Gen Med Is Over

Today was the end of my general medicine house officer rotation! 

Stayed late to seal the deal ofcourse.

And I even did some therapeutic baking to finish it off.

Poifect chocolate cupcakes. Well I learnt quite a bit of medicine I suppose. And I was busy. 

But my consultant told me I did a great job this rotation and my medical student said I’ve been very helpful and the nurses on my ward gave me this 

And told me they really loved having me on the ward.

So I suppose even though there are good days and bad days and Fridays and days I want to rip my head off, I still seem to be something right and people seem to appreciate it.

It feels good.

Onto my first few night shifts next week! 

So it goes…

Just Christmas Things

Ahh Christmas arrived! And since I’m on leave, I got to celebrate Christmas at home with my family.

It’s summer in New Zealand! So, since Auckland is always so faithful, It poured all day. Effectively ruining any plans of going out. My dad, sister, and I still drove down to our favourite beach in West Auckland, only to find the road to it was closed due to flooding. And surprisingly, we weren’t the only ones going that far and turning back.

So we returned home and lounged around with our presents as I prepped for dinner. Every year, it is tradition that I try a new recipe for dinner and dessert. This year, my sister requested to take over dinner and I would do dessert. She and my dad requested I make Tiramisu as a tribute to our trip this time last year. So I took on the challenge.

I wanted to make it as authentic as possible. Many recipes suggested buying pre-made Savoiardi biscuits for the base of the Tiramisu but I decided to make my own. They actually turned out pretty good!

Et Voila!

They look kinda flat, but trust me they had risen the right amount.

I hadn’t worked with mascarpone cheese before so it was all a bit challenging to get the consistencies and ratios right.

 

Here is the finished product.

My sister and dad liked it a lot. The cream was brilliant! I was worried I had too much coffee in it. But oh well. If we stay up late all caffeinated, it could be worse. Overall I think it was a success.

Here is my tree and assorted decoration macro photos. As I had promised myself last year and on HD’s advice, I had bought a whole new tree with new decorations. The gold and blue were quite Christmas-y and lit up, the tree actually looked pretty great. I had splurged for a big tree this year. Retail therapy is a real thing, kids.

And I also got a great Christmas present this year from secret Santa at work. My secret Santa was one of my friends from med school. He had given me this.

A lucky bamboo plant. It is an indoor plant that needs very little light or water to grow. It is supposed to bring you peace and luck. He of all people knew I could use some luck and good vibes. He also mentioned that this plant was the perfect metaphor for our friendship. “Low maintenance, and strong” he had said. I loved that. It made me feel special. He really does know me. ^^

Hope everyone else has had a great Christmas! 😀

Therapeutic Baking

If you’re a med student, you’re expected to bake something for your team on the last week of every rotation. Some take this as a pressure (they don’t know how to bake), some think this is slavery, some think it’s bribery, some don’t bother and end up buying something from a shop. While some, like me, enjoy this quite a bit.

I find baking therapeutic. It’s almost the perfect way to finish any rotation. Spend a night reflecting on the last 6 weeks while melting butter, mixing sugar and flour, savour the smell of vanilla essence in the air as you create something new and beautiful from nothing. Poetic, no? It’s just therapeutic. The sugar smell in the air literally works like an awesome placebo effect. Plus, the boost to your self-esteem when what you bake turns out well, is priceless.

Of course, there’s the occasional mental breakdown and emotional damage when your cake fails to rise or your cookies crack. It’s heartbreaking really. But with practice, these become fewer… mostly.

Anyway! I am baking one week early because my house officer and one of my consultants are leaving this week, so I thought I would thank them early. And indulge in some therapeutic baking. Sounding familiar?

Hehe. My other favourite thing to do these days when baking, is have a narrative in my head in the voice of none other than the lovely Nigella Lawson.

I’m baking her brownies actually.

Nigella Brownie recipe

I chose to bake brownies because, as stated above, “However much people have eaten, there is always, I’ve noticed, room for a brownie”. And nothing holds more true.

She’s quite great with her flour-less recipes and egg-less cakes. Which works out great for me because I’m out of flour today. My goodness, just read that description. I love how every one of Nigella’s recipes have a description that makes me smile and really excited about going ahead with that recipe. That’s how baking, well, cooking should be. It’s an art! As she would say.

So! Let’s get started!

Brownie choc

Of course all great Nigella recipes calls for gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous Chocolate! The darker the better. Her recipe calls for atleast 70% cocoa.

Mixing things together yields the perfect brownie mix.

Brownie mix

Here, Nigella would say something like: You’ll know the mix is ready, when you can really feel the silky, velvety, gorgeous richness that chocolate brings. There’s something so satisfying about that beautiful gooey texture in your brownie mixture.

Then, in the pan:

Brownie pan

Isn’t it poifect? Nigella suggested walnuts/almonds, but I’ve learnt in hospital that you never offer someone something with nuts in it without checking if they might be allergic.

And then finally, after it’s done cooking and filling my house with that luscious chocololate-y smell, it comes out all pretty looking:

Brownies

Nigella recommends a hot chocolate sauce, which I would love to make, but since these are for others, I chose icing sugar as decoration instead.

Brownie with icing

They are simply, gorgeous. Gorgeous and indulgent. 

That was a really fun evening. And they taste amazing. Why wouldn’t they? Hopefully there’s enough of them left for my team tomorrow.

Psychiatry may not be right for me, but these brownies definitely are!

 

Little win

Following on my theme of little things that get you through the day, today I had a particularly satisfying win.

It’s almost the end of my first run at hospital and it’s customary for medical students to bake for their team at the end of every run as a thank you. So I agreed to do this also for my team. I don’t particularly pride myself on my baking skills so I played it safe and decided to make cupcakes. But I also had an assignment to finish that night so I was sort of multitasking. Which isn’t always a good thing with baking because it requires a lot of attention. Well for me anyway. Like I said, I’m not very experienced. Anyway I thought they turned out pretty well.

image

So the next day I took them in and invited everyone in my team, even the old house officers and pharmacists who had rotated to a different team. Err it turned out that I overestimated how much my team would eat, and also some people couldn’t make it so I had a bunch of cupcakes left over. The members of my team that showed up said they were great which made me happy. But again, I had a lot of them left over. So I left the box of cupcakes on a table in the ward for everyone to enjoy and went off to do other things. When I returned later, the box was completely empty and someone had left a note under the box

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This made me extremely happy. I then proceeded to pack up the box and leave when 3 people came up and asked if I had baked the “amazing cupcakes!!” and thanked me repeatedly.

The whole thing made me feel really happy. Not only that the cupcakes were all gone but also that they were actually good enough for someone to leave a note and come up and tell me how much they enjoyed them. So to whoever left the note, I am extremely grateful. You made me smile.

Little win, got me through the day. 🙂