Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scones, not cones

Am multa faina in casa, ba chiar as putea spune foarte multa si inca de mai multe feluri. Asa ca periodic caut idei ca sa o termin. Unele imi ies mai bine, altele mai putin. Din seria reusitelor, va prezint astazi scones. Inspiratia mi-a venit de aici, de la Mazilique. Nu sunt mare fan dar retele ei mi se par mereu destul de simple si de bun simt asa ca vroiam de mult sa incerc una. Ceva tipic englezesc: scones.

Si cum asta seara am fost singura acasa (si nu-mi place), am decis sa fac lucruri "rele". Reteta este foarte simpla si dureaza aproape la fel de mult pe cat spune Mazilique, doar ca eu m-am complicat si am facut  mai multe lucruri in acelasi timp. 

Ca tot imi place sa ma complic, nu am urmat intocmai reteta. Am pastrat cantitatile dar pentru ca nu-mi plac stafidele si pentru ca aveam chef de ceva sarat, nu am pus zahar si am facut o umplutura sarata. Am calit ceapa taiata foarte fin, ciuperci, sunculita, am amestecat la sfarsit branza (cu mucegai si cascaval).

Si am mai modificat vreo doua trei lucruri la reteta. Am facut coca mai subtire, cam jumate fata de cat spune reteta originala. Am pus umplutura mea intre doua felii de coca si  am apasat frumos marginile cu degetul. Dupa ce am pus prajiturelele pe tava, le-am uns cu ou si cam asta ar fi.

Au iesit delicioase. Se prepara repede, se coc foarte repede si sunt atat de bune. Plus ca exista o mie si una de posibilitati si de combinatii, sarate, dulci, ca mic dejun sau ca aperitiv, la ceai sau cu lapte, stiau ei ce stiau englezii, pardon, scotienii, cand au inventat aceasta reteta.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Super chouette

I don't mean to brag, but I spent a very nice weekend. For once I stayed home, well I didn't go out of town and I didn't have any visitors either. So I enjoyed the silence and did some shopping, relaxed watching sit coms and went out to dine.

Saturday, I took advantage of a very nice offer, a tasting menu based on venison meat. You can find the menu here. I was sorry I didn't take the camera with me, so I don't have pictures, but take my word for it: it was great. Good service, ultra-central, nice location, I think I will go again to El Cid Corso. They have a second venue, as well down town, where they serve tapas, I might go there pretty soon.

The starter was the game liver pate. The piece was huge and went very well with the cranberries. Next, we had the main course, wild boar. For once the pasta was cooked right (they tend to over cook them here) while the meat was tender and finely spiced. I enjoyed every bite. Unfortunately they did not have the pheasant, I would have liked to try it. The wine was excellent as well. While I was not surprised by the quality of the Sauvignon Blanc served with the pate, I was very pleasantly surprised by the delicious Shiraz that was served with the main course. A good red wine is quite hard to get here and this one was good. For desert we decided to go with the pie and it was a good choice (as far as French cheeses go, we have a pretty good selection at home). It came with home made cream. The menu did not include a last glass of water for the desert but other than that, it was a pleasure.

Sunday we stayed in. We made lunch ourselves, kiwi and curry chicken with rice and watched Inglorius Basterds (no comments on that, typically Tarantino). For dinner we had a treat: a Sushi heart.It looks exactly like in the picture and we bought the box from Tesco for about 300 cK or 12 euros.

It was very good, I am not a big fan of Sushi and usually there are some I don't like, but this time I liked all of them so It was a good choice.

How about your weekend? Mine was "super chouette"!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows

I have a new flat, and with it come new DIY ideas and opportunities. A new flat is like a canvas, this gave me the opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for a long time. We've both wanted it actually. Without further ado, please be amazed by my map of Europe. These are all the places I've been to and I cannot wait to get out of Europe.

The blue and green pins represent places where I've been or lived. The white are places I'd like to visit and I will or might go in the foreseeable future.

I'll also list them here when I have time, so you can ask me about them. Because yes, I remember them all. There are still some pins to be put on the map; I ran out of green and blue ones, but I still have plenty of white pins left.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Office talk

I work in a plant but because I'm not an engineer I rarely get to go inside. Instead, I spend my time in the main office: an open space packed with engineers, designers, HR and Finance people, Purchasing and the likes. And my desk is near the printer so I get to see half the open space when they come to collect their documents.

We have here, working together Czehs, Slovaks, many French and me. The common working language for all is English and engineering. And although from very different backgrounds we all use certain phrases and words that are very specific not just to the industry but as well to the company. You have your QRQC, FTA, PPAP that are so specific for the entire automotive industry that they are the basis of ISO TS 16494. And then you throw around VPS, V5000, SQM, VRF and you are a real member of one of the biggest players on the market.

Acronyms. They are the founding stone of our work and everyone throws them around easily. But does everyone know what is behind them? It's not sure. Mostly these are procedures, names of documents to fill, milestones to achieve. If someone is not concerned by more than one phase of the project, he or she will most likely not be familiar with all the terms. I don't think everyone knows what all the letters stand for, but most know the document they refer to. I'm not an engineer but I try to know the name behind the abbreviation. Trust me, it's hard to make an engineer out of an economist.

The other language of this Babylon is the working language, which is of course English. You can hear different accents, and different specific words used by speakers from different linguistic backgrounds. The French are of course the easiest to spot, while Czechs and Slovaks speaking English have a similar accent.

All this intermixing of languages and cultures rubs off on one another. For example I hear a lot of specific expressions or words that come from French (similar structure), that logically should be mistakes made by French speakers, but that are used by the others as well. For example the plural of "month" is "months" but since "th" is difficult to pronounce in French, the singular becomes "monts" thus the plural becomes "montses". And this is being used indiscriminately by French and non French.

In other cases, French expressions are translated literally into English. Such is the case of "Merci de + verbe" which becomes " Thank you to+ verb". When wanting to ask someone to do something, in English, please use : "Please write an email to X. Thank you" and NOT "Thank you to write an email to X". I don't think the expression " to give the TOP" exists in English, maybe it does, but for me it's very French, because it comes from French. False friends are widely used such as "actually" used instead of "currently". I cannot blame this one on the French: Czechs, Slovaks and even Chinese make the same mistake. Past tenses : "I didn't know" becomes "I didn't knew", this is WRONG. I don't know enough Czech to give examples related to this language but I can name some typical things, like the tendency to pronounce every letter, especially stressing the last letters.

School was a long time ago for all of us and I think that for many, the language learned in school is not enough to function in such an environment. Working closely with other people means that inadvertently you take some of the expressions used by the others. Working all day in a different language than your own is very difficult, I can tell you this for sure. Avoiding misunderstandings is hard enough without grammar mistakes and on top of that you have a specific vocabulary. Somehow the specific English and the abbreviations become part of the company's culture and history so that a newcomer will eventually have to get used to this and then things become easier.

As for me, I don't judge but maybe I pay a little too much attention, I admit.. I just like to notice and understand where these come from. as I am being influenced by the way people talk around me; I am being told I'm getting a nice French accent (and I was aiming for Scottish, darn) and sometimes I wonder if what I want to say is really correct English.
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