Of raclette dinners and biking in the New Year

Published January 6, 2022, 8:00 AM

by Sandy Daza

Santi’s Delicatessen spread

With the easing of the restrictions, long-awaited get-togethers were at an all-time high. I’m sure many new home cooking discoverers were busy sending off their products. The lockdown also brought out something positive. Many home cooks and bakers were born. Most of these were eager to show off their new discoveries to their guinea pigs—their family. Parties here and there happened leading up to our own Christmas and New Year dinners. Many families prepare the same dishes every year in sticking with tradition. I am different. I always want to surprise my family with something not only delicious but also unique and unexpected.

Last year, I prepared a Swiss raclette dinner for Noche Buena. I got some sliced raclette cheese, a variety of German and Swiss sausages, a French baguette, pickled onions and gherkins, Dijon mustard, and some fondue. I had a cubed baguette, which we dipped in the hot and bubbling cheese fondue. All these, I got from Santi’s. Delicious! For starters, I had L’entrecote foie gras and also prepared my pesto dip. My dip was hardly touched for everyone was focused on Chef Martin Kaspar’s foie gras.

Pan seared foie gras from L’entrecote

The dinner was a memorable one and from the reaction of my kids, a simple success. New Year’s dinner was simple for me. I just had a pancit puti from LSS in Makati. So delicious! I got a lot of goodies like a delicious fruit cake, which I had with some Canadian Imperial cheese. Simple food I truly enjoyed.

With all this eating and the shift to the new year, it’s time to make our New Year’s resolution, which should include dieting. Dieting is very likely on everyone’s list. The easiest thing to do for me is to gain weight. What a task it is to lose! I’ll try to eat less and take the right kind of food, plus on top of walking and badminton, my current exercise regimen, I’ll do biking.

Cykel e-bike

I live in a hilly village. No problem when I do my walks. The problem is it is most difficult to make those hills on a bike. I feel kind of embarrassed pushing a bike up a hill and the helmet of a bike doesn’t hide your face, unlike a scooter, which has a full face mask. But I recently found a solution. A friend loaned me an electric bike. It looks like a mountain bike, though it’s slightly heavier. It’s perfect for the hills in my village or when I’m tired and need to rest a bit. No pain, no gain right? I’ve used it and I am loving it. As soon as I open my gate, I have a hill staring right down at me. I push on the pedal and, with a gentle turn of the handle, I borrow some strength from the electric part of the bike. While pedaling, the hills all of a sudden become doable. By the time I get to the top, I’m warmed up and I just have a wonderful bike ride exercise around the village unassisted by the bike motor.

Last year, I prepared a Swiss raclette dinner for Noche Buena. I got some sliced raclette cheese, a variety of German and Swiss sausages, French baguette, pickled onions and gerkins, Dijon mustard, and some fondue.

Sometimes, I also go to the U.P. campus and do my exercise there among the fresh air and the huge green trees. Biking is the new thing in the States and I have been looking at getting one even before. This is such a wonderful discovery. I am told doing a variety of exercises helps in losing weight faster. So among my New Year’s resolutions is biking.

I pray I can stick to my New Year’s resolution, especially to biking. In the meantime, I’ll be pushing to shed off the pounds that the raclette dinner had given me.

Happy New Year and moderate happy eating!

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