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Born Again Cheese Eater

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30th August 2012

6:31pm: Life sucks here
Got to deal with religious intolerance yesterday, racism today, and got hit by a car

8th January 2012

1:15pm: outrage
entertaining film. unexpected twists. i was half confused though by all the double crossing

5th January 2012

3:28pm: fudge!!!!!
why is it sooooo cold in this apartment?

27th November 2011

10:48am: funerals
i'd never been to a funeral before.

i joined a choir, and we were asked to provide music for the funeral of a young man, only 19.

in a way, it was spectacular. his coffin was drawn by two horses. i didn't see it, as we were waiting in the church, but i could see the fuzzy view of it from the rippled glass.

the undertaker had a top hat, and he held it grandly in front of himself as he inspected the church to see where to put the coffin. he and his assistant placed the stands, which i had never thought about before, for the coffin in front of the altar. he was dressed in formal attire, a morning coat?

the coffin was covered grandly with red flowers. the poor man had died on veterans day, and everyone was wearing a bit of red or red poppy flowers.

it was all very sad.

the church was packed, and apparently the same number of people were waiting outside as they couldn't fit.

as the priest blessed the coffin, the song we sang, about angels greeting him in paradise & enfolding him--i can't write the words because it's too sad. it's supposed to be comforting, but it's hard to explain; it just made all the girls in the choir start crying. but everyone in the church was already crying because one of the sisters read a farewell poem to her brother--it was supposed to be funny, but she was too upset.

i'm sorry he's dead, and i don't even know him. i'm glad i went though. i imagine all funerals to be like his--monumental and majestic.

12th November 2011

2:11pm: best ice cream ever
went to chin chin, a liquid nitrogen ice cream parlor. have to say, the ice cream is amazing. it's made right in front of you, and it's very smooth and creamy. not that expensive, considering baskin robbins already costs an arm and a leg for two scoops. but the choices are limited to three. vanilla, chocolate & flavor of the week.

now i want my own vat of nitrogen, to make ice cream

25th October 2011

6:10am: thinking about mac n cheese

so i was reading this about the "perfect mac n cheese". since it's martha stewart, of course it's over engineered, but generally, it's got to be good

however, making the alfredo sauce last night, and looking at it again today, after having made all sorts of disasters, with tempered eggs, roux (well, they were good, but after reflection, not as good as), the simplicity of the butter + cream outweighs all the mess of everything else. plus, it's one pot. (well, two, if you include the pot to boil the pasta. you could make it into one, but let's not quibble.)

all i need to do is find the right mix of cheeses (instead of parmesan) to get the kraft taste. ok, i know, it's not going to be possible to get chemicals out of food. but, still, i have fond memories of that mac n cheese. it's more the fond memories i want to recreate.

so sorry, martha, you've got it wrong. the perfect mac n cheese wouldn't be a roux. it's just butter, cream & cheese
3:20am: fusilli alfredo a la basilique
sorry, no pictures. issues with accounts.

made fusilli alfredo with basil, really nice, although the sauce wasn't as thick as i expected. i have the feeling that restaurants & jars add flour or some other thickener. or maybe i added too much butter or cream (all non homogenized, unpasteurized).

as inspired by http://www.pasta-recipes-by-italians.com/basil-alfredo-sauce-recipe.html

for about 1/2 pound of pasta,

6 T butter
1 c cream

some basil leaves (maybe 1 cup yielded about 1 T pounded)

grated parmesan cheese

melted butter in a pot (being careful not to overheat). added cream, let it boil because it wasn't really thickening. added nutmeg & basil

took off heat

added boiled pasta. mixed pasta with sauce.

added cheese and mixed

it was good, creamy. also, it was really easy. i'd do it again.

fusilli carbonara, i seem to have a harder time getting down. that's supposed to be easy. i've only managed once, when i made it with ihri.

22nd October 2011

3:55am: overtones

it's been a while since i've bought a cd, years possibly. but i was motivated because 1) acapella well done 2) they come from a working class background 3) yet they make a huge effort to dress well

but mostly because they make a huge effort to dress well.

21st October 2011

9:10am: new cutting board
i bought a bamboo one, since that seems to warp & split less. i'm excited, it's got all sorts of grooves to help catch juice when cutting random bits of meat.

14th October 2011

4:04am: pheasant
erm... so i was told it was farmed. i still got shot pellets. plus, the bird is either really hairy/feathery, or it got hit with lots of shot, most of which passed through, because even the meat had feather bits. i was half grossed out. i was also worried because it smelled (raw) like a tamer version of grouse. but fortunately, cooked, it was ok.

ok because despite marinating it in yogurt water & vinegar, it was still rather tough. i've also learned that gravy made with corn starch sucks, since all the oil rises out of the gravy. but flour adds a little bit of a flour flavor. maybe i added too much flour & not enough liquid, as it was rather thick. or i could try a corn starch/flour combo to cut down the amount of flour needed.

it was also a pain because the legs had lots of random bones or really tough tendons, so i got too lazy to eat parts of the bird after a while.

so of all the random birds (partridge, wood pigeon, grouse, pheasant, guinea fowl, duck), i like the guinea fowl best, then duck (the legs were really good; since i can buy the legs separately, i feel like i should just buy the legs), then partridge or wood pigeon, then pheasant.

10th October 2011

9:29am: argh
i have a craving for ramen. and sushi. or something.

9th October 2011

9:05am: i <3 raw milk
firstly, it doesn't boil over. it just boils. i don't know why pasteurized, homogenized milk boils over, but since i'm really inattentive, that has caused many a kitchen mishap. i'm also bothered as to what happens to pasteurized, homogenized milk. what can you do to milk to make it do something so different when you bring it to 212 degrees?

secondly, with my mukka express, when i boil the raw milk in a pot (which i can now do with impunity), the froth is amazing and excessive. i had to pour out half the coffee and still it kept frothing. which meant i got lots of froth on my cappuccino. yes!

the raw butter is also amazing. i can cut a slice, and it is soft in a few minutes. as opposed to other butter, which takes forever and seems stiffer. this butter pretty much melts as i spread it, which is what i now expect of my butter.

so is the cream. oddly, it's pretty solid, i have to warm it gently to get it to turn into liquid.

and the ice cream i made from all of that.

update: raw milk does boil over. but it takes longer. so i just didn't manage to have it boil over the first few times. but yesterday, i purposely put the highest heat & waited, and even then, it was a slow rise, maybe a good 20 or 30 seconds. ("regular" milk boils over in about 3 seconds)

30th September 2011

7:37am: making cheese to reassure myself
and it's not working.

gmail is asking for my birthday, which i find intrusive & makes me annoyed. apparently, they will cancel your account if you don't give personal info. lame.

my lj is now in french. wtf. or rather, qu'est-ce que le f?

so i had lots of milk leftover from not being able to drink it all. and i didn't want to make it all into yogurt & find creative ways to get rid of it. so i decided to use some of the rennet i had in the freezer.

some of the milk had clearly gone sour (which... to be honest, hasn't bothered me before, nor had it bothered my yogurt or cheesemaking). i mixed more than 5 pints of this dodgy sour milk with more than 2 pints of fresh milk and added maybe half of cup of whey from yogurt

this morning, it was pretty clabbered. but i was like, hey, that's alright?

except i forgot, until i started heating the cheese, and it curdled, that you're not supposed to clabber your milk.

well, i forged on, and i added the rennet anyway. it set, although weirdly. it's actually the best set i've ever had. the freshly set curds wouldn't even let me do a clean break test.

i forgot that you add the salt after you cook the cheese, so now i have salty whey. oh well.

erm... it all smells off though. hmm... that's what i get for using unpasteurized, non-homogenized milk.

21st September 2011

1:49pm: ugh who knew grouse would smell so much like cadaver
i bought some grouse from the butcher. small, pricey game bird.

almost gagged when i unwrapped it. tried washing it, but it just made more stuff smell, and the water stayed red...

if you ever want to hide a dead body in your kitchen, prepare grouse.

i'm hoping it tastes better cooked than it smells raw.

20th September 2011

3:05am: so maybe i should have played more video games when i was younger

"Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade."

15th September 2011

1:25pm: raw milk

i found a place that sells raw milk

14th September 2011

9:44am: aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhh
i want to see breaking dawn now!!!

just saw the trailer...

2nd September 2011

10:59am: pianos
argh!!! i saw a used upright piano going for $150. it actually plays pretty well, as far as i can tell given that it's horribly out of tune. only one sticky key at the very end, which may be fixable at any rate. i'm soooo tempted to buy it, but it must weigh half a ton, easily. tuning it might cost $100, but moving it might cost $200 or more.

the other quirk of the piano, it's got an old-fashioned foot pump system that plays the piano on its own. it's broken, so that needs to be fixed, but i can actually play a piano, so that doesn't bother me.

24th August 2011

4:34am: haha
just finishing a phone call with an englisher:

englisher: "well, i'll let you get off and uh..."
me: "uh... yeah..."
englisher: "and um, i'll talk to you later..."
me: "yeah..."

22nd August 2011

8:22am: worcester
haha, totally picked the place because of the sauce

but it actually looks kind of cool to visit the area. plus, the dude at the bed & breakfast was really nice when i (purposefully) asked all sorts of dumb questions.

21st August 2011

11:07am: oooo
my dad is giving me an ipad. i'm kinda excited! i was thinking about buying one, but since it's the utter height of unnecessary gadgetry, i was able to refrain myself from acquiring one. (however, i've been salivating at cast iron objects that i can't obtain easily here, which was the result of the decision not to buy the ipad.)

15th July 2011

11:34am: harry potter 7:2, 3d
not sure if it's worth 3d, but it was awesome!!! totally worth it!!!

14th July 2011

9:17am: walking around naked makes you a sex offender

"A court has heard how a pensioner indulged in DIY chores such as gardening and cleaning roof gutters completely naked."

"Mr L... will now be listed on the Sex Offender’s Register for seven years."

germans, achtung!

12th July 2011

4:37am: les enfants gates
yesterday, taking the eurostar from paris to london, was interesting. there was an older girl & a younger boy on the train. with my horrible age guestimation, i would say the boy was eight, the girl twelve. maybe she was 10 and the boy six.

anyway, they were originally sitting in the seats next to me, across the aisle. but they were separated from their parents, and the girl was super keen on getting nearer to her parents. so they left shortly after the train started.

part of the train ride was them hitting each other & the father telling them to stop. apparently, he got annoyed and finally hit the girl, because she complained that her brother started it. but it seemed like he hit the boy too, because he was trying to explain he was doing something else. it was also weird because the little boy launched on this rhetorical line of questioning, about giving pain & asking for it.

at the end of the train ride, the girl seemed to have lost her iphone and/or camera. she proclaimed it had cost 500 quid and started to cry loudly.

so weird because it wasn't just a sniffle cry, she was crying like the newborn baby on the train that had been crying intermittently during the journey. eyes scrunched up, face red, tears running, mouth wide open, sobs loud enough to be clearly heard but not screaming, no effort to hide it or wipe away the tears. she was standing up straight, hands by her side. more like a visible temper tantrum than tears of shock or sorrow. especially since her brother wasn't taunting her for being a crybaby or anything. seems like he was used to this and he knew that doing something like making fun of her would either get him into more trouble with his sister and/or his parents or that it would just prolong the tantrum and result in his humiliation as well.

anyway, crazy to be giving an iphone to kids. those kids were amazingly spoiled. i'm so glad i only had a train ride with them. i feel sorry for the parents, who probably are completely bonkers from those antics. not saying that kid with iphone = spoiled kid, hung out with kids with ipads, and it was fine. but it still seems a little extreme.

8th July 2011

4:38am: great bbq sauce does not mean great "saucy" soup
i had a craving for ramen, after watching the castle of cagliostro. there was this packet of "saucy" beef bbq ramen. the bbq sauce itself tasted pretty good, which surprised me. however, adding it to the soup was a mistake & a sad waste of the great sauce. the soup was somehow just bad.
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