28 February 2009

Birth of the Macha Pan

I love green tea products. Green tea ice-cream, green tea cake, green tea syrup with red beans. But I'm not crazy about green tea. Don't know why.

Anyway, I was thinking to myself this morning: why isn't there a green tea bread? I looked it up on allrecipes.com and there was none. So, to satisfy my desire to see GREEN TEA BREAD, I decided to create my own confection. (I looked it up again and found a green-tea with red-bean filling bun on MamaFami's Spice & Splendor which looks really nice as well.

Here's what I used:
400gms bread flour
280mls water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp milk powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp green tea powder
1.5 tsp yeast
50gm pumpkin seeds (whole, not chopped)
1 tsp black sesame seeds

Putting it all in the breadmaker with a setting for a 1.5lb dark loaf, this is the result after 3h 45mins:
A very light and refreshing chewing experience. Despite the pervasive green-ness of the bread, the macha aroma is more of an uplifting aftertaste than an overpowering trip to Osaka.
The occasional surprise of a crunchy-nutty pumpkin seed, and the grittiness of sesame made the bites interesting. Overall a nice mix of flavors, I must say. I'm glad I didn't use butter. Olive oil gave the bread the twang I wanted and didn't drag it down with a bovine heaviness.

Ethan was the first to sample it and for the first time he said, 'NICE BREAD!' There is no greater gratification than to have your two-year old pronounce that on your experimental baking.

So there it is, Macha Pan, my very first confectionary creation!

10 February 2009

Thinking Out Loud

Serendipitous insights 'happen' upon us uninvitied, unsummoned. Mostly as I'm driving or watching Ethan scamper in the playground. Learning is a dance of reception and reflection.

I'd do well to savor these moments; heed them, learn from them. Grow with them. These insights may be new growths like seedlings piercing through the soil, differentiations - sprouting branches, leaves and buds, expansions - lengthening and enlarging, integrations - merging or intertwining, blossoming of flowers or final fruits.

I can't manage growth (or learning) but I can manage FOR growth and what I do with the new seeds - plant them or eat them? I need to resist the urge to put them to immediate use. Some seeds should be buried in soil to see light in another day.

An insight is most likely neither original or new; the collective conscious of millions of years of billions of sentient beings would've reflected further and deeper than one. But I am entrusted with mine. Knowledge can create pride or engender responsibility. Inflate the short-sighted egoist or humble the truth-seeker.

In thinking and in feeling, I want to be aware of the conscious and subconscious as the subconscious often precedes and exceeds the conscious. But intuitive knowing while being wonderfully metacognitive (ie. beyond the cerebral-rational) can also be irrational. How do we maneuvre such treacherous waters? How do I differentiate nonsense from wisdom? I guess this is where I have opportunity for play. For passion and adventure without limit.

An educational explosion

I've been lamenting the deficiencies of my childhood education. Every time I sit down to play on my synthesiser, pick up a pen to write, or read about religion and philosophy, I become dismally aware of how ill-equipped to appreciate and expressing my passions in these areas.

So I literally gasped when I found these on iTunes! iTunes U has collated a mind-boggling archive of lectures and talks from top universities around the world, offering up their content for FREE. How amazing is that?

Just look at a few pickings I subscribed to today:

Imagine being able to get a university level education without having to quit my job and go back to university. This is what makes the Internet the greatest invention of the 20th century for me. It'll also be interesting to see how so much accessibility will transform the education experience.

If no one needs to GO to a university or PAY for an education anymore, what do you actually enrol in an institution for, apart from the scroll and hat at the end? Educationists are going to need to rethink and evolve what the education experience is when lectures have become a mere commodity on the internet.

For me - I'm going back to school! Hang on.. I think I never left school...

01 February 2009

Explain Whales to Me!

Got this in my email today (thanks, Eddy!) - and had a good laugh.
Especially the ace reply on 'Is swimming good for your figure?'

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't
waste it on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up
your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can
extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer?
Take a nap.

Q:Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A:You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and
corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than
an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need
grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green
leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your
recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q:Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A:No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine,
that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even
more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms

Q:How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A:Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one.
If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q:What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular
exercise program?
A:Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q:Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A:YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!..... Foods are fried these days in vegetable
oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more
vegetables be bad for you?

Q:Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the
A:Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You
should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q:Is chocolate bad for me?
A:Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best
feel-good food around!

Q:Is swimming good for your figure?
A:If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q:Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A:Hey! 'Round' is a shape!