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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A tasty meal

Rose and I have come to an arrangement. Instead of me grousing on about how she neglects the housework and her plants, for one month I do all the housework with the exception of the midday meal and sweeping the living room floor. Rose does that, and spends all the rest of her time caring for her plants. The house looks cleaner and Rosie’s plants are much happier. Me too.

So this evening, after drinking a glass of orange juice with Rose in the back porch, I opened a can of tuna (we can get tuna fresh and cheap any day here, but I was too lazy to buy and prepare it.) I put it into a marinade of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper and bay leaf.

While that was marinating I put rice on to cook, grated half a coconut, made some coco milk from it and laid the table.

Then I roll-chopped half a large aubergine (the sausage shaped variety is what we get here), scraped and grated a lump of ginger root, chopped an onion and peeled and crushed three cloves of garlic, heated a frying pan with some oil in it and put that with the aubergine to stir-fry two or three minutes. Added water, sugar and soy sauce and cooked gently for ten minutes. Turned it into a bowl to cool a bit (we don’t like our food very hot here, it’s better just warm.)

Time to cook the tuna. I emptied it with the marinade into a copper-bottomed saucepan, cooked it for a couple of minutes, then added the coco milk. Tasted it to check everything ok (bit too much vinegar but never mind), dished it and checked the rice – cooked already. Everything on the table, called Rose and Claude.

Half an hour later, everything had disappeared. Even Claude ate quite a lot, which is unusual for him.

Fed the dogs, washed the dishes and sat down to write this post.

After the one month is up? Haven't made any plans.


  1. Sounds yummy, Malcolm -- although I had to go look up "aubergine." Eggplant we'd call them here. OK, then... Will look forward to hearing what you decide to do about next month.


  2. The tuna sounds delicious Malcolm. There's something about aubergine I can't seem to quite get the hang of - how do you simmer it for 10 mins without it becoming mushy? I usually substitute with courgette.


    PS. Thanks for allowing "anonymous" comments.

  3. sue, I think the one month may very well be extended. We have been operating this system more than a week and I like it, I think Rosie likes it, too. If we are fortunate enough to find a housemaid (has to be someone who speaks some English, otherwise it would be easy) I may give the housework over to her. Sanny, our helper, does most of the outside work so there's not really much to do in the way of housework. Today Sanny spent much of his time replacing the mosquito netting on two windows, then prepared a little concreting job, followed by harvesting some mangoes from one of our trees, for which he has either to climb the tree or get up on the roof with a very long bamboo fitted with a net on the end. We've had some heavy rain today and it has been necessary to dig some temporary drainage ditches, too, to help reduce the mud.

  4. orchidea, the aubergines did get mushy, I'm afraid. Probably five minutes would have been enough. I cut the pieces large and turn the heat down very low. Ken Hom recommends salting the cut pieces to get the water out, but I don't find that makes any significant difference.

    I'm not that skilled a cook but I like to do one meal a day and maybe a bit of baking, too - here in Philippines almost no-one does home baking, most homes don't possess an oven. We have to remember wheat doesn't grow here (but that doesn't stop Filipinos from importing a lot of it and making the resulting white flour into poor quality bread, which is very popular and cheap).

  5. I like the idea of you keeping house. That arrangement seems to suit both of you better, right? I have high standards for our home but no one else here cares whether I keep it up or not. That's why it mostly falls in my hands to maintain it.

    Do you like living in the Philipines?

  6. Wendy, Yes I do like living in Philippines, on the whole. Of course there are disadvantages to every place in the world: here it is laziness, corruption, inefficiency, lack of proper infrastructure and cultural backwardness. But the people are cheerful, friendly and tolerant - too tolerant, really. Also, Wendy, I was born in the Far East and really it feels like home to me. I like the climate, too - tropical; living is very cheap here and I don't have much money, e.g. a visit to the doctor costs the equivalent of $2 and you don't need to make an appointment, just drift in. Our town in a fishing port, and I happen to like the sea. I would never go back to England to live, even if I could afford it. I miss the culture, though, the music, libraries, art.

  7. Sounds delicious!

    you know, salting aubergine has worked for me (its been a while)--i think the trick was to salt it and leave it for a while--around half an hour--salted in a colander in the sink, to draw out the water...


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