Blog

To post or not to post…

…on Instagram.  That is the question!

I hope the Bard will pardon me for cannibalising his famous words.  But this calls for something sombre to somehow describe the gravity of the situation.

Instagram, for those of you who have not heard of the social media app, is a photo-sharing site where people share their snaps “instantly”.  I started on Instagram because it helped me practice taking photos for the blog.  It kind of took over my life for a while because it became…very social for me.  I made virtual friends from various parts of the globe, I got a chance to catch up on friends who lived in other countries, it allowed me to see places that I’d never seen before.  It was like getting a travel pass to visit friends and places that I’d never been to.  Then my virtual friends became friends in real life.

Instagram, like any social media site has been targeted by bots, trolls and all the mean nasties that social media has created…and for a while, I was quite pleased about how Instagram seemed to be proactive in dealing with the internet nasties.  You could report the spammers, trolls, inappropriate posts, and online bullies, and Instagram would listen, they’d investigate and they’d take down the offending account.

I actually appreciated the algorithm…until the algorithm seemed to take on a life of its own!  I once joked that the algorithm would run amok in the same way artificial intelligence did in all those sci-fi shows and movies.  I’m not certain if it’s the algorithm that’s gone mad, or if it’s instagram tightening things so that they can slowly monetise the service.  I’m not forecasting doom and instagram gloom.  Just thinking out loud.

I think whilst I have this Instagram shadowban over me, I’ll post my photos and my thoughts on the blog instead!

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Blog

Foot-in-mouth-disease

Sometimes my irritation and annoyance just gets the better on me.  I open my mouth and out comes a snarky comment.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ― Benjamin Franklin

My Lola always said tactful is as tactful does, and I’ve always tried to follow my granny’s advice.  But it has been difficult to learn this particular lesson.  I think because my parents encouraged us to speak our mind.  My parents encouraged us to state our opinions and to verbalise our reasons for feeling the way we feel.  I am finding out that verbal diarrhoea whilst very Bridget Jonesy is never good.

In the same way I’ve tried (and more than often failed) to always have my verbal edit button available and thought before I spoke, I must learn to learn to pause before my hands start typing! 🙊  Because these days, it’s difficult to take it back what you release in the internet ether because whilst there is a delete button, as we all know, the delete button on the internet isn’t really a delete button because somehow, somewhere whatever you put out is still out there!

Yes, I can see the disapproving look that angel is giving me!

Bites

Telling my cooking story

I was a card carrying member of Del Monte Kitchenomics Club.  Now declaring this might be revealing my age, but I did join it whilst I was still in 6th grade (which is now probably equivalent to middle school in the States and Year 7 here in the UK).

Most of what I call my specialties were learned from the back of those Del Monte canned food labels.  My pineapple crumble was learned from a can of Del Monte pineapple chunks label, and this recipe started me on my baking and cooking journey.

I have a dish that I call skillet paella or arroz con chorizo which is a one-pot rice meal that is sort of like a short cut version of the popular Spanish rice dish.  This was also a recipe I got off the back of a Del Monte label, this time a tomato sauce can.  I’ve done and redone the dish and I probably can cook this by sight and still have it taste exactly how I want it.  I think it’s because I’ve been cooking this for more than half my life.

I wrote about the dish in an earlier blog entry and called it Arroz con Chorizo, because it, to be honest, it sounded fancy!

It was this dish that did on Instagram stories last week.  If you missed it, you can always look at the link above and try the recipe I’ve written down.

I’ll update this entry as soon as the tech cooperates with me and I can upload my photos properly!

I still have to resume the cookbook project that was put on hiatus because, well, life got really busy.  But the moment I allowed life to get busy, I lost my balance.  I think I need to get back to creating yummy things through baking!  I need to regain the equilibrium.

Blog

The struggle is real!

I’ve always maintained that my blog needs to be conversational.  That when you read my blog entries, it feels like you’re having a conversation with me and I’m just chattering away.  By the way, please take this as an invitation to initiate conversation in the comments section! I’d love to hear from all my lovely readers!

The trouble with working in an office environment and a technical one at that (I work for a chartered accountants firm) is that the language is so different.  The language is filled with technical jargon.  I’ve been typing a lot of technical documents this week so I’ve found it terribly difficult to switch the syntax off.  So I’ve been struggling to write something that “sounds like me”.  I’ve started 2 blog posts and I found myself rolling my eyes after reading the drafts!  I know I trained in education but I know I don’t normally sound so abstruse and professorial!

So today, I am parking the blogging.  Well, okay, except for this post.  I am, instead, getting my hair done and I am catching up on reading and domestic goddess duties (cooking for the weekend, cleaning the flat and tackling my ironing chair – which is probably a blog post in itself!).  You never know, the writing muses might choose to make an appearance and I can finally finish the blog entries I’ve pushed onto the back burner!

If the haircut goes well, I might post a photo on the blog to show the “new” mop.

Bites

So I baked a cake!

I’ve always loved giving gifts.  I won’t usually settle for just a gift card (unless they ask for it specifically) because I like knowing that when the person rips open the wrapping paper and opens the box, the gift is something they know was made or purchased especially with them in mind.  I also love gift-wrapping presents.  I need to make the present look pretty, even if it’s just a present plonked into a gift bag – I have to have tissue wrapping in the gift bag!

Lately, I’ve taken to baking my gifts to friends.  I like to think my skill as a baker has moved forward and my bakes are delicious and decadent enough for people to feel special they received cake or pastry baked by me.

I baked a chocolate Guinness cake and cupcakes for a birthday celebration that we attended during the weekend.  It was a get-together we had planned with our Filipino friends ages ago to celebrate the July birthdays and the early August birthday.

I needed to test frosting colours to so I made extra cupcakes to try the colours out.  I was trying for a marbled effect but it didn’t quite work for the cupcakes so I’ll have to look at more YouTube videos and figure out a better technique for the particular effect I was going for.  It was a good thing my batch did 2 dozen cupcakes.  The leftover batter filled about 9 mini bundt pans but they stuck to the cake moulds so they stayed home.

Photo © Teddy Sardua

I iced 22 cupcakes (mostly because that was what fit in the box!).   With the disaster that were the rainbow marble cupcakes (they mostly looked very Rastafarian!) I tried for a fuschia-y pink shade but the first try turned out more lavender than pink (it kind of suited because some of the birthday celebrators went to Mayfield Lavender Fields on a day trip to take fabulous pictures).  I knew where I went wrong but daren’t add more food colouring because I didn’t want the frosting to taste too artificial!

Photo © Teddy Sardua

I was quite pleased with the way my large cake came out.  It was very detail-heavy because it had swirly roses, piping all around it and silver dragèe balls.  Once I finished icing the cake, I moved it to the box I was going to carry it in and OH MY GOODNESS!  It was quite a substantial weight.  I think I weighed over 2.5 kg!

Photo © @chic.wanders.in

I was pleased that my friends and Alan loved their cake.  They loved the flavours and the loved the cake enough to take photos and style the cake before they shot the photographs.   Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting your photos on Instagram.  I’m so…tickled pink (Sorry! It had to be said!)!

Photo © @chic.wanders.in

I might be on to a good thing!

*Thank you to @mutyyyaaa and @chic.wanders.in for letting me use their photos of the cakes on this blog post. Mucho appreciated guys! Love you!❤️