June 9, 2008


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pastel halo-halo topped with ube macapuno ice cream

Our weather has been rather wacky since Saturday. When I woke up Saturday at 7 AM it was foggy and the temperature was 85 degrees F which is unusually warm at this time of the year. By 10 AM the temperature rose to a scorching 95 with a heat index of 100 degrees. And it was more of the same 90+ yesterday and it's going to be hot hot hot today until tomorrow. Although the AC is on I still feel warm and have to use my paypay (hand-held fan). The only cool thing about this hot weather is I am motivated to make halo-halo, literally mix-mix, which is a Filipino dessert/snack composed of a mixture of sweet things such as leche flan (custard), saba banana in syrup, ube jam, white beans in syrup, glutinous rice crispies, jackfruit, sweet red beans, macapuno preserves, kaong (palm fruits) topped with shaved ice, milk, and a scoop of ice cream served in a tall glass. You can add any sweet stuff in halo-halo, check out Dale's halo-halo, and it will surely keep your cool in the summer heat. Aah, I don't mind eating halo-halo all day long.:-)

sweet saba bananas, macapuno preserves, buco-pandan nata de coco,
kaong, leche flan, jackfruit, and pinipig brittle

June 6, 2008

The Best Salted Duck Eggs

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I love the oily bright orange yolk and the soft silky white

More than I month ago I wrote about making salted (pickled) duck eggs and now I can confidently declare that homemade is definitely the best. The amount of salt in the recipe is perfect, IMHO, which can be adjusted if you want the eggs saltier to suit your taste. If you can find fresh duck eggs in your farmer's market and you have the patience to wait 30 days, it's worth all the effort. I'm not recommending using ordinary chicken eggs because their yolks don't have enough fat to make that yummy oily salty yolks. I am buying more this Saturday to have a steady supply of salted duck eggs for salads or to top baked rice cakes called bibingka.

baked rice cake topped with fresh white cheese and salted duck egg

tomato and salted duck egg salad, our all-time favorite side dish

June 2, 2008

A Trio Of Goodies

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digestive biscuits, perfect with preserved fruits or creamy cheeses

jaffa cakes: yummy spongy cakes with orange jam and chocolate

buttery crunchy shortbread cookies
In our three-year stay in Hong Kong we developed a taste for snacks from the UK such as McVitie's digestive biscuits, St. Michael's jaffa cakes, crumpets, and salt & vinegar potato crisps, Carr's table water crackers, and other goodies with odd names. We love the digestive biscuits with a thin layer of caramel under a layer of milk chocolate or the ones with just a layer of milk chocolate. The jaffa cakes are our absolute favorite but I can't find in our area the McVitie's and the St. Michael's brands, I buy the LU Pim's which is also good.

The other day I made a small Strawberry Marshmallow Pie and used up the last packet of plain digestive biscuits. I want to make more of the pie (it was delicious!) so I made one batch of digestive biscuits and since I'm heating up the oven anyway, I also made jaffa cakes, and a few shortbread cookies too. The jaffa cakes are not bad but can't compare with the melt-in-your-mouth store bought cakes. The digestive biscuits however are very good and the shortbread cookies are superb, both make very good crusts for strawberry pie and for snacking. I can't stop eating the shortbread cookies, they are so yummy!:-)

Wheat Thins (Digestive Biscuits)
1½ cups fine stoneground whole wheat flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup butter
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put all the ingredients in the food processor and process until the mixture starts to clump. Transfer into a flat surface, gather the dough together with your hands and roll out.
  • Stamp out 18 round pieces with a 3-inch cutter. Place on silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes until the edges begin to color. Leave to cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Jaffa Cakes
½ cup superfine sugar
2 eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup orange jam or marmalade
2 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4½ ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar and eggs until light and frothy, when the whisk leaves a ribbon when lifted. Sift the flour over the mixture and stir in gently using a large metal spoon.
  • Divide the mixture among 18 regular muffin molds. Bake for 10 minutes until just firm and color is pale golden around the edges. Using a metal spatula transfer the cakes into a rack to cool.
  • Heat the jam and pass through a fine sieve. Return the strained jam to the pan and add the water and gelatin and cook until gelatin has dissolved. Transfer into a small bowl and let cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until it has thickened a bit. Spoon a little of the jam in the center of each cookie. Melt the chocolate and spoon a little on top of the cookies, spreading gently to the edges. Leave to set for at least an hour.
Sugar-crusted Shortbread Rounds
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon rice flour
½ cup butter
¼ cup superfine sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
raw sugar
golden superfine sugar
  • Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, rice flour, and salt and stir into the butter mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Working quickly, gather the dough together and put on a work surface. Knead lightly until it forms a ball. Roll into a sausage shape, about 3 inches thick. Put in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pour about 3 tablespoons raw sugar onto a sheet of parchment paper. Unwrap the dough and roll it on the sugar until evenly coated. Using a sharp knife, slice into ½ inch-thick disks. Place disks onto the baking sheets, leaving space in between and bake for 20 -25 minutes until pale golden in color.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with golden superfine sugar. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

June 1, 2008

Pork And Chicken Adobo

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I have been blogging for almost two years now and just realized I have written about adobo only two times, both with Cornish game hens. Considering adobo is our (unofficial) national dish, I should probably feature it more often. I make this dish once a month, a different version (and meat) each time. In the Philippines, the different regions have their own versions, some have onions and chicken livers, others add coconut milk with pieces of green papaya, and some in the Northern provinces don't use soy sauce and the result is a white sauce-less adobo which is really yummy. Another way to prepare adobo is marinating the meat and then browned in oil before stewing in the marinade. I also remember my mother used to cook frog legs adobo with annatto seed oil.

I don't have a recipe that I follow and I don't measure the ingredients. And just like my mother, I taste it after stewing for 15 minutes and adjust the seasonings right then, taste and adjust some more if necessary after the dish is done.

Chicken And Pork Adobo
2 pounds chicken, cut into pieces
1 pound pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
½ cup cider vinegar (I use the Filipino cane vinegar called sukang Iloko)
½ cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
1 head garlic, peeled and pounded
2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
½ cup water
pitted Spanish olives, optional
  • Place the meats in a saucepan and add vinegar, sherry, black pepper, salt, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaf, and 2 T olive oil. Let stand for 1 hour.
  • Turn the heat on high and let come to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until the sauce is almost dry. Add the water and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes until the meats are tender and sauce has thickened. There should be plenty of sauce but not too soupy.
  • Add the olives, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf and discard, drizzle the remaining olive oil and transfer into a serving dish. Serve with steamed rice.
I also love this Portuguese Turkey Adobado which is from my cookbook THE FOOD OF SPAIN AND PORTUGAL by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz.

Pavo Adobado (marinated Turkey)
one 5 - 9 pound turkey, cut into serving pieces
For the marinade
4 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3 - 6 cups dry white wine, or enough to cover
  • In a bowl large enough to hold the turkey pieces, combine the turkey with all the marinade ingredients. Refrigerate overnight, turning the pieces once or twice. Lift out and pat dry the turkey pieces with paper towels, set aside. Strain and reserve marinade, discarding the solids.
For the turkey
4 - 6 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet and saute turkey until lightly browned. Do this in batches, if necessary, adding oil as needed. Lift out the turkey into a casserole. In the oil remaining in the pan saute the the onion and garlic until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture is thick and well blended. Add to the casserole together with the cinnamon stick and cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the reserved marinade, cover and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 2 - 3 hours. Serve with rice and a light dry red wine.
I have come across numerous adobo recipes using various meats and seafood and I'm thinking of putting together an 'adobo cookbook' and will print it in my home. If you want to contribute your family's recipe please post it in the comments section or email it to me at oggi.icandothat(AT)gmail(DOT)com. I will try to cook the different recipes as much as I can and hope to hear from you soon. ^_^

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