Nom banchok!

Thanks to Al for the tip!

Update: I was so delighted by the video itself that I nearly overlooked Alison in Cambodia's tasty post on cooking nom banchok!

Konditorei Rock

MySpace Codes

My workmate Niklas is in a band called Locas in Love and they're playing a show tonight at Altes Pfandhaus in the Südstadt (an old pawn shop turned into a small seated concert venue).

(The photo above is of his other band, Karpatenhund, eating cake at one of Cologne's nicest small konditorein, Café Walden)

Below is a new Locas in Love video where they are singing about the pleasures of winter connected to frozen lakes and staying indoors to make cookies. Niklas is the blonde one on the left chucking the cookie dough around blithely.

In the second video, Niklas is grilling something next to the river Rhein. It appears to be chestnuts. He is serving them with tea (or coffee?), what looks like 'lebkuchen' (spicy christmas cookies), and a little bit of pathos.

Locas In Love - Wintersachen from Locas In Love on Vimeo.

Locas In Love - Roder from Locas In Love on Vimeo.
Methods to make your udon noodle the least appetizing:

1. Cook the noodle as you normally do.
2. Separate the noodle, trimmings and soup.
3. Put the dry ingredients flat on a plastic plate and soup in a plastic bowl.
4. Put plastic wrap all over it.
5. Serve lukewarm on a hospital bed.

6. To prolong the appreciation of the food, when done do not take them away for another 12 hours and have a feast with ants.
7. Don't forget to keep injecting the 5% dextrose IV into your veins even though you are capable of having regular meals.

I was hospitalized for a severe onset of type-A influenza.

Before we knew what it was, as soon as they learned I have insurance (and was running a fever as high as 40 degrees), they decided to put me in a VIP room.

On my second day, I was eating three regular meals a day, covered in plastic, but they kept me on IV.

On my third day, the fever went down, but I lost my appetite.

Since it wasn't any of those dangerous tropical diseases like the Dengue or Malaria, I insisted to go home, which they reluctantly accepted.

They charged 340 baht ($10) for a very cheap looking toiletries set which one of the nurses brought to me saying "it's a gift for you!". Liar.

I am almost hating udon noodles and khaw tom (rice soup), traumatized from the appetite-stripping presentation at the hospital.

This was once the term used for Thailand and its past troubles. Nothing sticks and the tourists always come back.

Well maybe not this time...

Teflon sometimes corrupts/ unravels/ disintegrates, as above.

Good bye tourists hello widespread unemployment, global financial crisis and military coup?

rude holiday smoothie


And now for something slightly more trivial: a smoothie recipe.

It's not often I can claim to have invented something, but here is a smoothie that I created, which I am sure would be a panacea for Americans who have been overeating all Thanksgiving weekend.

It contains cranberries, which as my fellow members of womankind know, are not only tasty and tangy, but have certain curative powers.
Locavores beware, these come from Canada - as the label says, "straight from the bog". "Straight" here meaning out of the bog, into packaging, thence into a crate and a truck and then a plane or ship I presume and then a truck again and then finally at some point arriving at my local Rewe supermarket. For some reason the supermarkets in Germany are stocking plenty of them.

The smoothie also contains whole, raw oats. According to herbal medicine type people, oats have calming properties, but I've always assumed that any such properties would not remain once the oats have been steam-rolled and cooked into a mush. In any case, whole oats have cholesterol-lowering properties. They're also quite popular with horses.

Whole oats are called 'Nackt-hafer' in German ("naked oats"), which doesn't make too much sense since they are more clothed than the hulled and rolled variety.
I think I might be the only dirty-minded person who's thought of another reason for the name, concerning their feminine, 'fertile' appearance.

Soaking the grains and seeds aids their digestibility and blendability. Raw food fans claim it also aids the development of living enzymes, however nutritionists dispute the benefits of this. London-based nutritionist Bridget Naisbitt told the Guardian that "any enzymes you eat are broken down in your gut before they're digested and what you actually absorb are amino acids anyway ... we specifically evolved our own enzymes to fulfil the individual processes that take place in the human body, and an enzyme in a sprouting chickpea is unlikely to be able to fulfil that role."

Anyway, the soaking is necessary to make the oats softer, and the smoothie is much nicer to drink than milk-based smoothies: it doesn't leave you feeling bloated.

The smoothie has loads of fibre, and a creaminess from the seeds and oats which really offsets the tangy cranberry very well.

To quote a certain NYC-based hip hop producer in a group mail he sent us on Thursday, it might even give you "a very thankful BONER
On this Puritan turkey day!"


Soak a small handful of whole oats, a few tablespoons of linseeds/flax seeds, and one tablespoon of some other nut or seed of your choice (e.g. hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) overnight in cold water.

Rinse well and either use right away or put in the fridge for a day or two, until needed.

Chuck into the blender with a handful of cranberries, 3-4 chopped dates and half of a smoothie-glass full of water (the smoothie should be very thick and creamy). Blend until it is a pleasant uniform pink shade (or as close as you can get with all those little bits of nuts).

Great. Another fucking bomb goes off. What is wrong with these people*.


Dear fellow citizens of Bangkok can we please lay off with the bombs and shit.

Thank you.

This from the Straits Times, Singapore

A GRENADE thrown at a rally of Thai vendors protesting at a Bangkok street market wounded 16 people, police said on Saturday.

It was the second bomb attack this month at the Klongtoey market and was not linked to anti-government protests elsewhere in the Thai capital, police said.

The last incident on Nov 13 wounded 13 people.

Police said the grenade was thrown after 7pm from a flyover above the rally site near Bangkok's main port. Some 300 hawkers and stall owners had gathered there to oppose a plan by landowners to redevelop the area.

'They are trying to evict us from this area,' said street vendor Somsak Yoopiam, 46. 'I was addressing the rally when a big bang sent dozens of people sprawling to the ground.'

I was just sitting under this flyover on my scooter yesterday.

*By this I mean people who resort to violence to get their way.
So I've been engaged in a very long email battle with my father over Thai politics for sometime now....but today it reached the level of food analogies so here we go with a blog post.

There is a long and boring back story to this but I'll just give you the most recent titbits.


you can throw all the incriminating evidence about Thaksin you like. It makes little difference now

Get with the program. Your country is crumbling


No, this country will survive. This is like waiting at the queue at supermarket check out.

The check out girl is trying to hush you up by saying that you are holding other people up when you try to stand for your case to put thing right.

This country will survive. It still has enough reserve, about 100-120 billion USD. And the Thai can survive well on mere salted fish and sticky rice


I hate it when people like you say that Thais can survive on salted fish and sticky rice, yes they can, so could I but that's not development, it's not poverty reduction.*

The problem is that people have been left to survive on sticky rice and salt fish for too long. And they want better for themselves

Until someone delivers a better life to rural people Thailand will continue to be plagued by these problems

You may find yourself standing at the supermarket with your gourmet cheese and wine for quite a long time

You may or may not agree with me, but don't worry, I won't get the last word, I never do when it comes to my Dad

*Actually for me it would probably be a wise diet choice

I met up with authentic experts on Thai Food Mr Bush and Mr Thompson on Friday for a little bit of an early afternoon scooby snack.

Slightly better than average food from a restaurant that specializes in khao soi, khanom jeen naam ngiao and the likes. Everything accept for the khao kan jin was pretty mediocre unlike the company which was much more flavoursome than the noodles.


Austin annoying the cooks...although she didn't mind according to him.
If I had that many orders going on at once and someone was asking me questions I know what my answer would be.


Their version of khao kan jin was really yummy. Rice, blood and other bits (you wouldn't even notice the blood). Savoury and delicious.


I was still hankering for a good bowl of khao soi today. I am no expert but I think the above version at Yuy Lee on soi 35 not far from where I live is really good.


With all the political bullshit going on here in Bangkok it has been rather quiet at work. The weather has been really cool of late, less traffic resulting in less pollution making todays khao soi experience all that much better.

Will the airport open soon? When pigs fly.


Stewards Joy and Nut enjoying their late night after work noodles. Their choice of eating spot confused me somewhat but as always they seemed happy.

Muskrat stew ....if only

This comment was left on a friend’s blog a few months back and we have discussed it ever since.

Of course I will never EVER be able to afford to go to Asia, but I simply adore chinese food. AND, I am a PROFESSIONAL CHEF from Brooklyn, NY, now living in a trailer park in Clearwater, Florida . . . (some legal problems you understand).

So, I think I am going to try to make some of the waffles.

Normally, the only food that I and my boyfriend ?Big Bear? have in restaurants is pizza.

Of course, we eat ONLY gourmet pizza from places like the POINTE here in Florida. You can read where I recommended pizza on SeriousEats where I am a senior advisor to Mr. Ed Levine, who is one my heroes.

Otherwise we just cook pasta bake, beans, and muskrat stew here in the trailer house.

My other hero is DAVID LISKE, a naval hero who lives in Luna Pier where his wife is the mayor of Michigan. And they eat BOWLS and BOWLS of muskrat stew.

But I am off topic, please excuse me. Your waffle post is great. And since I am a really nice person, I am going to check it out.

If only we had people nearly as exciting as this reading our silly little blog.

(Sorry to those of you who also might be running from the law and are currently reading Gfeelins. You may well have equally exciting lives)

Sirflank 58C for one hour - Activa TG-B, TG-K, YG, TI?

Sirflank 58 C

Sirflank cooked at 58 C for 1 hour (you could go for a lower temp but this worked well for my diners, flank part on the bottom half). Finished with high heat in a wok.

Fear not my vegeterian friends. I just finished working on a ricotta dish using Activa TG-K (this binds dairy products) and have started on a tofu dish using Activa-TI for I do not want to leave out my vegan pals either.

Why did I not use Activa YG for my ricotta dish? (I new you would ask that)

Well I'll let AJINOMOTO CO.,INC explain. (somehow I became a German Chef but anyway)

Dear XXXX san,
First, I’d like to confirm that already received samples from you. Thank you very much.
Next, I just got request from customer.
This customer is German Chef; he got information of ACTIVA YG from their friend in EU.
He interested in ACTIVA YG for cheese product, and asks for the information of this product.
I am not sure whether ACTIVA YG is produced in Japan or France, could you check please?
In case that customer would like to test ACTIVA YG, how can I get ACTIVA YG sample?
Thank you very much
Best regards,
Khun xxxx


Khun xxxx
ACTIVA YG is produced in France only.
Regarding sampling of YG to your customer, I don't recomend now. As you know, we don't have approval of YG in Thai-FDA.
I explain background of YG development for reference shortly. We have sold another product (ACTIVA MP) for dairy produts in EU about ten years ago.
But we had a problem. ACTIVA MP does not work well when our customer use non, low or high-temperature pasteurization milk. According to our reseach, non or low-temperature pasteurization milk has inhibitory substance. After that, we developed new application that can control inhibitor. This new application is ACTIVA YG. ACTIVA YG uses reducing agent against inhibitor. If your customer use ultla high-temperature pasteurization milk, you can use ACTIVA TG-K as alternatives of YG. ACTIVA TG-K and MP are same function basically.
I will send ACTIVA YG brochure. Would you please confirm attached file. You can check the basic function of YG.
YG and TG-K are same about usage, dosage.

Bset regards,


Dear xxxx san,
Good morning.
Thank you very much for your explanation, I understand.
I agree with you that we do not want to pass YG sample to customer because of no Thai FDA approval.
So I will discuss with customer about their application and condition to find out the possibility to apply TG-K.
Thank you very much
Best regards,
Khun xxxx

Vegan Shoes

So I may have quibbled in the past with the general precepts of veganism.

In my view its moral philosophy, claims to ecological superiority and overall social value remain contentious.

But I sure do love their shoes....introducing the "Vegan" wrap around boot from Tom's Ethical Shoe Store


Not loving the dried pig ear bracelet so much


Tofu Versus Sausage

We're nearly at the end of recounting meals eaten in New York. So hold tight. WD50 is the last on the list I think, but I'm leaving the interpretation of that astonishing meal to Hock.

So...a night out close to our last days in New York.

My restaurant of choice was Kyotofu.

I had read about it somewhere and thought rhetorically, what's not to like? I like tofu, I like sake.

It was my choice given that I had willingly sacrificed all my hard work at the gym to follow Hock on his burger/ pizza tour of NYC. And despite the fact that we were leaving to Tokyo within a matter of hours, I felt my digestion system couldn't wait for healthy pan-Asian treats.

We arrived and ordered a sample plate of the mains on offer and a sake sampler.



And a large quivering mass of tofu.

We then ordered a huge bottle of sake and silliness and hunger ensued.

The sampler and tofu weren't enough for four people so we decided to order extra of the samples which everyone liked. Unexpectedly, it wasn't tofu.

At this point tofu ceased to suffice as a drinking snack. We gave up and ordered full portions of the sausages and eel.


My stomach groaned. I'd promised it tofu and spring water and instead showered it with sausages and sake.

Things only got worse after an outrageous kareoke evening, and a taco truck on the upper west side at 2 am.

My digestive system and I are slowly regaining trust in one another, but its a relationship that may take some time to mend

Arise Sirflank. Phil Lees on my mind.

Flank steak is a super flavoursome cut (but not the prettiest) so why not combine the tasty flank with a show pony cut like the Sirloin.

The two cuts make for a superduper tasty cut of beef. Especially when you cook Sirflank in the mid 50°C range for 40 odd minutes, wok sear to finish and serve.

Sirloin meet flank

Australian grain fed sirloin on the left, Australian wagyu flank on the right.

Sirloin meet flank, hello activa TG-B

A touch of Activa TG-B

Plus fat

Don't waste that wagyu fat.


Rongs patented folding technique.


Compress and leave overnight.


Most likely a pretty picure to follow.

I am off to bed now. Big Friday and Saturday services ahead and no wife to enjoy an after work whisky with.

Oh well. Night to all.

What a day, I'm shagged.

Chef Rong (our butcher slash sous vide slash Activa expert) is loving our new chamber vacuum machine, so vacuum he will.

For our upcoming new menu next week we are both trying to work out what the perfect cooking temperature to time ratio might be, so there is no fucking around at the last moment this Wednesday trying to guess what might work.


Rong and Hock

48°C was just a little wee funky more warm sushi than cooked, probably perfect for Chuck from "Chuck eats". I liked 52°C but I think 55°C is where it is at for the Bangkok crowd.


Chef Roca gives no temperature guide for massive Thai King prawns.


The tail doesn't curl up which makes for a cool presentation style.

For this months menu we have flavoured these bad boys with orange skin, olive oil and few other spices, we will be serving this with barley and saffron.

Fruit salad


Low Methoxy Pectin and Calcium Lactate will hopefully allow us to stick this fruit together.

Why you ask? Well why not.

But you try to explain to someone who doesn't speak the same language as you about how a bond forms between LM Pectin and a Calcium source .

Thanks to Alex & Aki of course.

Kitchen Tatts








So when you go to Shake Shack and stand in line for 30 mins to an hour and finally order your order hamburger, shroom burger, and frozen custard.... and before the staff hand you over the vibrating electronic device that "shakes" when your order is might want to try doing a little shake yourself a la Homer Simpson. If for instance, you wiggle yourself and your fat continues to wobble say five to ten seconds after you've stopped exerting yourself......well you might want to rethink your lunch choice, just know...for your health and vitality.


I'm not being mean, just honest, really.

If your wobbles are minor to non-existent, if say you are a Japanese tourist, go for it. Get the lot, guzzle down a shake burger, fries and custard. Why not try a shake shack shake too while your at it. I'm sure the shakes are great.

If however, your not quite hideously obese but could stand to loose a few squishy bits, as in my case, and if you promise to atone big time, then my advice is skip the fries, (they're just fried potatoes you know, you can live without them) order a 'shroom burger and share a small tub of frozen custard. Hock's shake burger is just a burger in my view, but the 'shroom burger was crispy mushroomy, cheesy and good. The frozen custard was dense and delicious. Follow with brisk walks all over NYC.


My new favorite food blogger

Through a post on Gothamist today, I found my new favorite food blogger: Franklin of Franklin on Food.

Franklin, a student at tech-friendly CIS 339 middle school in The Bronx, is the official cafeteria food critic for his school's aptly named student blog, The 339 Hardline. I appreciate his synthetic method-- part personal testimony, part man-on-the-street interview, plus his latest efforts heave with the gravitas which only quantitative data can give them.

I only wished he posted more frequently.

I should probably also add that the 7th and 8th graders who write for The 339 Hardline are more engaging than what I usually find myself reading when I am supposed to be working.
We haven't quite kept up with the food song of the week, but here's another for your entertainment by the Fatback Band.

So funky it hurts

Picnics are the new brunch

Have you noticed since the global economic crisis how magazines and op-eds in lifestyle sections of web pages and other glossies have begun re-spinning the activities of poor people into the new "it" thing, so staying in is the new going out, hillbilly is the new hipster (note to plaid wearers) and locally brewed beer is the new champagne.

So picnics are the new brunch. Who said? Me.....why spend $50 bucks in NYC or more on a flashy brunch when you can sit in the park in Brooklyn, possibly get arrested for drinking a beer in public and eat hotdogs, broccoli rabe and mozzarella sandwiches, jamaican meat pies and drink organic cola and beer.





The best spot in the park, next to the public loos naturally (or "comfort station" as it was so prudishly named). You can even fall asleep in the sun on the grass, something you can't do at a fancy schmancy restaurant. Other people's children are far less annoying in a park.


Here's our hillbilly/hipster picnic


What comes next I wonder? Will Polish be the new French or Spanish? Polyester the new cotton? Fingers the new cutlery? Poor the new rich? Once again I find myself at the forefront of cutting edge trends. Lucky me.

Crafty Asian Gardener

So now that I am settled into Canberra to finally knock my thesis over (two chapters to go and then it will be Dr. Maytel to you), I've started a summer vege garden in my back yard.

To date I have planted, lettuce, rocket, mizuna, basil, Thai basil, lemon grass, Vietnamese mint, common-all garden mint (from seed even), artichokes, Italian parsley, strawberries, bok choy, silver beet, tomatoes, cucumber, chillies, garlic chives, eggplant, squash. This adds to what my landlord/co-supervisor/next door neighbour/ department professor planted, which consists of sage, chives, English parsley, marjoram, oregano, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, habeneros, capsicum, bay, lemon.

Note: Photo was taken last year in the beginning stages of vegetable garden establishment. Current garden is far more impressive but I am without a camera.

I had a search online to see if there were any good online Canberra gardening blogs, but all I found was a vaguely racist discussion board that had this advice on corriander.

Coriander is a pain to grow. Doesn’t like the cold, but the minute it warms up, it bolts ot seed! I hear that crafty asian gardeners just keep planting seeds every week or so, to have new plants coming on to replace the one that just went to seed. They are like ferns, they like light, food and water

Link. Emphasis added.

I'm yet to get crafty with my coriander, but I've been trying to let only a few heads bolt to seed on the chives and sage. I've always loved vege gardening (as Hock can attest, even when I was a party girl in my twenties I grew my own tomatoes) but I've yet to cultivate my innate asian craftiness (no my Chinese father nor any of my ancestors were ever market gardeners). So if anyone has any recommendations for good gardening sites or blogs for Canberra, lettuce know!!!
Image Source

Sometimes when I mentioned to people that I'm married to the chef, I often go through a similar discussion. People tell me how lucky I am and then I tell them yes, but I am but also a tad overweight. They chuckle and often say something to smooth over the awkwardness of having to agree with me by reiterating how lucky I am.

But I do believe they are right. A few extra kilos above my ideal (ok ten more but still within the healthy BMI range, thank god) is really a scant trade off for all the benefits.

Pros of being married to a chef
- access to great produce at wholesale prices
- being courted with delicious meals
- instant acceptance of your beloved by family and friends and increased social invitations
- knowing you'll never go hungry (even as a poor student in Auckland, Melbourne and whilst doing my PhD research in Cambodia, I've always had the privilege of five star dining, Hock would bring home wonderful cheese, great wines etc. In addition, suppliers, who were often friends would give us a lot of great food for free)
- Being with a like-minded and food adventurous person (a big pro for me, I don't care much for fussy eaters)

The other advantage of being married to a chef in my view is getting to live with a person who possesses, as many chef's do, those uniquely appreciable personality traits that chefing so often breeds: masculine stoicism mixed with artistic gentility and a deep appreciation of hygiene. This may sound like a tissue paper promotion but really the same qualities that you are looking for in a box of kleenex are, when you think about it what most people are looking for in their partner, strong yet gentle and very clean. This holds generally true so long as you haven't managed to acquire a love affair with a menial kitchen grunt, or outrageous egotist who yells all the time. There are however some other potential cons.

- Pudginess (you get fat together, weight loss efforts prove useless)
- Most holidays will revolve around food (again a possible pro, but sometimes annoying to always have to cross town to eat lunch)
- Unsociable working hours (your chef, should you chose to marry one will be working most evenings, weekends, public holidays and special days such as Xmas)
- Maybe better at articulating feelings through food and not words (offers of chocolate cake should be regarded as expressions of love, not further effort to make you fat, I have learned. Say thank you, understand what it means but don't eat it)
- May take particular delight in crass kitchen humour and body art (chefs seem to like hurting themselves, what's a tatoo when you have spent the last ten years burning your arms, have no feeling left in the finger you've repeatedly chopped the top off and have actually come to slightly enjoy the cool burning whip of a cold tea towel across your thigh, ass or other fleshy bodily part)

Those are the main pros and cons as I see them. And for me the pros far outweigh the cons, literally and figuratively. It may have been a different story if he had insisted on making me a wedding dress of cream puffs.

Things - Cooking with High Voltage Electricity from Bre Pettis on Vimeo.

Thanks Mandevu!!!! Cheese and grapes....hmmm, high voltage fondue?

The Best Sandwich in the World?

best sandwich

I was so inspired by the pocket-sized manchego sandwich at Farga in Barcelona that I wanted to contest Mark Bittman's anointed ham roll, with my own video blog post. But sadly I did not feel like carrying around two cameras on that wet & windy day. Thus I make do with a regular blog post (at least until the next time I visit Barcelona. Then, Mark Bittman, it's on).

So imagine me saying this to camera:

The manchego sandwich which you can grab from the counter at Fargo with a pair of tongs, might not be the best sandwich in the world, but it is definitely the best sandwich in Barcelona, each and every time you eat it. Especially if you are female.

It is not soaked in grease and packed with slivers of shiny salt-cured ham like the boiled German-brezel-like baguettes at the chain known as Café Viena, which are much more suitable for the appetites of hearty men. (And which were certainly enjoyed by my German husband after long days of studio-building).

The bread is not exactly as crunchy as glass, but it does have a nice egg-shell crispness on the outside, that makes it very precious and satisfying to chomp through with the slightly oily and piquant cheese, soft smear of tomato, and the added texture of nuts in the bread.

If you order a few of them takeaway, this venerable patisserie will package them up in a nifty, wide-bottomed paper carry bag with black handles that would not look amiss next to an Hermès handbag.

And because it is so small and flavour-packed, you can also enjoy one of their five centimeter-long sandwiches with iberico ham and a wedge of egg, soft like the Japanese-style tamago-yaki. The bread for this sandwich is multigrain and comes topped with a few oats, so there will be no guilt afterwards.

Lady-like fingers will rest easy grabbing one of these.
Also, they are quite cheap, somewhere between one and two euros.

jamon farga

farga window

manchego yum

Farga (since 1957)

- Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 630 (also open on Sundays)

-Avinguda Diagonal 391

-Gran de Gracia 262

(I am seriously drooling right now. Not so ladylike after all.)

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