Friday, March 3, 2017

Philippines, Friend, Surgeon, Bowling

Sorry for missing Thursday's blog, but Wednesday turned out to be a very busy day. First we  have to rush around in the morning because our cleaner comes in at 9 (officially) often 8:45 ish (unofficially) so all ablutions etc. have to be done earlier than usual, for me at least, I tend to hang around on the computer in the mornings. Then of course we had our friend's birthday lunch at Mandarin - Matt would argue, but I didn't actually eat as much there as I usually do. I was delighted they still had dumplings so I had one or two, not many, I promise you. I mainly had a chunk of salmon. When we got home I was involved in getting the soup ready for my friend who was calling in for supper at 5. Only had to defrost it, but being asparagus soup, it always needs to be blended when it defrosts. We also had ham buns and some chocolate wafers after. We haven't seen this friend for quite some time, she is always so very busy. Last year she was sent to Manilla in the Philippines on business and was telling us all about it plus showing us some pix on her phone. Fascinating. I didn't know it was such a dangerous place for visitors, our friend would really stand out too because she is very tall and blonde. Luckily, being there under the company umbrella she was pretty closely guarded. She couldn't stay with us long as tomorrow (Thursday) she was off on a 50th birthday cruise with a girlfriend who is also 50 this year.

I am sorry, I am a tad behind reading other blogs lately. Sorry, I will get there eventually.

Went to see the vascular surgeon who said I have strong pulses at my ankle area and in my groin and asked me if I really wanted to go through an operation etc. etc. It would be perfectly OK to leave it. I said could I go home and think about it, he said sure, just phone. So I'm thinking. I can bowl quite happily, I can't walk far without a cane but... I can't do my exercise class standing. But is any of this enough to warrant an operation?? I am thinking not. Shopping on Tuesday, using a cart of course, Matt said I was racing around the store. No actual time limit on my "thinking", so we will see. Went bowling afterwards and my legs got tired once because I went into the other room for a coffee. Don't usually have to do that. But that was it in 2-3 hours. Not that my bowling was much good mind you.

One thing our friend talked about was the food and how much she had enjoyed it. She used not to be so adventurous, but the first thing she tried was Sisig. I have included a recipe which, I believe is somewhat modified as the recipe used to be chopped pigs face which when you think about it is more or less what head cheese, or in the UK brawn, is. My mother used to make it with half pig and half sheep. I used to love it but have never tried any other than the one my mother made.

Pork Sisig

1 lb pig ears
1 ½ lb pork belly
1 large onion, minced
3 Tbs soy sauce
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 knob ginger, minced
3 Tbs chili flakes
½ tsp garlic powder
1 piece lemon (or 3 to 5 pieces calamansi)
½ cup butter (or margarine)
¼ lb chicken liver
6 cups water
3 Tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp salt

1. Put-in the pig’s ears and pork belly then simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour (or until tender).

2. Remove the boiled ingredients from the pot then drain excess water

3. Grill the boiled pig ears and pork belly until done

4. Chop the pig ears and pork belly into fine pieces

5. In a wide pan, melt the butter or margarine. Add the onions. Cook until onions are soft.

6. Put-in the ginger and cook for 2 minutes

7. Add the chicken liver. Crush the chicken liver while cooking it in the pan.

8. Add the chopped pig ears and pork belly. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes

9. Put-in the soy sauce, garlic powder, and chili. Mix well

10. Add salt and pepper to taste

11. Put-in the mayonnaise and mix with the other ingredients

12. Transfer to a serving plate. Top with chopped green onions and raw egg.

13. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy (add the lemon or calamansi before eating)

Servings: 6

Source: Panlasang Pinoy

And this is an English recipe for Brawn. I couldn't find my mother's recipe but I know she often used half pig's head and half sheep's head as I said above. It is a lot of work though. I used to love it but never tried making it. I wonder if one could even buy a pig's head these days, maybe at a farm.


Serve up a classic British dish with James Martin's magnificent brawn made with pig's head, trotters,
herbs and spices

For the brine
3 liters water
1 kg salt

For the brawn
1 pig's head, ears removed and quartered
6 pig's trotters
2 large carrots, sliced in half
1 large sprigs thyme
8 sage leaves
4 bay leaves
3 cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 banana shallots, finely chopped
100 g parsley, chopped
new potatoes, to serve
crusty bread, to serve

1. leave to cool completely. To check to see if the brine is strong enough, put a potato in it - if it sinks, it's too weak; if it pops up and down, the brine is just right.

2. For the brawn: using a blowtorch, burn any excess hairs on the pig's head - especially around the snout. Leave in the brine for 24 hours.

3. Drain the head and put it into a large stockpot. Cover with cold water and add the ears, trotters, carrots, thyme, sage, bay, cloves and coriander. Season with salt and pepper and slowly bring to the boil, removing any scum that floats to the surface. Simmer for a further 4 hours, topping up with water every now and again if it needs it, until the meat starts to fall from the bone.

4. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Remove the head and trotters from the pot and peel off the skin. Roughly chop the meat and the ears, and if you have the tongue, remove the coarse outer layer, chop and add to the mix.

5. Add the shallots and parsley and mix well. Strain the cooking liquor and pour a little at a time into the meat mixture, adding just enough to moisten. Line a terrine mould or earthenware dish with cling film and pile the brawn mixture in. Chill in the fridge for 12 hours with a weight on top to push it down. Remove and serve sliced with new potatoes and crusty bread.

Servings: 8

Source: James Martin

Have a great day


  1. I used to have Filipino co-workers in the hospital. When we had potlucks they brought in the most delicious food. Only time I have ever eaten goat. Big decision for you on surgery.

    1. I knew a Filipino girl in NC, Denise, and she would often make Lumpia for us which I really loved. I only ever ate goat in a Greek restaurant in Canada. Loved it.

      Yes, not sure what I want to do about it.

  2. Avoiding an operation is always best, since it can add more complications. But you have to decide what you can live with. Or live without.

    1. You're right Alex. Decisions, decisions.

  3. Replies
    1. You know when you feel your heart beat under your chin Ivy, or at your wrist, that is a pulse.

    2. Ohh, duh. That makes sense. What causes that around your ankle area?

    3. Well blood travels everywhere in the body Ivy so you can pick up a pulse in many areas of the body where the veins are close to the skin.

    4. I get that part but why so much action around your ankle?

    5. Actually more the foot than the ankle, but that area Ivy. I have lag problems so he was checking the blood flow in my legs which he thought was good.

  4. Glad your pulse is strong and that you can bowl because I remember when you were not able to. I hope it doesn't flare up again. It is a tough decision but the Dr's always want people to be in a wheelchair dying from pain before an operation is done. I would mark down, on paper, the pros and con of each scenario, the set it aside for a few days before reviewing it. I didn't know the Philippines were so dangerous but this may be one reason why so many come to our country. If it is that dangerous, I would be leaving too.

    1. That isn't a bad idea Birgit. I will do that. Yes, there do seem to be a lot of Filipinos leaving their country. Although from what my friend said, it's the non natives that are most in danger, especially a particularly noticeable white person such as herself. She is very tall and blonde. She towers over the natives apparently.

  5. If the doc thinks it's not necessary then I'd probably skip it too, at least for now.

    1. True JoJo, but then he's not walking on my legs.

  6. The phrase 'head cheese' makes me feel quite ill. Skip the op, Jo. The risks aren't worth it.

    1. Well it's Brawn in England Pinky. Delicious. Not tried it here as far as I remember.

      I probably will.

  7. Hi Jo - looks like the op isn't necessary for now - and that's always a good thing ... but keep that 'eye' open in case - I'm sure you will anyway. I love brawn ... and was hoping to learn how to make it .. but sadly that lady died ... glad you had a happy time with your friend -lucky woman off on that cruise! Cheers Hilary

    1. Not strictly necessary Hilary, but my legs would feel better I think. I love brawn too but haven't had any in a long time. It isn't difficult to make just time consuming.

      Actually my friend wasn't too keen to go on the cruise LOL

  8. It's always difficult to decide on whether to have surgery or not - speaking as someone who has had a lot of it over the years. You'll know when it reaches the point that you feel you have to have it done, though.

    1. You are so right Helen, it is difficult. But, yes, I think you are also right I will know when I have to have it done.