Full hearted life

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In my kitchen – March 2013

After my last IMK post I kept thinking of things to include in the next one. I then promptly forgot about all of them. (Note to self: Start writing things down.) So here we go with a bunch of random stuff I found around my kitchen today!

In my kitchen…

IAIN BURNETTis a box of Iain Burnett chocolates bought for Valentine’s Day. We’re finding the milks a bit sweet, but the lemongrass ganache has been a firm favourite of mine. (Photo from Alexeeva & Jones)

TEA CUPS (640x446)

are these small Chinese tea cups, bought from our local Asian grocery store for £1 each. Perfect for dipping sauces or frequent drinks of Celia’s ginger tea.


is a bunch of spring onions. You may be asking yourself what is so special about a bunch of spring onions? Well this bunch was grown by taking the roots of a supermarket bunch and sticking them in water. Plain water! What you see above is about a week’s growth. I’ve already trimmed them several times, but they just keep growing!

CHOCOLATE (640x523)

are a few bars of Pacari and Amedei chocolates – my favourites from the tastings I went to at Alexeeva & Jones. Apparently, Amedei only make 20,000 bars of the Porcelana each year, so if you’re looking for bar 7692, you’re out of luck. It’s mine, all mine! OK, maybe I’ll share it with the husband.

FISH SAUCE (263x640)

is a giant bottle of fish sauce. Bought for the great meatball Olympics of 2012, I used one tablespoon in some Vietnamese meatballs and the bottle has been sitting on my bench ever since. Please send me some recipes to use it up!


is a bag of maca powder and a bag of chia seeds, part of my new healthy eating regime. The maca is an acquired taste, but I’m slowly working my way through both bags.


is a book by food anthropologist Katarzyna Cwiertka detailing the shifts in Japanese cuisine throughout the centuries. I’m not finished with it yet, but so far it’s been interesting to learn how Western influences have changed the landscape of Japanese food and cooking since the 1850s.

What’s happening in your kitchen this month?

Radical change; or why I’m not doing a 30 day yoga challenge

yoga stretch mike baird

My Bikram yoga studio regularly runs 30 day challenges – 30 classes in 30 days. They are a really great way to improve your practice and learn about yourself in the process. I’ve done a few in the past and when I when I saw that they were running one to coincide with my 12 week transformation, I thought it would be great to include one in plans.

Then I thought some more and decided that I didn’t actually want to do one this time round. A few people have asked me why not, so please allow me to explain.

The 12 week transformation is supposed to be about radical change. For me, that means changing everything, not just one thing. By undertaking a challenge I would be committing 3 hours of my day every day for the next 30 days. Yes, it would be possible to fit this in, but I would have to turn down a lot of other opportunities to make it happen. And as the challenge would be my main focus, I wouldn’t be doing justice to the other changes that I’m trying to make.

The changes I’m working towards are lasting changes. I know that every time I do a challenge I get yoga burnout. I complete the 30 days and then need to take some time off. Usually a four week minimum, which is not great and makes it harder to get back into the studio and breaks the yoga/exercise habit. I would much rather do 3-4 classes a week for an extended period of time and get into the habit of going to class regularly than going hard then not at all.

I am changing my behaviours over the next 12 weeks, well, 10 now, and I need to be able to change them in all aspects of my life – study, career, creative, home, relationship, health, and spiritual. It would be so easy to change just one and let the others slide until one of them became an emergency priority and then the others were ignored until a different one of them became the next emergency priority.

I’ve lived that way for far too long and it just leads to stress and feeling overwhelmed all the time.

So while I need yoga in my life and I heartily recommend doing a 30 day challenge at some point in your life, this time I’m saying “No, thanks.”

Photo courtesy Mike Baird.

That was the year that was

procrastination waste so much time

I’ve spent the past week cleaning the house. This means that everything has been dusted, polished, scrubbed, vacuumed, mopped, laundered, ironed or just put away. It also means that drawers and cupboards are full to bursting and can’t be opened for fear of having items lunge out at you. I hope that I will be able to keep the place clean as I slowly go through every drawer, cupboard and box looking for things to “release”. It’s gonna be a big job; I’ve got 300kg to find.

Now that that’s all done, it feels like 2012 is really over. (Yes, I know it’s been a few days.) With that in mind, here’s my usual ruminations on the year that was.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Cooked asparagus, touched an elephant, made pasta, segmented an orange, made ice cream, dined at a Michelin starred restaurant, rowed on the Thames, made meatballs (so many, many meatballs) and cooked with buttermilk.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any last year. This year I plan to get 300 hours of exercise, throw away 300kg of stuff and have 30 “meetings”.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Naomi had a daughter.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, Eugene passed away. He still owed me a beer.

5. What countries did you visit?
The Maldives, Thailand and France.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A clean flat and a new job.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day before my birthday, wandering around Paris, window shopping, actually using my French and eating glorious food. Apart from the celery mousse for dessert.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing the Bikram 30 day challenge.

9. What event made you stronger?
Completing the Bikram 30 day challenge.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A sprained ankle, a few minor colds and one big one.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Flip flops, aviator sunglasses and a blender.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jenny Lawson’s

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Surprisingly, nobody’s.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Groceries and bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Touching an elephant!

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Gangnam Style.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Getting out of the house.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Watching TV and stressing about exams.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I spent it with my husband, cooking a goat and catching up on episodes of University Challenge.

21. How many one-night stands?
Zilch. I think I need a new question here…

22. What was your favorite TV program?
So hard to choose. I can’t decide between Community and Revenge.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Fiction – All quiet on the western front by Erich Maria Remarque
Non-Fiction – Let’s pretend this never happened by Jenny Lawson

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This YouTube video

26. What did you want and get?
Time to myself.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?
Probably The Avengers

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. I went to Paris and ate way too much food.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A bit more self-confidence.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Exactly the same as last year. I am still sorely in need of a makeover.

31. What kept you sane?
My husband.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Louis Smith was pretty nifty.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
I kept right out of politics.

33. Who did you miss?
My family and friends.

34. Who was the best new person you met?

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
Always have two feet on the floor before getting out of bed.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!”

Photo found here.