Friday, October 12, 2012

Cinnamon Buns

Any kind of cinnamon bun has a special meaning for Ronny, because it's apparently a big part of a Swedish childhood.  A good Swedish mom is supposed to have these baking in the oven when the children come home from school and his mother apparently baked them a lot.

This is not a recipe for an authentic Swedish cinnamon bun, but me playing around with a poppy seed dinner roll recipe. I watched this video more than a few times and took some notes.  I think they forgot to mention how much water you should mix with the yeast in the beginning and some commentators thought it was maybe 1/4 cup so I went along with using as little water as I could.  In reality, I think it was 1 cup, if you follow this recipe to a tee.

I don't have the exact amounts calculated out yet as part of the dough still lies in my refrigerator (around 1/4 of it), so I will update this when I know.  However, in general, I think you could follow this recipe without mixing any poppy seeds into the dough, and putting a generous amount of cinnamon sugar between the layers.  Don't forget to brush the tops with butter and sprinkle them all with more cinnamon sugar after the second rise, right before they go into the oven!

Cinnamon Buns - Adapted from Poppy Seed Rolls


4 Tsp Yeast
1/4 Cup Luke Warm Water
1/4 Tsp Sugar
2/3 Cups Warm Milk
1/4 Cup Sunflower Oil
1 Medium Egg (room temperature is better)
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt (I forgot to put some but they turned out ok)
2 Sticks (226g) Unsalted Butter
4 Cups Flour (or more)
1 Cup Cinnamon Sugar (I made mine, but you can use the ready made type)

Step 1:  Mix the yeast, 1/4 tsp sugar and luke warm water in a bowl and let it sit until foamy.

Step 2:  While you are waiting for this to get frothy, cut into the 4 cups flour, all of the butter just as though you were making a pie crust of scones.  Use a cutter or your fingers.

Step 3:   By the time you have finshed Step 2, the yeast should be frothy.  Add 2/3 cups milk, 1/4 cup oil, 1 egg, 1/3 cup sugar, pinch of sea salt and mix well.

Step 3:  Then add the flour butter mixture into the yeast and stir with a dough hook until you have a pretty wet batter that does not stick too your fingers.  If you think the dough needs more flour, add a little more.  However, the dough will still look sticky.  It will not be a smooth looking dough.  Please see video for how it should look.

Step 4:  Cover this with a dish cloth and then let it rest until it is twice it's size.  Mine took a lot longer than 30 minutes.

Step 5:  Knead it until it is smooth and divide it into 4 portions for manageability.  You will end-up using most of it to fill-up the IKEA muffin pan which is used in the video and which I used as well.

Step 6:  Basically you will need to roll the dough out either using a rolling pin or your fingers to make the dough into a rectangle.

Step 7:  Cut them into strips with a dough cutter, and make six layers, brushing them with melted butter first and then putting a liberal dose of cinnamon sugar in between them.  Don't be afraid to pile the cinnamon sugar on.  It will taste better if you use a lot rather than less.

Step 8:  Once you have made six layers you can cut them to a size so that they fit your muffin tin and you lay them down cut side down.

Step 9:  Let them rise until they have expanded sufficiently and then preheat the oven to 350F/176C.

Step 10:  Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle more cinnamon sugar.  Don't be shy and pile it on!

Step 11:  Bake them in the oven for 25 minutes and enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


My favorite recipe for Chivda comes from Padma's Kitchen.  I make mine in smaller quantities (maybe half recipe of the original) and don't use dalia and use dried curry leaves (since I can't get fresh ones here), but other than that, I follow the recipe pretty much to a tee and it has turned out very nicely each time I made it.

If you live in my area, all the ingredients are available at the Asian Grocery in central Torremolinos.   

Ronny loves this and can't keep his hands off this when I make some.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thai Green Mango Salad

Growing-up in the Philippines, I ate a lot of green mangoes, and I miss them sometimes, as they are not easily found in many countries.  Luckily, a grocer in Torremolinos had a pretty hefty cargo of mangoes and some of them were pretty green.  These weren't imported ones, but locally produced Malaga mangoes.

In the Philippines, I used to just eat my green mangoes with salt, but since this was not perfectly green and the wrong variety of mangoes for eating this way, I decided to make a Thai Green Mango Salad.  My primary reference was this recipe from Globe Trotter Diaries.

Thai Green Mango Salad - Adapted from Globe Trotter Diaries
Serves 4-6 or 2 people who want to eat a lot of mango salad.


1 Big Green Mango (Thinly julienned)
1 Shallot (Thinly sliced)
2 Small Red Chiles (Bird's Eye preferrably, but if not any fresh red chilies to taste)
1/4 Cup Peanuts (Toasted in a pan)
1/4 Cup Dry Shrimp (Toasted in a pan)
1 Lime (the juice)
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Fresh Cilantro (to flavor and garnish)

Step 1:  Julienne the mango.

Step 2:  Toast the peanuts and set aside.

Step 3:  Toast the dried shrimp and set aside.

Step 4:  Slice the red chilies, shallot (or red onion) and toss them into a bowl with the mango.

Step 5:  Season and toss with the rest of the ingredients, adding more chili, fish sauce or brown sugar to taste.

Step 6:  Serve garnished with some extra cilantro.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Austrian Apple Strudel

Austrian Apple Strudel

I wasn't going to post this at first because I wasn't entirely happy with the results, but after my friend Martin Puhr had some kind words to say about this, I have been encouraged to post it after all.  He tells me his only complaint is that there isn't enough cinnamon in the filling...and I agree.

To be honest, I have never had genuine Austrian apple strudel.  From the references I have gleaned that it does not have a usual 'crust' and the aromatic filling is wrapped in many layers of very thin pastry.  You can either make this yourself, buy the ready made pastry if you are in Austria, or use phyllo as a substitute.

After looking at my primary reference and watching this video, where a master chef makes the pastry, I decided that I would opt for using phyllo pastry.  

Here is my adapted recipe in a smaller portion than the original.

Makes 25 cm Strudels x 2 

4 Cups (700g)+  Apples - around 4 green small ones
8 Phyllo Sheets
1.3 Tbsp (20 ml) Golden Rum
2 Tbsp (30ml) Golden Raisins
3 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon 
1/2 Cup  Sugar
150 g Butter  (for brushing the pastry)
1 Cup Bread Crumbs + 2 Tbsp butter
1/3 Cup or 50g Toasted  Coarsely Chopped Walnuts
Confectioner's Sugar (for sprinkling)

Step 1:  Melt your butter in the microwave and let it cool down.  I usually remove it before all the butter has melted and stir it so that the rest will melt.  Soak the raisins in the rum.

Step 2:  Core, peel and slice the apples in 3 mm or 1/8 inch slices, and then slice them again in two.  Put them in a bowl.

Step 3:  Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl (keep 6 Tbsp of the cinnamon sugar separate) and mix the rest in with the apples and let it sit.  

Step 4:  Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pan and toast the bread crumbs until golden brown.  Remove the phyllo pastry from the refrigerator so that it is at room temperature at this point.  Everything should be at room temperature before you start.

Step 6:  Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

Step 7:  Put a baking sheet on top of a hard thin board that you can use to slide the strudels onto the oven tray.

Step 8: On a floured surface lay down the phyllo sheet making careful it does not rip, and paint it with butter, sprinkle some of the toasted buttery bread crumbs and place another sheet on top of it.  Repeat until you have a total of 4 layers.

Step 9:  You are going to roll these lengthwise now, so spread the walnuts in an area around 3 inches/8 cm from the short edge of the phyllo in a strip keeping in mind that you are going to roll this up.  

Step 10:  Drain the liquid from the apples.  Then pour the rum raisin mixture over the apples and toss.  Mix in as much bread crumbs as you can leaving a little bit to dust another 4 layers of phyllo.  Place this now moist but not soggy mixture over the walnuts.  Finish this off by sprinkling it with an extra 3 Tbsp cinnamon sugar.

Step 11:  Now roll this up, tucking in the edges, and place this on top of the cooking sheet that we prepared earlier.  Then brush it with butter before putting it in the oven.

Step 12:   Keep your eye on the strudel.  After 15 minutes or so you may want to move it to a lower rack and cover it with aluminum foil (let the foil float above it so that it's not really touching the strudel very much) if it is brown enough.  When you let it brown too much, it will look like a giant lumpia, rather than a strudel.  

Step 13:  Bake for around 30 minutes.  

Step 14: Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and sprinkle liberally with confectioner's sugar and serve!

Note: You may want to prepare the rum raisin mixture before hand and mix this in with the apple cinnamon sugar mixture to get rid of excess moisture hours before you start.   It's very important that the filling does not have excess moisture in it or it will ruin the texture of your strudel.  This recipe is still a work in progress and I will be revising it when I have another go at it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

We've been baking sourdough bread for a number of years now and this is our latest loaf.  I love the way they come out different every time.  For the recipe please click here.