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?