A fun dish exchange with friends


What do people do during the strict ECQ and MECQ when they want to eat out, but eating out is not yet allowed? Where to go to eat good food when you’ve had enough of your own kitchen since the lockdown began last year? What if you are not so happy with the take out because the food arrives cold and sometimes messy because it was not handled properly on delivery?

Well my husband and I, along with a good friend of ours who lives only a block from our residence, have found a way to get the best meals in town. From our fiery, upright, practically hot stoves and ovens to the dining tables in each of our homes.

My husband, George Sarakinis, studied and experienced the chef profession in Europe when he was younger. On the other hand, Professor Nelia Cruz-Sarcol, Founder, President and CEO of British CIE Schools in Makati, Cebu and Tacloban, also has a passion for cooking.

This great creative culinary journey, I would say, began in August, during the very strict MECQ, when President Nelia sent us a box containing 15 kilos of imported chicken thighs.

My husband wanted to show our appreciation to Nelia by cooking for her and her husband, William Gador Sarcol. George sent a simple herb-crusted chicken dish, and in turn, Professor Nelia returned our container with another simple dish, pasta with seafood.

This continued when George returned the favor with fried chicken with twine potatoes and Nelia, beef curry cooked for us.

We’ve been friends for a while now, but we didn’t know Professor Nelia could cook very well. According to my George, Nelia has a gifted palace in which she can

whip up a very tasty dish when inspired to cook. Be careful, she did not attend any cooking school.

George and Nelia enjoyed the exchange so much that the exchange of dishes became daily and evolved into more sophisticated, complicated and even exotic dishes. This routine involves Nelia making lunch for the two households and George making dinner.

They were both inspired to share their best recipes with each other. For them, it was not a competition of their culinary prowess. It was as if a fire had been lit, literally in their kitchens, and figuratively out of their passion for cooking.

This dish of theirs was posted on our Facebook accounts, which our friends watched in amazement. I was also amazed at what they were up to for each other.

George has cooked various international dishes like Duck Confit, Swedish Köttbullar, Spanakopita and Kreatopita, a Serbian Grill Platter with Djuvec Rice, Cevape, Pljeskavica and Homemade Ajvar, from Yugoslavia.

Teacher Nelia returned the favor with mouth-watering Iberian ribs, German rouladen, chicken cordon bleu, beef salpicao, eggplant parmigiana, many kinds of Italian pasta. She also cooks various Asian cuisines consisting of many of her own Hainanese chicken recipes, her version of beer-cooked red pork belly, assorted vegetables with sea cucumber, a very special fish fillet with jellyfish and a side dish. of exotic Tamil beef.

She can even cook a Persian kebab with such a fabulous sauce and of course, her famous crispy pork belly, among other Filipino foods that she can cook very well. It truly is a total surprise to all of us that our humble friend – intellectual, scholar, teacher, school owner, teacher Nelia even excels in cooking.

President Nelia’s husband William even said that the exchange of dishes between these two chefs was like traveling to different countries, tasting various international dishes while staying at home.

What a creative way to bond during a neighbor pandemic. This takes the boredom out of lockdown and lets you eat your friend’s best and most secret recipes, which are normally reserved for special occasions. Great food is definitely better when shared with good friends.


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