Reminscent of places unknown


It reminds me of places I have never been. Rich scents my nose encaptures but they don’t have a name. A whirl of sounds engulfing my ears but they can’t be distinguished. Overwhelming and bigger then me, this unknown place feels like it embraces me, making my ego and all of me dissolve like salt in luke warm water. It frees me. Because of it’s anonimity. There’s no known structure. There’s no familiar patterns and habits. Everything is hussling and bussling without me taking part. Without me doing anything. I can just be. Be still. Be me. Until I slowly evaporate, merging with the sounds and the scents and faraway freedom.

soft swirly avocado & aqua fava merenguada

With stick mixer blend an avocado, juice of half a lemon, a banana, turmeric and 50 ml almond milk. With handheld mixer mix liquid of one can of chick peas (keep the chick peas itself for another purpose) during 5 minutes. When stiffened like merengue, add maple or agave sirup until it’s comfortably sweet. Top avocado mixture with aqua fava merenguada and give it one swirl. Sprinkle with a hint of cinnamon. Serve with a long spoon

Blend

”I love you as the leaves of trees embrace the wind, as the grass soaks up the rain and as the sun peaks up over the land to cast its warmth”


You catch

fish

and my kiss

You breath

in my bed

Deep water

you caught her

with flies

Blue skies

burning sun

We com’

closer

closest

U and I

unite

re-unite

Burning fire

soft desire

crystal clear

You are

Almost here

Blend 1 banana, 3 pitted dates, 1 heaped table spoon peanut butter, 2 tablespoons broken linseed, teaspoon turmeric, teaspoon cinnamom, 100 ml almond milk (or rice milk, oat milk, orange juice whichever you’ve got)

Atomic Coffee


Since years I drink tea, no coffee. In the same addictive amounts as I used to drink coffee, ate sugary treats and smoke cigarettes. The love for my body and my shame for not feeling healthy got me turnaround pretty much 360 degrees. Reminds me of the expensive make up industry with a well chosen name for a daily Clinique product: turnaround cream. Don’t we all want to make that total 360 degrees turn? Sometimes…

And then there’s the revival of Blondie and a movie I went to see with the greatest love of my life, thinking it was about Blondie. Atomic Blonde appeared to be a mysterious mixture of James Bond ingredients, David Bowie music, East Berlin when the wall comes down and passionate lesbian sex. No Blondie, not even a single song. I linger while admiring the Italian designed, made in Australia, fantastic espresso maker. We know about the high pressure percolators, nostalgic, reminiscent of Italian romance for unknown reasons, no logic, just feelings. 

The high pressure espresso maker takes a while to heat up on top of the woodfire stove. We are off the grid and lovin’ it. Not a lot atomic about the nostalgic coffee. Like there was not a lot of Blondie about Atomic Blonde. The scent of freshly brewed coffee is irresistable notwithstanding many coffee-sober-tea-drinking-years, I will always love the scent of coffee. Like I will always love Blondie’s music. Be it atomic or not.

Lift her face gently with both your hands, moving your head close to hers, touching her lips with your lips, light as a feather, very careful as with the first little sip of your espresso. Let the sensation of the black liquid engulf your tastebuds; like the warm sensation of her soft lips runs through your veins. The shivering magic opens a door to another world, our atomic world within. Another sip, greedy this time. Another kiss, full and complete.

Deep emotions lightly pickled

We had not been there for 2,5 months. The sun is bright. The apartment empty. As empty as we found it a long time ago. Before we started making memories there. Many memories. I said downstairs in the lobby while checking the mailbox: ‘it isn’t as bad as I feared it would be. The revisiting I mean’. Little did I know. We ascend to the first floor, entering a bare but trodden apartment. I am surprised to find some of my stuff left behind. I loose focus and I take his hand, leading him up the stairs, to our bedroom. We undress. Like we did a hundred times, a thousand times. Half close the blinds. Duvet on the floor. A rush of hormones is running through my veins. Before I know it I am all over him. And then, suddenly, I burst out in tears. Rolling from the deep, warm, unconsolable, uncontrolable. After quite some sobbing, the tide slowly alters. We make love like never before. We leave the apartment behind us, empty as is. I am fulfilled with the remnants of past hope, glory and boundless expectations that could only be countered by the chemistry of our bodies. Talking an universal language without words. Singing a song without a melody. Rocking it without rolling waves. Desperate longing without an horizon. Kept and preserved as if in hot desert sand. Not since long, just lightly pickled.

1 continental cucumber with skin, cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded, sliced in 1 cm thin half circles, preferably a bit diagonally cut, Japanese style

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 tblspoon salt

1 tblspoon sugar

A piece of 3x3cm Kombu (thick seaweed) optional

Find a glass jar that fits the cucumber slices 

Disolve sugar and salt in the vinegar, add cucumber slices, fill up with cold water all the way to the top

Put lid on it

Shake the jar slowly, turning it upside down

Place in fridge

Ready to eat after 24 hours

Recipes for Eastern Love and Western Chai

You know how we talk about love as the indispensable ingredient for the food we prepare and the things we teach our children. It makes me wonder if love lives somewhere in abundance accesible for us to enjoy and grab as much as we need to enrich our homemade nurturing. I thought of love as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A magical something like unicorns and sleeping beauties. Love, I thought, lives in fairy tales and young children’s hearts. Until one day I was asked to come and venture into the Heart of Darkness. I didn’t finish reading the novel of Joseph Conrad on my way. I started living the tale myself.
Taoïsm gives me a bit of a clue about pain and love. It’s the black and white of jin and yang, with a bit of each at the centre of the other. There is no absolute love when there isn’t a dot of pain in it. There’s no absolute pain when there isn’t a dot of love in it. The two go intrinsically together. Christianity is much more confusing if it comes to love and pain. Talking about absolute love (the divine) and the suffering of Christ (human love). Talking about pity -is pity love? – and mercy. Is mercy love? All covered under a blanket of luster and gold. Very complicated. And easy to get caught up in.
The recipe for love doesn’t seem to get any closer. I am really not sure what spiritualism and love have got to do with each other. They are both beautiful. To the extend that spiritualism – whether it’s listening to old Vedic mantra’s or taking in the beauty of a rose – leads to a peaceful mind. A peaceful mind is what it takes to feel and live in love. A full and active mind focuses on moving forward, solutions to obstacles and human survival. An empty mind means stagnation, nothing to do, nothing to want, no urge nor necessities. A full and active mind goes hand in hand with an empty mind. To foster both like jin and yang, to me seems perfect homeostasis. The CEO and Zen buddhisme. A man and a woman.
Dedication empties my mind, creating peace and space. For myself and others to be. So far for my recipe of Love. Now let me tell you about tea latte instead.
A tea bag – fresh tea leaves in a paper filter are the ultimate – but any kind of black tea bag will do perfectly fine. I use deteinated tea.
One or a mix of the following milks: almond, rice, oat, coconut, walnut. I avoid soy lately. For the taste soy works well. It’s the allergic potency of soy that keeps me from it for shorter or longer intervals.
Pour boiling hot water on top of teabag in a long drink glass, filling it only for 1/3. Put something on the glass as a lid. Let it soak 5 minutes until tea is very dark. Remove tea bag.
Heat milk(mixture) to boiling point. Fill up the long drink glass. I like 1/2 oat and 1/2 any other kind of grain or nut milk.
With flavored black teas like vanilla, goji berry or cinnamon the taste becomes more complicated. Either preference goes.

Much like Christianity and Taoïsm.

On New Year’s Eve

Three Swiss rolls, I threw one. The very fluffy cake resembling angel cake was too fragile for the nutella I used as a filling. The vanilla cake filled with orange marmelade and the slighty more sturdy cacao cake surviving the nutella filling, both made it. After seven years of trinity, 2019 will be the year of duality. I associate it with my two daughters of whom one has now left the nest. The dark cacao and cream white vanilla are like yin and yang. The filling representing the opposing dots. Glad I fucked that up. I hear my American hero speak when I say this to myself. White whipped cream looks better in the cacao cake. And a dark colored jam is better in the vanilla cake. However now a fine dusting of soft icing sugar delivers a nice contrast. During the process a Swiss client arrives at the B&B. I tell him about the Swiss rolls. He smiles. This is before we find out that the B&B is overbooked. The plentiness of the last day of the year versus he and his wife being relocated. They take it very calm. Although he made this NYE booking already in April. I feel bad for them. One Swiss roll down.
Why does the Christian church and in particular one located in a quaint Mediterranean town showcases so much gold, glitter and shine? I don’t get it. My refuge in Northern European Amsterdam was the warm but austere yoga studio of a very special Indian guru. His name signifies ‘nothing’. I remember him being angry with the world around him as he actively takes a stand for modesty, sincerity and self empowerment. If there’s one soul in the world as it is known to me, who taught me stuff, it’s him. Not because he is perfect. Quite the opposite, his flaws showed me more then his achievements. He cursed. He disclosed of not being intimate with his dear partner. He once fasted so exaggeratedly for many months in a row that he fell sick and ‘left’ us, his groupies, hanging. But he allowed me to cry. He allowed me in the shadows of his cellar, to assert myself again. Dedication grew slowly. Tears washing away emotions, creating space. Space for love, space for loving myself.
Meeting the love of my life is a direct consequence of those five years culminating in yoga every f#*ing day. Yoga to cope with daily life. Yoga to open up. Yoga to surrender. Yoga to regain completely forgotten strength. I owe it to this special Indian man who grew up in Kenia, lived in London and who played cricket professionally the better part of his life, that I crossed the globe to stand next to a man. Feeling strong and right and up to supporting this man in the things he needed. The mission was the biggest challenge I’d ever undertake. Yet it felt as the most natural thing I ever did, do and will ever do. Thank you Anil. For getting me to that point. What happened after is my responsability. I think there couldn’t have been more that I did wrong then everything I did for this man. My American hero in no time was to be the one saving me, instead of the other way around. And I even imagined that it was saving me what he needed, to gain the confidence to strive and perpetuate for his own sake. What a mess. And how grateful I am to have had the chance to experience all of it. It has embedded me In Love.
I’ve learned three things.
1. Happiness doesn’t come with struggle

2. Happiness is right in front of me

3. To be loved
Unlike the Swiss rolls at this last day of the year, I won’t discart any of the three lessons. Holy trinity or Taoist dualism? Leaves me to break my mind over all that gold, those glitters, the brilliant shine, a church, a place of worship and dedication…
I told my mum, because she’s the one who gets me to churches. It’s her houses. I talk to her in a church, silently, without words. Often it smells nice, I can kneel for her and close my eyes. Tonight the last night of the year I told her: ‘You see mum, I can’t do it without you’. I have to fail. To show you that I love you and miss you’. I was struck by the thought. And then I lingered a long while over her painful thoughts I assume she’s had. Her sense of failure. Her disconnection. Her blacker then black. The well known black holes in our personal universes, vacuums, out there to draw us in. To make us dissapear in realms the scientists can’t explain. I asked myself if for her and my soul it does really make a difference that she’s dead and I am alive. I thought not. Which means maybe that I identify with her. I want to join her in her suffering, to alleviate it. To feel the connection with her. Please explain to me the gold, the glitter and the shine.

Checkmate before breakfast

Plenty of time for an intellectual board game while cooking salmon. That sounds weird. Preparing something to eat, especially something as delicate as fish, usually doesn’t leave much room or head space to focus on anything else. However serving saumon confit for breakfast does free body and mind to dedicate attention to something else. That could be sexy. I mean chess.

An entire filet of about one kilo takes one and a half hour to cook. Theoretically it isn’t cooking. It’s confire. Which literally means preserving. This eldest conservation technique according to some, is done by inserting fruit, vegetables or meat in fat, oil or sugar syrop for a long time on low temperature. Today we no longer practice this medieval culinairy technique just to conserve. Like we no longer solely make love to produce babies. We do it to pleasure our senses. To capture our taste buds, merging delightfully with soft and pink fish flesh. Becoming one and complete in our mouth with the desire to feed ourselves.

The salmon filet we confit at a temperature as low as 70 Celsius. Hence the time for a game of chess. It’s drown in olive oil. Not ‘covered’, ‘generally sprinkled’ or ‘rubbed in’ with oil; the fish meat is immersed into a shallow bath of olive oil, just deep enough to completely succomb the pink, soft and slippery flesh. Size of the tray, weight of the filet and performance of the oven influence the confit time. It’s simple to determine though when the salmon is done. When white dots of congualated protein form at the outside of the flesh, the salmon is to be taken from the oven. Gently poor the warm olive oil over in a container to free the fish and stop the cooking process. Let the flesh breath and cool down. Please don’t cut the filet. Gently tear it apart. Preferably just with your fingers. And eat it. The sensation in the mouth, because of the super soft texture, the mellow buttery fullness, the sudden burst of deep and heavy pink flavor, are an honorable homage to and hopefully reminscent of what you actually did in bed while waiting for the salmon to cook.

From raw to liquid


Five years I’ve eaten predominantly raw food and 95% vegan. The remaining non vegan 5% is what I put in my mouth and digested of the food I prepare for my children, the love of my life and in the restaurant I worked. During the yoga teacher training in Nepal two years ago, dinners consisted of cooked instead of raw vegetables. Other then that I literally re-discovered my body and health thanks to a raw vegan diet. When I started it, due to a kidney cleanse cure I set myself to years ago while on holiday in Ibiza, I thought I’d lasted three months. The probation period extended into five years. But what we think, what we think we are able to and what we expect in general is not what this is about. 

When people ask me why I was on a raw vegan diet, I would say: ‘out of curiosity, to see how my body reacts to no animal protein at all’. The curiosity a result of twenty years of vegetarianism which would incessantly cause people to exclaim:’but what about your protein?’

Vegetarian and vegan diets are challenging for me in a weird way. Because the number one rule if it comes to food for me, is: ‘deliciousness, taste, satisfying the senses’. So why the heck do I not throw in everything? 

I like to prepare a fulfilling meal from nothing but left overs and random fridge content

I like minimialism, less is more

I like real authentic stuff as opposed to pretensions and decadence

After five challenging and fulfilling years, I change now. I’ve learned how much energy is saved when I do not have to digest dead food. I’ve proven to live without animal protein and according to people’s comments, look fantastic at the age of fifty while not eating animals, gluten or refined sugar.
Why do I change? Because I am no longer afraid to sit still, to let myself go do nothing for a while but being content, happily digesting dead food and nothing else: Wu Wei. Stream like liquid, no blockages, let love come.

Last night’s dahl:

150 gr Red lentils

1 patato

1 white onion

Vegetable stock cube

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. cumin seeds

500 ml water

Cook 20 minutes

Add sliced zucchinni, black and green olives, any green leave vegetable or cabbage

Cook for another 5 minutes

Garnish with olive oil, pepper, salt to taste and 1/2 cubed avocado

This morning’s smoothies (2 recipes): 

With handheld stick blender:

Primero

1 banana 

1 tbsp peanutbutter

Particles of half a grapefruit + juice

Secondo

1/2 avocado

1 tbsp peanutbutter

150 ml oat milk

Tsp turmeric

2 dried apricots

Recipe For Simplicity

For quite a while now I didn’t post a recipe. Plus I realize that living in a town as opposed to the outskirts, impacts my daily grocery shopping. These two perceived realities makes me want to write in order to disentangle what’s going on in my life. 

1. In the city vegetables all look and taste the same. Chain supermarkets’ options are so bountyful that they dull the mind. Overexposed and overloaded my mind tries to shut down. ‘Maybe I will start wearing sunglasses in the supermarket’, I say to myself, simply to protect my senses, being at the verge of creating an allergy against whatever intake in general alluringly presents itself to me. Simplicity on show at the grocery shop around the corner where there’s tomatoes and canned peas attracts me more then having to decide between shitake and saffron infused arbolio rice, to name an example of meant to be seductive exotic promises of satisfaction.
2. I find out that my idea of prettywoman.recipes is not so much to mindfully set myself to come up with ‘my recipes’ as might be expected from a recipe blog. To me recipes and food are not just about spitting out lists of ingredients and writing down in exact detail what to do with the ingredients. Since a while, I crave simplicity: simple life, simple cooking, simple joy, simple chores. Maybe just because I want rest. Maybe it goes further then resting my bones. I read the Tao of Pooh. All I want is his Wu Wei and his ‘effortless action’. Let things evolve and develop from their core, no bending, no pointing, no trying. 

I wonder what is the recipe for simplicity. To not ask questions and just accept whatever presents itself? If I try to understand this, putting my logic mind to it, it strikes me how lazy, indifferent and weak acceptance seems to be as opposed to questioning, critisizing, resisting, pulling, pushing and fighting. We are taught not to accept. We are taught to fight for our lives, our jobs and our wants. Which actually strikes me as odd. The taoist and the buddhist lower their voices and turn inside. And what do we Westerners do? Why do we not simply allow, accept and adept?

 I wish to write a recipe for simplicity. My wish is not about the desire to make a recipe known to the world. I desire to write about something I love doing. Because writing increases the joy I derive from whatever it is I am doing. Whether this is cooking, making love or stumbling upon unrecognized beauty.

This PWR blog is a conjunction of the three: ingredients that melt into each other, blend, enforce and eventually transform into something new. Much like the yolks, lemon juice and butter of sauce Hollandais’ emulsification process. My first PWR blog said’pretty woman recipes is about my relationship with food’. It’s like a love affair. Pushing and pulling, adoration and frustration, caring and denial, to name some similarities. Where does that leave acceptance? 

What about your relationship with food? Mine is as complicated as a serious relationship. And sometimes my relationship with food is Extremely Complicated. Child of my time, woman of this world, my relationship with food contains many layers. Similar to the relationship with a partner or a family member which can be very complicated and contains many different layers. Imagine how food actually can or is used and abused by me to meet:
1. Having fun

2. Seek refuge and comfort 

3. Being fed up with

4. Craving companionship to distract from loneliness

5. Finding delight

6. Disengtangle from dependency and attachment through fasting and diet

7. Satisfy desire

8. Sustain mankind

9. Dedicate myself

Much like any other relationship however, the exclusive individualized choice, the variety of pleasing flavors, the promises of good health and happiness are so abundant, that giving up on food really is no option. Clever nature. We need to eat as much as we need to reproduce ourselves for mankind to survive. This might explain how our very nature can cause us to over-value food, adhering magnificent qualities to it. Similar to how we fall in love, over-valueing the significant other, adhering magnificent qualities to her/him. Weird enough in the case of falling in love our society is totally in awe. We adore falling in love and the resulting lack of sense of reality. But when people accidentally over value food, become addicted to either eating too much or abstaining too much, we judge them wrong.

Oh well I stop here.  The pebble is thrown in the pond. Merely to see how far it pushes the expanding perfect circles around, rippling. So far for simplicity…

Recipe for Therapy


Art can be therapeutic. Especially creating art. A dear friend of mine in Italy is in the course of becoming an art counselor. She is not advising on what works of art to purchase. She uses artistic expression as a form of therapy. I find that mindblowing and very natural at the same time.My friends used to tease me with my habit of ironing. I was not a housewife. Far from it. I’d spent my time working, socializing and leisurely. There was no such thing as interior decoration in my house and cleaning or laundry were chores hard to keep up with. But ironing was different. Ironing was my meditation. My friends found it funny and a little weird. 

Ten years have past and I am not so weird anymore. As if that’s possible. But my love for ironing is a memory belonging to a past reality. It has been overruled. Without realizing it, ironing has been overruled by cooking. It goes back far into my early teenage years, me practicising cooking. Especially the cooking for beloved ones. I feel like I free myself, the time I spend making pizza dough, preparing next days lunchboxes, rolling date balls, experimenting with confit de canard, pickling mushrooms and especially, en faisant l’art de la cuisine for the man I love. 

 The dynamics in making lunch for the man I love or while rolling date balls certainly go far beyond the simple purpose of feeding tummies. Be it my own or his or any of my beloved ones. Both the activity of combining the ingredients and the creative process beforehand consisting of selecting the different ingredients, even to be brutally honest, the step it takes to purchase the raw ingredients from my favorite Turkish shop here in Collingwood, all the single steps together form a process that lead to a wholesome feeling of completeness. Therapeutic. It saves and secures my physical and mental well being. 

Over to you. Let me take you by the hand.

Kafir lime and Goji berries date balls

2 cups pumpkin seeds, ground in a coffee grinder or roughly chopped with a knife

2 cups pitted dates (medjool or other dried but succulent specimen), finely chopped with a knife

1/3 cup gojiberries

2 kafir lime leaves, very finely cut

Zest of 1 orange

Juice of 1 orange

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

4 tbsp tahini

A dash of coarse salt

Combine well quick rolled oats, orange zest & orange juice, salt and kafir lime 

Add all other ingredients

Form a dough

Prepare a bowl with lukewarm water and storage container(s)

Scoop a quantity of dough measuring something between a cherry tomato and a golf ball and form a ball by rolling it between your hand palms. Possibly, when dough sticks to hands and fingers too much, wet your hands at intervals of rolling two or three balls. Continue until all dough is finished. This is the meditative part. Focus at scooping each time the same quantity of dough and at delivering really round balls. You do not even need to eat them in order to enjoy the satisfying feeling of accomplishment when your super healthy treat is done

Date balls can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks