Leftovers? What’s so appetising about leftovers?
Everything! That is if you’re in the Filipino kitchen.
It’s the perfect time to have all those leftovers for Lasang Pinoy 15: Recycled, Reloaded, which Mike is hosting at Lafang. I am also perhaps one of the best persons to talk about leftovers since they make up some of my best childhood memories.
Many Filipinos, rich and poor alike, hold celebrations for a child’s first and seventh birthdays. I really have not dug up the significance of these years but I suspect they have something to do with the transition from one stage of a child’s life to another which also correspond with their growing consciousness (from “wala pang muwang” or a total innocent to “may isip na” – capable of thought). To a certain extent, both the first and seventh years are rites of passage for both the child, whether male or female, and the parents.
It is for this reason that birthdays on these years are big events, not necessarily extravagant but certainly something planned and awaited. Relatives, neighbours and friends drop in on the party, more often than not also bringing food which means the celebration might stretch for days.
My birthdays were typical of what children had but with a slight twist. Instead of just the first and seventh years, I had relatively large parties every year until I was around nine or ten and the food was always overflowing. My birthday being a few days within the new year, many of the party dishes were leftovers from the holidays.
The jaleang ube would turn into homemade ube ice cream. The ham and cheese would be shredded, some would end up in the best-tasting sandwiches while some of it might be incorporated into the spaghetti sauce. The fruit salad would have extra portions of fresh apples and grapes.
It was the holiday food and my mother’s creativity that gave me yearly parties!
Aside from economy, the other reason leftovers are prized by Filipinos is in the obvious. Many of our traditional dishes taste better after a day or two. It is the melding of the ingredients, akin to an extended marinating time which gives Filipino food that added dimension. With roasts and other meat dishes, the flakes (mugmug) that remain at the bottom of the clay pot are valued for their flavour and such that gourmands in our town, the Ã¢bÃ³, or the leftovers the day after a big celebration, are worth more than what was served on the day itself. When there are more than flakes, the cook’s prowess is called for to create a new dish from what is available such that food does not become ‘makasuya’ (‘nakaka-umay’ in Tagalog) – a fatigue of the tastebuds does not happen.
My entry for Lasang Pinoy 15 comes right after my disastrous Lasang Pinoy 14 experiment, in more ways than one. If you read my previous post, you know that I had a terrible time forming the meringue. What I didn’t say is how I also had a previous disaster with the custard. I tried to follow the less than precise old recipe, which went well but when I poured the whole corn kernels and tried to dry the custard, it curdled. Ayayay! I was left with a pot of what looked like couscous with kernels of corn. Obviously, I couldn’t use it for the recipe. And a true grandchild of my grandmother, I couldn’t let anything go to waste. It isn’t simply thrift but a reverence for food that makes throwing it out taboo. Well, a discussion for another time but muffcakes are what I came up with.
What are muffcakes? A cross between muffins and cupcakes (refer to previous post differentiating muffins and cupcakes). Even if I used hard wheat flour (usually meant for yeasty breads) and given the ratio of flour, sugar, oil and eggs, these are definitely cupcakes but since a good amount of the sugar and eggs, not to mention milk, went into the curdled mixture, the batter for this recipe was dough-like and so the finished product looks more like a muffin.
My first taste was when these were warm from the oven. There was nothing special about them. But upon cooling for a few hours, they tasted wonderful! The curdled custard was just perfect, bits of it could be had with each bite. The day after baking, the taste was more defined, very reminiscent of yemas but with the added taste of sweet corn. They were sublime! My problem now is, I can only replicate this recipe if I make a disaster out of some custard once again, hehehe!
1 Â½ cups custard
2 cups first class (hard wheat) flour
50 g. (1 cup) white sugar
50 g. butter
1 Â½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Â¼ tsp. saltPreheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line the muffin pans.
Cream the butter, beat the egg lightly and combine with the custard.
In a separate container, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Fold in the custard until well combined. Do not overmix, however. Scoop into muffin pans and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
For the frosting, I used the leftover custard from the final Ningnang Mais recipe.
Thank you, Mike, for hosting this round of Lasang Pinoy! May our tables always have many leftovers, hehehe!