Coffee coffee coffee!

I've been drinking quite a bit of coffee after my friends got me a Bodum French press and Cafe de Tiamo coffee bean grinder for my birthday.

tiamo-hand-grinder

My friend recommended me getting freshly roasted beans over prepackaged ones from the store, because it guarantees you that the beans were roasted not too long ago with a roasting date sticker. With prepackaged beans, you have no idea what the roasting date was. A more recent roasting date means better flavor!

With that, I bought some freshly roasted coffee beans from Fascino Coffee. I had no idea what kind of beans to get since it was my first time making coffee from whole coffee beans and each type of bean has a particular aroma and flavor. Luckily, Fascino Coffee has a tasting set which contains 4 coffee beans from different regions. It's a bit cheaper than getting 4 individual packs, so I decided to get the Single Origin Pack Tasting Set for €18,25, which contains:

  • 1 x 250gr Ethiopia Sidamo
  • 1 x 250gr Costa Rica Tarrazu
  • 1 x 250gr Colombia Supremo
  • 1 x 250gr Indonesia Lintong Raja Batak

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I ordered it and arrived within 2 days (fuck yeah NL!). I had a bit of trouble getting the right coarse level for the coffee. The grinder doesn't have a clear indicator of how coarse the coffee would be after grinding it, so there was a lot of trial and error. The coffee ground during my first few attempts was way too coarse, so the coffee tasted bitter in a bad way. After 10 or so attempts, I found the perfect grinder setting for me, so I've been very careful not to screw up the setting after cleaning it :)

coffee grinder beans

I've also been digging into how to make the "perfect" cup of coffee. I found 2 articles, one from TIME Magazine and 2012 U.S. Barista Champion Katie Carguilo and one from Blue Bottle Coffee. The TIME article refers to coffee drippers, but after reading the one from Blue Bottle the process is fairly identical for a French Press as well. Instead of using a filter and wait for the coffee to drip down, you simply stir the coffee ground and press the coffee after 4 minutes. I'm not very fussy when it comes to brewing time as long as it's more than 4 minutes. Either way, coffee comes out great every time with the freshly roasted beans and French press!

UPDATE:
The cross plate of the plunger broke off as you can see in the image below after only using it for a few months. The plastic design seems to be very fragile and it snapped off when I was trying to clean it. After doing some research, it turns out the older and cheaper models have the plastic cross plate, while the other Bodum French Press models have a metallic cross plate. Getting a spare metallic cross plate from the Bodum website costs €4,90, and I haven't even added the shipping costs yet. Pretty expensive if you asked me. And, I can't return it to the store, because I received it as a gift and I don't have the receipt.

JEgaa6plInstead, I bought a new French Press with a metallic cross plate, so I went with the Bodum Chambord Cafetiere in silver. I bought the Chambord Press at koffiediscounter.nl for €25,95 instead of the €34,90 that was listed on the Bodum website. The French Press arrived a few days later without any problems. The Chambord has been working great so far and it looks so fancy! Just look at it! So shiny... so fancy!

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[Food] Frosted Mini-Wheats Strawberry Delight

The other day, I saw these Frosted Mini-Wheats Strawberry Delight (although discontinued by now) cereal in the supermarket. What amazed me was how chemical they looked on the package; the bright pink glazing cereal and not to forget spiderman being on the box. Curious as I was, I bought them and I actually couldn't wait to eat them the next morning.

I poured a good dose of the pink cereal in my bowl and added a healthy dose of milk. I let the cereal soften a bit in the milk before I took a bite, while I was getting all excited. I took a big spoonful and it was actually really good! The cereal was sweet, but not too sweet. The flavor reminded me a lot of the Japanese Koala Cookies and the funny thing is that the cereal was turning my my milk PINK because of the glazing! If you like Japanese Koala Cookies and you happen to see these cereal in the supermarket, buy them! And try it out for yourself! You won't be disappointed.


[Food] Pasta alla Carbonara

I wanted to make pasta alla carbonara for a while now. It was so hard to find uncut bacon, especially since I live in a Jewish neighborhood here in Pittsburgh. There are no butchers nearby and the supermarkets only sell pork loins and ribs, and breakfast bacon. But one day I actually found out that they did sell uncut bacon at the supermarket! It's from a brand called Hormel and the pork is labeled as "Cured Salt Pork". The pork was pre-packaged though, but it's better than nothing. Finally, I can start cooking FAT!!

Anyway, this was the recipe I used for the pasta alla carbonara:

  • 1 onion
  • 150-200 gr uncut bacon or pancetta
  • spaghetti pasta
  • parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 100 ml milk
  • veggies (I used asparagus)

Boil water and cook the pasta al dente. Dice the onions and slice the bacon into nice chunks. Saute the diced onions and pork in a pan with olive oil, and season it with salt (not too much) and pepper. Crack the eggs, whip them together with the milk and some parmesan, and season with salt, pepper and basil. Once the pasta is done, strain and put them in the pan with the onion and bacon, add the egg mixture. Mix all the ingredients well, but don't let it sit too long.
For the asparagus, preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Wash and cut asparagus into the size you want. Put them in a baking dish with foil. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, and serve it together with the pasta!! Don't forget to add more cheese...
 
I probably let it sit in the pan too long, so the eggs started coagulating. It was still good though, but I'll try to be faster next time :)


Lone Star's Rockin' Ribeye

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Yesterday we had a dinner party with the lab at Lone Star in Riccarton. The restaurant is Western styled and the atmosphere was very cozy. They also have a bar area where they serve apparently very good cocktails (I haven't tried them yet).

I had the Rockin' Ribeye with Jack Daniels & cracked pepper sauce and a pint of Guinness :3 There was a bit of confusion because everyone ordered before the dinner party and we were with 24 people. Instead of noting who sat where they just shouted out a dish and people had to raise there hands. Should work fine in theory, but people forgot whether they had medium rare/medium/etc. and also which sauce picked out for the steak.

Anyway back to the food, I ordered and got a medium-rare but the meat itself was a bit plain in flavor. Luckily the sauce was very yummy! Who can say no to Mr. Jack Daniels? :) Also, the buffalo chips were baked perfectly. All in all I would give it a 4 out of 5, because of the plain flavor of the meat.

lone-star-steak

A 250gram prime Lone Star Black Angus Ribeye marinated with black pepper. Topped with Jack Daniels & cracked pepper sauce. Served with buffalo chips and Lone Star coleslaw.

There were also desserts at the end. A Banoffie Pie, homemade pastry pie filled with bananas & caramel,topped with sweet coffee cream & chocolate flakes,
and a Longhorn Cheesecake, Kahlua & Moro Bar. Served with berry coulis & whipped cream.
Honestly, I didn't like either of those desserts haha


Bratwurst Grill's Nürnberger Stadtwurst

I was wondering why all those tents and stands were outside on the campus area today. Apparently it's Clubs Day where they will display over 90 Clubs at Canterbury University and they will be out and about recruiting for new members. Events like these also mean another thing... FOOD!!!

It was lunch time for me, so I found the German Bratwurst Grill stand and got myself a nice big Nürnberger Stadtwurst! It's made from Pork, Beef, Water, Salt, Spices, garlic, Mayoran and Chilli. The juicy grilled bratwurst is served in a bun, not too soft and not too hard, together with German sauerkraut and mustard. All that for about $7 NZD (around €4,- or $8 USD).

New Zealand sausages are bad.... very bad (especially lamb & mint sausages)!! It doesn't taste like sausage at all, so having to eat authentic German sausage tasted like heaven to my taste buds. The flavors and fat dripped down my throat as I was biting into succulent meat with a zing of sauerkraut and mustard. I was too busy eating the Nürnberger Stadtwurst and trying not to spill sauce and sauerkraut over myself that I actually forgot to take a picture of it :( But I'm definitely going to get more and take a picture of it if they are near the campus again!

5 stars for authentic German wurst!


Choco choco!!

Last Saturday, July 9 2011, I went to the neighborhood Cashmere in Christchurch and the Chocolaterie in Governors Bay just south of Christchurch.


View Larger Map

Cashmere is located uphill on a mountain and you can actually overlook Christchurch at some points. It's not really that impressive though because Christchurch city is as flat as a pancake :P Check out my previous post with the panorama picture that I took from Cashmere.

After that, it was time to head out to Governors Bay and have some chocolate at the Chocolaterie called She Chocolate (Spiritual Human Evolution Chocolate). Note that the favicon of the website looks a bit like a turd XD
Anyway, the place felt very spiritual and zen and the interior of the Chocolaterie was nice as well. They have a large selection of chocolate drinks and truffles, and I couldn't resist but to order the dark chocolate mochachino. Look at all that chocolate dripping along the glass ??
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Project Blender - Day4: Eye for an Eye

Blender weekend has ended! :( Did the Eyeball Tutorial from Blender Cookie and extended the image by placing more eyeballs in different colors. Next to Blendering, I went and bought some lamb at the Countdown (20% DISCOUNT!!!) and made some lunch; Lamb with oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary cooked in a 160C oven for 15-20 minutes :333

Ok time for bed! It's 2.32AM and tomorrow is Monday, which means back to the lab. Also I'm going to start learning Papervision 3D soon for the chemical processing project :D


Crystal Chicken & Chunky Mozzarella

crystal-chickenA few days ago I had dinner with a friend of mine in a Chinese restaurant Ancestral here in Christchurch. I had the crystal chicken dish with rice and veggies :3 Everything was quite cheap around 12$, but the weird thing was that they had a very large selection of milk tea and green tea... they had stuff like blueberry green tea and other weird flavoured milk tea... D:

Yesterday I went back to the Riccarton mall and saw these things. PILLOW PETS!!!
Second, the thing that I miss from the Netherlands is good cheese. Cheese in New Zealand sucks!! Even though they have a very large selection and tons of different brands, they all taste like shit! :@ Look at the mozzarella! It's yellow and just a big chunk of solid cheese... WTF?!?! D:< Also the ham kind of sucks here... the only good foods are beef, lamb and wine!! :333 and I found Dutch salami... no idea if it's any good though :P


Gekkeikan Sake


Gekkeikan Sake Cap-Ace! Just pop off the cap, put the glass in the microwave and BAM!! Hot sake :D The cap serves as a drinking cup :3 It's so awesome and convenient :D


MegaLunch


What do you do if you are hungry during lunch and have leftover tortilla wraps and taco shells.... I know... MEGALUNCH with Quesadillas, Tacos and homemade Salsa Sauce :3

Salsa Sauce

For the salsa sauce I combined 2 recipes:

Simple Cooked Tomato Salsa Recipe

INGREDIENTS
2 medium sized fresh tomatoes, cored and cut in half
1 whole jalapeño chili pepper (or a serrano), stem removed, chopped
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil

METHOD
1 Put tomatoes, jalapeño, garlic, salt, and water into a blender. Purée for 20 seconds, until completely liquified.
2 Heat olive oil in a sauce pan on medium high. Pour purée into pan. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture completely changes color from light red to a much darker red, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Keep refrigerated when not using.
Source: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/simple_cooked_tomato_salsa/

Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe

INGREDIENTS
2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb), stems removed, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup chopped basil
Cayenne Pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
1 Start with chopping up 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes, the red onion and basil.
2 Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add lime, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Taste.
Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.
Makes approximately 3-4 cups.
Source: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_tomato_salsa/

Quesadillas & Tacos


Cut black olives and mushrooms into slices. Put the ground beef in a skillet and add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika powder. Add the olives and mushrooms together with the meat for a few minutes. Set everything aside in a bowl.

Put a little bit of olive oil in the skillet and put in the tortilla wrap. Decorate it with cheese!!! Lots of cheese! In my case I had only cheddar in the fridge :(
Add the meat, olives and mushrooms. Wait a minute or two. Close the tortilla wrap by flipping 1 side on the other. Wait some more.... and done! :D
For the tacos... heat up the shells put the mixture in it... EAT!