Thursday, November 21, 2013

Maldives, a new adventure begins

Newly created kids amenities, chocolate fondue
As you could gather, Ghana is in the past. I had a wonderful time and learned a lot, but it was time to move on. There will be more recipes from Ghana, there is still so much to write, but right now it is time to tell you more about my new adventure, the Maldives.
Staff beach......
I spent nearly 3 month in Philippines and the job search was on full blast, not easy to find something that has everything one wants, a decent salary, great location and on top of that the promise of having an enormous lot of fun producing great food, work with a great team  learn new things and I think that I found it.
Fresh in the Garden Restaurant
I loved of course every minute in Philippines, that is why we have more Philippine recipes and travel hints and next time I am here there will be a lot more, but now it is time to take off.
Chocolate Soup with Sea Salt and Olive Oil
Malaysian Airlines flies three times a day from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, so the flight I had went off a 3 PM (OK as usual there was a delay) and I had less than one and a half hours on KL airport to catch the next flight (which as well was delayed). The actual flying time was short, just a bit more than 3 hours for the first flight and 4 hours for the second, I am used to much longer distances. The downfall was that Malaysian Airways still has really old planes in service, so on one leg we did not have an inflight entertainment system.....I didn't see that for many years. But the food was good and the seats are OK. I had a terrible cold while flying, so happy to just sleep on the plane.
Relaxing area by the beach bar
Then in Male I was transferred straight to the Island....straight? No, of course not, first I got stuck in immigration, then the domestic plane had over an hour delay.......then I waited for the transfer to the boat who then finally brought me to the island and at 3.30 in the morning I was finally in my new home on Soneva Fushi, one of the best Resorts on Maldives
The main road on the island
I had a days rest and then started with work, getting to know everybody, the Island and Resort is amazing, it is one of the biggest private islands in the Maldives and even so everything is made for luxury, we live the slow life here, meaning that we try to go as organic as possible, to buy as local as possible and even grow a lot of salads and vegetables ourselves.

I will write a bit more about the island soon, about the different restaurants, the snorkeling and diving and all the other things one can do here.

The Observatory
Of course you can expect a lot of recipes, we are cooking a lot here, just the finest products, I will tell you about the white truffles used here, I will even go a little into Molecular Food, just a tiny bit, something you can actually do at home, yes it is not that difficult.

So join me in this great new adventure of food, here in themiddle of the Indian Ocean

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Aguinaldo Shrine

We were in Bacoor visiting family when the idea came up to visit Aguinaldos  Shrine. Just for all of us who are not so well versed in Filipino history, Aguinaldo was the first President of the Philippines when they declared independence from Spain in 1898. I am now reading up a bit about this time in the Philippines, very interesting and sometimes a bit confusing, a lot happened in just a few years. I don't want to go into a history lesson, but some numbers are amazing. Aguinaldo was just 20 years old when the independence was declared from his house and he was already a general. He died in 1964 being 95 years old, looking back on a very eventful life. I am actually going out now to look for a good history book about this stage of the Philippines, I love history and can't wait reading up a bit more

The house where he lived is now a museum showing the process of the independence. The amazing part is that the entrance is free and it is absolute worth a detour. The building has been renovated and there are lots of original antiques showing how they lived at that time. Aguinaldo gave the entire property to the government of Philippines to remember the independence
The easiest way is simply to drive to the city of Kawit, Cavite, one will automatically drive past the Aguinaldo Shrine. One takes the CAVITEX highway and gets out at Kawit. On the way back to Manila you will be treated with an amazing view over Manila Bay and you will see how huge Manila actually is......and good looking I have to say. The skyline of Manila is really breathtaking, especially with good weather and late afternoon, something one just has to see

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Charlie Trotter R.I.P.

Chef at work (Image Getty Images)
Yes, one of my cooking idols has passed away, last night at the young age of 54. When I was a young chef I looked with amazement at his cookbooks, full of brilliant ideas. He was basically the first that really explored the regional products and reading the ingredients in his cookbooks really showed the difference if you buy the one right and special potato or just a potato off the shelf in a super market. 

He was an absolute perfectionist, someone who will not serve anything below perfect. I found one of his menus on the net, served by table. Just look at the different items, absolutely wonderful. One can only imagine how much work goes into a creation like this

I was lucky enough to be invited by friends to his restaurant C in Cabo San Luca. This was an absolutely amazing treat, we had a chefs table and the head chef produced one of the best meals I had. I was working on the ship The World at the time and the residents who invited me did not tell me where we go. So my surprise was big when we drove in the One and Only and walked into C.

Of course I have a whole lot of his cook books, especially Charlie Trotter, Charlie Trotter Vegetables, Charlie Trotter Seafood,  Charlie Trotter Dessert and Charlie Trotter Meat and Game. These are amazing books, as well for the not so well trained chef, beautiful photos and accurate recipes, something one does not always find in cook books of top chefs

The photo of the baby carrot terrine is one of my favorite dishes he made, I have done it many times myself and every time it is a great success. The flavor combination is amazing. I think I will have to cook it again soon and share the recipe with you.

My favored Terrine
It is sad to see a great chef pass away, one who has trained other great chefs like Grant Achatz which is now one of the top chefs in the world.

But all I can say now is Charlie Trotter, we miss you RIP

Monday, November 4, 2013

Beef Bulalo

Today we do a recipe from the region I live in Philippines, as the Beef Bulalo is traditionally made in the Tagaytay area. One could most probably put it as well in the soup category, but at the same time it is a bit like a stew. Of course this dish is not only cooked here in Tagaytay, but all over Philippines, especially in the areas where there is a lot of beef. The origin so is Southern Luzon....exactly where we are!

The main ingredient is the beef shank that is cut like the osso buco. The other main ingredient are Marrow bones, this gives the soup an extremely rich flavor and makes it even more delicious. The main difference is that this dish is cooked like a clear soup.

The flavor is absolutely amazing, the slow simmering brings out a beautiful beef flavor and with the bone marrow it makes a really great combination. Of course one has to add a lot of vegetables, some potatoes towards the end and at the very end the Chinese Cabbage, it should still be a little crisp when served. Many versions use as well Sweet Corn and/or Bok Choi, this is all up to you, prepare it the way you like it. For me the corn gives a strong flavor that detracts from the beef.

Now when it comes to cooking beef, there are different opinions about how it should be done. The traditional one is that you actually blanch the meat to get rid of all the impurities and to have a nice clear stock. This is done by putting the meat and bones in cold water, then it gets slowly brought to the boil, then the water gets poured off and the meat and bones get washed under cold know how much flavor you loose????

So I do prefer to keep as much flavor in my stock as possible which means that I start exactly the same way, I put my meat and bones in cold water, then I bring it very slowly to the boil. Now the secret comes, you need to take off all the foam that starts gathering at the top, this is called skimming the stock. Like this you will remove basically all the impurities, without loosing any of the flavor. I let the stock boil up one, just for a very short time, then I go down with the temperature till it just softly simmers.

If you have only little time there is another method, use the pressure cooker, like this you can cut the cooking time by half......we tried it out and it worked very well, I am just very classically inspired chef, so I prefer the traditional method, but like I said, the result was really, really good.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) Beef shank
500 g (1.1 lbs) Marrow bones
500 g (1.1 lbs) Onions
50 g (2 oz) Garlic
10 g (0.3 oz) Peppercorns
30 g (1 oz) Ginger
Patis (fish sauce)
500 g (1.1 lbs) Potatoes
500 g (1.1 lbs) Carrots
500 g (1.1lbs) Chinese Cabbage

Take about 3 liters of water, add the beef shank to it and bring slowly to the boiling point
During this time make sure you take off all the dirt and foam that comes to the top, ensuring a clean broth
Add Fish sauce, salt and peppercorns
Simmer on low temperature for at least an hour
Peel the carrots and onions and gut in big pieces/quarters
Add to the broth and simmer till everything is nice and soft
The meat must literally fall off the bone.
Just at the end add the Chinese Cabbage as it needs only a very short time cooking

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bangkok Night Market or how to make a special Cappuccino

Getting everything together for the Cappuccino
Today I like to tell you a bit from my travels on the ships. I have seen many corners of the world and tasted many foods, but sometimes one has experiences that are extra ordinary. I spent a lot of time on the different markets in the individual ports we went, for one of course to get some fresh goods, but then of course as well to educate myself more on local fruit and vegetables and often I saw new fruit, bought it and then we tried in the kitchen new dishes.
Having a smile at work
One of the funny experiences happened when we sailed to Thailand. We were actually docked in Patthaya, not too much I want to tell you about that port.........but our supplier suggested that we maybe should pay a visit to one of the big night markets up in Bangkok, one of the markets that is there for the restaurants, so not really open to the public, even so it is not closed so everybody can just walk in. Of course I said yes, I would love to go and then was able to invite some of my fellow chefs to come with.
Adding loads of coffee, sugar and powdered milk
He collected us at 1.30 in the morning, we needed a good hour to drive up to Bangkok and arrived just in time when the market was hustling and bustling. It is an amazing place to be, I had no idea where to start so we just followed our supplier. He was a great guide, coming from Denmark and married with a Thai lady, so she was there too and helped with translations.
The system is actually quite amazing. One goes through the market and if one wants to buy something, everything is of course only sold by box or crate, one negotiates the price. Then one has to pay and give the car registration number and the more or less direction where the car is parked. Then the food will be brought to the least that is how it was explained to me and amazingly it worked. When we were back at the car every single box of fruit and vegetables we bought that night was safely stored.
Pouring the coffee in the ice bag
Being on the market made me absolutely happy, we learned the finer things that make a difference, we tried Rambutan from the North and the South of Thailand and tasted the difference in sweetness, yes the one from the South is superior. We even tried really has to love the taste... When the Durian is young it very much tastes like raw onions, but has a lovely yellow look. When the Durian gets ripe....ooohhhhh boy, then the flesh looks lovely like vanilla pudding, it smells and tastes like rotten eggs, caramba, what an experience and no, I am no fan of Durian.
Our take away "Cappuccino"
After all the walking and tasting the idea came up of having a cup of coffee, it was nearly 5 AM and we would be heading home soon. So there was a stand selling coffee and we ordered 5 Coffees. The question then was if we like it hot or as ice coffee. Ah yes, a ice cold coffee would be great, so the ladies started to work. One went away to get crushed ice in bags, the other one put 5 spoons full of Nescafe instant each cup, then 5 spoons of sugar and the same amount of milk powder. Wow, I could not imagine drinking this coffee, it will be so strong that it must be nearly thick. But of course this was not the end, she added the hot water and then just after a little stirring simply poured the piping hot coffee into the ice filled bags. Then she looked at us, smiled and asked if we like Cappuccino? Yes, why not? So she took a tin of condense milk and poured a swirl onto each bag of coffee. A straw in bag and voila the Cappuccino was finish and believe me, it tasted just great.
Having coffee with the chefs and supplier, next to me Chef Tai, Chef Raf and Pastry Chef Wolfgang
We had an amazing night on the market, after having all worked a good 12 hour shift, having a couple of beers in the crew bar, then driving to Bangkok, seeing all these amazing fruit and vegetables, having a super coffee, we walked around a little longer and then at around 6 am went back to the ship in Pattaya. We had one more stop for a great breakfast consisting of Tom Yum and more, and then around 9 AM we were back, quick shower and starting another days work.........having an experience we all will never forget
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...