February 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
Last lunar new year, I found a note between John Kerouac’s On The Road book. My late cousin had collected a series of his books and a few more of his favourite authors. Every year, we return back to my aunt’s house for a reunion meal. Every year, I stand in front of the shelves, picking up random books and flipping pages until it is time to go home.
It is not every year I get to spend time with my other cousins. E’s brother, Chong, who just returned from Thailand spent some nights with the family. The note, was for him and was “edited” by E. We thought the note was for Chong. But according to him, it wasn’t.
The past few weeks have been a little tougher than usual, I have been questioning life and the path I am on. What it entails and what it offers. The book, the cafe, the family and being in this country.
Two days ago, I visited the crematorium after a restless morning. I have had thoughts before but never got the courage to do so.Torn and heavy hearted I found the disturbed thoughts silencing themselves between the walls. It’s ironic how peaceful it can be around the eternal rest.
I walked out feeling a little more grounded and lifted inside. Another paradox in life, I cannot explain but only feel compelled to share.
This morning, Chong had surprised me with a message. He mentioned that the note was written when both of them had experienced love. That being in love “makes us see how wonderful life is”. Reminding me not to think so much but to enjoy it. Thus, was placed in On The Road. The note was meant for me. To show me that love and youth make life wonderful.
Chong calls this synchronicity, I believe it is too.
There are signs we can choose to ignore and paths we choose to take. But we can only follow the flow and find a rhythm that sings to our heart. Find that rhythm and make it your anthem.
Life must be rich and full of loving–it’s no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.”
― Jack Kerouac
We are still working on the cookbook. It is taking more time than we thought but we are working hard for it to be out by Christmas. This is a purple sweet potato cake with rosemary lemon syrup. Purple sweet potato has a dense floury texture and a rich tannin sweetness. It was really lovely with the fragrant rosemary and citrusy punch syrup. More recipe testing soon.
February 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
There seems to be days I wake up to and find myself asking what shall I bake or cook today? There are routines to follow and list to abide by. It becomes mundane and a little dullness always sink into. Standing in front of the cake display, I ponder like a new customer with thoughts of what to nourish themselves with. Except when that happens they seem to take a much longer time to decide and annoy the staffs when they change their minds after paying.
The contemplative moments happen before sunrise and when no one is in the cafe; before the silent dawn breaks into a noise of light and brings in a gleeful sunshine. These days, we have been spoiling ourselves over the weekend with blueberry buttermilk pancakes for Sunday specials, purple potatoes for crisps, fresh Korean pears and new brews. I am also trying new recipes for more homemade cakes and perhaps a change of menu for lunch time.
We have not been cooking much at home. But when we get the chance to, I get spoiled with a big spread of delicious wholesome soups boiled for hours and hearty dishes with fresh veggies. We also got new coffee beans from Nylon and making some moves with the Kalita waves.
On that thought, I have been hard on many things lately. Filling the days with events after events, not taking time to reflect or understanding as much. We pace ourselves to keep the moments occupied. Afraid to feel empty but only to feel a little more transparent and vulnerable with all the frenzies.
I am back to writing in the journals and reading more again. Be more mindful of sights and sounds. Filling the soul with nourishing food and keeping the days count.
There are things about ourselves that we need to get rid of; there are things we need to change. But at the same time, we do not need to be too desperate, too ruthless, too combative. Along the way to usefulness and happiness, many of those things will change themselves, and the others can be worked on as we go. The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
Recently received a lovely care package from Trish. I am really glad for this homegrown quarterly magazine filled with travel stories and impeccable images. Check out Desiderata and other local Malaysian talents.
February 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
Recently, I’ve been reaching out to the heart with a softer rhythm. A much gentle pace to ease into the flow of everyday events. It has been a heavy week with disappointments and excitements, how they both love to tease the heart and make you wonder what is worth. There is a quiet need to set aside time for deeper reflections and seek simplicity.
This island is always full of surprise, after two years of living here I am still finding ways to be part of it. As Tyler Brûlé said, “It is that time of year when many wake up, stare at the ceiling and take stock of their career”.
While staring through the glass window in the kitchen, I wonder if customers understood our passion to serve wholesome food. That a simple tomato mozzarella sandwich was made with slices of heirloom tomatoes, shipped in either from France or America on specific days, smeared with homemade pesto freshly through out the week, topped with hand shredded mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and pressed on the grill until the bread becomes well-crisp.
We make food to show we care.
Taking the time to be mindful of ingredients, steps and services. And realize, there are people worth persevering for.
The day of showing love and affection was spent at home drinking cognac, watching cooking channels and eating Lana’s chocolate cake. The days before that we had been taking time to just enjoy the very early mornings before work and late nights after the day is done. Simple pleasures to be thankful for.
The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.
- Sir Hugh Walpole
February 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
Another reunion another day at the eldest folks’ place. Every year, the family grows or disappears, some leave the nest and settle into another. The girls would return back to their in-laws on the first day and visit their own parents on the second day. The rituals continue for decades and remain deeply vital to our regime.
Yet, the amount of food seems to stay the same, plenty of noodles for longevity , abalone/leek for prosperity, cabbage for luck and so much more. The Chinese simply adores “the more the merrier” and abundance of everything!
Back at home, I cannot account for the countless times, when these familiar feeling of being a child surface. That nostalgic scent of the handmade wooden shelve, the view I first witness every morning before the day break, the way dad always water the plants in the evenings, and our dog sniffing at the back door for dinner.
It’s always a sunken feeling going back to the city, but right now I can only enjoy this moment as it is and to be grateful for everyone to be around.
Happy lunar new year everyone!
January 25, 2014 § 4 Comments
Our dinner celebrated the pre-launch of Nourish. After months of contemplation, we finally have a name for it! We had prepared food using recipes from the cookbook, shared how we met, our inspirations and how we got to this point. The book entails food stories and mood recipes. It illustrates an interconnected relationship between food/mood every human being should understand and appreciate.
We cannot be more thankful for all the help we’ve got to make the evening so memorable. A big gratitude to Hjgher, the ladies from Ate, Triceratops for the gorgeous flower arrangements, Books Actually, Siew & Yang, Todd Belz, Kitt Santos & your amigas, the journalists, our beloved guests and loved ones.
This is just the beginning of something remarkably beautiful and we are so happy that you are part of it.
The images here are taken from the tags and friends. Do send us more pictures or tag #jovialgathering!
January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Honest good humor is the oil and wine of a merry meeting, and there is no jovial companionship equal to that where the jokes are rather small and laughter abundant. – Washington Irving.
A sneak peek of a nostalgic cake for our cookbook pre-launch dinner on 23rd January, Thursday at U Factory (Gillman Barracks). There will be wine, homemade food & sweet treats and an intimate session of us sharing our cookbook.
Lately, I’ve been spending every evening writing, cooking for the family, testing recipes, staining the computer keyboard with greasy fingers, running errands for the event and also falling ill. It is a handful. Good things always take time and effort. We are almost there! A few more weeks of photoshoot and recipe testing then it’s off to print!
Lately, we have been trying to stay jovial with Chinese New Year on it’s way. Another month of indulging in good food and close company. A big reunion potluck with the cafe crew before everyone returns home, some good quality time with my family back in Malaysia and a big cuddle with my dog.
January 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
New beginnings call for restorations and continuations. As I grow deeper with writing and baking, I’d increasingly started to realize the importance of feeding and treating the body better. I wake up to feeling fresh and renewed, preparing for life’s offerings, to take everything in with a stride and translate all the bad energy to good things slowly and surely.
It is not difficult to choose a balanced lifestyle. While we all choose to complain, we can all choose to walk the talk more often. Take time for yourself, cook better food, choose less process or greasy, more wholesome, healthier ingredients with the simplest meals. Your body probably won’t agree from the start but will gradually be thankful at the end of the day. Feel light and happy.
There was once when your body, mind, soul and heart felt wonderfully whole. Find that tender moment, practice the positivity and keep them.
the heart feels more secured
the mind feels more pure
the soul feels more alive
Figs are often regarded as a symbol of renewal. With the start of the new year, we’ve decided to enjoy what’s left of the season by reducing them with warm spices, sweet onions and dark brown sugar. Then slowly bringing them to a simmer until each flavour immerse into a lovely chutney. Jar them while its hot, allowing the fruits soak in the spices and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, spread it over hot toast, melt some soft cheese like brie or camembert, throw a handful of fresh arugula or pea sprouts and drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil.
It’s a simple way of eating, and so tasty!
your beliefs become your thoughts,
your thoughts become your words,
your words become your actions,
your actions become your habits,
your habits become your values,
your values become your destiny
- mohamand ganhdi