LifestyleNourished by her own backyard

Nourished by her own backyard


- JAGUAR F-TYPE -spot_img
Wendy Regalado and her plants

Surrounded by a garden and fruit trees in her backyard, architect Patricia “Wendy” Regalado is able to shorten the distance between food and the dining table. Whenever she entertains, the menu is always based on what’s readily available.

Regalado’s entertaining style is spontaneous. “It’s whatever you can grab,” she says. In her sprawling home in Antipolo City, she cultivates coriander, makrut and kaffir limes, lemongrass, galanggal, yellow ginger, basil to spice up her dishes, and arugula for salads and shrimp sandwich.  Then there are fruit trees—rambutan, papaya, marang, pomelo for salads, and mangoes for creamy desserts. From her pili trees, she makes a creamy spread made with secret ingredients. The eggplants are smoked and mashed into baba ganoush. The saluyot (corchorus) is mixed with the banana smoothie.

When Regalado and her husband, Roy, also an architect, moved to Antipolo in 1998, the land was nearly bare except for the mango trees. Over time, Regalado, blessed with a green thumb, started planting until it became a lush haven for foliage, aroids, water plants, air plants, vegetables, fruits, and orchids.  The garden also has host plants that attract butterflies.

Straightforward setting for simple snacks. Torch gingers and heliconias make stunning centerpieces on the batik-covered table

Regalado’s farm-to-table entertaining style is straightforward yet colorful. Centerpieces are herbs, foliage, or fresh flowers picked from the garden. Dining utensils are combination of steel and exotic hardwood. Kiln-dried bowls and plates and colorful china are passed down the table. Giant leaves serve as placemats.

The dishes are based on seasonal ingredients. Since her sources are the backyard and the market, the food takes less time to prepare. A salad is always a given. The meals are always light so that guests don’t groan with heavy tummies afterwards.

The table settings blend with the modern country-style interiors. Her breakfast table, covered with Indonesian ikat, is laden with champorado or chocolate porridge made from the purest tablea, native chocolate tablets, and served on a bowl by potter-artist Lanelle Abueva Fernando.

Wendy designed this wooden tray for the ‘espada’; Breakfast is ‘champorado’ made from scratch.  The ‘tablea’ is made from cacao fruit from the garden. The setting uses Indonesian ‘ikat,’ Lanelle Abueva-Fernando pottery, and Philippine ebony spoons.

A light lunch is a fresh pomelo salad with coriander, lime, fried onions, and shrimps from the market, brightened and spiced up with flecks of red chili.  A glass of fresh calamondin is a refreshing match. The setting consists of blue and white bowls and Philippine ebony forks that are placed on top of water aroid placemats.

The meal is more enjoyable because it is set on the porch, framed by pretty grills and stained glass, that opens to views of the garden. The merienda is held under the trellis with hanging medenillas. The centerpiece of torch ginger makes a powerful statement on the batik table. Tiny pieces of toast are spread with homemade dips of eggplant mezze, squash with mozzarella, and dulong (small fish that resemble sardines).

When fairy dendrobiums are in bloom in summer, she invites friends to witness their blossoming. This also coincides with her birthday. For long life, she serves pancit de carajay, a recipe of culinary historian Ige Ramos.  It’s made of heart of palm with vinegar, shrimps, cabbage, Chinese celery, chayote, green beans, annatto, and rice and egg noodles.

Pomelo salad with fresh shrimp and lime; Rustic bread, fried squash flowers with mozzarella, and eggplant dip

“The heart of palm and the kilawin (raw seafood) lend the umami taste,” she says.

From the harvest of arugula, she tosses a salad or puts them on a bacon sandwich or uses the leaves as topping on sourdough pizza bread to balance the flavors of the mushrooms, cheese, and anchovies.

During a backyard barbecue, Roy, whom she claims is the better cook, grilled seafoods and served beer. Roy also made dips like crab and water chestnuts.

Ultimately, Regalado’s entertaining style is memorable because it is simple. She celebrates not only the freshness of the ingredients and artistry of her table accessories, but also the love that went into making each dish.

Learn how Wendy Regalado makes her special champorado, the nature of her events, and more on Asian Dragon’s October-November 2019 issue, available for order on Facebook and Lazada, or downloadable from Magzter.

Photographs by Paul San Juan


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

Flavors of prosperity at Joy~Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila

As the Year of the Dragon unfolds, Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila joyously marked the occasion with "Flavors...

Zenaida ‘Nedy’ Rustia Tantoco, 77: Empress, matriarch, icon

Nedy Tantoco lived, breathed, and embodied international luxury and professional family values. As the matriarch of the Tantoco family and...

Feast on love this Valentine’s Day

Love on the menu at Diamond Hotel Indulge this love month with Diamond Hotel Philippines’ enchanting Valentine's offers. Exquisite dining...

Prime opportunities for Filipinos in Greece

Golden Visa Centrale (GVC), a leading international property marketing consultancy specializing in residency by investment, has announced its latest...
- Advertisement -spot_img

Welcome the Year of the Wood Dragon in Manila

Auspicious offerings at City of Dreams Manila City of Dreams Manila rings in the Year of the Wood Dragon, considered...

A celebration of Mediterranean food and culture with Doña Elena

As one of the most influential types of cuisine, primarily for its abundant use of plant-based ingredients, Mediterranean food...

Must read

Color theory

It’s all about hue! Bright colors and monochromatic tones...

Why there’s much to love in the Philippines

A FEW years ago, my family and I took...

Overcoming my cell phone addiction

I must confess: I had become a cell phone...

A rebel to clean up Customs

If former rebel general and subsequent political prisoner Danilo...

Consumed by good food

“My name is always a conversation starter,” says Eric...
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_imgspot_img