Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm Going Nuts

It's the season to be nuts! The first quarterly period has just ended and I need to prepare the marks of my students. Life as a regent involves juggling many roles: i'm a religion teacher, a moderator for a senior year section as well as the moderator of the school paper, the cafeteria committee chairman, and last but not the least, I am the kitchen minister in the house.

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, and I'm going nuts. Fortunately, preparing food relaxes me and so yesterday, I made ice cream sans ice cream maker. Here's a nutty treat for a nutty day:

banana-almond nougat ice cream

3 250 ml. pkgs. all purpose cream, chilled
1/4 cup brandy

2 bananas, sliced into small pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup brandy

chopped almond nougat (the hard crunchy European variety)

Melt butter in pan. Add the brown sugar and caramelize. Add the sliced bananas and the brandy, then flambé. Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it forms soft peaks and approximately doubles in size. Drizzle the brandy in the mixture and continue mixing. Then drizzle the honey to sweeten it to your desired taste.

Put the mixture in a container to freeze. Whisk the mixture every 30 minutes to prevent the formation of large ice crystals. When the mixture is almost frozen yet still mushy, fold in the chopped nougat then carefully swirl in the caramelized banana mixture. Freeze at least overnight before serving.

Serve with white chocolate curls.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Spanish - Cagayanon Feast

Here in the City of Golden Friendship, Cagayan de Oro, the Jesuit Community in Loyola House celebrated the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola with a Spanish-themed meal. The menu consisted of

  1. seven tapas for our appetizers:
    1. gambas: a spicy dish made out of garlic, shrimps, tomatoes and wine
    2. salipicado: beef tenderloin bits with peppers
    3. jamon: ham slices
    4. setas del ajo: mushrooms sauteéd in butter and garlic
    5. paté de hígado de pato: duck liver paté
    6. croquetas: croquettes stuffed with ham and cheese
    7. queso: cheese
  2. sopa de ajo or garlic soup
  3. char-broiled tuna
  4. pollo de almodovar: chicken stewed in wine, generously topped with olives and almonds
  5. the traditional lechon de leche served in Cagayanon fiestas
  6. an authentic Paella Valenciana with chorizos imported from Spain
To end the sumptuous meal, I served a white chocolate mousse infused with the infamous Durian fruit. Here's the recipe:

Durian Mousse
8 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose cream
flesh from 2 durian sections
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 cups whipping (heavy) cream

  1. Beat the egg yolks until it thickens and lightens in colour
  2. Gently heat 2 cups whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat making sure it does not boil. Add durian flesh and incorporate into the mixture.
  3. Strain the mixture. You may have to push the mixture through a sieve to eliminate the durian fibers. Return to heat.
  4. Stir half of the durian infusion into egg yolk mixture, then pour the mixture back into hot durian infusion in the saucepan. Cook for around 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Melt the white chocolate by stirring it into the mixture. Chill for at least 2 hours.
  6. Whip the all-purpose cream into a cold mixing bowl until it forms peaks. Then fold in the chilled durian-chocolate custard into the whipped cream. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Learning from the Masters

Contemplatio, Oblatio, Missio
Artwork by Schol. Jason K. Dy, S.J.
Loyola House of Studies
Ateneo de Manila University
Quezon City, Philippines

This year, Jesuits all around the world celebrate the Jubilee Year of the first three founders of the Society of Jesus -- St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and Blessed Peter Favre. In these first three Jesuits, we recall that the Society of Jesus began in companionship. In each of them we see personal symbols of the essential aspects of the "original spirituality " of the Society

Ignatius and Loyola and apostolic spirituality. Ignatius' unique gift to the Society and the Church was an apostolic spirituality: a spirituality of labor with God, in God's labor in the world. Ignatius had a vision of a Trinitarian God at work in the world for the salvation of humanity. Christ for Ignatius is not so much a great figure of the past, but a living Lord, inviting men and women today to labor with him in his ongoing struggle against the enemy of human nature, in his ongoing project of filling the world with knowledge of the true life. Thus, for Ignatius, it was not sufficient to do some work for God. Ignatius wishes to insert himself into the very work of God.

Francis Xavier and mission. Francis Xavier, a man of intense missionary activity, stops at nothing to proclaim the good news. If Ignatius reminds us that it is God's work we participate in, Xavier symbolizes the human response to God's invitation. In Xavier, we see the passionate sense of urgency and the total giving of oneself in gratuity to the work of evangelization. We see in him that burning desire to "help souls," precisely because so many are deprived of their proper humanity and are plunged into misery.

Peter Faber and cura personalis. Peter Faber embodied the dimension of cura personalis. Not gifted for governance as was Ignatius or impelled toward great exploits as was Francis, Faber devoted himself to the spiritual companionship of a great number of people who were searching for God. Reflecting teh consoling ministry of the risen Christ, he accompanied people in a personal way, with delicacy, charity, and kindness, as friends are accustomed to console friends.

Reflecting on the charism of each of the first three companions, I always see myself lucky that I was called by God to enetr "this least Society." It makes me feel proud that this Society have been blessed by God to exist for about 500 years --thanks to these men who first responded to the call. At the same time, I am humbled because I know that great men have come before me, and my works in the Society are just mere shadows in the light of the work they have done for the Church. Lastly, I am encouraged because I know I still need to learn things --and I can always look at the examples of the first three companions and learn from the masters.

I want to share now one recipe I learned from a venerable Father in Xavier School, Fr. Santos Mena, S.J. He is a Spanish Jesuit who claims that one will not find any Sangria in the Philippines so tasty as his. I tried to infuse my own idea on his recipe and came up with this:

Santa Sangria

2 pcs medium oranges
2 pcs medium apples
2 cups mass wine (sweet red wine)
3-4 jiggers of gin
4 bottles of lime soda
2 bottles red table wine

Wash apples and oranges thoroughly and slice thinly. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Adjust sweetness by adding either more mass wine or sugar. Cover the pitcher and let the fruit slices steep for about 2 hours in the refrigerator to infuse the flavor. Best for cocktail parties.

According to Fr. Mena, this is the best way of putting your cheap and bad wines into use!

(I still have to take photos of my finished product. Meanwhile, I'm borrowing this photo from )