31 December 2010

Two For The Road : The World On Sale

"I hate shopping!" Mr. B. declared today.

"Really?" I replied. "Then why do we have all these big shopping bags in our room?"

"Oh! But they're not for me!" he went on pointing at the chocolate and biscuits from Belgium for his sister, clothes for D., purse for his mom, mobile phone straps for his nieces, toiletries for colleagues, among other things.

"Did you buy anything for yourself?"

"No. I didn't even buy anything for you!" he replied.

"Maybe that is why it's no fun shopping." I told him. "You need to feel that you are spending money to pamper yourself. That would make you feel better and make shopping a more enjoyable experience."

Mr. B. thought about it for 5 second and nodded his head. "I completely agree with you. I will go shopping again tomorrow."

30 December 2010

Two For The Road : Palais Garnier

One of the most impressive thing I saw during my Paris trip is the Palais Garnier or the Paris Opera. Mr. B. said it is one of the places that he would always come back to when he is in Paris. This grand landmark designed by architect Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875 was the inspiration of Gaston Leroux when he wrote his Gothic novel The Phantom of the Opera in 1910.

The highly ornamented exterior and interior of the Neo-Baroque-style building is indeed one of the masterpieces in architecture. I was so inspired by this work of art that I made this short video to honor this Parisian opera house set to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Coney Island Waltz from Love Never Dies.

21 December 2010

Two For The Road : Classic and Modern Sauces

The pots continue boiling as Mr. B. attended yet another course on Classic and Modern Sauces. Here is his adventure in the world of culinary arts:

Bonjour, Chef.
Oui, Chef.
No, Chef.
Merci, Chef.

The professional kitchen runs like a military camp, I realized. Everything must be in order, in place, clean, precise. And you always refer to the person with the highest touque in the room as "Chef" pronounced with utmost reverence.

When I chose to take the "sauces course", it was based on the belief that French cuisine is founded by exquisite sauce, the very soul of each dish. And I was right. Until one actually witness how sauces were, it wold be hard to imagine that the few tablespoons of savory sauce with the piece of meat on one's plate actually started life with a huge tub of stock that was reduced, reduced and reduced for hours, hours and more hours. The most unforgettable quote I heard for the day was "anything will eventually reduce."

Day One of the program focused on making the 3 stocks that would be the basis of everything else we did - white chicken stock, meat jus and fish stock. The stocks were made of veal (or chicken or fish) bones, trimmings, vegetables, wine and spices and cooked in low fire for hours (never boiling) and skimmed, skimmed, skimmed. Eventually, these stocks were further combined with other other ingredients to form sauces for the dishes.

Fish stock was used to cook shells from prawns and expensive langoustines with added shallots, lemongrass, garlic, tomato, parsley and wine, further reduced until you get a savory sauce for Jumbo Shrimp and Langoustines a l'Americaine with Lemongrass Flavor.

Chicken stock was combined with cream and butter and slow cooked to form the sauce for Chicken Breast Sauce Supreme with Mushrooms.

The meat jus was used to make two kinds of sauces: with orange juice, sugar, vinegar and orange segments, it became the sweet-savory sauce for Magret Duck Breast a l'Orange; with red wine, shallots, peppercorn, thyme, bay leaf and parsley, it formed the dark, luscious Bordelaise sauce for Pan-friend Beef Tenderloin.

Day Two focused on various sauces for various uses: Pistou Sauce (the French version of pesto sauce with no parmesan and pine nuts) for pasta, risotto or fish; Sauce Poivade (dark savory sauce) for steaks; Bearnaise, Hollandaise, Mousseline and Mustard Sauce (which all came from the same family) for meat, fish, chicken or seafood stew; Mayonnaise, Tartare and Cocktail Sauces (again, the same family) for fried dishes or seafood; and Tomato Sauce for pasta, bread and steaks.

It was hard work with all the chopping, whisking, stirring, skimming, tasting and starting all over again, but at the end of the day, it was satisfying to see the sauce finally reduced to the right consistency, emulsify to the right thickness, and turn into the right color that blends with whatever one is spooning it over.

I shall never take sauces lightly ever again.


18 December 2010

Two For The Road : Foie Gras

Oui Oui. Oui are still in the lovely city of Paris and today Mr. B. attended the Foie Gras Preparation class while I keep myself warm and cozy in the hotel room. I'll let him tell you the whole story. Here goes.

The much debated foie gras. What can one say? Since ancient Egypt, fattening of birds by forced overfeeding has been practiced. This gavage method of fattening the liver of goose or duck has been a subject of international controversy. So controversial in fact that a number of nations completely banned the production of foie gras. The French, which produces and consumes almost 80% of the world's foie gras, has a law that states "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France". I guess it means they don't care what you say. Anyhow, this is not the point of this post. This is about discovering this much talked-about French culinary delight.

Chef Patrick Caals led the full day demonstration and degustation (tasting) of the various foie gras preparations with the help of Chef Jean-Michel Chevreuil during the actual cooking. The first part of the class involves identifying a good foie gras, deveining and cleaning (which is a tedious task, unless a high quality "deveined" variation is purchased). As with the preparation of other dishes, the French are very, very particular in the temperature. When they say 56 degrees, you don't ask them what if the oven temperature goes up to 58 degrees. They might tell you to throw away what you have done so far and start again.

After an entire morning of lecture and demo, each student was given a foie gras entier (a whole foie gras, weighing about 600gm). This is the scary part as one understood one id working with a very delicate ingredient and the foie gras actually melts on the hand if handled for too long. Several courses were made including the following:

Foie Gras En Terrine - This is where the whole foie gras went. Deveined and cleaned. Seasoned with salt, sugar and pepper. Optional liquor added (I added armagnac in mine And drank the sweet port wine provided), The carefully lining in the terrine container for steaming until the center reaches 56 degrees then plunging into ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Another 48 hours of wait is required for the taste of the terrine to settle and reach maximum peak.

Foie Gras and Truffles with Seasonal Mushroom Cream - Made with foie gras trimmings mixed with eggs, milk, cream and seasoning and layered at the bottom of a small container, them topped with cream of mushroom (another tedious preparation), and finally topped with sliced black truffles (Don't ask the chef if white truffles can be used. He already said black.) And drizzled with truffle oil. This one tastes really smooth, velvety with the mushroom and foie gras blending beautifully.

Warm Foie Gras Steamed with Cabbage and Chestnuts with Rich Fresh Herb Bouillon - Basically a small piece of foie gras wrapped in steamed cabbage placed on top of a complicated but delectable broth of chestnuts stock, chives, sprigs, parsnip, cilantro and seasoning.

Foie Gras Roasted with Confit Quinces and Shallots with Reduced Bitter-Sweet Orange Jus - Very few people knew what quince was. Even fewer students dared raise their hands and asked the Chef what quince is? No one saw the entire supposed-to-be-like pear fruit because it arrived the kitchen peeled and sliced. Anyhow, the preparation is putting pan-fried foie gras and caramelized quinces alternately one on top of the other in a terrine container them further steamed to perfection.

After an entire day of degustating different foie gras dishes, I am all foie gras out. I still have an entire terrine I made myself that I don't know what to do with.


14 December 2010

Two For The Road : The Lonely Sock

Strange things happen to humans but stranger things happen to Mr. B. in particular. He is a natural magnet to things strange and unusual.

This morning at breakfast in the small hotel we are staying, Mr. B. was enjoying his toast with butter and honey in the empty restaurant when a lady server approached him.

"Pardon monsieur, est-ce que c'est votre?" she said pointing somewhere in the buffet table area.

With his limited French, Mr. B. tried to process what the lady was saying but looked to the general direction of where she was pointing. And there, lying on the tiled floor, alone and cold, was a single black sock; at the exact area where Mr. B. stopped a few minutes ago to get cheese. Even a few meters away, Mr. B. instantly recognized the lonely black sock. It was his.

"Non!!" he replied indignantly with an attitude comparable to St. Peter denying Jesus, only he didn't do it 3 times for that would give him away.

What would you have done if you were the lady server? Just shrug your shoulder, pick up the poor sock and dump it in the bin, which was exactly what the lady did.

How did the unfortunate sock got there? Static probably caused it to attach itself to Mr. B. jacket from the room to the hotel restaurant until it can't no longer hold itself and had to drop to the floor. It could have attached itself to Mr. B.'s head and he probably wouldn't notice. The only consolation was that the sock was clean and unused.

Now the real question is. Where is the other one and what should Mr. B. do with it?

11 December 2010

Two For The Road : Christmas Chocolate

Today is the day Mr. B. attended his first course in the world-renowned culinary school Le Cordon Bleu. This is one of the highlights of our European trip which Mr. B. has been planning for a long time. So I shall give him the chance to tell his story in this post. I hope you all enjoy it.

The Le Cordon Bleu Paris campus had a very simple facade. So simple one could very well miss it when not looking attentively. The Christmas Chocolate class started at 8.30 in the morning with a simple breakfast of coffee, Danish and orange juice for a chance for students to mingle around.

The class started at 9.00am with a French pastry chef Daniel Walter, an English interpreter and many helper chefs ready to take orders anytime. After explaining the basics of chocolate, we proceeded in making our own. The class was supposed to work in a team of two, but since there was odd number of people, I had the opportunity to have all the utensils and ingredients to myself.
We made several items in the course of the day:

Muscadine - A combination of praline, cream, milk chocolate, honey, cocoa butter and a dash of Cointreau, piped to a long log, refrigerated, cut into 2-inch pieces, dipped in dark chocolate then rolled in powdered sugar. This was one of the more laborious item to do.

Mendiant - Dark chocolate ring topped with one each of raisin, candies orange peel, toasted almond, toasted hazelnut, toasted pistachio and walnut. This is not as difficult but one needs to work really, really fast to top the fruits and nuts before the chocolate hardened (which was quite fast).

Orangette - This is the reason why I took the class, but was a bit disappointed when we were given candied oranges instead of teaching us how to "candy" them. The main challenge therefore is in the "dipping" technique which would take a lot of practice.

Losanges Pistache - Pistachio paste rolled into marzipan (a very messy thing to do), delicately rolled and cut into identical sizes and thickness then coating the resulting marzipan with dark chocolate before topping with a whole roasted pistachio.

Ganache Framboise - The ganache is made with raspberry puree, dark chocolate, cream, sugar and butter then piped into tiny cups before dusting with ground pistachio. This one is fun to do if one knows how to use the "pipe".

Marrons Glaces - This is not really chocolate but delectable chestnut in vanilla syrup dipped in white fondant resulting in something so sweet that even the American students couldn't eat a whole piece.

Lunchtime was fun when all students dine in one long table and feasted on terrine, salad, avocado shrimp, bread and wine. Aside of the few who are local, most of the students were on holidays. Since none of us were professionals, we all had fun during the entire class, laughing at our mistakes and messing ourselves with chocolate.

It was a good day.


Two For The Road : Fast Food in Paris

Because Mr. B. was really and he needs to sleep early, we decided to buy dinner from the supermarket to take back to the hotel. We ended up in Monoprix which is just across the hotel we were staying at.

We had a lot of food for dinner! We had Salad Piedmontaise which is a combination of potatoes, tomatoes, corn, pickles and roasted chicken meat. Mr. B. also bought a big slice of Terrine de Campagne and a big bag of seedless clementines for dessert. For breakfast the next morning, he bought Cherry Yogurt and Cocktail Fruits and Nuts for snack. Yummy!

After buying everything we need, I suddenly realized something.

"Mr. B., you don't have fork to eat your food with!" I told him.

It was great that Monoprix had a section selling plates and utensils so he spent another 5 Euro to buy a fork and a teaspoon.

We had a great, easy and happy eats!

10 December 2010

Two For The Road : Wish You Were Here

After a night of sleep interrupted by dreams (or nightmare) of his former boss in the funny farm, Mr. B. woke up at 4.30am to prepare for our trip to Paris. More than two hours later, the biting cold air of Paris, cloudy sky and the snow-covered streets greeted us. Because the hotel did not allow check-in before 2.00pm, Mr. B. and I took the Metro around the city for my first taste of Paris.

"Paris is not what I remembered it to be." Mr. B. proclaimed as we walked around Trocadero.

"How is it different now, Mr. B.?" I asked.

"It seems darker. I don't remember Tour Eiffel in that color too." he answered.

"Maybe it's the weather, Mr. B. It's winter. The first time you were here was more than 10 years ago and it was summer." I told him.

Mr. B. looked around for anything familiar that would remind him of his very first trip to the city. I guessed all the monuments and architecture should still be the same, only older by 10 or so years.

We ate lunch of croque monsieur (ham and cheese on toast and grilled with more cheese on top) and soda, we walked around the Trocadero now filled with shops of food and souvenirs, skating rink, carousel, Christmas things and other things that reminded one of the upcoming holidays.

By the time we returned to the hotel it was late afternoon. Mr. B. said he was exhausted and took a shower. We took a short nap and thought about D. Mr. B. and I both miss D. very much. It would be great if D. were here with us walking around the streets of Paris in this cold weather.

Perhaps it wasn't Paris that changed over the years but Mr. B. Perhaps his heart is left somewhere bright and sunny and no snow.

08 December 2010

Two For The Road : My Dutch-Speaking Friends

Traveling to different parts of the world makes me realize how little I understand about the world of humans, especially when they speak in a different language. During my stay in Belgium, I met two non-human friends who spoke only Dutch. One is a white polar bear and the other a mocha colored one. Since I identify then by the color of their furs, I can only refer to them as "Witte" and "Mokka".

For 3 days, we tried to communicate with each other, played, watched a lot of television (which I don't understand). I tried explaining to them that I have a blog they can visit although they probably wouldn't understand it anyhow. But it was all fun. My visit coincided with their celebration of the day of Sinterklaas, or the day of Saint Nicholas who is the patron saint of the Dutch people, and eventually the basis of the mythical Christmas character we all called Santa Claus. We had lots of candies, cookies and chocolates (who names I can't recall) which are traditionally eaten during this season.

On the second evening, our hosts Auntie Em and Uncle Ef prepared a wonderful 4-course dinner. We had a great time and enjoyed the feast consisted of : Stoemp with Honey Mustard Sauce and Pan-fried Smoked Duck; Cream of Pumpkin Soup; Three-fish Gratin in a Bed of Leeks; Brownies in Advocaat Cream Sauce. (While I was writing this, Mr. B. said I should not name the dishes because Auntie Em may have other official names to them.)

Anyhow, it was a beautiful meal to say the least so who cares what they were called. I don't have to speak Dutch to be friends with Witte and Mokka or to enjoy Auntie Em's fine cooking.

Thank you Auntie Em and Uncle Ef for having me as your guest! Hello to Witte and Mokka too!

02 December 2010

Two For The Road : My First Taste Of Snow

I am not a polar bear. I don't live in North Pole. So I am not familiar with snow at all. Before this trip, Mr. B. warned me that we might encounter snowfall, which I thought was very exciting. I had a picture in my mind of children playing in the snow, making snow angels; people making snowmen with carrot noses; throwing snowballs at each other or sliding downhill on a cart; of fireplace and hot cocoa to keep you warm.

So it snowed for two days in a row. It wasn't what I had in mind at all. Mr. B. and I went for a city tour where we initially sat on an open top tourist bus. But it proved to be too cold so we moved inside where it was warmer. Mr. B. said I cannot be in the snow for too long because we will both get very wet and cold. I also didn't like the way snow hit my face with the strong wind. It hurt my nose. Mr. B. said it hurt his face too.

Walking in the streets was also a big challenge for humans. I am glad Mr. B. carried me all the way. I saw people walking in the street about 6 inches at a time because snow turned into ice on the pavement and ice can be very slippery and dangerous. Reminded me of the ancient Chinese women with bound feet who took very small steps.

Snow was fun. Everything because white. I am very happy to see my first snow.

27 November 2010

Two For The Road : All That My Eyes Can See

There are so many things to see in London. Old architecture, beautiful parks, stores where humans shop and things that even Mr. B. has never seen before. We recently went to the world-renowned Harrod's. Most humans should know that Harrod's, founded in 1834, is a huge store with over 300 departments occupying more than 1 million square feet.

Anything that one can think imagine must be available in this store - clothes, toys, furniture, books, food - anything at all! Naturally, Mr. B. and I went to two most important sections of the store - the toy shop and the food hall.

The toy department, although not as huge as Hamleys, was good because it was less crowded. They have hundreds of bears but none of them as cute as me. Mr. B. wanted to buy a little stuff dog for me but I refused. Then we went to the food hall which was packed with people having tea or wine, eating or buying food products. There were entire sections for seafood, for fruits and vegetables, for chocolates and sweets, for tea and coffee. We made several rounds admiring all the wonderful sweets. Mr. B. and I couldn't probably tell the difference between "seeing" and "having" because our senses were just filled with all these wonderful aroma and color.

"I wish we can remember all these." I told Mr. B.

"What do you mean?" he asked while checking out the colorful cupcakes in the shelves.

"All that I see now. I want to remember them when I am old." I explained to him.

Indeed I hope that when Mr. B. and I are old someday, we can talk about the day we went to Harrod's and still see the colors and smell the aromas in our mind's eye.

It was a great day.

24 November 2010

Two For The Road : Easier Eat

Mr. B. and I had a relaxing day today, so relaxing in fact that we decided to just buy microwave food for dinner. At the posh Marks and Spencer Foodhall, Mr. B. decided to have Indian with Chicken Piri Piri and Rice Pilaf with some vegetables. For dessert, he bought Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Back home, we heat up everything in the microwave and had a fabulous dinner. Fine dining can't get easier than this!

22 November 2010

Two For The Road : Toys Were Us

Yesterday, we went to the largest toy shop in the world! Hamleys was established in 1760 so I suppose it should be the world's oldest as well. Just the display window alone was fantastic featuring various holiday scenes of carol singing, family dining, pudding baking and others.

The 5 levels of the store were filled with every imaginable toys - stuffed animals, dolls, board games, remote-controlled vehicles, construction toys and even a sweet shop. Understandably, the store is filled with children from age 1 to about 60. We enjoyed watching store staff performing some magic tricks, puppet shows and other demonstrations. In fact, we enjoyed the store so much we forgot to buy anything.

I think life can be like a big toy shop. There is so many things to discover. You don't have to buy anything because the best things in life can indeed be free. It was a great day.

17 November 2010

Two For The Road : Queen Of The Night

What makes an entertaining musical?

Perhaps one that features all hit songs that you can hum along with, big production numbers, outrageous costumes and make up, then end it with the audience standing up singing "I Will Survive". Well, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The Musical is all that.

The storyline is similar with the 1994 film from which the jukebox musical was adapted from - 3 drag queens on a road trip from Sydney to Alice Springs in a bus they christened Priscilla. Of the actors who played the 3 main characters Tick, Bernadette and Adam, only Oliver Thorton who played the irritating and flamboyant Adam (or Felicia Jollygoodfellow) succeeded in making an impression for his effective acting although his voice can be quite shaky at times.

Another star of the show is Priscilla itself, the 6-tonne bus covered with LED lights and stood on a revolving stage. It rolled, rotated, opened up and was used as a significant part of the story's development.

On the whole, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The Musical is feet-tapping good fun. Watch it with an open heart and mind. Enjoy the musical numbers, marvel at the outrageous costumes. I would actually recommend it if there is absolutely nothing else better to do.

Mr. B.

16 November 2010

Two For The Road : A Day At The Museums

Mr. B. said I have to go to the museum to learn more about humans because that is where they keep all the different items from the past that tell us the history. Today, we visited two museums: the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum which are right next to each other.

The Natural History Museum has a huge collection of dinosaur bones, fossils from strange animals, birds, creepy insects, rocks and other items. There are indeed many strange creatures that lived in this world before became extinct or which evolved into other types of creatures. The museum also devoted large sections on its exhibit on the evolution as well as the future of planet Earth: how the planet's resources are slowly being used up and more importantly, how to conserve these resources and make the Earth a little better.

At the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is supposed to be the world's largest museum of design and decorative arts, I saw a huge collection of sculptures, paintings, furnitures, ceramic works, iron works and others from various parts of the world from different times of history. I particularly like the sculpture of Bernini and paintings of Raphael Santi.

Mr. B. and I spent a lot of time in both museums. And I did learn a lot about the Earth and about humans. I understood that the Earth is indeed a great place to be so every human has the responsibility to take good care of it. And perhaps a million years from now, I, myself, may also become a part of a museum somewhere, as the first bear to own a blog about strange humans. hat would be so cool.

10 November 2010

Two For The Road : Love Never Died Indeed

A small insert dropped from the programme I bought. It says "At tonight's performance, the role of the Phantom shall be played by Mr. Tam Mutu." Who in the world is Tam Mutu? I said to myself. Isn't it bad enough that sitting in the Dress Circle because I couldn't get a ticket for the Stall? Or maybe, this was a sign that I should see this show again on a different day.

Mr. Tam Mutu was the understudy for the role of the Phantom in Love Never Dies. I was hoping to be able to see this much-awaited musical in its original West-End cast with Canadian Ramin Karimloo in the role. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed even before the very first note was played.

And so it started. The first scene by the boardwalk transformed into Coney Island with a combination of smokes, screens, projected images and live actors. While this was a reminiscence of the first "transformation" scene in The Phantom of the Opera, modern technology made this present day update flawless, smooth and totally amazing. I was impressed.

Singing the Phantom's first big number Till I Hear You Sing, Tam Mutu did not disappoint at all. His voice was strong, powerful and his acting good enough. Within 20 minutes, I already forgot I was watching the performance of the understudy and sitting in the Dress Circle.

Love Never Dies as a musical is patterned after its predecessor The Phantom Of The Opera. It has it's big solo number Till I Hear you Sing / The Music Of The Night; ensemble number Dear Old Friend / Prima Donna and even used some of the motifs and "samplings" of Twisted Every Way and Little Lotte from the first installment.

Christine's big number Love Never Dies was the showstopper. American Sierra Boggess was able to make the hair at the back of my neck stand on its end with her dramatic rendition of the aria.

Love Never Dies musically ended with surprisingly little fanfare. Seeing the Phantom removed his mask and knelt in front of his son with nothing more than orchestral music was so powerful it could not have ended any other way.

One has to trust Andrew Lloyd Webber in making sure Love Never Dies would be another unforgettable piece of work. As the audience exited the theater, the orchestra played some of the major themes of the musical to ensure that you can hum them on your way home.

Mr. B.

07 November 2010

Two For The Road : Food, Glorious Food

Our hosts treated us to a wonderful French dinner tonight. The place is called L'art du Fromage which with my very limited French should mean - The Art of Cheese. Indeed their speciality is cheese fondue which is totally different from any cheese fondue I have seen. Instead of a bowl, it uses a contraption that works like a toaster and actually heat and melt the cheese onto the plate - just pure cheese, no white wine, no other herbs.

But we did not have that. Mr. B. had Escargot which was quite good (but a bit too salty for his taste, he said) and the most wonderful Beef Bourguignon he ever had in his life - so far. He said the beef was so tender and the sauce was so thick and flavorful. He said he will definitely try to learn this dish and cook for D. when we go back home.

I told him not to think about going back just yet because I think I'm going to like it here.

Two For The Road : A Room With A View

After 18 hours on the plane watching movies, eating and trying to get some sleep, Mr. B. and I finally arrived London in a chilly evening. Even feeling a bit dizzy as if a bout is cold is coming, the clean air was a welcome treat.

Our host gave us a room with a window looking over others houses and flats. Of course we didn't see the view until the following morning after a good night's rest.

"Good Morning, London!" I said looking out the window the next morning. "We should go out, Mr. B.!"

"Actually you should stay home today since it is raining today," Mr. B. answered.

It was indeed drizzling which was kind of disappointing because I really wanted to see the city.

"We have plenty of time," Mr. B. consoled me. "Don't you worry!"

I look out the window with great anticipation. Beyond the cloudy sky and the century-old brick houses, I know these is something exciting in-store for Mr. B. and Me in this city. I can wait.

02 November 2010

The Three Books

Mr. B. is bringing 3 books with him in our trip. One of them The Diamond Cutter by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally is a gift from a friend. The other 2, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz were bought this afternoon.

"We can sit in the park or lay on the grass and read books. It should be fun and relaxing." he said.

"But you never do it here! What makes you think you will do it while we are on holidays?" I asked.

"There is always a first time, you know." he answered. "Besides, these books should be good for the soul. What are you busy with anyway?"

"I am making this goodbye video for my readers. Would you like to see?"

"Sure. When you're done, we need to check if we have everything prepared." Mr. B. said.

30 October 2010

Easy Eats #12 - Corny Chicken Delight

Are you ready for another very easy to make and mouthwatering dish? Today I am presenting one of my inventions, the Corny Chicken Delight. As always, this recipe uses very few ingredients but the end result is totally delicious. More importantly, it is very simple to prepare.

500 grams boneless chicken meat (you can use breast or thigh meat)
1 can corn, drained
Chopped green onion (separate the green and the white parts)
Chopped chili (not too much if you don't like it too spicy)
Dried tarragon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil and butter

1. Brown chicken on all sides with heated olive oil and butter (yes, combination of both!). Set aside when done.
2. In the same pan, add in white portion of the green onion, chili and flour. Stir until the flour is incorporated.
3. Add corn and browned chicken pieces and a bit of water.
4. Season with dried tarragon, salt and ground pepper.
5. Stir in the rest of the green onions right before serving.

Important tip you might want to know: chicken breast meat cooks faster than thigh meat so you need a little more browning time if you are using thigh meat for this dish.

There you have it. An easy and delectable dish perfect as rice topping on a cold and windy autumn day! Enjoy!

29 October 2010

Two For The Road

The past few days have been quite busy in our household. That was part of the reason why I wasn't able to update my blog as often (another part of the reason is that I am on "hibernation" mode). The point of all the busyness is that next week, Mr. B. and I shall be embarking in a long vacation trip and we are busy making all the bookings, contacting, arrangements, buying, packing and all the things humans do in preparation for a long trip. As excited as I am to be able to see part of the world I haven't seen before, I am also a little bit sad that D. is not coming with us. But D. said we should make the most out of this very rare opportunity.

Mr. B. decided many months ago to take a sabbatical from his career. He needed to "get away and recharge his batteries", as he put it. So we are some of his dear friends living in different parts of Europe, watch some shows, eat strange food, visit museums and take long walks in the parks.

I told Mr. B. that we should do this project and document interesting bits and pieces of our travel in my blog with journals, photos and videos. He said it is a good idea and I should be in charge of the project.

More importantly, I am hoping in my heart that through our travels, Mr. B. and I can discover more of ourselves; that beyond the photos and videos we will be taking, we will learn precious life lessons from different people in different places. It reminds me of a beautiful song written by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse called Two For The Road.

If you're feeling fancy free,
come wonder through the world with me.
And any place we chance to be will be a rendezvous.

Two for the road,
we'll travel through the years.
Collecting precious memories, selecting souvenirs,
and living life the way we please.

In the summertime the sun will shine.
In winter we will drink summer wine.
And any day that you are mine
will be a lovely day.


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