Monday, December 12, 2011

My First Bento

Basically, I was just sitting there, cleaning my gas lamp, when all of a sudden I was overcome with a new obsession: Bento. Bento boxes are Japanese. Let's look at a common dictionary's definition of Japanese:
  1. Of, relating to, or derived from Japan, its language, or culture. 
  2. A person living in or coming from Japan, or of Japanese ancestry. 
  3. The main language spoken in Japan.
  4. Superior.
Indeed. When I asked the Stoic Man what the time difference was between Switzerland and Japan, he said, "Seven hours. And ten years." It's the future.

Bento boxes are small boxes in which food is arranged beautifully for later consumption, mostly at one's place of employ. Bento boxes are also very, very shiny. I got a three tiered thingy in pink. With a matching set of chopsticks. Did you know there are Hello Kitty themed sets? ...

So, today, I set about filling my shiny, shiny box with food for the graveyard shift. The content is not Japanese. I know, I should be ashamed of myself.

Tier 1: Salady things

pickled beetroot
pickled carrots
cherry tomatoes

The beets were cooked, sliced, and pickled in nothing more than red wine vinegar. They keep forever that way and are a staple in my kitchen.
The carrots were cooked - carefully, so that they are still somewhat crisp - sliced, and pickled in a bit of vinegar, a bit of oil, and garlic. They will end up tasting very garlicky. Keep that in mind. At work. I said I was on graveyard shift, right?
I found this hilarious assortment of six types of cherry tomatoes at Coop. I bought red, heart-shaped ones, yellow ones, and orange ones. Taste is same/same, but they are so pretty!

Tier 2 (the proteins): Tonkatsu and Edamame

a piece of pork
one egg, beaten
starch or flour

salt, pepper

As always, when breading meat: salt, pepper, put in some flour or starch, put in the egg, then the panko. Deep fry.
Edamame: steam.
Not as visually pleasing as it could be, but very tasty. Come on. Deep-fried pork. Just saying.

Tier 3 (the carbs): Mashed potato/sweet potato

2 potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
salt, pepper, chili for decoration

Cook the roots until soft, remove from water, mash. Destroy them. Obliberate, even. Add butter until sufficiently buttery. Add salt and pepper, when draped upon the plate or into the bento, sprinkle dried chili on top.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meatballs. Meeeeeatbaaaaalls!

One of life's great pleasures: Meatballs. I have recently perfected them, and they look much better than in the picture. Not to mention the taste. The key? Easy. After all, why would you fry something, if you can also deep fry it? The best thing about these, though, is the sauce. Courtesy of my friend Paolo, a genuine Sicilian and chef extraordinaire!


500g mixed minced meat
salt, pepper, a little dried chili if you like
one carrot, grated
a bit of ginger, grated
a clove of garlic, one medium onion, a bunch of parsley, all finely chopped
a cup or so of bread crumbs
one egg

Knead everything into a mass. Form balls. Heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry. When pleasantly brown, remove from oil onto kitchen crepe, to remove excess oil.

Nameless and awesomely tasty sauce

one large onion
2 dl aceto balsamico
100g sugar

Okay, I'm guessing on the sugar. Think chutney; enough to make the liquid slightly thick, and create a sweet-sour taste. Anyway. Cut the onion into pleasing strips, sautee in butter. Add the aceto, then the sugar. Allow to boil for a moment. Let cool down, taste, add salt, pepper, and, if needed, more sugar. (If more sugar, bring to boil again.)

I used red onions. This is what it looks like when boiling.

... And Then I Lapsed

It happens. I am not a person of consistency. I do not keep a diary for this very reason. Of course, World of Warcraft is to blame, because there is SO MUCH TO DO!!

Sigh. The patch hath dropped, and I have valor points to farm on six characters, as well as gear for transmogrification. There are three all-new, awesome dungeons to run. And to make it all worse, the Darkmoon Faire is on until the weekend, and it's become seriously awesome. Did you know you can even increase your trade skill levels by doing quests at the faire? I KNOW! That makes it a total of 14 (yes. That's fourteen.) characters that want to go to the faire. All that, and I'm supposed to work, and sleep, as well? Also, it tends to make me overuse the word "awesome".

On both Horde and Alliance, I have one character each that I consider the red-headed stepchild. Meaning, I didn't really pay much attention to them. Iparra is a mage, and frankly, that's the problem. She can neither tank nor heal, which makes it difficult to earn my love. She can, however, look awesome in her freshly transmogrified gear. I call it... I don't have a word for it. Except awesome (see above). It's a lot of fun having her walk around like this, mostly, because people are going to think I'm a guy.
Khendran, my shaman, has made some amazing gear progress this past week. It's nice to replace a 333 mace with the 378 one Queen Azshara was kind enough to leave behind. Celebrations ensued, leading to a new haircut. Although, you know how it is with orcs. There are two acceptable faces, and three hair styles at best.

Iparra was also the first to brave the treacherous terrain of the new raid finder tool. A dps, right, what can go wrong? That's right: nothing. It was actually a pleasant experience. After I fixed my frame rate problem, that is. 25-man is hard on my machine. Two frames per second is not a place I like to be. She even got loot, which earned her the scorn of the top dps in the raid, we'll call him Mr. "I can kill the adds by myself with my 60K dps". That's a direct quote.
After this successful run, I stepped it up a bit and went in with Khendran, the resto-shaman. And behold, that was okay, too. It was a bit disappointing that the same shaman won all three tokens that dropped for our class. And that he found it okay to roll need on two shoulder-tokens on two different occasions. But that's people for you. Have I mentioned my shaman wears 333 shoulders, because Zanzil is being an ass about it?

And at some point, Blizz, we really need to talk about that shoulder-thing. This expansion is being a bit ridiculous in that regard. I understand they are prestige items, and I'm not asking you for tier gear for VP. But I should be able to purchase something better than ilevel 346 if my luck is rotten, don't you think? Not to worry; I know you'll do better next time.

And now, I must be off. There is just SO MUCH TO DO!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pilgrim's Bounty

This is the time of the year where Food and Glory coincide. Yes, it is Pilgrim's Bounty again, the WoW world event that mirrors Thanksgiving. While the reason for it is completely negligible, it is one fantastic event to get your cooking skill up. You can buy a series of recipes at the festival, along with the ingredients for them (except the turkeys, which you'll have to "hunt"). These recipes will get your cooking skill from 0 to roughly 340 in an efficient and ridiculously cheap manner.
One important thing to remember is that some of the ingredients can only be found with specific festival vendors.
For the potatoes, go to Darnassus or Thunder Bluff.
The cranberries can be bought in Ironforge and Orgrimmar.
The pumpkins are sold in Stormwind and Undercity. You will also find the turkeys in Tirisfal and Elwynn.
You should buy 60 or 70 of each before you move on, since there are 60 skill-points between the recipes, and they turn yellow for the last ten points. Nothing is more annoying than having to go back to Darnassus because you're missing two potatoes. Also, since you need around 70 turkeys anyway, you might want to give The Turkinator a shot. After killing each turkey, you have a 30 second window to kill another one. Kill 40 turkeys in a row, and become a turkinator. I would tell you to go places where there are few other people trying to accomplish the same thing, but the fowl only appears in Elwynn and Tirisfal, so your best bet is to try it at three in the morning.

So, I just leveled my rogue's cooking to 350. 'Tis the season.

Combine all your foodstuffs into this stylish Cornucopia.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fast Food

You know how it is. Sometimes, food just needs to be ready RIGHT NOW.  Because you're about to starve. And the raid starts in 15 minutes. Yesterday was one such day, and I opted for fast food of the Asian variety. It starts with the ready-made bit:

Japanese noodle soup. Usually comes with noodles, soup-stock, and sometimes flavouring-oil.

I chose noodles with prawn flavour. To make a real meal out of those though, some additional ingredients are necessary. I heated a bit of butter in a small pan, and added a thinly-sliced clove of garlic, and a handful of prawns, as well as some leek I had lying around. I cooked them until soft, then added the water and followed the instructions on the box, so to speak. Et voilà:

Fast food. Raid-ready.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Art of Burgers

A good burger is one of the greatest things in the world. Which is why we went to Helvti Diner last week, as they promise exactly that. I was gratified to see that they even asked me how I wanted my burger (raw!), and offered a series of sauces to go with it. There were the mandatory fries as a side. A side you pay for, but okay. The burger, which comes in three kinds of meat (Angus beef, Wagyu beef, or Swiss), can be augmented with bacon, cheese, a fried egg, or all the above, I guess.
So, an ordinary burger with bacon and fries costs 23.50 CHF, without a beverage, which in Switzerland, btw, is not on free refill. I ordered my burger rare. I got a medium plus, to put it mildly. The staff was as inattentive as can be expected of a newly hip place, but I did get another coke on my third attempt. When questioned about the state of the meat, they did offer to bring me a new burger. As time was of the essence, though, I got a cheesecake on the house. Which was a good thing, because I had wanted to try that. And it was an okay cheesecake, but at 14 CHF, wildly overpriced.
No, I'm probably not going back there any time soon. However, the tastiest burgers are probably the ones you make at home, anyway, right?

Burger à la Nahret

Burgers and buns courtesy of Migros. I take the ones with sesame.
The buns go in the pan with the burgers, for the sake of crunchiness and taste.
Add, in the following order, building from the bottom:
  • mayonnaise
  • lettuce
  • thin slices of a tomato
  • the meat
  • sliced pickled cucumbers
  • bbq sauce
  • fried onions

Voilà! Way better. And so much more... economically sound ;)

I didn't feel like lettuce after all, so I added corn with the mayonnaise. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Fancy Dinner

Sometimes, all it takes is a new perspective. Instead of cooking the vegetables in this dish to death in water, I sprinkled them with oil, salt, and pepper, added some thyme, and put them in the oven to roast. Awesomeness ensued.

Potatoes, carrots, and bell pepper. The latter is best placed on top, so as to avoid it touching the hot dish.
Yes, I let it burn a bit. I like that. But that's up to you :) By the way, having a steak "well done" is just needlessly adding insult to injury for the poor cow. Don't do it.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Number Six: Spiritwalk

In related news, I just reached 85 on yet another character, namely my tauren druid, Spiritwalk. What do you mean, the name is cliché?? Alright. I checked the armory, and there are 44 characters on European servers with that name. As expected, 18 of those are shamans, and eight are druids. It is also unsurprising that best-respresented race is tauren, with thirteen entries. Shockingly, there are ten humans by that name (humans are spiritual? what the?), most of which are priests. How the name seemed fitting for a death knight, I'll never know.

But, back to MY Spiritwalk:

Isn't she pretty? Cows are awesome!

And she's a tank. I know, right. Who would have thought?

Er, sure, I'm totally looking forward to gearing up yet another character. However, druids are awesome. I've been having a lot of fun leveling her, and I love tanking the heroic instances. By the end of the day today, I should be ready for the Zandalaris. They bore me to tears by now, but it can't be helped. There's shinier gear there. Here's hoping we'll eventually find a raid :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ragnaros. Down.

This is it. We are proud to announce that, on this day, November 7th, we of Hall of Fame, and our friends of Göttlicher Pakt and We Arr Pirates, have vanquished Ragnaros, the Firelord.

Behold, our Glory.

In this picture: Caleb, Doomhunter, Dagoneth, Nøva, Pryde, Samûm, Leôna, Rahena, Sayae, Mâgus.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Harvest and Preserve

Ah, the time of the harvest is upon us. A workmate received ten kilos of apples from different sources, upon which she brought us an apple pie yesterday - her fourth this week. While musing about what to do with the rest of the apples, it occurred to me that chutney is one of the greatest things ever.

The experiment is on the stove. Updates as events warrant.

Update: For a first try, this turned out quite nice. The balance of sweet and sour is generally okay, and I'm pleasantly surprised about the perfect viscosity. Now, to the things that went in it: apples (duh), red onions, grated fresh ginger, red wine vinegar, shitloads of sugar, roughly ground black pepper, and a smattering of dried chili. There are no precise indications of quantity because I didn't pay attention. As a rule of thumb, use just enough vinegar to wet the ingredients, and you'll need more sugar than you'd have thought possible. Seriously, I used up half a kilo on this, I'm sure.