Devour Slowly & Deliberately

{.pre-winter mish-mash.}

I am not one to subscribe to dark and sober colours just as the weather cools down.  Not because I enjoy taking a stand against convention.  Unlike most normal people who look polished and sleek, I have only ever managed nothing but awkward in black.   Read the rest of this entry »

{.off on a tricycle.}

 

Every time I walk past this baby I just want to jump on and ride away!!

{.pumpkin tofu bake.}

I am a big fan of baked pumpkin.  The baking process means that the pumpkin does not get tempered with too much so it is free to soften up in its original shape.  Another fun thing about this dish is the combination of Asian flavours with pumpkin which is not really an Asian staple.  The sweetness of the pumpkin in this dish also mellows out the spicy curry flavour a tad – a plus for those who are not mad like me and prefer less spicy food.  I have kept it relatively simple so hopefully you have fun trying it out :-)

You will need

  • 1 block of firm organic tofu – dried with paper towel and cut into chunks
  • 2 decent wedges of your favourite pumpkin, skinned and chopped into chunks
  • an assortment of your favourite vegetables suitable for roasting such as carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes – all cut into chunks
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon full of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon organic Thai red curry paste (make sure it is organic and check the ingredient list – a lot of ready-made curry paste contains MSG and other chemicals as flavour enhancers)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 3-5 tablespoons of mirin
  • 1 chili sliced
  • 1 bunch of coriander torn into bits
  1. Make the marinate by mixing the curry paste with miso, mirin, salt, sugar, oil, sesame seeds and chili
  2. Put the marinate in a shallow and wide oven safe bowl and mix in the vegetables, pumpkin and tofu – stir to coat the vegetables.  Leave the marinate for at least 30 minutes
  3. Preheat oven to 180 °C
  4. Place the bowl of vegetables in the oven for around 45 minutes finishing off with a couple of minutes under the hot grill
  5. Stir in chopped coriander and serve with rice

{.things I do not understand.}

image from here

a list …

  1. Mad shopping/compulsive hoarding before bank holidays – shops are only going to be close the day or two, why people are buying as if they are able to go into a bunker for ten months is beyond me.
  2. Justin Bieber –  maybe I am too old to appreciate him but he looks like a child with a microphone.  Actually, he is a child with a microphone.  Friendly looking smile though.
  3. Superfluous kitchen gadgets – I don’t get why people buy pop corn machines when a pot with a lid will suffice.  Similarly I also do not see the point of onion slicers, garlic skin peelers, special mittens for handling pineapples, and jam pots.
  4. North bound traffic INTO the CBD during afternoon rush hour – shouldn’t the jammed traffic be south bound OUT OF the CBD?!
  5. My inexplicable language fails which include only being able to count in Chinese even though my English is far more sophisticated and replying to my Italian tutor’s questions in French on a regular basis.  My clients think I am some sort of fool who can’t count and the rest of my Italian class think I am a stuck up polyglot.
  6. Sex And The City – my sister is a big fan and I tried many times to get into it.  Should be a no brainer since I love pretty clothes and shoes but I really cannot stand the show.
  7. Drivers who indicate right then turn left (or vice versa) – is it because you are somehow directionally dyslexic?
  8. Reality television – a lot of the shows are shame based and it baffles me why someone wants to be on it and why others want to watch it.  Although, Lauren Zalaznick’s TED talk on the conscience of television is very telling.
  9. Why Soufflé digs through the bin even when it is empty – before you judge me and allege neglect/maltreatment, just know this – she gets plenty of food and the lounge floor is perpetually littered, LITTERED, with her toys.
  10. Boxing Day Sales – the traffic, the people, the queues, madness and still you have to spend money…

{.what do you want for christmas.}

Image is from here

What do you want for Christmas?

I don’t know, nothing, everything, surprise me.

What do you want for Christmas?

I haven’t the faintest clue.

What do you want for Christmas?

Pots of gold, ten million of your earthly dollars and a singing telegram delivered by a Bill Nighy in a giant donut suit.  If you cannot deliver, do not bother.

What do you want for Christmas?

Do not bother me with your pagan trifle.  I am busy and important.

I warn you Mr. Bond, my patience is not inexhaustible.  Tell me what you want for Christmas or my pretty little piranhas will have you for breakfast.

 

At this point, the conversation will typically degrade into an exchange of James Bond one-liners.  All the while the issue of the ideal present remains unresolved while Christmas surely and quickly creeps up on us.

This incessant questioning every year got me thinking about Christmas its inherent ritualistic gift-giving.  In a world that is already driven out of control by consumerism (Well, at least in my world.  I don’t know what world you live in but if you are reading this blog, chances are you have some sort of Internet connection and chances are the mass culture of consumption has somehow pervaded your world too.), how can we salvage the spirit of Christmas when the festival is so inextricably linked with mechanical gift exchanges, rampant corporate persuasions and an insatiable consumer appetite that is always searching for the next big thing?

First thing first.  I am not religious.  I choose to have faith in my fellow human beings rather than an unseen but omnipresent God.  Coming from a Buddhist tradition on my father’s side, Taoist from my mother’s, having scientist parents and being educated by Catholic nuns between the ages of 3 and 12 does that to you.  For someone like me to celebrate Christmas like all good Christians is therefore rather disingenuous.  But since Parliament enshrined the 25th of December as a statutory holiday, I do put on a spread and make a day of it.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not adverse to Christmas as a Christian institution.  If there is ever a day that symbolises the birth of my values then I too would want to give it all due respect by making a big deal out of it.  I am however unconvinced about the tradition of gifts that seems to have exploded on the modern psyche.  Everywhere I look these days, signs of Christmas are all accompanied by a consumerist overtone.  Someone somewhere always wants to sell you something.

Gifts at Christmas are not just an homage to the Three Wise Men’s offerings and St Nicholas’ charitable giving, they are also a glowing symbolism of God’s gifts to men.  The most prolific of gift-givers will also tell you that Christmas gifts are a way to show love and appreciation for the special person in your life.  Fair enough.  From time to time you might want to treat a few people in your life.  Christmas is as good an occasion as any to do so.

However, the group of people we are now socially expected to give gifts to is expanding at a somewhat alarming rate.  What may had started off as a group including family and selective friends now includes co-workers, neighbours, employers, the local tattoo parlour owner who moonlights as a wedding celebrant and so on.  All of a sudden the cost of Christmas sky-rockets to something positively galactic.  Unfortunately Columbian orphans do not cry tears of diamond neither does money fall off trees – most of us simply do not have enough budget to buy stunning presents for the growing group of our Christmas beneficiaries.  The result?  Cheerful but often cheap and unwanted presents that get put on Trade Me, eBay and Craigslist as early as Boxing Day.  It depresses me that we are becoming a culture of people who are not able to say a simple, ‘Thank you for a great year and I wish you and your family a happy holiday.’ without feeling the need to bump up our sincerity a notch by a meaningless present whose only merit is that it is tangible and therefore must mean more than mere words.

So here it is: I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas.  Eat ample, drink lots, be joyous and celebrate with your swag of friends.  You won’t be getting a present from me this year but I am thankful of you all the same.

{.2011 favourites – films, televisions and other stories.}

edited image from weheartit

Favourite Movie (Drama)

The Debt

Favourite Movie (Comedy)

Potiche

Favourite Documentary

Precious Life

Favourite Revisited Movie

Earth by Disney Nature

Favourite Television

Sherlock

Favourite Audiobook

Any Wodehouse title by Jonathan Cecil

Favourite Radio Show

Concert FM – The Stars Are Comforting – The Letters of Beatrice Hall Tinsley

Favourite Actresses

Dame Maggie Smith in Capturing Mary and Ruth Wilson in Luther

Favourite Actors

Michael Sheen and Ciarán Hinds

{.2011 favourites – discoveries.}

edited photo from weheartit

Everything I came across in 2011 and have since enjoyed.  In no particular order:

Safari Reading List Button

Clarisonic Mia

My iPad covered with Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss Gelaskin

Miranda Hart

Ruth Wilson

Sarson’s malt vinegar on chips

BBC: Luther

Miss Moss

Home made soy milk

Deborah Lippmann Waking Up In Las Vegas

British Baking by Oliver Peyton

Weekends visits to Noosa, Brisbane

Michael Kors Tortoise Jet Set Sports Watch

2009 Johner Lyndor (Cabernet Merlot)

Alan Rickman’s Tribute to J K Rowling