Food Seduction

By Myron D.R. Mariano; Photographs by Andre Mendoza

Going out on Valentine's Day is a cliché. Besides, everyone will probably think of the very same thing. So unless you've made a successful reservation at that restaurant where you had your first date, expect absence of parking space, long queues, bad service from too tired servers, and the noise sucking up all the romance.

If the idea is too daunting, we offer an alternative: Do it at home. Not only is it leagues better than going out, you get to tailor everything to both your tastes from the ingredients,the setting, down to what you'll wear. (Come on, who doesn't want to dine with a woman in red lingerie? Certainly not us.) These three dishes, from Chef Ojie Reloj of the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila (CCA Manila) are not only easy to do with the ingredients readily available at the grocery they have a reputation for being aphrodisiacs, too.

So break out the tablecloth, scatter the rose petals, light up mood candles, and let your complete seduction plan begin. We'll help you with the food here, read this issue entirely for the rest.

Chunky Durian Custard in Gulamelaka Syrup

Chunky Durian Custard in Gulamelaka Syrup

You'll need:
1 pc fresh durian
1 tray medium-sized eggs
3 small cans condensed milk
1 pc palm sugar
2 pcs lemon
1 bundle pandan leaves
1 pc freshly grated coconut

How to make it:
1. Make a dry caramel using the palm sugar. Put in a mold, then allow to cool.
2. Infuse the coconut milk with half the sugar.
3. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining sugar and salt until just combined. Do not overmix.
4. Pour infused milk over egg mixture. Strain and pour over prepared ramekin. Remove excess bubbles.
5. Bake using a Bain Marie at 325ºF.
6. Allow to set overnight.


467 calories, 20 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates,22 g fat, 46 g cholesterol

Oyster and Scallop Ceviche

You'll need:
2 kilos fresh oysters with shell

2 Oyster and Scallop Ceviche
500 g imported scallops
250 ml white wine vinegar
4 pcs lemon
4 pcs ripe mango
15 g chili flakes
15 g salt
15 g pepper
40 g ginger
40 g basil
50 g mint leaves
50 g wansoy
50 ml patis

How to make it:
1. Marinate both the oyster and the scallop in patis, lime juice, chopped wansoy, basil, mint leaves, minced ginger, and white wine vinegar.
2. Plate with mango slices and sprinkle the rest of the coarsely minced herbs.

Makes 8 servings

Per serving:
231 calories, 13 g protein, 71 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 21 g cholesterol

Eel in Taucheu Sauce

3 Eel in Taucheu Sauce

You'll need:
500 g live eel
60 g garlic
15 g chili
20 g black beans
60 ml sesame oil
40 ml Taucheu sauce
50 g ginger
20 g wansoy
10 g sugar
20 g barbecue sauce
40 ml oyster sauce
20 g mixed roasted nuts

How to make it:
1. Clean and cut the eel into 1/2-inch lengths and season with salt and pepper.
2. Brown in a hot wok and set aside.
3. Finely julienne the ginger and mince both the garlic and chili.
4. Sauté the ginger, garlic, and chili in another wok.
5. Add in the black beans, oyster sauce, and barbecue sauce until fragrant.
6. Put the cooked eel in the sautéed sauce. Stir a bit. (Make sure you don’t overcook the eel.)
7. Sprinkle some sugar and minced cilantro before serving.

Makes 2 servings

Per serving:
279 calories, 29 g protein, 123 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 152 g cholesterol


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