Category: Food History

Beer, Ale, Lager & Malt

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
– Benjamin Franklin

Beer, Ale, Lager & Malt

What is the difference?

Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink for fellows whom it hurts to think,
A.E. Housman

Singja Thai lager Beer

Singja Thai lager Beer

God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer.
– Anne Sexton

He was a wise man who invented beer.
– Plato

Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer.
– Frederick the Great

Teetotalers seem to die the same as others, so what’s the use of knocking off the beer.
– A. P. Herbert (British author & politician)

The best beer in the world is the open bottle in your hand.
– Danny Jansen

Where does one not find that bland degeneration which beer produces in the spirit.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Hobgoblin extra strong ale

Hobgoblin extra strong ale

Malt does more than Milton can to justify God’s way to man.
– A.E. Housman (1859-1936)

Vegetable: Artichoke


It was the Italians who first ate artichokes, they loved this variety of thistle so much they cultivated it for food.

In France, artichokes were thought of as something medicinal, advised to be eaten by the elderly and those who suffer from depression.

Having said that, artichokes were believed to be an aphrodisiac.

Apparently it was the Dutch who brought artichokes to the English attention.  It was first brought to the table of Henry VIII.

Vegetable: Artichoke

Artichokes are best during the summer season and should be cooked immediately after buying or harvesting from the garden.

The best way to cook artichokes are by poaching in water with olive oil and with a dash of lemon juice.

After poaching, it can also be put under the grill or even bake.

Artichokes are lovely eaten with parmesan cheese, anchovies, mayonnaise, lemon, butter, bacon and garlic sauce.


Doner Kebab Meal

Doner Kebab, photo by JMorton

Doner Kebab, photo by JMorton


Carving for a Donar kebab

Carving for a Donar kebab

Doner Kebab Meal

Friday night and the feeling is right for a doner kebab.

I know it is usually a fish Friday but just for this Friday, I or rather Peter and I fancied a bit of a doner.

It was quite lovely too.  The meat was tender with the right amount of hot spice from the chili.

Doner kebab is apparently Turkish in origin or rather the inventor was.  It was invented by Mahmut Aygun about 40 years ago when he left Turkey for a greener pasture.

Mr Aygun was 16 years old when he emigrated to Germany.  Fairly early on he realised that there was a gap in the market for old fashioned roast lamb and spices, loved by migrants like him.  At first his kebab was served on a plate with rice and vegetable.

Again Mr Argun became aware of the need for a more portable, take-away food for the on-the-go Berliners, thus, the the birth of the doner kebab, which is roast lamb with salad inserted into a warmed up pitta bread, generously drizzled with garlic sauce or chili sauce.

This proved a hit especially to late night revellers.  Its popularity has spread far and wide.

Doner came from the Turkish word dondumek means rotating meat, which aptly describe how doner is roasted upright in a rotating rotisserie.

The kebab is then cut thinly using a 19 inches long kebab carving knife.


Chicken – White Meat

Poultry is for the cook what canvas is for the painter.
– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
(1755- 1826)

Chicken, photo by PH Morton

Chicken & Egg, Photo by MJane Baldos Balet

Chicken & Egg, Photo by MJane Baldos Balet

A breakfast of egg is a good way to start the day. It provides protein, selenium and choline, which helps the memory. It is also rich in calcium.

The best eggs are the freshly laid and freshly gathered ones.






Chicken - Photo y PH Morton

Chicken – Photo y PH Morton

Chicken – White Meat

We need meat in our diet and the healthiest are the white meat, which chicken is one.

Chicken is a good source of selenium, which plays a major part in DNA repair.

Chicken is also a good source of niacin, which protect brain function as we age.

Chicken skin can be cream or yellow, the colouring will vary according to how the chicken was fed – corn-fed chicken will have yellow skin.


Chicken pieces, photo by PH Morton

Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd)

Ampalaya, Photo by PH Morton

Ampalaya, Photo by PH Morton

Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd)

Halved Bitter Gourds, Photo by PH Morton

Halved Bitter Gourds, Photo by PH Morton

Ampalaya is also called bitter gourd and bitter melon. It is appropriately named; it is rather bitter.  It is believed to be the most bitter amongst vegetables.  But the good news is that it is a superfood.

It is a fruit of a  vine.  The vine can grow up to 5 feet tall.  It supports itself by way of having beautiful green tendrils that spiralled themselves to whichever they can touch and cling to such as stakes or other vegetable plants.

Ampalaya leaves (young sprouts) are equally bitter but it can be blanched and then drained by squeezing all the liquids from it.  It can then be served with chopped tomatoes and shallots with a dash of patis (fish sauce) or bagoong (a Filipino specialty – fermented fish).   This is actually delicious eaten with freshly boiled rice.  I miss this.

Apparently it has been proven that ampalaya has some medicinal properties.  It increases production of beta cells in the pancreas, therefore, it improves the body’s production of insulin, which control the blood sugar and this is good news for diabetics.  Ampalaya is an excellent source of Vitamin B, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It is also rich in beta carotene. Try to add ampalaya into your diet.

Admittedly, it can be really bitter during the first taste but the taste buds quickly get used to it and can be rather delicious.

Watch this space for more ampalaya recipes.

Cotton Candy Memories

Candy Floss at Hampstead Heath fare, photo by PH Morton

Candy Floss at Hampstead Heath fair, photo by PH Morton

Did you know?

Spun sugar used to be made through a labour-intensive process and therefore, the end product was very expensive and only a few can have it.

It  was in 1897  that a supposed guardian angel of teeth, a dentist, by the name of William Morrison, together with John C Warthon, a confectioner, invented a spun sugar machine to make candy floss readily available to the masses.  Their invention known then as a fairy floss was introduced at the 1907 World Fair, making it an instant best-seller.

In 1921, another dentist invented a similar machine, which he patented as a cotton candy machine.  The name stuck whilst fairy floss gradually morphed to cotton candy.

It is rather ironic that dentists would invent a machine, which produces almost 100 per cent sugar as treat for the young and the young at heart. 🙂

Cotton Candy Memories

When we were young, we always go to church on Sundays.  Sometimes we vary the church where we go to attend mass but there were always the same merchandise and treats that await churchgoers after the mass.

Right outside the church were cotton candy vendors, I love the cotton candy, it was so soft; it melts in the mouth in pure sandy sweetness.  I love its pinkish white turning into darker hue of pink as your teeth bite into a cloud of floss.  I thought then that it made going to church and sitting on an over long mass worthwhile. 🙂

Aside from cotton candy, there were also popcorn.  There was a choice of salty or sweetened and again in pink coloured popcorn.  My sister Marilou would get a sweet one and my brother William would get the salty kind.

Outside the church were also sellers of birds in cages.  I remember begging my parents to get me a bird but they never did.  They said it was cruel to keep the maya bird inside the house.

My youngest brother got to have a helium balloon.  And as the tradition in a Filipino family, it was a share and share alike so we had to share with him our cotton candy and popcorns whilst he won’t allow anyone to touch his balloon but himself alone! He can do whatever he liked as he was bunso (youngest) There was no justice! LOL

Apple Charlotte Recipe


Bramley Cooking apples, photo by PH Morton

This is a very quick and easy recipe for such a fantastic tasting pudding.

Apple Charlotte is a layered apple cake.  Apparently it was an original creation of Marc-Antoine Careme and pudding may possibly its name in honour of Queen Charlotte, the consort of George III.

Apple is a very health giving fruit. It is full of pectin and fibre, which aid detoxing and digestion respectively.  Apples are also enriched with vitamin C and K as well as flavonoids.

Cooking Apple By JMorton

Cooking Apple
By JMorton

Apple Charlotte Recipe


4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced or chopped

2 tbsp honey or 4 grams caster sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

8 slices of bread, I like using brioche bread slices, they are naturally soft and sweet

4 oz butter

Method of preparation:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade.

In a saucepan, heat the apples with two tablespoons of water.  When beginning to soften, stir until the slices/pieces have turned into a thick puree.

Add the honey or sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a small knob of butter.

Butter both sides of the slices of bread.

Using a greased deep cake tin, line the bottom and the sides with the bread, overlap to ensure that there are no gaps, put aside a couple of pieces of bread to line the top.

Spoon in the apple puree into the lined tin. Cover the apple puree mix with the  bread slices, that was set aside.

Bake in the oven for at least half an hour or until the bread have turned golden brown.

Serve hot with cream or custard.


King & Queen of Philippine Prime Time TV

dongyanDingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera tied the knot just before 2014 blew its final breath.







The tandem of Dingdong and Marian has been brangelinalised into their very own DongYan moniker! 🙂

The wedding was lavish, to say the least, fit for a king and queen of prime time television in the Philippines, where 100 million, and counting, viewers are regularly glued to various teleserye (television drama series)  where this couple reigns supreme.

Marian Rivera wore an impossibly gorgeous wedding gown by an up and coming Dubai-based Filipino fashion designer, Michael Cinco, who designs clothes for the moneyed Hollywood celebrities.

The wedding was the talk of the town as well as the cyberworld for its mega extravaganza and unbelievable extravagance.

The wedding was attended by PNoy himself – the incumbent president of the Philippines.  One thing to take into consideration is that, PNoy is apparently a very, very busy man.  Afterall he is THE numero uno servant of more than 100 million Filipinos, who are in varying degrees of wealth and much poverty.  PNoy was so busy dealing with ways in how to make more money for the country, for thieves in the government to make merry with.  LOL.


But the DongYan matrimonial jubilation was not something to be missed.  They are a powerful couple, very influential. Holding onto their coat tails can only be for the better.  Anyway, PNoy knows this and knows where his priorities lie and therefore, despite his busy schedule he had to attend and be one of the shiny, happy people partaking the generosity of the couple and their sponsors.

As we can now know a few weeks later, PNoy went back to being really busy again that he cannot attend the arrival/repatriation of the bodies of 42 slained policemen, who valiantly fought the insurgents in Mindanao.  PNoy was much too busy instead celebrating the opening of a new plant of Mitsubishi, somewhere in Laguna.

King & Queen of Philippine Prime Time TV

The DongYan wedding may have created a world record for the hugest, biggest wedding cake in the world, ever.  The cake stood at 12 feet tall, certainly enough to sweeten the palates of the thousands of wedding attendees.

After the wedding DongYan enjoyed a romantic European honeymoon.

But even kings and queens have to surface and join the hoi polloi in the real world sometimes.  And yes, Dingdong and Marian are back to doing what they do best – teleserye!

Dingdong has just started the GMA drama series called Pari ‘Koy (Priest Koy), where he will be playing a Catholic priest (ideally a celibate priest 😉 lol) And wait for this, Marian is doing The Rich Man’s daughter, and by early account, sweet, fragrant Marian will be entering the world of lesbianism. hehehe

celibacy and lesbianism for the newly married king and queen of Philippine prime time tv?!!!  Good choices or more Freudian in nature?!!!

Vegetable: Aubergine/Eggplant



Vegetable: Aubergine/Eggplant

Aubergine has a smooth  shiny skins, often dark purple in colour. They also come in green and yellow hues. They originated in India and Thailand.

Did you know?

Early European’s version of the aubergine is that of white skinned with white flesh the size of an egg. That is why the Americans call it eggplant. 🙂

To choose a perfect aubergine, it should  give slightly when press.  Aubergines are easily bruised and goes dark in the inside.

Aubergine can turn slightly bitter.  To prevent this, cut lengthwise and sprinkle salt to the flesh.  Leave for at least half an hour.  The salt would draw the bitterness out.

Give it a good wash and cook according to your recipe.  I must admit , I do not mind or even notice the bitterness to an aubergine.  This bitterness only add to the versatility of taste to this purple gem of a vegetable, which technically is really a fruit.

Aubergines are versatile. It can be cooked in stews, stir-fry, grilled, and fried. But it cannot be eaten raw. It is not toxic but it just does taste nice. This is because the flesh of the aubergine is like a sponge, it absorbs all the delicious spices and flavourful sauces as it is being cooked.

Commandaria (Nama) ~ Greek Wine

IMG_0862 IMG_0860

Commandaria (Nama) ~ Greek Wine

Look what I found hiding at the back of the shelves of our wine cabinet, a couple of bottles of 25 years old Commandaria wines, which we bought from Cyprus 15 years ago. Commandaria is a sweet dessert wine which taste a bit like sherry.

We bought these Commandaria wines near a monastery in Cyprus. I remember having to put a makeshift skirt from a scarf to cover up my bare legs in order to be allowed to tour the monastery which housed beautiful icons and artifacts.

After the tour, we bought lots of lovely cypriot laces, embroidered tablecloths and matching napkins and of course the commandaria.

Commandaria is so popular in Cyprus. Apparently commandaria or Nama as it was originally called is drunk in bucketloads during the feast day of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who we knew was born off the sea of Cyprus.

As early as 700 BC, the farming poet, Hesiod, described how Nama was made. First of, the red and white grapes are dried in the sun for at least a couple of weeks. The wine made from these dried grapes was stored in great earthenware jars and left to ferment until the desired potency or taste was achieved! It was previously believed that this red dessert wine had healing properties.

Modern way of fermenting the wine no longer use earthenware jars but leave the wine to mature using oak cask.

As mentioned above, the original name of the wine was Nama but after the Knights Templars took over and controlled an island in Cyprus which was called Commandaria, the popular nama was renamed Commandaria. And this happened more than 800 years ago, which makes Commandaria the oldest existing name for a particular wine.

Peter had a big glass of Commandaria over Christmas but he found it too sweet.

I had a bit and must admit I am rather partial to it (I like the taste) but in small measure.