"I'll be home for Christmas.." croons Bing Crosby as I wait for my 8pm yoga class here at Urban Ashram at Fort High Street. They have a pretty funky song list going on, Bing shares the sound-light with the likes of his contemporaries Sinatra along with a wild array of R&B songstresses and various pop acts, all in the yuletide spirit.
Mid-November and it's all about Christmas here in Manila. The lights are up. Christmas sales and bazaars are on all over the city. Manger scenes everywhere. In fairness, I got a head start this year. First inkling of the happy holidays started at the end of October when I learned to make traditionally English Christmas Fruit Cake, from Mr. Trevor Boag, a master of the craft, whose been making this holiday delight since 1974. He patiently took me through the cake-making process step-by-step, resulting in my first baked cake from scratch (no help from Betty Crocker here), pictured above.
The cake, which traveled across England, over Europe, all the way to the Philippines in Southeast Asia, was iced in Manila at the start of December, and served on Christmas Eve with my family.
Again, food is what brings us together, across continents and oceans, crossing boundaries and cultures.
Dec 28, 2012
In India now. Cake was cut Dec 24. My family loved it. It was a beautiful way to contribute to the Christmas festivities, sharing something made by hand, made with love. It also made me feel connected not only with my own family, but with the Boag family, who I'd spent so many wonderful times with over the summer, all the way in England. I knew they would be cutting into their cake too. Despite the distance, there was the spirit of cake and Christmas between us.
Here's a bit of the cake evolution:
|Creaming the butter and adding brown sugar.|
|Brown sugar mixed in.|
|Eggs added and folded in.|
|Into the cake tin with all the dried fruit, candied cherries |
|Out of the oven.|
|Iced with marzipan layer, topped with white fondant.|