THE weak El Niño rages on. The weak tongues of flame expelled by the sun easily does damage to vegetation on its path.
All around my village, I see potted plants wilting under the merciless sun. An established pot of anthurium struggles to defy the sun. Most of the plant’s leaves display a range of colors, from dark green to yellow green to burnt sienna. However, these sickly leaves have unwittingly protected new growth. May they outlast the weak El Niño in time for the rain months.
People complain of the heat. My cousin Dona said, “There’s nothing weak about the El Niño. The sun bites my skin and threatens to kill my vegetable plot.”
“It’s also a reason why market vendors have jacked up the prices of everything they sell, be it fish, chicken, pork or vegetables,” said my Aunt Tita Blitte.
Her husband, Uncle Gustave, said: “That’s true, Blitte. I went to the market two days ago because I was planning to prepare chevon caldereta. I changed my mind when I learned a kilo of good goat meat is now P400!”
“You can make bakareta, or caldereta using beef (baka),” my aunt suggested. We left that conversation when Ellen, my niece, interrupted.
“Hey, people of this island, would you like me to serve you a slice of coolness? I can make chocolate loaf with strawberry sauce.”
We all said yes. And off went Ellen to the kitchen to prepare her summer specialty. I am sharing her recipe here:
CHOCO LOAF. Have on hand: Two cups heavy cream, two egg yolks, 16 squares dark chocolate, ½ cup dark corn syrup, ½ cup margarine, ¼ cup confectioners sugar, one teaspoon vanilla.
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. In a bowl, mix ½ cup cream with the egg yolks. In a large saucepan, combine chocolate, syrup and margarine. Stir using medium heat until melted. Add egg mixture and cook for three minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly. Maintain room temperature.
In another bowl, beat the remaining cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold in the chocolate mixture just to combine. Don’t over-mix.
Pour into the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Chill overnight. To serve, slice and drizzle with choicer of bottled sauce such as caramel or chocolate or strawberry.