Posts in category Life

March 3rd, 2011

Spinach Crepe

Crêpes are one of the most overrated dishes – in terms of difficulty. If you make them people are overly impressed. Crêpes are a complete meal. Fill them with savoury for the main course and then sweetness and fruits for dessert. I added blended spinach to the batter for a nice change. By all means try it without for the first time.

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February 17th, 2011

Disc Words

When I was playing ultimate frisbee back at UVic in the intramural league, the reoccurring challenge was to find a great team name that contained the word ‘disc’ within it. I don’t remember many. The discombobulators and discord are the only two I remember. The best names were not necessarily those with the word ‘disc’ included but they were admired nevertheless. Some great team names I have come across over the years are: Uvictim (for the the UVic team) and Hoof Hearted (get it?). I stumbled across a list of 10,000 English words a few months back and thought this would be a chance to see all the words that have the substring ‘disc’ within.

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December 29th, 2010

The fresh air of hiking in the Pyrénée during the summer can lead to some random ideas. Julia, our good friend Anne and I went hiking last August for four great days. During one of the many conversations that occur during uninterrupted days of long talks, Anne and I made a pact to create awareness posters and an ash tray for the smokers around our building at the University of Luxembourg. Anne and I work in the same building. Our campus is a non-smoking area but this has little effect and no enforcement. Ash trays are located only at the entrances to the campus – there are none on campus. This leads to many smokers upon finishing their last drag dropping their cigarette butts on the ground or into storm drains by building door ways. Besides the obvious ugliness of dozens of cigarette butts littered on the ground there are also environmental impacts. The filters hold back much of the toxic chemicals from being inhaled and stay in the filter. As this filter dissolves and breaks down the chemicals typically end up flowing into the storm/rain water piping system which usually flows into nearby streams. These contaminants have obvious impacts on the health of flora and fauna downstream.

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December 29th, 2010

I recently learned that this cake is the equivalent to a cooked ‘mousse au chocolat’. This explains why it is so damn good. This is a cake that I am regularly asked to make due to its extreme yumminess. I have had other chocolate cakes that I would make regularly before I discovered this one. I haven’t made the previous ones since. The name L’Indemoulable translates best as The Unremovable.

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October 5th, 2010

Many cities have green belts of either forest or agricultural fields. These areas are delineated and maintained to create accessible green recreation/athletic spaces, preserve rich agricultural soils, allow wildlife to return, improve air quality and simply provide aesthetically pleasing views.

Driving along the highway during the end of a 4,000 Km road trip, Julia mentioned that it would be interesting to know how much forest is required next to the highway to compensate for the C02 created by the vehicles on it. This obviously depends on the number of cars that travel along the highway, their speed, fuel efficiency and the type of forest along the highway.

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September 2nd, 2010

Gaëlle enjoys soup but is impatient. Instant soups are great satisfiers of children and parents alike for their relatively good taste, variety and ease of preparation. The only problem still present is the impatient daughter part or how to cool the boiling soups rapidly, and relevant to this QotW, to the correct temperature. Ice cubes are the solution but how many should you put?

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August 29th, 2010

I’ve posted another pancake recipe in the past but it doesn’t quite have the fluffy texture of Julia’s recipe. I believe this recipe is more enjoyable if you are willing to take a few extra moments to beat the egg whites.

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July 29th, 2010

Peach Pavlova

I discovered this dessert much too late considering how delicious it is. Pavlovas are great in the summer allowing you to place an abundance of fruits on a bed of meringue and whipping cream. These are very simple and quick to make but must bake for 90 minutes. They are very impressive at the finish and are always completely consumed by guests.

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June 29th, 2010

Hybrid Park Spaces

Space is classified, categorized and used according to its designated purpose. Rarely are areas shared between purposes. Space, when allocated to a city department, is at a premium and unlikely to be partially used or willingly shared. In Vancouver I have seen the spaces between sidewalks and curbs be used by local residents to plant various flowers, shrubs and trees. In Luxembourg a park I regularly frequent has modified their lawn mowing behaviour. Rather than mowing all grass areas they have chosen to only mow paths, patches and soccer fields. The soccer field boundaries are walls of grass – helpfull in the sense of stopping the ball when it rolls out of bounds.

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Letting the grass grow has some obvious benefits in terms of livable green spaces for animals and insects while some may see it as a reduction of human usable space. In order to satisfy and encourage grass lounging the city park service has left certain patches cleared. These are even more charming due to being surrounded by long grasses giving a sense of privacy and intimacy between your party and nature.

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Perhaps dogs will also do their business in the long grass rather than the sidewalk (note: I have never seen a resident in Luxembourg clean up after their dog). City parks have been too accomadating to humans and not enough to nature. Leaving grasses to grown naturally tips this balance back so that you can experience a bit of ‘wilderness’ in a city setting.

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June 13th, 2010

Although I would like the QotW to be more applied I sometimes consider interesting proportions between geometric shapes. Imaging you have two perfect spherical oranges on a table. They are touching and there is a compressed Eiffel Tower shape between them and the table. You have a bowl of grapes and would like to roll the biggest one possible through this hole. In terms of the size of the oranges, what is the largest grape that will pass through the whole without pushing apart the oranges?

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