Kulinarya Post: Noche Buena

Kulinarya is a group started by Filipino foodies living in Sydney  (Kath, Trish and Trissa) who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month the group will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

The current members are:

Trish of Sugarlace
Kath of A Cupcake or Two
Trissa of Trissalicious
Olive of Latest Recipes
Caroline of When Adobo Met Feijoada
Peach of The Peach Kitchen

Everyone with passion for Filipino food is welcome to join :)

This month’s Kulinarya theme is about Noche Buena – What is a Filipino Christmas to you? . We are also to feature 1-2 dishes that we always have for Christmas dinner.

Noche Buena is a  Spanish phrase  which literally means a good night; in the Philippines it translate to  meal prepared by families on the eve of Christmas and shared at the strike of midnight, the 25th of December, Jesus’ birthday.

My Filipino Christmas

Like so many people my childhood Christmas memories are filled with so much happiness, love and of course food.  I love Christmas, even more so when I was a kid, I’d get excited over it from the moment the 100 days countdown to Christmas starts in September ( yes, that’s how early we prepare for Christmas).

My siblings and I would put up our tree and other Christmas decors, make promises to complete the Simbang Gabi (9 days of midnight mass, I have never completed this..it’s so hard to wake up sat 3-ish in the morning) so we can make our wish come true.. and of course plan our menu for the Noche Buena.

Our Noche Buena food almost the same year after year; there’s the dressed-up holiday menudo ( it’s got everything in it that we don’t normally put in for an everyday dish like hotdogs, lots of cheese, raisins..etc), Filipino style-spaghetti (sweet and with ketchup sauce), pork barbecue, roasted chicken, lumpiang shanghai, Holiday ham, queso de bola ( edam cheese ball), macaroni salad and embutido and for dessert we usually have these:  fruit salad or buco salad, leche flan (of course), halaya (ube/purple yam), ice cream, biko..

On the eve of Christmas, we go to church for a special mass, we’re usually home by 10pm, we would finished preparing everything and wait patiently and happily for the clock to strike 12 midnight, so we can share our Noche Buena feast,  then we exchange gifts and on Christmas day itself, we go from house to house to visit relatives and friends and our godparents for our Christmas  gifts and of course for the FOOD; there’s yummy food in every house that we go to, some have the same handa (celebration food) as ours but it doesn’t matter we still eat,  eat, and, EAT!

It was so much fun being a kid on Christmas, I’m so thankful for my family.. now, Christmas is a little different for me now but just as happy especially when I see the sparkle in the eyes of my kids and their happy anticipation for Christmas. Now it’s my husband and I’s turn to make our kids have a very memorable and happy Christmas every year. :)

For my  Kulinarya post I’ ll share  with you two dishes we usually have for Noche Buena when I was a kid.    I chose my mother’s favorite: Macaroni Chicken Salad and one of my favorite Noche Buena food:  embutido.  These are both quick and easy to prepare and can be made in advance,  for a less stressful Holiday preparation.. :)

If you want to join Kulinarya Cooking Club, please email: kulinarya@yahoogroups.com.au

Thanks for reading and Have a wonderful Christmas!! :)

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