This is an august month for birthdays – my twin nephews turned 13 and my youngest brother forty something! There wasn’t time to celebrate on the exact dates because the brother has work and my nephews now has “schedules” to keep –it was exam week – and places to go: a bike-a-thon for school and the neighborhood internet shop to spend their birthday money on. They prefer faster connections and friends alongside for online games.
I wanted to spare my mom the cooking frenzy she typically subjects herself to with every birthday spread. I also wanted to take the twins out, something we haven’t done in quite a while. Oh, it was a “small” treat, just pizza and ice cream at S&R. They used to ask why I go there a lot, so I said I’d take them some day. I finally did. They had fun at the condiments station and self serve bottomless soda, where they made so many trips topping up with a different drink every time. They loved the ice cream too. We went home fit to burst. There goes my diet : P
Come Sunday, Mom insisted on cooking anyway, in honor of the brother who couldn’t care less – or so it appears. She made kare-kare (tripe, meat and veggies including banana heart cooked in peanut-ty soup) and pansit bihon (thin rice noodles sautéed in garlic, onions, celery and chorizo with veggie toppings – carrots, snap beans, cabbage) for long life.
She also made palitaw – soft and chewy glutinous rice “tongues” boiled in water and then shrouded in tons of fresh grated coconut (yep, from our prolific trees) looking like furry white rugs. Palitaw dough falls heavy in the water but when cooked, floats to the surface – hence the name, as opposed to palubog, which is the vernacular for sinking or to sink. If you form the dough into balls the size of big marbles, you get bilo-bilo, which you boil with coconut milk, sugar,langka or jackfruit strips, taro chunks, slices of yam and plantain bananas for ginatang halo-halo. A family favorite, though rarely served because it is trickier to cook, is the palitaw souped up (no furry shroud) in a creamy, sweeter, coconut oil edged syrup with tiny sago balls.
Anyway, the regular palitaw is best eaten with loads of crunchy toasted sesame seeds and brown or white sugar flecked grated coconut - nutty, gritty, and sweet. I couldn’t take pictures, the day was quite overcast.
Naturally, we gotta have cake. I was tired from housework and running errands so the thought of making a cake from base to finish exhausted me. Good thing I have leftovers!
I made chocolate cake- from scrap! That is: I had filling, a botched seven-minute frosting that didn’t rise for a previous occasion, and leftover ganache in the fridge. These I froze in sealed canisters. All I had to do is thaw out the filling; bake the meringue frosting (fingers crossed) with a flour addition (I was improvising, what’s the harm. I can always toss it if it didn’t work) and thinned the ganache with more scalded cream to “stretch” it hehehe..
I made a tall cake, sliced it in half so I could fill in the middle with black out filling
The baked frosting has the consistency of marshmallow fluff so all that’s left is to figure out how I’m going to “bind” it to the top layer. I remembered I also have some burnt sugar butter cream. Thawed that, too, and spread it on the cake before I lay on the frosting turned fluffy mantle. It was a delicate “operation”, believe me! To finish the cake: gooey chocolate ganache! Turned out real good! The family and a fortunate aunt who happened to visit said it was my best chocolate cake ever!