7 course menu

27 Nov

Last Saturday I was invited to a luxurious dinner on the top floor of a building located right on the Vltava river that runs through Prague. We were escorted up the elevator, our coats were taken at the door and our seats pulled out and gently pushed in as we sat down.

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Not until we sat down were we informed that the regular menu would not be available that night, and that an exclusive seven course menu was prepared for everyone. Not only was it seven courses, it was also Asian. We all looked at each other, a little taken back by the news, but we mustered up the courage and stayed. Why not? None of us would probably sign up for the event voluntarily, but not that we were here, we were curious.

Here is what we had to eat over a span of several hours:

Sashimi, foie gras, fress truffle

Tuna tartar, wasabi, quail egg, squid ink toast

Crispy tiger prawns, wasabi sauce, black sesame

Cod in white miso paste

Beef filet, veggies, soy and caramel sauce, ginger shitake

Raspberry sorbet with pandan, white chocolate and black sesame sorbet wrapped in marzipan

Chocolate ball with plum and almond cake and hot surprise

This was absolutely stunning. They brought out the chocolate ball which already looked impressive. Then they started to pour hot chocolate over it and the chocolate ball started to melt and reveal the scoop of ice cream that was hidden inside. What remained was a piece of cake with ice cream and a pool of warm chocolate and bits of coconut that bathed the entire dessert.

Heaven.

Make some noise

22 Nov

Yesterday I went to see STOMP the musical extravaganza that finds a way to make noise on pretty much anything. What an amazing show. There was no intermission, but they kept us entertained and engaged the entire time. With trash cans, brooms, inner tubes, lighters, PVC tubes and even matches they simply made a whole lot of noise! Each one of the dancers also had a unique personality they played up throughout the show.

Coming home, I felt my hand wandering and testing the sound of anything that came under my reach. Now, for the social experiment:

Let’s say, you walk into a store and get a rhythm going by banging on cans, carts and stomping your feet. Would people get pulled into the music and start bobbing their heads in unison? Or, would they start glaring at your for disrupting the mundane silence they need so hard to be able to concentrate on their selections? And, would the reactions differ by countries or even city versus country side?

I think it could be possible to loosen them up.

Who cares- but really

21 Nov

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a recent event that happened in Prague. The president Vaclav Klaus was attacked by a replica gun. Nothing happened to him, but his bodyguards failed to protect him. They even failed to show any sign of activity for the safeguarding of the president, even if it was only a scare.

Not long ago, the president announced the lifting of criminal prosecution of the two bodyguards who were in hiding. His decision was based on his satisfaction of their previous execution of duty.

His official announcement

The question is, was their loyalty ever tested in a way that they could prove that they are loyal to their post? Had they never been in a situation where they had to intervene, then there is little way of judging their service. If their character is never tested, then who knows what they will act like in the future. As long as the president feels safe with them by his side, then his grace is admirable.

Pumpkin Pie

25 Oct
There is pumpkin pie filling in Prague!

I got really excited when I found the store that sells American junk. They have all the stuff that Europeans would look at us as crazy for bringing anywhere near our mouths..Twinkies, Pop-tarts, Vanilla Coke, Reese’s…The Candy Store 

So I left the junk for other hungry Americans and took that can of pumpkin puree.

My recipe explained:

Lately, I have become a big fan of the Paleo diet lifestyle. I didn’t believe it at first, but after trying it for a while, I fell for it. You could get into all the details of it, but here are the main messages: your body needs fat to function, your cells and brain are full of it, it protects organs and keeps you warm, so you have to feed it fat, protein to build and maintain muscles and vitamins and minerals.

Then there is sugar. Not only the white powdery kind and candy and cakes, but everything that contains carbs is basically sugar. When you think about everything we normally eat throughout the day, you eat a disproportional amount of sugar compared to the other components. Paleo enthusiasts stay away from all sugars, grains, starches, pastry, side dishes and so on. Ideally, it would be great to have that kind of willpower. However, I think any adjustment in proportions or substitutions for the corn sugar and wheat products it a logical step. So, I eat lots of veggies and fruit, healthy fats, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, eggs, meat, some nuts and I do sneak in hard cheeses and cream, oh, and I am not giving up dark chocolate. We could go on, but let’s not.

There are lots of options of what to eat. So much so, that I do not feel deprived of the side dishes or crave the sweets. But, there is a big BUT. There are those baked goods that just seem wrong to give up completely. And yes, I will have those on occasion. However, I have been trying to find and try out recipes that would adhere to the Paleo guidelines. I am willing to try the recipes, but I won’t sacrifice the taste for something that might be healthy. In other words, if the Paleo version is not as good as the original, I will reach for the real thing.

First experiment: Pumpkin Pie
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The recipe

Crust
1 cup chopped fine almonds, cashews, almonds
4 T melted butter
-mix butter and nuts into a paste and press into bottom of pan
-bake 350F, 175C for 15min

Filling
1 14 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 eggs
spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice
1/4 cup cream (optional)
1/4 cup honey, agave syrup, maple syrup (optional)
-blend until smooth
-pour over crust and bake about 45 min
-leave pie in the oven with the door open to prevent it from cracking as it cools

Eat!

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3 Oct

Who cares

1 Oct

Last week the Czech president Václav Klaus was attacked by a replica gun. The 7 shots fired showed an absolute failure in the highest Czech security forces. How is it possible that Klaus was surrounded by 3 bodyguards and each one of them failed to react?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19767929

In the news report, they are captured smiling and joking. None of them took it seriously. This is a reflection of how the state values its highest representative, and the absolute lack of national pride, let alone respect for the position which requires absolute dedication to the well being of a singular person.

The head of security resigned, not surprisingly. But again, no one cares. A more proper course of action would be jail time or trial for breaching his oath to serve and protect.

This is an incredible reflection of Czech character as a whole. In every aspect of society you can see how selfish and immoral it has become. Everyone looks only after themselves. Because of the years of communism, lack of national pride, absence of religion and apathy, the Czech people have become very passive.

Why bother with anything if I have nothing to gain.

“The pistol gave us a good laugh, so who cares,” is their attitude. No one was willing to carry out his job, (even if at the expense of making a fool of himself) and jump the plastic pistol and camouflage man.

“The government is deaf and blind,” the shooter told reporters, and is exactly right. Except that it extends to all people. All deaf to anything besides their own wants.

In the end, this is another item to add to the list of news coverage of Czech Republic in world media:

  • Elephant floating down Vltava river during the 2002 floods
  • Slap during s session of Senate while settling personal matters over a woman
  • Vaclav Klaus hiding a pen at a summit in Chile
  • National guards laughing at the president being shot

Way to represent. Go team.

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Bizarre Technology

29 Aug
Technology is evolving so rapidly these days, that what may seem like a ridiculous ideas becomes a reality very quickly. Think Google glasses, credit card payment over phones, SmartTVs. The latest developments in TV purport to be very smart. Sensors detect your motions, pick up your dance moves and decipher exactly what you want. Pretty soon, they may know what you are thinking.  Actually, that may be the better alternative.
Here are two hot new gadgets.
The first, a motion detector for your computer. No mouse. No keyboard. Awesome.
And the TV would not be left behind. It also has motion detectors. Check out the funny commercial.
But can you imagine flailing your arms around like that? At home, ok maybe. But sitting in an office? I would be way too embarrassed.
Can you imagine walking into a room to find everyone waving around their arms and legs randomly? Maybe it will pick up, and in a couple of years we won’t be able to imaging life without it. But until then, it seems strange.