Monday, December 11, 2017

Go Loco @ FRANCESCO'S KITCHEN

Whoever hasn't gone loco over Italiano has never tasted gelato!
And whoever doesn't crave for pizza & pasta is a loco loco.
Seriously, who wouldn't fall for Italiano, eh?
Italy is known for being a country of romance. Not only are Italian men sexy, but their language is equally mesmerizing. And if given a chance, what makes me want to be an Italian citizen? Their food! Yes, I'm a self-confessed Pasta-Pizza combo kind of girl, with a craving for that melt-in-my mouth gelato!
Just a few months ago, I have noticed A.Mabini St.,Addition Hills started looking very busy 'cause of the quaint homey looking type of Italian restaurant called 'Francesco's Kitchen'. You wouldn't miss this resto near COOP & 7 Flavors as Francesco's Kitchen is the place where you'd find yourself lucky enough to get a parking slot. I've never seen the place half empty ever. 

As a food blogger, I'd always want to try something new. So let me share with you my delicioso experience at Francesco's. Bon Appetit!

My family and I ordered the following entrees:

1) Vongole Con Aglio E Zucchine (linguine with clams and zucchini in Garlic olive oil) 
Php 460
The pasta was Al Dente, rich and flavorful, just the way I like it. The clam broth and olive oil were perfectly mixed, bringing out the aromatic taste of fresh clams. Yum.

2) Pollo Al Mattone Con Spinaci Al Parmigiano (Marinated spring chicken, cooked under bricks with Parmesan spinach, thyme jus) 
Php 640
I just love how this chicken dish was served. Very creative and appetizing. The chickens were grilled perfectly tender. Everyone falls in love with BBQ. And this dish was no exception.

3) Risotto Nero Con Calamaretti E Polpa Di Riccio (squid ink risotto, baby calamari and sea urchin) 
Php 550
Risotto would always be a must-order for me because I love the gooey, rich & creamy feeling it leaves my palate. Francesco's version was a little bit scrimp on its ingredients and toppings though. So I'd personally recommend Wildflour's or Draft Gastropub's Risotto if you want to satisfy your Risotto cravings. They have generous toppings too!

4) Ossobucco in Gremolada Con Fettuccine Alfredo (Veal shank stew with Gremolada and Fettuccini Alfredo) 
Php 880

This is my favorite at Francesco's Kitchen! The Ossobucco was perfect even if the price was hefty. It's definitely 5-star quality! So if you have the budget, do order this. The Fettuccine Alfredo perfectly complemented this dish down to the last bite. Nothing overpowering, just satisfaction! This dish is a must-order because this is actually the reason why I'm coming back to dine at Francesco's. If there is only one dish to order, this would be it.

5) Francesco Pizza (tomato, mozzarella, fresh sausage, assorted mushroom, roasted bell peppers, gorgonzola ) 


Php 490
I'm a bit disappointed with Francesco Pizza. I would think that this would be the bestseller as the dish carries the restaurant's name. However, the pizza was actually my least liked dish. Frankly, it tasted plain and a bit bland compared to other pizzas I'm used to having. The pizza needs more meat and cheese for it to be tastier. Add more toppings or meat to your pizza selections. I'd still choose Duck & Buvette's Fennel Sausage pizza if you ask me.
My experience at Francesco's was indeed remarkable. It did not fail to satisfy my Italian cravings. It's indeed a restaurant I can recommend my fellow foodies to try dining at. Whether it's a romantic date or a simple catch-up or a family dinner, Francesco's Kitchen has something for everyone. Gelatos. Pizza. Pasta. Wine. And more. Try it and you'll know what I'm talking about. Bravo Francesco!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

GIFT IDEAS: Uncommon Goods, Gifts & Gizmos

BRR.
You bet BER months is finally here!
So have you been Naughty?

Or Nice?!


To help you with your Christmas wishlists, I've collated the best and the most unique gift ideas I'd personally want to give & receive. Let's say goodbye to those boring commercialize mugs, pens & shirts and hello to those cool one-of-a-kind items like this cutie item below!

PHP 1,230.00


Whoever said you can't have fun while having breakfast has never seen this kind of mug with a hoop! This slam dunk mug is perfect for those kiddos & kids at heart who can't get enough of marshmallows, cereals, candies and gummies. Having fun has never been this tasty.


As Ms. Claus, I know what you want 'cause just like you, I, too, like to send & receive uncommon goods. And if you like uncommon goods, which are fun and unique then today's your lucky day as I've got the perfect site just for you. 
Uncommon Goods is my one-stop-online-global-shopping site for those 100% win-win Christmas gifts. Aside from it being an avenue of creative and exciting merchandise, this amazing online shopping site makes sure that they give back with a heart. In fact, they have this 'Better to Give Program' which allows you to donate $1 upon check out. More than $1,000,000 has already been donated since 2001. Aww <3
Its name itself is a bold statement and testimony that the products sold in their site are rare finds. It's so unique & uncommon that the sender & receiver would be all smiles! Oh, I'll let you in a little secret alright. Ssssshh. I've got my Christmas sack ready this early. Can't wait to see their faces alright. So let me share with you the my 2017 Christmas gifts, which I will be checking out from Uncommon Goods:

1. Long Distance Touch Lamp

PHP 7688.00

We always want that instant connection. It's so cool to turn on & off lights without the actual switching, right?! Having a long distance connection is so cool. Works just like magic! Definitely perfect for the lazy ones. Surely my mom would love this as she can do things simultaneously even when her hands our dirty. If you life more gift ideas to surprise your mom, you can check this amazing Christmas gift list.

2. Mini Beer Pong

PHP 4,100.00


When you love getting wet'n wild, partying would no doubt be 24/7. With this Mini Beer Pong on hand, drinking and partying all night can be done wherever you are & whenever you feel like to. You don't need to go to a bar or a club just to drink and play games. Surely, my brother will be drunk in a couple of rounds. Let's play Ping Pong now, shall we?!

3. Smartphone Charging Reversible Tote

PHP 6,147.00


This tote would be my gift to myself! It's such an awesome tote because of two things---it's reversible & a chic charging station. How cool right?! It's every workaholic girl's dream come true. Now, I can stay connected with my loved ones and stay online every single time. Charging my phone's battery is literally a shoulder away!


4. Rosé Tinted Lip Balm Trio

PHP 1,435.00
Every girl & every guy loves to have kissable lips. Chapped lips are indeed a no-no! So this lovely set of lipstick shades are perfect for my lipstick-a-holic sister. Now, she can spell her mood with her pucker. 

5. Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock
PHP 3,485.00
You'll definitely knock on wood with this elegant charging pod handcrafted from the beaches of Maine! The log design is so timeless & stylish that its charm can always blend in with any background. It's just the perfect accessory for your phone. Surely, my dad would flaunt this on top of his office desk. If you want to find a gift for your dad too, shop here Unique Gift Ideas for Dad

Check out Uncommon Goods if you've enjoyed looking at my shopping loot. Who knows you might just get it from your Secret Santa just by sharing my post or the item you wished for!

Your Ms.Claus,
SOPHIEsticated



 Some things are just forever--SHOPPING!
Follow me at my blog SOPHIEsticated for more updates! 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Season of Embroidered Blouse & Dresses

Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
'Tis the season to be jolly 
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Don we now our Embroidered blouse apparel 
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la.
BER months is here and you know what time it is!
'Tis the time to paint the town red alright.
Party Mode ON!!!
You bet this is the season where the piggies in all of us come into action! We must remember though that looking shabby & bloated in any kind of festivity are a big NO-NO for fashionistas like us! We should always dress to impress as we have no idea who's watching us. Who knows? Our Prince Charming might just be around the corner waiting for us, right?

So I've collated OOTDs from Zaful that I'd love you to flaunt in any and every occasion. Embroidered design is a statement in itself so there's no need to pile up on accessories. Keep your look simple and allow your outfit to do the talking for you.

1) Weekend Getaway

Flaunt something light and breezy for your weekend adventure. Don't forget to pack your bikinis and cover-ups too as no weekend is complete without take a plunge in the pool. 



2) Music Festival/Concert Events


There's something in androgenous look that makes it look cool & sexy. It's a look that's not very easy to pull-off but once you nail it, the spotlight will be hard to take away from you. Own your look, enjoy the show and dance the night away!


V Neck Embroidered Tunic Blouse - White 




3) Beach/Pool Party

Why fit in when you can always stand out with tassels that go with your flow? Wear the colors of the sea and you'll always be a sight to behold. You'll definitely be a scene-zone and never just seen-zoned.


High Slit Embroidered Tassels Kimono Blouse - White 



4) Corporate Year-End Parties


Look chic and sexy with the lace-sheer embroidery combo. It's the right amount of sexy without revealing too much!


Embroidered Rose Applique Organza Panel BF Shirt - White 



Your Event Stylist,
SOPHIEsticated



Follow me at my blog SOPHIEsticated for more updates! 

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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