Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: lamb

The art and science of cooking, part 5

I haven’t had time to organize my photos from my trip to Italy with my dad, so here’s something while that’s on hold – the 5th part of the “The art and science of cooking” series. After all, everyone likes some good food during the holiday season, no? 😉

As usual, if you want to check out the previous editions, go ahead and read PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, and PART 4.

Ever since I saw my friend Stephane’s post about the most perfect rack of lamb he made, I’d been itching to try it on my own. Then Florence showed me a mouthwatering photo of a rack of lamb that she made. That was it. I was going to make it. With a huge kitchen and a lovely oven at my disposal in Louvain-la-Neuve in October, there was almost no reason NOT to give it a try. And it worked magically. Stephane’s suggestion was so simple yet so perfect – 40 minutes at 400 degrees F, no prior marinating required. I had doubts when I was cooking but when I bit into the juicy, tender meat, I felt like my life has been completed. Thanks Stephane and Florence for the inspiration!

Continue reading

Advertisements

Portugal part 1: Sesimbra

The first annual IDS-FunMat Training School took place in Sesimbra, Portugal from March 13 to March 18, 2011. This was my first “sort of” conference, and I can’t really compare because I’ve never been to a real conference before. However, it’s Portugal, and c’mon, you’ve gotta treat it as a mini-vacation.

The IDS-FunMat program, short for International Doctoral School in Functional Materials, is a joint program between the European Commission and Canada – a bit weird, I know – that offers a 3- or 4-year doctorate where each candidate is affiliated with two universities and an industry partner. The two universities must be in separate countries, hence mobility is mandatory. 9 cities are involved: Bordeaux, Caen, Grenoble, and Paris in France, Louvain-la-Neuve and Liege in Belgium, Darmstadt in Germany, Lisbon in Portugal, and Waterloo in Canada. As you know, my PhD is joint between Bordeaux and Louvain-la-Neuve, and I have already made my first move at the beginning of March.

Where is Sesimbra? It’s a little fishing village approximately 50 kilometers from Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. The thing I was looking forward to the most, aside from the sunny weather and the beach, was meeting all the other PhD candidates in my program. There were 22 of us, coming from all around the world and now scattered throughout Europe due to our mobility schemes.

Enough about my program and onto the week! The schedule was jam packed with plenary lectures and presentations and workshops, but even in the midst of it all, the students were able to squeeze out every bit of free time to spend networking with and getting to know each other. Let’s take a look day by day. Mouseover the small pictures to read a brief description and click to see the full version.

Day 1: Arrival

Upon landing, I saw a magnificent view of Lisbon. Unfortunately I did not capture the moments before landing as I didn’t get a window seat, and that would have to wait until departure from Lisbon. Nevertheless, Lisbon definitely gave me an extremely good first impression.

The school arranged a shuttle bus to get us from the Lisbon airport to Sesimbra, which took around 45 minutes. We went through Lisbon city and the first thing I noticed was that the landscape of Lisbon is extremely hilly. Houses in Lisbon are built in layers of increasing height, and it was a rather unique overall design. More about Lisbon on day 5, where we had a little excursion around the city. For now, the scenes from the bus suffice to add some anticipation to the excursion.

Continue reading

Beyond V-Day

I had been contemplating the idea of investing in a better camera for a long time. At one point in time I was seriously looking into a purchase within the next three months. This week, I gave it a little more thought. My final decision is that I will not be buying any fancy camera any time soon (that probably means at least not this year). I will stick to my basic Canon A2000 (and my Sony Ericsson K770i cell phone camera, if I don’t have my Canon) for my day-to-day photography.

Many friends have encouraged me to get a DSLR for my adventures in Europe, and I do admit it’s going to be quite a loss if I were to insist on getting the perfect images, but really, anything beyond a pocket camera is simply impractical for me at the moment. Not to mention the cost of getting one of these babies, but having to carry a large camera around everywhere I go would be a hassle in the first place. I don’t think a DSLR would be on my list of things-I-bring-to-work-in-my-backpack-every-day, and it certainly is not something I’d like to lug around my neck most of the day. (Maybe I just need to be convinced that they’re not all as inconvenient as I imagine them to be.) My little A2000, however, conveniently fits into my coat pocket and I can draw it out any time when I see anything interesting that catches my attention (examples to follow).

I have no intention of becoming anything near a professional any time soon, although I have definitely developed a strong interest in photography after observing the works of my peers. However, I think I have also underestimated the amount of time that is needed to dive into the field and truly experience the essence of professional photography. I realize that this is time that I am unable to afford at this stage, and so I will remain as an outsider and retain this interest until much later, when I feel that I have the time to take on the challenge.

In the end, my purpose for taking photos is not to have gorgeous colours and effects, though that would be an added bonus. Photographing daily life is a pleasure in itself and does not require any extensive equipment beyond a small camera for an amateur. Of course, travel photography is much more thrilling, but to get a DSLR just for this purpose – with the constraints of budget and time in mind – is not worth it, in my opinion.

Enough about cameras and on with the photos 😛 By the way, happy Valentine’s Day or Singles Awareness Day, whichever one applies to you. Personally I think V-Day is immensely overrated anyway.

 
We start off this post with some adorable animals that I’ve encountered in Bordeaux. The first two photos are of a cat that happened to be staying at a friend’s house for a couple of weeks when I was visiting. It was a shy fellow, always hiding in the corner like a spy observing our every move. It has such sharp and beautiful eyes though, and no, it is not dead in the second picture. Next, friend and I met a small puppy during a walk. This little guy was tricky; I was never able to capture a picture of it from the front, but it was cute, nevertheless. (Click on photos for full-sized version.)

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: