The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Banana Muffins

This is based on the banana cake recipe here, just modified to make it more moist and suitable for little cups. I love crunchy cinnamon sugar-topped muffins and I took the opportunity to use it here. It’s very easy to prepare so this is something that you can bake with your kids.

This simple but yummy muffin is appropriate for breakfast, snacks, picnics, children’s parties and the occasional guilty midnight snack.

Recipe afer the jump. Enjoy. ­čÖé

There’s nothing like classic muffins

Whole-Wheat Strawberry Yogurt Cake

I had two tubs of strawberry yogurt that would go bad if I don’t eat it soon. Unfortunately, I left my bag of all-purpose flour in the other apartment and the only thing left is whole wheat flour, which isn’t nutritionally bad but whole wheat is not exactly known for its smooth, moist properties in cakes.

So I tried to look for a whole wheat yogurt cake recipe that I could work with. Luckily, there’s always I changed a few things since I wanted to make it healthier and avoid butter altogether.

I’m a little scared of bundt pans. There’s always a possibility that, no matter how much you grease the insides, the pan would traitorously eat the top parts of the cake, leaving a hot mess on your plate that even powdered sugar could not hide. However, one of the reviews mentioned that the center of the┬ácake tended to be a little wet so I was determined to use a bundt pan to avoid smooshy centers.

Thankfully, my bundt pan behaved. This is the third time I’ve used it and it has not failed me so far. Good bundt pan, yes you are. *pats*

As for the cake, my fears were unfounded. I was afraid that I would have a dry, unpalatable cake. Instead, it ended up being dense, moist, and yummy–you could really taste the yogurt and the whole wheat gave it texture that prevented it from being boring.

This is a cake that is best eaten as breakfast or a snack with coffee or tea. Plus the apartment smells heavenly. *inhales*

Note:┬áIf you don’t want the chocolate flavor, just follow the recipe as it is without the cocoa powder. I actually prefer it without the chocolate as it brings out the taste of the yogurt more.

Try it for yourself

Oatmeal Meatball Pasta

Remember the pasta recipe where I used IKEA meatballs? Chris kind of made fun of me because I didn’t know how to make my own meatballs considering that they were (allegedly) easy to make. Dad told me that ┬áhe wanted spaghetti but he was too sleepy and lazy to cook. (Don’t let this statement mislead you, Dad cooks way more often than I do.) Considering that I had a couple of hours before he wakes up, I decided to try making meatballs from scratch.

The first thing I thought was: “$h1*, I don’t have breadcrumbs! ” Google saved me again and informed me that oats would be a healthier substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs.

For the sauce, I used a variation of Bitch&Bake’s Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce. I wondered if butter is considered unhealthy but when I thought of worse alternatives like hydrogenated oil, lard, and vegetable oil, I happily dropped in the little block of butter.

This is also the first time for me to eat romano cheese with pasta, at least at home and not in a restaurant. There are evil canisters of romano alternatives in the supermarket, which try to convince the buyers that they’re cheap and just as good. Until you notice that there’s a tub of perfectly genuine shredded romano (but made with cow’s milk not ewe’s) beside it that is ironically cheaper than the fake version. *rofl*

My verdict: For a first time effort, it’s not bad at all. I thought it was reeeaally yummy but then I’m horribly biased. Sure, it could probably be better but this isn’t exactly a perfect-product-after-100-tries blog.

How she managed to make meatballs from scratch

Ginger, Coriander and Orange Braised Chicken

This is my absolute, most favorite chicken dish ever! It’s one of the first things I cooked when I was just starting to learn a year ago. I was so proud of myself because I managed to produce something edible that does not involve a can.

I pretty much stayed loyal to Steamy Kitchen’s recipe because I was not confident enough to change anything. Although I used red instead of white wine due to the latter’s unavailability, it still tasted good.

I served this to my friends when we had a poolside potluck dinner along with cherry-centred lemon muffins sometime last September 2010. I miss making it and another friend suggested that I should cook it again soon for our weekly get-togethers. This made me dig up this photo from my archive as I took it after my first try before I even started The Virgin Stove.

So, for those who like Chinese food and orange chicken, here’s Steamy Kitchen’s lovely recipe.

Lemon Muffin with Red Currants

(Photo taken by Jovett Lopez)

Note (May 25, 2012): I recently made this as a cake with blackberries instead of red currants. Coat blackberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and spread evenly at the bottom of the pan. Spoon cake batter over it and bake. A lot of people have trouble turning an upside down cake without the middle sticking on the pan. Use wax paper or foil to cover the bottom of the pan so when you flip it over, the whole cake comes out foil and all. If the berries stick to the foil, stick the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes before peeling it off.


Almost a year ago, I had a love affair with muffins. Obsession is probably the proper way to describe it. I wanted to learn how to bake (aside from the token brownies and chocolate cake) by baking as many kinds of muffins as I could find. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of pictures and those that I managed to take were poorly focused and had horrible exposure.

I had the chance to make these muffins again for my friends last weekend. Breakfast should always be the biggest meal of the day and we sure had a huge meal with varied dishes. My contribution was a batch of lemon and red currant muffins.

You can be creative with this muffin and use all sorts of berries. SK’s original recipe uses raspberries. I used red currant here. In hindsight, I think the red currants should have been coated with a tad of sugar since they’re really sour. The first time I made this muffin, it had a cherry centre and I topped it with sliced almonds. I think I like the latter version better. Here’s a photo of it, taken just before I brought them to work for my colleagues:

It’s not great, but I used to be really bad with photography and used the “Auto” setting far too often. *wince* These days, I learned how to adjust my dSLR properly to take the type of photos I want. I still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to composition, but I’ll get there eventually.

Note: The lovely topmost photo was taken by my friend, Jovett, just before we ate them.

I really like this muffin!

Garlic Butter Baked Mussels

A while ago, my friend Jovett told me about the baked mussels she ate in another friend’s house. I had no idea how to make it but I thought about it a few times, wondering how baked mussels would taste. I always ate mussels in soup, in a stew and even in pasta. Once, I had grilled mussels but the experience was so traumatic I swore never to eat mildly grilled seafood again.

Okay, where was I? Yes. Baking. Mussels. Ahem.

I looked up a number of baked mussels recipes and there were different versions of toppings. Some had bread crumbs, mayonnaise, some sort of salsa, fresh herbs, and cream cheese. I had to work with whatever I have in the kitchen so choices were limited. Luckily, this dish doesn’t have to be complicated and you can be creative with the topping if you like.

I finally had the chance to use the frozen mussels I bough from Lulu a week ago. Shopping in Lulu is insane! It’s like a sardine can in the evenings with way too many people to shop at your leisure. So we go there in the morning when everyone else is sleepy and lazy.

Making the crispy tuna flakes is simple enough: open can, drain, toss tuna in a pot of boiling oil, cover the pot asap to prevent major injuries, check back every few minutes and, if the flakes look brown and crisp, take them out of the oil and drop into a mass of paper napkins until the almost all the oil is completely absorbed. This isn’t a diet dish and there’s no need to ingest more fat than necessary.

Here’s the rest

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