Yelly Eats

So Fuwafuwa!

So apparently, according to a google search, fuwafuwa means fluffy, airy, light – like a pillow or foam.

A few months ago, I noticed an interesting photo on Ed T’s (@onehungryasian) instagram feed.  He said he had a recipe for fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes and I wanted to look at the recipe.  I was on the verge of perfecting my version of a Japanese matcha cheesecake and I was curious about the pancakes, whether they would really be soufflé-esque.  I noticed that one of the comments was this guy saying they were  opening a pop-up for Japanese soufflé pancakes.  I thought it would be good to find out where it was to try it so I knew what I was aiming for.  I followed the Instagram account and thought I’d look through the feed later.  And then I promptly forgot about it.

© by @onehungryasian

Then Ken Mok (@kingken_photography) wrote that he finally went to try the pancakes and they looked fabulously soft and pillowy.  Exactly what the name of the purveyors of these heavenly pancakes meant: Fuwafuwa.

© by @kingken_photography

So since then, I’ve been thinking about these gorgeous pillows and wondering when I can go and taste them and find out for myself how they felt in my mouth!

Yesterday, we were going to London to see a friend who was going on a trip at the end of the month and we wanted to spend time with her before she flew off on her adventures.  Alan suggested we stop over at Westfield in Stratford where Fuwafuwa (@fuwafuwalondon) had their pop up shop.  It was just before 9AM and on Saturdays they open from 9AM until 9PM.  I was looking forward to ordering the matcha pancakes, but they weren’t on the menu.  So I settled on Nutella and banana and Alan ordered S’mores.  But they changed the menu at the last minute and said they had the matcha pancakes and the lovely manager of Fuwafuwa allowed me to change my order from the Nutella and banana to the Matcha Love pancakes.

I absolutely LOVED them.  They are as airy, soft, cloud like, light, pillowy and soufflé-esque as I built them up in my head to be.  The matcha cream that accompanied my pancakes were generously flavoured with matcha and you could really taste the green tea, which I loved.  They were also VERY generous with the red bean paste that was served on the side.

Alan’s S’mores pancakes were yummy with marshmallows and chocolatey goodness that reminded me of childhood memories of marshmallows and chocolates melted and sandwiched between two pieces of graham crackers.  Alan’s pancakes were topped with a dusting of icing sugar and a couple of pretzels.  Knowing I loved pretzels, Alan very generously shared one with me!

I need to know what the name of that lovely manager of FuwaFuwa is.  He asked if he could take photos of our pancakes because, apparently, they were so busy that they rarely had time to photograph their heavenly creations.  We, of course, obliged.  I had brought my little Olympus EPL7 on this trip (I wanted to capture the cherry blossoms in London) so I was also busy snapping away with the sole purpose of posting it on Instagram.  I was also determined to write about it on the blog.  I offered to take photos of the pancakes with his phone.

He had a surprise for us though.  There was a Salted Caramel Miso and Popcorn pancake option on the menu.  I loved salted caramel.  I loved popcorn.  I loved miso soup.  I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted them all together on a plate.  So I was more than a little dubious and didn’t order this particular flavour.  He came back to our table and he gave us a double stack of the salted caramel miso and popcorn pancakes.  To say thank you for waiting for the pancakes (they opened late) and for taking photos.

It was absolutely gorgeous!  It was sweet and fabulously savoury with the crunch of the popcorn for brilliant texture.  I know miso was good but I didn’t know that it would be a great flavour that could be used for sweet treats as well.  You learn something new everyday.

Fuwa Fuwa London (@fuwafuwalondon on Instagram) is currently at their pop up at Westfield in Stratford City and according to Westfield’s website they will be open this week (16 April to 22 April) Monday to Friday from 10AM to 9PM, Saturday from 9AM to 9PM and on Sunday, 12PM to 6PM.  They’ve just announced that Matcha Love will now be available on weekends too!  I’d recommend going when you can and bringing a bag of patience with you because if you can’t get there early and be first in the queue, it might be a substantial wait.  The pancakes are made to order and can take until 30 minutes to make and if they’re busy, the wait will be a little longer. I know 30 minutes might seem to be a bit too long to wait for pancakes, but they are very definitely worth it.  It’s a heavenly party in your mouth!

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Yelly Eats

Hopia

I’ve always been proud of Filipino food.  I’ve always believed that if people tried the food that we Filipinos ate on a daily basis (ably prepared by our mothers and titas), people would be addicted too!  Filipino cuisine is influenced by the food cultures from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Spain.  We also have a very pronounced American influence.  These influences are due to the fact that the Malays an Indones were the early settlers on the Philippine islands and it has been historically proven that we traded with the Chinese very early on.  The Spanish (and largely Mexican food tradition) influences came because the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years (the Philippine islands were named after King Philip II of Spain).  Then after the Spanish, we had the Americans with us…for a while.

I am so thankful that there are enterprising individuals (who may or may not be Filipino) who have identified an opportunity to sell to Filipinos living overseas the food staples.  I’ve been able to cook Filipino food here in England and it helps the homesickness.

But nothing compares to the satisfaction when one is able to make something that isn’t always available in the Oriental or Filipino supermarkets.  A few days ago, whilst I was recuperating from a really bad migraine (I was signed off for a week), I told myself that I would make hopia. I had been watching various YouTube video how-to’s and I felt that I was ready to attempt the Filipino treat.  I even risked eating store-bought hopia in the name of research!  Mind you, it was a tad disappointing because the hopia I bought seemed to have shrunk!  For what I paid for, well, it was an exhorbitant amount of money for 4 minuscule hopia pieces – not at all what I remembered eating when I was growing up!

Hopia is also known as bakpia (in Chinese).  It is a bean paste-filled pastry that was apparently introduced by Fujianese immigrants in the Philippines.  It is usually filled with mung bean paste (either red mung bean or yellow mung bean), or purple yam and there is a variant that is filled with candied wintermelon (called kundol in the Philippines).  Apparently, in other countries (apparently this is a popular Indonesian treat as well!) the fillings can be pineapple, durian, cheese, chocolate, coffee and custard!  I’ve never had a cheese hopia, but it certainly sounds interesting!

I painstakingly wrote down the recipe from all the YouTube videos and translated it into metric measurements.  Then I set about making my hopia!

Hopia before baking

I was quite excited about how they looked like.  Even more excited when they came out of the oven.  I loved the smell that wafted out of the oven.  I was definitely in hopia heaven!

Hopia

I need to practice some more.  I think the pastry is nearly there.  A few more tweaks with the procedure and a few temperature adjustments will help.  But what I’ve been allowing myself to eat is hopia.  It’s not as sweet as the store-bought ones, but it is, already, hopia!

More hopia

Yelly Eats

Beetroot brownies

I bring this brownie to work all the time and, more often than not, the brownies go, within minutes.  Sometimes people are taken aback at the “beetroot” element of the brownie and  I always say that this is a “healthy” brownie and I always joke that beetroot that’s in it can count towards one of your five-a-day.  But there is a large element of truth in that statement because there is a considerable amount of beetroot in the recipe — and beetroot is a vegetable!  I know that most people are pleasantly surprised at how good the brownies taste.  I think they expect the traditional beetroot taste to hit them, but in this recipe, you can’t really taste the beetroot.  If anything, the beetroot enhances the taste of the chocolate.

I tweaked a recipe that I found in a supermarket’s magazine.  I added more beetroot and reduced the amount of sugar in it.  The brownies come out very moist and very fudgy.

Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolateBeetroot brownies
  • 200g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 250g sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 300g vacuum packed cooked beetroot, grated

Directions:

  1. Break the chocolate into sections and together with the butter, place in a heatproof dish and stand over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl didn’t touch the water.  Leave to allow the chocolate and butter to melt, stirring occasionally.  Once the chocolate and butter are melted, set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.
  3. In a bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla and sugar.  Beat until the eggs are light yellow in colour.  Beat in the melted chocolate until well-combined.  The mixture will thicken slightly as you mix the chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture.  Gently fold in the flour and beetroot..
  4. Spoon the mixture into a prepared pan (greased and lined with parchment paper) and bake for 40-45 minutes.  It is done when a toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean.  Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove from the baking tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Will make 16-24 squares, depending on how big you slice your squares.
Yelly Eats

Custard creams!

Cooking and baking has become a way for me to reconnect with the food that I loved to eat in the Philippines.  Since moving to the UK, I’ve had to rely on my food prep skills instead of having my mum cook my favourite dishes for me.  I’ve always loved it and cooking and baking were my creative outlets.  It always made me smile when people said that something I made was really good.  But when I was in the Philippines, cooking and baking the dishes I wanted to prepare was more frustrating than relaxing because I couldn’t get a lot of the ingredients that I needed.

Things have changed though since I moved to England.  I can now attempt most of the recipes that I’ve been wanting to try because the ingredients are more accessible (it’s the Southeast Asian ingredients that are now not as accessible as they were in the Philippines! Ha!).  As a result, my cookbook collection has grown to a 32-strong contingent!

This year, the resolve is to actually USE my cookbooks and cook or bake 1 recipe a weekend.  A Passion For Baking by Jo Wheatley

I decided to start with a custard cream recipe from Jo Wheatley’s book A Passion For Baking.   I’ve been reading a lot of good things on Twitter and Facebook about Jo’s recipes.  Jo Wheatley was the winner of the second season of the Great British Bake Off.  I must admit that it was because of the GBBO shows that I took up baking again.  Before that I would just bake the occasional cake or cupcake but now I’ve been reading up on baking techniques and expanding my baking repertoire.

Jo’s custard cream recipe is great.  She breaks the down in stages and the preparation instructions are easy to follow.  I had to chill my cookie dough though for about 30 minutes instead of the suggested 20.  As each oven is different, I baked my biscuits for 15 minutes instead of the prescribed 10-12.  They weren’t golden enough.  But once out of the oven, they smelled heavenly and the biscuits were lovely and short!  What I loved the most is that the recipe page is laid out in two columns.  One column has ingredients and the suggested equipment that lets you prepare them before you start baking.  The other column has the preparation directions.  It was so lovely and organised!  I try to be organised in the kitchen becaused I think the trick to cooking and baking well is being organised.

My cookies are lovely and golden and what I appreciate most is that it doesn’t have as much sugar as I thought it would.  Being a diabetic means that I have to limit my sweet treat moments and unfortunately for me, custard creams are a guilty pleasure.  Maybe now I can develop a custard cream recipe that is more diabetic-friendly!  But the best bit of the recipe is that it makes about 20 biscuits which makes 10 custard creams.  They are moreish but at least there isn’t a lot scoff down!  Ha!

Custard creams

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

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 – http://www.facebook.com/DelaunayCounter

Yelly Eats

Baked Figs

Figs are my fruit du jour.

My favourite dessert at the moment is baked figs with Greek yogurt and honey.  It’s a quick, comforting dessert.  And very easy to prepare: cut the figs into quarters and roll them in sugar.  Then place them in a baking pan and bake them at 200°C for 20 minutes.  Serve with yogurt and honey.  Figs will give out a syrupy juice so make sure you spoon the syrup onto the yogurt too.  Makes for a very tasty dessert!