February 14, 2006

pancakes and berries

A simple Valentine’s day treat with an undeniable universal appeal. Even back in Manila, pancakes or hotcakes, as we call it there, have always been a part of our “meriendas” or snack time. Although there are always boxed hotcake mixes available, a popular local brand is White King, I used to make them from scratch, more for an afternoon snack than for breakfast. We were not even used to having them with bacon or sausages either, although I’m now accustomed to how they're served here. I have since understood the sweet with salty combination of flavors, and in fact, have grown to like it. What’s interesting is, in Manila, instead of pancake syrup, we like to top them with butter and some sugar, then pour some milk ( evaporated or fresh ) over them. This may sound different but having tried Tres Leches cake here, I must say that the idea is very similar. I still like having pancakes this way, although there’s just so many good varieties and flavors of syrups available here to try. I have learned to appreciate blueberry pancakes as well. Can’t wait until it’s blueberry season once again. This year, I have to remember to buy a batch when they’re at their peak and cheap for freezing. The frozen berries make very good blueberry muffins also. Usually I would add an extra cupful of fresh blueberries into the muffin mix. In my opinion, the more overloaded, the better. Strawberries, however, are now finally available. These big, ripe and luscious strawberries in the photos below were on sale the other day at the grocery. A perfect time to have them around.
Strawberries always remind me of our memorable Baguio vacations years ago, when we would buy and bring the ripe fruit all the way back home to Manila, only to find most of them bruised from the trip. I guess Baguio strawberries are more the smaller wild variety and I think they were just not meant to leave the cooler Baguio climate. They literally melt in Manila's hot summer. So as much as possible, as soon as we get home, they had to be consumed. One of our favorite ways to serve them is like fruit salad, with condensed milk and Nestle's brand cream.

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