Stop judging. You're beautiful...
I've been pretty irritated lately that for weeks I haven't had the time to do even a smidge of exercise, and to top it off I've been eating loads (Working makes me hungry and I can't work if I'm peckish... my mum laughs at my intermittent emergence in order to wander through the kitchen).
It takes a lot of effort, but I have to keep reminding myself to stop caring so much about such shallow things like putting on a few kilos.
Although increasingly we see dozens of articles proclaiming self-love, balanced lifestyles or distancing oneself from the skinny obsession, we see just as many, if not more, still driving us to jump rope for half an hour, to eat kale pancakes for breakfast, to eat quinoa at 2 am for a better metabolism, or whatever the latest craze may be.
Don't get me wrong, I am a health freak. I love quinoa. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole weird-looking grains, you name it and I eat it, and as much as possible, I don't eat processed or junk food.
But what I'm contesting is our obsession with perfect exteriors. I was driving the other day and I saw a dove and a pigeon and I started a discussion with my mum. To the common non-ornithologist, pigeons and doves look the exact same.
The one difference is their colour- one being patchy and uneven, the other being flawless.Society considers one as vermin, rats with wings and ugly pests, and the other represents purity, beauty and peace.
Doesn't that show our innate superficiality?
We know it, we hear it, but we rarely accept it: different people have different physiques. When I am not loaded with work, I'm proud to lead an active life and to eat well. But I'm not skinny. I'm just not.
On the other hand my sister eats junk food galore and doesn't exercise much, yet she has always maintained a small waistline.
I can't keep striving for something I'm not, because as clichéd as it sounds, it's the inside that counts. At the moment the exterior of my body may not be at its prime, but the interior strength and intelligence have helped push me through the past few weeks of work. I know that even though I don't look flawless, I have a healthy, well-looked-after body that I respect and love.
This cake came out a cosmetic mess. I won't describe all our various attempts to fix it, but we got it in the end. I ended up covering the whole thing in a thick layer of powdered sugar to disguise the uneven top... and I ruined it.
My family and I found the cake itself absolutely delicious... crumbly, lightly sweet, almondy and refreshing.
And to top it off, the cake is sneakily insanely healthy: almonds, orange juice and carrots make up the base. No butter. No flour. (Don't run away! I promise it doesn't taste weird ;) )
But my topping just made it... weird. Sugary. Crunchy. My friends agreed that the sugar was just too much.
My point is, that in an endeavour to make the outside of my cake look better, I messed up its natural beauty. I felt hypocritical, judging my cake on how it looks, rather than its true values, and not embracing the mistakes and the fun we had getting it together.
I loved it, it was healthy on its own, it didn't break completely, and it didn't need to look like a gateau on the cover of Food & Wine.
As long as I'm filled with good stuff, as long as I love my flaws, but do my best not to fall apart, I don't need to look like someone on the cover of Vogue.
And personally, I think pigeons are quite beautiful.
This weekend I was almost going to let my cooking be, and plan to do double cooking the next week to make up for it.
But I didn't want to fall into a bad habit, so I tried to think of something super quick.
I was about to make some pie dough, when my mum reminded me that I had a disc still in the freezer from the last tart (a surprise special post that's coming).
The filling is foolproof... it really doesn't take a genius to put these three things together. I had had them in a grilled sandwich before (melty, gooey, warm heaven), so why not in a tart?
The delight of this tart is its tiny size. A smidge of dough, a couple of speculaas biscuits, the remainder of my little jar of almond butter, and some chocolate shavings in the fridge left over from my sister's oreo parfaits.
And what tops it off, is how it's gone in a few minutes. Divided into four it gives each person a cute teatime snack to enjoy... no gargantuan dessert calling out from the fridge every. single. day. for a week.
I also whipped up a nutella mug cake on Saturday for breakfast.
I was so bored of normal eggs, but I knew that I'd need something filling, since I was going out all day. (How I wish muffins and cereal and chocolate toasts filled me up...)
So nutella with an egg snuck in? Yes please.
It was fluffy, light and satisfying. I figured our microwave is pretty strong, so that's why most of my mug cakes have come out so chewy before. I put this in for 30 seconds less than advised, and it was exactly how it should have been. Imagine if I did it for even less: gooey nutella :)
Enjoy your week (and some chocolate.)
I put cooking in inverted commas, because everything was already made. But nonetheless satisfying.
Muffins, Almond Butter, Pasta & Risotto...
It's been more than a month since I've written! A month!
But kind and surprising as always, there are still people- whoever you are- reading each day, so thank you for sticking around.
But even though it seems as though I've disappeared, I've still been cooking my one recipe a week, and I've got them all lined up.
Life is just crazy... Is it February? March? April? December?
I can't keep track. Christmas seems as far away as last summer, and spring seems as close as this summer...
I have become a slave to my artwork, sleeping at horrendous hours of the 'night' (does 4 am count as morning or night?). My coursework dominates 90% of my thoughts and my conversations, and my mental sanity and friendships have suffered as a result.
And even with my coursework almost done, my art exam work is lurking, ready to plunge down on my head because it would be too unfair to give me some respite.
But I've slipped in some new dishes: I tried a different way of making almond butter, which wasn't actually that different in taste, but it was fun. I made risotto on my own for the first time- no one there to tell me what to add and when... the result was fascinating, but some of the cheesiness disappears as you reheat it.
I invented a pasta dish with a rosemary pea sauce, crispy mushrooms and broccoli and some cottage cheese; yum, but lacking a bit of flavour.
Lastly, yesterday I took out some time to do some baking with my dad, who also has a love for sweet stuff, and tends to push everything aside-no matter how much it is- when he feels like spending some time in the kitchen. We made banana-walnut muffins, which turned out big, moist, not too sweet and absolutely scrumptious.
I promise I won't let my posts pile up like this... if I don't let my work collect, I shouldn't let this collect. It's a commitment, and it's my passion.