new zealand

To Be Human Is A Powerful, Profound Thing That Deserves A Lot Of Patience.

Image (5)
This sweet card was made by my even sweeter five year old student. Did you lovely people have a memorable Mother’s Day? This year I decided not to make a big Facebook announcement for my mama, instead I wrote this (incase you and I aren’t Facebook friends):

I don’t want to post a generic message about how I love my mum and how lucky I am to have her (which I do and which I am) this Mother’s Day. Instead, I want to acknowledge all of my friends who either live far away from their mothers (I know from first-hand experience how hard that is) and those whose mothers are no longer with us. I wish you calmness and strength <3
Image (3)Mum’s breakfast at Untouched World – a lovely modern cafe with high-quality ingredients and a romantic fire.
Image-1 (1)
Absolutely in love with my Dr. Seuss preschool teacher uniforms because I absolutely love him! Who is/was your favourite childhood author? (A question posed to me by Soroosh the other day to which I actually replied Paul Jennings).
Image (2)
Kids say write the darndest things!
Image (1)
“Stained glass” butterflies made with black cardboard paper, coloured tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Super easy, are instructions needed?
Image (4)Image-1 (2)
New favourite CHCH eatery! This $12 split pea soup (topped with caramelised onions) served alongside Bellbird bread and carrot butter from Gatherings was 10/10.

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:
Image (2)
Image (1)
Image (4)
Moo! I mean, boo!
Image-1 (2)Image-1 (3)
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)
Image-2
Image (5)
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.
Image (10)
Happy oosh? Here, meat. Bangers and Mash. Not sure why I was on a British roll…
Image (9)
Banana cake topped with Nutella or peanut butter and fresh banana slices.
Image (7)
“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

Use The Power Of Intent To Clear A Path For Yourself

Image (2)
As you may have heard, NZ received a lot of rain as of late. My prayers and sympathetic thoughts to those whose lives were greatly affected. Fortunately for us, our household just further glimmered. My parents and I spent even more time than usual together and I made “healthy” French toast for them. It’s actually very simple! For the three of us, I soaked 6 pieces of gluten free bread in a beaten mixture of 3 free-ranges, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon, then fried them in a hot pan with a little coconut oil until nice and golden. Last, I topped them with fresh fruit, honey, and plain yoghurt (not pictured). Image-1 (1)
Image (4)
Never enough herbs in a Persian woman’s garden.
Image-1 (4)
Can you see what I see? On the last day of term, we made an Easter egg hunt for the little munchkins. Image (12)Image (13)
And… one for the big munchkin who really shouldn’t be having one in the first place.
Image-1 (2)
Another day, another green smoothie. These are also super easy to make. Simply blitz together in a high-powered blender: 2 frozen bananas (frozen bananas make your smoothies colder and creamier), 2 large handfuls of spinach (stalks and all), a big dollop of natural yoghurt, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Top with favourites.
Image (9)
I found out the hard way that jandals were not appropriate wear for yesterday’s Saturday Farmers’ Market. As I walked into a muddy puddle and splashed gunk all over myself, I overheard a father telling his little girl not to worry about getting dirty as she, in her pink gumboots, was appropriately dressed – I couldn’t help but take his comment as a personal dig to my existence.
Image-1 (3)
Giant delicious organic apple from the organic apple people at the Saturday Farmers’ Market (sorry I don’t know your company name). Image (8)
For as long as I have been coming to Sumner, I have been in mad-love with that itsy bitsy yellow house bursting with character. I sent this photo to Soroosh expressing this, and he replies: “I like the modern house next to it.” BLAH Image (1)
sumner
Image (7)
Almost finished writing back to my Japanese students ^.^
Image (14)
Mojgan joon, I wish you were here to accompany me on my walking adventures. Alas, I think of you always – the coming Autumn leaves further remind me of my unforgettable time with your beautiful family in beautiful Nashville. Image-1 (6)
Image (10)
Last but not least, a picture sent to me by my dear mentor and friend. AKA Soroosh’s father. Guys, I am so impressed and inspired by him. Rick is a man of so many talents. But most of all, he is joyful, he is understanding, and he is compassionate. Also, big-ups for food-presentation and food-photography, and your recently written article HERE.

To Be Creative Means To Be In Love With Life

Image (2)Image (5)
Stewed Black Boy Peaches are one of my most favorite foods and they’re truly perfect for crumble.

Filling:
10-12 Black Boy Peaches, peeled and chopped random
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pure vanilla essence
2 tbsp runny honey

Crumble:
1 cup gluten-free jumbo oats
1/4 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of chopped raw nuts of choice
1/2 cup of raw seeds of choice
1 tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of each ginger powder, nutmeg and cardamom
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup or runny honey
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Place the filling ingredients in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and cook on medium heat with the lid on. Once the peaches have softened remove the lid to allow the liquid to reduce – we want a fairly thick consistency – I believe the secret to a crunchy crumble is a relatively “dry” filling so that’s what we’re aiming for.

Once ready, transfer the peach mixture to a deep oven-proof dish.

In a large bowl, combine all crumble ingredients together until nice and sticky then assemble on top of stewed peaches.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Enjoy!
Image (7)Image-2Image-1 (1)
A super easy rainy day craft idea for little monsters featuring the fatal potato (far left).
Image (4)
Clever little zine I came across on my lunch-break at work.
Image (3)
Happiness is picking up your library requested books! Thanks for the book suggestion Rick, already LOVING Deep Work. Image-1
Oh my sister and I were so naughty today. We went to Le Panier Boulangerie !
Image (6)
Another kids fun activity idea: we made wands from felt pipe cleaners and used detergent to blow bubbles.
Image (1).png
Yummy healthy snack idea. Raw chocolate energy balls. Recipe HERE.
image16.jpg
Do you know what this is? Check out my new Savvy Tokyo article HERE to find out more.

Making Great Art Is About Being More Of Who You Are

Sorry my last post was a whiny one. I’m quite good at that, whining. So much so that my primary school teacher, my Payne, told me, as I whinged my way through the wet mud on school camp, that he’d never met someone so complaining and impatient before. Though in my defence (and his) the same teacher gave me the class diligence award at the end of the year. So, I am complaining but I am persistent, too. Yes, a woman of many qualities. Alas, don’t you think I have good reason to complain? Harry seems to think so. You know, Harry from When Harry Met Sally? He takes the words straight out of my mouth when in his epic declaration of love he says: “when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”Image-2
So, I keep busy…Image (1)
I bakeImage-1
I shop.
Image-1 (1)
I work.
Image (2)
And I work some more (watching Japanese movies for my next Savvy article).
i-wish-poster
And I reassure myself that this too shall pass. For almost one year has passed since mummy and daddy came to visit me in rural Japan where my life was so very different to what it is today.
image513
Trying their first ramen. image79
Enjoying sakura (cherry blossom) season. Aimage123
And watching their daughter imitate Mimasaka’s best sushi chef.
image215

Celebrate Every Small Victory

image-png-35
Flowers planted by my daddy.
image
Beautiful 7.15am sky on my way to work (PS I’m a sensei again except this time, to littlies)
image-png-28
A big box of organic backyard stone-fruit to be shared between mama, daddy, Deli, Andy, Ella, Lucky, and me.image-1-png-3image-png-36Mandy’s amazing creation: vegan coconut ice-cream with rosewater and raspberry.
image-2
World’s largest cucumber photographed by my momma #sizedoesmatter.

The Best Ice-cream in Christchurch!

image
image-2
image-3
Mandy’s baby: roasted plum (from their garden) and cinnamon oat crumble. image-1image-1
Belgium milk chocolate and marshmallow.
image-5
Dark chocolate and sea-salt sorbet. Vegan and delishasssss!
image-2
Coconut and black sesame seed. It’s vegan everybody! And my new favorite. Life is so sweet.
image-4
I was so good you guys! Just look at these teeny tiny scoops. Plus, I think me eating the ice-cream is great advertisement, don’t you think? Here we have three vegan coconut-cream based ice-creams: coconut, blueberry and vanilla, coconut and dark chocolate, and coconut and black sesame seed. Send help!

Christchurch Night Noodle Market

Last night I went to the CHCH night noodle market with my momma and later, my sister and brother-in-law joined us. Being CHCH, I also bumped into one, two, three friends. I had fun. In all honestly, the food was average (yeah, yeah food snob) but the ambience was great! I absolutely love CHCH in the summer. The market is on until Sunday, prices range from $5 to $15, and you can find more information HERE.

Speaking of noodles/Asian food, pretty please with a quail egg on top check out my new Savvy Tokyo article, 8 Japanese Films for Foodies HERE.
image-6image-4
So I asked for two chicken and one eggplant/tofu BAO but I got given a duck instead. Now tell me, since I’m not a BAO enthusiast, is the bread supposed to taste like cake (it was super sweet)? Looked better than it tasted (oh no she didn’t!). image-1
These however were real good. Maybe a little dare but I think totally worth it. Not too sweet, very natural tasting and chic, too! Double win.
image-2image-1
Yummy but served warm/cold. More on the cold side. But tasty regardless. As you can see, I did my best to abuse the DIY topping station. In all fairness, the dumplings were generously filled to the brim with plump shrimp and prawn. image
image-3
image-5
Mama says: peace!

This Is How You Get Unstuck: You Reach.

image-3“You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known—and even that is an understatement.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) Friends, I find nothing more romantic than these letters. I could easily quote these lovers for the remainder of this post but I’ll resist. A side note: often when I take such photos of my breakfast and things on this decaying picnic table in our backyard, my tootsies make an appearance forcing me to impatiently start over, this time standing in the most awkwardly unnatural position so as to hide them. image-9
Speaking of F. Scott and Zelda, four months ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Hotel Belle Rives where the couple stayed in the year 1925. Unable to speak French and unaware of Antibes’ transportation systems, I decided to walk there from my accommodation. An hour later, I arrived sweaty and in my gym gear. To my surprise, I was welcomed by the gentleman porter with such hospitality as if I were Zelda herself!  This left me speechless. In a dream-like state, I walked around the bar, snapped a couple pictures and vowed to return again before my stay in Antibes was over.
image-10
Once back at my accommodation, I emailed the General Manager, expressing my gratitude to the incredibly hospitable porter. He, Lucas, replied by inviting me and a friend back for coffee, croissants and a private tour of the establishment. I don’t know if it was the ambience or what, but here Anita’s mom and I drank the best coffee we’ve ever drank ever.
image-2-2
The photo above and the photo below are of the views from the hotel’s best room (unbelievably dare in the summer). Lovely Lucas said I could honeymoon there on mate’s rates. I wonder if he’d also cover my plane ticket? (hehe).
image-8
Back to reality (below) which is pretty darn good with no room for complaints: I helped and will continue to help for the long weekend, my beautiful friend Mandy sell her handmade ice-cream and sorbets. It was a dream job and nothing less.
image-2-1image-7
image-6
Some beetroot salad and avocado before eating sorry I mean selling ice-cream. image-4
“All these soft, warm nights going to waste when I ought to be lying in your arms under the moon – the dearest arms in all the world – darling arms that I love so to feel around me – How much longer – before they’ll be there to stay? When I get home again, you’ll certainly have a most awful time ever moving me one inch from you -”
image-1-1
Sea salt caramel and popcorn, vanilla bean, blueberry, mint, Greek yoghurt and cherry compote, peach and lemon sorbet (vegan), rhubarb and strawberry sorbet (vegan), coconut keffir raspberry (vegan), coconut and dark chocolate (vegan). image-5
Bliss.#UtopiaIce

New in CHCH: Prince of Persia

My dad is good at a lot of things but I’d say he’s most well-known for his kebab. He lives and breathes it. Seriously, the guy loves kebab so much, if he could, he’d marry it (sorry mom). For this reason, he knows all the “Persian” eateries in Christchurch like the back of his hands. I use quotation marks here because most of these restaurants are a fusion of Persian and Turkish. Newly opened Prince of Persia is actually authentically Persian. Their kebabs identical to the kebab restaurants of our motherland. Their tablecloths the same as the ones in our dining area. The food comparison by the way, comes from my mother, AKA the queen of complaints. This woman complains everywhere. Too salty, not hot enough, too little this, too much that. But at Prince of Persia she LOVES, and I mean licksherplate loves everything. So I highly recommend it. Persian food at its best.

As well as Persian-mom-approved food (try the ghormesabzi, it’s unreal!), Prince of Persia is affordable (starting from $13…), spacious and child-friendly. Visit their website HERE for more info.
image-1-6image-1-7
image-2image-3
image-1-8image-1-4