I’m not actually writing anything profound. It’s just the title of the Season 2 cliffhanger episode of The Umbrella Academy, which I’m actually watching as I type this blog entry! And yes, I’m actually writing something! Yeah! Me!
In this day and age of on-demand TV subscriptions, what are you guys watching? Are you watching anything good? Why are you watching what you’re watching? I thought it was about time to watch the shows I wanted to watch with someone specific. I was holding off. But seeing as it’s no longer a viable option (the waiting to find out whether I could still have those binge-watch sessions) and I am curious as to what is going to happen to the characters I was once emotionally invested in, I thought it was a good distraction, to catch up on what Vanya, Luther, Diego, Allison, Five, Ben and everyone else was up to.
If you think a show about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning will mostly be a documentary, think again!
At this year’s Emmys, Tatiana Maslany won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (FINALLY!). You might know her from The Woman in Gold, or The Vow. I thought it was well deserved, and I thought it was a gross injustice when she wasn’t nominated in 2014 and when she was finally nominated in 2015, I couldn’t believe she didn’t win! This woman plays all the clones (to date: Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena, Rachel, Krystal, MK, Beth, Katja, Jennifer and Tony…apparently there are 22 known clones but not all of them are actually in the storyline). They have different looks, different characters, different accents because of the different nationalities and different storylines! If you have trouble remembering the items on your grocery shopping list, have a think about Tatiana Maslany’s script work!
I was drawn to this show because, being the child of a geneticist, who spent most of free time in her father’s cytogenetics laboratory, the premise of the series was interesting. What would you do if you found out that you were a clone and there are several of you and and there was something sinister involved in your creation? Every time I watch episodes, I wonder what my father would think. I still think I should get him copies of the series. I think he’d enjoy it! But it might be a good idea for me to wait until the fifth series has been released as he might want to watch the entire series in one go!
I’ve now finished the final episode of the 4th series. Yep, I started watching it when it first came out in 2013! After the first 2 episodes, I was hooked. Really bad. Am so thankful for Apple TV because it means I could binge watch and find out what was happening to Sarah and her sestras (the clones call themselves sisters, and one of the clones is Helena who escaped from a Czech cult calls her sisters sestras so that caught on so now the clones – the main ones, Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena – call each other sestra). But it is addictive. Once you get hooked on OB, you’ll never not want to watch the next episode. It’s because each clone has a story and you start having a favourite clone, or you start wondering what Felix, or Mrs S or Art or the devious Castors are up to!
Now that I’ve finished Season 4, there is the interminable wait for Season 5. I have it on very good authority that Season 5 will be the last season for OB (silent scream: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!). I might need to get a box set just for me because I will miss OB, and like a junkie, I will need a fix. Because I will want to watch it over and over again, from the very beginning (which is always a very good place to start, even Fraulein Maria says so!).
Hmmmm. I wonder if Alan will want to watch OB from the very beginning with me.
Out of the blue over a month ago, I got asked if I wanted to be on the pilot of the after show of what is quite possibly my favourite TV show to date: the Great British Bake Off (silent scream – yes it still affects me that way!). For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Great British Bake Off (GBBO), which is now in its fifth season, is a reality TV show competition for bakers. There are 12 bakers and each week they have a theme and they bake a signature bake, a technical bake and a show stopper and each week someone is awarded star baker and someone bakes their last bake. At the end of 12 weeks (and 36 bakes) you have the winner of the Great British Bake Off. I credit GBBO for the resurgence in my drive to bake better.
GBBO was such a hit that the bigwigs at the BBC thought it was necessary to move it from BBC2 to BBC1. They also thought it would be good to raise the profile further by creating a post-show show, ala The Apprentice: You’re Fired. I thought it was an excellent idea. The more Bake Off the merrier, I say!
I had thought that that phone call was the end of it. I couldn’t do the shoot of the pilot and I thought I’d lost my chance to appear on the GBBO aftershow. But I got a call two weeks ago asking if I wanted to be part of the next episode of Extra Slice. Of course I did and of course I said yes (of course!!!)! The brief was to bring cookies and bring cookies I did! I brought Chinese almond cookies.
I so wanted to tell the world and his wife about the impending TV appearance but I had to sit on my hands and bite my tongue. Apart from everything being hush-hush and secret, I wasn’t even sure I’d get to see myself on camera. Also, it had a lot to do with the confidentiality agreement that I signed before we went down to shoot the episode. It was the closest I was going to get to the Bake Off (for the meantime!) and I was determined NOT to mess it up.
The day started off with a lot of rain and me and my curly hair! Ha! But nothing, even torrential rain (which it wasn’t really. Everything was just a little gray that Sunday), could dampen my excitement. I was going to be able to watch the next episode of my favourite TV show ever (ahead of most people) and I was going to get to see one of my favourite ladies of comedy for the very first time, in person! Jo Brand hosts An Extra Slice! Yay!
It wasn’t as if I didn’t know what TV production was like. I’d been to a few sets in my time (mostly school field trips) but I was unabashedly starstruck. Mostly because it was GBBO. It was good getting to chat to people who loved the show as much as I did and who loved baking as much as I did! Being in the ITV Studios was part of the excitement. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t take as many photos as I could! D’oh and the accompanying face slap!
While it wasn’t the GBBO baking tent, it was close enough. There’s something to be said about GBBO magic. There was a massive bonus though: Lisa Faulkner and Monica Galetti were two-thirds of the celebrity trio that joined Jo Brand. I love Lisa Faulkner from when she cooked her way into winning MasterChef and while Monica Galetti scares me, she’s quite an amazing chef and I am a fan! Charlie Baker rounded of the three and let me just say that he has lost a massive amount of weight from when he danced into winning Let’s Dance for Comic Relief!
It took about 3 hours to shoot the 30-minute TV show and I got home at nearly midnight. Was I bothered? Nope. Absolutely not. The three hours were filled with a lot of aughter and amazing entertainment. The guys at Love Production do an amazing job and the finished product is amazing (especially since I saw myself on telly — all of the two nano seconds! Ha!)! The experience of waiting around for everything to start wasn’t so bad either because getting a chance to chat to people, see what their bakes were, get inspired by other people’s creativity is something you can’t buy! Even talking about the experience now makes me smile.
I hope they call me again. I want to get a chance to bake a heck of a showstopper! But if I don’t get a call back, I’ll still look back on the whole experience with a huge smile. It was amazing. VERY.
I can’t upload the video because my account needs to be upgraded before I’m able to do that (I probably should have uploaded it onto YouTube. But you can view a bit o it on my Instagram account, if you want to! Just click here.
I started writing this entry with the words “When I think of home…” and started laughing. Because in my head I started singing “…I think of a place where there’s love overflowing…” If you don’t know the song I’m singing, well, your musical education isn’t as good as you think it is. Well, either that or you weren’t alive in the 80’s (that’s when I first saw it, on RPN9 on a Saturday evening), or you’ve never heard of The Wiz. It’s the Michael Jackson-Diana Ross adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.
And as usual, I digress!
I miss home and the little comforts that are so close (that or I can easily jump into the family car–our trusty Revo–and drive to where I want to go get things). I miss having nail bars everywhere, I miss Ditas of David’s Salon in SM Fairview who does my hair perfectly, I miss Starbucks and the occasional green tea latte frap, I miss tocino, Purefoods corned beef. I miss eating at the eat-all-you-can lunches (and dinners) of Saisaki (although, it may not be the same now), I miss the shawarma place in Fairlane (also in Fairview), I miss Mercury Drug (because buying things over the counter is sometimes quicker). I miss my Tita Rescy’s cafe called Indulgence on…(argh! I can’t remember!) Perea. I miss Ineng’s barbecue and I miss Teriyaki Boy! Apart from their sushi, I miss their mapo tofu don.
Mapo tofu was one of the first dishes that I learned to replicate when I moved to the UK. I loved it a lot (I think it loved me too, because I KNOW I gained weight because I ate a lot of mapo tofu don from Teriyaki Boy) and missed it so much that I looked for a recipe and searched for ingredients. I can now, and I say this with absolute confidence, whip up mapo tofu in minutes. I now have what I call the working girl’s version of this wonderful tofu-pork-black bean sauce dish. It’s quick, and really easy. I also like to think that it’s really healthy (because of the tofu! :)). And all the ingredients are things you can get at the supermarket!
Ingredients: Serves 4 people
1 block soft tofu (about 350g), drained and diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
500g minced pork
1 Blue Dragon black bean stirfry sauce packet
2-3 spring onions, sliced into thin diagonals and separate the white sections from the green leafier bits
1 packet coriander chopped finely
1-2 teaspoons chili oil (depending on how hot you want it, you can include the chili paste at the bottom of the jar)
1 pork stock cube (I use Knorr)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
Salt to taste
Heat oil in the pan and brown minced pork. Add blackbean stirfry sauce and pork stock cube. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
Add chili oil (and paste, if you want it hot, hot, hot!) and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
Add the chopped white sections fo the spring onions, the soy sauce and two-thirds of the coriander. Add salt to taste (I like to make it salty, according to my taste as the tofu hasn’t been added to the pork mince at this stage).
Add the diced tofu and mix gently, making sure the tofu isn’t mashed but is distributed well. Allow to simmer for 5 mins.