a weblog by simon evans

It's a Hambāgu, not a Hamburger

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Marc Matsumoto’s recipe for the Japanese family favourite hambāgu is pretty much foolproof, but here are some tips to make it even foolproofer.

Get your mince from the butcher rather than the supermarket. It’ll be fresher and due, I think, to the higher fat content, taste better. Beef mince is fine by itself but I find that a combination of 60 per cent beef with 40 per cent pork produces deeper and more complex flavours.

Don’t skip the tofu. Even if you don’t like tofu, it’s what gives these their wonderful juiciness. As Marc says —

If you’re worried about it tasting like tofu, fear not, you could feed these to tofu haters all day long and as long as they don’t see the carton in the trash they’ll have no idea they were eating bean curd!

What you want to do, though, is mix it really thoroughly into the mince so that it becomes almost like a paste. Keep mixing until nothing white remains. I suggest doing this before adding the onions, otherwise you’ll end up pulverising them into nothingness along with the tofu.

The one aspect of making these that I slightly dread is the cold that runs up my arms into my brain after a couple of minutes of having my hands deep in 5 ℃ mince. I usually have to stop a couple of times to madly grimace (much to my kids’ amusement) and run my hands under some hot water. You, however, may be made of sterner stuff.

I’ve made the sauce a couple of times and it’s pretty good as these things go but the taste of the hambagu, as long as you haven’t skimped on the garlic, soy sauce or oyster sauce, can easily stand on its own.

Category: Cooking

New Humaan

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I generally dislike sites that hijack scrolling to do tricky things but the new site for Perth web firm Humaan does it in a new and quite breathtaking way.

Category: Design

Dolphin Discovery

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My number one tip for visiting the Dolphin Discovery Centre down in Bunbury is to go early. The dolphins usually visit between 8 and 10 am. They’re wild, so there’s no guarantee that they’ll come even then, but you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of seeing them and avoiding the bother of waiting all afternoon for an appearance because you slept in and got there after they had come and gone, driving back to Perth with a grumpy family then driving back to Bunbury at the crack of dawn two days later to redeem yourself. Probably best to avoid that.

And if they do come, you’ll be waist deep in water, so dress appropriately. Speaking from experience I can say that a pair of chinos are not entirely the best choice.

Category: Family

Dumb Brilliant Machines

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Machines are dumb, but sometimes they do brilliant things because they can’t help themselves. They don’t talk themselves out of anything, and so they just go for it. No judgement whatsoever.

That’s Nick Zammuto from The Books describing how they got the wonderful lyrics for Free Translator by running them back and forth through multiple online translation engines, a process that produced verses like this:

Symmetrical foot in your mouth
and your high speed legs
Your knee-jerks a mark of distinction
It’s an elevator put-on

It doesn’t look like much but is lovely when sung.

Category: Music

A Little Vinegar

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Adding a little vinegar to the water when par-boiling potatoes is the key to crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside pan-fried potatoes. Many thanks to Serious Eats for the tip.

Category: Cooking

Three Questions About Things 3

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sometime next month Cultured Code will release Things 3 , the long awaited update to its popular task management program.

I want to know three things about it:

  1. Will tasks of more than a few words wrap to the next line instead of being brutally truncated mid-sentence and rendered useless?
  2. Will I be able to move tasks up and down lists just by tapping and holding?
  3. Will it somehow overcome my tendency, once all my goals, projects and tasks are clearly defined and distributed on neat and tidy lists, to ignore said lists for weeks on end and avoid doing pretty much anything on them, letting my lizard brain send me careening from suddenly urgent task to suddenly urgent task day after day?

Category: Software