In January this year I got a "temporary" assistant - who's ended up being more than temporary, she's still around, having completed her Masters in Gastronomy!
And on the 7th May, I become sous chef and she takes over in the kitchen. Reena is going to treat us to some of her mother and grandmother's cooking! Here's her story....
I have traveled to over ten different countries, and I have yet to travel to the Philippines, where my family is from.
I was born in Chicago and grew up in California, where I spent my formative years growing up in Los Angeles. First off, let me say my family is not your typical Los Angeles family resident. Although I've never been to the Philippines, my ma made sure to bring the Philippines to her children. Let me tell you how...
Most of what we ate my lola (grandma in Tagalog) grew in the back yard. You name it - eggplant, bitter melon, tomatoes, kamote leaves, beans, mango, avocado, lychee, sugar cane, calamansi...I could go on and on. My lola taught me how to plant seeds and I enjoyed watering the garden with her. When it was close to dinner time we would pick the vegetables and I would help her in the kitchen.
I do not know of any other residential home in California that more closely resembles Noah's ark. When there was an important occasion, my ma would take the family on a trip a couple hours out of town to a farm and pick up a piglet or baby goat, raise it for one year and prepare it on the day of the occasion. Other animals you can find in the back yard are chickens, ducks, a bunny, a cat, two dogs, a six tortoises. At one point we even had wild peacocks and a hedgehog!
When I was younger I did not want to be different from my friends or the kids I went to school with, so I never mentioned the assortment of livestock lurking around in my back yard. Now, I no longer feel that way. I studied many issues in gastronomy in Italy, such as sustainable agriculture and how mass produced meat and GM crops affect the environment, our health, and the global food economy. I've visited many families across Europe in rural villages, where the food they eat the is food they raised, and it has been that way for generations. Yes, you may not find another home like mine in the greater Los Angeles area, now I understand how important it meant to my ma and lola not to let cultural traditions fade.
*** THE MENU ***
Akoy - Fried pancakes made of shrimp, bean sprouts, yam, and spring onions.Lumpia - Spring rolls made of meat, and vegetables.
Sinigang - Meat and tamarind broth soup with bok choy and potatoes.
Pancit - Filipino noodles.
Adobo - A classic marinated chicken dish served with rice
Pinakbet - A vegetable dish popular in the northern Philippine province, Ilocos.
Munggo - Stewed mung beans.
Tosino BBQ - Broiled slices of sweet marinated pork on a stick. A popular street food.
Lapu-Lapu Sariciadu - Fish topped with a tomato-ginger sauce.
Suman - Sticky rice cooked in coconut and wrapped in banana leaves
Leche Flan - Egg custard
Cost will be £30, of which £25 will go to MSF, and £5 on the night to us towards costs.
Please mail us with bookings!