Sira-sira store: Summer a la mode

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Friday, May 9, 2014

THE El Niño phenomenon has yet to announce itself, but already the days are oppressively hot, with the heat enclosing you like an unwanted jacket.

Overly hot days challenge the creativity of the people on how to conquer the heat coming from the sky.

Now, of course, people know how a bibingka feels. The rice cake is poured into a tin baking pan and set on top of a clay stove that is charged with coals. The tin pan is covered with a piece of metal sheet where hot coals are placed.


Another method places the bibingka batter in a mold made of banana leaves, and placed inside an earthen pot with a flat bottom. This pot is set on top of a clay stove burning with hot coals. A tin pan loaded with hot coals is used as a cover.

Bibingka is so iconic an idiomatic expression was coined in Cebuano: namurag bibingka.

Loosely translated, it means being put between the devil and the deep blue sea. It draws from the idea that the bibingka is baked in between two fires.

So what can the human bibingka do to counteract the 34 degree heat above and below? Make summer a la mode.

The idea of summer a la mode is to cool yourself above and below. One way is to watch a movie and stay around for the second screening.

But since this is a food column, you might do better if you freeze homemade fruit juice to take with you to the office. This ensures ice cold drinks throughout the day.

Summer a la mode can also mean making fruit shakes. Throw into your blender some sliced mangoes, pineapple, orange and top with crushed ice. This should give you a good brain freeze.

Another way to make summer a la mode is to buy vanilla ice cream. Now make your own halo-halo a la summer.

Buko con pandan summer. In a bowl, mix milk with cream and chill. Prepare pandan jelly and slice into cubes. Also cut young coconut into cubes. At serving time, just sweeten the milk base according to your taste. Add the jelly and coconut slices. Add very finely crushed ice and top with vanilla ice cream.

Mango ice summer. Slice into cubes a couple of ripe mangoes. Prepare plain tiny sago by boiling till done. To make the mango ice summer, just mix milk with cream, a teaspoon of honey and sugar to taste. Add the mango cubes and sago and chill. To serve, add very finely crushed ice and two scoops of ube ice cream.

Confetti ice summer. Make this pretty heat-buster if you are starting to climb the wall because of too much sun. It’s like halo-halo, only it has fewer ingredients.

Have on hand cubed ripe mango, ube jam, candied banana (just cook saba banana in caramel and slice into circles) and leche flan squares. Mix into cream and milk sweetened to taste. To serve, add finely crushed ice and two scoops of ice cream flavor of your choice.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 10, 2014.


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