Sunday, April 17, 2016

Waffle Mania

For some odd reason, I started having waffle craving early this year, and have this urge to eat waffles like every week. Sometimes I even have them twice a week. And it was pretty expensive to eat them in the cafe, sometimes costing as much as over SGD15 per plate! So I decided to borrow a waffle machine (cause I'm down sizing my life, which means I stopped buying material stuff), and decided to see how hard it was to make your own waffles. I love those crunchy kind of waffles, but I don't like to put too much artificial stuff inside to make it crunchy, so that was one of my biggest challenge. Luckily that did not stop me from trying, cause hell, this is my 3rd weekend making waffles so far! And this post is in real-time too, which shows how excited I am about waffles!

Below is a photo of all the ingredient  you need for a basic waffle batter

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (butter)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking powder   
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  

And above is the production line this morning. I woke at around 6am to start making them. The above ingredien made about 12 squares of waffles. To make them crunchy, the secret is to beat the egg white separately like a meringue, and then fold it in gentle. And although the waffle machine will say the waffles are ready in 3 minutes or so, I make mine with 6 to 7 machines to dry them up so that they are crunchy. Eat them hot and with any decorative fruits you like. I make them in batches to store in the fridge so that I can eat them whenever I like. Just put them in a toaster for 5 minutes and they are ready to eat. Easy Peasy! 
Usually I eat mine with fruits, mainly bananas and strawberries. I cover them in either condense milk or maple syrup. Sometimes add chocolate chips as well as per photo below. I wanted to make scramble eggs, bacon and sauté mushroom this morning, but since I was meeting my brother for steak during lunch time, I thought maybe next time (meaning later this evening for dinner probably...). Anyway, I've been searching for waffle recipe and what else you can make with your waffle machines, and it resulted in amazing ideas! Hope I get to explore them all slowly every weekend! I already have my potatoes ready to make rosti!
Here's a cute nyah cat chocolate chip square I made for a snack. I've been on a waffle diet for the past 3 weeks! I'll eat a square or two for breakfast or dinner/supper, and its surprisingly filling. Probably because I use all fresh ingredient, and lots of fruits. I also saved tonnes of money cause each batter is actually quite cheap to make, and found myself eating more fruits than I normally would. Some would say I'm eating too much sweets, but actually, pure maple syrups are not really that fattening, and I just love the tube of condense milk I got from my last trip to Taipei! Will definitely get another tube the next time I'm there! 
Above is a photo why I can't seems to drag myself to a Starbucks or cafe to do my work. (work here refers to studying my 日本語, or updating my blog etc). My home is just so much more comfortable and cosy. Plus I get free flow of food, unlimited internet, can blast my music as loud as I want, and surrounded with everything I love. Yes, I'm a severe introvert. Even my new MacBook (which I've baptised Mackus a.k.a. Macky for short) can't drag me away from home even thought it did tried once with me ending up using my laptop on my lap in the airport which was so freaking crowded on a Saturday night!

I don't know why, but blog entries using my new Macky seems to be longer these days. Why do I have so much to say??? Anyway, leaving this here in case anyone wants to be inspired.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Biz Trip - Climbing Elephant Mountain (🐘象山)

2nd Biz Trip saw me climbing Elephant Mountain, alone, and in the rain! I reached Taipei 17-Jan afternoon and checked in the hotel around 2pm. It has been raining almost daily, and I saw a hope of blue sky as the taxi pull up to the hotel. I unpacked, checked my map, and although with dark cloud still in sight, I decided to take my chances and headed out with an umbrella. Took a 10 minutes walk to Daan Station, and off I head to Elephant Mountain station. With my phone loaded with direction, and followed the instruction and made my way to the entrance of the climb. By that time, it has already started to drizzle. Above is the entrance, and some rock showing the path. 
Based on the internet information, it was just a 15 minutes vertical climb. For someone who climb Penang Hill twice a week when I was young, I wasn't really bothered by a 15 minutes climb, but the stairs looked kinda intimidating, plus, it was wet, and very very vertical. But going up was never a problem for me. I knew my biggest challenge was coming down. So up I went, in good time. I made it to the targeted platform in good time, and slightly out of breath. All the while, rain was starting to get heavier. But I couldn't use my umbrella cause I knew it would make balancing an issue, especially if the wind starts to pick up. Still at the back of my mind was the journey down worrying me. Plus, I had a feeling it gets dark real fast here. But there were old uncles and aunties going up like it is their daily affair, so I figure I should be in good company.
Above is some picture of the signage and some of the platform I see along the way. Each offering a view of Taipei City below, specifically the view of Taipei 101. The path actually links to other parks around Taipei, but I didn't have the time to explore. My target that day was just to get to the platform to view Taipei 101 from evening to night view.

Here's the view. Lots of people were actually at the platform waiting for sunset. Sadly the clouds were still hanging around. The cool thing about that is you can see the peak of Taipei 101 right in the cloud! It was an awesome sight. I only stayed around 10 to 15 minutes and decided to head down. As I head down, it started to get darker, and the rain got worst. Was sure glad I left, cause the poor people up there would probably have trouble coming down a bit later. Plus, it was slippery!

I'm glad I went up even though it was raining. This was probably the first time I climb up a mountain, alone, and in the rain. And the feeling is actually pretty awesome! I felt so adventurous even though I was in Taipei. Never let your fear stop you from doing something you want! And this was the lesson I must always remind myself often. Cause the reward always outshine the fear.

I headed to Taipei 101 after that, walking there all the way in the rain, and had a typical cheap dinner there at the food court. After which I took the train back to Daan and walk back to the hotel and prepare for work the next day.

My goal is to just visit 2 new places each time I am in Taipei. I hope to be back again in October or sooner.

Note: This is the 2nd blog post from my MacBook Air, and I finally managed to edit my photos using a Paint application, and even managed to type in Traditional Chinese! I installed Japanese keyboard on the Mac cause I wanted to use it for my Japanese language as well. Yay! Accomplishment!

MacBook Air

I got a MacBook Air for my birthday. I guess my backside was itchy, I thought learning to use a new OS would be good for my aging brain.... and MacBook users keep going on and on about how cool Mac is. Surely you have seen some of those irritating "Hi, I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" YouTube Videos before. And to be frank, I am a Justin Long's fan.....

But anyway, I ask for a MacBook Air cause I knew I was going to be travelling a lot for my new job (but obviously not as much as I wanted....), and I wanted something to keep me company. So here's my baby!
And learning to use it was hell. My evolution of OS so far has been from Window 3.1, to Window OS, to Linux, to Window OS. So this was my first Mac, and its UI is shit. Yes, I said it, I hate the UI. And this is after 3 months of using it! I'm still learning, and I thought I can fly by now, but this is actually my first blog post using my MacBook!

Here's the Desktop look, cause of the new Star Wars movie.... Anyway, do I like it? Yes! Love it! It's light weight, it's stylish, the picture looks better, it's faster, and the battery life is amazing! Believe it or not I took it for a week's business trip without the adapter and it has enough juice to keep me entertain! Now I understand why its hard going back to Window OS. I think I'm sold. And I wish I have more time to spend getting to know it more and learning all the tricks and stuff. Like I said, the UI is shit, but maybe it's just me.

Anyway, managed my first post here. Got lots of backlog to clear, so be patient. Work has been long hours, love it but hate the fact that I'm doing 3 person's job. But fact is, I ain't there for the money, so.... lol.
I'll just leave this video clip here for you to enjoy then, ciao!