Tea Addicts Anonymous?

Guys, I think I have a problem. I’m packing up since I’m moving next week. This is my tea collection.

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It filled an entire box, and that was after I consolidated the individual tea boxes.

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That’s a ridiculous amount of tea for one person. Oops.

Stay tuned for my moving day Sangria recipe!

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Poor Lobster

Every time my parents cook live lobsters, it makes me so sad. I swear to never eat meat again, but then I do. I guess I’m not only wimpy, but also inconsistent. Lobster is so tasty though.

Are you guys capable of boiling lobsters?

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I don’t think I’d ever order it in a restaurant though, especially not in a fancy one. I got lobster juice all over, shell cuts on my hands, garlic butter all over my face. A piece of claw went flying when my dad cracked it. It was a mess! It doesn’t scream “dinner to complement my beautiful evening gown” to me.

A little cheese, a little coffee

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I went to Saint-Lambert, on the south shore of Montreal, for lunch with a friend at a cheese shop. It’s called l’échoppe des fromages, and is similar to the cheese shops you’d find in Europe, but minus the stink. If you’ve been to France, you know what I mean.

I used to eat lunch here often when I lived on the South Shore. If you haven’t been, it’s worth it. It’s located on a trendy street and many Quebec celebrities live nearby, so you might catch a glimpse of one.

20130617-232741.jpg We ordered a large cheese platter to share. It came with 3 cheese choices and one charcuterie choice. We got an aged cheddar, a goat cheese, and another local hard cheese, with a duck terrine, which stole the show. The platter came with fruit and endless baguette toast. The price is by weight, so the platter can vary a lot in price depending on the cheeses you are given.

I want to rave about the café au lait served in a bowl. It was an actual, ceramic bowl. My pet hate is clear glass mugs, I simply refuse to drink hot beverages out of them. I just don’t enjoy them if they’re in glass! Last time I went out for breakfast with the boyfriend, he ordered a café au lait in a mug. I wanted mine in a bowl, as it was indicated on the menu. As it turns out, his came in a proper ceramic cup, mine came in a larger glass mug. How that is a bowl, I don’t know. Anyways, the coffee at l’Échoppe was amazing.

The service wasn’t great, but all the other times I had great service, so we might have hit a bad waitress.

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If you want to downshift, sip coffee and eat delicious cheese, take a trip to the South side. Student alternative? Go to Provigo, buy 2-3 cheeses that are on sale, 1 charcuterie, some fruit and some baguette. Lots of money saved. I’m actually going to do this, but as a picnic.

The Science Behind Making Lattes

My obsession with coffee crept into my end of semester project, studying the science of frothing milk. This was done for my class on Heat Transfer, which covers the different ways heat is transmit between media.

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To summarize, stainless steel does transmit heat to your hand faster than any other medium shown (better than a thermos, duh), due to it’s conductivity coefficient. That’s important when steaming milk, as you can quickly gauge milk temperature by holding the milk pitcher. The project was pretty ridiculous and involved lots of measuring temperatures with a meat thermometer. It’s probably the silliest experiment I’ve gotten away with during my Engineering degree, but it was great fun.

We made a lot of assumptions in order to perform the experiment, but the process of milk frothing, one maybe taken for granted by us coffee drinkers, is quite complex. What impresses me is the fully automated espresso machines. There could be more science behind making coffee than you would think.

My Pathetic Attemps at Latte Art

After weird Tupperware pudding comes failed Latte art. This is really a 2 part self-deprecation mini-series.

I want to be able to do latte art! It’s so impressive. My dream is to serve someone, a man friend perhaps, a coffee that doubles as art. I mean, how hard is it to draw a heart with espresso and milk?

Well, hard. And I should have realized that I can’t draw with a paper and pencil, never mind coffee. Everyone thinks engineers need to be good at drawing. Most of us are not at all.

My favourite cafe (Castel, go there, it is awesome!) makes crazy lattes. Sometimes they draw faces, sometimes leaves, this time, the guy drew what I think is a dragon. It could also be a peacock? It’s kind of like an ink blot test. Comment what you think it is so I can psychoanalyse you muahaha

20130609-003455.jpg I plan on watching some YouTube tutorials which will hopefully enlighten me on how to acquire this skill. I just might have to make lots of coffees. And I just might have to drink them, so they don’t go to waste. This might be good for productivity, on this day of presentation prep and studying. Here’s to useful procrastination!

Mango Pudding

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I stumbled upon a recipe for mango pudding while reading an old issue of Eating Well. Friends of mine have been raving about mango pudding made by their Chinese relatives. Since I love only sweetened condensed milk more than I love mangoes, I was already sold on the idea.

I then went to the grocery store to find a sale on mangoes, the ataulfo kind, as in, the only real mangoes. Don’t even talk to me about the big red ones! So, it was fate. I bought a whole bunch (5 to be precise), chopped them up and puréed them.

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20130609-001207.jpg Then I added a can of low fat sweetened condensed milk and the juice of 1 lime to the purée. The original recipe called for first putting the purée through a sieve, but I’m a busy cook. Ain’t nobody got time for sifting or straining.

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Then I prepared two packets of gelatine ( enough for 4 cups of liquid ) in the laziest way, by pouring 1/2 cup of water , letting the powder dissolve, microwaving it for 20 seconds and then stirring. I folded it into the mango mixture and poured it into greased containers.

You’re supposed to put them in ramekins, set them in the fridge for about 2 hours, and unmold them. I don’t have ramekins so I used mismatched Tupperware, whichever were about the size I wanted.

20130609-001820.jpg That made the pudding look a bit funky when unmolded. Oops. I’m a busy student living in a city constantly begging me to go out and play. I want my blog to show my real life, weird Tupperware puddings included. I love Instagram, but it almost gives me this complex about my cooking, that if it doesn’t look as good as these people’s, I have failed. Sometimes, like now, I remember that I cook because it’s fun and I love to eat tasty things.

The pudding was delicious and I served it to the friend I made dinner for. Rave reviews all around.

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Dreary Weather, Wet Peasant

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It’s F1Grand Prix weekend here in Montreal, but with the worst possible weather. I love rain, I love the romance of it. I love sitting on my balcony when it rain, cup of tea in hand. My love affair with rain goes way back, yet, this is NOT the weather I want for pretending to be a baller. This is not weather for imaginary joy riding in a Porsche. Or imaginary bottle poppin at the club. Or hobnobbing with hot european men at swanky bars. I can’t even go anywhere respectable like this because my hair has been rained on all day.

To make things more enjoyable, Montreal had this NYC thing going on last night. Apparently everyone saw the rain and went “urgh ill take a cab”. So I stood in the rain, waiting for a bus, further reinforcing the fact that I am not a baller, but a mere peasant.

Red Velvet

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I’m working on some of the usual content (some engineering stuff, some Montreal stuff) but before I get to that, I wanna talk about red velvet cupcakes. Do you know that song by Lana Del Rey called “blue velvet”? I’ve had that song in my head while writing this post. I read red velvet in the tone she sings blue velvet. Sigh.

I think I’m the last one on the cupcake bandwagon, and that is because I don’t like frosting. I have a special hatred for buttercream frosting, and that seems to be on all cupcakes you buy at a bakery. All except red velvet. I feasted on red velvet cupcakes while on a trip to Manhattan, so I decided to make them upon my return.

I hate the amount of food colouring that goes into these cupcakes though. I’ve heard you can make them with beets. Has anyone tried this? Please link me to a recipe if you have. I’m a little scared, but really wanna find a substitute for the artificial food colouring.

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Back in Black

So that was a long and unexpected hiatus, I got busy with school, work, friends and most importantly, I couldn’t remember the reasons why I was blogging in the first place.

I also write for a publication on campus. Nothing major, but it did use up most of my creative writing energy.

That being said, I have missed this so I am back. Uh huh back in black!

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Tapas

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I’m back! After a long midterm-induced hiatus, I will again be posting on a regular basis. This weekend, I got roped into dinner at my parent’s house, with my dad’s boss and coworker. The second I walked in the door, my parents put me to work in the kitchen. I made the hors d’oeuvres.

I love tapas, though I usually just use the name as an excuse to eat a whole bunch of random hors d’oeuvres as a meal.

I had two seconds to snap the picture of the plate I prepared. It had individual Greek-ish layered salad, warm dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon, and finally, spicy shrimp.

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Since I took a class on Hinduism in college, every time I have tapas, I think of the spiritual meaning of the word, though I know it’s unrelated to the Spanish food type.

Anyways. I’m thinking of having a tapas dinner party myself, since this one was so well executed.

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