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Laziness

22 Jun Chicken Pie in Pea Soup with Ketchup Squirt

Why oh why have I disappeared for a while? One word: laziness. School started and has been rather tiring with endless lectures…and my insomnia hasn’t resolved itself so I’m still sleeping at 2-3 most day (5 am last night actually…) 😦 I’ve also been up to a lot these past 2 weeks!

On June 11, I attended the 30th anniversary Faculty Gala Dinner at the HKCEC. Actually, not only was I attending…I performed too!

HUGE VENUE...120 tables

HUGE VENUE...120 tables

The venue was humongous and the guest list was prestigious, including our Secretary for Justice, Secretary for Food and Health, a few past and present Deans….and a LOT OF MY PROFESSORS. I sat with the band I was performing in the most far left corner table, which allowed us to chat away while the numerous speeches were going on. Performing with me were 3 psychiatrists (2 of which have taught me before), one Family Medicine doctor, and one orthopaedic surgeon. Oh, and also 2 of my classmates. Soooo…of course I was nervous. We came at the end after a talk by Professor Joseph Sung and a few other profs, and played these songs: Bohemian Rhapsody + A Hard Day’s Night Medley (Queen/Beatles), Ye Lai Xiang (Teresa Tang), Blessing (Hins Cheung), Heal the World (MJ), and our Faculty Song. Thankfully all went…OK well…other than my amp getting cut off all the time.

Probably the only photo where I don't look exceedingly nervous

Probably the only photo where I don't look exceedingly nervous

This is probably the first and last time I’ll get to perform in front of SO MANY PEOPLE. Amazing.

Then, the week after, I headed to a magical place…

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The End…For Now

29 Apr

So here I am, on my last day of my stay in Paris. My flight’s at 1 pm tomorrow, and I still haven’t packed at ALL. :S FML….like yesterday, I spent the whole day at the hospital doing surgery. Also said all my goodbyes to the nurses at the clinic, to the interns, the doctors I met, the OT nurses, the professor, secretaries. Delivered my Berko cupcakes to the clinic nurses which were well received. Took lots of photos, wanted to cry. Sigh…I hate goodbyes. I’LL BE BACK, PARIS AND HOPITAL SAINT-LOUIS!

After that, went to the Grands Magasins (again) to get more souvenirs (again). I finished off the macarons I bought which were supposed to be smuggled back to HK for my family and me…….whoops. So I bought more. And bought extra so I wouldn’t have to steal from the boxes. I wasn’t really in an eating mood (surprising, eh?) tonight as I was feeling so sad. 😦

Starbucks Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Starbucks Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

So I got something from Starbucks. Cheesecake from Starbucks. What was I thinking?? Well…Berko was closed by the time I got back to the Beaubourg area, so I couldn’t end my trip with an amazing piece of Berko cheesecake. Yes, I was very, very sad. This Framboise-Chocolat Blanc Gâteau Fromage was so bad I didn’t even finish it. For one, the texture is all wrong. I think gelatin was used, which makes it a bit-jelly like. Not as bad as the Hong Kong style cheesecakes, but definitely not creamy like cheesecakes are supposed to be. Also, I couldn’t taste any white chocolate OR raspberry. Starbucks fail.

Goat Milk Chocolate Pudding

Ewe's Milk Chocolate Pudding

Also bought a bunch of stuff from the gourmet deli near my home, including this interesting pudding made of ewe’s milk (brebis). I was expecting a stronger, more gamey taste. Unfortunately, it only tasted like a very smooth chocolate pudding. It was the texture of warm ginger milk pudding…just at the border of liquid and solid. Actually, I think even HK style milk pudding has a stronger gamey taste than this.

Fromage Blanc Marron

Fromage Blanc Marron

This was something else I bought from the deli (yes I went crazy…it’s my last day after all). Chestnut flavoured fromage blanc isn’t something very common in HK, but I’ve seen it everywhere in Paris. Actually…getting this was a stupid idea…since it seems pretty easy to make myself. Good nonetheless. I’ve grown to really like fromage blanc…the texture is smoother than yogurt (which I find more watery), and the tartness isn’t overwhelming. It’s also usually made with skim milk!

On to the pastries…

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Second to Last Day Sigh

28 Apr Spéculos® (Buttercream)

Today, when I got to the hospital, I found out that most of the interns from other places had left Paris already! :(:( If I had known, I would’ve stayed longer yesterday. Also, I missed a house party one of the interns from Marseilles was throwing……and now they’ve all left. My favourite intern from Algeria was still here and leaving the same day as I was though, so that’s a consolation.

The box of 6 I got yesterday for myself

The box of 6 I got yesterday for myself

Since it’s my last 2 days in Paris, I’m staying at the hospital for the whole day until they finish. I also needed to scramble to get souvenirs for people back in Hong Kong and also gifts for those at the hospital. So today, after school, I headed to Berko first to get a dozen of cupcakes for the nurses at the clinic, and also a box of 3 for myself (in addition to the box of 6 I haven’t finished from yesterday lol). I’m gonna miss living 5 mins away on foot from a cupcake slash cheesecake store…………better for my waistline though.

Then I went on a massive shopping spree at Lafayette’s food market, and also various macarons stores like PH, Ladurée and Sadaharu Aoki around the Grand Magasins area. Also bought some cheese for my family as a souvenir. The cheese guy at Lafayette was so nice. But I also made a gaffe haha…I asked him if Tomme was similar to Swiss cheese, and he gave me the nastiest glare and said “NON!!! C’est FRANCAIS!!!! Pas suisse, nos fromages sont FRANCAIS!” Heh…sorry. Hurt his French pride. I sated him by buying some Tomme Affinée, Beaufort de Savoie, and Camembert. He also let me try a lot of cheese before buying…he gave me HUGE (like, 3X4 INCH) pieces to try. I was so full after trying lol.

Noix de Coco & mangue (buttercream); tarte aux fruit rouges

Noix de Coco & mangue (buttercream); tarte aux fruit rouges

This was my appetizer. Let’s just say tarts are not Berko’s forté…the tart base wasn’t buttery enough and I would’ve preferred more filling. Of course, it’s not fair to judge them based on a mini-tart I guess. The coconut and mango cupcake was yummerz!!! And I don’t even like coconut.

Takeout from Monoprix: tabouleh and satay chicken noodles

Takeout from Monoprix: tabouleh and satay chicken noodles

I also bought some takeaway from Monoprix as I like to experience what “instant food” is like in other countries as well.

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A Day Filled with Learning and History

27 Apr Louvre at night...even more beautiful

Oh my god I can’t believe the hecticness of today managed to top yesterday! So morning was filled with OTs again, and I even got to see the OTs with local anaesthesia today. I left around 2 pm to head over to the Musée Dupuytren as planned. Also PK-ed at the university and twisted my ankle in front of 5 medical students…2 of which were pretty cute guys. Sigh…I’m a klutz. Oh well…saw LOTS of weird specimens at the museum! There were conjoint twins….stomach cancer…ovarian cancer….skeletons with rickets………it’s really a med student’s paradise haha. Photos prohibited though, so you’re just gonna have to visit yourself (if you’re not creeped out by these kinda things). What I liked the MOST  though was the office prior to the museum where the professors worked. It was filled with boxes of specimens and really, really, REALLY old books!! I regret not taking a picture. 😦 It was really cool. Not something you’d find in HK universities, which are relatively new.

So after that nerdy

Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Près: the oldest church in Paris

Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés: the oldest church in Paris

I then took the metro to Saint-Germain-des-Prés to visit the church there, which is the oldest church in Paris I believe (dates back to the 6th century). I actually wanted to come yesterday after the Museum of the History of Medicine, but it was closed for a concert. I find it cool that many concerts in Paris are held in old churches! This church is very different from the other churches I’ve seen. The art is more simple, and there’s a lot of wood instead of stone or marble.

I had the pata de vedao

I had the pata de vedao

I was getting hungry so I headed over to my favourite Monoprix in Paris, the one across from the church. Why is it my favourite? Because they have the biggest bread and pastry selection……duh. My target today was something I’ve seen in my past few visits – something called a pata de vedao. The name sounds Portuguese, but I looked it up and couldn’t find anything about it on the Internet…:S anyone want to enlighten me? It looks like a sponge cake, and was very moist. I’ve never had tres leches cake, but this is what I would imagine it’d taste and feel like. It tasted like it was soaked in some sort of sweet milk, and the exterior was coated with coconut flakes. So I’m thinking they just made the name up…and it’s actually tres leches cake……….but I’ll have to try the real thing some time and compare. I then headed home, picking up half a dozen of Berko cupcakes and a cheesecake for tonight.

A little bit later, I headed out to the Centres Georges Pompidou again to finish where I left off 2 days ago, namely the pre-60s collection upstairs. I liked this part of the museum much more as I can appreciate this kind of art a lot more. To each his/her own I guess. Love Picasso and Matisse! Then……Louvre again. Yes, I went to the Louvre AGAIN. Lol…museum-heavy week.

The famous blue hippotamus in the Louvre

The famous blue hippotamus in the Louvre

Tonight the Louvre closed at 10 (Wednesdays and Fridays), so I hung out until it closed. The Louvre is even more enchanting at night. I’m totally in love.

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Hectic Tuesday

26 Apr Passionata from Boulangerie Julien

This morning, I spent the morning scrubbed in with Dr. Pulvermacker in the OT. As I caught a cold, I wasn’t feeling very well and left early….

Really small

Really small

Headed to the Musee de l’Histoire de la Medécine at the 2nd floor of the Faculty of Medicine in the université de Paris V René Descartes. It was really small, occupying just one room. Interesting…but not TOO interesting. Gonna go to Musée Dupuytren tomorrow, which holds a lot of wacky medical specimens. Should be more interesting!

Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris

Being a bit hungry, I headed across the street to Un Dimanche à Paris to get one of their mini trio sets. I wish I bought more of their stuff, as everything was really good! The mini lemon tart was….very tart! But had a sweet lingering citrusy note….the tart base was very crispy. The eclair was OK. I’m beginning to think I don’t really like eclairs lol because I’ve had 2 just OK eclairs these 2 days from 2 great patisseries, so maybe it’s just me. Finally, the mini chocolate fondant was verrrrrryyy melt-in-your-mouth. I wish I had a giant version of this.

Then, I headed to Montparnasse to look for Des Gateaux et Du Pain….i kept on walking in the wrong direction till i got there 1 hour later 😦 with very sore feet. And………….found out it was closed. 😦 Argh!!!! I really wanted to try the Pomme Tatin. Don’t think I’ll have time to come all the way out there in the next few days either. Oh well…next time.

So i went back to the Les Halles area as I wanted to go to the kookai outlet which closes at 7:30. I got there at 7:00 pm, and they didn’t let me in anymore. BOO. To heal my disappointment, went into Monoprix to get a Petit Pain aux Raisin Poilane (which tasted not very special either). Then I went to Rue Montorgueil…wanted to run into cute salesguy at Kayser. He wasn’t there, so I left (JUST KIDDING…I wanted a ficelle and they were out). Ok. Maybe NOT so kidding haha….nonetheless, I headed to Stohrer instead to do the same thing (KIDDING…although the salesguys at Stohrer ARE incredibly cute). Actually, I wanted to get their tarte aux fraises bois, but they were out ALSO 😦 It’s only 7 pm! So I got some chocolate thing called a Marie something…which was dark chocolate wrapped around praline with half a cherry glacé on top and half on the middle. It was…kind…tasteless. I threw it away after 2 bites.

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Good Friday

22 Apr Love the top...and the fresh tasting apples are probably what I like best about this cake

Today, none of the other externs were at the hospital except for me. I later realized it’s Good Friday and perhaps they thought it was a public holiday? Helped out in another surgery again…breast reduction. I kept on violating sterile rules in the beginning and had to changing my gown and gloves several times…I felt so stupid 😦 and the OT nurse looked so impatient with me. But then most OT nurses are grumpy. Hmph. Nonetheless, I’m learning more and more. So sad it’s almost time to go home. After watching one and helping out with one surgery, I headed out as I wanted to do more exploring. I went to Sacre-Coeur, and it was filled with people waiting for Good Friday mass. Outside, on the steps, was a guy playing guitar with tons of people watching him sing classics like Hotel California, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, etc. A little lower, a guy was putting on a puppet show. Below all that, one can see a birds’ eye view of Paris. Montmarte is a really cool place…actually, so is a lot of other places in Paris. ARGH IM GONNA MISS THIS PLACE.

Basilique Sacre-Coeur

Basilique Sacre-Coeur

They changed their wrapping paper!

They changed their wrapping paper!

Rocher

Rocher

Just before I got home, I was really craving chocolate, so I dropped into Boulangerie Beatrix and David again, which is downstairs and oh so convenient. I actually asked for Croquechoco, which looked like a version of the popular cake that Tony Wong makes. When I got home, I found out the salesgirl gave me a Rocher instead. Oh well, no worries, it’s still chocolate. The Rocher is basically a giant Ferrero Rocher. The whole thing is covered in real milk chocolate studded with salty nuts. For some reason, it didn’t taste like hazelnuts…it kind of tasted like peanuts. Need to double check tomorrow by going back to the boulangerie and looking at the sign.

Chocolate coating, noisette mousse, chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut mousse, feuilletine

Chocolate coating, noisette mousse, chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut mousse, croustillant

Inside, from top to bottom are the noisette mousse, a thin layer of chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut mousse, and then a croustillant layer. I could taste a little coffee in the noisette mousse…don’t know if it’s just my imagination as it’s coffee coloured. The biscuit provided a nice textural difference and separation between the 2 mousse layers.It seems like the French people really enjoy croustillant and hazelnuts, as it’s featured heavily in many stores pastries. This was satisfying. I mean, the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts is really hard to go wrong. Also, like their Paris Brest, the mousse is very light, while still satisfying due to its creaminess.

Aligot...so stretchy!

Aligot...so stretchy!

Earlier in the afternoon, after visiting Sacre-Coeur, I ended up at Champs Elysées just to have a walk. I visited a small shop called Aubrac Corner, which is a takeout store belonging to the restaurant Le Maison de L’Aubrac next door. Aubrac is a region in the South of France, and their specialty is aligot, a mashed potatoes, cheese, and butter concoction. I bought a box to have tonight. As I was too lazy to cook it on the stove, I just microwaved it, then mixed and mixed and mixed like the traditional way. It reminded me of natto, getting stickier and stretchier the more you mix. After having the mashed potatoes from Le Meurice, I’ve been spoiled; and this is a microwave version…still, it was interesting. Tasted like potatoes and cheese. The interesting thing is mostly the texture, which was super, uber, duper, stretchy and chewy. You can keep on twirling it around your fork. This is thanks to the addition of a special type of cheese called Tome cheese. Traditionally, aligot is served with wild boar sausage, but I don’t think I could finish a sausage with this rich dish. So instead, I also bought some cheese at Lafayette. As if cheese isn’t rich.

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The Best Day Yet

21 Apr

Today, I participated in the first surgery where I actually played a pivotal role!!! In the morning, I watched the usual surgeries, also learning about some anaesthesia stuff. Then, I was gonna leave after lunch as I wanted to visit a few museums which were only open on weekday afternoons. But I was with one of the externs, who was alone that day as no other externs were around (all skiving!). So I stayed…and finally, before lunch around 2 pm, one of the chiefs asked me if I wanted to scrub up for the next operation! YAYYYY so I did. And it ended up being just me and one other intern doing the abdominoplasty. He even tried teaching me how to suture…but I couldn’t get it. I’m so addicted to the OT, felt so giddy afterwards! Headed to the Musée d’Orsay after school…thank god I got my MuséO so I didn’t have to line up, as the line for tickets was SUPER long.

After the Museum tour, I headed off to Champs Elysées for some Ladurée as it was the only pastry store open after 8:30 pm when I left the Museum. In fact, Ladurée is open till 11 pm :O I guess that’s what their swanky bar is for.

Today's haul - BE JEALOUS.

Today's haul - BE JEALOUS.

LOVE

LOVE

I got 2 pastries and a cannelé, which I ate on the metro home. Nothing special. In fact, Paul’s cannelé is better. The Ladurée one was kinda dry on the outside, and flavourless on the inside. Haven’t found one which can beat Paul’s rummy, moist one yet. However…the pastries were orgasmic. Ladurée is SO not overrated…

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