blog

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Dr. Feelgood Frozen Pops.

A mouthwatering popsicle guaranteed to impress your nutritionist AND your snobby food critic mate. After seeing Dr. Feelgood’s Facebook post last week about their products now available at New World Fendalton, I forced S to drop everything and to ASAP take me there. I had fallen in love with Dr. Feelgood some three years ago in Auckland and had missed their presence in Christchurch ever since. Simply unable to wait, we sampled two of their new popsicle range in the supermarket parking lot right there and then (wink wink). And the verdict? Oh mama mia. They were delicious. As far as I know, there is nothing quite like Dr. Feelgood on the NZ food market. Yes, there’s nice-creams for better-for-you ice-cream alternatives but seriously, there’s only so much coconut a gal can take. I love Dr. Feelgoods new premium range because their creamy pops are made with renowned Lewis Rd pure organic milk and all of their pops are of completely natural ingredients. So if you’re looking for a guilt-free treat (like I am always) look no further! More info HERE.Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset

Figure Out Who You Are Then Do It On Purpose

image-1
See! We and Prince of Persia really DO share the same tablecloth! PS if there’s one advice I can give for making perfect pancakes, it is using a non-stick crepe maker. THIS one in specific. It has been and continues to be, my most prized possession – after the yellow rose Soroosh gave me on our first date. image-5
My dear friend and follower, Randy yesterday commented to say she misses Akiko, Lifa and Ozzy. Well, lookie here! Look who is thinking of me! Thanks guys, my heart is bursting.
image-1-2
The Origin (95 Westminster Street) is a new entirely vegan CHCH eatery. And, it is hands-down, nothing short of amazing! The food and the coffee, oh my. You’ve been warned. I can’t wait to go again. In fact, I’m gonna go today. image-6
image-1-1Bet you’ve never taken a #muffinselfie. Or have you?
image
Oopsie. Must use bigger oven. Of course, my mother told me off for this. I did not try to argue that it was her who suggested and by suggested I mean forced me to use the toaster oven for my baking experiments in hope of using less electricity in the first place.
image-1-3
Combine the following in a large mixing bowl, 3 free-range eggs, 1/4 cup runny honey, 1/2 cup natural yoghurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 ripe banana, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. Mix well, then gently sift in 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 cup almond meal, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp baking soda, a large handful of chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, then mix thoroughly. Drop the mixture in to 12 greased muffin tins. Bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes or, until an inserted fork inserted comes out clean. Yummy yummy.

I Devour My Favorite Books

“Reading and eating are natural companions, and they’ve got a lot in common. Reading is consumption. Eating is consumption. Both are comforting, nourishing, restorative, relaxing, and mostly enjoyable. They can energize you or put you to sleep. Heavy books and heavy meals both require a period of intense digestion. Just as reading great novels can transport you to another time and place, meals — good and bad ones alike — can conjure scenes very far away from your kitchen table. Some of my favorite meals convey stories of origin and tradition; as a voracious reader, I devour my favorite books.” (Dina Fried, Food and Fiction)

The other day, as I scanned the library shelves for something new to read, I came across Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock which I judged entirely by the cover only and thus ended up issuing. Thankfully, the old adage proved utter bullcrap because this book, with its pretty blue patterned cover, is a, dare I say it, complete beauty! I love Heidi. I wish we could be friends. On second thought, her success would probably frighten me. This is because over the span of a couple pages,  I’ve become a huge fan of her writing. Why can’t I write like that? (I’m not fishing). Heidi’s prose is so human and so refreshing. You see, The Folded Clock is a diary which means we are given access to Heidi’s frank, funny, and surprisingly relatable musings. Her thoughts (often irrational) hit close to home for me. Unlike some authors I’ve read, Heidi isn’t pretending. She writes what her overworked mind (much like yours or mine) thinks.
image
“I am a jack-of-all-trades. I edit and teach and at times desire to be a clothing designer or an artist (one who doesn’t draw or paint or sew) and I write everything but poetry and I am a mother and a social maniac and a misanthrope and a burgeoning self-help guru and a girl who wants to look pretty and a girl who wants to look sexy and a girl who wants to look girly and a woman in her middle forties who wishes not to look like anything at all, who wishes sometimes to vanish.” (Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock: A Diary)
image-1-2
The Importance of Food Presentation by me.
image-1
I just wanted to say I liked The Berry Shop before it was this busy!
image-2
Soroosh’s mom taught me this salad. I think it’s so tasty. Recently, I made it for my family and they also agreed.

1 pound boiled chicken, chopped small
3-4 large stalks of celery, chopped (leaves included)
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup roasted walnuts, chopped
handful of fresh mint, torn
2 gherkins, diced small
1 cup greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix until just combined.
image-1-3
My family’s favorite foodie place in all of NZ is ZAB Thai Food Takeaway (except for my dad since he can’t handle spicy food). Oh man, it’s so good. It’s so good that I considered not posting about it. You know, in case it gets super popular and it becomes not good anymore. #padthaigamestrong

Speaking of strong food games, HERE are 8 Japanese foodie Instagram’s y’all should follow!

La La Land

Let’s just say I’ve never seen anything like it and that it was the most perfectly relatable film, for me, at this very moment. Without going too much into detail, I liked it and I found it relatable for its strong emphasis on following our true ambitions. For following our true ambitions always wins (something I’ve tried to do for as long as I can remember). This above all I celebrate. Not money or fame. (Unless your ambitions are money and/or fame, then we have a whole other issue to dissect!)

Also, I loved Gosling’s character’s sense of encouragement. That is something I find hugely attractive in a person – one of the reasons I fell in love with my boyfriend. Relatable, see! It doesn’t have to be a lover though, it could be your grandmother, your father or your friend’s friend. There’s nothing more beautiful than encouragement. It is so important. And we ALL need it. I’m so grateful to have a few people in my life who gift me encouragement. And I shall take a mental note this very moment to spend more time with them. Why don’t you do the same?

More, Emma Stone’s dresses.

Last but not least, Gosling’s face.

Okay, enough chit-chat. Go see it! It might seem a bit slow for the impatient but trust me when I say, you will grow to like it. Unless you’re a cactus.
f27633fa3a09d5a221db58d7d77f25ba-2

Best of Christchurch

I apologise for the lack of posts, friends! To be honest, with working full-time, I have’t even had time to Skype my boyfriend! I can’t believe how much CHCH has developed and I can’t wait to go to every new place on my to-go-to list! For now though, here’s a short list of what’s been thus far sampled by my palette:
image-2-png-19
Frozen yoghurt sundae with raspberry sauce, fresh berries and dark chocolate by Berry Culture.
image-1-png-19
A turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and honey latte from the world’s best cafe (C1 Espresso). image-2-png-18
No doubt, the best pizza in CHCH from Cafe Valentino.
image-png-2
And last but not least, probably the best chai latte I’ve had here. This is because, unlike the usual sickly-sweet Starbucks variety which everyone sells, Supreme Supreme’s chai was spicaaaay! Now, I use the extra a’s because drinking it was like licking the grounds of a Middle Eastern spice market, but in a good way.

Some Updates

Guys, I bought a ticket. After what seems like forever I am returning to my favourite place on earth this December. I am so excited for a NZ summer! Road-trips, Kapiti ice-cream, hikes, waterfalls, P.Y.O berries… ah, the list is endless. I also can’t wait to simply kiss my family to death. I told my mom, I said, I’m just gonna take the first three months to sit next to you in some beautiful park on some probably-graffitied bench and just breathe and enjoy the moments.

So, I’ll be home in December. And that’s all I know of my future at this stage. And I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it one bit because I like the possibilities such openness of plans brings. I’m grateful and I’m excited. If travelling has taught me anything, it’s that the world has SO much to offer and that I am by far in the top top top wealthy and fortunate. So, not only is it my dire obligation to really live but my calling to make the most of it.

Some updates: 
image-1-png-8image-png-13image-4-png-3
These cuties recently arrived back from their epic holiday in Israel to their mountain-side home in Japan, but here are some of the pics Lifa sent me last. Sabich is an Iraqi and Israeli sandwich, consisting of a pita bread stuffed with deep-fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, salad, tahini, amba (mango pickle) and spice. Lifa says this is healthy street food at its best. Oh man. What a tease. Me want now.
image-2-png-6image-1-png-9
Pics from Jose (father of the munchkins I looked after in Spain) of the kids and their mother making brownies and biscuits. I miss Spain and I miss Jose’s delicious and healthy dishes. Of course I miss you too, Bea! Are you still eating my homemade muesli for breakfast?
image-png-14
Yasu, my unexpected friend is still making healthy smoothies like I taught her and spending me pictures of them. I can’t wait to see her again. Also, her middle sister recently got married and oh my, the pics are gorgeous!
image-3-png-7image-2-png-7
As for me, I was recently taken to a really fun and delicious Mexican restaurant, one like I’ve never experienced and I LOVED it. I can’t say enough. I wish NZ had something like this. First off, everyone is given complimentary chips and dip. Then throughout the night, if you wish, your chips are topped up again and again by the wait-staff walking around with literal shovelfuls of chips – in the same manner coffee cups are refilled here. Anyways these chips, they’re not like your regular over-salted thick Dorito crips. Instead, they’re really thin and light and crispy and unsalted. So good. Okay and the food, cheap as chips (as Kiwi’s say and of course, suitable in this context) fresh, and flavoursome. I had vegetarian enchiladas and he had something called a Chicka Chicka Bang Bang. Or was it Boom Boom (hehe)? I can’t remember.

Last but not least, don’t forget to check out my latest Savvy Article featuring baby potatoes and I use “baby” in the strongest sense of the word here, by clicking THIS.

Carve Your Name On Hearts

Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. (Shannon L. Alder)

I want to tell you a little more about my trip to Belgium and my current trip to Zurich. Long story short, I met both of my hosts on the Internet.

Laura from Belgium contacted me first, when I was still in Japan, asking if I knew of a cheap place she could stay during her travels there. Though I was skeptical and nervous, I offered my humble flat to her. I don’t have a spare bed I said, but I do have a mattress. She agreed, time passed, she visited and we had the most wonderful time together. We went for walks, ate soba and talked and joked plenty. Flash-forward half a year and I found myself in Europe. But now you must come and visit ME she said. So I ended up in Belgium. There, Laura’s mother volunteered herself as my personal taxi driver and Laura’s father took me to the supermarket where he offered to purchase whatever health-foods my heart desired. I bought one avocado. I was given my own room, toiletries and much love and comfort. As a consequence, I felt at home in an instant.

As for Laura herself, my goodness, she was (still is) an absolute gem. I was so humbled by her generosity and compassion. For each day we were together, Laura had planned a visit to a different city in Belgium. And on each trip, she accompanied me to numerous clothing stores, health food shops and vegetarian restaurants with much love and patience. Though our interests couldn’t be more different, Laura made sure I got to explore Belgium my way. If we had differing opinions about something, Laura patiently listened to my side then kindly explained hers. At every moment, her top priority was my comfort. I was truly humbled by her character. My only wish is to manifest such beautiful qualities myself.

The next person I’d like to tell you about is Lavanya. She too was one of my blog’s active followers. A yogi, an artist (of all sorts) and a complete jewel (very fitting as her home is adorned with crystals). Lavnaya emailed me when she read I was stationed near Switzerland. She asked if I’d like to meet and invited me to her home in Zurich. I knew of her blog, I loved her drawings but I hadn’t seen a picture of her. I asked if she’d send me one and she gladly did. She sent two. One of her and one of her and her partner. She was so beautiful, so radiant. They both were. I just had to meet them. I thought OK, maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m pushing my luck here but something called me to Zurich.

Wow Lavanya, where do I even start with this woman! My goodness. She is so compassionate. So selfless. So TALENTED. Before I say anything more I beg you to go and check out her blog HERE. Hey, welcome back! Did you love it? Right?! I knew it! So, Lavanya is obviously a talented artist but she’s also an amazing chef! Healthy, vegan and organic. Did I hit the jackpot or did I hit the jackpot?! She is everything I have always wanted to be. Oh man do I look up to her. Intelligent, mindful, spiritual, selfless. She and her partner have paid for everything on this trip (food, tickets, etc), cooked me the highest-quality food, given me an extensive tour of Zurich and last but not least, bags full of goodies for tomorrow’s trip including spiced cashews, vegan cookies, a vegan cookbook and bottled water.

If you were wondering, I’m not just writing this blogpost to brag about my new friends (OK maybe a little bit) but also to inform you that good exists! In a world of war, adversary and pain, there is still unconditional love. Unconditional love, faith and trust in complete strangers, that the mainstream news does not cover. Now I am speechless. But I can safely say both Laura and Lavanya are carved on my heart forever.

Spinning in A Whirlwind of Emotions

Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. (Cesare Pavese)

The value of your travels does not hinge on how many stamps you have in your passport when you get home — and the slow nuanced experience of a single country is always better than the hurried, superficial experience of forty countries. (Rolf Potts)

We can’t jump off bridges anymore because our iPhones will get ruined. We can’t take skinny dips in the ocean because there’s no service on the beach and adventures aren’t real unless they’re on Instagram. Technology has doomed the spontaneity of adventure and we’re helping destroy it every time we Google, check-in, and hashtag. (Jeremy Glass)

It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere. (Danzy Senna)

For the past few days, I have been spinning in a whirlwind of emotions. I have felt flabbergasted by new experiences, homesick from doing it by myself, frustrated by the foreign and completely amazed at this wonderfully big little world we live in. At times, I have been able to capture some of it through a camera lens and at others, not at all, not even a little bit. I like the quotes above for they’ve made me think long and hard about my travels and my consequent thoughts and actions. I wish that I could tell you that my over-thinking has cultivated an epiphany or some profound wisdom but frankly it hasn’t. Not yet. Right now, I am more muddled than ever. This restlessness I pin down to excess information. I keep telling my parents, it’s not easy to live in this day and age either! Do I settle down or travel awhile longer? Continue participating in social media for self-promotion or stay quiet writing in private? And as I do either, do I work or study further? Again, I hear my ears ringing “first world problem.” Though I really think it is, a problem that is, of our generation. Information overload and unlimited choice can prove impossible to navigate.

So. For now, all I want is balance. Balance between travel and home, reality, and the internet, blogging and writing a bigger project and between career and education.

imfffageimaaageimaaaage
Graffiti street in Ghent.
imburage
Vegan burger from Greenway.
ibbmageimdageimgageimveganplateage
The most amazing vegan lunch at Moon Food in Brussels.
image
imfageiffmage

Save