30 November 2014


I feel slightly accomplished:

Of course this was throughout the semester.
I should really study harder for finals ;_;

29 November 2014


Waited in line for a long, long time.

Very much worth though.
I need to refrain myself from heading into MUJI often.

28 November 2014


Here's to clearing my backlog of food related photos:

 African peanut soup at Harvest Kitchen. Very tasty soup, great brunch spot overall. Service is very very slow, but the food and ambiance balances that. I've heard that their breakfast burrito is amazing.

 The best pasta sauce I've made to date. It was also the most time consuming, but definitely worth it.
  1. Base layer of the flavour is really browned onions. By really browned I mean around half an hour of gently sweating it, with some sugar. Admittedly I'm rather bad at this and burnt some pieces. Will follow these tips next time.
  2. Next layer of flavour is some herbs and spices. This time I've used a combination of oregano, rosemary, and garlic, for no reason other than the fact I had them. The trick is to first crush them with a mortar and pestle with some salt before adding them to the pan.
  3. Next is meat, ground beef to be exact. I added it in along with the herbs and spices, and seasoned it with some soy sauce for bonus umami.
  4. The first appearance of tomatoes is in the form of tomato paste, to add some depth. This is also added with the meat.
  5. After the meat is mostly cooked, add in tomato sauce, with some more onions (cause I'm a fan) and some finely chopped carrots. Simmer for as long as you can stand, which for me was about 15mins. 
The above steps will make a pretty good sauce, but the important part is to get the flavour absorbed into the pasta. This is accomplished by draining the pasta slightly undercooked, and transfering it into the sauce to finish cooking. Also add a few ladles of the starch-rich pasta water to  help the sauce stick better.
It's a lot more trouble than dumping a jar of ragu, but trust me it's worth.

Next is roast meat, which I've previously talked about here.
 Here's a photo of all the ingredients to make your life easier. The quantity of spices is exactly how much I used, for umm... 1 chunk of shoulder. I realize not quantifying the meat defeats the purpose of quantifying the spices. Also note that the middle jar is not jam, but chili oil.

 As much as I love potatoes (which beautifully thickens the sauce), carrots are my new favourite vegetable add-in. It becomes incredibly sweet after a long braise.

Finally, upping my breakfast game with some steel cut oatmeal:
They require a very long soak in case you want to avoid cooking them. I rather like how chewy they are without cooking, but that results in taking a longer time to eat breakfast which is not desirable on school days.
They're also better overloaded with toppings, in this case: apples, walnuts, flax seed and honey.

26 November 2014


A couple conclusions I've recently come to:
  • Baking is a great stress reliever because I can take out my frustrations while creaming butter and sugar. Doesn't hurt that there's a tasty by-product. 
  • Success is being able to be there for what I care about, and having the freedom to walk away from what I don't. 
  • The perfect amount of keen is being ahead enough to take breaks without falling behind.

25 November 2014

shui xian

I'm so sure that yan cha is my favourite tea type. They're perfect.
Thanks to Tien who gave me some shui xian to try side by side with my da hong pao.

They look so similar that the different gaiwans are my only way (well aside from taste) that I can tell them apart. Actually the first brew tasted pretty much the same too.

 水仙 (shui xian)
Overall this was very smooth, with a strong floral flavour (it is named from a flower). This would be my perfect daily drinker as it has the floral component of greener oolongs, but also the earthier notes from more roasted oolongs. Can't wait to try this in my yixing to see if it taste any different.

大红袍 (da hong pao)
Definitely more mineral tasting than the above, with sour notes coming through the later steepings too. This one is tricker to brew right as well, which I need lot more practice on.

23 November 2014


A train platform and window.

The curtain would be fun to render in pastel.

22 November 2014

floor area

The last design of apartment buildings in Malaysia is brilliant. By designing the building in the form of an inverted pyramid, he minimized the low value bottom floor spaces and allowed for significant tree coverage.
I am so impressed.

19 November 2014


My best friend is all dressed up :')

18 November 2014


Hlin makes good studying music. Tis my favourite from the new album.

17 November 2014


First thrifting experience was a success! Got a thick, cream coloured wool cardigan for $20 harhar. (it's really similar to this)

Also updates on the boot front: bought a pair on a spontaneous trip to TheBay a while ago. Quite happy with it has it is a) simple b) has a slight heel and c) leather is said to be water resistant! But my point in bringing this up now is that I finally made my way to gravitypope yesterday on my thrifting trip and was disappointed in all my previous pickings cause they all have toeboxes that are too round -o-"

16 November 2014


I thought I'd try being more scientific about steeping tea. Well I was only measuring one variable, steeping time, so it barely qualifies as being scientific. Really ought to measure water temperature as well.

The tea under examination is a dong ding from Tea From Taiwan.

Steep 1: 30s
Smell: not much tbh, a little creamy?
Taste: a little floral? sweet, pear, like boiled pear with rock sugar
Note: leaves not yet unfurled

Steep 2: 45s
Smell: sweet, peaches/nectarine
Taste: sweet, fruity (prob peaches), light mouthfeel
Note: leaves starting to unfurl, decreased water to leave ratio as not much leaves left

Steep 3: 60s
Smell: back to not smelling like much, maybe a hint of sweetness?
Taste: a little of the floral smell came back in taste, not particularly fruity anymore

Steep 4: 1:15min
Smell: back to fruity! I think this note is released because of the higher temperature of the water.
Taste: still a little floral, a hint of bitterness

Steep 5, 6, 7: 1:15-1:30min
Smell: fruitiness is not as pronounced as before
Taste: getting some sweetness back

Steep 8: 2:30min
Increased steeping time to see what other flavours I can get out of the leaves. The fruity notes reappear, but more mellow.

I had the ambition to make a gif of the tea liquor, but didn't take good enough photos. The taste is also quite different from the first time I made this tea. This time is far less fruity, which I was disappointed in. The sweetness is dominate taste, true to the website's description.

As dong ding is a heavier roasted oolong, it does taste quite different from the greener Taiwanese ones. Would definitely try out more of this from other vendors.

11 November 2014


One more midterm left and I think I survived alright. Feeling remarkably unstressed about school, which is far more important.

A variety of food photo gathered over the month:

 Roasting squash, which I must admit I'm not very good at.

 Avocado toast is the breakfast of champions (y). Super filling and good contrast in texture.

酸菜鱼 (pickled vegetables fish, or 'sour fish' as I call it).
First time making it from scratch as I now am a proud owner of a pickling jar. The broth turned out alright (would be better if I had fish stock), but the actual fish pieces were bland because of my fear of overcooking the fish meat. Hopefully it'll be more flavourful as leftovers.