Oh Look, Krill!

Oh don't worry. Whales don't eat clownfish, they eat krill.


The Quest For Higher Education – Learning Independently

mussels

I’m starting my last two years of my Masters candidature and with all the requisite classes done, it’s time to start on my project. It took me a while before I came up with a rough idea on what to do and after talking to my supervisor, I decided to do on the effect of heavy metal exposure on Asian green mussels, specifically on the glutathione levels in the mussels. I’m actually superbly stoked, excited and revving to start on it.

Unfortunately, before I could do that, I need to figure out how to go about to do this in a systematic way. In the past couple of days, I’ve read a pile of journal articles from scientists who have done similar works or what I’m planning to do. I didn’t realise that there were so many variations of the same thing and it confused me to the point of inducing a migraine.


Someone asked me, why didn’t I just ask my supervisor for help. The thing is, I know that my supervisor is the type to make you do your own research and will only help out if you’re really stuck. So I’m trying to learn independently and see if I can come up with a comprehensive, valid experiment by myself. So far, I have a rough idea of what I want to do but the minor details need to be worked out.

I must say that I’m learning a lot. I never knew that there were so many different ways you could do the same thing and trying to pick out the best way to do it, in the context of my project scope at least, is proving to be a little harder than I thought. So far, I’m learning that it’s not easy trying to plan an experiment without having the protocol given to you and that you have to make you own protocol sheet but at the same time, I’m getting a better understanding of the project and why it’s important.

I just hope that all this work will pay off and that ultimately, I get to do the science I want and the way I want it.

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Friday Foods: Moutabel

baba ganoush
via snekse

Other than hummus, moutabel is another favourite of mine. It’s relatively easy to make too. I love the roasted, smokey flavour that comes with the roasting of the eggplant.

Ingredients
1 large eggplant
1 medium sized onion
1/3 cup tahini
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
4 table spoons lemon juice
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 green chili


Cut the eggplant, onion and chili in half and roast for half an hour in the oven at 180°c-200°c or until the eggplant is tender. (I put my ingredients to be roasted in the toaster oven for half an hour) When the roasted vegetables are cool, remove the skin on the eggplant. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and give it a whizz until you get a nice paste.


The Way To His Stomach

The sight of a man eating, enjoying his food, has got to be, in my opinion, one of the most interesting things to watch. Especially if said man has an insatiable appetite for gastronomic delights, a refined palate and an honest appreciation for all things food related, be it in the cooking or the eating. It’s this kind of appreciation that makes one want to continue cooking and trying out recipes.

Imagine him taking a bite of food that you’ve prepared and watch him close his eyes and sigh, as he let the taste of it fill his mouth. As he starts chewing, the burst of flavours makes him sigh audibly. He can’t help himself when he lets out a tiny moan of pleasure and it sends shivers down your spine knowing that you’re the one that made him moan, even if it’s just with your cooking.

He keeps telling you that he can’t really tell how good the food is and so he has to take another bite. One bite is followed by another, and then another, and before you know it, all the food is gone. The satisfied man in front of you says, “Fail! You need to make it again!” And you know that is his way of saying that it’s good there fore you should make more of it.


Truthfully, it’s never happen to me but it would really, really nice to have someone appreciate my cooking that way.


The Need To Write Better

Lately, I think that my writing has reached a plateau; a plateau of mediocrity. I rarely have anything intelligent to say and when I try to contribute to what ever topic that is making its round on the web, I just come across incoherent, rushed and not really adding anything new to the topic of discussion. Most of my recent writings have been nothing but rushed cobbling of sentences with barely a thought that goes into it. I just slap on some pictures, right a few rushed paragraphs and post it up, without even bothering to read through it check for spelling mistakes, broken links and various other mistakes.

Truthfully, I miss the times when I used to take time and effort to read through the post a few times, making sure that the grammar, spelling and vocabulary that I use it correct. Nothing is more embarrassing then telling everyone that you’re a writer but your writing is a mess. I know for a fact that my grammar may not be spectacular even at the best of times but I do try to make as little mistakes as I can. I could say that I don’t have the time or energy to write better but those are just excuses. If I had the time to write a post, then I should put in the effort to make it worthwhile reading.


This brings me to the question, who do I write for; myself, others or both? After much pondering, I realised that I’d like write for both myself and for others. So, I should make an effort to at least make the writing funny, if not interesting, and keeping the self-indulgent posts to a minimum.

I want to be able to write, not necessarily wittily but at least in a way that’s interesting enough that the readers would come back. I need to write better, to put in more effort in my writing, taking a few days to do a post if needed. I miss being able to easily collect my thoughts and lay them out coherently, funnily and at times with a sprinkle of wit.

So how do I do this? How do I make time out of an already busy schedule, to come up with quality posts? This, I have yet to figure out.


Friday Foods: Honey Joys

perth_05
via clara-maya

My family makes this ever year for Eid as it is very simple and quick to make. The best part is that it’s really tasty too.

Ingredients

125g butter
250g cornflakes
80g caster sugar
50g honey
80g chopped nuts (peanuts or almonds)
sufficient paper cups
sufficient hundred thousand sprinkles (optional)


Pan roast the chopped nuts for a minute or two and put it aside. Heat the honey and sugar together over low heat. Add in the butter and stir until the butter is melted. Take the pot off the flame.

Stir in the cornflakes and nuts until everything is evenly coated with the honey mixture. Using teaspoons, scoop the cornflakes into the paper cups and sprinkle the colourful sprinkles.

Bake at 160°C for 8-10min, until it’s a nice golden brown.

Note: If you’re going to keep it in a jar, always make sure that the honey joys are at room temperature before putting it into an air-tight container. This is to retain the crispiness and freshness of it.


Friday Foods: Hummus

Hummus
(via Albertas Agejevas)

One of the things that I love most when I’m at a Middle Eastern place, is the hummus. I fell in love with it from the very first taste and I had to learn how to make it on my own. A quick search led me to MediterAsian.com, where they had a load of recipes for Middle Eastern food that I like, and I found a very simple hummus recipe.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic—roughly chopped
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
14 oz (400g) canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)—rinsed and drained
½ cup tahini
1 teaspoon salt


All you need to do is to dump all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally.

It’s that simple actually. There are different variations of the hummus, where you add some cumin powder, or substitute the tahini with yogurt or even adding chilli powder for an extra kick. Hummus is good with almost everything and even on it’s own.

According to Dude, using dried chickpeas are better but I’ve never tried it before. Soak the dried chickpeas overnight and then boil them over a low heat for 3-4hrs, until the chickpeas are soft. Then you can just follow the recipe above. He doesn’t even use tahini but I don’t know how it will change the taste of the hummus as I’ve never left the tahini out.

Do try it out and let me know how it goes.


Workout Week 1 : OMG, The Pain!

Remember when I said that I finally found the perfect workout programme for me and how excited I was to start it? Yeah well, I never got around to starting it until this week. I did woke up earlier than normal and after a couple of rounds of Sun Salutations to warm up, I finally started my work out.

Day 1

Push-ups (5 sets, knee push-ups): 2-3-2-2-3
Squats (5 sets): 8-8-5-5-20

Day 2

Push-ups (5 sets, knee push-ups): 3-4-2-3-4
Squats (5 sets): 8-11-8-8-20

Day 3

Push-ups (5 sets, knee push-ups): 4-5-4-4-5
Squats (5 sets): 11-12-10-10-20

I didn’t ache at all after doing the work out on the first day, just a little jelly-like feeling on the legs but by the time I got home that evening, the muscles were starting to ache; both the arms and legs. I actually enjoyed the ache. After Day 2 and 3, I barely ache at all and I think that’s a good thing. I’m hoping that all this work out will pay off.