Friday, 25 October 2013

Homemade Churros

When I read Sanna's entry last week, I was reminded of how nice churros are. Crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside. Plus the chance to dip it in chocolate, oh just wow!  When my little girl was asking to eat something new, I thought of making churros! So off we went to the kitchen.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder to coat the churros when cooked
For the chocolate sauce:
  • 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Equipment: a cloth pastry bag or heavy-duty plastic pastry bag; a large star pastry tip
Water, sugar and salt mixture
Flour and piping bag are ready

Forming into a ball

My little helper

Combine 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Line a plate with paper towels.

1. Using a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, salt and oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add in the flour until everything comes together to form a ball.  Put mixture into a piping bag with the star tip.

2. I used my cast iron skillet to fry the churros. But you can use any frying pan that can do little bit of deep frying.  Make sure the oil is hot enough before you pipe in your churros.

3. Pipe the dough to your desired length. I had mine about 3 inches. Cut the churros to release them into the oil, careful not to drop it into the oil to avoid splatter. Fry until they turn golden brown. 

4. Transfer the cooked churros into paper-lined bowl and coating them with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

5. Prepare the chocolate sauce by melting the chocolate with the heavy cream over double broiler. Stir until mixture becomes smooth. Remove and serve with churros.

Cooked churros sans the coating

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Spinach Artichoke Dip

The husband and I like the artichoke dip in Italianni's. But when I searched for the recipe, I found out that it has mayonnaise!! Eeep! I don't like mayo. At all. So the quest for no-mayo-dip started last week and good thing I found one, and it's easy to make!

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • Half a bag of spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bottle artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp butter (additional)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (more if needed)
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese
  • 2/3 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • extra mozzarella and cheddar for topping


1. In a skillet, melt butter. Saute garlic and add spinach. Cook until the spinach leaves wilt. Remove from heat and squeeze out the juice. Set aside spinach and garlic.

2. In the same skillet, add in the artichokes and cook over medium high heat for several minutes. Remove them and let them cool. Once cool, chop the artichokes and spinach together. For me, I used my immersion blender and pulsed them for a couple of seconds.

3. In the same skillet or a different pot, melt butter and whisk in flour until it makes a roux then pour in milk. Stir and cook until slightly thickened; add more milk if it becomes too thick.

4. Add the cheeses and season to taste. Mix in the artichokes and spinach to the sauce. Stir to combine.

5. Pour into buttered baking dish. Top with extra grated cheese and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with bread or crackers.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Cottage Cheese Biscuits

What else to do with cottage cheese other than put it on a sandwich? Hmm... Biscuits!

I have my new cast iron skillet so let's try using it, shall we? :)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • a heaping of shredded tasty cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Prepare (seasoned) iron skillet.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cottage cheese and the milk, stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms.

3. Knead a few times, just until dough is smooth. It will be a bit sticky but be careful not to over-knead it.

4. You can use a rolling pin and sprinkle flour over the dough to roll it out and cut into rounds using a cutter. As for me, I just dumped little mounds into the skillet to make the biscuits look rustic. CHOZ! :))

5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Biko - Filipino Sticky Rice Cake

Yesterday, the little girl and I had to go to the bank to get my card. On the way home, we passed by the Oriental store and made me think about making biko.  For those who don't know what it is, biko is a sticky rice cake that is commonly eaten as a snack or dessert in the Philippines. It's essentially made of glutinous rice, brown sugar, and coconut milk. Some add jackfruit (langka), pandan flavor, or even nuts as toppings. 

As for me, I was feeling adventurous so I thought of adding a Singaporean flavor, the gula melaka. Since it's generally used by Malays in their kueh making, I thought, maybe it would also be a great complement to my biko! So off we went to buy the glutinous rice, gula melaka, and coconut milk. Time to do the experiment!

Gula melaka in the coconut milk

  • 1 part (250 grams) gula melaka, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can 425ml of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of glutinous rice, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
  • pinch of salt


1. Soak the 2 cups of glutinous rice in water for 4-6 hours. Drain the water and cook the rice in the rice cooker with two cups of water. Once the water evaporates, turn off the cooker.

2. In a heavy skillet, pour the coconut milk and mix in the gula melaka and pinch of salt until it turns thick. Make sure not to leave as it easily burns. Take about half of the coconut mixture and set aside.

3. Add the cooked rice into the skillet and mix carefully to coat everything with the coconut mixture. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, just to make sure that the rice is cooked. Remove from heat.

4. Pour the rice in a 8x8 square dish and top with the remaining coconut mixture. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius or until the top becomes bubble.

5. Let cool for about 30 minutes, cut and serve. Enjoy!


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Una's Cafe & Restaurant

Sorry for the long absence. I was enjoying every moment I was spending in Bacolod and Davao. I didn't bother to blog about any food experience I had there. Too lazy, I guess. But now I'm back! Hopefully I can do this more often, if I have the time! :D

We just arrived in Sydney last week. On our first day, the husband brought us to Una's. I didn't know what they were serving until we got there. Wow, schnitzels. It's been a while!

Is he a regular, there?
This dog on the photo above was outside the cafe. I could see him shivering while being carried by his person. I dunno if they are regulars there but I saw the guy feeding steak to the dog, using the fork (!!!) I wanted to tell the staff but I was afraid of what would happen if I did so. :P

Old school coke!
We were given sodas in bottles. And the cap is the kind that you twist, not the bottle crown. I like it!

Potato Salad
If I remember correctly, this was a German Potato Salad. It was cold and fortunately not made with mayonnaise! :D With a sprinkle of paprika on top, it was a great partner with the hot mushrooms we had below.

Crumbled Mushrooms
These were good alternative to fries! There was a sauce that came with it but I liked it with Tabasco. :)

A slice of Vienna Schnitzel (Veal) and Gypsy Schnitzel (chicken with tomato sauce)
The husband had the veal while my brother had the Gypsy, it's chicken schnitzel only with tomato sauce.  I like the Vienna but since I don't really eat beef anymore, I was more concentrated on my plate. :D

Chicken Schnitzel with Rosti
The chicken was cooked to a perfect soft meat with crunchy coating. And I love that the rosti was well done and not too oily, unlike the ones I had in Marche before. The serving was huge so I only finished like a third of my schnitzel and had the rest taken home.

We will definitely come back, to try other kinds of main dishes! And I'm wondering how the Deep Fried Camembert would taste! Hmmm...

Una's Cafe & Restaurant
340 Victoria Street, 
Darlinghurst 2010, Sydney, NSW 
Contact: 02 9360 6885