Secret Forest (Stranger) KDrama Review

Secret Forest poster

Secret Forest (Stranger) KDrama Review

I am currently glued to this thriller drama from South Korea.

It has that edge of seat feel to it.

There are so much going on.  When you thought you are ready to trust someone, suddenly, he/she is revealed to have a hidden agenda.

It is so watchable!  It is classy.! It is fine acting! It is intelligent! It is dramatic!

The story is about Hwang Si-Mok, who works as a prosecutor.

The prosecutor office is full of goings on.  Corruption resides side by side with justice.  Old-boys network is prospering; they have a law unto themselves.  Si Mok is the only righteous prosecutor.

He was supposed to have been an aggressive child, so  he was lobotomised, taking away the limbic system of the brain which control the emotion.

Si Mok, the adult, is completely emotionless, thus, he thinks in black and white and very righteous. He does not feel empathy with people and therefore not prone to corruption.

He is aware though of the corruption in the prosecution office and more so when he got directly involved with one of the murder victims who was at the centre of bribery and fraud.

With his investigation, he joined forces with a feisty police lieutenant Han Yeo-Jin.

It has so much twists and turns.

Highly recommend this drama to anybody who wants to watch a good hokum!

 

Reunited Worlds – KDrama Review

Reunited Worlds poster

Reunited Worlds – KDrama Review

I have just started watching this drama and I have to admit totally enjoying it.

It somehow reminded me of an old favourite French drama Les Revenants (The Returned).  It has a hint of the French drama where someone who was dead returned one day as if nothing happened.

Probably Reunited Worlds is indeed Korean’s version of the French Les Revenants.

Sung Hae Sung (played by Yeo Jin-Goo) was a revenant.  He died, having been hit by a car, when he was 18 years old.  He left behind four siblings and his grandmother.  This was sad and rather ‘inconvenient’ for his family as he was the man of the house, the breadwinner.

There were flashbacks when he was still in middle school (high school) and he had a very good friend, who would have been his girlfriend had he lived.  The girl was Jung Won (played by Jung Chae Yeon as the 18 years old and Lee Yeon Hee as the 31 years old Jung Won).  He also had a posse of male friends.

Anyway 12 years on after Hae Sung’s death, a flying disc greatly intrigued lots of people, especially students at a high school.  They watched the disc falling/flying from the sky.  But there was one student sleeping on a ledge of the rooftop who turned out to be Sung Hae Sung.

The next scene was that students poured out into the rooftop to get a better look of the flying disc only to see him.  Hae Sung was a stranger to them as he was wearing a non-standard uniform.  He also felt confused himself as they were all unfamiliar faces.

He run to his old school room and found a teacher who said that the uniform he was wearing used to be what the students wore 12 -10 years ago.

Poor Hae Sung was so confused.  In his mind it was still 2005 not 2017.  He run all the way to his old house to check on his family but another family lives there now.  He had a run in with the new owner who struck him on the head with a wood.  He ended up in the police station all bruised and battered.  When he was asked his age he gave them his date of birth but they won’t believe him as he obviously looks 18 rather than 31.  The police did hit on his record and showed his photo which looked exactly like him and the date of birth he gave matched.  But it also said that he was deceased.

In the same police station, he met an old school friend who fainted right away upon seeing him.  He was eventually updated on what had gone on.

Hae Sung has powers.  He heals quickly and he has super strength.

It was lovely when Hae Sung and Jung Won finally met.

In the background there was a man who watches him.  He asked Hae Sung whether he had just ‘returned’?

I can’t wait for the next episodes.

Highly recommended

Congee With Dried Anchovies

Congee with Dried Anchovies, photo by PH Morton

Congee With Dried Anchovies

When we stayed at the Armada Hotel, in Malate, Philippines for almost a whole week, everyday, I started by breakfast with congee or lugaw topped with crispily fried dried anchovies or dilis.

It was strange at first as I have never had dili in my lugaw before but I quickly developed a taste for it.  It sets the day right.

Now back in London, I am missing this little treat.  Thank goodness it is pretty easy to make at home.

Here is the recipe –

Ingredients:

Congee
  1. 3 tsp sesame oil
  2. 1 small onion, chopped finely
  3. 1/2 cup long-grain rice (uncooked)
  4. 4 cups vegetable stock or 3 vegetable cubes dissolved in 4 cups of hot water
  5. 1/2 ” piece of ginger (grated finely)
Toppings
  1. 2 tbsp chili oil
  2. 2 tbsp dried anchovies, fried until golden and crispy
  3. 1 egg (boiled)
  4. 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely and then fried until golden brown
  5. 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
  6. Fish sauce
  7. Calamansi or lemon, juiced

Preparation:

Congee

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and fry until translucent.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook for a couple of minutes until well covered with the oil.
  4. Pour in vegetable stock, add the ginger and bring to a boil.
  5. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer but ensure to give it a stir once in a while.
  6. When the rice had softened and absorbed most of the liquid and has a porridge-like thickness, then it is cooked but if a more runny consistency is wished, add more hot water.

Toppings

  1. Fry the anchovies in wok or frying pan with a little oil.  Stir for 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy all over.
  2. Ladle a good portion for one in a bowl. Add a bit of fish sauce to the congee.  Sprinkle with the fried garlic and chopped spring onion then add the chopped boiled egg and dried anchovies.
  3. Finally drizzle with the juice of calamansi or lemon according to taste.

Enjoy!

Pork Adobo Recipe

Pork Adobo, photo by JMorton

Pork Adobo Recipe

We have now a good selection of adobo recipes, which you can ‘search’ in this site.

I’ve always thought that adobo is a dish inherited or influenced by Spanish cuisine.  After all they were the Filipino overlords for 333 years.

But apparently not, adobo or rather this recipe is truly native to the Philippines.  It is so delicious that when the Spanish conquistadors tasted it, they insisted that it be called something Spanish, hence the adobo.  Filipino adobo apparently is pretty similar to a Spanish dish called adobo.

Anyway, this recipe is very versatile.  It can be used to cook not only pork, but chicken, beef, goat, lamb or mutton, seafood and even vegetables as well.  Not only that adobo can also be a meat combination, especially of pork and chicken or vegetable and meat, like string beans and pork tandem.

Originally adobo is not added any soy sauce but just seasoned with the ordinary salt.  It was the influence of the large Chinese contingents in the Philippines that Chinese condiments started to be used profusely.

Pork Adobo

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork belly, sliced into fairy big bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp whole pepper corn
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and bay leaves.
  2. To this add the pork belly.  Stir into the marinade and leave to soak all the goodness for at least an hour, covered in plastic cling film inside the fridge,
  3. Heat a wok or a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
  4. Drop in the pork belly and the marinade. Heat for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the cup of water and whole pepper corns, then bring to a boil.
  6. Turn down the heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer until the meat is tender.  This should take about 40 minutes to an hour.
  7. Check seasoning, add salt  according to taste
  8. Transfer to a serving dish.  Decorate with a small sprig of parley and slices of onion as per photo above. 🙂
  9. Serve hot with freshly boiled rice.
  10. Share and enjoy.  I find even my English family and friends are rather partial to adobo, especially pork ones.

Achilles Heel, Greek Legend

Nymph Thetis holding Achilles by the heel , Walker Art Gallery – Liverpool, photo by JMorton

 

Achilles Heel, Greek Legend

I love the look of the statue.  It was one of many beautiful statues on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

The statue gives credence to the legend why the Greek hero, Achilles, has a vulnerability, although becoming the greatest warrior of Homer’s Illiad.

Achilles was the son of an immortal nymph, Thetis and a mortal (person) Peleus, the King of Myrmidons.

Apparently it was foretold by the oracle that their son will die very young.

Thetis and Peleus went to great lengths to protect Achilles.

Thetis took the baby Achilles and completely submerged him to the river Styx  except for his heel, which he was being held.  Apparently this ritual would make him invulnerable.

Achilles was valiant as a warrior until he was shot on his heel by Paris during the bloody Trojan War.

Achilles heel had come to mean ‘Point of vulnerability“.

 

 

 

The Masked Lover (Taiwanese Drama Review)

The Masked Lover

The Masked Lover (Taiwanese Drama Review)

After the end of the drama, Love ’til the End of Summer, I have decided to watch this drama next.

I have just watched the first episode and it is a cracking good hokum.

It is about a rather maverick police officer, Gu Lei Jun (played by Weber Young), who infiltrated a large corporation, Yi Qing Group, managed by a powerful Mafia boss, Wu Ping An (played Mini Tsai).

Wu Ping An met an accident that put her in a coma.

Her mother called Wu Ping An’s twin sister, Wu Ping Fan (also played by Mini Tsai), who lives an independent and rather innocent life in America to return back to take the place of her sister on an important deal – her sister’s pet project – a resort.  She has to act like a sister and will have battle of wills against another mafia overlord.  The meeting ended up in a fight and Gu Lei Jun was there, ready to save her.

As a reward Gu Lei Jun requested to work with her, which she granted.

Anyway, the first episode is full packed of action sequences and a bit of romance already.

Episode 2

They have just introduced the second male lead,Chao Tien-Hsing (played by Kurt Chau, and I must say he is drop dead gorgeous.  And his wooing of the nurse, Ku Ching-Hsuan (played by Genie Chen) is just the sweetest.

The drama became extra watchable because of these two.

…….

I have just binged watched up to 17 episodes of this drama, which is apparently ending towards the end of this month.

I have to admit that I have fast-forwarded a bit, concentrating mainly on the second lead characters, who have  a cuter, sweeter story line.

I love it and can’t wait for the next episode.

Sinigang Na Hipon – Filipino Recipe

Sinigang na Hipon, Photo by JMorton

Sinigang Na hIpon, photo by PH Morton

Sinigang Na Hipon – Filipino Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs large shrimps (or prawns) with heads and shells intact
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 medium radish (daikon), sliced
  • 100g string beans, topped and tailed and then cut into 2 inches pieces
  • 12 pieces okra, trimmed then halves
  • 1 large aubergine (eggplant) sliced
  • 4 pieces long green chilli peppers
  • 1 bundle of water spinach (kangkong), cut into 3 inches length
  • 1 pack sinigang mix (available in any Oriental supermarket)
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)

Instructions

  1. Using a large casserole pan, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the onions and tomatoes to the pan and boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Drop in the daikon, string beans, okra, aubergine and green chillies. Let it simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sinigang mix thoroughly.
  5. Quickly add the shrimps and  continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  6. Season with fish sauce.
  7. Add the water spinach (kangkong), quickly cover the casserole pan and turn off the heat.
  8. Allow this to stand for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot with freshly boiled rice and lots of ice-cold water.

Sarap! Sarap! Sarap!

 

Fried Galunggong

Fried Galunggong, photo by JMorton

Fried Galunggong

It was such a treat to eat these crispily fried galunggong once again.  Alma, my sister-in-law did such a good job cooking them.  But then again she is a very good cook.

These galunggong were so delicious, Peter ate them with gusto despite a dicky tummy. 🙂

Galunggong is apparently called round scad in English! Well anyway, frying is just one recipe for this fish.  It can be cooked as paksiw as well.

The Recipe:

  • Galunggong
  • vegetable cooking oil for frying
  • salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Clean and gut the Galungoong
  2. Rub salt to the fish.
  3. Heat the oil using a wok or a large frying pan.
  4. Fry the galunggong until crispy and golden all over.

Filipinos usually have fried galunggong on Fried as an accompaniment to sauteed monggo (mung beans) and plenty of rice.  Somehow this combination really works.

I am feeling hungry just thinking about this. 🙂

Pansit-pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) Medicinal Herb

Pansit pansit herb, photo by JMorton

Pancit pancit, photo by JMorton

Pansit-pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) Medicinal Herb

This was the herb given to us by the Lady of Necodemos, the manghihilot (healing massager) when we consulted her for stomach aches which seems to have afflicted our whole family in the Philippines after going for an overnight swim at Club Manila East.

She said to make a drink of tea from this herb.

She gave the following instruction:

Chop the herb and then boil in plenty of water.  Leave to simmer for at least 10 to 15 minutes with the pan uncovered.

Turn of the stove and leave this herbal tea to steep for at least 10-15 minutes.

Strain and drink half a cup every four hours.

This herb will settle your stomach and digestive system.

Remaining tea can be stored over a couple of days in a clean jar in the fridge.

Rice – Asia’s Staple

Jar of Basmati Rice, Photo by JMorton

Rice – Asia’s Staple

The above is an Indian basmati rice.  If you do not have a kitchen hero like the rice cooker, basmati rice is the easiest to cook, using an ordinary pan, among the various types of rice.  It is almost full-proof as long as you follow the packet’s instruction.

Just over a week ago, I found out from my sister that rice can cause diabetes.  Apparently the carbohydrates in rice can be converted into glucose in the body.   So if you are rather partial to rice at every meal, then train yourself to regularly exercise.  Sweat out that rice carb before it turns into glucose!