Sunday, December 28, 2014

2013 New Year in Amasterdam and Olibollen

Now that New Year is fast approaching, I can only think of the joy I had last 2013 New Zear which I spent with my cousing who is living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I feel so blessed, what can I ask for in my life. I was in another foreighn land enjoying what I always wanted to do, travelling and tasting the foods of other countries.

Eating Olibollen in Amsterdam is an old age tradition in The Netherlands. It is traditionally the food for New Year's eve  and with family and friends around in a very lively city, it was a memorable experience.

Olibollen which is literally translated as "oil spheres"  is one of the traditional foods of The Netherlands. They are made from a dough which is prepared from scooping the dough (to produce a sphere.shaped dough)  then deep-fry. They are also sold during fairs and during winter time, they are sold in mobile food stalls around the city.

I am sharing you now the joy I had eating Olibollen infront of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam (Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam) situated on the west side of the Dam Square in the center of Amsterdam under the beautiful flickering Christmas lights decoration of the Dam Square.

The first 2 pictures was taken while I am standing with Oliebol on my hand  infront of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam while enjoying my Olibollen in New Year's Eve 2012
The Dam Square with its huge Christmas tree with beautiful flickering lights in 2013 Holiday Season

The Dam Square, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

My first Oliebollen with raisins. I was able to eat 3 pieces of the 5 pieces I bought. The picture is not good enough though so my Oliebollen can not be seen clear

The joy I had after eating Oliebollen can be seen clearly in this picture inside the bus on my way home.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My mommy is 80... Her name is Lidwina

I can write a long list of my mom's virtues as a woman... but all I can think of to say about her right now is that she is a superwoman ... through and through... tough inside and out... and a very loving mom. I have been thinking about her for several days now and I was able to talk to her for some minutes the other night, but I still long for her and I am having misty eyes trying to write this post.

My mom loves to cook , and she is a foodie, too. Here she is enjoying Thai and Japanese food. One of my last lunches with her when I visited her in Houston, Texas

My mom sitting on the left together with our relatives in San Antonio, Texas. She lived with my 2 cousins when she was starting her life in America and took care of their kids, 2 of them are now accomplished nurses. My cousins have nothing to say for my Mom, except that she is a great, patient  and loving companion 

She practically grow old with these two (2) boys, Ryan and Francis. She waits patiently for Francis looking at the window when he arrives from the school bus station with lunch on the table

Mommy, now walking with a cane and almost blind. Her fear is that she will not be able to see anymore. She loves to read and solve puzzles so her brain will still be good, she told me

My son and my mom. My son is not lucky enough to grow up with my mom, I wish he grew up with him

My mom enjoying the gifts for my sister as if it is hers. One night, she said she is hungry for Filipino food, so what she did was to cook Matamis na Saging - Saging na Saba (cooking banana in the Philippines) cooked with brown sugar. You see the result below

I have so much anecdote to share about my mom, lots and lots of them. This is only the beginning of my long article about her.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

SPARGELZEIT means Time to Savour the White Asparagus in Germany

Spargetzeit means season of asparagus (Asparagus season), particularly the white asparagus in Germany. For the Germans and many residents of Germany, spring time is Spargelzeit which is the time to savour and enjoy the seasonal white asparagus which starts from  April and ending June 24 of each year.

White Asparagus called Royal Vegetable is so loved in Germany such that it was given a name  "Königsgemüse (King's Vegetable)."

It is are also referred to as "Frühlingswonne (Springtime Delight)," and "Zartes Elfenbein (Soft Ivory)".

I was  able to taste the white asparagus which the Germans are so proud of, we were invited by to have lunch so I can experience  the season of  the white asparagus  which they really, really love to savor when it is in season.

Here are the pictures that I made for that special day where I tasted for the first time the "Royal Vegetable" in Germany in 2007 Spargelzeit.

To prepare the asparagus, they remove the outer skin by a special peeler, then boil them in a special pot  use especially for boiling/cooking asparagus, a tall and slender pot as tall as the white asparagus, indeed.

The white asparagus is traditionally served and eaten with cooked ham served on the side

Melted butter is used for Salzkartoffel and the Hollandaise sauce which is spread all over the cooked asparagus when served

The butter is melted right on the table with a special burner

Kochschinken (cooked ham, often Serrano ham) as an accompaniment for white asparagus

Trying to help set up the table, I was so excited to taste the Royal Vegetable" which was once only served for the Royals

The two great oldies were really very excited to let me taste the white asparagus. Like all Germans are,  they are really very proud of this particular vegetable which is only available fresh in Spring for only 3 months (April until June 24)

The asparagus served with the ham (usually Serrano ham), is not yet complete as the boiled potatoes (Salzkartoffeln)  and the Hollandaise sauce is not yet ready

Melted butter and Hollandaise sauce and the boiled asparagus being served by my mother-in-law

Asparagus is known as the “royal vegetable” in Germany, a nickname gained as it was only available to the nobility during early times. Germany's "asparagus" was cultivated in the 16th century and it was by the mid 19th century, that this so called "Royal vegetable" became  popular for all the levels of German society. Since then, "Spargelzeit"  is a big event all over Germany.

Salzkartoffeln is the German word which means boiled potatoes which are peeled before boiling. Last 2 photos shows Heinz serving them. Shown also is a sauce bowl with Hollandaise sauce and melting butter on a burner

The complete set of Spargel (asparagus) meal for my first Spargelzeit in 2007 in Germany - boiled potatoes (Salzkartoffeln) and cooked asparagus with the Hollandaise sauce ready for me to devour and enjoy.

Heinz made perfect boiled whiteAsparagus. He was a happy cook. It was one of his passions when he was still alive

Below are the pictures of how Heinz, the life partner of my prepared the white asparagus which we all savored until the last bite.

Cleaning the asparagus by removing the lower end which is usually hard

In the 2 photos of above, Heinz is arranging the asparagus in a special Asparagus pot  especially for cooking asparagus. The pot is almost as tall as the asparagus.

Peeling or removing the woody outer skin of the asparagus before boiling them in water. White asparagus needs to be peeled and is often best cooked in liquid for 10- 20 minutes, depending on thickness, until tender. It must never be soggy. 

Germans only talk about white Asparagus during Spargelzeit, although green Asparagus are also available in Germany. This "Royal Vegetable" is white because it is  grown under thick cover, with the earth banked up around it, hence there is lack of sunlight that prevents photosynthesis. 

I have so many stories to say about my experiences with white Asparagus and Spargelzeit in Germany, for now, I just want that you enjoy my pictures and hopefully be able to savor the taste of the "Royal Vegetable" during one of your travels to Germany. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

gutes Frühstück - A Good German Breakfast

Breakfast, Frühstück (Fruehstueck)  in German is something I enjoy a lot in Germany with the presence of all foods I like, what else can I ask for: cheese, good newly baked bread, egg and a lot more.

Below is the breakfast I prepared for my visitors when they visited for brunch. It is very rare that relatives and friends  visit in Germany, so a visit and to stay for a meal is such a happy occassion for me.

I was also happy to be able to use my antique red breakfast set which was given to me by a friend as she will not need them anymore in Australia, her home country where she will spend her retirement after the death of her German husband.

Selection of cheeses and Aufschnitt  which means assorted cold cuts (ham, salami, sausages), sliced cucumbers, grapes, marmalade/jam, butter, Nutella and hard-boiled eggs, freshly baked Brötchen and Bremen Coffee - strong black coffee is it.

Cheeses include Mozzarella, Camember, and slices of Gouda

Assorted varieties of Brötchen - German for bun or rolls which is available all day in German bakeries and always freshly-baked and hot from the oven.

Mozzarela Cheese (Mozzarella di Bufala) . I love it combined with slices of fresh and juicy tomatoes and basil leaves to fill my warm Brötchen

A variety of Tomatoes which I discovered in Germany called Datteln Tomaten called as such because its shaped like Arabic Dates called Datteln in German

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My youngest brother ... Feast of Singapore Flavors

My  youngest brother who works as a Personal Trainor is lucky enough to have a client who  is visiting Singapore for 3 weeks. He graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy and has been working as a Personal Trainor mostly for old clients who wants to maintain their exercise regiments even when they are travelling. Once, he was invited to join his client on an Asian cruise and now he is travelling in and out of  Singapore. Nowadays, we are in constant contact through the wonders of modern technology,  as we are planning to travel to Houston, Texas for my mother`s 80th birthday. He  is also sharing to me  about his experiences in Singapore, where he lives and the people whom he lives with and of course about  food, as I know a lot where are the best street foods in Singapore.  He knows  I am a foodie,  I talk to him about all the nice dishes he can enjoy in the country. He knows very well that  I have a great passion for food and has been collecting food pictures and Singapore is one of the countries in Asia which I have not visited yet so he is kind enough  to share to me all the pictures of the foods he was able to eat and enjoy in Singapore.
I am so happy that my brother can travel now, his visa for America was not granted unfortunately, but I told him to remain happy, because he has been travelling to one of the best countries in the world, get to know people from the place and enjoy their culture.
Not everyone is given an opportunity to work abroad, and this is a great opportunity and he must  just have to continie dreaming of one day meeting our mommy in America.

Here are some of the pictures he shared to me while in Singapore. I really had fun watching them. I am happy for my brother, for this chance to visit a beautiful country.

Mixed Rice Curry / Economy Rice Meal - Mixture of Rice and choice of dishes

Roti served with spicy lentil curry

In Fresh food shop in Singapore, varieties of fesh chilis and fresh vegetables, like Okra

Big, fried  Crab (Mud crab)  with salted eggs yolk sauce called Salted Egg Crab.

Food Plaza with lots of stores offering different kinds of dishes. At Bukit Batok in Singapore

Singapore's Economy Rice Meal

Ice Kacang  -  Singapore's very own snowcone. Similar to the Philippine's Halo Halo

In a Japanese Restaurant in Singapore serving Sea Urchins served on its shell

Clay Pot Rice

 Singapore Coffee in a Kopitiam / Coffee Houses.Strong black coffee,  Singapore way. I think I will enjoy this one as I love black coffee.  This is called  Kopi-O Kosong

Last 2 photos is  Seafood Mee wrapped in a husks. It is noodles cooked with seafoods and wrapped in what seemed to be corn husk