Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random musings

Sorry for the hiatus! I've been really quite busy (year 10 has become a killer!) even though I've only been back at school for about two weeks. I have lots of things coming up: piano theory exam, UN Evatt public speaking competition (exciting!), biology camp etc. I've had a few mishaps this week, and I'm more than happy for the week to end. I tripped on the way to science class, and my elbow has been hurting for the past few days. Today a bit of my fingernail got ripped during P.E.. I'll spare you the details.

I also just came back from my last debate of the year. My team has been an absolute pleasure to work with, and we've won every debate (we won today's!) except for one. It's like the situation last year, my team won all debates EXCEPT for one, and we would've been through to semi-finals. Oh well!

Enough about school though..

Is this madness or what? Plethora of baked goods that's what... I'm raising funds for an organisation, later on that in a few months time :)

I've also never told my love for Kina Grannis. She's one of my favourite artists (along with T Swift of course!), and she's half Jap (I think Eurasians are super cool) and her cover on the 'cups' song is very awesome.

Links I love (Idea inspired by Cupcakes and Cashmere)

TEDx talks from teens - It's so inspiring to see my own generation changing the world. I had no idea that the founder of Rookie magazine IS MY OWN AGE! I also find the other teens who have found research links with cancer etc are so fascinating. I wish I could be capable of that :(

Twix cheesecake bars - Insanely delicious, yet calorific!

Why you should deactivate your Facebook account - Brilliantly written, and totally relatable.

Chocolate raspberry layer cake - Raspberri Cupcakes is one of my favourite cake blogs, she comes up with such creative baking ideas.

Flashback food Thursday (is this a thing?)
Truth to be told; the best opera cake I've ever eaten. This was in Sydney about 7 years ago and was pure decadence.

I'm glad it's Thursday.

*UPDATE LOL I wanted to add my article about travelling, and why I think it's important. Check over here!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Work experience at a hospital

Only the most fashionable footwear for scrubbing in a surgery.
I know that some people are quite surprised when they hear I want to become a doctor. Why not become a baker/chef? Train at Cordon Bleu, become some kind of macaron-ier? Don't get me wrong, but, as much as I love baking and cooking, I don't think that's my life ambition. I love to do it as a de-stresser, and it's really more of a hobby. I don't look at it the way pastry chefs look at it, I don't want to go down that path professionally. Besides, I'm a terrible cake decorator with little creativity. And another note: I don't want to continue growing side ways. 

So , I did my work experience at a hospital. Work experience is part of the curriculum in year 10, and you choose somewhere (and depending on acceptance, availability) to work for one week.

I loved working at the hospital because 
1. The people who I worked with, were incredibly nice to me! I learnt so much within 5 days, they were so willing to teach me, and explained a case thoroughly or why this is so and so on. 
2. I enjoyed interacting with patients. I felt really good talking to patients, and really made me think that I would love this aspect of interaction in the future, which is one of the main reasons why I want to become a doctor. I'm a people-person really.

I received a minimum wage of $5 a day, and you know what, while that's laughable, I really do not care about the pay at all. And I'm saying this genuinely. My friends were telling me that I should be getting paid more, this ladela nonsense, but really I'M DOING THIS FOR THE EXPERIENCE. I'm so grateful I even got this placement at one of Melbourne's best hospitals. When I received my acceptance letter,I was literally squealing, because it was unexpected (knowing that hospitals have limited places). And heck, I would've even done it for free. For a hospital to allow a student like me, to observe surgeries and interact with patients? I don't think there's a price tag on that. 

Yep, I know it's not going to be an easy road for the next few years, but I'll just work my butt off and hope for the best that I can get into med school! If I can't, well that's too bad. I just really want to do something medical or science related. 

You can go and read my article on the Huffington Post! Btw, there is a slight mistake because it says that I did it 'a week ago', but I had submitted the post to the editor after a week.

Hope you enjoy. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baked parmesan zucchini chips

Baking vegetables are often one of my favourite way to get the flavours to shine ; capsicum, sweet potato, zucchini, pumpkin; I could honestly go on and on and on!

So baked vegetable chips sound pretty good hey? Depending on your taste preference, you can use other vegetables if you don't like the taste of zucchini. These chips are so cute and easy to make!

Head over to the Huffington Post to see the recipe!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Food food food

I tagged along with my two older sisters and my second sister's boyfriend in the city for dinner. I love dining out in the city because it's so lively and Melbourne is Australia's food capital. I miss work experience at the hospital, partly because I don't get to dine out in the city as often.. lol (I'm a high school student).. But in all honesty though, I really do miss it! Which sounds really crazy, but right now, I would love to be talking to patients and observing surgeries. And YES mum, the post about my work experience will be coming out soon.

Anyway, we went for ramen at Kokoro Ramen and dessert at Passionflower last week! This ramen place is seriously too cool. There are SO many options, I haven't seen so many options for ramen. You can't go wrong with picking any of them. There are different types of broth you can choose from (read the 'flavour notes' in the menu). I chose the Hakodate  shio ramen, which has a slice of pork belly and the broth is chicken and seafood. They also hand-make the noodles too. Quite authentic, and relatively cheap for a meal in Melbourne!
I really liked mine, except I regretted not picking the pork belly option which has 2 more slices of pork belly. The pork belly is soft-cooked and long-marinated, quite delicious! One slice was not enough.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's a sticky date.. pudding

Dear winter, all you ever do is give people a hard time.
For starters, you make a person have an instinct to always state out loud "It's so cold!" And when you don't have those extra layers of fleece, you freeze to death. And all you want to do is stay as close to the heater.

Second of all, the weather is always so gloomy, and there is no sight of a ray of sunshine. It affects my mood, and makes me want to stay indoors all day.

Third of all, because of the second reason as stated above, and the fact that it rains so much, I can't work out. I end up being a lazy cat, or the dreaded couch potato. Also, what really sucks is that winter in Australia does not have snow, unlike many places in the northern hemisphere (and conveniently, have winter DURING Christmas time, rather than having summer during that period of time. So yes, basically Australia has Christmas in the sand.. Le monde (world) is tres weird.)

But, what I love, is cozying up to this warm sticky date pudding, drenched with caramel sauce. It gives you comfort, after you've had a long day, or it'll just force you to say "I'll start my diet tomorrow."
The sauce is addictive, and hard to resist from eating a spoonful of it. This is best when it's served warm (you can make the sauce, and re-heat it later), and the sticky date pudding itself is a winner. I would say that this is a bit lighter than the traditional sticky date pudding, it's not as dense but it's still so good.

P.s, I've been updating the new layout and everything, any opinions? I don't know if it's too much or too little, not exactly good with design (clearly, I wasn't born to be artistic)

Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce
Serves 8
250 g (9 oz) pitted dates, chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 boiling water
125 g (4 oz) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 and 3/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted (or plain flour + 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder)

Caramel sauce
1 cup brown sugar
300 ml (10 oz) thickened cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
60 g (2 oz) butter

For the pudding:
1. Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease and line the base of a cake pan (7 cm deep, 22 cm base), muffin tins or ramekins.
2. Place dates and baking soda into a bowl. Pour over boiling water, and allow to stand for 20 minutes.
3. Using an electric mixer, or by hand, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well. Fold in through the date mixture and flour, until well combined.
4. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan, ramekins or muffin liners. Bake for 35-40 minutes for a cake pan, 20 minutes for the muffins and the time depends on how big your ramekin is. Bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

For the caramel sauce:
1. Combine the butter and sugar over medium heat in a saucepan.
2. Add the cream and vanilla extract, and stir frequently until the sauce comes to the boil.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
4. To serve, pour over some of the sauce over the pudding and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. Then, serve the rest with the remaining sauce.

Adapted from Taste