December 26, 2017 § Leave a comment
It’s been a very reflective year. More so than the year before because of the events that have unfolded. For many, it is perhaps sedentary, a cruise mode to pass through the motions and performed what is needed or should. I for one have never been the sort who operates on cruise mode, if anything it has always been manual. I bought a bike and put it together (with a little help from my friends), moved into an empty apartment and found furniture on the local community sites, found recipes for kombucha/sauerkraut/soy yogurt and now have a little fermentation corner; perhaps Bunnings would be my next favourite DIY store. As it should, as I feel our lives should be simplified to lessen the carbon footprints by making it of our own and deliberately making a conscious effort to refine attitudes, broaden perspectives, and foster cohesiveness amongst ourselves.
There hasn’t been any new recipes here despite being a food blog. I have not been cooking with recipes for a while. Baking is quite intuitive and so is cooking. But here is a simple put together for days like these are far than a few. This morning at the local asian market, I found laksa leaves and danced around the spot while hoping the cctv above me didn’t notice. Then head down to the local Coles, treat myself to some locally grown blood orange and a big tub of soy yogurt. I turned our Cave playlist on, assembled a spread of crackers with vegemite, dolloped a couple of tablespoons of soy yogurt into a vintage teacup, sliced oranges & banana and tossed a few laksa leaves.
So this is how 2017 will end, with no guidance to how life should be but simply a genuine joyful act of come what may. As one of my uncles will sing in my ear when I was a little girl, que sara sara . You know the next line…
Updated, and a new title. I just watched an inspiring film, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. It is perhaps the best movie I have seen this year.
Let the flesh grow old and crumble. What are my expectations and what have I done?
How can one not sit on the thoughts and reflect on those questions? For Jeremiah Tower, cooking and dining is a soiree. More than not, he has meticulous anticipations with lighthearted vim and vigour. I had thought I would be rather insane to think that menus are as readable as books. Hence having a big collection of menus from restaurants/cafes through travelling. The name of the dish should highlight the main ingredient, not whimsical or how it’s processed but what it entails. It has never quite stuck with me how sous-vide is so welcomed on a menu or putting an accurate number for cooking temperature. We might as well put UNOX oven-baked apricot cake or Iseya sliced tuna belly. Our equipment has taken over how food is appreciated, where it should simply be rejoiced by its origins. The source of how they are formed has been diminished. A pinch of salt in a dense brownie is forgotten because salted caramel is drenched all over it.
I seek finesse in feeding the finesse food and drinks. Perhaps it’s not everyday I work in one but hope to find a place where people are on their toes and captivate themselves into something more than just as it is. After all, what is greatness if we settle?
December 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
Reflective morning, this yoga session felt like one for the year.
We do not need a starving polar bear to remind us that climate change is real. I read about climate change when I was studying geography in high school. That is a good almost two decades ago (yes I am getting to that age!). Climate change is in our everyday take away paper/plastic take aways. We do not need manufactures to fabricate more unnecessary products to entice consumers. We need consumers to educate themselves that the money they hold in their hands is knowledge acquired. That grasp of information is through education not only in academic settings but more in how we lead our daily lives.
We do not need reality shows for us to compete with one another to know who is better . We do not need lists to know where we stand. We need to fill ourselves with more care, acknowledgement and thoughtfulness. We are born loved and there is only more from where we come, but less in where we are now. We need to become more ourselves. The self that transcends beyond and draws peace. When there is peace within us, there is peace in everything around us.
We are enough and even more. We need consciousness and awareness. We need cashiers to ask if we need a plastic bag. We need to get off our devices and connect with others around us. We need to live by the example to be what we aspire ourselves to be, or already are.
If anything I have truly learnt this whole year is to let go of any physical, emotional and mental figures that serve no purpose. Then when you start ask yourself if anything at all serves a purpose. You realised, how much you already have and how much you really do not need.
Choose recyclables, reusables, and reduce consumption.
Choose sincerity, prudence and love.
December 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
Yoga practice today was quite a revolution. Ever since I joined the Westside yoga, every session has been very insightful. Perhaps it has to do with the current course of my journey, how it has shifted tremendously and is still evolving.
In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.
I have read this quote multiple times and like any empowering words they mean something different when you revisit them. I have finally moved into a new apartment, and enjoying the silence. While rejoicing in the new found freedom to dance with, there is a different side of loneliness. The quiet space is now filled with silences but with time I have come to enjoy the nature of it all. The birds wake up way too early for my liking, I can hear the neighbours going in and out of their apartments, I make my meals for solely myself and while I was so used to making it for my family back at home. It is a meal for one everyday. The experiment is nothing less than creative and adventurous but also deeply gratifying. I have a big jar of kombucha fermentation by the kitchen window and a sauerkraut recipe waiting to test out. Another responsibility I have come to adhere to is DIY light fixing. How can one know the differences of E22/B27 or warm light, bright white or LED? Also, I have bought some plants to keep me company. While I am not sure how long they will enjoy my presence but inviting them to the new home has been nothing shy of joy. I would say this is exceptionally so when I wake up in the morning and see the little green leaves face catching the first rays of sunlight.
This year, I have learnt to grow more graciously independent. What does that even mean? To be gracious to yourself while trying be on your own and in good company. Over the years, failed relationships have made it difficult to rely on the right people. Some might say, well perhaps you just haven’t found the right one to depend on. I would agree but also realised that you are essentially responsible for your own happiness/well-being. Being taken care of is such a luxury that not everyone can have, but also to take care of others is another privilege one shall not take for granted. How many times have I wished to have closer family members to cook for and listen to their problems. At the same time wish someone would just sit and listen to me. Yet, this constant ebb and flow settles quietly like the waves on a shore. You watch the tide come and go, enjoying the swiftness of the water and listening to the ripples as they grasp one another.
I have graciously learnt to let go of depending on others for happiness and am cultivating a gentle lifestyle. First step to finding love, don’t. It is already in you. Don’t wait for anything to happen or until it is ready, you will perhaps wait for your whole life. Now, let go of whatever that does not serve you any purpose.
Oh yes, and if all else fails, find friends who laugh over silly matters, shares vegan pizza and hide in pubs while waiting for the rain to pass.
December 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
Today I had someone said me at times that when its down, this soul tends to bring it lower; when its up I tend to turn it down as well. I have known this for a while but when someone whom you put as first says that to you, it is sharp. I am blessed to be loved. It is human to doubt or feel insignificant but I do have a real quest to being better whether others are going to stick around or not.
It is not an easy one. Meditation, yoga, the works you name it. Not everyone comes from a very happy childhood or for the fact of any matter happy baseline. Their couple goals or examples were unconsciously conditioned to be anything but positive or even healthy. It took a whole lot to pull themselves out a ditch but eventually came to light. The journey, begins when you start out of it. The past is what we tell ourselves but the present is where we are. It hits hard sometimes. This weekend was not nice. Transition can be lovely but not always easy. But here is to trying step by step because the light will be there again. At the end of the day, we are only human. Working towards being a better person for ourselves and people around us. Like anything beautiful, an apartment, a design work, a simple dish or a piece of art, there is beauty in imperfection. Wabi-sabi. Savouring the balance, sitting in awkward silences, enjoying the crack edges and listening to the heavy storm. Hold on to yourself for its what love would do.
November 27, 2017 § Leave a comment
There are a few moments in life that you unconsciously remember. Perhaps a fruitful dessert you made during the first summer day, when the heat was so strong, turning the oven on would just be against the grain. It might be a stranger you locked eyes with on the train and had a heartfelt connection. It could even be a ratatouille moment ~ a certain dish that sent you back to your childhood dining memories.
Today is a momentous day. One I would never have imagined happening for as long as I remembered. While other girls chase white dresses and shiny rings, I longed for a space I call my own. Exactly two years ago, mum and I decided to visit her university in Switzerland. She had graduated in the year when bell bottom pants were as trendy as dim sim or Lune croissant in Fitzroy. But instead, we had traditional apple strudels with dark roasted coffee in our thick parka jackets. We hiked through a snow blizzard and made it to the cafe she interned at. It was somewhere there that I decided to steer the wheel and take a different course on this journey.
Two years later, I am in a different country, studying my second degree and reading up on road bikes. Perhaps going to celebrate Christmas in hot summer ( not that it really matters since we are from the tropics) and try not to get too tan.
I moved into my new apartment today. For the first time, in years I am living on my own once again. I bought the double mattress from a furniture store which had an incredibly kind salesman who squeezed it into my friend’s car. He also gave me two extra pillows to keep myself warm. I bought a dining table set and second-hand refrigerator from a buy/swap/sale online group, which had given incredibly sublime experiences. Everyone has so warmly offered help and extended an extra pair of hands if in need. My neighbours have already introduced themselves, gave me their numbers in case of emergency and welcomed me to the area. It’s barely even day one, yet it feels like I have lived here for a long time. This is the feeling of being at home.
As a Malaysian, I would call this the kampung spirit. The sense of belonging one feels in a community where everyone looks out for one another and share the same backyard but still respecting privacy. I moved here with 2X30kg suitcases, and am starting from scratch. A new drying rack, a new knife board, a new set of detergents, vacuum cleaner and even blender, which my boyfriend so kindly hand-carried from Mustafa (Singapore).
It is surreal but only natural. As I sit beside the window this late evening, staring at the brightly lit half moon and sipping on the Nadurra, I can only count my blessings and be grateful for the generosity and graciousness.
Here is to many first loves to come. I have yet to bake in the oven, do a full asana, sleep on that mattress and make my first breakfast.
yoga is painless, when you practice awareness
asana brings transformation, when you let the breath flow
life is painless, when you practice mindfulness
the journey offers beauty,
when you surrender to the flow
November 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
We are told many times by others or social media to love ourselves. We are reminded to have me-time or our quiet moments with a cup of coffee or tea before our partners or rest of family members come home for dinner.I often hear colleagues or classmates say “I simply have no time”. While we all know very well that it is about prioritising our-self before anything else.
In most scenarios, there is a weight of guilt that lean too heavily on our shoulders. What if I take time off for a yoga retreat? Or a movie with my friends? Or reject my friends for coffee so I can just stay at home and be quiet? How does that make you feel?
In my teenage or younger adulthood years, I had almost no obligation of setting aside time for myself. I say almost with a big fat pinch of salt. We tell ourselves that by sitting out on meet-ups is to excuse ourselves for something more meaningful. Truth of the matter is, you are meaningful enough.
During our asana practices, we are told to go easy on certain poses because our body is simply not ready. Somedays we are more flexible and a forward fold can be as simple as a walk in the park. However, there are days when even a child pose hurts. When a resting pose is not completely restful, is when you start questioning yourself “have you love yourself enough”?
By starting to love yourself a little deeper is to prevent a simple yin pose from hurting. We have all been there, one way or another. We do too much for others and do too little for ourselves. We take care of matters that do not take care of themselves and by doing so forget about ourselves. We also tell ourselves that that’s the way we love ourselves because we put others first. That self-sacrifice is not merely sacrificial to others but yourself. By taking just some time off for yourself, is to be better for others. It is an old cliche saying but the act is anything but common.
The next time you do a sun salutation, ask yourself how can you love yourself deeper? Perhaps it is to not push your feet into the mat as much as it hurts. Perhaps it is to acknowledge the pose by breathing into the lungs deeper and exhaling a longer. It could even be setting an intention to not think about solving anything but remaining present in your body.
Notice how much you gratefulness arise after the practice. Pay attention to the uplifting awareness that brightens up the space between your eyebrows. Just enjoy the quietness that transcend through your breathe as you step out of the mat. Realise how much more grateful you are with the elements surrounding you. More importantly, observe the amount of love you have inside you.
Now, you are ready to give even more.
It’s day 8 of Movember. I had a rough one at a new job and what seems to be tough right now is to accept the moment as it is. Reflecting upon the emotions that lead through them. What are your integrities? What values do you hold that speaks to your soul?
Workout for today was a short run, 10 reps of 30 secs 10 static pull-ups and 10 squats along with 20 secs of hollow hold and 10 box steps, about 5 reps.
This sunken feeling, shall pass just as well.
October 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
There have been many aspects of my life that I frequently write about. Bake Anything has always foremost, been about food and the kitchen stories entailed around. Occasionally, there would be experiences of yoga, running or traveling. I have taken this site as a personal journal entry since almost a decade ago and have grown so much since.
Today, I am going to share the present moment. What is the present moment? My present moment is being a student again, practising yoga physically/philosophically, freelance writing and partially take orders at dining tables. I suppose I could go on with the things I do that doesn’t necessary call for definitions. Yet, everytime I come here to share about something not food related, there is a sense of apprehention. But on the other hand, I do want to share.
Baking as we know, is theraputic. It was how I spent my high school years running away from homework; it was how I switched from psychology school to patisserie; right now, its part of my weekly routine. It taught patience, grace, disipline and creativity. These elements could also be applied in yoga. In fact for anyone who is a practisioner would comprehend that it teaches much more than just those. If it is a canvas paper, it will absorb every paint; it is a baking pan, it will mold into any cake; if it is a pot of curry, it will probably be one that is versatile for any spicy level. Yoga has, adamantly, taken a larger part of my daily thoughts than anything else.
The more I practice yoga, the more patient and present one becomes. How do you refine your daily activities as much as you want to improve your posture on the mat? I promise you the day you bring yoga thoughts into your actions, is the day you take yourself out to a nice restaurant and buy yourself a glass of good red. That is just the very begining of owning your own presence on this planet.
I used to practice yoga after service. No matter what time it is, I will unroll my mat and start with 10 sets of sun-salutations. Then depending on my energy level, I will either do more standing postures or let the practice take its time. These routines felt different everyday, routines are not meant to be fixed; they are implaced for one to check-in on yourself. How often do you ask yourself, how are you doing today? I frequently find myself scanning the cells in my blood wondering if they are still filled with vitality or half-baked.
Naturally, I am a go-getter. I start my day and it can go on for hours. I could do trays of cookies and cakes in just two hours. But my energy level depletes quickly and I got very agitated after coffee time. Over the years, I have learnt to conserve this wholesomeness by starting slow and maintaining a constant speed. So I pace it out now….. instead of letting the head take the lead, the whole body is attached and moves along together.
Isn’t it nice when the mind/body/soul are in sync? Not when you feel completely jaded in the head and the body has collapsed ? Or if the heart is filled with excitement and doesn’t let the mind sleep? Learning to realign myself is still a constant journey. A personal act of balancing through awareness and mindfulness.
There is no secret to being a better person. It truly starts from inside and right now. I sit with the unknown much more comfortably then before. I sit with it like I would put butter and sugar together.
Can you honour knowing,
and letting it go?
Can you honour not knowing,
and letting go too?
It can be so challenging wanting to feel safe. At the same time, it is something we strive for because of a fear for the unknown. So why not, just be with vagueness? Let the possibly of anything happen. We are so compelled to be in control, that we end up not having control at all. My favourite analogy is reading a foolproof recipe and watch someone use it; thinking the whole time to myself that the “joke is on you”.
This week’s eats: homemade oatmeal with more, well oatmeal and nut sprinkles; pancakes with oranges; staff lunch spring salad while the sun shines on our faces.