Author Archives: M

Bruschetta

Bruschetta is an appetizer originating from 15th century Italy and is one of my favorite things to eat. Bruschetta was developed out of necessity as a way to salvage bread that was going stale. It traditionally consists of bread rubbed with garlic, then sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. A variety of toppings have developed over the centuries and this recipe incorporates one of the more popular kinds outside of Italy. I loove to eat it as a snack and one of my favorite things to do is curl up with a good book, a plate of bruschetta and a cold drink. Yum!

IMG_2866_blog

Ingredients

  1. Handful of fresh basil or parsely
  2. Extra virgin olive oil
  3. Several cloves of garlic
  4. Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  5. 1 red onion, finely chopped
  6. Balsamic vinegar
  7. Crusty bread cut into thick slices.

Instructions

  1. Chop the basil or parsley, onion and tomato. Finely slice the garlic
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl and add approx 2 tbs balsamic vinegar and 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil. Set aside and allow the ingredients to marinate.
  3. Brush the bread with extra virgin olive oil and rub with a garlic clove.
  4. Sprinkle the bread slices liberally with salt and pepper.
  5. Lightly toast the bread in the oven.
  6. Add the topping onto the toasted bread and serve.

Lamington

Today is Australia Day and in honor of the day dedicated to the beautiful “sunburnt country” I thought I’d post up a recipe of a traditional Australian treat – the lamington. Although the history of the lamington is somewhat vague, it is popularly believed that the delicious treat was created in Toowomba, Queensland during the summer of 1886. The governor of Queensland had settled in Harlaxton House for that summer and he asked the cook to make his favorite cake snowballs (round cakes served with whipped cream). The kitchen at Harlaxton House was insufficiently equipped to make the desired treat and the inventive cook instead whipped up a concoction of a large sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. The governor’s guests were thrilled with the cake. When asked what the cake was called, Cook responded that it had no name. The guests consequently dubbed it the Lamington Cake in honor of the governor and an Australian icon was born. Interestingly, the governor himself did not seem overly fond of lamingtons and was wont to call them “those bloody poofy woolly biscuits” *

These days the lamington  is generally made to raise funds for various school fundraisers, charity drives etc. It’s also no longer made as one large cake but is customarily made into smaller squares and is often filled with cream or jam. This particular recipe uses a plain sponge cake and is dipped in pink jelly icing then covered with coconut.

IMG_2831

Ingredients

CAKE

1/2 cup cornflour

1/2 cup self raising flour

1/2 cup plain flour

6 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup caster sugar

1 Tbs boiling water

Vanilla essence
ICING 

1 packet strawberry jelly crystals

1 cup boiling water

2 cups desiccated coconut

 

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the jelly mixture into the boiling water and allow it to partially set (about 2-2.5 hours).
  2. Sift together the flours.
  3. Whisk the eggs until light and creamy. Gradually add in the sugar, creaming well.
  4. Sift the flour into the eggs and sugar mixture. Add the hot water and vanilla essence. Fold carefully.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased rectangular cake tin and bake for 20 mins at 180 degrees celcius.
  6. Allow the cake to cool.
  7. Trim the edges of the cake and cut it into about 16 squares.
  8. Dip a cake square into the partially set jelly and roll in desiccated coconut. Continue with the remaining cake squares, jelly and coconut.

Leche Flan

Leche Flan is a Filipino type of custard flan. Literally translated it means milk flan. The flan however, is a dish stemming from the Roman times when innovative Roman cooks adopted Greek culinary principles to tackle the problem of how to preserve surplus eggs and came up with a custard-based dish. This little dish that could endured the transition of various eras and empires. During the Medieval ages, the flan developed into the two main forms that exist today. In England, the custard was poured into a pastry shell and mixed with fruits or nuts to create a tasty baked flan. Its enduring popularity is evidenced by the fact that it’s frequently mentioned in English literature. In Spain it was transformed into a sweet custard generally served with caramelized sugar. This type of flan became a world-wide hit following the voyages of notable Spanish explorers such as Columbus and Magellan who furthered not only Spain’s empire but the flan’s popularity. The leche flandeveloped from the second type of flan and much like its ancient Roman ancestor, it has displayed an enduring and prevailing quality, successfully surviving the turbulent history of the Philippines to maintain its triumphant place on the traditional Filipino table.

 

IMG_2793_blog

 

Ingredients

10 egg yolks

1 375 ml can condensed milk

1 375 ml can evaporated milk

1 Tbs vanilla essence

1/3 cup raw sugar

2/3 cup water

 

Instructions

 

  1. Mix the yolks, vanilla and milk together with a wooden spoon. Set aside while you make the caramel
  2. Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil without stirring until the mixture achieves the consistency of syrup.
  3. Pour the caramel into a baking dish or into individual molding dishes.
  4. Using a strainer, pour the milk and egg mixture into another bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon but try not to create a lot of air bubbles (this will affect the texture of the baked custard).
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish or into individual molding dishes.
  6. Place the baking dish or molding dishes onto a larger tray. Add water to the tray until it’s about midway full.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes at 170 degrees celcius then increase to 175 for the last 20 minutes. The leche flan is cooked when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

Sweet Cinnamon Rolls

Sweet cinnamon rolls are delicious served warm, soft and straight out of the oven. They’re great for breakfast or brunch, especially when served with a hot cup of coffee. However, like other brioche types of breads and sticky buns, these rolls are a little high on the butter and sugar content. For that reason, it’s best to have them as an occasional treat rather than a regular breakfast item. But if you’re like me and prefer to have these delicious rolls more often than occasionally, then I suggest that the best way to enjoy them is to eat them slowly….savor each morsel of the soft, warm bread and the sweet, chewy caramel filling…have one roll…then two ….if you really must, have three….. then get on the treadmill and run for your life.

Ingredients

Dough:
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
5-6 cups self raising flour
2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 Tbs ground cinnamon
Ground peanuts

Glaze: 
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbs warm water
Vanilla essence

IMG_1795_blog

Instructions

  1. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the eggs.
  2. Place the milk and water in a large saucepan. Heat over a low setting until it reaches about 37 degrees celcius.
  3. Combine the milk and water mixture with the batter. Add the cinnamon, yeast and salt. Mix the ingredients well.
  4. Gradually add in the flour, beating well.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes until well blended.
  6. Place the dough into a well-oiled bowl and set aside to rest for about 1-1.5 hours.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a 14 x 20 inch rectangle.
  8. Using your fingers, gently cover the dough’s surface with the butter.
  9. Combine the brown sugar, ground peanuts and cinnamon for the filling. Sprinkle the filling over the buttered dough.
  10. Carefully roll the dough then pinch the seams, sealing it well.
  11. Liberally cover a large sheet tray with butter and sprinkle the bottom with brown sugar.
  12. Cut the dough into about 16 pieces and place onto the sheet tray.
  13. Cover the dough with cling wrap and allow it to rise for about 1.5 hours.
  14. Place in a preheated 175 degree (celcius) oven and bake for about half an hour.
  15. When the rolls have finished baking, remove from the oven and allow it to rest about 5 minutes.
  16. Combine the powdered sugar, water and vanilla essence to make the glaze. Turn the rolls out onto a serving platter and top with the

Bicho Bicho

Bicho Bicho is a traditional Filipino doughnut so good they had to name it twice. It’s great for breakfast especially served with a hot cup of coffee. Even better, its great dipped in melted chocolate. The only draw back is that it can be a little time consuming to make, so it’s best to cook it when you have adequate time. It’s a favourite Filipino sweet bread and most Filipino bakeries make them. Unfortunately, if there are no Filipino bakeries in your area, then you have a problem that only time and a bit of baking can solve. Or you can eat a regular cinnamon doughnut and dip it in melted chocolate – if you squint hard enough and use your imagination, it’s almost like a bicho bicho. But not quite.

IMG_2111_1

To make the real thing, first you have to wash your hands, roll up your sleeves and collect the following ingredients:

1 C lukewarm water
2 Tbs active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 C self raising flour

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and allow it to rise about 30 mins.

Add:

1/2 C melted butter.
2 eggs, beaten.
1 C sugar
2 C self raising flour

Beat the dough well. Cover and allow it to rise about 1.5 hours.

Punch the dough down. Turn out onto a floured surface and add more flour if the dough is too soft to handle.

Divide the dough into two portions.

Cover and allow it to rest for about 20 mins.

Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 8x 1 inch strips.

Cover and allow the dough to rise for about 1.5 hours.

Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Roll in caster sugar and serve warm.

Ginataang Kalabasa

Ginataang Kalabasa is one of my favourite dishes and is delicious served on a bed of boiled Jasmine rice. You can pretty much use any cut of fish, chicken or meat with the dish. I prefer to use smoked cod, however my mother sometimes makes it with salted dried fish which is also great.

Ginataang Kalabasa | May You Cook It

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups of cubed squash
2 Tbs fish paste
1 fillet of smoked cod, cut into cubes
3 pieces of filleted fish, cut into cubes
1/2 kilo of prawn, shelled and deveined (optional)
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
3 Tbs fish sauce
2 pieces long chili
1/2 ginger root, finely cut
2 Tbs cooking oil
Parsley for garnishing

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes, ginger, chicken stock, squash, fish paste and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add fish, prawns, coconut cream, fish sauce and chili. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Doughnuts

It’s getting noticeably cooler these days as Summer begins to make way for Autumn. The hot, balmy mornings are gradually being replaced by cool, fresh ones. It’s just the right weather for waking up to a tall cup of coffee and warm freshly made doughnuts on lazy weekend mornings.

IMG_1844
Most doughnut recipes take a long time to make and though its generally enjoyable to make traditional raised doughnuts, sometimes I just want to whip up a quick batch for breakfast. Thankfully, I’d come across a doughnut recipe in the past which I recently (and gratefully) dug out again. Its an uncomplicated recipe and great if you want to make doughnuts but do not have the time or inclination to make the traditional raised kind.

Ingredients

Doughnut 
1 cup milk
4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
4 Tbs oil

Chocolate Glaze 

1 cup icing sugar
2 Tbs hot water
2 Tbs melted butter
2 Tbs hot drinking chocolate

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat milk until warm. Add yeast and 1/4 cup sugar. Allow it to stand about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 cup sugar and mashed potatoes. Add the milk mixture and oil.
  3. Mix the dough well.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the ingredients have combined well (about 8 minutes)
  5. Roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Cut the doughnut shapes.
  7. Set the dough aside and prepare the glaze.
  8. Heat the oil then fry the doughnuts until golden (ensure your oil is about 375F to prevent the doughnuts becoming soggy).
  9. Drain the doughnuts on kitchen paper.
  10. Dip one side of the doughnut into the glaze and add sprinkles if desired.

Glaze

  1. Mix the icing sugar, water and butter until well combined.2
  2. Mix in the powdered chocolate. Add more or less to taste. If you prefer a thinner glaze, add a little more hot water to the mixture.
  3. Cover one side of the cooked doughnuts in glaze. You can also sprinkle toppings on top of the glaze if you prefer.

Serve warm.