Francis is home my mom said.. Would you like to talk to him?
From my mom's tone of voice I could hear a sense of relief, in someways saying "praise God he's recovered". A voice filled with joy and happiness, and the ripple of comfort hit deep inside me, I was relieved to hear that my youngest brother is alive and surprisingly doing well. The good news is that he is expected to fully recover over the next few weeks.
Before I could rehearse in my head how I would begin the conversation with my brother, a voice on the other end of the phone said Hi Lou ! How are you? I was expecting someone who would sound tired, having just endured a threadmilll of unfortunate events. Instead, I heard a voice that is full of life. It was like he just stepped out of a refreshing bath, feeling relaxed and ready to start a new day.
Our conversation drifted from one story to another, one boisterous laughter to another. I felt dissolved in the moment, I could talk to him forever. Last month he was lying on a hospital bed, wincing in pain. Today, it was the first time I felt like he was back to his old self. He made me laugh so hard until tears rolled down my cheeks. He made fun of his serious condition, making me feel like I finally woke up from a bad dream and he was comforting me, saying everything will be ok.
One of the sad truths about me being so far away from home is that I am not there when I am needed most. Two life threatening instances: the first was the horrendous typhoon and flooding only a few months ago, and the second a sudden illness... two instances I wanted to offer a hug to the ones I love, but how do I send a hug across the Pacific? It's only when I close my eyes, seeing my parents and brothers, can I be close to home...
Among other things that I talked about with Francis was my blog. Of course, the blog will always come up if you happen to ask me how am I doing these days. I mentioned to him that it's that time of the month again where I will be joining Kulinarya for a feature parade. And since he's a very creative person (an artist in my view), I asked him if he had any idea how to present my next post...he advised "use sago (tapioca pearl) to elevate the flan... exaggerate the caramelized topping by tweaking it..." His suggestions opened up so many ideas of inspiration
But of course... it was food that connected us. Indeed food is about joy, about the experience of sharing it... about the bond with my brother that no ocean can break apart.
So Francis, I hope I am able to do justice to what you perceived my post would be...I'm sending this post 7300 miles as my hug across the seas....and everytime I bite into the flan, I would know that you are here with me... sharing the same air that I breath, the rain that falls upon us, and the love that we give to each other unconditionally.
me and my brother Francis during my last visit in the Philippines
8 egg yolks
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup of sugar
Clear Gelatin (follow the direction in the box, when it was about to settle, I scattered some pearls in it)
Ok this is the part where I had difficulty with, but after so many tries, I finally figured out how to do it. Use a heavy saucepan. Pour sugar, cook over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves and appears brown. Immediately pour to the baking pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl, condensed milk, egg yolks and evaporated milk. Stir well. Pour the flan mixture into the baking pan. I used a baine marie or deep tray with hot water to submerge the baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes ( I used small baking pans so it cooks quickly). Flan is ready when the surface is firm. Remove baking pan from water and let it cool to room temperature. Unmold it and voila , enjoy.
For my take this is what I did:
and I wasn't too happy about it. For one, it had dimples, second, the sides are not velvety smooth...
Time to dress it up just like what my brother suggested.
Pinoys usually put macapuno on top of leche flan, well for me I put macapuno ice cream... yeah Magnolia Ice Cream from the Philippines...
Plus toasted sesame seeds, tapioca pearls and gelatin... and VOILA!
Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.
If you are interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!
Asha – http://forkspoonnknife.blogspot.com/
Cherrie – http://sweetcherriepie.blogspot.com/
And of course… Trisha of Sugarlace and Trissa of Trissalicious and Kath of A Cupecake or Two!