法式南瓜洋葱汤

Posted by – May 13, 2015

这个汤是从我一个法国朋友那里学来的,上个周末自己在家里试了一下。

在法语里叫potage,原材料一般用洋葱和 西蘭花(broccoli) 或者南瓜。是一种在法国乡下比较普遍的家庭料理。

  1. 南瓜切成小块,放在微波炉里热一分钟,变软。
  2. 大蒜,洋葱切成小块,在平底锅放少许黄油,加入大蒜和 洋葱,炒熟。
  3. 再把南瓜混在一起,翻炒一分左右。放入蔬菜汁或bouillon,小杯水。小火煮15 分。
  4. 取出汤汁冷却5分钟,放入搅拌机。搅拌均匀。
  5. 再放回国内放入一点牛奶,小火煮热。依个人口味加入少许盐和黑胡椒。
  6. 最后放入汤杯。撒上一些香芹。

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Posted by – May 10, 2015

Mom… There was time when I was annoyed by your nagging about things.

But no matter what we went through, I want to say “I love you so much”.

Thanks for everything you have given to me.

  

My mother one of best cooks in the world 

Posted by – April 30, 2015

Food has always been an important part of my family, or I would say every Chinese family.  My mother comes from a small village in China, where simple but a large variety of vegetable are usually cooked. When I was young, I sometime complained about the food she prepared for the lack of variation. Then I grew up, and left home for university and I had to cook for myself. I started to realise that I should have never said such things to people who prepared food for you.

Mother’s day is around the corner, and I am very prod of her.She is the best cook of Chinese food in my heart. 

 

One book a month

Posted by – April 11, 2015

 

The best way of refining yourself is learning from your mistakes; the second-best one is from somebody else’s mistakes. So from tomorrow, I will endeavour to read a book each month.

But why not reading blogs? Blogs are like McDonalds, which can be finished quickly without intense and heart-searching thought, whilst books are like 5 star fine dining restaurants, which require author’s deep reflection. Therefore, I am going to read a book every month from tomorrow. Start with

Thinking, Fast and Slow – by Daniel Kahneman

 
 

Fresh roasted coffee bean in Tokyo

Posted by – April 5, 2015

Where do I get my fresh coffee beans in Tokyo? The answer is that it’s not very easy if you don’t live in places where there are loads of coffee snobs like me. Most of the coffee beans you get from the coffee shops here only have the “best consumed before this date” tag on their package, from which you don’t know when the beans are roasted.

Having said that, you will find some cool café selling fresh roasted coffee beans in the trendy area like Harajuku and Shibuya. There is a place called “Rostery” between Shibuya and Harajuku, where you can find fresh roasted coffee beans on the same day. This cafe is spacious, and with its modern decoration, you can enjoy a coffee, cappuccino or latte with very comfort and relax atmosphere. There were staffs there tasting a line of coffee brewed from different beans when I visited there, making them really look like professionals.

Added to the in-house roaster, the lighting, the finishing, the wood interior and cozy terrace all create a fantastic atmosphere for café lovers.

 

DSC_0751

DSC_0750

DSC_0742

the Naked Portalfilter

Posted by – March 29, 2015

My bottomless portafilter ordered from www.naked-portafilter.com has finally arrived home this morning from Hungary! Over the last a few weeks, I have been trying to figure out the problems why I am not able to produce rich crema of my espresso. Now  I hope this is the tool for me to find out the problems, whether is dose or channeling or something else! At the moment, I suspect that uneven tamping which results in uneven extraction could have attributed to the lack of crema. But let’s see what I can observe from this tool.

I am all agog to see my perfect extraction with it! Please stay tuned with my extraction video.

 

IMG_0951

 

This Hungarian company www.naked-portafilter.com is quite an interesting one, of which the website featured a quite professional video promoting their bottomless portafilter. The video is somewhat reminiscent of Apple’s promotion videos for their Macbook. Take a look the video below see whether if you find it interesting.

 

 

(You can’t see this video from China, as Youtube is blocked in mainland China)

Fake pass-code from Ubuntu Bluetooth GUI

Posted by – March 27, 2015

Today, I bought a Bluetooth 4.0 dongle to connect my Logitech K760 keyboard. But I could not get it working with my Ubuntu system. Initially, I thought the Bluetooth adaptor does not support Ubuntu, as the product description says it only supports Windows… But lsusb shows the below output, which to me does not look like an OS issue.

xinquan@:~$ lsusb 
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 03f0:0324 Hewlett-Packard SK-2885 keyboard
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 0b95:772a ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88772A Fast Ethernet
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 0a12:0001 Cambridge Silicon Radio, Ltd Bluetooth Dongle (HCI mode)

After attempting to connect via the Bluetooth GUI, it gave me a passcode to type in on my wireless keyboard, which I proceed to do. It immediately gave me this error: ‘Logitech K760 failed to connect’.

 

After some googling, it turns out that the passcode from the Bluetooth GUI was bogus, the correct passcode can be obtained from the command tool hcidump! Goshi… After I typed the passcode from hcidump, it connected successfully!

sudo apt-get install bluez-hcidump
sudo hcidump -at | grep -A 1 "User Passkey"

2015-03-27 11:29:29.787512 > HCI Event: User Passkey Notification (0x3b) plen 10
    bdaddr 00:1F:20:3E:53:A2 passkey 359872

Double quotes in SQL

Posted by – March 23, 2015

For an hour or so, I have been debugging an SQL error thrown by the PostgresSQL in my CakePHP application. The error message was also not really helpful. Below is the SQL generated by the CakePHP update function

UPDATE "public"."posts" SET "value" = asap WHERE id = (1) 


SQLSTATE[42703]:
Undefined column: 7 ERROR: column "asap" does not exist LINE 1:

The culprit turns out to be that how quote is used to identify a string in SQL.
I have to explicitly put the single quote in the string value ‘asap’ in the CakePHP function below when updating a record of the Model Post.

The below is the signature of the updateAll function from CakePHP library.

public function updateAll($fields, $conditions);

The tricky part is you can’t quote strings in the conditions, but for the updating value of the fields, the string has to be single quoted.


     $this->Post->updateAll(
       array('Post.value' =>  "'asap'" ),
       array('Post.key = ' => "when"));

A further discussion can be seen at the stackoverflow page
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1992314/what-is-the-difference-between-single-and-double-quotes-in-sql

Cigarettes in Chinese wedding

Posted by – March 8, 2015

If you ask westerners, who have been to Chinese weddings, about their experiences, the feedbacks will probably be something like this

The wedding was great, except for the smoking!

Yet, smoking in a Chinese wedding in mainland China is still ubiquitous. Traditionally, although not sure from when, the bride is supposed to light up cigarettes for the elder guests and the groom makes the toast when they greet the guests. This cultural mores may be great for the smokers but can be horror experiences for non-smokers like me.

What’s more is that the children and women who do not smoke are not aware the harm of secondhand smoke in China, or they are inure to this environment,  like the heavily polluted air.

Over the last a few weeks, I have tried very hard to push and convince my parents to put off the cigarettes at my wedding reception in China, and I have encountered numerous obstacles.

“The guests will think you are penny-pinching”, “ungenerous”, one of my friends advised.

“Do in Rome as Rome does (入乡随俗)”, Another one of my relatives suggested.

However, it is my belief that this kind of social mores in China are not necessary to be followed. One day, hopefully, not far from now, people will recognise that tobacco is harmful and should not be part of social occasions and gift-giving.

An image from Shanghai government website

Nations who do not need visa entering China

Posted by – February 20, 2015

Last night, a friend of Sayaka who is currently working in China as an English teacher, complained the Chinese working visa process for foreigner is bloody cumbersome, and even getting a tourist visa is expensive.

I joshed a bit, “Getting a Japanese passport! They don’t need visa to go to China”. Then her jaw dropped! “Seriously? Are you kidding!”

I know I am not kidding. Oddly enough, the Chinese government opened up its gate to the tourist from the following countries without any inspections.