über & Out in London

über & Out in London

To tell the truth I am not sure how I feel about the suspension of Uber in London.

They have been really useful to me, especially during the past few days, when I have to visit Peter at the Royal Free Hospital on a daily basis.

The mobile apps is easy and convenient to use.

But I found that for every 6 rides one always leaves something to be desired.

I have contacted Uber via Facebook messenger a couple of times already regarding refunds of unauthorised payments.

This was in just a week.

The first instance was on my way to the hospital.  It happened Friday, last week. Below is my message via Facebook.

It was most unfair that I had to pay £5.00 for a trip your driver had cancelled.  I was waiting for the driver in the drizzling rain outside my house.  It was your system that arranged the meeting point.  Therefore, I should be compensated rather than penalised for something, which was beyond my control.  If you check your records, you will find that I am one of your more consistent costumer and treating me like this is unacceptable.

Uber did give me a credit for £5.00 (returning the £5.00 they took automatically from my card).

Yesterday, Thursday, the same thing happened again.  This time was on my way home from Royal Free Hospital.  I was waiting for the driver in front of the Hospital, which is the normal meeting point.  Unbeknown to me the driver was waiting at the back of the hospital, for whatever reason.  Again it was the Uber system that arrange the meeting point by pinpointing where the location of my mobile phone was.  The driver called me and I told him that I was in front of the hospital, the main entrance/exit of the hospital, where they pick up their passengers.  The driver did not say much but said , he knew where I was.   A couple of second after the call, Uber sent me a message that the driver had cancelled and I had to pay £5.00.  I was so annoyed.  But I still used Uber with a different driver to get home.  I logged in to Facebook to complain asap.

Apparently they are going to refund my money but it would that 3-5 working days.

I am not really sure why UBER licence had not been renewed in London but I think they need to polished their system and monitor their drivers more.

Apparently they have until the end of September to run their business in London.

This is not really a good news for us non-driving people who relies on public transport and taxi cabs.

Apparently the black taxi cab is the safest to use as they drivers are rigorously checked and they had to pass the ‘knowledge’, which is the knowing how to navigate the complicated routes of London in least possible time.

Some Uber drivers are often unsure where the destinations were!

They why not use the black cab, I hear you say?  Well for the one and only reason, they are just too expensive, it is not reasonably affordable!  🙂

Mushroom Soup Recipe

Mushroom Soup, photo by JMorton

Mushroom Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 600 g mixed mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • 1.5 litres organic chicken or vegetable stock
  • 75 ml single cream
  • extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Brush the mushrooms clean, then finely slice.
  2. Peel and finely slice the onion, celery and garlic, then pick the parsley, finely chopping the stalks. Pick the thyme leaves.
  3. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion, celery, garlic, parsley stalks, thyme leaves and mushrooms, pop the lid on and cook gently until softened.
  4. Spoon out 4 tablespoons of mushrooms, and keep for later.
  5. Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then whiz with a stick blender until smooth.
  7. Pour in the cream, bring just back to the boil, then turn off the heat.
  8. Spoon the soup into bowls, garnish with the chopped parsley and remaining mushrooms, and serve with the ciabatta crostini on the side.

Grilled Lapu Lapu in Oyster Sauce

Grilled lapu lapu in Oyster Sauce

Grilled Lapu Lapu in oyster sauce, photo by Ruben Ortega

This recipe is quite easy to make and perfect for an outside barbecue.  It is cooked wrapped in banana leaves (these can be availed in the frozen section of Oriental supermarket), which gives a delicious and ‘fresh’ taste to the fish beloved by Filipinos.,  The fish wrapped banana leaves is then re-wrapped in tin (aluminium) foil for two reasons:  one, to prevent the banana leaves from burning  and two, the foil would ensure the fish to stay soft and moist as it cooks.

Ingredients:

Whole lapu lapu (grouper fish), cleaned, descaled and gutted

1 tsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 sweet red peppers, sliced

2 shallots or small onions, diced

1/2 inch ginger, julienne

Instructions:
  • Arrange the banana leaves to be enclosed over a larger tin foil (see photo above)
  • Place the fish on top of the banana leaves.
  • Drizzle it with olive oil, drop the garlic all over the fish, do the same with the red peppers, shallots or onions as well as the ginger.
  • Spoon in the oyster sauce.
  • Wrap the fish fist with the banana leaves, enclosing all the ingredients onto the fish.
  • Then securely wrap the banana leaves parcel in tin foil.
  • Put the tin foil directly into the barbecue and cook for 20-30 minutes.  Ensure to turn over at foil parcel on the barbecue as it cooks.
  • Serve with some green salad and buttered bread.

Enjoy

 

77 Heartbreaks – Film Review

77 Heartbreaks – Film Review

I watched this film late last night and I quite enjoyed it.  It was very interesting concept, pity the script was not well written. But there a very good germ of idea in there.  🙂

The story would have been more believable and would have appealed more to lovers and those who had broken up if the writer did not try to make the story a makjang or a series of circumstances.

The story is about a woman and a man who have been together for the last 10 years.  Over time, the woman started to feel as if she was taken for granted by her boyfriend.  She was not his priority anymore.

And just to elaborate on this, they were supposed to be going out for a movie, which the girl had bought tickets for two weeks ago.  She was waiting for the man, who said that he was in the middle of traffic, but really in a wine bar.

As she can’t wait any longer, the girl wandered into a shop, where she saw beautiful colourful notebooks, which has 77 written on the cover.  She got talking to the owner of the shop and apparently the notebook is some sort of diary.  To diarise transgression of a love one 🙂 ( I think, I was so tired I can’t cope with the subtitles).  Apparently 77 is the magic number or the maximum you can forgive faults of those you are in a relationship with.

Eva, the leading lady, bought a pink one and the first entry to her diary was the non-show of her boyfriend, Adam, to their movie date.

Before long, Eva had her 77 instances why she was falling out of love with Adam.  He was self-centred, immature, in with the ladies and lack common sense.  Who would buy a white chesterfield sofa, so huge there was nowhere really to put it?  Yes Adam.  Who in their right mind would say they quit their job while in the middle of foreplay?!!!  Adam! He was a lawyer but quit his job to become a mentor in kick-boxing.  Oh Adam! 🙁  Who would go on a holiday without finding out how to get to the destination?  Adam. Who would give a ring box without the ring but a pink paper folded in small heart shape, saying she has his heart.  Adam! 🙁  Who would go drinking and come home, half dead and sick.  Adam!  Who would comfort you when you have a family emergency, like when your father died?  Not Adam!

After so many of these unlovable moments, Eva had had enough and packed her bags.

Before Eva’s scent can fully evaporate around their flat, Adam brought home another girl and even promised to marry her.

The film is rather one sided.  Adam had so many faults but Eva have as well but the script did not show this.  I supposed the script was concentrating on getting the 77 heartbreaks 🙂 🙂 🙂

Anyway, Adam got hold of the diary and realised why Eve left him.  He was curious to know what was on the 77th?!!!  He told the current girl he was living with the he still loves Eve.

During a wedding party of Eve’s friend, Adam sabotaged the wedding presentation to proclaim that he wanted Eve back.  It was strange that the married couple did not scream and shout when their wedding day was hijacked?!!!

Anyway Eve had a change of heart when Adam said that Eve did not give up on Adam immediately because she knew that without her Adam is lost.

Awww

Next scene, Adam and Even went back to their flat.  While in the bathroom, Eve found a pick contact lenses case.  She then knew that Adam had had another girl staying in their flat.

She left again and this time for good, when it was the end of the film.

By the way the 77th reason was that Adam did not use protection with her, so she got pregnant.  Adam said that if she gets pregnant, there is no problem, as he will marry her.  Seeing that he was so immature and untrustworthy, Eve had an abortion without telling Adam.  She is a bit of hypocrite, how can she have an abortion without telling Adam.

I think the film is quite good, if only the script was written better.  In any case, it is worth a watch!

 

Sinabawang Ulo Ng Tuna

Sinabawang Ulo Ng Tuna, photo by Ruben Ortega

Sinabawang Ulo Ng Tuna

Awww the air is getting colder as we head towards autumn or rainy season in some other parts of the world.  What better way to cope and ‘try to’ enjoy this change than by having a heart-warming delicious soup.  Sinabawang ulo ng tuna is a recipe which uses the head or jaw of tuna fish.   There are a lot of goodness in the tuna head/jaw alone and just perfect for some soupy recipes like the one below.

Ingredients:

2-2½ lbs Tuna head, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups water
1 onion, decoratively cut into rings
4-6 tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon ginger strips
1/2 head Chinese cabbage, roughly cut  or 2 heads Pechay (bok choy), leaves separated
some chili fingers
2 tablespoons fish sauce or salt to taste

Procedure:

1. Using a large casserole pan, saute the ginger, onion and tomatoes in oil.

2. Quickly add the fish head, then add the water and bring to a boil, when boiling reduce the heat to simmer, this might take 20 minutes until fish is cooked.

3. Increase the heat, add the Chinese cabbage or pechay and chilies.

4.Season with fish sauce or salt according to your taste.  Simmer for another minute and it is ready to be enjoyed with some freshly boiled rice.

Enjoy! Itadakimasu

Cantaloupe Melon & Mango Smoothie Recipe

Mango & Cantaloupe, photo by Arnold Gamboa

Ingredients

  • 1 cantaloupe melon removed or scooped out from hard outer skin.
  • sugar or honey, to taste
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Remove the seed of the melon completely. (if you have time, instead of recycling, I hope, the seeds, clean them and then dry in the bright sunlight or in a not to hot oven.  They are quite lovely as snack.)  Cut the melon into cubes and put in a food processor.
  2. Slice the mango, discard the stone but ensure to take out all the sweet bits still clinging from the stone, cut the mango luscious flesh into cubes and spoon in to the food processor as well.
  3.  Add a little sugar or a dollop of honey work.
  4. Add the ice cubes and pour in the milk.
  5. Turn on the food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Pour into drinking glasses and enjoy.
  7. Yummmmmm

Woven Rattan Baskets

Rattan basket, photo by JMorton

Woven Rattan Baskets

Rattan is some sort of a climbing bamboo looking plant which grows profusely in the mountains of Ilocos and other parts of the Philippines.

Thank goodness that they do grow abundantly as they provide materials for weaving so many things necessary to the farming communities of the Philippines.

Rattan basket, photo by JMorton

Bilao in Tagalog is a winnowing flat basket which is called bigao in Ilocano.  This flat basket is necessary in separating the husks or hulls from the rice grains, especially when a mortar and pestle had been used to manually dehusk the palay into rice.

 

Rattan basket, photo by JMorton

 

Rice Cooker – Kitchen Hero

Rice cooker, photo by JMorton

Rice Cooker – Kitchen Hero

I am fairly new to using a rice cooker. For 30 years here in London, I have been cooking rice, boiled in normal sauce pan.  Sometimes, it cooks okey, sometimes it ends in disaster; pretty hit and miss and more on the miss.  But I have never thought of getting a rice cooker.  I supposed since living in London, I have not been eating rice like the way I ate it in the Philippines, which is almost 3 times a day, every day.

Here, I would cook rice, perhaps once every 3 months, if that.  And my family here, do not really eat rice, only in curries or chili con carne.

It was watching Korean dramas that I got to notice the rice cooker.  They have one in almost every drama or every household.

I ordered one in Argos.  I chose the Breville model as it was on sale as well as it has just a good review.  It is sizeable enough that you can cook rice for a large family.

I am so glad now that I bought a rice cooker.  The rice is cooked perfect everytime and with such minimal effort.  It automatically cook it and stay heating the rice afterwards, if so wish.  No more burning rice, no more watery rice, no more half-cook rice.

Same amount of rice to same amount of water, that easy.

I can even cook rice late at night and be ready for fried rice in the morning.

Ampalaya Salad (Bitter Gourd Salad)

Halved Bitter Gourds, Photo by PH Morton

Ampalaya Salad (Bitter Gourd Salad)

This salad goes well with fried food or other very rich food.  The slight bitter taste from the ampalaya will go well with savoury food.

Below is the salad recipe which uses fermented shrimps or bagoong.  If this is not your taste or you have run out of it, a patis (fish sauce) is highly suitable.

Ingredients:

3 medium size bitter gourd (ampalaya)

1/2 tbsp salt

4 shallots, sliced finely

1 tbsp shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) or 1/2  to 1 tablespoon fish sauce (according to taste really)

2 large tomatoes, sliced

3 siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies)

1 lemon, juiced or 1 tablespoon of fresh juice of  kalamansi

Method of preparation:

Cut the ampalaya in half lengthwise and deseed. Cut in half rings (?).

Place the amplaya in a colander and then sprinkle the slice with the salt.  Set it aside for half an hour to give the ampalaya time to absorb the salt to counter-balance its natural bitterness.

Wash after ‘curing’ the ampalaya and drain any excess liquid or moisture.

Put the ampalaya in a serving bowl, add the shallots, tomatoes, chilies and season with shrimp paste or fish sauce and lemon or kalamansi juice.

Leave to stand for 10-20 minutes, then serve.

Deliciously challenging to the taste buds.  A true gourmet delight!

 

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