cooking

A Kindly Tongue Is The Lodestone Of The Hearts Of Men.

…It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding… ~Bahá’u’lláhImage (11)
Ham, cheese, and slaw buns with steamed corn, corn chips, and cookies for a picnic at beautiful Ashley Gorge – can’t believe I’d never been here before. So so beautiful. Definitely taking oosh. Image-1 (4)
“When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.” ~’Abdu’l-Bahá Image (12)
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Some of the tutors, participants, and wannabe chefs.
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The day I made nachos, I got a lot of moans and groans on first glance from the boys for it being vegetarian. However, once they’d tasted it, they kept coming back for more (yay!).Image (2)Really super weird handling raw chicken but I think I did good. Oven curry (is that a thing? Or am I just super clever?) with chicken drumsticks (duh), carrot, kumara, and red potato.
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Beautiful NZ.

Do Not Be Content With Showing Friendship In Words Alone…

…let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who may cross your path. ~’Abdu’l-Bahá

Hey lovely people! Sorry for the radio silence. I was away camping. Well, sort of – I had volunteered to cook for a Ruhi intensive camp located about 20 minutes west? I think, west of Rangiora. And though the work wasn’t easy, I felt immense joy to be there. I learnt A LOT, I felt/still feel spiritually uplifted, and the weather, the material, and the participants were all spectacular. Here are some of the not-so-artsy photo evidence:
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Moo! I mean, boo!
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First night, I made Shepherd’s Pie and steamed vegetables. In an attempt to make a substantial filling, I added diced carrots and red kidney beans to the mince. Plus, turmeric – couldn’t resist adding a Persian touch to a British dish. Image-1 (1)
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Carrot and white and red cabbage slaw with home-sprouted mung beans. I sent this pic to oosh and he said he hopes I’m feeding them something other than bird-food, too. Whatever mate.
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Happy oosh? Here, meat. Bangers and Mash. Not sure why I was on a British roll…
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Banana cake topped with Nutella or peanut butter and fresh banana slices.
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“God is the helper of those souls whose aim is to serve humanity and whose efforts are endeavors are devoted to the good and betterment of all mankind.” ~’Abdu’l-Bahá

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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Finding myself on the other side of the camera lately ^.^
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Some big market/fair in Franklin, Nashville.
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Contrary to common belief, America actually has A LOT of healthy food options (Especially in comparison to Japan and Europe). Of course, fried foods are everywhere but so are pressed juice and quinoa salads.
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Makin’ him cook ME eggs (tehe). And yes Lavanya, in regard to your Instagram comment, they were good! So so good with mushroom and spinach. And all organic!
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Tis a never ending pumpkin-shoot.
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Dinner at the Dazzis

As promised, Daddy Dazzi’s famous lasagna then Daddy Dazzi’s famous risotto. Washed down with Mama Dazzi’s humble desserts, mocked aplenty by Daddy Dazzi for their simplicity (hehe). Hashtagmarriage. Hashtagdelicious. Hashtagfoodbaby.

Is it an oxymoron if I vow to start my diet in America?
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What even is vegan? Just kidding. Just wanted to express how incredibly flavoursome this was. Wish you could have tasted it, mama! And daddy and Deli and Andy, too.
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Four cheese risotto (very Italian). Curried vegetables (not Italian as the Dazzis specifically pointed out, still V delicious).
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetSorry mama, I’m gonna give your secret away. This is basically a store-bought fall spiced cake, sliced then towered with fresh raspberries, raspberry jam and yoghurt! Could have fooled me!

Comfort Food

I wanted to write a post dedicated to my auntie Pouneh and all of her delicious homemade food.

“There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.” (Thomas Wolfe)
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Persian barberry and saffron rice with tomato vegetable chicken. Top left is potato tahdig. image-152
The beautiful family at Lake Geneva.
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Organic salad with avocado and feta, couscous, grilled fish and green beans.
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Persian loobia polo minus the beef, spiced with turmeric and cinnamon. Green salad and potato tahdig.
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But first…image-146
Mediterranean-style baked fish.
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This is sabzi polo, Persian herbed rice. It is always served with fish. And again, the potato tahdig. image-144
Is it rice? Or is it cake? It’s a rice-cake!image-145
And for dessert, individual chocolate letters for all of us from Harald’s business trip. H for Haifa.
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N for Nura.image-141
A for…

So What Was Galicia Really Like?

During my short time In Galicia, I posted a lot of photos and vague descriptions but I didn’t really give you the low down. So. Here’s a list:

Loud 
Galician people speak very loudly. Or maybe, they are just loud in comparison to the Japanese. More often, I’d mistake a casual conversation for heated arguing. Actually, during my first three days, I developed a horrible migraine. At first, I put it down to jet lag or a change in environment but then I realised the real culprit. My ears were buzzing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Galician are hooligans. Rather, that they speak with much heart and emotion and sometimes our hearts are yellers.
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Meaty
Of course due to their location, the Galician people consume a lot of seafood. But they also consume A LOT of meat. Chorizo, cured ham, steak, you name it. Luckily for me, the exception were Jose’s family. Everyday we ate fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.
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Tortilla and empanada mad
I guess these are the two most popular dishes here. A Spanish tortilla (not to be confused with the Mexican wrap) is like a potato omelette. It’s oily, carby and delicious. Empanadas are a pie pastry like dish usually filled with tuna, red pepper and onion but there are many variations. Anyways, these dishes are honestly everywhere. And people are always eating them.
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Tomato overload
There’s a lot of tomatoes here. That’s basically it. And apparently, a lot gets wasted every year because if it was all put out into the market, the prices would drop to mere cents and the government wouldn’t be making any money off of them. So sad. What is this world we live in? (I know this is not confined to Spain and that food is a business everywhere).
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Long days
I think I already mentioned this. Apparently this is very Spanish. Breakfast around 9. Lunch around 3/4 and dinner around 10. Can you believe it? No wonder I’ve been having migraines. One day, Jose called to book a table at a local restaurant for 9pm and was warned to leave by 11pm as that’s when another couple had booked it! Is that insane or insane?
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Food rules all
Obvious by now. Before coming here, Jose had warned me that the Galicians live and breathe food. I hadn’t really understood this until now. You know the old adage; you eat to live not live to eat? Well here it’s the other way around. Perhaps the previous point on long days has something to do with this but also because the Spanish are such fantastic cooks! And, they have great produce: olive oil, seafood, tomatoes, legumes, to name a few. So food rules all.
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Unpredictable
Mainly in two ways. One, with weather. Much like NZ, weather here is always changing. Four seasons in one day type of thing. Two, with plans. Again, at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Japanese, the Galician people hardly ever plan anything. This is because plans are always changing. You may aim to do one thing and end up doing the complete opposite. For instance, one day we planned to sightsee a historical town nearby but ended up going to a friends’ place after lunch and spending the entire evening swimming in her pool, listening to Galician bagpipes and eating peaches.
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1 2 3 ziiiiip.
I played this “game” with the children. Unfortunately it didn’t work. Anyways, following up from the previous point, Galicians never give a direct answer.

How long does it take from here to…? Not far. 
Where does she live? Near.
Are we going to …. today? If you want?
Shall we go for a short walk while the empanada cooks? Shall we? 

These answers are often accompanied with a shrug. You don’t believe how much this annoyed me. In Japan, there is a direct answer for everything. When I mentioned my frustration to Jose, he burst out laughing. You know Anisa, he said: “in Galicia we have a saying that if you meet a Galician in the middle of a staircase and ask them if they’re going up or down they’ll say: do you want me to come up with you?”
image2Sugar overload
I don’t like writing this. I don’t want to be too judgemental. And maybe this is a problem everywhere but kids here consume A LOT of sugar and other junk foods. Actually, there are entire stores dedicated to Junk food. Seriously, all they sell are ice-cream, chocolate, candy, cookies and Cheetos. I am surprised the kids don’t have black teeth like my Japanese pre-school students. One day we went out for tapas and a huge bowl of candy was placed in the middle of the children’s table. Some of them ate more than 10! I couldn’t believe it. I hope I will be better able to control my future children’s sugar intake. Also Cheetos. Cheetos are everywhere! Even inside 1 year olds! :O
image[1]The good life.
Last but not least, Galician really know how to live. Everyone seems to be on holiday here. They are always eating tapas, relaxing on their boats, drinking at local cafes and talking with their family, neighbours, friends.
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Goodbye rivers, goodbye springs
Goodbye, rivers, goodbye, springs,
Goodbye, trickling streams;
Goodbye, all I see before me:
Who knows when we’ll meet again?

Oh my home, my homeland,
Soil where I was raised,
Little garden that I cherish,
Fig trees I grew from seed.

Meadows, rivers, woodlands,
Pine groves bent by wind,
All the chirping little songbirds,
Home I cherish without end.

Mill nestled between the chestnuts,
Nights lit brightly by the moon,
Tremor of the little bells,
My parish chapel’s tune.

Blackberries from the wild vines
I picked to give my love,
Narrow trails between the corn-rows,
Goodbye, forever goodbye!
Goodbye, glory! Goodbye, gladness!

I leave the house where I was born,
Leave my village so familiar
For a world I’ve never seen.
I’m leaving friends for strangers,
Leaving prairies for the sea,
Leaving all that I love dearly…

Oh, if I didn’t have to leave!…
(part of a poem by Rosalia de Castero)

My First Paella

Danny and Maria’s holiday home is straight out of a Richard Linklater film. It is so unbelievably idyllic. So damn romantic. I just can’t believe I was there.
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Meat prep: rabbit, chicken and fish. Or was it squid, Jose?
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My photos don’t do this place justice. It was truly gorgeous.
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image3Rice.
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Muscles and shrimp.
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The head chef himself! Danny was so funny, when his wife Maria went to check the paella he quickly rushed over. “No, no, no,” he said. It was his project.
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Truly delicious! So flavourful. The white meat, the seafood, the rice, all cooked in saffron and natural juices. Oh mama, how I wish you could have tasted it.
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Sara being sara.image4
A short walk after dessert (Maria’s amazing chocolate cake – not pictured).
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And last but not least, watermelon – myyyyyy favourite.

An Inside Look At A Traditional Galician Bakery

Pictures taken at Bakery Panaderia Mollete Bolleria in Ferrol, Galicia where the owner, Jose’s friend allowed us an exclusive look at how Galician bread is made.
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Since the Spanish eat bread with every meal, bread is a big deal for them. At Mollete, bread is prepared by hand (and love) then baked in a wood-fired oven. The bakers arrive at 2am and continuously bake all day. What blew me away is the price of each baguette. One sells for 0.95Euro (about 1 US dollar). Isn’t that crazy? In New Zealand it would be quadruple the price of that. And apparently, even so, the locals still complain that the bread is too expensive. Can you believe that? Anyways, we bought a cod and raisin empanada. BP. B for bacalao (cod) and P for pasa (raisin). C for carne (meat). Typically, Empanadas are eaten cold so we had ours later in the day for lunch. Guys, I am getting fat.
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“What must you break apart in order to bring a family close together? Bread, of course.”
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“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” ― Mary Francis Kennedy Fisher
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“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ― James Beard
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“All sorrows are less with bread. ” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
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“Let it never be said / there can be a Heaven / without fresh bread.” ― Glenn Logan Reitze
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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Woolf
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(Can you see the cut empanadas in the back?)
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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” ― Oscar Wilde

Everything in Spain is at the Table

This is Betanzos, one of the best preserved old quarters in Galicia.image-101image-90image-91image-89Meson Pote is known as one of the best places in the whole of SPAIN to have Spanish potato tortilla, a sort of Spanish omelette with thin potato slices. What makes Meson Pote’s tortilla stand out, is its juiciness. We also ate fried squid, a green peppers side dish and a tomato salad. For dessert, Jose’s friend, a renowned Spanish chef (whose restaurant I will be visiting) and her son, shared a cheesecake. I was given a teaspoonful to try and it was DELICIOUS.image-98image-97image-94

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Food is always served with bread here. Good bread. In this restaurant, its plate cleaning abilities are utilised best.image-96
Are you salivating, yet?
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Typical Spain: tapas.
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Jose pointed out these boats to me. They’re interesting because they have a large dinner table in the middle of them. “Look, most of the ship is a table,” he says laughing. Then, “everything in spain is at the table.”image-99
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This little cutie is Jose’s friend’s daughter and, my new favorite! That face!
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Here she is singing some international song with the word “konnichiwa”in it (Japan is with me). Too cute!