This is a recipe that we were originally introduced to as a frozen food by my middle brother Al’s Morrocan friends when we lived in Paris in the late 90s. It was basically ‘viande et pommes (du terre)’, and sold in the frozen food section of Leaderprice in 1 kg bags. Despite the unassuming name, the tiny diced potatoes, which had similarly tiny chunks of meat, were deliciously spiced – we could identify pepper, but the rest was a mystery, only hinted at by the fact that the potatoes were yellow-orange in hue when cooked. You just had to pop them in the microwave or stir-fry to enjoy. It was very much a budget cheapie frozen food, as there was much more potato than there was meat!
Believe me, we could each eat one of those bags. It’s a miracle that we didn’t end up massively unhealthily obese then, but we also walked a lot back in those days. Also, teenagers, I suppose.
I started making Japanese style cooked mixed rice as a fairly easy, makes me happy light meal. Takeno Gohan, or Bamboo Rice, is actually by itself pretty filling (to me) but sometimes, I want a bit more and I can add seasoned seaweed, or aburaage, or crispy candied dilis fish. (I didn’t have access to dried dilis at the time but I found them packaged as a coated crispy snack with spicy cornstarch, so I cooked sugar and soy sauce together until it got very thick and sticky and coated the snacks with them to make my own candied dilis. In Japan they’re called Tazukuri.)This is really less of a recipe and more of a method of cooking. (Edited to add: I’ve made my own version of Tazukuri. Enjoy!)
So since it’s heading to New Year, we were preparing the food that should be started ahead of time – squeezed in between taking care of Jaenelle, of course. I had planned a cake for Christmas, but discovered we were out of sour cream, and the shops were all out of it as well. So we let the dry mixture sit in a bowl, and the melted butter was put in the fridge to be reheated later.
Turns out you shouldn’t use the microwave to re-melt the butter that’s already been melted. The fats stay separated. We figured this out only later though, because we poured the remelted butter into the cake mix and ended up with this:
It had boiled over and out of the pan, resulting in a very buttery pudding…thing. It’s still very delicious though and rich, and with a bit of whipped cream on top, it’d be perfect. So we’re enjoying our delicious failure, as it’s already nicknamed. ^_^ By flavour, it is redeemed!
The cake I sent with Rhys for his birthday. Delicious and was devoured to rave reviews, despite its’ flaws.
So, I made a Filipino-style mocha cake for Rhys’ birthday, that he took to work. It was delicious; but because I kept getting interrupted (by external reasons, lots of phone calls, etc) it ended up a bit denser than normal. Apparently everyone got excited seeing the cake and thought it looked at tasted ‘absolutely amazing.’
However, both Rhys and I knew I could do better. So I made a devil’s food cake, (2 layers, 8 inches each) and decided that it should have a marshmallow meringue frosting, and dark chocolate drip ganache topping it, that he will take with him to work.
Better effort, with Rhys decorating it this time.
Rhys got keen on frosting the cake to be brought along, so he did the frosting on this one that I’ve taken a photo of up top. The chocolate ganache is pooled at the bottom ‘because yum.’ I love that man. ^_^
I had Vincent make a cake for practice a few days ago, to teach him the correct order in which one adds melted butter into a cake, versus accidentally cooking the egg added into a cake and it tastes awesome, but was very crumby (it’s also devil’s food cake). The leftover marshmallow meringue frosting is slathered on top like a fluffy sugar cloud. Kiddo’s learning a lot this school holidays; baking cakes, cooking dinner, assembling a whole workstation class computer from scratch with very minimal help (only putting on the liquid cooler and the thermal paste) – and it worked perfectly!
Son’s practice cake, now with frosting =9
But, as you can see, it makes a lot of frosting (that’s a 10 inch single layer cake) so it probably has enough for a 2 layer 9 inch cake.
I like using a little bit of cream of tartar to get the egg whites started on frothing before I put them in the double boiler, but other recipes don’t include it, so you may omit if you like.
Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
Use as a frosting, or as a layer on top of a cake and then cover with ganache, use on top of a mousse or top and sear with a kitchen blowtorch, or pipe, or blop on for a casual, fluffy but engaging frosting style! Makes enough to frost 2 layers of a 9 inch cake, with enough to spare.
Start by boiling water in a large saucepan, enough to heat the bottom of your bowl. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.
Mix together the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla, until lightly frothy, in a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer with the whisk attachments. For ease and sanity, I tend to use the same mixing bowl that my stand mixer uses. When slightly frothy, place bowl in the water.
Moving the speed of your mixer to high, mixing all the while, add the sugar, either shaking it in gradually from your bowl or 1/8 cup at a time. Make sure it is dissolved.
Mix for 7 minutes, on highest speed, moving your mixer's whisks around to make the marshmallow white and silky.
Immediately move the bowl to your stand mixer, tapping out the leftover meringue from your whisks into the bowl. Beat on the highest speed your stand mixer can do for 10-12 minutes.
Use as desired; on your cake, sear with a kitchen blowtorch on top of your pie or mousse, etc.
There’s a restaurant who has a small ‘fast food’ version of their pub food at our local mall. I love the place. They make delicious steak, and it’s got a mushroom sauce that they have with the thick sliced chips… oh, heaven. I love the stuff.
They’re local to the state I’m in though, so I figured I’d try to reverse…uhm… engineer? their sauce. I probably should have chopped up the mushrooms into much smaller pieces, to better get a mushroom flavor throughout. I am not too far off, mostly because I’m erring on the side of caution on the saltiness (I’m kind of aware at the moment that my sense of taste is a bit off thanks to a recent cold) but that’s not too bad, all considered.
The amount of butter is essential though, as is the cream, because you want a creamy, smooth sauce.
Portabello Mushroom Cream Sauce
A lovely sauce with chopped up portabello mushrooms, that's really good to have with steak and for dipping with thick-cut chips (French fries). You can refrigerate the rest!
Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until pale yellow and creamy
Dissolve coffee & cocoa powder in a tablespoon of hot water, stirring. Pour into egg mixture with melted butter, and beat until well combined.
Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and fold in with wooden spoon or with the stand mixer's paddle attachment.
In a separate bowl, whisk the 6 egg whites & cream of tartar on high until they form stiff peaks. Fold into mocha batter, until just incorporated.
Divide into 2 prepared 8-inch cake pans. Place each pan onto a baking sheet.
Bake at 180 degrees centigrade, for 20-25 minutes or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
Cool on a wire rack, for 10 minutes, before removing completely from the baking pans to cool on wire rack.
Cool completely (even overnight) before frosting.
Make the frosting:
Set your mixing bowl in a pan of simmering water (for ease of use, use your stand mixer's bowl) and whisk egg whites and sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, until fluffy, marshmallow-like and hot. You may need a separate hand-held electric hand mixer for this.
Remove bowl from heat, scrape the handheld's whisks free of marshmallow meringue, and then using your stand mixer, beat the meringue for another 5 minutes with the whisk attachment.
Add half the butter and beat until smooth. (You may opt to use the paddle attachment for this, or stay with the whisk attachment) Add the rest of the butter, beat until smooth again. Scrape sides, stir buttercream mixture quickly, then go back to beating for 6 to 10 minutes.
Dissolve cocoa, coffee and vanilla extract in a very small amount of hot water, stirring vigorously.
Add to buttercream and beat on high for a further 2-3 minutes, scraping as needed.
Use to put a layer of buttercream between the cakes, and to frost and decorate the cake.
One of the things I like to take the time and effort of making is making my own hamburger. Not on the level of slaughtering my own cow and pig or from chunks of meat and fat to my own specifications, but at the least from mince. I’m not fond of ‘just meat’ burgers; I like my burger seasoned. I also don’t just have beef burger; my burgers are a mix of beef and pork ground meat – 2 kg beef to 1 kg pork. (So this will always be a minimum of 3kg meat.) This was a recipe that my parents used to make, and we lost at one point, until I decided to try recreate it. I remember my mother soaking slices of bread in milk while preparing the other seasonings, but I use breadcrumbs instead.
Since I usually make this as a large batch, the proportions of everything else is ‘per kilo.’ The last batch I made was 9 kg of meat.
Maybe I should have pre-mixed the pork and beef first, or at least pulled it apart in chunks and sort of distributed them a bit more evenly, but I was rushed. That’s a huge metal basin; I’m really happy I found it in Costco. The Housemate didn’t think I would need something this big, but The Husband knows about my periodic urges to ensure the freezer is stocked with something delicious, so… It’s only fortunate that this just fits the bottom of my fridge too, because this has an overnight marinate time before I shape the patties.
For this particular batch I did something that I thought might make the burgers yummier when cooked, which was cut up chunks of butter and a cube or two in the middle of the patty.
I reform the meat into a ball again and flatten into a patty.
Which I then put onto a tray lined with baking paper for freezing. I usually put two layers of patties before putting them to freeze.
For a batch as large as the one I made (I sat in front of the TV to watch while making this, so I had newspaper spread on the carpet) be prepared to set aside at least two days of prep work. For the smallest possible batch, you won’t need as long – start in the morning, marinate through the day, fry up burgery goodness for dinner! I’d suggest making smaller, flatter patties than the steaks I made though for putting between buns! I tend to cook these up in the oven with a sauce as a boneless alternative to steak (like my Gamer Wife’s Hamburger in Gravy.)
You can also make large batches of meatballs with this, or make patties and meatballs, to give you even more dinner options!
You'll need at least 3kg of meat, so the proportion of the patty is up to you! Freeze any patties you don't think you'll need for future meals. The proportion of beef to pork I use is 2kg of beef to 1kg of pork, and this is the base recipe.
Open packages of minced meat and divide into smaller clumps. Place the clumps into a large bowl, distributing the beef and pork into more-or less even proportions.
Add the bread crumbs. Set aside the bowl.
In another bowl add all other ingredients except the sweet pickle relish. Mix it all together with an electric beater or in a blender.
Pour the mixed seasonings on the meat and breadcrumbs. Add sweet pickle relish.
With gloved hands, work in the seasonings into the meat and breadcrumbs until well incorporated and everything looks mixed evenly.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Length of time depends on the amount of meat used. If it's the minimum 3kg, 4-6 hours of marinate/sit time; more than that will need overnight at least to allow the meat's flavour to absorb into the meat.
Prepare baking trays: line trays with baking paper. If choosing to add butter cubes, start cubing butter.
Set out your workarea with the bowl of meat and trays.
Take into gloved hands the amount of meat mix you want for your patty. If you want butter in the middle, place a cube in the middle of your ball of meat, reform the ball and press slightly into patty shape.
Place patties on the prepared trays. If wished, place another layer of baking paper on top and another layer of patties; no more than two layers of patties. Place another layer of baking paper on top to protect the patties and put in freezer, if freezing.
Freeze for at least 8 hours, before removing burger patties to zip lock bagged portions.
Use burger patties as you wish. Recipe is also good for meatballs (freeze in the same way.)
This is a lovely, summery dish that goes for a savoury sweet flavour instead of the usual sweet-n-sour. Unusually, it also uses evaporated milk as part of the broth, yet doesn’t end up soured. In the Philippines, we call this pininyahang manok. I think it makes a good midweek dinner; and my kids definitely agree.
Just got home from running some errands. Been craving fruit; I guess as a response to my getting repeated 48 hour flu sessions over the last month. I can’t resist the seductive scent of Golden Delicious apples. There is a pomelo and two Japanese Fuji apples too; they smelled so good!
I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious. I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious.
But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though. But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though.
I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle. I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle.
Maybe someday I’ll remember to take a photo of a cake slice instead of going ‘om nom nom’ right away.
When I was a teenager, I encountered deep fried, battered hard boiled eggs for the first time. Mom and I were on our way home one afternoon and I smelled something delicious being fried at a street vendor’s cart. There was a mound of orange bunlike things and he was heating up a couple for another customer. The odd orange tinted things were tokneneng.
Since I was curious, and they would make a fine afternoon merienda, Mom bought some, and selected the seasoned vinegar. We brought them home, eggs soaking in vinegar in plastic bags. After pouring them out into bowls we broke into the eggs with our spoons and swirled the hard yolks into the vinegar before taking a bite.
This is an adaptation of the apples n’ onions recipe that I read about in Farmer Boy back when I was in grade 5. it makes for a very straightforward and flavorsome meal. My husband prepared this while he was out field and he proudly reported that some of the guys came back for thirds – everyone, apparently had seconds!
So, I finally got around to making a chicken aspic, inspired by the second episode of Shokugeki no Soma. If you haven’t seen this anime, here’s the particular segment I’m talking about.
This isn’t my recipe, but I’ve been wanting to try this ever since I saw that segment above. The recipe is included in the manga and has been posted on the Internet; and other people have tried doing it before me.
I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.
The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.
So, over the holidays, I remembered to finally cook up some elven bread to share with my in-laws; taking advantage of the fact that my brother-in-law has a lovely wok to deep fry with. I try to cook dinner at least once or twice when we visit, and that night I commandeered the kitchen for a full dinner, and while it was cooking, whipped up dessert for that night (chocolate cake), a leche flan as a gift to my brother in law, (he also got the recipe) and a batch of elven bread to leave to rise overnight.