Welcome to adobo-down-under!

Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meatloaf is to Americans, as Embutido is to Pinoys

Embutido preparation has a lot of variations. some opt to include in the stuffing, whole hard-boiled eggs and vienna sausages. Others include pickles (or gherkins) and use flour to hold it all together. Embutido is also called Filipino meatloaf, pork roll and sometimes even sausage. however, the inclination to make it more of a meatloaf is due to the size of the rolls. They are mostly bigger than sausages with 2-3in in diameter. It is also sometimes called morcon, although, generally, morcon is prepared with slices of meat, and not minced. Recipe variations and preparation can be found in the ff links, amongst hundreds of others online.





I've tried store-bought embutido's from the local Filipino stores here in Sydney, but never tried making them at home. In fairness to this Filipino version of the American meat loaf, its not that hard to make. Especially with the availability of ovens in most houses these days, there is no need for the three-tiered bamboo steamer or the massive steamer pots. All you need are the basic embutido ingredients, aluminum foil for wrapping and a roasting tray. And I firmly believe, steaming it in the oven is faster than actually doing stove-top steaming.

This was a first time in our house. This was prepared with the assistance of my master chef father - who is currently in town to help do more magic in my kitchen. A good time to document those family recipes he's been preparing all those years, like his famous menudo!

The ingredients are listed down, with the quantities not as accurate as a recipe book. As with any of my home-prepared meals, seasonings such as salt, pepper and soy sauce were based on hunch. The corn starch and breadcrumbs were based on intuition as well. If it looks alright, then it probably is. The veggies were chopped using the manual food processor, so these were fairly fine than those manually chopped with a knife.


500g minced pork (with fat)
500g best minced pork
3 medium sized carrots, finely chopped
1 large capsicum, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cocktail hotdogs (I think bacon would just as well be as nice or even chorizo), we chopped this into bits as well
1 pack 50g sultanas/raisins
5 xl eggs (700g each)
corn starch
salt and pepper
soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, making sure all the corn starch, breadcrumbs and eggs are blended well with the rest of the ingredients.

Rest for about 30-45 min to let the flavours blend in together.

Scoop about 3-4 heaping tablespoons onto a piece of aluminum foil. wrap and twist the ends. do with the rest of the mixture until used up.

Yield: 12 assorted mismatched-sized embutido rolls

Place the wrapped embutido's onto a tray rack that fits a roasting pan.

Fill the roasting pan half-way with water.

Bake in a pre-heated 180 degree oven for 1.5hours. Checking every 30min making sure the water isn't dried up. Add water as necessary.

The embutido should be cooked through if a skewer inserted comes out clean. just as it is when baking cakes.

The embutido is now ready to eat. slice into pieces and serve on a plate.

For eating later, store the embutido rolls in the freezer for longer life. and thaw overnight if intending to serve the next day. Or you may slice the embutido while frozen and shallow fry for 1-2 minutes.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A favourite chocolate cake

Another birthday, and this time its 18 candles altogether!

Yes! My triplet girls turned 6 and magically, grew up after just a term in kindergarten.

While last year's birthday celebration (see related post here), had me in a baking frenzy, this time around I bought small mud cakes from Michels Patisserie instead and just used tube icing to individually write their names onto the cake. They had their birthday party at Wizzy World and had heaps of nothing but fun, laughs and dancing.

But not to outdone by Michels, I took it to heart that I will bake them a special chocolate cake on THE day. and so before the actual birthday, I frantically looked for my last year's recipe of chocolate cake, taken from The Essential Baking Cookbook. This recipe is moist and chocolate-y, just the way kids would want it. The moist in the cake can be blamed on the blackberry jam that goes with the creamed butter and sugar, and the darkness of the cake from the bi carbonate of soda.

But because my super powers have weakened the past few weeks due to an on and off bouts with colds and coughs, I could only muster one round 8in chocolate cake with icing and the trims. the icing looked extremely well, glossy and dark. I used a store-bought icing tube for the lettering and for the trimming a few sprinkles of hundreds and thousands and some gummy bears all around. While the cake looked devilishly good and smelled really tempting, it looked cold and matte the next day. I must blame the weather. As the autumn season started, winter chills are coming in earlier than the usual. The cake still tasted good, but I must say I prefer icing to be a little more wet and runny, than stiff and cold like in a mud cake.

Nonetheless, I am posting the recipe here just in case there is the use for it again in the future. I am definitely sure there will be. Good thing my memory served me right and the book turned out available from the library.


125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (125g/4 oz) caster sugar

1/3 cup (40g/1 1/4 oz) icing sugar, sifted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 cup (80g/ 2 3/4 oz) blackberry jam

1 1/4 cups (155g/5 oz) self-raising flour

1/2 cup (60g/2 oz) cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 cup (250ml/8 fl oz) milk

Chocolate Buttercream

50g (1 3/4 oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped

25g (3/4 oz) unsalted butter

3 tsp cream

1/4 cup (30g / 1 oz) icing sugar, sifted

1. Pre heat the oven to moderate 180 degrees C (350 degrees F / Gas 4). Lightly grease the a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake tin and line with baking paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugars in a small bowl with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and jam. Transfer to a large bowl. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the combined sifted flour, cocoa and soda alternately with the milk. Stir until the mixture is just combined and almost smooth.

3. Pour into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

4. For the buttercream, stir the ingredients in a small pan over low heat until smooth and glossy. Spread over the top with a flat-bladed knife.

Happy 6th birthday my little angels! And here's looking forward to the real 18 candles on each of your cakes in the future! Love you heaps.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prawn, basil and chilli stir fry

Prawns are a favourite seafood at home. We'd have prawns if not once a week, at least twice a month. A common recipe is garlic butter prawns, like the classic Spanish Gambas al Ajillo minus the chillies, olive oil and parsley, and prawn pasta - a recipe shared by the wife of my former boss R, which I will post soon.

This recipe is almost Thai in feature, like this recipe here but I'm most certain the magazine feature was for contemporary Australian cuisine. Australia after all, is a myriad of cultures and tradition. As multicultural as the variety of food and dishes available - fusion, is the right word.

I got this recipe from the November 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine.

Since we're sick of the usual garlic buttered prawn in our menu, I thought it would be a good time (its a new year!) to try on new prawn recipes. This recipe is simple and fast, even Daddy can do it. That is, if he actually wants to have a go.

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes Ingredients 2 tbsp sunflower oil (I used whatever I had on hand - vegetable oil)


500g peeled green prawn, tails on

250g sugar snap/snow peas, trimmed

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbsp sweet chili sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/3 cup cold water

1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves


Heat oil in wok (or frying pan) over medium heat

Stir fry prawns for 2 minutes.

Add sugar snaps and stir fry for further 1 minute

Using slotted spoon, remove prawns and sugar snaps from pan and put on plate

Reduce heat and add garlic to pan.

Fry for 10 seconds, then add sweet chili, fish sauce,soy sauce
and 1/3 cup cold water

Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened

Return prawns and snap peas to pan and heat through for 1 mi

Sprinkle over basil leaves and serve with rice

This turned out lovely with rice. The chilli sauce added the bite, and the basil topping was a great addition to the fusion of the sweetness and spice of the dish.

My Christmas challenge - Devil's Food White Out Cake

My first post for the year, and after a long while actually and I'm giddy with excitement!!!

Several months ago, I posted this dream cake by Dorie Greenspan from her book - From My Home to Yours and at that time, just the thought of making the cake was enough to make my head spin.

But dreams are meant to be fulfilled, goals are meant to be reached, and challenges taken, otherwise it'll all be so extraordinarily boring. And so, the challenge to prepare it on a special occasion came and I did it! Despite not having same kind of visual result and spectacle as the one featured in DG's book, the absence of a candy thermometer for the icing and filling, and having the icing droop on the cake like melting snow on the alps, I must say, the cake did turn out quite surprisingly good!

While the name of this recipe did not seem apt for the season (Devil's Food White-Out Cake on Christmas!!!!), the cake was absolutely heavenly. Dorie Greenspan is an angel for coming up with this recipe.

And while I didn't have the book in my possession at the time, I found it conveniently posted in this site here.


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