Rico Hizon’s fruitcake is a winner

KITCHEN SPY - KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng () - May 5, 2005 - 12:00am
Rico Hizon makes us proud. As the only Filipino in the prestigious news organization BBC, he is proof that Filipinos can reach the top with sheer hard work and determination.

This journalism graduate from De La Salle University first used his degree by teaching a course on "Introduction to Broadcasting, Radio and TV Production" to La Salle students, but ever since he was small, he knew that he wanted to become a reporter.

He says, "I really wanted to be a reporter, and not really dreamt of anchoring." And the first job he took to make him reach his dream of reporting was as a production assistant to Bob Stewart of Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 Club fame.

While he was PA for the children’s show, he took on other jobs, like being a segment producer for the late Art Borjal’s Issues and Answers. Then, he got another job in the news department, but was quick to point out that all he did was to make coffee and print out scripts.

"In short, I was an utusan," he laughingly shares. The anchors then were Tina Monzon-Palma and Jane Mariveles.

Another sideline was Viewpoint with Dong Puno, where he was promoted to segment producer. He had his first stint before the camera on the show, appearing for two-and-a-half minutes as the man-on-the-street reporter who asks ordinary people their ideas on the show’s topic for the day.

In 1990, he was asked by Dong Puno to co-anchor with Vicky Morales on Business Today, the GMA morning show. He only dreamt of being a reporter, not an anchor, so this was surely more than what he hoped for. When Mari Kaimo left the station, he took over GMA Newslive and also did some anchoring for GMA Network News.

In 1995, he became one of six people out of the United States to be hired by CNBC and only one of two in Asia. He moved to Hong Kong and, in 1998, moved again to Singapore for Asia Business News for CNBC. He anchored CNBC Today’s morning show called the Squawkbox, and reported on financial news every morning.

In 2002, he wanted a change of scenery. He received offers from other networks. Thus, he moved to BBC to become the face of Asia Business Report.

He has been anchoring on cam for the past 15 years now.

"I always learn every day," he says. "I continue to talk to people. It never stops. Every day is a learning process. You have to be humble and be simple in things. I am not a prima donna, and I still make coffee, and print out scripts. When you are an anchor, it does not mean you have become big shot."

This Pampangueño’s humility also shows when he relates how he would sell his mother’s famous fruitcakes every Christmas, not that he needed to sell fruitcakes for money. He developed his entrepreneurial side when he saw his mother, Leonor Hizon, give out fruitcakes to her friends every year, and he thought he’d turn it into a small business. His small business turned out to sell no less than 150 cakes during the Christmas season.

He says his recipe uses only imported ingredients he would buy at Cash and Carry or Nepo Mart in Pampanga. What makes the fruitcake so good is that it is basted with wine, stored in the freezer, and, after a week, glazed with wine again. Isn’t it great that this successful news anchor is sharing with readers of the Philippine STAR his recipes? He got these recipes from his mother, a native of Mabalacat, Pampanga, who is known in their circle as a great cook.

Let me share a secret: Rico says that his fruitcake recipe was adopted by a popular bakeshop as its own. I can’t wait to try it in my home!
Rico Hizon’s Fruit Cake
1 cup butter
1-1/4 cups brown sugar, packed in a cup
8 egg yolks (6 yolks and 2 whole eggs)
3 cups flour
3-1/2 tsps. baking powder
3 Tbsps. molasses, if local, or 2 Tbsps. molasses, if imported
1 cup walnuts, shelled
1 cup glazed fruits
1 cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
3 Tbsps. cherry brandy (local), or 2 Tbsps. if imported

Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then the molasses. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients, including half of the flour, alternately with the liquid. Lastly, add the fruits soaked overnight in two tablespoons brandy and later mixed with 1/2 of the remaining flour, after the butter-flour mixture has been well beaten. Add the flavorings and bake in a round pan that has been lined with brown paper at 300°C for about one hour, or until done.
Arroz A La Cubana
1/4 kilo ground round beef
3 cloves garlic
1/2 can tomato sauce
fried bananas
fried rice
1/4 kilo ground pork
1 chopped onion
1 small box raisins
fried eggs

Sauté the garlic in two tablespoons lard. Add the onion and the tomato sauce and let boil. Add the meat. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Add a little water. Add the raisins. Serve with fried rice, fried bananas and fried eggs.

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