31 March 2011

Addicted To Porn



Most evenings, Mr. B. would spend hours and hours in front of the computer watching videos after videos of his favorite subject of all time. He would go to sleep dreaming about it. Wake up thinking about it. Plan his days around it, and demonstrate what he learned throughout the week to D. on Friday evenings. You see, Mr. B. is a porn addict. A food porn addict.

The phrase "food porn" became part of the English language which applies to the "spectacular visual presentation of food with the intention of arousing the desire to eat". It specifically refers to food styling and photography as presented in cookbooks, in advertisements as well as in cookery shows. Mr. B.'s particular favorites are Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Chef John Mitzewich whom he considers the kings and queen of food porn.

It really doesn't take much to arouse Mr. B.'s desire to eat. So he concentrates on developing his skills to cook. D.'s birthday gift of expensive knife set, and his former colleagues' gift of Le Creuset pots increased his addiction even further. He now cuts his vegetables and cooks with relish. He also cleans his pots and knives and refuses to let the house cleaner touch them. He makes sure his food has a balance of flavors - tang, sweetness, saltiness and talks about different layers of aroma and taste (something he learned from Paris, I think). He also makes sure his final presentation has every color in the spectrum represented. The other day, he made a simple omelette with red and yellow bell peppers and topped it with so much coriander to get that nice green leafy look on that golden folds of cooked eggs. He is even threatening to take over my Easy Eats feature although his preparation is never easy.

In a way, I am happy that Mr. B. found something that makes him happy while waiting for the next job opportunity. He spends his days food shopping, trying new recipes, cooking for D. and his evening learning from the masters.

It's not all that bad to be a porn addict if you ask me.

29 March 2011

Hello And Goodbye


Last Sunday, Mr. B. travelled 138 km to meet 3 of his high school classmates who he hasn't seen for more than 30 years. It was a wonderful occasion where they shared interesting anecdotes of their adult lives, their careers, families and just about anything. They shared a wonderful meal together and took photos. When it was time to leave, they made promises to each other not to lose touch, to treasure what they have and continue living good lives.

The following day, Mr. B. received a sad news about a former colleague and friend whom he met last February after 25 years during our holidays in Manila. His friend suddenly collapse in public and died. Just that. He just passed away. No warning. No goodbyes.

I realize that life sometimes plays cruel tricks for humans. Without a warning, time flies turning innocent teens to bitter adults, taking away lives with no pre-announcements.

I hugged Mr. B. to console him but I know I can never understand his own fears - of time passing by, of doing nothing but aging, of how one can never know how it will all end.

28 March 2011

Easy Eats#14 - Beef And Vegetable Soup


It's March and in many countries, like the one where I am, are still experiencing cold weather! So if you are hungry, cold and lazy (which usually go together), I have something super delicious, super nutritious and super easy to make. Inspired by the many kinds of soup we had while in Paris, my version of this Beef and Vegetable Soup is one you will really love!

Ingredients:
1 medium size carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 medium size potato, finely diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
String beans, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 stalk green onion, finely chopped
1 can diced tomato
250 gm ground beef
Chicken stock
Dried tarragon
Dried thyme
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot and saute onions and green onions until transparent.
2. Add in beef and stir until liquid evaporates.
3. Add all the vegetable including diced tomatoes and juices,
4. Pour in chicken stock.
5. Add tarragon and thyme.
6. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
7. Add salt and lots of pepper.

Except for the chopping, there is almost nothing much to be done to make this hearty soup! Enjoy it piping hot with slightly toasted baguette. Wonderful!!!!

22 March 2011

How Much Is Love?


All over the local news today is the wedding of local starlet Barbie Hsu to mainland Chinese businessman Wang Xiaofei. Their official press released announced that the wedding will be a very simple, modest and very private affair. So they decided to hold the ceremony and banquet in a small island off China and chartered planes to fly all the guests as well as their wedding crew to the destination. The entire affair was rumored to have cost almost US$1 million although the parents of the groom denied it. Hsu met Wang late last year and were engaged 20 days after that meeting with a civil ceremony held in Beijing, China last year.

I do not understand why some humans can be so insensitive and hold such lavish wedding in the midst of suffering of other humans in Japan as well as in Libya. Watching the news today, the story of the wedding stuck out as inappropriate, distasteful and almost immoral. I do not understand why humans can romanticize love so much when it almost always boils down to money, property, cars, etc. Just look at the many ugly divorces and you will understand what I mean.

But who am I to judge? Ms. Hsu did her part and donated US$20,000 to the Japanese disaster victims. If a lavish wedding makes them happy in the midst of crisis around the world, so be it. I'm just saying.

19 March 2011

Black Friday


The world witnessed two important events last Friday, 11 March 2011. First being the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan triggering a series of other disasters - tsunami and nuclear accidents. The second being Rebecca Black's music video Friday uploaded on YouTube.

Over the weekend, Black's Friday became an viral sensation with nearly 20 million views in YouTube and managed to garner almost unanimous negative review. The auto-tuned voice of the 13-year-old wannabe singing an idiotic song with even idiotic lyrics had people from all over the world wondering if the music video was in fact just a big joke. It turned out it wasn't. The poor girl's mom paid US$2000 to Ark Music Factory, a company that writes, produces music and videos to ambitious little girls, for the song/video package.

In this age of technology, fame (or notoriety) is easy to achieve. One only has to be creative in the use of media available. In a matter of 7 days, Rebecca Black's life was turned upside down. That said, something good came out of something really bad. She said she wanted to donate part of her profit to the disaster victims in Japan. Many of whom I am sure were not able to have the opportunity to enjoy her music.

I asked Mr. B. if he can sponsor me to record and song and make a music video. He just turned and walked away from me.

17 March 2011

In God's Hand


First, a 9.0-magnitude quake that literally change the geophysics of the Earth. Then a 10-meter wall of water that destroyed everything on its path. Now, Japan is struggling to keep its nuclear crisis from becoming a major catastrophe. In the midst of these, millions of people suffering, physically and emotionally.

"Japan's nuclear crisis is now in the hands of God." a major politician said today.

"The Japanese have done everything humanly possible. Now it's time for God to intervene." according to a blogger.

Really? I thought. Why would God allow such a horrific event to happen in the first place? Why did He allow so many people to suffer? Is it to wait until the final moment and then demonstrate His omnipotence?

I searched "Why does God allow suffering?" on the Internet and a lot of things came up with most pointing out that God just "works in mysterious ways", that "something good always comes out of something terrible", which is like saying "don't ask, don't complain, just wait".

I wanted to ask Mr. B. about this but he refused to talk to me. He said it is all too depressing.

13 March 2011

Easy Eats #13 - Chicken Orange Supreme


I got a lot of requests from fans to feature something Mr. B. learned from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. So here is something not too French but definitely very easy to do (that is why the recipe made it to Easy Eats!). Something you can whip up at home within a few minutes and also featuring something French - Orange Supreme!

Ingredients:
2 boneless chicken thigh meat cubed
1/2 red bell pepper cubed
1/2 yellow bell pepper cubed
1 orange "supremed"* (set aside juice)
1 tablespoon thick oyster sauce
cooking oil
salt and pepper

Instruction:
1. Pat dry chicken pieces and brown all sides in hot oil.
2.Turn heat to high and add in red and yellow bell pepper. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
3. Add oyster sauce and orange juice and turn until almost dry.
4. Tip in orange segments, season with salt and pepper according to taste. Serve immediately.

*How to Supreme an Orange
- Cut off orange peel without leaving any white pith.
- Cut orange segment by slicing between pith. Segments should come out clean and whole.
- Squeeze remaining fruit for juice and set aside.

See? How hard can this recipe be? This dish is excellent when served with hot steamed white rice. Enjoy!!

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