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Archive for the ‘El Comedor’ Category

Stuffed Mussels with ham, bechamel and melted cheese

When I was little, I would sometimes tag along with my Mom when she went to work.  Work, being her Spanish restaurant.  Over the 34  or so years of El Comedor (that means the “Dining Room” which was what the restaurant was called), some of my best memories was when I was allowed inside the kitchen to watch the cooks as they went about their work.

None of the cooks in El Comedor ever went to cooking school, I am pretty sure none of them even graduated high school.  They originally started as  house help (doing the cleaning) for my Grandmother (who we fondly called Mama).

When she started the restaurant they were tasked to cook in the kitchen.

Imagine if you will, a young man, Manny (his nickname for Manuel), who has never finished high school, who has never picked up a cookbook in his life, never held a chef’s knife, never tasted paella,  being asked to give up cleaning, the only job he has ever known,  to cook in a fine dining Spanish restaurant?  It must have taken a leap of faith by my Grandmother, and Manny to both give it a go!

When Ellie mentioned Spanish food to me recently, I realized that I have been very delinquent in posting some of the delicious recipes I remember eating so many years ago when Manny would sneak a little tapa to me while no one was looking. I must have looked like a drooling labrador to him, just watching him cook.  And I guess he took pity on me.

“Don’t tell your Mom okay?” he would say as he handed me a little croqueta or some of the stuffed mussels pictured above.  At the restaurant we called them Mejillones Relleñadas.     I call them – Mussels a la Manny.  They are made with mussels, ham, white wine, an uber creamy bechamel sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. This recipe is so simple and you can make it ahead, just top with parmesan cheese and let it rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  It’s perfect when you are expecting guests – just bake them in the oven prior to serving.

Sadly,  Manny passed away a few years ago but to this day I still think of him when I make this dish – from something that has very humble beginnings – such a beautiful dish!

Buen Provecho Manny!

They're delicious even without baking!

Recipe

  • 25 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup ham, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • grated parmesan cheese to top
  • salt and pepper to taste

Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

  1. Place the mussels in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil.  When they are open, remove from the heat to cool.  Be careful not to overcook.  When they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat and chop (not too finely) and reserve half of the mussel shell.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauce pan and add the onions, salt and pepper.  Add the garlic and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the ham and cook for another 2 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add the flour and cook out for a few minutes, then add the white wine and cook for two minutes, and then gradually add the milk.
  5. Add the chopped mussel meat and the parsley.
  6. Place a spoonful on the reserved mussel shell.
  7. Top with parmesan cheese and bake in a 180c (fan forced) oven for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Stuffed Mussels with ham, bechamel and parmesan cheese

BY THE WAY, on the side of this post is a link called RECEIVE EMAIL!  If you would like to be on my mailing list and receive an email when a new post is up – please click on the link.  Thank you!

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Chocolate Mousse Verrines

Chocolate Mousse Verrines

Here is the recipe for the world’s most expensive chocolate mousse.  Believe me, I tried to keep the costs down with the GFC and all but unfortunately, the bill for this mousse topped 800 dollars!
I set out to make a triple layer chocolate mousse which was made up of a layer of dark chocolate mousse, a layer of white chocolate and cream and finally a topping of dark chocolate sauce.  By the time I finished the first two layers I realized that I did not have the dark chocolate sauce and decided to substitute with nutella instead.
Chocolate Mousse and Macarons

Chocolate Mousse and Macarons

I finished the layers and left the nutella on the kitchen counter.
Early the next morning I heard some banging coming from the kitchen.  I went out to investigate.  What did I see, my dog Baci, lying on the ground licking an open jar of nutella!  My other dog Bizou, was standing right beside her,  as if to say “leave some for me!”
Now, any dog owner will know that chocolate is toxic to dogs,  as chocolates contain theobromine which a dog’s system cannot break down properly.  If eaten in sufficient quantities this can be fatal to dogs… So at 4:30 am we took both dogs (as we weren’t sure if Bizou had also eaten the nutella) to the 24 hour vet hospital.
Now again, any dog owner will know that treating a dog in a 24 hour hospital will cost more than your regular vet.  But faced between the choice of living with a huge vet bill or risk my dog having a heart attack…
The morning was spent at the vet’s office – first they induced vomitting and then they decided to keep the dogs for the day on a drip to make sure they did not suffer from dehydration.
The culprits looking so innocent!

The culprits looking so innocent!

Recipe (adapted from Meals & Memories  – El Comedor Cookbook)

Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • 340 grams dark/bittersweet chocolate, cut into bits
  • 115 grams butter, cut into bits
  • 2 teaspoons instand coffee dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium bowl placed in a pan of barely simmering water.  Or melt in a microwave oven on medium heat for about 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir from time to time to hasten melting.  When melted and smooth, whick in the dissolved coffee powder and egg yolks.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a clean and dry mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually sprinkle in the sugar, beating at high spead until stiff but not dry.  Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture until completely incorporated.  Pipe the mousse into serving cups and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.
We didn't do it!

We didn't do it!

White Chocolate Mousse (adapted from Verrines by Jose Marechal)

  • 1 gelatine leaf
  • 175 grams white chocolate, chopped
  • 250 ml  heavy cream
  1. Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft, then drain and squeeze out excess water.
  2. Pour 125 ml of the cream into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat.  Add the gelatine and stir until smooth.  Place the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl and pour the cream over this.  Stand for 30 seconds and slowly stir until amalgamated.  Allow to cool.
  3. In another bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form and fold into the cooled white chocolate mixture.  Remove the glass from the refrigerator and top with the white chocolate and allow to set.

To assemble:

Top with store bought chocolate sauce

Really, we were sleeping at that time!

Really, we were sleeping at that time!

Let’s run through the total cost:
Dark Chocolate   A$5.00
White Chocolate A$5.00
Cream  A$4.50
Sugar   A$0.75
Eggs A$2.00
Vet bill  A$792
Look on my husband’s face when he paid the bill… priceless!
pic web

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Asparagus & Egg Cups

Asparagus and Egg Cups

Asparagus and Egg Cups

Every year my Mom, my sister’s mother in law and sisters eagerly await the month of May when we serve as “caterers” for my nephew’s birthday.  Ben, being the only grandson/son/nephew on our side of  the family, it’s easy to see why he’s got us all wrapped around his finger.

He is also a budding baker which I love.   A few weeks ago during a sleepover at my house I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said he wanted nutella and crepes.  I said we didn’t have any crepes and offered him store bought pancakes instead.  He insisted on crepes but I said that I didn’t have a recipe.

“Do you have milk?” he asked.

“Yes” I said

“What about eggs?” he inquired.

“Yes, why?”

“Then you can make crepes!” he told me.

Turns out, he makes them quite often with him mum and he memorized the recipe.   How could I say no to that?!  I caved in and made the crepes as he dictated the batter recipe of his mum.

Ah yes, back to his birthday… preparations for his birthday trumps Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter, and ALL of our own birthdays combined!  It is a massive affair that we prepare for, weeks in advance.   This year, the guest list topped a hundred.

Asparagus and Egg Verrine

Asparagus and Egg Verrine

The first parties were pretty crazy… and to be honest, we were a little in over our heads.   We would prepare too much food.  Some of the food, while delicious straight fresh from the oven, didn’t taste the same being left out for awhile.  After five years of this however, I think we’ve finally got it down to a science .  We’ve culled some of the food that needs to be served hot (not ideal when the venue is a park at the start of winter) and only prepare finger food that can be served cold and can be prepared in advance.  One of the dishes that has remained is the “asparagus roll-up”.   Basically,  its an asparagus spear and egg salad wrapped in a slice of white bread.

I’ve prepared a modernized version of this in a verrine.  Either way you serve it, it’s a great dish and very simple to make.

DSC_0484Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 asparagus spears
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • a pinch of curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the eggs in a pan with cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil the eggs for five minutes and immediately place the eggs in a bowl with iced cold water.
  2. Separate the whites and yolks.
  3. Place the yolks in a food processor (or you can mash using a fork) with half of the mayonnaise, curry powder and salt and pepper.
  4. Clean the food processor then place the egg whites and mayonnaise in the food processor (or pass through a sieve) with some salt and pepper.
  5. Bring some water to a boil and add some salt.  Once boiling, add the asparagus spears and allow to cook for around 2 minutes.  Immediately remove and plunge in iced cold water.  Once cool, dice the spears and set aside.

To Assemble

  1. Fill the verrines with some of the egg white, then the diced asparagus, egg yolks and finally more egg whites.  Top with more asparagus spears.

For Asparagus Roll-Ups

Mash the boiled egg with the mayonnaise and fold in the diced asparagus.  Get a sliced of white bread, remove the sides and use a rolling pin to flatten the bread.

Spread the egg salad mix on the slice of bread, place the blanched asparagus spear in the middle of the bread and roll.

Asparagus Roll-Ups

Asparagus Roll-Ups

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Croquetas de Pollo

Croquetas de Pollo

Chicken Croquettes

Chicken Croquettes

Everytime we would eat at El Comedor, among the tapas we could order, my favourite were the Croquetas de Pollo (Chicken Croquettes).  I would usually order two serves at a time, one for me and one to share with others in the table because, well, they were everyone’s favourite too!

In Madrid, the best Croquetas can be found at Lhardy.  During my last trip, I visited the tapas bar/pastry shop several times.  The most memorable time was when I bought a box of TWENTY croquetas.  I wanted to take them back to the hotel and give my husband ten of them.

On my way home I finished one and then another…. and pretty soon I had eaten the whole box!  Mortified, I rushed back to  the store to buy some more for my husband.  However, the store had run out of them already so I went back to the hotel and fessed up.

Expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised when my husband said that it was all fine – all he asked was that when we got back to Sydney I’d make a batch of the Croquetas using El Comedor’s recipe – he said they were just as good!  So here it is.  El Comedor’s Croquetas de Pollo.  Buen Provecho!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 250 ml milk (or you can used 125 ml milk and 125 ml chicken stock) – Note:  This should be warm, you can microwave it for a few seconds before pouring into the flour mixture
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ham
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • flour for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • oil for deep frying
  1. Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan and saute the minced onions until transparent over medium heat.  Do not allow them to brown.  Stir in the flour and cook briefly, then whisk in the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly (around 5 minutes to cook the flour out) until the sauce thickens.
  2. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Stir in the cooked and chopped filling.  Spread the mixture on to a dish and refrigerate until this becomes solid.
  3. Place the beaten eggs, flour and breadcrumbs in three separate dishes.  With moistened hands, form the croquetas mixture into balls or cylinders.  Dip each one first in the flour, then egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
  4. Now you are ready to either fry them in a deep fryer (which is my preference) or a pot filled with oil at least 1/2 inch deep.  Fry them for at least 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown.

Note:  These are best eaten right after frying. If you have some left over (this recipe makes about 20 pieces), may I suggest freezing the leftover UNFRIED croquettes and frying them another time. If frozen, you can fry them straight away in a deep fryer for 5 to 7 minutes. DO NOT use a pot to fry frozen croquettes.  They will splatter too much and can be very dangerous.

Variations

  • Tuna
  • Cheese
  • Prawns
  • Mushrooms

DSC_0073

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Julia Child's Vegetable Gateau

Julia Child's Vegetable Gateau

Spring on a plate!

Spring on a plate!

The weather here in Sydney is finally turning!  With warmer weather just around the corner, it’s great to be able to prepare dishes that sing of spring.  For me, that usually means lighter meals, and more vegetables.  This dish embodies spring time – it can be eaten cold, as part of a salad and is just so pretty and colorful to look at!

I took this recipe from my Mom who adapted it from Julia Child’s cookbook called Julia Child & More Company.  Simply put, it is a molded mountain of crepes layered with vegetables and cheese.  If I may give you one tip, plan ahead.  This dish has many components and one can easily think to give up after seeing the 17 or so ingredients.  But if you take your time in preparing this dish you will be handsomely rewarded.  Trust me.  If there was one dish that would convert me into a semi-vegetarian – this would be it!

Ingredients

For the crepe batter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Vegetables and Cheese for Filling

  • 450 grams carrots
  • 8 to 8 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 450 grams fresh mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons shallots
  • 500 grams fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups shredded grated Swiss cheese

Custard Mixture for Filling

  • 1 cup (225 grams cream cheese at room temperature)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of fresh nutmeg to taste

Equipment:

  • Crepe pan
  • 1 loaf tin (Julia uses an 8 cup/2 litre baking dish such as a charlotte mold, 4 inches deep)

Procedure

The Crepes

Pour the flour into a bowl.  Blend the milk and water into the flour, beating with a whip until smooth, then beat in the eggs, salt and butter.  Let rest for an hour or two so that the flour granules can absorb the liquid – making a tender crepe.

The Crepes – cooking

To cook the crepes, heat the frying pan or pans until drop of water sizzle on the surface.   Brush lightly with a little butter (usually only necessary for the first crepe), and pour 2 to 3 tablespoons or so of the batter into the center of the pan, turning the pan in all directions as you do so to spread the batter over the bottom surface.  Cook for 30 seconds or so, until you see, when you lift an edge, that it is nicely browned.  Turn and cook for 15 seconds more.  Arrange the crepes as they are made on a cake rack so they will cool and dry off for 5 minutes or so.  When dry, stack together, wrap in foil and place in a plastic bag.

*Note: Crepes will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.  To freeze, it is best to package them in stacks of 6 or 8; either thaw at room temperature, or unpackage and heat in a covered dish in a moderate over for 5 minutes or until they separate easily.

Preparing the vegetables

Trim and peel the carrots, and cut into julienne matchsticks.  Saute in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan, swirling and tossing frequently until carrots are nicely tender and being careful not to brown them.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Trim and wash the mushrooms, and cut into a fine mince.  Saute in the same large frying pan along with the shallots until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates (around 10 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper and set aside in another bowl.

Trim and wash the broccoli.  Cut bud ends off stalks to make them about 2 inches long.  Starting at the cut ends, peel as much skin off as you easily can; peel skin of stalks cutting down to expose the tender whitish flesh, then cut into pieces half the length of your little finger to ensure quick and even cooking.  Drop the peeled stalks and florets into rapidly boiling salter water and boil uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain immediately and chop into piece about 1/4 inch in size.  Toss briefly in 2 tablespoons hot butter and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

The vegetables can be cooked a day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

My little helpers giving moral support!

My little helpers giving moral support!

The Custard Mixture

Blend the cream cheese with the rest of the custard ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

To Assemble

Preheat the over to 180c.  Smear some butter over the inside of the baking tin and line the bottom of the dish with buttered wax paper.  Fit 1 crepe (good side down) in the bottom of the dish and space 4 around the sides.

Spread 1/4 of the grated cheese in the bottom of the dish, cover with the carrots and pressing them well in place, and top with 1/3 of the remaining cheese.  Ladle in enough custard mixture to come just to the level  of the carrots and cheese.

The carrot layer being assembled

The carrot layer being assembled

Arrange 1 crepe on top, and spread over it the mushrooms and another ladleful of custard.

The mushroom layer with Baci watching closely

The mushroom layer with Baci watching closely

Arrange 1 or more crepes over the mushrooms and spread 1/2 of the remaining cheese, then broccoli and the final bit of cheese.

The broccoli layer - Baci... still watching

The broccoli layer - Baci... still watching

Pour on the last of the custard mixture and fold the first layer of overhanging crepes up over the filling; cover with a crepe and fold the first layer of overhanging crepes up over the filling; cover with a crepe and fold the outside layer of overhang up over it, and cover with 1 or more crepes.  Place a round of buttered wax paper over the dish, and cover with a sheet of foil.

Bake the gateau immediately in case the custard leaks against the sides and bottom of the dish, sticking the crepes to it and making a mess later when you attempt to unmold!

*Note: I only used a loaf pan which was considerably smaller than the baking dish Julia recommended.  As such, there was some leftover custard and vegetables.  Never mind, the idea is that you layer the dish with cheese, vegetables, custard and then the crepe.  Except for the mushrooms which is just custard and mushrooms.  If using a loaf pan, you will also have leftover custard and I had some left over vegetables to make sure that my loaf pan did not overfill.

Baking using the 8 cup baking dish

This will take around 1 3/4 hours.  Bake on lower middle rack in a preheated oven, placing a pan below the dish in case some of the custard filling dribbles.  In about 1 hour, when the gateau has started to rise, turn oven up to 205C.  It will eventually rise and inch or more and is done when a meat thermometor reads 71c.   Remove from the oven and let rest at room temperature for around 20 to 30 minutes allowing the custard to set and settle.  Then run a thin blade knife carefully around the inside of the dish, and unmold.

Baking using the loaf pan

This will take around 1 hour.  Bake on the lower middle rack in a preheated oven.  After an hour, turn the oven off and leave the gateau to rest for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, allowing the custard to set and settle.  Then run a thin blade knife carefully around the inside of the dish and unmold.

Surround the gateau with lettuce leaves and fresh tomatoes.

Makes a delicious cold dish as well!

Makes a delicious cold dish as well!

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Brittle Torte - an El Comedor Speciality!

Brittle Torte - an El Comedor Speciality!

Brittle Torte was my favourite dessert at El Comedor.  To me it seemed like such a decadent  looking cake and it stood so tall and proud with the brittle (I think they call it hokey pokey here) sticking out.  I have always been a little intimidated to make this recipe but  I finally decided to have a go.  The conclusion?  It wasn’t as hard as I anticipated.  You will definitely need to plan ahead and maybe read the recipe a few times before you begin (I didn’t and realized half way through that I lacked baking soda to make the cake!).

This cake has two layers and sandwiched in between is a generous layer of fresh strawberries and cream.  It is covered with even more cream and topped with more strawberries and the brittle.  While it is a large cake (you will need an angel food pan), it is very light because it is leavened with air.  When I first read the recipe I was surprised to learn that the sponge was not made with butter.  No wonder I managed to eat two slices at a time!

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted twice
  • 3/4 cup sugar (for the cake)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon sale
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Sift the flour twice and add 3/4 cup sugar into a bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks, water, lemon juice and vanilla.  Beat until smooth (I used the kitchen aid to make things easier)
  3. Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until very soft peaks form.  Add the remaining sugar gradually, 2 tablespoons at a time.  Continue to beat until still meringue forms.

    The egg yolk and meringue mixture

    The egg yolk and meringue mixture

  4. Fold the first mixture gently into the meringue.  Pour the batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan.  Carefully cut through the batter, going around the tube 5 or 6 times with a knife to break large air bubbles.

    Make sure the pan is ungreased which will help the mixture rise in the oven

    Make sure the pan is ungreased which will help the mixture rise in the oven

  1. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the top springs when lightly touched.
  2. Cool the cake.  Remove it and split crosswise in 4 equal layers (I only did 2 layers).  Put the layers together with the whipped cream and brittle. For my variation, I only split the cake into two layers and layered it with strawberries.

For Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups thickened cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Whip the cream (again, the kitchen aid was indispensable).  When you have almost reached the stiff peak stage, add the sugar and then the vanilla.

For the Brittle Topping

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, coffee, corn syrup and water.  Stir well.
  2. Cook to hard-crack stage (148C) over medium high heat.
  3. Remove from the heat and immediately add the baking soda.  Stir vigorously, but only until the mixture blends and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Quickly pour the foamy mixture into an ungreased shallow metal pan.  Do not spread or stir.  Let stand until cool.  Knock out the pan and crush the brittle into chunks.

    Here is the brittle

    Here is the brittle

Assembly

When the cake is cool, spread the whipped cream between the layers (see above) and the remainder over the top and sides of the cake.  Cover the top and sides with candy.  You may also sprinkle with blanched almond halves if desired.

Again my variation, I only used two layers where is sandwiched cream and strawberries and topped with strawberries and brittle.

Split the layers and sandwich with strawberries

Split the layers and sandwich with strawberries

Next cover with cream and the next cake layer

Next cover with cream and the next cake layer

Enjoy!

A slice of brittle torte

A slice of brittle torte

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El Comedor

El Comedor Meals and Memories

El Comedor Meals and Memories

Ever since I can remember, Mama (my grandmother), showed us her love through her food.  Every Sunday all her seven children, their spouses and us grandchildren would go to her house for our “Sunday Lunch”.  Good food was what kept our family together.  On many occasions the food was prepared by El Comedor, our Spanish restaurant and delivered to her home.  I can honestly say that it is only today I can appreciate what a treat it was to always have great food around the house – I guess back then because we had it all the time, I thought it was the norm!

Anyway, this is the start of a series of recipes dedicated to my Mama.  I want to dedicate this section to her because she taught me the importance of family and staying together and so many years later, despite our busy schedules, my brother and sisters still continue to have our own Sunday Lunch.

I also want to dedicate this section to her because I think she was one of the strongest persons I know.  She was widowed at the young age of 42 and she started cooking to support her family. First she started teaching and accepting orders for some of her cakes.  As her fame spread, she was asked to run executive loungers or dining rooms around Manila.

She founded El Comedor (The Dining Room) in 1975 with her two daughters and what began as a housewife’s pastime, literally became her bread and butter!   She not only had my Mom and my aunt (Tita Chito) to supervise and run the restaurant, she also taught her house help to cook and trained one of them to be the maitre ‘d.

El Comedor's first location in Manila (1975)

El Comedor's first location in Manila (1975)

In 2004 my Mother and my Sister (Tina) along with Mama published a cookbook called  El Comedor : Meals and Memories Featuring the Recipes of Lourdes P del Rosario.

This recipe collection is like our very own family album and all the dishes were served during our Sunday lunches, birthday parties, weddings, baptisms, Christmas meals and many more special occasions.

I have over 300 cookbooks today and yet this is still and will always be my favorite.  For me, it’s familiar, comforting, and part of my heritage.

Mama with her grandchildren

Mama with her grandchildren

Mama with her daughters (in daugthers in law) during one Sunday lunch

Mama with her daughters (in daugthers in law) during one Sunday lunch

There is one thing though that I would like changed it the cookbook, or maybe one day, suggest it for the updated version – that is – to have someone photograph the dishes.  Unfortunately, the cookbook has no pictures… and I am getting old and forgetful.  So when I make the dishes, sometimes I have to ask my Mom or sisters how the food was presented.

So while I had no part in writing the original cookbook – this is my humble addition to the cookbook.  Every so often, when inspiration hits, I’ll blog about a recipe and share with you a pictures of the dish as well.

So stay tuned for the first recipe tomorrow… can’t tell you too much about it except that it was one of my favorite desserts!

I think Mama would be proud!


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