Gloriously lazy lemon blueberry egg white food processor cookies!

Yes! These cookies contain food processor! :P

Everything except adding the blueberries and shaping the cookies into balls is done in a food processor. You prolly want a sturdy food processor though, my last puny one died in horror at the thought of having to make a whole lemon tart.

Why egg whites? Because we had some left over and I wanted to get rid of them.

Why brown sugar? To make up for the lack of egg yolk.

Why not just cream the cookies? I was curious to see whether this 'reverse creaming' method works for cookies too. It works great for scones, cupcackles, and pie crusts after all. And also because washing the food processor is less work than beating in flour or folding it in with a spoon, and for me, the lazier a recipe, the better. Plus, this requires no planning (no leaving the butter out), and no guess-nuking to soften the butter. Lastly, I hate creaming butter, the sugar always tries to escape, and I get bored standing there with the hand mixer...

Chewy inside, crispy outside lemon cookie!
400g cake flour
100g salted butter (room temp)
150g white sugar
50g dark brown sugar
60g egg white
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from half a lemon (50ml~)
Some dried blueberries (fresh ones will leak horribly)
Vanilla essence

  1. Throw butter, sugars, cake flour into food processor
  2. Pulse until breadcrumby
  3. Add lemon zest
  4. Pulse some more
  5. Add vanilla essence and lemon juice to whirring food processor
  6. Pulse until dough looks right - sort of like plasticine
  7. Mix in blueberries
  8. Plop in fridge for about an hour
  9. Preheat oven to 150-60C
  10. Make (large) truffle-sized balls, try to get at least one blueberry per cookie
  11. Plop balls about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet
  12. Bake for 20~ minutes, until edges are slightly brown


Mechanism design and the invisible influence of culture and power

From a rather interesting article from mckinsey.com - Leadership and behaviour: Mastering the mechanics of reason and emotion.

Eric Maskin: Mechanism design recognizes the fact that there’s often a tension between what is good for the individual, that is, an individual’s objectives, and what is good for society—society’s objectives. And the point of mechanism design is to modify or create institutions that help bring those conflicting objectives into line, even when critical information about the situation is missing.

An example that I like to use is the problem of cutting a cake. A cake is to be divided between two children, Bob and Alice. Bob and Alice’s objectives are each to get as much cake as possible. But you, as the parent—as “society”—are interested in making sure that the division is fair, that Bob thinks his piece is at least as big as Alice’s, and Alice thinks her piece is at least as big as Bob’s. Is there a mechanism, a procedure, you can use that will result in a fair division, even when you have no information about how the children themselves see the cake?

Well, it turns out that there’s a very simple and well-known mechanism to solve this problem, called the “divide and choose” procedure. You let one of the children, say, Bob, do the cutting, but then allow the other, Alice, to choose which piece she takes for herself. The reason why this works is that it exploits Bob’s objective to get as much cake as possible. When he’s cutting the cake, he will make sure that, from his point of view, the two pieces are exactly equal because he knows that if they’re not, Alice will take the bigger one. The mechanism is an example of how you can reconcile two seemingly conflicting objectives even when you have no idea what the participants themselves consider to be equal pieces.

The bit I quoted above really struck me as either lazy thinking, or unintentional blindness.

It bugs me that Eric Maskin uses children in a room with cake to generalise about human behaviour, without specifying important stuff.

Such as:
Where are the children from?
What are their cultural norms?
What is their relationship to each other?
Will their actions have any repercussions beyond getting less cake?

Happily ignoring all those things, Maskin goes on to apply this concept to management and organisations. Which means that power differentials and politics are also ignored, along with what I previously listed about cultural norms and relationships. It also focuses on an extremely short-term goal.

If the cultural norm is to appear generous...
...then Bob will cut an obviously smaller piece, which lets Alice choose the bigger piece if she wishes to. She may not, she may also wish to appear gracious, and take the smaller piece. But regardless of what happens, it's doubtful to me that the cake would be divided equally.

If Bob has more power - maybe he has the ability to beat Alice up without being scolded for it, even if he doesn't actually want to
...then Bob will whatever he thinks is fair, and count on Alice's fear of him, and understanding of the difference in power, to control which piece she takes. Which means that if Bob cuts an obviously smaller piece, he'll get a nice big piece. And if he cuts an even portion, then he'll get to feel good about himself. And in both cases, Alice's 'choice' isn't really a free choice.

Srsly Nugget? It's just cake!
You could argue that Maskin stated that 'Bob and Alice's objectives are each to get as much cake as possible', but it's pretty obvious that cake is a metaphor for money (or resources).

The fact is, in the real world, choices are rarely so clear and simple. There are always trade-offs. Of course every worker wants to 'get as much cake as possible'. ;) But maybe some workers will take less cake now, if it means a more reliable supply of cake in the future. (I.e. a foreign worker on a temporary visa will likely settle for less 'cake' until they're able to get a permanent visa.)

Humans are complicated. It's never just cake. ;)

Green tea white chocolate & dark chocolate truffle bar things

Dark chocolate base is exactly the same as the hazelnut pistachio strawberry osmanthus truffle bar things, except without hazelnut essence.

I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate (too sweet for me), but a work human really likes these - he took this photo - so I'm plopping the green tea white chocolate part here.

Ingredients

  • 50ml sweetened condensed milk (aka 1 part)
  • 100g white chocolate (aka 2 parts)
    Broken into squares it comes in. I'm too lazy to do more than that.
  • some matcha (about a teaspoon)
    You can get a cheap matcha from an Asian grocery ($5 or so for a small tin). Just make sure it's actually matcha, from Japan, or it will likely be waaaaay too bitter.
    T_T I thought I could be a cheapo-nug and get a 500g bag of green tea powder from Taiwan. Don't do it!!! That stuff is foul.
    Don't use ceremonial matcha (the stuff the ninja ladies in Lustbader books do tea ceremonies with) - other than being very expensive, IMO it's a waste. You lose the umamis and delicate flavours once the white chocolate steamrolls over them.
Crafting
  1. Dump white chocolate in a bowl.
  2. Shove bowl in microwave, melt at half power for 15s.
  3. Stir.
  4. Repeat Step 2 and 3 until there are just a few nubs of unmelted white chocolate left.
    Should be about 3 - 5 minutes or so of heating in total. Do NOT just set the microwave to half power for 3 minutes and nuke. You need to do the irritating nuke and stir because white chocolate burns very very easily. If you just nuke without stirring, it will burn, and there's no saving it. Well, you could pretend you wanted to 'caramelise' it. XD You can also do all this on a water bath if you want. ;)
  5. Stir until the unmelted white chocolate goes away.
  6. Plop in condensed milk, stir stir stir till incorporated.
    It will look a bit greasy, don't worry about it. :)
  7. Assuming you've also made the dark chocolate bottom, pour that into some kind of (parchment-paper-lined) pan, make pathetic attempt at forming some sort of 'slab'.
  8. Plop the green tea white chocolate blob on top, and make a further sad attempt at slabbing it evenly.
  9. Decorate in a suitably 'artisanal' fashion.
  10. Put gently in fridge (no need to cover unless your fridge has stinky things).
  11. Ignore for at least 4 hours.
  12. Remoof from fridge, cut into squares.
  13. Eat all the leavings that are ~_o 'unfit for presentation'.

Ceremonial matcha
I realised I was doing too much matcha-ranting in the ingredients section, so I moved that here...

This matcha is one of my favourite ceremonial matchas, and is great value for money for drinking.

O-cha are great, and buying from them is cheaper (shipping included) than buying matcha locally in Australia. And the quality is amazing.

If you're curious about matcha brewed usucha or koicha style, then I'd advise getting some overpriced and expensive Australian stuff (T2, kenkotea, etc), and only then getting stuff from O-cha. Then you'll really be able to compare a good matcha with a terrible (or badly stored) one. ;)


    Chocolate mousse with green tea biscuit moss, icing flowers, and fairies!

    So cute! Also super simple, and not as fiddly as it looks.

    The only thing we actually made was the mousse.

    Would have been prettier with fresh, edible flowers. But a lot more perishable, so I didn't use them. Also, I was too lazy to go the market to get those...

    Ingredients
    Coles icing sugar flowers
    - I wanted the roses, but the Coles I went to didn't have them. :(
    Coles 100s & 1000s aka fairies - not the shiny silver fairies, the cute pastel fairies! Also known as dragees.
    Green tea & adzuki bean biscuit, crushed - can't find pics because I can't remember the name. ;>.> The important thing is that the biscuit must be green tea, not the filling. Or else it will probably not be green enough to be moss. Or you can make your own green tea biscuits and crush them.
    Chocolate mousse (eggless) - but not fatless! Ooh fat. I love fat.

    Chocolate Mousse Crafting Ingredients
    100g 70% cocoa chocolate
    200ml sweetened condensed milk
    300ml double cream <-- yes, fat, fat cream!
    Some dutch processed cocoa powder (non-dutch will work also)

    Chocolate Mousse Crafting Process

    1. Melt chocolate in microwave, or icky double boiler. Don't burn it. :P
    2. Add sweetened condensed milk to chocolate.
    3. Stir till it's more or less all the same
    4. Add cocoa powder.
    5. Stir some more, again until more or less all the same.
    6. Plop in all the double cream.
    7. Stir some more, again until more or less all the same. Zzzz.
    8. Beatbeat with hand mixer till stiff peaks. This happens FAST. Probably in a minute, tops.

    Tiny Fairy Garden Mousse Pot Assembly

    1. Plop chocolate mousse into ziplock bag.
    2. Cut off corner of bag.
    3. Pipe into cups.
      Stop at around 2/3 full. It will look like the cutest little turd. That is fine, because next we...
    4. Flatten the mousse so it doesn't look quite so turdlike.
      It doesn't have to be perfectly flat. Flat like churned, soft mud is fine. After all, no one is going to be able to see it.
    5. Dump carefully sprinkle crushed biscuit until you have an evenish layer.
      It's ok if you can still see a bit of mousse. Just not a lot of it.
    6. Bang each pot (carefully!) against your work surface a few times to settle everything.
    7. Sprinkle 100s & 1000s of fairies.
      Ok maybe a few less.
    8. Place icing sugar flowers.
    9. Refrigerate!
      Or eat. You can eat them at this point. Or take photos of them. Then eat them.

    The most effective user interfaces aren't invisible. They're sneaky.

    The 'best' user interfaces (UIs) are invisible.

    Catchy statement, right? After all, UIs like those are the ones you don't notice, cause you're busy getting stuff done.

    Except that it isn't true.

    The most effective UIs are the ones that make it easy, and even pleasurable for you to do what THEY want you to do.

    And what a UI wants you to do may not be what you want to do. (I'll leave the question of 'best for whom' aside for now.)

    For example...

    Casino UI
    Ahh, hello human, I want you to stay with me, and spend money continuously, for as long as possible, so that my owners can profit from you. :D

    Human
    I want to win! Winning makes me feel great! I'm sure my next big win is just around the corner!
    This is rather different from you, the human, saying, I want to stay in this place and spend money continuously, for as long as possible.


    Online Shopping UI (E.g. Fashion)
    Hi there human, I want you to desire everything I have on offer, and spend as much money as possible, so I'm gonna make buying as easy as possible. As far as I'm concerned, you can't buy too much! :D

    Human
    I wanna look good to other humans! And I don't wanna be ripped off while I... ooh shiny! I need this! And this! And this! Ooh and this!



    Clinical UI (E.g. Doctor)
    Hey doc, I want you to accurately record all the relevant information about your patients, so that your patients can get the best care you're able to provide. :D

    Human
    I want to make sure that I get everything down accurately, so that my colleagues and I are able to help our patients achieve the best outcomes possible.


    Usability is ethically neutral - UI design isn't

    There's an assumption that UIs that are user-friendly, and 'delightful' have our best interests at heart. From the examples above, this obviously isn't always true. It may not even often be true.

    Casino UI is a great example of conflict between what we want, and what the UI wants us to do. We appear to be travelling on the same 'journey', but at the end of the day, the relationship is parasitical at best, and adversarial at worst.

    Online Shopping UI has a less toxic relationship with us, as users. At least the UI isn't expressly designed to exploit our human weaknesses for profit. As a merchant's proxy, the UI very reasonably wants to make its goods attractive to us, and make it easy for us to buy stuff.

    Clinical UI is what we tend to assume we're getting, even when that trust is unwarranted. It embodies the classic concept of 'best UI'. What Clinical UI wants us to do works hand in hand with what we want to achieve for our patients.

    But even if the usability of all three UIs is the same, the ethical contrast between the three UI designs couldn't be more different.

    When it comes to usability, it's important to remember that there's no moral value attached to how easy something is to use. Moral value comes into existence when ease-of-use and pleasure is harnessed to directing specific behaviours.

    When we look at it that way, it's pretty easy to say: Casino UI is evil, Online Shopping is neutral, and Clinical UI is good.

    UX and UI design are essentially the design of systems, products, and interfaces that encourage, reinforce, and reward specific user behaviours.

    Whether the outcomes of these specific behaviours are beneficial or harmful to us - as users - is highly dependent on why the product was created in the first place.

    So the next time someone tells you that all you do as a designer is 'make pretty buttons', tell them that the pretty buttons are just a small, unthreatening part of designing reward systems for sneaky mind control. ;)

    Edible fairy garden! (aka rose, pistachio, peach, matcha, silver sugarballs dark chocolate truffle bar thing)

    Pristine Fairy Habitat

    This edible fairy garden (EAT ALL THE FAIRIES!) >.> uses exactly the same base as the Hazelnut pistachio strawberry osmanthus truffle bar things.

    Except that this time round, for pretties and flavourings we haz:
    - rose essence
    - vanilla essence
    - rose petals (from dried rosebuds for rose tea - some steamed to rehydrate them, some straight off the dry buds)
    - freeze-dried peach slice, chopped
    - silver sugar ball things (I think they're called 'dragees'. Or maybe 'fairies'. ~_o )
    - cheap matcha (nothing you'd want to make koicha, or even usucha with - good enough to cook is good enough)

    Am very pleased a nugget at how the blend of flavours turned out. If you like Turkish delight chocolates, this is just the thing, with the peaches adding interesting 'high' notes, and the pistachios adding nice texture. :X The matcha just adds fairy moss.

    Blurry Chunks of Sundered Fairy Habitat

    Alas, all my pics of the sliced squares turned out blurry. T_T That's what I get for taking pics after sundown!

    (If you're in Melbourne, don't bother with T2 matcha. It's bad. You're better off going to any random asian grocery and buying a 50g tin of matcha for $5~. Just make sure it's from Japan, and not a mainland chinese imitation. You'll be getting the same amount of quality, or lack thereof, for a tenth of the T2 price.)

    Hazelnut pistachio strawberry osmanthus truffle bar things

    Being the soul of restraint, it's SO unusual for me to go completely mad, and throw in the kitchen sink. Of course it is. Ahem.

    1) Hmm wanna make truffles but too lazy to roll balls. Okok let's make truffle bars.
    2) Drat, no Nutella, was planning to use that. Ooh but look, hazelnut essence. Ok!
    3) Pistachio looks so pretty in choccies, let's throw some in.
    4) Hey I have those freeze dried strawberries, and pink is pretty with green. Chop some of those and put them on top!
    5) Oo yellow is pretty with pink and I just happen to have dried osmanthus flowers...

    And so we have these Hazelnut pistachio strawberry osmanthus truffle bar things.

    They are amazing. I don't really like chocolate, I just love how it looks. But in the process of 'squaring' the bars, I've eaten more chocolate than I have in the past 6 months, lol!

    Best of all, they're super easy to make (well the base is), and you can throw as many 'pretties' as you like in / on top.

    Ingredients
    200ml sweetened condensed milk (aka 2 parts)
    200g good 70% cocoa dark chocolate (aka 2 parts) (broken into squares it comes in. I'm too lazy to do more than that.)
    25g~ honey
    25g~ butter (salted, unsalted, doesn't matter. I used salted cause lazy.)
    some vanilla essence
    some hazelnut essence
    some freeze-dried strawberries (chopped)
    some osmanthus flowers
    some pistachios (whole)

    Crafting
    1) Dump chocolate, honey, butter in a bowl.
    2) Shove bowl in microwave, melt until melted. Until the chocolate and stuff is melted. Not the bowl. If the bowl has melted, you've gone too far. Safest to stop when there are a few lumps of chocolate left, and finish it by stirring it all into a homogenous gloop.
    3) Throw in essences, stir stir stir till incorporated.
    4) Plop in condensed milk, stir stir stir till incorporated.
    5) Mix in pistachios .
    6) Pour into some kind of (parchment-paper-lined) pan, make pathetic attempt at forming some sort of 'slab'.
    7) Decorate with freeze-dried strawberry pieces and osmanthus flowers in a suitably 'artisanal' fashion.
    8) Tos...put gently in fridge (no need to cover unless your fridge has stinky things).
    9) Ignore for at least 4 hours.
    10) Remoof from fridge, cut into squares.
    11) Eat all the leavings that are ~_o 'unfit for presentation'.

    Notes
    If you want to mess with the ratio of condensed milk to chocolate, more milk will give you softer trufflepieces, more chocolate will give you harder ones (duh right). This ratio gives you pretty much perfect 'fancy truffle' texture. Not too squishy, not too hard, just right.

    Necromantic Breast Preservation Society

    As I was waddling along in Elder Scrolls Online, slaying skeletons left and right, something occurred to me...

    I would like to posit the existence of some kind of multiversal Necromantic Breast Preservation society.

    It is the only ~_o reason I can think of that across so many alternate game universes, female skeletons continue to retain their breast tissue.

    Especially since, as squishy fat deposits, the breasts should be among the first things to go.

    I believe that these necromancers may simply regard whatever additional preservation rituals are needed as 'breast practices'.

    = = = = = = (>'-')>

    Flourless peanut butter choc chip cookies from Kirbie's Cravings

    These flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from Kirbie's Cravings are really quite nice! And very lazy. That's important. :X

    I don't care if stuff is flourless, eggless, butterless, whateverless one way or the other, but I do care if there is less stuff I have to do. ;)

    These are one-bowl, no creaming, no softening butter, etc. Basically just dump and stir. Perfect!

    I didn't change the recipe at all (unusual for me), though ofc I didn't really measure stuff, I just eyeballed it...

    Only things I did change were the baking times (and I think) the portion sizes.

    I tend to like my cookies to be 1 teaspoon or so, rather than the 1 tablespoon that a lot of recipes seem to like.

    I also reduced the baking time, because at 11m, the first batch was waaaaay overdone. Still edible, but with edges beginning to burn.

    I don't think it's a problem with the original recipe though, which is great.

    I think it may be that:
    - my new oven runs hot
    - I'm baking on parchment paper on a black cookie sheet
    - my cookies are smaller

    With those things in mind 8m 15s at 175C turned out perfect cookies for me! :) Yey!

    Also, if you tend to think more in ratios like me, the ingredient ratio is roughly:
    - 4 parts peanut butter
    - 4 parts dark brown sugar
    - 1 part egg
    - some choc chips
    - some baking powder

    Three Little Pigs - A NuggeTwine Retelling.

    Soooo I discovered Twine. Or re-discovered, I should say, since the last time I looked at it a long time ago, it didn't look like it would survive.

    It now seems to be thriving!

    And so, of course, I made a story. About pigs. 3 little ones.

    Oh, I had high hopes and whattits initially, but when I sat down to write, somehow what fell out the most fluently was Three Little Pigs.

    ._. Go figure.

    Play my epic retelling of Three Little Pigs here!