About the Writing Style of the Recipes

Before you proceed to the recipes, please take a moment to read the following notes about the writing style used in Havenhill Cuisine.

Ingredients

Ingredients are listed chronologically in the order of their use in the recipe. Thus the first ingredient in the list is also the first ingredient to be used in the recipe—a cinch in preparing your mise en place.

An ingredient enclosed in curly brackets—such as {1 cup chopped nuts}—indicates an optional ingredient. Its use may enhance—but its omission will not prejudice—the recipe’s intended result.

Brief instructions in the preparation of the ingredients such as “diced,” “chopped,” “sifted,” etc. are included to alert the cook. For example: “egg, slightly beaten” means the egg to be used in the recipe must be beaten slightly with a fork or wire whip. Whenever possible, all pre-preparation instructions like chopping, dicing, sifting, etc, are eliminated in the procedures thereby simplifying the procedure. The placement of these modifiers in the ingredient list is as important as the modifier itself.

Take for example these two similar lines that you may see in a recipe ingredient list:
* 1 cup rice, cooked
* 1 cup cooked rice
The first line tells you to take 1 cup of rice and cook it; the second line calls for 1 cup of rice that has already been cooked. The difference between the two is about 2 cups of cooked rice, and that can make a lot of difference in the outcome of a recipe.

If an ingredient is used more than once in a recipe, the total amount is listed where it is first used, followed by the word “divided.” Then in the procedures part of the recipe, the amount to be used at each step is indicated. For example: “1 c all-purpose flour, divided” then in the procedure “Sift 3/4 cup of the flour with the…” and later “Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of flour on top of…”

If you want to know more about a particular ingredient, or wish to see how it looks like, jump over to Havenhill Cuisine’s companion blog, Havenhill Kitchen. Many of the ingredients listed in the recipe have links to Havenhill Kitchen.

Procedures

Procedures generally follow the Good Housekeeping format—before procedure steps, the instructions list whatever specific equipment will be needed, because you must locate and set up equipment first.

Instructions give not only a time, but also a texture-appearance test for crucial steps. For example: “Bake until glaze is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.” To determine doneness, always rely first on the recipe’s sensory descriptor such as “until glaze is golden brown.” Consider any times given in a recipe merely as a guide for when to start checking for doneness. When given a range of times, such as “20 to 30 minutes,” start checking on the lower number.

Special Meanings

Unless otherwise specified, assume:
* Any meat, fish, vegetable, fruit, or cereal is raw, not cooked.
* Rice is uncooked, white, long-grain.
* Flour is all-purpose (bleached and unbleached are interchangeable).
* Cocoa is unsweetened cocoa powder (not to be confused with cocoa mix).
* Chocolate is pure and unsweetened, bitter, or baking chocolate (not to be confused with cocoa mix).
* Vanilla is pure vanilla extract.
* Eggs are medium, 2-ounce size.
* Butter is unsalted.
* Cheese is mild cheddar.
* Milk is undiluted—evaporated filled milk or whole milk.
* Condensed canned soup is undiluted.
* Sugar is white, granulated.
* Salt is coarse, unrefined sea salt.
* Spices are whole.
* Garlic is peeled and smashed.
* Oil is any cooking oil (I use canola for everday cooking; extra-virgin olive oil for Italian or Spanish-inspired dishes; peanut oil for Chinese dishes).
* Vinegar is nipa vinegar (Paombong type). Acidity varies by brand; use less or more than listed in the recipe, depending on your brand’s acidity and to suit your taste.
* Soy sauce is regular and dark (Filipino type, which is closer to Chinese soy sauce than to Japanese soy sauce). Salinity varies by brand; use less or more than listed in the recipe, depending on your brand’s salinity and to suit your taste.
* Bagoong is fresh, uncooked bagoong alamáng (shrimp paste).

Abbreviations

The following abbreviations are used in the recipes:
t = teaspoon
T = tablespoon
c = cup
k = kilo
lb = pound
oz = ounce
g = gram
ml = milliliter
L = liter
pt = pint
qt = quart
gl = gallon
pc = piece
sl = slice
pk = pack, packet
bx = box
C = Celsius
F = Fahrenheit
cm = centimeter
in or “ = inch

Photos

For better or worse, and unless otherwise noted, all photographs in Havenhill Cuisine were taken by me (or for me). Photos are taken with Lumix GF2 Micro Four Thirds camera, with the flash disabled. I’ve had many remarkably good shots with my long retired compact point-and-shoot, like this Humba and these Rice Krispies; and some nice tight shots like this Atchara and this Kalamay Pinipig.

But when my son is around, he obliges me with his Nikon D5000 with 18-105 mm and 50 mm lenses. Then I get adequate depth of field in shots like this Burong Talangka and these Financiers, and some cool bokehs like this Frozen Vodka and these Sliders (scroll to bottom of post), not really to be artsy but to blur the background clutter in my ghetto studio.

There’s nothing superficial or artificial in the photos—no glycerin, no shellac, no hot glue, no Photoshop, no special lighting equipment. I don’t dress up my food, twirl the pasta, or fluff every single grain of rice, but I wipe off smudges and spills because I’m that OC in the kitchen. I never use flash, so I shoot outside the house, in my “dirty kitchen” where there’s plenty of sunshine, and I shoot only during daytime. (I realize I still have some posts with older photos taken inside the house; these will be updated in time.) I hope my pictures turn out nice, but more than that, I hope they represent what the dish would look like when you actually cook it in your own kitchen. Thus most of my shots are close in (food only) and usually all in focus, the better to show details and texture. I don’t include table elements “to provide character and a reference situation,” because they tend to distract from my focus, and also because this calls for more props, more prep time, and more space (all of which I don’t have).

My photos are all taken in real time, just when the dish comes out of the pan into its serving plate, a few minutes before I call in the troops… “Kakain na!” (Time to eat!)

Yield and Nutritional Information

Havenhill Cuisine is a reflection of how my family cooks and eats, and as I don’t bother about portion controls and also don’t analyze nutritional information for our meals, both are not done in this site. Most of the recipes are sufficient for a family plus two house-helps; usually with some to spare for another meal or to brown-bag to work the next day. Some recipes, especially for baked goods, include yield and that’s as “technical” as I’d get.

In recording these recipes, however, I have tried to preserve traditional ingredients and techniques as much as possible. Many of the recipes have an old-world quality about them, reflecting an era when people had more time to cook and more hands to help in the kitchen, long before today’s more enlightened approach to fat, salt, and sugar in the diet.

The recipes in this site have been tested through years of actual cooking and (almost) nothing has been adjusted to make the recipes more nutritionally correct. I believe that some foods are so soulful that their love content outweighs their fat content. Deprivation and dieting have never been my thing; indeed I love to feast—Vive la fête!