Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sous vide, first try

I've been wanting to try out sous vide cooking for the longest time, unfortunately my kitchen is just too small to fit a water bath in. But recently I had a sudden brain storm - the rice cooker I recently bought has two different settings, cook and warm. And the warm setting maintains a temperature of 57 degrees Celsius. Perfect for a medium rare steak, but just too low for poultry. Yet a bit of experimentation showed that I could use the cook setting and a digital thermometer to set the temperature to, say, 63 degrees, and then the warm cycle would maintain it for two hours, easily. So I bought some turkey fillets and voilà:

Seal them into a zip-lock bag with some salt, pepper and herbs, drop it into the water and wait for two hours. The meat comes out delicious and tender. But Boris, I can hear you scream, what about the delicious Maillard reactions you get in a pan, the crunchy brown bits that impart so much of the flavour? Well, fear not, gentle reader: Enter my favourite kitchen tool, the blowtorch:

This is cooking the way I like it

Mmmh. Don't let the awful white-balance fool you, that piece of dead turkey was scrumptious.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lab safety

I recently noticed that an important safety feature was missing from our lab, so I rushed to supply it:

Note the red tassel. 'Raptors despise red tassels, true fact.

Do you know how many casualties per year there are, due to people getting sucked into space-time warps and having no arms to defend themselves against the lizard-men of dimension X? Or dinosaurs? Do you?

Didn't think so. You'll thank me when all that stands between you and a pack of hungry 'raptors is your trusty lab-spear. Here is a close-up of the safety-sign I made - you are welcome to use it in your own lab. Just don't forget to replace the safety spear if one of your colleagues has been sucked into the warp.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sunrise in Quy Nhon

It is a great injustice that the best light and the best colours happen at sunrise. You'd think sunset would have the same effect, but no. Dawn is where it's at, mostly because the gods hate photographers.

Half past fucking four in the morning, Quy Nhon, Vietnam

Of course, everybody else and their grandma is already up and chipper

Why not jog in the pre-dawn light? Why not stick a fork in your eye while you are at it?
The sky, it is mocking me.
I'd say a mellow yellow, only it is still not even bloody 5 am

To add insult to injury, the first morning I misjudged the time and trudged down 10 minutes too late. This is, of course, the time where the sky shows you the fading remnants of the most awesome colours ever, just to mock you. Thank you, sky of Vietnam.
But! There is a way to trick the forces of nature - just stay up until sunrise. Of course, you will be too drunk to take any good photos, although you'll think you are snapping the next Pulitzer. Oh well... back in the hammock.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More brush pen

Blame Stephanie, who encouraged me when I posted my first sketch...

More imagery from Vietnam, the photo I based it on can be found here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brush pen

Tried out a brush pen yesterday, below you can see a quick 2 minute sketch of a guy in a rice field. Very interesting way to draw, since you can't correct anything.

crappy iphone picture of hasty sketch

Edit: Rotated picture, added link to original

- tales from the road

Monday, September 6, 2010


Ah, the Nasobem. Scant records exist of this elusive species, which is rumoured to persist in the Mekong-delta in Vietnam. Unfortunately I did not manage to see it when I was in Vietnam, although I did hear a curious snuffling noise in the underbrush once. Might have been a Nazgul, though. I did find this depiction on a piece of parchment in an old pagoda near Cần Thơ:

An octopus doing in the brackish waters of the Mekong?
You just can't trust those ancient sources.