ad astra per alia porci

Carlsberg beer
September 27, 2008, 8:36 am
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Light but not tasteless. Too unexotic for me. I prefer something more bitter. The lack of gas is good though.

September 27, 2008, 8:31 am
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My first reaction was “whoa”. It is thick, dark, very dense and fibrey, almost like a soft biscuit. The flavour is amazingly thick with a lingering taste of beetroot syrupt. The wiki entry said it is usually eaten with rich stuff like caviar and smoked salmon. Sadly I had to have it plain.

simple pork chops
September 20, 2008, 8:47 am
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This turned out very well. Simple, unpretentious, and most importantly, delicious. The trick is in timing: the meat must be cooked just nice without overcooking. The meat is the mainstay of the dish, so it must be done properly. Personally my mantra is to cook less when in doubt. After all meat can be eaten rare. Serve with English mustard sauce and a glass of wine. Remember to remove the unsightly garlic before serving.

Simple pork chops


Pork chops

Cracked black pepper



Garlic, crushed


Olive oil


1) Heat pan, medium-high heat with olive oil.

2) Sprinkle and rub salt and pepper onto both sides of chops.

3) When oil is heated, lower heat to medium and place chops on pan together with garlic and rosemary.

4) After one minute, add butter and melt. Use spoon to repeatedly pour butter with garlic and rosemary over chops.

5) Check chops – meat is cooked when it can be pierced with a fork with some resistance but not tough.

6) Turn heat to high, sear chops to golden brown on both sides.

7) Serve.

steamed mussels in white wine and butter
September 20, 2008, 8:31 am
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Saw NZ mussels sold at Fairprice, so I bought it. A simple dish, I just hoped that I added more butter to create a creamier sauce. I did everything through feel, so no exact measurements.



Mussels / White wine / Shallots / Butter / Garlic / Parsley / Cracked black pepper


1) Melt butter and add shallots and garlic in pot. Saute.

2) Add mussels, drown in white wine.

3) Cover for 5 minutes.

4) Garnish with pepper and parsley. Serve, preferably with crusty bread.

Wolf Blass Unwooded Chardonnay 2005
September 20, 2008, 8:25 am
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Thin and adolescent. A zappy drink with no pretensions of being something deeper. I used it for cooking mussels too. All in all an average drink.

everest dreams of death and glory
September 16, 2008, 12:03 am
Filed under: diary, the arts | Tags: , , ,


I am beginning to become a fan of Jon Krakauer, a writer whom I think writes really well about the lives of people living on the edge of experience, rejecting the tragedy of a bland existence. Straight after finishing Into the Wild (the review of which I am yet to write, regrettably. I am trying to find a slot of time when I can write a really thorough review of it) I reserved Krakauer’s chronicle of the doomed 1996 Everest expedition, Into Thin Air.

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Archipelago Explorer
September 13, 2008, 9:03 am
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This is bought from DFS after my return from Vietnam. Exclusively bottled for DFS, apparently, and I don’t see this sold on the shelves of supermarkets.

The colour is appetising; a golden hue with minimum gas and froth. Purportedly infused with Asian spices like Indian coriander and Chinese Ba Jiao and lemon zest, I am sadly unable to discern their individual tastes. Still, the beer remains highly drinkable, smooth and has light body. Not too bitter and not too bland, but not to the point of having no character. A fun drink in the late afternoon lull. Which actually doesn’t help things because the alcohol makes me drowsier in the heat.

September 13, 2008, 6:59 am
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It tastes like one, but doesn’t look like one. I baked flat baguettes today.

The key to this recipe is the water. I think I added too much water to the dough at step 2, and this resulted in a more flaccid dough that doesn’t hold up its shape well.

At any rate the product is extremely edible, with a strong taste of butter.

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the death of ivan ilyich
September 8, 2008, 11:25 am
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While it might be exceedingly hard currently to physically travel McCandless’s route through America, I am at least able to trace his literary trail. He read and admired the works of Leo Tolstoy and one book that accompanied him during his wandering was Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. I fortuitously stumbled upon this book at my local library while browsing and borrowed it after realising its connection with the movie and book I liked.

It is a snappy yet profound read that stirs up much interesting thought about the purpose of life. I am penning some of my thoughts about what I feel the book has to say here.

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training 070908 + foreseeable future
September 7, 2008, 1:47 pm
Filed under: diary, training and nutrition


The run today was immensely invigorating and thoroughly fun. I was sprinting for a large part of the second part of the run. This was very surprising because I am usually faster at the first leg and wittle away subsequently at the second.

I can’t put my finger on what exactly made it so fun, and where I found the reservoir of energy. It might because of the intervals I did last week. Might be the swimming on Saturday. Maybe it’s the lunch at Seafood Paradise.

At any rate, I feel energetic and ready.

Here’s the regime for the last few weeks, and the next few months (probably). Due to study obligations workout sessions might be switched around, but the regime should not vary wildly.

Sunday – 80 minutes run to nowhere

Monday – Calisthentics workout (600 reps)

Tuesday – 80 minutes run to nowhere OR intervals + 300 workout

Wednesday – Calisthenics workout (600 reps)

Thursday – 80 minutes run to nowhere

Friday – Gym training

Saturday – Rest OR 40 laps in the pool

September 5, 2008, 4:17 pm
Filed under: diary

I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.

Leo Tolstoy, Family Happiness

Everything has changed suddenly- the tone, the moral climate; you didn’t know what to think, whom to listen to. As if all your life you had been led by the hand like a small child and suddenly you were on your own, you had to learn to walk by yourself. There was no one around, neither family nor people whose judgment you respected. At such a time you felt the need of committing yourself to something absolute- life or truth or beauty– of being ruled by it in place of the man-made rules that had been discarded. You needed to surrender to some such ultimate purpose more fully, more unreservedly than you had ever done in the old familiar, peaceful days, in the old life tht was now abolished and now gone for good.

Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

(highlights my own)

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rye bread, improved recipe
September 1, 2008, 12:47 am
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I baked a huge round bun with this. The secret to baking good rye bread is the addition of caraway seeds. It brings the flavour to another dimension. This time, I stiffened the dough with rye flour instead of white, and used less yeast to get a firmer bread. Also, I am baking more intuitively now and hence the rising time stated is not the actual amount of time I took.

Have you heard of alcoholic bread spread before? I am going to eat the bread with blueberry and PORT jam. Yes the best of both worlds, combined.

Rye bread


2 cups rye flour + more to stiffen dough

2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup molasses

5 tbsp butter, in bits

1/2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp caraway seeds

1 packet dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

6 cup flour (variable)


1) Mix all ingredients except for flour, yeast and lukewarm water in bowl. Leave to cool.

2) Mix and dissolve yeast in separate bowl with lukewarm water at 50 degrees.

3) Add yeast mixture to rye flour mixture when it is cooled.

4) Add flour gradually and mix, until a stiff dough is formed. Use rye flour when white flour is finished.

5) Knead for 10 minutes.

6) Cover, leave to rise till doubled.

7) Punch down the dough, cover, leave for 30 minutes.

8 ) Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

9) Grease bread pan, shape dough and place on pan.

10) Bake for 40 minutes.