Did you come across anything interesting this week? Here are 10 links that might intrigue or be useful to you.
Salut! How’s everyone doing? Did you have a nice weekend?
Last Friday, I decided to have dinner with my Tae Kwon Do friends after being missing in action for almost 6 months. I’m glad that everyone still remembers me and we’d talk as if I’ve been around. We did a quick recap on what we’re currently up to, debated on whether to get fried chicken with bones, talked about the price of flight tickets, discussed who gets the last few pieces of chicken when everyone was showing symptoms of food coma and dealt with a minor case of miscommunication. I have to say, it feels good to be back.
On Saturday, the committee organized an annual party for the Tae Kwon Do club members. We had a lovely lunch at Han Guuk Guan and went straight to K Box for a karaoke session. I didn’t pick songs for myself because they were too many to choose from. I ended up just singing along to every song that I know. When Hey Ya! by OutKast came on, we all went a little crazy. It’s an old song but it’s so fun!
Oh, R and I also watched Swiss Army Man, The Nice Guys and the latest Jason Bourne movie over the weekend. Swiss Army Man is one of the WEIRDEST movie I’ve seen. Then again, I like interesting and wacky movies. They make good conversations, they represent creative thinking at its finest (it depends), they make you ponder and they’re unpredictable. There’s nothing worse than realizing that you figured out the whole film even before it ends. Is it just me or do you all agree?
Anyway, tell me about your weekend and enjoy the links I’ve gathered for your reading pleasure:
I don’t know much about press photography but Professor Sally Young (from the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne) did a great job in explaining how press photos were taken and how they influence ideas held by the public.
Chocolate lovers, here’s one for you! Learn how ultrasound can aid the process of chocolate making and prevent wastage in the future.
One of my goals is to read as much as I can but sometimes it seems impossible to do so. Then I found Claire Diaz-Ortiz. She’s well versed in business, she maintains a blog, she’s an author and a speaker, she teach others how to be more productive…you get the picture. She’s a busy individual and yet she managed to read about 100+ books last year (her goal for 2016 is 200). Want tips on how to read more? Take it from the master!!
You got your dream job but you dread going to work. You find yourself thinking about the side project that you’ve been working on for the past few months. Read what Trent Hamm has to say about The Myths and Realities of ‘Doing What You Love’.
A disruption in a world of replication and the norm, Jenny Mustard stands out by listening to her other being.
She used to be a drifter. She wrote her own vegan cook book and created her own clothing line – MIND THE MUSTARD – so that she could express her unusual taste in fashion. Although MIND THE MUSTARD has been discontinued, her style never ceases to impress those who long for something out of this world.
Here are my 7 favorite looks by Jenny Mustard. I hope you like them as much as I do!
There was a time when things were either black or white.
But what is it like to be in the grey area?
To survive, we stay inside the bubble created by our Society.
In this inner space, the Rules keep us safe.
To step outside of it is like being in Outer Space.
I wrote this while I was waiting for my lunch to arrive. When you forget to bring reading materials and you feel inspired at that moment, what would you do? I whipped out my phone and let the words flow.
Hello fellow readers and writers! If you read the first part of Watch What Your Throw, you’ll probably remember that I briefly discussed recycling in Malaysia (the statistics, the current efforts and future plans) and in Melbourne. I also recommended the documentary Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story directed by Grant Baldwin. This post extends on the idea of being conscious of our actions and addresses the other problem that is straining Earth’s environment – food waste.
For those of you who watched the documentary, were you surprised that Baldwin and Rustemeyer find it easy to survive on discarded food? How did the documentary make you feel?
I know that food waste exists but the documentary proved how much I don’t know about the gravity of the issue. The extent supermarkets go to ensure their produce look fresh is just unbelievable. I was frustrated because it seems as if nothing much is being done to stop food waste. My heart was in pieces when I learned that supermarkets throw away an exorbitant amount of edible food weeks before the “best by” date. I was angry that the people of power let this happen for decades. The documentary also got me wondering: Is the issue of food waste getting worse? Is anything being done to alleviate the problem?
Let’s find out, shall we?
To my relief, the situation isn’t as bleak as I thought it would be as various countries have taken an active approach to alleviate the problem of food waste. National Geographic reported that Denmark has reduced the amount of food waste by 25% in five years. Part of the reason why is because supermarkets in Denmark (such as REMA1000, Coop and LIDL) have stopped using quantity discounts to encourage consumers to buy more. As much as we hate to admit it, humans don’t always act rationally and a lot of times we make decisions based on how we feel. When there’s a promotion going on, you feel that you should stock up (without checking what you have at home) because you’re worried that you might miss out. And then you find out you already have a bag of tomatoes and oranges in your fridge. You also begin to realize that you won’t be cooking as much during the week because you’re supposed to attend a wedding dinner and a birthday party. What do you end up with? Fresh food that doesn’t get consumed and you have to throw them out because the quality starts to decay.
Besides Denmark, Indonesia has also taken measures to make a positive contribution to the food waste fight. SEA Makerthon and Smart Living Challenge, for instance, gather young people with different education backgrounds to tackle the issue of food waste. The winner of the SEA Makerthon event, Team Bagi Rasa, made a platform for household consumers to share their leftover food. BagiMak, the team that was awarded first prize in the Smart Living Challenge event, developed an app that allows users to share or donate leftovers to other users. They also have the idea of cooperating with transportation companies to ensure quick and easy food distribution.
Policies and laws play an essential role in reducing food waste and promote a healthy and sustainable approach to food. In Italy, an international agreement on sustainable and equitable urban food systems – Milan Urban Food Policy Pact – was signed by the mayors in 130 cities across the world. A new law was recently approved to make it easier for companies in Italy to donate food, hoping to recover at least 1 million tonnes of food that gets wasted annually. Meanwhile, France recently became the first country to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them to donate to charities and food banks instead. It may seem like an aggressive move, but I think it’s necessary if we want to see changes as soon as possible.
“It is not easy to make the first step,” she adds. “But once you explain the reasons behind policies like these, citizens start to understand the importance of such decisions.” Vice mayor Anna Scavuzzo
Leading organizations are also doing their part to change the inner systems of the food supply chain in order to tackle food waste more effectively. The EU and its member states strive to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to reduce food waste (per capita) at the retail and consumer level in 14 years. This is achieved by improving the use of date marking by actors in the food chain and enhancing its understanding among consumers (i.e. best before labeling). According to World Resources Institute, the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard, launched at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit in Copenhagen, allows companies and countries to consistently and credibly measure, report on and manage food loss and waste. This could save government and businesses money, protect resources and ensure food is distributed fairly and efficiently.
With technology on everyone’s fingertips, being involved in combating food waste has never been easier. In Denmark, Too Good To Go was created to sell cheap, just before closing bakery and restaurant food to its citizens. Similarly, MyFoody notifies residents in Milan to food in small supermarkets that are either going out of date or the packaging is damaged. So far, MyFoody has 10,000 registered users across the city and it currently collaborates with 23 small supermarkets. Italy hopes to increase that number to 500 across northern Italy by the end of 2017.
As the fight to reduce food waste gain traction, we’re beginning to see supermarkets and grocery stores embrace the idea of selling ugly produce. The Ugly Fruits and Vegetables Campaign organized a Change.org petition to not only urge retailers to sell ugly fruits and vegetables but also convince big corporations such as Whole Foods and Walmart to offer ugly produce all year round. It has been suggested that when big corporations decide to sell ugly produce, smaller retailers will follow suit. This is only true to a certain extent. It may be unprofitable for smaller retailers to sell ugly produce because the population is “trained” to pick fruits and vegetables that look perfect. Hence, when ugly produce is introduced in stores, we may still prefer the perfect looking produce over the odd ones. This distorted thinking, however, can be altered through campaigns, education and parents becoming role models to their children. It takes time to change habits and perception, but it’s definitely not impossible.
“In Denmark, in all aspects of life, people are starting to think about the environment and there’s a growing consciousness about being green. Not wasting food is part of that.” Rene Hoffman
One thing I find interesting is how culture shapes thinking and behaviors toward food waste. When Danes cook, they tend to make smaller portions and they’re good at using up their leftovers. Frugality is another characteristic that causes Danes to leave the least impact when it comes to food waste. In China, it’s a different story. China Daily Asia notes that food waste is common in large restaurants as people meet for business discussions and networking events. Liu Yao, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, investigated food wastage at restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Lhasa (the capital of the Tibet autonomous region) and he found that the more luxurious the restaurant, the more food waste is produced. In the Chinese culture, hosts are required to provide large amounts of food for their guests to show largesse, which inevitably lead to more food being waste at the end of business discussions and networking events. The Chinese government tried to curb the problem by introducing the Clean Your Plate campaign, which encourages people to not order too much and eat everything on the plate. But Liu’s research reveals that it has minimal effect in cities with strong business environment. Perceptions molded by culture can be difficult to change. But I think creating a taboo among the business community may be an effective way to alleviate the issue. This can be done by spreading the idea that food wasted through the act of generosity is not only inconsiderate but the perpetrators are deliberately causing damage to the environment. Obviously, implementing laws and policies, running campaigns and teaching children not to waste food are equally, if not more, effective ways to change habits and perceptions.
Although this post demonstrates that there’s positive change happening, it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Food waste shouldn’t be taken lightly and we as consumers should do our best to make a difference and restore the damage we have done to our home. The issue of food waste may not gain as much attention as global warming but it’s happening every single day.
So, are you ready to make a difference? I’ve gathered some links for you and I hope I managed to influence some of you to take action. Read, ponder and share!
My love for lifestyle magazines started when I was around ten. I always make a beeline to the bookstore after my piano lesson so that I could catch up on the latest celebrity gossips, fashion trends and makeup tips.
As I got older, I lost interest in celebrity gossips. Mainly because they are mostly fabricated, they don’t add value to my life or inspire me.
Sometime around April, I’ve decided to go on a mission to ‘hunt’ down the magazine that has the following criteria:
Inspire me to step out of my comfort zone
More content, less advertisements (none is better!)
Inspire me to create and be creative
Challenge my perceptions
Inspire me to fight for what I believe in
Encourage me to think outside of the box
Consists of fashion and beauty elements
So far, The Collective Hub and RUSSH are both great in my opinion. But there are many more out there waiting for me to explore. It’s still too early to tell which lucky magazine will earn a new subscriber.
Anyway, I came across an excerpt in RUSSH that explores the idea of social identity and self-expression in the world of music and I really like this paragraph:
“Surely so many of you out there can relate? The masks we wear are our clothes and our hairstyles and our voices; it is how we are judged. If we have to accept being judged on appearance, it’s only fair to make it playful, to make it considered – a creative act. We are presented with myriad opportunities to reinvent ourselves, even in the smallest of ways. It is an awesome power, especially if it allows a part of you to be revealed that would otherwise lie unexpressed. Perhaps the costumes we wear are not to hide our true selves and natures from the world, but are a way to more fully express them; a way to communicate our ideas and preoccupations with a world that does not often have time to listen to the quiet voices of people who are shy, or speak softly, or lack an innate confidence to launch themselves headlong into a very noisy world.”
Words byMiranda Darling
Whoever you are today, just remember to be awesome.
P.S. If you know any great magazines, please recommend! I’d love to check them out. x
I’ve had (and made) some pretty amazing food last month. Anything food related is bound to make me happy, hungry, inspired or all three at once. Be prepared for this is going to be a long post (it’s mostly visual so if you hate words, then hooray!).
I’m the type of person who thinks about food all the time. Last Saturday while I was out with R, I asked him if we should try the Indian place near his apartment for dinner. R looked at me in disbelief and said: “But we just finished lunch!”
I like walking around the city, discovering new places and dishes to eat. I used to stick to specific types of food; the ones that will leave me feeling satisfied and happy. But at some point I realized that I’m clearly missing out! From then on wards (I think I was about 21 years old), I’ve decided to order food/drinks that I’ve never tried before. And if I revisit the same restaurant, I should order a different dish every time I do so.
And you know what? So far I don’t think I’ve been disappointed with my choices.
On October 1st, R and some of our friends from the Tae Kwon Do club organized a pizza party at his place so we could watch the AFL grand final together. I think only two or three guys from the group were big fans of the game. Nevertheless, we all had a great time preparing food and eating together. Can you think of anything better than guacamole (avocado is finally in season!) & corn chips, homemade wood fire pizzas and berry nice cream?
We didn’t follow any recipes when we make the pizzas (except for the base). We improvised and put together ingredients that we think would work well. Replications of the Hawaiian Chicken, Vegetarian, Pepperoni and Meat Lovers were expected at any pizza party. We also attempted to make “fancier” pizzas topped with prosciutto, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes, blue cheese and Gouda. And let me tell you, they were fantastic!
If you crave good pizzas but don’t really want to spend, just make your own! Trust me, it’s not that hard and it’s worth the effort.
Mushrooms, capsicum, sliced onion and cheese.
Olives, capsicum, spinach, mushrooms and sliced onions.
Ham, pepperoni and cheese.
We also made Calzone! I didn’t know this exists!
As usual, we bought more ingredients than we need so R and I ended up making more pizzas on the very next day. I think all in all I had about 10 slices in two days.
Breakfast this week consists of granola and toast. Having the same thing every day is boring so I like to switch things up between oatmeal, muesli, granola and toast on a weekly basis.
I like to top my breakfast bowl with nuts, raisins and coconut shreds. I hate the taste of full cream milk so I mainly drink soy or oat milk. I’m not sure how I develop such preference, considering I grew up drinking full cream milk!
I don’t have much time to cook during the weekdays. I start work at 9 AM and finish by 3 or 4 PM. Most of the time I’ll take a 30 minute walk towards Flinders St. to catch the tram in the free zone, get down at Queen Victoria Market and walk for another 15 minutes before I reach home. If I take the tram from my workplace, I usually get home in 30 minutes. Not much of a difference so I rather get some exercise in and save money.
After work, I either do Pilates, jog or both (depending on how I feel), have dinner, shower, catch up with my hobbies and then hit the sack by 11.30 PM. As you can probably tell, I don’t have the time to cook every single day. The solution? Cook in bulk!
I was craving for Vietnamese food at the start of October. And since I still have some rice paper rolls left from last time (R and I made these at the beginning of the year), I thought why not make rice paper rolls for dinner this week? My version of rice paper rolls was a bit funky. I was just going with what I want to eat or intend to use up (for instance, you’ll normally find vermicelli in your rice paper rolls but I used soba instead). Adding spicy tempeh to my rice paper rolls is surprisingly delicious! I also really like the dipping sauce I came up with (I combined Miso paste with Go Chu Jang [Korean sweet and spicy sauce]).
For lunch I opted for something filling: fried brown rice with peas, corn, sliced onion, chicken breast stripes and chili flakes. Meals without gravy or soup are easy to carry around. Sometimes I’d really like to have noodle soup for lunch but the containers I own just can’t seem to keep the contents from leaking. I had my share of disasters and I wouldn’t want to go through the same scenarios again.
Weekends are my favorite! I get to spend time with R, try out new places and eat out. I really cannot imagine having home cooked food every single day.
I first discovered Tsujiri while I was on my way to work. Two weeks later, R and I finally had the chance to give this place a go as it was a warm and sunny Saturday in Melbourne. We got the signature Tsujiri sundae (left) and the Shiratama Matcha sundae to share (right).
Between the two, I prefer the signature sundae. If you know me well, you know that I like chewy and crunchy things. Besides the Shiramata balls, the signature sundae also has a layer of crunchy Japanese brown rice. The combination of these different textures made the dessert so much more enjoyable! The Matcha ice cream was pretty good but I prefer the bitter version. The price point for something this size is pretty high (about $9 AUD). Maybe because the Matcha is imported all the way from Uji, Kyoto. I would come back for more but only on very special occasions.
R and I prefer to stay in on Sundays. Sometimes we’d cook but most of the time we’ll walk to Newmarket (about 20 minutes from his apartment) to have lunch. We came across Gogi Gogi while we were shopping at an Asian grocery store in September. The lunch menu looks decent (price is between $10-12 AUD) so we promised each other that we’d visit this place one day. From far Gogi Gogi looks like a Korean restaurant but it’s actually run by the Chinese. So if you’re looking for the real deal, give this place a pass.
R had the beef bibimbap lunch set while I had the spicy pork with rice lunch set. All lunch sets come with a free soft drink but I didn’t get mine. Since I don’t really like soft drinks, I didn’t make a big deal out of it. The portion size is huge and worth every penny of it. R said the bibimbap was alright but the spicy pork dish was a little bit on the sweet side and could be spicier (I love spicy). This place isn’t the best and I probably won’t come back if I have a craving for Korean food.
For dinner I made myself some nice cream (I used frozen strawberries and mango) and topped my bowl with some toasted muesli. I had to wear a sweater and cover myself in R’s fleece blanket while I dig into this bowl of yumminess.
For the past month I’ve been devouring content produced by jenny mustard. I decided to try one of her recipes this week and it turned out great. The only adjustment I made was I substituted whole-wheat spaghetti with spinach fettuccine. I also didn’t have any kimchi with me so I had do without it.
Since I mostly eat vegetables when I cook for myself, it is important to make sure that my body gets enough vitamin B12. One way to get that is through nutritional yeast. I know the name doesn’t sound appealing but it adds a nice flavor to your dishes. Apparently some people substitute cheese with nutritional yeast (for pasta dishes) but it’s just not the same!
Ahh scrolls. Who doesn’t love them? When I was younger, my parents used to get hot cinnamon scrolls from a shop at Mid Valley (if I’m not mistaken). It was so long ago I don’t even remember the name of the shop. All I know is that they taste great! So while Oregano is having a temporary pop-up store in Melbourne Central, I had to get my hands on one.
There are more than 10 flavors to choose from. I couldn’t decide between the original, peanut butter and the red velvet. In the end, I went with red velvet (remember I said I like to try things I haven’t tried before? I haven’t even had a red velvet cake) and I was utterly disappointed. The topping/ icing reminds me of cough medicine and the dough is a bit hard and dry. I didn’t warm it up in the microwave as it’s broken. Maybe the dough will be fluffy when it’s warm? I’m not sure.
Just last week, R told me his friend bought some to share. Surprisingly he said they were good (Especially the caramel one! Oh God, the caramel one is sooooo good!). Maybe I’ll give Oregano one more try in the future. I’ll make sure to go for the original or peanut butter. Perhaps the caramel one as well.
I’ve mentioned to R that I’d love to have brunch with him some day. So you can imagine my excitement when he suggested that we have brunch together before he goes off for a quick meeting at the university.
As usual, I had a hard time deciding. In the end, I made a last minute decision to go to 1932 Cafe & Restaurant. This place is tucked inside the Arcade building along Collins St. It has a nice cozy ambiance and the staff is friendly and attentive. I had my eye on Mushroom Ragu but unfortunately for me, it was sold out. I ended up ordering the same dish as R -the 1932 Eggs Royale, which consists of house cured trout, poached eggs, sautéed spinach, lemon hollandaise.
Doesn’t it look gorgeous? I love the lemon hollandaise! It’s creamy and tangy and it goes really well with the trout and bread. The trout is really fresh and it has a hint of smoke flavor to it. I’m not sure what the brown thing is but we think it could be fried trout skin. Although the portion looks small, we were really full after the meal.
I would definitely revisit this place and I’ll make sure to come in early so that I could try the Mushroom Ragu dish.
Since we had an early meal, we decided to have dessert at Sweetie & Moustache Dessert Lounge after R’s meeting. I wanted to try their signature mille crepes but their (ridiculously) gigantic bread dessert also looks very appealing. We took the “Go big or go home” quote to heart and ordered the latter.
The toast cubes were crispy and warm when served. I would probably only add half of the honey and custard sauce but R poured everything before I could react. Needless to say, it was too sweet for me. Even though we had some space for dessert, we couldn’t finish it. The dessert is aesthetically pleasing but taste wise it’s average. Not great but not the worst either.
I’m still curious about their signature mille crepes though.
It’s important to make sure you’re eating from every category on the food pyramid. For lunch I opted for something quick and easy: pan fried chicken breasts (seasoned with paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper), kale and eggs and some stir fried cauliflower.
On Saturday, R and I dined at a new burger place called Goody’s Burger House. I got the Classic Philly Burger (with a side of fries) simply because it has cream cheese in it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a burger with cream cheese before. R wanted to get the same but went with Texas BBQ instead. The first impression I got when I unwrap my burger was that it looked miserable and beaten up. Aside from that, the cream cheese goes really well with the bacon. The overall taste was alright and the portion size is decent. The burgers have the same price as those from New York Minute and Royal Stacks but at least they serve hot and good looking burgers. Not something that seems to be left on the side for hours. Given the choice, I won’t be visiting Goody’s Burger House in the future.
Once every month, I’ll cook something for R. Since I have some spinach fettuccine left from last week, I have decided to make a simple pasta dish with mushrooms, carrots and chicken stripes. I then mix everything with fresh tomatoes, garlic and brown onion. Simple yet so delicious!
I also made some peanut and almond pralines on Sunday. I know, I know…they look nothing like the ones in the recipe and here are the reasons why:
There wasn’t enough peanut butter and I didn’t bring enough dates.
I messed up the consistency of the dark chocolate by pouring hot water onto the chocolate squares.
The recipe requires that I heat up the peanut butter first then mix in the vanilla essence and maple syrup. But I heated all three ingredients together instead. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the mixture cooled while I was still shaping the pralines. Hence, I had to heat it again after I’m done and that changes the consistency of the mixture.
I ended up borrowing D’s (R’s hosuemate) Nutella to coat the rest of the pralines and added water to the oats, almond and dates mixture (it was loose because of the lack of dates) to make everything “stick”. We also nearly broke our front teeth because the maple syrup turned hard under constant heating. This definitely wasn’t the best but I’m determine to do better next time.
On Tuesday, me and my friend from high school visited European Bier Cafe for a 2 for 1 lunch deal. I ordered the panko calamari while M got the spaghetti alla amatriciana. I think that it’s ridiculous to charge $21 for 5 rings of calamari on a bed of salad (a bag of mixed salad costs about $5). Needless to say, I wasn’t satisfied. I wouldn’t recommend eating here but if you’re looking for a place to drink and chat, this is actually a decent place to do so as I’ve been here for drinks once.
After lunch, we decided to walk to Exhibition St. to get gelato. I’ve tried Gelateria Primavera before but this is a first for M. Since they offer very unique flavors, you can expect the gelato to be on the expensive side. I got cardamon & roasted pistachio, yogurt, rose & acai and sheep’s curd, rosemary & honey. They were all good but the second flavor tasted like regular strawberry yogurt. The first and the third flavor were amazing.
I feel in love with Bun Bo Xao (Vietnamse Lemongrass Beef Noodles Salad) the first time I had it at a Vietnamese restaurant. I like that it has a little bit of everything: fiber from the vegetables, carbohydrates from the rice vermicelli and protein from the meat. I try to reduce my intake of red meat so I added chicken breast to the mix. And tofu! It’s not only good for people with high cholesterol but it’s also a good source of protein.
Oh I remember this day. It was a glorious sunny Saturday. The weather was so warm that I could actually wear mini shorts and a see through lace top. I told R I wanted to go to the beach and we did!
But before that, we had lunch at a new location called Torasan Ramen. This place offers typical Japanese food -ramen, rice with beef/spicy pork/fried chicken and more. I opted for the salmon don while R went with the waitress’s suggestion and ordered their signature Tonkotsu ramen.
I was surprised that so many things came with my salmon don (and it only costs $12 AUD!). There were fresh fruits, a side of fries and fried potato cakes, a small bowl of Miso soup and kimchi. The salmon slices were fresh and everything else was great. I tried some of R’s ramen and it was delicious too! If you live in the city, give this place a shot!
Saturday was one of the best days I had. Good food, good company and a good movie. It was a long day so we decided to take Sunday slow.
The first time R and I had lunch at New Somali Kitchen, we concluded that the dishes were delicious, plentiful and cheap. I was excited for our second visit and we weren’t disappointed. Instead of ordering our own dishes, we decided to share the NSK combo so we could get the “full taste of Somali fare”. We also got a side of Bajeya, which is a Somali-style falafel made from ground black-eyed peas, ginger, garlic and coriander. I’m glad we did because they were awesome. After we devoured everything, we even made plans to come back for the Worker’s Lunch in the near future.
And there you have it! I hope you enjoy my longest post yet. I may write two food posts in a month so that it’s more manageable for me. But I’ll see how things go.