Monthly Archives: April 2013

dessert meals

you know, i was thinking about blogging about food, since i don’t really blog enough about food, given that i like food so much. so i was thinking about coming up with a list of insane desserts. then it struck me that as much as i like all my desserts, i like them when they come with other things… in combination, working with each other. and then i thought, why not a dessert meal!? you know, normally when you have rice, you have rice + meat + veg + soup. dessert should work the same way. why not MAKE IT A MEAL?

without further ado, here are some purely theoretical constructs that come out of the oven of my mind… if anyone does actually make these, PLEASE let me have some.

forgive me if there are no names to these meals…

now, for our first entree, we start with a generous slice of carrot cake. as much as i don’t like carrots, for some reason, i adore carrot cake. that’s quite something, considering that i don’t really like cake¬†that much. so. back to the carrot cake. it has to be thick and dense, with plenty of nuts inside: walnuts and pecans preferable. some raisins would be good too. most importantly the cream cheese topping has to be serious cream cheese, the melt-in-your-mouth kind. not too strong a cream cheese, but just to go with dat carrot. of course the carrot cake should have some coconut shavings. marzipan to top it off. just a little marzipan. so our main course is carrot cake. it’s pretty heavy so i’d say pick a cinnamon-flavoured coffee to go with it. just nice. hot coffee (you know, i just recently discovered that i might be beginning to appreciate coffee) and cake is a great way to start the day. or end the day. okay this meal is quite heavy, what with coffee and carrot cake, so i’d suggest some super fresh raspberries and strawberries on the side. so that they kind of enhance each other, you know? sweet versus tangy. and you get that with the cake and coffee also. so you can experiment. this is kinda atas though.

next, something i’ve actually done before… much to my mum’s disapproval. but she’s the one who made everything. okay, nearly everything.

this is a composite thing which requires some arrangement so listen carefully folks!

the first thing you put on the plate is a generous slice of superdense dark chocolate, pecan, and cranberry brownie. the NON-CAKE type. we want a brownie that is like chewing solid chocolate… squishy chocolate. that brownie feeling, you feel me? dark dark chocolate. this has to be a decadent brownie. it must be. and with that wonderful brownie crust, tantalizingly sweet and lightly toasted/baked, but bite it open and then you find the luscious filling of the rest of it all, decorated with the aforementioned pecans and cranberries.

then we need a slice of warm apple pie. real appie pie. apple pie with wonderfully buttery pastry (oh nom nom nom) and sliced apples inside. real apples. apple slices, not bits. the apples should be slightly soft but still have a light crunch to them when you bite down. and the pastry shouldn’t be too thick… there’s a golden ratio between filling and pastry so it must be fulfilled. of course a very important element in apple pie is that all the sauce is thick and gooey. you know, when you bake apple pie, all that delicious stuff comes oozing out… the apple sauce thing. oh yums.

finally our third slice will be a delectably light lemon sponge cake. not too light, reasonably dense, but spongy enough to soak up liquid stuff. lemony enough to give that zing to your mouth, a counterbalance to the strength and moxiousity of the brownie and the apple pie.

so what you do now is to arrange these three side by side on a plate. next, you need to scoop an entire load of vanilla ice cream (the good kind, mind you) on top. plonk it on top of the brownie and apple pie, so that it starts to melt. make sure you have a lot of ice cream, so that the center remains solid (and you can eat it). finally top the whole thing off by drizzling 2 tablespoonfuls of baileys cream and lashing the entire concoction with chocolate sauce. not hershey’s chocolate sauce. real, melted down, still-heated chocolate sauce. lashings, mind you. not little droplets.

so the idea is that the chocolate and applesauce and ice cream and baileys will all mix together in this chemical explosion, guaranteed to excite your tastebuds. it will then be absorbed by the lemon cake, which will transform from a humble offering into a gargantuan mixture of flavours, all brought together by that lemoniness we were talking about earlier. the brownie continues to serve as a base for it, and apple pie is simply happiness cooked on a plate. so you have chocolate + fruity sweetness + icecream and all the wonderful things. i think i shall call this the three-in-one-mega-dessert-stew. a stew is what it looked like.

note: mum was quite horrified, cousins quite fascinated.

finally, we shall end off with something smaller… a dessert of desserts, you might call it. i’m sorry i’m getting hungry just thinking about all this.

what we need is fruit crumble. mostly peaches and apples, with a smattering of blueberries and strawberries. did you know that when you make blueberry and strawberry crumble, the resultant is an incredibly vibrant hue of purple sauce that emerges? it is also delicious. so we have these 4 fruits. and we bake them in a large dish. of course it isn’t just fruits, you need a proper topping. which means oats and crumbly thingoes and nuts and more nuts and chocolate chips. not too much chocolate chips. oh, and cranberries. you can never have enough cranberries. they go with everything.

then you bake your fruit crumble till its steaming hot and all the juices are flowing, merging into a river of flavour, fruity goodness that is guaranteed to satisfy your soul and tickle your throat (in a good way). at the same time you need a cup of hot chocolate. the real stuff. the bitter, dark, thick stuff. a cup of it.

now you must believe me when i tell you what to do. you need to take a cup of crumble, and put it into a cup of chocolate. not the other way round. pouring your chocolate on top of your crumble merely makes your crumble chocolatey. what we want is to SOAK the crumble. hence, the crumble must enter the chocolate. think about it this way: when you go shower, the water falls all over you, you get wet. but when you go swimming, you go into the water, then you get Wet. understand?

allow crumble to soak, and allow chocolate to seep into crumble. ever tried chocolate-infused apple? you’re about to.

to top it all off, pour a little bit of baileys on top. and a small (really, a small) scoop of vanilla ice cream. hot + cold is very good. makes it all the better.

dessert is all about contrasting harmonies.

 

 

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superhero musings

have you ever wondered how the world trundles along when its heroes are busy? for example when every hero of note is fighting some incredible all-consuming force (something on the Galactus scale), what happens to humanity? at the rate that natural disasters happen and bad guys pop up, by the time the mega-threat is neutralized, Metropolis should be rubble, Gotham in chaos, and everything else a hole in the ground. Atlantis would then remake earth in a watery way.

fascinating, isn’t it? i wonder if lawsuits can be made against superheroes for destroying the environment while in a fight. for example the building takes some damage… a boutique facade gets hit by a superpowered punch. i’m sure the faceless, profit-focused, money-making corporation behind the business will waste no time in suing any superhero for causing that damage. confirm plus chop. and you wonder why kyle rayner and peter parker are always living in these crappy flats. no wonder everyone camps out at Avengers Tower as much as they can.

tony stark also has to be ridiculously rich in order to keep running his suit. i wonder whats the per unit time cost of using the suit in combat… a few million dollars per minute? if you convert energy usage by the suit onto the industrial scale. maybe akin to an entire squadron of F-22s engaged in high-speed dogfights all at once. probably more. but of couse Stark Resilient is going to solve all that.

i think the coolest concepts though go to The Authority. the engineer is undoubtedly very badass. but if you think about it, the Doctor can solve all of the world’s problems. the problem with that though (as with all shortcuts) is that humanity takes this for granted, and if you remove cancer and poverty, a new set of problems will arise. to me, it is like math. you can’t handle stuff like differentiation and integration if you haven’t mastered addition subtraction multiplication division… so think of poverty and the propensity to robbery as addition and subtraction. it makes things worse if you try bigger stuff without being able to do small stuff. so perhaps the best thing to do is for the Doctor to allow mankind to overcome cancer and other global problems by itself. one small step at a time, don’t you think?

what is a useful superpower? i think a useful superpower is one that allows the user to help as many people as possible… but then one must consider the physics of it. flight is not very useful when you don’t have superstrength. because then you won’t be able to pull people to safety. and then with that you will need extremely good balance and an understanding of movement in 3 dimensions: flightwise. so you need a navigational/gyroscopic device in your head. like Shen in The Authority. so we see that superpowers are necessarily exponential: higher degree of superpowers (higher on the scale) must necessitate that you possess the powers that are below on the scale. so the most basic of all, heightened human ability, or minimal superhuman physical performance (superfast, superstrong) is the most basic of requirements. of course you can bend the rules if you are psionically enabled (like Jean Grey), but then one must note that psionic abilities and other forms of energy manipulation allow for superhuman performance on a physical level. Jean Grey can telekinetically lift a tank. can you do that?

however one must note that proper application and usage of these powers are even more important: that is to say, the moral compunction and decision-making ability that aids in discretionary usage of power. that’s what in the end separates the good from the bad, and the better from the best. because the good guy always makes the good decision, and the best guys make the best decisions of them all. i propose that this is what makes heroes ‘heroic’: the harder the decision they have to make, the more heroic they are. the more that there is at stake, the greater the pressure on the conscience, then the bigger the hero. as such we can see that the biggest heroes that we have are not those who are extremely powerful. Captain America and Spider-Man are two of my favourite heroes (and not because they are both blue and red). so is Wolverine. They aren’t that powerful… but they make Choices. and circumstance always lands upon them and fate always schemes to allow some calamity to befall them, but against all this it is the moral compass that does not waver. the flesh may waver but the spirit always stays true. if power were all it is then the Martian Manhunter would be wildly popular. but he isn’t. Batman is. Batman is simply a mega-detective with a very complicated mind and Olympian-level training. i mean, Batman in a fair fight against say, any slightly superpowered villain? just hand to hand. no way. long story short, Batman isn’t that powerful. but his heart is big. the Hulk is really strong. i like the Hulk. but the Hulk struggles with a very human emotion: anger, and more importantly, control of that anger. and sometimes Banner wins. and we have calm Hulk. a victory for us all. direction. that makes the Hulk a hero. when he applies his incredible force for good – a conscious choice to do so.

so superheroes. they can save the world. but what is at stake here is the moral direction of humanity, and i think that’s what they’re ultimately saving. which is far more important, no?

Tagged

Why is it that doctors and nurses are the least healthy, social workers have the most problems, and teachers get the most stressed about grades? And suchlike in other service professions. This world does not make sense.

so you think you have what it takes…

http://www.nsformulas.sg/workshops/to-lead-excel-and-overcome/

as timmy puts it… ‘now they have tuition for NS also’.

there’s BMT preparation. which might help, yes. everyone has to go through it.

but to have something that is designed to get you into OCS?

what scares me here is that what the company is selling is getting INTO OCS.

that’s not the hard part. 9 or 13 weeks in BMT isn’t a long time, and if u wayang the right amount, are reasonably fit, have slightly above average willpower and determination, and have okay grades, i’m guessing it’s possible to get into OCS if you want to.

but if you sell the notion of getting into OCS because OCS is ‘the best’ (once again the kiasu singaporean mentality, the nasty side of it)

that’s wrong.

yes it’s not wrong to want to do well, to be an officer, to see if you have what it takes. heck, that’s what i did. i wanted to be johnny rico from my favourite novel. i didn’t want to just be a regular grunt, i wanted to be an officer! and i was privileged enough to be one. and i will be the first person to tell you that i wasn’t an incredible officer. i was… pretty so-so. not great. but i tried. i can say with a clear conscience that i did my duty. i have regrets, yes, but i have my points of pride, and i did my job.

but if there’s one thing i know about OCS, it’s not about the getting into OCS. it’s not even about the getting THROUGH. 9 months of what seems like crap might be tough but if you want to, you can get it done. it’s about what comes after.

it’s about being an officer, and being responsible for your men. knowing that you are really responsible for life and death, training morale and discipline, their welfare, their nights out and offs, their leave, their ippt, their marksman, their family, their future plans, their bunks, their health, and everything. OCS does what it can to prepare you for that, but the most important thing is that you must WANT to do it. you must be mentally prepared and ready to be Responsible.

if you come along thinking that you’re going to buy a magic formula to become an officer then i think you’re wrong. cliche as it may be the formula is inside yourself and you’ve got to want it. its like assessment books. no amount of assessment books, no matter how good they are, are going to make you a good student if you don’t want to do well. except doing well is a personal choice.

doing well is a personal choice. if you don’t, well, that’s on you. its personal consequences.

being an officer, well yeah, it’s a personal choice. in OCS it is repeatedly drummed into you that you are there because you CHOSE to be there. and for good reason. because if you don’t do your job, it’s not personal consequences. it’s gonna be consequences for every man under you whose parents have effectively entrusted to you. sons of the nation, quite literally, under your charge, and you are going to be accountable, whether you like it or not.

that’s why to me, the idea of selling officership, of even selling a book that is going to help you qualify for OCS… that’s wrong man. that’s just wrong. at some very basic level, it offends me. it’s just not right.

you want to be an officer… go ahead. but do it on your own. prove your own mettle. if you don’t have what it takes, don’t. if you’re going to ‘buy’ officership to satisfy your own personal desire, without being aware of what it entails, don’t. you’re just going to make some people suffer unknowningly, and they can’t do anything about it – exactly the opposite of what an officer is supposed to do. the creed says ‘I lead my men by example. I answer for their training, morale, and discipline.’ when you’re ready to do that then you go prove yourself. i’m all for that. but somehow buying a book for the purposes of getting into OCS… that’s just wrong.

now, reading the book for insights, information, sure. but packaging in it such a manner? man… i don’t feel too good about it, if you ask me.

 

that sinking feeling

when you have an essay due at lecture tomorrow, can’t do it tomorrow morning because there’s a presentation in the morning, currently slogging through it (about halfway done), knowing its not that great because you didn’t prepare much, unenthusiastic, unmotivated, heavy hearted, and yet knowing that you have to finish it because you need to submit it anyway, knowing you should finish as soon as possible BUT still blogging about it anyway…

 

that’s a sinking feeling right there.