17 August 2017

nibs

Going home means making desserts and drinking tea everyday. In fact I motivate myself to get out of bed every morning by making desserts first...and also for practical reasons of things needing time to chill.

This time I made chocolate creme caramel, which is the only "pudding" (I recently discovered that pudding is what desserts are called in the UK, but I'm using it here as a custard dessert) in Baking Chez Moi that doesn't require 2 additional egg yolks, and Smitten Kitchen's cocoa brownies, because I've been craving brownies but the sea salt caramel brownie has been sold out on the two most recent visits to Jimmy's.


Previously I've made mochi cupcakes (the easiest recipe I've ever baked), salted caramel chocolate mousse again, and a blueberry cornmeal cupcake from Baking Chez Moi that there was inadequate warning about using coarse cornmeal (the language was similar to "it'll be gritty" whereas it should really read "it'll be really fucking gritty, don't even think about it").

...

Been drinking the free sample of spring 2017 Alishan oolong I got from Floating Leaves Tea and holy it's delicious. Delicious in a...restrained way, is the most accurate description I can give. "Soft and floral" is how FLT describes it. Best brewed with a lower leaf to water ratio and flash steeps to accentuate the softness. I like this so much that I'd buy some every year.



The unintentional benefit from these tea sessions is that I finally found a use for this duanni teapot! It'll be dedicated to high mountain / greener rolled oolongs. I originally intended to use it for red teas, however the narrower opening makes it an absolute pain to remove the leaves afterwards. This is much less of a problem with rolled oolongs, and the dome shape allows the leaves to expand. So here is this little pot's blog debut, although an extremely shallow DoF photo is not the most descriptive. The bamboo motifs are what caught my attention.


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29 July 2017

rosemary

An exercise of walking barefoot in the backyard:

The experience of walking barefoot in grass is kinda strange...I don't recall the last time I've done such a thing. There's a slight cushion to each step as the blades of grass buckle under my feet. The ground feels cool, and consequentially damp, whereas the wooden deck still feels warm from being in the sun the whole day. When there is a breeze, I can smell the honeysuckle. It's pretty nice.

25 July 2017

shards

ITS JAY CHOU'S LYRICS IN A MANGA, AND THE TRANSLATOR DIDN'T EVEN LEAVE A NOTE ABOUT IT ;_;


"最美的不是下雨天 是曾与妳躲过雨的屋簷" from 不能说的秘密
manga via

24 July 2017

greens

Here I present evidence that I have indeed been cooking lots of vegetables.

Exhibit A: one preparation that dandelion greens taste good in

I somewhat regret being spontaneous and buying a bunch of dandelion greens. Usually I'm proud of the fact that I like bitter greens, but this is a whole other level. It was good chopped up small in congee with some ground chicken, but dandelions are pretty nasty in soup or stir-fried. This was my last attempt at using up what I bought, and it's really good with pasta in peppery olive oil, loads of black pepper, and even more pecorino romano.

Exhibit B: first harvest from Sky Garden and mom's backyard

Chicken pasta (you're seeing all pasta dishes because we recently ran out of rice and are not feeling up to lugging a bag home in this heat) featuring oregano from mom's yard, and kale and lemon basil from Sky Garden...and lots of butter and peppery olive oil.

22 July 2017

crisps



I'm posting photos of restaurant meals but have actually been cooking a lot since Jeff and I decided to  go on a diet (farewell ice cream :( ). No complaints about cooking more and eating more veggie tho.

20 July 2017

gazebo

The good thing about being home is having a whole large table to myself to drink tea on. My latest tea order is the trice roasted (at this point I'm already sold) dongding from Floating Leaves. It came with such a cute note from the owner that I plan to order all my future taiwanese tea from there.


I chose to have another tea, an mid-age xiaguan sheng that I opened long ago, because my tea cabinet is truly full and I need to be concentrating on drinking teas that I've already opened...and all my samples from YS.


The wet leaves are still quite green (I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise?) but the aftertaste was strong in the initial steeps. I think I still have an identical cake of this, might leave that alone for some more years and see how it changes. Though with a not hot and humid climate, aging more might be doing more harm than good. I really need to set up a legit storage soon.

19 July 2017

dehydrate

Still busy playing Stardew Valley, I've finally filled the cellar with casks aging starfruit wine. I'm hoping that the great distillation expansion suggestions from the subreddit gets implemented eventually.

But the actual reason why I haven't been home recently is crickets. We've finally performed our first experiment with crickets (they smell less bad than expected, but still not pleasant to work with) because the past couple of weeks have threatened to rain everyday.

Since I haven't been home, I've missed the bulk of the fragrant flowers :(