28. February 2013

I was going to take a picture and be all like: “oh, check out this awesome cute cake I made. Yeah, it was nothing, just a little of this and some of that and BAM a sweet-ass little hipster cake is a dainty manly little mug. You’re welcome internet.” But then I ate the cake instead…

because eating cakes is far superior to blogging about them.

29. October 2011

  • Rigatoni w. Roasted Garlic and Tomatos, and chorizo sausages.
  • Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing
  • Salty Pumpkin Seeds
  • Baked Apples Served with Ice-cream, an Oat-walnut Crumble Topping and Homemade Caramel Sauce.
  • Pumpkin Martinis
  • Spooky Screwdrivers (made from black vodka)
  • AND CANDY!!!
7. August 2011

As many of you know I take my coffee black, but on these hot summer days (soon to be cold autumn nights) changing things up is nice.

Going to Starbucks can be really expensive (albeit delicious), and it’s really not that hard to make kick-ass beverages at home.

Here’s how you make a simple Vanilla Syrup that can be added to iced coffee or lattés.

Heres what you need:

  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 a cup of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract

When making any simple syrup that rule of thumb is equal parts water and sugar. For this one because I wanted a darker colour and because I knew it would go better with the vanilla I used both white and brown sugar. These amounts yield about 1 1/2 cups of syrup, if you wanted to make more just stick with (2/3) of a part white sugar, (1/3) of a part brown sugar, and (1) part water.

PUT SUGAR AND WATER IN TO A POT, ADD VANILLA EXTRACT AND GENTLY BRING TO A BOIL. LET IS SIMMER FOR A FEW MINUTES. TAKE OFF THE AND LET THE SYRUP COOL OFF. BOTTLE AND REFRIGERATE.

13. June 2011

I just had an awesome afternoon. I committed myself to relaxing today, after all the stress and weirdness of yesterday I didn’t want to do anything today. Even though the “hotel” I’m staying at is really seedy, I’m very comfortable. The only odd thing that happened was yesterday at around 10:30pm someone knocked on my door, when I answered the stranger apologized admitting that I was not who he was looking for and that the must have come to the wrong room. He was looking to buy drugs no doubt, but that didn’t really worry me. I woke up early as usual but still feeling tried I choose to sleep in. It wasn’t until several hours later that I actually got out of bed feeling refreshed and ready to do nothing. And nothing is what I’ve done. After looking at the showers and deciding it would be healthier to wait until I got to Seattle to bath, I went down the street to get a cop of coffee and check my email. As I’ve written before I could really get used to the going out for morning coffee routine, eventually I think I’ll have to move downtown.

After as I walked back towards the “hotel” I stopped in at a culinary supply store and spent a good hour looking at knives and espresso machines that I cannot afford. In the future scenario where I live downtown in a small but comfortable apartment, I definitely think I’ll be investing in a nice espresso machine. They’re really expensive but I’ve seen a couple used ones priced reasonably on the Internet. I have this excellent vision of having people over for coffee and being like “here’s your caramel latte”. I know I’m super lame but I like showing off for people. Cooking and culinary stuff has always interested me. Not that I’d ever want to be a chief—the hours would kill me—but I would like a nice kitchen at home, my future home, that small apartment downtown.

Now I’m back in my room at the “hotel” and this is where I plan on staying for the rest of the day, until I get hungry (there’s a burrito place like ten feet away that I think I’ll be visiting later). I’ve got some fruit and six-hundred pages of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest left so I should be very content for a while.

19. May 2011

So it’s official I’m on my own for the rest of the trip. I got a Facebook message from my travel companion saying that he was going to alaska. Anyway, so I was stuck with no plans and a nonrefundable bus ticket to Calgary. That’s where I am now, Calgary. I have mixed feelings about it. I like that it’s sunny, that’s a nice change from Vancouver. But my first few hours here were spent wondering around looking for a hostel that ended up being in the middle of nowhere so I didn’t stay there. That was enough to put me in a grumpy mood. Once I had a bed though, I was in much better spirits.

I was going to go out and explore but I was just to tired, I just napped. After a while I got up and went grocery shopping. Calgary sort of redeemed itself when I found out the rapid transit system in the downtown core in free. It’s cool, you can just hop on an off, Toronto should take note of this.

I went to Safeway to buy some food. We don’t have Safeway in Toronto so it was a new experience for me. They have some sort of club card that gives discounts and when I went up to the counter to pay she asked if I had a club card. I told her I didn’t and she sort of gapped at me, I said that I had never been to Safeway before because I wasn’t from around here. Again she stared and said “well then where do you do your shopping?”. I said Nofrills and she just gave me a look that said “well that just sounds like nonsense but you do what you want deary”. That was just one of the examples of why Calgary is weird.

It was nice riding the transit home, I had a loaf of bread under my arm and my hands were full of shopping bags, it felt good, like I was living on my own. Only in Calgary.

For dinner I wanted something really comforting: garlic mushrooms on toast. I make this for myself a lot at home when my mom goes away. It’s super easy and really tasty.
All you need is:
Some bread
Mushrooms
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
a handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
Butter
a good handful of Parmesan (I didn’t have the money so I omitted this)
a splash of 2% milk or cream

Just dice the garlic and slice the mushrooms, and cook them together in a frying pan. When the mushrooms are just about done, add in the basil and the milk (and cheese, unless you’re poor like me). Cook for another couple of minutes on low, than remove from the heat.

Serve on toast. It’s so good! It would have been perfect with a glass of wine, but hostels have rules.

Now I’m going to go relax and listen to a book for a while. Bye.

12. May 2011

Here’s a tip for anyone that’s wants to travel, or really just wants to succeed at life: learn to cook. Hostel kitchens are wonderfully weird places. Half industrial kitchen, half thrift store for bowls and mugs. They’re all fundamentally the same, sort of dirty and packed full of every imaginable cooking instrument, with all of them in some state of disrepair. All the knives are dull, all the mugs are chipped and all the pots are burnt, but it doesn’t matter.

I’m not saying you have to be Mario Batali, but having a basic knowledge of how to prepare good food can save you a lot of money, and make you some friends. If you follow me on twitter (@americanalchemy), and you’ve been reading my tweets, you’d have seen a post a few days ago saying something to the effect of “I understand why low income families eat so poorly. It’s cheaper.” I would like to retract that statement. I was in a bad mood because I had just spent close to $9 on food for supper. What I didn’t realize was that food I bought was enough to feed me four times. So it was actually only like $2.25 a meal which is super cheap, cheaper then I could get at a restaurant or a fast food place.

The reason I suddenly felt the need to tell you to rush to your local book store and buy anything by Jamie Oliver, was brought on by breakfast. Several of the hostels I’ve so far stayed at have included a complementary breakfast, usually just toast and coffee. But here their breakfast included eggs. They have a whole basket of beautiful white, porcelain looking eggs sitting on the counter in the kitchen with a sign saying help yourself. I nearly fell over, I haven’t had a hot breakfast in like ten days and when I did it was only thanks to Nick who bought everything. Back to my initial point. While was happily frying eggs, I noticed some other guest look longingly at the basket and then move on. It’s amazing how many people don’t feel comfortable enough in the kitchen to make eggs, I mean come on it not hard, just scramble’em, (although without the addition of some nice sharp cheddar, scrambled eggs are lame). I’ve noticed the same thing in the evening when people are eating dinner, people will come in with a sub and later complain they don’t have enough money for beer.

Cooking can be really difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Reading a cook book or watching the food network every now and then can give you just enough of a knowledge base to go to the grocery store instead of Subway.