Saturday, 15 March 2008

Tired and uninspired

It's the end of term, at last. I thought this final week had been particularly hard because of having four early starts (that's 6.30 am), but I've looked at my calendar and there were only three, and I didn't even go in on Tuesday.

I did spend all of Tuesday doing stupid coursework, which involved writing up the results of comparing six different sorts of pastry (Taste: pretty much like pastry) and six different sorts of bread (Taste: pretty much like bread, except the gluten-free one that tasted like old gym shoes). Plus a million calculations of how much of this or that nutrient was in there, and a load of stuff about gluten, and the Chorleywood Bread Process.

Today we had to compare four different sorts of lasagne: ordinary with beef, vegetarian with Quorn, vegan with TVP, and one with beef but gluten free pasta. Guess what? They mostly tasted like lasagne, except the vegan one with TVP which tasted like pasta with slightly sweet dried wallpaper paste. I'm not a fan of TVP.

Apart from the lasagne, we all made three dishes between two of us that included one meat, one fish and one vegetarian, and one had thickened sauce made with cornflour and another with a roux. This is all very educational for an 18-year-old who's come straight from home to university, but I've been making thickened sauces for 30 years and I know how to skin a fillet of fish. For some reason (probably the early starts) I started to get really irritable. Mr A bore the brunt of it when I got home. I can't even remember what I was going on about now.

The Food Safety "you're all going to die" lecture this week was only half about how we're going to die, this time from bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics. The other half was more interesting, about how bioluminescent chemicals derived from angler fish bacteria and fireflies are used to test for harmful bacterial activity.

Then there was a terrific lecture about all the dietary aspects of cancer, both causative (being fat, eating fat, salt, alcohol and protein/meat) and preventative (complex carbohydrates, anti-oxidants, fruit and veg). Best of all, it turns out that fibre is a source of nutrients for gut bacteria that metabolise products that are protective against colon cancer, one of which is methane, so farting is now officially GOOD FOR YOU. But bad for anyone within range. And climate change.

My recent activity as a Student Ambassador ("you spoil us") has been to take a group of visitors on a campus tour on Open Days. For the last couple of weeks this has included students and their "guests" (usually parents) who have applied to do the course I'm on. This makes it much more fun, because they've got relevant questions and I stand a chance of knowing the answers. Previously I've been asked what time the canteen dinner is served and where the washing machines are.

While I'm definitely tired, it turns out that I'm not as uninspired as I thought I was. I really like my course.


aims said...

So.....end of the term - does that mean exams coming up - or a little bit of fun?

Sally said...

Adrian is glad farting is good for you...I sadly am not as I bear the brunt of it all!!

travelling, but not in love said...

I wish it wasn't end of term here - the students who live in my block are partying - in a very big way - tonight. Driving me mad, but I refuse to be the complaining neighbour.

Besides, they never said anything the morning after they found me halfway up the stairs, drunk, with a beau in tow...

Moley-Bloke said...

Hee-hee... Saly is in fact, correct.. My perps are rather prolific at times.. My worries are that I may destroy the ozone layer over Europe..

I Beatrice said...

Came to you by way of my good friend Aims. Have finished my own blog-novel alas, so am no longer a bona fide blogger but .... would love to know your recipe for quorn or soya-based lasagne! I make a passable one fairly regularly - but always feel it lacks a certain oomph of flavour, and wonder how something better might be achieved?

aims said...

And seeing Dearest B's comment - I could give you a good recipe for celiac bread....our loaves always turn out pretty good - although we use a bread machine - is that cheating for your course?

Lola said...

A bit of fun is in order now that term has ended, but I'm revising too, and doing three lots of coursework that are due at the start of next term.

Beatrice: You might add extra flavour by reducing down a homemade veg stock (commercial ones are usually too salty to reduce). Or add other flavouring: soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, cayenne/chili, cumin, coriander (herb or spice), red wine. Living over here we have Worcestershire sauce (you can get a vegetarian version) and Marmite too! If you want me to email the recipe then I will.

I'd be very interested in your gluten-free bread recipe, aims - could you email it? Using a bread machine isn't cheating, I have one! They aren't testing us on our cookery skills, but on the science behind the food.

Glad I'm not in the Sally/Moley-bloke household... If you're not careful, Al Gore will make a film about you.