Category: ANNOUNCEMENTS

Anticipation vs Procrastination

Camelia, photo by PH Morton

Anticipation vs Procrastination

Thought for the Day

Anticipate things that are difficult while they are easy, and does things that would become great while they are small.  All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they are easy, and all great things from one in which they were small.  Therefore the sage, while he never does what is great, is able on that account to accomplish the greatest things.
Lao Zi

Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th Birthday

Dame Vera Lynn

Giant projection slide of Vera Lynn on the iconic white cliffs of Dover.

Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th Birthday

Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th  Birthday.

During World War 2 (WWll) Vera Lynn was known as the ‘forces sweetheart’ and was massively popular.

Born in London 20th March 1917, she became an actress singer and songwriter. During the war years, her songs  “We’ll Meet Again“, “The White Cliffs of Dover“, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “There’ll Always Be an England“. became iconic and a tonic for troops and forces fighting in the war. The white cliffs of Dover were the last part of Britain troops saw as they departed on ships across the Channel to fight. Also the cliff were a  welcoming sight on their return home.

My late father was a WW2 soldier in the British army(known as Desert Rats) fighting in Egypt.

Vera Lynn undertook concert tours in Burma, Egypt and India for the troops. She remained popular after the war, appearing in movies and on radio & TV.  At the age of 92, Vera became the oldest artist ever to top UK music charts with a melody of her famous songs. She outsold outselling both the Arctic Monkeys and the Beatles.

My favourite rock group Pink Floyd even had a track about her in their superb album ‘The Wall’.

Vera

Whenever my wife hears anything about Vera Lynn she would burst into song of We’ll meet again

Ginataang Kuhol (Escargot in Coconut Milk)

Escargot in Coconut Milk, Photo by Rosie Reyes-Barrera

Ginataang Kuhol (Escargot in Coconut Milk)

I love and miss eating snails!  That doesn’t sound right!  That sounded too full-on with too much yucky factor 🙂 .  I think I would call it with the more exotic French word for snail, escargot, instead.

When I was a young girl living in Marag, we used to eat a lot of escargots, which are called bisukol in Ilocano `(and kuhol in Tagalog).

My memories of bisukol (escargot) is deeply embedded into my happy family nostalgia.  Eating these little critters bring back memories of strong family bonding.

In our province of Marag in Kalinga-Apayao, Philippines, dining with bisukol involves both hand and arms actions.  To prepare the bisukol, prior to cooking, get a fairly heavy ladle or metal spoon and tap to break the bottom of each snail.  This will allow the snail flesh to come out easily.  And the most fun way of eating a bisukol is to pick one up with your right hand ensuring that the snail opening is facing down onto your plate, then banging your right wrist into your slightly extended left wrist a la Psy Gangnam Style (the horsey bit) until the snail meat comes out and drops on your plate.  It was very satisfying watching everyone doing the arm action at the dining table.  LOL

In the West, every paraphernalia seems to be available for most food, exotic or otherwise.  Like with escargot, when eaten in fine restaurant, you will get a snail tong (like the ones with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman) and a two-prong snail fork.

Snail fork or arms action, escargot is exotically delicious!  Below is a very satisfying recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs escargot (kuhol)
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoon ginger, cut into fine strips
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp shrimp paste (1½ tbsp fish sauce)
  • 2 green long chilli pepper
  • Kangkong leaves (Swamp cabbage/ water spinach), cut and trimmed into manageable size for comfortable dining 😉
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Cooking procedure:
  1. Tap each of the snails’ bottom to break, then wash the escargot thoroughly, removing all the grits.  Did you know if you live in the UK, those pesky snails in your garden are edible.  According to Gordon Ramsey,  intrepid gourmets can go to the garden to gather up the snails. As an added bonus, these wild garden snails taste far better than those which are farmed.  However you cannot just put garden snails directly to the pot and eat them.  There are steps to be taken first for health, taste and safety reasons.  First leave the snails watered but without food for two days to get rid of any toxin they might have ingested.  On the third day, give them carrots; watch their droppings.  If they start to poop orange substance, wash them again and put them in a sealed container into your fridge.  when they are soporific, they are ready to cook.  Thank goodness you can get snails, which have been purge and ready to cook.
  2. Heat up the cooking oil in a large pan or better yet a wok (kawali),
  3. Saute the garlic, onion  and ginger.
  4. Drop in the escargots followed by the coconut milk.
  5. Bring to a boil and then lower down the heat and continue to simmer until the coconut milk turns slightly creamy.
  6. Stir in the shrimp paste or fish sauce.
  7.  Add the Long chilli peppers and Kangkong ( water spinach) and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Check and adjust the seasoning by adding more fish sauce or salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Serve with freshly boiled or steamed rice.  Arm wrestle your way to a delicious escargot.  It is fun.

Oysters in Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce

 

Oysters, photo by JMorton

Oysters in Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce

Peter and I had a lovely time shopping and dining at Fortnum & Mason.  We can greatly recommend Fortnum & Mason’s The Wine Bar as a great venue for freshly shucked oysters.  See above photos.  It is fine dining at its best!

Ingredients:

6-12 oysters , 3-6 oysters each
lemon juice

For the Mignonette Sauce

  • ⅔ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons, freshly ground black pepper

Make up the sauce by combining the vinegar, shallot and black pepper together in a clear glass and refrigerate to chill for at least an hour.

The preparation of this delicious recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s Recipe blog. Jamie gave a detailed description on how to choose, clean and prepare oysters, which can apparently be difficult if proper tools are not used. 🙂

Method

Oysters are probably the best-known aphrodisiac and, although they aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, I love them! They’re available year-round, but the best time to eat them is in the depths of winter when the ocean is icy cold and they are plump and juicy. British oysters are fantastic and great value. There are two main types available – rock oysters and native oysters. Both of these would make a great starter to a romantic dinner.

When you buy them, make sure that they are tightly closed and heavy in the hand. Ideally, oysters should be straight out of the sea when you eat them. Give them a rinse in cold water before you start preparing them – this can be tricky so please be very careful!

To open them, you’ll need an oyster knife which is short, thick and quite blunt. Do not use a normal kitchen knife! It’s dangerous and you’ll probably snap the tip of the knife off. A screwdriver is probably a better bet if you don’t have an oyster knife.

Hold the oyster curved-side down on a chopping board with a folded kitchen cloth between the shell and your hand. This is to help you get a good grip and protect your hand.

Look for the hinge between the top shell and the bottom shell, and poke the knife tip into the crack. You need to push quite hard and work it in there but eventually you should be able to prise the top shell off. It’s not always that easy so it might be a good idea to try a few before dinner to get the hang of it. Wear an apron too in case you get a bit dirty.

When you get the oyster open, throw away the top shell. If there is any seawater in the bottom shell with the oyster, try and keep it in there. Pick out any fragments of shell and place the oyster on a plate with a mound of rock salt or crushed ice in the middle.

Season it however you like, then tip that lovely fresh oyster into your mouth!

Bonoo Indian Tapas Restaurant Review

Bonoo Indian Tapas Restaurant Review

We spent a very delicious if rather expensive Valentine’s Day at Bonoo Indian Tapas Restaurant, which is quite local to us.

The food were appetising, tasted really freshly made.  I particularly liked the various flavoured crispy naan and poppadoms presented in a nice dainty bamboo/wooden basket.  They came with four kinds of chutney/dips: mango, cucumber, plum and pineapple?!!!

The Aloo Pakora was enjoyed by all. The crisply deep-fried sweet potatoes shreds in butter was divine.

We had the tandoori mix, which was quite good but I prepared the Masala Lamb chops as it was really tasty that I had to prised every bit of meat from the bone, yummy.

The Jalfrezi, Masala, matar and pulao rice were cut above the take-out from other restaurants.

We also had the Rogan Josh, though very expensively tasty, the lamb was rather chewy with bits of bones that you have to delicately spit out. 🙂

The service was very good, very attentive and friendly staff.

The restaurant was packed compared to other restaurants in the area.  Childshill boasts a number of excellent eateries, perfect for meal dates.

Though the final bill was on the high side, it did not contain a service charge.  It is up to you how much tip to leave.  I think that was nice, instead of having 10-15% presumptuously added to your bill when service was below par.

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Fire Rooster, Photo by PH Morton

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

To everyone, let us wish you a Happy Chinese New Year.

Kung Hei Fat Choi

2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster.

The fire rooster symbolises fidelity and punctuality.  I can understand the latter one as rooster will cock-o-doodle-do at the crack of dawn serving as an alarm clock to early risers especially farmers and field workers.

We used to keep roosters and chicken in our farm in Marag.  As peacocks, they are really stunning lookers compared to the hens.

Who are the roosters?

They are those born in 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2015, 2029 (Year of the Rooster comes every 12 years)

Have a piri-piri chicken. We hope this New Year is full of trips to KFC, Jollibee and McDo and have a lovely chickenjoy! 🙂 🙂 😉

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2017, Happy New Year

cropped-MLA-2017-Logo_MLA-small.jpg new-year-2017-clipart

Welcome 2017, Happy New Year

 

Another year, thank God!

We went to church today and our local vicar at All Saints’ Church, Reverend John Wainwright (who is sadly retiring from next week) delivered a very deep, profound and appropriate New Year’s sermon.

By using a couple of postcards (from the National Gallery exhibit at Room 1, London) depicting the adoration of the baby Jesus and the visit of the Three kings (wise men), the vicar said that God really is in our midst, in our everyday life. We are always with Him.  We just have to welcome Him in our hearts and life.

The Sunday Link (a weekly publication especially for Anglican Christian reflecting Christianity and everyday life) also writes about the new year as living Now; no need to look back or forward as our Lord God, Jesus Christ likening the preparation to the kingdom of God as ploughing a field, in order to get the straight lines or furrows, one must concentrate to the task alone.

We must live the way God does.  He does not have a past or a future because He is the eternal Now.  Afterall he is “I Am”.

The past contains many happy moments but also plenty more of hurts, disappointment and regrets that can hold us back.  So let go of the past and live in the Here and Now!

Happy New Year, Prospero Año y Felicidad, Manigong Bagong Taon,  Sebo Mani Baduseyo, Felice Anno Nuovo, Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu, Szczesliwego Nowego Roku, Bonne année, Sawatdee Pi Mai

Of course the new year is dawn of new beginnings and let us all sing one of my favourite hymns below:

&

From The Admin Team

Thank you for your continued support and see you more this year!

God bless…….