What is your go-to ingredient/recipe/cuisine when hosting a summer feast?
Since I’m not a keen cook, one of the main things I missed when we lived on the coast was the presence of Filipino producers, makers, and shopkeepers. Now that I’m in Melbourne, I’m really leaning on our city’s thriving Filipino culinary scene. For example, Grace Guinto, a Co-founder of The Entree.Pinays - a collective of entrepreneurial Filipinas championing Filipino cuisine, culture, and community in Australia.
Grace bakes delicious Filipino-inspired treats through Sweet Cora. I’m serving her ube-coconut shag cake, calamansi tart, and polvoron for today’s afternoon tea.
Where do you start when styling summer tabletops?
What is your favourite finishing touch for tabletop styling?
Flowers. A fresh vase of flowers is truly one of my favourite things in this world. I have found a couple of great vendors at the Prahran Market, but there’s also a gorgeous communal flower garden here at Caringal Flats, which I’ve been prone to pick from frequently.
Do you have a favourite summer drink (mocktail/cocktail)?
We love a good gin and tonic. There’s a great gin from the Philippines called Proclamation Gin. Add a slice of calamansi, the Philippine lime, and you’re set. The Australian-based distributor 7000 Islands also sells a curated range of imported craft spirits from the Philippines, including the Ube Cream Liqueur, a blend of sugar cane vodka with full cream and Filipino ube. It’s another must try!
We adore going on your international travels via instagram, where did you have your most memorable meal and what was it?
Frutti di Mare spaghetti became my staple during our time in Italy. I ate this dish so often that it almost formed the soundtrack to our entire trip.
Although, I think most Asians who have travelled extensively in Europe can relate to how much Asian food is lacking, missed, and craved here. So much so that with every new place we visited, I would Google “nearby Asian food”. To my delight, when we arrived in Bordeaux six weeks into our trip, my search surprisingly popped up with a place called KUBO Canteen, one of only two Filipino restaurants in all of France, which happened to be 10 minutes from where we were staying. I could have cried with happiness. That visit was straight out of that scene from Ratatouille when Anton Ego tasted the ratatouille dish.
Photography by Sarah Forgie