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July 23, 2015 § 1 Comment

Hello there! How are you doing? I’ve been sitting on this thought for a while now. The thought of writing here again. I haven’t found the courage nor feel like I have the ability to write. The last few months have been a subset of unconfident, poor time management and low self esteem.

During the period of time, I have done some traveling, meditating and more mindful yoga. But the fact remains that I am still fearful of being judged or pointed at for my wrongs more than my rights. That feeling has created a big gap between me and everyone who seemingly wants to encourage good growth. So how can this two ironic terms of “fear” and “encourage” can come together?

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Well, let’s start with this. Mother Teresa’s famous quote “If you judge a person you have no time to love them”. The industry I work in is filled with judgmental folks who will criticize you even before you step into the door. The car you drive, the way you wear your pants, the bag you carry, the type of coffee you order, the way you leave your food unattended and to the very last minute we greet you goodbye. It doesn’t stop there, we will still continues to come out with ideas of who you are and what you do.

But that is just how it is. We don’t have time to love our customers if they don’t fall into our check list of yay, and instead of having an open mind we just cross it off, well most of the time at least. Because between the mad rush of services, the demands you want us to fulfill and answering to our bosses/family members and so on…. We just don’t have the time or energy…

And time, as I had learnt, can be an illusion. The past and future come far between what is happening in the Moment. We cannot experience the past, we can remember it, it isn’t happening Now. We cannot predict or feel the future for sure, it is how the mind “projects” it to be. So that leaves us with, the present. Right at that moment when we can and should be fully committed to our values, philosophies to life and our best. But so often fall short in doing so….

The other negative side of thoughts come from the mind. The mind which lives in the past and future, not the moment. It feeds on it to tell us that we need to survive. The past experiences which taught us what to do and not to do. How we got yelled at and so we will not do it again. How we’ve been brought up, our childhood playtime.. How we felt loved and know how to return to that simple experience so to feel loved again. How we choose to walk away from people because the past is more significantly remembered and we don’t want that in the future.

I can hear your thoughts, well Denise isn’t that what all human beings go through? That is entirely right but that is how I’ve learnt that there will always be missed opportunities, no forgiveness and ultimately, no love.

I had concluded that somehow in a rat race society, humans demand more under pressure. We yearn for more because when under that intense energy to fulfill a task or race through the finishing line. Our heartbeats go faster, we breathe deeper, we are more desperate, more stressed, and in the end demand more from everyone or everything because after or during the stress period, we wear ourselves out emotionally,mentally and physically. Find coping mechanism to fill in this gap. We demand from our families, loved ones, the next person we meet and maybe even to the stray cat outside the office.

This is how breakups, divorce, violence, wars and etc starts.

The best healthy way to cope with it? Anything that brings more awareness to your thoughts and doings. With that being said, it is very different from being self absorbed, which is insensitive and ignorant. To be aware is to have a very simple open mind, clear away the negativity, listen attentively, respond with kindness and stray away from the old pattern of conditioned thinking.

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I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now. It is perhaps one of the most mind blowing yet simple and truthful book I’ve ever read. It focuses on the moment entirely and how one should be more self aware/mindful.

If you go, “yes I do that everyday”, but why are you still at a crossroad? Then perhaps it is just a conditioned mind pattern that you are in and cannot get out off. After all, everything is a matter of perspectives.

Today something really odd hit me. I’ve been thinking of my late cousin again and how little time we spent before his death. How when he first left, I felt a painful regret and grieve, that util today I cannot forgive myself for not spending the last reunion dinner with him. Simply because I was too busy buzzing tables and serving customers. I bought some sunflowers, his favourite, and recalled the happy times we had with his wife and dog.

At the same times, some friends came for advices about people going to leave their lives. It felt like a fortunate event, ironically, that they know the timeline. Even though it is vague, the “knowing” is all there is needed. Because when one “knows”, one becomes aware and present to that matter. They could choose to spend more time with each other and be completely mindful to each other’s thoughts/feelings/actions.

The past will wear my sprit down, the future with my cousin is tarnished. But what I can always do in any present moment is to know that we shared happy memories and in many ways, he has influenced my writings and thoughts. In that moment, is all that really matters.

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I doubt I can ever achieve being present to every moment. But that would be a lifelong goal to fulfill. Be positively aware and conscious of the Now. Not let other’s egoic mind or my own be in between the space of love, joy and happiness. To surround myself with the same like-minded people, plant a good thought into seeds and watch it grow into beautiful trees.

Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life

Kitchen Stories

February 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

We sat in a cafe near the Central Business District, high sky scrapers and people in office suits walking pass us as we spoke about our little idea and commongrounds. We brained storm on words and how to connect the dots. We told ourselves (23/01/2013) that this might make or break us, but gave it a shot. But it came about well, so well.

We are emotional beings. With attachments hard to separate from the past and present. With decisions based on sense or sensibility. Innate beings who take the next move even with preconscious based on the heart and thoughts. These were our trigger points to create something related with what we do daily, eating. Though some of us may not cook/bake daily, at some point we step into the zone of a stove, sink, and fridge. Perhaps making something for ourselves, to keep our bodies going or feeding someone special to put a smile on their face.

Elodie and I often share our experience of food and cooking. We love what we do daily with food (photography, shopping for ingredients, exploring cooking methods etc, feeding people and sharing). We wanted to draw the connection between food and moods to bring an awareness of how they are interdependent. We want to bring people together and share their experiences so we can learn from them and perhaps even cook a few dish or two.

So finally after two years of working on it, here is our work, Kitchen Stories.

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We launched it in Kinokuniya Singapore on 14th Feb and got great support from family and friends. Thank you so much for everyone who turned up. I will be selling it at Necessary Provisions and Elodie will sell it on her website. It is also available on Page One and Bloesom .

My hopes for readers are that they understand what keeps them craving for the certain food, and making the same thing when they have that particular feeling or occasion. It is also that they look beyond the dish in front of them and take a deeper thought to how it came about. The person who made it, the way its been done and how it came together. They always say less is more, but truly, there is so much more than what is seem or may be. Happy reading,please drop us a line or two about your thoughts and your own kitchen stories.

allscript

June 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

“There’s an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine — “Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.”

– Margaret Atwood

How many times have you flipped through a magazine and want to be exactly what it is? The images catch your soul, the words read your thoughts, the illustrations make your mind wonder and keep your daily chores interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the luxury of receiving magazines and subscribing from Allscript. They carry an abundance of cultured editorials from fashion, lifestyle, current affairs, comics and many more. Their membership program curates towards your needs and sends you good reads that thrive on your passion. Best of all, their collection includes foreign and regional editorials that are carefully selected and can only be found at selected bookstores.

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As an avid food magazine reader, Allscript sent me the trendy Fricote, lovely Cereal and contemporary Gourmand. Food has many dimensions and personal experiences. Through these magazines, I keep finding more pertinent elements, unique perspectives and sometimes a friend in the other food writers.

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Use Allscript to subscribe your favourite reads and keep sharing its great collection!

*magazines and subscription were all sponsored by Allscript

a year at necessary

June 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The cafe is turning a year old soon. These days I find myself looking back at the photographs, recollecting moments building the space, testing recipes, helping to cement the floors, staying late with the crew, meeting new people and finally, to what it is today.

I remember unlocking the door wee hours in the morning and baked the first batch of muffins. The girls setting the coffee bar up and arranging the flowers as we wait for the customers. A few curious ones from the neighbourhood came by, our regulars from Henry dropped in to show support, so did our family and friends. We fed them our usual staples and other new dishes. Every opening day, we did the same thing to keep people happy with our simple ways of getting by.

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Away from the hullabaloo of a city, there lies a cafe for individuals of all sorts sharing a meal or two at the table. Doing what they do as they like, spending them with good company, listening to lovely tunes, and indulging in anything honest and fresh. It is much adorn to remind yourself what is needed and return back to the basics.

I bake. That’s all I really do there. Baking sweet treats from dawn till mid afternoon. Then I carry on the day with yoga and writing, spend time with family and the cycle repeats. While it sounds so simple and pure, there are off days. Days when we get so packed, crap hits the ceiling. People demand for more, they want change, and are not use to the way we are. We become vulnerable to their dispositions and lose the bond.
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Then there are instances where we connect in every level, spend more time knowing each other and start to nurture the sense of community. My supplier who drops off a bag of fresh apricots, just cause; the little girl who runs around the table before getting on the stool to eat her bowl of granola; the french toast and brew coffee lady who sits there the whole morning with an iPad and two cellphones; the family that brings everyone out to dine in the evenings, and have hot chocolate to beer & fried rice to sandwich. A community of characters.

Somehow, I did not intend to stay this long. I had put school on hold for this to grow and continue with life. Following the rhythm, and be present to being here has been difficult to accept. This island has always made me feel like a fish out of water, I found comfort in other lands and had planned to explore. Yet, things change, well to be honest, I found love. Unrequited, supportive and mad affection. Instead of pushing what I had help build or watched what it is today away, and finding thoughts to leave with every discomfort, I learn to grow and embrace.

James, who now lives in the north-west, call it “grounded perspective”. We were so naive to drive across country through the rush hour. We have slowed down since and are still looking for grounds that appreciate who we are. Afterall, isn’t it all we want in life is to feel appreciate by others? And be comfortable with ourselves?

This sentimental post perhaps will make you feel lost in space, but there is no other way to put how this past year has been for me. Currently, we’re just going to dwell in what we have, appreciate its form and make the most out of them.

Anything else, just does not need to matter.
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Nourish

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.

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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!

a jovial gathering

January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

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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.

food demo

December 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Good things come in bunches. I hope this month brings much of those delightful feelings.

Our demo yesterday went surprisingly well. Apart from me burning an entire pot of hot chocolate to not even cooking because of a malfunction induction, I had a splendid time. All that effort of cooking/baking at 5am and preparing the bread dough the night before, were well paid off. It was the first time presenting ourselves to the public and bringing the cookbook to its presence. Our cookbook is going to be one of a kind. Why you may ask? It entails daily recipes influenced from our mood and emotions. How we feel and how we cook/bake is essentially the way we are. Naturally, like seasons changing it is easy to alter our meals with how we feel in this moment.

Yesterday was fun because, my parents were there, Elodie’s family was there, we made mistakes and laughed about them, food was splendid, people were receptive and so ever supportive. Thank you so much for everyone who made it !

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Spontaneous flatbread: flatbread, hummus, smoked aubergines and pomegranate; vegetable rosti (beetroot, carrots and potatoes) with yogurt and cherry tomato chutney.

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