Compiled Recipe – Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 10 egg whites
* 2 lbs. unsalted butter
* 1 tbsp. vanilla
* 1 pinch salt

1) Find a pot that your mixer bowl can rest on top of without touching the bottom.  Fill this with enough water that when the bowl in sitting on top of it, it’s not touching the bottom of the bowl.  Bring this to a simmer on the stove.  Meanwhile, put the sugar, egg whites, and salt into the mixer bowl. Don’t separate whole eggs for this recipe to get the egg whites.

2) Put the mixer bowl of egg whites and sugar over the simmering water (now a bain marie) and whisk lightly while heating until they reach 150◦F.  Use your candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test with your finger: the egg whites should feel hotter than warm but not painfully hot and if you rub it between your fingers, you wouldn’t be able to feel any sugar crystals.  Transfer the bowl to the mixer and with the whip attachment, start whipping!  You’ll likely find that you need to start slow (around 3 or 4 on my stand mixer) until they get frothy and then bring the speed up (to around 8).  Continue whipping 10 – 15 minutes until you have a meringue with stiff peaks that is cooled.

3) Now, switch to the beater attachment on your mixer and start adding the butter, a bit at a time, until it’s entirely incorporated.  If your buttercream starts to look soupy part way through, that’s normal.  Just keep beating.  If the buttercream starts to look curdled part way through, that’s also ok.  Just keep beating.  Does something feel strange about it and you’re certain you’ve made a mistake and you’ve been beating for a couple of minutes and nothings changing?  Also normal. Just keep beating.

4) Add the vanilla, or flavouring of your choice (sky’s the limit but we tend to make a lot of lemon around here) and continue to beat until well mixed.  The buttercream is now ready for your cake!  It can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.  It also stores well in the freezer for about 3 months.  Leftovers top cupcakes quite nicely, I find as well.  If your buttercream is cold, be certain to give it time to properly return to room temperature before you use it.  You can beat it again just prior to frosting if it’s been chilled.

5) Temperature is something you might want to think about when making buttercream.  I live in a house that’s cool in the winter (< 18C) and downright hot (> 30C) in the summer.  I sometimes have to fight these temperature swings when making buttercream.  If you also live in this kind of environment, keep reading for tips on how to get your ingredients and your meringue at a more typical room temperature.

6) For your butter, once it’s cut into pieces: if you poke the pieces and they completely mush, the butter is too warm.  If you poke the pieces and your finger makes no indent whatsoever, the butter is too cold.  If the butter is too warm, you can cool it for a few minutes in the fridge while you prepare the meringue.  If it’s too cold, you can wait a little longer and check again before starting the meringue, or if you’re brave, pop it in the microwave for short, < 20 second cycles, at 50% power until it’s softer.

7) For your meringue: Touch a bit of meringue onto your bottom lip. It should feel just slightly cool.  If that’s the case, you’re ready to go.  If the meringue is still a tad hot you can put it into the fridge for 5 minutes (no more!) or continue to whip for a minute or two while holding an ice pack along the sides of the bowl.  It’s over 30 degrees Celsius right now in my city and I don’t have air conditioning.  I had to use a bag of frozen peas to cool down this bowl of meringue – it’s that DAMN HOT (just as an aside).  If your kitchen is actually ‘temperate’, beating the meringue for 10 to 15 minutes should produce a meringue with perfect peaks and at just the right temperature.

8) For your buttercream:  If you added the butter and it was a bit too cold, it may take a lot of beating to get rid of the curdled look and move on to the smooth stage.  A pair of warm hands, or a wash cloth that’s been soaked in hot water placed around the sides of the bowl will bring everything back up to the right temperature reasonably quickly.





Compiled Recipe – Spicy Tahini Palmiers

Spicy Tahini Palmiers

* ¼ cup or 60 grams tahini
* 1 fresh red chili pepper
* 1 clove garlic
* ½ tsp. paprika
* ¼ tsp. salt
* 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry, thawed

1) Chop chili finely. You can deseed first if you’d like to reduce the amount of spiciness. Put tahini, chopped chili, garlic, paprika and salt in a small bowl. Stir well.

2) Unroll your thawed puff pastry on top of a large piece of cling film.Spread your paste evenly over the pastry, making sure to go all the way to edges.

3) Use the cling film underneath to help you fold the bottom in to the middle.

4) Now fold the bottom over the top side as if you are closing a long book.

5) Use the cling film under the roll to tightly cover it and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

6) Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C.

7) Unwrap the roll and cut it in half. Rewrap one half and put it back in the refrigerator. Cut the other half in half inch or 1 cm slices with a sharp knife.

8) Lay the slices on a baking pan lined with parchment or a non-stick silicone mat. Leave room between them for puffing and spreading.

9) Bake for 10-12 minutes in your preheated oven on one side and then flip and bake 5-6 minutes more on the other, or until golden and crispy. Cool on a wire rack.

10) Repeat the process with the second half of the roll. This makes about 20 spicy tahini palmiers.


Compiled Recipe – Sweet Ham with Pineapple Sauce

Sweet Ham With Pineapple Sauce

* 1 cup canned pineapple, drained, chopped, plus ½ cup of the liquid
* 1 cup apricot jam
* 6 cloves
* ¼ tsp. salt
* 1 ½ kilo sweet ham, thawed

1) Pre-heat oven to 300◦F.

2) Make the compote: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes or until syrupy. Reserve ¼ cup.

3) Place ham on a wire rack set on top of a baking tray. Brush ham with reserved compote.

4) Roast ham in the oven for 15 minutes.

5) Transfer to a platter and serve with the rest of the compote on the side.


Compiled Recipe – Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Creamy Scrambled Eggs

* 2 to 4 eggs
* salt (to taste)
* ground black pepper (to taste)
* butter

1) Break 2 to 4 eggs in a bowl and beat well, incorporating air in the mixture for light, fluffy eggs. Season eggs with salt and pepper.

2) Melt a knob of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until frothy. Pour in beaten eggs, let them sit for 1 to 2 seconds before stirring.

3) Stir eggs constantly using a silicone spatula, pushing and folding the edges to the center. For larger curds, use big sweeping motions. For smaller curds, stir more rapidly in small circles.

4) Keep heat at medium low and make sure to keep stirring. Remove the pan from heat if you think the eggs are cooking too quickly.

5) Right before the eggs are done (they should look set but a little undercooked), remove pan from heat and transfer eggs to a plate. The eggs will continue to cook in the residual heat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve immediately with toast or garlic fried rice.



Compiled Recipe – Alfajores


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
* ¼ tsp salt
* 1 cup butter, cubed
* ½ cup confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
* 1 (300 ml) can condensed milk

1) Pre-heat oven to 325◦F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2) Combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms into a soft ball.

3) Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

4) Using a rolling pin, roll the dough in between sheets of cling wrap or wax paper until 1/8-inch thick.

5) Using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass, cut out dough into 1 ½-inch rounds. Place on prepared baking sheets.

6) Bake in the pre-heated oven or until cookies are slightly golden around the edges.

7) Dredge cookies in confectioners’ sugar and shake off excess. Let cool completely, then store in an air-tight container.

8) Make the dulce de leche: Remove the paper label of the can of condensed milk. Fill a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer. Place the can in a pot, making sure it is fully covered in water. Simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours, adding water occasionally to make sure that the can is always completely submerged in water.

9) Remove can from water and allow to cool to room temperature before opening, about 2 hours.

10) Transfer dulce de leche to an air-tight container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

11) Assemble the cookies: Using an offset spatula, spread one or two tablespoons dulce de leche on the flat side of the cookie. Place another cookie on top to sandwich the filling. Wrap cookies individually in cellophane or wax paper. Store in an air-tight container.

Tip: For a little extra zing, add some lime or lemon zest to the cookie dough.


Compiled Recipe – Aglio E Olio (Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil)

Aglio E Olio (Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil)

* 200 grams dried spaghetti
* ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1 head garlic, peeled, sliced thinly
* salt (to taste)
* ground black pepper (to taste)
* water , for boiling

1) Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add spaghetti. Stir then let cook 8 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, in a large pan over low heat, heat oil and add garlic. Gently simmer garlic until it begins to turn golden.

3) Add cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Serve immediately.



Compiled Recipe – Fried Calamansi Pork Chops

Fried Calamansi Pork Chops

* 2 tbsp oil
* 2 tbsp butter
* 4 pork chops, patted dry
* 8 pieces calamansi, halved, plus more to serve
* salt (to taste)
* ground black pepper (to taste)

1) In a frying pan over medium heat, heat oil and melt butter.

2) Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.

3) Once pan is hot, add 2 pork chops. Squeeze 2 calamansi over each pork chop. Brown on both sides before removing from pan. Cook remaining pork chops. Serve with steamed rice.




Compiled Recipe – Sweet Potato Toast

Sweet Potato Toast

* 1 large orange sweet potatoes (kamote) , peeled, sliced lengthwise
* 1 tbsp. oil
* 3 tbsp. peanut butter
* 1 banana, use lakatan variety, peeled, sliced
* 2 tbsp. honey
* salt (to taste)

1) Brush cut sides of camote with oil. Sprinkle with salt. In a toaster, toast 5 minutes or until softened.

2) Spread peanut butter on camote. Top with bananas and drizzle with honey.


Compiled Recipe – Caramel Ice Cream Sundae

Caramel Ice Cream Sundae

* 1 cup sugar
* 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
* ½ cup whipping cream
* 1 ½ tsp instant coffee powder
* 1 pinch salt

1) Heat sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat until melted and deep amber in color, about 8 to 10 minutes. (Note: Don’t mix the sugar; simply swirl it around the pan by tilting the handle.) Once melted, Remove from heat then immediately add whipping cream; whisk to combine.

2) Stir in instant coffee powder and a pinch of salt. Let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or airtight glass jar or pour over ice cream scoops.




Compiled Recipe – Corned Beef Hashbrowns

Corned Beef Hashbrowns

* 4 cups potatoes, grated
* 1 small white onion, grated
* 2 cloves garlic, grated
* ½ cup corned beef
* salt
* ground black pepper
* oil (for frying)

1) Squeeze dry potatoes, onion, garlic and corned beef; season with salt and pepper to taste.

2) Divide into 4 before pan frying in olive oil over low heat, flipping once, until browned and crisp on both sides.