On bonfire at the Manor, Kurobuta ‘lechon’ and raclette buffet
When chef Billy King is in charge of an event, you can be sure it will be remembered beyond the fancy fare; it is cherished as a whole experience.
Strolling in the Manor Hotel garden I could not help but notice how lush and beautiful the garden was. The flowers were in bloom. Under the moonlight, the sight was simply captivating.
It was in the hotel’s Ifugao Park that King prepared a casual dinner buffet last Saturday for my son Diego’s football team, Makati Football Club, and us parents.
The spread consisted of salad and pasta bar, mixed meats on a skewer (grilled on the spot with a variety of sauces), and a dessert collection which centered on Baguio strawberries.
I have always been drawn to Baguio—the cool breeze, the scent of pine, the crisp fresh vegetables, happy childhood memories…
Last Saturday will be among my happy memories about Baguio.
Billy made the evening special by arranging the feast around a bonfire, where marshmallows roasted all night and s’mores became the ultimate indulgence.
Perfect setup for group trips.
Manor, tel. (074) 4240907, look for Sherryl Jimenez
Just around the same time last year, I wrote about SSF (Sumulong Sustainable Food) Artisan Farms, owned by Lorenzo “LJ” Sumulong III and his wife Ma. Carina Avanzado Sumulong.
LJ and Carina have been raising free-range, antibiotic-free chickens and pigs, and purely grass-fed, antibiotic-free cows and lambs, initially to feed the family. It was a hobby that became a business.
To improve the quality of native pigs (favored for their very tasty meat), the Sumulongs started a selective interbreed breeding program and chose to cross the Berkshire (Kurobuta in Japan) with the native variety.
The pigs are raised free range in pastured paddocks and are naturally fed with fruits, vegetables and probiotics to encourage growth and enhance the flavor of the meat.
In the past year, SSF further improved the quality of its pigs for roasting. SSF has become a formidable lechonero.
Last week, I had a taste of its lechon and, I must admit, the meat was one of the best-tasting I have ever had. It was clean, sweet and flavorful, its soft meat falling off the bone and melting in the mouth.
The impeccable blending of aromatics—spices and herbs stuffed into the cavity of the pig—did wonders.
The liver sauce was a lighter take on the classic. It was neither too liver-rich, too sweet nor too sour. It was the type of sauce you could slather on to the lechon and mix with rice.
SSF can send a carver with the lechon to make home entertaining stress-free.
The day after, I cooked paksiw na lechon with the leftovers. The outcome was incredible. The belly portion, which absorbed the flavors of the herbs and spices, was to die for.
My recipe was simple. Here’s the recipe.
Sauté 2 cups white onion (chopped) in 4 tbsp vegetable oil. When the onions are soft and slightly caramelized, add 2 tbsp pounded garlic and 1 tsp whole peppercorns.
Cook peppercorns and garlic until fragrant. (Do not brown the garlic.)
Add 2 kilos lechon (cut into serving pieces), the remaining liver sauce about 2½ cups, 4 cups pork stock, 1 large bay leaf, ¼ cup each of pork and chicken liver—cleaned, sliced, sautéed and finely mashed. (I like mixing chicken with pork liver as I find the taste of pork liver too strong), 3 tbsp sugar, ¼-1/3 cup red wine vinegar, sea salt to taste, a bit of dark soy sauce for color.
Bring paksiw to a boil, then simmer over very low heat for about an hour, until the liquid is reduced, the meat tender and the sauce slightly thickened.
Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
It was during Yummy Magazine’s 10th anniversary party that I came across an amazing Raclette Buffet by La Petite Fromagerie.
La Petite Fromagerie is a catering service that specializes in cheese.
Its buffet offerings include: Assorted Cheese, Raclette, Cheese Fondue and Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Apart from the raclette buffet with everything on it, I found exciting the grilled cheese sandwiches cooked on the spot.
Pick your cheese of choice and add Plaza ham bits, bacon, caramelized onions, etc.
Design your own grilled cheese sandwich. Great for children’s parties!