It’s the 26th of December, the day after Christmas as I write this post… It is only now that I am able to finally sit down, relax and write in the blog. I have my steaming hot cup of Espresso beside me and my favorite Biscoff cookies in one hand to keep me company while I write. My three gregarious children are taking their afternoon nap, tired from all the Christmas parties and running around with their cousins all day as they have been almost everyday this past week. And so I am finally able to squeeze in some “me” time now…well, at least until they all wake up and bother me again for a trip to the mall to get some Pinkberry frozen yogurt!
Since it was a busy November and an even busier December — having hosted too many dinners and parties that I’ve lost count, this year’s Noche Buena or the traditional Filipino Christmas Eve Dinner, was a more simple, more casual and more relaxed dinner with the family.
The difference with this year’s Noche Buena compared to previous years’ was that we “prepared” (ie. cooked) less than usual. This time around, we ordered in more and ate more food gifts than we had ever done before! All this of course was to my cook’s and household staff’s delight! After all, I wanted them to relax, enjoy and feel the Christmas spirit as well. 🙂
So let me share with you what we ate last December 24 at the strike of midnight :
(A gift from a friend, thank you Camille!)
Assorted Cheese Platter
I bought my favorite kinds of cheese that day from Santi’s : Brie, Manchego and Reypenaer. Then I drizzled some Truffle Honey on top of them which I bought from Bacchus Epicerie in Rockwell. Added some grapes and raisins which we already had at home and mixed in some Glazed Walnuts (another gift from a friend, thank you Cristina!) for that added crunch.
Ordered 1 whole Cochinillio (Roasted Baby Pig) from Casa Armas (which I wish had been crispier!)
After all, what’s a Filipino feast without the lechon? 🙂
Ordered 1 whole Rellenong Manok (Stuffed Chicken) from Chef Bernard.com (this was a pleasant surprise, it was tender and flavorful!)
Ordered 1 whole platter of Roast Beef Belly from El Cirkulo (tel 810-2763), a dish that’s always present in our Noche Buena menu
Ordered 2 of these Paella Negra (Seafood on Squid Ink Rice) from Casa Armas
Another 2 of these Paella Valenciana (Seafood and Meat on Saffron Rice), also from Casa Armas
Ordered almost 3 kilos worth of Garlic Crabs from Casa Armas… this was worth the price and yes, the calories too! 🙂
And here’s one out of only two dishes I prepared that day – The Spoiled Mummy’s specialty : Baked Salmon in Olive Oil with Green Bell Pepper Salsa (recipe to follow in a future post!)
And the 2nd dish I prepared : Christmas Ham (a gift from a friend) with Marca Pato Quezo de Bola (or Filipino Edam cheese, stolen from my Mom’s kitchen — thanks Mom! :)) with Truffle Cream Cheese spread on whole wheat Pandesal that was then pressed on my favorite Panini maker
But amongst all the food that we had that night, this was the star of our Noche Buena menu : Boneless Lechon Belly Roll that I ordered from Big Alex…by far, this is the best lechon invention ever made! (Look…no head, no legs, no tail!)
No exaggeration here, but this is the best Lechon I’ve ever tasted! The skin was sooo thin, light and crispy — and there was not a lot of fat underneath it! The meat was perfectly tender and oh-so juicy! I would rate this high up there as one of The Spoiled Mummy’s best food discoveries of the year!
And not only that…this whole boneless lechon belly roll was way cheaper (P1,800) compared to a whole lechon which normally costs more than 5,000 pesos (with prices going even higher every December). Best part? They deliver for an additional P200 only!
How’s that for great food and even excellent service?!!
Now, on to our desserts that night…
Dessert no.1 was Red Velvet Trifle from Melissa Henson (whom I have yet to meet personally; contact no. 0908-7789833)
I just discovered her through this blog when I posted a question on the facebook page asking if there’s anyone out there who can make a Red Velvet Trifle. And from then on, I have ordered quite a number from her and have given it as gifts to foodie friends!
I must say, this is another good example of a real Red Velvet!
Its layers are made of the softest chiffon cake and then topped with the right amount of sweetness from Chocolate and tangy Cream Cheese. (Bonus part : it comes in a round, clear plastic Trifle container that’s yours to keep and/or reuse!)
Dessert no. 2 was Mara dela Rama Dessert du Jour’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
Decadent, rich and delicious! Not too sweet too – at least according to my palate! This cake is always a hit, and was just perfect for our Christmas feast!
(I’ve also written about her other cake in a previous post here.)
So there you have it, my dear friends…that was how our “little big family” celebrated and ate at this year’s Christmas Eve.
Thankfully, my family just wanted a simple, casual and more relaxed dinner this time around. And because of that, I really didn’t have to cook sooo much this year! Actually… my family is very easy to please and their only request year in and year out, is to be fed some delicious food by yours truly! 🙂 And as with many other previous Christmases, I am more than happy to give!
I thank God for another Christmas that has passed — another wonderful opportunity to get together, laugh, love, and just be closer to the people I hold dear. After all, this is what the First Christmas was all about.
Hope you all had one joyful and meaningful Christmas as well.