My dad and bro are back from a food stint and Cebu and finally I will get to write about our family sunday dinners. This will probably take up the bulk of my blog because we have this as a tradition that every Sunday, our family and invited friends come over to eat dinner together. It used to be Sunday lunch at our ancestral home in Quezon City with Bro. Andrew usually taking care of the menu and our family cook doing most of the work. Now it has evolved to students and our chef doing the work, and our meals being eaten at a long table in Cafe Ysabel. So let’s start… (Pardon the pictures, they’re a little dark)
We started off with some grilled pita bread and this bread dip called taramasalata, which is a Mediterranean bread dip usually made out of salted fish roe. I guess it was a bit extended with some salmon, but it was good anyway. Slightly salty and fishy, this light pink dip is very flavorful and can be served with other breads and accompanied by other dips for a mezze.
Next was a mixed mushroom truffle soup that was creamy as it was “truffle-y”. Despite being not so thick as in the usual mushroom soup, this one was made with cream and enriched with butter. Which gave it a deep rounded out and fuller mushroom and truffle flavor. I only had a little since there was a long list of food.
The next on the menu were fresh oysters with foie gras, angel hair pasta and brown butter hollandaise sauce. This rich combination of foie gras and oysters seemed to be knock-offs from the restaurant Lolo Dad’s in Manila. The combination of oysters, foie gras and hollandaise was extremely rich and buttery and the angel hair added an interesting texture to the oyster. Although I would’ve preferred the angel hair pasta underneath the foie gras (bec the pasta turned crunchy after a trip to the salamander) it was pretty much heavenly. We washed this down with some sparkling from Freixenet.
Next were the Grilled King Prawns on a bed of Young Asparagus served with Lemon Butter. This one reminds me of lunches at our ancestral home. Our family cook would just grill the prawns with a splash of butter, lemon juice and salt. It was simple, but because the prawns were fresh, they were sweet and the flesh was firm. The lemon butter was whisked for added body and is just a classic partner of the prawns and asparagus! I loved the smoky grilled taste!
The first of two main courses were a roasted hangar steak. Simply marinated in mustard, rosemary and thyme, the roasted hangar steak also reminded me of our roasted steaks back at the old house. It was simple, and yet the perfect execution made it delicious. You had a choice to have it with either a cognac demiglace or a green peppercorn gravy.
Next on the main course list was a whole cochinillo. The baby pig, was good for 12 people (that means it wasn’t so baby anymore) but it was still fatty. I’ve eaten in the oldest restaurant in Spain, where they use a plate to cut through the baby pig to show it’s crunchiness and it’s tenderness. I don’t think they could’ve used a plate to cut through this one but still, the meat was tender because of the fat and the skin was crunchy, best of all is that it didn’t have that weird, piggery smell that bigger pigs have when they’re not seasoned or marinated properly. My brother’s method seems to be almost perfect, the meat was flavorful and the skin was crunchy, almost like little brandy snaps in texture. This was served with the same sauce as above and a special “santol” confit along with it.
We ate our main courses with a siding of buttered mixed vegetables and saffron-apricot rice. Very Mediterranean again. We drank a medium bodied Tempranillo along with the main course to complement our meats.
At last we come to the last courses with a friendly intermission from our cheese platter. I didn’t get a picture of the whole platter, I felt lazy and full. But the wonderful selection of 5 cheeses was served with walnuts, pecans and grapes. I enjoyed the the thick and creamy goat cheese which i scooped up and ate with an equal sized grape. The texture and mix of sweet, sour, salty and creamy really was an experience.
Alas! A wonderful journey to end with a very interesting dessert: Macadamia Nut Sansrival (on it’s testing stage) and a homemade vanilla bean gelato. The macadamia nut was definitely interesting because it added a very different texture and taste to the sansrival. The nuts were roasted a bit to bring out more flavor. The vanilla bean gelato was fantastic, the aroma alone was to die for and the rich creamy and unique taste you could only get from real vanilla bean was heavenly! I was starting to actually feel nauseous just thinking about all the rich food I ate.
Well that’s how we eat at our family dinners. It’s actually one of the reasons why I put up this blog.