Thursday, August 26, 2010

Philippines Part one, eating Balot!!!

I have arrived in the Philippines and will stay here for three weeks, so the perfect opportunity to tell you a bit about a country I haven’t been to yet. I have already been in 55 countries but this Paradise of over 7000 Islands with 70 languages has still escaped, so it is about time to come here.

During most of the travels here in Philippines we will take the traditional methods of Tricycle, Jeepney and bus, but a friend of my girl friend organized us a van, so it is easier with the entire luggage to travel. It is hot here, around 31⁰ C so it is nice to have the luxury to have a van.

We are living about 2 hours outside Manila, a bit in the mountains towards Tagaytay. So it is not as hot as in town. Manila is actually several cities which grew together so it is a huge city, always congested with traffic and of course very polluted. Being out here in Silang, Cavite is lovely, fresh air, less traffic, it just takes a long time if one needs to get into Manila, the longest was nearly 4 hours with heavy traffic.

I know there was again a little time space between the blogs, but I was busy being on holiday and instead of writing I just simply enjoyed the beauty of the country I am in
I don’t know why, but here in the Philippines it is all about eating, food and markets. Everybody has a little stand selling something, being it sweets, savouries, drinks or anything one needs. My first experience here with traditional foods is that we had Balot.

Balot is a delicacy that again could come from Andrew Zimmern’s strange foods. It is duck eggs where the baby duck is already in, very small still, but one can see it. I had a lot of strange foods in my life, but this is one of the most difficult ones to eat, just thinking about the baby duck. The eggs are cooked and eaten hot.. One opens the egg a little bit, sprinkles a bit salt on it and then drinks the juice. It is a clear juice tasting of....eggs!

Then one takes the rest of the shell away, there is a hard white part which is not eaten, then the egg yolk and the chicken. I left the chicken and ate everything else. It strangely tastes nice, just very eggy. So that was my first experience with Balot. Would I eat it again? Yes I would, just not too often.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Flying Qatar Airways

Yes on the road again, this time with Qatar Airways from Cape Town to Manila, where I will be spending the next three weeks. I did a bit internet research and as I am paying for this flight I have no option as to take the cheapest flight available, but cheap doesn’t mean bad. Qatar advertises to be the World’s 5 star Airline, so expectations are high.......and met.

Even so the planes have a very plain look from the outside with this white and grey, inside they are good, very clean and modern. I love the lights on the side, different colours gives the interior a great look. I had plenty of space in my seat and the seat was really comfortable, so everything went off to a good start. We were totally in time and took off smoothly. Every seat has its own TV screen and I have to admit that the entertainment system is one of the best I have seen so far, very easy to use, loads of new movies and plenty of choice in general, I could even watch my movie while we had a stopover in Johannesburg.

Now being a chef, the food is of course very important. First minor disappointment, no choice of food on the first leg to Johannesburg, but we were served a spicy hot Chicken Byriani with some lovely Dhal, really good. So we are all happy, the plane is quite empty, but filled up completely in Johannesburg. Service was impeccable all the way through, we were served the food on paper underlay’s, nice touch, the wine was excellent, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, just the food between Johannesburg and Doha was very bland, I had Chicken in mushroom Sauce with potato and vegetables, very, very bland, especially after the super Byriani. Breakfast was a simple roll filled with scrambled egg, nothing special, but the coffee was really good and again, service was top notch.

But overall I have to say flying Qatar Airways was a top experience on the first leg. I am now for 12 hours in Doha Airport, after flying such a great Airline the home airport was just simply no good. I did expect more from a Middle Eastern Airways, not that everybody has to be the same like Dubai, but even the toilets were old and grotty, water everywhere, just not nice. The Food Court is not satisfying to say the least, sorry but I am a foodie and there is just no choice. I think this airport needs work, a lot of work, the best of the whole airport is the kids section, if families have a long lay over, that is the place to go, there is food available close by and the kids can go wild. Don’t buy anything in the Duty Free zone, it is very expensive, a lot more expensive than going shopping at home.

Watch out for more news from Qatar Airways, my next leg and some photos of the food served!!!! This blog is basically life, just landed here in Doha and the blog is online!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hollandaise Sauce and New England

I am sailing up the coast of New England and a bit of Canada, what a beautiful part of the World it is here. Boston I have done on a previous trip, so now we are more going up north and after one day at sea we are in Portland, a lovely town here on the Atlantic. It is as well one of the centres of the East Coast Lobster. Sounds funny, I just wrote about the West Coast in South Africa and now we are in the East Coast of the United States.

After Portland we went on to Bar Harbour, an amazing place just right for a holiday. Arriving by ship is amazing as the rolling hills, islands and beautiful homes pass by. The gown is just so quaint, loads of shops and restaurants. Of course the main attraction is Lobster which is just perfect here. Have it just freshly boiled in sea water, yes you heard right, sea water. This is the absolutely best way to cook a lobster. It lives in the sea, so the water will enhance the flavour and not dilute or change it. But not just the lobster is great here, we had some freshly cooked clams which were so delicious and tasty, a real treat.

The last stop on our 7 day cruise is Halifax, a lovely town in Canada where there is loads to do, museums, restaurants and nature, worth to spend some time here and again, plenty of lobster is available here.
As a recipe today I have a nice Hollandaise Sauce, something that is perfect to go with a fresh lobster. I never use Hollandaise out of a packet, the fresh one is so much better and easy to prepare

Hollandaise Sauce

50 G  (2 oz) Shallots
10 Each Peppercorns
1 Each Bayleave
100 Ml (3 floz) Whitewine
6 Each Egg Yolks
600 G (1.5 lbs) Butter
1 Each Lemon
1 Pinch Cayenne
5 G (0.25 oz) Salt

Clarify the butter
Peel and chop the shallot
Reduce white wine together with shallots, peppercorns
and bay leave
Cool the reduction down
Mix the reduction with the egg yolks
Whisk the mixture in a bain marie until poached
Take the mix off and cool down slightly
while whisking all the times
Whisk in the warm clarified butter
Season to taste
Makes enough sauce for 10 pax
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...