Tuesday, 23 November 2010

My reporting gear

This is what I usually look like at rallies, protests and other events where there is more people than space and more noise than is bearable.

- hiking boots: so I don't slip and my feet won't hurt from walking around too much or getting stepped on and trampled over
- big yellow hat: keeps me from overheating under the sun and lets my head stay dry in the rain, also it's so my cameraman can find me when we're split up
- ear plugs: saves me from going deaf under the blast of air horns and the screaming stadium speakers
- backpack: holds everything, including make-up, water bottle, microphone, light, rain gear and extra tapes & batteries for the camera
- notebook, multi-colored pen, digital watch synced w/ camera timecode: for taking notes
- ifb (headset): I usually use this when I'm anchoring from the studio, but I can also hook this up to the 2-way radio to talk to the SNG director when I am reporting live from the field
- iPad: for looking up info while on location, or killing time when nothing is happening
- company jacket (required by company): the goretex keeps me warm and dry, and the logo is so people don't forget which TV station we are

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

How many scoops?

After catching up on sleep and satisfying a small cooking fix, I started sorting out and labeling pictures in my computer. It's always fun to dig up old media of family and friends. These are from May this year. Not exactly old, but still fun. Dad is the ice-cream monster.

Poached eggs

Made my first poached eggs today. Saving Hollandaise sauce for next month. If I go out and buy more cooking equipment and ingredients now, I'm going to end up eating out of my refrigerator and cupboards (and press conferences if I'm lucky) 'til payday...

This is what I did:
heat water to just before boiling (to keep egg from getting boiled apart)
add splash of vinegar (to keep egg together)
crack open egg, put in bowl, then lowered bowl halfway into water in pot and gently poured it in
used ladle to keep egg sort of together
take out of pot when egg whites turned white

I grounded some salt and pepper for flavoring and sprinkled some paprika powder for color.

I referred to Foodie's blog, this blog on Foodie's class and this TLC TV show.

A rocking Christmas

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Though it's more than a month away, I couldn't help but play with this the instant I saw it. :D

Apple and blueberry pancake recipes

After watching Tameshite Gatten (ためしてガッテン one of my favorite Japanese TV shows) explain why most people can't get pancakes to look as fluffy as the picture on the pancake mix box, I caught the pancake bug and can't seem to shake it off.

After doing what the show said, I successfully got my pancake mix pancakes to puff like they're supposed to (it worked on the first try!), then I started trying out different pancake recipes from Smitten Kitchen. So far, I've done plain, buttermilk blueberry and buttermilk cinnamon apple).

The shreds of crispy, tart apple is a nice contrast to the soft pancake. The next time I make this, I'm going to use more flour and apple to make the thing a little more solid.

The blueberries are warmer than the pancake when eaten, and they are sweet and sour and just melt in your mouth! With some high quality butter and syrup, it's absolutely delicious.

Here are the recipes that I adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Mostly, I used less sugar, more flour and substituted yogurt for milk (I used up all the milk to make yogurt a few days ago).

Apple pancakes:
1 egg, well beaten
3/4 cups yogurt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 apple, peeled & coarsely grated
cinnamon powder
vegetable oil
confectioner’s sugar

mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, sugar
in a separate medium sized bowl, mix wet ingredients: egg, yogurt
pour dry ingredients into wet mix and whisk well
blend in apple and cinnamon powder

oil pan with a little bit of vegetable oil, cook on medium/low heat, 2-3 minutes on first side, 1-2 minutes on the other
dust with confectioner's sugar, enjoy with maple syrup

Blueberry pancake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon extra for brushing pan
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (frozen & thawed will work too)
confectioner’s sugar

mix dry ingredients: flower, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar
in a separate medium sized bowl, mix wet ingredients: egg, yogurt, butter
pour dry ingredients into wet mix and whisk until barely mixed (you want medium/small lumps in the batter, otherwise the pancake will not turn out fluffy)

lightly butter pan, cook on medium/low, 2 minutes on first side, 1 minute on the other
drop and press the blueberries in the pancake after you ladle the batter onto the pan

(original recipes from SK: blueberry, apple)

What I learned from the TV show to get really fluffy pancakes (with their pancake mix), was that you have to get the pan hot enough so the baking powder will properly do its job especially at the time when the batter hits the pan, but not so hot as to burn the pancake. Instructions from the box were something like this:
heat lightly oiled/buttered pan on medium
put pan on wet kitchen towel for 1-2 seconds, then back on heat, but on low
drop in batter, cook for 2-3 minutes
flip, cook for 1-2 minutes with the lid on, so you're steaming it at the same time

Making pancakes is so much fun. Now if I can only find people to eat them... I brought two stacks to the office the first couple of times, but they didn't taste good at all after being refrigerated then microwaved. What to do what to do???

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Blueberry pancakes 藍莓鬆餅

The madness continues... Last time I used Japanese pancake mix. This time I used an American recipe for buttermilk pancakes and replaced half of the liquid with yogurt that I made a couple of days ago. It turned out quite delicious!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Pancakes! 鬆餅!

Got the urge to make pancakes all of a sudden. What am I going to do with so many pancakes? Bring them to FTV tomorrow and feed some hungry reporters. Bring your own butter and syrup, you guys!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sleep makes me happy

Sleep can do wonders, including making me happy.

I never get enough of it, but when things are not going so well, I try to sleep more, because it gives me more energy to deal with the rubbish (which is myself sometimes) that I have to face during the day.

Going to have some buckwheat tea, a hot bath, read a little and then go to sleep.

Good night!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Little Tea Shop 茶小鋪

On our way to Sun Moon Lake to report about the music & fireworks festival that took place last month, we stopped in Taichung County for lunch. 蔡老師 (my usual features cameraman) is from Taichung brought us here.

It's a really cute restaurant with an old Chinese setting. In addition to the traditional and earthy decor that felt relaxing, natural light that poured in from center of the restaurant was beautiful. The different wings of the restaurant all surround a koi pond.

The food is alright - hot pots and the like, for something like TWD200-300 per set menu. I got the fried rice, which I was planning on eating half of, and finishing the rest for dinner.

This is one place I'd like to return to when I'm passing through. Thank you, 蔡老師!

Little Tea Shop 茶小鋪 (chaxiaopu)
#477 Daming Road, Dali, Taichung County
+886 4 2406 8850

Monday, 1 November 2010

Is this me? Unbelievable.

P calls at 10h40 (I'm on the night shift these days) and says, "Ma Ying-jeou is having lunch with Shinzo Abe at the Ambassador. Do you want to go and cover it?" I can't believe I actually said, "But I'm on the night shift, still at home. And I don't think I should go because I'm not very confident about writing political stories. Writing about him meeting Ma and Lee Teng-hui and about the Diaoyutai (Senkaku) Islands last night nearly killed me and I don't even know if I got it right."

Politics is really not my cup of tea and probably my weakest area in reporting, but I still can't believe I said no. I never say no to working early/late. I never say no to the office. What is wrong with me?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Solo Pasta with Jack and Shirley

Jack (with whom I went to college and trained in karate) is in town to take bridal pictures with his fiancee, Shirley. We had dinner together at Solo Pasta.

Between the three of us, we ordered three antipastis:
- pork back fat and hazelnut bruschetta
- baked eggplant with parmesan and mozzarella cheese
- asparagus salad with soft cooked eggs and parmesan cheese

And three pastas:
duck breast
broccoli and sausage meat
squid ink

P-chan introduced Solo Pasta to me and talked non-stop about it for quite a while. Thanks to Jack and Shirley, I finally got to go. I was half dead, so I’m not sure how good it was, but I’m pretty sure it was not bad. Looking forward to the next visit to decide whether or not to add it to my list of regular haunts.

Solo Pasta
#29-1 Anhe Rd Sec 1, Taipei
tel +886 2 2775 3645

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Email conversation with Dad

Background: the wire fox terrier that Mom & Dad had been taking care of was just returned to his owner

From: me
To: Mom & Dad:
Subject: 剛毛獵狐梗(懷亞鐵利亞)幼犬出售
Body: http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/sanbarby/article?mid=1238&prev=38&next=1098

From: Dad
To: Mom & me
Can I have one of these as my birthday present?

------------------------- one day goes by -------------------------

From: Dad
To: Mom & me
Can I have one of these as my birthday present?
[[he sends the same email again, but this time attached with pictures from the blog advertising wire fox terrier puppies]]

------------------------- half a day goes by -------------------------

From: me
To: Dad
Mom is pretending not to hear you.

From: Dad
To: me
Do you hear me?

...to be continued (maybe)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Friday, 22 October 2010

Conversation with Mama over Skype

Background information: she is a food expert who has published books and hosted tv shows on food.

Mama: excuse me while I have this delicious yuba (Kyoto style tofu skin).

background sounds: spoon clicking on tupperware and slurping and swallowing.

Me: oo, that looks really good.

Mama: oh, it is. you know how it's made?

Me: it's lifted off the top of a boiling pot of tonyu (soybean juice), right?

Mama: yes. you know how to get really delicious yuba?

Me: no. how? (expecting to learn a few secret tricks of the trade)

Mama: you buy it.

Me: .......


My mothers - they can be very scary, but also pretty funny sometimes too, when I least expect it. Maybe I'm just too serious sometimes. Hahahaha


Me (Wednesday): Hi Mom, I'm having my hair dyed tomorrow in 大直 and I will finish around 13h30. Do you want to have lunch?

Mom (Thursday night): OKAY

Me: That was today.

Mom: 不是週五嗎?

Me: I was talking about Thursday. It's OK. Friday, Saturday, Sunday 我在家閉關休息。身體操翻了,腦袋也挖空了。

Mom: 明天特別帶妳吃午餐

Mom: 六星級週日保養日pm4?

Me: 閉關馬上破功。What are we eating?

Mom: 媽媽搞破壞專家 想吃什麼?提議三個再決定okay

I am determined to come home after lunch and spend some quiet time alone. Determined. Determined!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Good article: 我想成為坐在路邊鼓掌的人

This is a great article. Moms and Dads, Moms and Dads to be and anyone interested in children's education may find it a worthy read. Unfortunately, I don't know who the author is.









後來,看到一則九歲孩子上大學的報導,他很受傷地問女兒: 『孩子,妳怎麼就不是個神童呢?』

女兒說: 『因為我爸爸不是神父啊!』








在眾人的催促下,她認真地回答: 『長大了,我的第一志願是,當幼稚園老師,領著孩子們唱歌跳舞,做遊戲。』


她大大方方地說: 『我想做媽媽,穿著印叮噹貓的圍裙,在廚房做晚餐,然後給我的孩子講故事,領著他在陽臺上看星星。』























































via 雲渡武禪
thank you, 怡萱姊 :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

People in love with Taitung

David is a finance guy who works in New Jersey, USA. After his wife passed away, he decided to start a juice business in his hometown of Taitung so that more people, starting with the people of Taitung, can be healthier by way of his juice mixes. He uses mainly local fruits and vegetables, washes them with water from a very expensive filtration system. An order of juice that he sells for TWD30 would go for almost TWD100 in Taipei. Yes, prices in Taitung are lower, but not that much lower. His raw material cost per cup is nearly the same as what he charges his customers. People say he's not in it to make money, but hopes to survive. I hope he survives and makes enough money to come to Taipei and open lots of branches. He set up shop in Taitung two months ago, trained someone to hold the fort, and now has to go back to NJ to his other job. We were really lucky Saturday to have met him and tried his grape/pineapple/kiwi/passion fruit concoction. It was really good. He doesn't filter out the pulp, so you get all the fiber and nutrition from the seeds. So it was very healthy too. This drink was TWD70. Go David! Please make this business work and come to Taipei!

Hao Kang
#333 Zhongshan Road, Taitung City
+886 89 341 648

A-jie is a baker from Taipei. He and his wife traveled to Taitung once, fell in love with the pace of life in the area, so decided to close the family bakery and move down there. They opened a restaurant in Taitung City and named it "愛上台東," meaning "in love with Taitung." The name sounds more than a little corny, but Taiwanese people would call that "cute." While A-jie cooks, his wife takes care of their two girls and they take family holidays as often as possible, not afraid to close shop to take time off. They put pictures and paraphernalia of places they've traveled to on the restaurant wall. Before his eldest daughter started kindergarten, he mapped out all the kindergartens in the city and visited each and every one of them on his time off during the day. People joke that he can publish a "Taitung kindergarten walkabout guide." Also on the wall of the restaurant are pamphlets to nearby restaurants, B&B's and tourist spots. I asked him why he's spending time and energy that he hardly has left over to show people the way to his competition. A-jie said he loves Taitung and wants to let people why he thinks it's so wonderful, and in turn, hopefully they'll spend money and keep the place and its businesses alive. A-jie's pizzas and desserts are definitely above the local average, and the price is quite reasonable. I estimate the average cheque to be less than TWD200.

In addition to how passionately he speaks, A-jie's dark eye circles and eye bags tell me that he is working really hard and sacrificing his health to afford his life of ideals - being able to spend quality time with family and live in southeastern Taiwan where the pace of life is slow and everything is covered in sunshine.

A-jie, please keep going and share this passion for life you have with more people! Please also quickly get your staff up to speed so you don't keep ending up in the hospital for fatigue-related problems.

Fall in love with Taitung
Xinsheng Road #344, Taitung City
+886 89 346 999

Taitung Spotlight

To experience local culture on your travels, follow the spotlight. At least that is what the Tourism Bureau seems to be trying to say. They've been rolling out places they're calling "spotlights" all over the country, starting with Eastern Taiwan. This is Taitung's spotlight, the site of which used to be an old train station. They've built a space for live performances where local indigenous musicians can sing and play music for tourists, locals and fans alike. Saturdays and Sundays, (mostly) locals turn up to sell handicrafts and homemade food. Some of the food is quite interesting - popsicles made with local fruits like custard apple, cake made of rice flour (Taitung is known for its rice) rather than wheat, rice flavored ice cream, hibiscus tea, etc.

None of these spotlights that I've been to so far are exciting and spectacular. Rather, they're places where you come with the expectation to spend an entire morning, afternoon or evening "discovering" and "exploring" the local culture there by slowly taking in what you see, listening to the sounds, tasting the food and chatting about the experience with the friends you've come with.

My Taitung Spotlight story will air this Friday/Saturday.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Cycling around Taiwan

We were very lucky and spotted the Standard Chartered team which was cycling around Taiwan for Orbis, the flying eye hospital charity. If I didn't bump into them, my Taitung cycling stories would have been just me cycling. All alone. Not fun to do, not fun to watch, either. The SC guys were on their 7th day of the tour and were very nice and let me ride with them from Guanshan to Chishang, which was about 10km of beautiful, green rice paddy landscape. They stopped in Chishang for the famous Chishang lunch box and then...passed out. Well, apparently this is how they rest in between legs. They ride about 100km a day, one guy told me. That's a lot. But hm...doable. I may even consider doing it one day. I learned a lesson today - riding a foldie with a pack of people on road bikes is especially tiring! So if I were to do the round-the-island challenge, I'm borrowing someone's road bike.

加油, you guys! 你們很努力,看得出來! :D

Hello there, baby cow

Calf in Taitung.

Calf and mama.

Currently working on some travel stories in Taitung.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Dapeng Bay sunset

We were in Dapeng Bay, Pingtung to do a story on cycling and fun around Dapeng Bay. Heading to the office to put together that story this afternoon. It will air week of the 25th. I think the best time to cycle in Dapeng Bay is starting from when the sun is just setting and at night. Early morning, you might see a slightly foggy view of calm waters and people fishing, but that is about it. At sunset and at night, you can see the beautiful, flame colored sun and sky reflected on the water, and there are supposed to be really nice looking lights along the bike path. We stopped filming after the sun had set and headed straight for dinner so I didn't see the lights. You can still ride during the day, when it's hot hot hot and the smell of the fish farms can be a little much to bear for people not used to it. But one nice thing about riding during the day or in the afternoon is that when you get hungry, you can ride to the Huaqiao fish market after it opens at 14h00 and eat lots of seafood snacks and dishes there. Sorry, no pictures from the fish market. Hands were really full from producing, reporting and keeping an eye on my bicycle. :D

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Cycling in Green Island

Asides from beautiful coastal views, there are also geological formations to ride through when cycling in Green Island. Best time to ride is early morning or late afternoon. It is HOT HOT HOT there.

If you like snorkeling, I hear it's great too. I didn't get to try this time. Maybe next time.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


I love warm food, including warm sandwiches.

During an interview with food critic Hu Tienlan exactly one month ago, she told me about Rainbow Cafe's paninis. That was where I made a straight shot for after leaving the studio. I ordered the vegetable pesto panini, and I loved it. Will definitely go back there again. Though the couch I was sitting on was a little broken and uncomfortable, overall it was a nice space to be in for lunch. 謝謝胡老師的推薦!

Rainbow Cafe
1F, No.5, Lane 6, Sec. 4,
Chung-Hsiao E. Rd, Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2772 6603
Mon-Sun 12:00~24:00

Dapeng Bay, here I come!

My very extravagant drunken chicken lunch box that I ate all the way from Taipei to Yingge. Forty minutes down, another six hours to go before we reach Dapeng Bay, Pingtung...

By the way, my lunch box is from 錢唐村. It's a fantastic little family-run Zhejiang place and the owners are the nicest people in the world.

+886 2 2707 0858

Friday, 1 October 2010

Kazunoko or pomelo?

Pomelo! Part of my breakfast this morning. Can't wait 'til New Year's in Tokyo. Then it's kazunoko time! Mama marinates the best kazunoko. HINT HINT!

You little bugger

You've eaten my entire kumquat tree!
Now what are you going to do? Run out of pretty little leaves to eat eh?