06 January 2011

You know it's me, Cathy

Student: Midori Haraguchi
Level: 4

Assignment: Use vocabulary from this chapter of Wuthering Heights to create your own dialogue.
(N.B. Midori loves the Brontë sisters. Reading Wuthering Heights was her own idea).

Cathy: ...........Heathcliff, fetch me the musty book, will you? I want to caricature
Heathcliff: ....All right. Let's scrawl the detestable face.
Cathy: ...........Joseph is always croaking. He makes me crazy.
Heathcliff: ....I know. I want to hurl a cloak on his face.
Cathy: ...........By the way, if it is sunny tomorrow, why don't we scamper
.......................around the moor?
Heathcliff: ....It will be snug. We can mount the hill, too. I love basking on the
.......................hill heartily.
Cathy: ...........Yeah, it is our comfort, isn't it? I can't await tomorrow.
Heathcliff: ....Chathy, can you vow to be my only companion forever?
Cathy: ...........Yes. We will never be detached. Nothing can demolish us.

30 September 2010

More Ugly Logos

The Toronto Organizing Committee for the 2015 Pan Am Games unveiled the logo for the games yesterday, and I have to say I have never seen something quite so vomit-inducing!

First off; not even in the height of the bad taste 70s would someone put Orange, Avocado and Sky Blue together. It's just plain wrong. Then the logo itself is just blobs devoid of and meaning or signification whatsoever. According to the press release, The Pan Am Games logo is inspired by aboriginal art forms common throughout the Americas before Europeans arrived. Uh, what? I see blobs. Just blobs. And while I'm sure the Micmaqs or Aztecs didn't have anything against blobs, I don't see how you can even pretend that this logo has even the slightest link to Aboriginal culture.

The bid logo was insipid and dull, but not offensive. Just boring. The actual logo for the Games makes my eyes bleed. Honestly, who is the design team that the bid committee is working with? They should never be allowed near Adobe Illustrator ever again!

Logo for the 2015 Pan Am Games, you are officially Dead To Me! Now excuse me while I go gouge out my eyes.

20 February 2010

Ma Po Tofu, Round Two!

A recent trip to Chinatown unearthed a new Ma Po Tofu mix: Baiweizhai Brand. It had nice, old-fashionedy-looking packaging and charmingly unhelpful instructions like: "And with this product how much used according to the amount of bean curd to make it appetizing and add appetizing soup in it". I thought I'd give it a try.

Now, Ma Po Tofu is supposed to be spicy — really spicy even. But this was one-more-chili-and-I'll-see-God spicy. Not good. I had to add sugar and chicken stock to try to calm it down a little. Also, there was an inappropriate amount of Sichuan peppercorns; i.e., there were none. This is also not good since it is the key ingredient in this recipe.

The hunt for the perfect Ma Po Tofu mix continues!

24 January 2010

Uglympic Logo

You may have noticed, but I'm a bit of a nerd. I get excited about things like Olympic logos. So I'm sure you can all imagine my horror and what-the-effing-effness when I learned that the new logo for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia had been unveiled.

The original bid logo when Sochi was a candiate city is quite nice actually. Pleasant colours, interesting to look at, winterish. ...Perhaps a little more appropriate were these Games taking place in the Soviet Union, but hey, I've never been one to turn my nose at some fine Commie nostalgia!Enter the new logo. Techinally, I'm not even sure it qualifies as a logo — there are no graphic elements. I mean, anyone can download a clunky, "futuristic" font from the Web and colour it light blue in MS Word. Could this logo be any more bland? Incorporating the ".ru" domain name is supposed to be new and fresh — which it definately would be, had it been a part of the 1996 Olympic logo! Honestly, in 2014, who is going to find the Internet in the slightest bit interesting? The organisers might as well have put the fax number in the logo too!
Here's a quote: "To prove our commitment to innovation, Sochi 2014 will have a clearly digital Games emblem. Today, we welcome tomorrow." Oh barf. — Sochi Olympic logo, although it was tough, you manged to out-fugly even the Nagano Olympics and take the crown of Most Wretched Olympic logo ever. You are dead to me!

05 January 2010

Ma Po Tofu

One of my favourite dishes from when I lived in Sichuan, I'm always happy when I find a new spice mix to make Ma Po Tofu (麻婆豆腐, or "Pockmarked-Face Auntie's Tofu" to be more poetic). This Lee Kum Kee brand version had a pleasant amount of mouth-tingling from the Sichuan peppercorns and was quite tasty. Unfortunately, it was probably quite tasty because of the amount of MSG in it — instant headache after I finished eating!

Two thumbs down, Lee Kum Kee!

04 January 2010

Das ist freaky!

On the same day, I get these two eerily similar postcards from Berlin, from two people who absolutely don't know each other.

Weird, ja?

13 November 2009

I Made This! — Maple Cake

Me and Donna Hay go way back. And finally I've been inspired to blog about making her recipes. Unfortuantely, I'm told by types more lawyerly than I that posting her recipes would be a copyright violation. Nevertheless, I hope my posts will be an inspiration to people looking to break out of their cooking ruts while also serving me as a record to the wonderful things Ms Hay has had me put in my mouth.

My dance class has been invited to perform at the closing gala of the St-Étienne film festival. We decided to take advantage of yesterday public holiday and meet up in the afternoon to go over our show. I thought it a good opportunity to showcase my country's one contribution to the culinary world and make a Maple Cake to bring along.

Using a Australian cookbook in Europe is not always so straightforward. Already the measurements are all different — though that's not a terribly insurmountable problem. What's tricky are the ingredients. For example, this recipe called for double cream, which doesn't correspond to anything on the shelves of the supermarché. Nor is the requisite brown sugar available. But the mother of all invention is frustrated grocery shopping expeditions, so I made do. Whole cream, which has an even higher fat content (and potentially turns into butter if whipped a touch too vigourously) stood in for the half cream while lumps of rock sugar took the place of brown. I had to take a hammer the hell out of the rock suger to break it into powder. There were still sizeable rock pieces of sugar that I was worried that people would break a tooth on, but they crystallised in oven and made the cake even better, I think.

All in all, another A+ recipe for Donna (though really does she have any other kind?)

(Admittedly this is a photo of the photo from the cookbook — I had the idea to blog about the cake after it was eaten — but my cake came out looking almost the same. Next time a real photo, I promise).