Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back to school.

So finally I'm back to school this week. It's so good to be back in the kitchen learning again. Life is, as usual, crazily hectic and I've realised that I won't be having a day off in three weeks. For some reason this no longer bothers me. I'm not sure if I'm simply getting used to the workload or my attitude has changed. I'm no longer viewing everything as this big hard challenge...but instead I'm viewing it as more fun. I promised myself I would make more of an effort this term to do more social things. I get so caught up in working and school at times that I can find it a bit intimidating to do new things around the city. It can be a little bit scary at times...but I've decided to face my fears head first, and start saying "yes" to things.

It's good timing too, as I've had extra itchy feet over the last two weeks. I have this longing for summer where all I want to do is let my hair down and have some fun. One of my closest friends back home gave me some good advice this week saying "don't forget to live like how we did in the summer of '09." Ah those days! I've been hankering for them so badly. I just want to go back to that year of no responsibilities and live it over and over again. The thing is though, we have all grown up. That year will never be again. So I need to find ways to live that year but still line it up with my city life of school, work, study, and staying organised.

It can be confusing to work out where I stand in between these two lives. I was feeling a bit discouraged about it today. Life can get a wee bit frustrating at time. Things don't usually come easy and my love life is ever non-existent (because I'm so busy) or a mess (I have no explanations for this one). I felt like hiding in the bathroom at school and crying, but instead I pulled my head together and put my chin up. As I stepped into the lift a lovely man from Peru introduced himself to me, and walked me part way to work. "Maybe you will be free to do something with me tomorrow afternoon?" he asked. Suddenly my friend's second piece of advice for the day came in handy...not only was I meant to live like the summer of '09, I should just pretend I'm in 'Sex in the City' everyday. "Maybe," I replied to him Super smooth.

Maybe this term won't be so bad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monk Bodhi Dharma

Unfortunately I have been terribly lax on my restaurant reviewing. All the other foodie bloggers out there are way ahead of my game with daily posts and weekly reviews...but I, woeful as I have been mischievously indulgent, worrying over broken hearts and school assignments!

On the subject of indulgent however (see that lovely link) I did head on down to a little cafe called Monk Bodhi Dharma last week and was pleasantly surprised. It's tucked away nicely in a little alley to give you the impression that no one knows about it. But do not be deceived! It's packed with the coolest most indie fashionsitas in their chic yet creative clothing. Despite the fact that this sort get on my nerves a little bit (only because I know that I will NEVER be as 'cool' as them) they do have very good taste in food.

To put it simply...it was amazing. Very rarely do I go to a place for something to eat and leave thinking 'well that was a very well done meal!" Usually I spend the next week compiling lists of ways they could have perfected their dishes. This time though I had no need for lists (and what a relief this was.) The food was great. The tea was amazing (They make their own chai from scratch and dry roast all the spices to bring out the flavour...genius!)

I didn't have a coffee because I was so caught up on the amazing chai, but I have heard good things. The menu is super creative and has a lot of vegetarian and vegan options (which was a relief because I could eat there with my sister.)

It's really just a great place. Super funky...and the staff are gorgeous (I would happily marry any of the boys who work there.) So I give it a 10 out of 10. Check it out, but go early if you want a seat!

Monk Bodhi Dharma on Urbanspoon


I have never dated a stingy man in my life. At the age of fifteen my first boyfriend saved up $100 of his pocket money to buy me a silver inscribed ring. I am now twenty-one and have had the privilege of experiencing more rings with that same sentiment, jewellery, five-star hotels, holidays in the mountains, expensive perfumes, nice restaurants, wine, clothes, lingerie, shoes, bed and breakfasts, and the list goes on. None of this I even asked for. Some of it I didn't even want. All I have ever done is loved in my simple way, cooking, and giving from the heart...and this is how I was often repaid.

So it didn't surprise me at all today when I received a big box of fruit delivered to my door from an ex-boyfriend as a 'get well present.' I wanted to savour every last piece of fruit in memory of this person. If I had the heart to, I would have baked all the apples into cakes, and made blueberry pancakes, but I couldn't.

There is no blessing in receiving gifts in exchange for love when all you want is pure, raw love. One gets sick of sorry presents when one has to keep forgiving. To this day I have every piece of jewellery ever given to me by a boy...and I don't wear one bit of it. But I like to think the boys I have dated are probably a little bit healthier due to my feeding.

I believe we all just want to be loved on a ground, base level. I cook when I love someone because it's caring for their core needs...hunger, warmth, comfort. That makes sense to me. I think deep down...it makes sense to us all. I am tired of gifts, and ready for the real stuff...love.

Actually for goodness sake....... Why mope? I'll have my damn pancakes if i want to. Not even a boy can wreck that for me. Here is one of donna Hays recipes for pancakes

ricotta hotcakes with maple butter


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Over the last month, I haven't been able to help but wonder if I have done something terribly wrong for karma to get back at me. So much in my life at the moment seems to be part of some elaborate scheme to stop me from moving forward. There has been a funeral, exhaustion, back aches, arthritis, boys lying to me, and the most recent one, food poisoning. Just when I thought I could finally get back to 'normal' life, I have had to spend two days in bed clutching my stomach and whimpering (and just for a side note, it wasn't from my cooking). Nothing seems to be falling into place and I feel so terribly discouraged. I just want my life back. I'm hoping desperately that things will fall into place soon, but until then I'm curled up in bed, too sick to eat, watching trashy shows, and cursing my ex-boyfriend (another story for another time.)
On the up side, before I got sick and everything fell in a heap I got really inspired to make meringues. They are so pretty and lovely. Here is the recipe I've been using.
You will need:
4 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp white vinegar
What to do:
Beat your egg whites till soft peaks form
Add sugar slowly while beating
Add vanilla and vinegar
Beat until glossy and holding its shape, this may take a while
Preheat oven to 100
Pipe (or spoon) onto grease-proof paper
Bake till crip on the outside.
Turn off oven and leave them in there to cook for 2 hours
Serve by themselves or make mini pavlovas by adding fruit and cream!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A bit sad

I have spent my last few days observing grief. I have seen the ups and downs of it and how it rears its ugly head. It changes and shifts and confuses you constantly. At the moment I'm spending a week at home with my family. It's so lovely to be at home and around people you have known for so long, but I do miss my city a little bit. If I was alone with my grief right now I'd be sitting quietly in a cafe, drinking coffee and reflecting. This week has provided not much time for that, and I miss my routines a little bit. It has been amazing how supportive my friends have been though. I'm constantly surprised by how many amazing people I have in my life. People who will rush to my side when I need them most. This is something I have craved all my life...the kind of people who are there for you no matter what, and I feel like I have finally found that. Friends have been showing up with wine, and chocolates just when I have needed it most. Knowing the exact moment when all I really need in life is JUST ONE MORE GLASS OF WINE, or someone to talk to. One of my friends was lovely enough to sell her concert tickets to a band, just so I wouldn't have to spend the night alone. Another friend offered to pay for a cab fair just so I could come spend the night with her. I feel so incredibly loved and blessed that not only do these people want to be here for me in a hard time, they know exactly how to be here for me. All people really want in life is to feel understood and loved...I feel that everyday. Unfortunately, despite all this love I'm receiving, things have not been smooth sailing. Being home again I am reminded of some life patterns that I started in this house...that are still persisting to this day. I remember sitting for hours in my bedroom during year 12 studying so very hard. I was convinced if I worked hard enough and long enough everyone would be so proud of me and tell me that I DESERVED a rest. I was so determined that one day everyone at home would notice how much effort I was putting in and just tell me to relax, that I could finally let loose. Unfortunately to this day I still have this same view point on life. Studying two full time courses and working part time, I can go for eight days without getting a day off. I push myself until I fall apart, finally convinced that I have done enough in order to lay in bed all day exhausted. I thought if I was neat enough, cleaned my room just perfectly, my pastry skill would improve. I thought that maybe if I looked just quite right everyone would believe that I had life together. Most of all I thought if I was perfect, did everything right, studied hard enough, never went out, never got drunk, paid my bills on time, dyed my hair brown so people would take me seriously, don't go on too many dates (in fact stop dating altogether), work long hours, and never take a break, then maybe then I could have the boy I care about so badly. This, unfortunately, is not how it works. Life isn't organised on a point system. You don't get what you want just because you pull your life together and act life a Stanford wife. No matter how perfect you are, or try to be, you don't always get what you want, and for this I am furious at life. I'm so very, very angry, and there is nothing I can do about this. Maybe this is the grief talking, who knows? But I do know no matter how perfectly smooth I make the icing on the cakes I bake, I still may not be happy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A bit of a sad one

I have had a bit of a somber last couple of days. Death can be one of the hardest things to write about, as it can be one of the hardest things in life to understand. It is a time where nothing makes any sense at all, but strangely at the same time you can feel a new clarity. So many emotions are experienced in short amounts of time, and quite often this week I have felt myself completely immobolised and have not been able to move myself from the couch, or bed, or a chair. I just sit.

In Jewish tradition, when someone loved is lost, the family just sits by the body until the funeral. No one eats or works. They just sit and cry. After the funeral there is another week in which the family still do not work. They stay at home, cover all mirrors, and gather together. People from the outside comunity bring them food and care for them.

In our society there are no traditions like this. There are no set rules, and no guidelines that allow us to know what to do with our emotions. How do we deal with things we cannot understand?

Although I have no set idea, over this week I have noticed a pattern. It is a pattern that I have followed all my life when dealing with grief. I gather those I love around me. I tell my friends, hoping for some comfort. I sit quietly all day. I stay up late at night. I cry. I get angry. I avoid my bedroom, with the fear of having to be alone and face things. I cry. Then finally I move all the furniture around in my room, in search on some change. I open all the windows looking for some fresh air. I sleep. I cry. I push away any men in my life. I try to distract myself. I look for reasons to be upset with anything else apart from the grief. And of course I bake.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

chocolate brownies

So holidays have finally come around, and on my first day off I went into hibernation. I have been so tired lately that I promised myself that I didn't have to talk to anyone for a full three days if I didn't feel like it. I spent the day walking around the house, reading cook books, drinking tea and cooking feasts. I love holidays. I went for a run first thing in the morning and decided to go to yoga in the afternoon. This of course didn't happen as I was much too tired and really couldn't be bothered. At first I gave myself such a hard time over it. "How will you ever achieve anything in life if you can't even make it to a yoga class!!" I berated myself. After giving myself a hard time for a full ten minutes, I relaxed in the knowledge that it was my first day off in eight days, and maybe, just maybe I DESERVED a rest.

Around one in the afternoon I ventured out into the world to see what was going on. It was cold and windy, so I found myself a spot in my favourite cafe to get stuck into some biscotti and a trashy novel. I wandered around town a little bit and picked up some supplies from the supermarket. Here I ran into an Italian coffee maker that has decided we are good friends (I don't even buy coffee from his shop, but just walk it past every morning.) He came over to me in that charmingly sleazy Italian way and kissed me on the cheek (we have only had a two sided conversation once...as I really don't count the "ciao bella" he calls out to me every morning as getting to know each other) and I remembered quickly why I didn't want to leave the house all day or talk to people.

What a grouch I have become! On the up side though, I did some cooking today, and everything turned out well. For dinner I made a wasabi salmon steak wrapped in nori and served with peas. Then later, for a treat, I make chocolate brownies. So yummy.

Chocolate Brownies:
140g butter
200g dark chocolate
200g brown sugar
2tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
85g plain flour
75g walnuts

What to do:
  1. In a pot over very low heat melt together the butter and chocolate
  2. Whisk with an electric beater the eggs and sugar till pale.
  3. Sift in flour. Whisk till combined
  4. Stir in walnuts
  5. Add the cooked chocolate mix and mix in
  6. Bake at 160 for 40 minutes.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Holidays at last

My first day of holidays and I'm heading off to work. After a wine soaked dinner with some friends last night it's really the last thing I feel like doing. It should be nice to get out of the house though and be around the lovely girls I work with.
I haven't been writing as much lately because I've been so busy with school. My course takes up so much space in my head; sometimes I want to sit with people and just talk about food, as a debrief. This week really has been a blur of stuffed quail, danishes, breads, soups, souffles, and lots more.
Its hard when you're so busy externally, because you don't always have the time to work on the internal things. My head and heart have been screaming for attention for the last few weeks, but I have been ignoring them, or dulling them down in front of the TV, hoping that this would be enough to distract myself until I had time for them.
If someone asked me how I really was at the moment...I would have no idea. I could list them off recipes, cook them dinner, bake an amazing desert, but I have no idea of how I'm actually doing or feeling. On the odd occasion an emotion that I'm not familiar with will rear its head half way through me doing something and I'll be like "do you mind? I'm baking a cake."
I have time now though. So I think I'll do some processing these holidays. So get yourself ready for some intense blog posts.
I also promise to put up some more recipes. I know it's my excuse that I use all the time, but really, I have been very busy. Have a beautiful day.