During the festive holidays, no matter how early we prepare for our gifts, for the food that we would like on our Noche Buena Table for the celebration, we will still end up cramming for things to buy on Christmas Eve itself. And I suppose like everywhere else, you have to battle your way through long queues at the supermarket (…for that 1 can of tomato sauce you forgot to buy, argh!), haggle and bargain in wet markets for the fresh veggies and fruits you need that day. Or get that last gift for a friend – because you were having second thoughts on whether to buy it earlier on, hoping she doesn’t show up so you can save a few bucks, but you thought “what-d-heck it is Christmas, just buy it anyway.”
Food gifts are just the right solution if you don’t really want to drag yourself into the malls during the very busy period. You can cook it yourself or just place an order from your favorite restaurant or bakeshop – ready to be picked up when you have the time. (Of course it is always a good idea to make your orders in advance). They are perfect to bring to Christmas gathering and family reunions, or give to relatives and friend. In my younger years, I remember my family buys loads of “Haleyang ube” for this reason. We don’t really cook it 🙂 but my mama would order a few trays or “llaneras” as we call it, to be given away.
Im not sure if some of you can even recall, some “haleyas” being sold in Manila in the early 80’s in a shape of a fish – a very purple fish! (don’t ask me why or what the fish would symbolize, but it sure was the mould used at that time. Trend maybe?) It will be delivered around the 23rd or the morning of the 24th, and we kids would start giving it to our favorite neighbors soon after. It was a very pleasing experience knocking on their doors, giving it to the “misis” upstairs, and remembering the happy look on her face.
Nowadays, I don’t really know what my family would give away for Christmas, not being there for a few years – it could be the pasta carbonnara or crema de fruita, but I’m sure the spirit of giving food is still very much in tradition in our family. I though it will be difficult for me to come up with a photo to put for this round of Lasang Pinoy, luckily, our favorite Pinoy restaurant here in Brunei – Renyi’s had this sweet delicacy served during the holiday season! And to my surprise, when we had a visit on the 24th you can see a lot of “llaneras” lined up along side pancit and leche flans ready to be delivered to Pinoy homes in time for Noche Buena.
1 kilo ube
¼ kg sugar
3 cups coconut milk
1 cup condensed milk
According to “Manang”, cook of Renyi’s – as we all call her, you boil your ube till it is tender, (but make sure you don’t over cook it, otherwise would be too soggy). Drain then mash ube and mix well with sugar and coconut milk.
In a low heat pan, put in your ube mixture, add the butter and condensed milk, while you continuously stir and the whole mixture is well blended and smooth. Transfer into your favorite mould, (if you happen to have the fish, by all means us it! :), let it cool and serve.
Lasang Pinoy, which could mean ‘tastes of something Filipino’ or short for ‘the Filipino taste’ is a monthly food blogging event to promote Filipino food. It is a product of e-mail brainstorming sessions of several Filipino food bloggers who thought it was time for a Filipino event in the tradition of Is My Blog Burning. The blogger organisers of Lasang Pinoy and participants strive to make the events reflective of Filipino culture.