Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulation Mr. President

The time has come, we have a new, the 44th, president of the United States of America. I wanted to watch the live braodcast at the student union's café but what a disappointment. The transmission was overshadowed by a German voice actor. How horrible! I stayed until he took his oath and then went home. I rather watch it on youtube in the orignal than hear the stumbling of a rambling German voice.

I wish Barack Obama good luck, he will need it with all the wreckage he inherited.

This is an excerpt from his speech:

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

a pre-inauguration dinner

On Tuesday America will have a new president. A lot of Americans are therefore having an inauguration party on this very day. Well, nobody is here at this charming and most of the time too quiet and boring 'spa resort' (Yes, Wilhelmsfeld is a so-called Luftkurort. Haha....)
However, there ain't no fun in having an inauguration party all to yourself, therefore we decided to have a small pre-inauguration dinner with coctails on Saturday:

In real life the cocktail was much more blue-ish, like the blue states. It was an Obama-rama, which P adapted from an adaptation from the famous (? at least expensive) Pink Door restaurant (the alcoholic version is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/fashion/02shakenbox1.html?ref=fashion). It was a real treat :)

For dinner we had a veganized version of the Obama-family chili (http://cookingresources.suite101.com/article.cfm/barak_obamas_chili_recipe) which was spicy and utterly yummie:

I would have loved to do the Flag sheet cake http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/flag-sheet-cake-by-martha, but my oven is still broken, so I just pepped up some banana cream roll (his father is from Kenya after all *grin*):

And my, isn't that patriotic? And I'm not even American. How happy must they be on Tuesday?

Have a nice inauguration day and God bless America! :))

Friday, January 16, 2009

What spice am I???

Your result for What Spice Are You Test...

You are Ginger!

0% Habanero, 20% Sage, 10% Thyme, 40% Ginger, 10% Garlic, 10% Curry, 0% Cinnamon and 10% Oregano!

You are versatile and yet rather erratic!

You can be hot or sweet, it just depends on your mood that day. Sometimes people overlook you and don't give you enough credit for who you are. They try to take advantage of you often, but you aren't one to just sit back and let it happen. When you've had enough you definitely let them know.

You can be a bit moody and have definitive up and down times. It makes being with you a challenge at times, but you have so much personality that being your friend is very much worth the challenge.

You can be very popular, and you don't mind being so. You are more a leader than a follower. You have a wide range of interests and abilities. In your opinion life is too short so you should do as much as you can during your lifetime.

You have your own flair and style, but you still look to see what it trendy.

Take What Spice Are You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My first vegan pancakes!! Happy!!

I think I already told you that I am veganizing (I'm not sure whether there is verb at all, but it kinda sounds cool). Plus, I think I told you that my oven is unusable at the time being. Therefore I have to be resourceful and think of stuff I can make without my beloved oven. This is what I came up with today:

Hazelnut-chili pancakes with Oyster mushroom ragout:

Instead of milk I used a hazelnut milk:

I added ground hazelnuts (should have used chopped one's though) and finely cut red chili pepper (should a have used a hotter variety though).

And oh, they were so yummy. Had I known this before I would have made them all the time. At first I thought they wouldn't keep together without eggs and I made a little one but they were just perfect. Not as soft as conventionally made eggy ones but I liked the crispy sensoric experience even more.

The ragout consisted of oyster mushrooms, carrots, and leek, all pan-fried. I added a spoonful of cashewnut butter to give it the appearance of a cream sauce.

So, being a vegan is not that hard after all :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë (Geoffrey Chaucer, 1380)

Today I went to the lecture series about Galilei and the consequences of his research. Today's lecture was about the investigation of our home galaxy, the Milky Way and the upcoming European Space Agency's GAIA Mission, which will map the Milky Way to provide information about star formation histories, merging events, intergalactic streams etc, for nearby galaxies of the Local Group (which is -if I understood the lecturer Eva Grebel properly- our own and the Andromeda galaxy).

Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

What I expected was an up-to-date synopsis on our knowledge about the Milky Way, but it was more about how the Milky Way was seen through history. Starting with Democrit, who was the first to claim that the Milky Way consisted of stars and not the Greek goddess Hera's milk, she left out medieval Persian scientiest and went straight to Thomas Wright and William Herschel, who made this kinda fancy pic of our galaxy:


Of course it wasn't accurate, because he didn't know about stars, being variably bright and interstellar gas and dust. After a lot of yaddah yaddah blah blah we arrived in the 20th century. Edwin Hubble could prove firsthand that outside of our galaxy were actually a lot more galaxies.

We then had a look at different types of galaxies, and learnt that our sprial form is due to a black hole and the ominous 'dark matter' which is an arithmetically necessary tool, but otherwise we do have any knowledge about. So I wonder what C is saying in his presentation about dark matter in roughly two weeks. Since we don't know anything it should be quite short *LOL*


The second thing that hurt was her claim that at her institute they are doing 'galaxy archaeology' and that their 'fossils' are the stars. I have to say it again, and next time I'm wearing my T-shirt:

Archaeologist are not interested in fossils and WE DO NOT DIG DINOSAURS!!!!!!!!!!!

From Galilei to Gaia: The exploration of our galaxy. Prof. Eva K. Grebel, Centre for Astronomy of the University of Heidelbergd
Von Galilei bis Gaia: Die Erforschung unserer Galaxis. Prof. Eva K. Grebel, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A little bit about food again

Swords and GM soy aside, I just need to post my dinner. As a New Year's resolution I wanted to become more veganized and since I am all alone today AND still had leftovers from my hot-hot peppersauce I decided to make something good, filling, and vegan. So here it is, gnocchi in peppersauce with peas and on top some chive and cheezly, a vegan cheese.

In the background you can see my vegan cookbook I bought whilst in England: Rose Elliot, Vegan Feasts


Fake designer goods in Viking times

Oh, oh...they better trust their sword's not too much.
"It must have been an appalling moment when a Viking realised he had paid two cows for a fake designer sword; a clash of blade on blade in battle would have led to his sword, still sharp enough to slice through bone, shattering like glass."

Alan Williams from London Museum and Tony Fry from the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington tested Ulfberht's swords from various collections and found a lot of them being fakes, especially the ones in graves. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/dec/27/archaeology-vikings-sword
Why am I telling you this? Well, you see, we visited the Viking Exhibition in Speyer after Christmas, and, when I was reading the news on these fake swords I remembered that I saw an Ulfbehrt at the exhibition. I wonder whether this one was a geniune one. The museum's catalogue just says it is from Lith in the Netherlands, but gives no information what so ever whether it was from a grave context or from a river. The one's in graves were mostly fake Ulfberht's. Well the dead one wouldn't have known the difference, would he?

The problem was indeed like mentioned in the citation above, that the fake ones scattered on impact, being made from Northern European Iron and welded in old-fashioned manner. A real Ulfberht was a gigantic innovation. It used carbon rich steel brought in from Afghanistan and the like via Byzanz along the Eastern route. Plus, a new form put the balance nearer to the hand which made the sword faster, in stroke and recovery. An Ulfberht was a quantum leap in technology. No wonder fakes are moving around like Chinese rolexes. But since the dead warrior wouldn't use his sword in a real fight anymore it is excusable and he probably would have understood very well that the extra money is better used in form of some decent mead.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

EU approves genetically modified soybean for import

This news on http://www.eviana.org/ slightly shocked me, I have to admit. I always thought, OK, Bush and his blind followers, mainly the red states, were stupid enough to watch Monsanto gain billions in exchange for their health risking, economically insane, morally not justifiable, genetically 'enhanced' crop seeds. But obviously we, here on the Old World are as studpid:

The European Union has authorized imports of a genetically modified (GM) soybean type for sale across its 27 national markets for the next 10 years, the European Commission said on Thursday(...) Developed and marketed by Monsanto, the soybean is destined to be imported for use in food and animal feed, not for growing...www.evana.org (Dec 4th 2008).
To think that my edamame is GM....yuck yuck yuck


A report from the Ministry of Health in Austria clearly showed 'a diet-host interaction that should be further evaluated'. In it's conclusion this report clearly showed the underlying danger by genetically modified soy or corn fed to animals:
'Summarising the study, the maize with the stacked event NK603 x MON810 affected the reproduction of mice in the RACB trial. Whether similar findings could be expected for other animals, needs to be evaluated in studies including reproductive traits. Future studies are necessary to determine the impact of normal and transgenic dietary ingredients on the organism.' (The full report can be downloaded here: http://bmgfj.cms.apa.at/cms/site/attachments/3/2/9/CH0810/CMS1226492832306/forschungsbericht_3-2008_letztfassung.pdf).
But hey, why wait till we know more. Fertility of the mice used for this experiment was severely impacted on. Litter size went down 25 to 30 percent. Birth weight was on the drop. Men become infertile from hormones (mainly the 'pill' in drinking water), so let's do something against discrimination and let us make our females unproductive. This way we will soon face obliteration
and earth can breathe again.

But until then Monsanto will feel really good.In the last 5 years, Monsanto’s stock price is up over 700 percent, and the company’s directors are getting their shares, and oh they are doing good too:

And how good (in deceiving) these influential companies are can be seen by the fact that their own studies show their products causing severe harm and they can still succesfully sell their products and now to the EU market

"A Monsanto study on a new type of GM Bt maize shows significant harm caused to
rats fed on the variety, called MON 863. The study shows kidney abnormalities and unusually high levels of white blood cells. It raises serious concerns about the impacts of GM foods on human health." (http://www.organicconsumers.org/corn/index.cfm).

And that transgenetic genes flow even into my organically grown veggies are certain:

"In Mexico researchers have detected widespread contamination of traditional
varieties of corn, caused by surreptitious imports of genetically engineered
corn into Mexico ".
I have read German studies which confirm this but was too lazy to look them up.

So what are we? A generation of nutcases? Or silent tax givers for funding companies that would rather kill off people than reduce their profit. Oh well they would only kill the most dim-witted animal on earth which wouldn't be so bad at all.

Sorry for blabbering, but I needed to vent my anger. I will close with the words from Ben Cohen (a co-founder of Ben&Jerry's ice-cream):

"Outrageous! That’s what you’ll say over and over again when you read how the biotechnology companies have manipulated the government, our food, and the media, and put an entire generation at risk."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Again a year hurried away from us. 2009 already, a bit terrifying I have to admit. Therefore I will resort to the old year, for a bit, just to finish our lovely Christmas dinner presentation and so on.

Unfortunately I can't show you a photo of our red beet risotto. A long time ago when people actually used coated films to shoot photos, it could very well happen that you forgot to put in the film and only much later noticed that all your doing was in vain. I never thought this could happen in our digital age. But be warned, there are still memory cards you need to insert before shooting. To make it short, we didn't and so the pic of the risotto is in some other space-time-dimension. However, we managed to take a photo of the Christmas pudding. Not everyone's favourite, but hey, it's a tradtion that must be upheld. I bought it (oh, come on, you didn't expected me to do it from scratch, did you?) in my favourite organic food shop in London, Whole Foods Market, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/kensington/. Europe's largest organic supermarket by the way. I think it was Tiptree's, but I'am not quite sure, I bought it some time ago. As you are probably well aware, Christmas puddings have to mature over weeks or even months.

Instead of brandy butter or mint butter, we decided to have custard with it and we were in no way dissapointed. Just awsome (if you like puddings, of course).

We spent New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Austria with my friend and her husband in Nenzing. This is pretty much how it actually looks, with all the mountains around it.


Now we are back in Germany with my library account frozen, my oven exploded, our entrance door shattered and I'm waiting what good 2009 can still bring me.
Luckily the ceramic hob is still working and what better to cook in a pan (or in this case a wok) than Chinese fried noodles:
Cook some Chinese noodles, set aside. Meanwhile heat sesame oil in a wok, add carrots, brussel sprouts, red bell pepper, leek, garlic. Season with a Chinese mixed seasoning and a bit of tamari sauce, add the noodles, toss well and garnish with lemongrass. So yummie!