My family has a mild case of holiday hangover since we missed out on the celebrations here.  The obvious cure? A New Year gettogether , of course!  So not having quite shaken the jet lag and waking up in the wee hours of the morning for days, I decided to use my temporary insomnia to plan the menu for the party.  Fried chicken, spaghetti and tuna lumpia rolls are mandatory choices for the kids.  For the adults, I decided to cook prawns in coconut milk and crab fat,  Korean beef stew with quail eggs,  turbo-broiled lechon kawali and grilled liempo.  Since I wanted to make  everything myself , I chose old time dessert favorites leche flan and cashew brownies for dessert.

I love to cook! Take the time to plan your menu, shop for fresh ingredients and cook what you can ahead of time.


A day after the celebration, I posted my culinary creations on Facebook.  My 9-picture collage was an instant hit and people asked me to share my recipes.  Here’s  a recipe for an all-yolk leche flan one that looks difficult to make but is actually very easy to do.

The Perfect Flan


14 egg yolks

1 can of condensed milk

1000ml of fresh milk

1 teaspoon of  vanilla extract

white  sugar


  1. Don’t break the yolk!s  Gently tap the egg shell in the middle until the crack is halfway across.  Open the shell and gently catch the yolk in one hand letting the egg white fall in a separate container.
  2. Beat the eggs with a mixer. Add the vanilla extract and condensed milk.
  3. In a pan, heat the fresh milk over medium heat. Once the milk simmers, turn off the fire and let cool.
  4. Add the fresh milk to the mixture.
  5. Pour 2 to 3 teaspoonfuls of white sugar in each llanera or flan mold.  With a pair of  tongs, hold the mold over low heat until the sugar caramelizes. Be careful not to burn the sugar as this will cause a bitter taste.
  6. Get a cheesecloth or “lampin” and ask your helper to tightly  place this on top of the molds.  Use a ladle to scoop the liquid mixture and let the cheesecloth work as a sieve.  Doing this will ensure that your flan will not have bubbles.
  7. Pre heat the oven to 350 fahrenheit .   Pour water  halfway through  a rectangular pyrex dish before putting two flan molds inside.  This is a water bath (bain marie) which will keep the mixture from curdling and forming crusts on the side.   Bake for about 30 minutes.
  8. Store in the ref for at least four  hours for the flan to set.  Use  a knife to loosen the edges of the flan.  Put a serving dish on top of the mold and quickly turn over.  Recipe is good for 4 medium sized flan molds.
Practice makes perfect! Using all egg yolks makes the flan that much richer in taste!


Sieve, Bake and Serve!

The key to a successful party is preparation.  I did my grocery shopping in three supermarkets to get the best ingredients.  A day before the reunion, I cooked the beef stew which takes hours to make, boiled the slabs of pork ribs and half cooked them in the turbo oven and baked the brownies too.  On the day itself , my children entered the kitchen and both said “Everything smells good!”  I  served a seven course lunch,  triple “meryenda” because the guests came in and out of the pool looking for different things to munch on and a light dinner.  When the relatives had left, I got a big hug from the husband.  “Thank you for the wonderful meals,” he said.  “You’re the best!”

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