31 March 2017


It took many weeks for Kenny and I to exchange tea, but it finally happened and today's weather is a perfect match for some red tea. Its my first time having red tea from Sun Moon Lake and it has a...licorices taste? The leaves are very pretty and smells super sweet.

In other news, I ordered yet more pu er. I blame being stressed when white2tea sent out its email promoting a weekend free shipping event. Made a little order for the white whale, the 2002 tea that made them famous iirc, and their 2017 house blend ripe pu-er. They're sort of on the opposite spectrum, but the white whale seems like such a deal at ~30 for a 15 year old (likely good) tea. Sigh I haven't touched anything from my giant YS haul yet ;_; School go away.


Today my prof showed me NASA's surface meteorology and solar energy database, where have you been all my (school) life?! I have so much appreciation for good datasets now. I also appreciated a textbook for the first time in university, bless the Unit Operations in Food Processing.


I miss Kyoto too. Didn't spend nearly enough time sitting on the patio here.

30 March 2017


Its been a while since I put a teapot on this plate. Today's weather is good for a mid roast oolong.

29 March 2017

sort-of wagashi

^yeah I haven't touched any of the ingredients that I fussed about and bought from Taobao. Still making jellies using agar-agar.

After I ate the last two chocolate panna cotta for breakfast this morning (better than pizza right? :D ), and getting the approval of another chocolate-obsessed, I feel comfortable sharing my formulation.

The cocoa powder I'm using in dutch processed and 17% fat content (1g of fat in 6g, is weight percentage how they calculate fat content?).

For a cleaner chocolate flavour and a firmer jelly (my second batch) use water instead of milk.

  • 250g of total liquids: 30g water / 70g heavy cream / 150g milk (I used 3%)
  • 60g sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2g agar-agar
I made 450g total liquids for my second batch and the ratio scales up well. Though I've read somewhere that you should be careful scaling a batch beyond double or half of the original formulation. 

Cocoa powder loves to clump together and is a major pain to work with, anticipate a loot of time stirring it in. 
  1. Dissolve the agar-agar into the cold water and start heating it up on the solve under low heat. If there's more liquid, you can turn the heat up to medium but the point is to very slowly bring the mixture up to a boil so you have time to mix in the cocoa power.
  2. Sieve the cocoa powder into the sugar and mix well. Mix the heavy cream and milk as well. 
  3. Have a container and the sieve on stand-by beside the stove. Also have an instant-read thermometer within reach.
  4. Start mixing in the cocoa powder/sugar mixture. Add a moderate amount at a time and mix very very well. I found that using a silicone spatula was the best since it has the right amount of flexibility. Best to press any stubborn clumps against the side of the pot. How well you incorporate the cocoa directly determines how smooth the final jelly is. 
  5. Add in some of the cream/milk. Tbh it was more work mixing in the cream than the cocoa. 
  6. Alternate adding the cocoa power/sugar and cream/milk. 
  7. Adjust the heat so the mixture doesn't actually boil over. You can to bring it just above 90C, so check with the thermometer once you suspect the temperature is close. 
  8. Ideally you'll finish adding in everything before the mixture reaches 90C. Once you're done adding in everything, pour the mixture into the container on stand-by, scrapping the pot well. Then set the sieve on the pot and pour everything back into the pot, discarding any clumps that catch on the sieve. I feel its better to set the sieve on the pot rather than on the container since it minimizes the amount of time the mixture sits in a not-hot container. This step is really a pain to do, but worth it if you want really smooth jelly. 
  9. Once the mixture is strained and reaches 90, pour it into the moulds and let it cool. Agar-agar gels rather quickly. 

26 March 2017


So far I've serendipitously found two photographers that are exactly my aesthetic through tumblr: Takashi Yasui and today Pierre Putman:

24 March 2017


After 4 years of living in the same area, I'm finally repeatedly going to some restaurants for meals.

 Always ordering these two things from Charidise

Last meal at Raijin before they move farther away. They also have a combini that sells Calpis concentrate *u*

Following the formula of acidic / fatty / carbs...plus vegetables

And the Uncle Tetsu empire expands yet again, this time into cheese tarts. Pre-emptively striking before Pablo opens?
It is damn good though, I like it better than the cheesecakes

23 March 2017

cuddle on the couch

Whereas the experiment has been satisfactorily carried out.
Whereas the results confirmed the hypothesis.
I think I like the current way? At the worst, feeling scared is better than feeling guilty. At the best, eh both are pretty close, really depends on how altruistic I feel.

I forget if this was posted already, oh wells.
Cue all the scenes in Before Sunrise with the loaded glances.


Okay I admit (to myself really) grad school is bothering me a lot. Can I instead transform into a tree in the middle of the forest in some remote region? Fuck I'm not doing anything for a good reason.

22 March 2017


Its that time of the year again, counting down to moving out and frantically trying to eat my fridge and freezer empty. Ideally pantry would be included in the previous list, but that's practically impossible.

Starting with my pickles, all conveniently in fried rice:

Spooning hot oil onto a sunny-side up egg is definitively the best way to make fried egg.

16 March 2017


If you ask me for a list of my hobbies, I wouldn't name music. Although it's not a hobby, it is a substantial part of my life...but in the way that's like...(what's a good analogy here)...mixing bowls? It's essential but not something I think deeply about. Perhaps due to never building the background as a kid, or maybe I'm just not that interested in it as an end in itself.

But all this preamble is just to lead to my admission that electronic music is pretty great. It is amazing in the sheer variety of sounds. So thank you Jeff for introducing me and stubbornly sending me song recs in the beginning.

Most of these probably already made an appearance on this blog as a sanity maintenance measure. 

15 March 2017


Its been a miserably long day ugh.

13 March 2017

mustard seeds

A trio of Indian dishes from the past week.

12 March 2017


Holy this gyokuro is still amazing almost half a year after the recommended expiry date. It's categorized under "balanced", but still very umami-like.

I also realized that its the body of the tea that you lose in the first couple of steeps.

10 March 2017

black forest cake

This week's sanity maintenance music:

Actually this whole playlist is sanity saving

07 March 2017


A song for 6 month ago

05 March 2017


The best part of yesterday:

It's actually very little effort to make chicken soup, I should do it more often.

01 March 2017


Today is another day where I'm super nostalgic for old Chinese songs. Maybe it's because iron ring is this weekend durr.