BOOK A MAGICAL TRIP

Book a Magical Trip

“A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair.” ~ Katrina Mayer

I grew up in the Philippines and, coming from a poor family, I did not have the resources to travel out of my birth country until I was already a working adult. Thankfully, I had a bookworm for a father and a teacher for a mother who both encouraged me from a young age to read books that took me all over the world before I was able to actually travel to the locations in which they were set.

Judith Krantz’s I’ll Take Manhattan familiarized me with New York City landmarks prior to my first visit there in 1994 and gave me the confidence to set my novella New York Engagement there. I had seen the grandeur of the Sydney Opera House through Emma Darcy’s Harlequin romances set in Australia before I beheld it for the first time in 1998. Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence had me enthralled with the South of France years before I toured Europe in 1999. Imagine how often I’ve been to England from reading books by Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Barbara Cartland, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, and Johanna Lindsey. Truly, if there’s a special passport that gets stamped every time I travel in books, I would have to renew it every year.

I want to believe that this is the same for millions of readers all over the world. In reality, however, the US-centric world of Romancelandia has limited book travel options to Asia. There’s Sonali Dev’s angsty A Distant Heart which transported me to India and Hong Kong, Sherry Thomas’s epic The Hidden Blade and My Beautiful Enemy duology set in Imperial China, and Mina V. Esguerra and her Romance Class cohorts’ works which always bring me home to the Philippines.

There are a few others but I feel strongly about the need for many more books to take readers to the biggest continent on Earth without leaving their homes. That’s why, when I started writing, I’ve chosen to conjure the magic of traveling through books by setting my first series in my home region of Southeast Asia. I’d like readers of Carpe Diem Chronicles to not only visit the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand when they read Boracay Vows, Singapore Fling, Samui Heat, and Palawan Promises, but also to experience the cultures through the languages, customs, and food I feature in them.

People fall in love all around the world. The magic is in witnessing that love blossom within the pages of a book.

 

*This article was first posted at Read-A-Romance-Month https://www.readaromancemonth.com/2019/08/rarm19-maida-malby-book-a-magical-trip/

It was also featured in the All the Ups and Downs blog during the Singapore Fling Book Blog Tour with Lone Star Lit.

Boracay Vows Recipe – Lumpia

In Boracay Vows, lumpia is one of the dishes Marissa Lopez prepared for Krista and Blake when they went to Quezon to meet the family. It also happened to be a belated birthday celebration for Krista, so there were plenty of food.

There are many variations of lumpiasariwa (fresh), Shanghai (thin pork spring rolls), hubad (unwrapped), vegetable, or with meat. The latest version I made has chicken in it, but can be done with ground pork or shrimp. Some people call it lumpiang togue, which translates to spring rolls with bean sprouts. Others use cabbage instead of bean sprouts, or sometimes both in their vegetable spring rolls. There’s not just one way of making these, all of them delicious.

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Ingredients: 

  • Vegetable oil
  • extra firm tofu, drained and cut into small squares
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 cup of shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut thinly on a bias
  • 8 oz. mung bean sprouts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of lumpia wrapper

 

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or pan. Add tofu and fry until brown. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add garlic and onion to hot oil and cook until softened. Pour the fish sauce on the side of the wok. Cook until smell goes away (2-3 minutes).
  3. Stir in shrimp (if using) and cook until pink. Add chicken, green beans, carrots, and bean sprouts. Cook until all ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and drain. Mix in the tofu. Let cool.
  4.  Lay the wrapper on a flat surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling two inches from the top. Fold the top end of the wrapper over the mixture. Fold the sides and roll tightly into a log. brush the bottom end with water to seal completely. Repeat until there’s no more filling or wrapper. (At this point you can stop to freeze the wrapped lumpia until you’re ready to eat it.)
  5. In a skillet, heat about two inches of oil. Add spring rolls with the seam side down. Fry, turning once or twice (about 2 minutes per side) until golden brown.
  6. Serve hot and crispy with garlic-spiced vinegar dip. Enjoy!