some musings on holidays, food, ….

28 May

london 2.55pm thursday 2015.

after reading that novel by celia imrie, not quite nice, i have been thinking of the south of france and being reminded of going to il du levant, the naturist island. i would fly to toulon airport, which is near hyere, where it was a short walk down to the coast and the harbour there to catch the fast ferry to the island. in those days ryanair flies there very cheaply, but i have checked recently and they dont do it anymore. pity that. now if i want to go to il du levant, i have to fly or take the train to marseille, which is a long way to the islands. and the flights are not cheap anymore. and they fly so early too. deep down i know it is not as good there anymore. the whole idea of the south of france is really better than in reality. but the idea of a south of france holiday is very strong. so much so that i even browse in the gay website for people who live there who offer bed and breakfast and found a guy in marseille who does that. and we chatted a bit about it… him trying to encourage me to go. it is tempting but when i think of it, i know the reality is not going to be up to it. 

london is still very attractive even now when the sun is strengthening but not yet strong enough to feel like summer. i like this kind of weather, which makes me less inclined to travel to the south of france for the weather alone.

i hear arabia and india are getting heat waves killing some of the inhabitants. which makes me rather glad i am not there. and makes me grateful to be in london. added 30.5.15 saturday the old adage , if something is good, more is not always better holds true in this case of hot weather in india.

shopping and eating seems to be the big thing that  businesses here seem to make a big song and dance about. and a way for the londoners to participate and for some thing to do. 

i keep getting lots of emails from these voucher people offering two for 1 meals at a discount. for eg, tea at patisserie valerie, £19 for 2. all quite tempting until i realise i dont really like cakes and sweet stuff haha. funny really , in the past i love them. now i seem to have gone off them.

nowadays i only have one course meals, chinese style , meat/veg stir fry or stewed in soya sauce or in a curry, over rice. they are the quickest to cook. and i dont have dessert or starters. it makes a meal very easy and quick with no fuss. unlike the very intricate cooking that I saw recently demonstrated at a bibimbap korean food demo. it took 2hrs to prepare and a few minutes to eat. quite an unusual food demonstration for me to see. 

i dont normally eat korean and dont know much about it so going to that food demo was very educational and eye opening. the name sounds so foreign, but i think londoners are so quick to take up and try foreign foods that they soon learn the foreign names and talk of it in a very familiar way. and i am sure these food demonstrations help a lot in familiarising londoners to these foreign names so that these foreign names of foods trip easily on the average londoners’ tongue. people here have developed a very cosmopolitan taste and willingness to try foreign foods. and as a result, or because of it, chefs from all over the world come here to open restaurants and introduce their version of it. it can be a bit of a hodge podge , and some locals from those countries may not recognise their local foods even though familiar with the name, because it has so altered its composition in the transition to london. but it all makes for an exciting culinary adventure to those of us who like that kind of thing. 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

there seems to be a green tinge in the photo. that kitchen paper is green that might explain why.

home made pork lard. i buy shoulder pork to freeze and use in stir fry or to make pork in soya sauce. it forms the base of my cooking, but sometimes like today, there is a big lump of fat and skin that they use to make crackling when it is roasted. so i use that to make crisp pork crackling and use the fat for cooking stir fried dishes. they add a extra flavour to the dish. they are best when cooking fried char kuay teoh. flat noodles stir fried with bean sprouts and chinese chives. usually with prawns, but i add chicken  or beef, or pork… anything really haha. and of course hokkien mee must have them. i have yet to cook hokkien mee, something i have not mastered.

i just realised the korean chef was using fermented beans and the taste of it in the soup he made is very much like belachan. so instead of using stock cubes like most of westerners do , the asian cooks use fermented beans, or shrimps to form a basis for the stock. fermented stuff seem big in asian cooking, it seems to me. 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

 the stir fry which i just cooked up and ate. it is fast food in the literal sense. presentation wise it is not much. i think chinese food dont emphasise how a dish looks… at least we dont go to a lot of trouble to make it look nice. the taste of it is all that matters. to me anyway.

added.8.04pm, i read in an online article that there will be a 24hr rail strike on 4june, and a 48hr rail strike on 9june. my friend john is coming by rail on  9 11 june to my place, to attend the naked bike ride on the following saturday. wonder what will happen. will they cancel the strike again at the last minute like they did on bank holiday monday? or should john just buy a bus ticket to london on the chance that the strike goes ahead and stop all trains. the ticket he got is cheap £1.50, so he might just write it off and buy a bus ticket. well, that happens when u dont live in london. hahahaha.

added. i read it further and it seems the strike starts at 5pm , but his journey is earlier in the day, so it might not be affected afterall. though sometimes they start cancelling services before the strike starts. i realised he is travelling on 11june, before 5pm when the strike will end. so he will be affected. if it does happen this strike will be the first to happen in like 20yrs or something like that. they want more money because they read that the owners of the railways are making so much profit , and so they want their cut. i suppose if u know human nature, u cant blame them for getting as much as they can by  twisting  balls to get. haha.

added 29.5.15 when i wrote the above it was just a guess that they wanted more money because they found out the bosses were making huge profits… and then i read this, so i guessed right.

The union’s general secretary, Mick Cash, said Network Rail generated profits of £1bn last year and was paying out £60m in bonuses to senior managers.

added. 1.6.15 the rail strike is called off. 

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6 Responses to “some musings on holidays, food, ….”

  1. Carl D'Agostino Thursday May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    I think they use fermented stuff because in olden times much food was half rotten due to no refrigeration but a particular taste was acquired so method used today. Sorry if I ruined your dinner. I like shrimp/broccoli with soy sauce of a thick beef gravy. Similar with Korean food as in olden times poor stove ability so it tastes hot with spices instead of temperature hot.

    • alifesgayventure Thursday May 28, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

      i agree with your observation. it is something they all have in common, fermented stuff keeps better, strangely enough.
      we s.e.asians are used to it, and like the taste of it. that is why there is so much fermented dishes in our cuisine. and curries are also another form of preservation, i think it is the chili, not so much the spices. chili is a great preserver. oh, all these fremented stuff are so damn salty too. i bet salt is a preservative and a real good one too.

  2. Garfield Hug Friday May 29, 2015 at 5:50 am #

    Good dish!! You are brave to use pork lard. It makes dishes great tasting but ohhhh cholesterol ha ha…plus lard pops and crackles. Good for you to master the management of frying lard and good luck on your hokkien mee!!

    • alifesgayventure Friday May 29, 2015 at 6:30 am #

      pork lard adds to a dish, (and u know about the pop and crackle when preparing it haha, it can spit in your eye if not careful, i lift the lid up just for a second to slip in the wooden spoon to stir it and keep the lid down all the time.) and i did not want to waste that big lump of skin and fat that they always add on top of the meat. it makes great crackling if u roast it. then it is so tempting to eat it all at one sitting. this way i ration it out haha. as for hokkien mee, i have my doubts about ever cooking it like those hawkers. so far i have not tasted anything even close to it anywhere in the world except in penang ,KL, or singapore. maybe they do it in hongkong…but i doubt it as hongkong is cantonese not hokkien.

      • Garfield Hug Friday May 29, 2015 at 8:07 am #

        Hokkien mee is very local to us. No way Hong Kong can do it. These days our government is subsidising good quality veggie oil to hawkers. Promote healthy eating! Thimbs up. But it does not taste as shiok ha ha!

  3. dosirakbento Tuesday June 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    Hope you are able to try out some (more) Korean food soon. Unfortunately all yhe cheaper places in Central London are now closed because of the Cross rail works. There are lots of (new) Korean restaurants but they are bit more expensive. But just south of London, in Korea town = New Malden you can find lots of cheap places especially if you go around lunch time.

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