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!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pancit molo and fried dumplings

The loooonnnnggg weekend which covered Good Friday to Easter Sunday, and then ANZAC Day on Monday and an extension to Easter Tuesday left mum clinging to sanity.  Yes!  Besides the 2 whole weeks of school holidays which left all of you bored to crazy at home (sorry guys that mum  had to work those days as I was saving for your 888 movie date and some other things that needed attention), we were lucky to have a little more extension to the holidays.  And as it is autumn, and the chills are creeping bit by bit, I had a sudden inspiration to try and make molo soup.  What else is there to do at home, on a wet and chilly autumn weekend? 

We have never ever tried making molo before.  Molo is simply dumplings in soup.  The addition of the pancit in the dish’ name is a puzzle as I tried to fathom where the pancit/noodles go.  But in this case, there isn’t any kind of noodles included in the dish.  I believe the molo which is wrapped in gowgee or wonton wrapper becomes the noodles in itself.  A had a lovely time helping out mixing the mince and wrapping the molo.  Mum had to coin the name gowgee to make it even more interesting as you guys love gowgee (the dumpling variety which is made with prawns we usually have at yum cha places). 

This took about 3 hours in the making – from the preparation to the wrapping to the actual dish cooked.  Didn’t actually realise it was that long until everyone started raiding the pantry for some snacks. It was late afternoon, almost dinner time!  Ah. Just in time to warm up the body.  And for those not interested in the soup, some prawn gowgee on the side! 

We had so much left over from the mixture that I’ve kept them and wrapped them up in wonton wrapper a day after, and voila! Fried dumplings!  Best served with sweet chilli dipping sauce!

This recipe is adapted from home cooking rocks!  But tweaked a bit for mum's inspired version of Pancit Molo soup for a wet and chilly autumn dinner.

500g minced pork

12 pcs chopped prawns

half part chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated

2 stalks onion leaves, chopped finely

1/4 tsp grated ginger (mum used ginger the size of a thumb), chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten

Mix all above ingredients together in a large bowl by hand.   Or alternatively, use a food processor to mince, dice, chopped and mix all the ingredients together.

Using store bought wonton (square) or gowgee (round) wrapper, place a tsp of the mince mixture in a wrapper and seal by folding the sides in a pinching fashion. 

Set aside.

To make the stock, Mum used about 125g of smoked pork bones (store bought) and 125g of chicken bones with 1 quartered onion.  The stock may take an hour to infuse the flavour of he smoked pork and the chicken.  Flavour the stock with salt and pepper, and some fish sauce.

Once the stock is infused with the flavours, strain using a fine sieve to remove the bones and other impurities. Set aside.

In a separate sauce pan (large enough), saute 1 clove garlic and 1 onion quartered, until soft. Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Add the molo/dumplings/gowgee and simmer until the molo floats in the broth. Add green leafy vegetables such as bok choy and some onion leaves.

Serve warm with lots of love and hugs!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter school holidays, painting the bathroom and Kitchen 10

The 2 week school holiday included mum taking off from Monday classes and working most days at her ho hum part time administrative job with NSW Health.  Hey!  Its not that ho hum if you consider the financial gains, but still, it gets boring on most days, I’d rather be at home cooking or baking something with you guys.  So ate sits with you for most of the week (with pay of course), and we all go on with our school holiday routine.  On the Thursday before the long Easter break, ate had a movie date (which was cancelled at the last minute after I paid for the tickets already!), you guys spent a few hours with me at work – playing your DS, creating stuff from scratch paper and using up all the sticky tape my office!  We went around parts of the Gladesville Hospital compound and found some nice spots to just run, and hang out for a bit.  Quite a surprise for mum as I never really walked beyond the four walls of the office.  Except going to the kitchen and the loo.  Behold!  What a beautiful place to work!

Anyways, while you guys were basking in the sun and running around like crazy people in the massive oval, mum was thoughtfully creating an image of newly painted bathroom and kitchen.  After some hurried McDonald’s (I refuse to call it maccas for some strange reason that I don’t seen the resemblance to the root word M-c-D-o-n-a-l-d, unlike other Australian shortened words for postal officer – posties, fireman – firies, electricians – sparky, and so on), we headed off to Bunnings and bought our supplies!  Paint!  You guys chose the sky blue colour, and some chalkboard paint for which I intend to roughly paint on the kitchen walls to write menus and notes.   When we got home at about 3ish, we eerily and happily started to clean the bathroom walls!  I say eerie as it’s a bit creepy that we were so happy taking on a humongous and dirty task.  You guys included.  But we did and did a tremendous good job as well!

Easter was spend at home with Dad’s life-changing easter egg hunt puzzle.  Yeah.  Dad takes these things seriously.  And you guys are just the audience for his tricks.  All fun and games and too much chocolate eggs. 
Where did Kitchen10 come in?  I just thought and declared that if there is a future in restaurant business for us – it shall be named Kitchen 10.  What’s the cuisine, where it is, what’s the menu going to be like?  I don’t know. For now, I like that name.  Kitchen 10. Cocina Diez. Cucina Dieci.  Kusina Sampu. Kuche zhen. …..
Well, school holidays are over and we’re all back to our usual routine.  Don’t sweat it girls.  School is fun!   Always treat each day as exciting, as it usually is!  First stop, what’s for dinner?!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A food odyssey - Rick Stein's that is

This also includes my 2-cents for Sailor’s Thai Canteen at The Rocks!  Great Thai cuisine!  Great price!  Great staff!   A definite comeback to try the Sailor’s Thai Restaurant next time!  That prawn curry was fantastic in the hottest sort of way!

Much to my surprise, Dad gave me 2 tickets to see Rick Stein’s Food Odyssey at the Opera House!  I was also surprised when he did not want to go.  Well.  As you all know, dad isn’t that keen in the kitchen.  He’s just keen on eating what comes out of the kitchen. LOL.  Tell me I’m wrong?!  Come on.  Still a big thanks to Dad for the tickets, as if it were not free, I never would have considered going out on a cold autumn Monday for a cooking demonstration. 
Well anyway, he did have these tickets which he won from the local paper.  Great timing.  School holidays and this was just the hit I needed to stay in the foodie circuit .  And so mum went with Tita C.  We had a lovely Thai dinner at Sailors Thai Canteen at The Rocks before the show. 

I knew Rick Stein from reviews of his restaurant in Mollymook called Bannister’s.  During our long weekend trip to the South Coast in 2009, I actually wanted to take you guys plus Lolo and Lola for some lunch or dinner at his place, but from the website, it looked to posh and quiet and not something we could go to like we’re having fish and chips.  His restaurant does offer local seafood from the Ulladulla and surrounds, but I found it too pricey to bring kids who I know will not finish their $25++ worth of meal.  So we didn’t.  

At the show, I didn’t expect there would so much people who will actually watch Rick Stein at 8pm on a Monday, talking about his food adventures around the globe and doing some food demonstrations.  Another surprise!  The concert hall of the SOH was packed full.  Rick Stein merchandise and cookbooks were in the foyer for sale, and people were just buzzing around before the show.  I guess with fellow food lovers.  What a great feeling!  To be surround by people who have similar likes – FOOD!
The show was fantastic. Great stories. Amazing food adventures. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beef bulalo/nilaga and Kamote-Q

Autumn chills are starting to pour in, literally. The week has been a combination of layers and scarfs in the mornings, then shedding off as the day draws to an end. Its cold and then warm, and then cold again. The weekend has been lovely. Warm autumn sun was good for the weekend laundry jobs, and a bit of outdoor play.

As it is the first weekend of the school holidays, I felt it was time we start the kitchen humming. Beginning with the Saturday road test of the Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Loaf. Followed by an all Filipino treat for a lazy Sunday – afternoon tea of camote-cue and dinner of warm beef bulalo/nilaga.

To make nilagang baka or bulalo, you need the following ingredients:

3-4 pcs beef osso buco (beef ribs may be used but then it becomes just beef nilaga)

250g beans

half cabbage, cut into quarters

3-4 potatoes, cubed

1 onion, quartered

Place the osso buco in a sauce pan and fill with water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil and let simmer until meat is tender. May take 1-2 hours. If you own a turbo broiler, it will take half the time.

Once meat is tender, turn up heat and add the onions and potato. Season with fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Taste the soup every now and then to make sure its not too salty. Bring to a boil.

Add the beans and cabbage and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

This is best served with rice, with fish sauce and hot chillies for dipping sauce.

What a great autumn/winter warmer!

Camote-cue or toffee sweet potato is a typical Filipino street food, no matter what area of the Philippine island you go to, this is "merienda" (morning or afternoon tea) staple, alongside banana-cue, taho, binatog, fish balls, squid balls, balut, etc. In the Philippines, the camote-cue is usually served in sticks (skewered).

To make camote-cue, cut up sweet potatoes into strips.

Heat about half a cup of vegetable oil in pan, then add about 2 tbsp of sugar (raw or white doesn't really matter).

Fry the camote/sweet potato strips in the pan until golden in colour.

Serve and eat immediately! Yum!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Cinnamon sugar pull apart loaf

Saturday was supposed to be an early start of body pump classes for mum at FF Lane Cove, but I could barely move my legs after yesterday’s Abs, Bums and Thighs class (after more than 3 months of no gym Fridays). While everyone else is still stuck on the bed and contemplating on the only 2 sane choices on a weekend morning – lie in, or get up? (although not an early start of 8:30am), Mum was up and about in the kitchen fussing with breakfast and more than excited about the cold dough kept in the refrigerator overnight.

While Dad and you girls were still glued inside the bedroom (you playing with your DS’, Ate with her I-Touch and Dad snoring away the morning), Mum was in the kitchen quietly doing some arm and shoulder exercises – kneading the dough and rolling to thin-dom come.

This recipe was adapted from Debbie of joythebaker.com where her instructions were to the very tiniest detail. I tried as much as I could, to thin out the dough with the rolling pin, but either it’s the excitement of baking them or the sheer stress of my still-lethargic-triceps. The square strips were not as thin as joythebaker’s photos, and so it must follow that it will not fit in a 9in loaf tin, as did hers. I tried to squeeze them all in to form a proper line up, but as nature would allow, it could only fit in wayward fashion.

And so, this is my version of joythebaker’s cinnamon sugar pull apart loaf, in mismatched proportions.

I did skimp on the cinnamon sugar that I have to throw out a significant bit. This was obvious in the loaf slices as the butter and cinnamon sugar thinned out during the baking process. Next time, I will be more generous in my sprinkling of sweets and of course work out my triceps longer with the goal of thinning the loaf more and get more even slices.

Despite the randomness of the fit and the sizes, the bread turned out just as good as any home made bread would, accompanied with the aroma of butter and cinnamon and its pure bread heaven! I must also mention that this, by far, is the easiest bread/loaf recipe I’ve ever met. I didn’t even use the stand-mixer for this.

Here is the recipe from joythebaker, adapted from hungrygirlporvida

For the Dough:

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together. Keep stirring. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long. If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay. Just roll it as large as the dough will go. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. It might seem like a lot of sugar. Seriously? Just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.

PS - Today is also the birthday of Tita D whom you met during our recent holiday in the Philippines. Here's a gorgeous rustic cinnamon bread for you Tita D!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Profiteroles with sauce suchard

Lesson 8 - Baking profiteroles @ Kitchen 10 - and me in my uniform

Lesson 8 @ Kitchen 10 was cut short because of a scheduled Yum Cha Masterclass featuring a chef from Manly Phoenix (of whose name now eludes me, as I'm writing this in retrospect, weeks after the class , which actually should have been posted before Lesson 9).   But I can vividly remember this day as we made these lovely profiteroles before heading off to the Masterclass at 6:30pm.  The Yum Cha masterclass was all about making roasted pork pastry and bbq pork buns.  In Filipino cuisine, these are known as siopao.  We all got free recipes to make the pork buns but reading it is like reading a dictionary. Too many words.  Too much waiting time.  Its like watching a movie that's too much talk and less action, you'd actually doze off.  In short, the process of making pork buns are just so time consuming that it one maybe better off going out for a real Yum Cha.  So maybe, a practice on making this Chinese delicacy can be put off for another time. 

Lesson 8 - Baking profiteroles @ Kitchen 10 
(These were my batch which looked like small round buns.  The shiny brown top is attributed to the egg wash finish)

These were the batch which my benchmate at the time (Sam) made, which more closely resembled Chef D's.  There were supposed to look like these really.

After some dusting of icing sugar & the chantilly cream squeezed inside, they already looked fantastic!

Profiteroles are also called cream puffs in American cuisine and is made up of a basic choux paste which is a light pastry dough and chantilly cream.  The basic choux is also the same pastry used for the French pastry creation called croquembouche - that monstrous pyramid creation that was a part of the first series of Masterchef Australia.

This was not the first time for mum to make profiteroles as we made them years ago, one Easter weekend using an Usborne children's recipe book.  This time though, the excitement is still present, because there is that experience of making chantilly cream and the sauce suchard, while not entirely new to mum's palate, are new to my ears.  I'm getting the hang of these French culinary terms!  Buon appetit!

The recipe for the profiteroles are on the board, but here they are anyway taken from the textbook -Organise and Prepare Food Methods of Cookery Series 3.

Choux Paste (Basic)
Serves 15

250 ml water/milk 
(Chef D said it doesn't really affect the consistency of the finished product, so water or milk)
100g butter
150g flour
4 eggs (60g)

1. Boil the liquid and fat in a saucepan, take off the heat and add the sifted flour.    Stir with a wooden spoon and return to heat, mixing until the batter comes off the sides of the pan.

2. Work on the stove until a white layer is formed on the bottom of the pan.

3. Cool to room temperature and add the eggs one at a time.
(When we did this, we added the eggs one a time, while the pan is still on the stove top under low heat and making sure the eggs are cooked through into the dough batter.)
4. Pipe the mixture onto a greased tray, 3cm diameter rounds (we used disposable piping bags and piped in rounds with tips)

5. Tap the tips with egg wash or water and bake at a pre-heated oven to 180 degrees C.  Do not open the oven for the first 10 minutes (this was in the book, but in all baking efforts, I think its best not to open the oven as it compromises the results of your baked goods.  In most cases, it deflates the cake or cupcake or pastry)

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry feels light and dry in the centre.  Cool and set aside.

This is then left to cool while we prepare the Chantilly Cream
250 ml cream
25g or less, icing sugar
1 ml vanilla essence

1. Whip the cream to a very soft peak using a whisk (lots of elbow grease we did here, or alternatively use a stand mixer or hand mixer)

2. Add the sifted icing sugar to taste.

3. Add the vanilla essence and whip to the desired consistency. (the cream should look like a thick soft cream, something like the consistency of the store-bought whipped cream.  Light but not too fluffy)

For food presentation and for added sweetness, we prepare the sauce suchard which can be drizzled over the stuffed pastry, or decorated on the plate as we did.  To make the sauce suchard, in a saucepan mix together:

300g caster sugar
250ml water
60g cocoa powder

And these were the finished profiteroles, presented with some Sauce Suchard (or chocolate sauce in English parlance).  
A true work of kitchen art.

The chocolate sauce in this instance is made of cocoa and therefore were a bit less thick that how I would have pictured a profiterole or chocolate eclairs.  Maybe to get a thicker sauce, thickened cream can be used to make the sauce.  Sounds like a good idea, but yet to test.  So we'll keep this posted for future profiterole baking at home.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Poached Pear in Red Wine

As a renewed fan of poached / cooked fruits for dessert, I was excited to learn about this recipe compared to my anticipation with the Apple Compote. This one is simple as it did not include any sauce to accompany it except for the reduction of red wine itself.

Poached pear in red wine sauce @ Kitchen 10, Lesson 9

Super simple yet looks lavishly elegant. Look at it. Don’t you agree?

To make this dessert:

2 pears

200ml red wine

150g sugar

2 cloves

1/2 lemon juice

1 cinnamon quill

200ml water

1. Peel the pears and remove the core.
(We did not have to remove the core for the lesson, but simply soaked the fruit into the red wine mixture).
2. Produce stock syrup with all the remaining ingredients and submerge the pears and cover with a cartouche.

3 Bring to the boil and poach gently. Test the degree of doneness with a fork.
Cool in the syrup and serve with ice cream.

(Poaching the pear took longer than the stewing the apples, because poaching is a slow stove stove cooking process. When we plated this dessert, it was already elegant by itself, as you can see, without any accompanying cream or ice cream)

David Lebovitz has an even more exciting recipe for poaching pears here with some instructions on making a cartouche (the baking or parchment paper placed over the fruits most often used in poaching and stewing recipes) too!

Shallow poached sole fillets

Shallow poached sole fillets @ Kitchen 10, Lesson 9

Lesson 9 was all about fish preparation and poaching. We were taught how to fillet a fish. In this lesson we used sole. Sole is a fish variety readily available locally. The fish is flat and makes filleting a bit of a challenge, especially for the novice home cook. Finally, I learned to use the filleting knife, which made this lesson all the more exciting.

To prepare the dish:

20g butter

20g onions, diced

300g sole fillet

1/2 lemon juice

100 ml fish stock

1. Butter the bottom of the pan.

2. Place the diced onion on top and put the fish fillet on.

3. Sprinkle the lemon juice over, add the stock and a cartouche and shallow poach.

4. Reduce the cooking liquor for the beurre blanc.

For this lesson, we made the Beurre Blanc by adding cream and butter into the reduced stock and mixing to a thick texture, then adding the chopped parsley last.

For presentation, the fillets are plated covered with the beurre blanc and garnished with lemon wedges.

This is an absolute light dish - great for dinner or lunch, served with some salad.  The challenge is filleting your own fish.  Maybe in the future, we can do our own masterclass of filleting fish at home.  It doesn't have to be a sole, because any other white flesh fish will do, such as the locally available snapper. By then, you can all graduate from the usual salmon sushi/sashimi, fried yellow fin or mackarel, and move on to the more sophisticated fish dishes.  Hey! Did I just discount salmon?  My apologies!


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