Cooking Disasters Brighten your Life

Today I would like to honour my cooking disasters. I feel like they deserve a post on my blog. Yes. Cooking disasters brighten your life. They also provide a really good opportunity for that long and liberating crying session that you’ve been postponing for months. How boring my life would be if every time that I tried to cook something it turned out amazing!

Burnt NYE Pizza

Yes, I’m not afraid to admit it. Burning a pizza on New Year’s Eve is starting to feel like a tradition. Bear in mind that when I say burn I mean burn. I am not talking about a gently toasted or lightly browned pizza. Just picture a black circle. Then add your favourite topics: black pepperoni, black mozzarella, black and crispy bacon… As you might know, in Spain, we eat twelve grapes at midnight on NYE. If you don’t,  you can expect bad luck for the rest of your life. Maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. I’m starting to think my calling is burning pizzas instead.

It’s not pizza but it’s close enough. Source: GIPHY

Easter Cake Fail

Like many other people, I felt like baking during lockdown. Unfortunately, my first baking experience didn’t go as expected. Easter was around the corner, so I thought it would be nice to try to bake a very special cake that we eat on Easter Monday. When I say we, I am referring to the Spanish regions of Catalonia, Murcia, and Valencia.

This delicious sponge cake (we call it “Mona de Pasqua”) will try to steal your heart with its apricot jam, candied fruit, and chopped almonds.Getting the ingredients was already a challenge. I couldn’t find any flour, baking powder, or candied fruit. Instead of giving up, I decided to innovate. After some Google research on a very slow 4G, I bought some cornflour, cream of tartar, and really cute tiny icing carrots.

Back home, I assembled all the ingredients on the kitchen counter. While I was casually reading the cream of tartar label, I found out something horrifying: if I wanted to use it as a substitute for baking powder, I had to mix it with bicarbonate of soda. Spoiler alert: I didn’t have bicarbonate of soda. The supermarket neither.

I decided to proceed regardless. I added some egg whites to the dough in a desperate attempt to increase the volume. It just went worse and worse from there. I messed up while pouring the dough into the cake tin and some of it ended up all over my jeans. I oven-baked what was left of the dough. You can see the result below… Even after baking it in the oven for what seemed like an eternity, it was still kind of raw inside. The taste was atrocious, believe me…

Scrambled Zombie Pancakes

I woke up late, feeling like a zombie with a creepy hoarse voice and craving pancakes. I didn’t have enough flour according to the recipe. I’m sure you know that zombies don’t like going to the supermarket so that wasn’t an option. My flatmate kindly lent me some of her exotic coconut flour. There was some light at the end of the tunnel. But no. The pancakes kept breaking after turning them. I kept the momentum going and instead of crying, I listened. The coconut pancakes didn’t want to be normal pancakes. They were born to be scrambled.

Truth is those pancakes had a strange flavour and texture… I ate them anyway, though. There is nothing that lactose-free chocolate and hazelnut spread can’t fix.

By the way, I also use the scrambled trick on other occasions. For example, it’s quite useful when you’re initially going for an omelette but you observe too much resistance. Give it a try ;).

Lightly Salted Cake

What a fancy name for a cake. Well, it’s not. It’s just the name of another of my cooking disasters. It’s the result of not labelling containers. You can already guess what this is about: I was happily baking a cake. I added 260 grams of “sugar”. Later, I realised it was salt. I took the block of concrete out of the oven, waited for it to cool down, and ate a slice binned it.  Life’s too short. Be gentle with your arteries :).

What about you? Do your cooking disasters brighten your life as well? Feel free to share them on the comments below. Happy cooking and crying!

First Day with Contact Lenses

A colored abstract eye in purple, green and pinnk
Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

The first day of wearing contact lenses is big, exciting and scary at the same time. No one is ready for that, to be honest. You assemble a mirror, tie your hair up in a ponytail and wear your most comfortable clothes to allow freedom of movement. You do some arm stretches, followed by some wrist and finger stretches and tapping exercises. Fine motor skills need to be at their best today. 

You take a deep breath. 

The contact lenses are happily floating in their solution. Yes, it feels kind of cruel. You will take them outside of their natural habitat and place them in some strange and uncharted territory (aka your eyes). And drumroll please… they might not like it there. They might get annoyed and dry your eyes so much until you give up and remove them. Or they might feel all cosy and just let you be, and see, most importantly. 

Gathering strength from God knows where you carefully grab one and place it on your index finger. You inspect it carefully to check if the shape is correct (if it’s not a perfect circle, it might be inside out, as your optician warned you). Everything seems fine. In slow-motion, you bring the contact lens closer and closer to your right eye. Your terrifying look is undeniable (Thank God no one is around to immortalize the moment). You are almost there, and your eye is wide open, ready to embrace his new friend. 

Plot twist. Your eyelid closes. Again, again and again. It’s like there’s a switch somewhere: as soon as the enemy is too close, it’s time to close the curtains. And then you sort of wish you were in that A Clockwork Orange scene where the eyes are clamped open… But then you think again, realise it might be a bit painful and forget about it. 

After several failed attempts, somehow you succeed. You are now wearing one contact lens on your right eye. WOW! It’s a whole new world out there, you think, keeping your left eye closed. Fuelled with adrenaline, you rush and manage to put the contact lens on your left eye on your first strike. Oh boy, does it feel good… 

It’s like seeing for the first time. The frame of your glasses is gone. Your eyes are wild and free to look wherever they want. Everything is clear and focused. It’s better than a dream! Every once in a while, your hand reaches up in an attempt to readjust your glasses (which are no longer there). It will take a while to get rid of this automated action… Later on, you’re chilling on the sofa and decide to read a book and out of force of habit, you reach for your glasses and put them on*. 

*All memories of what happened afterwards have been meticulously erased. Thank you, brain, I owe you one. 

Thank you, Writers’ HQ for this lovely exercise on day#1 of 14 Days of Self Write-solation :).

P.S.: Aliens struggle with eyesight too. Find evidence on that here.

Guess what, I’m immune to coronavirus -I mean, an alien!- (Chapter 8)

8th of April, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, I can finally say goodbye to those sleepless nights staring at the ceiling… I’m officially immune. Take that, COVID-19! When Dr. Crownie told me over the phone, my three-eyed-glasses almost crashed on the floor from the excitement. I got so pumped that I immediately created an event on Facebook to celebrate my immunity. I invited Dave, Dr. Crownie and his lab assistant, and his weird four-legged creature with a tail and a big tongue. Shortly after everyone started rejecting my invitation: “Sorry mate, can’t make it”. “Hopefully next time”. “Quite busy at the moment”. “Unfortunately I got my online shiatsu massage scheduled at that time”.

How silly of me. Obviously, no one would be able to come to my party. Sometimes I feel like I’m from another planet. Do you ever feel this way?

So here’s the thing. (DISCLAIMER: I’m not 100% sure this is true, but hey, who is?) Right now, I might be the only living creature who can break the rules and get away with it.

I could go out for a run 15 times a day. Eat mindfully in empty restaurants (cooking my food and quickly refilling my cup of water after drinking). I could travel around Europe in a private jet (It’s not actually a private jet, but I would be the only passenger anyway, so it would be super cool) and go sightseeing in ghost cities. I could even buy one banana in every single supermarket in town (for market research purposes, you got me).

There’re so many things I could do that I don’t know where to start… Truth is, it might eventually get boring -and potentially quite depressing-. I need to start thinking of ways I could clone myself or just anyone really… But someone COVID-19-proof. And then we could travel the world, less than two meters apart, holding each other’s hands… And it would feel like a dream. These are just my humble ideas. What would YOU do if you were immune too? 😉

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 7)

Easter 2020 in a nutshell. Yes, I know it’s not an egg. Photo by Brunno Tozzo

2nd of April, 2020

I feel like it has been Sunday for ten days in a row but I have the impression this might not be possible. At least, here on Earth.

Anyway, somehow I forgot to write in my diary… Luckily I didn’t forget about my virtual appointment with my GP several days ago. Dr Crownie, still wearing his SpongeBob pyjamas, seemed to be fascinated with my case. He was also deeply concerned in case coronavirus caused unexpected symptoms in my body. Then he went on about his long career and how he had never encountered a similar situation and asked for permission to write a report about me. If I could blush, I could have… But aliens don’t blush. My mum would be so proud of me! I would be famous! Right you, back to the important bits.

So yeah, basically Dr Crownie told me that I have to collect and send some samples for him to perform a “thorough and compendious” analysis. No idea what he meant, but I agreed anyway. He needed blood, breath, urine and hair. HAIR! What on Mars is that? Ah right, that fluffy thing some humans have to keep their head nice and warm… Well, I don’t have (or need) any of that, thank you very much.

So yeah, unfortunately I still don’t know if I can get coronavirus. I have to wait for the results… I feel cool as a cucumber, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. And no, of course I didn’t manage to get those COVID-19 positive human samples from the hospital because Dr Crownie told me to self-isolate at home until he has more information on how to proceed. Yes, I am a disappointment to my family. I might not be allowed in my hometown ever again. And no, my aunt won’t send me chocolate eggs for Easter… Not even a card.

Ready for the next chapter?

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 6)

24th of March, 2020

I have to admit that when Dave first mentioned it, I was about to bake a cake because I thought they had discovered a new asteroid. Turns out it’s not exactly that. And it’s not good news. But I was kind of close. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure you know there’s a new virus going around. What you might not know is that there’s an astrobiologist called Chandra Wickramasinghe that claimed that COVID-19 came from space, travelling through a meteor.

Offended? A LOT. Puzzled? That too. I wish I had paid more attention at school… I feel too embarrassed to email my teacher about this. Luckily, my aunt is a police officer, so I thought it was appropriate to send her a link with the article so she can properly investigate the issue. She told me that she needs proof ASAP. Guess who will have to sneak into the hospital and “borrow” some positive swab samples COVID-19 positive… Not sure exactly how am I going to send them over to her. But I’ll sort out the logistics tomorrow.

But still, there are too many unanswered questions. My poor four brains can’t cope. Here’s my question: can I, since everyone keeps claiming I am an “alien” (no comments…), get infected with the virus as well? Should I expect the same symptoms as humans? Do I need to wear a mask? Where do I find a mask that doesn’t irritate my slimy skin? Are the space borders closed as well or can I go and “briefly” visit my mum to tell her I’m OK?

I phoned 007 and when I explained I was an alien they hung up and blocked my number. SHOCKING. No one seems to take me seriously here, except for Dave. Because look, if it turns out I am immune to COVID-19, I could go and help at the hospitals, do the grocery for elderly people, walk people’s dogs… But instead, here I am, stuck in my flat, refreshing teenager memories by watching Venus Shore for the fifth time… And I can’t even meet Dave for a cup of tea.

Tomorrow at 2.59pm I have a videocall with my GP. Let’s see what he has to say… Stay safe everyone…

Hungry for more? 😉