MAYA ON THE BLOCK: Pinoy dishes infused with Australian twist

Summer is the perfect time to discover and learn new skills.

For the young ones, basketball, swimming and karate are the popular choices, but for moms like me, one could choose between baking and cooking as it is our chance to whip up delicious snacks or meals at home.

And there are lots of cooking inspiration out there. What comes in mind is Australian-Filipina food and travel author Chef Yasmin Newman’s cookbook Under Coconut Skies – Feast and Tales from the Philippines, which was launched at The Institute of International Culinary and Hospitality Entrepreneurship (ICHEF) on April 20, 2023.

Under Coconut Skies is a chronicle of Newman’s culinary journey showcasing traditional Filipino cuisine perfectly infused with an Australian twist that will surely satisfy all the senses, from hot wild mushroom sisig to brilliant turmeric and cassia bark rice from the Muslim south and pork belly adobo to dazzling candied kalamansi cake.

She described Filipino food from the perspective of an Australian as wildly delicious, with unique flavors, and the sweetness from saltiness to sourness as mouth-enlivening.

Replicating her dishes at home is easy as it features inspirations for all occasions with simple home cooking instructions and chapters that are grouped into feasts.

“It’s a mix of old and new recipes. Old, classic dishes that you might find throughout the Philippines. But I also want to bring to the fore regional dishes, particularly that I have spent some time here in Mindanao,” she said in an interview.

Newman got into cooking essentially because she enjoyed the food made by her mother, a fine lady from Mindoro.

“My mom is a great cook,” she said.

Newman has visited Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, and even purchased property in Siargao.

Exhibiting her prowess, Chef Newman graced the kitchen of ICHEF with a cooking masterclass featuring one of her recipes to selected culinary students.

The Australian Embassy brought her to a series of events highlighting Filipino food with a little Australian flavor.

In Davao City, the event was made possible with the support of Joji Ilagan International Schools, WorkSkills International, the Australian Government, and the Australia Global Alumni in the Philippines.

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