Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cooking on pure inspiration, thinking about somebody I used to know

Tonight I made dinner for some neighbors I haven't seen in a long time, as we all have been very busy living a Travelife. They'd just come back from two months spent in Hawaii, living an easy life in Honolulu and having drinks on the beach at sunset basically every day.

Some people have all the luck. The husband had made his fortune at a shockingly young age via Hong Kong real estate; and now all they do is manage their investments and figure out where best to spend each part of the year so that they take advantage of the seasons and also advance some of their own interests.


One time they'd wanted to learn how to snowboard, and so off they went to Switzerland to learn how to do it properly sans the crowds on the slopes. Another time they'd spent autumn in New York for the theater and good dining. This time they'd holidayed in Hawaii because some of their friends were doing the same thing, and they figured it'd be nice to have great weather for two months -- no extreme heat or terrible rains -- and just be by the sea everyday.

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I never really have time to make dinner for anyone, but somehow I'm always inviting people over anyway, whenever I get the chance. I guess when you're in restaurants or hotels or other people's houses about 355 days of the year, you want to use your own house too sometimes.

Plus, between my never-ending Travelife and these neighbors' never-ending Travelife, the chances of being in the same city at the same time are so rare that I felt I just had to get together with them tonight.

That's how I felt today. I was very busy, actually, as I was finalizing upcoming trips and the production for the October-November issue has just re-started itself all over again. So it was back to the editing board, and to the fun process of putting the Philippines' leading travel & lifestyle magazine together from scratch.

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We just semi-finalized our October-November cover, by the way, which was overseen by our very own general manager Gel Bayona and the Travelife team in Taiwan a few weeks ago; and it's a really nice cover. We're going to put Taiwan on the travel map the way we do for every destination we decide to feature.

I wish I could post it here, but the timing's not right. But today I did email it around to a couple of good friends, and the feedback was terrific.


Sometime during the day, though, I had to decide what to cook. Yesterday I'd gotten a very nice, semi-lean slab of pork and so I figured I'd do something with it today. As usual, no recipes and not much prep time -- just inspiration.

Anyway I made an eggplant and tomato pasta and some appetizers. For the main course of pork, I decided to make cuts into the slab and into these I inserted cloves of garlic and prunes. Yes, prunes, would you believe?

Then I rolled the slab in Herbes de Provence and a couple of other spices I'd picked up recently in Europe, wrapped it in salty cabbage, added carrots and other vegetables around, and then slow baked the entire thing in my Le Creuset Dutch Oven for about 90 minutes at 200 degrees.


All the while I was cooking, I was listening to all kinds of songs like the cool hit song "Somebody I Used To Know." This is certainly not a song from my generation; but I really like it a lot anyway. I'd heard it first when I'd guested on DJ Neil Pagulayan's show on 99.5 RT, and I'd written it down then and looked it up online when I got a chance.

And what do you know? Everyone liked both the pasta and the pork dish, so these were great successes. Of course, without a recipe to follow, I don't know if and when I'll be able to replicate these again. Maybe I'll need more of that music about somebody I used to know.

Just another evening in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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