Tuesday, October 9, 2012

is milk good for you?

all around me, i hear friends (especially the ladies) talking about drinking anlene to prevent osteoporosis.

as the advertisement goes, all asian women are not getting enough calcium, so they need to drink lots of milk, like anlene, to avoid the onset of osteoporosis later in life.

i hear it so much, i want to puke. yet the power of advertisement can not be ignored. if more folks around me are falling for it, then i got to act.

it so happened that i watched this documentary got the facts on milk?  and it tells me milk is very very bad for you!

more internet reading later... i'm convinced!

a simple search on google throws enough sites for this. please visit these sites!

if you are too lazy to read those sites, what they are telling you is that the more milk you drink, the higher the chances of you getting osteoporosis later in life. 

huh? but that's not what i have been told all these years?!

the dairy council and milk manufacturers do a great job in marketing this message that you need to drink lots of milk as it contains all the calcium you need to build strong bones.  however it is only natural for them to say this as they stand to benefit from this. what do you expect them to tell you? that milk is bad for you?

even if you are sceptical about the documentary or the websites listed above, consider this:
  • when babies, all of us could consume milk as we have the lactase enzyme to digest milk protein but once we are weaned off milk, our bodies do not produce lactase anymore. this is mother nature's way of telling us to stop drinking milk. 
  • no other animals drink milk into adulthood, what more drink milk from another animal!
  • 60-75% of the world population is lactose intolerant. so if you can't digest milk, you are still the majority.
also bear in mind that modern afflictions are mostly diet related, and this is mostly a case of too much of a good thing rather than too little. in the olden days, we have diseases from lack of vitamin c, lack of iodine, lack of protein....

but these days, it's too much of protein, too much of fat and too much calcium! 

so if you have a habit of drinking milk daily, perhaps it's time to do a bit of reading on your part...

Friday, August 10, 2012

new trellis - a month later

a month after we put up the trellis. the pumpkins, "san choy" and taiwanese cucumber are all growing well. the passion fruit is really slow.

i have also put in 4 pvc pipes and planted some pitaya (dragon fruit) plants. this is necessary as some kids treated this trellis like a football net and started kicking football towards it! i caught them in action when i heard someone shouting "goal!!!!!"

once the pitayas grow, these thorny buggers will ward off the keeps and give us some nice fruits. hee hee...

bread from hand milled flour

i have been baking bread for over 2 years now and experimented with lots. 2-3 years ago, just before martin left for uk (he's now back in malaysia), martin gave me a hand mill. i used it once but made such a mess of it as i didn't build a proper stand for it.

so at blog visitor's chan's prodding, i tried this mill again. fabricated a proper mount and managed to mill some wheat berries.

note, i finally found a use for junk mail!

as this is a hand mill, it took quite an effort to mill the wheat berries to flour. however, if you modify the mill, you could hook up a bicycle chain, thus you could cycle, have some exercise, while you mill the flour. not bad an option! who says men can't multi task?

as for me, it took about an hour to mill about 1 kg of flour. i have scrawny hands...

so, what's the point of milling flour? other than bragging rights, well, with whole wheat flour, the most valuable part is the wheat germ oil which is also the most nutritious part of the flour. and oil, being oil, will turn rancid if left too long. so some manufacturers take out the wheat germ oil or put in some preservatives to preserve this oil. yes, even the organic flours. by the way, wheat germ oil is sold separately for some really serious mullah.

in white flour, only the wheat endosperm is milled to flour. the wheat bran, germ and oil is all taken out, so white flour do not have this problem of the flour turning rancid or smelling bad. white flour is also a lot less nutritious.

furthermore, freshly milled flour is still active with enzymes and nothing is as fresh as working on them to make bread just after you milled the wheat berries!

also, hand operated stone mill is better as the stones won't heat up too much as we can't spin them too fast, thus the nutrients and oil is kept fresher.

so the flour is all whole wheat.

from experience, not an easy bread to bake and don't expect monster rise unless you add gluten which i'm not interested in at all.

still, the bread turned out pretty well.

okay, burning question, what's the difference compared to bread baked from store bought flour?

taste wise, there's less "wheat" smell. this is only apparent if you bake with 100% whole wheat flour. if you only bake with white flour, then you have no idea what i'm talking about. now this "wheat" smell, could it be the rancid wheat germ oil?

texture wise, it's more tender compared to 100% whole wheat bread made from store bought flour. also, it stays tender longer.

so all in all, i like this bread much better. the effort to mill the berries is justified! so don't think i'll be buying flour any time soon!

the mill i used is this "little ark" from this company called retsel in the usa.

you could buy wheat berries from most organic stores. the variety i bought is described as "hard wheat". i think it's protein content is higher, thus suitable for making bread. the wheat berries range from rm7-rm12 a kg.

2 great documentaries

nic from redboxstudio emailed me about this awesome documentary. "jiro dreams of sushi" is an award winning documentary about this awesome guy, jiro, who despite his age of 85 years old, still makes sushi every night at his 3-star michelin rated retaurant, which has a waiting list of 1 month and a sushi dinner that starts from 30000 yen per person! (that's rm1200 or close to usd400)

what you could learn from him is his attitude and perseverance for improving his craft. he is always striving to elevate his craft to a higher level. you think sushi is so simple but after watching this documentary, i will not look at it at the same way again.

beautifully filmed with a very stirring classical piece accompanying the narration.

watch it. you will not regret it.

for a limited time, or until someone complains, this is the link to download the documentary.
jiro dreams of sushi

dying to have known is a documentary that tackles the dicey subject of cancer treatment using  gerson therapy.

i blogged about gerson therapy some time back (check the labels) but if you are still on the fence, watch this documentary. watch how the director (a fence sitter) eventually sided with the gerson therapy and poses serious questions of whether the medical industry is suppressing the effectiveness of the gerson therapy.

if you are having health problems, cancer or not, watch it and learn something. if the therapy is good for curing cancer, just imagine how it could improve your health.

again, i have put them on a server for you to download. for a limited time only...   dying to have known

if you are the sort who only watches mindless action movies, or stupid repetitive serials, give yourself a break and watch something informative.

if you have to pick just 2 documentaries to watch this year, i highly recommend this 2.

i can't think of a higher recommendation than this.

over to you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

still buying music... cassettes!

my current car, which is 23 years old, originally came with a cassette player. when i bought it, there was a cheesy jvc cd player inside.

nope, can't do. out went the jvc and in came the becker grand prix unit.

i listen to radio through it but as there is a cassette player there, i began to look for cassettes.

it's not easy to find cassettes nowadays but you could find them in smaller towns.

how about rm5 each? karajan led anne sophie mutter playing mozart? sting live? toto?

okay, selection wise may not be so wide but at rm5, who cares?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

tropical fruits

we are truly blessed to be living in a tropical country. i don't know about you but i feel that we have access to the best tasting fruits. and in such a wide range.

just look at the simple banana. if you walk into any supermarket, you'll only find "cavendish" type which, to be honest, taste really bland. however, if you go to local stores or wet market or specialty stores, you'll be amazed at the variety we have locally.

look at this "pink" banana. this is known as pisang raja locally. when unripe, it is green like other bananas but once ripen, it takes a reddish hue. taste wise? fantastic! rich, creamy... mmm....

if you drive out of town, you'll be amazed what you could find. how about wild bananas?

thin as my fingers, too bad my camera can't do justice to its colour. it has a glorious shade of yellow and it tastes fantastic!

imagine the best tasting banana and scale it up! sweet, fragrant... mmm....

we made the mistake of letting tonto eat this wild banana. nowadays he refuses to eat other bananas!

have you tried these bananas? no need to go ga-ga over strawberries, or blueberries, tropical fruits are still the best.

can you name of another fruit with depth of flavour and fragrance like the durian? cempedak?

the sweetness and purity of mangosteen?

even pineapples have so many wonderful varieties here.

so which are your favourite fruits?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

new trellis

some time back, i built a wooden trellis for our creeper plants. however, wood + glue doesn't stand a chance in our hot wet humid weather. 

about a year later, actually more than a year, it fell apart.

well, before that, signs were there. the glue started to come off, the adhesion started to give way... in short, our furniture glue isn't designed for outdoor use. 

some really strong winds later, it gave up.

okay. i could redo the trellis, using stronger wood, better glue or, i could search for a better solution.

a better solution it is then.

well, i'm not going to use wood this time. if i have to, will have to use some hard wood but this will be pricey.

a better solution is needed. and after some thoughts, settled on this.

garden variety fencing. these are pvc clad steel wires. this is the most economical (a 25" roll goes for rm120) and i believe most hardy solution i could think of! also, it's really fast to put up. more time were spent digging that "trench".

to prevent the trellis from rattling around, a 5" galvanized iron pipe was used to anchor the fencing into ground.

all in all, 50kg of top soil later and it's good to go!

planted some passion fruit, daun kaduk, pumpkin, san choy (cantonese name of a type of veggie).

we'll see how things go later...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

want to learn but lazy to read? go to the khan academy

what started out as some tutorials for his niece, bloomed to a huge massive online repository of teaching videos.

and thus salman khan developed the khan academy.

want to learn algebra? calculus, differential equation?
don't like maths? how about humanities? banking? biology? finance? renting vs buying a home?
geometry? healthcare? medicine? history?

and so on...

damn. there's even lessons from the singapore math curriculum!

miss the classroom experience? miss being lectured?

or are you bored to death?

do pay a visit. i'll guarantee you'll find an interesting topic there to learn.

unless you are as boring as a piece of wood.

Friday, January 6, 2012

make your own ham!

one day kevin k from my audio forum posted his experience of making saucisson (large dried sausages) at home. inspired, i wished to do the same too but had problems sourcing pig intestines.

a search on youtube gave me ideas. how about this? home made cured pork loin ham

watch the video and you'll know how to make your own at home. it's really easy.

only problem is drying it. if you live in regions where humidity is low, you could dry it in open air. not here in malaysia where humidity is >80%. most likely you'll get mold on your ham. not appetizing at all...

then i got an idea. how about drying it in the refrigerator? the air in the fridge is dry and it's pretty clean inside.

so that's what i did! after salt cure for 12 hours, i cleaned them tenderloins, spiced it and hanged it on the inside of our fridge door. i was told the ham is ready when it has lost 35% of its weight. stupid me only weighed it after 10 days by which time it has lost almost half its weight.

so it's a bit dry but... still taste nice!

spiced with rosemary, oregano etc

spiced with crushed black pepper
taste wise a bit too salty but very flavourful. could be i let it cured too long. i'll try again with more experiments.  anyway, it's a lot of fun! goes very well with bread or salad!

notice that the ham is raw. well traditionally this is how ham is done and the salt cure as well as drying kills whatever bacteria is present and allows the flavours to develop slowly.

i'll try this again! will also try the saucisson one day!