Tag Archives: Food

living unawares

24 Jun

london 6.56pm 24C sunny rain monday 2019.

i have just got back from another free hamburger offer , this time from burger and beyond, who are in shoreditch. they are giving out 150 free hamburgers to celebrate their success on instagram, i think i heard mention they got 150,000 followers or something. 

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its quite nice, costs normally £9. we were the first few, so were seated very quickly and were served very quickly too. that is the advantage of being the first few. you dont have to wait long for the food. its nice of them to give us free food.

its nice and hot now in london, i get the occasional sneeze and mostly itchy eyes and runny nose, but it is not too bad. so i should be grateful that it is not worse. but then they are forecasting 30C temperatures later this week, so the pollen might get to pour out then. i saw an article listing the hottest junes and it seems last year was the 3rd hottest on record. hmm, know something? i would not have known if i was not told. it is funny that i have lived through it and dont remember it was that hot.2017 was a hot june too, but i dont remember it as such. it just goes to show that you could be living it and be unaware of it all. 

7.55pm 23C rain.

i noticed it was 24C this morning when i made the first post. it has remained 24C all day, except for a jump at about 4.30pm peaking at 26C around 5pm. so while we were queueing at the restaurant waiting for it to open at 5pm it was at its hottest today. now it is raining so that has cooled things a bit. 

 

street food vs home cook

16 May

london 4.21C sunny 17C thursday 2019

 

i went to the street food market in st katherine’s wharf. i chose the ethiopian food stall,i chosed chicken. it was on a base of ethiopian bread(it has sourdough so is a bit sour) and he  poured over it the chicken cooked in tomato sauce  and half a hardboiled egg , then added on topping of  tomatoes and lentil salad, and on one side of the bowl some green beans and cabbage and gave me an extra amount of ethiopian bread on top. i forgot to give him my plastic bowl that i brought along, so i defeated the purpose of this promotion, to reduce the amount of one off disposable bowls. in fact, one of us, was so attracted by what i got, she went and bought the same thing, but used her bowl, and was given a lot more than i got… haha. 

i thought since i get it free, i shall try something different than the beefburger which is really popular with the others. it costs £8 normally. i have to say i dont notice what is different about the dish i got,  from any other chicken cooked in tomato sauce. it is not spicy and doesnot seem to have any distinctive herbs to distinguish it as ethiopian. perhaps the bread is the special feature. i am not familiar with what ethiopian cuisine is like but this one does not tell me more of it. 

i can see why the beefburger is so popular, you get double beefburger for £8. (£6 if single )and it comes with fries. long queues for that. it is by far the most popular stall. what is surprising to me is why it is so popular, when the prices are not cheaper than what the posh burger places like shake shack, etc are charging, and you can be inside a nice cafe with proper tables and chairs to enjoy it. i read here about a new shake shack coming to manila, and the long queues, and how popular it is with filipinos, so it seems burgers are just popular things to eat for all, regardless of race or country. you might say it is the universal food.

all these food stalls in the open air mimics the food stalls in asia, where they sell hawker foods.  except here it costs £7,£8…other places in london sell for £5, i am thinking of the stalls in pimlico , the chicken kebab i am thinking. so the prices depands on where it is. i think where there are a lot of office workers, is where u get the customers. but maybe i am wrong, because they seem to open from thurs to sunday. so perhaps they want to get the tourist customers too.

i am not the target customer. i can make these foods so easily and cheaply that i am very reluctant to buy them for what they charge. 

for eg, when i got back, i felt peckish, so i cooked some rice in my rice cooker and put on top of the rice a plate of red gem lettuce ( bought cheap . it is gem lettuce which has tinge of red colour at the tip of the leaves, hence the name i guess) and a piece of pork chop (bought cheap again, and cut into small strips), and the whole thing was steamed and cooked by the time the rice was done. it tasted wonderful and quite filling too.

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that is why i just dont feel like buying meals. it really is very cheap to cook your own meals, and you eat very well, and you dont need pay a lot for it, so no need to scrimp and save. 

added. 6.26pm, i came across this in wordpress, a blog talking about the ethiopan meal he had, and it seems the bread i had is used to scoop the stew up. 

life observations

26 Apr

london 3.30pm 17C dry cloudy friday 2019

i saw a dining knife in  organic waste bin in my kitchen just now. hmm, it must be quite common, to throw cutlery away by mistake or is it ? i am asking. it does explain why my cutlery set has been losing its knives and forks and spoons over the years. simon must have tipped it into the bin when he emptied his plate. anyway i retrieved it and washed it and put it on the drying rack.

glad i saw it this time, because the bin was quite empty. hmm, i wonder if i should sift through the rubbish from now on before i throw it away , just to make a quick check. or maybe i  might  be able to feel any of these metal cutlery when i empty it and fold up the pack in paper in preparation to throw it away. its been a long time since i see cutlery thrown away like this.

in the past i have caught myself doing this throwing away of cutlery whilst emptying the plate of leftover food. but during those times, i noticed my mistake and was able to fish the cutlery out of the bin immediately it happened. 

i am glad i dont buy anything now , but get all my kitchen stuff from the recycling bins where i get them free. haha.

 this morning i went to the tortilla cafe to get their free breakfast burito. it is the last of their free offer, so no more of these from now on. it was very nice whilst it lasted.

though today when i ask for the coffee, i was told he did not switch  on the coffee machine this morning so there was no coffee but there was fruit juice so i ask for a orange juice which turned out to be what looked like fresh squeezed juice with bits. it is not really freshly juiced as it came in a bottle. but it was rather nice, and this time when i ate the burito, i did not have to go to the toilet … it must be the coffee that caused  my stomach upset , i was mistaken to blame the burito . (but when i went to the seating area i saw other diners there have coffee… so i wonder if it was working earlier, and they either switch it off or run out of coffee or just dont want to give us coffee).

also the server  did not put any of the tomatoes salad pieces in my burito, she missed it,  and i noticed it makes the whole burito very wet… this time it was quite dry and much nicer and easier to eat. its very nice to eat.

on the way out i saw a guy hesitate at the back of the queue, which was not long at all, and then he moved away and on the escalator going down i passed him, and remarked why he did not get the free burito. i thought he might not have known it was free, but he said he knows, but did not feel like having burito for breakfast. i laughed and said i know what you mean but it is actually quite nice. and strangely this time it left me feeling very nicely full and not overly satiated… the only difference this time is the coffee , i did not have it;  so it must be the coffee that gave me that overly full feeling last two times and not the burito. and to think i have been blaming the burito. 

how come hot countries eat so much hot foods?

2 Feb

london 5.49pm

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curry soup, with chicken this time. its excellent for cold day, which is why i am surprised it is not invented by northerners, but is a dish of the hot countries, countries in the tropics, when it is so hot that eating this dish makes u sweat buckets and is very uncomfortable.

it sounds illogical to be eating such a hot sweaty dish on a hot sweaty day…you would expect people in the tropics to be eating salads, and inventing all kinds of dressings to go with it, but salads are  not big in the tropics. as a kid i never heard about salads as we here in uk eat it, as in these western countries consider to be what is typical of a dish we call salads.

in the tropics, if ever we eat any vegetables that are raw, it is likely to be in vinegar, like pickles. it is one of the strange paradox about the way cuisine is invented by people living in hot countries as opposed to what is invented when they live in cold countries.

the only reason i can make to account for it is that salads are made of raw vegetables, and since it is very difficult to get clean sterile water in the tropics, (you get a lot of water but it is difficult to ensure they are bacteria free), so that anyone serving salads run the risk of making people ill. boiling is the best way of killing germs, so it is perfectly logical to have dishes that involve boiling… so that is why all these hot countries invent  hot noodles soup dishes, and stews, or stir fried dishes where really hot woks are used that kill all the germs; all hot dishes both in terms of temperature and also chilli hot, which is itself antibacterial.

you can get a idea of how dangerous raw salads are by that food scare recently in america where the romaine lettuce got a bad press, in that they are asking people not to eat it, i thought some people have died from eating contaminated romaine lettuce but it seems not. so if even america with its strict hygiene and health and safety regulations can get this death by salads, how much easier it must be for such poisoning to happen in a less well developed country.

and it surprised me when i read it happening in america, because we here in the west are so used to the excellent hygiene regulations that govern all eating establishments and preparation of foods, that we take it for granted and assume it is a natural thing that we can eat raw salads anytime we like and not even bother to clean it thoroughly with sterile water.

talking of this reminds me of that time when  one of the asian women who i sat with when we were having the free pho, given by that eating place recently,  warned us against eating raw bean sprouts, and that even dipping it in hot broth is not safe… that is why  she dont eat her raw bean sprouts, which they have placed before her to add to her pho. i thought she was over reacting at the time… but now i come to think of it, if u have lived in the tropics, you would be aware of how dangerous raw vegetables can be.

and now i come to think of it, i have never eaten raw bean sprouts in all the time i grew up and lived in malaysia. and the only time we eat raw salads, was during chinese new year reunion dinner, when there will be raw chinese lettuce leaves which we will put minced pork in it , roll it with our hands and dip in hoi sin sauce and eat raw. i am trying to find a picture of that salad leaves , to illustrate it but i cannot find it in google. it has very frilly edges and is very common to see it garnishing a dish or eaten raw like the way we did. it must have a name, but i dont know what it is called. 

 

get hot by eating noodle soups

31 Jan

london 3pm 4.5C cloudy thursday 2019

4.07pm.

last day of january today. we are still in winter, but maybe the days are lengthening now and soon we shall have spring. the weather has got colder , not that it is noticeable in the flat. even when i did go out it did not feel that cold. it was about 1C then. but when i have got my woolly hat on and gloves and scarf, i dont feel the cold at all.

i went to lidl to buy their reduced savoy cabbage.49p. it was quite a pleasant trip there by bus, sun was shining then. i think the cold weather makes me think of food. somehow, i get hungry when the weather is cold.

i think it is because the body knows that eating will heat the body up very efficiently.

there was an article in the paper about what food will heat you up, eating oats, it says is one way. and drinking hot soup. but it failed to mention what i find is a very surefire way to warm up, eat hot noodle soup the chinese way. guaranteed to make you hot real quick.

i suppose eating meat also will make you warm. say eating a hot stew.

today i was surprised to see google doing a doodle of nasi lemak. why it does it at this time of year for us in the uk, (if they do it for users in s.e.asia that might be understandable); i have no idea, and it was a very extensive doodle, which starts a long cartoon when u hit the start button. though it looks nothing like nasi lemak, haha. still it makes me want to eat nasi lemak.

making the coconut rice is easy… and if i got dried ikan bilis, it would be real easy to make the sambal belachan ikan bilis to go with it. but it is easy to make a substitute, like make chili sambal.

ah well, it is nostalgic, eating nasi lemak, as it brings back memories of eating the banana leaf wrapped nasi lemak that they put out on the table at the kopitiam, for people to take and eat with their kopi in the morning. now chinese new year is coming, my thoughts tend to veer towards food. so i think it is all part of the cold weather making me think of food.

simon is cooking a curry, made from a bottle of shop bought curry sauce. he has left the stove on whilst he had gone out… must have wanted an ingredient to go with the curry… and when the door bell rang i thought it was him come back and too lazy to use his key, but it turned out to be a delivery pizza man. i went out thinking it was simon, and saw this pizza man coming up the stairs so i said i dont remember ordering a pizza, and he said it was number 15, and he said he pressed the wrong button and i told him dont do it again. and he said he wont. ah well, just as well it is not midnight, though these people have been pressing my bell then too.

now i am wondering if i should switch that stove off, but i hear simon coming back, so that is ok then. hope the curry is not burnt. 

it is not really wise to leave the stove on whilst you go out… as you dont know how long you will be, or what might happen to delay you coming back. but maybe he knows i am in, even if he did not tell me to keep an eye on it. but the smell of it is making me hungry again. haha. i have cooked some rice earlier, so i will use that to eat the sauce. he put in pork slices so it was pork curry.

added 6.20pm. my wok in which he cooked the sauce was a bit burnt, but i was able to scour it off. he told me he thought he had switched it off, when he went out. so it was a mistake on his part. it was an induction stove, and it seemed to have set itself to 1, when he thought he had switched it off. 

 

why are there so many thai restaurants in uk

11 Dec

london 10am 8.4C sunny tuesday 2018

i have noticed there are a lot of thai, korean, taiwanese eating places opening in london and i read in this article that it might be due to a deliberate policy by their govts to promote their cuisine and for trade of the ingredients .

the article ask why there are so many thai restaurants in usa. when thais only form a small % of the population. and come to think of it, there are a lot of thai restaurants here in london too. far more than the numbers of thais in london.

and recently i have myself noticed a lot of bulgogi and bibimpap mentioned with the opening of korean style restaurants. and also dumpling restaurants, taiwanese style, has opened in london … in covent garden, featuring their specialist dumpling, with soup inside it. perhaps that one is not sponsored by the taiwanese govt, but who knows. 

i know malaysia has tried to promote more malaysian restaurants , its good for tourism as well as trade. but i think that has been put on hold some time ago. malaysia now have to be more frugal now. 

but recently there has been a roti chanai place opened up in victoria , but that might be helped by  india govt.  in that article, they say the thai govt wants to be  big in halal trade as well, especially  eyeing the middle eastern countries. 

a japanese curry house,coco ichibana is opening in covent gdn, london tomorrow. its a really strange one that, just curry sauce and rice, top up with pork cutlet, or hamburger, or egg, or sausage etc. and they have built a whole chain just using that basic base. 

it follows Din Tai Fung, JollibeeTaco Bell, Halal Guys, and HaiDiLao as notable international openings and/or announcements in the capital in the last six months. its interesting that so many of these international brands are starting to open a branch in london. at this rate, you could tout london as the place to eat the world’s cuisine without bothering to travel there.

tabasco sauce is doing a promotion in victoria today

7 Dec

london 7.55pm dry night friday 2018

i met steve and his wife at the victoria station free giveaway by tabasco sauce company to promote their sauce. they hired a street food company that makes sandwiches, this time it is muffins buns and pulled turkey with an egg. we were given half of it and lots of small tiny bottles of the tabasco sauce. the sandwich  was quite tasty actually ,there were bits of crunchy bacon in it too which i like. 

tabasco is trying to increase uses of the sauce, and getting people to buy it more by suggesting it is good for a after -clubbing drink or in food to overcome a hangover. its been quite a long time since i used tabasco.

i used one of their little bottles on a pork chop i cooked for dinner just now and i think it may find it hard to compete with the sweet chilli sauces that i am more used to. tabasco has more of a vinegarish taste than a sweet one. strangely, i dont find it very chilli hot. yet i had memories of it being chilli hot. i wonder if they had toned down the chilli. 

the chef came out of his van to do a photo shoot, using a sandwich, (more of a burger really) with lots of layers so that it was nothing like what they are giving us. haha. but i guess that is artistic license. they were only doing it for 3hrs or so. its a raining day too. one have to be keen to want to go out on a day like this.

after the free promotion, i took the train to clapham junction, thinking of doing some grocery shopping in lidl and asda there. it is a real quick train ride from victoria to clapham junction. i had at first thought of taking the bus, but it would have taken a long time. 

and i got caught in the rain when i came out of the clapham junction station. but it was quite close to the two supermarkets lidl and asda. 

i did not buy anything at lidl, just took a lidl leaflet showing their reductions next week, starting from 20dec. and saw they are reducing veg to 29p. 1kg carrots, 500mg parsnips, 1.5kg potatoes… they also got brussels sprouts , but  i wont be buying those haha. but the others ,its good to know that they will be reduced nearer christmas…i shall be buying them.  it would be just right for the big holiday period around christmas and would be perfect to accompany  the chicken or whatever meat people will be roasting for their christmas lunch. but if we all know that lidl will be selling them for 29p, i am sure no one will be buying at the other supermarkets if they dont reduce their prices too. 

and i got a nice reduced pork from asda. reduced from £9 to £5.50 , 2.2kg. it would be perfect for a roast, they even removed the rind from the fat, so that you can use it as pork chops. i divided it into 3 containers with a bit leftover for today’s dinner, and i freeze them for later, and it will last me at least a month. i wont be using it to roast over the christmas period; preferring to roast a chicken instead.

i wont bother to buy a turkey either. it is a large bird and is quite impossible for two people to eat it, without a lot of leftovers that will take days to finish. and it is pricey, because of its size really.  but also, there is a good chance of very cheap turkey after the holidays. and i can make a curry out of it if i can buy one reduced cheaply enough. 

people say they dont like grocery shopping, but i find it very enjoyable, because i can find bargains, and reductions and also anticipate the dishes i can make out of them and looking forward to eating the result.