Tag Archives: Food

random musings

10 Jul

london 10.50am  22C sunny wednesday 2019




very garish colours of summer flowers, these are the ones growing in the communal gardens in my housing estate, now. added. i googled the image of the flowers, and google says they are marigolds. 

when i say housing estate it conjures very ugly housing, but it is not so in mine. it was built in 1898, the first london council housing. and very pretty it is too, with red bricks and the block of flats set in pattern and tree lined. it used to be millbank prison. this area must be very unsavoury in those days for them to think of siting a prison here. right next to the river too…and they boarded the prisoners to the ships that are bound for australia from the banks of the thames here too; 

just goes to show that in olden days no one wants to be near the river, as it is swampy , prone to tides and most probably because it must smell awful, as the river acts as a sewer in the old days. now, everyone fights to be near the river, with river views commanding a premium.

the picture of the hamburger is the one i took at belushi’s, when i went there for their £1 burger yesterday. it was a very dark corner of the pub, and i took it without a flash, because i could not access the flash in my camera. i am surprised it came out quite bright, when i thought i would just get a dark blob.

it was a rather nice burger, with lovely smell of barbequed beef. that smell is quite difficult to get nowadays. the reason being that many of these high end burger places cook it lightly, to keep the middle slightly red. to keep it tender. but this one even though cooked right through was still very tender, which is good of them. i think the secret is very high heat. but whatever , it was lovely to get that smell of barbequed beef. heavenly.

later i saw a chap eating a hamburger with a knife and fork, and i thought, 1) his hamburger is much smaller than the one i got, 2) they dont give us knife and fork at belushis, we have to eat it with our fingers. i suppose we could ask for knife and fork and they would give it to us, but we dont mind. 

lucky i went to wash my hands first at the toilet. usually i find it difficult to eat with the hands, but this one was very manageable. even though the bun was big, and the meat was big.

they provide lots of bottles of sauces on the table, but i did not put them on, as it just makes the whole thing very messy if u do and it does not need it really. it would mask the taste and smell of the meat and defeat the whole purpose of the exercise.

and two of the malaysian women who are regular goers of these offers were seated there allready enjoying their burger. i went there at 12.30pm, actually i arrived in the area at 12pm, but felt it was too early and went wandering in the nearby  lidl and poundstretcher shops before hand. so it was nice to have their company while we ate. they live near hounslow , west london, so no wonder they chose this branch of belushi’s, in shepherd bush, as it would be nearer them. and it was a coincidence that they chose the 12-1pm slot as well.

in the evening i thought i shall go to trafalgar square to see the opera, marriage of figaro. i arrived just after 7pm, when it starts. lots of places to see it really as the square was not full. you can even see it on the outside of the fenced area, without needing to go through security if u wish. but if u stay outside it does mean you wont be committed to staying… and that means you will be tempted to move on, like i did. there was a lot of speech singing rather than actual singing, if u know what i mean.

anyway i just wanted to wander about, and appreciating the sight of the buildings around trafalgar square, and the people and just savouring the atmosphere of being in the middle of london in this pleasant warm evening.

so i strolled along to chinatown, and sat a while in leicester square looking at the people, and then popped into two grocery stores in chinatown, before they close, and bought a flat and a thin noodle £1.15 each.

and looked at the queues forming to get into some restaurants in chinatown, and not in others. very curious phenomenon, where one place would have long queues to get in, whilst next door no one is in it. 

added. 11.37am, how nice of them, just after writing the above, i saw an email from them saying they are giving me a 2 for 1 voucher to use from now till the 20july..

chicken curry

8 Jul

london 3.07pm 22C cloudy/sunny monday 2019

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i fancied chicken and saw asda selling chicken thighs for £1.65/kg. so i went there and bought two packs, £1.80 each, about 1.15kg each, i have freezed one pack and used the other to make a curry. and ate it with cut pieces of fresh cucumber. they go together well. i accidentally tipped in a lot of tumeric, that is why it looks so yellow. its still delicious.

i have been looking at the menu of the malaysian restaurants, in the queensway area, and i see prices are about £8 a dish nowadays on average. i can buy so much with £8  and cook it myself that is why i am not keen on eating out.

i suppose most of the reason for eating out is the company, you go there with friends and enjoy the communal meal with others and bond with friends.

but nowadays all my friends have gone, and so we dont have that regular arrangement in the past where we would go to a chinese restaurant and share a meal. it used to be £10 each and we have a full meal, but i think it may not be possible to get that now. if it costs double that it will deter a lot of people from making it a regular thing.

also, when i was younger, i can eat a lot more than i can now. now i find i just naturally eat less, or it does not need a lot of food to make me feel full.

in that restaurant, i was looking over the shoulder of a malay guy who was there with two other friends. the restaurant dont have a printed menu on the window, that is why i was looking over the shoulder of this guy. and one of the others offered his own menu to me. so i had a look at what the restaurant was serving, and the prices they are charging. when i finished looking i gave the menu back.

it is now looking back on it, and seeing those 3 malay guys ,that it reminded me that was what we were doing too in the past, bringing a few friends to a eating place and ordering food and eating together and chatting away. it does remind me of the old days.



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


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.