Cooking with Neria
by NERIA SOLIMAN
As part of the celebration of the author 25th year milestone as a food writer, launching of her last book, Magayon, a taste of Bicol was held among friends and relatives in Melbourne, Quiapo Australasia Distributor shop in 168 Churchill Avenue Braybook Victoria and in Rye Ocean Beach 2 hours ride from the CBD Melbourne last the 14th to the 19th January 2014. Books are now available in the Quiapo Filipino store owned by Bong and Lita Silva.
Also part of the event was an interview by the multicultural Broadcasting network by Chito Javier about my 2 last books, The Chef Best Mate and Magayon, a taste of Bicol, a touch of Class. The latter do not only feature Bicol recipes but also people from the Bicol region who have made a difference in their lives to have became pride of Bicolandia.
Highlight of the interview was how to cook dishes with coconut milk. I made it a point to impart to the listeners how to use the canned coconut milk that could be bought no frills in the market.
Why the name MAGAYON?
Magayon word means beautiful! My inspiration in writing this book is Mayon Volcano, hence the title, Magayon, a taste of Bicol. From its original name magayon, this exotic and perfect cone volcano was later called MAYUNG then MAYON. It is located in the Province of Albay Philippines. According to the research of Dr. Merito B. Espinas of Bicol University published by The Office of Media Affairs, General Information Division Region 5 Legaspi City, the height of the magnificent volcano is 7,946 feet. Leopoldo A. Faustino in the book Mayon Volcano and its Eruptions, gleaned from The Philippine Journal of Science states that this volcano is more than 1,000,000 years old. The first recorded sightings was in July 7, 1565 by a Spaniard, Esteban Rodriguez on his return voyage to Acapulco from Cebu. First recorded climbers were Spanish priests Fr. Pedro Ferrer OSF and Fr. Esteban Solis OFM in 1592. First known eruption was in 1616 and said to blow its fury every ten years. This volcano is tourist attraction and is said to be the most perfect cone volcano in the world.
Our Lady of Penafrancia (INA) who is the Patron Saint of Bicolandia is my SPIRITUAL inspiration in completing this book. I am always awed about the pomposity of the celebration of her feast in the month of September, celebrated by Bicolanos all over the globe. I dedicate 2 Bicol recipes during her yearly feast, that is Laing or Gulay na Apay and Bicol Express. I feel her presence while l cook these dishes in her honour everytime.
In the celebration of this milestone of my career this year, my inspiration are my supportive friends in the community who relish the recipes in my book as well as my dancing friends who have been supportive of my advocacy on Obesity Prevention and Healthy cooking. There is no better way to celebrate this occasion than with my close supportive associates in an evening, called DANZ RENDEVOUZ on the 22 February 2014 at South Hungarian Club in Glendening Sydney. My main sponsor is Mamasita Foundation who have been part of my journey in my experimental cookery. The event is presented by Nectar’s Events Creation. Music by Jun de Leon, and his dance menu for Latin, Disco and Ballroom repertoire.