02 December 2017

please stop for a moment for me

More Epik High as I rush to finish assignments:

The ballad is a bit soft for my liking, but holy are the lyrics for the rap parts good:
I used to have dreams, out of fear of becoming ordinary
Now I envy those who are ordinary
As I stand all alone in the rain
If I don’t grow, growing pains are nothing but pain
As time goes by, I grow more afraid
My heart and two feet are running, but I’ve forgotten what for
My dream has become nothing but a burden
My only hope is to leave it behind and run
It eggs me on to take just one more step
Once I look up, I’m facing a cliff
Looking back, I see long rows of expectations
Pretending to support me, they push me from behind
I’ve wanted to give my heart a break one day
But it’s become entangled within the numbers
The world puts out a calculated hand
I don’t want to hold onto it, but I’m more afraid of having nothing in my hands
Is time really the only thing that keeps moving, even when you hold onto it?
lyrics via Epik High Translations


This makes me miss Kyoto so much :(

30 November 2017


What I've been up to on top of school:


24 November 2017


I'm glad that I'm in the UK since the voltage difference stops me from buying any kitchen appliances, that and no income which stops purchases of kitchen non-appliances.

But in the spirit of the many international shopping events in November, here's my wish list for when I finally have a kitchen to call my own:

  • Dutch ovens: perhaps a medium Le Crueset and a little matte black Staub dedicated to cooking lentils because this post made a huge impression on me. 
  • Salad spinner: because its really no fun wiping off water after shaking leafy greens to dry
  • Food processor: I can learn how to work butter into flour by hand, and perhaps I'm actually well suited for that job because my hands are perpetually cold, but I trust a food processor to do the same job better. I can also improve my knife skills by shredding a lot of vegetables for slaw, but so far I haven't done so...or even used my mandolin so perhaps I'll actually get around to making slaws if I can just grate it with a machine. Then I think of all the times when my mom cuts thin batons of carrots and radish for 凉拌三丝 and feel bad about not having her knife skills. Manual chopping is also my excuse for wanting a kicks usuba. But also hummus!
  • A giant heavy mortar and pestle: for grinding moist stuff, and a spice grinder for grinding dry stuff
  • Vitamix blender: I have serious doubts whether this is needed, but I also want green smoothies without paying $10. I wonder what's the payback period...
  • Kitchen Aid stand mixer: as therapeutic as creaming butter and sugar is, my arms have insufficient power to actually do a good job. I fully expect to see improvements in my baked goods. A pasta attachment would be a nice bonus. 
  • Ice cream maker: my cumulative desire for one increases each time I see David Lebovitz post a new recipe, and also this book.
  • Sous vide machine: for yoghurt making! perfect soft boiled eggs! steak! 
  • Saucier: I was a non-believer until I made something that actually required good stirring. 
  • Torch: creme brûlée 
and basically everything on Stella's baking equipment list, and and this bread baking list. I need to actively stop myself from reading baking blogs on my instapaper because I'm not a masochist. Good thing Bath has Bertinet, their bread and pastry keeps me sane while I'm away from my own oven. 

Plus lots of deli containers (and Cambros?) for storage, jars for pickling, and okay I'll stop now.



23 November 2017


I'm intensely missing Kyoto as I scroll through photos of the autumn leaves as seem as temple interiors :(

But Bath is nice too.

22 November 2017


^ stolen from one of the many posts I've consulted on crepe recipe. I also *just* realized that the 葱油饼 that my family makes (not the yeasted bread kind you'll get if you order at a restaurant) is practically a crepe batter. I've always been delegated with cooking them growing up. We usually eat them with congee and a couple of other dishes.

This post is most definitely about crepes, but also other pan-made goodies such as pancakes, and flatbreads. All the dough-y goodness I can make without an oven! Unbelievable that it took me 2 months to remember this entire category of food.

My hit list:
  • Regular crepes and buckwheat ones if I correctly recall seeing buckwheat flour at Sainsbury. I can also easily bring these to school as a snack. Filled with gooseberry jam ofc, ricotta & honey, stewed fruits, sweet condensed milk, duche de leche, salted caramel sauce, creme fraiche, mascarpone cheese, ham & cheese (and fried egg). Also finally an excuse to try out speculoos spread. 
  • Basically most of the pancakes from Smitten Kitchen's archives: fluffy buttermilk, apple, sour cream, corn, carrot cake, summer berries, winter squash. One more from Serious Eats: bacon, cheddar and corn. If I'm feeling keen, try to consolidate these into a master+modification pancake recipe. 
  • Flatbread. I thought about naan, but I figure a tandoor is too different from a non-stick pan. 
A realistic schedule would be...1 per every non-lecture week? That would last until about summer. A long but delicious project :) 

21 November 2017


I'm spoiled for dairy products being in the UK. Milk is cheap and delicious. Yoghurt is cheap and delicious. There's so many cream products. And above all, there's all the cheese. Fun fact: cheddar originated in Somerset (the county Bath is in).

I've so far only gone to one cheesemonger in Bath (Nibbles Cheese) where I took my first step down the rabbit hole with these:

Keen's Cheddar

I thought this one is just good. An obvious improvement to supermarket cheddar in every aspect, but also not outstanding in any aspect. Would not re-purchase but it sets me up to appreciate the following 2 cheese.

Wyfe of Bath (gyuyere style)

I didn't know about this at all until I was at the counter where this was featured as the cheese of the week. A little note said that this is made 20km from Bath, of course I get sucked into buying a piece of the hyperlocal cheese.
This taste obviously different, predominately grassy and maybe a bit nutty? It taste like a direct translation of the grass that the cows ate, which I know doesn't sound very appetizing but it is. I didn't expect to enjoy the grassy taste as I'm not a fan of green teas, but man I really like this and will repurchase.

The best for last:

In short, the first excellent (as in objectively a different tier) cheese I've eaten. The texture is creamy (must be room temperature to fully appreciate), yet there's granules or crystals that adds a delightful crunch. It's fluffy and basic food blog language, but also very true in this case. I recall reading that good aged parmigiana-reggiano have that granular structure, will have to scout one out in Bologna and see. The flavour is best described as intense. I tend to eat bite after bite of Wyfe of Bath, but only take nibbles of this cheese. I imagine that a sesame brittle and cold grapes would go well with this, but I've literally never paired cheese before. Will definitely be buying more of this and trying other Snowdonia cheeses. I'll for sure be reminiscing about this (and dark chocolate digestive McVities) when I leave. Not sure if it's harder to find a Canadian stockist or to bring back a 2kg wheel.

20 November 2017


You know what's even better than braised greens? Braised turnips...with some greens. But the turnips are the star.
a touch of mustards seeds is my addition, good call

I don't know whats a good comparison to the texture of braised turnips except for daikon oden, which is practically the same thing. It's not to the point of custard-y as it gradually collapse in your mouth as you bite down. Succulent maybe? It also doesn't take forever to soften, maybe half an hour (I wasn't paying much attention), unlike swede ugh. Too bad turnips aren't as cheap as carrots or parsnips, although it is still a cheap ingredient. Hopefully co-op has a good price on these, and if radishes are still on sale that'd make a good addition. Turnips are the best looking tho:

the color hnnng


Also went against my better judgement and made a coconut milk based curry. I'm not the biggest fan of coconut milk based curries. I do like the ingredient in desserts though.

recipe via thekitcn

Side note: I still suck at making easy over eggs. Can't find the balance of heating the pan/oil hot enough to get crisp egg whites vs not overcooking the yolk. I usually get the former right and not the latter, but today turned out the opposite. Sigh more practice is needed, good thing Iceland eggs are insanely cheap (unfortunately chicken welfare is a lower priority than cost atm).

I was very much regretting my decision while cooking this dish as the curry tasted supremely coconut-y. But once cooked through and cooled a bit, the taste mellowed out and became more balanced with the other flavours. Yesterday's portion reminds me of khao soi, not because that they're actually similar, but rather its the only coconut milk based dish that I eat periodically. It got even better after sitting overnight in the fridge, today's portion is actually to my liking. Next time I would increase the spiciness by switching to my dried thai pepper and sourness by adding the juice from the half a lemon that I reserved (deviated from the recipe of adding juice and zest, I just threw in a scored lemon half. Got the idea from Eastern Eye's lentil soup where there was lemon slices cooked in the soup. I can taste a hint of bitterness from the pith which I like). I do prefer the thick texture resulting from using split chickpeas cook very well done when served with rice.


Later edit: this would make the perfect shakshuka sauce! I've put off making it forever since peppers are so damn expensive in Toronto. The only problem is that I think a crispy fried egg goes the best with this sauce because of the textural contrast. So maybe I'm just complicating things and should just fry some eggs and top it.