All Good Things Issue 21

Morning guys!

You know, I don’t often talk about anything remotely negative. I am the listener, the cheerleader, the solution finder, the person who ALWAYS tries to see the positives. But a sunny outlook sometimes weighs you down. And these last two weeks have really weighed me down. My beautiful little family has had my back, telling me that it is okay to feel down and that maybe I should tell you - my readers, what I feel. So, I thought I will share.

When I started sending out two newsletters every week for 5 months, new subscribers would write to me because they wanted the older issues they had missed out on. For a while, I was sending a lot of the past issues out manually to subscribers. But then to make life easier for everyone, I spent three weeks painstakingly reformating and moving 40 old issues to a new platform here on the hub, so you could access all of the past issues instantly and everything would be conveniently in one place.

I thought it would make you all happy. I thought it could be a community, because now you could easily like and comment on the posts, interact with me, start a conversation. After all, it would cost you nothing to click on the “heart” or “comment” icon to let me know that the 12 hours or so I spent on the “meal prep newsletter” or the 4 hours or so I spent writing this “all good things newsletter” was interesting enough or useful enough … to you!

Do you know how many of you have actually hit any icon on the hub to interact with me in the past two weeks? One person! Just the one.

As a writer and creator who writes, photographs, creates beautiful recipes (that work by the way because I cook them over and over again until my family is sick of eating them!) and who shares 80% of all that content for free ….. if no is reading or appreciating or even acknowledging it … is there any point to it all? Is there any point in me giving up my weekends and free time, to be of service after having worked full time the entire week?

Do I not deserve a fraction of what I put out there for me? Where is my community guys? I feel like I am on my own.

I apologize for this out of character rant (I will not even talk about the extremely hard 2-3 years we have had and how I have worked through our family hardships to bring some extra goodness, cheer and deliciousness into your lives via my writing, photos and recipes through my newsletters), but I felt like I needed you to know how lonely I was feeling in this space that I thought was “my online community!”

That’s enough bleakness from me this week (and most likely, ever!). We march on! So onto All Good Things ….

Rivan (my oldest) and I worked last weekend shooting some videos with Adam Liaw in our kitchen. We love hanging out with him, he is an amazingly talented, funny and genuinely nice person.

With lockdown over and boys returning back to school, Nick and I are spending a decent couple of hours every day driving them both to school and back at different times. I actually stepped foot inside a shop for the first time in almost 8 months and it felt really bizarre. It is nice to be able to get out but I have been living under a rock for so long, it might take some getting used to. Nick and I also managed to grab a quiet lunch last week. Life felt a little bit more normal.

Today is Halloween, so sharing a picture of our yard from 2019. I remember Nick had just come back home after two months at the hospital. Rish, my youngest who was still at primary school was sad that we weren’t going trick-or-treating for the first time in years. He understood why but I could see he was a little sad. He has always loved dressing up and I have loved creating the perfect costumes for him (case in point - his Miguel costume from the Disney movie Coco in 2018, the last time he went trick or treating)

So, while both boys were at school, I rummaged around the house and garage. I found an old broken soccer ball that I wrapped in an old canvas sheet and drew a face with a permanent marker. A poncho and hat from my wardrobe and a broken branch from the gum tree during the last storm became the structure of my “Jeepers Creepers” inspired scarecrow. I cotton balled and netted most of the yard, hung balloon ghosts shrouded in white cloth, made some last-minute props and transformed the yard into a creepy place. The overgrown lawn and bushes and trees added to the whole mood.

I then popped over to the local supermarket and bought lots of lollies and chocolates to fill in a Jack O Lantern plastic bowl. When I picked up the boys and brought them home, the look on Rish’s face was priceless. I told him that instead of going trick-or-treating, he could dress up and hand out lollies to other kids instead. That way, I could stay home if Nick needed me. He was ecstatic! He hugged and thanked me a dozen times throughout the evening.

The scarecrow was a hit! We had people coming up to the house, knocking and asking if they could take pictures of their kids next to the scarecrow. I think it was the best Halloween Rish had ever had. He is the craftiest and most creative kid I know, and he made all kinds of plans to build a cage suspended from our huge gum tree with a life-sized skeleton inside it for 2020. But alas, Covid had other plans. We aren’t doing anything this year either besides finding a scary movie (not scary enough to give him nightmares) and watching it as a family. But it’s all good! Next year might look very different.

Happy Halloween folks! I hope you and your kids manage to have a special time!

Sneh

x


This week’s Member Only Recipe from my new ongoing Online Cookbook was a family favourite recipe for - Air Fryer Baked Falafels // With two methods - Air Frying & Baking, you will never have to get anxious about deep-frying these falafels ever again. Plus look at that crust! As good as deep-fried without any of the hassle! Plus a quick bonus recipe for my go-to Spiced Tahini Sauce and lots of cooking notes.

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It is amazing how we need to be reminded of small things to do for our physical and mental health. There aren't hard to do, but because we are bogged down by so much stuff (both tangible and conceptual) that we often forget to do them. When I find a piece of information that is profound and valuable, I file it in one place so I can access it whenever I need to. I also have a daily Manifesto, a mantra that I repeat to myself. It could be as simple as remembering to drink water throughout the day or to have a hot shower. But by telling myself that and being mindful of it, I remember to do it and it becomes a slow, steady, daily habit. This in turn has started making really positive changes in my physical and mental health.  

Food For Thought »

" Practice standing on one leg for a few seconds (5-20 seconds) every day. Every time you practise the one-leg stance, it is an opportunity to recalibrate your brain, forming new connections and strengthening the coordination between your ears, eyes, joints and muscles. Sensors in all our joints and muscles keep sending feedback to the brain so it can learn how best to keep you upright. As we get older, our balance deteriorates. This one-leg practice helps keep our balancing abilities in check affecting our overall health and wellbeing.

How » I started practicing this a few years ago. I bend my left leg at the knee and use my left hand to bring my heel up to my butt. I stand on one leg for a long time, often out in the garden absorbing the beautiful sun. I switch to the other leg and do the same. After I mastered this, I started doing single-leg stands without holding my bent leg. I would rest my bent leg on my other leg or just let it hover over the ground. I can do more than a minute on each leg. Currently, I am practicing doing the same thing with my eyes closed. That is a whole different beast. I will be perfectly steady on one leg, but the minute I close my eyes, I start rocking like a little boat on choppy seas. It is hard because I am essentially taking away one extra sense that helps the balance - my sight. This means, my brain has to work harder to coordinate and send signals to my legs to maintain balance.

Try doing the open-eyed single-leg stance often. When you are brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, waiting in a queue somewhere, standing on the sidelines watching a soccer game etc..


Later today, I am baking this Flourless Chocolate Cake. With only 6 ingredients and the ability to be baked as a whole cake or as individual cakes in ramekins, this wickedly fudgy cake is my go-to dessert on special weekends. More like a pudding, it always shines with a dollop of ice cream sitting on top of the warm, molten chocolate goodness.

This Roasted Broccoli & Coconut Salad With Turmeric Dressing.

I try and pick up two new cooking techniques every month whenever I can. This month I am learning to make this Scallion Pancake as a Big Chewy Pretzel! Using my Chinese Scallion Pancake recipe. And Rotiboy (Mexican Coffee Bun).

These Italian Lemon Biscuits look amazing! Plus, a really nice Pumpkin Spice Cake.

Sweet Potato Loaf Cake With Dark Chocolate Ganache.

So does this Creamy King Prawn Chilli Garlic Spaghetti!

Mung Bean Pancakes.

Crispy Smashed Buffalo Potatoes.


A recent discovery is this Apple TV show called Home Before Dark. A good mystery to watch with older kids - a story about a young girl who wants to be a reporter/journalist and who uncovers clues to a murder while visiting the small town her dad lives in.

I love writing here on the Hub. As an old-school blogger (I have been blogging for 17 years now!), writing here on the hub is so much more personal and a welcome departure from what our blogs have become - recipe sites cluttered with SEO and rules. I am finding a lot of bloggers launching newsletters to just write from their hearts and to communicate with their readers on a more personal level.

Newsletters I am enjoying right now

Nik Sharma’s This Is A Cook Letter

Ash Rodriguez’s Fireside

Pip Lincolne’s Hungry Hungry Pippo

Alisone Roman’s A Newsletter

Emiko Davies

The Department Of Salad By Emily Nunn

The Bittman Project

Nicola Lamb’s Kitchen Projects


SPICY WATERMELON PALOMA

Makes – 1

*

120ml (4oz) watermelon juice, strained

60ml (2oz) grapefruit juice

30ml (1oz) lime juice

70ml (2.3oz) tequila

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Sparkling Water

Sichimi Togarashi & Salt, for the rim

Grapefruit wedge, to garnish

Ice cubes

*

Add half cup ice cubes to a cocktail shaker. Add watermelon, grapefruit and lime juice. Add tequila and maple syrup. Shake for a few seconds.

Run a lime wedge along the rim of a 400ml (13.5oz) tumbler or stemless martini glass. Roll the rim in a mixture of Sichimi Togarashi and salt.

Add a quarter cup crushed ice to the glass. Pour the cocktail over the ice. Top the rest of the glass with Sparkling Water. Skewer a grapefruit wedge and rest it on the rim as a garnish. Serve immediately.

*****


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I am currently reading Taste by Stanley Tucci. It is an ABSOLUTELY divine read. A staunch Tucci fan, I have enjoyed his eccentricities and impeccable acting over the years but this is the first time, I have bought a book by him. And it is a memoir disguised as a recipe journal. The best kind of reading, in my opinion. When someone witty loves to cook and loves to write about it - you read!

The book is laid out in a novel format - no pictures, just text. It is one of the most conversational memoirs I have ever read and Tucci’s succinct style of reminiscing and conveying is very alluring. I want to rewatch the movies he talks about, visit the little eating places he scouts during shoots, start traditions and rituals like his ma and pop did. Recipes are simple but you want to make them all because the stories behind them are oh so special. I will talk about this book in more detail in book club soon.

But in the meantime, I would love some recommendations from you - nice novels to read? Really good cookbooks you’ve bought recently? You can leave your comments below if you like.

Ciao for now

Sneh

x


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