Archive for the Food Category

Pigs Legs, CocaCola and goverment don’t mix

Posted in Food, news on September 9, 2008 by Philonous

Today Thailand’s prime miniester was forced out of office by the judiciary on rather unusual grounds. Put more eloquently, by The Times:

Thailand’s Prime Minister was forced to resign today over his double life as a television celebrity chef.

After a mammoth deliberation session by the nine judges of Thailand’s Constitutional Court, Samak Sundaravej was told today that he and his Cabinet must resign, plunging his country’s crisis-stricken politics still deeper into chaos.

The judgment brings to an end the rule of the first democratically elected prime minister since Thailand’s government fell to a military coup in 2006.

This is the culmination of riots and various other civil disobedience over a long period. Apparently (according to WNYC), the judiciary is usually extremely slow when it comes to processing cases etc and so this looks very much to be a stitch up. Having said that, the thousands of supporters camped in his office – which is presumably huge – seem to be celebrating. The Guardian today published what everyone is dying to see, some of his recipes. For your delectation, here’s one reproduced:

Pigs’ legs in Coca-Cola

Ingredients (serves five):

  • Five pig legs
  • Four bottles of Coca-Cola
  • Three tablespoons salt
  • Fish sauce
  • Garlic, chopped
  • See-uan (a sweet, dark sauce)
  • Four to five cinnamon sticks
  • Coriander root
  • Ground pepper
  • Five tablespoons “pongpalo” powder
  • Shitake mushrooms


Place the pig legs in a large pot. Pour over the Coca-Cola and bring to the boil. Add the coriander root, garlic, pepper, salt, fish sauce, “pongpalo” and cinnamon sticks.

Add sufficient water to cover. Cut the stalks off the Shitake mushrooms and add hot water to soften. Then add to the main pot. Bring to boil and simmer or at least three hours. Make sweet sauce with see-uan. Serve chilli and vinegar sauce.

Check out these links for more:

Roots (disambiguation)

Posted in culture, film, Food, history, literature, maths, music, science with tags , , , , , on July 23, 2008 by Philonous

In Euclidean Space:

Let V be a finite-dimensional Euclidean space, with the standard Euclidean inner product denoted by . A root system in V is a finite set Φ of non-zero vectors (called roots) that satisfy the following properties:

  1. The roots span V.
  2. The only scalar multiples of a root α ∈ Φ that belong to Φ are α itself and −α.
  3. For every root α ∈ Φ, the set Φ is closed under reflection through the hyperplane perpendicular to α. That is, for any two roots α and β, the set Φ contains the reflection of β in the plane perpendicular to α.
  4. (Integrality condition) If α and β are roots in Φ, then the projection of β onto the line through α is a half-integral multiple of α.

In view of property 3, the integrality condition is equivalent to stating that β and its reflection σα(β) differ by an integer multiple of α.

The rank of a root system is the dimension of the Euclidean space V in which it resides. Here are examples of rank 2 systems.

In the Plant Kingdom:

In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant body that typically lies below the surface of the soil. But, this is not always the case, since a root can also be aerial (that is, growing above the ground) or aerating (that is, growing up above the ground or especially above water). On the other hand, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either (see rhizome). So, it is better to define root as a part of a plant body that bears no leaves, and therefore also lacks nodes. There are also important internal structural differences between stems and roots. The two major functions of roots are 1.) absorption of water and inorganic nutrients and 2.) anchoring the plant body to the ground. Roots also function in cytokinin synthesis, which supplies some of the shoot’s needs. They often function in storage of food. The roots of most vascular plant species enter into symbiosis with certain fungi to form mycorrhizas, and a large range of other organisms including bacteria also closely associate with roots.

On TV:

Roots is a 1977 American television miniseries based on Alex Haley‘s work Roots: The Saga of an American Family, his critically acclaimed but factually disputed genealogical novel.

Roots was made into a hugely popular television miniseries that aired over eight consecutive nights in January 1977. Many people partially attribute the success of the miniseries to the original score by Quincy Jones. ABC network television executives chose to “dump” the series into a string of airings rather than space out the broadcasts, because they were uncertain how the public would respond to the controversial, racially-charged themes of the show. However, the series garnered enormous ratings and became an overnight sensation. Approximately 130 million Americans tuned in at some time during the eight broadcasts. The concluding episode was rated as the third most watched telecast of all time by the Nielsen corporation.
The cast of the miniseries included LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, Leslie Uggams as Kizzy and Ben Vereen as Chicken George. A 14-hour sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, aired in 1979, featuring the leading African-American actors of the day. In 1988, a two-hour made-for-TV movie, Roots: The Gift, aired. Based on characters from the book, it starred LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, Avery Brooks as Cletus Moyer and Kate Mulgrew as Hattie, the female leader of a group of slave catchers.

In the Charts:

Roots is the sixth studio album by Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura, released in 1996 through Roadrunner Records. It was the band’s last album to feature Max Cavalera. The majority of the themes presented on Roots are centered on Brazilian politics and culture.

The inspiration for Sepultura’s new musical directon was two-fold. One was the desire to further experiment with the music of Brazil, especially the percussive type played by Salvador, Bahia samba reggae group Olodum. A slight influence of Northeastern Brazil‘s native music is also present in the guitar riffs, especially baião and capoeira music. Another innovation Roots brought was the inspiration taken from the (then) cutting-edge nu metal sound of the Deftones and KoЯn – especially the latter’s debut, with it’s heavily down-tuned guitars.

Roots was released in February 1996 and received with unprecedented enthusiasm. Even the popular press, that usually doesn’t pay a lot of attention to metal records, halted the presses to appreciate the unusual rhythms mixture of Sepultura. American newspapers like The New Times, the Daily News[disambiguation needed] and the Los Angeles Times reserved some space for the Brazilian band: “The mixture of the dense metal of Sepultura and the Brazilian music has a intoxicating effect”, wrote a Los Angeles Times’ reviewer. The Daily News went even further: “Sepultura reinvented the wheel. By mixing metal with native instruments, the band resuscitates the tired genre, reminding of Led Zeppelin times. But while Zeppelin mixed English metal with African beats, it’s still more moving to hear a band that uses elements of its own country. By extracting the sounds of the past, Sepultura determines the future direction of metal”.

Acknowledgements: This post would not have been possible without the untiring effort of all of those kind folk at Wikipedia who are up at all hours of the day and night writing entries.

I’d also like to thank they keys Ctrl, C and V

The Luther Burger

Posted in Food on July 16, 2008 by Philonous

This morning, as I was looking at various things on the internet, I stumbled upon this picture on Flickr. Someone had lunch at the Google cafeteria in New York and as a special they were serving Krispy Kreme donoughts with bacon and cheddar….

17 Course Crisis

Posted in Food, politics with tags on July 11, 2008 by Philonous

Much has been made recently of the increasing prices of basic commodities such as food and fuel. Amidst the introduction of protectionist export tariffs in some countries and rising inflation and interest rates in others, there is a general atmosphere of a looming crisis around the world. Check out this Rocketboom video for a 3 minute summary:

Crisis indeed. Not so in Hokkaido however where G8 leaders this week rewarded a hard day’s chatting with a slap up multiple course banquet comprising the choicest of Japanese delecacies. Churchill apparently was similarly fond of fine food, fine cognac and fine cigars during the strict rationing of the war years. I suppose these sorts of perks are to be expected…

The menu (as reported by the Guardian) read as follows:

  • Corn-stuffed caviar
  • Smoked salmon and sea urching “pain surprise” style
  • Winter lily bulb and summer savoury
  • Kelp-flavoured cold kyoto beef shabu-shabu, asparagus dressed with sesame cream
  • Diced fatty fles of tuna fish, avocado and jellied soy sauce and Japanese herb “shiso”
  • Boiled clam, tomato, Japanese herb “shiso” in jellied clear soup of clam
  • Water shield and pickled conger dressed with vinegar soy sauce
  • Boiled prawn with jellied tosazu-vinegar
  • Grilled eel rolled around burdock strip
  • Sweet potato
  • Fried and seasoned Goby with soy sauce and sugar
  • Hairy Crab “Kegani” bisque soup
  • Salt-grilled bighand thornyhead with vinegary water pepper sauce
  • Milk fed lamb from “shiranuka” flavoured with aromatic herbs and mustard
  • Roasted lamb and cepes and black truffle with emulsion sauce of lamb’s stock and pine seed oil
  • Special cheese selection, lavender honey and caramelised nuts
  • G8 fantasy dessert

Well it’s good to know that they’re taking it all so seriously. Presumably Mr Brown made the left-overs into a convenient flan rather than throwing away the 30% that we British are prone to waste. Watch for spin-doctors’ heads rolling out of Whitehall.

Also check out the FT report and the Guardian report.

Picadilly, Peekahdeelee, Pick-a-Deli…? a culinary exchange

Posted in Cuisine, culture, Food with tags on June 19, 2008 by Philonous

Last weekend we hosted a party at our place for which we cooked a range of popular French party dishes, including a cake au jambon (a cake with ham, cheese, fresh green peppercorns and herbs). Our guests – who were mainly British – had apparantly never heard of a salty cake before in their lives. Some just called it quiche. A few said it was “very good”. Others just looked confused. It was as if we had brought fish and chips and steak pie to the French people: “what eez zeez eengleesh food?!”

When I tell people that I come from Paris, some will automatically tell me how they went there on holiday and how the food was absolutely fantastic. I wonder! The cake au jambon certainly demonstrated that there are differences in culinary tastes and expectations. Parisians know that you have to pay a lot to get good food in their city – and where tourists go is usually expensive and serves mediocre food. Did my friends really have real French food?

Just like I had to discover that in some parts of England having tea means having dinner and having dinner means having lunch, some still have to discover that British super-market quiche and baguette doesn’t taste French. And there was me thinking that Jane Eyre was constantly drinking tea and eating scones and sugar coated cakes! “yes, yes, verrree breeteesh”.

I still haven’t gotten used to steak (and kidney) pie and fish and chips, but there are a few things which I appreciate about English gastronomy:

  1. Pimm’s with lemonade – because it’s got cucumber in it, which I think is eccentric
  2. sausage and mash patatoes with ale – because it’s easy and filling pub food
  3. peas with mint – because other French people hate it
  4. crumpets – who would have thought that bread could have such a consistency
  5. Scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam – because the Queen’s beagles have it for breakfast
  6. pheasant – especially if it’s home killed in fox hunting costume and AGA cooked
  7. christmas pudding and mince pies
  8. jacket patatoes with beans and cheese – because that’s the only decent food from my work cafeteria

Next dish I would like to try: the toad in a hole – because of the strange name!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to cook French I recommend the website People have already posted many of their personal recipes on this site, and the good news is that an English version is also available.
For your next Paris holiday, you’ll get authentic food at Le Balzar. The best time to go is on sunday for lunch. Of course you’ll have to start with an apéritif like a kir. And after your entree and plat principal, you’ll have to eat one of their delicious dessert.

Little cake, bombastic effect

Posted in Cuisine, Food on April 2, 2008 by Philonous

Have you ever wondered how to make those small hot chocolate cakes which you get in restaurants? This a French dessert recipe for all chocolate lovers…

feeds 3-4 people
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes

You need:
– 4 ramekins
– 100 grams + 8 squares of dark dessert chocolate
– 3 eggs
– 80 grams of sugar
– 50 grams of butter + a little extra
– 1 table spoon of flour + a little extra

Then work your magic…
1. Pre-heat the oven at 260°C
2. Melt the chocolate and the butter
3. In a big bowl, mix the eggs, the sugar and the flour
4. Pour the warm melted chocolate and butter in the mix and stir
5. Butter and flour your ramekins
6. Pour 1/3 of the mixture in each of them
7. Place 2 squares of dark chocolate in each and cover with the rest of the mixture
8. Put the ramekins in the oven for 10 minutes

Your little chocolate cakes will blow in a soufflé-kinda-way, the chocolate squares will have melted, and you will have the great pleasure to calm your chocolate craving. Enjoy!!!