Sticky Orange Cake

Who knew that orange would be a fantastic flavor for a cake?  I certainly didn’t.  I didn’t even want to find out.  But with several oranges in the fridge in danger of spoiling (and we were getting tired of orange juice), I was desperate!

Basically, I substituted the milk in a vanilla cake recipe with orange juice and added the zest to the batter.

Then, following a friend’s suggestion, I spread orange marmalade on the top of the cake immediately, right out of the oven.

Wow!!!!  It was simply fantastic!!!  Even my usually picky mom did not complain at all…

 

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Puffy Omelette

It wasn’t supposed to be a puffy omelette. What I wanted to do was make a souffléd omelette, which I saw online from Bon Appetit.

But as you can see, something went wrong with my dish… and I tried to follow the recipe faithfully, too!

The kid took one look and said it looked like a big mouth eating worms!

Uh… not a pretty picture!!!

But, the dish tasted ok… at least!

Hahahaha!

 

 

I AM A FILIPINO ADOBO

When I have time to waste, I always go to the bookstore and browse the cookbook section.  It was in one of those moments that I found a cookbook that I could not resist buying.  It was rather expensive, I admit, but after flipping through the pages, I just had to add it to my collection.

The first time I saw the book, it was the digital version.  With the limited browsing facility of Amazon, it did not interest me at all – there are, after all, MANY MANY cookbooks on Philippine food (both local and international) and most of my recipes were given to me by word-of-mouth.  I honestly did not need another one!

But curiosity got the better of me and with the permission of the bookstore personnel, I unwrapped the book and took a deeper look.  And, I swear, there is something about the smell of the pages, as well as the feel of the paper, that has a stronger appeal than the digital version!  In a matter of seconds, I made the decision to fork over the cash!

What I love about this cookbook is that the recipes are very close to what I have been taught (by word-of-mouth) by my mom, our faithful helper (who was with us since I was a child until after I finished schooling (at age 25!), and other elders.  Another thing that I really liked was that the food titles were in Filipino, with an English subtitle.  I’ve seen Filipino cookbooks (by Filipino authors no less!) who write their recipes with English translations, with the original Filipino title relegated to a sub-title, and I felt offended!

Sigh.

Anyway, the first recipe I tried in the book is the Adobong Manok at Baboy (Classic Adobo).  Why?  Well, because it is almost (almost!) the exact recipe my mom dictated to me a couple of decades ago!

While I have several recipes of adobo, depending on who taught me, this is the easiest to remember so I never wrote that recipe down.  All I have to remember is … ONE.

1 cup white vinegar (Datu Puti was what we had), 1 cup soy sauce (the Chinese favorite with the bird logo), 1 whole head of garlic, 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, 1 large bay leaf, 1 kilo of chicken and/or pork, and 1 heaping spoon of guava jelly (though this was optional).  The only other ingredient without a specific measure is the water – basically add enough water to cover everything.  That’s it.

The major difference is that in my mom’s version, there is no marinating the meat.  Just put everything in a pot (kaserola) and simmer until the meat is soft and tender (depending on the pork cubes, it could be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour).  That’s it.

Oh, there is another difference… we usually add hard boiled eggs midway!

Yum. Yum. Yum!!!

 

 

Homemade Char Siew

Char Siew, or Chinese BBQ Pork, also known as Asado locally, is one of my childhood favorites.  There was this place in Chinatown where my mom used to buy char siew – it was the best in town!

These days it is not easy to find good char siew,  It seems like just every Chinese restaurant has its version and it is not necessarily a good one… but there is one place I found, a virtual hole-in-a-wall place relatively near, where the char siew is good enough.  They have good lechon macao (known as roast pork) also.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to make a homemade one and this one seems to be the best – and guess what?  It is not even roasted!

I found the recipe online from a lady who calls herself a “Domestic Goddess Wannabe“.  Her recipe and instructions are very clear, and I followed her recipe exactly!

(well, except that my pork shoulder marinated for about 4 to 5 days!  although I had intended to marinate only for a night, and scheduled the char siew for lunch the next day, something came up and I didn’t have the opportunity to cook it until about 5 days later!)

Verdict?

Success!  Hubby likes it!  It is moist and perfect!

Success!  I like it!  It is easy to make!!!!!

 

Spicy Tuyo Linguini

When I was young, tuyo was preserved by being salted and then dried under the sun.  We would dip it in vinegar with chopped garlic and use it as viand for rice, especially in the morning.

It was good eats, except that to cook it, it was fried and the smell it exuded was… let’s just say the whole neighborhood definitely knew someone was eating tuyo.

Since then I’ve learned that the English name for tuyo is herring.  And these days, it is available as gourmet food, preserved in olive oil.  It was ready straight from the bottle, which I definitely liked!  No more telling smell!!!

Recently though, I discovered that the gourmet bottled tuyo could be made into gourmet pasta!  And it was so easy!

I first saw the recipe by Jamie Oliver (which is easy enough as it is) and I actually made it his way once before, using the dried tuyo.  But a friend told me of an easier way!

Basically, 1 bottle of tuyo in olive oil is good for 500grams of spaghetti.  Saute garlic in some olive oil; then throw in some chopped tomatoes, a handful of chopped .  Dump the contents of the whole bottle into the pan and when heated through, add the cooked pasta.

Squeeze some lemon juice over the top just before serving!

Pineapple Tarts for CNY

Yes, yes, I know.  I need to practice more to make the tart shells even and nice…

But I am happy to say that after several attempts, I finally found a tart shell/crust recipe that hubby (and the kid) likes!  The only problem?  It is a fragile one, and does not keep well!

More than that, I found a recipe for the pineapple filling that used weight!  Most of the recipes I found specified the number of pineapples to use and my problem with that is the varying sizes of pineapples!!!!

The recipe is from Bake for Happy Kids.  I scaled down the recipe because I was intending to make only a dozen or two at most.  Also, I grated the pineapple instead of using the food processor (the filling was very chunky, but as it turns out, hubby preferred it!).

Happy Chinese New Year (of the Earth Piggy)!

Brownie Ice Cream Pie

I’ve made brownie pies before, as well as ice cream pies, but this time around, I decided to combine them!

Why? Well, I have stuff sitting in the freezer for a while now…

Like an Oreo crust… chocolate ice cream… vanilla ice cream…

But for the brownie layer, I decided to try out Sebastian’s Remarkably Wonderful Brownies –

Image captured from my ebook copy of Dorie’s Cookies

I used the weight proportions and halved the recipe (the pie pan was a 9-in round while the recipe was for a 13×9-in pan) and baked the pie for about 20 minutes.

And because I was very impatient, I shoved the pan into the freezer 15 minutes after I took it out of the oven!

After about an hour, I spread vanilla ice cream over the top of the frozen brownie and put the chocolate ice cream on top (the chocolate ice cream was just a couple of largish spoonfuls, being the bottom of the container already!) and very lightly swirled the ice creams to make a marbled effect…

The kid was very excited to taste it but I said the ice cream had to set first (it had become melty you see)…

But it was well worth the wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Soooooooooo, sooooooo yummy!

Sunshine Peaches & Cream Cake

I made peach danish last weekend… and had some pastry cream and peach halves left over. Not wanting more peach danish, I decided to make cake!

While I already have a “perfect” vanilla cake recipe, decided to try a different recipe. Guess where I found it?

My friends know that I collect recipes and cookbooks. I like new, off the bookstore shelf books, as well as ebooks. But i also keep a lookout for nice pre-owned ones… this particular recipe for “vanilla cake” is a recipe written on paper that was stuck in between pages of a second-hand cookbook that I bought in a bazaar!

(recipe copied as written)

I thought this could be the perfect time to try it out! I wanted only a small cake, so I halved the recipe…

and then I discovered that I DID NOT have buttermilk! I thought of making the substitute of milk and vinegar, but realized that I had used up all my milk to make the pastry cream!!!!!! I was contemplating using plain water when my eyes chanced upon the syrup that was drained from the canned peaches! So I thought of using it (and maybe infusing the cake with a bit of peach flavor???) and reducing the sugar a bit (because the syrup is very sweet already).

My adapted, halved recipe –

1/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tbsp vanilla (mine is homemade)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 325F. Line and butter a 5×3-inch round pan.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and mix well, until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, rotate midway. Cool completely.

After the cake cooled completely, spread the pastry cream all over the top.

Slice 4 peach halves into quarters to make 8 pieces. Arrange the peach quarters around the edge of the pan (to look like petals or rays) then place a peach half in the center. Lightly brush the top with peach glaze (heat the peach syrup until reduced and thick).  (Someone suggested that it would be better to pour clear gelatin over the top in the style of Crema de Fruita…)

Chill and enjoy!!!

Peach Danish

I dream of food (truly!) and it is not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night and scribble on my trusty cellphone the food ideas that I had dreamed of.  This peach danish was one such instance.

We had planned to serve cake for the kid’s piano teacher’s snack.  But having dreamed of a lovely peach danish, the cake idea had been shelved and I set about making the peach danish.  Up front, I have to say that we in a tropical country where peaches do not grow.  This is not to say that fresh peaches were not available, but when they were available, their prices were sky-high and so I simply got a can of peach halves from the supermarket and drained them.

For the recipes, I turned to Michel Roux’s 1994 book “Desserts:  A Lifelong Passion”

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Of course the first thing to do is to make the puff pastry, which is the base of the danish.  I am not an expert by any means and this was my first attempt.  It was not quite what I had envisioned.  In short, I needed more practice.

BUT Teacher F was scheduled to arrive in about 4 hours so I abandoned the homemade puff pastry idea and rushed to the baking supply store and bought puff pastry.  And to make things even easier for me, I got the one that was already cut into 4-inch squares!

Problem?  Lunch with hubby extended 30 minutes past my schedule and Teacher F arrived thirty minutes early!  This meant I had about 45 minutes to finish my peach danish otherwise Teacher F would have no snack at all!!!!!

The first thing I did was make the pastry cream.  I halved the recipe since I was planning to make just 4 pieces of peach danish. And I used vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, as well as vanilla sugar.

3 egg yolks
60 grams vanilla sugar
20 grams flour
250 ml full fat milk

Mix a third of the sugar with the egg yolks until “light ribbon consistency” as specified in Roux’s recipe.  Stir in the flour and mix well; set aside.  Heat the milk and remaining sugar in a heavy saucepan until almost boiling.  Pour about one third of the heated milk into the egg yolk mixture, mix well and add the egg yolk mixture back to the milk mixture.  Continue heating over low heat and stir constantly for about 2 minutes.

Roux’s recipe had instructions how to cool the pastry cream faster but I did not have a marble work surface so I just poured the pastry cream into a glass baking pan (13×9-in) and stirred it lightly with a spatula.

Meanwhile, I cut the puff pastry into rounds and folded the edge to form a “wall”.  I pricked the inner circle and placed about 2 tablespoons of pastry cream in the middle.  I topped the whole thing with a peach half with the dome facing out.  It went into a (preheated) 400*F oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.  Midway through, I brushed the top with peach glaze and back into the oven it went.  After the edges are slightly browned, I took the danish out of the oven and brushed it again with peach glaze.

I made it just in the nick of time!  The kid was running down the stairs (and yelling “I’m done, I’m done!) as I snapped a picture of the danish in its serving plate!  I hurriedly brought the peach danish up!

(Somehow, the peach danish in my dream looked waaayyy better than what came out from my oven.  In my dream the puff pastry “hugged” the peach half and no pastry cream was visible.  My finished product was not bad, neither was it ugly, but I think next time I will put a bit less of pastry cream and I would fold the puff pastry right up of the edge of the peach!)

Another Fruitcake

This is the last one, I promise!!!

The recipe for this one looked easy – it mixed in one bowl, with no pre-soaking required.  Best of all, it was ready to eat after baking (and cooling)!

The secret? Condensed milk!

I followed this recipe from Eagle Brand.  But not knowing where to find mincemeat I just used mixed dried fruit, about 2 cups worth.  I also added about half a tablespoon of apple pie spice…

Fast.  Easy.  Delicious.

Yuummmmmm!