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a voice from the past

i interrupt my regular (ok “somewhat” irregular) programming….well i had such a huge scare today, when i found out my blog was g.o.n.e….as in kaput, pfffftttt! it went on all day, the panicky emails, attempted phone calls and such. bottom line, i got it back. but underline…i do not ever want to go through that again! especially when i felt truly compelled to publish something important, something tugging at me all this time, as if someone from the past were pushing me to publicize something very important.

i watched a bit of the inauguration of the new Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III, or “P-Noy” as he’d like to be called, allegedly. i listened to the lyrics of one folk singer, Noel Cabangon, and as i always do i went back to my grandfather’s Credo, which was published anonymously in the Manila Chronicle many decades ago, and then in his published work, “Fragments, Thoughts and Short Essays,” and which i saw first hand, painted on to the walls of the Courthouse of Gumaca,Quezon, where he was a judge from 1962 until 1967. he worked at the Bureau (later Commission) of the Civil Service from 1915 to 1962….i always read it as a sort of prayer for the Philippines whenever Filipinos pin their hopes on a new regime.

“Credo of the Public Servant

1. I believe that a position in the government is a public trust to be administered for the good of the people and not for the personal profit or benefit of the office, holder, his family, or his friends.

2. I believe that public service calls for sacrifice, humility, and renunciation; that although public office is an honor and gives opportunity for leadership, those wielding it and exercising its powers are servants of the people and not rulers or masters.

3. I believe that the government employee should be imbued with a high sense of honor, a steadfast devotion to duty, and unswerving loyalty to the Republic, and its cherished institutions.

4. I believe that the government employee should be physically, mentally and morally fit for service, should be strict and exacting with himself, and should expect and require of himself more than he expects and requires of others.

5. I believe in “the importance of little things,” in neatness and accuracy in beauty and art, in simple duties faithfully performed, little temptations earnestly resisted, little courtesies extended, and “myriad self denials.”

6. I believe that the employee should lead a simple temperate life, free from pretense, from excesses, or suspicion or appearance of evil.

7. I believe that moral leadership contributes to good morale and esprit de corps and that the law is but the ethical minimum.

8. I believe that job satisfaction is not all a question of pay or hours of work.

9. I believe in strict adherence to the principles of the merit system and just democratic management.

10. Lastly, I believe in human dignity, in a regime of justice, liberty and democracy, in the rights of minorities and the little man, in a government of laws under the protection and guiding hand of an all-wise, merciful, and just God.” –Amado del Rosario, 1957

live large, laugh hard, love till death do you part

….that about sums up my Dad.
if i could pick one image that sums up the essence of my Dad, whom we lost at the age of 74, i would pick the one of him smiling holding a six-pack of Heineken, when he visited his old friend in Queens.
or maybe the one of him trying to make my baby #1son smile when he was visiting his 3rd grandchild.
or maybe the one of him grinning ear to ear on his wedding day 54 years ago…the day he won the hand of the girl he loved…

we are grieving, we are missing him, but as we held his wake and burial we always had in mind that he would have wanted us to throw a party, complete with a buffet, a sing-along and an open bar….

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me:
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

– from “Song,” Christina Rossetti.

1989 Picnic

Yorkshire puddings, with rib roast dinner

it might have something to do with my latest obsession, watching old episodes of The Vicar of Dibley. i just always snubbed this show, being that it dealt with a Vicar. how funny can it be, i thought, dealing with the Church and the bible.
but i saw the Christmas special finale, the one where Geraldine finally found her someone, and it was so irreverently hilariously outrageously funny that i thought i’d track down all the old episodes (it was put down after 10 years on air, circa 1994.)

it might also have something to do with my Anglophilia, according to husband.
he brought home a rib roast for our dinner tonight. i had almost two hours to roast it so i had a moment of Domestic Goddessness and dug out her “Feast” cookbook to make these lovely little gems.
Yorkshire puddings, the traditional accompaniment to the Christmas roast beast, always look so enticing with their puffed up gloriousness that i’ve always been wanting to try.
how much should Yorkshire puds rise?
now, i’ve had quite a bit of a struggle with her recipes, and this one is no exception: i thought it lacking in instruction but since i’d seen an episode with another self-proclaimed Diva (Tita Martha) with A Real Diva, Anne Willan, i was able to make some passable enough for my family to enjoy.
i think it’s got a lot to do with the pan used (i used a jumbo-muffin pan, but it’s said that a twelve-cup one will work, just as well as an 8-inch round cake pan), and will be on the lookout for a popover pan, the kind where the cups are deeper and divided by thin wires. or maybe the oven temperature wasn’t quite hot enough… my kids said it tasted like rich thick crepes. which they like.

substitute melted butter if you haven’t had the time to get drippings from the rib roast.
roast beef drippings to line the muffin pan

4 eggs
1 & 1/3 cups 2% milk (i used half 1 % milk and half heavy cream, because that’s all i had)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 2/3 cups flour

preheat oven to 425ºF.
whisk together eggs, milk and salt until combined then let stand at least 15 minutes. whisk in flour then let stand until ready to bake.

pour about a tablespoon or so of roast beef drippings or melted butter into each muffin/popover pan cup. heat in the oven before pouring in the batter.
pudding batter
bake for 15 – 20 minutes until puffed up and browned.
Yorkshire puddings
Yorkshire puddings with peas and gravy
it was certainly a welcome and delicious change from just mashed potatoes and gravy. the puddings when smothered in peas and gravy went very well with the juicy rib roast.

and no, there was no special occasion, unless you count making it to Friday, a special occasion. :drunk:

for all the Santa facilitators

the day after, i feel like i am the ultimate kulelat of the Boston Marathon, all beat up and crawling to the finish line.
and i feel like giving all the Santa “facilitators”,a great big hug! you know who you are! give yourselves a standing ovation, for helping Santa deliver his presents to all the nice kids and/or not too naughty ones.
christmas morning i made buttery scones for breakfast, having stumbled upon a prettily,accessibly priced jar of clotted cream in one of my favorite salvage storeshaunts.
clotted cream dream
buttery scones
then i made this really easy yet delicious apple walnut spice cake–everyone overlooked the patchiness of it especially when i hand-whipped the calvados vanilla cream at the party venue (i didn’t want to make a fuss or noise at the hostess’ kitchen, ssshhh!).
Christmas dessert table
apple walnut spice cake
it diminished in size so quickly, #1son made sure he scored two leftover slices to take home. i’ll make you some more, promise!
as usual, recipe will be posted upon request! please, bug me if i neglect to respond. my life’s like that!

i hope your Christmas was a joyous one.

vegetable soup a la minestrone

yes, it’s soup weather again. forget the ice cream for now. i should have known, one 90degreeF. day does not a summer make…i foolishly put away my thick clothes and wooly sweaters–i can remember how elated i was that one day when i took out the cottons and shorts from storage.
i should have known.
in this part of the world, the temperatures can plunge 30, even 40 degrees from day to day.
so we turn to soup, slurpy soup.
vegetable and alphabet pasta soup
alphabet pasta and vegetable soup
i say minestrone style only because i don’t want to claim authenticity…according to my Italian Cooking Enclyclopedia, 1001 Authentic Recipes (Reader’s Digest, McRae Books 2001 ed.), the ingredients you include determines the origin of the minestrone. i followed the procedure for minestrone Lombardo, BUT, since my #2son doesn’t like beans i put alphabet pasta instead, and substituted thick cut bacon for the pancetta, and added some leftover shredded pork and ham and we also added leftover marinara sauce…see what i mean–hardly authentic, but perhaps it comes close?
it’s so easy and simple, it just involves a lot of dicing and tasting as you go because the soup is made with water and herbs, instead of stock.
we sprinkled parmesan cheese into our individual bowls and #2son really relished it, he called it “pizza soup” especially since he had it with toasted bread.
here’s what we used, all ingredients diced as uniformly as possible, and add on the vegetables in the order of which take longer to cook, with the potatoes and pasta added on last.
olive oil
bacon (rendered and drained of all fat)
shredded ham/pork
thawed frozen corn
thawed frozen peas
alphabet pasta
sage leaves
fresh basil
boiling water
marinara sauce
parmesan cheese to serve

Litratong Pinoy#56: simula pa lamang (just the beginning)

this week’s theme for the weekly Pinoy photoblogging event is just the beginningtama ba ang translation ko mga katokayo?.
(another tough one, madam admin, you’re good at making us think!)
i chose this soup that husband and i had today at a new seafood restaurant serving food from the Fu Chou region of China. just starting out…
he and i are very wary of trying new restaurants. we just feel gypped each time that we try out a newly opened establishment, with no reviews to rely on, and then be presented with atrocious or measly servings.
yesterday he surprised me with a precious day off! we always try to sneak away to lunch if possible. pho? dimsum? cheeseburgers at that pub?
we settled, with some trepidation, on Ming’s Seafood Restaurant, Newport Avenue, corner Block Street, Quincy, right across from the Wollaston Station.
eel in ginger and wine broth
eel in red wine broth with ginger and wolfberries
right away we were struck when we read the first menu they gave us (there were three!). no English translation.
i asked for one, the server gave us two–one regular, one all seafood.
it was overwhelming. and much of the cuisine was unfamiliar to husband who is of Cantonese origin–he knows mostly Hong Kong-style cooking.
though we only sampled two dishes (fried rice noodles with seafood, and eel with red wine and ginger broth, both perfectly cooked and sauced and seasoned)–we are now determined to try out as many items on the menu as we can–razor clams, frogs’ legs, goose intestines, sea prawns, fried shrimps with tea leaves…they got us intrigued. that’s when we had a whiff of something great in store…we sensed the presence of a master chef on the premises.
simply the start of some grand adventures in eating.
you just have to open that door.

(maya maya na ang Tagalog po…)
tuwing may nagbubukas na bagong kainan di ba nakakaengganyong subukan at tikman, sabay nakaka-kaba rin, baka masayang ang pera at pagod nang pagdayo? ang ating oras at araw ay mahalaga, kaya nung ginulat ako ng aking kabiyak na siya’y hindi papasok nung Miyerkoles, nagpasya kaming kumain sa bagong gusaling malapit sa amin.
kami’y nahirapang mamili sa kanilang menu, para sa akin dahil walang Inggles, at para sa asawa kong pinanganak sa Kowloon, kung saan ang salita nila’y Toisanese at Cantonese (mula sa dating Canton at ngayo’y Guangdong) hindi niya kilala ang mga ulam na galing sa Fu Chou at, sa kanyang pandinig, ang salita ng mga maninilbi ay Fookien (hindi kami tiyak, pero ang alam namin ang nakararaming mga Chinoy sa Pilipinas ay katutubong Fookien din).
sa mga unang tikim ng mga hiniling naming dalawang putaheng pancit at sabaw kami’y namangha sa kagalingan ng tagaluto…malamang siya’y isang bihasang chef na natuto sa China, tunay na tunay: ang pancit ay hindi mamantika pero malutong at napakasarap ng mga lahok at salsa nito. ang sabaw ay tamang tama ang timpla, ang isda ay sapat sa pagkaluto. bukod tangi ang pagkain sa kakaibahan.
bukod sa mga pagkaing dagat–hipon, scallops, pusit, lobster,sea cucumbers, razor clams, tahong, talaba, iba’t ibang isda– meron ding palaka, bituka ng ganza, dila ng pato , atbp.

pihadong kami ay babalik balik sa lugar na ito upang tikman ang iba’t ibang ulam. ito ay tiyak na simula pa lamang ng mga bagong karanasan sa pagkain ng lutong Fu Chou. ka-akit-akit ang posibilidad na marami pang matututunan ukol sa lutong-Chino.

Litratong Pinoy #55: tulay (bridge)

this week’s theme for the premiere Pinoy photoblogging meme, LP#55, is bridge.
bridge over raging water
i picked this bridge from a hiking trip we took to the New Hampshire mountains a couple of years ago, with husband’s clan.
i think that bridges made of wood or stone are just fascinating, especially those that defy physics and the ravages of nature, or those that require a bit of balancing for lack of a rail.
my friends and i used to cross a mini-bridge over a narrow stream to go to a friend’s tree house parties on a fragile little plank.
we used to crawl back to our vehicle, after a few San Miguel’s, late at night, and just marveled at how we never fell into the water.
but this particular bridge, though well maintained by the National Parks, brought some peril to my day: my husband decided he’d go over the railing and check out the waterfall.
i almost fainted from alarm, thinking our #2son might follow suit.
luckily he saw me taking a picture and i didn’t have to make a shrill little scene in front of his nieces and nephews–i used sign language and my most piercing death-ray vision to get him back into the bridge: “don’t even think about it!”….
ang paksa sa linggong ito ay tulay.
bagaman itong larawang ito ay kinunan dalawang taon nang nakalipas, pinili ko dahil ito ang paboritong klaseng tulay na pagmasdan o tawirin. gusto ko yung mga tulay na gawa ng kahoy, bato, kahit may konting peligro…yung makitid o walang hawakang pang-alalay, o yung gawa sa lubid.

pero ang tulay na ito ay nagdulot ng konting drama sa saglit na ito: dahil ang aking asawa ay naisipang gumapang sa bandang “hinulugang taktak” at ako’y nangamba na baka sumunod ang aming bunso.
buti na lang hindi ko kinailangang tumili at mag iskandalo dahil nakita niya akong kumukuha ng larawan at kahit sa kalayuan ay nakitang nanlilisik nang mga mata ko at sumesenyas nang “huwag mo man lamang isipin!” at siya at umatras pabalik sa tulay….

under the bridgewhat lies beneath
sa ilalim ng tulay

send one your love

our niece has just turned sweet sixteen, and her present is a trip to London with her parents. lucky girl! we just came home from her birthday dinner, and my farewell words to her after a lovely evening, which ended with a piano performance, were: “send us a postcard okay?” she was a little bit taken aback. “huh?” “you know, from London?” and then her face lit up, and she said, “oh yeah! yes i will!”
it must be because the sending and receiving of snail mail, be they letters or postcards, is not really very much a part of this current crop of youngsters’ lives. to me, getting a postcard from a friend traveling abroad gives me such a thrill, seeing the photograph and the stamp and appreciating the effort of sending it to me. priceless!
lately a lot of the postcards i get are from the dentist and the eye doctor reminding me of my need to make the dreadful appointments. it is a very effective way to get my attention though. more likely than not, i will call.
the visual and immediate appeal of postcards is undeniable, and there is an easy way to have them personalized for multiple purposes: invitations, announcements, business uses. there are many designs to choose from; i kind of like this cute one…

and then there’s the option of uploading your own photograph and adding your own logos or icons to put your very own personal touch.
i’ve sent and received photographs in the mail before, just putting a stamp on the back and delineating clearly the field for the address is quite easy. but now with the option of picking a particularly favorite photograph and ordering several copies for distribution to friends and families–that would bring back the romance of postcards that i’m quite fond of.