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, February 14, 2013

Chocolate biscuit cake

We have lost the plot.  Hubby and I. No its not about the new TV series Arrow, or some other reality cooking show.   We have lost the plot of Valentine's day.  Yup. We've gone crazy.   We've separated from the revolution of cards with hearts and chocolates and flowers and fluffy toys. The truth is, we're not big on Valentine's.  Although I wouldn't mind getting flowers and chocolates and a card on this red day, the practical side of me always prevails. 

Flashback 1994.  The air waves were filled with Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, All 4 One and my fave Babyface.  I think its the most romatic decade, the 90s. Lots of jazz and rhytmn and blues kind of music and Kenny G's.   We met at the office.  After many many days and nights dining and wining (more like beer guzzling), and chocolates and flowers and jewelries and concerts and movies and road trips, we got hitched.  Fast forward to today and four kids after, Valentine's day got lost in the equation.


So romantic cards and flowers were replaced with heart shape cut outs and doodles and drawings and art creations and hand-made cards by the kids. Chocolates have been replaced by heart-shaped gummies and lollipos and cookies.   No more date nights here.  But I don't mind.  We don't mind.  Because the truth is.  Even though we're not big on Valentine's, we do celebrate love all year round.  


And for a Valentine's day post, here's a rich decadent dessert inspired by Prince William and Princess Kate's wedding cake.  Now how's that for romantic?  Recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker

To make this Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Print recipe

1 pack 250g Milk Arrowroot Biscuits

250g dark chocolate (72%)

160 ml thickened cream

30g unsalted butter

For the  dark chocolate ganache icing:

250ml thickened cream

230g dark chocolate (55%)

15g unsalted butter


Line a 20cm round cake tin with aluminum foil and spray with canola oil.

In a small bowl, roughly break the biscuit pieces with your hands.  Set aside.

Place the chocolates in another bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan,  heat the cream and the butter and stir until the butter has melted.  Bring the mixture to a boil and take off heat.

Pour the warm cream into the bowl with the chocolates and stir with spatula until smooth.

Add the biscuit pieces and gently stir to coat.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and press gently with the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.

 To make your chocolate ganache icing.  Place your chocolates in a bowl and set aside.  Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan until butter has melted.  Add to the chocolates and stir until chocolate has melted.

Once the cake has been refrigerated and is firm, remove from the pan by inverting the cake upside down onto a wire rack or a plate.

Pour the chocolate ganache icing over the cake and using a spatula, spread some of the icing on the sides of the cake.  


 - You can wait for the ganache to cool a little bit if you prefer a spreading consistency rather than pouring it over the cake;
-  You can use any kind of biscuit or sugar cookies of choice as long as they're not too soft or too hard;
- You can decorate the cake with any fruit of choice.  The strawberries and raspberries worked well with chocolates as you can see.
- You can serve this immediately or refrigerate after frosting.  If chilled, take out of the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing to let the cake rest soften a bit.

But even though the practical side of me does always prevail, there's always something that we manage to pull out on Valentine's day.  Be it a small piece of chocolate or a sweet note that says, "Hey you!  I love you!"  And in all seriousness, love is and always will be here.  I know.  Because even though we both said its not a bit deal, hubby pulled through  and surprised me this morning with a card and a bunch of roses.  Now, ain't love grand.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I have a confession to make.  I am a noob at other culture's cuisines.  Sans the traditional Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Malaysian and Greek dishes, when it comes to other cuisines, I am as clueless as a child.  You know the one who refuses to eat her vegetables and only eats naked pasta when allowed.  Growing up with a limited repertoire of available cuisines, it was either Filipino traditional dishes, American (steak and mash or hamburgers is the usual) or some pasta dish and the occasional tacos.  Eating out almost always took the Chinese or Japanese route or a fave pizza parlour complete with folk singers with guitar singing Puff the Magic Dragon and Horse With No Name.  

Malaysian, Vietnamese and Thai only came in early adulthood when restaurants started opening in Manila and showcasing neighbouring Asian cuisines.  So that was about a decade or so ago.  A far cry from the state of the restaurant industry in the Philippines these days.  Fusion of Mexican-Japanese  now exist, traditional Sri Lankan and a host of other gourmet fusions. There are cakes,  patisseries and chocolate shops that are at par with overseas counterparts. Filipino restaurateurs back home are showcasing Filipino food in a way that Heston  Blumenthal would plate a salmon dish at the Fat Duck.   Why there's even a franchise of Masterchef on local  Philippine television, and a live MC competition going on as I write this post.

Now being a noob in this day and age of technology is not acceptable.  Cooking shows attract a good following and reality cooking shows become the new Big Brother. Food documentaries, magazines, events, blogs!  Food has become as exciting as when TV broadcast its very first show.  Now back to me as the noob in this instance and learning how to cook (other dishes besides and a few other Filipino dishes).  This was a dish that I first saw from a TV show - yeah I know pathetic right.  And from there on, made it, made it, made it.  Hubby loves this.  I love it.  (The kids are not fans yet).  We make a cheats version with chorizo and tinned baked beans.  I love how versatile this can be and how its such an easy casual dish that can be served any time of the day.  

Just a week ago, I saw a good number of this dish in my IG feed and so a timely revisit to Shakshouka.   And so here is a recipe inspired by that TV show and a fave weekday meal at home.

To make this Shakshouka dish:
Print the recipe here

1 onion, sliced

1 red capsicum, chopped

1 green capsicum, chopped

4 Roma tomatoes, quartered

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (I used a Spanish brand)

2 eggs

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Using a cast iron pan (or any 20 cm pan), heat about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the onions and capsicum to the pan and cook till soft.

Add the tomatoes, stir and cook for two minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and half of the paprika and stir to coat the vegetables with the seasoning.

Turn the heat to low/simmer.

Using a wooden spoon, push aside some of the vegetables to make space for th eggs.
Crack the eggs into this space and let it poach until the whites are cooked through but the yolks are still runny.

Remove from heat and serve on the pan, with some toasted flat bread or any bread of choice.


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