November 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s just over a week ago that my friend Gwyneth and I joined forces with our lovely cleaning lady Fe Silva and her formidable team drawn from our local Filipino community to put on a very special fundraising event to raise money for the UK Disaster Emergency Committees Philippines Typhoon Appeal.
Last Friday, 22 November, St Luke’s Church, Bowdon Vale in Cheshire was transformed from an austere place of worship into a lively restaurant packed with well-wishers and supporters:
It was Gwyneth’s young son Bill who came up with the idea. Moved by the plight of the Filipino people filling our television screens after the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan and wanting to help Fe with whom he has a special bond, he came up with the idea of a cake stall outside his house to raise money. Within 48 hours, this seed of an idea quickly germinated and grew into a plan for a full-scale Pop-Up restaurant catering for up to 50 people, offering authentic Filipino food prepared and served by a team comprising Gwyneth and myself and members of the local Filipino community – Fe, Kai, her husband Russell, their daughter Maru, Vicky, Jane, her daughter Jasmine, Helen, Mira and Meridel.
Another 24 hours later, our local church – St Mary’s and St Luke’s had offered a venue free of charge, an initial donation to the appeal of £1,000 and just as importantly, encouragement and help with publicity.
Next step was to decide on the menu. This is what we came up with:
Empanadas – miniature pasties
(contain chicken and pork)
Asian salad (V)
Pan de Sal – Filipino bread rolls with crunchy breadcrumb topping
Picadillo (minced beef and vegetables in spicy but not hot tomato sauce)
Vegetable chop suey (V)
Filipino Cream Puffs
Tropical fruit platter
Filipino coconut macaroons
Coffee, tea, mint tea
Gwyneth took on the empanadas, salad and chop suey; I opted for the Pan de Sal, Picadillo, ice cream, and shopping for the tropical fruit platetrs. Kai volunteered to make an authentic Chicken Adobo and Fe co-ordinated a battery of rice cookers and sack of imported Filipino rice. Further help came from the locally-based MD of Bakkavor Laurens Patisseries who offered several stacks of profiteroles aka Filipino cream puffs, an offer we gratefully accepted.
The next few days were focused on shopping for and preparing the various dishes and of course publicising the event and co-ordinating all the guests.
Here are Gwyneth’s beautiful-looking empanadas and chop suey vegetables (thanks to Jenny Peachey too for helping with the veg prep). It’s a shame we don’t have more pictures but to be honest we were focused on getting the event up and running:
Here are some of the mango ice-cream and tropical fruit platters. I discovered that canned mango makes an absolutely superb ice-cream with no need to search out the ripest mangoes and laboriously purée and sieve them. My knowledge of tropical fruit has been expanded too after a trip to the specialist Asian groceries of Chinatown, Levenshulme and Chorlton to track down papaya, custard apple, persimmons and the unusually flavoured guava as well as the more familiar mango, pineapple and grapes.
The Picadillo was quick and easy to make, incorporates loads of veggies so no need for a separate side dish. Served with rice, it’s going to become part of our family mealtime repertoire:
Greatest fun for me was making the Pan de Sal rolls – delicious soft and puffy brioche-like rolls made with the secret Filipino ingredient, evaporated milk, and with an intriguing breadcrumb topping:
Sorry there are no pictures of the coconut macaroons – they disappeared in a flash!
All bar two of the evening’s recipes are given below in case you’d like to try them yourselves at home. Kai has yet to divulge the secret of an authentic Adobo, and similarly Gwyneth’s husband Graeme is keeping his crunchy and vibrant Asian salad recipe close to his chest.
We’re so grateful for all the help and support we received and absolutely delighted to have raised the sum of £7,467.50 for such a worthwhile cause.
Pan de Sal – Filipino bread rolls
Adapted from a recipe on Allrecipes.com. Makes 20.
6g fast action instant dried yeast (the kind that can be mixed directly with the flour)
500g strong plain flour
50g golden caster sugar
240g canned evaporated milk
1-2 tablespoons milk sufficient to form a soft pliable dough
50g fine dried breadcrumbs
additional evaporated milk for dipping
Mix the yeast, flour, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter then pour in the eggs and evaporated milk and mix well together adding a little additional milk to the mixture to form into a soft dough. Knead for 12 minutes. A mixer with a dough hook makes this job easy but you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times during the process. Form the dough into a ball, oil lightly, cover and leave to prove for 2 hours until the dough has increased in bulk noticeably. It probably won’t have doubled in size.
Divide the dough into quarters using scales, then divide each quarter into 5 small balls. Each ball will weigh 48-49g.
Form the mixture into small balls (weigh each one) and shape into rolls with a smooth top. Dip each ball in more evaporated milk then in dry crumbs. Place the rolls on a baking sheet crumb side up. Cover and prove for up to a further hour until noticeably enlarged (again they won’t quite double in size).
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Slip the rolls into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 180 degrees C. Bake for 8 minutes then reduce the heat again to 170 degrees C and bake for 5 more minutes until the rolls are golden-brown top and bottom and are completely baked. Cool on a wire rack.
A hybrid recipe: the filling comes from Charmaine Solomon’s “The Complete Asian Cookbook” paired with an empanada pastry recipe suitable for baking rather than deep frying. Makes about 20.
300g unsalted butter
600g plain flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6-8 tablespoons water
more beaten egg to glaze
3 rashers bacon
1 tbsp lard or oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion
250g pork and veal mince or Spanish sausage, finely chopped
125g finely chopped raw chicken
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp tomato sauce
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
2 tbsp chopped pickled gherkins
Begin by making the pastry. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool a little. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and mix well. Add the melted butter and beaten egg to the flour and salt and mix to incorporate, adding a little water as you do so to make a soft, pliable dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and need for about 2 minutes until smooth. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and set aside while you prepare the filling.
Remove any rind then chop the bacon into small pieces and fry until the fat runs. Remove the bacon from pan, add lard or oil and fry garlic and onion over a low heat until soft and golden. Increase the heat, add the meats and fry, stirring, until they change colour. Add salt, pepper and tomato sauce, stir well. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in hardboiled eggs and pickled gherkins and allow to cool before using the filling. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line 2 large baking trays with parchment.
Divide the dough in half and roll out the first piece to 3mm thickness. Stamp out as many discs as you can using a 12cm cutter. You can of course make smaller empanadas by using a smaller diameter cutter and less filling. Put a dessertspoon of filling onto the centre of each disc, brush the edges with water and fold in half to make a semicircle. Press the edges together firmly and either mark with the tines of a fork or crimp to seal decoratively. Place on a baking tray. Repeat with the second piece of dough then reroll the trimmings and repeat once more. You can of course make smaller empanadas by using a smaller diameter cutter and less filling
Brush the empanadas on the tray with beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Best served warm.
Filipino Style Picadillo
A recipe collated from various sources. Kai says that to be authentic, this should be runny, almost a soup. To make serving easier, we cooked the mixture down until it was thick and reduced, more like a chili.
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
500g lean minced beef
1 beef stock cube
1 can chopped tomatoes (14oz)
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp fish sauce
150g (approx) waxy potatoes (eg Charlotte variety) unpeeled, scrubbed and diced
gnerous handful of frozen peas
1-2 peeled diced carrots
1 small diced red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Fry the onions and garlic in the vegetable oil until soft and golden(about 10 minutes). Add the minced beef and cook until brown. Add the tomato sauce, fish sauce, ketchup, stock cube and water Add potatoes and bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered over a medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add the vegetables and a little salt and pepper and bring back to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes to cook the vegetables. Taste and add more salt, pepper, ketchup and/or fish sauce if required.
Filipino Vegetable Chop Suey
A recipe compiled from various sources. We made our version suitable for vegetarians but non-vegetarians can use chicken rather than vegetable stock and fish sauce rather than soy sauce to boost the flavour.
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into batons
1 small head cauliflower, separated into small florets
7-8oz baby corn, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 small head broccoli, head cut into small florets, stalk peeled and cut into batons
1 stalk celery, cut into batons
1 green or red pepper, halved, deseeded and cut into strips
8-9 oz green beans, trimmed
1 small chayote, cut into batons (courgette suggested as substitute or make up with more of the other vegetables)
4 oz mangetout, trimmed
half head cabbage, outer leaved removed, quartered and thick stalks removed then shredded
2 teaspoons vegetable stock powder
1 tablespoon cornflour
235 ml milk
235 ml water
salt, pepper, soy sauce to season
In a wok or large pan heat the oil then fry the garlic and onion until golden brown.
Add the vegetables except the cabbage in the order listed above (firmest first) to the pan stir fry each for a few minutes before adding the next. This process should take 15-20 minutes in total.
Meanwhile slake the cornflour with some of the water.
Sprinkle the stock powder over the vegetables then add the water, milk and slaked cornflour to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring as the cornflour thickens the mixture.
Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce, stir, then throw in the shredded cabbage, cover with a lid and allow the cabbage to steam until just done, about 3 minutes. Stir and it’s ready to serve.
Charmaine Solomon recipe from Philippines chapter of Asian Cookbook modified by me. She says it serves 6 – I think this quantity will serve 12 or more.
2 large egg yolks (70g)
1 teaspoon cornflour
50g golden caster sugar
470g milk, whole or semi-skimmed
further 33g golden caster sugar
2.5 sheets leaf gelatine soaked in a little cold water for 5 minutes
450-500g mango pulp (I used approx. 3 cans Sainsbury’s canned mango in light syrup drained, pureed and sieved to remove fibrous bits)
2.5 sheets leaf gelatine
200g whipping or double cream
Whisk the egg yolks with 50g sugar and the teaspoon of cornflour in a bowl until thick and light. Heat the milk with the remaining 33g sugar in a small saucepan until nearly boiling. Be sure to stir to dissolve the sugar while the milk heats. Pour the hot milk onto the yolks whisking constantly then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a very low heat until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for a minute or two then add the softened gelatine and stir to dissolve.
Now stir in the mango pulp followed by the cream. Chill then pour the mixture into an ice-cream machine. Churn until frozen then pack into a freezer box and freeze until firm. Transfer the ice-cream from the freezer to the refrigerator approx. 40 minutes before serving to soften.
Filipino Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from various internet recipes hence the US cup measures. Unlike a traditional coconut macaroon that can be a touch dry, these macaroons are soft, chewy and tooth-achingly sweet and we think they’re best enjoyed petit-four sized to serve with coffee. Makes 40-50 petit four sized macaroons.
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup golden caster sugar
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup flour
2 cups desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at time, then add condensed milk and vanilla extract and continue to beat until blended. A hand blender makes short work of this task.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and desiccated coconut. Add to egg mixture and beat until combined.
Spoon or pipe the mixture into petit four cases and bake in a 170 degrees C oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
May 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
It’s been a while since we had our last international breakfast (see Breakfasts of the World category in the sidebar). The plan is to work through every country in the world in alphabetical order and it must be at least a month since Antigua.
I was pretty excited about the prospect of an Argentinian breakfast. Surely there would be mounds of barbecued steak? Sadly not. I was amused by one travel blog which recorded with disappointment that breakfast in Argentina comprises a croissant (known as medialuna), a coffee and a glass of water. The beef for which Argentina is justly famous is strictly a main meal affair.
So our breakfast was indeed medialunas (bought not made), café con leche and of course, lashings of wonderful dulce de leche. Sadly the Merchant Gourmet dulce de leche, authentically Argentinian from the evocatively named La Esmeralda farm seems to have disappeared from our local supermarket shelves and I had to make do with a Bonne Maman Confiture de Lait, a similar sweet milk caramel idea but from France and not quite as thick and unctuous.
If you too are suffering from dulce de leche withdrawal symptoms, here’s the Merchant Gourmet website dulce de leche page – you can buy it online now with free delivery if you buy in bulk.
I also noticed that the San Ignacio brand of dulce de leche has its own UK website now which gives some useful background info on what it is and how it’s made and a singularly unuseful list of retail stockists. They are listed in alphabetical order of shop name so you have to scan the whole list by eye to find a shop near you. I came up with Harvey Nichols in Manchester and a deli in Frodsham, Cheshire as possibilities for me.
I digress. Back to the proper business of breakfast. A bought croissant, a cup of coffee and a jar of caramel was OK but didn’t quite hit the spot. I had to get beef into the breakfast somehow so I trawled the internet until I found a reference to eating beef empanadas (pasties to you and me) for breakfast. I’d struck gold at last!
I found a recipe for beef empanadas in “South American Food and Cooking” by Jenni Fleetwood and Marina Filipelli – essentially a minced beef and potato stuffing encased in dinky shortcrust pastry rounds folded over to make mini pasties.
Here are the pastry circles and filling:
And here is the complete breakfast with the empanadas fresh out of the oven. I made a quick salsa with tomato, pepper, avocado, coriander and plenty of lime juice and seasoning to serve with the pasties:
Recipe for beef empanadas
I simplified the recipe I found in “South American Food and Cooking” by Fleetwood and Filipelli. I’ve halved the filling quantity which was way too much for the specified pastry quantity. I used minced beef rather than shredding it finely and baked the pasties rather than deep frying them for a lighter result. This worked well.
1 lb (450g) shortcrust pastry (bought or make your own with 8 oz (225g) flour; 4 oz (90g) fat)
l lb (450g) minced beef (use shin or leg if mincing your own)
4 tablespoons oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tsp paprika
8 fl oz (250 ml) light stock
1lb (450g) waxy potatoes scrubbed (no need to peel) and finely diced
3 chopped canned tomatoes (or fresh ones skinned)
3 spring onions finely sliced
salt and pepper
Make the filling. Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan. When hot, add the beef and sauté until lightly browned. Push the beef to the side of the pan and add the cumin, garlic and paprika. Reduce the heat and cook gently for about 2 minutes until the spices release their aroma.
Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, tomatoes and onions and cook for 15 minutes more until the potatoes are tender. Keep an eye on the cooking liquid adding a little more water if necessary or alternatively reducing if there is too much. You are aiming for quite a dry mixture. Season and allow to cool completely.
Roll out the pastry very thinly on a floured board. Using a pastry cutter cut out 2 and 1/2 inch (6cm) circles. Spoon about 1 and 1/2 tsp filling into the centre of each pastry circle. Brush the edges of the pastry with water. Fold the pastry over to form a half moon. Turn the edges over and press together firmly to form a good seal. Bake at 200 degrees C until the pasties are golden brown.
Serve with your favourite fresh salsa.
Enjoy your Argentian breakfast! Carlos Tevez, if you happen to read this please do drop me a line with your breakfast thoughts…