Category: Photography

2018 – Year of The Dog

2018 – Year of The Dog

You belong in the Years of the Dog if you were born in the year: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 and next one will be in 2030.

Nostalgia

2018 is a Fire Dog Year.

Lucky numbers are: 3,4 & 9

Lucky flowers:  Rose (you can’t never go wrong with this delicately scented blossom), oncidium, cymbidium, orchids.

Lucky colours are green, red and purple.

 

Persimmon (Sharon Fruit)

Persimmon, photo by PH Morton

Persimmon (Sharon Fruit)

Fruit Bowl, photo by PH Morton

Our fruit bowl is getting more adventures.  Early this new year, we have custard apple, passion fruit, mangoes, kiwi, several types of citrus fruits such as lemon, lime orange, grapefruit and nectarine.

We also have persimmon, which is apparently also called Sharon fruit.  Its scientific name is Diospyros Kaki.  This fruit is often seedless and sweet.  It can be eaten as a whole fruit; there is no need to peel it (but you can of course, if you wanted to.)

Sharon fruit can be eaten fresh, or cooked (in a pie) and even preserved.

Its orange colouring shouts richness in beta carotene and it is actually is a good source.

Adidas Adobo (Chicken Feet Adobo)

Chicken feet Adobo, photo by Ruben Ortega

chicken feet, photo by PH Morton

Adidas is the name given to chicken feet.  Obviously as a homage to the great trainers brand.

The raw chicken feet photo was taken by Peter during one of our shopping at the wet market of Pritil in Tondo, Manila, Philippines.

To be truthful, I have not really tasted chicken feet before but Peter had.  He said it was taste but rather rubbery.  I’ll take his word for it.  🙂

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs chicken feet, cleaned thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon whole peppercorn
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried chilli
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups water

 

 Method of Preparation:

  1. Clean the chicken feet thoroughly and trim all claws.  Butchers usually would have trimmed the scary claws already. 🙂
  2. Heat a large saucepan or a wok and add the chicken feet with the soy sauce, vinegar and water.
  3. Also add the bay leaves, peppercorn, sugar and half of the crushed garlic.  Do not stir.  Bring this to a boil and then lower down the heat and leave to simmer for three quarters of an hour. (45 minutes)
  4. Remove the chicken feet from the remaining liquid.  Drain and then set aside the stewed feet. Do not discard the liquid sauce from the wok.  Pour in a container and set aside.
  5. Clean the wok and heat.
  6. Add the oil.  Stir in the remaining garlic and fry until fragrant.
  7. Add the dried chilli.
  8. Stir in the fried chicken feet and fry until sizzling hot.
  9. Pour in the liquid sauce and heat for a minute or two.
  10. Transfer into a serving bowl and enjoy with a few beers.

Korean Perilla Leaves

Korean Perilla Leaves, photo by PH Morton

Korean Perilla Leaves

I often see in Korean dramas that they eat their barbecued  thin pork or beef slices wrapped in the same leaves as above.  Of course they also use the standard lettuce leaf.

Anyway, Peter and I fancied a bit of change for the new year so we decided to create our on table-top barbecue dinner a la Korean. and also a delicious warming hotpot.

But first off, we went shopping for the ingredients.  We went to Seoul Plaza in Golders Green, North London.  I happened to see these leaves amidst the ready made Korean side dishes.  It was about £1.99 for a packet of 20 leaves.

We did our barbecue and duly wrapped pieces of meat with kimchi, radish and sauces into a perilla leaf.  It tasted really good.  The leaf has an aromatic minty scent with a herby taste.  I actually preferred it to the crisp iceberg lettuce.  Peter also love the perilla leaves.  I think we would use more of it in the future.

Perilla apparently is a member of the mint family.  It grows from seed and very easy to cultivate.  But where can you get the seeds?!!!  If you are from the UK  and know when to get them in London, please kindly let us know!!!

bbq pork wrapped in perilla leaf, photo by PH Morton

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.

Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.

One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time are beetroots. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce it’s quality.

All Photos By PH Morton

After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals.  This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂

If using home grown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.

Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.

Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.

Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-

  1. Pickling /preserve jars with airtight lids. The normal size is around 500ml, or as large as you want. Most hardware stores will supply.
  2. Pickling vinegar, which comes in 1.4 litre size. Most larger supermarkets etc supply.
  3. Brown or white sugar granules to sweeten the vinegar taste to your choice.

Place the beetroots in a suitable sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.

Boil for two hours.

Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.

Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.

The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.

Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.

Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.

Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.

If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.

Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.

But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.

Red Sun @ 3PM

Red Sun, Photo by PH Morton

Red Sun @ 3PM

It was a strange day today.  At around 3oClock in the afternoon, the sky turned dirty yellow or has that sepia tone and then red.  The atmosphere was just like the film or television science fiction which came to life.

Apparently this phenomenon was due to Hurricane Ophelia, which sadly battered the Republic of Ireland leaving at least three people dead

The MetOffice has said that the red colouring of the sky is due to the dust being pulled by the strong gust of wind from the Sahara desert in Africa.

The photo, by the way, was taken by Peter from our back garden here in North London.  The sky was red and Peter just managed to take a small sunspot & flare coming off sun’s limb at 3 o’clock position (on the sun).

It’s beautiful but rather disconcerting as it reminded me of apocalyptic films often seen of films and television.

Here Comes October!

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Here Comes October!

The month of October is harvest time.  It is Harvest Festival.

I can see glorious amounts of pumpkins and squashes rolling into the supermarkets ready for end of the month’s Halloween.

October also is the penultimate month for pay-days before Christmas!

October is when Christmas shopping starts to really rev up,.

The above photo shows a beautiful clematis, which will soon stop flowering and will be hibernating for the autumn and winter and will come to life again in the spring.  Blooming its mighty flowers, ready to delight the senses once again.

October heralds the last of the summer days into autumn.  The orange days of the year are upon us.

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

Life size mortar and pestle, photo by JMorton

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

The above photo was taken in Ferdinand Marcos’s Batac ancestral house.  It was used when he was obviously younger as the mortar shows sign of erosion or depreciation.

Having lived in a farming community when I was a young girl, this life-size mortar and pestle is a familiar sight.

It was used in many things that needed pulping like my favourite sweet rice dessert called nilupak or dehusking palay, especially when going to a rice mill is a bit of a hustle.

The term used by Ilocanos, people of Northern Luzon, is agbayo, which means to pound.

Rice comes from palay grains, and if you only wanted a chupa or a ganta of rice, most Ilocanos would probably use a pestle and mortar to pound the palay to dehusk and turn into rice which then ready to cook.

Pounding rice is sometimes more than just a chore.  It can be a way of bonding with friends and family.

I used to help my cousins when they were pounding in the mortar.  Usually there are extra pestles around and two or three people can pound together but take turn.  It is a matter of timing.  It was a lot of fun though can be hard work.  Having someone to help makes this arduous repetitive task less of a chore.

%d bloggers like this: