Sunday, 22 December 2013

Mesha's Home-made Pomegranate & Red Wine Jam

Jam or fruit preserves,  are simply a combination of fruit, vegetables, and sugar, canned/bottled for long-term storage. In most of today's recipes for fruit jam often includes the need for pectin, which is a natural gelling-agent. 

I found this bowl of pomegranate fruit (already peeled and ready to eat) sitting in the fridge for almost a week now and decided that it would be a waste to dump it. So, armed with a glass of wine already tipsy, and Google at my expense, I decided to make some jam.

Now, upon Google-ing pomegranate jam, a lot of the recipes I found require pectin. Owning a normal pantry, I do not have pectin, so I googled jam recipes without the need of pectin and the closest I found, was substituting honey for both sugar and pectin.


I don't have honey.

So, what the heck. If the pomegranate is meant to be in the bin, may as well improvise.

1 peeled and ready-to-go pomegranate
1/2 cup Hot water
1/2 cup red wine of your choice
Just a little less than 1 cup of brown caster sugar
Preferably, you own a blender as you will need this to thicken the mixture naturally.

1. Put the pomegranate fruit into a medium sized saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients.

2. Bring the fruit/wine mixture to a boil.

3. Once it has been brought to a boil, lower the heat (medium-low) and let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. Stir throughout the process to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

4. Transfer the mixture into the blender and blend it to your desired consistency. Transfer it back into the pan.

5. Let the blended mixture simmer on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the mixture to ensure that it does not burn or stick to the pan. This is where the concoction should start to thicken.

6. Let it reach the desired thickness of the jam and pour it into a storage utensil of your choice. Let it cool before you refrigerate it.

7. Once it has cooled, serve it with toast or scones! Enjoy ~

Okay. Not the best photo but my first home-made jam! Voila! 

I am obviously not a connoisseur in jam-making and it is my first play-it-by-ear jam. I must advise that this jam does not have the same consistency as the jams you buy at the supermarket. Without the use of pectin or any other gelatine products, it has a distinct viscous consistency (like those thick, almost crystallised honey), so don't freak out when it is not as jelly as you imagined/hoped it would be.

I also want to advise to probably add in less sugar than I did, unless you have more fruit (like 2 or 3) as it is super duper sweet after the reduction process. Nonetheless, it still tastes like jam!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Selfishness, Hypocrisy & Self-Justification (Who isn't these days?)

So, today's topic is based on selfishness and hypocrisy. First up, I just want to clearly admit that I am - I mean, who isn't? Who does not think about themselves first? 

I never said I wasn't and never denied when I am accused of being selfish. The reason being that it is in human nature to be selfish. We can be allowing, and selfless when we need to be but in total we are (those who are completely selfless are thus, named saints due to their acts of selflessness, but seriously, how many of those people are out there these day?).

Think about it.

When was the last time we were completely unselfish? Yes, there might be a one or two, here and there, but not often unless you're a generous bastard donating to charity and etc., etc.

But, even with regards to charity, how often do you donate? Do you sacrifice half your pay-check because you want to donate and live on the minimum standards, or just because you felt generous and handed in your spare change to "supposedly" make a difference in this world?

I would like to think that if we were completely selfless, we'd give everything that we have to others in need, with maybe just enough to barely cover our own asses. In reality, the first person we'd think about is, ourselves.

This includes family. I don't know about you, but no matter how much I'd like to help, it comes to: 1) How much I can help, 2)If there are costs involve, how much am I able to spend before it affects me? 3) Is there enough help/support provided before I can exceed what I'm willing to spend/sacrifice to help them?

You may think that I am a cheap bitch person, but that is the truth! How many are willing to sacrifice everything they have for someone? Not that much.

We live in the ME FIRST world and I can understand why. It is in the right of a person to think, "Hey, I'll put my needs first before others". It boils down to the simple survival instinct in all of us. Heck, it started as soon as you were a little sperm, racing millions of other sperms, and the main aim is to fertilise the egg. You're the sperm who already survived the tedious journey inside the uterus, and be goddamned if the next sperm is going to penetrate the egg. Or maybe you got lucky as a sperm.

Anyways, besides that, another example would be like the safety manual in an aircraft. You know, the part where the oxygen mask drops down, and they always emphasize on putting it on YOU first before others. Well, isn't that selfish, cause you're putting yourself first before others? But who cares! It's your life and you are in the right of putting YOU FIRST.

Bah. So, the synopsis of this long-winded rant, is that I think it is okay to be selfish (not too much until everyone hates your guts). I hate pretentious hypocrites who doesn't seem to realise or probably in denial in the fact that we are all selfish.

I've been called a selfish bitch many times, and I can live with that, cause I know I am. To those who said me that, well, I wish you'd stop being so goddamn judgemental and a hypocrite. I don't see you going around doing selfless acts and trying to be a saint. Until you do though, STOP THE "HOLIER THAN THOU" fucking bullshit and leave me alone.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Queen Bean Espresso Review

It has been a hectic three weeks of training (who knew travel consultants had such intensive training programs!) at Flight Centre's head office in Brisbane. 

I must admit that I am a bloody lazy person by nature and prepping lunch is not my forte (I also do not like having sandwiches every single day for lunch; I enjoy variety). Thank heavens, that there is a well-situated cafe on the ground floor of the building! 

I like how the chairs have the honeycomb design and the honey coloured walls portray the actual name of the cafe! Somewhat themed.

Everyday, they have different lunch specials advertised on their tiny chalkboard out front. I remember the first time I went there for lunch about a couple a weeks ago for their $8.50AUD Bacon & Eggs Special, which came with a free small cup of coffee (of your choice). Normally, as a special, I was half expecting a small portion of bacon and eggs, but I was wrong! It was quite a generous portion of bacon and two eggs (cooked to your liking, although scrambled was probably extra), and four slices of toast. 

So, in following days, where I couldn't be fucked walking anywhere else for lunch, I either ordered the special or items from their display fridge.

As a heads-up, I did not take any photos of the Bacon & Egg dish :( Many apologies!

Chicken Parmigiana with fries and salad (Lunch special: $12.00 AUD)

Smoked Salmon & Dill Potato Cake 

Choice of 2 salads: Pesto Pasta & Sesame Soba with Chicken

Creamy Carbonara (Lunch special: $10.50 AUD)

This cafe does have a relatively nice ambience, often packed during rush hours (morning coffees and lunch time). However, standard of food, it is relatively normal - not bad, but not great either. The only dish which I actually enjoyed immensely was the Smoked Salmon & Dill Potato cake, WITH the requested Hollandaise sauce. 

Queen Bean definitely does appeal to those working in the same building as it is really convenient. With the relaxed, casual atmosphere and friendly staff, it is not a surprise that it is packed during the peak hours. 

Though I do like Queen Bean, it is definitely not a place for great food. Price-wise, it is quite expensive for some of the food they are serving. Mind you, the salad mix and lunch specials are often alright, due to the quantity of food they serve.

Anyways, verdict time!

  • Presentation: 2.5/5 (So-so, nothing out of the ordinary.)
  • Taste: 3/5 (Mediocre not spectacular)
  • Service: 4/5 (Relatively quick service and some nice/friendly staff)
  • Monetary Value: 3.5/5 (To be honest, there were some that were alright like the Bacon & Egg special that came with a coffee for $8.50AUD and the salad combo, which I find worthwhile price vs size. Other dishes, personally I find to be quite pricey for the standard of food)

It is a cute little spot to check out though, if you're around that area!

Queen Bean
545 Queen Street | Brisbane, QLD 4000 
(P): 07 3831 3119
Queen Bean Espresso on Urbanspoon