20 March 2018


I was totally enabled by Luxirare (she / her blog is amazing) to go and try robiola. It's everything I want in a spreadable cheese: taste of a brie with the texture of ricotta. Man this sentence shows how little I know about cheese haha.

Waitrose's selection is also much better than Sainsbury, good thing its located far from me so I can't be tempted to buy my regular grocery there.

17 March 2018


What I fed myself last week:

Lunch was this rice cooker mixed rice, adapted from here. Sainsbury strangely were out of stock on many produce, including sweet potatoes, so I've replaced it with butternut squash. Unfortunately butternut squashes are rather tasteless unless roasted, so this dish didn't turn out that great. My rice cooker's capacity is also way too small, so I had to steam the squash separately. Will keep experimenting with other ingredient combinations, thinking of using these peas with some smoked mackerel next.

Dinner pasta #1 was this bitter & sweet pasta. Radicchio, which was not in stock, was replaced with red cabbage and I would even replace the fennel with regular onion next time as the anise flavour didn't show through. That takes care of the two most expensive ingredients. I really like the flavour combination, but it would probably work better in a grain salad format. But that introduces the trouble of contrasting shapes which I dislike: round little grains and long slivers of vegetables.

Dinner pasta #2 was the no-cook tuna pasta, which is essentially just a warm tuna pasta salad. Its very  tasty with lots of contrasting flavours: tuna against the acidic lemon zest and juice (I added waaaay more than the recipe specified), and salty olives. This is one of those eat from your pantry meals.

16 March 2018

English Muffins

The first Joe Pastry recipe that I made: English muffins

Aside from the couple tries it took to learn the heat/time for my stove, they turned out wonderfully without much fuss.

The dough is pretty much dump and slightly mix. My measurements were pretty inaccurate and imprecise (eyeballing butter, using dry measure cups for liquids...oh my) but the dough doesn't seem very sensitive. This shows half a batch of the dough, but I've further reduced the yeast since I gave it an overnight rise in the fridge so I can cook them fresh in the morning. I left it on the counter while I went to shower, so there was some time for the yeast to start eating. There was evidence of yeast activity before I put it in the fridge, and by morning (photo) it was very obvious that the dough has risen.

This is the second test muffin (the first was made free-form and ended up quite flat, do not recommend). I DIY'd a muffin ring from folding aluminium foil, which works fine. Maybe even better than fine since you can un-crimp it to release the muffin easier. The sides are torn here because I forgot to grease the mold. The top is also burned from trying to determine the optimal heat level. But the crumb! Glorious crumb! It's moist, airy, yet offers some resistance when you bite down.

The successful two: heat level 2 is good for just forgetting them on the stove while heat level 3 is better for a more brown crust but gotta watch over them more. I should time the next batch though. The height is also more like a standard english muffin, I think this corresponds to filling the mold ~ ⅓ of the way.

Overall I'm quite happy with these, but even happier now that I can make fluffy bread on the stove top.

15 March 2018


After visiting the "castle", we headed down to Sydney Gardens and the Holburne museum. The afternoon started off with rain but proceeded to tease us with peaks of the sun by the time we got down to the garden.

I've been really captivated by the texture of moss ever since visiting the gardens in Kyoto

This is a glass sculpture in the Holburne Museum, which was endlessly fascinating to watch as the light changed

14 March 2018


Went on a walk to Sham Castle with PhotoSoc last Saturday...lured in by the promise of a castle. In reality, the castle is really one wall. But it was a lot of fun photographing the rich texture of the wooded area in front of the "castle"

I feel that this is going to be my mental image of Bath long after I leave

13 March 2018


It's kind of scary that this blog's been alive for a decade. Let's see how long it'll live.

11 March 2018


Some food related thoughts:

 Finally made some sea salt caramels, a bucket list item checked off. I didn't realize how long it would take for it to cook up the 260˚F after adding the cream, forgot about the fact that all the water needs to evaporate before the temperature can raise. Next time I'll probably just cook it to about 240˚F so the final texture is softer. I also didn't realize how many caramels this made, I doubled the recipe since my pan is about twice as big as the recipe's and actually thought I made too little while cooking the sugar syrup. But what you see in the photo above is only ⅓ of the yield durr.


Sort of carbonara, mostly without bacon. The egg-based sauce is quite simple to make with a double boiler set-up, and dare I say foolproof as long as you never stop stirring. It took a while for the sauce to start thickening so I stepped away from it twice, but the second time the egg just started to scramble in the time it took to throw in some salt and pepper. So never stop stirring.

How do you take nice photos of extremely sauce-y dishes? It just looks blurry even in focus...@_@ although this bowl was extra sauce-y since 1 egg makes enough sauce for two portions whereas this amount of pasta is barely one.

I've also regrettably been convinced of the value of mid-range pasta, or at least ones that advertise bronze die. The al dente texture is very snappy / has a bite to it...or "jing" (not sure which Chinese character it is), which I love in noodles. But I do find that it's harder to get this perfect texture, there's a lot less leeway before it overshoots to just meh. There goes another escalation in grocery budget.


I've never cooked any beans to a satisfactory creamy texture...and I ate a quite a lot of beans. Sometimes I wonder if its just because I haven't cooked them enough, but the times when I've cooked beans until they've fallen apart still results in a...chalky but fallen apart texture "orz Are my beans just too stale? Perhaps...one day I'll suck it up and buy Rancho Gordo beans to compare. Do I need a pressure cooker? Do I have unrealistic expectations of how beans should feel...unlikely since canned beans are acceptably creamy. *shurg*

On the other hand I am so forgiving of bread texture. Made some whey flatbreads to go with these chickpeas and oh boy that didn't turn out well. I partly question the recipe but also know that I've added too much liquid because US cup =/= 250ml like the rest of the world and I used dry measure cups. The whey does make the bread taste great, I might just keep making ricotta so I have whey ah ha... But the bread dough was so wet that the only way I could handle it was to stretch it directly in the hot pan. So some turned out thin and crispy, others turned out chewy, but they all tasted good to me. Why do I even love bread so much? I didn't eat it with regularity until maybe middle school when I accompanied my mom grocery shopping and got to pick out breads from the adjacent asian bakery. Ugh I still haven't tried making milk bread yet, but that was always included in my choice.

Speaking of making bread, I've given up on keeping a small pantry here in Bath. Just bought some yeast today, which will soon be joined by various flours. In addition to the 4 types of oils, 3 types of vinegars, 2 types of sugars and I-haven't-dared-to-count amount of spices.