Monday, September 11, 2017

MasterChef: OF RED VELVETS & BROWNIES

They say that the key to a man's heart is through his stomach but I say the key to a woman's heart is through sweet preparations.
Sugar, spice and everything nice. This is the kind of concoction we need in our lives. Success is and will always be 99% perspiration & 1% inspiration. So let me share with you the experience that turned me into a one-day Master Chef!
I've always dreamed of having my bakeshop cafe one day. Oh, who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread muffins, freshly brewed coffee & the taste of oozing molten chocolate lava, right?! It's just love at first sight, love at first bite, love that lasts from day 'til night. Being a sweet-tooth that I am, I was fortunate enough to get invited to the exclusive workshop hosted by Kenwood CCA.


Yes, you're definitely in for a treat as Kenwood is known for its quality, innovation and design since 1947! As the expert in food preparation, Kenwood has made every meal special & every Chef more at ease. Now you knowhy one Kenwood appliance is sold every three seconds around the world. 

And to make this day even more eventful, CCA, known for their culinary expertise, conducted this baking workshop with the respected Chef Bruno Tirel as our mentor.
So let me share with you the 2 recipes we had for the day:
RED VELVETS & BROWNIES
RED VELVET CAKE

 For the cake:
120g butter
300g sugar
2 eggs 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
240ml butter milk
2 tbsp red food colouring

For the buttercream:
125g butter, softened
125g cream cheese
1 tbsp vanilla extract
200g icing sugar



Directions
Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease and line two 15cm round cake tins. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl, attach the creaming beater and mix on a medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until they are fully incorporated. Remove the creaming butter and attach the K beater, add the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder a bit at a time, mixing on slow speed between each addition until fully incorporated. Measure out the buttermilk in a separate jug and add the red food colouring, stir together. Add the red mix to the bowl a little at a time until the shade of red desired is achieved and mix on medium speed until you have a smooth deep red batter. 
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 25-30mins, or until a knife inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for 10 mins. then turn out completely on wire racks.
Meanwhile, make the buttercream icing. Add the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract to the bowl, attach the creaming beater and mix together on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar and mix until you have a creamy icing. Chill for 30 mins.
To decorate, place one of the cake halves on a plate and cover the top and sides with the icing. Put the other half on top and cover the top and sides of that with the remaining icing.

Chocolate and Chili Brownies with Cognac

Ingredients:

250g dark chocolate (80%)
50g milk chocolate
150g butter
150g brown sugar
150g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
100g plain flour
A pinch of Salt
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp Cognac
4 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions
Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a square/rectangular baking tin with baking paper. Put a pan of water on to boil and gently melt the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl above the water. Stir occasionally and take it off the heat as soon as it is melting together. Yes, this is the right way to melt the chocolates without destroying their texture and quality.
Sophie (in pink) having her moment with her chocolates
Twinie (in black) admiring the melted chocolates

Attach the whisk & pour in the melted chocolate, both sugars, the eggs and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes. Remove the whisk and attach the K beater. Gradually add the flour with the machine running on low speed. Add the salt, chili powder, Cognac and cocoa, mix well until fully combined. 
Pour the mix into the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, until they are firm, yet soft and squidgy. 
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Dust with cocoa and cut into 12 squares or as desired.
Chef Tirel also gave us baking 101 tips that proved to be useful:
No non-stick pan? No problem! You don't have to buy an expensive pan, you can just D-I-Y! It's simple! Grease the sides of the pan with butter (always butter, never margarine!) and then finish it off by coating the greased area with flour!
Voila! You have a non-stick pan alright.
 Way to go Chef!
Baking is an art of exact measurement. Low speed, medium speed, high speed---the right mix will always deliver mouthwatering results. Oh, whoever said that a chef can never woo a woman has never met the right chef! Chef Tirel has won my heart at the very moment he brought out those heavenly Red Velvets & Brownies from the oven. Yes, I just went loco & couldn't wait to dig in.
Oh I love saying hello to sweet beginnings and hate bidding goodbye to bitter endings. This is exactly how I felt as our Kenwood x CCA class was about to end. My heart was slowly melting as I was already boxing our labor of love. I knew the class was about to end and all I wanted was to create more baked goodies. I felt so proud of myself as I stared, smelled & tasted our Red Velvets and Brownies. It was indeed a taste of success down to the last bite!
Hope Chef Bruno Tirel found my twin & I's masterpiece a Master-Chef worthy dish. Definitely teamwork goes a long way! So proud of ourselves.
Your MasterChef,

SOPHIEsticated



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Monday, August 21, 2017

Coffee Project: A Garden of Eden

Filipinos are so fond of sugar, spice and everything nice. You can tell with the number of coffee shops popping out here and there.Look to the left, look to the right, there will always be a Starbucks, Coffee Bean or Seattle's Best just around the corner! 

I'm not the type who likes to hang out in a place where there are so many busy bees though. There's just no privacy, no time to clear my head. So let me share with you a great treasure I've discovered in the heart of Quezon City: COFFEE PROJECT

Coffee Project, located at the Wil Tower Mall Eugenio Lopez Drive across ABS-CBN Compound, is the perfect place to sip your cup of Joe. The place is so colorful & vibrant that you're assured of a mood that's just oh-so-good! Feel free to read a book, chill with your special someone or grab a quick snack while admiring their unique romantic ambiance.

Ambiance is very important in perfecting any coffee date. Everything here is just so Instagram worthy. Look at how it's designed and you'll think you're either in a flower shop or an events place!
The loo is surprisingly a place you want to check out too. Just walk through the hallway & be mesmerized with the flowers blossoming here and there. Fall in love with the language and scent of coffee. Just spill the beans and let it flow through your veins. Wake up to that dose you're looking for. Trust me, coffee's always worth a second shot!

Coffee Project gave me a taste of the Garden of Eden. The place is glamorously decorated with enchanting flowers and coffee shop memorabilia. This coffee shop is just beyond compare. Its refreshing concept makes me fall in love with this place. If you ask me, this would be an interesting place for a photo shoot or even a pre-nuptial shoot! Trust me, this place is just so magical that I can spend half a day here without getting restless.

Coffee Project is undeniably the best coffee shop I've ever been to. The experience is simply 5-star! From the fast internet connectivity to the cool room temperature, to the fine selection of acoustic music down to the ambiance, Coffee Project has won my heart over & over again. Oh, this love's sure to last unless I open a coffee place with more flowers than Coffee Project!
This place is not just for coffee drinkers. Coffee Project offers a wide selection of entrees ranging from their specialty drinks such as Iced Latte and Iced Hand Brew. Coffee selections like Espresso, Long Black, Cappuccino, Flat White are also offered, just to name a few. Personally, I enjoy Coffee Project's 'Over Ice Drinks' (Iced Macchiato, Coffee Caramel Jelly) and their Iced Blended Beverages (Green Matcha, Iced Vietnamese, Cookies & Coffee Frappe).
Don't worry, if you're not thirsty, just hungry, Coffee Project has pasta (Carbonara, Sardine Pasta), all-day breakfasts (Garlic Beef Tapa, Longganisa, Corned Beef hash), sandwiches (Tuna Melt, Clubhouse Sandwich) & salads (Caesar Salad, Fetta Cheese Grape Salad) too!
So what are you waiting for? Win your girl over by bringing her to a place where she can say 'Yes' to you. Believe me, wooing her has never been this easy! Check this place out and you'll thank me after this! Promise!

Now, if you like this place as much as I do, my drink's on you baby! I love treats <3 Don't forget me.
Enjoy your Cup of Joe,

SOPHIEsticated



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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dress Code: DEEP PURPLE DRESS

You are cordially invited to attend a thanksgiving party.
Kindly come in your best Deep Purple Dress!
Yes, let's be original ladies & gentlemen.
Let's stay away from B&W first as we're approaching the holiday season soon.
So what do birthday parties, wedding receptions & costume parties have in common?
They all have a theme, a motif, a dress code!

So let me share with you 5 types of people you can meet in a party.
You can tell their personalities by simply looking at the kind of outfit they're sporting.
The devil really is in the details so have fun mingling with your kind of crowd:
1. The "It Girl" or "Blair Waldorf" Look

Embroidered Long Sleeve Velvet Dress 

Nothing is ever too dressy for the "IT Girls".
It's always better to be over dressed than under dressed. Duh.

2. The "Let's Get This Over With" or The Shy Type
Hooded African Style Midi Dress

Dress down or do the hoodie look. 
Standing out from the crowd is just not my thing. It's better to just blend in.

3. The "Femme Fatale" or "Strip Tease" Look

Velvet Criss Cross Zip Short Formal

Let their imagination work.
Be sexy yet sophisticated ; sensual but not trashy!

4. The "Homey" or "Plain Jane" type

Cricket Long Sleeve Knitted Sweater

Any comfortable purple outfit would do.
I'm more important than my outfit so who cares?

5. The "I Didn't Get The Memo Look " or "Feeling VIP"

Colorful Dot Print Plunge Bodycon Dress

Why be a follower when I can be a trendsetter?
I'm still wearing a shade of purple & the colors of the rainbow!
Remember that if you're a guest, be sure to come in your Best Dark Purple Dress! 
We have a dress code so best to follow it.
If not, you're most probably not part of my guest list!
You wouldn't want people staring at you for being kill joy or a party crasher, right?

Your Host,
SOPHIEsticated



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Thursday, August 3, 2017

THE TWO TONE APPEAL

This sweater weather makes us feel oh so lazy. T-shirt, blue jeans and a cardigan may be the default choice at this time of the year, but why be boring when your look can be so much interesting? Say goodbye to your Plain Jane look and hello to your Modern Barbie peg. How? Just say it with a maxi!
I just love how fun & stylish my Romwe Two Tone Shift Dress is. Who would have thought that a grey-orange color combination would look this stunning? The shade of orange is so cheerful and inviting that no gloomy weather can dampen your spirits. Lovin' the bold yet playful vibe this OOTD brings! 
Like the yin & yang, which strikes a powerful balance, this eye-catching combo is bold yet subtle in every way too. The vertical stripes makes you look tall, instantly elongating your body. Best of all, the color scheme is so original that you’ll make heads turn as you walk by. Yes, neutral colors can make you look dull at times so feel free to experiment and splash more colors into your wardrobe. You never want to look predictable, right?

However, if you really prefer sporting a basic look, why not try wearing something two-toned just like my outfit? Trust me, this is the simplest way to make the most boring girl stand out. Two-toned outfits are very eye-catching 'cause most play with a dark-light color combination. When worn right, they can in fact give you a very flattering figure.

MAXI DRESS | ROMWE
Maxis have that instant ‘Look at Me’ effect. I don’t agree when people say that maxis are a no-no for us petite girls. Truth is, I love sporting maxis because they can disguise so much of our insecurities. Take for instance, if you weren't able to shave your legs for your date night, maxis are your best bet. If you feel bloated from your lunch and you have a party to attend to at night, a maxi can instantly cover your belly with its flowy and breezy material. Trust me, no one would ever notice you’ve become bigger. There’s a reason why preggies usually opt to wear maxis aside from these being flexible and stylish.
Shoes can make or break an outfit so choose something fashionable yet comfortable. Nude stilettos, strappy wedges or caged block heels would be the best pair of footwear for your maxi dress. The extra height boosts my confidence, making me feel ready to conquer the world with a bang and not a painful pang. Flats are not advisable unless you're already model tall. Maxis are and will always be the ‘dress for all seasons and all reasons.’
I just love how flirtatious and stylish maxis look. It's so easy to wear that there's no need to mix 'n match. You can never feel over dressed nor under dressed with this one. And to complete my look, I usually cinch my waist with a belt to accentuate my curves more. Proportion is key to get that slim elongated look. Picture perfect! Thanks to my ROMWE OOTD.
Shoes | PAYLESS
Now that you know my A-lister secret, it's upto you if you want to recreate my look. If, however, you’re not the belt type of girl, you can opt to give your outfit an extra ‘oomph’ factor by wearing dangling accessories. A tassel or feather earring would be perfect to spice up your boho chic. Yes, cool and very laid back effect.

                                       Get more of my look at ROMWE





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