Search This Blog

Monday, September 30, 2013

Turning to vegetarianism

In the past, I thought vegetarianism for me would be impossible - I loved meat too much. Every meal HAD to have at least a shred of meat. And firstly, I'd like to apologize to a high school friend that I made fun of (to get along with the crowd) because she turned to vegetarianism. It was uncalled for, and mean. I'm sorry.


The catalyst to this decision to change dietary habits wasn't really about seeing the animal cruelty videos (I've seen videos of sharks being finned, and dogs being skinned alive for cooking in China), but I met a guy on Instagram who's a vegetarian, and posts the most mouth-watering food photos that you won't believe are actually vegetarian.


It started off with an experiment to see how the hell vegetarians survived in this meat-dominated world.


The effects of the new dietary habit were positive - I was more energetic compared to the past, especially on the days where I slept for 2-4 hours every night continuously. Bowel movement also increased in frequency. And I'm really testing my creativity to make veggie lunchbox combinations.


There were mixed responses about my decision - my fellow vegetarians seemed (emphasis on SEEMED) pleased that I had joined the bandwagon; friends and ex-teachers were supportive and helpful. The annoying part were the people who pointed out every "mistake" I was making - consuming garlic and onions, and not really minding that I sometimes made my meals in the same frying pan that my sister used to cook meat with previously.


"Dealing with the people was the hard part" - quote from the IG guy (shall remain unnamed until I get his permission =P). And it is, up till now. It's been about a month and a little more, but I haven't been strictly off meat - I had it a few times, when I was out with friends.


My ex-teacher, who's always been supportive, from my break-up depression stage up to my decision to ditch the Dunhill and Marlboro, told me that I didn't have to be all that strict. There are different types of vegetarians - those who just reduce their meat intake in general, to vegans who don't take anything that comes from an animal.


Making my own meals were fun and interesting at first, until I ran out of available ingredients to cook with, and I started to have to do my own grocery shopping because, well, there wasn't enough veggies in the house for me to cook with. My family still makes roast chicken or some kind of meat dish for dinner most of the time, so I'd have to take care of my own dinner whenever that happens.


The most frustrating thing is talking to some people about the whole vegetarianism thing itself. Although my reason for becoming a vegetarian isn't as noble, but there are a whole lot of reasons why people stop eating meat - be it religious, or just to be healthier.


Vegetarian meats are no stranger to vegetarians and/or vegans: made from soy and/or flour, they're made to resemble meat, in terms of looks and texture. My mum and I had a discussion over this topic. According to her, people who consume vegetarian meats (a.k.a fake meats) are people who betray themselves - they are supposed to restrict themselves to a vegetable diet, but they insist on taking something that resembles meat.


The exact quote was "Why do they wanna betray themselves? If they don't wanna eat meat, why do they eat fake meat?" That's like asking why a Muslim doesn't consume pork, or a Buddhist why he/she doesn't consume beef. Seriously?


At the end of the day, what we eat is our choice entirely. I know people who go completely clean of meat; some who will eat a dish cooked with meat in it, but just pick out the meat; some who would drink milk but not eat eggs; some who go for the Buddhist vegetarianism and opt out garlic, onions, and chili.


Personally, I can't guarantee that I'll be swearing off meat for the rest of my life entirely, but my diet will definitely be vegetarian unless I really don't have a choice. So before you start debating on the varying aspects of a person's dietary choices, see if it actually concerns you first. If not, just shut up - you're doing everyone a favor.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cupcakes: mascarpone cheese icing

Coming in all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, cupcakes are becoming increasingly popular, sometimes even replacing birthday cakes. It's a no-brainer as to why they're getting more and more popular - there are more varieties of cupcakes than there are regular cakes, and the decoration part is more intricate, and well, they're more adept at attracting attention.


I have a love for tiramisu, so much that if I make it, I'll make my own from scratch, starting from the savioardi (sponge fingers), slowly to the mixture, layering, etc. I made tiramisu cupcakes, seemingly the ultimate combination of my favorite dessert, and the hottest thing out there now.



The recipe I used was Laura Vitale's recipe for tiramisu cupcakes - for the actual cupcake part. I opted for a mascarpone icing instead of the whipped cream icing she used for her recipe. Messing up is a routine for me in the kitchen, so I had to trim off the tops of the cupcakes so that the icing would sit on the cake without sliding off.


I used:
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 2-4 tbsp icing sugar
What I did:
  1. Mascarpone has to be "processed" before it can be used, much like cream cheese. Just gently mush it down with a balloon whisk, then beat it until its smooth and creamy.
  2. Whip the cream until soft peaks in a separate bowl, adding as much icing sugar as you like to achieve the right amount of sweetness.
  3. Add the cream to the cheese, and mix until combined. Chill before transferring into a piping bag, or just dolloping it over the cupcakes (equally sinful).

According to my Italian friend, the key to good tiramisu is good quality mascarpone, and in turn, it kinda made me insist on tiramisu with mascarpone, or cream cheese at least. You could dust the tops of the cupcakes with a little cocoa powder and/or icing sugar, or just sprinkle with some chocolate chips like I did.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dates and crowded places

I'm not a person to date often, but I have gone on my share of dates, to various generic locations i.e. the mall, the cinema, a restaurant. I've also had the privilege of having some dates at places completely inappropriate for dates.


Wait, let me clarify. There are two types of dates, depending on the couple. First, there's the typical lovey-dovey type of date, where couples wanna be all holding-hands-and-cuddly; then there's the date where you actually do stuff that isn't cuddling and nuzzling and being completely oblivious to the entire world.


The lovey-dovey dates are usually at a restaurant, a cafe, some kinky shit going on in the cinema - somewhere relatively PRIVATE, or at least, private enough to not be jostling around with a million other people and their body odor and be somewhat segregated enough to talk to each other without shouting.


The dates where you actually DO STUFF, however, are held in places, well, where you do stuff. Running, checking out an event, strolling through the local night market - something that doesn't involve sitting down and nuzzling each other's hair (from whichever part of their body).


These two types of dates should be planned solely on HOW THE COUPLE IS FEELING ON THE DAY OF THE DATE. Either be versatile and change locations according to the mood, or emotionally tune yourself for the planned event.


Forgive me for the tone of voice, but... DON'T FUCKING GO TO A CROWDED-ASS PLACE IF YOU WANNA MAKE OUT WITH YOUR PARTNER! For one, if there's a crowd, there's a really high probability that it's also humid and/or suffocated, and people are moving around, so not everyone will appreciate you stopping in the middle of their pre-tracked path to wherever their destination.


Also, your really public display of affection is uncomfortable. Not only among peers, but everyone - no matter where you are, French kissing with a side of butt and/or boob fondling should be restricted to private places. Heck, if your kiss is gonna more than just a quick smooch, fucking get off the road.


Also, leave your "family day" plans for a nice Sunday at the park, rather than making a night market the place for your children to run around when hundreds of people are jostled together, and more than enough hot stoves and cookery equipment to cook your kid(s) alive.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Online relationships

What with the social media dominating our lives now, regardless of its shape of form, meeting strangers from different countries is inevitable. Personally, I've met people - with or without common interests - through Facebook, Instagram, as well as GunBound (years ago) and Omegle.


The place that I frequent for drinks with friends almost always has MTV on, and at that time, Catfish the TV Show was airing. For those of you who don't watch MTV or Catfish, the show is about online relationships, and the crew helps people find out the truth about their online relationships.


This particular episode involved a girl called Amanda Miller. A young man met her on Facebook, and it seemed special between them. However, she refused calls and photo-sharing. The Catfish crew came in, and found that all the photos on Amanda's profile were all also on another girl's MySpace page.


Nev from the Catfish crew requested to meet up with Amanda, and Amanda turned out to be a homosexual man with a fake account under the name Amanda Miller.


That episode creeped me out, especially when online relationships are pretty much half of my life. I met a very good friend from Peru, from the online game GunBound, and we're still in touch. I've met other GazettE fans via Facebook fan and event pages. And I've met some very special people from Omegle, and Instagram.


So far, everyone I've met has been trustworthy, and are who they claim to be. Amanda Miller's case was pretty harmless, apart from being a fake person, "Amanda" just wanted to feel that he was attractive enough. WHAT IF Amanda had other intentions - intentions that were less than innocently harmless?


It's a wake-up call. I'm thankful to have met so many people from different countries, one who has changed my life permanently, and hopefully one to walk this path with me for a while longer. Just a reminder to those who choose to meet people through the internet - be really, REALLY careful. Just to be safe: Google them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Veggie Peri ketchup fried rice

Someone told me that consuming my veggies in the most unprocessed form (raw, or fresh) is the best way to have them. And since I went ahead to buy veggies that would probably last me for a couple of weeks (if they don't go bad before I eat them), I made some fried rice under... boh? 10 minutes?


I have a thing for adding ketchup to stuff when I cook. It's always either dashi shoyu, or ketchup. I guess watching Taro-san and CWD paid off a little. So here's some fried rice that I made for dinner. And it's pretty much vegan, I guess. I'm not sure what they put into the chili sauce that I used.


The whole point is actually to try to get the veggies to be as fresh as possible, hence I added in the green beans at the last minute, so they're practically raw; and the tomatoes I just wedged, 'cause I like my tomatoes with seeds in.



Ingredients:

  • 1 Chinese rice bowl of lightly packed cooked rice
  • a handful of julienne carrots
  • 2 strands of green beans, chopped into 1-inch lengths
  • 3 packets/tbsp ketchup (I used the ones I got from McD LOL)
  • 1 packet/tbsp garlic Peri sauce from Nando's
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into wedges
  • some vegetable oil spread/olive oil
  • no mushrooms this time

Except for the mise en place, I basically made this in almost no time at all.
  1. Heat oil in pan and add in carrots while the pan is still basically just warm. Stir for about 30 seconds on medium low heat before adding the cooked rice. Add more oil/vegetable oil spread if desired.
  2. Add in the sauces, and season with salt to taste. Mix until well coated.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium, then add in the green beans. Cook until the green beans become really bright green (which would only take about less than a minute, then plate.
  4. Garnish with tomato wedges, or mix them into the rice as you like.

There would probably be more vegetarian/vegan cooking posts in the near future. Becoming vegetarian is compelling me to make my own food, because there's almost nothing that's vegetarian in the house, and it's better 'cause I under-salt everything. And VEGGIES ARE GOOD FOR YOU! Taste darn good too, if you know how to match them.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thailand: Haul

What's a vacation without a good amount of shopping? Finally got round to transferring these pics from my phone to the laptop to edit. I think I'll start with the more expensive items, moving to the most inexpensive. =D


This particular trip's shopping objective was to get the stuff that my mum wouldn't get, and get some feminine semi-casual pieces. I would say that objective was partially fulfilled. =P


Golden skull-embellished platform high-tops. From Platinum, 800 Baht.


Bondage wedges (5.5 inches, I think) with zigzag fabric on the side, and a zip back. From Platinum, 800 Baht.


Purple maxi dress with neckline embellishments. From Platinum, 450 Baht.


 Stainless steel chain link ring, and a black-coated ring. From Jatoojak, 320 Baht.


Mushroom-printed dresses. From Platinum, 180 Baht each.


Super dense flat shading brushes. From Platinum, 150 Baht each.


Terrier-printed skirt shorts. From Platinum, 150 Baht.


Printed dress. From Platinum, 150 Baht.


"I heart Thailand" and "Chang Beer" tees. From Platinum, 130 Baht each.


Rubber flats. From street market stall, 130 Baht each pair. 


Coral ribbon bow belt, leopard print belt, and plain brown belt. From Platinum, 100 Baht for 3.


 Assorted bracelets. From Platinum, 100 Baht for 4.


 Fringed printed tank. From street market stall, 100 Baht.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Paprika cream sauce pasta with Japanese mushrooms

Ken Min's blog open in a tab next to this composing tab, because of the music, and because a friend of mine is suffering somewhere, from something he can't escape...


On a lighter note, I've been cooking a little more lately, and I've been going vegetarian for the past few days. I've succeeded on most times, failed on a couple of times, but I'm not a semi-vegetarian. The good thing is, my mum is really supportive of this.





Here's a pasta dish I threw together within 15 minutes for dinner.

What I used:

  • shimeji and white mushrooms, a package each, cut into bite-sized pieces and washed
  • a small bowl of pasta shells
  • salt
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp paprika
  • 1-2 tbsp whipping cream
What I did:
  1. Boil a pot of a water, add some salt when it comes to a rolling boil, then cook pasta.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet, and put in the mushrooms. Saute them until they sweat, then cover and let steam in their own liquids for a couple of minutes.
  3. Uncover, turn up to high heat, and add in drained pasta, along with a little of the cooking water.
  4. Mix on high heat, then turn off, adding the paprika, cream, and salt to taste.
  5. Heat on medium low heat until the sauce thickens up a little, then serve.

It's not the most healthy, nor the most calorie-efficient, but it's the vegetarian alternative to my sister's lemon chicken roast. Really trying to add in more greens into the menu. =P