Tuesday, January 25, 2005

[Recipe] Orange Butter Cake

This butter cake recipe is easy to make. My mother used to bake this cake when we were little but my father does most of the baking these days. Even my niece knows how to bake this cake. I'm not really a cake baking person but I have baked this on several occasions. I remember this one time when we were children, each of us attempted to bake a cake. My brother and I each made an orange cake and my sister baked a chocolate cake. My brother's cake was dense and flat. Mine wasn't any better (I remember eating it anyway and enjoyed it). My sister's cake however was like an erupting volcano complete with chocolate fudge oozing from the top. :)


3 cups cake flour (decrease by 1/4 cup if using all purpose - self rising flour not suitable)
2 eggs (room temperature)
3 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup shortening (normally I use butter)
1 2/3 cup white sugar (white sugar is not packed when measuring)
1 cup orange juice (Orange Soda is also fine)
1/2 cup milk

Cakes tend to fail when instructions are not fully followed. Note that folding is a mixing technique used when mixing cakes to introduce air gradually in the mixture. Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt (note that sifting may not be necessary for breads and cookies but is essential when making light cakes). Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream sugar and shortening on a mixing bowl. Add one egg at a time (unbeaten) folding in the mixture before adding the next. On the sugar-shortening-egg mixture, add a little sifted flour mixture then add a bit of orange juice alternating between the two. When the orange juice is added in the mixture completely, start with milk alternating with the flour as before. Note that it is important to start with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture at the end, using up the liquid ingredients in between. Don't ask me why. I don't know. It's one of those mysteries of baking I suppose. hehe.

Mix in a folding motion until all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. You may want to clean the sides of the bowl from unmixed ingredients with a rubber spatula from time to time. Apply a very thin layer of shortening on a cake pan then dust lightly with flour until all are covered (do this even if using non-stick pans). The batter mixture will be enough for 2 8x8 inch pans. Tap the pans lightly on a flat surface to remove large bubbles from the mixture (it will cause unwanted swelling of the cake during baking - my sister baked a cake that looked like an erupting volcano once). Continue tapping until you observe no more big bubbles rising to the surface. Note that you should not overdo this, the small bubbles are essential for the cake to rise during baking. The cake will also not rise properly as a result of improper folding of the batter during mixing. Using orange soda actually helps.

Place in the center of the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not open oven until this time has elapsed! You could use a flashlight to monitor the baking from the outside. After 20 minutes, test the cake by placing a [clean!] wooden toothpick into the surface. The toothpick should come out clean if it the cake is done (no batter is sticking to the toothpick). The surface of the cake will have a golden orange appearance. Cool first before removing from the pan. Cut into 2" squares. It's good freshly baked but also good even if straight from the fridge as long as kept in an airtight container. In fact I prefer it cold, it tastes a little bland to me when freshly baked for some reason.


Friday, January 14, 2005

[Recipe] Beer Basted Pork Pot Roast

A traditional dish in our family for Christmas or New Year. It replaces the traditional ham usually present at these feasts. My mother cooks pot roast during these special occasions as far back as I can remember. Her recipe is a bit different from mine (she uses Rum instead of dark beer) but my brother tells me my pot roast is a lot better than hers (err... shh... better not tell her that hehe).

1 Kilo Pork Rump rounded off (with skin on top side)
1 medium sized onion (peeled and quartered)
2 bottles of dark beer
1 can of Sprite or 7-Up
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
3 teaspoon Salt
1 Bay Leaf

Place the rump in a large pot, fat side up (it is advisable to use a low rack so that the meat is not in direct contact with the bottom of the pot - such as the ones used for pressure cookers). Pour in the 2 bottles of dark beer and the can of softdrink. Add enough water so that the meat is fully submerged. Add the onions, Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce, Black Pepper, Salt, and Bayleaf to the pot. Cover the pot and place on high heat until it starts to boil. Lower the temperature and let it simmer for at least an hour. At the end of the hour, skewer the meat with a long tined fork (or a barbeque stick). If the fork easily goes through then the meat is cooked inside. If there is a strong resistance to the fork, let it simmer for about 15 more minutes or so.

It is important not to overcook the meat. The meat becomes flaky and it will be harder to slice later (did that once and the meat was so tender it was coming apart as it was being sliced). To ensure that the meat is cooked through, make a cut at the bottom of the raw meat wide and deep enough so that the center cooks faster. This will also ensure that the marinade reaches further resulting to a more flavourful pot roast. You may opt to cut the rump in two if it is really that big but it won't look as impressive at the dinner table.

Once the meat is cooked, set it aside and strain the liquid from the pot and boil this liquid further. Add the brown sugar and reduce by boiling to about a third of its original volume. Dissolve about a tablespoon of cornstarch in a half cup of cold water. Add the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce. Add more salt/pepper/sugar depending on your preference.

While waiting for the liquid to reduce (in the previous section) to its desired volume, remove the skin from the meat leaving a thin layer of fat at the top. Glaze the fat with brown sugar and place the meat on a rack and place it in an oven or electric broiler (~180ºC). Cook until the top is golden brown (at this point the sugar will caramelize on the fat layer). Before serving slice about half of the roast on the serving plate and place the beer sauce beside it. Eat and enjoy.

Ok I know it's not exactly "basted" as the title suggests but the name just sound so nice. I named it that way in tribute to the "Beer basted boar ribs" recipe in WoW. So sue me... :)

Sunday, January 02, 2005

[Recipe] Pancit Molo

Pancit Molo
Pancit Molo
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
Another favorite dish our family serves during special occasions. Traditionally, my mom would cook this for birthdays or similar special occasions. It's a very filling soup dish made from ground pork and chicken. It's a bit complicated to make but you can mix a huge batch of the meat mix then store it in the freezer in portions to thaw and prepare later. I have written this recipe with inputs from my brother. My brother and I attended a party right after Christmas and the news of how tasty his pancit molo was preceded him with some of the people there calling him the "Molo Man". Haha he doesn't know these people, they were friends from work but they came over for my birthday a few days before so they tasted his pancit molo already. There's a story floating around that one of my colleagues liked it so much that when he went home, he was raving about it to his wife. Unfortunately, he didn't know that she was planning that same dish for their Christmas feast. She decided to change the menu after hearing that. Wrapping the meat is somewhat time consuming so you can prepare this in advance and drop them into the pot to cook when it's near eating time giving it a few more minutes to simmer in the pot. And what if you are allergic to shrimp? Well, I feel so sorry for you. I really do.

1/4 kilo Ground Pork
Spring Onions (chopped)
1 Egg
1 pack Molo/Wanton wrappers (50pcs)
100 grams Shrimps (shelled)
3 pcs Chicken Breasts
Chicken broth (or chicken bullion)
1 Clove of Garlic
2 medium sized Onions (finely chopped)
Ground Black Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Originally uploaded by Jepster

Place chicken breasts in a pot and cover it with just enough water so that all the pieces are submerged. Add a dash of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature after it boils and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the pot. Sieve the liquid and set aside. Shred a chicken breast into strips and thoroughly mince the rest.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, minced chicken meat, egg, finely chopped onions, and spring onions (leave some for the broth later). Mash well adding salt and pepper (the amount would depend on individual tastes but I recomment 1 teaspoon of salt and about half a teaspoon of ground pepper).

To make the molo "heads", place a molo wrapper on a flat surface. Place about a heaping teaspoonful of the meat mixture near one corner of the wrapper. Imbed a piece of shrimp to each ball. Wrap the top part of the wrapper to the "meat ball" then the two sides, then roll downwards (please refer to the picture). The wrapped molo should resemble something like a tadpole. Make several of these heads. You can place the meat mixture back to the freezer and thaw it to use again.

To make the soup broth, Saute the garlic in minimal oil until golden. Remove garlic and pour in the liquid that was used to boil the chicken breasts adding more chicken broth or broth made from chicken bullion. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken strips, then drop the molo "heads" one at a time. Once cooked the molo heads will float. Add the remaining spring onion then simmer for 5 to 8 minutes more. DO NOT COVER! Serve piping hot.