Monday, June 24, 2013

A Korean Feast in East Hawaii

A Korean feast in store overlooking Keaukaha bay

There's no shortage of cuisine that our international food group hasn't covered from around the globe. Even though our island lacks many of the wonderful cuisines of the world, it's great that food groups like ours can experiment and share our cooking discoveries with our monthly themed events.

This month we are discovering Korean cooking and the many different and exotic dishes that our cooking group is presenting today, come join us. Usually we start off our get-together with pupus (small plates) or in Korean, they are called banchan. Usually the banchan covers an assortment of 2- 10 small side dishes in which kimchee is the most well known and popular offered at every meal.

Would you like to try some of these delicious offerings, some marinated quail eggs and pickled vegetables?

One of the most popular was this baked potstickers or mandu, these dumplings were filled with avocados with a soyu based sauce. It didn't take too long for this banchan appetizer to be devoured quickly.

Some of the members were already starving and couldn't help themselves to taking a quick bite.

Prior to our big feast, it's our tradition to have a quick discussion of the dish we prepared with the main ingredients and the cooking process. The crowd was pretty hungry at this point so the explanations went rather fast so we could chow down right away. All right, it's finally time to dig in, everyone get in line and lets get started.  Let's see what are the main offerings for our luncheon


First up, marinated chicken wings and drumsticks in a sticky sweet and sour marinade.

Next we have some fried green onions in a light batter and a soyu sesame glaze sauce - who wants to try?

How about some succulent pork belly with pickled onions and wrapped in lettuce like a Korean burrito.

This savory Korean noodle dish called chapchae are delicious and made with sweet potato noodles which surprisingly is not that sweet, but the noodle is quite flavorful and spicy with all the sauce that it absorbs.

You can't have a Korean meal without some marinated barbecue and this beef barbecue was melt-in-our mouth perfect and oh so good!

Another barbeque with sesame chicken to be wrapped with fresh lettuce below.

What did I bring you may ask? I'm presenting a fried tofu dish with spicy bell pepper and eggplant in a mild sweet and sour sauce. Would you like to sample some, there's enough to go around.

Koreans usually don't partake in dessert but our group absolutely insists! The dessert offerings were amazing and to die for - very different from typical Asian sweets or desserts. Our first delicious dessert that were these wrapped persimmons with walnuts called gotgamssam, have just one bite and you just might want to eat the whole plate.

Oh so flaky and flavorful manju or baked sweet pastry, this one was filled with a sweet bean and lilikoi (passionfruit) paste.

This is a fun and social group, we even had a slippah fashion show after the luncheon and a few made it out to the gorgeous lagoon for a quick and refreshing dip, it's all for fun and enjoying the day out by the ocean.



View out to the bay with many little inlets from the dining pavilion at Keaukaha park.  



  Delicious Korean food, good wine and the company of friends that love to cook, what a fantastic end to our cooking event by the ocean in East Hawaii.


©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography travel website at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A drive along the Puna coastline.

It's been awhile since I've gone out to enjoy a beautiful day outside, I know you would think living in Hawaii that you would want to be outdoors everyday.  That's very true, but its also easy to get distracted by daily chores, Internet activities and other distractions that occur daily.

But waking up early and seeing the sky so clear and blue has induced me to spend a little time outdoors.....

                         somewhere by the ocean - heading out to take a nice drive along the coastline in the Puna district.

            I love driving under these tree canopies covering the roadway along the Red Road in Puna....its so lush!
                  ~ what do you think - gorgeous right?

Driving along there are some peek-a-boo views to the ocean and secret bays - stopping to enjoy the amazing views like this one below....




 Its a great drive and the breezes coming from the ocean are soooo nice against my face.


It's pleasant enough to just sit and enjoy the view, watch the surfers and look at different shades of blue ocean around the bay - the Wind is kicking up and creating a surfing frenzy....


 Even the skies are brilliant today, with Puffy clouds over head...dreamy....

Glad I took the drive and enjoyed a few hours outdoors - isn't this what its all about in paradise?

©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A tour of exotic Marrakesh

Here's an excerpt on my new travel site I've just created, enjoy...

Koutoubia tower in Marrakesh
Koutoubia tower in Marrakesh

Exotic Morocco

Visiting Morocco on the northwestern edge of the African continent is a fantastic destination for travellers and photographers to explore. There are  many unique and exotic images to capture and the variety of subject is quite diverse ranging from food, souks and shopping, historic districts and monuments, people, scenic or panoramic vistas or any specialty interests that you may want to explore on your to visit. For the travel photographer visiting here for the first time, there are a few things that you should consider in regard to travel, photography and safety when you visit any of the cities or sites around the country. Following are some key tips and considerations to keep in mind before you start your adventure to Morocco and begin taking those incredible photographs.

Getting around

Travel to the main cities of Marrakesh, Casablanca, Rabat, Agadir and Fez are all accessible by air service from Europe and many international airports.  Transportation to the various cities and attractions around the country are easily connected via train service, bus, rental car or a hired driver. It’s better to plan and arrange all your transport in between these destinations in advanced or arrange through an established agency to help you set up a tour itinerary and make sure that your trip will go smoothly.

Please continue on my travel site


Sunday, June 16, 2013

A gorgeous estate and garden along the Hamakua coastline.

I've recently visited a private estate and lilly farm owned by the Trotter family along the Hamakua coastline on the Big Island. A very lush and beautiful estate, its almost a botanical garden in its own right. It's a gorgeous property and the views are quite spectacular from the coastline.

The owners, long retired from a regular farming and nursery business now enjoy the property on their own and allow small local groups to come and photograph their amazing garden. You will be able to see almost every type of exotic plant, flower and fruit tree on this property which the owners have lavishly maintained for decades.
Come and join me on this tour with some of the hghlights below.
This is part one of two posts on this amazing estate, stay tune for some of the more
of their gardens especially their amazing collection of tropical rhododendron or ssss, its a very extensive and award winning collection.
If you would like to visit more photos of this estate, come and vist my flickr page here

©Noel Morata, All rights reserved
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