Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Faux Yogi Biscuits

The following recipe is, and I have this on good authority, extraordinarily healthy. It will make you live longer, happier, increase you jump height and your performance in bed. It will also help you lie better, c.f. the above.

If you are ambitious, you will of course want to make 'real' yogi biscuits, not faux yogi biscuits. Very well. That recipe is even simpler: First, go and catch yourself a yogi. They like to hang out near Buddhist or Hinduist temples, just follow the smell of incense. Rap the yogi smartly on the head - they generally do not put up a great struggle, as they are all vegan and hence very weak. Drag him home and grind him up. Add a bit of sesame if you want to, a dash of honey and put him in the oven.

Unfortunately, yogis are increasingly hard to come by here in Switzerland, probably due to overhunting by eager yogi-biscuit makers. Luckily my friend K. gave me the following faux yogi biscuit recipe, handed down in her family for generations:

You'll need:

*) 250 g of butter
*) 3/4 of a cup of sugar (brown, my girlfriend insists)
*) 3 cups of oat flakes
*) 2 cups of  whole grain flour
*) 1/2 a cup of awesome grains or nuts. (Sunflower, sesame, almonds, walnuts, go nuts)
*) 1/2 a cup of  raisins, soaked in water over night
*) 1 tsp of cinnamon
*) 1/4 tsp of salt or NaHCO3 (baking soda)
*) pinch of powdered clove and ginger (the plant, not red-haired people without souls)

Preheat oven to 200°C.
Heat the butter in a water bath until liquid, then dissolve the sugar in it. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and stir. If its too dry, add a bit of warm water, the dough should stay fairly viscous, though. Use the lid of a nutella jar or something similar to form the cookies on a baking tray. Shove into the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes.
The biscuits will taste best after two or three days.

Monday, March 28, 2011


My sofa always had a white cover - until last weekend, when I decided to wash it at 95 °C, together with my green rug. The result:

A really pleasant mint green. Serendipity!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ugh. News.

The reporting about the Fukushima nuclear incident following the earthquake in Japan has been nothing short of atrocious. Even the BBC, normally my go-to place for serious world news, succumbed to inept comparisons with Chernobyl, gibbering headlines about 'melt-downs' and 'radioactive drinking water'.

Der Standard, a normally quite serious Austrian newspaper (with the best online-presence by far) even gobbled excitedly about a 'Super-GAU' - GAU is a german acronym for grösster anzunehmender Unfall, or worst-case scenario.

And on Wednesday this:

20minutes is a Swiss free-of-cost newspaper, so no aspirations of quality here, but still: The headline screams 'Le nuage radioactif passe sur la suisse', or 'Radioaktive cloud passing above Switzerland'. True, they do say (on page 2) that the radioactivity poses no danger to anybody in Switzerland, but still. Can you imagine a more lurid and sensational headline? Is a bit of journalistic integrity too much to ask for?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Forced to draw cute

Sigh. I was accused of only producing dark and gloomy work in my drawing-course. Of course I protested that this wasn't true, but couldn't point to any recent non-gloomy work quickly enough. Therefore I was condemned to paint something 'cute'; more specifically, in the words of my teacher: "A princess. Riding on a dolphin. And the dolphin is smiling."

Hence the above. I also tried out water-soluble crayons for the first time, and am not too impressed. I think I prefer straight-up watercolour.
I am not at all happy with the sky - I am beginning to think that clouds may be my nemesis. Whatever I draw next (hopefully I am done with 'cute'...) will have to have some clouds in it, because clearly I need the practice.

Water-soluble pencils on 300 gsm A3 aquarelle-paper.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Motivational Poster

F. and I are both big fans of Cannibal: The Musical,  so I made her a motivational poster the other day, to get her through a long day of meetings.

On a completely related note, the camera of the Nexus S is fabulous.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rye bread

They don't know how to make bread in western Switzerland. It's all fluffy baguette and croissants - nice on a Saturday morning with du café and a pretty lady in your bed, but nothing you can really subsist on - not the wonderful, heavy and dark bread we have in Austria. So, after my success with the lazy-man's loaf, I decided to make my own.

First thing you'll need is a proper sourdough, since a 100% rye-bread won't rise properly on yeast (I know, for I have tried!). For the past two weeks I have been feeding my sourdough starter - I started from scratch with viscous paste of rye flour and water. My first attempt turned bad, but the second:

A sourdough starter. Each day I would feed it a few spoonfuls of rye flour and water, which it greedily devoured.

After two weeks its rising power convinced me, so I fed it up to about half a kg, made a very wet rye dough ( the starter, about 500g more rye flour, some salt, ground coriander and water). I let it rise for three hours, shoved it into the oven, and voilà:

Rye bread! I was a bit too light on the salt, and the next one will get some cumin as well, I think, but still, it was delicious. Next batch will be up tomorrow.