Friday, 23 January 2015

Macaroni Salad

Filipino Macaroni Salad

Here is another of our family's (and a lot other Filipino familys') favourite holiday food. We almost never make it at any other time of the year except during the New Year holidays. Not even on Christmas; only in the New Year. I never knew why but it must be one of those traditions that was kept on just because that's what we always had.

This is a perfect example of the predilection of the Pinoy palate to crave for the salty-sweet-tangy sour flavour combination. That and together with the richness of the mayonnaise and pasta makes it so irresistible to me as a snack. Actually, you'll be hard-pressed to classify this as savoury or sweet. Because they're really both!

By the way, the Philippines practically only have spaghetti and elbow macaroni in the pasta aisles of its supermarkets. Whereas here, I cannot find decent sized and shaped elbow macaroni. I have to either go to Italian delis or trek to Waitrose where, fortunately, I found this Chiferri Rigate pasta.

Macaroni Salad

500 g elbow macaroni pasta
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken meat
1/3 cup pickle relish
1/3 cup finely minced celery
1 1/2 cups canned pineapple chunks in syrup - well drained
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup finely minced cooked carrots
1/3 cup finely minced onion (optional)
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
3 cups mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Combine all in a bowl and mix well. Chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Amish Dinner Rolls

Amish Dinner Rolls

My pictures are a bit lame but don't let that detract you from the fluffiness and delectable taste of this mashed potato-based bread. I already did a similar one before so I was not a complete newbie when I tried this. The bread machine was deployed for the kneading and initial proofing so it certainly was a breeze to do. As you can see, I was so satisfied with the result. Just look how fluffy they are!

The King Arthur Flour website is where I got the recipe I adapted. They have loads of interesting recipes there that I'd like to try someday.

Amish Dinner Rolls

Amish Dinner Rolls

2 1/4 tsp [1 package] active dry yeast
3/4 cup slightly warm water or potato water*
2 eggs
1 cup unseasoned mashed potato
4 1/4 cups plain flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
6 Tbsp butter - room temperature

*Bread Machine Method:
  1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine according to the instructions of the bread machine manufacturer. Set the machine for the dough program and press start.
  2. Allow the machine to complete its cycle. For most bread machine the rising of the dough is included in the cycle. If not, allow the dough to remain in the machine to rise for for 1 hour or until double in bulk.

*Manual Method:
  1. Dissolve 1 tsp of the sugar in the water. Add the yeast and stir to slightly dissolve. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. By this time, it should foam up to indicate that the yeast is active. If not, discard mixture and start again with a new batch of yeast.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until the dough starts to leave the side of the bowl.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly greased or floured surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes or until it's smooth and satiny.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Turn it to coat all around with grease. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise for about 90 minutes or until double in bulk.

*To Shape Rolls:
  1. Punch down dough, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a few turns until smooth again.
  2. For standalone rolls: divide dough into 16 equal pieces and shape into balls. Place in lightly greased baking sheets leaving about 2 inches of space between them.
  3. For pull-apart rolls: divide dough into 15 equal pieces (I used weighing scale for this). Place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan into 3 rows of 5 balls each. Space them evenly.
  4. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise for about 2 hours. The pull-apart rolls should be touching each other.

  1. Bake in a pre-heated 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
  2. Remove from oven and carefully remove from the baking pan.
  3. [Optional] Brush with melted butter.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Oeufs à la Neige

Ouefs a la Neige

The January Daring Cooks Challenge will ensure that no matter where in the world you are, you will have a bit of snow! Kim from Ask a Foodie challenged us to make Oeufs à la Neige, or “Eggs in Snow”.

Oeufs à la neige or Snow Eggs is a favourite of my husband. Whenever we were in France and it's on the menu he often orders it. My cooking/baking to do list had this for a long time. At last this challenge from the Daring Cooks finally forced me to confront this intimidating recipe.

And challenged indeed I was. I halved the recipe since this was an experiment I didn't want to waste too much if anything goes wrong. The meringue was easy enough to do with the help of my hand mixer. But the poaching was something else. I had to emphasize in the recipe that the poaching liquid should be barely simmering. Mine seemed like it was quite hot because the meringues were getting overcooked into shriveled white things. So the poaching time was done very quickly more like 30-45 seconds instead of 2 minutes per side. Also, when you shape the meringues, make sure to use *big* spoons not like the dessert spoons I used. Because they do shrink in size a little after poaching.

Then the caramelised almond slivers came into play. Well I did it all right (although it was a little on the dark caramel side) and set it out in the dining table to cool. By the time I was to sprinkle it on the snow eggs almost all of it was gone! The husband and kids discovered them! Oh well, there was just enough bits I scraped to put as topping.

What of the dessert? How did it go? I was quite eggy, as my daughter said. Well that is a given! For me and the husband, it was very nice although the custard was a bit too sweet for me. I made the adjustments in the recipe below. Other than that I heartily recommend it. Next time I would make the presentation better such as put it in nicer bowls and opt for caramel syrup as well.

The main recipe was adapted from The Encyclopedia of Classic French Pastries by Susan Whatley and the almond praline fron Rachel Khoo's recipe of Floating Island.

Ouefs a la Neige

Oeufs à la Neige
(Snow Eggs)

*For the praline:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup slivered almonds
  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Put sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the slivered almonds to the boiling syrup and keep stirring continuously.
  4. The sugar will being melting again and will take on a golden colour.
  5. Once it turns golden, pour out onto the prepared baking tray and quickly spread as thinly as possible (they set fast). Leave to cool completely.

*For the meringue:

3 large egg whites
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cup whole milk

  1. Put the egg whites in a mixing bowl with the pinch of salt. Beat with an electric hand or stand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  2. Increase the speed to high and add the sugar gradually while beating until all the sugar has been added.
  3. Beat until stiff peaks form (you should be able to hold the bowl of beaten egg whites upside down without any spilling out).
  4. While you are beating the egg whites, bring the milk on saucepan to a gentle simmer. Lower heat futher until there are only little bubbles at the edges.
  5. Using 2 big dinner spoons, form the meringue into oval shapes. Carefully drop the oval meringues into the simmering milk and poach for about 1-2 minutes each side or until puffed up and set.
  6. Remove from the milk with a slotted spoon and place on a sheet of tea towels or paper towels. Cool and store in the fridge tightly covered until needed.

*For the creme anglaise:

3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
remaining milk from poaching the meringue
  1. Combine the egg yolks, vanilla and sugar in a heat-resistant bowl with a whisk. Gently pour a little at a time of the still warm poaching milk on to the mixture while constantly stirring.
  2. Return the egg-milk mixture to the poaching saucepan and cook at low heat while constantly stirring. There should be about a little less than 2 cups of the mixture. If not, top up with more milk up to roughly that amount.
  3. Cook gently (do not stop stirring) until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a single cream. It should coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Strain the sauce and cool in the fridge covered until thoroughly chilled.

*For the caramel sauce (optional):

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water

  1. Prepare a bowl full of tap water (preferably in a sink). The bowl should be bigger than the saucepan to be used for cooking. Set aside.
  2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to boil.
  3. Continue boiling until it becomes golden coloured. Lower heat and cook until it is of the shade of golden colour desired. Immediately put the bottom of the pan into the bowl full of tap water to stop the caramel from cooking further.
  4. Use the caramel immediately

*To assemble:
  • Put about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of creme anglaise in a small serving cup or bowl. Place two or three meringues on top and decorate with almond praline and/or caramel sauce.

Sunday, 11 January 2015



Palutang - in Tagalog literally means 'about to float'. In our corner of Cavite, this is our version of what others call palitaw. Not only is there a difference in name but palitaws are flat and oval shaped while palutangs are round with a dent or hole in the middle. Actually, I think the palutangs look like belly buttons, no?

This kakanin or snack/dessert is one of the traditional food of Filipino families during the New Year. It signifies rising fortunes and good luck in the new incoming year. I often cooked these with my late grandmother who follows this tradition every year.

It is very simply made with very few ingredients. For the palutang itself, it only has one ingredient, well two actually, if you use the flour form. Then you just serve it with fresh shredded coconut and sugar. And it is this simplicity that I now crave in contrast to the rich and indulgent complicated dishes and Western desserts we had in the Christmas season just gone.

Below are pictures of the stages in making palutang:





1 cup malagkit (glutinous rice) flour
1/2 cup water

*To serve:
fresh grated coconut
brown or white or muscovado sugar
  1. Mix the rice flour with the water in a bowl to form into a dough. Add more water if needed to make the dough a bit sticky but comes away clean from hands and fingers.
  2. Form into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls. Poke a finger in the middle but not all the way through, just enough to make a dent that will help it float.
  3. Bring a pot full of water to boil. Once it is in rolling boil, carefully drop the shaped palutangs in the pot. Keep the water on high heat.
  4. Once the palutangs float, they are already cooked. Remove with slotted spoon onto a serving dish.
  5. Serve warm or cold with fresh shredded coconut mixed with brown sugar.