Cooking 101 – Bakewell Tart

I made brownies last time…so i have the confidence to try something a bit different now. How amazing is that cover photo though right? I know, it’s hard for me to believe that’s what came out too hahaha

This time, i had the added pressure of having joined the baking club in my workplace and this, well this was my turn. Every Friday is more than just the weekend to look forward to now, yummy food comes with it too. So far, everyone in the baking club has been making supurb cakes and delicious desserts! (favourite so far is the creme brulee!). I was going to make something basic like brownies or banana cake, but i think i can do better right? take on those challenges in life right? even when your work mates lives are in the line hah!

So, here goes nothing.

Teacher: Master Chef, Internet

Description: What the hell is a Bakewell tart? I didn’t know until i made it so bear with me. The Bakewell Tart is a classic British dessert, it is a tart and like most tarts consist of a buttery type pastry with something inside and on top. In this case, mine will have some home made Rasberry Jam and to top it off some yummy icing sugar, rasberries and flaked almonds! Yumm, I can see you drooling already! well, at the time of writing, i’ve yet to taste it, but it smells delicious!

  • 12 Servings
  • Prep time: 60minutes
  • Bake time: 30minutes

Ingredients:

  • 25g of granulated sugar
  • 125g of plain flour
  • 100g (75g + 25g) of icing sugar
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 75g of ground almonds
  • 8g of roasted flaked almonds
  • 150g (75g + 75g) of unsalted butter
  • 100g (75 + 25g) quality and fresh rasberries
  • 2 medium sized quality and fresh eggs
  • 18cm round cake tin

Method:

  1. Let’s make the jam! put 75g of raspberries into a saucepan. Add the 25g of granulated sugar with 2 tbsp of water, place on medium heat and simmer for around 5 minutes or until you have a thick syrup. Pour into a small bowl for later.
  2. Grease the cake tin and place a sheet of baking paper at the base of the tin.
  3. Now let’s make the pastry! Place 125g of plain flower and 25g of icing sugar together with 75g of the unsalted butter in a large bowl and use your hands to rub together to make like a breadcrumb-like consistency. Smells good! Seperate one egg and add just the yolk in, knead the dough together until the yolk is mixed into the pastry.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15minutes before laying it out on a sheet of baking paper.
  5. Begin the rolling! roll out the pastry till it’s about 3-5mm thick and wide enough to fit the tin. Transfer thus pastry into thy tin. Leave a little bit of pastry around the edges. Using a fork, prick the base of the pastry case all over.
  6. Evenly spread the jam to the base of the pastry case and place the tin into the fridge for 20minutes to chill whilst the filling is being made.
  7. Begin to pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C with fan.
  8. Add 75g of butter and 50g of caster sugar into a bowl and beat together with a spoon until light and fluffy. Add one whole egg and continue mixing.FInally add the 75g of ground almonds to the mix and stir until combined. (Tip: Careful not to overmix this part!).
  9. Spoon the filling into the tin, spacing it over the layer of jam careful not to mix it in with the jam. Smooth over the top for a good look!
  10. Put the tart into the oven and bake for 25minutes, to tell when ready, put a fork in the centre, it should come out clean.
  11. When cooked, allow the tart to fully cool on a wire rack before taking on the next step of decorating.
  12. The icing! put the 75g of icing sugar into a bowl and stir, with one tsp of water at a time in until you get a nice glue-like icing for the tart. Use a piping bag to help decorate as you please.
  13. Finish it off with some flaked almonds and raspberries decorated to your liking!

Footnotes and nutritional facts:

  • Very non-nutritional, but tasty so it balances out, right?
  • Store in a nice cool place
  • Decorate with rasberries right before serving
  • Cream is apparently a good addition but i didnt get to check that out
  • Remember there’s a silent p in the spelling of raspberries! lol
  • Make sure you add water slooooooowly as you mix the icing sugar to a right consistency
  • Take better photos….while cooking…

Happy reading. Happy baking! 🙂

Learning to Learn – Personal Summary Notes

These are my personal notes taken to help understand the content behind how we as individuals learn new things in life.


Week 1

Our minds can wander between two modes of thinking:

  1. Focused Mode – Pre-frontal cortex; good with familiar contexts
  2. Diffused – representative of our resting state; good with understanding new ideas

Learning something new requires the ability to focus on the task at hand. When the task at hand proves difficult to understand or grasp, we then allow the diffused mode to take place, the resting state so that we may open our minds to a broader way of thinking about the problem.

The problem of procrastination:

  • Procrastination is your mind telling you that the task at hand is painful and wanting you to switch to something more pleasant, temporarily.
  • Use the Pomodoro technique; focus for 45minutes, rest for 15minutes.

Practice and repetition:

  • Working memory contains about 4 “slots” which you can switch between to work on a task.
  • Is key to allowing you to take information from the working memory into the long term memory. Set a time each day or a day each week to repeat or continue learning the topic.

Sleep and exercise:

  • Allows our brain to remove toxins built up during the day
  • Gives our brain the chance to catalogue information collected throughout the day
  • Exercise allows our brain to create new neurons in the hippocampus which aids in memory and learning.

Additional – Creativity and the 2 of the big 5 personality traits (OCEAN)

  • Openness – Is a highly positive trait that allows us to take in new ideas and be more creative
  • Concientiousness – Not significant
  • Extraversion – Not significant
  • Agreeableness – Is a negative trait as to disagree, to not conform means we challenge the status quo, challenge the moderm models.
  • Neurotism – Not significant

Additional – Writing

  • Biggest mistake is to edit (focused) while you’re writing (diffused)

Additional – Learning a language

  • Learn a new language for the right reasons, is it a language you’re excited to learn and why?
  • It’s about making mistakes, allowing yourself to make mistakes and not being scared to make those mistakes!! Language is really good with that because you can still be understood with pieces of a language.
  • Be careful with self fulfilling prophecies!

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, youre right” – Henry Ford.

  • Rote repetition is not the way to learn a word, try and use mnemonics (word association) to tie words to things you are familiar with or can visualise.

Week 2

Chunking

  • Chunking is the grouping of similar ideas into a single “chunk”. This helps when you recall ideas and topics, instead of the individual ideas that you are recalling, you instead recall the “chunk” and everything that has been embedded into the chunk follows with.
  • Focus attention and find patterns, don’t mistake moments of clarity as learning, this is understanding but won’t stick if you don’t practice.
  • Gain context (top-botton) to see where all the chunks (bottom-up) fit into the bigger picture.

Illusions of learning

  • Having the answers close by or in front of you or easily accessed can give up a false sense of understanding in our minds.
  • Re-learning or overlearning something you already know is comfortable and will give you an illusion that you know the topic well.
  • Recall is much much more effective than re-reading.
  • Simply recalling what you have learned (or any memory in fact) helps you to embed that memory deeper into the long term
  • A way to help you practice recall is testing yourself

Motivation – a neurochemical reaction

  • Acetycholine affects focused learning and attention. They project widely and activate circuits that control synaptic plasticity leading to long term memory.
  • Dopamine signals in relation to unexpected rewards and can predict future rewards
  • Seratonin affects social life and risk taking

Interleaving

  • Once confident with a topic, try to approach the problem from another direction, with a different mindset, try to use the problem in ways different from the normal repetitive sense.

Habits

  • Habits are an incredible tool to move past procrastination
  • There are four parts to forming a habit.
    1. The cue – the signal that begins the routine
      • Usually happens based on location, time, feelings and routine.
    2. The routine – what you automatically do when you see that cue
      • You must notice and actively focus on rewiring your routine. So have a plan of what to do when you see the cue.
    3. The reward – the satisfaction and good feeling you get from doing the routine
      • Provide yourself with a reward which could be anything from food to relaxing etc
    4. The belief – that you can overcome or take on this new habit

Process vs Product

  • Focus on the process and not the end product
  • Process = steps involved
  • Product = the thing which is to be completed

Practical ways of changing habits

  • Brief weekly list of key tasks to achieve
  • Before bed, write down what you can reasonbly work on or complete the next day
  • You can adjust this to your work life. Write a list of tasks that must be achieved by the week then each morning spend some time writing down what will be acheieved that day.
  • It is good to have little tasks within the day that you can check off whether it’s time for cleaning your desk, grabbing some tea or going for a walk, this mixes things up and makes things fun.
  • Additionally, it is important to have a finish time listed each day. A combination of work and play is more effective than long hours of work.
  • And remember – Eat your frogs first everyday! 🙂

Memory

  • Visual memory is powerful. Link topics, formulas and concepts to visual cues whenever you can which will help you remember.
  • Use the memory palace for lists and groups of things
  • It is our Hippocampus in our brains that helps us learn and remember new things
  • The process of Consolidation, Reconsolidation and Reactivation occurs during your sleep.
  • Consolidation – The process wherby the hippocampus helps store memories
  • Reconsolidation – whenever a memory is recalled

Becoming a better learner – Tips

  • Exercise is the No.1 most important thing in helping neurons in the brain survive.
  • Practice makes perfect only when you are prepared.

Visual Metaphor & Analogies

  • Assist glue ideas with existing ideas already present in your mind
  • Try to use yourself as the concept you are trying to understand. I.e the flow of electrons can be imagined by you flowing in the river that is run by a pump.

People learn by trying to make sense of the information they perceive. Rarely do people learn by only being told how things are.

Sneaking off to learn on your own to learn is when you’ll begin to see that what teachers and experts show you is only a partial version of the whole picture. Charles Darwin “snuck” away from his medical degree to join a ship around the world to wander around on his own to see nature first hand. Take responsibility of your own learning.

Deliberate practice of the real tough areas of the subject is key to listing your expertise.

Watch out for Imposter Syndrome when you are trying to learn. It’s when you feel like you are learning the content slower than others or that you’re not good enough to learn it, that others will find this out. Everyone has different gifts, when one door closes, another one opens, keep your chin up and eyes on the open door.

We know something for sure: You can make significant changes in our brain by changing how we think.

Take pride in aiming for success because of the very things that make others say you can’t do it. Take pride in the qualities that make you, you and use them as a secret talisman for success. Use your natural contrariness to defy the always present prejuges from others who will try to undermine your success.

Hard Start – Jump to Easy

In an exam you should start by looking through all the questions and starting with the hardest one. As soon as you get stuck on the tough question, go to do an easier question then go back to the hard question later.

The Great Lakes District

Quick Facts

  • Title: The Great Lakes District Multi-Day Hike and Camp
  • Status: Completed
  • Dates: 18th April 2019 to 22nd April 2019
  • Objective: To trek the most popular mountains and gorgeous Lakes District over the Easter long weekend.
  • Route: Self-determined involving Inland, mountainous terrain, lakes and river systems.
  • Approx Distance: 100+ Kilometers
  • Approx Hiking Time: 35+ Hours in Total
  • Accommodation: 4 Nights Camping

Facts and Insights

  • Two of the highest peaks in England were tackled during this endeavor. Scafell Pike (978m) and Helvellyn (950m).
  • England’s longest lake was an incredibly popular destination, Windermere stretching over 16km long!
  • Weather; a low of 5 degrees and surprising tops of 19 degrees! Windy but not enough to close off any trails. Weather took the surprise of all who visited over the weekend, sunny everyday, an incredibly rare sight for all.
  • This was a personal challenge. Climbing almost a dozen mountain tops including the two highest in England has inspired me to undertake other great endeavors throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and in time, no doubt mountain ranges of the world.
  • A colleague said that this was more like an expedition! haha makes me feel like Indiana Jones, exploring and discovering hidden treasures. Although it was only 4 days, the fact that it was a unique and personal path made it the more special.
  • During the hike, I pondered over many thoughts, one of which was the reason why I chose to do this. I think for me, it’s not just a hike up the mountain. It’s not about all the incredible sights that you set your eyes upon nor is it predominantly for my own physical fitness. The journey to me is a mental challenge I choose to face, it is continuing to walk even when your whole body is shaking and aching for you to stop. It is making it to the top, to the finish line without doubt in your mind that you have stuck to your own word. I think everything else, the lakeside views, mountaintops, sleeping under the stars and moon, the physical fitness it brings…they’re all bonuses, incredible and amazing bonuses that come with all great achievements in life.
  • Also, dogs climb mountains too, so many of them! so cute!

Introduction

The Lakes District is an incredibly popular destination for the English not only for it’s natural beauty but also for it’s challenging hikes and mountainous ranges. Over the past few months I have taken my time to plan a personal route (made up of many others whom have come before me) to experience a one of a kind trek through the district. From the early morning’s and till sunset, I spent hiking and during the evening’s I set down my tent and gear and prepared for a night under the stars in the mountain tops! Before you think I’m crazy, I’ve done this before! and with each and every adventure I become better equipped both mentally and physically.

I’ve missed home sweet home Australia for all of her natural beauty. I hope for my friends out there whom are home, they never take it for granted. In so many ways, I will always return home to finish my round trip along her beautiful coast. This to me, is just a little detour.

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The planned route including major checkpoints. But all plans are never solid, charged with my trusty map and compass, I crossed areas with no tracks but just my own.

Day 1 – Friday

What a great idea it was to spend the first night at a bed and breakfast. Arriving at Windermere quite late into the night, there was no time nor the light to hike to the first random checkpoint; plus, the time was spent well making preparations for the long journey ahead. I loved the whole homey feel of the place; an old wooden charm and the warm and inviting fireplace and lighting made me feel right at home. She also had a great history to tell, with photo’s, artworks and decorations dating back to the old days. Bed and breakfast’s are a big thing out here in England, they’re in-between air-bnb’s and hotels because the owners are usually also living in the home, retired and invite guests along to enjoy their home, they also cook you breakfast to top it off. There is also no doubt in the world that the traditional English breakfast that was served that morning was delicious and aided in my survival throughout the first day.

How nice it was to follow the beautiful walls of stone that climb the sides of these mountains. Often would I think about how and who had the job of placing each and every one of them, perfectly in a position that looks as if it has held for decades.

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It was not long after the beginning that I stumbled upon a bunch of young travellers, taken aback on the hillside inhaling what I could clearly tell was a joint. In fact, this wasn’t only a singular occurrence, I saw this numerous times during the hike and furthermore there were groups of people hiking whilst half drunk! How this was achieved is beyond me, I was more worried about not twisting my ankle on the first day of the trip and asking for them to take photo’s of me hah! If it wasn’t for them, all I had was my non-steady Go-Pro to rely on which took longer to set up than I’d liked.

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Day 2 – Saturday

Who knew that after today Scafell would be conquered?! I should of known that, but really, it was hard to know where you would end up by the end of the day. The plans and tracks that had been made, the checkpoints were only a guide, it would take me a few more great hikes to be able to predict how long it would take me to climb any one mountain; and so the sights were set to go as far as one could along the planned route.

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It was an incredibly rocky road to Scafell Pike, and I don’t say that figuratively! Three paths to take up the peak and the toughest of them all had to be taken, but I guess I’d say, for have we really conquered a mountain if we did not take on her greatest challenge?

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Scafell was busy. Like really busy! Forget about a peaceful climb to the top with nature and the birds and bees following you around. Dozens of hikers arrived at any one time, small and large tour groups made it to the top with cheers and clapping heard all around. When I’d finally overcome the rocky pass, my arms were in the air, a big smile could be seen and an aura of one who had just made a great achievement came over me. From a distance, the peak looked really cool, a pile of rocks stacked on the top allowed visitors to stand and sit up there in unison to enjoy a 360 panorama of the entirety of the lakes. It was beautiful, the energy up there was a high and so there I sat and let time pass me by for hours on end.

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The “easy” way down the mountain was towards the lake of Wast Water. It was a long way down which felt like forever but what made it all the worthwhile was the sun setting down against the lake, probably one of the biggest highlights of the entire trip. A warm orange glow encompassed everyone going down that mountain and after achieving such great heights, it was the best way for most to end their day.

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I on the other hand had taken a slight detour shortly before arriving down at the lake. Making my way down to a super small town called Wasdale in search for a place to camp. As luck would have it, the tiny town had a little campsite with food and drinks to be served along with all the amenities required by those who hadn’t showered for days!

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Day 3 – Sunday

I would say that Sunday was the most relaxing of all the days. Despite a slow start to the day (slow because of an alternate far tougher path up a hill), the day was spent mostly on the lower ground or shall I say, on the lower levels of the mountains.

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There was a moment of real peace when I stopped by the riverside, between two adjacent trees that gave off a perfect shade beside the rapids. There I kicked up my feet in the water and took a much needed break from the sun as by then parts of me were as red as tomatoes! (And FYI, if you’re wondering, of course I used sunscreen and wore a hat!).

Another mountain top later we were overlooking yet another gorgeous lake right off the small town of Buttermere. More tourists flocked here to walk around the lake on footpaths meant for child strollers and bicycles. The one ice cream parlor was overrun by eager children hoping for something sweet and cold. I was definitely one of those children and couldn’t resist one myself; with chocolate icing of course!

Close by was the nice town of Keswick. Keswick is a must visit local town in the Lakes District if you do come up here, it’s a really beautiful old town with some great spots to take photos of the streets and town square. I have to also mention how great it was to meet two locals travelling in for the weekend with their dogs, it made for such a great conversation about the Lakes and other hikes to be done. They’d told me how in all their years they’ve been here, they’ve never seen it so sunny all weekend around because of all the mountains and all. I guess I was lucky! or I’d just brought the sunshine with me haha lame joke*

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To end the day, I made my way up as high as I could towards Helvellyn, this was an exciting part of the trip and couldn’t stop thinking about the “scramble” across the Striding Edge, you’ll know what I mean by that soon. An hour into the hike I’d completely lost the pathway but with my trusty compass I was never too far away from one I’d make myself. I put in the extra effort to climb till the sun set further before I pitched my tent, by then and because of the constant upward battle for over 2 hours, I was sweating a heap and there I was, shirtless half way up the mountain without a town in sight as the sun set in the distance.

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Day 4 – Monday

I woke up this morning with the wind rocking the tent side to side. It was 6:30am, cold outside but surprisingly warm on the inside. It really pays to know what is required in a good tent! Despite this, I found it hard to fall back asleep till the sun rose above the mountains. I made the decision right there and then that I was to have my breakfast consisting of some tuna, nuts, a carrot, an apple and some sweets to top up that sugar level. I cuddled back into the sleeping bag to let the food warm me up before I lept out there into the cold, damp and slightly foggy morning to unpack it all.

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Today, I made an incredible head start on the track towards Helvellyn. As the night before I had put in some extra effort to get as high as I could, I was almost at the top before 7am. From up there, the suns warm glow was a sight for sore eyes and so I sat there basking in her delight. Pillars of rock were all around me and as for those who are experience hikers knew, the pillars are a piece of each person who’d made it up there with a rock of their own to place on the mountain. It was a beautiful sight when I added yet another one to the pile. Would you call these checkpoints? I think you would, they’re checkpoints for the individual to be proud of, to have made it so far.

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At the top it was quiet, peaceful and calm. Because I had made it up there so early, there was no one else there. Oddly enough and don’t tell my parents, there were some sweets in a goodie bag stuffed at the peak of a pillar, they looked fresh so I took it upon myself to have some and say thanks to the kind mountain gods, I in turn added some of my own goodies to the bag to pay it forward. Shortly after, I’d basked in the sunlight some more, a couple arrived at the top and we sat against the wall and talked of mountainsides around Europe and the way ahead. For ahead me was yet another challenge known as the Striding Edge!

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Now, the English have a saying for walks like this, they call it scrambling, I’ve not actually heard the term before so I’m not sure if it’s entirely an English thing but it pretty much was rock climbing on the peaks of the mountains ranges! Most people do so monkey-like but not holding 10kg of baggage as I was so I made sure that I climbed on slow and steady, for one slip meant falling hundreds of meters down below. To be honest, I’m not sure why this is even allowed and again to be honest, it was the first time I’ve actually been scared for my life in a long time. Sadly many people actually die from this very scramble (20 deaths in fact and many more injured in 2017 alone!) I won’t be taking on any more challenges like this for now, no thank you! Looking back it was fun and thrilling but I love life too much to risk that again haha

Did I also mention there is a gravestone with a touching story of a life lost because of this edge? In summary, a man climbing these edges fell to his death, his dog was found wandering around his corpse in incredible sadness and distress. The plaque is to remind us all of the strength and enduring love of our companions during great endeavors. And then a tear fell from my eyes.

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The final stretch of the hike proved to be quite merciful and with gorgeous views of Lake Ullswater, there was nothing more that could have ended this trip on a high…

Except, a really pretty town and lamb shanks by the lake!!! Seriously was well deserved after conquering such a beast in which was The Lakes District.

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Thanks for reading my friends. What challenges do you choose to face in life to help you prepare for the worst?

The Thought of You

The thought of meeting someone like you

keeps me going on each and every day.

It’s someone like you who keeps my heart in a constant leap,

reminds me that i have loved

that i can still love again.

It is the thought of you that brings me so much pain,

a pain that still makes me smile

just by knowing it happened,

that it was real.

That’s how i know that i am truly alive

because it is the thought of you that i am who i am today

and i can only thank you for everything that you were to me,

that you still are to me

and that will always be.