Friday, December 9, 2011

Turkey Asado Puffs

For weeks, images of dim sums  have been taunting me   like a bad conscience  and among the hundreds of dim sum out there, Char seiw sou and  Har gow  gave  me, sleep difficulty the most . Har gow's thin, almost translucent skin that encloses its fresh, sea sweet, almost crunchy shrimp filling is a sight to behold and a  delight to the palate.The baked Char Siew Sou on the other hand has a  thin flaky crust, a sweet and smokey Chinese  barbecued pork  filling ( Char siew)  and lastly, sprinkled with aromatic sesame seeds that adorns the pastry like tiny jewels. Excuse as I wipe that drool of my face. 

Dim Sum Chefs are as treasured as the terracotta army in China and excellent ones are taken from their roots to spread  their delightful  gastronomic  parcels into the world. To me, Dim Sum Chef and their intricate dumplings  are  the  world's greatest to hair dresser and their glorious hair rebond.  To make  dim sum requires  patience, steady but quick fingers, love  and respect for this culinary art, so making it is no easy feat.Even Gordon Ramsay suck at his first futile attempt to make dim sum . Watch this.

 And since I'm not Mr. Ramsay, I  dare not  play with my happy disposition so I left dim sum making to the masters. So even if I've craving nothing but freshly made gar gow for days, making it myself is completely off the menu  and in as much as wanted to make the   char siew sou, making Chinese BBQ meat and the sou's thin crusty pastry  intimidates the bejesus out of me. I decided to make something similar yet somehow different pastry.It however, was good enough to   put my cravings off char siew sou for a while after eating my fourth. What I mean is, although I was graving for this:

I gave up knowing full well there's no way I could make it myself without the help and guidance of a Cantonese dim sum chef relative, which I haven't got anyway and settled with this:

  Asado Puff. Like Char Siew Sou, it too ,has a flaky and rich crust and a savory filling. Here's how I made mine.

Make the asado filling

1. Make asado filling according to this recipe . You can use pork or other poultry such as chicken. Cool filling off  completely before using.

Make the dough

2.  Sift 450 g of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt together and rub 110 cold butter and 220 g shortening ( lard )together into the flour  until everything resembles a coarse, moist sand. You can use food processor, few pulses will do.

3. Beat 1 egg and stir in 2 tablespoon of sugar .  Stir in  beaten egg and sugar into the fat and flour mixture. Add in 1/4 cup of ice cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time until everything hold together. Press the dough into a ball and wrap with a cling film and refrigerate dough for about half an hour.

4. Sprinkle your  working area with flour. Roll  cold dough using a rolling pin. Fold, turn and roll the pastry again and again .You will end up with a slab of pastry which has been folded and rolled into  many thin, flaky layers .  Roll pastry into a thin  rectangular sheet about 2 mm thick.

5. Cut pastry into squares. Make sure that each square could hold about 1 tablespoon of filling.

6. Make egg wash using 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of milk. Brush the edges of the pastry square with egg wash, fold pastry and seal it by pressing the seams together using the tip of a fork.  Use the tip of the fork to create little holes on top of each pastry. These little holes will allow steam to escape and prevent your pastries from gaping open when they are baked. Brush each party with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for about 20-30 minutes or until each pastry turns golden brown.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken Arroz Caldo

With summer season officially bidding adieu , fall's hazy ,wet and cold weather slowly creeps in, causing a bit of mayhem to people's bronchioles and the rest of their  respiratory tract. Burst of sneezes,  coughs and nose blowing became as trendy as those Autumn's Ugg boots. With half our the team falling ill, courtesy of our very own patrons of course (thank you very much aerogenic microbes!), the risk of getting infected  is now higher than having to clean a bedpan trice in a shift. I  never  catch a cold!'', I declared a little too early and yes too arrogantly to my colleague as I, unfortunately have to clean, the second bed pan halfway through our shift. I should have knocked on a wood that time, but with both  occupied balancing a stainless steel pan, that's hardly possible.  I did not catch a cold that day, I swallowed it..whole. It came overnight. I woke up feeling like I slept on a bed of corals. Every part of my anatomy aches like hell-ow Kitty. Looks like cheeky li'l madam is not a tough as she thought. My temperature's acting up and decided to play roller coaster, perhaps to test if middle age women could still have convulsions,   dry rumbly cough that could wake sleeping beauty in her 100 years coma, head's  spinning and feels like it was invaded by tiny people with tingling voices and large noisy feet, nose clogged with thick and greenish boog.   okey no details in that and worst no appetite! Food tasted like paper in my mouth, every swallow  of food burns my throat. Oh agony , agony!

It took a week for my palate to recover and to make foods taste like food again. On the 6th day of staying mostly on bed, I woke up, stood and marvel at the feeling that the world stayed still and my feet did not wobble. Aha! I am me again, not the growling, groaning and  wheezing furball in bed! To speed up recovery, I decided to make something simple, soothing and yet filling. Feed the stomach, fill the soul be sick no more!

Arroz Caldo is one comforting dish akin to rice porridge. It has everything what a recovering body needs. Rice (yay!) as a source of much need energy, no point shying away from carbs today. Good savory broth which is rich in fluids and minerals. Chicken and egg, protein times two for regeneration  and then, there's ginger root, which has a soothing and therapeutic effect on sored and painful throat. The cooking process is quite simple even somebody with body malaise could handle it. Here's how I did mine.

Prepare and chop ingredients. Peel ginger and cut it into thin slices, Cut a bunch of scallions separating the white and greens stalks. Crush about 3  cloves of garlic. Wash, pat dry and cut chicken pieces into portions. For this recipe, I used 350 g of chicken wings which were already cut into serving portions. It's just a personal preference.

Heat 3 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pot, brown chicken pieces in it. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Add in chopped white scallion stalks. Call it weird, but I love the  bitter and smoky taste of toasted or burnt spring onion in my arroz caldo and so I let the white scallion sit a little too long in hot oil until it turned golden brown. Then throw in chopped garlic let it set, until it too, will render its aroma . Then add the sliced ginger mixing everything together so the chicken meat will absorb some of those aromatics . Finally drizzle a  splash of fish sauce. Into the pot  goes 250 g of rice, toss everything gently. Pour 1.5 liters of hot chicken,  cover and let everything simmer for about 40 minutes stirring the contents of the pot occasionally. Now, some people prefer thick and smooth arroz caldo that shares the consistency of a Chinese porridge. One must cook rice long enough to achieve it and continuous stirring is necessary. I on the other hand like my lugaw, soupy so when I notice that the caldo's turning too thick for my liking, I added a cup or two  of hot broth until it became runny again.

Once you achieved your preferred consistency, season the caldo with salt and pepper again. Serve arroz caldo with boiled egg, chopped green onion and toasted crushed garlic. A drizzle of fish sauce and a squeeze of lime or calamansi juice and you're gone off to some eminent space perhaps walking with a mystical fairy threading the path to recovery.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Saffron Cheese Sauce

Pan fried salmon steaks with saffron cheese sauce

Was it the crustacean stock? The subtle hint of white wine? The lingering taste of   lightly sweetish and lightly salty  gruyere cheese? Or was  the delicate yet aromatic saffron that tingles in the background?? Perhaps the combination of it all that make this sauce so delicious and so savory. It goes well with any poached, baked and pan fried fish or crustacean.  Enjoy it with your favorite pasta , rice or crusty warm bread. I served this with baked salmon, tagliatelle and green salad. A meal nice enough to replace our usual Sonntagsbraten or Sunday roast. Give this a try.(^_^)

Into the saucepan goes a tab of butter , about 2 tablespoons. Throw in 1 medium sized finely chopped onion and sautee it until translucent. Finely dice 1 medium sized carrot and about a quarter of celeriac and sautee it together with the onion under medium low heat.

Stir in 1 gram of those ridiculously expensive Saffron threads. Sprinkle sauteed vegetables with  3 tablespoons of flour . Sweat the diced veges in it for 5 minutes. Worry about global warming instead of the flour coated carrots sticking into the pan. Things that sticks at the bottom of the pan are usually the tastiest . Ask my lola.

Turn heat to high and deglaze veges with a half a cup of dry white wine. Keep stirring until wine is  almost    thoroughly absorbed. Pour 400 ml lobster or any crustaceans stock, turn heat to medium and let consomme simmer for 15 minutes.

Blend vegetable using a hand held mixer. A few pulses will do .My husband like to have his food a little on the spicy side so 2 seeded, chopped  red chillies were added into the concoction.

Stir in 150 g of creme fraiche . Add 100 g of grated gruyere cheese , season with salt and pepper and it's done!

  • To serve the sauce with chicken or other poultry, replace fish/crustacean stock with chicken stock.
  • To serve with lamb, beef , pork chops, wurst /sausage, replace diced onion with 400 g shallots bulbs, add in about 2 or 3 garlic cloves . Use red wine instead of white wine and replace  carrots and celeriac with herbs like thymes or rosemary.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Paris: A dummy's guide

It all started with a simple dinner with my girlfriends, Ms. J and Ms. M. An unpremeditated rendezvous   which we thought, could  make us shortlively  forget our steady and vapid  days. Talks about work , parenting issues ( theirs) and husbands who annoyingly hates going with us shopping ( everyones!) goes on and on and on over paella and calamari dinner. Ms.M, who was still very tan from her  week-long trip to Lanzarote had the least complain, although (window) shopping with her husband do not top her chart of fun activities too . Ms.J who's color is starting to return to its usual palor since her last 2 weeks  summer holiday in North Italy was blurting out  her issues as well , diet and expanding waistline long forgotten as she scoops mushy fries and slather it with  some heavy turkey gravy . And there I was, pallest of them all, holiday---less  and had the least Vit. D synthesis, thanks to Germany's short summers!. With three of us talking and  none seems listening, words like Bodensee!,niiiice, uhmmm,  Berlin! yeah, train, yeah, of course,  Milan!, good idea , Prag! , yesss , echoes from our table. Then somebody , I have honestly no idea which among us three , uttered ''Paris!''. Our table was silent for a minute. Then we looked at each other,  giggling  mischievously, uncertainly, nervously. ''Should we? Do we dare? When's your next day off from work?!'' Event calendars/organizers were whisk out from our granny bags and we scrammed our eyes over the month of September.With husbands back home and kids, their school ,homeworks and  activities as well as our own work schedules to consider , we kept our fingers crossed and  looked for a comnon  free date and  oh la la, we found it!

''I'll get us the tickets'', squeaked, Ms. M. ''I'll look for a hotel!'', I exclaimed. ''Find us a  hotel near the Eiffel tower , okey?!, I always wanted to see it! says, Ms.J who could also barely contain her excitement. Then I asked, ''No kids and husbands in tow?'' Ms. J and Ms. M. ''No!.''  And so it was settled.

We went home, still giddy and told our surprised spouses: We are off to a holiday and you are not coming with us, no sir!

Parisians could be rude sometimes, you know, blurted  FF. They don't like to speak English. What if you get lost?  Paris is big! There's a lot of scums and pickpocketers all over the city! Even our common Filipino friend says. Ms. J's husband told her that Paris is a very very expensive city. Food is quite  expensive, taxis are expensive,shopping's expensive. We had our doubts since we don't speak a word in french and since this was an  unexpected trip,  our pockets were not quite as ready as we are. Gulp! 
 But to Paris we want to go so Paris we went. Here's a thing a two we learned along the way and I hope it will help some travellers too.


                     The Parisians and their language

With an ilonggo, bisaya and tagalog women that could converse competently not only in their own dialect but in English and German as well, going to France without knowledge in le franchias appears to be a bit of a problem. Parisians are undeniably proud of their city and of their language. Coming up to them on the street and impertinently and asking them, ''Do you speak English?!''  elicits mostly nothing but icy glare. I guess, we Pinoy will not be equally amuse if a foreigner comes up to us and ask us the same question. You see, most Parisian do speak english. That goes without saying  since the city is filled with good  schools and universities  and Paris  being one the most sought after holiday destination in the world. Getting them to speak in english language is actually the real challenge. Here's my dummy tip, based on our own experience, try to learn a word or two in french. You will be surprise, how far, ''  parlez vous l'anglaise?: Do you speak English?, is going to take you. Throw in,'' Pardonnez-moi, Madame/monsiuer'' or  excuse me ma'am ,sir and  no matter how rough your accent is, you will almost, always give a hesistant Parisian a reason to smile and yes give you a decent  reply. Your effort alone, gives a good  impression . If you try to reach out to these locals, most of them are going to meet you halfway.  Also, saying ''Bonjour!" when entering a shop , restaurant or any premises would not hurt, it's like acknowledging the presence of the people working there and yes give them a reason to acknowldge you and pay   attention to you in return.They are not snobs, well not everyone.  Naturally, saying ''Merci'' or thank you when circumstance calls  for it is just a polite thing to do.                                                    

      The  City and its way in and out

Paris is big and compact creating an impression of crowdiness and sometimes, orderly chaos to visitors. You might end up stepping into a street filled with people and asked yourself , where I am? Don't be intimidated.  If you are in Paris for a short visit, plan your trip ahead. Know the important sites and spots you wanted to visit.You don't have and can not discover every nook and carries of the city in five days least three. Know your interest, do you like museums, old religious relics, cathedrals/churces, chateaux, shopping,theater or operas, botanical parks? Find out how you will get there. Paris has an excellent, efficient and yes cheap transportation option. Their city railway/subways, Metro and RER, will bring you almost everywhere . For 1,70 Euros you could be travelling from one side of Paris to another. Buses are abundant, know which Bus is nearest you and which way it is heading, you don't need any taxis, save that money for a nice cozy french breakfast instead! If you want a hustle free journey, Paris offers different tours options which both covers land and waters. The L'open Tours offers passengers, a hop on hop off options with 4 routes and 50 stops. You could get on these  open top ,two decker buses and get down at any station you want, explore the area and  wait for the next bus that could bring you farther to the other tourist site. A Two-day fare cost over 30 euros and honestly, 50 stops are way too many and you probably won't be able to discover every single area since there's too much to see! If you want to explose Paris in your own pace, all you need is a good and comfortable shoe and yes a map. Some Iphone apps also offers navigation options that would direct you to some interesting sites.


Food and Dining

Paris is indeed an expensive place to live.    But even Parisians don't go out L'atelier de Joel Robuchon a Galerie for lunch and dinner at Ritz Carlton all the time. If you are willing to fish out 100 Euros fo lunch , you certainly have plenty of haute cuisine restaurants to choose from. You could however, enjoy a good meal without spending a fortune. Dummy's tip:
  • Know your surroundings, look around ,ask if necessary. Do you have a nice but cheap patisserie near your hotel? They might offer a much better breakfast option. How much? A can of soda on a cafe might cost you half, compare to its neighboring competitors. We did pay 4 euros for a glass of Coca Cola on our very first meal in Paris, only to discover that it usually cost only 2 at a block away. Peck!
  • If you want to splurge on food,it helps to know when to do it. Do in during lunch, it's cheaper! Portions might be a bit less compared to dinner but eating the same dish at when the sun is down cost almost double. 
  • Look for set lunches , most restaurants offers an entree, main dish and a dessert for a fix price or prix fixe.If you manage to avoid tourist traps, a decent three course meal would cost you about 20 bucks or less.
  • Go where locals go. If restaurants' full of Parisian, it's eaither it's  good ( they do  enjoy good food) or it's reasonably priced. If you don't speak/read/understand la franchias and scared of ordering yalks eye balls or worst balls ( depending on how you look at things) by mistake, a pocket foodie's dictionary is handy. If you have an iphone, try downloading ''Escargo'' app for just less than 2 euros. Type in the menu and wa-lah an english counterpart appears. So no balls for le petit mademoiselle, thank you very much!
  • If you are on a budget, grab some good  but reasonably priced sandwiches/ baguette  or pastries at the local patisserie have it packed and eat at the nice park, picnic style. Many locals do that during lunch breaks.
  • If you're not into french food, there's a lot of international fastfood chains scattered around. McDonald, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut are just a few, a cheap stop and go alternative.
  • Paris is like a cultural melting pot. It means there's enough culinary options that will suit everybody's taste. We're from the south east of Asia and thankfully they have enough hole in the wall Asian bistros that would cater our palates. These asian restos  do have a unique dining options. Foods are laid out buffet style at the counter, which looks similar to Pinoy karinderya. You choose your dish, they will put it in a  thin  transparent plastic boxes and weigh it. Prices ranges from 1,80 euro per  100 grams. I reckon, you could have a rice and have as much as 3 other dishes for less than 10 bucks.Just tell the person how much you want then they will reheat the food for you and serve it to you pipping hot. Tastewise well, you tasted one, you tasted them all, nothing to shout about but good enough for  us anyway.

Shopping what and where

  • Paris is a shopper's paradise. The whole place is filled with fabulous things, beautiful people and stylish anc chic garbs .Everything at a price. If you are into high end fashion names and happen to be Karl Lagerfeld  or Mark Jacobs ' silent worshipper, you are in the right place. The Ave. des Champ Elysees  is a long  and wide  shopper's street  that stretches  out from the Arc de Triompf until  Place de la Concorde at the mouth of the Musee de Louvre. Is it far? Oh hell-ow yeah! Thats a long road filled with shops and brand names that would make you Victoria Beckham's new best friend. You can shop  or at least window shop until you drop. You can spend an entire day getting in and out of the different shops.

  • If you want to have all those  in the comfort of a nice and  posh surrounding without getting distracted by the honking of irate drivers on the street, you could visit the Galerie LaFayette  at Metro station Chaussee d' Antin. A shopping mall  so beautiful, the place itself is worth the visit. From accessoires to beauty products, high end names to local products, the La Fayette has it all. Make a reservations for special Friday afternoon and watch a  runway fashion show for free!

  • Some people's trash are other people's treasure. I don't know if many Parisians simple hate the idea of throwing away used things or maybe because it's Sunday, but we past by a lot of Flea Market that day. One of the longest we saw was on Montmatre which stretches out from Metro station Anvers of Line 2 down to station Blache which direct passenger right infront of Moulin Rouge. Books, toys, clothes, shoes and all things imaginable are laid out for prospect buyers and curious onlookers. All for just an euro or a bit more.

  • Souvenir shops are all over the place and miniature Eiffel towers in different colors and sizes are sold by (illegal?) hawkers everywhere. Beat down few cents  and try to polish your haggling prowress. Look at some of my loot.

                       How did we thrive in Paris? Well, not bad..not bad at all!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brownie Ice cream recipe

August and September are always have  been   hectic months at work. Nurses and other medical team back home often call such shifts: toxic! Go figure. With kids having their school breaks here in Germany and working parents  expectantly going to a holiday  with 'em tikes, means having few colleagues off the roster. Add in few calls from sick co workers, we were literally cramming and running around to tend to patients, their worried family members and worst, equally stressed doctors. It also means, asking for help from other stations. Thankfully, a few turn up everyday to lend a hand. Ms. I came for the morning shiftt one day, just when I thought I will be going to the battlefield  without reinforcement. Thoroughly thankful that I am, I was also very surprised by the change in her. I haven't seen her for a year since she works at the opposite building.

Me: Meine gute, du hast abgenohmen!  My goodness, you lost weight!
Ms. I: Grinning: Ich hab' . I did
Me. Du sieht ja toll aus! Wie viel hast du abgenohmen wenn ich frangen darf?  You look great! How much weight did you loose, if you don't mind me asking. I did asked, almost gapping.
Ms.I: Sechzehn Kilo, in zwei Monaten.  16 kgs in 2 months, she says and quite proundly at that too, I would if it would be me.
Me: Häääääh und wie hast du dass geschaft?! Whaaaat? How did you manage it? I asked, never attempting to conceal  my excitement. Maybe, just maybe I will finally have the answer to my prayers!
 Ms.I: Ich hab' einfach nicht mehr geggesen? I simply stopped eating! She says grinning which took me by surprise and got almost pricked by a needle I was prepering.

No food?

Me: Wie bitte? Wie kann man uberhaupt nichts essen?! Sorry what? How could one simply stop eating? I asked with hopes crushing down my ears like an uncomfotable   ice cold shower on a January morning.

No Food.....

Ms.I: Ja, Für 2 Monaten,  habe ich nur Wasser getrunken. Ab und zu mal Milch und wenn ich richtig hunger hab' ,esse ich einfach Joghurt oder so. Kalzium ist sehr wichtig weiss du, und ach ja, ich hab' auch Vitaminen eingenohmen, die sind auch wichtig. Yeah, I just drank water for months, I also so drink milk and when hunger really strikes, I simply eat some  yogurt. Calcium is very important you know . And oh , I also took some vitamines. It's also important, she explains to me like a mother eplaining 1 plus 1 is 2 to a toddler.

No food!!!!Aahhhh

Me: Isst du immer noch nicht?  Do you still skip food? I asked almost nervously, still unable to wrap my head around the idea of hours, days and months of no rice, no ulams or no food!
Ms. I :Ach was! Als ich 16 kl abgenohmen hatte, hab' ich wieder angefangen so essen.  Oh no! As I managed to shred 16 kgs, I started eating again.
Me: Ahhh  dass ist gut! Oh that's good, I almost sigh unable to contain my relief .
Ms.I: Ja, aber ich esse immer noch weniger als früher. Yeah, but I still eat way bit less that before, she claimed which stopped me at my tract.

We worked and were busy that whole morning til 2 PM. Miss I. drank her water and ate her yogurt and two low carb diat cookies which tasted like stale chalks and stuff only diabetics eat, Ugh!  I drank too much water that day which could probably drown my kidneys. Did not even dare to whisk my home made pork embutido and rice with extra ketchup infront of her nose. My pack of calorie rich chocolate chip cookies stayed inside my tuppeware box and remained  stashed at the deepest part of my bag, untouched, calling me  names like a bad conscience.Pretendeeeeeer! Faaakeeee!  I was hungry but hey if she manage to survive 2 months on liquid diet, I know I could that I could survive the shift without eating too. Yes, I am that shallow...

Tired and  hungry at the end of my shift, I did an quick endorsement  and packed my thing and drove home gloomy and feeling beaten. Once home, I ate my cold ulam and dry rice without reheating. Wow, 16 kgs in 8 weeks .Wow, 16 kgs in 8 weeks. Wow, 16 kgs in 8 weeks, words rang repeatedly in my head like a pirated CD. Damn I'm going to make some brownies! .Brownies always has a soothing effect on me,like a happy pill to a junkie but that's another story.

Blues blowing Fudgy, Chocolatey Brownie Recipe

In a saucepan, heat 200 g butter (Hear!Hear!), 200 g bittersweet chocolate( yeaaah) under very low heat. Once chocolate   has melted, stir in 140 g white sugar and 50 brown sugar ( for energy!) until everything turns unto a liquidy chocolatey consistency.


Take the saucepan out of the heat and let mixture cool off for a couple of minutes. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time while stirring continously. Stir in vanilla essence. Mix 120 g of flour and a pinch of salt. Sieve into the melted chocolate mixture along with 40 g of cocoa powder. Mix everything thoroughly.

Grease  form well with butter, pour batter and spread evently. Bake for 45 minutes at 180 °c or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownie pan comes out clean.

Gooey and densely chocolatey .This is one example of a textureal delight that only solid food could offer .Since I'm all in for calorie indulgence than  lets  add more joules while we're at it.

Using this vanilla ice cream base recipe, simply add 3 pieces of  brownies. Cut it up into small cubes and refrigerate for an hour to hold its shape while churning. Make vanilla ice cream  as mention at the link above, if you want to die and go to chocolate heaven, you could use this chocolate ice cream recipe as a base instead.

Stir in cubed brownies into the ice cream mixture five minutes before the ice cream's done. Add in a handul of your favorite toasted nut if you feel like it.Put mixture into your container and freeze.

Don't wait for the sun to settle down, once ice cream hardens up a bit, dig in! Dig them brownie like a miner digger digging gold nuggets. After a scoop I reckon you would be just as happy ...almost.

Aaahhhh I felt better already..

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pork Embutido and my way of saying hello to Pasko!

The moment Ber hits the calendar, many Filipinos around the word starts reminiscing Christmas,  a few already started Christmas countdowns and fewer still could not simply wait and  oh no tofu, went ahead and started greeting everybody else, (°_^)  Merry Christmas! Social networks , read: facebook...twitter...multiply etc  are filled with it. After all September, puts  the hot and sultry summer  to its  end and  brings a crispier and chillier weather as well as a fresher and an almost too familiar waffle and cinnamon whiff in the air ( hello Weinachtmarkt or rather  hello olfactory hallucinations?) . Plus September happens to  rythme and chime  like December.  I hope these are acceptable and good enough excuses to celebrate and be extra merry- That's how much we marvel the birth of baby Jesus so haters look to your left if you please.

 Being a true blooded Filipino ( read: 100% Ilonggo blood slashing merrily in my constricted veins,  thanks deep fried lumpia!), I literally have to hold on to my knickers, stop myself from jumping into the bandwagon  and started yelley yowling  Hoh!Hoh!Hoh! However, I did silently but gratefully celebrated the coming Ber at home, in my kitchen...with lots and lots of Embutido. Getting lost yet? Fast forwarding fanatical babbling, Christmas in the Philippines is celebrated with a bountiful feast. That's extensive spread waiting and begging to be savored at Noche buena . Like the three kings of Jerusalem, Pinoy table on the eve of Christmas is not celebrated without the presence  of hamon ( ham), queso de bola ( Phil. cheese ball) and yes Embutido! We might not necessary have  them all three, but the third king is almost always present in every Christmas table back in the Philippines. So no too- early-x-mas-greetings from me to you, just a silent deed   that warrant a good meal that reminds me of home. Let cooks some Embudido, shall we?!

Germanized Embutido

In as much as I wanted to make something authentic, being far away from home also means missing an  ingredient or two. Finding pickle relish, for instance is a bit of a problem . Although  cucumber here comes in all sizes and color,  fresh,  bottled, jarred, salted, sweetened or seasoned, they don't come  in sweet pickle relish form. Not in Germany, no sir. Now sing with me! It's like ten thousand spoon but all you need is a fork..I said yeah, yeah, yeaah, isn't it ironic?'' . Okeeey, I think I have to stop here before I completely lost it. Anyway, its just a minor glitch. Like missing a key component in a dish ever stopped me before. Read crabless, chillie-less singapore chilli crab recipe. Here's how I came up with a pork embutido with a german twist anyway.

In a big mixing bowl goes 500 g of ground pork, add 1 small shredded carrots, half a cup of raisins, half red paprika, cut into small cubes and half yellow paprika. If you could make your embutido as colorful as a rainbow, the award goes to you! I then added 1 finely chopped medium sized onion, 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic.  And since I'm missing the pickle relish which adds a sweet soury component into this dish, I used half a cup of Sauerkraut with pineapple instead. Six slices of smoked Schinken or ham were thinly sliced and then added into the bowl. A dash of pepper and salt were added into the mixture. To bind all ingredients together, I then added 2 eggs . Season with few drops of soy sauce and add in 50 g of grated Parmesan cheese. Test the consistency, if it end up too mushy, add in a tablespoon or two of flour.

Mix everything thoroughly until well combined and homogeneous. Scoop a handful of embutido mixture into an aluminium foil. Shape it into a log, roll tightly and seal by twisting both ends.Yield: 3 to 4  embutidos . If you have a steamer that could hold all these, steam it for about an hour. Let embutido cool off completely before cutting and serving. To serve: either eat it cold or simply sear it for a couple of minutes in the pan with a bit of oil until it turns brown. If you are Pinoy, eat it with rice..lots and lots of rice and hey don't forget your banana ketchup while you're at it. Enjoy!

Kain tayo!
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