Sunday, June 14, 2009

Portrait of a Saturday

I recently visited the blog of a long-time schoolmate from grade school. She now writes for Sun Star Davao through her column, Mom About Town. Her byline reads: Davao City's fascinating people, events and places through the eyes of a Dabawenya PTA mom.

Her most recent post displayed the artworks of various talented kids. It is here that I stumbled upon the name of my old art teacher and now chairperson of the School of Fine Arts of the Philippine Women's College of Davao, Mrs. Brenda Barba. It is with deep fondness that I remember this lady, for she belongs to that part of my life when everything was so simple, innocent and uncomplicated.

I remember Mrs. Barba as a tall and willowy woman, her pinkie always pointing delicately upward as she gracefully held the different art media in her long and slender fingers. I remember that as a kid, she used to come over every Saturday afternoon to teach all four of us girls. That time, many years ago, Saturday afternoon would always find me leisurely curled up on our rattan sofa, with my favorite pillow keeping me company as I took my afternoon nap. I would be roused from my siesta by Mrs. Barba knocking at our door.

Our art sessions always took place on our dining table. The entire long table was completely filled with art supplies: canvas boards and papers, charcoal pens, oil pastels, oil paints, watercolor, and mixed pencils. Each and every chair surrounding the table was occupied as well, since her two sons, Popoy and Aztec, would often tag along with her. I am not surprised to learn that both of them have become Davao's premier fashion designers. (I vividly remember Popoy, probably in his late teens then, amusing and entertaining us with stories; it was obvious to my pre-teen perspective then that he was gay and happy. He was not flaunting his homosexuality, but he wasn’t hiding it either. He would sometimes stand in for his mother when she couldn’t make it; and in cases like that, the afternoon would be a blast. Aztec, on the other hand, I recall to be good-looking and relatively patient. He would sit and wait for his mom to finish with us, but there were also times he would get a good run-down from his mom for disturbing the otherwise quiet afternoon with his chatter.)

It's been years since I took out my artist pad to sketch, nor have I painted on an easel recently. Motherhood has simply overtaken most of my life. I occasionally dream of going back to art school to pick up where I have left off. Maybe someday soon...

In the meantime, let me share with you some of my earlier sketches.

artwork done May 1992

artwork done May 1992

artwork done May 1992

artwork done October 1993

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Lovely Blog

Still on the topic of reciprocity, I got a One Lovely Blog Award from Jen of Folie a Deux and Michelle of Mom-Friday. Thanks ladies! :)

The rules says that once you get this award, you are supposed to spread the love by:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog, together with the name of the person who has granted the award and link back.
2) Then pass the award to 15 other blogs that you enjoy.
3) Remember to contact the blogger to let them know about the award.
I hate to be the one to break this chain of loveliness, but I only have two blogs on my Google Reader - Folie a Deux and Mom-Friday. I will definitely have to look up more blogs in the days to come and come up with my own list of 15.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Musical Chairs of Epicurean Goodness

The Hindus believe in the Law of Karma. "What goes around, comes around."

And although the ancient Greeks were mostly pagans, this reciprocity concept was a common principle in their philosophy as well. "What you wish your neighbors to be to you, such be also to them."

Within Christian circles, this is known as The Golden Rule. Luke 6:31 reads, "Do unto others as what you would have them do unto you."

Being the recipient myself of quite a few favors from generous, good-hearted neighbors and friends. I found my list of people to thank growing longer day by day....

1. There's my next door neighbor, a young mom herself, who knows of my fondness for watercress and thoughtfully remembers to provide me almost a weekly supply of it. And as if that weren't enough, she generously shared with me her treasured and tested recipes to add to my limited, but now steadily growing kitchen reportoire. Thanks Sarah!

2. Two pre-school co-parents who know how C and I both love Bicol's hottest (literally!) delicacies and brought back home the infamous Bicol Express and Pinangat as pasalubong from a recent Bicol trip. Both your versions were yummy, Helen and Tes!

3. A soccer mom who gives me good company during the kids' soccer drills and scrimmage every weekends. You make the one and a half hour wait more enjoyable, Ting!

It is with this ethic of reciprocity that I found myself with the desire to share something back to these wonderful ladies. And so one day last week, I found myself in the kitchen as early as 8am, earnestly frosting the cinnamon rolls that I baked the day before.

Done with that, I proceeded to prepare mini-apple pies to go with the rolls.

Mid-day, there were several boxes of rolls and pies waiting to be given away.

No sooner had the boxes been given out and I found myself, again, the recipient of more benevolence and largesse - still of the epicurean kind. What's inside my goodie bag? A chocoholic's heaven!

A sinfully big tray of Ferrero Rocher. I just love these decadent li'l balls with whole roasted hazelnut in the center and surrounded by a smooth chocolate. Hmmm... some Ferrero Rocher cupcakes, perhaps? I could use my moist chocolate cupcake recipe. Bake as directed. Let cool. Poke a hole in the middle. Add crushed Ferrero inside the hole. Top with chocolate hazelnut ganache. I would love to try that!

Spun golden hexagonal boxes hiding delectable Toblerone bars inside. I can already imagine myself in front of a fondue pot, with the melted Toblerone inside the pot; the potent mixture of chocolate, honey and nougat simmering on low heat. Among friends, surrounded by platters of pound cake, biscotti, grapes, strawberries and dried apricots waiting to be skewered and dipped. The ultimate indulgence!

The lip-smacking, finger-licking marriage of chocolate and hazelnuts in a jar, Nutella. I already have the perfect recipe for this. I have archived a recipe for chocolate flavored French macaron with Nutella frosting. I have long wanted to try this, but have always found myself daunted with macarons. It could be because of the laborious process of drying the egg whites, or the back-breaking task of making sure that each macaron is piped in equal proportions at a certain height above the baking sheet to ensure the "perfect foot." But with these gorgeous chocolate tubs, I find myself having the courage to go beyond my comfort zone and face my French macaron challenge head-on.

Macarons are C and J's absolute faves. It is costly at P35 a pop in Bizu, especially since a dozen is easily not enough between the two of them. Hopefully, it will be my own creations you will see here soon!
Bizu Macarons by chotda on flickr