15 Jan2014

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We had visiting Australian cousins just a few days after New Year’s Day, and it was an opportunity for several cousins to get together for a very casual and relaxed dinner in our home. I think we counted that we are 19 Abueva first cousins in all, and having six cousins at the dinner table was a major achievement since we live all over the world and span 3 decades or more in age difference. We are an admittedly wacky bunch, and of course, when our generation that gets together without the next generation up present, that is an opportunity to discuss our family’s foibles and quirks.

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Being somewhat all holidayed out, but still before Three Kings, the flowers were scaled back to just simple bunches of fresh gerberas in two shades… these cream and light green flowers and more colorful orange gerberas at the dining table. These were roughly 5 dozen blooms in all.

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Into two dozen 8 or 9 inch plain glass vases and some lower vases laid down the center of the bare dining table, we randomly placed one or two stems of gerbera at varying heights. Some simple white votive candles were placed a few inches clear of the flowers.

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Very simple and native mat placemats, mustard colored plates and cream colored napkins completed the place settings.

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It was festive but informal. Perfect for a family gathering of like minded nutcases. :)

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A roasted pork belly stuffed with chills, lemongrass, onions, tamarind paste and other ingredients was the main dish of the dinner. Our balikbayan cousins requested pinoy food so we decided to do this mini-lechon version for them. Post on how to cook this up soon.

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We had a classic shrimp sinigang made with fresh unripe sampalok, a pinakbet with lots of Zubuchon chicharon in it, an experimental lamb adobo with some of the lamb cutlets our cousins brought in their luggage, grilled talakitok and chicken nasal (last two items not in photos).

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We also had a talong or eggplant and tomato salad, stewed tapilan (a more native kind of monggo) with dried fish, and a large bowl of chicken and vegetable sotanghon noodles. Homemade achara and various sauces for the pork as well. For dessert we had biko, mangoes, pomelos and freshly baked ensaimadas (which were mostly meant for guests to take home as pasalubong). It was a very pleasant light dinner, and such a pleasure to get together with cousins and in-laws (we sometimes refer to them as out-laws), nephews and nieces.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. ami says:

    Lamb cutlets in their luggage? Heheh, looks like it’s in your family’s DNA to bring in goodies from abroad. Too bad they probably wouldn’t be able to bring back our pinoy goodies because of the strict customs rules in Australia.

    Jan 15, 2014 | 3:36 pm

     
  2. Susan says:

    LOVE! Table set up and Filipino comfort food! (Never heard of tapilan though and when I googled it, it brought me to two of your posts I don’t remember reading. Interesting!)

    Jan 15, 2014 | 4:57 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    ami, they never seem to have problems bringing food in, and they declare it. They brought beautiful white nectarines, a plum pudding homemade, cream, beef, lamb, etc. :) On the way home, they know how strict Australian customs are, and they never bring anything that would raise alarm bells. Susan, tapilan is more oblong in shape, seems to go creamier (or perhaps because they are often fresher) than monggo and has a slightly different flavor. I like it a lot.

    Jan 15, 2014 | 6:24 pm

     
  4. Malou says:

    I love the serving spoon for your rice, MM! We may have had one of those at home growing up. :)
    By the way, do you warm up your serving bowls before putting the dishes in them? Or use a food warmer in the kitchen before you bring them out to the buffet table?

    Jan 15, 2014 | 8:19 pm

     
  5. Marketman says:

    Malou, its a native spoon made out of coconut shell and wood. For some reason, our rice spoons have always been like this… For most of the year, the weather is so warm that we don’t bother to warm up our serving bowls, though that would generally be a nice extra touch. We don’t have a food warmer, so if we have to, I place several serving platters and bowls in an oven at a low temperature before using. For formal dinners, waiters have to endure rather HOT serving dishes and do this with a thick kitchen towel or napkin UNDER the serving dish. For this particular dinner above, the temporary buffet was set up near an aircon, so food did get cold faster than usual, but the soup remained quite hot for a while.

    Jan 15, 2014 | 8:43 pm

     
  6. greens_blossoms says:

    I can’t wait to read your recipe post on roasted pork belly-mini lechon version….son cooked boneless pork belly but it was like a porchetta – he cooked it in a sous vide machine for 36 hours and then ladled oil on the skin to make it crispy….it was very good but next time I want the pinoy taste of lechon…on the orange gerberas – just a little tip..maybe next time put just an inch of water on the vase so that the flowers don’t open that way..gerberas don’t like too much water

    Jan 16, 2014 | 12:44 am

     
  7. ginabeans91 says:

    i’m absolutely in love with your tablescape. and, of course, the dishes balikbayans miss so much!

    Jan 16, 2014 | 12:34 pm

     
  8. Marketman says:

    greens_blossoms, SO THAT’S WHAT IT IS… I was wondering why the gerberas were a bit droopy… but I figured it was because we just got home from the market a few hours before… I was worried I got taken for a ride with old flowers. But surprisingly, even though I didn’t know about the little water trick, the flowers looked really happy the following morning. And many survived a full week with just a change in water. But now I will remember your trick and place very little water the next time I get these… THANKS for that!

    Jan 16, 2014 | 1:15 pm

     
  9. Barang says:

    Curious where you got your fresh ensaymada for your guests to take home. Am a sucker for ensaymada!

    Jan 16, 2014 | 6:57 pm

     
  10. Nadia says:

    Just my own tidbit about what Filipinos take home from other countries…from Australia, my husband always brings home some kangaroo steaks. Pretty good meat from down under…and cheap too! :)

    Jan 16, 2014 | 8:02 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Nadia, I have only eaten kangaroo once, it was very lean if I recall correctly. Barang, we made the ensaimada at home… post up soon.

    Jan 17, 2014 | 5:23 am

     
  12. Chinky says:

    MM, pls get that cookbook out soon!

    Jan 17, 2014 | 6:51 am

     
  13. EJ says:

    green_blossoms is right. Other flowers like tulips and other bulb flowers also need only a little water.

    Jan 17, 2014 | 7:23 am

     
  14. Risa says:

    MM – I have a few snoopy comments/questions:

    1. I love the mix of chairs! And that wood table is lovely.
    2. Is the chopping board the one you dried from acacia?
    3. Does the tamarind make the belly a little sour like sinigang?
    4. I’m a fan of the Zubuchon monggo and can eat a whole bowl. Is tapilan available in Manila?
    5. Which do you find better in slicing the belly – serrated or sharp knife?
    6. The atchara looks homemade. What did you use to cut the papaya? And is there carrot in there as well or pure papaya?

    Snoopy talaga. Thank you!

    Jan 17, 2014 | 1:13 pm

     
  15. Marketman says:

    Risa,

    1. The table is made of tindalo and kamagong wood and are re-purposed panels from a very old house, so the wood is “re-cycled”… The chairs are intentionally mixed, most are antique and refinished, others are replicas from the same period so that we could have 12 total. They are NOT the most comfortable chairs, but we have had them for eons.
    2. The chopping board is a gift, not from the acacia boards, and it has a shallow well to catch meat juices around the roast, in the shape of a pig.
    3. The tamarind is a semi-ripe and yes provides the sweet and slightly but only slightly sour tinge of flavor. You can buy bottled thai brands at the grocery.
    4. Tapilan is very rarely available from weekend markets. Gil Carandang of Herbana Farms sometimes carries it. I tend to buy it in provincial markets when I see it and buy as much as I can carry.
    5. I cut with a nice sharp chef’s knife, never thought to try serrated.
    6. Yes, we make our achara, and I use a mandolin or benriner to cut the papaya. I have a recipe in the blog from several years back. And yes, I add carrot as well.

    Jan 17, 2014 | 4:19 pm

     
  16. Dragon says:

    Happy holidays to MM and family. Back in HOT (46 deg C!) Melbourne after 4-1/2 weeks in Manila for Christmas with the family. My luggage into Manila contained 3 sets of clothes plus 15 kilos of aged Australian beef ribeye slabs. My daughter brought in another 5 kilos of the same…everyone happy. :-)

    Jan 17, 2014 | 7:28 pm

     
  17. ERNIE D BAUTISTA says:

    hello mm readers , i am just wandering how to bring fresh meat to the philippine from abroad . do you freeze them first and then place in a styrofoam box ?
    thanks…

    Jan 19, 2014 | 11:22 pm

     
  18. Nancy says:

    To Ernie, We usually freeze the meat and place them in hard case cooler bag. It will survive the 8-hour trip from Sydney to Manila. If you can have your butcher vacuum seal the meat the better.

    Jan 22, 2014 | 10:54 am

     
  19. Cucharatenedor says:

    Whenever we meet for Sunday lunches, we truly bring out the best in us Filipinos. The Hispanic, the Malay, the ilustrado, the native, why, even the Chinese influences in our lives surface. I share in your joy of being part of a “foodie” family.

    Jan 23, 2014 | 2:30 pm

     
  20. Des says:

    A menu to die for!!! <3

    Jan 31, 2014 | 5:02 am

     
 

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