Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 2010 Daring Baker's Challenge: Traditional British Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.
I wanted to be very accurate and British, I wanted to use suet, I really did, but try as I might, I don't remember ever seeing it here in Manila. I toyed with the idea of going to the wet market to procure fresh suet, or something like it. But in the end, I had to concede that I'd have to use a substitute. Although, we were advised that shortening (or Crisco) would be a better stand-in, I chose to go with butter. First because butter tasted better, and second because--well, I wanted my pudding to taste better.
I would lurk in the forums almost daily, reading how everyone else had an easy time making their pudding. I wasn't too confident about it first. I was more familiar with American style puddings. So I had to familiarize myself with the directions first, I read and re-read it until I felt like I could do it. I wanted the first try to be good enough because I wasn't sure if anyone would eat it here at home.
For my "suet" pastry I just substituted butter and added baking powder and salt to my all-purpose flour, because it's almost next to impossible finding self-raising flour here. It was fairly simple, much like making pie crust.
Next for the filling I chose something that would be familiar to us since I don't think "steak and kidney" pudding would be appetizing for my friends and family. I chose Chicken Pastel which is Filipino Chicken Pot Pie. I thought it was perfect because basically they were almost the same.
Lo and behold, it was easy and everyone liked it. I used my old steamer but the only problem was I couldn't find the cover so I used a stainless steel tray and weighed it down with a marble mortar. I steamed them ( I actually ended up with 2) for 3 hours and the color of the crust was perfect. Just the golden brown I wanted.
Here is the sliced version of my pudding

Type 1 Puddings — suet crusts.
Pudding Crust for both Savoury Pudding or Sweet Pudding (using suet or a suet substitute):
(250 grams/12 ounces) Self-raising flour (Note* If you cannot find self-raising flour, use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder.)
(175 grams/6 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(a pinch) Salt and pepper (Note* If making a savory dish, can be replaced with spices for sweet if wished.)
(210 millilitres/a little less than a cup) Water (Note* You can use a milk or a water and milk mix for a richer pastry.)

1. Mix the flour and suet together.
2. Season the flour and suet mixture with salt and pepper if savory and just a bit of salt and/or spices if sweet.
3. Add the water, a tablespoonful at a time, as you mix the ingredients together. Make up the pastry to firm an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. The liquid amounts are only an estimate and most recipes just say water to mix.
4. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will be too hard.
5. Reserve a quarter for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
* I had to refrigerate my crust at this point because the butter was melting in the summer heat
6. At this point add your filling.. a couple of options are give below but have fun and go wild!7. Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the basin, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal.
8. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil – pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
9. Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often. There is a lot of leeway in this steaming time and different recipes give different steaming times. Delia Smith says 5 hours for Steak and kidney where as Mrs Beeton says 2.5 for a similar dish! One way to tell that it is cooked is when the pastry changes colour and goes from white to a sort of light golden brown. It is also hard to over steam a pudding so you can leave it bubbling away until you are ready.
* I steamed my pudding for 3 hours

Chicken Pastel Filling:
30m ml Olive Oil
250 grams Chicken Breasts
100 grams Chorizo Bilbao
50 grams Onions, minced
100 grams Button Mushrooms, sliced
30 grams All-purpose flour
500 ml Chicken stock
100 grams Carrots, peeled and diced
Preheat pan with olive oil. Saute onions, add chicken and chorizo. Cook for a few minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Add carrots and mushrooms. Add flour to mixture and stir while cooking. Add in chicken stock and stir well, making sure that flour is cooked and does not form lumps. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Add to pastry.
*The verdict--everyone liked it at work because the filling was familiar to them, and they loved the buttery crust. I wanted to make the sweet pudding too but I didn't have time so I might make a separate post for that later on. Now that I know what to expect, I will experiment with more fillings and perhaps one day try the "steak and kidney". Thanks Esther for this challenge!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Better Late Than Never Kulinarya Cooking Club April 2010-- Polvoron

I joined another cooking club, yay! So, aside from the Daring Bakers and the Daring Cooks, I have Kulinarya Cooking Club which I'm super excited about because it's all about Filipino Cuisine! I was a little harassed this month with all the activities. I wasn't able to join the yahoogroups on time and so, I am late. But thanks to the patience of Trisha of http://sugarlace.com, here I am.

The recipe for this month is Polvoron, a childhood favorite of mine. Although, I have eaten this treat a lot, I must confess, I haven't made it yet. So I called up my niece (daughter of my cousin) Maui and asked for her recipe. She gave me her basic recipe which she got from our grandmother's old magazine way back.

All Purpose Flour 3/4 cup
Powdered Milk 1/2 cup
Refined Sugar 1/2 cup
Butter 1/4 cup

Toast flour in a preheated pan (no oil) until it becomes golden in color, do not overcook. Take off heat. Add powdered milk, refined sugar and butter. Mix well, butter will melt as it gets combined with the toasted flour.

*I didn't have powdered milk and I wanted it to have another flavor, so I used one packet of Swissmiss rich chololate powder. I also added more butter.

I melted 150 grams of Bittersweet couverture chocolate and covered some of the polvoron with it. It was messy but it was worth the clean up after :)

I didn't have a polvoron molder at home so I used the melon baller to make my shapes.

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 2010 Daring Cooks Challenge- A pan-Southern Classic

I finished my April challenge way ahead of time. It was the lenten season here in Manila and there were two (2) non-working holidays which meant time on my hands. Yay! No rushing!
The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.
Brunswick Stew has a long, and oft debated history. Brunswick, Georgia claimed that the first Brunswick Stew was created there in 1898. There is, at the Golden Isles Welcome Center on Interstate 95, a bronzed stew pot with a plaque proclaiming this fact.
However, Brunswick, Virginia claims that the first Brunswick Stew was created there by a camp cook named Jimmy Matthews in 1828, for a hunting expedition led by Dr. Creed Haskings, a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years. He was said to have used squirrel in the original Brunswick Stew created for the group when they returned. The hunters were at first skeptical of the thick, hearty concoction, but upon tasting it, were convinced and asked for more.
Every year, there is an Annual Brunswick Stew Cookoff that pits ‘Stewmasters’ from both Virgina and Georgia against their counterparts, and takes place every October in Georgia.
In the early 20th Cent, the rivalry of the two Brunswicks helped make this dish as popular as it is today, and it quickly became a pan-Southern classic. Some recipe call for the original addition of squirrel, but most allow for chicken, turkey, ham, or pork, even beef on occasion. Rabbit is also used. The vegetables can vary widely from variation to variation, however, the Brunswick Stewmasters recipe says *exactly* what is used in competion stews, and states that “Adding any additional ingredient(s) will disqualify the stew from being an original Brunswick Stew.”

All the yummy goodness of a hearty stew

However, most agree that, Brunswick stew is not done properly “until the paddle stands up in the middle.”

We were given 2 recipes, one long and one short. I chose to make the long version because I'm a firm believer that longer cooking time makes it more tasty and develops the flavors better.

Recipe One, the Long Way-From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Serves about 12
1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced
2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned
1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Sunday Chicken Broth
2 Bay leaves
2 large celery stalks
2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped
3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped
2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen
1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
Tabasco sauce to taste
*I used ham, chicken and carabao (water buffalo) sausages for my meats
*Instead of Sunday chicken broth, I made ham stock by boiling ham bones, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, peppercorns and bayleaf for 3 hours and straining the liquid
1-In the largest stockpot you have, which is hopefully larger than the 5 qt ones I have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.
2- Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Remove to bowl with bacon and chiles, add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.
3- Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, rabbit, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of chicken or rabbit floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.
4- With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.5 After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.
5- Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.
6 You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side
*I was surprised by how tasty the stew was. I ate some of it right away and then packed away the rest in the fridge. I brought it with me to work after two days, and the flavors became more pronounced as it was reheated. My friends loved it and pretty soon the steaming bowls of stew were emptied and pronounced as "one of the best we've ever tasted!"
Thank you Wolf for this challenge!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is it a Spring Roll or a Salad?

I think the intense heat of this year's summer has been affecting my mood. I feel so lethargic which is so not me--not energetic at all. If I had a choice I would be eating salad for every single meal of the day. But alas, that is not possible at the moment so every chance I get, I have salad and fruits. Papaya in the morning with my toast and coffee. Ripe yellow mangoes with my lunch and a banana with yogurt for my afternoon snack. But sometimes, when I'm not lethargic I make a simple salad from raw papaya and carrots. All the good stuff. Then I wrap it in a crepe flecked with parsley to make it pretty with some grilled chicken and salad greens thrown in for good measure.


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
parsley, roughly chopped

Mix all ingredients, except the parsley in a bowl and whisk until smooth and lump-free. Pass through a sieve. Add chopped parsley and whisk again. Preheat a teflon pan, brush it with a little oil and drop 1/4 cup of the mixture. Swirl the pan to evenly distribute the batter. After about a minute, the crepe will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Move the pan to make sure crepe is cooked and not stuck to the bottom. Slide on to a plate. Repeat until batter is finished. Crepes can be stored in the refrigerator. Cut wax paper and put between crepes, cover with cling wrap.

I found an excellent recipe for fresh spring rolls and sauce from The Filipino- American Kitchen by Jennifer M. Aranas which I incorporated into this salad:


2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider)

2 teaspoons soysauce

Mix all ingredients together to combine. Set aside.


1 teaspoon Olive Oil

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Ginger, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 cup Tamarind Juice

1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce

Heat oil and saute garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat, add tamarind juice and hoisin sauce. Stir and cool.

Transfer to a sauce dispenser and set aside. This glaze can keep for a week inside the refrigerator.


I peeled and sliced raw papaya and carrots into even sized matchstick pieces. Tossed it in some of the dressing.

Lay one crepe, put salad greens on the bottom, layer the papaya and carrots. Top with grilled chicken. Roll crepe carefully and drizzle with the hoisin-tamarind glaze.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mango Mousse Chiffon Cake

Summer is definitely here to stay...the weather is unusually warm even by tropical country standards. Is this the effect of El Nino? Even the breeze is not refreshing, it's hot and sticky.
Heavy food won't be appreciated, no hot stews, just fruits and salads thank you! In deciding what kind of cake to bake, I kept these things in mind...just light and refreshing. No rich chocolate this time.
And this is what I came up with...Chiffon cake flavored with white tea with a dash of refreshing green color. And definitely sweet yellow mango mousse, enrobed in Italian meringue and drizzled with mango puree...uuhm yummy! The colors are all light and summery.

Chiffon Cake
Cake flour 125 grams
Refined Sugar 125 grams
Salt 2.5 grams
Baking Powder 6.25 grams
Vegetable Oil 62.5 grams
Egg yolks 3 pieces
Water 100 ml
Vanilla extract 3 ml
White tea leaves 1 teaspoon
Green food coloring 1/4 teaspoon
Egg whites 3 pieces
Refined Sugar 62.5 grams
Cream of Tartar 1.25 grams

Grease the bottom and line with parchment paper a 9-inch x 2 inch round cake pan. Do not grease the sides, set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
Combine cake flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Steep the tea leaves in hot water. Make a well in the center and pour vegetable oil, green food coloring, steeped tea, vanilla and egg yolks. Use a wire whisk to mix the ingredients making sure that no lumps remain. Set aside.
In the bowl of your Kitchenaid mixer, using the whip attachment, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and whisk until stiff peaks, do not overmix.
Gently fold in the egg yolk mixture into the beaten egg whites, being careful not to deflate them. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes. Immediately turn the pan upside down on a cooling tray until cool.

Mango Mousse
All purpose cream or light whipping cream 300 ml
Mango puree 200 grams
Unflavored gelatine 1 sachet
Water 110 ml
Refined sugar 70 grams

Pour contents of gelatine sachet in the cold water, set aside to bloom, about 10 minutes. Melt over double boiler, or in the microwave oven for 1 minute. Set aside.
With the whip attachment of your Kitchenaid mixer, whisk all purpose cream until light and fluffy. Carefully add the sugar a little at a time, add the mango mousse. Pour the melted gelatine into the bowl and continue whipping until the mixture is triple in volume. Keep cool.

Italian Meringue
Egg whites 4 pieces
Refined Sugar 1 cup
Water 1/2 cup

Cook sugar and water until sugar is dissolved and mixture is boiling. Whip the egg whites until stiff and carefully add the boiling mixture on the sides of the bowl while continuously mixing. Whip on high speed for 3 minutes. Continue whipping on medium speed until completely cool.

Slice the chiffon cake horizontally into 3. Lay the first layer on your cake board or plate. Place a cake ring over it. Pour one half of the mango mousse making sure it is evenly spread out. Top with the second cake layer Pour the remaining mango mousse. Top with the last cake layer. Refrigerate overnight.
Carefully remove the cake ring. And cover the cake with the Italian meringue. Pipe rosettes on top and drizzle with mango puree.