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!