Posted in Science & Nature

Chocolate Overdose

It is common knowledge that you should not feed dogs and cats chocolate as it is poisonous to them. This is because chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. The name theobromine comes from the Greek words theo (“god”) and broma (“food”), thus meaning “food of the gods”.

Cats and dogs metabolise this chemical very slowly, so they can easily overdose on it. Theobromine poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhoea initially, then progresses to cause hyperactivity, cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), seizures, internal bleeding, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and eventually death. Although cats and dogs have the same metabolism rate of theobromine, there are far less cases of cats overdosing on it as they do not have sweet taste receptors and do not particularly like the taste of chocolate.

Luckily for us, the human body can metabolise theobromine much more efficiently and we are much less likely to get theobromine poisoning (although it is still possible if you eat too much of it). Although it is weaker, theobromine behaves similarly to caffeine in the human body. It stimulates the heart to beat faster, relaxes the blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and stimulates your nervous system to decrease your tiredness and give you a “buzz”.

The effects are potent enough that there is some evidence that eating dark chocolate (which has a higher theobromine content) regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease. However, this is counterbalanced by the negative health effects of sugar and fat found in chocolate. That being said, a small amount of chocolate every now and then not only has a positive effect on your heart, but is a great medicine for your exhausted mind and soul.

Posted in Life & Happiness

The Perfect Toast

Toast is one of those simple meals that anyone can make. Bread goes in, toast comes out. But some scientists decided to embark on a quest for the “perfect” toast. After spending a week toasting and tasting over two thousand slices of toast, the scientists came up with some figures.

The perfect toast should be:

  • 14mm thick
  • Made from pale-seeded loaf of bread taken from a fridge at 3°C
  • Cooked in a 900-watt toaster set to 5 out of 6 power
  • Cooked at a temperature of 154°C evenly from both sides
  • Cooked for exactly 3 minutes and 36 seconds (216 seconds)
  • Transferred gently to a plate that is pre-warmed to 45°C
  • Immediately slathered with 68.2mg per square centimetre of butter
  • Sliced once diagonally

The result of this formula is a perfectly golden-brown toast of 12:1 exterior to interior crispiness, with the “ultimate balance of external crunch and internal softness”.

Posted in Simple Pleasures of Life

Simple Pleasures of Life #5

Having some experimental fun in the kitchen.

(Doing tomorrow’s tonight instead just because of my kitchen adventure)

Today I had my third go at baking (brownies again lol) because it’s my turn to bake for the team this week for O&G. See, I’ve always treated cooking like a bit of an…artistic science experiment. Baking more so because of the more precise measurements etc. In the process, I managed to:

  • Have 200g of butter explode in the microwave. Literally. The mug completely flipped out inside with a loud clatter and spilled all the butter…EVERYWHERE. Took a freaking hour to clean it all up… Luckily I had just enough butter left.
  • Guess (rightly) which setting to put the oven on. Seriously, those symbols might as well be hieroglyphs.
  • Improperly cool the brownie. I didn’t know I was supposed to take it straight out and put it on a cooling tray. Instead, I left it in the tin to “cool”, leading to the bottom being gooey and the top being cookie-hard OTL 
  • Creatively rebaked the brownie by flipping it over, re-molding the gooey brownie to fill the spaces left on the “bottom” (now top) of the brownie, then sticking in the oven with top heat.
  • Ultimately make a pretty tasty Oreo brownie! Not nearly as good as the one I made last time but this’ll do…

Anyway, baking is fun lol. But I think I’ll stick with cooking for now… And pancakes.

(Basically what would happen if I tried baking it)

Posted in Simple Pleasures of Life

Simple Pleasures of Life #7

Cracking open a cold beer after a looong day.

We had weekend shifts today (and tomorrow) so I had to be at hospital from 8am to 6pm. It was…absolutely horrible. I mean luckily I saw one birth in the morning, but after that, NOTHING happened so the other student and I sat in the tea room for 6 hours twiddling on our thumbs. Well we actually got a bit of work done by quizzing each other prepping for exams lol. But still, the sitting around in boredom was pure psychological torture

When I got home, I opened the fridge, grabbed a beer, took a swig and BAM the day improved 😀 Gotta love beer~ Also made cupcakes for the first time hehe. Well, using a pre-prepared mix, so kinda cheating. Meh it tastes good XD

It also looks angry:

Posted in Simple Pleasures of Life

Simple Pleasures of Life #10

Watching new episodes of your favourite shows and laughing so hard that all your worries and troubles melt away.

The new (and final) season of How I Met Your Mother started today!!! I’ve been so excited for this and the season premier (double episode) lived up to my expectations~ Had some good laughs hehe. I’m excited for what the rest of the season will bring, and I’m interested in the format of the season (won’t spoil anything). Also, there was a new episode of Adventure Time and that’s always welcome! 🙂

My good mood today is brought to you by what I said above, 9:30am finish from hospital, good nap, pumpkin soup (success!), nice salmon, new Magic cards (woo!), stormy weather and essentially no study. Daddy needed a break day after 34 hours of hospital over the weekends and Monday…


Posted in Simple Pleasures of Life

Simple Pleasures of Life #13

Cooking without a recipe.

I love cooking. My mum is a super-pro cook and one of my happiest memories of childhood was eating homemade meals (still is). Cooking in general is fun because you get the instant reward of eating it, but what’s even more fun is that you can do whatever the hell you want… within acceptable limits. Cooking by a recipe can be fun, but going by feel and changing around stuff is even better! And best of all, you can make your own recipes.

What I find the most fun regarding cooking is that you can get creative with various ingredients and see how it turns out. It could be you’re making something from scratch, or trying to recreate a meal you had somewhere else. I mean seriously, it’s like Lego that you can EAT. How much better can it get? Sometimes I look at the limited supply of food in my fridge and take it as a challenge.

For example, you can go from easy things like fried rice where you can pretty much dice up whatever and toss it in a pan:

…to more complex things like sweet & sour chicken, which I always have fun experimenting with (it’s really not that complicated tbh…):

But of course nothing beats the joy of making…


Posted in Simple Pleasures of Life

Simple Pleasures of Life #17

Doing groceries.

Yes, yes, I’m weird. But I find it enjoyable to crank up the music on my earphones and go shopping…for food. I tend to take my sweet time too, meandering about checking out different items, picking out fresh ingredients and trying to decide what I want for dinner for the next week. Sometimes I’ll even look up recipes on my phone and play it by ear. Like today, I needed an idea for baking for tomorrow (last day of O&G woooo), and I was like hmmm…CHEESECAKE. So there’s a green tea cheesecake setting in my fridge right now.

I can’t wait for when I’m older and start shopping around farmer’s markets and gourmet ingredient shops (when I’m earning money OTL). It’s so fun looking at all kinds of food, smelling and tasting a myriad of ingredients and foods~ You know what they say: don’t forget to stop and smell the roses…and eat them.

Posted in Life & Happiness


Good food.

Good wine.

Good coffee.

Good dessert.

Good song.

Good show.

Good laugh.

Good company.

The simpler your demands, the easier life can fulfil them and give you happiness.


Posted in Science & Nature

Chicken Or The Egg

One of the most well-known philosophical questions is what came first: the chicken or the egg? A chicken is born from an egg, and an egg is birthed by a chicken. This means that the cause and effect are intertwined in a never-ending cycle. This kind of problem is known as circular cause and consequence or circular reference.

In some ways, this question is extremely easy to answer. In biology, many different creatures lay eggs to give birth to their young, but there are no examples of a chicken being born without an egg being involved. The chicken is most likely a product of a lineage of evolving species that ultimately resulted in the genetic makeup of a chicken. That “proto-chicken” would have laid an egg, which had enough mutations in its genome to be sufficiently different from the proto-chicken to be called a “chicken”. Therefore, the egg must have come before the chicken. Even if we use the strict rule of defining “egg” by as a “chicken egg”, the egg that birthed the first chicken contained the original genetic makeup for chickens; ergo the chicken egg came before the chicken.

Science and philosophy aside, a completely unrelated point about chickens and eggs is that there is a Japanese dish called oyakodon, which is made with chicken and egg over a bowl of rice and vegetables. The name comes from the Japanese for parent (“oya”, 親) and child (“ko”, 子), giving away the cruel nature of the relationship between the main ingredients in the dish.

Posted in Life & Happiness


A delicacy is a food considered highly desirable due to its unique taste and rarity. Every culture has a different delicacy, ranging from commonly found but peculiar foods such as raw oysters, to very rare foods such as flamingo tongue (a highly prized dish in ancient Rome). Some examples of culture-specific delicacies include: beondaegi in Korea (steamed silkworm pupae), fugu in Japan (blowfish, very poisonous if not prepared correctly), bird’s nest soup in China (made out of swiftlet nests which are made of various fish) and escamoles in Mexico (ant larvae). In the Western hemisphere, three foods have classically been called the “three great delicacies”. These are: foie gras, truffle and caviar.

Foie gras is French for “fatty liver” and it is the liver of a goose that has been fattened up. Because of the rich fat content, foie gras is extremely smooth, buttery and delicate and is highly sought after in gourmet cooking. However, there is much controversy around the preparation of the dish. To fatten the liver, geese are tied up and force-fed large amounts of feed via a funnel and tube. This method is known as “gavage”. Because the geese are held still and force-fed so much food, there is a risk of the oesophagus rupturing and killing the geese. But this death could almost be considered merciful given the horrendous gavage process that can only be considered as torturous.

Truffle is a type of mushroom that lives underground. It is difficult to find and cultivate, making it a rare and valuable ingredient. In fact, it is considered “diamond of the earth” because of that reason. Truffles come in black truffles and white truffles. Black truffles are more commonly used in French dishes, along with simple-tasting foods such as soup and veal. It is also eaten alongside foie gras sometimes. The white version is more common in Italian foods. It is eaten raw and grated over a dish or salad.

Caviar is a Russian delicacy consisting of salted sturgeon roe (fish egg). It is considered one of the most luxurious foods on the planet, with some connoisseurs describing it as the culinary equivalent of an orgasm. Because the roe is not cooked, it retains its unique fishy taste which might make it unpalatable at first. But then people become hooked on the unique, addictive taste that cannot be copied. The price of $8000~16000 per kilogram shows just how much people are willing to pay for the ultimate taste.