My First Anime North: 2015

On Saturday, May 23, 2015, I went to my first Anime North. I’ve wanted to go ever since I first heard about it in 2003. Or was it 2004? Either way, I’ve waited more than half my life to go. And a few months ago, my birthday buddy texted, “I GOTS TICKET U WANT GO ANIME NORTH LOLOL?” Okay maybe not those exact words, but that sums it up. And I love how I got that text a week after cutting my hair. But we’ll get to that.

For those who aren’t aware, Anime North is Toronto’s annual anime convention. There are all kinds of panels, workshops, photoshoots, and cool crafts to buy. If you like, you can attend while dressed up as your favourite characters. (Cosplay) Who can say no to that?! Basically, Anime North (AN) is a weekend of awesomeness for anime and video game fans everywhere.

Since last weekend’s blog was delayed, I figured this week’s blog would detail my experiences and takeaways. If you are considering attending AN in the future, I hope this post will give you insight on what to expect.

Transportation

Anime North takes place at the same location every year: the Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) located in Toronto’s West End. I live in the East end, which means it took 2 hours to get there by public transit. A little tip from someone who has taken TTC for most of her life: as long as you can find your way to the subway, you’ll be fine. This deviantART journal explains the bus and subway directions very clearly.

My commute went smoothly (I don’t account for the delay at the subway station, since those happen a lot) until I got to the 52, the bus that takes you right to the TCC. Expect crowds, because that’s exactly what you’ll see when you get to the stop. Part of the way, some commuters got into an argument with the driver because he wouldn’t let them on the bus. The bus was already crowded, and due to safety reasons drivers cannot let people stand beyond the white line. He was almost ready to put the bus out of service, until some other people on the bus got him to settle down and continue on. The people did get on the bus in the end, but it cost us all an extra 13 minutes of commute.

What I learned: if, under any circumstances, your commute takes more than 90 minutes, get a hotel room. Many events take place early in the morning or late at night, with some of the bigger events running past midnight. Think of it this way: a hotel room is expensive, but considering how much more you can get out of your one experience, isn’t it worth it? You don’t have to catch a bus at 8 am just to get to a panel at 10:00 am, and you don’t have to bail halfway on the panel that runs until 10 pm. If you choose to commute, be aware of the general non-con going public who still have to go about their usual lives. My biggest advice would be to leave early, or carpool with friends.

Cosplay

I have mad respect for people who try to make their costumes look as close to the original character as possible. I stressed out too much with Katara… and that was just a shirt with stuff sewn on, hair loopies, and a neckalce! Oh yeah, here’s the necklace:

necklace

Regarding hair: the loopies were such a pain! This wouldn’t have been a problem with regular long hair. Katara’s season 1 hairstyle is simply a braid, with two strands tied in front, and pinned in place under her ears. Well, the entire top layer of my hair decided to do its own thing and flew around all over the place, constantly undoing the loopies at the pins. Layered hair looks gorgeous when left loose, but it’s a hassle to tie back. This is why I seriously consider cutting my hair super short. *hears her family and friends yelling “NOOOOOOOOOO!”*

When I told birthday buddy I wanted to cosplay Katara, he asked which outfit, and I told him it was a combo of seasons 1 and 3. He said I should’ve cosplayed the red outfit she wore, when they were undercover in the Fire Nation. Ya know, the one with midriff? I couldn’t be brave enough to do that, let alone run around in a bikini anywhere but at the beach/swimming. I’m too self-conscious of my tubby tummy. >_< This discussion happened after we saw a girl dressed as Yoko from Gurren Lagann. I know there has been a lot of controversy lately, about what girls should and should not be allowed to wear. As a girl, I believe there’s a time and place for everything. At a convention celebrating all kinds of scantily-clad characters for instance, and as long as it makes sense for your character.

What I learned: no matter when you start working on your costume, no matter how simple or complicated it sounds, you will always end up working on it the night before. Something tells me I should’ve just worn my Pikachu Halloween costume and hopped into my bag.

Also, it’s fine if you don’t want to wear certain things, but don’t put others down for wearing those things. Anime North is basically a 2.5  day retreat to dress up, have fun, and enjoy your favourite nerdy things. Save the dress code debates for when you get back to real life.

I didn’t get many pictures, but if anyone knows the guys pictured below, please let me know! I didn’t get their names, and would like to give credit where credit is due.

cosplays

Panels

Panels are basically lectures and discussion groups.

The first panel we attended discussed sewing tips. Having stayed up late figuring out how to sew the trim on Katara’s outfit, I listened intently. That, and the plushie workshop next door was full. (Not that I sorely needed to attend that. 😉 ) While waiting in the lineup, we met a guy working on chain mail. I showed him pictures of the Charmander and Squirtle plushies, and he went, “awwwww~” Then he tapped his friend, and she joined in the “awwwwww~” XP

IMG_20150221_161403781

I attended the next panel on my own. The topic: Kingdom Hearts. I remember being a wee one when my neighbour borrowed the game from someone. We never got to watch her play it, but I became curious after seeing Mickey Mouse on the cover. Man, I was a dumb gamer as a kid. In fact, the hardest boss I’d fought in that game had to be the Wonderland Heartless boss. Silly me couldn’t figure out how to find Blizzard, which was very very useful for said boss. And so there I was, stuck for ages on this stupid thing, only to play through a second time, get Blizzard, and wipe it out in less than 5 minutes.

IMG_20150523_125645304

The guy beside me was kind enough to let me get a picture of these cute cosplay kitties

Birthday buddy joined me for the Legend of Zelda panel. Or rather, he magically managed to crash a few minutes in. That panel was jam packed! Not surprising, since Zelda is amazing. In fact, it’s my favourite vidya gaim series to date. For personal reasons, I liked Twilight Princess. Aside from the darker art style and more creative boss battles, one of the game’s most iconic sequences has to be when you have to carry Midna on your back, after Zant exposes her body to light. Not only was this the first Zelda game I finished without a walkthrough, but that particular scene stuck with me. Maybe it’s the whole urgency, maybe it’s the music (another memorable part of the game) but I never thought of it as much until now. The whole idea of going through all the trouble to save Midna, after all she put you through to reach Zant, and after she was hurt so badly and left helpless, was very touching. It reminds me of my game devs, who have been with me through all the emotional stress of the program. The ones who would be right there complaining about assignments and profs, and who would stay up chatting until 3 am just to listen to problems. My friends are all my Link. They’re not the macho “MERN” types like traditional Western comic book and game heros, but they don’t need to be. They just need to have the right skills to help Zelda save Hyrule, and to get Midna the help she needs.

What I learned: it’s important to remember just how passionate fandoms can get. And by passionate, I mean “will defend to the death.” You should’ve heard the reaction of the Sora/Riku shippers, after a little 10 year old girl said, “I would like to see Sora and Kairi get together.” Hey, she has a valid point, ya know. They never did tie up the whole deal with the Paopu fruit. Or did they?* Really, the best thing to do is just enjoy the things you like, however you like. So what if you haven’t gotten to this or that, or you didn’t react the same way as others? You shouldn’t feel bad. And you shouldn’t rush through just because other fans are pressuring you. I for one stopped reading Game of Thrones for several days, after the infamous Red Wedding scene.

Need more Twilight Princess ravings? Check out my old game dev blog.

*I still haven’t played Birth by Sleep or Re:Coded. On an unrelated note, Chain of Memories‘ battle system can go die in a hole.

Vendor’s Alley and Spending Money

As you can imagine, this was the part I was looking forward to the most. There are so many cool things here! Sadly, I didn’t find cute bows or phone cases for Shoonie. I couldn’t find many cases, period. :\ Being a non-selling crafter in Vendor’s Alley feels awkward. On one hand, you can look around at all the cool things other crafters have made. On the other hand, you look at them and think, “I could totally make that myself…”

They also had Pokemon Curry Sauce Mix. This was the first thing I considered buying, until I imagined Kitty as Professor Oak going, “Pika, this isn’t the time to eat that!” Ever since we made the dango candy kit, he’s had a bad impression of Japanese foods that come from packages. The picture on the box did look kinda gross. X3; Besides, I want to try making Japanese curry from scratch. Maybe I’ll hit up the local Asian grocery store to see if they sell curry roux blocks. My parents will ask too many questions if they see me putting apple and honey into curry.

I did find something worth buying: candy kits! They were the same prices as Sweet Tooth ($7 – $8 depending on kit) but they had a particular kind that I couldn’t find at Sweet Tooth. I looked at Birthday Buddy and said with confidence, “I am getting this!” I won’t reveal the kind just yet; you’ll have to wait until the candy kit review! (Yes, you too, Shoony)

A funny thing happened while I was browsing a weapon booth. Someone said, “hello, wife.” I look up, and the dealer was dressed like Aang. He had a glider and everything. :O I said, “oh, not for another 20 years. I think. When did they get married?” Then he said, “um, after the next comet.” Oh sheep son. That reminds me, I never did make that Appa purse… :\ I saw a couple Zukos and Korras, too.

confession-bear

What I learned: being a vendor is never easy, no matter how or where you sell your creations. When deciding to become a vendor, consider the pros and cons before making your decision. Consider whether or not you can afford the rental fee, and whether or not you can sell enough things to make up for said fee. Have you ever wondered why things are more expensive downtown or at malls, than they are in local chain stores? It’s to make up for that pesky space rental fee!

If they have one, pick up the seller’s business card. This way you can have a link to their online shop, and you can buy from them when you’re ready.

Food

There are many restaurants available right next door, from Tim Hortons to Harvey’s to Montana’s Steakhouse. AND THEY’RE ALL CRAZY BUSY. There were lineups out the door for fast food, and people were sitting outside for hours to be called into the sit-down restaurants. I wish I was exaggerating. And by the way, you can’t make reservations during the con weekend. Birthday buddy and I ran around looking for a place, before giving up and ordering room service at his hotel. (It arrived in an instant, by the way) But ya know, after all that running around it felt good to finally take off those winter boots, put my feet up, and eat steak in bed. Fun fact: this was the third time I’ve ever had steak. All three times were with someone who had some importance to me. In this case, it was a birthday steak with a friend who was born on the exact same date. Yes, we were born the same year, as well!

IMG_20150523_181038282

Because who doesn’t like an apple with their steak?

What I learned: bring snacks, and make use of the water stations. It gets really hot in Toronto around this time, especially indoors where there are a lot of people. I didn’t personally see it happen to anyone, but I’ve heard stories of people fainting at Anime North. Take care of your health! It’s a bit outdated, but this guide is very useful.

Anime Viewings

Exactly what it says. These are slots in which you can kick back and watch available anime and movies. If it’s a viewing of a series, they start from the first episode and go down the list. From what Birthday Buddy explained, all viewings are in English.

I find this scene way too funny.

We watched Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals, which I’ve already watched. Ya know, that Naruto spinoff where everyone’s chibified and Rock Lee is the main character? I don’t know why, but I like the birds that go, idiot! Idiot!” Birthday buddy looks at me and says, “I know this is supposed to be a comedy, but come on, Lee is so much smarter than this…” I don’t mind watching Naruto in English, since that’s what I used to watch when it was on TV, and the voices are pretty close to the original. Granted, it does make a lot more sense to hear Japanese terms in Japanese. Argue all you want, but I still think English dub Neji sounds awesome when he says, “Byakugan!

What I learned: viewings are a good way to discover new anime and revisit old favourites, while also kicking back and taking a break from walking all over the place. But again, viewings are in English. If you’re vehemently against English dubs, avoid.

Late Night Weirdness

After the kiddos are put to bed, things get weird. And Toronto’s biggest anime convention is not exempt from this truth. Take for example the viewing with which I concluded my first Anime North: WTF Anime.

While not the weirdest cartoon, or part of the actual viewings, this cartoon started us off. It’s called There She Is, by the animation trio SamBakZa. It’s about a Bunny and Kitty who fall in love, much to the simultaneous support and chagrin of society. You may have heard of it; to this day, it’s one of the most popular cartoons on Newgrounds. The dude running the viewing described it as, “the cutest cartoon about racism you’ll ever see.”

As silly as it is, this actually becomes very watchable. *Warning: step 4 really does get intense.

The dude running the panel did some dub work in the past, and showed us some of the silliest dubs. Bear in mind these were all animes that were meant to be taken seriously, but due to fail acting, directing, and overall ridiculous content, they became so bad, they were funny.

I don’t remember many titles, nor do I know if they’re available online, or if the guy just had them handy. All I know is we watched a clip called, “the dog who cried blarg at the heart of the moon.” It was a clip from an anime in which a rabid Doberman tears through a metal train and tries attacking people. And yes, I mean “tears through” as in literally, as though he was tearing through a cardboard box to get treats. They used an actual a voice actor for the dog, rather than getting dog sound effects. Said actor got bored and started making “blargaragalablah” noises. It was so dumb, it was funny.

A bit of Google searching helped me find two of the shows: Machine Robo, and Naikaku Kenryoku Hanzai Kyosei Torishimarikan Zaizen Jotaro. (Government Crime Investigation Agent Zaizen Jotaro. Yes, that’s the entire title) Machine Robo’s Rom Stoll always made grand entrances, yet never revealed his name to the bad guys. (“You don’t deserve to know my name!”) Zaizen Jotaro was an over-the-top secret agent whose catchphrase was, “da bomb!” Fun fact: the creators of the latter didn’t make him over the top as a joke. They honestly thought that American audiences would like the notion of a character that said, “da bomb!”

Unfortunately that’s all she wrote for this day, because an hour in, I had to call it a night. Word is there were some events that ran until midnight.

What I learned: See above, re: Transportation.

Aftermath of My First Day at Anime North

As you can tell from the last blog… I was exhausted. And I wasn’t even there for the full day! X_X I also missed the Avatar photo shoot, which took place on Sunday. I’m not too broken up, since I know my costume was derpy. Meanwhile, I will wrap the present I got for Shoonie. I never found anything in particular for Peck Peck, except that missed opportunity to get a picture of the guy cosplaying Shulk. Le sigh… Fortunately, most things he would like are available at the town centre.

Final Verdict:

Would I go again next year? If I can get money, and friends for a hotel room, definitely. I’ve already got a few costumes planned! ^_^

Would I be a seller next year? Probably not. I want to be able to enjoy the con. I might just bring business cards.

Have you been to Anime North? If so, what were your favourite events? If not, would you like to attend one day? Have you been to any other nerdy conventions? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Advertisements

Bubble Tea – Dessert Days #6

Quick edit: fixed the weird crowding in the first few paragraphs. WordPress editing is not mobile-friendly.

*This recipe is by no means “authentic.” It’s just how I like to make it.

Today is my birthday! But since this weekend was busy busy, we celebrated last weekend (long weekend for us here in Canada) with bubble bubble bubble tea~ Maybe I’m just getting older, but it’s gotten to a point where physical presents just aren’t satisfying anymore. I would rather have big experiences, and take home a small token to remember it by. And well, since we celebrated me birthday a week early, as promised there is a special guest! From all the way in Penguin-ton, heeeeeeeere’s….. Shoony!

Shoony is on the left.

Shoony is on the left.

Okay, you’re sitting down for this next part, right?

Sit.

Hey, I see you standing!

Sit down somewhere, you’re holding up traffic!

Okay, good.

…Shoony has never had bubble tea before.

*wind blows the tumbleweed*

Here in Toronto, bubble tea is fairly easy to find. Most shopping malls around here have some kind of bubble tea/smoothie shop. A shop opened up near my school, and I went with Flash and Green Lantern after they had a big presentation. The shop also sells samosas. So really, it’s a matter of knowing which places sell bubble tea, since not every shop is “bubble tea only.” And no matter where you go, it always runs expensive. (Up to $5 for a small) For a few dollars more, you can swing by your local Asian supermarket, buy some instant tapioca pearls and flavour packets, and make many bubble teas the way YOU like!

bubble-teas

Store Bought vs. Home Made

For those who have spent the past few years under a rock without internet, bubble tea is a popular drink originating from Asia. I’m not sure which country exactly, nor am I sure of the “true” recipe. But around here, bubble tea is distinguished by the big tapioca pearls (bubbles) settled at the bottom. The drink itself is made with coffee, tea, or simply flavored milk. The first time I made bubble tea, it was literally just cold hot chocolate with tapioca! Now that we’re moving into summer, this is the perfect treat. It’s also fun to make with friends! Instead of coffee dates, why not make it a bubble tea date?

You will need:

tapioca pearls

coffee, tea, or flavour powder of your choice

milk

sugar

water

a jar, or any container with a tight lid

clear glass(es)

fat straws

IMG_20150524_142340754First, prepare your pearls. You can buy these at any Asian supermarket. (Look in the tea aisle) It doesn’t matter if you get the original black or coloured, because they taste the same. I recommend getting pearls that say “Ready in 5 minutes,” so that if you ever get a hankering, you don’t have to wait too long.

The standard ratio of pearls to water is 1:10. So for every 1 cup of pearls, boil 10 cups of water. Use your personal preferences when deciding how many pearls to make. There were only two of us and I wasn’t sure if Shoony would like them, so I only used 1/4 cup of pearls. (1/4) * 10 = 2 1/2 cups of water. Really, I just winged it boiling a small pot of water and dunking in the pearls.

If you’ve ever cooked gnocchi, this process should sound familiar. Bring the water to a boil, and then add your pearls. Stir gently for a few seconds to keep them from sticking together, and then let them simmer until they float to the top. (Timing will vary according to package directions) Scoop them out, (be careful not to overcook) and plop them into a bowl of syrup to let them cool, and to give them a bit of flavour. I used honey today, but we used a basic sugar + water syrup for Shoonie. She had a little too much fun mixin’, and a mixin’, and a mixin’…

stir

Soak the pearls in the syrup for at least 15 minutes. We ate lunch at this point. By the time we came back, uh oh… they were kinda stuck together. >_<; No worries, it was nothing a light stir couldn’t handle. If stirring doesn’t help, microwave the pearls in 5 second bursts, or until they are separated again. Also, make sure there is enough syrup to cover all of the pearls.

Today, the pearls are soaking in honey.

Today, the pearls are soaking in honey.

Meanwhile, make your tea. This was Shoonie’s first bubble tea ever, so we kept things simple with green apple flavoured milk. For a single serving I usually use 1 cup milk + 2 teaspoons powder. (Don’t forget to account for the tapioca and foam) Today I’m making cold coffee with milk. If you brewed hot, let your tea chill in the fridge. Bubble tea is best served nice and cold. coffee

Did you know bubble tea is named for the bubbles (foam) on top? Most people think it’s because the tapioca look like bubbles. That’s why this recipe isn’t just bubble tea, it’s bubble bubble bubble tea! Get it, bubbles on top? Bubbles on the bottom? And you get all bubbly from drinking it? I used the word “bubble” 3 times!

*cheep… cheep… cheep…*

To get that nice, bubbly topping, we need to shake, shake, shake! Most instant bubble tea powders only require stirring, but what fun is that? Pour your tea ingredients directly into a shaker, and go to town!

shake

Now it’s time to serve. Scoop out as many tapioca pearls as you want, and put them in a glass. (I recommend clear glasses) Then give your tea another quick shake, and pour it into the glass as well. Stick a fat straw inside, and enjoy!

Shoony likes her first bubble tea.

*If you can’t find fat straws, you can just drink the tea normally and use a spoon to scoop the pearls. Personally, it just doesn’t feel the same without a fat straw.

Verdict: Shoonie loved the bubble tea. :3 The tapioca pearls feel like gummi candies. Think I undercooked some of the pearls… nonetheless, they turned out tasty enough. To really make this a refreshing summer beverage, add crushed ice. Cubed is fine, too.

The beauty of bubble tea is that you can make it however you like. Maybe you like coffee, maybe you like tea, or maybe you just want a sweet treat. I’d like to think there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to enjoy bubble tea. Today, I made milk coffee bubble tea as a present to myself:

IMG_20150524_160309

And of course, don’t forget to pair with Shoony’s homemade bunny bite donuts.

bunnies

Nom nom nom *pom pom falls* BUNNY!!!!! DX

Anime North update: I went to Anime North yesterday, in my derpy Katara cosplay! Was too burned out to go back today. Didn’t buy anything except a candy kit for Shoony. *sigh* Such is life as a crafter: you see cute plushies and think, “I could make that myself…” Will blog about AN next weekend on the regular day, Saturday.

How do you like your bubble tea? Have you tried making it at home? What snacks do you like to eat for tea? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Prepare for ALL The Things!

If I didn’t say it before, I’ll say it now: don’t get used to early posts. 😀 *eeeeee* Also, this blog is presented with 50% fewer visuals.

This week has been nothing but work work work, plan plan plan. I meant to make another ami this week, but this is as far as I got… can you guess who?

olaf_progress

I was requested to make this for a family friend’s granddaughter. I also made two monkeys for her a few years ago. She bought the yarn, and I used the yarn to make the monkeys: one boy, and one girl. I got to keep the remaining yarn as payment. 🙂 Too bad I didn’t take pictures of them…

Can’t believe how much time was spent on the head alone. I think this is why I grew to like anime style: their “kawaii” mascots are often drawn with simpler shapes, whereas Western cartoon mascots are drawn with abstract shapes. Simple and clean, or crazy and unique? The choice is yours. Honestly, I like both. I just prefer to make kawaii amis.

“Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle. But put me in summer and I’ll be a… happy snowman!”

Olaf’s song may not have been as catchy, but it’s also very cute and light-hearted. I like both times of the year. Winter is a chance to stay indoors and make new outfits, and summer is a chance to go outside and show off the outfits!

Speaking of outfits, here’s a quick Anime North update:

Finally got a blue shirt. Colour is based off what I remembered from season 1, but I’m going for her season 3 outfit. This is the image I’m using for reference:

Haven’t started Appa purse, since I mainly spent this week working on Olaf and trying to come up with a solution for the costume without spending too much money. Man, I regret cutting my hair… Have also started a new series: Nanatsu no Taizai. (Seven Deadly Sins) Reminds me of Fairy Tail. Thinking of making a present for birthday buddy, to say thank you for the AN ticket.

Oh yeah, I won 2nd place in dA Knitters’ April 2015 contest!!! Feels good to know Kirby is so well-received. I’m pretty clueless about the whole “points” system on deviantART, so I’m not bothered about not placing first. Come to think of it, I’m not sure of the criteria they use to pick winners. The 1st and 3rd place submissions came from the same person! Maybe we were the only two who submitted anything? Maybe our things were closest to the original character designs? Maybe they were the cutest? Put in the most effort? Made up our own patterns rather than following a pre-written pattern? Either way, this was a great way to end off my Sunday. ^_^ Sure could use some more vibrant colours in my deviations… any suggestions?

I’ve also updated the shop, for real this time. ^_^; Somebody please buy Kirby, he keeps eating my food… >_<

Here in Canada, we are currently celebrating Victoria Day weekend. Next weekend will have three special events:

a) one year since this blog first launched

b) first time at Anime North

c) me birfday.

In honour of this upcoming crazy weekend, I… er, we… will be working on some special content to celebrate! Tune in next week for a special guest star~

Do you like warm hugs? Are you attending Anime North this year? What are you doing for the long weekend? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Panda Cotta! – Dessert Days #5

Those who follow my Instagram will know that I’ve been on a cooking kick lately. In other words, nobody knew that, because my account is private.

Anyway, what’s the point of cooking meals without dessert? I give you: panda cotta!

Yummy panda pudding

Yummy panda pudding

This dessert is called panna cotta. I don’t speak Italian, but I believe that means “cooked cream.” Indeed, this dessert is made using cream and milk. I’ve been meaning to try this for so long, but many lactose sensitivity tummy aches have kept it away. This is a quick and easy Mother’s Day treat as well; mi madre enjoyed it! She ate it without the chocolate sauce.

I will post a link to the video recipe at the end, so I won’t repeat it here. It’s courtesy of the very talented Laura Vitale. I found this recipe while binge watching her videos, and in the suggested videos I saw runnyrunny999’s take on this dessert. He made chocolate panna cotta, and when he took it out of the mold, chocolate flowed beautifully over the panna cotta. Oh man it looked righteous.

I like both Laura and Runny, so I figured, “por que no los dos?” (Yeah, I don’t speak Spanish either…) Unfortunately, we didn’t have any chocolate, so chocolate panna cotta will be for another day. I’m also not a fan of frozen strawberries, because they’re so sour. And so this variation, combining plain panna cotta and chocolate syrup, was born. I call it, Panda Cotta.

Let the gelatin bloom in water.

Let the gelatin bloom in water.

First, make the panna cotta. This process reminds me of the coffee jello. And coffee jello reminds me of summer days, when we spent the day out and came home for dessert. I think I will inform K of this post.

Fair warning, plain gelatin smells gross. ;w;

I didn’t have half-and-half or whole milk, so I used thick cream throughout, with a hint of skim milk to thin it out. This feels closer to Runny’s recipe, in which he used milk and cream. With thick cream, you need to stir frequently, or else it forms a skin. Don’t worry if you notice a skin forming; it’s nothing a brisk whisking can’t fix.

stirMaking panna cotta reminds me of making custard pudding. You don’t need to boil the milk, you just need to simmer it until the sugar dissolves. And the bloomed gelatin may smell funny, but it pops out pretty nicely. Kind of like a gummy candy.

I filled two dessert bowls, in order to use up as much of the cream as possible. I refrigerated these overnight with plastic wrap pressed into the surface, to make sure they were properly set.

set

Both recipes called for strawberry sauce, but I don’t really like frozen strawberries. Besides, we didn’t have any strawberries. ^_^; I do however like chocolate syrup. We had Nesquick syrup on hand, so that’s what we’ll use.

unmoldNow, all that’s left to do is unmold!

It didn’t take much to unmold the panna cotta, though you can see the edges where the knife ruined the smooth texture. They don’t transfer very well either, so make sure they land in the right spot on your first try. As expected, they feel like custard pudding, or even jello.

Time to decorate! Hm… I should’ve used the flat-bottom bowls to mold. They would’ve turned out smoother, with a flat face to pour the syrup. These portions are a little too big for one person. Next time, I’ll use the smaller, flat ramekins.

nailedit

Now just take a picture for Instagram, and we’re finished!

Final verdict:

Plain panna cotta is nice and creamy. It has the texture of jello but melts in your mouth, leaving you feeling like you just ate vanilla ice cream.As you can guess, adding the chocolate syrup tastes like vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. Maybe that’s why the madre ate it plain. (She prefers plain vanilla ice cream)

I think this is the Italian take on custard pudding, using gelatin instead of eggs. Again, I would make the portions smaller. This dessert is very creamy and fills you up. Not to mention I got lovely lactose sensitivity afterward. >_<

And that ends this blog. Here are the video links, as promised:

Laura Vitale’s (Laura in the Kitchen) Panna Cotta Recipe

Runny’s (runnyrunny999) Choco Panna Cotta

Anime North update: Looks like I’ll be cosplaying Katara after all. Have decided to cut my hair next year, so Oliver will come next year as well. Am going to try making an Appa plush bag to take necessities. Worst case scenario, I’ll just fit pockets on the inside of Katara’s dress. Don’t expect to spend a lot, since mainly looking for accessories and such. Heard there’s a Doll Market and was hoping to find ami eyes, but from the official site’s description it’s mainly for BJD dolls.

What other foods would you want to see “pandafied?” Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Various Pokeballs – Amigurumi #22

Pokeballs are available to purchase here!

It’s the first Saturday of May! And if you’re an anime fan living in or around Toronto, it’s almost time for Anime North.

Anime North is an annual fan expo for all things anime. I’ve wanted to go for years, but it’s only now that I finally get a chance. My birthday buddy (friend who has the same birthdate as me) managed to get an extra ticket, so I figured, why not? I’m still in-between on the exact cosplay I want to wear. It’s between Katara, (Avatar: The Last Airbender) Oliver, (Ni no Kuni) and TK. (Digimon [season 1])

rotate

 

If you can’t make it to Anime North, it’s okay: here are some Pokeballs you can pretend you bought at Anime North!

three

Left to right: Master Ball, Pokeball, and Green Ball

 

I KNOW, another Pokeball-themed post. They’re just so easy and fun to make! As this post’s title suggests, these would make great accessories for a Pokemon-themed cosplay. Or a stress ball. Or to throw at your friends to catch them. Either way, POKEBALLS!

size

Each Pokeball is approximately 3″, or 7.5 cm tall. This makes them just the right size to fit in your hands.

hands

The Pokeballs are currently available in the designs and colours shown. For custom designs, please send me a message on Etsy.

I’m trying to save up money for a souvenir. Maybe I’ll find a ribbon for Shoonie, or a 3DS decal for Peck Peck. No plushies obviously, I’m more than set for those. XP

Oh look, another shameless link to the Etsy shop.

See any Pokeballs you like? Want? Need? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~