SOL VANZI's  TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE PAGE

SOL VANZI's 'TIMPLA'T TIKIM' & LIFESTYLE
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

MIDDLE EASTERN DELIGHTS
Where to get, how to prepare a delicious meze ('mЄzei') feast 


Prawn curry, Lamb rogan josh, naan bread Middle Eastern food was strange to my unsophisticated palate in 1969 when I landed in Egypt with columnist Ernesto Granada on a mission for the trimedia conglomerate (Manila Chronicle, ABS-CBN radio and TV) of the Lopezes. Ernie’s activist connections had produced invitations to interview the leading stars of Middle Eastern politics at the time: Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Palestinian revolutionary leader Abu Ammar, later to be more popularly known by his other alias Yasser Arafat. Our mission was to produce TV documentaries on the Middle East, the first on Philippine TV. Politically naive, I was more excited about the relics inside the Cairo Museum, the pharaonic jewelry reproductions glittering at the massive Khan el Khalili bazaar, and the mysterious, intensely aromatic street food cooked and peddled everywhere. READ MORE...

ALSO: Fernando Sena, summer savior
The beloved artist-tutor gives back with an art exhibit for a cause-- by Sol Vanzi July 13, 2015


SENA's PANDESAL PAINTING Summer, the season of fun, could be hell for parents, particularly those with many children. I had five. I know. Months before the summer vacation begins, parents scour community bulletin boards, newspaper pages, classified ads, and talk show announcements for activities that children might get interested in. Over the years, my brood tried everything: ballet at the CCP, sports with Milo, folk dancing with the Bayanihan at the Philippine Women’s University, swimming with the Lozadas, martial arts at Rizal Memorial, theater with the Rizal Park’s Gantimpala group. But the one summer activity they all were enthusiastic about was art lessons with Fernando Sena. I first met the artist-tutor on the first day of class, in an atelier in Quezon City. A man of few words, he struck me as shy except when he was teaching children. READ MORE...

ALSO: Fernando B. Sena


Fernando B. Sena  Born Fernando Belen Sena March 30, 1948 (age 67) Tondo, Manila, Philippines Nationality Filipino Known for Painting Fernando Belen Sena (born March 30, 1948) is considered the Father of Philippine Art Workshop for his tireless effort in sharing his knowledge and talent to those who wish to learn. An all-around painter, Sena was born in Tondo, Manila and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Painting degree from the University of the East in 1972. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORT HERE:

Middle eastern delights Where to get, how to prepare a delicious meze feast


The Manila Hotel's Halal team: Zahra Abdulwahid, Nazrvl Sekh, and executive chef Konrad Walter

MANILA, JULY 13, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi July 16, 2015 -Middle Eastern food was strange to my unsophisticated palate in 1969 when I landed in Egypt with columnist Ernesto Granada on a mission for the 'trimedia conglomerate' (Manila Chronicle, ABS-CBN radio and TV) of the Lopezes.


Eugenio Lopez III — Gabby Lopez is the Harvard-trained chairman and CEO of the Lopez conglomerate’s highly profitable ABS-CBN, the tri-media conglomerate with TV, cable and radio stations of ABS-CBN 2, the country’s top film producer Star Cinema, and ABS-CBN Publishing. Under his innovative leadership, ABS-CBN has become one of the country’s best-managed firms. He is the eldest son of the late Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr., a nephew of Oscar Lopez and Philippine envoy to Japan, Ambassador Manuel Lopez. philstar sunday life file photo

Ernie’s activist connections had produced invitations to interview the leading stars of Middle Eastern politics at the time: Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Palestinian revolutionary leader Abu Ammar, later to be more popularly known by his other alias Yasser Arafat. Our mission was to produce TV documentaries on the Middle East, the first on Philippine TV.

Politically naive, I was more excited about the relics inside the Cairo Museum, the pharaonic jewelry reproductions glittering at the massive Khan el Khalili bazaar, and the mysterious, intensely aromatic street food cooked and peddled everywhere. 

READ MORE...

We arrived in Cairo as Ramadan was ending. The whole city was celebrating. The journalistic adventure turned out to be a culinary epiphany. Unleavened bread, mashed garbanzos, raw vegetables, olives, eggplant spreads, chickpea burgers, grilled lamb, yogurt, and cheeses filled my days and nights. I learned to munch sweet, fat leeks like they were pieces of sugar cane.

LOCAL VERSIONS

Home from that unforgettable assignment, I had to wait 20 years before tasting Arabic delights again. It was at the hole-in-the-wall Shawarma Snack Center that serves lamb and chicken biryani and other dishes never before offered in my part of town.

But soon, shawarma copycats sprouted like hot pan de sal joints. When vegetarianism became popular, Mideast restaurants gained more customers who are attracted by its healthy, nonmeat spreads and natural products.

Hotels followed suit. Today, a few have Halal-certified kitchens and dining outlets. The Manila Hotel is one.

Its daily lunch and dinner buffets at the Café Ilang-Ilang offer a substantial Halal section, laden with a meze of starters, several main courses, various breads, vegetable side dishes, and a shawarma corner.

(Images by MANNY LLANES)


Prawn curry, Lamb rogan josh, naan bread

Early this week, we started lunch with small saucers of hummus (chickpea), moutabel (spicy eggplant), tzatziki sauce (yogurt and cucumber dip), and feta cheese, which we spread on naan, samosa, and papadum.

We progressed to lamb rogan josh, prawns curry, and chicken tikka, all consumed with fragrant jasmine rice and spicy-sweet mango chutney.


Chickpea salad, tzatziki, feta and moutabel

Our last course was lamb shawarma rolled in paper-thin flat bread. The marinated, grilled meat was tender and juicy, with not an ounce of fat.


Lamb shawarma

Garlicky yogurt provided tang, fresh veggies added texture, and Tabasco gave it spice.

At the end of the meal, we were full without feeling guilty or heavy.

HOMEMADE SPREADS

For a homemade meze feast, the first step is to make tahini, a peanut butter-like spread made by processing roasted sesame seeds and olive (or corn) oil until thick but still pourable. It keeps in the fridge for months in a sealed jar.


Hummus

To make hummus, soak dry chickpeas overnight, rinse, and boil for one and a half hours until tender. Drain and process with garlic, olive (or corn) oil, salt, pepper, tahini, and lemon juice.

Moutabel is the spicier version of baba ghanouj (eggplant spread), mash-peeled, grilled eggplants with garlic, salt, pepper, crushed hot pepper, lemon juice, and tahini.

Feel free to stir in chopped fresh herbs. Serve with breads and crackers, grilled veggies, olives, and pickles.


Fernando Sena, summer savior
The beloved artist-tutor gives back with an art exhibit for a cause by Sol Vanzi July 13, 2015


The artist with the artwork Jesus of Nazarene

Summer, the season of fun, could be hell for parents, particularly those with many children. I had five. I know.

Months before the summer vacation begins, parents scour community bulletin boards, newspaper pages, classified ads, and talk show announcements for activities that children might get interested in.

Over the years, my brood tried everything: ballet at the CCP, sports with Milo, folk dancing with the Bayanihan at the Philippine Women’s University, swimming with the Lozadas, martial arts at Rizal Memorial, theater with the Rizal Park’s Gantimpala group.

But the one summer activity they all were enthusiastic about was art lessons with Fernando Sena.

I first met the artist-tutor on the first day of class, in an atelier in Quezon City. A man of few words, he struck me as shy except when he was teaching children.

READ MORE...

His success with neophyte painters so impressed us parents that we did not mind the cost of art materials nor the distance between our homes and his studio. Our kids blossomed, not just as painters but as young persons who understood art in its many forms and moods.


Friendly Flowers

His students gained confidence and developed interest in many forms of art: music, dance, photography. It is no wonder he is known as the Father of Art Workshops.

My children are themselves parents now, and still remember their summers with the artist who was born in Tondo and never forgot his humble beginnings.

Last week, I encountered the artist Fernando Sena once more, under opulent circumstances: the opening of his art exhibit at the plush Peninsula Hotel. The show “In All Things … Love” was billed as a painting exhibit for a cause.

The cause? Servants of Charity, dedicated to the cause of the poor and the handicapped.

He was true to character: appearing uneasy in formal clothes while surrounded by a bejeweled crowd of adoring art patrons. During the short program, speaker after speaker bestowed him with praise; he replied with uncomfortable smiles.

Surrounded by his paintings, Fernando Sena seemed relaxed enough to explain each work. His colors are joyous, even when the subjects are solemn: the Black Madonna, Our Lady of Macarena, Jesus the Nazarene, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Flowers and trees jump out of many canvases in mellow shades of spring and autumn, not the brilliant hues of summer.

The collection expresses happiness, contentment, and hope, qualities one learns to expect from Fernando Sena, the artist who loves nothing more than to give back: to the community, to young people, to God.

For inquiries on the artist and the Servants of Charity, contact Father Charlton Viray at 02 931 5549, 02 456 8550, and coviray@yahoo.com

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RELATED FROM WIKIPEDIA

Fernando B. Sena

Fernando Belen Sena (born March 30, 1948) is considered the Father of Philippine Art Workshop for his tireless effort in sharing his knowledge and talent to those who wish to learn. An all-around painter, Sena was born in Tondo, Manila and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Painting degree from the University of the East in 1972.


Fernando B. Sena  Born Fernando Belen Sena March 30, 1948 (age 67) Tondo, Manila, Philippines Nationality Filipino Known for Painting

READ MORE...

The Teacher
After graduating, Sena volunteered to handle the CMLI art classes for almost a decade. As the number of his workshoppers grew, the parents suggested to him that he conduct classes of his own. Being the dedicated teacher that he is, Sena conducts free workshops to under privileged areas such as Tondo, Sapang Palay, Carmona in Cavite, San Bartolome in Malabon, Antipolo, Taytay, and even as far as Tabaco, Albay.

He also conducts free workshops to the sick such as cancer and leukemia patients, to prisoners in jail, and children in orphanages. To this day, invitations from organizations and such ask him to conduct art classes. Sena offers art workshops during the summer at the Philippine Heart Center, U.P. Vargas Museum, and at his residence to name some of his venues.

Among his former workshoppers are Fidel Sarmiento, the incumbent president of the Art Association of the Philippines, whom he taught in 1975 in the CMLI art workshops and Ronald Ventura whom Sena taught in Malabon. He also taught in University of the East College of Fine Arts and the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.

The Artist
Fernando Sena divides his time between his 2 passions, painting and teaching.

In 1973, Sena held his first one-man show at the Little Gallery at the Tesoro Building in Makati. Other solo shows followed at the Sining Kamalig, Gallery One, the National Library, the City Gallery, the Manila Hotel, the SM Megamall, and the Shangri-La Galleria. He also participated in group shows at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Hotel Intercontinental Manila, and the SM Megamall. Sena also sent his paintings to exhibitions in Germany, Belgium, and China.

As an artist, he is a painter of immense versatility. He is adept in using different mediums and is able to shift from one style to another, from being a cubist-pointillist to realist-impressionist.

Sena is recognized for his exquisite still lifes such as his trademark 'pandesal' and toys but also tackles a whole range of subjects, such as landscapes, portraits, religious icons, and the everyday, commonplace states of people.

Sample Works

Fernando Sena's trademark, the First and Original Pandesal painting

Another pandesal painting

 [ATTRIBUTION:"Lastplateburn" by Dideidei - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.Category Fernando Sena]


Sena's last college plate. The cigarette burn mark
on the forehead was caused by a classmate as it was a
tradition to ruin another classmate's last plate.



Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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