I fried the fish to a crispy, lovely golden brown.  Make sure that you rest them on kitchen paper so that the excess oil is absorbed.

Then while the fish was cooling, I cooked the sweet and sour sauce.  Instead of adding the cornstarch right away, I added sliced onions and chopped red and yellow bell peppers and allowed them to cook slightly.  I added a few cubes of pineapple out from a tin.  A slight variation from the recipe, instead of using 4 teaspoons of water, I added 4 tablespoons of the pineapple syrup from the tin to dissolve the cornstarch and added that to the cooking sauce.

Once the sauce is at the thickness that you want it to be, you can assemble your dish.  To keep the fish lovely and crispy, I suggest just pouring the sweet and sour sauce over it.  And voila!  You have sweet and sour fish!

Yelly Eats


I’m absolutely exhausted today!  I found myself dozing off while on the train this evening, on my way home tonight.  It wasn’t too dangerous because my stop was the last stop on the line anyway.  But I think it’s a lot safer if I stayed wide awake during the journey home.

I did, however, manage to bake a lemon and poppy seed cake tonight.  All in the name of baking!

Yelly Writes

Post mortem on The Great British Bake Off


Congratulations to John Waite for winning this year’s Great British Bake Off.  But my question is, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ON TUESDAY EVENINGS NOW?!?

From left: John Waites, GBBO Series 3 winner, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, James Morton, GBBO Series 3 runner up, and Brendan Lynch, GBBO Series 3 runner up

Yelly Eats

Afternoon Tea at the Delaunay Counter

I grew up drinking some sort of tea.  Tea was a part of the Filipino diet, but I remember that it was mostly for medicinal purposes.  Ginger tea was for sore throats and laryngitis.  Peppermint was for muscle aches and pains.  My dad had this plant called kumis kucing that everyone swore helped kidney issues and kidney stones.

Being an Anglophile at a very young age, I always had tea, with lemon and not cream, although this was probably not very British in the afternoons while I was studying.  I had tea in a cup and a saucer (most probably with my pinkie in the air too!).  I felt very grown up with my tea and my slice of lemon (which was actually a wedge of calamansi, the indigenous citrus fruit from the Philippines).  It wasn’t until I saw this film about a little girl, all dressed up, going to a posh looking restaurant being served tea, dainty sandwiches and being asked by a waiter to choose cakes from a heavily laden trolley that I started reading about “proper” afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is a small meal typically eaten between 3PM and 5PM.  The Duchess of Bedford is rumoured to have transformed afternoon tea into a late afternoon meal rather than just a simple way of getting refreshment.  As far as I understand it, there are 2 types of afternoon tea: high tea and cream tea.  High tea is also known as a meat tea where one is served savoury and sweet dishes.  Cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon sandwiches are usually a staple.  And of course one gets the cakes and the scones, clotted cream and jam.  Another kind of afternoon tea is the cream tea.  Cream tea is usually tea served with scones and clotted cream.

Since moving to the UK, I’ve been wanting to go to afternoon tea.  I wanted to go to a proper high tea with silver service but they were quite pricey.  Since I quite enjoyed baking, one aspect of afternoon tea that I knew I was going to enjoy was looking at all the pretty cakes served on those pretty cake stands.  I first attempted to find a place serving afternoon tea somewhere near me.  But I couldn’t really find anywhere suitable.  The London locations were fairly expensive but I really wanted to try it so to me, it was a matter of finding the right place and making the appropo reservations.

Funny how the most wonderful experiences are the most unexpected.  The Delaunay Counter was a restaurant that I often saw but never really considered.  It looked terribly posh from outside so I automatically assumed that the prices would be way beyond my budget.  But a few weeks ago, I actually looked at the prices and found them quite reasonable and I made a mental note to go back there for afternoon tea because £11.75 per person was a reasonable price to pay for afternoon tea (I promptly lost that mental note!).

When I finally remembered to go (after Alan reminded me!) I wasn’t expecting much.  The Delaunay Counter was mostly a self-serve and take away part of the The Delaunay Restaurant and if you wanted to eat in, you went to the counter to place your order.  But the staff were lovely and absolutely friendly, and when the tea was brought to us, I thought the price we paid was more than reasonable!

You get a pot of tea, enough milk for your tea, 5 different types of sandwiches, 2 different cakes, a scone and clotted cream and jam.  Everything is presented very beautifully on a 3-tiered cake stand and glass tea pot.  You get to choose your tea.  I love a good strong tea, but apparently, traditionally (and I could be wrong!), you should choose Earl Grey or English Breakfast.  Only recently have I learned that Assam is also a good tea to choose for afternoon tea as its strong flavour compliments the savoury and sweet elements from the food served.

If you are looking for a place to have tea, head on to the Delaunay Counter on 55 Aldwych Street (it’s near the theatre where Mamma Mia is) in London.  The place is lovely, with a lot of quirky Austrian-themed posters in lovely wooden frames.  The staff are lovely but efficient.  Apart from the afternoon tea, there is a lovely (and very tempting) selection of cakes.  They, apparently, have the best Sacher Torte in London and I am quite inclined to agree having sampled it myself.  They also serve salads and hot sandwiches and they do a daily roast too.  According to the menu they also serve breakfasts from 7AM on weekdays.  There is a distinct Austrian feel to the menu with the schnitzels and the gugelhopfs on offer.  But it is definitely worth the visit.  You won’t regret it!

Photo credit:

The Delaunay Counter –

Yelly Reads

The Fabulous Boy Who Bakes

I love Twitter because it makes celebrities more accessible.  Now, before you think that that statement sounds lightly stalkerish, I don’t mean you follow their every tweet.  It just allows you to post a comment and it allows the people you look up to to respond to your message.

I’ve had a few fan girl moments on Twitter where my baking heroes have actually responded to my tweets.  It can be quite the giddy moment.

I have quite a few favourites on Twitter from the Great British Bake Off.  One of them being the first ever winner Edd Kimber.  I’m not ashamed to say that I very much wanted Ruth Clemens to win that series but it was, really, an undeniable truth, that Edd was quite the baking talent.  I became quite the Edd Kimber fan when I was given his cookbook.  His blueberry streusel pie is absolutely amazing and the streusel recipe is so versatile!  I’ve used it for other baking projects and it has been a wonderful addition to my other fruit pies!

Edd has a stall in Maltby Street Market selling his lovely baked treats from his Eddibles Bakery.  I’ve been twice now.  And today, I had the chance to get his new book (which is on my cookbook wishlist) and get it signed too!  Edd was lovely and very accommodating.  He talks to the people who visit his stall and talk to him about the GBBO and his baking and his books.

I felt really cheeky asking him to sign the book for me but he did, even saying that he brought a pen for “just in case!”.  I asked if he could take a photo with me and he said yes!  Total fan girl moment.  I was honestly feeling a bit under the weather this morning but this certainly lifted my spirits!

Thank you Edd!

I’m soooooo looking forward to trying my hand at making the rainbow cake…and the lamingtons…and the bourbons…and the custard creams…

Yelly Writes

Writing Pit Stop

I think the one solution to my writing woes is to write when inspiration strikes me.  I’ve got so many entries floating around in my head that I think the only way to stop these writing ideas from floating away is to just stop for a moment and type out my thoughts.

This is going to have to be quick because I need to really start working on a handover document!

NR11 came to visit my blog and I found this link to Hugo and Adele’s website.  In a nutshell, Hugo and Adele sell party supplies but I was drawn to how adorable their cupcake baking cups were.  I’m all about the cute stuff as, after all, I am a girly girl!  If you like lovely pastel coloured party supplies, I think you may just have to wander around their site.   Thank you NR11 for sharing this wonderful bit of information!

Here’s a teaser of some of the lovelies that they have.  This is isn’t an advertising scheme mind!  I just thought sharing this would be helpful to someone else too!