05 Jan2010


My two brothers, their families and some close friends were over for a merienda cena the Sunday before Christmas. We decided on a late merienda to keep it lighter and easier than a formal dinner, and because there were young nephews in attendance. Although the food was abundant, this was purposefully designed to allow everyone to get up several times to hit the buffet, to sit around and catch up on news, and enjoy the cool early evening weather outdoors.


Everything on the menu was something I have featured on this blog before, so if you are curious, listed from nearest dish to furthest in the top photo, we had:

– A chilled pako (fiddlehead fern) salad with the addition of some brined and cooked prawns
– A KKKK salad made with kang kong leaves, katuray flowers, squash blossoms and tomatoes with a fish sauce and kalamansi dressing
– A banana heart (puso) salad with mayonnaise and coconut cream dressing
– A pork-free sotanghon guisado with a touch of achuete for color
– A platter for all vegetable lumpia or fried spring rolls
– A platter of sliced country ham
– A platter of inasal na manok, or grilled chicken with lemongrass

Dessert included a butter cake served with fantastic local strawberries and whipped cream, as well as several ice creams and a cornucopia of holidays sweets and goodies that had arrived as presents over the last few days…


Simple tablecloths, festive red plates, large napkins and silver and lots of Christmas lights set the tone of the informal merienda cena. Some guests were surprised by the salad choices and I like the way the whole menu gave everyone options for eating relatively lightly, or quite robustly if they felt like it. This is definitely a menu I would do again at any time of the year, not just the holidays!



  1. atbnorge says:

    Tila ang pinakamabigat lang sa calorie ay ‘yung cake; I like that 4K Salad. Minsan kasi ay may nakikita akong katuray sa Thai Oriental store sa malapit; kaso minsanan lang iyon at hindi pa ako nakabili dahil walang alam na gawin sa ingredient na iyan. Bulaklak ng kalabasa… hmmm…mukhang kailangang magpatubo ako ng courgettes sa spring para may ma-harvest na talbos at bulaklak sa summer. Ano ang puwedeng gamiting alternative sa K na hindi available, MM?

    Jan 5, 2010 | 4:33 am


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  3. quiapo says:

    Except for the sotanghon, not much starch in the form of puto, rice or kakanin. Interesting concept, and healthier!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 4:42 am

  4. diday says:

    the butter cake is attractive and looks really delicious.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 8:28 am

  5. emsy says:

    i really like set-ups like these. it’s not stuffy and complex but rather relaxed and just allows you to enjoy the moment with family and friends and with simple, filling and healthy stuff to eat. i guess except the butter cake. haha

    Jan 5, 2010 | 8:56 am

  6. millet says:

    i love merienda cena, and i love this one because it looked festive and christmassy enough, but was also relaxed and light enough. nice one, MM!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 9:11 am

  7. iya says:

    there are a lot of pako in my mom and dad’s place in bataan. i havent tried it with prawns yet. i think it will be good with banagan (small lobsters?)

    what dressing did you use po? please share! :)

    Jan 5, 2010 | 11:34 am

  8. Betchay says:

    I like your menu combination—light and healthy!A little sinful dessert… but a small slice and lots of strawberries give a good balance.

    Jan 6, 2010 | 7:29 am

  9. shirley tampos says:

    i think its very sweet and yummy…i love it

    Jul 28, 2010 | 2:54 pm


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