Category Archives: hearth-witchery

Chicken Sopas

chickensopas

Quick, light and easy, this soup suits both cold nights and summer days back in the Philippines. Some versions include using diced Tender Juicy Hotdog (which resembles the red-covered frankfurter, but tastes different) or diced ham. This is the simplest version in the family and is also a nice side dish, especially if the chicken is cut into even smaller cubes.

It can also be made with chopped up store-bought roast chicken meat, cutting down the cook time even more.

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Nilagang Baka

nilagang_baka1

Nilagang Baka, or “boiled beef” belies the very delicious and richly satisfying soup that results from the ‘mere’ boiling. Best done with cheaper soup bones with meat still clinging to the bone and with cheaper cuts of beef, my prefered method is to add all the ingredients together and simmer for at least four hours in a large stew pot.

Because I have a large family, when I make this it’s a huge batch, with leftovers that the kids like to have later on. You can reduce the amount of ingredients as needed (Or, for single-person amounts, 1 osso bucco, 1-2 corn cobs, a handful of cabbage, one large carrot, a handful of beans, and two medium potatoes, 1 beef broth cube!)

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Sour Cream Apple Muffins

Delicious treats

Delicious treats

I promised to make Rhys apple muffins for Father’s Day (it’s in September, here in Australia) but I missed it by a day because that Sunday was eaten up by errands. I made these on the same day as the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake so you see the unfrosted cake sitting in the background at in one of the photos.

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The cake is NOT a lie.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for my son Damien’s third birthday today as well as to celebrate the announcement of the first Dragon Awards, which was a joyful success and delight for the fans. Congratulations to the winners!

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Pop Soda Sticky Chicken

sodachicken01

This chicken recipe uses a can of cola, orange soda, or Mountain Dew as a base. I’ve also used this as a recipe base for a slow cooker pork roast (adjusting the amount of ingredients to suit.)  This was a huge hit with the kids and adults alike.

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Japanese Style Curry Bread

 

One of the things I like to eat here in Australia are meat pies. They fit in your hand, are a full meal in one, are served warm, and with a drink can be very satisfying. I’m also fond of pasties for the same reason. I mean, a food you can eat with one hand and a book or magazine in the other is tops for me.

Japanese Curry Bread is one of those delightful concepts where they took a good thing to an entirely new level. Instead of baking the stuffed bread, they dip it in egg, coat in panko bread crumbs and deep fry. Result: Crispy, savoury stuffed doughnut filled with comfort food. How could I not try this? I’ve technically eaten something like this in the Mini Stop shops back in the Philippines, but the dough left my mouth feeling dry; too much baking powder, perhaps? Nevertheless, they were filling, and cheap. But that’s all the way over across an ocean, and I’m in the Land Down Under. So, after my brother-in-law introduced me to a manga called Addicted to Curry, I resolved to make my own. I’m not as obsessive about curry as the folks in Addicted to Curry are, so I use the pre-packaged Japanese roux.

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Easy Chocolate Cake

Easy Chocolate Cake

This is an adapted version of Marta Stewart’s 1 bowl chocolate cake

It’s not as heavy as mudcake, with a good ‘chewy’ mouthfeel, and despite the sugar, isn’t sweet tasting. Combined with the icing, which isn’t that sweet either it makes for a rich cake that makes you feel like you’re eating something decadent enough to slice thinly and enjoy with tea or coffee after dinner, or with friends in the afternoon. The recipe makes 1 8-inch double layer cake. The version pictured above was my successful test; when I made this for Rhys’ birthday, I tinted the frosting blue; one of his favourite colours.

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Blender Sour-Cream Banana Bread

I’m lazy, so mashing bananas until they’re of a suitable consistency doesn’t appeal. However, I do love banana bread, and the kids don’t always get to eat all the bananas I buy for their lunch boxes. Blending the wet ingredients together also mixes them together more thoroughly. I like the use of soured milk or sour cream; it gives the banana bread a slight tang. If you don’t like it you can definitely substitute plain milk.

The picture above was taken only after half the loaf was eaten. Kinda forgot to take the photo; warm banana bread is irresistible. I bet these would make utterly delectable banana cupcakes.

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Lumpia Shanghai

It’s been years since I made some; and none since I moved to Australia. So I made some. The meat mixture makes a good meatball too, but will need some breadcrumbs as binder. Consider the recipe below as a basic starter, and feel free to add other vegetables and seasonings and ingredients for your own lumpia.

I also put in how I wrap them, in case anyone needs a step by step. I hope it helps ^_^

Enjoy!

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Meringues

I’ve been doing a lot of running around on errands so I haven’t posted recently. My blood sugar dropped a lot so I found myself craving sweet things.

So I decided to take the plunge and made meringues for the first time.

Sounds silly I know, but I’ve had this thing about being afraid of screwing up the egg whites. I had a box of egg whites in my fridge that I bought and felt, if I never take the risk, I’ll never do it!

So I made this batch of brain food and boy, am I glad I did! (here’s a BBC Food’s recipe for meringue, it’s slightly different.)

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Leche Flan

One of the easiest Filipino desserts for me to make here in Australia is Leche Flan. The kids love this recipe, but as you can see in the image, the caramel isn’t very dark. That’s because of my family’s preference, so you may need to experiment with the caramel to get it as dark as you like.

I hope you enjoy making this! This is a busy mom version; traditional Leche Flan  uses carefully separated egg yolks, careful hand beating with a whisk, and strains the mixture through cheesecloth several times, resulting in a silky creamy flan. I’m rather lazy and want my delicious treat with minimal effort; my answer to this is to tap the bubbles out and use either a blender or mixer.

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Homemade Wontons


As part of their holiday ‘fun thing’ I taught my eldest how to make chicken wonton filling / chicken meatballs. Eldest boy helped wrap up a few, but I had to take over or else we wouldn’t have dinner on time! Happily my little budding hearth witch mastered the wrapping of wontons quickly. We still have meat so we’ll make a packet of wontons to freeze, and make meatballs out of the rest.

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Starting the year 2015 with Soba

Kitsune Soba

So, I’m back from the hospital with some blood pressure meds I need to take every eight hours. Egh. They really mess with me though, so I have to be careful with how long I stay upright.

Normally at this stage of my pregnancy, I’ll be feeding the baby with the aim of brain and muscle development. However, in the wake of no less than 5 failed cannula attempts (my veins just kept going NOPE!) I have the grip of a three year old. So, while I was planning delicious foods like piroshky and maina to prep and freeze and store for easy reheating and eating, they have to take an unfortunate back-burner for now. Fortunately, the children can be pressed into kitchen service (it’s also good training for them; a seven year old boy is quite capable of peeling potatoes and carrots, and the eldest daughter is capable of chopping that up into little chunks, and with the aid of a food processor slicing up onions is easy – she just has to cut them into quarters and feed through.) I’ll have to have them brown up minced meat with carrots, onions and potatoes and freeze to use as bases for future meals.

My children will grow up to be capable in the kitchen.

I found some enoki mushrooms at the local grocery though! They were on sale too, yay, so I snapped up a packet. I knew I had some aburaage in the pantry, and either soba or udon, so I decided to make something noodle-based for our first dinner of the year. Yeah, I’m not steady enough to do the whole thing proper but fusiony dishes let me get away with this. There were frozen shrimp har gows in the freezer, and to my delight I’m not allergic to this set. I’m going to have to remember that, and buy more in the future.  I had both soba and udon, but decided on the soba because the udon felt like too much to deal with right now, plus it’s more traditional for the Year End Soba” (though I’m making it for the start of the year, since I was too ill yesterday to cook. We went with a different Japanese-holiday-appropriation instead.)

 

Shadowdancer’s Super Lazy Toshikoshi Kitsune Soba with Shrimp Har Gow

 

1 packet aburaage (there were ten pieces in this one) or inari-zushi no moto (they’re the same thing.)

1 liter Campbell’s Chicken Stock

2 Maggi Chicken bouillon cubes

1 small punnet of enoki mushrooms, pulled into strips

1 frozen package of Shrimp Har Gow (feel free to substitute any other dim sum of choice)

Half the packet of this brand of soba” This makes enough for four or five people

(not used this time) Asian greens, such as Chinese cabbage (wom bok), chopped into strips, leeks, spring onions chopped fine, bok choy, as desired

Note: If you have narutomaki fish cakes” , other kamaboko” kamaboko, or anything else you want to add to this, feel free.

1 medium sized pot

In a medium sized pot, pour the chicken stock. Add bouillon cubes and enough water to fill  up to 2/3 of the pot. Add the aburaage with the accompanying liquid. Put in the enoki mushrooms, and bring to a boil at medium heat. Add  the har gow adn cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add the soba, (and greens and naruto) and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Serve in bowls, with chopsticks. Enjoy!

I am, however, having a slice of fruit cake for dessert.  With Lady Grey tea.

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Sticky, yummy, packed with fruit. It’s not boozy, but my time-tested method of improving on store bought fruitcakes is to simply soak them in the brandy or rum of one’s choice in a plastic container for a week. Store bought fruitcakes are also a delight when you’re making boozy fruitcake truffles – just ball up boozed up fruitcake, dip into white glaze, decorate with candied cherries … yum~

 

I keep doin’ this to myself

Elven Fried Bread

 

So, I spent a rather insomniac night craving doughnuts, so I bounced around the Internet, gazing hungrily at doughnut recipes, because I’ve never made doughnuts before.

Well, okay I was also looking up ideas for making black forest truffle balls, because I am seriously, seriously missing me some Red Ribbon Black Forest Cake. ;_; (The last one I had, ever, was thanks to Ford Prefect42 and Akilika! Thank you~! I treasure the memory . )

So thanks to that, I ended up on a blog called Let The Baking Begin! Aaaaaaaaand in the manner that one usually ends up Trapped In TVTropes, by the time I resurfaced, it was 5 am in the morning.

Thanks to that I have a nice recipe for latkes that I want to try sometime. And a recipe for home-made soft cheese.

I am casting the puppy eyes at Rhys to help me make these doughnuts. And possibly fried elven bread – a more savory, salty, as addictive as popcorn bread that I make.

I probably should explain that one a bit more.

When I was a teen/early twenties I was able to get my hands on the Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home Dragonlance sourcebook. To my delight, they had recipes, and one of the recipes was for a travelling fried flat bread sometimes referred to as elven bread because the Kagonesti made the things. Being simple it was one of the first things I made out of the book. Yes, I didn’t make Otik’s Fried Potatoes; I wasn’t very good with spices at the time. Shocking, I know.

(Mutters: I haven’t seen the book since we last moved house. grumbles!)

Baked it was a bit dense and got hard very quickly (we guessed it may have to do with the flour) but my mom and I decided to try the fried version, which is the one favoured by ‘adventurers and wilder elves’, hence the resulting name.

It was good. We ended up with a chewy, addictive bread, but still lacking something.

Flour was cheap. So was oil. Over the next while, we made batches of the fried bread, tweaking and adjusting. My brothers were happy to eat the experiments anyway and we hadn’t had any problems with the amount we made.

I found the notebook I wrote the resulting recipe in (It’s got oil splatter on it, hahaha) so I’m sharing it now. It’s a deep fried, salty, chewy bread, that we make into small balls and eat like popcorn while watching movies or reading books.

 

Elven Fried Bread, inspired from the Dragonlance recipe

Ingredients

2 cup water

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon yeast (I use a granulated yeast) / 1 packet yeast

1/4c (plus more for your hands) olive oil (I tend to use extra virgin olive oil)

Mix 1 cup water, at body-temperature warmth (what I call ‘blood-warm’, since it’s actually warmer than body temperature and hotter than lukewarm) with sugar, and dissolve. Add the yeast and let it grow in the water.

Dissolve the salt in the other cup of water. In a bowl, sift the flour and make a well.

When the yeast has bubbled, pour into the flour and mix to make into a sticky dough. Add about a handful of olive oil and mix it in – this helps make the dough flexible and chewy, as well as adds flavour, and has the side benefit of helping keep the bread from sticking too much to the bowl. You’ll end up with a very sticky, stretchy dough. If you want to knead it you may, but I tend not to.

Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours.

Heat enough cooking oil for deep frying.

Oil hands and pinch off enough bread dough to make a 2-3 cm wide flat circles and slide into the hot oil. Or balls the size of quarters / 20 Australian cent pieces. Fry on both sides till golden brown, drain in a colander with a paper towel on the bottom. Best while hot.

 

The original version sounds a lot like American Fried Dough.

Now if y’all will excuse me I’m gonna make a batch of this stuff, because writing it up made me hungry hungry hungry.

 

 

 

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Chocolate de Tony Modena

This recipe is named after my father, who would make this chocolate on cold autumn and winter nights when we lived in Europe. It is best had while still hot, with bread to dip into it (like brioche, or pan de sal), or excellent with Churros if you know how to make those (‘coz I’m afraid I don’t… yet. As of this writing anyway.)

You may substitute the sugar and butter with the sugar substitute of your choice, and butter-flavoured margarine. I’ve been told by friends that the use of these does not in any way or form detract from the fullness of chocolatey flavour. I am unsure how this would taste if one uses a cow milk substitutes, as the cream of the milk is part of what gives this the rich flavour. Do feel free to experiment and let me know how it goes!

I should warn that this is very addictive stuff, and utterly wonderful comforting delight while reading a book

Ingredients

3/4 cup cocoa powder / Dutch cocoa powder (unsweetened)

3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar

2 1/2 cup evaporated milk OR full cream milk (must be full cream)

125g butter (or 1/2 cup butter) or half a 250g cake of butter

2 teaspoons instant coffee powder (I use Nescafe Blend 43 or 45; or Arabica… but feel free to omit, or substitute a preferred brand This helps enhance the flavour of chocolate and gives it a dark richness and depth.)

1) Cream the butter, sugar and cocoa powder together in a saucepan, the way you would if you were making cookies. If you are using coffee powder, you may add coffee at this point. If using granules I prefer to put it on the next step.

1.b) You have the option of turning this to chocolate tablea, by taking the mixture, rolling it into 1 inch size balls and refrigerating till solid. If making this for tablea, it’s best to use a glass or ceramic bowl. Each 1 inch ball will correspond to roughly 1 mug size serving.

2) When it is well blended, add milk and simmer at medium heat, mixing constantly. When it reaches a boil, lower the heat, add coffee powder and keep stirring till chocolate is of the thickness you wish it to be.

2.b) If having made tablea, pour 1/2 cup milk or cream into a small saucepan and add tablea. Stir as the milk heats to melt the tablea. Prepare as above, diluting with milk until it reaches the thickness you want.

Serve at half-mug servings with toast for dipping, or add warm milk for drinking at each cup. Sinfully good. Makes roughly 4 mugs of undiluted chocolate. Chocolate may be reheated in microwave.

Notes:

  • Here where I live in the Philippines they sell butter in a brick cake that is equal to 1 cup butter / 250g of butter. Some brands go only up to 225g, but the one I use is 250g. I used salted butter. The butter takes place of the butter in melting chocolate if using melting / baking unsweetened chocolate or chips.

**I added the coffee powder so the chocolate tastes extra dark when dipped, out of preference. Taste the chocolate before adding coffee powder so you can adjust for preference in flavour.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!