writer

To Be Creative Means To Be In Love With Life

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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!
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A super easy rainy day craft idea for little monsters featuring the fatal potato (far left).
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Clever little zine I came across on my lunch-break at work.
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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 !
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Another kids fun activity idea: we made wands from felt pipe cleaners and used detergent to blow bubbles.
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Yummy healthy snack idea. Raw chocolate energy balls. Recipe HERE.
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Do you know what this is? Check out my new Savvy Tokyo article HERE to find out more.

Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors

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Tried this before? Coconut yoghurt with turmeric and mango. It has been surprisingly hot. I have been enjoying eating outside in the sun and in the space of a few days, I have gone from no job, well 1/2 job (freelancing for Savvy Tokyo) to 2 and 1/2 jobs. The first is to do with the education of 5-10 year olds. That’s pretty much all I can say without breaching privacy rules. And the second is serving delicious homemade organic gelato, vegan sorbets, and coconut ice-cream for the freakishly talented Utopia Ice. Hashtag life-as-a-wannabe-writer.
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Plum and earl grey. Yes, earl grey! CHCH friends, you know where to get your ice-cream fix this ice-cream-weather long weekend ;)
image-1FINISHED. This one is my favourite (so far). I really related to Heidi. She, a real writer, me, a wannabe writer – let’s just say reading it, I had numerous: “for real? ME too!” moments.
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Today my mom, my sister and I (dad, God bless him, was working as usual) had a Persian breakfast for lunch. Persians eat bread and feta cheese (here sprinkled with cumin powder) with vegetables like cucumber and tomato (the avocado is a personal addition) with herbs and nuts. And sometimes watermelon makes an appearance, too. Washed down with black cardamom tea. Until the age of seven, all I knew of breakfast was the Persian kind. When we arrived in NZ, I was introduced to cereal for the first time. Also sliced bread. We never had that in Iran. Our bread was huge and round and I had to line up for it with my mom. It would come out of a large round oven filled with little stones. Sometimes, if we were lucky (or so I thought back then) our bread would have one of these stones attached to it. This was my childhood. Walking down the street on my tippy toes, scanning the bread my mother held for lucky stones.

Figure Out Who You Are Then Do It On Purpose

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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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“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)
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The Importance of Food Presentation by me.
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I just wanted to say I liked The Berry Shop before it was this busy!
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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.
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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!

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: 
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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.
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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?
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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!
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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.

Because You Are Alive, Everything Is Possible.

Been reading a bit of Thich Nhat Hanh. I love him. Even if I can’t pronounce his name. Very inspirational. Just like Antibes. No wonder so many Artists were drawn here (excuse the pun). This light is magical.
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People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
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Smile, breathe and go slowly.
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If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.
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You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea. Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup. Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy. If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone. Life is like that. If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone. You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life. It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it. Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience joy in life.
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I Want To Buy Everyone This Book

Dear Liz Gilbert,

My sister and I watched Eat Pray Love on opening night. We loved it (as in actually loved it – not just saying “loved it” for exaggeration) because we both adore travel and because we both enjoy food. Of course, we were very fond of its message too. Soon after, we read the book. Your book. Since then, the answer I have given (still give today) to anyone asking, “So. Who is your favourite author?” has been/still is, you.

It was midway through my last year of university, when assignments were becoming lethal that I listened to your famous Ted talk. You talked of creativity in a way I had never heard before. Suddenly, the pressures and anxieties around writing the perfect essay were out the door. Instead, I showed up to my study table, I made time and I worked and I worked and I worked until my muse/genius/inspiration was convinced I was serious and in Maya Angelo’s words, spoke, “Okay. Okay. I’ll come.” And it did. Just as you’d promised it would. And it got me through. I passed and I felt invincible. If only I had though of creativity in this limitless way before.

One week ago, I bought your latest work Big Magic at the Geneva airport bookstore. I am in love and I don’t know how to thank you. It is liberating, humorous, inspiring and above all, real. I aspire to write like you, in a manner that’s both intelligent and conversational, serious and loving, funny and true.

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Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
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But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.
(All quotes by Elizabeth Gilbert form Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)

A Dream Come True

In Antibes, I am staying in the most charming apartment in the old town and I wish, I really really wish that it was mine. I seem to like almost every place I go, but here is very nice (excuse the pun). Right now, I am sitting at the table with the yellow table cloth with the remnants of my lunch: rye bread, fresh mozzarella, vegetables and nuts. I am writing to you and in between, listening to the occasional passersby. Sometimes they’re French, sometimes Italian and occasionally, American and loud (hehe). But always always, the chatter is alive. Welcome to the South.

I am so thankful. So so thankful. I left my comfort zone (living with my parents in NZ) to teach in Japan, a country so foreign to me in every way. I was placed in the country side were I felt much racism, heartache and isolation. But I persevered through! I didn’t give up. I did a year and a half! I did it for my students and I did it for myself. And now, I am in the south of France! Antibes. A dream come true. Many people are fortunate enough to travel but not many people truly appreciate that fortune. In short, the difficulties of my past are sweetening this time.Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
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Can you imagine? Can you imagine if that were my balcony? I would sit there with my typewriter (ok macbook) and my oats. I would write the stories of the people, I would write of lust, love, heartache, betrayal and fresh fruit.
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Nobody was in Antibes that summer …except me, Zelda, the Valentinos, the Murphys, Mistinguet, Rex Ingram, Dos Passos, Alice Terry, the MacLeishes, Charlie Brackett, Mause Kahn, Lester Murphy, Marguerite Namara, E.Oppenheimer, Mannes the violinist, Floyd Dell, Max and Crystal Eastman … Just the right place to rough it, an escape from the world. (F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter in 1926.) Processed with VSCO with c3 preset