CHANGE

This week used to be the first week of the year. Until the 5th century before Christ the month of March was the first month of the year. In 452 bc the Roman ruler Pompilius decided to add January and February to our calendar. Setting us up for the rest of time with 12 months a year.

Time itself is not such an old concept. And man made entirely. The measurement of time began with the invention of sundials in ancient Egypt. Basically a stick rising up like a bit of a crooked pole. The angle is important! Which throws a shadow on the ground surrounding the pole. Where the line draws a pointer, there’s an indication of time. Passing by along with the turning of the earth and the sun. We figured this out somewhere prior to 1500 BC.

Clocks in a gravitational field run slower than clocks further away from the center of the field. The stronger the gravity, the slower time itself proceeds. Did you ever wonder if, when you elongate the pointers of a clock with several meters, whether you would be able to ‘see’ time moving? I did.

Which lead me to an intriguing question. Can time be stopped? No of course not, you’d say. Although trying to stop the marks of time constantly, by erasing wrinkles, preparing to jog a marathon at the age of 60 or by taking a break from daily life. But the surprising real answer to the question as to if time can be stopped, is: Yes, time can be stopped! It ain’t easy though.

But if you’d travel at the speed of light, time stops.

Time and what we do with this man made concept. Currently I am busy writing and testing recipes. It’s recipes to cleanse, detox and rejuvenate. Because? It is that time of year, really. Spring is in the air. Once the 1st week of March was the beginning of a new year. New beginnings, new chances. But what’s the recipe?

Corona is ringing the bell. We’re fed up. We want to shed it off like we shed off thick layers of wintery clothes, warm fat and other heavy stuff. Also I am 52. I am aging. Defining the process of aging we like to postpone to a time beyond 65 or maybe even to a time and place beyond as much as 80 years of life. But not this year. At least not in my case. Somehow this year, it feels like the aging process accelerated. I dare say exponentially. Did it really? And if so, can we stop it now then? Please. Let’s say, I suggest, just a simple re-take of the past Corona year and then another re-take, you know like how they do at the film set, over and over again, until the year is perfect or at least brought back to the status ‘okay’.

Sure enough, time doesn’t work like that.

So I’ve been writing a lot of recipes the past 2 weeks. In need of change. And I think I am not the only one feeling change happening.

Change the menu

Change politics

Change the economy

Change the workplace

Change who’s looking after who

We don’t even want all these changes. But they happen right now and here. So maybe better to accept the changes and adapt ourselves. Which calls for a last change:

Change ourself

Really? Is that really the answer? Well darling, it is. And you know it.

I find myself in a fantastic group of people setting up a 30 day detox program. The program takes off in a week’s time. It’s an online course involving supplements from doTerra essentials. There’s another group of driven and committed people opening up a Health Bar when the Corona measures ease. They approached me to assist with creating a rejuvenating menu. The place is called The Innersense Centre for Well being and is located in a naturopath therapy centre slash health food and appliances store in the centre of Amsterdam.

All of it together, the old new year, the fleeting of time, the enormeous changes we have all been exposed to and the trajectories I am working on inspire me to design my own program. It’s called CHANGE.

And it’s about change.

CHANGE is getting back in control. CHANGE is the safeguard for being overwhelmed. CHANGE alters the fed up. CHANGE releases stress. And CHANGE replenishes the depleted.

Real change is not often obvious though and sometimes even only remarkable in hindsight. Changing a thing called life is not about buying new shoes to look different. Real change is not about learning a new language to feel good about yourself. Nor is real change about subscribing to a fitness centre to re-assure physical health for yourself, or to follow an online exercise program for that matter. Change is just not about merely loosing weight or going on a holiday to de-stress and distract.

CHANGE is about something else.

CHANGE is about re-setting the pattern. The pattern that grew on you in times where it’s been the most perfect answer to what happened around you, designed to meet your goals in life and fulfill all your desires. This involved creating habits and rituals to guarantee entry into the comfort zone we all seek, for shelter and security. I compare the forming of our patterns with learning how to drive. The skill has set you up for a life long full of magic journeys. But then at some point or the next turn, the high way becomes an unpaved road, the path gets steep and you realize that changing gears into overdrive was not part of your instruction course, your default pattern simply doesn’t allow for it.

So what to do?

Wait till I tell you? (what to do)

Actually no. And you know yourself that the answer to the question ‘what to do’ is not given to you by anyone. Anyone but yourself.

I will tell you a little more about my program before I move on to a simple recipe, keeping the secrets of the really important stuff a little longer for you to crave for 😉

CHANGE is a slow and gradual process. Surprisingly it doesn’t take a lot of effort nor time. The only thing it asks is persistence. A journey of a thousand miles, not only begins with a single step, it continues with the same systematic impulses that form step after step, creating a thread which we call a voyage or a journey. That sturdy head up, gaze ahead demeanor through life. Sometimes leisurely walking and sometimes a bit hurried to seek shelter for the rain, step after step. The only thing you need to do is to keep on walking.

I’ll tell you more about CHANGE in due course. First I need to share a ludicrous recipe with you. It’s a smoothie that will be available at The Health Bar of The Innersense, soon for take-out, later to enjoy at the spot. And let me add to the equation a nice piece of old school marketing: ‘Drink this smoothie every day during 33 days and you will re-juvenate’. Believe it or not.

Anti-aging Collageen smoothie – all ingredients except for the fresh products available online or in store at The Innersense Centre for Well Being in Amsterdam

10 gram Irish Moss (an Atlantic algae, rich source of Vitamine B2, B12 and many minerals) which also makes it a perfect superfood for people on a plant based diet

1/2 banana (preferably frozen)

1/2 a portion of Collaloc (a commercial powdered collageen derived from fish bones)

1 teaspoon Collageen booster (from Orangefit)

20 grams dried mulberries

1 tablespoon bee pollen

300 ml oat milk

1/4 peeled zuchinni

Blend on high speed several minutes to make a very smooth smoothie.

Advise: prepare yourself this smoothie everyday for a period of 33 days.

Your skin, hair, nails and mucus lining of the intestines will love it.

One Way Or Another and Fruit Porridge

A Corona Chronicle

First of April 2020 I started a daily yoga / exercise routine. To centre. In a world that suddenly had gotten suffocatingly small. Little did I know it would be getting way smaller the following six months. I am grateful now after six months for the routines I have gotten myself into. Without them I don’t know how to survive. Life centers more and more around things and people that are not me but do form part of my history, present and future. The economic crisis brought me back to my dad during four months and the place where I grew up. Now I find myself in the city I was born and where I spent a great deal of my past. When I look around in the small little world of my daughter and me I don’t see or feel his presence. The love of my life is as much stuck at his side of the world as I am here. We do travel though. We make this Corona journey together. In another way. A virtual, imaginary way; sharing together dreams, frustrations, lots of words, lots of moving imagery and kissing cold digital interfaces.

It might sound weird. But just like Steve Jobs enjoyed the same lunch every day, the repetition of the same exercise-routine and the endless repetition of preparing and eating the same sort of food soothes me. It rescues me. It’s become a warm and sweet life vest.

I like to share the recipe.

The French word regime covers the concept better then diet. My regime took over. I am not following it to loose weight, to embellish my appearance or for physical strength. It’s all about mental sanity and resilience. I have been sharing a bit of this journey and will continue to share more and more of it. To strengthen you in your journey, your voyage to unknown temporary or final destinations in life. I for me hope to see the love of my life again. One way or another. Like Blondie sang.

One way or another, I’m gonna find ya
I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya
One way or another, I’m gonna win ya
I’m gonna get ya, get ya ,get ya, get ya
One way or another, I’m gonna see ya
I’m gonna meet ya, meet ya, meet ya, meet ya
One day, maybe next week, I’m gonna meet ya
I’m gonna meet ya, I’ll meet yaI will drive past your house
And if the lights are all down
I’ll see who’s aroundOne way or another, I’m gonna find ya
I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya
One way or another, I’m gonna win ya
I’ll get ya, I’ll get ya
One way or another, I’m gonna see ya
I’m gonna meet ya, meet ya, meet ya, meet ya
One day, maybe next week, I’m gonna meet ya
I’ll meet ya, ahAnd if the lights are all out
I’ll follow your bus downtown
See who’s hangin’ out

You guys might know this recipe deal already from my instagram. But just to be sure – repeat, repeat, repeat – here it is again.

In the tall stick mixer bowl that comes with your stick mixer:

35 gr sunflower seeds

45 gr chopped dried apricots

100 gr banana (1 small)

100 gr apple (1 small or 1/2 large) chopped

10 gr sesame paste (tahini)

5 gr chia seeds

Take a fancy bowl. Cut 100-150 grams of fresh fruit. I use honeydew melon here. Can be anything. Stickmix above ‘porridge’. Poor it over the fresh fruit. Garnish with powdered Japanese matcha (the pure stuff, not a pre-mix) and cinnamon.

This breakslow (combination of breakfast in a slow pace and brunch) contains approximately 400 grams of food and in it you will find 550 calories / 130 calories per 100 grams

Fruit porridge

Slow Motion

A Corona Chronicle

Amsterdam revisited

Life slows down to the point where it stands still. Reminiscent of drowning. Not that I know. I never drowned. Only in my dreams. Where water is a recurrent theme. Feelings. Easily overwhelmed by feelings. Me.

I tread my apartment like a fenced animal. Touching the corners with a paint brush. Stretching my body into soothing poses. Twenty counts in thin air. I take care of my daughter as in a nest. Without flying out and in. More like breeding. In anticipation. Of what? Of what’s next.

ODo other people struggle to remain in pace with what is happening today? Days go by in slow motion. A sense of emptiness, purposeless. I’ve started counting calories instead of stars.

BREAKSLOW

Between breakfast and lunch time after yoga I break the fast since last night’s dinner slowly.

A bowl that doesn’t please the eye. Succulent fruit is covered with a non attractive colored cold porridge of dried fruit, banana and seeds.

I used to condemn the health food movements so focused on wholesome food that appearance nor taste seemed to matter.

But stuff got complicated. I like the love of my life to be complicated. I like our dynamic to be as surprising as it is flowing. I like my feelings to resemble the rainbow.

But food for me now is health, nurturing, building material and facilitating life.

The choice of what I make is as stagnant and soothing as the days slowly going by.

“You on top or me on top?”

A Corona Chronicle

Please dont self isolate from me
Because of things we disagree
For its only through your eyes I see
The true person in me

“You on top or me on top?”

I fantasize about you saying that, bringing light back into my world. Suddenly I dont care anymore about the global instability nor the economic and financial crisis. The insecurity about when we will feel each other again – instead of feeling feelings of concern and despair – is devastating. I want to feel your lips with my lips. I want to caress your upperarm nonchalantly with my fingers. I want our stomachs to touch. A breast pressed against your chest. Your arms around my shoulders. One hand stroking my lower back lightly.

When I write these words, it’s as if none of this will ever be felt again by you and me. The reptilian brain (lizard brain) doesnt know about logic, Corona and planning the future. It knows about thirst, sexuality, territoriality and habits. My old mammal brain triggers emotions when my loved ones are not around, to care for. The conscious neocortex is conveniently shoved to the back burner. Do you think you know why you cry, crave or remain abstinent? Stop thinking. Because you don’t.

The world is about distance now. Jamiroquai’s virtual reality plays in the background. My emotions are triggered. I want to share them. I want to lead us back to when we caressed each other. Re-live the memory of my hair brushing against your cheek. I want us to feel love. Nurture, nutrition, basic instincts and satisfaction without the fear.

Date balls dedicated to you, my love, further then the eye can see.

metric

300 gram dates

I prefer deglet noir. The ones I use in this recipe come from Algeria, imported in Europe through Marseille. The other side of the Mediterranean captured in these dates, is an important ingredient.

50 grams Goji berries

The ones I use are organic and sourced by our local supermarket. Usually I prefer to use them un-soaked. Because of their almost crunchiness. But the dates today are quite dry. So I soak the berries.

50 ml tea for soaking the Goji berries

I use an infusion of Hibiscus flower. Which is a bit tart. Giving depth to the sweetness of the berries. Please feel free to use any kind of tea/infusion. The Hibiscus flower I found in the cupboard is a relic from a special trip to Egypt. The world as it was before that trip never returned. During the trip my mother exchanged this world for a place in eternity. Fortunately all moments in time are eternal. She isn’t far. Food needs love, emotions and stories. Just like we do.

Mineral salt, a generous pinch

2 tablespoons Sesame paste/tahini

Any kind.

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

If you own a coffee bean grinder, grind the seeds to meal and longer till it forms a paste almost like peanut butter. If you don’t own a coffee bean grinder, use the seeds whole.

Mix all ingredients. Form a dough. Shape ping pong sized balls with your hands. When the dough is sticky, moisten your hands each time before you roll a ball.

Stay healthy. Be well.

Living the Dream

Tasman, South Island, New Zealand
Brown trout on Landcruiser JFK 1973 with slide on camper
Best fish curry ever

It’s January 2020. We are off the grid, without a shower nor a toilet. He caught a fish. Hunting, as a man. I turned it into nutrition, as a woman.

He caught the brown trout ‘blind casting’. It means you don’t spot a fish and then cast , (throw your line to catch it). But you throw your line seemingly blind, waiting for random chance to bestow you. Catching fish while casting blind in most rivers around the world is quite exceptional. You actually got to read the water and know very well and through experience, where fish like to hang out, casting your line patiently, again and again. If you are lucky you harvest your prey. The nymph disappears, the line tightens, the fish is hooked. A victorious feeling is eased down as the complicated game starts to get the fish into the net. The fish has to swim into it. No pulling, no tearing. This time we take the fish home to cook and eat from it for five days. All other fish that are caught during a month cruising around Tasman in New Zealand are released back into the water. It’s a sport. But sometimes it’s real life. And that time is now. It’s beautiful. And the beautiful brown trout is turned into the best fish curry ever.

2 cups water
1 garlic glove chopped
1/2 thumb ginger chopped
1 fresh turmeric pinky finger, peeled, not chopped (!)
1 dried Chipotle chili or 1/2 tsp ground Chipotle chili
1 stick cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tomato, quartered, take seeds out, chop finely, slice remaining flesh
250 grams or 2 cups pumpkin, diced

Additionally you will need:

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 an eggplant

oil for frying

2 stalks spring onion

1 small trout, brown, rainbow or salmon trout. Cleaned and head removed, skin on

1 avocado

Bring the curry ingredients (first list) to the boil together. Close curry pot with lid. Simmer for 20 minutes or till pumpkin is tender

Separately in frying pan roast 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds. When they start popping (out of the pan) add 1/2 cup desiccated coconut. Dry roast during 2 minutes more (no oil) until coco meal turns brown. This happens suddenly and rapidly. Pay attention! This is the pumpkin version of the Indonesian peanut/coconut sprinkle named seroendeng. Transfer into a plate to stop it from cooking further. Keep till you start serving.

Separately dice 1/2 eggplant in same size dice as pumpkin. Poor generous oil in a frying pan. Brown the eggplant. Lower the heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until eggplant is really tender, soft and shiny. Add generous oil as you go to prevent it from getting dry. The eggplant will becomes a glazen kind of buttery soft.

Chop 1 spring onion.

When pumpkin is tender, add 1/2 can of coconut milk to the curry pot. Turn heath up. Take lid off. Reduce a bit. During the remaining time it takes to bake the fish.

Now take 1 small trout, clean and head removed. Fry in a little bit of oil on a full flame until skin almost burns. Take out. Peel flesh from the skin. Inside the flesh is still moist, just cooked through.


Put the deskinned trout in a shallow dish. Scoop pumpkin curry on top of it. Add buttery soft slow fried cubes of egg plant, diced fresh avocado and chopped raw spring onion. Garnish generously with the pumpkin seed / desiccated coconut ‘seroendeng’.

Wangapeka Lam & Wangapeka Date Balls

Food named after the geographical location where it is created: Wangapeka Valley, South Island, New Zealand. Where there’s mountains of love, rivers of milk and honey, purple flowered thyme and succulent lam. I haven’t come across anything more stunning, ever.

We’ve parked the 1973 Toyota Land Cruiser with on top of her our little mobile home at the side of the Wangapeka River. This spot is designed for fishermen and other real basic off the grid happy campers. There’s one toilet and a money box where you put in NZ$ 6 per person to camp overnight. We are at a place called Siberia Flat at the last day of the year 2019. The sun is shining. The river flows. The birds chirp. We make love. Interrupted by making lam and date balls. I’ve discovered that the soft sound of a strong monotonous flow of a river makes a deeper impact on both the spiritual and the physical body then sea waves breaking up and down a shore. It’s healing like a magical forest and empowering like climbing a mountain top. Riptide I’ve experienced as a mantra, pacifying and hypnotizing both the spiritual and the physical body. But here water seems to flow relentlessly; straight down from the eternal source of harmony.

A conjunction of purple flowered thyme, orange citrus zest, Mexican smoked chipotle pepper, simple ground black pepper and mineral salt is rubbed in the lam with oil and mixed into chopped dates for the balls. It breaths the Wangapeka Valley: silent, lush, wild and harmonious.

Place 500 grams of lam chops in a container. Poor 1/3 cup of olive oil over them. Pluck 20 fresh thyme sprigs. Zest 1 orange, clementine or grapefruit. Add 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Rub all of this into the meat. Cover the container. Place in fridge for 2 days. When you’re ready, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet or non stick frying pan or whatever your preferred pan is, on a high flame. Place the chops in the hot oil. Fry 3 min on each side. Lower the heat. Fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Take out. With half a glass of wine or beer rinse out the marinate-container and poor the contents in the pan. Bring it to a steaming sizzle and poor over the lam chops.

The date balls are served afterwards, with cheese. Or the next day as healthy snack food.

200 grams pitted ‘normal’ dates. That’s to say, the non Medjool ones. Because the latter are a bit too sweet and sticky, I prefer the more caramel flavored and sturdy ones for my date balls. Chop the dates roughly with a sharp knife. Put in a large bowl.
Add:
3 generous table spoons of tahini
3 generous table spoons desiccated coconut
Leaves and flowers of 20 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 tea spoon ground chipotle pepper or 1 dried chipotle chopped finely
zest of 1 orange, clementine or grapefruit
1/2 teaspoon mineral salt
50 grams pumpkin seeds

Mix well with bare hands. Take a ping pong ball sized scoop in your left hand, form a ball. If the mixture is too dry to form a ball, add some squeezed orange juice or water. Roll the ball between the palms of both hands. If you like you can put the ball in a little Chinese bowl or low teacup filled with desiccated coconut or sesame seeds, to swirl it around until it’s fully covered and decorated. When all balls are done, place them in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
Keeps a couple of weeks in an airtight container in fridge or freezer and can be taken non cooled on a day trip.

With lots of love from Wangapeka

Chipotle

It’s cold in the Ryan Air plane. Or am I just tired? Today’s Ryan Air experience is very good. I’ve been dreading flying with them to the extend that I simply no longer booked Ryan Air flights. Since complaining is an easy thing to do I find it fair to vent about the opposite; about my pleasure flying with Ryan Air. Everything leading to the take off from Malta airport towards East Midlands near Nottingham has been smooth and easy. The crew is friendly. They make jokes. Maybe, arriving at the airport two and a half hours in advance instead of all stressed out and just in time, pays off. But it’s not all. I genuinely feel well attended to.

Other then cold I am tired. Not sure how long we will fly for. Not long. I long to sleep. Two nights without the love of my love after several wonderful weeks with him accumulated in a lot of restless waking time the past forty eight hours. My eyes are falling close while I am waiting for the trolley and stewardesses to come by to be served a warm drink. I stir up, press the assistance button and ask for a tea. ‘We haven’t even started the service yet miss. Don’t worry, we will be with you shortly’. I sink back into the dark blue seat.

The tiredness replaces nervousness. Since the moment I woke up sometime but not a lot after 4 am this morning, I’ve felt tense. I pack a special Ryan-Air-cabin-allowed-hand-luggage blue shoulder bag. The regulations became stricter again. I bought the cabin bag specifically for Ryan Air. We jokingly call it our Pan Am bag. It looks like it’s specially designed to fit an American stewardess from the eighties: Barbie perfect. I fancy my tea is not far away while recounting this morning. My boarding pass still had to be printed at the stationery store which fortunately opens it’s doors very early. The weather in Middle England is checked by my ten year old daughter reading it out to me. It will rain for sure. As I am writing now I regret not having taken my pink plastic rain boots after all. I prepare porridge and freshly pressed orange juice for my ten year old. I hesitate between my Japenese long down filled winter coat and a sheeps skin bodywarmer with seperately Brian’s North Face rain coat. ‘Darling can you mail my boarding pass to the print shop please?’. ‘Mum, we have to leave in fifteen minutes’. ‘Yes darling. I quickly shower. You rinse your bowl and your glass when you’re done please’. ‘Mum, where is my lunchbox?’. ‘Thank you for getting my bag, take away cup and keys darling’. ‘Did you bring a jacket darling?’. After uttering all these words which surely are uttered in millions of house holds each and every morning again, we manage to get out of the house. The sun shines bright. First week of December. I will miss Gozo. Why have I got trouble leaving? I am very much looking forward to seeing them again. The couple from Middle England who invited me to come to them, to discuss the future. There’s no pressure. I am not expected to do anything. There’s no such thing as doing it right or wrong, failing or succeeding. Why am I nervous then?

Will I find my way into the woods of Robin Hood and the birth place of Shakespeare? Or is it all just an illusion? The date balls I’ve brought on the journey are as fully flavoured and spiced as the unknown territories I am about to explore.

For Chipotle date balls:

4 cups of dried dates, preferably not medjool, pitted and chopped 
1/2 cup sunflowerseed
1 dried, smoked chipotle pepper, the size of your pinky finger approximately, chopped finely
1 small raw beetroot, grated
2 tablespoons tahini
Generous pinch of mineral salt
1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest / shavings of the skin of approx. 1 lemon 

For coating: 

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds, in a little coffee cup or a small Chinese rice bowl

To assemble: 

A large bowl or a shallow soup plate filled with luke warm water to rinse your hands while rolling the date balls. If you keep your hands moist the dough won’t stick to your skin. 

Preparation:

With your hands mix all ingredients for the date balls together. Make a dough as if you’re making bread or pizza. Rinse off your hands. Pluck a ping pong ball sized portion with your left hand, place in right hand palm, shape the dough within your handpalm into a ball, roll it between both your handpalms, pressing gently. When the ball is round enough place it in the coffee cup or small Chinese bowl with sesame seeds and toss the ball around for as long as it takes to evenly coat it with the seeds. Place the ball in a storage container and repeat.