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Looking at other recipes, I've discovered that the one I used had way too much butter in it. At the risk of generalising, why is it that American recipes want to put a tonne of sugar and butter and fat into everything? Ugh.

Today I'm planning to try making banana bread. Fingers crossed.
erratio: (Default)
I used recipe number 3 from my double page of cookie recipes.

Things I learnt/questions I have from this adventure:

1) Don't use a recipe that advertises 3 dozen cookies.
2) Is brown sugar sweeter than white sugar? Because they turned out ridiculously sweet.
3) Stuff expands when it's baked. I should have known this from the last time but I always underestimate the amount of expansion. If I'd made proper sized cookies I have no doubt I could have gotten the full 3 dozen out, instead I got about 15 monster cookies
4) How do you make cookies dense and chewy? I prefer them that way to light and fluffy, but all the recipes assume I want light and fluffy and crunchy.

Tomorrow or Tuesday I hope to attempt banana bread. I would have done it today except I discovered that I'm still missing a couple of ingredients.
erratio: (Default)
So at home I've been making stir frys, mostly because they're relatively quick but also because we still had a fair amount of vegetables left over from the last one and I'm not the biggest fan of salads. This time I decided to try making the sauce from scratch, so I bought soy sauce and crushed garlic from the supermarket and planned to combine it with honey we already had at home.

On cooking a few things became apparent. Chicken from Franklins isn't the most amazing quality and I ended up throwing out a couple of pieces that looked dodgy (yeh yeh I know but I wanted to see for myself how different it was). Next I discovered that using light soy sauce and adding a bit water to a hot pan is a really really bad idea. Within a couple of seconds the front of the stove was covered in a light film of soy sauce and I got splattered a fair bit by boiling sauce. After that came the realisation that it's really hard to get tablespoons of honey out of the jar in a hurry. Also that it wasn't the best idea to put said tablespoon into the garlic first, since now there's a little bit of garlic in the honey and I'm sure that'll taste interesting on my morning toast.. Lastly I suspect that I should have made the whole sauce beforehand, putting it over a low flame and letting it thicken up a bit rather than just dumping all that stuff separately over the meat and vegies and hoping it all came out ok. And there was too much chicken and not enough vegies in the final dish.
Having said that it didn't come out too badly. Parts of the chicken ended up a bit tasteless due to not getting enough sauce on them, which I intend to remedy with the leftovers by trying to make the aforementioned thickened sauce and pouring that over the top. The rice still isn't the most amazing quality (I bought brown rice on my father's advice, which is leading to all sorts of fun since all the recipes and instructions are optimised for white rice) but I'm definitely getting closer to working out the details. But it was still edible and used up pretty much all the vegetables, so I'm happy.
And I'm not entirely happy with the selection of pots, pans and other vessels we have at the moment. We have two pots which come in the sizes of Large and Larger, and I'd like to at some point get a small one for making sauces and small quantities of stuff in general. Our only pan is a shallow, which is good for shallow frying where you don't need to use so much oil or heat but not so good for stir frying since it leads to be being splattered with hot oil/sauce a lot. Zhe recommended getting a deeper pan if not a wok, but they seem a bit on the expensive side. As do pots. Sigh.

Next on cooking adventures: Baking!
erratio: (Default)
I didn't expect it, but I'm finding cooking to be strangely satisfying. At home I would never cook, or at most heat up or shallow fry something that had already been prepared for me. But last week I made stir fry, cooking the meat and vegies myself, and there's just something about being self-sufficient which pretty much outweighs all the hassle I always associated with the activity. This afternoon I'm making another stir fry to use up the rest of the vegetables in the fridge, after that I'll see what we have left in the fridge and start thinking about what to make next. Yup, I've got the bug :)

Then there are the covnersations.

One of my coworkers watched some YouTubes about the 9/11 conspiracy theories, and became unsure about whether they were true or not. In the ensuing discussion I mentioned in passing that conspiracy theories are fairly common, just look at all that stuff about how the moon landing was faked. So of course he comes in the next day we were working together and tells me about how he looked up the moon landing conspiracy stuff and is now unsure about that too. 
On the one hand, I'm sort of horrified that I work with people who could believe this sort of stuff. But on the other hand it does make me wonder about my own upbringing, that I've been so immersed in the mainstream Western point of view that I dismiss all this stuff without even thinking about it. Those guys are fringe lunatics, of course they're wrong. Unlike my coworker, I haven't bothered reading or watching any of the 'evidence'. I just accepted the status quo. And that's a little bit alarming to me.

Then there was the other coworker I was arguing with this morning about gender stereotypes. He'd been complaining about one of our mutual coworkers and ended by comparing this guy's style of talking to a girl, because he was pestering him for juicy details. And by doing so he pushed the button on one of the few things that will get me really riled up, namely the whole gender equality/stereotyping thing. He could accept that saying that all Jews are stingy or all Indians are smelly is definitely a racist thing to say but couldn't accept that there was any similarity between those and saying that all women are fragile. The difference he cited was that one is just being racist while the other is proven scientifically... I'm not even gonna bother commenting on that one anymore.

And then there was the conversation I had with Zhe about why I'm almost a Luddite when it comes to taking up new technology. The main thing that came up was that it's an issue of cluttering up one's life. All my friends who've gotten cars and/or laptops have quickly found those things to be indispensable, which then leads to going to all sorts of measures to ensure that this now-all-important device can be used all the time. Any hassle associated with owning one quickly becomes invisible to the owner in the face of the device's usefulness. But as a have-not I can definitely see the hassle involved. To me a laptop means having to lug around an extra 2kg and constantly worry about it being stolen or damaged. Not to mention constantly being on the lookout for a powerpoint because it's not the sort of thing you can forget to charge for a day or two, like a mobile. The associated benefits of having a laptop are pretty good but I'm still not sure I can be bothered complicating my life with one, especially as everyone seems to become dependent on it surely after getting one. And it's much the same for the car. Most car owners become ridiculously dependent on the convenience to the point where they'll often refuse point blank to use public transport if they can possibly help it. Having a car means paying large amounts of money for the privilege of worrying constantly about bookings/accidents/damage. Of course it also means being able to go from point A to point B a lot more efficiently most of the time and at any time of day, but once again I'm not really sure it's worth the extra clutter in my life. *shrug* 
I'm sure there are lots of my friends who'll read this and think it's a stupid attitude, but.. I really do prefer not being dependent on half a million things just to feel as though I have a good quality of life. I can totally see myself becoming a hermit one day, the kind who spends their days meditating and stuff...


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