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, March 31, 2014

Asparagus, smoked salmon, lemon and chilli risotto


Asparagus is one of the many vegetables I loathed as a child.  I hated the smell.  It doesn't help that it usually came from a can as spears and sometimes as cream of asparagus soup.  You know the brand.  Maybe it was the fact that there was rarely fresh asparagus available where I grew up, or simply because it's another "green" vegetable like brocolli. 

Well, somehow I outgrew that hate.  And these days, when they're available at my local fruit and veg shop or at the markets, they go straight into my market basket.  They're so versatile and so easy to cook. 

As part of the #huonsalmon challenge, I prepared this dish for a Taste of Harmony celebration at work.  We were to bring a dish (or ingredient) that starts with the first letter of our name.  And I chose A for Asparagus.


3 tablespoon light olive oil
1 garlic, finely diced

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cups arborio rice

200 ml white wine

400 ml vegetable or fish stock (or water) 

250 grams Huon Reserve Selection Blacked Spice Hot Smoked Salmon, shredded 

rind of 1 lemon

400 grams asparagus spears, cut into 1.5 cm

2-3 chillies, chopped

1 cup grated parmesan


In a heavy skillet or enameled cast iron pan, heat the olive oil.

Add the garlic and onions and stir until soft.

Add the arborio rice, and stir to coat the rice.

Add the white wine, stirring and let it simmer for a minute until the sauce is reduced.

Turn the heat to a low simmer, add a cup of stock/water and put lid on and let the rice simmer.

Check after 2-3 minutes and if the sauce is reduced, add more stock/water and let it simmer until rice is almost cooked. (if the rice is getting dry, keep adding half a cup of extra stock or water.  Don't let the rice get dried up and burn the bottom of the pan.)

Add the salmon and asparagus, rind of lemon and the chillis. Stir to balance the ingredients evenly in the pan. 

Add 2/3 of the grated parmesan and stir to coat.

Turn off heat and cover.  Let the risotto sit for awhile before serving.

Serve with extra parmesan on top.

This risotto is something I dish up at home on a weekday, using any ingredient on hand (canned tuna sometimes, or just plain vegetables like mushrooms). But this time, it is with the Huon Reserve Selection Blacked Spice Hot Smoked Salmon.  I love the naturally smoked flavour and the combination of native Australian spices.  And it went well at our office Taste of Harmony lunch.  It also helps that it's a simple dish to whip up during Lent.

Disclaimer: The writer (adobo down under) was invited to take part in the #huonsalmon blogging challenge and Huon Aquaculture has provided the products mentioned in this recipe.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flourless chocolate cocoa cake

Birthdays always mean cake.  Whether it's for a person, a pet or a blog. 

Today is adobo down under's 6th birthday!  Well, blogiversary as its called in the blogosphere.  And what an excuse to make a special cake!  Who else needs an excuse to bake and eat cake?

Not long ago, this was just a recipe journal and it has evolved into something more.  Looking back, there has been so many learnings.  From other blogs and fellow bloggers.  From photography to writing, to styling and being obsessed with op-shopping (second hand thrift stores).  While my photography and food styling is not at par with the best of them, I'm just as happy that there's a day like this to celebrate and bake and eat cake. 

Now what cake to make?

I have been off sugar for a while now (no I have not quit sugar entirely as I still eat rice and lots of fruits) and have been cutting down on gluten (just a personal choice), I wanted to make something that's gluten free and which the girls will love.

And this flourless chocolate (espresso) cake from Martha Stewart was staring down at me from my FB timeline.   I made this cake with the espresso substituted with cocoa powder, as I don't want the girls bouncing off the walls from caffeine.  And it is indeed "flourless"!  No almond meal or any nut flour here.


45 grams unsalted butter

170 grams dark chocolate

6 eggs, separated

1 cup caster sugar, divided into half cups

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 170*C.  

Invert the bottom of a 22cm spring form tin.  Line the bottom and sides with baking paper and then grease the baking paper with canola spray or butter.  Set aside.

Place the chocolates and butter in a bowl.  Melt the butter and chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth.  

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and pale (ribbon stage).

Add the cocoa powder, salt and continue to beat for another 1 minute.

Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and beat for another minute. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.

Add the sugar gradually, and continue beating/whisking until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in 3 batches.

Spoon the batter into the prepare pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.  

Once cool, loosen the side of the pan with a butter knife and remove the sides.

Transfer to a serving plate and slice away.


This cake is rich and dense and surprisingly not so sweet.  It's the perfect pair to a good cup of coffee or tea, and to celebrate a birthday.

Happy blogiversary adobo down under!

And thanks guys!  For sharing in the celebration.  Now does anyone want cake?

Kitchen Talks with Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food

Last weekend, hubby and I attended Kitchen Talk with Jamie and friends Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food Australia held at the Carriageworks in Eveleigh.  It was kind of a last minute date with hubby as I only saw the event from Penguin Books through my FB timeline.  No second thoughts when I bought the tickets.  And I'm so glad we went.  I have been following Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food Australia for some time and have admired the principle behind this successful project.  As alarming as it sounded, the latest statistics mentioned yesterday at the event that Australia now ranks #4 in the most obese countries in the plant (#1 is Mexico, $2 U.S and #3 New Zealand) is not at all surprising.

Despite the emergence of inspiring chefs, food bloggers, TV shows, government and other media channels which supports healthy eating, there is still a big gap in the population who lack the basic skills in food education and cooking.

There was this great and interesting feature by Inga Ting in November 2013 at Good Food SMH about how Australian's eat, which all boils down to economics.  With so many easy, convenient and cheap eats available, its so easy to indulge and forget about what's actually good and bad.

Early this year, Jamie opened up a competition in Australia for a 12-month Ministry of Food Pop Up in their community.  A staggering 107 entries were received and each very worthy.  Eight finalists were invited at the event and the winner was announced on the day which was Noarlunga South Australia. Check out the compiled videos of the submissions!

I love the philosophy behind Jamie's Ministry of Food and I hope through my own little circle and network, my family and friends - that I can inspire them to keep cooking.  Cooking is  a life skill after all.   With their NSW Wetherill Park opening soon, I hope to volunteer and share skills I've learned at TAFE and at home.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Aussie-Asian smoked salmon rice paper rolls

We love fish and seafood,  and salmon is one of our family's favourites.  Raw or smoked, it's always a welcome treat in the lunch box, in salads and in our mains.  And I was just too happy to oblige to receive an invitation to the #huonsalmon blogger's competition sponsored by Huon Aquaculture
With salmon and my cooking style, I prefer simple and fresh.  As much as possible, I want the star of the dish to shine.  So it was a little bit difficult to think of a dish to make that's not already out there.  And this came to mind - Australian salmon meets Asian spring rolls.  This may be one too many of similar dishes out there, but I don't mind.  This was a welcome change to our usual fare.  I also added some Australian macadamias for that extra texture and to make it even more Aussie.


8 pieces rice paper rolls

1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded and julienned

1 carrot, julienned

60 grams salted macadamias, roughly chopped

60 grams rice vermicelli noodles


In a bowl, soak the rice noodles in warm water for 10 minutes.  Once soft and noodles have turned white, drain.
In a large bowl, combine the rice noodles, julienned cucumber, carrots and the macadamias.  
  Prepare a wide bowl with some water, and a dry tea towel on the counter.

Soak one rice paper roll in the water for 10 seconds or more until soft. 

Place the rice paper and pat on the tea towel, then on a cutting board.

Place a strip (or more) of smoked salmon on the rice paper roll.

Spoon some of the rice noodle-macadamias-cucumber-carrts onto the smoked salmon.

Fold the front end of the rice paper roll and slightly tuck to hug the filling, fold the right and left sides then continue to roll.

Continue with the rest of the rice paper rolls and the filling until you've used up all ingredients.

These can be dipped in simple soy-sauce or sweet chilli sauce, or you can also make your own Nuoc Cham sauce which is the traditional dipping sauce for the inspiration for this dish - the Vietnamese spring rolls. This sauce is adapted from SBS Food with some slight changes.
To make the nuoc cham sauce:
1 garlic
3 pieces red chillies
juice of 1 lemon
60 ml fish sauce
60 ml warm water
3 teaspoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestire sauce 
Grind the garlic and chillies in your mortar until you get a paste consistency.

Combine the fish sauce, water, sugar  in a bowl stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  

Add the Worcestire sauce and stir.

Add the garlic-chilli paste, stir and serve with your spring rolls.

Disclaimer: The writer (adobo down under) was invited to take part in the #huonsalmon blogging challenge and Huon Aquaculture has provided the products mentioned in this recipe. 


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