Never go on trips with anyone you don’t love….Ernest Hemingway "I am not a glutton -- I am an explorer of food." Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)

Friday, May 20, 2005


Lettuce Salad
Well M kept saying he feels like going to Greece soon for a short break and we have been looking for tickets. Well we both MISS GREECE and the food.
The other day, I sent him to buy some salad and he came back with lettuce, hoping we will do a Caesars salad, but with the crouton, egg yolk and Parmesan we opted for a healthier salad.

Here is one of my favorite salad in Greece , maroulousalata.

Cos lettuce is abundant and this refreshing salad is wonderful with meat or simply by itself with a slice rather a chunk of feta.

For the salad:
extra virgin olive oil
2tbsp white wine vinegar
1 cos lettuce shredded (if you wash and clean the lettuce earlier, soak the leaves in a bowl of iced water- this will keep the leaves fresh and crunchy then "dry" them with kitchen paper towel
1 bunch of spring onions
chopped dill
Salt and pepper

Mix oil and vinegar
Add salt and pepper
Combine with leaves and season
Serve as soon as possible as it is at best when crunchy

You can add feta and decorate it with olives.
And I always serve with extra slices of lemon too.

Cos lettuce (marouli in Greek) is also called Romaine (Roman) Lettuce.
Cos or cos lettuce (mainly with British-speaking peoples) because it is said to have originated on the Greek island of Cos (Kos), off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea (also the birthplace of the physician Hippocrates). It's original home is western Europe and the eastern Mediterranean area.

Romaine has been cultivated and eaten cooked or raw for almost 5,000 years and may very well be the oldest form of cultivated lettuce. It was known to the Romans, who usually ate lettuce cooked, as Cappadocian lettuce, and was called Roman lettuce due to the Romans belief in its healthful and healing properties.

COS is an island north east of the Aegean facing Turkey. An island on my wish list as I have not explored these group of islands called DODEKANISIA, (12 islands).
All I know for sure is there are many Filipinos there.. how is that such a far flung island from the capital has many Filipino migrant workers???
Jeans factory, a factory owner in Kos went to Manila and hired a certain number Filipino to work there. The factory shut down, many of them moved to Athens and have worked for other clothing industry, some ( a few I know) work for some famous Greek designers. Few stayed those who have children and don't be surprised if your cleaning lady at your hotel is a Filipina.


Monday, May 16, 2005


Lombok is a mix of ethnic Indonesian but majority of the people are Sasak Muslim.
One compound in the heart of the city are "immigrants" from the neighboring Bali, where they form their close knit community. We got invited to this small community and this man was preparing our Bali feast for that day!

Mataram, Lombok, INDONESIA


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Torta Caprese

Isola di Capri

Last week my husband was in his day dreaming mode of Italy and not just Italy but Capri.
Well he started saying, you know Sha that restaurant in Capri and they serve a great Chocolate Torta.
The restaurant he was talking about is LA CAPANINNA
located at historical Capri which serves cuisine typical of the region and perhaps the freshest fish of the day. And after each meal they serve this marvelous chocolate cake that is flour less and moist. Here is M recipe of that cake.

Just out from the oven, slicing a big portion and a taste to bite.

200g 72% dark chocolate finely chopped
4 eggs separated
150g superfine sugar
½ vanilla beans cut into half with the seed scraped and mixed into sugar
250g Finely ground almonds
170g Butter melted and cooled till tepid

Torta Caprese with dusted cocoa, creme fraiche and framboise.

1)Preheat the oven at 180C
2)Grease the sides of a 9 1/2" spring form pan, then line the base with non-stick baking paper.
3)Chop the chocolate finely with a large knife,
4) With a mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is pale and thick.
5) Fold in the chocolate, the almonds and melted butter.
6) In dry bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
7) Fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
8) Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for between 50-60 minutes, until just firm to the touch.
9) Leave to cool for 20 minutes before turning out.
10)Serve with dusted cocoa powder and raspberries and a dollop of cream fraiche.

A second portion?

Capri is very charming but day trippers from Naples who take the 40 minutes hydrofoil ride creates a human traffic jams in narrow lanes, but when evening comes, the island becomes more enchanting.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Behind the Walls and Moats of Fredrikstad

Gamleyen Fredrikstad

The original plan was to take the 0937 train north to Hamar, a town just south of Lilehammer. But we left the flat past 9am (my fault it took a while to get out of bed) and little did I know the bus does not come often on Sundays. It was sure we would miss the train. What’s next.. Brainstorming at the bus stop
1) Take tram to the edges of the city and hike around the lake.
2) Take the tram to Frogner and hiked all the way down.
3) Go to the train station and see the departure board…
As soon we reached the central station, we looked up the departure board. Halden via Moss, Fredrikstad, Kongsberg to the the old mining region... Stockholm, Bergen. wonder which way.

M went to the ticketing office with the guilty party in tow!
Hei! Which train depart to where the soonest?
Why what do you want to do?
Some walking!
Just walking then to Kongsberg, but do you want to see thing?
Yes why not…
Well she said go to Fredrikstad, its for walking and sight seeing.

Fredrikstad - Old Fortress Town, founded by a king fond of parties, an antiquated name with ageless charm.
In 1567, the king of Denmark -Norway , FREDERIK II, decreed that the town of SARPSBORG burned by the Swedes should be rebuilt. The town has to be re situated at a place that as easier to defend. The east bank of Glomma was the obvious choice. The homeless citizens move nearer to the estuary and in gratitude they named the town later a city after the King.

In 1600’s the Swedes were up to their tricks again thus the town was fortified and has become as well as
a military enclave to defend against Swedish invasions with multiple embankments, moats, gates and a drawbridge.

Glomma River

M and I went first to the “new walking along the embankments of the the Glomma. You can see old abandoned buildings and newly renovated buildings that has become waterfront residences.
Walking towards the dock of the ferry to take us across the GAMLEBYEN (old town), we stopped along the river bank for our picnic lunch.
Tickets for the ferry 10KR about £1

The 2 minute ferry ride took us across to the narrow cobbled streets of the fortified old town with well preserved 17th century buildings.

The Stone Storehouse built in 1674-91 now houses a gallery, where artists have their workshop as well. There were great colorful bowls I was eying but no, we just enjoyed the works of art.

We went to the information center which used to be the Arsenal and the Slaveriet and found out that the town will host the TALL SHIP RACES this coming August. From there to the Kings Square where a statue of King Fredrik stands.

M and I walked around, stood at the embankment till we circled the whole gamle byen.
Time for afternoon tea, we found this delightful KONDETOREI .It serves as a store (which feels like a dainty country store) and coffee shop. A town that deterred the enemies did not deter our sweet tooth.

Cafe sign, carrot cake, cafe latte was great and the marzipan cake.

Soon after that, we crossed back to the other side and had an unexpected game to witness. Boules. What a day indeed, missing a train, ended up in picturesque place and had an unexpected surprise.

Read more about BOULES on my other chronicle, Journeys in Life

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Apple Turon

When we first move to Greece in 1984, there were hardly any Asian shops. There is a supermarket in Psyhico where most of the diplomats live and there AB supermarket has a small selection of rice, soya sauce and some noodles
Looking back I think it was much more aimed for the Japanese. Of course we have learned to improvise, cook and eat what Athens has to offer. It was, still is exciting indeed to go to the market and shop food you never had.

One of my childhood memory in Cebu was when it was the fiesta of the village at my mothers' side family, all the ladies would gather in the kitchen of Lola Asyang grand house on the hill. I remember too well how large was the kitchen and all those huge pots bubbling with food.Great aunts, aunts all sit down and roll the banana turon.

Banana in Athens in 1984 was as exotic as the way the Greeks saw me and my sister. Also where on earth can we get a spring roll wrapper at that time? Then of course the number of Filipino increased drastically towards 1990. Lumpia wrapper was imported from other European market and a Greek guy opened Salamat store. And banana was beginning to be available at the market.

Then of course every Filipino party offers turon. Some don't get it right either the wrapper too soggy or the banana is too thick. But why pay a lot for the banana when apples are very cheap in Greece.
We experimented with apples and it turned out great.

Then on my 2nd week here in Oslo, I discovered the immigrant area. I was so happy to see the spring roll wrapper and it is exactly the same brand I used in Greece and UK. Thus I know the quality. I bought few packs you never know when we crave for spring rolls.

One day we bought some Pink Lady apples which turned out not so crunchy. I know they will just rot in the fruit basket and we can't afford to throw food here in Oslo. So I made some apple turron which I kept on my freezer... Whenever we craved for such delight I have them ready.

I used organic brown sugar and thinly sliced apple for this turon. I say this a treat because we don't fry up food and this is deep frying.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Fishy Lunch

That's what M called our lunch today. After the gym I just wanted something light. A bowl of salad with cervelat. The guilty person admitted he ate all the cervelat in the fridge.

Cervelat is a style of sausage that combines pork or beef with various herbs and spices.

We went to the gourmet shop down our building. Quite a long queue but I really wanted to have something light so we bought some marinated anchovies, boiled shrimp (reker) and some herring.

The roe of the shrimp. I was thinking of the greek taramosalata . In Greece the roe of the carp- tarama is mixed with lemon juice, milk soaked breadcrumbs, olive oil and seasonings. Makes a great dip

The owner must have known us now that they offered us a bit of salmon tartare to taste and the heavenly foie gras touchon
Shall we get a bit? I could see M is nearly tempted to buy.

Didn't we make a deal, a light lunch?

Oh the baguette please!

M said at this mess "LOOK at you!" For 20 odd years I have been allergic to shrimps, prawns, lobster, crabs. Last October when were in Stockholm, our friends prepared us crayfish for dinner. I said sorry I can' t eat them but I did try a bit. NO itch, another bite nothing.
For some reasons I could not explain I didn't itch so am taking steps by steps how I will react to the other crustaceans. M thought its probably a different water up here in the North Sea. Whatever is it I certainly did enjoy our lunch.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Grilled Halibut

Today my husband cooked some halibut and I am going to share to you his recipe in which is very easy to follow and difficult not to forget. As the taste of the marinate is just so wonderful.

For the marinade:
- about 1 tsp grated ginger
- Zest and juice of half lime and half lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped finely
- Sea salt & freshly grinded black pepper
- Mix together and cover to infuse for 4 hours.

Preparing the Halibut
2 large halibut and sliced into 1 ½" thickness.
Ask your fishmonger to slice the fish for you.
Brush both sides of the halibut
Let it stand for 2 hrs turning once
Grill in hot griddle.
Spoon over left over marinade to the fish.



When I took my first bite, my mind drifted to the Caribbean. The taste of the cilantro brought me back to this small local restaurant at Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. When we were there, hardly any foreigners sit in this local place but we did, it serves local fish and rice with beans. This place, Josephine is on the road towards Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour, where Nelson’s dockyard, a British Naval yard for the warships in the 18th century is located.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Resurrection Table


Fasting is over. Last Thursday, the Orthodox Maundy Thursday, the preparation for the Easter celebration begun when the women started baking their TSOUREKI, the braided sweet bread, with a dyed red egg in the middle.

Kokkina avga (red eggs) are made by adding dye to the boiling water and vinegar . As soon they are cool, eggs are polished with olive oil to bring out the shine. Red signifies the blood of Christ.

Arni dopia, local lamb for 6.99euro a kilo. Athens Central Market

Lamb and goats are slaughtered and on Good Friday was the total fasting. Friday was the procession, re en acting the burial of Christ.
The next day, Greeks go to church at 11pm. For the final part of the long service, people crowd the church holding white candles, which they light from the priest's candle or from someone close to them and greet each other with Chistos Anesti (Christ has risen) and replies with Alithos Anesti (Truly he has risen)

They all rush home to break the fasting with the traditional Easter soup MAGERITSA. Its made from the heart, intestines and lungs from the paschal lamb.

The real celebration begins on Easter Sunday. People mostly roast their own lamb on the pit, those who don't, bring tapsi (large round tins ) to the local bakery to have their lamb cooked STO FOURNO (slow oven cooking). Potatoes with lemon juice and oregano or thyme are placed around the meat.
When the meat arrives on the table glasses clink and toast begins kali orexi.

Plates of tzatziki (yoghurt and garlic dip), lakerda ( pickled chunks of bonito), kokkina avga and the lahanosalata (cos lettuce salad) fill the table as well.

Katsikaki, baby goat local for 6.99euro a kilo. Photo taken at Athens Central Market.

In between the merry drinking of krasi apo bareli (wines from cask) comes the TSOUGRISMA. Red eggs are tap against an opponent, the crack ones are eaten by the loser and the victorious egg plays on.
(This I can never forget when we had too much cracked eggs. Once at my friend Stephanie's country house, we took all the cracked eggs and played a silly game who could throw them the farthest)

An Orthodox church Syros Island. I was in Greece on Easter week but not on the Easter weekend.

Tomorrow we will join the Greeks here in Oslo for a public feast 100Kr a person.. While writing I swear I could smell of the roast lamb.

Hopefully with photos of the Greeks roasting the lamb. My photo files are in Athens.