Deuterium – The Hoax That Will Not Die – Part One

After a short hiatus, a 40-year old fraud has recently resurfaced. It claims, without evidence that it is supported by the Philippines current president, Rodrigo Duterte, and, with pseudoscientific ‘evidence’, that of Ferdinand Marcos Junior, known as Bong Bong. It is a fabulous tale of riches that will propel the Philippines into superpower status when deposits of an isotope of hydrogen, called deuterium, is mined from ‘pools’ at the bottom of the Philippine Trench.The scam is so old, getting on for half a decade, that is can certainly be regarded as a part of Philippines history.It is a tale of pseudoscience, greed, and gullibility supported by blatant fabrication that has lasted since the 1980s and continues today.

Continue reading “Deuterium – The Hoax That Will Not Die – Part One”

Spaghetti Sardinas Filipinas

Sardinas Filipinas

 

Canned sardines are a familiar staple of Filipino food. but I’d never thought of combining them with spaghetti until my partner Ami suggested it. The idea of sardines and spaghetti really didn’t ring my bell but I tried it and it worked wonderfully. So here goes.

 

In the Philippines spaghetti is usually served with a red tomato sauce so sweet it should be a desert. I hate it. As it happens, the tomato sauce in canned sardines is not as sweet as in the commercial spaghetti sauces.

 

A word about spaghetti. Unlike Asian noodles, spaghetti needs lots and lots of water to boil in so use the biggest pan you have, fill it with water, add some salt and a little oil or butter to prevent the strands from sticking to the pan. Bring the water to a fast rolling (roiling) boil and keep it there – don’t turn the heat down to a mere simmer, the water must be roiling.

 

Take a handful of spaghetti – do not break it into pieces to fit the pan. Put one end of the bunch into the water and stir the water with the spaghetti, as the spaghetti softens, lower the bunch until it’s all in the pan. You now have around 13 and a half minutes, watch it on the clock while you make the sauce.

 

I was once asked to cook spaghetti at a party south of Manila and made up a vast batch. Only after I’d finished was I told that no-one was going to turn up for an hour and a half and the spaghetti sat in a bowl on the table congealing and getting cold. I could have cried. Spaghetti must be eaten freshly cooked and hot.

 

After 13 and a half minutes drain the spaghetti. I like to rise the spaghetti in warm water, purists find that objectionable, so do whatever you feel. Return the spaghetti to the pan, turn the heat right down, add butter, a little salt, some pepper and a nob of butter and toss until the butter is melted and spread evenly.

 

Chop up an onion and some garlic, melt butter or use olive oil (You can use star margarine) and gently cook the garlic and onion until yellow and soft, not burned or crisp. Add a can of sardines in tomato sauce, stir well in, breaking up the sardine into smaller pieces. Add some basil and oregano if you have it and let cook on low for a couple of minutes to let the herbs seep through. You can do all that while waiting for the spahetti to cook.

 

Put spaghetti on a warmed plate, top with the sauce, sprinkle grated cheese – Parmesan if you have it – and eat hot.

 

That’s about as simple as it gets, except maybe for my Spaghetti Carbonara, but that’s have to wait for another day.

Snazzing up a Soup

Ok, break time. Since I like cooking I prefer homemade soups but sometimes there just isn’t the time. I’m not a purist – When I was living modestly in the UK and broke I’d boil some spaghetti, make a nest of it in a heatproof bowl, fill the centre with Campbell’s condensed soup, cover the lot with slices of cheese and grill until the cheese was nicely brown. I hungrier I was, the better it tasted.

Here in the Philippines (Subic Bay, if you want to know) I have to depend mainly on powdered soups which usually taste like… well, powdered soups. Here some solutions I found worked and made guests think I was giving them something spiffy.

For those ‘cream of soups’ I mix a tablespoon of Alaska for each portion, combine with just enough water to liquefy it and add to the cooked soup. That’s a good start. You can also get small nobs of butter (Magnolia Gold or Anchor, not butter substitutes or Star margarine) and, when you’ve put the soup into individual bowls ready for serving drop a nob of butter onto each. You can get fancier by mashing the butter with garlic to make garlic butter and using that instead.

For spiff na spiff, separate an egg for each portion. Put the yolks into a bowl, pour on some warmish soup and mix well, and quickly, then pour the mix into the soup, warm and mix in and serve. Do all three, it’ll be rich enough to buy a senator.

Don’t forget, too, hat a dash of booze works well. A little vodka in tomato soup, brandy in brown soups. The alcohol evaporates so the booze content will be low and it’s safe for kids.

What about egg whites. Always a question. If you’ve got an oven they’re good for browning pastries but my solution is to get some fresh or tinned (canned) fruit and whipped or whipping cream. Whip the egg whites until stiff. If you’ve got whipping cream whip it until its fairly firm, then carefully fold the egg whites and cream together, add sugar, brown is nice, some nutmeg or similar and fold them in, and slop in  little brandy like Emperador or Fundador fold that in and serve with the fruit.