Category Archives: Entertaining

Muscovado … A Healthy Alternative

Grand Muscovado Milling Corp.
Address: BARANGAY MALALANGSI, PAMLONA, NEGROS ORIENTAL., Dumaguete Central Visayas, Philippines
Phone No: +63-917-3140683
Contact Person: Dr. Sylvano Mercader Alcantara (President)

Looking for a Healthy Sugar? Go for GRAND MUSCOVADO Variety, you can be assured of its purity.  It is owned by an endocrinologist, an expert in body metabolism, thus QUALITY is not compromised.

Muscovado sugar also known as “Barbados sugar”, is a pure, wholesome, unrefined, coarse grain type of sugar, with high molasses content. This gives the sugar a dark and strongly flavored feature. It is also considered as the sugar nearest that of honey, because of its high nutritional value. The main process of producing this well renowned sugar is actually quite simple. First, gather natural cane sugar (main ingredient) and crush them within 24 hours. Then, cook them until it reaches its crystallization point.


This is considered a healthy sugar for it is made directly from heating sugar cane juice with no chemical added. Its nutritional value is comparable with that of honey. This muscovado sugar is available in fine granular to powder form.

Honey and Muscovado

They are now using all-stainless steel equipment and the working area is secured from any insects. Their muscovado sugar comes from freshly cut sugar canes in the fertile, volcanic island of Negros Oriental and is processed into the said sugar without any chemicals added, thus is considered a healthy sugar. I haven’t been here though.

Grand Muscovado Plant in Pamplona Negros Oriental

My love for muscovado came from my love for the Muscovado Rocks which I love comparing with Almond Rocha without the almonds. But what is its purpose in my everyday life?  It is an alternative to brown sugar … which I personally use.  The difference?

Comparing the brown sugar with muscovado (of the same amount in a cup of coffee), the former is sweeter than the latter.  Because of too much sweetness, brown sugar dampens the taste of coffee while muscovado lets you enjoy your cup without anything robbing the spotlight of pure coffee taste.   There is a honey aftertaste with muscovado as well. There is the absence of impurities with muscovado as well those we often find at the bottom of our cups when using brown sugar. 

My Morning Coffee Cup with Muscovado

Aside from coffee, I love it with yoghurt … just a little over your yoghurt to somehow neutralize the tartness which sometimes is too much for me.

Yoghurt and Muscovado – a healthy treat for a sweet tooth

Another simple way to enjoy it  is with French baguettes with butter and a sprinkle of muscovado and heat in the oven for a few minutes.  This will come out crunchy with just a slightest hint of sweetness.

French Baguette

And of course …  these holiday staples – Puto Bumbong (purple colored dessert cooked in baboo tubes) and Bibingka (rice cake)  – won’t be the same without muscovado.  My favorite is Via Mare’s and Ferino’s.

Via Mare’s Puto Bumbong

Ferino’s Bibingka

My favorite palitaw (Makati Supermarket Coffee Shop in ATC) is at best with muscovado as well.


Here are some recipes using Muscovado of my favourite domestic diva, Martha Stewart: 




·         1 1/2 cups organic soy flour, plus 1/2 cup for topping

·         2 teaspoons baking powder

·         1 teaspoon baking soda

·         1/2 teaspoon salt

·         1/2 cup chilled organic butter (1 stick), cut into pieces, plus 3 tablespoons, softened

·         1/2 to 3/4 cup organic apple juice

·         1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

·         1/2 cup packed light-brown muscovado sugar

·         Honey Butter


1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add 1/2 cup chilled butter; using a pastry blender or your hands, combine until mixture is crumbly. Stir in enough apple juice to form dough moist enough to drop from a spoon.

2.       In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup flour, cinnamon, and sugar. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter; mix until well combined.

3.       Drop a heaping tablespoon of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet; crumble 1/2 teaspoon of topping into center. Top with another heaping tablespoon of dough; sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon of topping. Repeat with remaining ingredients, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve with honey butter.

Source: Martha Stewart Recipes


The pairing of salty prosciutto and sweet roasted tomatoes provides a delicious flavor combination in this tartine recipe from food blogger Beatrice Peltre’s “La Tartine Gourmande.”The Martha Stewart Show, May 2012



·         2 cloves garlic, minced

·         1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

·         1 teaspoon light muscovado sugar

·         1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

·         1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

·         9 ounces ripe cherry tomatoes, stems intact

·         Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

·         4 slices country bread, toasted

·         1/2 cup soft, fresh goat cheese

·         8 slices prosciutto

·         Fleur de sel, for serving


1.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2.       In a shallow baking dish, combine garlic, tarragon, muscovado sugar, vinegar, and oil. Add tomatoes and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and bake until soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

3.       Spread each slice of toasted bread with goat cheese; top each with 2 slices prosciutto and tomatoes. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Serve.  


This recipe for pumpkin pecan-praline pie is courtesy of Chef Paul Bergeron. The Martha Stewart Show, November Fall 2007



Yield Makes One 9-Inch Pie


·         All-purpose flour, for work surface

·         Flaky Pie Dough

·         4 large eggs

·         1/2 cup granulated sugar

·         1/4 cup Muscovado light or dark-brown sugar

·         1/2 teaspoon salt

·         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·         1 teaspoon ground ginger

·         1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

·         1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

·         1 pound Pumpkin Puree

·         1 cup heavy cream

·         Pecan-Praline


1.       On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half of the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Using a 1-inch tear-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 50 tear-shaped pieces of dough. Starting with the pointed end, roll each piece of dough three-quarters of the way toward the fat end of the tear, forming a curl. Transfer curls to a baking sheet; refrigerate 30 minutes.

2.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out remaining dough into an 11-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, brush off any excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate, pressing it into the edges. Trim to a 1-inch overhang all around. Fold under overhang so it extends slightly beyond the edge of the pie plate.

3.       Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Line with parchment paper, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang. Top with a 9-inch metal pie tin. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Remove parchment paper and weights; let cool.

4.       Beat 1 egg in a small bowl. Brush the edge of the pie crust with egg. Starting with 1 dough curl, place the flat bottom on the egg-washed rim, with the curl perpendicular to the edge of the pie plate. Working in the same direction, continue placing curls next to one another until the rim of the pie shell is completely covered with curls. Transfer pie shell to refrigerator; let chill 1 hour. Brush curls with remaining beaten egg.

5.       In a large bowl, mix together both sugars, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Add pumpkin puree and stir well to combine. Whisk in remaining 3 eggs and cream.

6.       Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie shell. Transfer to a 375 degree oven and bake until filling is just set, about 40 minutes. Let pie cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle pie with praline topping just before serving.



 This delicious recipe is courtesy of Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama restaurant.The Martha Stewart Show, February Winter 2008  


 Table accents is one of my passions and few months from now, one of my preferred holidays is going to shout and say, Trick or Treat!!! Muscovado will come in handy with these creepy ideas:

 1.  Use as the soil instead of cacao for the ghoulish cemetery for cakes.  Just sprinkle the chocolate cake with this and voila! Your ordinary cake will turn out to be a “real” treat. 

Ghouslish Cemetery (Photo from Martha Stewart)

 2. Sprinkle your macabre chocolate cupcakes with muscovado and hear squeaks of delight from the kids.

Halooween Cupcakes (Photo from Martha Stewart)

 3. A Ghastly Castle will look extra horrid with muscovado “soil”. 

Ghastly Castle (Photo from Martha Stewart)

 4. Instead of sand, a better alternative for your flower or candy centerpiece for the soil effect is to use muscovado.

Vase (Photo from Martha Stewart)


Casper Lollies (Photo by Martha Stewart)


* The one used in the photos aren’t muscovado but you can get the same or better effect.

 Muscovado because of its high nutritional value is a better alternative.  Not everything that is sweet is bad. Compared to regular white sugar, muscovado sugar retains all the cane sugar nutrients. High in minerals: potassium, calcium and iron, it has more health benefits compared to regular white sugar, which has zero nutrients, as the refining process to produce white sugar has practically eliminated all traces of nutrients from it. Muscovado sugar maintains the same vitamins and minerals as the juice it is made from. A 100g portion of muscovado sugar contains 3.9 mg of phosphorus, 85 mg of calcium, 23 mg of magnesium, 100 mg of potassium and 1.3 mg of iron. This is the only sugar that is comparable to honey. Unlike conventional sugar, it is free from any harmful chemicals like phosphoric acid, formic acid, sulfur dioxide, preservatives or any flocculants, surfactants, bleaching agents and viscosity modifiers which makes it good for the health and health conscious individuals.

 It also comes in very nice packaging of non-woven pouch for every 500 gms and a nice local banig bag for a pack of 1000gms.  It could be a healthy gift alternative for the holidays, party favours or promotional items for exhibits.



But with the Industrial Revolution and introduction of various industrial techniques for purifying sugar, we have a situation in which what we are consuming is not good nutritionally or ecologically. – Marvin Harris






“I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” – Madam Lilly Bollinger

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” — Benjamin Franklin

Cheese be with You !

I am in the process of getting to know my cheese and wine … this is a product of research but not of my taste … this is a work in progress … in time I will edit this … it was once said – there are no absolutes in this … it is about personal taste .

Brie Chardonnay
Camembert Champagne
 Monterey Jack Riesling/Californian Chardonnay/Zinfandel/Cabernet  Sauvignon
Provolone Dolcetto
Robiola Sparkling Wine
Taleggio Pinot Blanc
Cheddar Cabernet Sauvignon
Double Gloucester Zinfandel
Emmental Sauvignon Blanc/Californian Zinfandel/Primitivo/Beaujolais/Retsina
Fontina Bardolino/Gewurtztraminer/Gattinara/Pinot Grigio/Barbaresco/Barolo/Dolcetto
Gouda Merlot
Gruyere Sauvignon Blanc/Australian Shiraz/NW Sangiovese/Chianti/Champagne Vintage/Blanc de Blancs/Gewurtztraminer
Parmesan Chianti/Spanish Cava/Amarone/Super Tuscan Wine
Pecorino Valpolicella
Blue Riesling
Cambozola Eiswein
 Danish Blue  Sauterners
Gorgonzola Port/Trockenbeerenauslese/Hungarian Tokaji/Sauternes
Stilton Sauternes
Burrata Tocai Friulano
Feta Beaujolais/Alsace Riesling/Red Beaujolais’/Retsina
Goat Chenin Blanc
Mozzarella Sauvignon Blanc/ Cotes du Duras/Bergerac/Beaujolais/Old Vines Zinfadel
Ricotta Pinot Grigio


My other passion … table settings …  Featured at Lifestyle Network Channel 52 Airing started May 18, 2010 … my 1st Cable tv appearance


Layering can be used to add drama to the setting.
White is a very good way to emphasize the food because it serves as a blank canvass.
You may use a fish bowl with a red fish as centerpiece.
Shells can be used to hold a piece of red flower to break the white motiff. 
Simplicity at its finest.



Disposable plates can also look “made up” by using the same color scheme all throughout.
This is a store bought red and black checked paper plates placed on a neutral paper plate holder.



Break the usual formal, stiiff look by adding a touch of your personality.
In this case, dark and light blue butterflies were scattered on the table for a statement.



Square checkered plates were used.
You may combine it with a tea set w/ the same color.
When buying dinnerwares always think of how you can combine it w/ the stuff that you already have.
Bamboo w/ green design can spice up the setting.
… The candles also in the same espresso brown as the trimmings of the dinnerwares can add an Asian flair.
Chopsticks inserted on a rolled bamboo drinking glass coaster and green napkins is also a creative way to emphasize your Jap theme.
Should you run out of the square plates … the round green plates can also be combined. You may also place rice bowls as an option.
Conventional Tables maybe used but you may also have your guests seated on big pillows on the floor and make use of a low table.




Use combination of 2 sets of plates w/ same hues. In this case, solid yellow green and white floral w/ gold trimmings.
This table runner can be used for rustic or asian look.
Put the condiments and spices like balsamic vinega, pepper and salt together. You may place it in a circular glass w/ round glass stones to finish the look.
Use dried flowers and dried herbs to w/ the candles….
Make use of a wooded container to place the spoons and forks.
A wooden chopping board can also be used to place the cheese or the fruits.
The red and green motiff used was inspired by the Italian flag.
You may use recycled paper tied to the leaves w/ Rafia as table name cards.
Wooden Bench and tables can be used instead of chairs .




Choose neutral tones of earthen wares . It doesn’t have to come from the same set, be more creative by combining different colors but of the same family. This casual neutral setting could be given an additional color by incorporating a green or two. Wheat grass in the midst of the table is soothing to the eye. It is all about lines and grouping to make a impact without being brass or too gaudy. Pick leaves where you can use as table place cards so the guests can find their seats in no time. I’ve done this in the home of Dr. Wilson and Rina Bellaca. 

Contemporary Thai


Mexican inspired
Use bowls w/ handpainted chilies
Nice touch would be a Sombrero (Mexican Hat) as salt and pepper shaker
Orange, Lime Green, Reds – colors to play with



For Halloween, multi-colored wares can be used to add to the festive mood.
You may use orange cobwebs and spiders as part of the table set-up. Other creatures can be too gross so be very careful.
You may also put dry ice in a cauldron as centerpiece for a more eerie look.



Use mugs, cookie jars and fruit bowls w/ snowman theme
Red can be used in different tones
Safe to use a touch of green ( napkin rings)