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!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snapper ceviche (Snapper Kinilaw in Filipino)

Learning kitchen skills was one of the things I looked forward to when I started my course in Kitchen10.   And filleting a fish was one of the highlights last year.  Right up there in the top 3.  Its not easy,  but with the right equipment (a filleting knife) and a lot of practice, it can be a breeze!  I’ve tried doing it at home more than a dozen times already.  But when I’m head to head with a fish, it still gets kind of intimidating!  Those nano seconds can get really entertaining, but we get on and fast forward a few minutes after, voila. We have a significant amount of flesh to consume.   So I did not completely mess the fish after all.


This is so easy to prepare.  15 minutes, tops!  If and when you find yourself in the Masterchef   kitchen and there's that 10 or 20 minutes pressure test, this simple, fast and furious dish should be one of those up your sleeves.  Just don't put too much chillies or it'll make George sweat up a storm.

To make this simple snapper kinilaw or ceviche, ask your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you.  Half of the job is done already.  

Fillet of 1 medium sized snapper, sliced thinly or strips
Half of red onion, sliced
2 knobs (thumb-sized) ginger, diced
1 birds eye chilli, chopped
Juice of half a lime
60ml or ¼ cup white vinegar
Salt and pepper to season (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, stir the ingredients together. Add the fish slices and stir gently to coat the fillets.  Let the fish soak for 5-10 minutes.

You can opt to serve the fish with the vinegar mixture or without it.

You can make a bigger serve of this, with a bigger fish.  Just let your taste buds guide you with the marinade.  As a rule, the vinegar should just be enough to soak all the fish, not to cover them completely.

Make this a few minutes before you intend to serve them.  As the longer the fish soaks, the more its cooked by the acid in the vinegar.  And the longer it’s soaked, the flesh gets flaky and will not be as good.

In the Philippines, the fish variety locally called “tanigue” (also known as seer fish or wahoo) is used to make this dish. But because this one is made in Australia, I’ve used whatever is the locally available white-flesh fillet variety.  I’ve never tried making this dish with other fish varieties, but in various parts of the Philippines, kinilaw or ceviche can also be prepared using fresh anchovies and oysters.

This is a Filipino appetizer, usually served where beer is on the menu.  Add some rounds of karaoke there, and you’re definitely in Pinoy surrounds.

Here’s a useful link about varieties of fish and general cooking method. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Glazed ham, first ever attempt

Please excuse the over excitement over a simple glazed ham.  It is something traditional and ho-hum to some, but a first attempt in our little corner.  Over the years, oven baked ham that grazed our table were usually gifts or store bought.  It just seems like something too daunting to take on, like a massive DIY project.  But like all dreams and goals and things that you need to tick off your list, taking the first step and just getting on with it is the best antidote to the curiosity that eventually would have killed the cat.  And just like a DIY project, this one is massive!  7.8 kilograms of glazed pork ham bliss. Well, if you're into this kind of thing.

To make this glorious looking ham goodness, friends shared their recipes.  First stop, carefully take skin/fat off the ham.  Score diamonds on the ham then soak overnight in brine made of:

 4 liters pineapple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 440g can crushed pineapple
1 tbsp cloves

* Use a big deep plastic bowl or container.  DO NOT USE aluminum or stainless container as the acid will ruin your pot. 
* The ham should be soaked/submerged all the day.  If you don't have a deep container, make sure to turn the ham every hour or so to make sure other parts of the ham are soaked as well. 

The next day, when ready to bake/roast, preheat the oven 170*C and prepare your roasting dish/pan. 

 Pat dry the ham and prepare ingredients for glaze.

600g jar apricot conserve or jam
1 can 440g crushed pineapple
 1 cup brown (half cup for rubbing, half cup for the glaze)
1/2 cup of the brine
1 cinnamon quill
handful of cloves for studs

Using a medium sized pot or saucepan, gently simmer the apricot jam, crushed pineapple, brown sugar, brine and cinnamon quill over low heat until the mixture has reduced and has a sticky thick consistency.

Rub brown sugar over the ham and stud the diamond scores with the cloves.

Using a pastry brush, glaze the ham with the apricot mixture in a patting motion, making sure all the sides and the diamond scores are covered.  Save some of the glaze for basting.

Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours, glazing every half hour but making sure ham is not getting burned (cover with aluminum foil, if this happens).

This ham was part of our NYE feast and coming out of the oven, it raved Oohs and Aahs with just its looks!  Served with some of the left over glaze on the side, the ham took on the new year by storm.  Some of it made its way into some pasta carbonara and many omelette dishes well into the week.  

Does it have to be Christmas or New Year's eve for ham to graze the dinner table?  With its size and effort, I guess its worth it.  A smaller and leaner portion can be made with a simple glaze and kept in the fridge for those weekday sandwiches, weekend breakfasts, toasted and topped on some salad, etc. etc.  So if  making glazed at home is on your to do list, don't wait for the  next big holiday.  Make it now and invite some friends over!  A ham is definitely worth making, and sharing!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Marquise

Challenges are exciting!  Food challenges?  Well, they’re beyond exciting!    Food challenges makes me anxious, in a good kind of way.  My thoughts turn to them every waking hour and I’ll be constantly searching for inspiration at every opportunity.  And sometimes, the searching and the planning gets the better of me that I’m concocting some massive production in my head and I’m knocked back to reality with a holler from the other room…”MUM!  S won’t share!” or “MUM, we need batteries for the Wii remote!” or MUM, there’s a spider in the bathroom!”   Yada yada yada yada!”   Yeah. Welcome to my world.  Where serenity is a luxury, but where chocolates provide harmony amongst the living creatures.    As long as everyone shares, that is!

But before you all get sucked into a vertigo of domestic chaos and parenting pandemonium, here’s a chocolate marquise dessert that takes control and restraint out of your vocabulary .  Word of caution: for serious chocoholics only.    This chocolate awesomeness is an indulgent dessert of 14 eggs and a whopping 1.6lbs (750g) of dark and bitter chocolate wickedness.  Totally synchronised with this month's Sweet Adventures Blog Hop theme - Death by Chocolate!

Chocolate marquise is simply chocolate mousse, layered with some chocolate sponge cake and chilled before serving!  Served with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh raspberries!  Indulgence to the extreme!

The recipe is adapted from The Golden Book of Chocolate published by McRae Books.   There were some kinks in the recipe, but negligible at this point.  But may be worthwhile to point out to the publishers at a later time.  In the meantime, let's enjoy this truly "death-by-chocolate" dessert attempt.  This recipe has 2 parts: sponge cake and mousse.  Takes a bit of time, but the rewards are worth it! 

The sponge cake:

150g plain flour
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
3 large eggs, separated
100g caster sugar

750g of chocolate heaven - Ghirardelli bitter sweet, Nestle Plaistowe Couverture and some Nestle dark chocolate melts

Preheat oven to 180*C.  Grease a 30x40cm jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides and line with baking paper.

Whisk the flour and cocoa in a medium sized bowl.

In a large bowl with a hand-held beater or a whisk by hand, beat the eggs and egg yolk until creamy. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and sugar until soft peaks form.

Fold in the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.  

Add in the flour and cocoa mixture in 2 batches, gently folding and stirring after each addition.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in the oven until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely.

The mousse:

250ml milk
75g caster sugar
8 large egg yolks
600g dark chocolate, chopped
150g bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
250ml whipped cream
unsweetened cocoa for dusting

Using a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand-held beater, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil.  

Pour half the milk into the egg mixture and continue beating.

Pour the custard mixture back into the pan and return to medium to low heat.  

Using a heat proof spatula, stir continuously until it coats the back of a metal spoon.  (While stirring make sure the heat is on low-medium and not too hot that it'll immediately cook the eggs.  Then you'll get an egg-smelling custard and scrambled eggs in there. To avoid this, lift the pan from the heat every so often while stirring and putting it back on the heat).

The custard coats the back of a metal spoon and stays on without dripping when you run your finger through.

  Place the chopped chocolates in a large glass bowl, then pour the hot custard on top.

Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Chocolate mousse in action!

Cover and refrigerate until cool.

Gently fold in the whipped cream, set aside until ready to use.


Line a 23x12cm loaf pan with baking paper.

Cut the sponge in rectangular strips so that it fits inside the 23x12cm pan (we've cut the sponge cakes smaller so that it fits with a bit of space on the sides of the pan, hence we had left bits and pieces which the girls consumed with gusto!)
Sponge cake cutting section

Place one strip of the sponge cake in the pan.

Cover with 1cm layer of mousse.  Cover with a layer of sponge and gently press down.
First there was mousse.  and then there was cake.

Repeat until all the mousse and sponge are in the pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Snug as a bug in a rug.  Chocolate mousse showing off!

To serve, turn onto a plate and dust with cocoa.  To slice the marquise cake, run your knife through hot water and wipe dry with a kitchen towel then slice.  Warm the knife with every slice.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh raspberries!

There's a bonus here too!  Since we've cut off the sides and ate bits and pieces of the cake, we had extra chocolate mousse to indulge in!  Oh yeah!  Did I mention this month's theme is death by chocolate?

chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries!

Sweet. Indulgent. Chocolate. Mousse. Heaven.

Thank you to the hostesses behind the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop: 84th and 3rd, Dining with a Stud, the capers of the kitchen crusader, Delicieux and this month's host The Hungry Australian!

This is a blog hop!  So why don't you skip on down to all these gorgeous chocolate deliciousness and be inspired to make, bake and eat your way into chocolate heaven! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Banana cake with mocha frosting and salted candied peanuts

"Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement.  Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music." - Julia Child

We will be moving houses this year.  The rental property were occupying at the moment will now be used by the landlord and we're seeking rental properties every weekend.  We've anticipated this a long time ago.  After the previous owner sold it, and the new owners came in, the inevitable is bound to happen.  And we're ready.  Somewhat.  The property is old and we've managed to keep in tip top shape for 4 years now.  But the leaks from the ceiling along the bathroom hallway (evident when it's been raining, which were heavy and sporadic before and after the Christmas holiday) is just not cool anymore.  The roofing has been repaired recently, but we've been notified before the holiday break of the owner's plans.  So maybe its a blessing. 

And while the days we're in this house (we called home for close to 5 years now) are numbered, so to speak... we are taking every opportunity (weather permitting, humidity and all) to cook and bake and roast and grill.  After all those years, getting a feel of the oven temperature with its kinks and quirks, we will be parting ways. Ah. Bitter sweet.

Set aside the moving part, we've managed to box some of the stuff we feel will not be used for the next 3 months or so.  And that includes pots and pans, new and unused equipments, knicks and knacks and what-have-you's.  It's also timing with the new year setting in to clean up the pantry and make use of all (still) edible stuff bordering on their best-before-use-by-dates.  And in the midst of all these boxing and cleaning and clearing and organizing, our first cake of the year!  The moistest banana cake we've ever tried.  Frosted with some adults-only mocha frosting and a signature DL salted and sweet peanuts. 

This recipe takes a bit of time management and careful thought and planning to execute.  Because there are 3 elements: cake, frosting and topping, it's important that when you decide to make this David Lebovitz recipe, you've got your mise en place all planned out, and your timing as brilliant. Don't be like me.  The moment this recipe came to mind, we've packed most of our baking pans so some flexibility had to come in.  Instead of two 8cm round cake pans, a square 20cm (and a 5cm loaf pan) was used.  Walnuts in the cake were substituted with bitter sweet chocolate bits and instant espresso with coffee essence. But the result was as expected!  The cake you'll be proud to serve your family, friends and colleagues. 

  This took about 30 minutes or more on medium heat (to low) stirring and coating the peanuts.  Make the candied peanuts a day ahead.  Double the serving if you want.  It's also great to keep in a jar for those in between nibbles and snacks. The sweet nuts and the sea salt flakes combo are just sensational!

150g raw or unsalted lightly roasted peanuts
100g caster sugar
45ml water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Using a medium heavy bottomed pan or skillet over medium heat, combine the peanuts, sugar and water.  

When the sugar begins to melt, start stirring.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the sugar crystallizes. 

Turn down heat to low and continue to cook, stirring and letting the crystallized sugar on the bottom of the pan, melt and slightly turn brown.

Using a heat proof spatula, scrape the melted liquefied sugar on the bottom of the pan and stir to coat the peanuts, tilting the pan when necessary.

Once the peanuts look glossy and coated with the sugar syrup, sprinkle the sea salt and the ground cinnamon over them.  

Stir a few times then scrape onto a parchment lined baking tray and cool completely.

To make this moistest banana cake, prepare your ingredients: 
(I've highlighted the ones which were substitutes from the original recipe)

5 medium very ripe bananas (2 cups), mashed or pureed
350g plain flour
1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bi-carbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coffee essence
2 large eggs, at room temperature
90ml buttermilk, at room temperature
150g bitter sweet chocolate bits

Preheat the oven to 175*C.  Grease the bottom and sides of the pan/s and line with baking paper. (In David's recipe, he used two round 23cm pans)

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract, coffee essence then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated.

Mix in half of the flour mixture, buttermilk and the mashed/pureed bananas. 

Stir in the remaining flour mixture and add the bittersweet chocolates (or nuts if using). 

Pour into the prepared pan/s and bake until golden brown or when a skewer test comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on a rack and let cool completely.

And now for the supporting star of the show - mocha frosting!  Prepare while the cake is cooling.

280g bitter sweet chocolate
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
140g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

Combine the chocolate and coffee in a medium sized heat proof bowl, set over a pan of simmering water.

Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until combined.

Prior to frosting, esure that the cake is completely cool.

 Invert the cake onto a serving plate or a cooling rack.  Using a spatula , spread the mocha frosting over the cake beginning with the top and going onto the sides, until you've used up all the frosting.

Coarsely chop 1 cup of the candied peanuts and sprinkle over the top of the cake.

 Because these is an adult-only moist banana cake, we've shared these to friends and some made their way to the office.  Nothing but rave reviews were received!  After all, it is a cake with an impressive resume!  You can never go wrong with any of David's recipes!  That's a promise!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Simple home made pasta sauce plus a trick

Papardelle in home made pasta sauce

This is a simple pasta sauce which we have been preparing at home and which the girls love.  The first ever tomato based sauce they actually ate after eating naked pasta for what seemed like a thousand years.  This recipe is so simple we make them on a whim.  Well, when pasta is the order of the day.

1 kilo Roma tomatoes, quartered
half bunch fresh thyme, chopped
half bunch fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
half bunch fresh oregano, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Pre heat oven to 180* C.  

Line a roasting or baking pan with baking paper or aluminum foil.  Line the tomato wedges in the pan.

Sprinkle the garlic and chopped herbs over the tomatoes.  

Season with salt and pepper.  

Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Roast in the oven for 45-50minutes.

Puree in a food processor (or better if you own a blender, use that).

This yielded enough sauce to be used for the evening's dinner plus more (a cup and  half) kept in the fridge for future cravings.

Voila!  Pasta sauce!

And here's a pasta tip:    Roughly break lasagna sheets and cook in boiling water for 8 minutes or until al dente.  And there you have: pappardelleJust make sure you stir the pot constantly to avoid the pasta from sticking to each other.

Pappardelle are the thick sheets of pasta mostly sold in good providore and deli's.  But hard to find at your local supermarket.  So improvise if you can.  And instead of the boring spaghetti, you have something different! 

The lasagna sheets turned pappardelle also were part of a carbonara dinner which we made using left over glazed ham from the new year's eve feast.

Carbonara pappadelle with NYE glazed ham

Going back to the star of the show - ze pasta sauce.  We are keeping this in our pasta dish repertoire for good.  Because being a mum means discovering dishes which my kids will love, this is one simple and humble sauce which shall be the start (base) of many more sauces to come!  Magnifico!  And as for the pasta noodle, my girls said, "ingenious!"  A bit biased maybe.  They're my kids after all!  

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Raspberry mousse with mango and kiwi garnish

"For last year's voice belongs to last year's language
And next year's voice awaits another voice
And to make an end, is to make a beginning." T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

I can't remember when raspberries started making their way into our fridge.  First of all they're not as sweet as strawberries.  Most of the time a punnet costs more than just a few songs, and most of all they don't last like most berries.  But some how, some time ago, in some way, raspberries took us on their pink awesomeness.  And when they're in season, we are taken by the reins and succumb to their  blushed coral appeal.   We usually buy them fresh in punnets and keep them in the freezer.   J loves to nibble on them straight from the freezer. Frost and all.   She's the one who loves sour and tangy and sweet all at the same time. 

Red-crimson-pink-blushed-coral euphoria!

This raspberry mousse was inspired by one of my adventures in Kitchen 10, when Chef A had a few of  us join the other class in Kitchen 4 to prepare-cook-and-serve-food-for-service, to actual paying customers.  And rostered for dessert, this raspberry mousse rocked my world right there!  And so the challenge was to recreate this dessert for our new year's eve feast.  Turns out so easy to make and the only bit of hurdle was finding the gelatin leaves (which was a quick visit to The Essential Ingredient in Rozelle, $6.95 for 15 gold standard leaves).

measuring ingredients. mise en place.

2 punnets fresh or 250g frozen raspberries
120g caster sugar
20ml lemon juice

3 gelatin (gold) leaves
250ml thickened cream

Puree the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a deep small sauce pan or jug, using a stick blender (or a conventional blender).  

*Option at this point, to run the puree through a drum sieve for a smoother silkier mousse.  If you opt to do this, you will have lesser amount of mousse, and may have to use more (double) quantities of raspberries to yield the 8 dessert cups.

Puree heaven! 

Soak gelatin in cold water to soften the leaves for 5-7 minutes, then quickly dip in a small bowl with about 1/4 cup warm water.  Remove and squeeze out gently.   Add to the puree and stir gently.

Whisk the cream to soft peaks and fold gently through the puree mix.

Scoop into margarita or martini glasses (or use plastic dessert cups).  Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour or until the gelatin has set.

Chillin' and groovin'

While the mousse is chilling, prepare the mango and kiwi garnish.

3 large fresh kiwi
2 mangoes
100g caster sugar
1 cinnamon quill
1 star anise
200ml water

Peel and dice the kiwi and mango and set aside.

In a small saucepan, boil the water, sugar, cinnamon and star anise to make a light syrup.  Strain through a fine sieve and set aside to cool.

To serve, top the chilled raspberry mouse with the about 2 tablespoons of the diced mango and kiwi fruits and drizzle with the light syrup. Add more of the fruit and syrup if preferred.

Note on gelatin use.  Here's a link if you opt to use powdered gelatin or agar agar as substitute for gelatin leaves,

As is tradition, we spread out some round fruits (Filipino tradition to welcome the new year with round-shaped fruits to attract prosperity) and served up some special dishes to welcome another year!

As this is a delayed post, I'm sure every one had a blast celebrating the coming of the new year, just as Sydney exploded with psychedelic colours and showed the world what a grand diva she is.

We celebrated with our own quirky psychedelic colours in sync with my in-laws from back home with a 70s themed party.  Peace, love and happiness to you all for 2012!  Yeah baby!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...