Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Prawn Salad

So, here is something for the New Year dinner. Chinese hot prawn salad. I got this from the new cookbook of NORA DAZA called FESTIVE DISHES. One the first cookbooks I got was one by Nora. She is like the Ina Garten of her time. Most of her children are either cooks, food critics or restaurateurs.

I highly recommend the "Galing Galing " cook book. My first cookbook when I got married. It is cheap and all the dishes are doable.

Festivities in the Philippines are not complete without some kind of salad being served. be it macaroni, buko or  fruit)... so here is the hot prawn salad. (something new for the new year eh?)

For this you will need:
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp oil
1/2 kilo prawn or shrimp - shelled and deveined
oil for frying
caramelized walnuts

1/2 cup condensed milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup fruit cocktail

 In a bowl, combine salt,egg, cornstarch, baking soda and oil. Mix to make batter.
Heat 2 cups oil until hot and dip shrimps into batter and deep fry until golden brown. set aside

In another bowl, combine the condensed milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and fruit cocktail. mix well. Toss the hot shrimp in the sauce. Add walnuts. Serve hot.
The problem with the mixing of the prawns was that the batter kept coming off when you try too hard to mix it. Tastewise, this dish was pretty spot on with what you could get at a chinese restaurant. I think I need to inprove my batter more. I'll update this blog after I do another round of this salad.

addendum: when mixing the batter for the shrimp, it's best to use COLD ICE water

Monday, December 19, 2011

Caramelized walnut

I have always loved walnuts. I particularly like them caramelized. You know when you get those salads where you have caramelized walnuts? You get something soft and a bit sour (lettuce and vineagrette) and then something crunchy and sweet (walnuts)

Forgive me if I only have the recipe for the walnuts. 

I am planning to serve something with caramelized walnuts for Christmas. This is a pretty straightforward recipe and I am guessing you can use this for several recipes I will be testing in the coming weeks

You'll need just three ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cup walnuts
combine sugar and vinegar in saucepan until sugar melts. about 3 minutes. add walnuts and toss.
make sure the sugar is well melted

mix mix mix

pour into a lined baking sheet. I used a baking liner for mine but you can use wax paper or foil. I find that investing in a liner reduces the wax paper consumption because you can reuse the liner and the items won't stick. (eco friendly too)

cooled walnut
I have read some recipes that instruct you to bake the walnuts in a oven some more. But I found that not baking it works too. At the time, I was using my oven for some other recipe and my walnut cooled. I tasted it and it turned out quite good so I skipped the baking part. I broke the walnuts in chunks and readied them for my recipe. -- here I used them to top my salad. (picture above)... if you want to know, its just tossed lettuce, some leftover ham, chopped tomatoes and a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 

Watch out for my next recipe involving caramelized walnuts!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mussels in white wine

Christmas means a lot of cooking lately. Especially since we are hosting our annual family Christmas lunch at our new house. I was wracking my brain on what meals to serve. You know, I had to be creative.

Of course, I did not dare try new recipes on the day itself. I had a whole lot of people coming and I had to make sure the dishes I was serving was at least yummy.

Here's one that passed the taste test. It one of our favorite dishes when eating out. Mussels in white wine. The good thing about this is you can serve some french bread and they can dip it in the sauce and you have something like a appetizer too! (ala ITALLIANI'S)

Here I am using frozen mussels from New Zealand rather than fresh mussels. I find them sweeter and feel they are cleaner (new zealand having less pollution-- mussels being bottom feeders)... have you seen Manila bay lately??? ~~ don't ask......

You'll need:
1 package 1kg frozen mussels
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tomatoes chopped
1/4 cup garlic
1 cup of parsley
1 1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup butter (about 1/2 stick american- 1/4 block regular sized philippine butter)

In a bowl, stir fry garlic with a little olive oil, add wine and bring to a boil until the mussels are defrosted and warm. Add the tomatoes. continue simmering about 2 minutes. take out the mussels and place in a bowl.

This is available at SANTIS or S&R

stir fry till defrosted

Add parsley and butter to the remaining sauce in the pan. heat till all the butter melts. taste and season as needed. (no need to salt.. the mussels are naturally salty). Pour over the mussels and serve with toasted french bread.  You can serve too with Bruchetta


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Hummus is one of my favorite things to eat!  I normally dislike chickpeas or garbanzos when they're in Filipino dishes like Afritada but apparently when they're mashed up in cream, I really love them.

It's really easy to do, and it's one of the things I've wanted to make since I bought my hand mixer!

So I invited my friend Jennifer over, who is currently a vegetarian, for dinner and catching up.  I also invited my other good friend, Zara to come over.

What goes into Hummus:

a big can of garbanzos, drain, but save the juice -- if you're using fresh garbanzos, make sure to soak them over night to make them softer, so it makes more sense if you use canned garbanzos;
about 4 cloves of garlic;
olive oil (make sure to choose a good kind); and
Tahini (Tahineh) 100% Sesame seed paste -- I got my tahini from Santi's it's a bit pricey, but if you're gonna make it often, it's ok.

Tahini is the most important part of hummus according to a recipe that I read, you can omit it, but it is NOT replaceable.

Put a little of the garbanzos juice in and a splash of olive oil, then MASH AWAY with your hand blender!  If you like Hummus, you know what the consistency should be like.  So just add the garbanzos juice and olive oil and adjust until you get the perfect consistency.  You can sprinkle some granulated garlic powder over the top and drizzle some olive oil before serving it with pita! I got mine from our neighborhood Middle Eastern restaurant but I guess I can try looking for a recipe to make them next time! :)


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Macademia cookies

Baking in my house has gone into overdrive. This is one of the recipes I tried using leftover egg white I had from baking a batch of oatmeal cookies. (I was actually baking several batches).

The cookies are very light and airy because they only have eggwhites in them. If you like cookies that have a very light texture, this one is for you.

Forgive me if I don't have a lot of pictures for this post. (too busy baking)


1 1/3 cups macadamia nuts (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

preheat oven to 180C.

process nutswith 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor and grind into fine powder

put egg whites and salt in a bowl and whisk with electric mixer until soft peaks form. add the remaining1/2 cup sugar until the egg white form stiff peaks. Add hazelnut mixture, flour and vanilla. mix on med- low speed until combined. refrigerate covered until cold (about 1 hour)

with spoons,  mold heaping tablespoons of dough into pyramids (although you can just do a mound of dough). space about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

bake until edges begin to brown. 15-18 minutes. Let cool on sheets and on wire racks.

cookies can be stored in airtight container up to 3 days

adapted from martha stewart cookies cookbook

Hope you get to try these if you have some left over eggwhites too!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Cinnamon Apple crumble

When you think of baking, there is always some part that "needs" to make an apple pie. I guess, its like a hurdle on the checklist of things you should bake.

Since I am not expert in crust making, I opted to do a "crumble" topping instead of the usual covered pie. This version had lots of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a extra OOOMPH.

Crust: (you can use a version done by candie on a earlier post... click HERE)

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup frozen solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • 3 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For crust:

Mix flour, salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter and shortening; rub in with fingertips until coarse meal forms. (you can use a pastry cutter to mix the butter in, or two forks) Mix 3 tablespoons ice water and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Drizzle over flour mixture; stir with fork until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch; turn edge under and crimp decoratively. cover with wax paper and weigh down with beans. bake for 10 minutes. 

For filling:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl to coat apples.

For topping:
Blend first 5 ingredients in processor. Add chilled butter cubes; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles wet sand.
Toss filling to redistribute juices; transfer to crust, mounding in center. Pack topping over and around apples. Bake pie on baking sheet until topping is golden, about 40 minutes (cover top with foil if browning too quickly). Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until apples in center are tender when pierced and filling is bubbling thickly at edges, about 45 minutes longer. Cool until warm, about 1 hour. Serve with ice cream.

These really were beautiful when they came out of the oven. I gave some slices to my friends over the course of two days. They ate them cold and said they were delish. I actually used a pie pan with a removable bottom. This made taking out the crumble  easier. I also had some left over and filled some ramekins with them. I baked them -- although, the filling shrunk, I think these would make nice individual desserts topped with vanilla ice cream in future dinner parties.

What's your favorite pie?