B and B…Ballooning & BRISTOL!

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

Copyright all rights reserved 

The adventurous and audacious Travelling Gourmet TM goes up and away to 2000 feet Above Sea Level in a…

MAJESTIC hot air balloon! It was cool, almost cold. Spring in England is oftentimes cold.

Latitude and longitude coordinates: 51.454514, -2.587910.

I was at Long Aston in the City of Bristol in the West Country… I was waiting to RV (Rendez-vous) with the people from a hot air balloon company. Bristol is the hot air ballooning capital of the United Kingdom. It is a fact that I only knew when I visited this fair city by the sea, which is also a port. There were some other ladies and gentlemen. From observing them I could tell they were somewhat snooty or what Germans call ,,hochnaesig” (high nose or stuck up)…except for two ladies…They were nice and we soon became friends. Sometimes you just know who can be your friends. I like people with good “auras”. Gwynneth or Gwyn for short is the mother of Sian Powell and both are true-blue Bristolians (is there such a word?). After a long wait to gather the troops as it were, we all clambered into Land Rovers to drive from Bristol to Bath. Yes, Bath. The only city in the world that when you leave…you are clean…Wahahahah! Think about it mes amis! It was a long drive…I fell asleep. One learns to sleep anywhere…so that when you need the energy, you have it.

BATH  51.3758° N, 2.3599° W

Royal Victoria Park, a short stroll from the city centre, is a ravishing expanse of green parkland. Originally an arboretum, 57 acres of greenery delights the nature lover.  Dating back to 1829, the park is named after Queen Victoria, who officially opened it in 1830 at the age of 11! I strolled around the park while the Ballooning crew unpacked their balloons and other gear of which there was a lot! It reminded me of my parachuting days as the balloon is also made of high quality nylon and had to be unfolded. Like packing a parachute in reverse order. There were several other balloons being readied for the flight. I realized that Royal Victoria Park was the usual take off point for hot air balloons. All very colourful they were, looking almost like multicooured parrots. Next a large power fan like those used in Hollywood to create the effects  of a storm or gale was used to partly inflate the balloon. Next came the loud and rather fightening orange gas flame from LPG burners. The flames were very close to the nylon material of the balloon and I thought in my mind: If the nylon catches fire, everything will go up in flames! After about 30 to 40 minutes, the hot air filled the BIG balloon and it started to come alive! It was anchored to the ground and the Pilot clled us to board the basket. It was a huge ratten basket divided in to 5 sections. The Pilot in the middle and four separate compartments contained 4 passengers in each section. Altogether 17 of us! Although there were 17 passengers the lift from the hot air was quite powerful and we rose up quite fast more or less straight up. The Pilot spat a lot to check the wind direction. Rather disgusting but he assured us that it was SOP (standard operating procedure). I thought in my mind : >Surely in the 21st Century there must be a better way of checking the wind speed and direction!!!< It was really, really nice. Cooool! Calm, quiet, peaceful…like floating on a magic carpet in Scheherezade’s 1001 Arabian Nights. It was only VERY NOISY when the Pilot turned the handle of the burner to increase the flame so as to get more lift!

Airborne all the way!

Balloon Bristol 20170509_194050_resized

The north-westerly wind brought us from Bath slowly…but surely towards Bristol on the coast. Our Heading was 288 degrees True Bearing. It was not long before we reached our cruising height of 2000 feet. The cows, sheep and horses on the farms and meadows below looked like little toys, literally! Incredible! Visibility was good and I could see other balloons floating in the sky…appearing not to move. The air was cool and it was quite cold but the heart from the flame of the burner kept me warm. The breeze was strong but not gale force…The Spring sun and the blue skies with white cotton candy  fluffy clouds made the hot air balloon flight so amazingly wonderful and memorable. I wished I had a parachute because although accidents are rare…if anything goes badly wrong all 17 of us would plunge to the earth below to…

Well, the good news is I am still here to tell the tale. All too soon, we were nearing Bristol and as we passed over a lake it was only about 600 feet ASL. It was all so amazingly beautiful! Sublime and magical…You must really go up in a hot air balloon to really appreciate the awesome beauty of it all. The scenery, the feelings of freedom and joy…the exhilaration…Mere words do not give it justice….We dropped to 500 feet ASL and I could see some boats and pleasure craft on the Chew Valley Lake.

Balloon Chew Valley 20170509_201915_resized

 

Actually, one can still parachute and survive from 500 feet or less. In airborne operations in combat on a HOT LZ, paratroopers static line parachute from 200 feet ASL which is bone-breakingly hard.

It was getting dark as the sun started to set…warm orange and pink salmon hues lit the sky with such beautiful psychedelic colours no painter could ever fully capture. The wonder of our awesome Universe filled me with inspiration and joy…

Royal Victoria Park

 

We skimmed over the large shimmering Chew Valley Lake near the city of Bristol to land with much room to spare…and came in for the landing…

Landing Stations!

I expected something like a parachute landing which can be very hard. People break their legs and ankles routinely when they land by parachute, so I held on very tightly to the rattan of the basket and braced for landing. A bump and some scraping along and we were down in one piece. “Suprisingly gentle!”, I thought happily.

We were all very overjoyed and exuberant after a most happy balloon flight and had taken lots of photos, mostly with our smart cellular phones…but now BAD news.

Murphy’s Law and stoopid people!

The stoooopid crew that were following our balloon by road had immobilized their Land Rover 4 wheel drive by pressing the wrong button or something! IMBECILES! What a bunch of TWITS!!! There was NO back up Land Rover! Another SNAFU and FUBAR. It got cold. Very cold. A freezing wind blew over us as it got darker and darker as it was about 21:39 British Summer Time. We were in a field on a farm…far, far away from anywhere. The Pilot remarked, ‘The owner of the farm is a woman and she doesn’t like Balloons landing in her fields”. Well, hard cheese! We were here and in her field. We had all foolishly clambered out of the basket. A mistake. Exposed to the howling wind and wind chill…it was freezing! There was NO food or drink either. Another SNAFU and FOUL UP! I said to the group sans Pilot, “I feel a rumbly in my tumbly!” There was uproarious and hysterical laughter! Well it is always better to laugh than to cry nicht wahr! The Pilot was furious at his idiot-crew members, but tried hard to hide it and walked far away to the corner of the farmer’s field so we could not hear him scolding them. His body language gave away his anger at their stooopidity. I decided to climb back in the basket as it was warmer. Others followed, even the erstwhile “snooty” people. Gwyn gave me her red soft woolen hat to keep warm which was greatly appreciated and some chocolate too. It was like the scene in the movie “The Pianist” where the Jewish family share a small piece of chocolate praline before being imprisoned in the Nazi Konzentrationslager/Death Camp. I was still famished, but something is always better than nothing. We waited…and waited…and waited…in the darkness, cold hungry and bladders almost bursting. There are no toilets in the basket of a hot air balloon. I thought of a clever and cunning plan. In the Worst case scenario I was going to introduce myself to the lady Farmer and ask her for food, wine and shelter using all my charm and powers of persuasion…

Salvation…

The Pilot had finally got his motley crew of MORONS to get another Land Rover to come pick us up. WE clambered out of the balloon’s basket and walked in the dark a long way to the gravel dirt road where the pilot brought out a bottle of champagne to drink a celebratory toast. It was surreal to drink in the total darkness lit by only the headlamps of the land rover. It was not a very good champagne but what the HELL! As least my thirst was satisfied, if only for a while…Mr. Pilot, if you are reading this, I recommend that you say to the driver who immobilized your Land Rover leaving us high dry with no food and no beverages in a deserted field in the middle of nowhere…a la President Donald Trump, “YOU are FIRED!”

BRISTOL, the city of Bridges, Balloons and Boats!

The farm, our LZ (landing zone) was not far from Bristol and Sian asked the driver, who was probably the retarded twerp who had immobilized the other Land Rover, to drop us near the Angel Inn, which is the oldest Public House in Bristol. I learned to my joy that it was owned by none other than modest and kind Sian Powell, the daughter of charming Gwynneth! Fortune favours the good! We walked from where we were dropped off about 300 meters to arrive at…the salubrious and ancient Angel Inn. Oh Happiness! Warm, cosy, cheery with food and drink! Wahahah! Goodie goodie Yum Yum! Gwynneth and Sian’s hospitality was very much appreciated! Thank you so much Gwynneth and Sian from The Travelling Gourmet TM! The Angel Inn is a really, really nice pub with good food, where you can also stay in-house. The earliest records for this building date back to 1495 when it became the Church House. It was used as a sort of parish hall for meetings and social events, the most important being the ‘Church Ale’. This was held several times a year, whereby church wardens sold food and ale to raise funds for the church, together with merry making, dancing, plays and other fun-filled festivities!

This ancient building gained the name “The Angel Inn” or “The Sign Of The Angel” in 1912. Long Ashton has always been popular with Bristol visitors. It was no different in the 18th Century when young men came to take part in contests to win money or goods, usually a fine beaver hat or a pair of buckskin breeches. The stage would have been set up in the cobbled courtyard, which even today is the scene of many an interesting night, wahahah! The Angel Inn is also a traditional PUB as well as a most excellent B & B, which usually means Bed & Breakfast, and NOT…

BALLONING & BRISTOL!

🙂

https://whatpub.com/img/AVN/40/angel-inn-long-ashton/298/224/55996

 

 

 

 

http://www.theangel-longashton.co.uk/accommodation

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HYPOCRISY has a name…

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

Copyright all rights reserved

The implacable and mischievious Travelling Gourmet TM tells you about l’hypocrisie…and

MOST profane Gordon Ramsay…who pronounced recently…

“There’s no f—— way I eat on planes,” he told Refinery29 last week in typically forthright manner. “I worked for airlines for 10 years, so I know where this food’s been and where it goes, and how long it took before it got on board.”

Clearly he doesn’t believe the huge sums of $$$$ dished out by airlines to celebrity chefs in recent years has made their food any more palatable. Heston Blumenthal (BA), Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse (both Air France) are among the other kitchen luminaries to have offered their wisdom. Forget Air France,,,one of the world’s worst airlines according to many, not necessarily only myself…Ha! Ha! Many patriotic feel the exact same way about their national airline…one of life’s ittle ironies…Wahahahahah! Once I was on First Class Air France and looking forward to some gorgeous gourmet goodies when…lo and behold…Alors Voila! La Grand Greve or a great big STRIKE by malignant marxist communist union crackpots and NO gourmet food! Les cons! Just bloody awful sandwiches! What the hell! That is why now I NEVER EVER fly Air France!

Given that Gordon Ramsay, infamous for his sadistic bullying of young aspiring Chefs and foul language worse than a SALT-BAKED Royal Navy matelot, who has worked as a consultant for Singapore Airlines, AND opened a restaurant at Heathrow called Plane Food, one could rightly assume that Gordon Ramsay has developed a passion for in-flight dining and PLane Food…

Hell no, this sorry excuse for a chef, who is a failed footballer spouts his dislike and even hatred of airline food! After which this foul mouthed poseur cook…wait for it mateys…wait till you see the whites of their eyes…gay Gordon opens a restaurant in Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow Airport selling …yes, food to take on board your flight like picnic packs and so on. This is HYPOCRISY ! HYPOCRISY on a grand scale. On a side note the ORIGINAL meaning of the adjective ‘gay’ is happy and merry.

I am not known for being politically correct and I hold Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson in very low regard.

I am not a fan.

I have it on very good authority from many highly reliable sources (that shall be nameless)…that foul mouthed Gordon Ramsay. eats ALL that he is served on flights…Including eye witness accounts.

As Baron Francois de la Rouchefoucauld put it so well:

L’HYPOCRISIE EST UN HOMAGE QUE LE VICE REND A LA VERTU

In English: Hypocrisy is a homage that Vice pays to VIRTUE.

Just like Matt Damon making tons of $$$$, in the role of rogue Intelligence Officer Jason Bourne, firing and shooting and killing the baddies in reel life, using all manner of highly lethal pistols, rifles, shotguns and sub machine guns…

who then condemns guns and want gun control! What the bloody hell!   £%$£^&*+%$£!!!   What a creepo and hypocrite!

GUN control is putting all your rounds into the brain of your enemy/attacker  in a 2 inch group.

I loathe and detest hypocrites.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/5/matt-damon-jason-bourne-star-calls-for-us-to-ban-g/

https://pistolsnipe.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Splatterburst-Target-After-Hits-300x400.jpg Gun Control

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Why SIA is the world’s BEST airline…

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

Copyright all rights reserved

If you are a politically correct type like looney Clooney please do not read further capisce…

 

The ever-positive and audacious Travelling Gourmet TM explains why…

MARVELLOUS SINGAPORE Airlines is the world’s BEST! Well, for one they do not overbook,  and then get the local Police to beat you up and knock out two of your teeth in the process,and then unceremoniously haul you off like a dead wild boar…

SIA does not have horizontally challenged (FAT), aesthetically challenged (ugly), age challenged (old) flight stewardesses like Quanta and Air France and some US airlines. Seeing is believing as my very good friend, Ken Hui, in Hong Kong always says! OMG! The air hostesses of Quantas look like male wrestlers of the WWF! Shock ! Horror!

SIA’s planes are new and heir Silver Kris First Class and Business Class Lounges are out of this world excellent!

To be continued…

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CAPELLA – Exclusive INterview with the Chef…

of CASSIA in Capella Singapore on SEntosa Island…

The energetic and audacious Travelling Gourmet TM has a chat with Chef Lee Hiu Ngai of Cassia fine dining Cantonese Restaurant!

Originally from Hong Kong, Chef Lee is now a Singaporean.  Chef Lee has had an illustrious career involving culinary stints in the celebrated Noble Court Cantonese restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Beijing, followed by Man Wah in the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. His cuisine shows his respect for the traditions of Cantonese cuisine while at the same time incorporating 21st Century nuances and ideas.
Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

Copyright all rights reserved

I began with a question close to my heart! Palm Oil not only destroys the forests of Indonesia but also causes Cancer. Top Chefs nowadays make sure they never use palm oil!

The Travelling Gourmet TM:
Just to check that there are no transfats, msg and palm oil in your food?

Chef Lee explained earnestly,
Here at Cassia at Capella Singapore, we do not use any MSG or palm oil in our dishes, as well as conscientiously try to minimise the use of oil when I cook my food.  We observe a trend where increasingly, our restaurant guests prefer more healthful and nourishing dishes as well.

 

Chef Lee Hui Ngai_MidRes

Chef Lee Hui Ngai of Cassia in Capella

 

The Travelling Gourmet TM: Do you use as far as possible sustainable products in your restaurant for the sake of our environment?

I believe in the importance of sustainable food and environmental conservation. As far as possible, I try to use sustainably sourced ingredients in our dishes.

The Travelling Gourmet : What are your favourite herbs and spices ?

I like Goji berries, Hawthorne Berry, Sea Salt and Soy Salt!

The Travelling Gourmet TM: I love Goji Berries aka Wolfberries…very good for the eyesight!

The Travelling Gourmet TM: Your favourite wines?

I love using the Chinese 花雕酒 in my cooking, as well as Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilège Cognac.

The Travelling Gourmet TM:  I love wine! Sometimes I even put it in the food when I cook! Wahahahah! I am a professional Chef too! Trained by CIA, 3 Michelin Starred Chefs, Lenotre Culinary School in Paris and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

 

The Travelling Gourmet TM: Who inspires you?

My mother is my greatest inspiration and biggest critic.  As a chef for more than three decades, I still feel that my mother’s simple yet memorable dishes far surpass mine. She uses simple traditional Cantonese cooking methods and classic ingredients to create dishes which will forever hold a special place in my heart, such as tender pork meat wrapped in a thin fried egg skin.

The Travelling Gourmet TM: I LOVE MY MUM TOO! 🙂 A Chef who pays tribute to his Mum must be good!

The Travelling Gourmet TM: Why did you become a chef?
When I was slightly over 10 years old, I picked up cooking from my uncle, a chef, who taught me my first skills and ignited my culinary passion. After which, I worked in a few renowned Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong where I further honed my skills from the head chefs.

Chef Lee’s story reminds me of my affable pal, Master Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook fame. Martin ran away from the Communists in China to Hong Kong, then worked his way up to the pinnacle of his profession. Chefs like Martin are a far cry from TV Chefs like Oliver and Lawson who are poseurs and…(I shall refrain from commenting further).

I really like Cassia for Cantonese ‘haute cuisine”. Do not just take my word for it. Go try the food and wines. I always say: Tasting is believing! 🙂

CASSIA at CAPELLA

1 The Knolls

Sentosa Island

Singapore 098297

Tel: 63778888

 

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Tasty Court in Siglap

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

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The resourceful and suave Travelling Gourmet TM tells you about a restaurant only days old and already…

MAKING waves in Siglap. This quiet and remote area of Singapore home to many a millionaire now has a brand new restaurant helmed by Chef Pung. The bright, spacious décor boasts an ambience befitting a new wave “hipster” Chinese Restaurant…On the day I sneaked in undercover and incognito, I found many diners enjoying wholesome Cantonese food cooked a la minute!

More to follow…More to report when I visit again. I want to give Chef Pung and his team time to settle down before I taste their food. Chef Pung is a good pal of my other good friend, Eric at the Intercontinental. Yes, we Chefs at ea little bit like La Cosa Nostra, the organization that only exists n the fertile over-active imagination of Hollywood film makers…parla piu piano…

 

To be continued…

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PARADOR

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

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TRUTH always defeats lies.

The Travelling intrepid and indomitable Gourmet TM reveals…

A torrid tale of lust, greed, corruption, deceit, lies and treachery…

spanning two continents where wheeling and dealing and corrupt business deals is rampant, plus lascivious les femmes fatales abound…

Work in progress…to be continued…

 

 

 

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The Travelling Gourmet TM’s SAS…

 

Béarnaise Sauce…

The audacious and irascible Travelling Gourmet TM…

MAKES Béarnaise Sauce…the Short & Simple way.

  1. Reduction

MIX a quarter cup of white wine vinegar/or Apple Cider vinegar and a half cup of white wine like a Trimbach Riesling (I love Alsacienne Rieslings), some finely chopped shallots. Add 3 stems of fresh Tarragon few stems of tarragon to the liquid mix saucepan. Simmer over low heat to reduce or use moderate to high BUT you must watch it. The old English saying is : A watched pot never boils. This is stuff and nonsense! Balderdash! The Travelling Gourmet TM says: A watched pot never BURNS! Reduced to about 15 – 20 ml. One tablespoon is 10ml. COOL>>>He’s no fool who plays it cool…:-)

2. Strain then COMBINE

 STRAIN the flavorsome stock into a cup that just fits the head of an immersion blender. In the cup put 2 egg yolks, no white and one pinch of salt.

The head of the blender is to be covered by the liquid.

Meanwhile, melt a stick and a half of butter In a saucepan over low heat melt about 50g of butter. DO NOT use margarine or cancer causing transfats with deadly palm oil! Check the temperature with a Chef’s thermometer to register 100 C +/- 5C.

3. Drizzle…

 Run the immersion blender and SLOWLY…piano…piano…drizzle in the melted butter, lifting the head of the blender up and down (like the Barista making microfoam for Cappuccino). Ensure the butter is smoothly emulsified.

Continue adding the butter in a thin, steady stream until it’s all been added. Like making Café Brulo Diabolique in Antoine’s of New Orleans (I love Antoine’s! So did American icons like J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI). The mixture should be about as thick as hotcake batter at this point. Season it to taste with salt…to your taste. Remember too much means high blood pressure…

Adjust the texture and viscosity to your taste. Check in the classic Chef’s way by coating the back of a spoon with the Béarnaise sauce and cut your forefinger across.

 

MIX in some fresh chopped Tarragon just before serving! ENjoy with a nice USDA Sirloin or Fish and Lobster from Canada! Guten Appetit!

This year on the 1st July is Canada’s 150th Anniversary! See my feature on Canada…Exclusive INterview with the Canadian High Commissioner

 

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