Category: GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY

[caption id="attachment_51661" align="alignnone" width="600"] Boadicea, photo by PH Morton[/caption]

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
– Edmund Burke (1729 – 97)

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!

End of July will conclude this excellent thriller/drama.

 

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.

Max Restaurant Vs Aristocrat Restaurant

Max Restaurant Vs Aristocrat Restaurant

Before we left the Philippines we held a von voyage parties and treated our family to a couple of dinners.

Prior to Marilou’s departure for Los Angeles, on 7th July, we went to Max Restaurant in Malate.  We thoroughly enjoyed the meal, the service was good and the venue was family-friendly.

The food was so good.  We had sinigang na hipon (there were lots of shrimps on the two pots provided, Max’ signature dish of fried chicken was delicious.  It was soft and moist in the inside and crispy at the outside.

The kare-kare was to die for.  It was so delicious in itself, the bagoong that went with it was almost redundant.

The fried pork bellies were so delicously crunchy and good portion.

The fried bangus came with the most sour vinegar I have ever tasted that it send me coughing for a little bit.  It was delicious though.

The glasses of pineapple juices were very much appreciated.

For afters we had a very cooling, very colourful buko pandan.

The amount of the food was too much for the nine of us that we had to have doggie bags for some of the leftovers.

Anyway fun and full stomachs were had by all.

On the eve of our own departure for London on the 12, we decided to bring the family we were living behind in the Philippines to Aristocrats Restaurant, also in Malate an adjacent to Max Restaurant.

I was feeling unwell then so I was unable to go.  Instead Peter went with the Family.

After the meal they came to the hotel full of negative comments about Aristocrats.

They said it was so different from Max.

The service was atrocious.  They had to remind the restaurant staff about their orders.  The food was okay to be fair but nothing special.

I think Aristocrat has become a victim of its own reputation.  Once upon a time, it used to be the haunt of the moneyed class.

But due to Filipinos having more disposable income, there are more customers and potential customer wanting a bit of the Aristocrat’s reputation of long ago.  Unfortunately the staff can’t cope with the increase demand, thus the service is  now rudimentary.

So if I have to choose which restaurant to go to?  I would definitely go for Max!

Tawas by Candle (Supernatural Healing)

Tawas by Candle, photo by JMorton

Tawas by Candle (Supernatural Healing)

This time round, our visit to the Philippines is more tumultuous than past vacations, for obvious reason that we came home because our mother had passed away.

All of us have suffered from some form of ailments, mostly stomach ache, diarrhoea, stomach bug related.

It became ridiculous the amount of time we spent in the toilet and despite medication like imodium, diatabs and the likes, we continue to suffer.

There is only one thing left, consult the great lady of Necodemus in Tondo.  Apparently she has a very long experience of curing people without the expense of money and time consulting medical doctors and hospitals.

This lady of Necodemus can diagnose using candles and a bowl of water.

Sometimes, she does not even have to see the patient or know the full name.

Anyway the first one to consult the Lady of Necodemus, was Marilou.  She had not been sleeping because of acute stomach ache and the constant need to go to toilet.

The Lady of Nicodemus, did her supernatural bit by letting the tears from a lit candle fall into a bowl of water.  The tears from the candle then started to form a shape.  Marilou’s one has so much indentations and protuberance that it could only be a man.  🙂 🙂  The Lady of Necodemus said that a man (living) had hexed (usog) Marilou.  The lady prescribed Marilou a drink of a pancit pancit tea.  It seemed to have worked as Marilou finally had her good night sleep denied to her during the last few days.

When I heard about this shenanigans, I was so intrigued that I sent Dayday to the Lady of Necodemus to diagnose Peter.  Dayday said that she would go after 6pm, to ensure the power of the Lady of Necodemus was more potent.  Who am I to argue?!!! 🙂

At exactly 6pm, Dayday went and spoke to the Lady.  After the candle ritual, it was found out that Peter had not been hexed by anyone because the candles formed a very smooth shape, pretty normal.  His stomach upset was due to dinuguan, eating lots of bloodied pork!  How did the lady know about this.  Again Peter was prescribed the pancit pancit tea and to eat grilled pork and tofu.  He has not followed the advice, ergo still he still suffers from mild to acute stomach ache!

Just then my brother, who said he does not believe in supernatural hokus pokus, said that his left eye had turned red.  He said it just happened and the only strange thing that happened to him that day was meeting a cat at a hotel room that is largely not reached or occupied by paying guest.  My brother was there to fix the air-conditioning system.

Anyway Alma went to the Lady of Necodemus, who by now was absolutely perplexed by the goings on in our house in Fullon. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The lady said that we or my family in Fullon is living with a dwende (supernatural little person) in the house and that it is better to keep him undisturbed as he is harmless. Woah!!!

Also my brother seemed to have offended the spirit in the hotel and therefore he had to make amends by offering a sacrifice of 3 cigarettes, a glass of beer, a plate of food place in the darkest corner of the house.  My brother also has to say heartfelt apology.

Believe it or not!

Filipino Idioms (Tagalog Idyoma)

Sunset At Manila Bay, Photo by PH Morton

Filipino Idioms (Tagalog Idyoma)

Idioms are group of words, which have established meaning attached to them.

Hearing or reading them when not familiar with their intended definition can be mind boggling for their rather bizarre picture they perpetuate.  As an example is a British idiom “raining cats and dogs’. This means it is raining heavily, not of cats and dogs, but of the water variety.

There are plenty of Filipino idioms used  in everyday life:-

  • Balat sibuyas (onion skin), a person called balat sibuyas, means he/she is overly sensitive; someone who takes things too personally all the time.
  • Bukas ang palad (open palm) someone who is supposed to have bukas ang palad tends to be very helpful and generous, willing to lend money, anytime without asking for interest or sometimes return of the money.
  • Kaututang dila (farting tongue) Kaututang dila is someone you gossip with, someone you share your news all the time, your confidant.
  • Halang ang bituka (intestines are horizontal), a person describe as halang ang bituka is supposed to be of bad character, deplorable, untrust-worthy, and would kill for what he wants without feeling any guilt.
  • Hindi makabasag ng pingan (can’t break a plate), this idiom usually applies to girls and womem who are especially very modest and really demure.  They move so daintily and nimbly that it would be impossible for them to break anything.
  • Makati ang paa, (this translate to itchy feet ) it means a person who likes to travel or go places.
  • May gatas pa sa labi (There is still milk on their lips), meaning someone still very young, innocent and pure.  Someone who is definitely not nearing adulthood yet.
  • Matigas ang buto (strong bones), a person with matigas ang buto means he is very strong and possessing lots of stamina.
  • Matamis ang dila (sweet tongue), is someone who has the gift of the gab, he can speak with eloquence and fluency and therefore can influence people.
  • Malikot ang kamay (rowdy hands) a person with malikot ang kamay is someone who is a bit of a thief.  He/she takes things without permission.
  • Tulak ng bibig, kabig ng didib, (this is really hard to translate)  Anyway roughly it means what is coming from your lips is negated by how you really feel.  I do this all the time, which drives my husband crazy.  LOL. It is like when he takes me shopping, he will buy me a handbag, which I may not really like. I would just say nice lukewarmly because I don’t want to hurt his feelings. 🙂
  • Maitim ang dugo, (in English it translate to dark (black) blood.)  When a person is described as being maitim ang dugo, it means that person is evil or of no good character.
  • Magdilang Anghel (have an angel tongue), If someone who just said something really good and positive is then wished to magdilang angel so that what she just said would come true.