Christmas Eve with a batch of Trissa's World’s Best Pistachio Cookies

When I read Trissa’s post about what she thought was the Worlds Best Pistachio Cookies, I immediately knew I had to taste them. Will they meet my expectations?? I love pistachios, but every time I have a cookie with pistachios I would always feel like there wasn’t enough in them.

After dinner with Trissa one night, we went to get the ingredients to make the cookies.  With just 5 ingredients, I was about to create what would become a new family favourite.

It took me 5 minutes to make the mixture and after 15 minutes I had a batch of the Worlds Best Pistachio Cookies out of the oven. Did it meet my expectations?? It certainly did and then some. It was chewy, sweet with tonnes of roasted pistachio pieces.

I was asked by Mama Eugenio to make some for Christmas gifts and my dad looks for them all the time. Trissa thank you for sharing such a great recipe. It’s now a Eugenio Family Favourite, which I am sure to last decades.

Worlds Best Pistachio Cookies or Italian Pistachio Cookies

By Trissalicious

90 grams PLUS 100 grams Pistachios (raw, shelled)
100 grams almond meal
120 grams caster sugar
50 grams eggwhites (from around 1 to 2 eggs)
Green food colouring (optional)

1. Lightly toast the pistachios for around 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 160c. 2. Chop the first 90 grams of pistachio finely (you can use a food processor for this) and the other 100 grams of pistachios roughly.
3. In a bowl place the finely chopped 90 grams of pistachios, almond meal, sugar and egg whites. Mix well (you can add a few drops of food colouring now if you wish) until you form a paste.
4. Scoop the cookie batter and form into little balls, (at this point, if you find the batter too sticky add a little bit more almond meal to the paste) then roll them in the remaining 100 grams of pistachios.
5. Place then in a baking sheet, around 2 cm apart and bake for around 13 minutes at 170c (fan forced).
6. Dust with icing sugar when cool.

Have a very Merry Christmas Everyone. I hope your day is filled with lots of love, hugs, happy little kids opening presents and delicious good. Cheers to a fantastic 2011...


Kulinarya Theme December - Homemade Gifts

Thanks to Joy and Maribel, Decembers Kulinarya theme is Homemade Food Gifts. There is nothing like a gift that comes from the heart. Food is the perfect gift. You know you are special, when you receive something homemade. All that time and effort to make it look good and taste even better.

Ube Halaya is very special to me. Its one of many desserts that remind me of my Lola (grandma). She used to make it for me when I would visit on weekends.  Ube is also something my mum makes a lot for summer. We eat it by the spoonful or put it in Halo Halo. The more you make, the more you can put on your Halo Halo.

Since Ube is like a jam, I didn’t know how I would present it as a gift. While walking through the supermarket, I found some mini shortcrust pastry shells. Hmmmm ok so I kind of cheated. I just didn’t have time to make my own pastry shells. I call these Ube Halaya Tarts. They look so cute and taste even better. 

This simple dessert only requires a few ingredients and some elbow grease. So below is Mama Eugenio's version of Ube Halaya.

Ube Halaya (Purple Jam)

1 packet of grated purple yam
1 can of condensed milk
500ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon of butter

1. Grease a pie pan or pyrex baking dish with some butter.

2. Put the condensed milk, purple yam and coconut milk in a pot on medium heat. Using a whisk mix the ingredients until well combined. Make sure you try to get all the lumps out.

3. Continuously stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it becomes thick. This could take around 10 minutes.

4. When the mixture is thick, take it off the heat and add the butter. Stir through before pouring the mixture into your prepared baking dish.

5. Set aside to cool. When the Ube is cool enough, use a piping bag with a star tip to put the ube into the mini shortcrust pastry shells. Cover the rest of the ube with cling wrap and put it in the fridge. These tarts are best piped before serving. 

The mini shortcrust pastry shells are available at Woolworths or any major supermarket. If you have time, I would suggest making your own pastry shells.

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all the Kulinarya Cooking Club members for all their contributions this year. It has been fantastic and I have learnt so much from you all. Have a safe Christmas everyone. Cheers to what is ahead for 2011...

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.
If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Kat –
Connie Veneracion frm
Marvin –

And ofcourse Trisha from Sugarlace and Trissa from Trissalicious


MasterChef Live - A Snapshot

Thanks to Ashley and Helen from Stellar Concepts, I along with Gianna from The Empty Fridge and my Aunt had the opportunity to go as a VIP to MasterChef Live. Being a huge MasterChef fan and also working on Junior MasterChef, I was extremely excited. So below is the snapshot of my favourite parts of MasterChef Live.

Before the first show the judges along with some of the past contestants to officially open the event. So many shutter bugs, this was the only photo I was able to get. Wow now I know how hard it would be to be paparazzi.

We were seated in the front row along with some fabulous food bloggers, Not Quite Nigella, The Empty Fridge, Citrus and Candy and Simons Food Favourites. The stage was a replica of the MasterChef Kitchen. The crowd went wild as the judges started the show.

MasterChef 2 winner Adam and finalist Marion were also at the show to help out. Adam mentioned that his book will be out in 2011 and he is also planning to open up a restaurant in Surry Hills next year. Marion is now living in Palm Beach and has a few projects coming up in 2011.

Gary and George continued the show by doing a pressure test with a few audience members. (Hmmm speaking of audience members, we were a little shocked to find out that, one of the ones picked was actually Staff at the event.) Read all about it here. They all had to cook a quail dish that would later be judged. The show was funny, and really got the crowd going. 

After the show we headed back to the Food Hall, which was a very similar set up to the Good Food and Wine Show. One of the stands that stood out was Wild Sugar. Skye Craig from the second series of MasterChef has started a Dessert business with a difference. Her aim is to produce desserts that are made from natural ingredients such as Agave Nectar and Honey. Guilt free but delicious. 

Gianna and I tasted the Japanese Green Tea Ice Cream, Chocolate and Avocado Mousse with a Raspberry Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream with Hazelnuts and the Lime Mousse with Fresh Finger Lime. They were all deliciously rich and tasty. You would never think that these desserts would actually be good for you. I wish Skye all the best with her Dessert business. I know I will certainly be looking out for them. They are just divine.

Apart from the Food Hall, there was the out outdoor area. This is where we decided to buy some food to re-fuel. It was extremely hot and muggy. My Aunt and I bought some pork dumplings from Din Tai Fung, a Chilli Dog and Wagyu Burger from Charlie and Co.

The Outdoor Area was also where Grill The Chef was. I made it just in time for Kylie Kwong's session. Kylie was sharing some tips and tricks regarding Chinese cooking. She was also answering questions from foodies around the table.

The SAXA Salt Professionals Theatre inside the Food Hall had an array of Chefs such as Neil Perry, Christine Mansfield, Peter Doyle and Frank Camora showcasing various dishes from their restaurants. We caught Frank Camora's session. He showed us how to make 3 Tapas Dishes which are easy enough to replicate at home.

MasterChef Live was a great event that really gave the fans the chance to meet the judges and the contestants from the show. I hope to see it back, bigger and better in 2011. For more great post about MasterChef Live go to Simon, Sara or Gianna's blog.


Cibo E Vino - Castle Hill

I did a post about Cibo last year, since then this little restaurant has been a regular dining place for my friends and I. Cibo prides themselves in serving dishes made from local produce, and the menu changes depending on what is in season.

Heirloom Tomato Bruchetta $4.50 per person. The bruschetta had big chunks of sweet heirloom tomatoes. The bread was crunchy with a slight garlic flavour. This was topped with warm olive oil.

The ladies and I start with the Shoe String Fries with Herbs, Chilli, Parmesan and Garlic $9.00. We love this side dish so much that we decide to order two bowls. This was Mel’s first time at Cibo and this certainly won her over.

House Made Gnocchi with Tomato, Pecorino and Sage $21.00. The gnocchi was so smooth. The pecorino added a perfect amount of bite to this dish.

Ocean Trout with Kipfler Potatoes, Asparagus, Green Beans, Broad Beans, Peas and Cured Lemon Butter $30.00. Leah chose this as her main. Although I didn't get to taste it, she was very pleased with her choice.

House Made Gnocchi, with Sage, Goats Curd, Chicken Stock and Olive Crumbs $23.00. This was the second Gnocchi dish on the menu. Mel picked a winner. I actually had food envy. The goats curd was the perfect match with the olive crumbs. The chicken stock added lightness to this very rich dish.

I chose the Roast Lamb Rump with Mashed Potatoes, Broccolini and Green Olive Dressing $30.00. I had this main the last time I was at Cibo. The lamb always comes out perfectly cooked. The mash potato is always so perfect with no lumps and the olive dressing is just divine. This is by far my favourite main. 

Chris chose the entrĂ©e size House Made Fettucine with Braised Free Range Pork, Tomato, Red Wine and Parmesan $15.00. Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste this but it did look delicious with big chunks of braised pork and a big pile of parmesan on top.

No matter how full, I always leave a tiny little bit of room for dessert. Chef Paul Toogood makes the best ice cream in the west. Leah and Chris got the Fresh Mango Sorbet $9.00. It was so light and refreshing. It had just the right amount of sweetness and really cleansed the pallet.

Mel and I got the Trio of Ice Creams. In the trio there was Vanilla made with fresh vanilla beans, Orange and Nougat and an Almond ice cream which had a generous amount of almond praline.

Cibo E Vino truly is a hidden gem. If you are ever in the hills area, make sure you book dinner at Cibo. The staff are fantastic, the food is delicious and it is affordable.

For more information go to

Cibo E Vino
Shop 2, 299 Old Northern Road
Castle Hill NSW 2145
Telephone: 02 80020912

Cibo have some Cooking For Christmas classes coming up. The classes are on the 6th and 13th of December. Make sure you ring and book to secure a spot.


Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Petits Fours

With Christmas coming up, MasterChef Magazine has released a double issue. One of the things that I always get excited about in Christmas issues is their simple gift ideas.

One of Matt’s Tops 6 this month is Peter Gilmore’s Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Petits Fours. These small morsels of delicious chocolate and hazelnut are the perfect gift for friends and family with a sweet tooth.

Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Petits Fours

300 grams milk chocolate finely chopped (I used Haighs)
125ml pouring cream
30 grams cold unsalted butter chopped

1. To make the ganache, place the milk chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to almost boiling point. Pour the cream into the chocolate and mix until the chocolate has melted. Whisk the butter into the ganache until it is melted and the ganache is glossy. Cool in the fridge for at least a few hours.

Caramelised Hazelnuts
75 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon pouring cream
60 grams roasted peeled hazelnuts
2 tablespoons water

You will need a sugar thermometer for the caramel.

1. Line a tray with baking paper. Place sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Swirl until all the sugar is dissolved. Simmer until the caramel reaches 160c on a sugar thermometer. Stir in cream until well combined. Cook it for 30 seconds, make sure you watch this closely as it can split.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the hazelnuts. Make sure to stir until all the hazelnuts are coated with the caramel. Transfer the mixture onto the tray and allow to cool.

3. Working quickly using a fork and damp hands, pull apart the hazelnuts one at a time. Roll each nut between your fingers to form a ball of smooth caramel. Set aside until use.

White Chocolate Crumbs
100 grams white chocolate (I used Haighs)
100 grams organic palm sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Line an oven tray with baking paper and add the chopped chocolate to the tray. Bake for 12 minutes or until the chocolate is golden. Allow to cool.

2. Process the roasted white chocolate in the food processor. I wanted my white chocolate crumbs to be chunky so I used a toy hammer. I put the cooled chocolate into a zip lock bag and went to town. It’s a great way to take your anger out J. Put the white chocolate crumbs into a bowl and rub the palm sugar in until its all combined. Set aside to cool ion the fridge.

Assembling Petits Fours

1. Line a large tray with baking paper. Scoop teaspoons of ganache onto the tray. You should be able to get around 60. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours .

2. To assemble, push a caramel hazelnut into each ganache centre and form a ball. When you do all 60, put them back into the fridge to cool for a minute or 2.

3. Put the white chocolate crumbs into a deep bowl. Take the ganache out of the fridge and immediately coat each one into the chocolate crumbs. Cool the Petits Fours in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

These Petits Fours are a little time consuming but extremely worth it at the end. If you want to mix things up, try adding crushed chocolate covered coffee beans with the chocolate crumbs instead of the palm sugar. It gives it texture and a completely different flavour.


Kei's Kitchen

I first read about Kei’s Kitchen on Grab Your Fork. Kei along with her daughter Masako were also featured on Food Safari.

Last weekend, I finally got the chance to do a cooking class at Kei’s Kitchen. My cousin Queenie and I managed to secure a spot in her Party Menu Class, which was her second last class for 2010.

Our Party Menu included a Snapper Cooked in a Salt Oven, Wagyu Tataki, Herbed Cured Ocean Trout and Barazushi.

The Snapper Cooked in a Salt Oven was delicious. We put hard boiled eggs in the stomach to keep its shape while it cooks in the salt crust. This dish is very quick to prepare and would be a great addition to a Christmas menu for a big family.

The Wagyu Tataki was so simple to make. This was served on top of some Shiso leaves (Japanese Basil). Kei also told us that this is an antibiotic that is very good for you. This is always served with Sushi in Japan.

The Herbed Cured Ocean Trout was served with light dressing and some spring roll wrapper that have been sliced into ribbons and deep fried. The crunchy spring roll wrappers added some texture to this dish.

The Barazushi was delicious. It was basically a big bowl of sushi rice topped with egg threads, eel, prawns, snapper and garnished with beautiful shiso buds and kinome sprigs which smell beautiful.

We also prepared a medley of small dishes, which include Deep Fried Marinated Octopus, Seafood in Kimizu and Spinach Dressed in Sesame.

The next 4 hours were filled with making marinades, chopping, and preparing parts of dishes for their presentation. At the end of the class we all gathered around the table and enjoyed a meal together.

Kei and Masako taught us all about presentation and how important it is for the Japanese to prepare food that is only available at certain times of the year. I learnt a lot from Kei's class and I am already planning to book a class in 2011. If you would like more information about Kei's Kitchen you can visit their website

The Party Menu Class was $150.00 which is well worth it. This is a perfect Christmas gift for a foodie or someone who loves Japanese food.


The New Look A Cupcake Or Two and a Giveaway

Thanks to Lindsay Nicole Design Studio, A Cupcake Or Two has had a makeover. I have been planning to do this for so long and a few weeks of holiday time has given me the opportunity to sit down and think about what I really wanted to do with my blog. So I hope you all like it.

To celebrate the new look, my first year of blogging and my passed 100th post I am doing a giveaway.

Thanks to Ross from Rice Cube, 8 A Cupcake Or Two readers have the opportunity to win their very own Rice Cube. 

The Rice Cube is a great little gadget that helps foodies with their presentation skills. It will certainly impress a big crowd. Its easy to use and a great present for this Christmas.

To be in the running for 1 of 8 Rice Cubes, all you need to do is leave a comment to tell me what you would make with your very own Rice Cube. Please include your email address with your entry. 

You can enter once a day, however only 1 prize per person will be awarded. The winners will be chosen based on the best/original answer.


1 of 8 Rice Cubes valued at $39.95 each inc GST

The competition is opened to all A Cupcake Or Two readers. This competition starts on the 3rd of November 12:00pm (AEST) and ends midnight on the 27th of November 2010 (AEST).

Good Luck Everyone....



A Halloween Treat - Buko Pandan

Bwahahahhahaha. It’s Halloween once again and below is my idea of a goolishly delicious treat. It’s actually called (Buko Pandan) or as Trish called it Green Grass Jelly & Young Coconut Cream Salad.

This dessert is popular at all Filipino gatherings and like all Filipino desserts, it is really rich and sweet.

So here is Mama Eugenio’s version of Buko Pandan

Buko Pandan

2 cans of green grass jelly
2 cans of coconut gel (Nata De Coco)
1 can of sugar palm seed (Kaong)
600ml thickened cream
1 can of condensed milk
2 bags of frozen young coconut meat
1 teaspoon of pandan flavouring


1. Drain the coconut gel, sugar palm seeds and coconut.
2. Slice the grass jelly into small cubes and put it into a large deep serving bowl.
3. Add the coconut gel, sugar palm seed and coconut to the grass jelly.
4. Stir in the thickened cream, condensed milk and pandan flavouring.
5. Set aside in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


-       - Once the Buko Pandan chills the flavour changes so buy 2 cans of condensed milk as you may need to add a little bit more. It really depends on how sweet you want it.
-       - If you cant find grass jelly, you can just make pandan flavoured jelly using agar agar, sugar and some pandan flavouring
-       - All the ingredients are available at all good Asian supermarkets.

Happy Halloween Everyone, I hope you all have a devilishly good time. Mwahahahahahha…

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