Okay, so this might not be the most appetizing photo of the infamous Swiss Meringue Buttercream. But I assure you, it is every bit as smooth and creamy and velvety as they come. 😉 Oh, and this is coffee-flavored, that’s why it is that color.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream, or SMBC for short, seems notoriously tricky to make. Especially since the usual process (adding cubes of softened butter to the meringue) undergoes a sort of curdling stage before evening out to the smooth and fluffy frosting you’re aiming to make. So you take the time to make the meringue all nice and fluffy and stiff peaky, only for it to deflate and look like curdled shit once you start adding the butter. It’s quite disheartening, really. Especially if you’re using a hand mixer like me (the ngalay is real). For a newbie (like yours truly), going through that stage can really freak you out. I mean, how is that soupy, curdled mess supposed to end up as SMBC? Okay, so being patient and whipping and/or beating the hell out of that mess will produce the heard-earned SMBC in the end. But still. Is there no other way?
Who doesn’t love the hazelnut-y chocolatey goodness that is Nutella? No one, I think, unless you have severe nut allergy or are just plain boring. 😛 Just kidding. Anywho. For all my waxing poetic about Nutella, I actually only like it in small doses. I mean, I can probably finish my fair share of a jar, but I’d do it with small licks and nibbles off the spoon rather than with mouthfuls of the stuff, you know?
That’s why I quite like Nutella-flavored stuff more than the actual thing itself, like these cookies above. Don’t they look lovely? They have a nice dose of chocolate and Nutella goodness, are soft and a bit chewy. Salivating yet? 😉 And best thing is, my daughter–who, sadly, is not too fond of baked goods–ate one out of her own volition. Ooookay, so I had to persuade her to take that first bite, but she ended up eating the cookie after so I’m chuffed about that. 😀
In our group chat, a couple of my friends (both Mechanical Engineers) reported that they got the same FB messages from a certain Alfredo Po and Rodrigo F. Balaqui, Jr. regarding the clearance of their PRC licenses.
From there, I was already dubious. I was like, what clearance of license? And why use FB messenger for a supposedly official transaction? Upon checking, I learned that Alfredo Po was the name of a dismissed PRC Commissioner who apparently took his title ‘commissioner’ to heart and got fired for extortion. And there was indeed a Rodrigo F. Balaqui, Jr. currently at PRC; however, he is the Tuguegarao Regional Office Director, not from the Legal Services department. So I asked one of them to forward the ‘official’ email so I could see all the details aside from their screenshots. Here’s the email:
The email was from firstname.lastname@example.org, which was not the email posted in PRC’s website under the transparency seal. Likewise, the cc’d email of Rodrigo F. Balaqui, which was email@example.com. The email’s contents were frankly alarming as they asked for sensitive information and photo–enough data for a thorough identity theft. Furthermore, the ‘clearance fees’ were to be deposited to a BDO account. PRC, being a government agency, should/would probably have or use a government bank (like Landbank or DPB) for official transactions, not a commercial one like BDO. The said fees amounting to Php 3,160.00, while not insignificant in and of itself, is nothing compared to the wealth of trouble my friend would have been in because of the amount of personal data they wanted to collect.
It was more than enough to convince us that the whole shebang is an elaborate scam. Still, I looked around the PRC website, then the news, just to see if anything would corroborate. And lo and behold:
Screenshot of http://www.prc.gov.ph/news/?id=4081
Long story short, it was a scam. Someone, or several someones, may be using the names of those men (Alfredo Po, Rodrigo F. Balaqui, Jr. and Atty. Eugenio L. Riego II) for their illegal and fraudulent activities. And I am ever so glad my friends consulted our group before doing anything.
Please spread this information because more likely than not, a lot more professionals were also targeted by this modus operandi.
So much cream in the title, yeah? 😉 But that’s a good thing in this case. I mean, who really wants thin, melty, runny frosting, right?
I mean, look at this creamy and stable frosting on my blue velvet cupcakes (recipe and story to follow, promise). Yabang no? 😛 When in reality, this is just a small test batch for my daughter’s requested birthday cupcakes. But seriously, it’s good stuff. Like, lick-the-spatula-and-beaters kind of good. This is not one of those usual sickly sweet, too-much-powdered-sugar cream cheese frosting you usually find on red velvet crinkles. 😉 Wanna know how I did it?