Thank you so much for the many comments and inquiries.
For the last two days we have had no phone service. Hey, it’s an Island. The moon cycle is creating a bizarre phenomenon on the beachfront; the water is dramatically reseeding and leaving arriving tourists with an utterly surprised look on their faces when they have to walk ashore. Some even ask if “this is the beach”? A few hours later the water is back and all looks like the old romance again. I caught a few local kids with snorkel masks toddling on the coral mud, disappointed and pointing to where the sea had retrieved during low tide.
The highlight of the kitchen today was the successful creation of Brioche. Gosh, I love having a pastry section. We have already mastered the apple strudel and the Florentine torte. It is a meringue cake without flour, and I am training the Pastry section for a Wedding Cake competition in Bangkok on June 22nd. This is a challenge, considering they have never constructed anything like this. The theme is “Flowers of Passion”; I imagine a pond with water Lilies and, on the upper cake level, two pink swans with their heads together, shaped like a heart.
My Thai speaking is improving, although the fluctuations of upper and lower sounds that change the same word into entirely different meanings are tricky. This morning, I said to the lady-boy in the cold kitchen, “I had an orgasm,” although I was trying to say: The paperwork is done! Such incidents cause great laughter and leave me terribly stranded. In revenge, I have published a picture of a message left on the whiteboard in my kitchen. It should say: To the morning Steward: Please leave the Tacada (Restaurant) keys for me. This one took a while to decipher.
Food for lunch today was so spicy I’m afraid I’ve burned my stomach lining (and what else?) Eating rice every day, many vegetables, and light but chili-hot broth should be healthy. I asked what the “greens” were in my dish and received a surprising response when one of my chefs pointed at the tree above me and nodded. I’m very assured now that there is enough food on this Island! However, I have to get used to the oversized night moths. I am still unsure what they are called, but those noisy creatures are collected here, deep-fried, and shared as a snack amongst my staff. I’d rather lick the bottom of my shoes (or keep eating poached trees) before eating insects, regardless if they taste like “potato.”
I am excited to go on a diving excursion tomorrow, the first since I returned from Thailand. This region is known worldwide to be one of the top dive spots and offers spectacular reefs and sea life. I recommend coming to Thailand for dive courses and a PADI license since it is by far the world’s most affordable dive opportunities. Come to Zeavola! Talking about: Conde Naste magazine just quoted us as one of the world’s 60 top vacation Hotels! This is quite an honor. http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/
Here is a recipe for the Thai fans:
Massamun Gai (two people)
Chicken drum sticks w/bone 300g Soy Bean oil for frying 15g
Potato steamed large chunks 400g
Peanuts roasted 50g
Fish Sauce 25g
Massamun Curry paste 40g
Shallots finely chopped 40g
Onions Brown (red or white) 40g
Cinnamon sticks 4
Anis Star whole 4
Chicken Flavor (Knorr) 10g
Palm Sugar 20g
Soya (Soybean Sauce) 15g
Coconut milk 250g
Roast or bake the chicken legs while you prepare the ingredients: chop the shallots finely and the Onions in larger junks. For three minutes, roast all the ingredients and spices except the coconut milk together in a hot fry pan (wok). Add the chicken legs and coconut milk and simmer for ten minutes more; it’s ready to serve!
Enjoy, chef Raphael