A Fun Saturday Evening

17 04 2011

Lately I’ve been either too lazy to blog or been busy doing other things like organizing my parents trip to China in the summer, which had plenty of blog material but like I said, I was too lazy to write it up.  Anyway I’m back now, raring to go.

Yesterday started out like any other ordinary Saturday, with no plans to do anything, so I was expecting quite a dull day apart from the lovely weather we’ve been having.  It soared to 31 degrees at one point so going outside then wasn’t very pleasant.  Anyway, I received a call from a classmate to go out for dinner so I agreed and an hour or so later we had met up.  It turns out it was my classmates birthday, so he arranged for 8 of us to go out for dinner to 金汉斯.  I’m not exactly sure what type of restaurant I would call it.  They had a buffet consisting of fruits, some salad, some cakes and bread, chinese food, sushi and no-so-nice pizza.  They also have meats on skewers that the waiters come to your table to cut up for you to eat, though the portions were small for each one (for example you got one chicken wing).  There were some questionable meats on offer, and I did try cow tongue, but it wasn’t particularly nice so I won’t be eating that again.  I did manage to get full before all the meats had arrived so I skipped a few of the later ones.

After our meal we headed to karaoke, where I was pushed to sing the first song.  I chose ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis which went down quite well.  Two of my friends decided to do a duet for one song, and I don’t know if they were doing it on purpose, but they were hilarious.  They were singing out of time with each other, and both were out of time with the song, all the way through.  There were plenty of Chinese songs sung (not by me) and a few that I recognised, and I also sung ‘Hey There Delilah’, ‘Better Together’ and I gave the final performance of the night by give an extrodinar(il)y (bad) rendition of ‘Price Tag’ by Jessie J.  My rapping was obviously spot on, and I can totally sing higher notes…





More Baking Goodness

17 02 2011

Last night in my downtime between watching Battlestar Galactica and studying, I decided to try my hand at making shortbread biscuits.  It’s pretty simple to make, requiring only butter, sugar and flour, so it didn’t take very long to mix it altogether and make it into biscuit shapes.  About 20 minutes later they came out of the over smelling so delicious, so I immediately ate one.  Straight out of the oven is without a doubt the best time to eat them.

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Yummy!





Carrefour II

17 12 2010

Last night I went to Zhongshan Road to try and buy some Christmas wrapping paper for some gifts I want to give.  I noticed the new Carrefour supermarket, Xiamen’s second, had opened, so I went in for a look.

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I wasn’t able to find any Christmas wrapping paper (or any other Christmas stuff, missed opportunity there…) in there amongst the throngs of shoppers, but they do have a very impressive imported food section, second only to Metro’s, and putting the recently opened Tesco to shame.  Not only do they have a large amount of imported food from many different places, they also have a wide selection of imported alcohol, especially red wine, though they were lacking in spirits such as vodka and whisky.  In fact I don’t think I saw any. 

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As you can see, they have Stella, Boddingtons, Newcastle Brown Ale, Leffe and more.  Quite the selection for the beer drinkers out there.

 

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As for the food, they had a good selection of cereals, biscuits, pasta and sauces, tinned goods, chocolate and more.  It’s definitely the best selection in any supermarket in the Siming area of Xiamen.  The main thing I thought they were lacking was proper cheese; they only sold the sliced cheese which you can get anywhere.  I didn’t buy much, only some baked beans, chocolate fingers and some pasta, but these will tide me over until my next trip to Metro for the best imported food selection in Xiamen, but I think I’ll make this Carrefour my new regular supermarket to shop at.





On Cooking

9 06 2010

Since coming to China my cooking skills have improved. This is mostly due to wanting to eat things that aren’t available here or aren’t as easily available. My small repertoire of food now includes home-made chips, home-made beefburgers, a pasta sausage dish, and the crowd pleasing fairy cakes, amongst others.

I still haven’t perfected the chips or beefburgers though, having only made my first batch of burgers last weekend, which turned out to be really simple. When I figure out how long to cook them for and at what temperature then I’ll consider myself to be a burger making master. I might even look for some ways to make them even better; one recipe suggested adding small pieces of bacon to the burgers so I might give that a try in the future. My problem with chips is figuring out how much oil to use, but I think I’ve nearly got it down. A few more tries and I think I’ll have perfected it. Frozen chips are relatively available in the supermarkets here, though they are mostly of the french fry variety, whereas I prefer a chunkier cut.

Unfortunately my ability to cook Chinese dishes remains low. Mostly due to the fact I can go out and eat any Chinese dishes I want to without having to lift a finger. Maybe next semester I’ll have to give a few Chinese dishes a go.

I’ll be going home soon, so I’ll have to look around for some things to bring back to make some new dishes to add to my catalogue.





Study Study Study

3 06 2010

The end of my first year of my Master’s degree is fast approaching; in fact it’s approaching faster than the other students’ due to my haste in purchasing my flight back to the UK for the summer, so I’ll be leaving earlier than I’m actually supposed to. It’s not a huge problem since my teachers have kindly arranged for me to sit my exams either before I leave or after I come back.

However, exams are exams, and this means I have to spend much of my time studying for them, which isn’t the most interesting thing I could be doing, but it’s got to be done. I did have a nice break from studying on Monday night when I went to see “How To Train Your Dragon” at the cinema. It was a great film, though there were a lot of children there (Monday was Children’s Day here in China) so there was quite a bit of child-talk throughout the film but it didn’t turn out to be that much of a bother. Afterward I went to eat 绵绵冰 with my friend, which is a kind of ice cream. I don’t really know how to explain it other than making it is a very noisy process! Here’s a picture to help you out.

We had two bowls, one was like vanilla flavour, the other was mango. Usually I like to eat sweet things, but the mango one tasted too sweet for me so I ended up eating more of the vanilla. I would definitely recommend it though.





Hong Kong Haul

18 02 2010

I was going to write about the Xiamen Lantern Festival today, but when I got there it started to rain a lot, so I decided to give up and try another day, so instead here’s a picture of my haul from Hong Kong.

Unfortunately the Dairy Milk range is quite limited in Hong Kong (it’s imported from Australia, though I don’t know if they have such a limited range there as well), so I didn’t get one of my favourites, Caramel, but I can make do with what I did get. Hopefully this lot will last me through until the next time I go home.





Corn Flakes

7 12 2009

Finally, some enterprising Chinese company has made Corn Flakes, which is great for me since it means that my favourite breakfast cereal is more readily available (they’re selling it at the supermarket outside the University gate).  In addition, it’s also way cheaper than the Kellogs brand, at 1/3 of the price, which is also great.

So, what are they like?  Well, the package describes them as “With special charm endowed by rich nutrient content…”.  And “Taking the corn of the best quality grown on the black soil of Northeast China as the raw material, and processed with the most advanced curing technology in the world today…”.  Hear that?  Best quality!  Most advanced in the world!  And they’re recommended by the China Food Industry Association.  Whilst I mock the description on the packaging, the corn flakes aren’t bad at all.  They taste like any other corn flakes, though many of the flakes are ‘puffed’, i.e. they have air inside them.  They’re also harder than Kellogs corn flakes, but the positives (easy to get, cheap) outweigh the negatives (possible tooth damage), so to me these corn flakes are a winner.

I think they have a few different ‘flavours’, since there were a few different coloured packages, but I didn’t actually look close enough to see what the differences were, but I’ll be taking a look next time I’m at the supermarket to see what twists this Chinese company has put on corn flakes.