I have spent today making my first ever batch of Kimchi. I have been documenting it in photos as I go, but thought I'd write up what I did so that if anyone else fancies having a go too, we can compare results.
For a start, this recipe is nowhere near "traditional" because I don't have access to certain ingredients such as glutinous rice flour. I'm sure if I searched in many of the asian supermarkets around the city centre I could find it, but I'm lazy so I didn't even try.
I am not writing this up as a traditional recipe because I'm kinda making it up as I go along, with hints from various sources including the great and wonderful Maangchi whose YouTube channel I follow. Observant readers or followers of Maangchi will recognise the recipe as being close to her Easy Kimchi recipe, however since I'm useless, it won't be exact. If this batch turns out okay then I'll write it up as a proper recipe for you to follow.
I started off with three Chinese Leaf cabbages which seemed to be about 1.5kg or so once I'd stripped the less nice outer leaves, cored and chopped them.
I then soaked and drained the cabbage in cold water...
...before sprinkling a total of one third of a cup of salt over the cabbage and mixing it to distribute the salt.
Then I returned to the cabbage every 30 minutes to re-mix it a total of three times. After the cabbage had been salted for perhaps 1h45m or so, I rinsed it out. Maangchi recommends washing the cabbage three times so that's what I did before setting it out to drain in a colander.
Maangchi then calls for the creation of a porridge made from sweet rice flour which it turns out is very glutinous. Since I lack the ability to get that flour easily I substituted cornflour which I hope will be okay and then continued as before. One cup of water, one third of a cup of cornflour was heated until it started to bubble and then one sixth of a cup of sugar was added. Stirred throughout, once it went translucent I turned the heat off and proceeded.
One half of a red onion, a good thumb (once peeled) of ginger, half a bulb of garlic and one third of a cup of fish sauce went into a mini-zizzer. I then diagonal-chopped about five spring onions, and one leek, before cutting a fair sized carrot into inch long pieces before halving and then thinly slicing it. Maangchi calls for julienned carrots but I am not that patient.
Into the cooled porridge I put two thirds of a cup of korean hot pepper flakes (I have the coarse, but a mix of coarse and fine would possibly be better), the zizzed onion/garlic/ginger/fish mix and the vegetables...
...before mixing that thoroughly with a spatula.
Next came the messy bit (I put latex gloves on, and thoroughly washed my gloved hands for this). Into my largest mixing bowl I put a handful of the drained cabbage into the bowl and a handful of the pepper mix. Thoroughly mixing this before adding another handful of cabbage and pepper mix I repeated until all the cabbage and hot pepper mixed vegetables are well combined. I really got your arms into it, squishing it around, separating the leek somewhat, etc.
As a final task, I scooped the kimchi into a clicklok type box, pressing it down firmly to try and remove all the air bubbles, before sealing it in for a jolly good fermenting effort. I will have to remove a little tonight for our dinner (beef strips marinated in onion, ginger and garlic, with kimchi on rice) but the rest will then sit to ferment for a bit. Expect a part-2 with the report from tonight's dinner and a part-3 with the results after fermentation.
As an aside, I got my hot pepper flakes from Sous Chef who, it turns out, also stock glutinous rice flour -- I may have to get some more from them in the future. (#notsponsored)
I was playing shop the other day with my son as he'd recently been bought a new toy till with money and food and it was going fairly well until he got a little excited and started saying "I want more money". At this, I started telling him that he couldn't just get money for nothing and that he'd need to sell me something else from his shop. This made my wife uncomfortable and she asked me to stop as she didn't want him being indoctrinated with such capitalist ideas from so early an age.
So, what's the alternative? I'm certainly not convinced there's anything wrong with teaching my son the value of currency and trade but similarly, I sort of agree that I don't want him to grow up only aware of one way that the world can work.
Educate for what's practical in the world he's growing up in and risk indoctrination or play through other scenarios and risk him growing up not knowing how to deal with financial matters?
How would that even work? I'm not sure I know how to play socialist shop. Maybe my parents failed ;)
I'm an arch linux user and I love it; there's no other distro for me. The things that arch gets criticism for are the exact same reasons I love it and they all more or less boil down to one thing: arch does not hold your hand.
It's been a while since an update in arch caused me any problems but it did today.
It seems there's an issue with the latest version of wpa_supplicant which renders it incompatible with the way wifi is setup at boot time. The problem was caught and resolved very quickly by package maintainers who simply rolled the wpa_supplicant package back. However, I was unlucky enough to have caught the intervening upgrade shortly before turning my laptop off. I came home this evening to find I had no wifi!
This wasn't a huge challenge but I haven't written a blog post for a while and someone might find this useful:
If your wifi doesn't start at boot...
And you're using a laptop with no ethernet port...
And you know an upgrade will solve your problem...
How do you get internet so you can upgrade?
First, find the name of your wireless interface:iw dev
Which will output something like:phy#0 Interface wlp2s0 ifindex 2 wdev 0x1 addr e8:b1:fc:6c:bf:b5 type managed channel 11 (2462 MHz), width: 20 MHz, center1: 2462 MHz
Where wlp2s0 is the bit we're interested in.
Now bring the interface up:ip link set wlp2s0 up
Connect to the access point:iw dev wlp2s0 connect "AP name"
Create a temporary configuration file for wpa_supplicant:wpa_passphrase "AP name" "password" > /tmp/wpa.config
Run wpa_supplicant to authenticate with the access point:wpa_supplication -iwlp2s0 -c/tmp/wpa.config
In another terminal (or you could have backgrounded the above), run dhcpcd to get an IP address from your router:dhcpcd wlp2s0
Update and reboot or whatever :)
Over the past few months, I've mentioned to a few people that I like the idea of Firefox OS and that I've used the emulator and been fairly impressed. Well I've just put my money where my mouth is and ordered a Geeksphone revolution.
I'll admit that the decision to buy the phone wasn't purely to support Firefox OS; my hand was forced and I faced a dilemma:
After dropping my nexus 4 and cracking the screen (leaving the touchscreen only partially working), I found out that a repair with genuine parts would cost me nearly £100. My N4 being quite old now - and fairly crashy with lollipop - I couldn't quite justify the repair cost.
To be honest, I've been enjoying living without a usable phone except for the odd rare moments when I've needed to make a call while out. For that reason I decided that a brand new top of the range phone was out of the question.
I didn't want to go as far as getting a feature phone (I'm so used to having a smart phone now) and the Revolution seems like it offers a good compromise on cost vs. features.
So the intention is to live with Firefox OS but if it turns out to be ghastly, the phone will happily run AOSP and I can switch back and forth at will - yes, it even dual boots.
I'm sure I'll waffle on about my first impressions when it arrives...
I previously wrote about tracking a ship around the world, but never followed up with the practical details involved with shipping my life from the San Francisco Bay Area back to Belfast. So here they are, in the hope they provide a useful data point for anyone considering a similar move.
Firstly, move out. I was in a one bedroom apartment in Fremont, CA. At the time I was leaving the US I didn’t have anywhere for my belongs to go - the hope was I’d be back in the Bay Area, but there was a reasonable chance I was going to end up in Belfast or somewhere in England. So on January 24th 2014 I had my all of my belongings moved out and put into storage, pending some information about where I might be longer term. When I say all of my belongings I mean that; I took 2 suitcases and everything else went into storage. That means all the furniture for probably a 2 bed apartment (I’d moved out of somewhere a bit larger) - the US doesn’t really seem to go in for the concept of a furnished lease the same way as the UK does.
I had deliberately picked a moving company that could handle the move out, the storage and the (potential) shipping. They handed off to a 3rd party for the far end bit, but that was to be expected. Having only one contact to deal with throughout the process really helped.
Fast forward 8 months and on September 21st I contacted my storage company to ask about getting some sort of rough shipping quote and timescales to Belfast. The estimate came back as around a 4-6 week shipping time, which was a lot faster than I was expecting. However it turned out this was the slow option. On October 27th (delay largely due to waiting for confirmation of when I’d definitely have keys on the new place) I gave the go ahead.
Container pickup (I ended up with exclusive use of a 20ft container - not quite full, but not worth part shipment) from the storage location was originally due on November 7th. Various delays at the Port of Oakland meant this didn’t happen until November 17th. It then sat in Oakland until December 2nd. At that point the ETA into Southampton was January 8th. Various other delays, including a week off the coast of LA (yay West Coast Port Backups) meant that the ship finally arrived in Southampton on January 13th. It then had to get to Belfast and clear customs. On January 22nd 2015, 2 days shy of a year since I’d seen them, my belongings and I were reunited.
So, on the face of it, the actual time on the ship was only slightly over 6 weeks, but all of the extra bits meant that the total time from “Ship it” to “I have it” was nearly 3 months. Which to be honest is more like what I was expecting. The lesson: don’t forget to factor in delays at every stage.
The relocation cost in the region of US$8000. It was more than I’d expected, but far cheaper than the cost of buying all my furniture again (plus the fact there were various things I couldn’t easily replace that were in storage). That cost didn’t cover the initial move into storage or the storage fees - it covered taking things out, packing them up for shipment and everything after that. Including delivery to a (UK) 3rd floor apartment at the far end and insurance. It’s important to note that I’d included this detail before shipment - the quote specifically mentioned it, which was useful when the local end tried to levy an additional charge for the 3rd floor aspect. They were fine once I showed them the quote as including that detail.
Getting an entire apartment worth of things I hadn’t seen in so long really did feel a bit like a second Christmas. I’d forgotten a lot of the things I had, and it was lovely to basically get a “home in a container” delivered.
About four years ago I was getting a huge volume of backscatter email to the non-existent address email@example.com. After a month or so it started to go quiet and eventually I got hardly any hits on that (or any other) address. A couple of weeks or so ago they came back. My logs for weeks ending 15 March, 22 March and 29 March show 92%, 96% and 94% respectively of all email to my main mail server is failed connection attempts from Russian domains to dear old non-existent “info”. Out of curiosity I decided to capture some of the inbound mails. Most were in Russian, but the odd one or two were in (broken) english. Below is a typical example:
To: Subject: Are you still looking for love? Look at my photos!
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2015 15:22:08 +0300
X-Mailer: Microsoft Windows Live Mail 16.4.3528.331
Are you still looking for love? I will be very pleased to become your half and save you from loneliness. My name is Olga, 25 years old.
For now I live in Russia, but it’s a bad time in my country, and I think about moving to another state.
I need a safer place for life, is your country good for that?
If you are interested and want to get in touch with me, just look at this international dating site.
Hope to see you soon!
Just click here!
Sadly, I believe that many recipients of such emails will indeed, “click here”. Certainly enough to further propagate whatever malware was used to compromise the end system which actually sent the above email.
An old friend of mine has expressed some concern at the lack of activity on trivia of late. In his most recent email to me he said:
“You really should revive Baldric you know. Everyone will believe it if you just say you were kidnapped by aliens, and then you can just resume where you left off.”
So Peter, this one is just for you. Oh, and Happy Birthday too.