Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adobo – The Vegetarian Antidote

As a child I had a funny relationship with food. I went through various aversions/liking to certain food groups. At one stage I would only eat fat. Yes, just fat. Yes, just pork fat! One thing I do not remember though is loving just vegetables.

Hence, it really bothered me when one of my kids started exhibiting troubling signs of vegetarianism. I don’t get it. If there’s one thing a foodie dad dreads it’s a vegetarian for a child. For some time I was totally convinced I spawned one. My eyes were probably closed when it happened…

That fear was not totally unsubstantiated. On burger nights my 3rd child, Yaya, would have what we now call Elishah’s (her real name) burger. It’s basically rabbit food in a bun. She would only eat the outside of spring rolls. She would remove any trace of meat on her spaghetti. She loves Hainanese chicken rice though… without the chicken. It is worrying as she’s barely 7 years old.

Maybe my comments about how I love cats…deep fried…has something to do with it but I’m still unsure about what brought this “not eating meat” habit on. Regardless, I was determined to nip it in the bud.

I’ve tried all sorts of techniques. Initially she would give in but then quickly revert back to her veggie fix. I felt helpless.

And then one day I cooked adobo for the following week’s packed lunches. The savoury aroma wafting throughout the house began to weaken Yaya’s resolve. Her curiosity got the better of her and asked for a taste. From then on she was cured. And we all lived happily ever after…

Adobo, after all, is the great vegetarian antidote. Now I know…

Pork Adobo ala Beancounter

1kg pork belly cut in fairly large chunks

60ml coconut vinegar

60ml Filipino soy sauce

1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

Black pepper

1 head of garlic chopped finely

1 large onion chopped

Water (just enough to cover the meat)

1 Bay leaf

A bit of oil for sautéing

1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot but set aside a quarter of the garlic and onion for sautéing later.

2. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour or so or until desired tenderness of the meat is achieved.

3. Remove everything from the pot but separate the meat from the sauce.

4. Heat up a bit of oil in the same pot. Sauté the garlic then the onion.

5. Add the meat pieces back in and fry for a couple of minutes. If you prefer a “crispier” adobo fry it a bit longer.

6. Add the sauce back in and simmer for another five minutes.

7. Serve with steaming hot jasmine rice.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yorkshire Pudding 2.0

If you’ve been following this blog you probably have some idea why there’s a 2.0 in the title. Or should it be 1.1?

My first attempt at making Yorkshire pudding wasn’t a great success. But judging from my son polishing off that first batch like there’s no tomorrow, it wasn’t a complete failure either. I have since tried various other recipes and have finally found one I am happy with.

Give honour to where honour is due. The recipe below was inspired by the English episode of SBS’s Food Safari. I’ve tweaked it slightly for a “lighter” version. Instead of using duck/goose fat or drippings I substituted sunflower oil. I also found the 10g of salt on the original recipe a bit much. You decide how much salt to put in. You can even add sugar if you’re so inclined for a sweet kind of pud. Instead of gravy, pour cream or ice cream for a decadent dessert. It’s not so out there come to think of it as the ingredients for this are not that dissimilar to pancakes.

It’s the cooking technique that makes all the difference. The oven must be really hot. The fat in the muffin tins must also be smoking hot. The batter needs that constant high temperature hit until it’s done. Otherwise you would not get that characteristic crater in the middle of this pudding.

Yorkshire Pudding ala Beancounter 2.0
4 eggs
200g plain flour
450ml full cream milk
A bit of salt
Sunflower oil

1. Place your muffin tins in an 180C oven to warm through.

2. Mix together the flour and the salt and make a well in the centre.

3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together. Pour about a third of the liquid into the centre of the flour well and whisk until all absorbed. Add another third of the liquid and so on. Set aside your batter.

4. Turn the heat up to 220C. Take the muffin tins out and pour about 1 cm of oil in each tin and place back in the oven until the oil is smoking hot.

5. Remove the muffin tray once more and pour the batter into each tin until three quarters full. Return to the oven and cook for 15 -20 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Serve hot with your roast beef.