#QuarantineCookbook: Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada

Which Filipino dessert does everyone in your family looked forward to when you were young?

Mine was the Brazo de Mercedes.

This scrumptious meringue roll with a thick and rich custard center is actually named after Mama Mary, the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes or the Virgin of Mercy.

It is said to date back to the Spanish colonial period when Filipinos sought to repurpose discarded egg yolks when builders at the time would use the egg whites for mortar and plaster for houses and structures.

Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada
Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada

Whenever my parents brought home a roll of Brazo de Mercedes, my brothers and I knew that something wonderful was waiting for us come dessert time.

Despite both my mom and I being both home bakers, it took us a while to attempt to make Brazo de Mercedes, primarily because the egg whites need a high-powered mixer to become a fluffy meringue.

Thankfully, Hubby gifted me with a KitchenAid 5QT Artisan Stand Mixer which made making this dessert a breeze.

Now that the meringue won’t be a problem, I know the custard won’t give me any worries either, thanks to Jolly Cow Condensada.

With its rich, creamy texture and right amount of sweetness, it helped make the custard filling of my Brazo de Mercedes absolutely Creamy Sarap and so irresistible.

Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada
Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada

Ingredients:

Custard:

  • 1 390g can Jolly Cow Condensada
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Meringue:

  • 10 egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada
Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada

Procedure:

Combine egg yolks, condensed milk, vanilla and lemon zest in a double boiler over low heat. Cook while stirring regularly for about 30 minutes until mixture thickens into a spreadable paste. Remove from heat and set aside to allow to cool.

Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and mix at slow speed until they form a thick foam. Add sugar in small amounts while continually beating, gradually increasing speed until stuff peaks form and the mixture is smooth and glossy with no sugar grains.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and lightly grease it. Spread the meringue evenly on the sheet to about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 350 deg F (177 deg C) for 20 minutes until the meringue is set and the top has turned light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Using a light mesh sieve, lightly dust the meringue with powdered sugar. Cover with another sheet of lightly greased wax paper the gently invert to transfer the meringue onto the new wax paper and peel off the wax paper on top.

Spread the custard mixture evenly on the 3/4 of surface of the meringue. Starting from the side with the custard, carefully roll the meringue into a log.

Cover both ends of the log with wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada
Brazo de Mercedes with Jolly Cow Condensada

My son has declared this his “Number 1” favorite dessert (among the many sweets I’ve made for him so far), and I know I’ll have lots more for him to sample with my pantry fully stocked with Jolly Cow Condensada.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Gear up for baking

KitchenAid 5QT Artisan Stand Mixer
KitchenAid 5QT Artisan Stand Mixer
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven

Stock up on ingredients

Jelly’s Picks
Jolly Cow Condensada 390g

#QuarantineCookbook: Cheesy Baked Macaroni

My mom’s Cheesy Baked Macaroni has always been a family favorite.

She used to make it for the fam during special occasions such as birthday dinners or holiday feasts. We would sometimes bring it as our contribution to our clan’s potluck parties.

Later on, when I got married, Hubby would request a tray of Baked Macaroni from my mom for his birthday.

What makes this version different from other Baked Macaroni recipes is the flavor and aroma from the red bell peppers. Coupled with the melted cheese, it helps make a truly mouthwatering dish!

Baked Mac Recipe
Baked Mac Recipe

It took me a while to gather up the courage to cook this dish given the sheer weight of expectations surrounding it, but I’m sure glad I did!

I was able to piece together the recipe, thanks to my memories from years of helping my mom cook this, as well as a few phone calls to my mom, just to make sure I’m on the right track.

I’ve made this dish three times in as many weeks so far, a testament to how much my fam loves it.

Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 kg ground beef
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups milk, heated
  • 220g cheese, finely grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Baked Mac Recipe
Baked Mac Recipe

Procedure:

To make the tomato meat sauce:

  • Saute garlic, onions and bell peppers in oil for up to five minutes until fragrant.
  • Add in the ground beef and cook until it is evenly browned, then stir in the beef cube.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, stir and bring to a boil.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss in the bay leaves, and allow to simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.

To make the cheese sauce:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for about two minutes until a paste forms.
  • Pour in the milk and stir constantly until the flour paste is fully dissolved.
  • Add in the cheese while continuing to stir until the cheese has melted and blended into the mixture, then remove from heat.

To assemble and bake:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 deg F (190 deg C).
  • Divide the meat sauce in half.
  • Mix in the cooked macaroni to half of the meat mixture.
  • Coat the bottom of the baking pan with a thin layer of cheese sauce.
  • Add a layer of macaroni, then meat sauce and top with another layer cheese sauce. Repeat the three layers if the baking pan can accommodate.
  • Make sure the top is covered by a thick layer of cheese sauce.
  • Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil.
  • Bake with the foil cover for 15 minutes, and without the foil cover for another ten minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and serve.
Baked Mac Recipe
Baked Mac Recipe

Try this recipe for your Noche Buena spread or your New Year’s Eve feast.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Gear up for cooking.

La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven

Stock up on ingredients.

Jelly’s Picks
Del Monte Salad Macaroni 1kg
Jelly’s Picks
Del Monte Tomato Sauce Original Style 1KG
Jelly’s Picks
Dari Creme Classic 200g
Jelly’s Picks
Jolly Cow Pure Fresh Milk 1Lx3
Jelly’s Picks
Eden Filled Cheese 165G/160G

Tips for a fresh and clean-smelling home that sparks good vibes and great productivity

Did you know that exposure to scents can affect your mood and productivity?

With many of us working or learning from home, we have seen the need to make our homes more comfortable and conducive to optimal work performance.

Odors do affect how we feel and how we work, primarily through how we associate events and experiences with them. Scents that we associate with good experiences (such as the aroma of freshly baked bread) tend to make us feel good, while scents that we associate with unpleasant experiences (such as the sterile smell of a hospital operating room) tend to make us feel bad.

Odors can also affect how we think and how we behave. For example, people exposed to pleasant odors tend to exhibit higher levels of prosociality, self-efficacy and work efficiency.

With these findings, it is important to ensure that all rooms in the house are clean and sweet-smelling so we can function as we should.

Living Room

Home Scents
Homr Scents

The living room is where we hang out with our household members to relax and unwind. It is also the place where we receive guests and make an impression on them.

To keep your living room smelling good, be sure to check the carpet from time to time. Carpets and rugs tend to trap odors from pet dander, sweat, smoke or mildew. Make sure these are cleaned and deodorized regularly.

It also helps to keep this room ventilated. Open a window to let fresh air in. Avoid overcrowding furniture to give the air some space to circulate. Using fans or air circulators also help to keep the air moving and dissipate most unpleasant smells.

Kitchen

Home Scents
Home Scents

The kitchen is where food preparation and post-dining clean-up occurs, both of which produce food waste which could contribute to foul smells in this area.

Make sure that food waste is properly put away in sealed trash cans and take them out of the house as soon as you can.

Ensure that your cleaning materials themselves – such as kitchen towels, sponges and brushes – are clean. Dry them after use as they will develop odors if they stay damp.

All kitchen surfaces should be cleaned and wiped dry after use as moisture can cause unpleasant smells.

Clean under heavy furniture or appliances such as the range hood, stove or refrigerator regularly as well. These can accumulate dust and grease which can trap bad odors.

Also, make sure that air can circulate when you cook by using fans or opening a window.

Wipe down drawers and shelves in your food storage areas and refrigerator at least once a week. Throw out any food item that may have gone bad or past its expiry date.

Dining Room

Home Scents
Homr Scents

As the place where the family converge to share meals and converse during breakfast, lunch and dinner, the dining room should also have an atmosphere conducive to a good appetite and happy conversation.

Before and after every use, the dining room should be swept and wiped clean and all surfaces disinfected to minimize any possible contamination or possible sources of unappetizing smells.

Bathroom

Homr Scents
Home Scents

As the place where we spend a lot of our personal time, the bathroom should have a relaxing and revitalizing atmosphere.

It tends to be a humid room, so keeping damp towels here is not a good idea. It would be best to dry your towels outside in the sun after use, and store them in another, drier part of the house when not in use.

Ventilation is also key to keeping your bathroom smelling fresh and clean. Open the door and windows to let the air circulate for at least 15 minutes everyday.

Bedroom

Home Scents
Homr Scents

As our haven for rest and recharging ourselves at the end of the day, the bedroom has no room for dank or musty smells.

To ensure a good night’s sleep and the restful tranquility that make the bedroom your place of respite, banish unpleasant odors by changing your bedsheets and linens to freshly washed ones at least once every week and ensuring that your bedroom rugs are vacuumed and deodorized.

As with all parts of the house, proper ventilation and air circulation greatly help in keeping the bedroom smelling wonderful. Allowing some spaces in between furniture and opening the window from time to time to let fresh air in will surely help.

With these tips in mind, you will find it easy to maintain a sweet-smelling home you and your family members can comfortably live, work and study in.

Aside from these practical steps, we also have tool that help us in keeping our home smelling clean and fresh

Albatross deodorizer blocks and scented gels help in eliminating any home malodor in any part of the house. They also come in various scents and colors that suit our preferences and home decor. Shop now at Lazada through the links below to stock up on these for your home.

Albatross Deodorizer Blocks.

Albatross
Albatross
Albatross

Albatross Scented Gels.

Albatross
Albatross
Albatross

Venue for home interior photos courtesy of Alyssa Tuangco.