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Malunggay has arrived!

We all know that nursing mothers are encouraged to take malunggay broth so they have enough milk for their babies. Today, the crop rich in calcium and vitamins has arrived, so to speak, in some other forms. Visits to two stores at the Global City introduced us to malunggay muffins and malunggay pesto sauce, definitely products of very creative culinary teams – and surely more palatable than the boring drink.

Echostore is a little nook within Kape Isla in Serendra, Global City, tel. no. 901-3485. All the products they have are eco-friendly, non-toxic, natural, organic and biodegradable. We got so aliw going through their display of items that would enhance our quality of life, offering healthier alternatives for a sustainable lifestyle. This is where we found the bottled malunggay pesto (225gms) at P199 each. They also had gourmet piaya, neatly packed either for export or giving away as presents, in two sizes, coco sap sweeteners at P95 and the masco which are wedges of lime and ginger tea for P75. On the Isla side, they have a collection of local coffee, led by Figaro, whose House Reserve goes for P255 a pack of 225 gms.

We encountered the second malunggay innovation at Paul Calvin’s Deli on Rizal Drive in the Forbes Town center complex, tel. no. 401-4722. This is another little place that serves meals and sells bread, pastries and other deli items. The saleslady was quick to offer us the malunggay muffins (P40 each) and loaf. We tried this and found it tasted like a cross between a banana and fruit cake with nuts and tiny pieces of glazed fruits – light and not too sweet. The deli also offers pizza loaf – slices of American bread dipped in pizza sauce at P160.

Back in Makati, we dropped in on Walter Mart on Pasong Tamo where Christmas is already well on the way with a collection of holiday baskets to choose from. Prices range from P200 (traditional pasta grouping) to P1,998 (fine selection of imported items including Marca Piña cheese, red wine from Spain and Oval Dak chopped ham). In line with their Everyday Fresh campaign, they offer solo papaya at P28 each, tomatoes at P39 a kilo, Fuji apples at P84.95. The new organic items caught our attention. Among them – bottled Cole, a combination of virgin coconut oil and lemon which is supposed to be a healing solution, passion fruit juice at P188, various bottled products like guava juice of the Full of Grace brand, Kablon Farms’ tablea for P63.75 (12 tablets), organic rice for P173.75 a pack of 320 gms. This supermarket also carries fresh and seasoned meat from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, popular for its batotay longganiza. We bought half a kilo of their marinated thin slices of pork.

It was at Dizon’s in Market!Market! where we found truly big kalabaw mangoes, P140 a kilo. Mangosteen has gone down to the more affordable price of P200 a kilo. Dexter is the ever-accommodating friend of ours in this store. We trust his choices in picking the best harvest for us.

It is not too early to think of Christmas and the food you want to order or cook yourself. Two of our cooking friends, Maria and Iza, have just furnished us with their respective holiday dishes. Maria’s Cocina Mediterranea in Alabang Hills has three types of paella – Marinera, Valencia and Negra, from P1,200 to P2,800, serving 4 to 24 as well as other regional specials like croquetas (chicken, shrimps or ham), P444 to P448, porkloin Segovia, fabada asturiana, P1600 for 12, coq au vin ala moutarde, P1,124 for 12. Her bottled mussels in escabeche sauce is best for gift giving (P210 a bottle). Call her at 807-8808.

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Like Maria, Iza is also home-based, in Verdana Homes, tel. nos. 909-3180/381-7125. She calls her selection “slow roast fork-tender meats,” because when done through a long, slow process, the meat easily comes off with a fork. Try the roast certified Angus boneless rib eye, P7,000, good for 25 people or the pork shoulder boneless starting at P1,500 for 15 people. She has blue cheese mousse to go with the roasts. One of her desserts is chocolate semifreddo (P550), a traditional frozen Italian creamy sweet, a cross between frozen custard and mousse.

Make your Christmas food plan early.

E-mail comments and questions to: lydia_d_castillo@yahoo.com

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