But thankfully, Christmas carols are not playing in the stores here yet.
And definitely no Jose Mari Chan.
September is also Sarah’s birthday month, and like her Manang Becca, she will also be getting a few birthday parties. She already had her first one last Saturday with a couple of my mom friends and their kids and the second one last Friday with Becca’s friends (as she doesn’t have any friends of her own yet, most of the kids at her day care are younger than her.)
As she gets older, she is becoming very particular with what she wants. This year, she wants a dog-themed party and she wants a poodle cake. For her first cake, we compromised on paper cake toppers, but for her second one it was the head of a poodle, with pink ribbons and a crown!
The girls insisted on decorating Sarah’s 1st cake with Smarties. I was afraid it will look like a mess, but Becca did a good job arranging the Smarties in a perimeter around the cake with Sarah looking to her for directions. For the top, they just scattered the rest. Thankfully it was covered with toppers. We then had additional chips, popcorn and pretzels for snacks and DIY sushi rolls for the kids, homemade gyoza, chicken teriyaki, potato salad, carrot salad and rice for dinner (when you invite Filipinos, they expect FOOD!) but I managed to prepare less than usual, and there were still lots of leftovers!
The poodle was a bit difficult and it also looks a bit like those English chaps with white wigs, or as my mom and brother told me, a sheep! However, the food for her second party was easier as her 4 guests are happy with popcorn and chips.
Of course, being me, I served more food than just cake, popcorn and chips, but guess what they mostly ate? Popcorn and chips!
Sadly, my excitement (and stress) for Sarah’s birthday has been affected by a death in the family. Tito Roy, my dad’s oldest brother had been in the ICU and then some days later he passed away.
I remember Tito Roy giving me some of my first earnings – getting paid to pull out his white hair. He was also one of those classic tsismoso titos, asking if I have a boyfriend, or remarking that I gained or lost weight, what my plans are…
I grieve that my tita has to part ways with her life partner, my cousins have lost their dad and his grandkids had to say goodbye to their lolo.
Such is the circle of life. In one month, I celebrate my youngest’s life and mourn my Tito’s death.
With the weather getting colder, I have been craving our kakanin, and I finally tried my hand at making bibingka at home. My favorite bibingka is the one we used to buy at El Ideal, if we are lucky to catch them freshly made in the morning. These are small ones topped with young coconut and sugar. I would then enjoy them with an additional slice of cheese.
I got the recipe from The Little Epicurean, but I halved the recipe and reduced the baking powder.
You need a scale for this recipe as well.
90 grams rice flour (NOT glutinous rice flour)
22 grams all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
Large pinch of salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
150 grams granulated sugar
190 grams coconut milk
30 grams melted butter
For topping: young coconut, cheese, sugar
1. Line a 7-inch cake pan with banana leaf that has been wiped clean and passed through open flame to wilt.
2. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
3. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the rice flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the sugar, coconut milk and melted butter. Beat together until combined well.
5. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Slowly stir to combine until the batter is smooth.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Add desired toppings and return and bake for another 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
7. While the bibingka is best served fresh from the oven, I have found that a quick 30-second reheat in the microwave does the trick to refresh leftover bibingka.*