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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Pertzi Pizza Perfect!


I like Pizza. I have one every Saturday. Almost the same pattern as my daily toast (Toast of Dawn).

Here is the recipe for mine...

Day 1, no later than 18:27:

Stir a packet of yeast into lukewarm water
Add honey, about a teaspoon and still some more
Add olive oil. Top quality stuff. Here, 2 teaspoons

Let that concoction sit (or stand) for 15 minutes.
Add salt, stirrrrrrr again
Then stir into 300 gr of flour (top quality too!)
Make it a nice round blob in a bowl
Cover with a towel and put it to bed overnight. 

Day 2, Start at 11:30:

Wake the dough and prepare the following

Fried garlic, finely chopped
Fried, caramelised onions. A bit coarser than the garlic
Rip apart some honey glazed ham and salami
Bacon fat from breakfasts past and collected in a earthen vessel

Plop the dough down and knead it it. Press into round shape
Apply an even, thin layer of bacon fat on the surface of the now rounded dough. 
Sprinkle the garlic and onion evenly over the dough
Layer the ham and salami
Dowse the whole thing in tomato sauce (I use Barilla)
Cover with cheeeeeeese (Emborg does the job)

Put that masterpiece into the oven. 
Some may like pizza a bit soft (take out earlier)
Others like it crusty (Leave it in a lil longer)

Sprinkle parsley and Italian Uerbs - PREGO!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Gear on Patrol


I kinda miss the big autumn war games that went on in Germany during the 80s. Lots of real cool gear all over the place. Phantoms, Harriers, tanks and stuff. Always liked to talk to the soldiers that parked in barns and farms, making the places their command post. Everyone was friendly, despite the seriousness of the cold war and the fact that the threat of war was real. The display of war machinery was always very impressive. And the farmer liked it as they got compensation for all the crops they did not have to harvest after Brad Pitt ploughed it under with Fury. 

No. That is neither a Phantom, nor a Harrier. This was taken in 2017 in Cuxhafen, where there is an absolutely amazing museum dealing with war planes and zeppelins and such. I even got a pin of a Aunt Ju, which goes extra well with a Laco 1925 (made in Germany) Pilot's watch. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Ramsay's First Malaysian Restaurant on Trajectory to Failure?


Image Source: The Star

I have not had the opportunity to experience the food and service in any of Gordon Ramsay's outlets yet. Once I stood in front of one (In Dubai, during a media trip; we were eating opposite). From many YouTube videos I gather that the food and delivery must be something else. Hence, I was quiet excited when the opening of his first restaurant in Malaysia was announced in January this year. Quick on the keyboard, an email was sent out to make a reservation. We have a birthday in the family at the end of July and that would have been a great occasion for a try. Now, given the times we are in, and in general, planning six months ahead is tricky. A disclaimer that I have no problem accepting.

Getting a little anxious now, what with the ever changing and confusing SOPs around Covid-19, I thought it a good idea to check on how we are to go about the dinner we planned. A probe was sent into the restaurant to check if we could at all, and how to dine in. Thanks to low internet usage at 6:00 I got an automatic reply back in nanoseconds: all reservations are on hold. Which kind of not lets me know much. "on hold" as in if possible you can come? Or on hold as in we got you, but need to reschedule.

Here is the thing: I feel being let down. The current SOPs have been in place for some time. My details, the reservation, has been in their system for 6 months. Upon the government not allowing dine-in, could a restaurant be pro-active and send out a note that one may need to be prepared that the promised reservation could not be fulfilled? I would think that this is certainly possible. And I would understand. It is what it is. Would not be the first birthday that we had to re-rig in the past 15 months.

How do I feel about the lack of pro-active customer engagement? As I said. A let-down. I expected impeccable service from this particular brand, that prides itself in outstanding service. I expected that one would be informed, pro-actively in advance by the people working in the restaurant. While I am sure that it doesn't matter for what occasion, I stated that it is to be a birthday bash. Knowing that I cannot dine-in, I can now plan something else. Circumstances and the times we live in: no big deal.

However, we are talking about a place asking RM 150 (or EUR 30) for a Burger. I have no issue paying that by the way, if the product is worth it... And I would tell others to try too if I am convinced. Right now, I don't feel like going anymore, based on the experience so far. We are not talking about Ah Huat's Amazing Seafood in some industrial area catering to the nearby timber traders needing a quick bite for lunch...

I have yet to receive an personal message from the place after 2 days. Restaurants these days work on weekends, right? Again,... high end. Not food court. Hopefully, this is not the trajectory that the place is going to follow as I seriously hope to be wowed one day. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

An Exhilaratingly Good Read


Here is a book I picked up in one of these "Big Bad Wolf" sessions and this book was about 2 Euro. So, what could go wrong? Not much, considering the money spent. 

What I did not realise is that this is part of a series with protagonist telling successive tales about her encounter. However, this was a totally amazingly good read. Especially considering that it was first published in the 80s.

Now, what makes this such a good book? Remember, I have not read the others (A is for... B is for...). It tool a good dozen of pages before it became clear that the main actor is a female. Her name would not give that away. Apparently, authors would most often model their main character after their own gender. Here, unlike in many other cases, the author does not go for pages about describing the shapely long legs and all that stuff of the hero. Also, there is no prolonged love-story developing as I observe this typically happening with fiction that revolves around a female hero.

Beautifully crafted, the story picks up right away and the fact that I have not read the others before that does totally not matter. This could be a stand-alone. And it is wittily written, although the language is easy on the eyes: short sentences keeping the high pace up, easy to grasp as the story unfolds in some pretty wicket twists and turns. 

Finally, the description of tech, tools and cars is one thing that makes this an easy and exciting read. Nothing is really specific, which allows the story to be even possible today. For instance telephones are mentioned without brands or models. Cars are just referred to by their brand, meaning that the VW mentioned could be a more recent model. 

A solid "Who-dunn-it". What I need to do next is to get the A-E of this series. At least this one: highly recommended!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Internet Treasure Trove


There are some really smart people out there. When you accidentally press "qw" on your keyboard in Google, this comes up. And yes, that is something posted on YouTube that you can view. You will be surprised as to how many people actually watch this, i.e. must have qw-ed accidentally. Hopefully, Ara Coiset is making a nice chunk of that video!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Running out of Thyme: Cooking with Stefan


This has a lot of balls. Having experimented with the meat mix, we found that the best results are when we mix minced beef and minced pork about 50/50. Another interesting aspect is the size of them ballers. One of our favorite restaurants serves them almost fist-sized. However, we prefer them to be small, slightly bigger than a grape. That way, the meat retains more juice when cooking them as they are done quicker. The pasta is made from scratch as well. There the secret is to use top quality ingredients. It pays to spend a little more on the flour and the olive oil. The dough just turns out nicer and the pasta tastes better. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Creating a Coffee Table Book


It has been a bigger project than I initially thought, but finally, the "Iconic Trucks" coffee table book is going to the printer. The work itself has been rather exciting and there have been many great moments in the process. Although similar to a magazine, a book is still rather different. 

Here some things I learned in the process of putting this together:

- Have more material than you need
- Social Media is a terrible way to reach out to brands when you need their input
- Plan for more. I wanted over 50 trucks, but several brands did not respond....
- Proofread more than once
- Only give the material to the design team after ALL amendments have been made
- Those that provide input will have their own ideas what such a book should be about. One has to be firm and stick with the original concept.
- There WILL be mistakes. Small stuff. And one will only find that after printing. 
- Also a good idea is to have someone look at this that is not in the industry one is writing about.

To me, the most puzzling thing is how brands do not react to the idea of free exposure. One asks. One explains. And then nothing is coming. Especially when trying to make contact via social media in order to get to the right person(s). But hey,... Guess there are priorities people have. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Magazines Talking about Magazines


Every now and then, I am on the other end of the microphone when other publications are interviewing me. The latest feature of my work was published in the July issue of the Expat Magazine here in Malaysia. I was one of several foreigners that the editor, Chad, talked to. The full magazine is available online here: and there are some other very interesting articles in it.

In one story, the skyline of Kuala Lumpur is discussed. This, to me, is a very personal story as I have been inside some of the newer buildings to take pictures and interview the main contractors while the buildings were under construction. 

David Bowden is also contributing to this magazine and his stories about Thailand make one want to go, too. It has been some time since I was last in Phuket. I think in 2008. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

The Resurgence of Upset Wives

With another, more strict lockdown starting tomorrow... There are tightened rules.

"2. All residents must stay at home but one representative per household will be allowed out to purchase essential goods.

3. This family member may not travel beyond a 10km radius or leave the enhanced MCO area, whichever is shorter."

What we can expect is a lot of angry wives when the designated shopper (Hubbie) is bringing home Chives instead of the requested Spring Onion.