Monday, 28 February 2011

Ginger & Pork Stir Fry

I love the strong ginger taste given to the pork in this dish

1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, cut and sliced lengthwise
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A large piece of ginger (About 2 thumbs sized pieces, grated. 
3 tbsps fish sauce
1 tpsp brown sugar
Approx 400g of pork cut into small thin pieces.  I use loin or shoulder (Chicken can be used as well)

Add a small amount of oil to a wok over a fairly high heat and when hot add the garlic and a similar amount of the ginger and fry for about a minute until the garlic starts to turn brown.  Add the pork and stir fry until nearly cooked.
Add the onion, rest of the ginger and the mushrooms and stir to mix well, then add the fish sauce and sugar.

Tourism News


VIENTIANE, 24 February 2011 – Lao Tourism Marketing Board will hold its launch conference, 1 March, at Don Chan Palace Hotel in Vientiane.
At the event LTMB president and directors, joined by chairmen of Lao National Tourism Administration and Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry will present the key objectives of the board marketing strategy and plans while introducing all the new directors.
Established by LNTA and private sector partners in July 2010, the LTMB is a partnership between public and private sectors. It will focus on marketing Lao tourism, and developing a long-term tourism strategy.

More Here

BANGKOK, 24 February 2011 – Association of Thai Travel Agents’ members handled 243,971 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport in January, down 3.28% from 252,234 visits during the same month last year, according to association data.

More Here



BANGKOK 23 February 2011 — Competition between Thai hoteliers at the annual ITB Berlin, in mid-March, will be more intense especially for hotels in Bangkok where more than 2,282 hotel-rooms are due to open this year.
Then in 2012, the Thai Hotels Association claims, in its latest report, that another 1,379 rooms will open in the Thai capital to dampen any prospect of rate increases.

More Here



Sunday, 27 February 2011

Chicken With Lemongrass

This is a simple dish, but needs to be prepared and chilled for at least a couple of hourse before cooking.  We normally serve it as one of 2 or 3 dishes.  As with all dishes you may need to adjust quantities of sugr and fish sauce to your taste.

250g Chicken Breast
2 stalks of lemongrass
3 clove of garlic finely chopped
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 red chili, finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce

Cut of the woody ends of the lemon grass and remove the outer 2 layers of stalk.  Cut into short lengths and then bruise by pounding in a pestle or mortar.

Put in a bowl and add the garlic, black pepper, chilis sugar and fish sauce and mix well

Cut the chicken breast into slices and add to the mixture and stir well to ensure that the chicken is well coated.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  I do overnight where possible.

Heat a wok over and add a couple of tbsps of cooking oil.  Swirl to ensure that the surface of the wok is coated.  Once hot add the chicken mixture and stir fry until the chicken is cooked and the garlic and lemon grass are caramelized.

Serve with rice




Saturday, 26 February 2011

Time For A Change

Hope you like the new blog design!  I am also working on a redesign for the inspiringisaan.com site

Meanwhile I have started a separate photo blog, Inspiring Isaan Photos which gives me more flexibility on the main site which was getting too big and becoming harder and harder to manage.  Check it out here.

And whilst I am on, we will shortly be launching our ebook store.  You can check it out here.  Still some design work and loading of books to do.

Friday, 25 February 2011

It always happens when I need to do a 90 day run

Three months almost up again, so it's off to Laos soon.

There always seems to be something to throw a spanner in the works.

I'd like to make firm plans, research and explore somewhere new.  But this time round wee are trying to get a shop in Nong Han to rent.  If that goes through soon then it's a quick there and back, maybe one night in Vientiane and then a trip to Pattaya shopping.  If not then looking at a visit to Vang Vieng for a few days.

If we get the shop at a reasonable price then the plan is to make it a 'drop in coffee shop' (the nearest is Udon and there are lots of Farang living in the area), still deciding on name, selling china which I can source in Pattaya - mainly seconds, but of lines produced for the likes of Ikea and some of the goods Nit is hawking round the markets.

Links/Bookmarks Update

If you are linking to this blog, or have it bookmarked using either the inspiringisaan.com or crystalhillgardenresort.com address, please change the link NOW to 


How A Financial Bailout Works

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town. No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Not a receipe I'd recommend

Food vendor busted for selling ya-ba with grilled chicken

Police on Sunday arrested a Walking Street food vendor for allegedly serving up methamphetamines with his barbecue chicken.


From The Pattaya Mail

Cucumber Salad

I justy love this simple side dish for it's freshness

2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tomato, halved then sliced
½ onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber thinly sliced - Of course I am talking Thai Cucumber so about 6-8 inches in length
2 spring onions, finely chopped

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly!
As always, taste and adjust the vinegar, sugar and fish sauce to your taste.

That’s all!

I usually prepare this in advance and cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Works well as a side dish

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stir Fried Vegetables with Garlic Ginger And Lime

Well here goes with my first recipe.  It makes for a fairly safe stir fry as you can test the flavour of the sauce before adding it to vegetables.  Knowing the combination we prefer I tend now to add teh sauce ingredients individual when I add the rest of the vegetables which is quicker as it saves preparing the sauce.  Our collection of oils, spices and sauces sit right next to the stove.


1 carrot, thinly sliced
2-3 heads of pak choi or other cabbage cut into pieces
6 or 7 mushrooms, sliced
5 spring onions, chopped into 1” lengths
A good handful of broccoli florets
A thumbsized piece of galangal or ginger sliced thinly, or grated
Small handful of chopped cashews or peanuts

For The Sauce

½ cup chicken stock
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 red chilli, finely chopped

First prepare the sauce by placing all the ingredients in a saucepan and bringing to the boil and simmer for about 1 minute.  Taste the sauce and adjust to your taste.  There should be a balance of salty (provided by the fish sauce), spicy (provided by the garlic and chilli), sour (provided by the lime) and sweet (provided by the sugar).  The proportions are those we use. Place the sauce to one side.

Now place a little oil into a wok over a high heat and add the carrots, galangal/ginger and mushrooms and stir fry until the carrots start to soften (about 2 or 3 minutes should suffice).  When the wok becomes dry add water a tablespoon at a time rather than more oil.

Now add the other vegetables and about ¼ of the stir fry sauce and continue to stir fry for about 2 minutes.

Then add the nuts and the rest of the sauce.  Mix thoroughly and allow all the ingredients to become heated through.

Do a final taste test and adjust if necessary.

Serve





Sorry No Booze

BANGKOK, 22 February 2011 – The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation announced, Monday, it will ban alcohol in seven national parks in the eastern province including Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat .

Read More Here

What are your seven wonders?

Supporters of Halong Bay Vietnam hope to collect enough votes to gain recognition as one of the Seven Wonders of the World by November this year.
The supporters need at least 60 million votes to win “seven wonders” designation to gain recognition by an internet driven voting procedure.
There are 28 candidates after the third round dating back to August 2007 and so far Halong Bay has gained the fourth slot in the rankings.

Read More Here

Or visit http://www.new7wonders.com/ to view all the 28 finalists and have your say

Monday, 21 February 2011

Typical

Just like it always rains just after you wash your car, having erected the shelter, today is a grey day in Kokthawon, and only in the mid 20's.

Still here are some photos of the plants they spent time last night protecting





It seems our plants need protection

We added some new plats and given the unseasonal hot temperature they need protection, although doing it at 10pm is not my idea of when to get a job done!










Coming Soon - Udon Mail

Or is and when.  It's been coming soon for some time!

http://www.udonmail.com/





The masthead does look very similar to the Pattaya Mail....



Sunday, 20 February 2011

Dealing With The Burdens of Life - Another of those emails

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon
And some days you're the statue.


* Always keep your words soft and sweet
Just in case you have to eat them.

* Drive carefully.. It's not only cars that can be "recalled" by their maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.


* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again
It was probably worth it.


* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time
For then, you won't have a leg to stand on.


* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons.. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.


*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Amusing Emails

I irregularly get amusing strange or 'interesting' emails.  Thought I'd start sharing some of them...  Let's start with this to make you groan......



A mate of mine recently admitted to being addicted to brake fluid.
When I quizzed him on it he reckoned he could stop any time.....


I had a mate who was suicidal. He was really depressed, so I pushed
him in front of a train.
He was chuffed to bits.

I went to the cemetery yesterday to lay some flowers on a grave.
As I was standing there I noticed 4 grave diggers walking about with a
coffin... 3 hours later and they're still walking about with it...
I thought to myself, they've lost the plot!!


I was at a cash point yesterday when a little old lady asked if I could check her balance.
Not being one to disappoint I pushed the old dear over.

A new middle east crisis erupted last night as Dubai Television was
refused permission to broadcast 'The Flintstones'.
A spokesman for the channel said....'A claim was made that people in
Dubai would not understand the humour,
but we know for a fact that people in Abu Dhabi Do.'

My son's been asking me for a pet spider for his birthday, so I went
to our local pet shop and they were £70!!! B*ll*cks to this,
I thought, I can get one cheaper off the web.


Just heard there was an explosion at a pie factory in Huddersfield.
3.1415927  are dead

My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, 'I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3
seconds.' I bought her some bathroom scales.

I start a new job in Seoul next week. I thought it was a good Korea move.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

What's Cooking

I've started cooking... Thai Food.  With Nit and the crew out all day selling at the markets and getting back at 9pm or later, we were eating noodles or whatever they bought.  I decided to give it a try, armed myself with a bunch of recipes from the net for Thai food and started experimenting.

The recipes are obviously westernized as some call of ingredients such as 'A GLASS OF WINE'!   From the first couple of attempts the receipes were light on seasoning (Fish Sauce in particular) and chili.  However with perseverance I've got a few dishes that are considered more than acceptable by Nit and Co.

I plan to start posting the recipes here in the next few days.

I am getting a regular at the local afternoon market, although our vegetable garden is now producing.


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Bangkok Airport Rail Link

For the return trip to the airport I caught the rail link at Phaya Thai.  Here the connection with the Skytrain is easy and quick with the stations been linked and close together.  Of course you can't get the express from here, you'd have to change, but for 40Baht to the airport I wouldn't bother.

Below are some photos of the Rail Link:





So the year of the rabbit has started...

and with it renewed border conflict between Cambodia and Thailand -
two-die-in-cambodia-clash
thai-cambodian-troops-exchange-fire-again

The PM has signaled the start of the general election campaign with a house dissolution likely in April

pm-starts-election-campaigning-early

And it seems increasingly unlikely that the Governement will be unable to keep the 30Baht per litre cap on diesel prices.

diesel-likely-to-pass-30-baht

Meanwhile I noticed at the local petrol station that Benzine 91 has gone above 40Baht per litre.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Helpful Hotel - Not

My plans for the trip to bangkok kept changing and I wanted to extend my stay in the hotel I'd booked on line.  I checked online and found they had a room for the extra night at the same rate I'd paid of 1,500Baht.

So I called down to reception and asked to extend my stay 1 day, and what the charge would be - 2,500Baht.

I queried this and pointed out I could book online for 1,000Baht less.  I was told up to you, if you want that price, book through the agent.

I hung up and went online and booked a different hotel