May 2008
The first time I ever tasted a trifle was when my family and I went to Europe for a summer vacation. This was during my teen years. In one London hotel, there was a note on the bed that said, “Welcome to the most comfortable bed in the world, we guarantee you a good night’s sleep or your money back.” My stay there was indeed comfortable and unforgettable. In one of the hotel’s buffets was an array of desserts including the delectable trifle. It was light, creamy, and very refreshing. The experience inspired me to buy a cookbook at the airport while waiting to abroad the plane back home. Little did I know that, years later, I would pursue culinary studies after college and go into the food business. I liked the trifle so much that since then I have made several versions of it as dessert for my dinner parties at the home. My guests just love them! I’ve been told that trifles are usually served on special occasions like Christmas, but since we are celebrating Mother’s Day this month, I’m taking this opportunity to make a very special one for my mom, who taught me everything that is essential in life. Mom, thanks for teaching me that what’s important in life is not so much what you have but what you can give.

Happy Mother’s Day!

April 2008
The heat is on! What better way to cool off than with something really cold, and really easy to make too. This recipe mixes cookies and ice cream – an unbeatable combination on any day. It’s my take on the Mississippi Mud Pie, a sinfully rich pie that most probably originated in the US, in the south where the Mississippi River runs. Unfortunately, because of how it looks, it was christened a mud pie. But trust me, it tastes nothing close to yucky. This pie consists of a chocolate wafer cookie crumb crust (yup that’s the “dirt”) and is typically filled with chocolate, coffee, or mocha ice cream then topped with a chocolate fudge sauce (the “mud”). The combinations are endless – marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, caramel sauce, and other sweet, delicious things can be mixed in with the ice cream for a chunkier texture. Since I’m an Oreo cookie fan, that’s what I always use for the crust. But any chocolate cookie of your choice will do. If you’d like to speed up the process, use a food processor to make a crust. But really, crushing the cookies in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin works just fine. Now, how to soften ice cream? All I do is place it in a bowl and press repeatedly with a silicone spatula. Easy, right? Because making a sweet treats should be totally stress-free. Enjoy! 

March 2008

For my first column, I decided to make these cookies simply because they’re so much fun to make – and eat. It’s so yummy – crunchy on the outside but moist and chewy on the outside (think brownie in the cookie), and it keeps well for days. Plus, it’s so easy to make that you can easily rope in the kids for an afternoon baking. I know my daughter Sabrina would enjoy “playing” with this recipe. At the very young age of two, she is already learning how to cook and trying different kinds of food. (Lately, I’ve been baking healthy muffins and cookies for her.) She imitates me when she plays with her play dough and says, “Look, I’m cooking like mommy!” But what really melts my heart is how she shows appreciation for my cooking. Even if she hasn’t taken me a bite yet, she declares whatever it is, “Mmmm….yummy!” So why outrageous? While this cookie isn’t extreme or shocking, it is loaded and rich. This recipe is reminiscent of the death by chocolate cookies that I first encountered while living in the US. The famously delicious cookies were sinfully rich as the name suggests – in fact, the claim is that after just one taste, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. In this case, you’ll wish you’d live forever so you can have more! You may want to a double recipe – trust me, these cookies will go fast!