By Ana de Villa – Singson
A year and a quarter after our very first AAA CLUB-BING Cooking session back is 2022, we finally got our hands dirty! Yes, for the very first time, we had a hands-on cooking and baking session. Not just a demonstration, this class had us divided into groups, each making one component of our high tea spread. We were a bit nervous about being unleashed in AC’s Ani Kitchen to cook and bake. But then, who better to guide us than famed Pastry Chef Pixie Sevilla?
Pixie, an Old Girl of HS Batch 1992, owns Forget Me Not Specialty Cakes and La Brazorria de Lasevil. She graduated from renowned California Institute of America/CIA and California Culinary Academy. Famous for her pastries, cult favorites are her Dulce de Lecha Cheesecake, Pastel de Amor, Calamansi Torte…all of them named as some of the metro’s best desserts by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Her mocha praline cake and “kaliskis” empanadas are cult favorites too. Her cakes are so good that there are counterfeits going round…true testament to just how good they are!
For our AAA Club-bing session, Pixie created a HIGH TEA ensemble of La Española Glazed Lemon Olive Oil Cookies, Clara Ole Black Ink Squid Croquette, La Española Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches, Clara Ole Crab Roll Buns and Chocolate Chip Scones. Our generous sponsors, Clara Ole and La Española, gifted us with yummy ingredients such as Clara Ole Crab Cream Pasta Sauce, Clara Ole Bechamel Sauce, Clara Ole Squid Ink Sauce, La Española Truffle Flavored Oil and La Española Lemon Olive Oil. These ingredients made cooking so much simpler and quicker ; they elevated our high tea fare too!
Pixie, ably supported by Clara Ole’s Chefs Avery and Roselyn, divided us into 5 groups with each group assigned to make one of the dishes. I was assigned to Team Black Ink Squid Croquettes with Sofie Yu and batchmate Melissa Romualdez. In no time, we were kneading squid croquettes. Blackened fingers and all, I gamely made croquettes I had no hope of tasting ( I am allergic to squid! Sigh!). The teams turned competitive very quickly, especially since our Clara Ole Sponsors announced prizes for the best team. In no time, we were all toiling hard… rolling, slicing, mixing, chopping. Teams employed different strategies to win the coveted prizes. Team Chocolate Chip Scones had major cuteness factor with the young Katya Alfonso, daughter of alumnae Vicvic Alfonso, beating up the batter and rolling out the dough. Team Egg Truffle Salad Tea Sandwich was more sublime. Made up of the nuns from Malibay led by Sr Lourdes and by Vietnamese postulants, they prayed devoutly over their egg sandwiches…and won first prize! Truly, blessed are the holy!
Our high tea was a sight to behold once Chef Pixie laid out and presented all the dishes we had toiled over. It was not your regular high tea fare. It had a touch of sophistication and finesse that went down very well with our TWG Silver Tea. Surprisingly, they were quite simple to make, helped much by the ready mixes made available to us by Clara Ole and La Española. And I loved every bit that I tasted ! They were all surefire crowd pleasers! But my hands down favorites were the Chocolate Chip Scones, which were flavorful, soft and moist; nothing like the hard, dry lumps of dough that are sometimes passed off as scones. I enjoyed them so much that I made them as soon as I got home! And they were wolfed down and wiped out too!
I enjoyed the hands-on cooking session very much! And I think everyone else did too…because everyone was laughing, helping each other out and chattering a mile a minute as only Assumptionists can do! By the end of the day, we had cajoled our Vietnamese postulant classmates to host a cooking class of their own and teach us Vietnamese dishes. They gamely agreed and I am so looking forward to planning that next AAA Cooking and Club-bing session.
Thank you so very much Pixie! You made cooks and bakers out of all of us…not an easy feat! And you made it so facile and much fun as well! Thank you also to our sponsors, Clara Ole and La Española. Their generosity did not end with providing key ingredients we used to whip out our high tea, they even gifted each us with loot bags brimming with so many yummies and cooking implements.
Thank you too to all the 19 brave souls who rolled up their sleeves and toiled and laughed and made our very first hands-on cooking and baking session so wildly successful.
See you all soon in our next cooking and baking encounter. Till then…high tea anyone?