The search for the Colston Bun!

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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On a gastronomic safari in Europe, the tenacious and audacious Travelling Gourmet TM embarks on a search for the classic bun of Bristol, the…

MARVELLOUS Colston Buns

Bristol, Gloucestershire

Yeast-raised sweet bread round with sweet spices, lemon and a little dried fruit and candied peel. Made in a large size with (typically) 8 division markings and a small, individual, form known as a starver.


Children eating Colston Buns

 


Edward Colston

Named after Edward Colston, 1636-1721, a Bristol merchant who endowed a school and almshouses and who is commemorated each November at a service in the Cathedral where schoolchildren are issued with the buns…Now in disrepute in this time of asinine politically correctness…for being a slave trader.

In Bath, you have the Bath Bun, and in Cambridge you have the Chelsea Bun in Fitzbillies and so I started to look for the Colston Bun…with a view to tasting it!

 

To be continued…

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Security Screening at Airports

The intrepid and resourceful Travelling Gourmet TM explains what Security Screening is all about so you can…

MAKE your way to your flight seamlessly with minimum hassle and inconvenience.

What are they looking for in a Security Screening?

Pistols

Knives

Sharp Scissors

Box Cutters

 

X-ray of a bag containing a gun Stock Photo

Xray image of a Beretta 92FS 9mm in a bag

IEDs

Having travelled far and wide on special assignment I can let you know that there are three components needed for any IED ot Improvised Explosive Device:

  1. Triggering mechanism – This is what sets off the bomb. There are lots of ways to go about it from what I understand. It could be a timer, or something pressure sensitive, or via some remote radio signal, etc. The key thing we need to know is that triggering mechanisms are generally electronic.

2. Detonator – A detonator is a usually small amount of highly volatile explosive material that is easily lit off and provides the boost to detonate the main explosive charge.

3. The main explosive itself – The main explosive is some compound that is relatively stable so that it can be transported in high enough quantities to cause a significant explosion when ignited by a detonator. Explosives come in a variety of different materials and densities from liquids through to solids. Quite often plastic explosive like C4.

Because all three of these things need to be present in a bomb, we can use this info to pack our luggage so that it is obviously not a danger and is more quickly screened and cleared by TSA and other Airport Security Screening especially by X Ray.

X-Ray Screening of carry on luggage

The primary luggage screening tool typically is some sort of x-ray machine. So when we pack luggage we should think about it in terms of how the stuff we are packing might look to an x-ray machine on the monitor.

When I talk about “how things look” here, I mean how do they appear on  the monitor screen when viewed with some type of x-ray machine.

Potential Triggers

Here are some common suitcase items that could potentially be seen as triggering device components:

Personal electronics
Hair driers
Curling Irons
Electric Razors

iPods
Connecting cables and wires
Battery chargers

Cameras

Mobile phones
Basically when it comes to triggering mechanisms and their components we’re talking about anything that is electronic or electrical.

Camera tripods and selfie sticks can also look like gun barrels on the X ray machine

Explosive Material Look-a-likes

There are a lot of things that often get packed in our suitcases that have similar densities to potential explosive materials. Here are some of the more common items we’re talking about:

Shoes (especially shoe soles)
Books
Toiletries
Shampoo
Soap
Hair care products
Paper reports
Books
Lotions
Perfumes
Food stuffs (like peanut butter for example)

Cakes like Durian Kueh – a type of cake made from the Durian fruit. It looks like C4 platique.

Fruit Cakes
The list is pretty long, so I’ve just included some of the more obvious ones. Basically we’re talking about anything that has a density of a liquid, gel, paper or soft plastic.

Strategic Packing

If there is nothing in our suitcase that could be a component of a trigger that is right next to or physically touching anything that might be the same consistency of a potential explosive then our bag can usually be cleared automatically by one of the TSA machines without needing to be opened up by one of the TSA employees.

The key is to pack your suitcase in such a way that we keep anything that might appear to be a triggering device physically separated from anything that might be mistaken for explosive material. That means we need to keep some distance in our luggage between our consumer electronics and electrical devices and any of those things which has a similar density to potential explosives.

Fortunately we can use our clothes to pack in between them and provide that physical separation. In the TSA screening machines clothes are obviously not either component so you can use your clothes to provide the physical separation you want to expedite the screening process.

If you follow these tips your Security Screening should be hassle free!

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ITB in Singapore

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

Copyright all rights reserved

ITB ASIA 19 to 21 October 2016

The audacious and inimitable Travelling Gourmet TM visits…

MEGA Travel Trade Exhibition  ITB ASIA in Marina Bay Sands, and interviews Shawn Pun of Qatar Airways who explained, “We have more than 150 destinations and adding more like Helsinki, Pisa and Marrakech and more…” Qatar Airways like Emirates, has an international crew and pilots of many nationalities. Qatar has been in operation for close to 20 years. To keep in tune with today’s high tech internet society, passengers on board enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi for the first 15 minutes of their journey. To remain connected for the duration of the flight, convenient packages start from US$5! Those flying First Class enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi for the full duration of their flight. On Business Class you can order whatever meals you like throughout the flight up to 90 minutes before arrival at the destination.

Other countries exhibiting here include Iceland, Finland, Germany, Austria, Indonesia and more! I was impressed with the Germany, Berlin and Salzburg exhibitors who showed knowledge and much passion for their products. The Spain Tourism and Catalunya Exhibitors were also very helpful and informative.

Until the next time, this is The Travelling Gourmet TM saying: Keep calm and carry on Travelling! Life is too short for bad food, horrible wines and unpleasant experiences. Never settle for less than the best! You owe it to yourself n’est pas!

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Grandmaman inspired me…

The irascible and intrepid Travelling Gourmet TM visits what used to be the Supreme Court but is now the…

MAGNIFICENTLY restored National Gallery of Singapore, to taste the 2 Michelin Star cuisine of mon ami Chef Julien Royer. Odette is named for Julien’s grandma on his mother’s side, and now has 2 Michelin Stars. Julien hails form Auvergne which is one of Franc’s greatest treasures, a largely rural region of farms, artisanal cheese makers, mountains, valleys, forests and rivers.

I was overjoyed to be seated in the kitchen at the very special Chef’s Table near the Garde Manger (Cold Food) section. It brought back happy memories of cooking with mon bon ami Chef Philippe Legendre of le Cinq in Paris.

A definite must-try is the Declination of Pigeon cooked in a Dutch Oven and presented in a very unique segmented plate. Truly a most delicieux dish to rob a bank for!

To be continued…

 

Odette Restaurant (2 Michelin Stars)
1 St Andrew’s Road #01-04
Singapore 178957
Phone: +65 6385 0498

Reservations required! Usually booked up to 3 months in advance

For reservations, private events and other restaurant enquiries: enquiry@odetterestaurant.com

 

The National Gallery Singapore is an art gallery located in the Downtown Core of Singapore. Opened on 24 November 2015, it oversees the world’s largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art, consisting of over 8,000 artworks. Wikipedia

Address: 1 Saint Andrew’s Road, #01–01, 178957

Hours:

 

http://nigelperrin.com/odette-hallowes.htm#.WPGLSYVOLIU

 

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Icewine…Sweet delights can come from harsh winters…

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The intrepid and debonair Travelling Gourmet TM delves deeply into one of the world’s most esoteric wines…

MADE from FROZEN grapes! Just like the Kiwi Fruit that was made famous in New Zealand from its humble origins in China as the Chinese Gooseberry…Icewine had its origins in Germany but is now Canada’s most famous wine!

The most coveted dessert wine in Germany is Icewine or in German – Eiswein. Eiswein is made from grapes frozen on the vine. When grapes are naturally frozen on the vine, ALL the sugars and fruit flavours are highly concentrated.  Most of the moisture is left behind as ice and Eiswein offers a pleasurable concentration of sweetness and acidity. Yields being very low…Eiswein is expensive! Due to the very high sugar, special yeasts have to be used for fermentation. Sweet German Icewine will typically be very crisp and clear.

German Ice Wine GrapesThe very first Eiswein was produced in Germany in 1794. Franconian monks left their grapes too long on the vine…the grapes froze. The rest is history. Ironically, Canada is now the most renowned makers of superb Icewines!

Midnight Mission

Midnight in the Niagara Peninsula…groups of muffled and mittened figures crouch in pitch darkness by gnarled branches. It is cold, bitterly cold…Only the light of the Arctic moon shimmers on the snow. Commandos on a secret mission? No, just staff and volunteers picking precious frozen grapes to make Icewine!

Canadian Icewines

Two very excellent wineries are Inniskillin and Pilliterri. Both come from the Niagara Peninsula of Canada. The area is a designated VQA (Vintners’ Quality Alliance) region like the French AOC.

Inniskillin’s name originates from the town of Enniskillen, Ireland. In 1688 the inhabitants of Enniskillen took up arms to defend their town against the threat of occupation by the forces of James II. The soldiers called the Inniskillingers Foot and Dragoons, made repeated aggressive expeditions to seek & destroy the enemy. They were so successful that they were incorporated into the army of William III, becoming “The Inniskilling Regiment”. They became the Royal Inniskillin Fusiliers in 1881. Grape varietals used to make Icewine include Vidal, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tasting Notes

Pillitteri Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2013 is a super Icewine made by this winery that was founded in 1988. When you taste this you are tasting the rich harvest of a magical icy Canadian winter. One frozen grape produces just one rich luxurious drop of Icewine. The grapes are plucked by hand usually at night. When temperatures sink to below –8°C for at least a few hours…that is the outdoor threshold needed before the frozen berries can be harvested, pressed & fermented in this case at 15C in stainless steel  with 20% in French oak. Only 11.1% abv (alcohol by volume) with 219g/l of residual sugar but well balanced by 8.7g/l of acid. A ravishing cherry red hue entices while flavours of fresh raspberry, Amarena cherries and rhubarb explode on the palate. Candied lychees and caramel pleasure your palate with a long and pleasing finish. Some years ago when I was an International Wine Judge in Verona, Italy, I tasted this wine, gave it top marks and it won the Grand Gold Medal. Excellent with Key Lime Pie and Vanilla Ice Cream! Pillitteri Icewine is available in Fairprice Finest supermarkets.

 

Inniskillin Icewine Vidal 2014…The harvest for this wine began on January 5, 2015 with ideal temperatures of -10C. Under a full moon in the dead of night Vidal grapes were harvested at the Pratt Vineyard. On the nose aromas of tropical fruit like mango and pineapple seduce…while on the palate white peach, nectarine and candied lemon flavours are balanced by lively and crisp acidity. Only 9.5% abv with whopping residual sugar of 240g/l well balanced by 12.08g/l of acids. My friend, Donald Ziraldo who founded Inniskillin Winery always says with a mischievious chuckle, “When you drink Icewine you get the big ‘O’!” No prizes for guessing what the big ‘O’ is.
FOOD PAIRINGS:  Think texture not just sweetness! Perfect with a variety of cheeses like Gorgonzola and Roquefort blue cheeses and Foie Gras and Duck Rillette. Inniskillin Icewine is available in Culina, on SIA Inflight Sales and Changi Airport Duty Free shops.

 

An original poem by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

Those who can survive

harsh and cold winters

Will enjoy sweet delights

in the warmth of summer

Zum Wohl! (traditional German toast to your Health!)

 

 

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CANADA 150 Exclusive Interview with Canada’s High Commissioner

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The suave and debonair Travelling Gourmet TM goes to the official Residence of Her Excellency The High Commissioner of Canada to a…

MEMORABLE event to celebrate the 15oth Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada! Yes, this year in 2017, Canada celebrates its 105th Birthday with many celebrations and special events. The friendly and charming High Commissioner, Lynn McDonald, graciously welcomed me into her grand abode near the Singapore Botanic Gardens which has an outdoor swimming pool complete with cute waterfalls. Simply dressed in a simple white dress and chic off-white short jacket with neatly coiffed shiny blonde hair, the High Commissioner is in her forties.

IMG_9512

The Travelling Gourmet TM with HE Lynn McDonald the High Commissioner of Canada to the Republic of Singapore

Comfortably enscounced in the cosy study of her official residence, HE The High Commissioner kindly gave me an exclusive interview. I asked Lynn, “Canada has wonderful produce and food so how are you promoting Canadian seafood like Lobster and Crab and also Canadian wines to celebrate CANADA 150?”

Lynn answered cheerfully, “Canada is the largest seafood exporter to Singa pore and Atlantic Lobster, often referred to as Boston Lobster is available  in many restaurants and store. We work with partners to carry out theme promotions and activities in supermarkets, and also bring out special retail packs. Our seafood is sustainable like sustainable cold water lobster, Canadian scallops, Geoduck, Salmon. We also have Dungeness Crab form the British Columbian coast. This July to September, Canadian food will be showcased in speciality food stores. In March, during the World Gourmet Summit, Canadian food like seafood and pork will also be one of the stars! Not many know that Canada is the biggest exporter of soya beans to Singapore. Eighty percent of the soya beans in Singapore come from Canada. Canada also exports healthy Canola oil.”

I was impressed! I’ll give you a tip. They have very good Canadian Lobster and King Crab at Beach Road Kitchen of the J W Marriott.

My next query was on one of my favourite wines, namely Icewines. “Canada is rightly famous for its Icewines so do you like Ice wines?”

Smiling happily, Lynn remarked, “I do enjoy Ice wine! It needs to be served at the right temperature and at the appropriate time…must be served cold in a special dessert wine glass. Ice wine goes well with not a sweet sweet dessert, perhaps a small plate of Foie gras and cheeses, dried Maple cookies..but not a rich chocolate dessert, or with some tropical fruit and a light tangy sorbet. In addition to Ice wines, our table wines are winning more and more awards, as more people become aware of sustainable “cool climate” Canadian wines. I want to get restaurants to introduce more Canadian table wines on their wine. In May in the Marina Mandarin Hotel, Pillitteri wines will be featured in their Peach Blossoms restaurant.”

My final cheeky question was, “Have you tried the King of Fruits, the noble Durian?”

Lynn chuckled, “No! ..but I will try it! My husband is Chinese from Hong Kong and he loves durian!”

Later at the Reception to celebrate the launch of CANADA 150 there were delicious Canadian specialities cooked by the High Commissioner’s talented and humble Resident Chef Anand Kumar. Discussing food with him, Anand told me that Canadian food products are of very high quality. Of course, there were winsome Canadian wines too!

IMG_9515

Canadian Lobster is very yummie!

Canada High Commissioner 20170313_175454

With Her Excellency The Canadian High Commissioner at the Arts and Culture Event celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary

For more information on CANADA 150 events in Singapore please go to http://www.singapore.gc.ca

We wish Canada a very happy 150th Anniversary!

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A CASA LIKE NO OTHER! Casa Batlló

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

Copyright all rights reserved

The intrepid and irascible Travelling Gourmet TM, Dr. Michael Lim visits one of genius Antonio Gaudi’s celebrated… 

MASTERPIECES in beautiful Barcelona. Futuristic and quite mind boggling to say the least! My flabber was absolutely gasted by the colours and the myriad shapes and designs which are rather unworldly and anything but mundane! Be prepared for long queues and be prepared to stay at least 2 hours when you visit this architectural marvel. During my visit which was actually my second time, I was awestruck by the impressive Noble Floor. This was the original residence of the Batlló family. The family commissioned Gaudi to build this unique futuristic mansion. The Attic was used as storage rooms with wash tubs. I adore the Roof Terrace right at the top with quaint chimneys that look like bunches of mushrooms! Your reward after climbing up so many steps is an ueber-spectacular view of the city of Barcelona! Look out too for the backbone of the dragon which is the one slain by the legendary Saint George, known here as Saint Jordi. I found the rather narrow Stairwell which was once the communal stairwell, very fun to climb. At the visit’s end, admire the perfectly spiffing Entrance Hall and very imposing Main Staircase. With a hallway that evokes the undersea grottos of Captain Nemo and a series of skylights that look like turtle shells, sinuously vaulted walls and a spectacular staircase. When you are inside Casa Batlló, you feel  like you are in a subterranean world beneath the deep blue sea. I was taken with the series of cute skylights that look like turtle shells. Sinuously curved walls abound here instead of run of the mill plain flat walls. The swirling spectacular staircase impressed me with its intricately carved hardwood bannister…they look like a serpent’s tail. Colours here are also psychedelic and right out of an Austin Powers’ movie. One place you must not miss is the Modernist Courtyard which is al fresco and great for taking photos!

From the Batlló family’s dining room that is inside the Noble Floor…you can stroll out to this big exclusive rear patio, all 230 square meters of it.. The ultra colourful paving, laid out around the main curved ornamental element of a large planter is a riot of glittering colours. The spectrum of greens, blues and reds is simply fabulous! Genius Gaudi was truly a man ahead of his time! As a bonus it was only a short stroll from my hotel, the magnificent Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM is a celebrated Travel, Food and Wine Writer/Editor.

Casa Battlo,

Gaudi Barcelona

Passeig de Gràcia, 43
08007 Barcelona
Tel. +34 93 216 03 06

Entrance fee: 11 Euros

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