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, October 28, 2013

Chicken liver adobo (pate)

This week is another chicken dish, but one that drives close to home - it is an adobo dish.  And involves a favourite of mine - chicken livers.  It's not one though that I always make at home as I'm the only person who eats it.  When my parents were visiting last month, we made this as my father is just a huge fan as I am.  I guess being of the offal category, chicken livers take a bit of effort to like, to love even.  Some get squeamish at the thought, and it was one of the reasons why I never thought of sharing the recipe in the blog.   It is quite an effort to make the photos attractive, so I have discounted the photos from the preparation to the cooking.  Even the cooked dish was not likeable no matter what angle.  So I thought I'd reinvent it a bit and make it pretty.

And I'm sharing the recipe as guest post at Debra's blog The Saffron Girl.

I first met (virtually) Debra through Instragram, following each other's food creations and me drooling at her travel photos.  I now stalk her on Facebook , Pinterest and Twitter. Hahaha!  Debra posts a lot of paleo and gluten-free dishes and I admire the passion she puts into each dish - she does a lot of research and tweaking and reinventing to adapt to her readers. 

I was first drawn to Debra's blog for the Spanish dishes which she makes as ode to her roots.  Why am I drawn to Spanish dishes?  Well, its because (and I have mentioned this in many many posts), it is my dream to travel to Spain and eat and drink and eat and drink and ......  Where did this come from?  I supposed from the history of the Philippines where I grew up and probably because I believe I may be a Spanish senorita in my previous life.  But that's just me. 

When Debra first asked if I'm interested to do a guest post, I was filled with excitement and nervous fear.  As it's something I have never done before, it was kind of daunting like sitting for a finals exam.  It took awhile for this to materialise, but it was actually fun and every bit worth it.

So, hop on down to The Saffron Girl and have a taste of this classic Filipino dish.  Reinvented and prepared for Debra's readers.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicken rollatini with ricotta and spinach

It's 65 days more till Christmas!  A little bit more than two months to the silly season!  Shopping malls are already filled with trimmings and marketing ploy to make us stay at the malls longer and shop till we drop. 

Well that ain't working with me.  You see, I hate shopping.  I hate shopping malls. I hate shopping malls during the Christmas rush especially. 

Usually, if there's really a need to go in there, I'd dash in and out in less than hour.  

Not that I don't shop for clothes and shoes.  I do.  It's just that when I'm out shopping, I pretty much know what I want and get it.  Straight up.  

But with food.  Food shopping?  I'm more patient and take time.  Savouring the smells of seasonal fruits and fresh veggies, browsing at the seafood on offer and cuts of meat for the day.  I usually shop at the markets and my favourite Asian butcher and fish monger locally.  And that's my happy place.   

So usually Christmas gifts to family and friends are always food related - cookbooks, kitchen and dining gadgets and home made goods.  

Now talking about Christmas always brings me dinner table thoughts.  You know, menu for the Christmas eve dinner, Christmas breakfast, Christmas lunch, Christmas dinner and every single meal all the way to New Year's day.  It's always exciting to try new dishes in preparation for that special day.  Often times, anticipating the traditional dish becomes the highlight of the meal.

Now this chicken dish can be made any day of the week, a weekend lunch or dinner or try it this holiday season.  The colours do match the holidays too.  This recipe is adapted from  Skinny Taste with the ingredients slightly changed.

Chicken rollatini coated in bread crumbs

Baking in the oven for 25 minutes


500g chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced

125g ricotta cheese

250g baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped

2 cups breadcrumbs

2-3 whole eggs, slightly beaten

125g cream cheese, sliced thinly

125 grated Tasty cheese

700g jar of passata sauce

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat over to 180*C.

Prepare an oven proof rectangular dish.  Spray with canola oil and set aside.

Prepare 3 separate bowl, one with breadcrumbs and one with the beaten eggs.

In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta cheese and spinach and mix with a fork.

Set aside.

On a large chopping board, work the chicken pieces one by one.  Spread the chicken fillet flat, spread some ricotta-spinach mixture and loosely roll with the seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Coat the chicken rollatini in the beaten egg, then roll into the bread crumbs.  Place in the prepared baking dish.  Repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces.

Lightly spray with olive or canola oil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven then pour the passata sauce over the chicken pieces.

Place cream cheese slices on top of the chicken, then the grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Serve in individual portions with some salad or roasted vegetables.

After 25 minutes....

Topped with cream cheese and grated Tasty cheese....

Cheese has melted.... seasoned with some more ground pepper

And served with some extra explosives on the side! Ha!

Now this has delicious written all over it.  We've made this many times using bocconcini as topping and some mozarella.

Don't you think it looks like Christmas?

Now... time to get some list going.   Thank goodness for online shopping!  Hahaha!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Coq au Verdelho (chicken with mushrooms in white wine sauce)

There will be a trend here for the next couple of weeks.  As I have 2 other chicken dishes to post including this one so it shall be declared that chicken shall be the theme!  

Chicken is the easiest poultry and game meat to cook and prepare.  When we were doing the the Poultry and Game module at TAFE,  working with chicken was my least favourite.  Because no matter how many times we have prepped a whole chicken in class, I still can't get my chicken portoins right when at home.  When in class, I amaze myself.  When at home, it seems like a struggle.  I guess the pressure that there is a chef/teacher breathin down my neck helps in the process of making it right the first time. While at home, who cares how the portions look?!  Hahaha!

Ah memories of Kitchen 10, 8 and Kitchen 1.  And since that's all history now, time to move and get planning.     I've learned so much all those times in the TAFE kitchen but somehow in the process, lost my creativity.  When prior to cooking school I would experiment in the kitchen, during the course I was inclined to be more technical.  You know, following recipes to the very detail and focused more on the technical processes and result rather than having a fun time and just letting ingredients flow.  Thankfully, I've regained it all back - being creative in the kitchen when cooking and baking afterall, is the fun part of it all. 

So what to do after a 2.5 years in a culinary school?  Initially, the goal was just to supplement my knowledge of food and cooking at home, and in blogging.  But then, it has pointed me to a different path and so hopefully a food-related business to materialise soon.

In the meantime and in order to get the ball rolling, I have started lunch box delivery to co-workers and hubby's office.  Not a regular market, but a few tubs of lunch a week gets me busy researching and experimenting on what's best to serve my clientele.  I'm focusing more on Asian cuisine, but once in while serve them familiar dishes and classic favourites.  And this one was raved about most. Served with slices of sour dough bread, it was such a hit they have been asking for the recipe.     

And what luck that I found this on Pinterest!  A Nigel Slater recipe posted on Alida Ryder's blog which will make your family and friends happy to lick their plates clean.  Seriously.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large brown onion, finely diced

4-5 pieces rasher bacon, diced

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

8-9 pieces chicken thighs, on the bone

250 grams button mushrooms, sliced

300 ml Verdelho (or any white wine)

300 ml thickened cream

salt and pepper, to taste

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, coursely chopped


Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside.

Using a large skillet or pan (I used a 30cm large cast iron pan with handles), heat the olive oil.

When oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces in batches.  This will create some caramelisation in the pan.

Once all chicken pieces are browned, set aside on a plate.

Add the onions and bacon to the pan and cook to render fat from the bacon and until the onions are soft.  

Add the garlic and cook for about a minute or until the garlic is fragrant.  Remove the onion-garlic-bacon mixture from the pan and set aside.

 Pour the wine and using a wooden spoon, release some of the caramelisation on the pan.  Let this come to a boil.

Add the chicken pieces into the pan making sure they are spaced out evenly.

Add the onion-garlic-bacon mixture and the mushrooms.

Let this come to a boil, then turn down heat, cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the cream and mix it around the pan using your wooden spoon to evenly distribute the cream into the sauce.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and reduced a little.

Add a handful of chopped parsley and stir to combine the greens into the sauce.

Serve portions topped with more chopped parsley, with rice or slices of sour dough bread.

Tips and tricks:

* I omitted the butter from the original recipe as a personal choice.  Also because I was going to keep the tubs in the fridge for the next day's lunch box, I wanted to avoid the buttery residue on the plastic tubs while the dish is cold.

* I used Lucy's Run Verdelho from my sister's trip to the Hunter Valley a week before and was the white wine I had at home at the time.  Nigel recommends any kind of dry white wine.

* You can use any kind of mushroom.  I actually added more as we love mushrooms at home.

Now when I said people will lick their plates clean with this one, I'm not kidding.  So if you make this, make sure you have enough sour dough bread or rice (or even mash) to help them clean their plates.   It's really that good!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Chicken roulade with pistachio butter filling and capsicum rice pilaf

Who doesn't love the internet?!  And social media at that!  Generally, being online and on social media is just about as normal as eating these days.  While not all people have access, a lot of us do, and it quite frankly changing has changed the way we interact and live.  Sans online bullying and inappropriate content, there's a lot of good things to be had with the internet and social media.

Learning has never been so convenient, and information so close, inspiration is there if you start looking and reaching out globally has never been so easy.  And there's another plus.  It's the use of the internet and social media to remind us that yes, despite the negativity happening around us,  there's a lot of reasons to spread good cheer and celebrate humanity, wisdom and kindness.  

I chanced upon this website Wake Up Project through my Facebook page timeline.  A foodie blogger I follow kickstarted her #wakeupproject kindness experiment by paying for an extra burger at lunch and people paid it forward a few seconds after she did.  Amazing!  And so I got on the Kindness Revolution, signed up and received my kindness cards from the post yesterday.  The idea is to think of a kind act, anonymously do your kind act and leave the card.  The card left will tell the recipient of your act and asks them to repeat (or pay it forward) to someone else.  Imagine the ripple effect of something this small.  

As quoted in the Wake Up Project website, "One kind person, multiplied by a 1000s creates a kindness revolution."

While there are lot of people already doing this, volunteers and workers who take time to support a cause, a random act of kindness can create an amazing effect on a person. 

Check out this video from Life Vest Inside titled Kindness Boomerang


Now to food and what's new in ADU.

Well, I've done it!  I have finished my commercial cookery course at TAFE (technically I still need to submit some logbook requirements though, but all good!).  It's such a cliche but time did fly.  And it was a lot of fun!  

And to cap the 2.5 years was of course, a practical test in the kitchen, ala not-so-mystery-box challenge.  Ingredients were given a week before and we were to prepare a 3 course meal.  I'm sharing this simple dish I prepared for my mains.  It's simple because all I really wanted to do on the last day was.... get it all over with! Ha ha!

This recipe is something I just made up but inspired from a Masterchef Au episode. There are 3 main elements in the dish.  The chicken roulade, the rice pilaf and the mushroom sauce.  As I learned in the kitchen, when you're making a dish with several elements, the first thing you do is the sauce.  So here goes.....

To make the mushroom sauce

1 cup button mushrooms, finely chopped

1 onion, finely diced

1/2 cup thicken cream

1 teaspoon of Kikkoman soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil


In a pan, heat some olive oil then cook the onions until soft. 

Add the mushrooms and stir to mix for a few seconds.

Add the cream and the soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper.

Let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.  

Set aside.  You can warm this up again when ready to serve.

To make the chicken roulade


2 pieces chicken breast fillet, about 180-200g each

1/2 cup roasted pistachios, coursely chopped

60g  (1/4 cup)  salted butter, softened

1/4 cup sultanas


Slice the chicken length wise so that you have a thin slice of fillet which you can roll.  You can also use a wooden or metal meat tenderiser.  Spread the chicken on top of some cling wrap and cover again with another portion of cling wrap, then pound until you get the desired thickness - about 2-3 cm

In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, sultanas and pistachios and mix together with a wooden spoon until incorporated.

Prepare the one chicken portion onto some fresh cling/plastic wrap.

Spread the pistachio butter filling then roll the chicken gently while tucking in the cling wrap.  You should have a wrapped chicken with filling.

Repeat with the other chicken portion.

In a shallow pan, boil about 1-2 cups chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.

Place the wrapped chicken portions in the simmering stock and shallow poach until cooked, about 15-20 minutes.

Let the chicken cool slightly before slicing diagonally and serve on a plate.

Pour the mushroom sauce onto the chicken when serving.

To make the capsicum rice pilaf


1/2 red capsicum, finely diced

1/2 onion, finely diced

375 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) long grain  or basmati rice

1-2 cups chicken stock

olive oil


In a medium sized pot, heat some olive oil then cook the onions until soft.

Add the rice and stir to coat.

Add the capsicum and stir to mix together.

Add the 1 cup chicken stock and reduce heat to medium, cover with a cartouche* and let the rice cook.

Check every once in awhile if the liquid is drying up.  Add the other cup of chicken stock, reduce to simmer and let the rice cook.  

Fluff the rice with a fork and make sure its not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Serve onto a plate with the chicken roulade.

* Here's a handy tip on how to make a cartouche when cooking.  It's basically a piece of baking paper folded and shaped into a round to cover what you're cooking to avoid forming skin.  I usually use it when poaching fruits and cooking rice stove top.  It's also handy to cut a little piece off the point in the middle so you have a hole for the steam to pass through when poaching or cooking.

So did you check out that Wake Up Project and Life Vest Inside website yet?  I tell you its amazing.  It's inspiring.  And it touches hearts.  I hope to spread some good cheer my way with my kindness cards soon.  But we don't really need a card to do a good deed do we?  Let's spread some kindness around, shall we?


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