An Unexpected Friend

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” ―John Joseph Powell

I was introduced to Yasu unexpectedly. One day, after living in Japan for over a year, I came home to a box of chocolates on my doorstep. A letter was attached to it. It read:

“Ms Anisa

I am Yasuko from upstairs.

When I was tired from moving work, you gave me a dessert. That was very delicious and thank you so much for that. I wanted to always talk with you.
But I will move on April 30 to next village.
The new address is Nishiawakura village.
If you don’t mind, could you hang out with me sometime?
I am really bad at English, but I hope we could be good friends.”

The dessert she was referring to was actually a blueberry smoothie that I made for my neighbors after seeing them gardening on a hot day.

When I finally met Yasu and asked her why she hadn’t introduced herself earlier she said that she had been too shy/scared. Can you believe it? One year of loneliness, living below my now best-friend.

Alas, we have done much since the letter: smoothie-bowls, food outings, yoga-classes, dinners with her family and yesterday, pottery class followed by a home-cooked Japanese dinner and my black-rice pudding for dessert. On the latter, her father told her mother he absolutely didn’t like it. He said this in Japanese but I understood regardless (hehe) but, no matter. It must have been an unusual taste though black rice and coconut milk is readily consumed in Asia. Yasu’s father reminded me of the many times my own father has made inappropriate comments in Persian thinking no one (but us) can understand him when they (the non-persian speakers) can easily read his facial expressions or sense his intent! Oops hehe.

A healthier self-saucing chocolate pudding

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If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from growing up in NZ, it’s that Kiwi women know their shizzle when it comes to producing sweet treats from an oven. In fact, come to think of it, the thing I miss most from my relationship with my ex boyfriend, is his mother’s pavlova (not sure if this says more about me or him). In addition to pavlova, ginger slice, butter cookies and lolly cake, Mrs. Jones OWNED the self-saucing chocolate pudding which she baked with the help of a vintage cook-book for children(this means its easy, you too can do it!), much love and much BUTTER and white flour and sugar. Excuse me while I wash my mouth out with detergent (I joke I joke!).

Last night, I recreated her pudding by switching some of the ingredients for a “healthier” alternative and it worked. Kaori and Taka (my best friends in Japan) approved big time.

1 cup self-rising wholemeal flour (switch for rice flour with 1 tsp baking powder for a GF alternative)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
4 tbsp extra virgin organic coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk
1 free range egg

1 cup soft brown sugar
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 1/4 cup of boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C

In a large bowl, mix flour, cacao and sugar

Combine oil, milk and egg in a jug. Slowly add to flour mixture.

Pour this mixture into a greased oven dish. Smooth top.

Sauce time!

Combine sugar and raw cacao powder then sprinkle evenly over batter.

Slowly pour boiling water over the back of a large metal spoon to cover pudding.

Bake for 20-25 minutes – be careful not to overcook it, you don’t want to make cake.

Serve hot with cream, yoghurt, ice-cream or milk of choice.

Thai Black Rice Pudding

Basically all you need to know is that black rice is better than brown rice and brown rice is better than white rice. Kapeesh? Black rice is lower in calories and higher in fibre and protein than the other two. Not to mention, it’s also packed with loads of antioxidants – no wonder it was called ‘the forbidden rice’ by the ancient Chinese and reserved for the mighty emperor only!

We all know Thai food is the bomb so naturally, this thai black rice breakfast (or dessert) pudding is the shizzle. AND it’s EASY and GOOD FOR YOU! Do you reckon I can make it in advertising? Anyways, the recipe calls for a cup of cooked black rice – don’t fret! It’s really easy. Simply cook the black rice in your rice cooker and follow the instructions (water/time) as if you were using brown rice instead. I did this the night before so my rice was ready in time for breakfast.

1 cup cooked black rice ( cold)
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp honey (or maple if you’re vegan)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut

fruit of choice (typically, mango is used)
more coconut!

Place all ingredients in a small pot on medium heat.

Stir until desired porridge-consistency- DAS IT

To finish, top with fresh fruit (I used Okayama’s renowned white peaches).

Nomnom for breakfast or dessert or whenever!

figgy azalea

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Good morning! Guess what? I seem to have woken up to fig season! This morning I devoured homemade wholemeal toast, fresh figs drizzled in honey, some random cheese labelled “fresh cheese” from the Japanese supermarket and raw walnuts! Yummy! Can’t wait to bake with these beauties! I’m also thinking they’ll go heavenly with my brown rice porridge and/or chia seed pudding! Oh goodness maybe I should make a chia seed and fig jam? Or an upside down fig cake?! Shit, I think I have a problem. Actually, something to make you laugh: the other week I skyped my mama in tears because I accidently ate the whole thing…! But on a positive note, IAATWT has finally surpassed ‘I accidently killed someone’ on Google search. So cheers to that! X

Chocolate for Breakfast

Two months ago on my birthday, I treated myself by devouring chocolate cake for breakfast. As you can imagine, the experience was beyond amazing! Lately, after further pursuing my passion for healthy eating, I reached the glorious discovery that I can have chocolate for breakfast without consuming copious calories and instead actually earning some good-health brownie points! “HOWWW?” I hear your howl; via this heavenly chocolate chia pudding of course!

Not only is this simple breakfast pudding high in protein, fibre, omega 3, antioxidants and calcium, it is also free from gluten, dairy and refined-sugar. In other words, it’s basically salad.

Most importantly though, it’s also absolutely freakin’ delicious!

So go on, treat yourself and I promise you’ll LOVE it! If you don’t (highly unlikely), I give you permission to throw it at my face, for which, I’ll thank you later!

1 cup almond or coconut milk
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 heaped tbsp honey

plain yoghurt (I used coconut yoghurt for a dairy-free alternative)
silvered almonds and frozen berries to decorate

Place the milk, cacao powder, chia seeds, coconut and honey in a jar and mix well. I mean, really well – some serious mixing action is required here.

Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, mix again then top with plain yoghurt, silvered almonds and berries.