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!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Brownie Cheesecake Swirl

I love the idea of swirls, not matter what colour. As a kid, I love the ice cream sold at supermarkets where the machine dispenses the ice cream in a swirling motion like the ones that are sold as McFlurry's these days. For a time, I was obsessed with baking the marble cake because of the swirling characteristic in the cake. Its just amazing to make and to look at, not to mention to taste!!!!

While Mum has been pre-occupied with work and other domesticated matters such is being a mother, I took time off to watch Splashing About at Mowbray and was just entertained and I loved the play that you did. The event was a K-2 presentation and your class did the Three Billy Goats play - each had a role as narrators! I'm so proud of you girls! And these Donna Hay cheesecake swirl chocolate brownies was just the treat that we brought in for the parents' morning tea.

This was taken from the June/July 2010 issue of Donna Hay magazine, and made with:

200g dark chocolate, chopped

250g butter, chopped

1 and 3/4 cups (300g) brown sugar

4 eggs

1 and 1/3 cups (200g) plain all purpose flour
(I used cake flour because that's what we have in our pantry. I find that I buy these more than the regular plain flour because we make cakes more)

1/4 tsp baking powder, sifted

1/3 cup (35g) cocoa, sifted

Cheesecake swirl

250g cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar

2 eggs

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth. Place in a bowl with the sugar, eggs and whisk to combine.

Add the flour, baking pwder and cocoa and whisk until smooth. Pour into a lightly greased 22cm tin lined witih non stick baking paper. Set aside.

To make the cheesecake swirl, place the cream cheese, sugar and eggs in a bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Place large spoonfuls of the cheesecake mixture on top of the chocolate mixture and, using butter knife, swirl to partially combine.

Bake for 50 minutes or until set. Makes 12.

I actually burned this one slightly. Although it did not taste like something burnt, the bottom bit of the cake was dark and black so it was a good idea to cut the cheesecake brownie into bite size pieces and sliced off the burned parts on each of the squares. Overall, it looked great on the table. It just takes a bit of getting used to - sweet brownies with a bit of cheesy taste as topping.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Traditional Greek salad

I love neighbours and ours is just the lovely bunch one could ever wish for. I will definitely miss the Kopsias' when we do our inevitable move. And that's not even mentioning Mr King on the other side of the fence who is just as lovely with his usual smile and neighbourly wave every time.

We were invited over for a weekend dinner and we brought salad!

I must admit I'm not a salad person. Its not something we have every day, although I try to make dishes with vegetables all the time, salads are not just something we always have. When it comes to salads, we are the usual caesar-salad-bunch. Some shreded lettuce, toasted bits of bread fried in olive oil in the pan, some hard boiled egg and store-bought caesar salad dressing is just about the salad we can get. An occasional rocket salad with parmesan topping and balsamic dressing is another basic. Aside from that, vegetables are almost always cooked in our home.There are a variety of salads that I love - the Lebanese Tabbouleh but its not something I'm up to making at home as its readily available in tubs in local deli and even the supermarket.

Its embarrassing that I have to refer to a recipe book to make this one, but its as simple as it gets. Its a traditional Greek salad with olives and fetta cheese, olive oil and lemon for dressing.


Serves 4

200g/7oz Greek feta cheese

1/2 Webbs lettuce or 1 lettuce such as cos or escarole, shredded or sliced

4 tomatoes, quartered (I used Roma tomatoes)

1/2 cucumber, sliced

12 Greek black olives, stoned

2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs such as oregano, flat-leaf parsley, mint or basil


6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed

pinch of sugar

salt and pepper, to taste

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Red velvet cake

This is a classic American cake recipe, which I got from the Swans Down Cake Flour package. Historically, the red velvet cakes used boiled beets to enhance the colour of the cake. Wikipedia states the red velvet cake was a signature dessert at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, where the recipe was spread as a chain letter by a woman, who was allegedly charged a large amount for requesting a copy of the recipe.

I made this cake for Tito Amiel's birthday dinner. The choice of cake was not so much about the colour, but more so because I have been wanting to try something new. And the recipe for this was just as convenient as taking the box of flour from the pantry.

The recipe called for:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (1 stick = 57 grams)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup red food colouring

2 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups plus 5 tbsp sifted Swans Down Cake Flour

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp baking soda

1 Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Line bottom of two 9 x 2 inch buttered cake pans with parchment paper. Butter paper and flour pans, knocking out excess.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl stir together buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour to the butter mixture in batches alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until batter is blended well. In another small bowl stir together vinegar and baking soda and gently stir into batter, do not beat.

3. Divide batter between pans and smooth tops. Bake layers in middle of oven 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cook cake layers in pans or racks 10 minutes before turning out onto racks. Remove paper from cakes and cool completely.

4. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate and spread evenly with about 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer and spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.


1 cup milk

3 tbsp all purpose flour

2 sticks unsalted butter or 1 stick unsalted butter and 8 ounces cream cheese
(I used the butter and cream cheese combo)

1 cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar in Australian parlance)

1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, stir together milk, flour and cook, stirring occasionally over low heat until thick. Cool milk mixture. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add cool milk mixture and beat until spreadable.

The icing's consistency was not spreadable even after so much beating and mixing, as it drooped onto the sides of the cake like a snow avalanche. I think the cream cheese texture must have added to the thin consistency of my icing.

Besides the colour of the cake, this cake did not gather enough fan base to support the effort. The cake tasted really lovely and moist though. I guess it takes a bit of adventure to sink one's teeth into a red cake.


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