Happy Easter to all!

- Lydia Castillo (The Philippine Star) - March 31, 2013 - 12:00am

In time for an Easter meal was the “Bienvenidos” cooking demonstration of Miguel de Alba at the Maya Culinary Center in Makati last weekend.

May the  spirit of renewal be within each of us!

In time for an Easter meal was the “Bienvenidos” cooking demonstration of Miguel de Alba at the Maya Culinary Center in Makati last weekend. This is part of a series of events held every third Saturday of the month, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. These are organized by Liberty Commodities, producers of Maya baking products, for enthusiastic women and a sprinkling of men who want to cook like the “professionals.”

The event features leading chefs and restaurant owners in the country who willingly share their expertise and recipes.

This month, it was Spanish cuisine in focus, and who better to impart the rudiments of Iberian cookery than the expert pioneer, Anastacio de Alba, through his son Miguel. Miguel wanted to be a doctor, but must have been so immersed in the wafting aroma of chef Alba’s kitchen that he eventually decided to wear a chef’s jacket and do what his father did so excellently. He now presides over the four Alba restaurants in the metropolis.

That day, he showed us how easy it was to make croquetas de bacalao, a dish we felt incompetent to do in our own kitchen because of its delicate consistency. Miguel used Maya all-purpose flour for better binding. He gave us a rare paella de cordero, which was almost like Italian risotto. The lamb already gave the dish a unique taste, but his innovation, using pesto instead of saffron and adding lamb broth to the rice, made it acquire a different dimension. The paella can be served with aioli sauce (garlic and mayonnaise) or mint. The former is recommended. Plus he did the fabada asturiana, rich with the many flavors of its diverse ingredients, jamon serrano among others, cooked with saffron, paprika and fresh thyme. Finally, a dessert of lemon tart.

If anyone desires to cook more ala Alba, get a copy of the Alba Cookbook, which chronicles the life of the man who captured the country with his flair, his cuisine and his charm – the latter evident in the many admirers he collected, not only through his dishes but his own gracious persona. 

We did not realize it was very easy to make chocolate truffles until a dear friend gifted us with the book Delicious Gifts, which chronicles not only different sweets but tips on how to make boxes and bottles of confectionery presents. Chocolate truffles are not made with that rare expensive and exceptional fungus, but they have been labelled as such because of their similar irregular shapes. The next time you see this in a confectionery store, don’t expect a bit of the fungus.

Speaking of truffles, what stops homemakers from dribbling food with truffle oil is surely its prohibitive cost. But hear and behold, at Terry Selection, they are selling this in tiny bottles for P314 per. Not bad at all. This would be enough to add that unique flavor to about a kilo of pasta.

Happy Sunday cooking!

E-mail comments and questions to ldcastillo327@yahoo.com.ph.


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