Friday, 30 December 2005

Leche Flan

Leche Flan
I should have posted this a few days back but I couldn't find the other pictures I've taken a month ago. Anyhow, I'll have to make do with this sliver of Leche Flan to illustrate the point.

Leche Flan is a Spanish legacy to the Philippines. It's very similar to the Creme Caramel except that we generally use canned milk rather than fresh. I say 'generally' since there are lucky people who has access to cow's or carabao's (water buffallo) milk and use that which results in a very creamy distinctly flavoured confection. Unlike us, who still have to find a farmer-relative whose carabao is currently lactating. :( As such, the rest of the Filipino household is relegated to evaporated and condensed milk. Though I think they're not entirely inferior, they in fact impart a nutty taste to dishes. And of course they're a more practical choice due to the high incidence of dairy spoilage because of the heat in the Phils.

We usually make this every annual fiesta in our barrio. Whenever I see and/or eat leche flan, the memory that comes to mind is 'fiesta'. We'd make dozens of these and serve them with sweetened macapuno and ube. Sometimes I'd help my aunt to caramelise the sugar which we do directly in the 'llanera' (molds) by heating the sugar right in there. So the llanera has to be metal and usually oval in shape. I know it's probably easier to do it by melting/cooking the sugar caramel all in one batch then pouring it onto each mold. But my aunt, who's either masochistic or just following tradition, still do it in each and every llanera. My challenge when I wanted to make this here is to search for metal molds. Solid baking pans should be alright but they additionally has to withstand direct heat, i.e., heated up on the cooking hob.

As for the custard itself, it can be of any permutation of the ratio of egg, milk, and sugar. Some use the whole egg, while we always use just the egg yolks. I've also never tried to bake this in a bain marie (water bath) which will work perfectly. Steaming is our preferred traditional method for this, making sure the llaneras are sealed well with foil or paper (my aunt just use plain bond paper) on top and tied with a string or rubber band on the side. If moisture from the steam comes in, it will make the caramel a bit watery. It's still okay but not as appetising as a well sealed one.


Leche Flan


Leche Flan

10-12 egg yolks*
2 x 400 g  cans evaporated milk
1 x 400 g  can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or lemon zest (optional)
sugar
  1. Put about 2-3 Tbsp sugar in each of the metal molds (this will depend on how big they are). Place the molds one at a time on a cooker hob and melt the sugar gently. Let it caramelise and melt to a golden brown - DO NOT BURN IT. Swirl it around the mold so that there is just a thin film covering the bottom. Remove from heat and cool completely. (Caramelised sugar will harden and may crack.)
  2. Mix the egg yolks, milks, and flavouring gently. Do not whisk, you do not want bubbles in it so it will result in a smooth set custard.
  3. Strain the mixture while pouring it into the metal molds with caramelised sugar.
  4. Cover tightly with foil, parchment paper, or plain paper. Secure by tying a string or rubber band in its circumference.
  5. Steam in medium-low heat for 1 hour.
  6. Remove from steamer and cool completely.
  7. To serve, run a knife around the edge and invert into a serving plate.
*Note: I have done this with 10 egg yolks only and it is as good as one with 12 egg yolks.

Monday, 26 December 2005

Christmas in the Post


I received the above gifts a few days before Christmas and what a treat these were as only a fellow cooking and baking enthusiast can think of sending. Among the goodies were almond paste (which I couldn't find anywhere here), fishmaw (same thing), satay paste, shrimp paste, white tea (my first time to have this), a scarf and a nice potholder with matching tea towel. A very big thank you to Stel of Babyrambutan all of the above including a wonderful Christmas card photo of her kids. :)

Saturday, 24 December 2005

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares
I don't know about you, but this icing sugar-dusted lemon squares sure makes me hear Bing Crosby's White Christmas in the background. I've been wanting to make these bars ever since I saw it in Moira's blog early in the year though it's only now that I found an excuse due to a glut of lemons that I really don't want to throw in the bin.

If we dissect these delectable little things, we find that it's essentially lemon curd on top of shortbread. Lovely contrast of sour-sweet topping with the crumbly bottom crust. Very very nice. Hmmm...

The original recipe from Moira can be found here, though I've changed just two things in it - the baking time (30 minutes) and the cutting of the butter in the flour (I forgot to freeze it).

Let me take this opportunity to give a very big thank you to Moira for sharing her heirloom family recipe.



Lemon Squares

*Crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar (confectioner's)
250 g  [1 cup] butter - frozen

* Filling:
4 eggs - beaten
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

extra icing sugar for dusting
  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
  • Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.
  • For the crust:
    1. Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
    2. Grate the frozen butter (using the large holes of a box grater) into the dry mixture. Or if you forgot to freeze the butter, cut it in the flour mixture with a pastry mixer or two butter knives.
    3. Toss the butter pieces to coat, then rub between your fingers until the flour turns into a coarse breadcrumb-like texture.
    4. Put the mixture into the lined pan and press firmly with your fingers to form an even crust.
    5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • For the filling:
    1. Mix the eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
    2. Add the lemon juice and zest and combine well.
    3. Pour mixture into the pan on top of the warm crust.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling feels firm when touched lightly.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.
  • Grasp the parchment and carefully lift the bars onto a cutting board.
  • Cut into serving size squares or bars, wiping your knife clean between cuts if necessary. Remove the parchment paper after cutting.
  • Sift icing sugar over bars and serve.

Thursday, 22 December 2005

London Food Bloggers' Christmas Party

London Food Bloggers' Xmas Party
Last Saturday a group of food bloggers from across England gathered in Johanna's lovely house in Twickenham to have a Christmas do and swap delectable cookies. It was an all-girls' affair which included (besides Johanna) Zabeena, Joanna, Jenni, Melissa and her friend Wompe, Jeanne, Martina (Johanna's caterer friend) and me of course.

We first had delicious bratwurst with sauerkraut (which I forgot to take a picture of). The sauerkraut is probably the first I tasted that I liked. Often, the ones I had before were either too sour or too spicy for me. But this one that Johanna said she got from Waitrose was just right. Then she got out platters of sliced Austrian ham which we had in a cheese fondue with chunks of crusty bread. Very nice!

The assembled array of cookies brought by everyone were then scrutinized and heartily eaten with mulled wine or spiced tea. Predictably, they were all yummy! My cookies were not worth mentioning since I am not satisfied with the first two. Well actually, I had a mini disaster when I tried making pilipit (a traditional Filipino twisted crunchy cookie) when it came out of the deep fryer as doughy (like a donut but tougher) and not crunchy or brittle at all. Could it be the baking powder in the recipe? So I had to chuck that in the bin. *sigh*

Okay so on to my next disaster ... err ... I mean next cookie. I attempted to make Sanikulas and got a recipe thru the kindness of Karen. The dough looked okay, so I made them into small balls and since I don’t have a cookie mould, I pressed it flat with the tines of a fork. It was easier said than done because the dough became quite rubbery. But I pressed on and when I tasted the first batch it was distinctly bland. I didn't think there was enough sugar in it. So I rolled the next batch in sugar before pressing them. Needless to say, the resulting Sanikulas were bleechh ... edible but not something I would be proud of. I should have named it Sanikulas via Santacelia due to the number of changes I made to the original recipe.

The other one I made was the chocolate marzipan cookie. In the recipe, it had measurements both in weight and volume. I decided to follow the volume which was a mistake since there appeared to be too much butter so the dough was too sticky. To correct it, I had to add more and more flour which in turn diluted the chocolate flavour. Then the topping should have been drizzled white chocolate but the one I used was more for eating rather than for cooking/baking so it was not runny enough causing a lumpy looking topping. With these disasters, it's a good thing I made some coconut macaroons whose recipe I am absolutely confident about. I guess the lesson here is not to prepare recipes for the first time when serving it to other people, just stick to tried and tested ones to avoid unnecessary stress.

Going back to the EB, we also had fun swapping cookies just before we left. And Johanna gave us a taste of her homemade choco-mocha liquor - it was scrumptious! I gotta have Johanna's recipe even if I have to beg. ;) Admittedly, I had a nice time that day not only were the food and drinks wonderful but the company and conversation were lively. A very big thank you to Johanna and her family for their generosity and graciousness in hosting this event.

Merry Christmas to one and all !!

Sunday, 18 December 2005

Fish-flavoured Aubergine

Fish-flavoured Aubergine
In all the cookbooks I consulted for this dish, I never found one that had fish or even fish sauce in its ingredients. So it's a mystery to me why this is described as 'fish flavoured'. Maybe someone out there knows the history? I think I read something in Deh Ta-Shiung's book on the explanation but I couldn't remember what it was.

The original recipe I adapted from the Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su-Huei requires deep frying the aubergines (eggplants). Since I know aubergines are notorious suckers of oil (they're like sponge), I decided to pan fry it in a teflon pan and drizzled with a little oil. You get the same flavour but with less oil.



Fish-flavoured Aubergine

500 g  aubergine (eggplant) - sliced into 1/2-inch strips about 2-inches long
oil for frying
100 g  ground pork or beef
1 tsp hot bean paste
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 Tbsp minced ginger root
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cup stock
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp cooking wine
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water
  1. Combine the cornstarch and water, mix well. Set aside.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, stock, sugar, vinegar, and cooking wine in another container. Set aside.
  3. Put the aubergines in a non-stick pan and drizzle a little to pan-fry until soft and cooked. Do this in batches. Set aside.
  4. In a wok, heat about 1 Tbsp oil until smoking hot. Stir fry the minced pork until it changes colour (about 3 minutes).
  5. Add in the hot bean paste, stir to mix.
  6. Then add the chopped green onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry until aromatic.
  7. Stir in the fried aubergines.
  8. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook for 1 minute.
  9. Thicken sauce by adding in the cornstarch mixture. Bring to boil and stir. Dish up and serve.

Thursday, 15 December 2005

Blog Party 5: Smoked Salmon-Cucumber Skewers

I was aimlessly wandering around among my bookmarked food blogs when I came to Johanna's lovely post about some noodle nibbles she made as an entry to the Stephanie's blog party. Why haven't I known this before?! Anyway that's how I came upon this blogging event which I think is a great excuse to party every month. ;)

Thursday last week was the 15th anniversary of our church wedding so I thought why not have just nibbles and drinks for a change and totally indulge ourselves while we all sat in our sofa watching Madagascar. The two things that entered my mind when Stephanie mentioned 'indulgence' are smoked salmon and parma ham. Loved them a lot but as you can imagine because of the steep prices of these premium delicacies that I possibly cannot have it every week or even every month. But since it's our anniversary so ... la-di-dah.

Party Spread
I found this great looking hors d'oeuvre (I can never get the spelling of that right - horse divers? horror dervs?) on sticks in the latest Olive magazine issue. The green grapes were added to put some sweetness in it. I simply love the way the cucumber refreshingly cuts through the saltiness of the smoked salmon. Then to save time I just bought some ready made cream cheese appetizers with some herbs on top which I wrapped in slivers of parma ham. Plus I bought some ready made crostinis in which I spread some olive tapenade (gift from the lovely Sha) and topped with slices of parma ham or smoked salmon. Leftover bite-sized chorizos from Brindisa was also made to good use. I had ready made dips, some crisps (potato chips), carrot batons, and mixed nuts. For the kids I made extra finger foods - sausage rolls, chips, some chicken wings, garlic bread, green grapes and we were ready to go. Oh yeah, for dessert I've got Belgian chocolates and option of ice cream.

sparkling Cava
Since it's a celebratory do, I bought a bottle of Cava for me and the hubster while the kids have fruit juices. My kids loved the change from our usual dinner and we toasted enthusiastically for more years of family bliss.


Smoked Salmon-Cucumber Skewers

Smoked Salmon-Cucumber Skewers

smoked salmon - cut into strips
cucumber
cherry tomatoes
green grapes
  1. Wash and dry the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and grapes.
  2. Using a potato peeler, cut cucumber into strips. Cut the strips into about 6-inches in length.
  3. Lay a smoked salmon strip on top of a cucumber strip. Thread this in a short bamboo stick in a zigzag manner.
  4. Next pierce a cherry tomatoes through then repeat smoked salmon and cucumbers. Top with a green grapes.
  5. Serve with slices of lemon and dip.

Mayo-Creme Fraiche Dip

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup creme fraiche or Greek-style yoghurt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives, dill, or parsley
  • Combine and mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Smoked Salmon Dip Blog Party

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

Sticky BBQ Wings

Sticky BBQ Wings
Judging from the number of my recipes under the 'chicken' category, you can easily tell that my favourite part is the wings. Here's another rendition of the standard barbecue sauce for wings. I liked the little sharp tinge of spiciness from the Tabasco and the paprika although you can entirely omit these two and it can still stand on its own. I adapted this from one of those free recipe leaflet in Morrison's (a local supermarket). Quite tasty and would not go amiss in the barbecue come summer time.


Sticky BBQ Wings

1 kg  chicken wings
2 Tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
5 Tbsp ketchup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Tabasco sauce or to taste (optional)
2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp minced garlic
cooking oil
  1. Combine together all the ingredients in a bowl (except the chicken and oil). Marinate chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F.
  3. Remove the chicken wings from the marinade. Arrange on a baking tray. Brush lightly with oil.
  4. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink in the bone and turning the wings from time to time.
  5. You may also cook this in a barbecue in which case it has to be grilled for 6-8 minutes on one side. Then turn and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Before removing check first if the meat is thoroughly cooked.
  6. Serve warm.

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Apple Crumble

Unbaked Apple Crumble
This is one of the basic recipes that my eldest (the apple monster) have been requesting me to make for the longest time. Very easy to do therefore very little chances of having a disaster. Probably the only thing that slowed me down is the peeling and coring of the small Cox apples I got from the supermarket. When I see that apple peeler/corer again in a shop I gotta remind me to buy it to save myself from the peeling chores.

Anyway, back to the dessert, it's like an apple pie without the crust. You just mix the apple slices with the sugar and spices, tip everything in a baking pan then top with the 'crumble' which is a mixture of flour, butter, sugar, and more spices. You can imagine the infinite number of variations you can do with this basic recipe like have different combination of fruits, cheese or ground nuts in the toppings, etc.

I used the recipes of Brian Turner from his Favourite British Recipes and Delia Smith's How to Cook as guidelines to come up with something according to our tastes. I seriously thought that there were too much toppings but as when we were eating it we kinda liked the fact that there's a lot of it to have with the apples. I used Cox apples exclusively and it came out a bit watery underneath which I didn't mind but was noted by the apple monster. So maybe next time I'll mix in a few tablespoon of flour. Undeniably, this is still on a tweaking stage but it's quite good as it is now. Ice cream or warm custard can be usually found married to it but we didn't bother with that. Being single can be nice. :)


Apple Crumble


Apple Crumble

1 kg  baking apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
100 g  [1/2 cup] packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Crumble:
225 g  [scant 1 1/2 cups] self-raising or plain flour
115 g  [scant 1/2 cup] unsalted butter
115 g  [1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp] demerara sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
  • For the crumble:
    1. Put the flour in a bowl. Cut the butter in with pastry blender or two butter knives then rub in by hand until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
    2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon then add in this mixture to the flour. Combine well. Set aside.
  • For the apple base:
    1. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.
    2. Toss the sliced apples in this mixture.
  • Tip the apples in a 7 x 11-inch baking pan (or any size of baking pan as long as everything fits in).
  • Pour the flour mixture on top and pat it down well.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and apples are bubbling. Serve warm.

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Flapjacks

Flapjacks
You might have noticed that a lot of the recipes I do here are quite 'basic'. To be frank, I only started cooking and baking in earnest in the last few years although I've been a lifelong enthusiastic eater and food lover. It's only when I lived on my own in Hong Kong and got married a year later that I was forced to cook everyday. However, the lack of kitchen implements, more importantly a decent oven, hindered my development as a cook. So now that I am sort of delving deeper into cooking and food appreciation that I began to educate myself of the basics in cooking. That is the reason why I have a lot of traditional or unsophisticated dishes here besides the fact that I love uncomplicated food. One advantage of this is you get to have new insights on the different variations you can do or perform the same techniques to a different dish.

When I was doing these classic flapjacks, I suddenly remember a coconut sweet snack that my mother made when we were young. And I realised that I could do it in a flapjack way, i.e. press in a baking pan and bake a little to make it come together and then cut into bars. Great! Now I have to call long distance to confirm the recipe with my Nanay.

As for this lovely snack, it is so moreish that I couldn't keep myself from eating them. It must be the nice combination of golden syrup and muscovado sugar plus the wholesome goodness of the oats. I suggest that the oats you use should have as much whole ones as much as possible, having porridge grade oats will make it quite crumbly. The BBC Good Food magazine's 101 Cakes and Bakes provided the recipe that I adapted.



Flapjacks

250 g  [heaping 2 2/3 cups] porridge oats or rolled oats
140 g  [scant 1/2 cup] golden syrup or light corn syrup
50 g  [scant 1/3 cup] light muscovado sugar
175 g  [scant 3/4 cup] butter - cut into pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 9-inch baking pan with grease-proof paper (if it's not non-stick).
  2. Put butter, syrup, and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the oats. Mix well.
  4. Press into the prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  5. Cool in baking pan for 5 minutes and cut into squares or bars.
  6. Cool completely in the pan then remove carefully. This is to prevent it from falling apart.

Monday, 5 December 2005

Beef, Ale and Mushroom Pie

Beef, Ale & Mushroom Pie
We had a box of mushrooms one time that needed to be used up fast. It was expiring a day later. Since I have a handy ready made puff pastry and some beef in the fridge, I thought I'd adapt this recipe I found from the BBC Food website. It suggested ale (a type of beer) in which the Guinness sitting in my pantry came in handy. Btw, Guinness beer is actually a 'stout' which is a class of ale beers. Whether you use an ale or stout or porter, it will do well in this dish.

As for the pastry, I didn't have any pie funnel or pie vent so I just cut some holes on the top to let the steam rising from the meat filling out so as not to make the pastry soggy. It wasn't in the instructions I just thought of it as common sense. And it worked! :)


Beef, Ale & Mushroom Pie


Beef, Ale and Mushroom Pie

1 kg  stewing beef - cut into roughly 1-inch squares
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion - diced
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp mushroom ketchup (optional)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp chopped parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp English mustard
1 bayleaf
1 tsp sea salt
freshly milled black pepper
2/3 cup beef stock
1/2 cup ale (or Guinness)
250 g  mushrooms - sliced
450 g  puff pastry
  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot and saute onion gently until translucent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Stir in beef and cook until browned.
  3. Add in the flour, cook until dark brown (about 1 minute).
  4. Mix in the mushroom ketchup, Wostershire sauce, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
  5. Slowly add beef stock and ale, bring to boil.
  6. Add mushrooms and lower heat to simmer gently until beef is tender (about 1 1/2 hours). If it is drying out too much add hot water or beef stock a little at a time.
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6.
  8. Remove beef from heat, skim off any fat, adjust seasonings and add more fresh chopped parsley if available.
  9. Roll out puff pastry and invert the pie dish(es) to be used onto it. Cut out a cover for the dish using the shape of the pie dish as outline. If you do not have a pie funnel, cut out holes in the pastry cover to let the steam from the filling to escape and not make the pastry soggy.
  10. Put in the whole lot (beef + sauce) in a medium sized pie dish or individual pie dishes. Cover pie dish with the prepared pastry and trim edge by hand or with tines of a fork.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is well risen and golden brown.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

LP 4.5: Chestnut Squares

The Lasang Pinoy group decided to have a 'special edition' of the monthly food blogging event that showcases Filipino cuisine. Since it's in between the regular events, they christened it Lasang Pinoy 4.5 to underscore the issue of plagiarism in the blog world and in the internet as a whole. To be specific, this came about when pictures of Karen's and Market Man's yemas was printed in a Philippine broadsheet without their permission. Most bloggers are generous with their resources all one has to do is ask for their consent to use their pictures. There have been numerous cases of copying images (and contents) in blogs then published in some other websites or forums. But this is the first time (AFAIK) that images from food blogs ended up in print! It may be easy deleting webpages but having them in a published newspaper is a very strong and undeniable evidence of the dastardly deed. The issue, it seems, has not been resolved entirely. It might be better if you follow the whole controversy by visiting here and here.

As for me, as a protest I borrowed Stel of Baby Rambutan's recipe and pictures with her permission - that is in bold letters. A few posts back, another food blogging friend gave me some yummy ingredients from her sojourn in France. That's why I ended up with chestnut puree/cream in my cupboard. I so love this confection and Stel's previous baking posts saved me from digging up recipes for it. You have to understand why I was so ecstatic with the results of my baking - it's the first time in about 15+ years that I baked a meringue-based cake! The last time it came out so hard even our dog won't eat it. :) But this time, hah! it was oh so springy and soft and well risen - and no raising agents at that - only the beaten egg whites. Wheee! I was so happy I did the dance of joy ... 'One for the money and the free rides. It's two for the lie that you denied. All rise (all rise)'. LOL!

According to Stel this recipe of hers, which I adapted, was in fact adapted also (2x times adapted will that make it original? Asa pa ako!) from The French Cookie Book by Bruce Healy with Paul Bugat. I did not use cream of tartar, it was already too late when I realised my pot was already expired. But even without it the egg whites peaked marvellously. Then I used half milk and half dark chocolates because I could imagine my kids not touching this with a ten-foot pole if they know it's plain dark chocolate. Lastly, I spread the choc topping while the cake is still in the baking pan. Why? So as not to waste the chocolate dripping needlessly by its sides. Well yes, I would surely scrape the drippings and eat them but it's nice to know they all ended up in the cake.

picture courtesy of Baby Rambutan


Chestnut Squares

[heaping 1/3 cup + 2 tsp] caster sugar (superfine)
2 large eggs - separated and at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 g  [heaping 3/4 cup] chestnut cream (creme de marrons)
1/4 cup unsalted butter - melted
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
45 g  [1/3 cup + 2 tsp] plain flour

*Glaze:
200 g  dark cooking chocolate (70% chocolate content) OR combination of dark and milk chocolates
1 tsp almond oil or neutral vegetable oil (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F/220°C/fan 200°C.
  2. Butter and flour well a 9-inch square baking pan.
  3. Set aside 2 1/2 tsp of the sugar.
  4. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light, thick and smooth.
  5. Add in the chestnut cream, followed by the butter. Mix well.
  6. Get another bowl and whip the egg whites with an electric mixer (make sure the beaters and bowl are clean and dry) on low speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar at this point if you're using it.
  7. Increase the speed to medium-high until whites are stiff but not dry.
  8. Add the reserved sugar and continue beating at high speed for a few seconds to incorporate the sugar.
  9. Sift the flour over the chestnut-egg yolk mixture and mix with a wooden spatula.
  10. Add about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into it and fold quickly.
  11. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Do not overmix.
  12. Pour the batter in the prepared pan, spread evenly and smooth the surface.
  13. Bake for about 16-20 minutes or until lightly browned and springs back to the touch.
  14. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
  15. Melt the chocolates by placing in a heatproof glass bowl over simmering saucepan of water.
  16. Pour melted chocolate on the cake, spreading it evenly, letting the excess flow down the sides. You can do this while the cake is still on the rack OR put back the cooled cake in the baking pan then pour the chocolate in the pan. The latter is to avoid wastage of chocolate.
  17. Cool and let the glaze set.
  18. Cut into squares and serve.


LasangPinoy 4.5

Friday, 2 December 2005

It's All Greek To Me


Last week I had a wonderful package from Greece sent by my dear blogging friend Sha who's residing in Athens. And what a very nice package it was - a postcard, a Greek cookbook (gotta try the recipes there), and my favourite Turkish delight! It was one of the best I've ever tasted. I know my Turkish delight 'coz my husband used to take these home regularly from his work stint in Istanbul a few years back. But talking about the sweets, it was not too sticky, not too sweet - just right, no rose flavour (which some of them have in abundance), and it's got nuggets of pistacios embedded in them. Yummylicious!



I lost no time in devouring them, well actually I attempted to eat only a few and save them for another day but couldn't keep my hands off the box. *sigh* Later in the evening, finally decided to sit down and do the whole hog and eat it with a glass of Guinness plus a tub of Green & Black's Chocolate ice cream - good combination eh? ;) The G&B ice cream (which I got as a birthday gift from Sainsbury's) was a revelation, after a teaspoon each, me and my kids were fighting over the little tub. It was sooo creamy and not overly sweet with a somewhat dark-ish real chocolate flavour though not bitter at all. Hey, what can I say ... 'twas a nice sugar-high evening. Thanks ever to you Sha!


Monday, 28 November 2005

Stir-fried Fish with Black Beans


Here's one of my favourite dishes. Whenever I spied some fresh fish fillets (especially if it's on sale) I almost always end up cooking this. The saltiness of the tausi (black beans) contrast well with the crunch and slight tartness of the green bell pepper leaving you with a good finish in the mouth. This is especially good with plain hot steamed rice.

This is adapted from the Chinese Cooking for Beginners by Huang Su-Huei. I used a non-stick pan to pan-fry the fillets because I have had bad memories of having shredded fish due to it sticking to the wok. :( Also do not overcook the fish (fry only for about 3 minutes tops) because if you do, by the time you put it in the wok for the final stir it will disintegrate before your every eyes.



Stir-fried Fish with Black Beans

500 g  fish fillet
oil for pan-frying
2 Tbsp oil for stir frying
1 cup roughly chopped onions
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 Tbsp tausi (dry fermented black beans)
1 cup roughly chopped green bell pepper
1 tsp rice wine
1/2 cup water
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

*Marinade:
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
  1. Combine the water, 2 tsp cornstarch, sugar, and sea salt in a bowl. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Put marinade in a bowl, mix until salt is dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Score fish fillets lightly in criss cross fashion then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Mix in with marinade and let stand for 20 minutes.
  4. Heat wok or non-stick pan with oil for frying. Fry fillets until it changes colour (about 3 minutes), turning it half-way through. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
  5. If you used a wok in frying the fillets, remove all the oil and wipe it clean.
  6. Put the 2 Tbsp oil in the wok and heat until smoking.
  7. Stir fry onions for a few seconds.
  8. Add garlic, ginger and tausi (fermented black beans); stir-fry until aromatic (it takes a few seconds only).
  9. Add the green bell pepper and stir-fry for a few seconds.
  10. Stir in the fish and wine; stir-fry for a few seconds.
  11. Add the water mixture, bring to boil and toss lightly. Dish up and serve hot.

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

LP 4: Suman Sa Lihiya


The current edition of Lasang Pinoy (hosted by Minette) for the month of November is all to do with 'soul' food ... OR ... food we have during All Soul's Day (2nd Nov). Well, I'll stretch that out a little bit and include Undras or All Saints' Day (1st Nov) which is the day before. Since my soul food are all pretty ordinary, I thought of blogging about what our family had to prepare every year on that Philippine holiday.

As a backgrounder, Filipinos do not traditionally celebrate the evening of 31st October which is Halloween - that came with the onslaught of the American TV/Hollywood influence only in the latter years. What get us all so busy in preparing for a 'celebration' (if you can call it that) is the paying of respects to our dead family members on the 1st day of November. Everyone treks to the family plots in cemeteries up and down the country, light up candles and offer prayers. But you know us Pinoys, no matter what the occasion we never forget to stuff ourselves silly and generally have a party. So even though it should be a solemn event, people take a lot of food and stereo hi-fis in the cemetery and have a picnic. For more info on this click here and here.

In our family, the few days before Undras is a flurry of activities for everyone. Besides the cleaning of the house and yard, cleaning and repainting of the nitcho (tomb) of our dear departed relatives, my maternal side's family in Cavite always make Suman Sa Lihiya every year without fail. Since I practically grew up there, from a very early age I was sat down on a bangko (stool) and helped in this activity that involved the whole family. Invariably, it was my late Lolo Apeng (maternal grandfather) who orchestrated everything. He was a stickler for details and a perfectionist. Usually, he's the one who's at the end of the assembly line - tying together the suman at the same time acting as a QA - scrutinizing everything in our handiwork. And woe is to anyone who did not measure up, for sure he/she will get a yelling right there and then.

Suman, (in case you don't know) is a Filipino snack usually made of sticky rice or some other root crops such as cassava and tightly wrapped in leaves (usually banana). In fact, the word suman can also mean something or someone encased in something very tight. 'Para kang suman sa suot mo.' 'You look like a suman with what you're wearing.' Meaning the clothes are very tight. ;)

I surely miss those times in Cavite during Undras, besides the food, I miss the trek me and my cousins make to the cemetery to visit our great grandparents' tombs. Unlike other families, we were not allowed to bring along any food though that did not prevent us from having streetfood galore from the numerous vendors around. Nor were we allowed any radio/stereo sets so all we have to pre-occupy ourselves were the candles and we had great time trying to outdo one another in collecting the dripping wax and forming the biggest candlewax ball of all (which my aunts later make into floorwax). Only downside of this was regularly losing almost all of my fringe (bangs) from those pesky candles. ;)

Since I was only little then, I only get to do the darang sa apoy (singeing/scorching) of the banana leaves and its preparations. That was my territory I was the banana leaf queen. My grandmother said that the best banana leaf for making suman is from the butuhan variety. They are thicker, less brittle and more flexible thus less likely to fall apart although I can't say much with its fruit whose name is so appropriate.

To be honest, this is actually the first time I've done this suman from start to finish. Although I watched my relatives so many times doing this, I have yet to actually wrap and tie one until today. As I was struggling to put my gingerly tied sumans in the pot, I suddenly realised the reason for my Lolo Apeng's suman boiler's shape. For decades I wondered how come the big 'pot' (I think he had it made to order) he used was shaped like a big suitcase. It was rectangular and even had a nice fitting lid. Well of course the suman when tied and assembled is rectangular in shape - rather like a brick. So his pot, shaped as it is, perfectly maximizes space in cooking the suman. How ingenious!


For this dish (snack?), I presented it with the different dips we use in eating it. Since the Suman sa Lihiya is very bland with just a hint taste of lye water and the banana leaves, you have to have at least some sugar to dip it in. For me the best is still the grated coconut with brown sugar. We also use latik and in my eagerness to perfectly capture a picture, I promptly burned the latik (yikes!) though it's still edible (in a dark bitter way). When we get sick and tired of eating it as it is, we pan-fry it for breakfast, slather on some butter and dip in the same suspects. Though in the mornings we're too lazy to get anything else so it would usually be just sugar.

Speaking of pictures, I got a bit trigger happy so apologies if you get bored with too many images of banana leaves and sumans.

I know most of you know this but this one is for my kids - below are pictures showing how the topside and underside of the banana leaf looks like:


banana leaf topside &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp banana leaf underside

*To prepare the banana leaf: &nbsp Singe or scorch the leaves on an open flame or hot burner with the underside DOWN. You are in effect 'cooking' the underside. This only takes a few seconds, once you see the leaves changing opacity or colour then move it to other areas that's not yet singed. Turn the leaf over and very briefly heat the top side all over. DO NOT burn the leaves. This exercise will make the leaves less brittle and more flexible.


After this when it has cooled down, wipe down both sides of the leaf with a clean cloth. Cut off the central ribs of the leaves.



Suman Sa Lihiya

1 kg  malagkit na bigas (glutinous rice)
2 tsp lihiya (lye water)
prepared banana leaves
thin cotton strings

*Condiments:
grated coconut
brown sugar
Latik


  • Cut or separate banana leaves into two sizes (all approximates) - one 9 x 11-inch size and the other 5 x 5-inches.

Soak the glutinous rice in water for about 1-2 hours.






Drain and mix in the lye water. It should turn yellowish (this would depend on the strength of the lye water), if not add more lye water a little at a time until it turns yellowish. Mix well.




Put the big sized leaf lengthwise on a working surface - topside down. Then put the smaller one on top of it - topside up and aligned either same as the bigger piece OR positioned with the one of the corners pointing to the narrow side of the bigger piece.


Place about 3 tablespoonfuls of the glutinous rice mixture on the smaller piece of leaf.






Grab the 2 long sides of the bigger piece and bring them together. Fold or roll that side to enclose the rice (about 3 half-inch folds). It is now long and narrow shaped.




Fold about the lower 1/4 of the parcel towards the center.






While firmly holding the folded end of the parcel, put it upright and tap it on the table to pack in the rice and if need be add more rice through the open end.




Fold the top end towards the center. You should have a parcel about 5 x 2-inches in size.






Make another suman parcel of roughly the same size.






Pair these two parcels with the folded sides facing together.






Using thin cotton strings, tie the two ends together tightly.






Place the assembled pieces in a big pot and add enough water to cover the suman.





  • Bring to boil and bring down heat to low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Serve warm or cold with grated coconut and sugar.


* For the Latik:

  • Add 2 Tbsp sugar and pinch of salt to a 400 ml can of coconut milk in a wok or pan (preferably non-stick). Stir until sugar and salt is dissolved.
  • Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer until it renders oil and sediments (the latik) start to stick to the bottom.
  • At this point watch it very closely and stir it frequently (it burns easily) and fry the sediments until golden brown.
  • Remove from oil with slotted spoon. Serve with the suman.

Sometimes when we get tired of eating it the usual way, we pan-fry it for breakfast and have it with butter and then dipped it in grated coconut with sugar or just plain sugar.


Lasang Pinoy 4

Friday, 18 November 2005

One of the Oldest British Cookbooks

A current important find by the Derbyshire Record Office is a cookbook dating from 1742. The date makes it one of the oldest known comprehensive cookbook in Britain. It was previously thought that Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management from the mid 1800s was the oldest. This one beat it by a hundred years. Though the recipes in the former is confounding historians for the obscureness of its recipes and ingredients. For the full article head to BBC News.


P.S. There is an interesting discussion on the veracity of the above article in the comments section of this post. Please click and read on what Vanessa has to say.

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Albondigas


Not to be confused with my earlier recipe of Almondigas, this is one of your regular tapas bar staple. Albondigas means meatballs lightly fried in oil then simmered in tomato sauce, wine, and spices. I made this specifically for the wine tasting meet I had with several charming London food bloggers which the lovely Jeanne and Nick generously hosted in their East London house. Stupidly, I forgot to bring my camera so you'll just have to head over to the other participant's blogs for the pictures. Gosh, I missed taking pictures of all the wonderful food and wine we had.

As for this, the original recipe (adapted from Easy Tapas by Julz Beresford) called for lots of ground cloves which I discovered I wasn't particularly fond of. So I adjusted it to have that as optional afterall the sauce was marvellous what with that wine, paprika and lots of garlic and onions infused in the tomato sauce. This is usually serve warm in tapas bars and it reheats very well. Distribute around forks or toothpicks for a little pica-pica and have a red Rioja with it. Fab!



Albondigas
(Meat Balls in Tomato Sauce)

150 g  minced veal or beef
150 g  minced pork
1/2 small onion - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - finely minced
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves (optional)
30 g  dried breadcrumbs
1 egg - beaten
1 Tbsp single cream (light cream)
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
plain flour for dusting (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil

*Sauce:
1 x 400 g  can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves - finely minced
1/2 small onion - finely chopped
1/2 tsp smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf
ground sea salt
  1. Combine the breadcrumbs, cream, and beaten egg in a bowl. Leave for about 10-15 minutes until the breadcrumbs has softened and absorbed the liquid.
    Add in the meats, lemon, onion, garlic, parsley, nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Form into 1-inch sized balls, roll in the flour (if using), and pan fry in batches in a pot with hot olive oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides.
  3. When you've fried them all, you may have to clean/wash the pot if you used flour for dusting most of which would most likely to be a little burned by now and you don't really want a burnt taste in your sauce. Otherwise, just carry on - adding more oil if needed.
  4. *For the sauce: briefly saute the onion and garlic in the same pot where you fried the meatballs. Add the rest of the ingredients including the fried meatballs.
  5. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring from time to time to prevent scorching at the bottom. The sauce should be quite liquid so add more water a little at a time if needed. Serve warm.

Monday, 14 November 2005

Pasta Puttanesca

I know, I know, this post has been way overdue. I should have immediately blogged about the wonderful Saturday back in October that I spent with a fellow food blogger Sha and her sister Tara. We walked across the Golden Jubilee footbridge from the Embankment side to cross the river Thames and then leisurely strolled along the Southbank culminating in a cafe in the National Theatre where we had pastries and hot cocoa. The sisters were such a good company to be with, in fact we were yakking so much we didn't realise it was already late afternoon and we have to go and fetch my daughter from Euston.

Later in the evening we had dinner at Gerrard's Corner restaurant in Chinatown. Well the food was okayish, nothing really outstanding so I guess I won't be back there for quite sometime.

Sha was so generous to have lugged gifts for me from her French sojourn. Here they are in the picture below from left: Herbes de Provence, Chestnut cream/puree (bottom), olive tapenade (top), anchovies, and organic sweets. Thank you very much Sha and Tara for the wonderful company and these delicious treats!

My kids at first ignored the sweets when I gave it to them probably because the colours were not as vivid as the more commercial-chemical laden ones. But once they tasted it, it was gone in a minute! Hehehe. That's why I keep telling them, don't judge a food by its appearance, taste it first that's what I say.


I thought of doing something with the chestnut cream or the anchovies. Since we were hankering for pasta last night, I thought of doing something quick and flavourful - Puttanesca sauce. I'm sure you've heard of the stories that the name of this sauce has some disreputable origin. Whatever it came from, this certainly is one very tasty sauce. My husband would definitely agree with that. Almost any type of pasta can be used here. For my picture below I used wholewheat spaghetti thus the slightly brownish tint.


Pasta Puttanesca


Pasta Puttanesca

4 pieces anchovy fillets - chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 fresh red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 x 400 g  can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup sliced pitted olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
250 g  spaghetti
  1. Cook spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot or large pan.
  3. Saute garlic, anchovies, and chilli in the hot oil for about 1 minute.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in olives, parsley, basil, capers, salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add the pasta in the pot and mix well with the sauce. If it's too dry drizzle with a little more olive oil.
  8. Serve immediately.

*Note: It would be better if you could time the cooking of the spaghetti so that it will finish just a few minutes before the sauce so that it is piping hot when you add it in the sauce.


Saturday, 12 November 2005

Yorkshire Parkin

Yorkshire Parkin
I haven't been blogging in the same frequency as I normally did. The past 2-3 weeks I've down with flus, dizziness, and myriad infections plus the triple dose of birthday parties that kept everyone (especially me) very busy with the preparations. So this cake which I should have blogged last week got entangled with all the palaver.

Anyhow, Yorkshire Parkin (or simply Parkin) is traditionally served on Guy Fawkes day. That's the day that everyone lights up fireworks and drink copious amount of beer. ;) Well actually the guy named Guy tried to blow up the Parliament (with the King of England and the rest of the MPs) about 400 hundred years ago. Unfortunately, he and his cohorts were caught out and ever since then the whole country celebrates his capture with fireworks. Sounds to me like an excuse to have a party!

This is a no sweat cake (adapted from BBC Good Food's 101 Cakes & Bakes), mix 'em up, pour on a cake pan, bang it in the oven and out comes this dark molassesy ginger cake. It is best to wrap it up tightly and stored (maybe in another bread tin can) to mature for at least 3 days to let the flavour develop and keep it moist.



Yorkshire Parkin

250 g  [2 cups] plain flour
100 g  [1 heaping cup] medium oatmeal
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
225 g  butter
85 g  [1/2 cup packed] light muscovado sugar
100 g  [5 Tbsp] black treacle or molasses
175 g  [1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp] golden syrup or corn syrup
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
  1. Butter and line a 23cm (9-inch) square baking pan with greaseproof paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C/fan 140°C.
  3. In a bowl, mix and combine well the flour, oatmeal, ginger, and bicarbonate of soda. Set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, beat the egg and add in the milk. Set aside.
  5. Heat the butter, syrup, treacle, and sugar in a saucepan over gentle heat until butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.
  6. Add in the flour mixture into the saucepan.
  7. Then stir in the egg mixture, combine well.
  8. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until the cake feels firm has a crusty top.
  9. Leave to cool then turn out from the pan and remove the greaseproof paper.
  10. Wrap the cake in clean greaseproof paper then aluminum foil.
  11. Store for at least 3 days, this will allow it to become softer and more moist.

Monday, 7 November 2005

Sinigang Sa Miso

Sinigang sa Miso
I spied some miso in our local Chinese grocery last week and decided to make this dish which we haven't had for a long time. I don't know how far back this Sinigang sa Miso goes in terms of cooking history but I wouldn't be surprised if it was created only around World War II - with miso being from the Japanese. Though I'm not sure if the Chinese use miso as well, if yes, then the origin of this would go much further back.

We often have this whenever the banks of Laguna de Bay overflow (we lived near when we were in the Phils.) which makes the bangus (milkfish) escape from the numerous fishpens in the lake. This is usually right after a typhoon. It's just one of the several dishes to make the most out of the cheap bangus flooding the market.

The miso lends some salty fermented taste and aroma which blends well with the souring agent and the vegetables of which it's recommended to have white radish and mustard leaves if not use any leafy veggies like kangkong (tung choi) or even spinach.



Sinigang sa Miso

500 - 700 g  fish steaks (sea bass, salmon, etc.)
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium onion - sliced
3 - 4 medium tomatoes - sliced
3 Tbsp miso paste
1 tsp salt
4 - 5 cups rice water* or water
souring agent (tamarind, lemon and lime, etc.)
1 white radish - peeled and sliced
1 green or red long chili (siling haba) - washed and pointed end cut
bunch of leafy vegetables (kangkong, mustard leaves, spinach, etc.) - washed
  1. In a medium sized pot, heat oil and gently saute garlic then add onions and cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in tomatoes, cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Mash the tomatoes a little bit.
  3. Stir in the miso and salt, saute for a minute.
  4. Pour in the rice water and bring to boil.
  5. Add in the fish, white radish and chili. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the leafy vegetables and souring agent. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Taste soup and adjust seasonings if need be.

*Note: Rice water is the water used in washing rice for plain cooked rice.


Thursday, 3 November 2005

The Best Ever Apple Pie

Best Ever Apple Pie
In our previous house all I had for an oven is a small table top one because the built-in convection oven was not working properly. Since the working one is small, all I could hope to bake in it is based on the size of the pan I could squeeze in. So tube pans and baking sheets are out; brownies, cookies, and mercifully pies are in, since I was able to find a pie pan small enough to fit in. At that time, I was still 'actively' lurking (what an oxymoron) in a Usenet discussion group - rec.food.cooking (RFC) and drooled over the recipes and food the members so lusciously describe. There was this one guy who touted his apple pie recipe as the 'best ever'. Hmmm, should I believe him? Only one way to find out - bake it. And guess what, he wasn't lying! It was and still is my favourite apple pie of all. Very caramelly and with a salty-sweet flavour (courtesy of the syrup).

Over the years of moving house and not having much time to bake, I lost the recipe and I was recently surfing the net trying to find the exact recipe. Good thing I managed to find the exact same one in the excellent website of the Dinner Co-op group. They credit their friend Fritz Knabe and the Southern Sideboards cookbook for the recipe.

You may use any of your favourite two-crust recipe for this. I think the only tricky thing is the latticed top crust which might be a challenge for some. But it's not really that hard to do. More like doing a basket weave which I'm sure most of you have done in your home economics class in school. For a pictorial guide on how to do it click here, go to the section for woven lattice. If lattice is not your thing, you can always put a normal rolled crust just make sure to put holes on it (decorative holes would be nice). I toned down the sugar a lot in the filling (maybe because I use Golden Delicious which is not so tart), so it's up to you if you want to increase it a bit by adding sugar. While the topping syrup is likewise reduced by a third because usually I end up with quite a bit leftover. Enjoy!



The Best Ever Apple Pie

*Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
4-5 Tbsp cold water

*Filling
6 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 Tbsp butter melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup golden syrup or corn syrup

*Topping
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 Tbsp softened butter
  • For the crust:
    1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
    2. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the mixture is crumbly.
    3. Sprinkle enough water and knead it just enough to hold it together and form a dough ball. *Do not* over work/knead it or it will become quite stiff.
    4. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  • For the filling:
    1. Mix the cornstarch, salt, butter, cinnamon, and syrup until well combined.
    2. Toss the chopped apples in this mixture.

  • For the topping:
    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.

  • To assemble:
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C/fan 200°C.
    2. Take the dough from the fridge and divide into two.
    3. On a clean, floured surface or between greaseproof paper and cling film, roll flat half of the dough evenly with a rolling pin into a circle shape with a diameter of about 11 inches.
    4. Turn out dough on a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge until you have about 1 inch overhanging all around.
    5. Pour the apple filling on the pastry-lined pie plate.
    6. Again on a clean floured surface, roll out flat the remaining half of the dough and cut into long strips about 3/4 - 1 inch wide. Weave these strips on top of the apple filling into a lattice pattern. Trim edge until you have about 1-inch overhanging all around (same as the bottom crust).
    7. Tuck the overhang under and flute the sides decoratively with a fork or with fingers.
    8. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.
    9. Lower oven temperature to 350°F/180°C/fan 160°C and bake for 30-35 minutes.
    10. Open the oven and spread the topping on top of the lattice crust.
    11. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.