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 16, 2012

Lemon scented rolls with cream cheese frosting

“So get out, get out, get out of my head.  And fall into my arms instead.  I don’t, I don’t, don’t know what it is.  But I need that one thing.” – One Thing, One Direction 2011

The frenzy that wreaked havoc and high decibel squeals in the city this week, at the Hordern Pavilion and at the Logies aka One Direction has infected our home.  Four girls all humming the same song over and over again, watching the same videos over and over again.  It’s the One Direction infection!  So my teenager says.  Hubby is a saint for putting up with all these, listening to the squeals and excitement.   

Yep.  One can get drawn to boy bands in their time.  As we had afternoon tea over these lovely rolls on Sunday, the grown ups were also reminiscing about the boy bands in our day but can’t seem to pinpoint anything that fell into the category of “boy band”.  Growing up watching MTV singing, dancing and sometimes swooning over members of Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Flock of Seagulls,  The Cars, Earth Wind and Fire, Dire Straits, Chicago, U2 and the list goes on.  All seem to be composed of mature “men” not “boys”.  The late 80s to 90s was the era when the “boy” bands emerged: Boy Zone, Boys to Men, Backstreet Boys, InSync, etc.  All good fun remembering that yeah, once upon a time, admittedly, we were also drawn to the pop sensations and culture.  So I say to my girls – I love One Direction too!  Lol!

Now back to the order of the day – this month’s Lemon theme at the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by Le Delicieux.  These rolls are a cross between Flo Brakers Lemon Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake (featured in The Kitchn 2010 and Leite’s Culinaria in 2009) and a cinnamon roll recipe which is our favourite because its no-fuss adapted from What’s Cooking America!  Ingredient quantities and some methods were revised to suit the size of the dough and the end product.

We’ve made other lemon sweet treats before like this super moist Lemon Yoghurt Cake and the best ever Lemon and Passionfruit Cheesecake but never this.  A sweet yeasted bread/roll with the aroma of sweet lemony goodness.  Although I’m not a fan of lemony things, admittedly, this is one of those that just breaks through.  A warm welcome surprise!  Makes you fuzzy all over while you’re singing to your fave pop tune!  

a whole lotta lemon love goin' on
To make the rolls:
  1 cup milk
 1/4 cup warm water (45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs,slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup caster sugar
5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons instant dry active yeast

1. Heat the water in the microwave for one minute.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine all ingredients in order listed above.
3. Mix together until the mixture forms a soft dough and moist (but not too wet.  If too wet, add a tablespoon of flour until you get the desired texture and feel).
4. Lightly oil / spray your work surface and prepare about a cup of flour in a bowl for working the dough.
5. Turn the dough onto the surface and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. 
6. Return the dough into the bowl, cover with cling wrap and a tea towel and prove/rest until double in size, 1-2 hours (or more depending on weather conditions).
7. Butter or lightly oil a 9 x 13 x 2in baking pan. Set aside.
8. Prepare the sweet lemon paste filling.
9. After the dough has risen, turn it onto your work bench and using a rolling pin, stretch to about a 15x24 inch rectangle.
10. Using a silicon brush or rubber spatula, spread the lemon paste filling onto the dough until its all covered.
11.  Roll the dough from the top going towards you, gently.  
12. Pinch the seams to seal the dough edges.
13. Using a dough cutter or a sharp knife, cut the rolls into half first. then cut into equal rolls about 4 cm      (or 1 and 1/2 inch).
14. Place the rolls cut side up in a prepared pan (12 rolls fit into the 9 x 13 pan, but I had to prepare a smaller one which was a test batch into a smaller pan 5 small pieces).
15. Cover with cling wrap and tea towel let rise until doubled in size (1 - 1.5hours).
16. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
 17. Prepare the cream cheese frosting.
18. Once the rolls have proved/risen, bake in the preheated oven for 25-30minutes until golden.  (to test if done inside, poke a probe thermometer and if the temperature registers 95 degrees C, it is done.  Cover the top with aluminum foil if the rolls are baking/browning too much)
19. Place the pan onto a cooling rack. After 5 minutes, take the rolls out of the pan by placing baking paper on top then turning them onto the cooling rack.
20. Generously spread the cream cheese frosting on the rolls.  Serve warm.

Roll the dough into a rectangle, spread the lemon-sugar paste filling, roll into a log and pinch the seals. Cut into 1 and 1/2 inch thick rolls, place in pan and let rise.

To make the sweet lemon paste filling:
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons finely grate lemon rind (4-5 lemons)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
85g unsalted melted butter
In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients for the paste and set aside. 
(Flo Braker's recipe for the pull apart bread was to combine all except butter.  The butter used to spread on the dough, then the lemon sugar sprinkled on top.  I thought combining everything in a bowl, then spreading on the dough would work just the same).

Fresh out of the oven.  Golden rolls.

To make the lemony cream cheese frosting:
  168g cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
In a bowl using a whisk or a hand held mixer, whip the ingredients together until smooth.  Set aside.

Lemony and sweet cream cheese goodness

A few notes on the baking:
* Some of the ingredient quantities I've doubled to suit the filling and the frosting. There was enough left over frosting to ice another batch of rolls :D
* I've baked the test batch on the night the dough was rolled and cut (the smaller pan the photo).
* The 9 x 13 pan with the 12 rolls I've refrigerated after proving.  The next day, I let the the dough rest for more than an hour to let them come to room temperature before baking them in a preheated oven.

Fresh out of the oven! Can you smell them?  They smell so sweet and delicious!  And the bread super soft.

Best served fresh from the oven, slathered with the cream cheese frosting with a nice cup of tea or coffee.  Or reheated for a few seconds in the microwave the next day. But I’m sure that’s hardly ever going to happen.

Spread with some lemony cream cheese frosting.  Love!
So tell me honestly, did you also have pop group/boy band infection in your day?  And have you heard of/remember the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo?  Remember little Ricky Martin?  Ok, I’ll stop right there. 

But while you're thinking about your fave pop group/boy band, why don't you hop on down and browse at all the other delicious lemony goodness below.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thai chilli basil chicken (Pad Ka Prao Gai)

One of my favourite cuisines is Thai, and so does hubby.  We both love chillies in our dishes.  We have tried growing chilli plants at home, but every winter, the plant just dries up and dies.  And when summer comes, we buy and raise a new plant.  We've got several types of chilli condiments in our pantry - Tabasco sauce, sambal olek, sriracha, dried chillis flakes, garlic & chilli paste... did I mention we love our chillies?

But eating out is not always an option for us.  Most of the time, when dining out we all choose something that's relatively acceptable with the majority's vote - our kids.  Which means it's either Japanese, Chinese yum cha or the usual ribs and steak places.  But when dining out with friends, Thai is always the first (and sometimes) the only option when booking is left to me.  So far, a favourite is Sailors Thai at the Rocks.  But then, my dining-out experience is limited, so still lots of places out there to explore.  David Lebovitz had high regard for Spice I Am when we came to town during the World Chef Showcase in 2011, which is one of the many food places to visit in my list.

Lunch with workmates also always involves Thai and a favourite lunch joint in Gladesville - either Red Spoon or Chilli Jam.  Both serve tasty Thai dishes at good prices.  And this Thai chilli basil dish is one of the favourites.  Its fabulous and easy to prepare at home too!

250g minced chicken
3 large cloves garlic
3 fresh coriander roots
9 birds eye chillis
1 long green chilli 
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
vegetable oil
a bunch of fresh Thai sweet basil leaves only, washed
fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, coriander roots and chillies until it fine and resembles a paste.

In a large skillet/fry pan or wok, heat about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil.  Add the garlic and chilli mixture and cook until soft. 

Add the minced chicken and stir until cooked through.  

Add the seasoning: fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and stock and simmer until reduced, 5-7 minutes.

While simmering, prepare a small pan.  Heat a little vegetable oil and fry half of the the basil leaves until crispy.  Not more than 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Add the remaining fresh basil leaves into the chicken, stir then turn off heat.

Spoon onto plate, topped with the crispy basil leaves and garnish with fresh coriander.  

Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a wedge of lemon.


I made this for a weeknight dinner and it turned out so well, hubby raved about it at work the next day. It's fairly easy to make, and there's heaps of online recipes you can refer to.  This one is adapted from epicurious.com

Monday, April 09, 2012

East Ryde Scouts Car Boot Sale

"One person's trash is another person's treasure." - Anonymous

I’ve been rummaging through op shops for quite a fair bit lately, and getting obsessed with old/vintage/classic props for food photography.  Not that I’m a food stylist or anything.  And not that I’ve been using them since purchased.  Having a food blog helps.  But seriously, I need to find a use for most of it soon.  Or hubby will find out what that box is under the buffet table.  Just a few weeks back, we moved house and its proximity to the quarterly East Ryde Scouts Car Boot Sale isn’t helping my effort to resist temptation.  Well, it was just a short walk away, so why would we drop by and have a look eh?

So if you fancy a bit of flea market shopping or have some treasures you’d like to unload, check out the East Ryde Scouts here.

The East Ryde Scouts Car Boot Sale is a regular event held one Sunday in March, July/August and November and is held at the corner of Badajoz and Twin Road in North Ryde.

*all photos taken with the iPhone 3G

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Artisan Bread Making at Brasserie Bread Sydney

10 trays of freshly breads made on the day!   Can you smell them?

It was by stroke of luck when a voucher for an Artisan Bread Making Workshop at Brasserie Bread Sydney landed on my lap as part of the raffle draw at the Eat Drink Blog conference.  This was November 2011.  Quietly listening to the guest speakers and the pocket workshops during the conference, this gal was just happy to be there amongst people who had the same interest – food, writing, eating, drinking, blogging.    So being there, and winning something was just magic.

Well hello there baby!  Rise, rise, rise!

Aprons for sale at the Brasserie Bread Cafe

Fast forward to a weekend in March.  The artisan bread making workshop was just as fabulous.    Amazing people behind the brand = amazing products.  Here are just some of the photos of the day. 

Our trainer for the day - Boris.  Did a wonderful job at teaching us with tips and tricks on bread making. 

So if you’re in Oz, get onto your local Brasserie Bread and learn a thing or two about artisan baking.  It’s a worthwhile experience.  And while you’re there, grab some of their amazing pastries!  The garlic bread is to die for!  Seriously!

20 hands working on bread doughs = bread heaven 

Chef Boris topping some grapes on the Schiacciata con l'uva

Pre baking - Schiacciata con l'uva

Chef Yudha helped prepared all the ingredients for the baking class and toured us around the bakery

Proved and ready to bake 

Voila - our loaves are getting some lovin'!

And here's what everyone took home!  Plus a whole lot more!

PS – Btw, hip hip hooray for adodo down under.  Celebrating 4 years in the blogsphere.  More nom noms to come!

Friday, April 06, 2012

A Vietnamese degustation aka Cabramatta Crawl

the classic pho

There’s something about other cuisines that's fascinating.  Food origins, cultures and traditions are what makes up the visible parts of a dish.  You look at a plate, you see the ingredients, the colours, the produce.  You take a spoonful to taste and you’re transported somewhere else.  Beyond the boundaries of traditions and cultures are stories embedded in each.  Rich and colourful.  Stories of hardships and triumphs.  Of families and separation. Each with a unique history.  Its an endless wonder.  Its fascinating.   

wall art at the plaza

Sydney is such a fabulous place to be as the food scene is as multicultural as the population (biased here obviously, but let's not go there).  Practically every cuisine in the world can be found in some corner within the Sydney metropolitan.  And one of the most famous is the little Saigon of Sydney - Cabramatta.  And with this draws one to partake of authentic Vietnamese dishes.

Admittedly, Pho is the only ever Vietnamese dish that I've grown to love.  And so when the opportunity knocked in the guise of a twitter feed from Thang about a cabracrawl, I stalked the daylights out of the guy!  (Seriously, these were in my thoughts.  But I restrained myself and prayed to high heavens!)

bahn xeo - Vietnamese pancake.  another crowd pleaser!

And it was fate that found me in Cabramatta one fine Saturday with all these amazing bloggers: : Rafael, Veronica, Oni, Melinda, Daniel and Adam. And together with special guest Simon Marnie and partner Amanda, we crawled the streets of Cabramatta and ate and drank to our hearts (and our stomachs) delights!

Variety of Asian fruits

Not only was this a degustation affair, Thang led us into the city centre streets, shopping centre and markets with stories of its rich history and food culture.  Including where to best get good priced produce, meat and seafood, which bakeshop is open 24hours, where Luke Nguyen's family cafe used to be, and so much more!  It was a feast for all the senses!

Vinata's fresh pastries and that bahn mi (pork roll) - is the standard which future pork rolls shall be based!  Love it!

We had the classic pho from Phuo Viet,  samples of some Vietnamese pastries including my new favourite pork roll Bahn mi kep thit from Vinata's Hot Bread,  sugar cane juice with some cumquat extracts, a special feast at Bau Truong of : ca xuc banh trang (the fish curry is to die for! Seriously! You can ask everyone on the table!), bahn xeo (Vietnamese pancakes), gol cuon (fresh rolls) and the most refreshing lemon-lime-lemongrass crush! We sampled famous Vietnamese sweets and drinks:    pandan waffles, emperor's puffs, tau hu ngot (which is sweet silk tofu with sugar syrup), che xoi nuoc (which is a sweet sticky rice ball filled with mung beans), che dau (a glutinous rice dessert) and of course  Vietnamese iced coffee. 

sugar cane juice. nom. nom.

Fish curry with black sesame fried rice paper!  Unpretentious and authentic,  home made Vietnamese dish!  

Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with a special peanut sauce 

In the six years that we’ve lived in Sydney, this was my second time in Cabramatta.  And I’m crazy, I know that now.  A short drive away is authentic Vietnamese dishes, fresh Asian produce, fruits , meat and seafood!  I've eyed some potted herbs and plants too!  So definitely coming back as a local next time.

All that and we even got to take home a show bag!  Thank you Thang for a truly unforgettable food crawl and special thanks to the sponsors Fairfield City Council (represented by the lovely Cheryl and husband David), Royal Umbrella Rice, SBS Feast Magazine and Lenovo.



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