Monday, 26 November 2012

Once after Pushkin

I loved you once. D’you hear a small ‘I love you’ Each time we’re forced to meet? Don’t groan, don’t hide! A damaged tree can live without a bud: No one need break the branches and uncover The green that should have danced, dying inside. I loved you, knowing I’d never be your lover. And now? I wish you summers of leaf-shine And leaf-shade, and a face in dreams above you, As tender and as innocent as mine.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Amongst juggling time, a very busy and challenging job in London as well as studying, I have been reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Asar Nafisi.  If you haven't read it and are interested in other cultures its worth reading.  The backdrop is Iran around the time of the Iranian revolution.

 The book is a true story about a woman (the author) Asar Nafisi who is a lecturer  in literature particularly English literature. She starts a book club with a few selected female students, but this isn't any book club.  "Western" books such as Lolita have become forbidden books. Such books are discussed at the "club" as such books challenge and provoke debates and discussions, which most totalitarian regimes do not want.

While discussing books the lives and feelings of the women and Asar herself are opened up and literature provides a  way of trying to make sense of the happenings and to reflect.

Asar Nafisi sometimes mentions Pale Fire by Vladmir Nabokov.  I visited the British Library recently and browsed through the bookshop.  It is a beautiful bookshop.  I came across Pale Fire and picked it up a few times to nearly purchase it. I resisted.

 My room is too cramped at home, I have no space on my shelves. I need to sort out the room and myself before buying books. After all I believe books should be treated with respect.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The unexamined life is not worth living ~ Socrates

ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthrôpôi — ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Interview: Talita Setyady

A while ago while browsing the internet I came across this blog Talita's kitchen . I have been a follower and supporter of her blog since. Talita herself is a lovely, friendly person :)

Talita Setyady writes about her cooking adventures, her recipes and the stories behind them on her blog.  Her recipes are very creative and visually beautiful.   I wanted to know more about how she works and her future plans. She kindly agreed to an interview.
A little bit about Talita....
Talita graduated with a BMus in Jazz Performance from the University of Auckland. She plays the double bass for girl trio Teacups. After graduating she went on to explore another one of her passions which is food. 

She travelled from New Zealand to Paris to study Cuisine and patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu. In June 2012 she graduated with the "Grand Diplome" ranking first in Patisserie.

Just a couple of her creations....
The cherry and lime cake by Talita Setyady

Red plum tart with hazelnut frangipane
.I'm sure you'll agree that she is one very talented woman.  I'm sure that Talita with her creativity, hard work and dedication will be successful with her career.


1) I love the way you mix food and style e.g. referencing Tom Ford
lipstick and drawing inspiration from a candle.  It's a niche that is
pretty and  unique plus your creations are visually beautiful.  How do
you think of such ideas and recipes, are they generally spontaneous or
I am constantly thinking about cakes! Whatever field you choose to
pursue, I think it is important not just to consume what is presented
to you, but learn to be creative and really think about how you can
improve it. I spend a lot of time reading recipe books, going to
pastry shops and scouring food blogs. I find inspiration everywhere,
but I never want to just reproduce what has already been done before.
When I see a cake I like the look and taste of, I always try to
identify the aspects of it that works and what doesn't. This way, I
find I have a collection of ideas from which I can draw inspiration
from whenever I am designing my own cakes.

When I studied music, I would always have a voice recorder handy to
record sudden inspired moments when I am playing my double bass or
piano. I do the same now when I get ideas from tasting a cake or
passing a pastry shop's window. But instead of using a voice recorder,
I use my cellphone's notepad to type in ideas. I guess I still see
myself first and foremost as an artist/creative being than a chef. I
am definitely not the kind of cook that can survive 15 hours in the
kitchen just going through the motions. I need to be out and about,
reading, tasting, asking and creating.

2) If I recall correctly most of your recipes are sweet. Does this
mean you are more of a sweet toothed person than a savoury one?
I am in love with all kinds of food! I just find that I am able to
express my ideas better through designing my own cakes and pastries. I
am not like some of my pastry friends who can survive from eating just
desserts for all their meals!

3) I like  many readers I am sure love the way you provide photos for
a lot of the steps in your recipes.  Do  you take the photos yourself?
Yes I take the pictures myself. I use a Canon EOS 600D DSLR camera and
a Canon EF 35mm f/2 wide angle lens. I always use natural lighting as
I do not own any lighting equipments. I am by no means a proper
photographer, but I have a lot of fun taking pictures of my food!

4) Are video tutorials something you may look into?
I currently have a macaron instructional video in the pipelines. I
will definitely look into doing more, as I am a visual learner myself.

5) Where do you see yourself in say five years time?
I am nearing the end of my stay in Paris. I am moving to New York City
in 2013 to learn restaurant management, bread baking and cake design.
After that, I will be moving again to Bali - Indonesia where I will be
working at opening my own restaurant/tea room at my family's hotel in
2014. However, I hope to continue to travel and be inspired by what is
eaten and enjoyed around the world. I definitely plan on releasing my
own cookbook when the restaurant/tea room is up and running.

Thanks for the interview Talita and best wishes! I look forward to hearing about your next adventures & your cookbook. I hope we can meet one day!

True colours

Dusky pink is one of my favourite colours along with dark shades of purples and burgundy.  I have a vintage dress in this colour which I need to get tailored as its rather loose on me. In fact I have a few dresses I need to get tailored!!  I'll have to add this to my new years resolution list as it won't happen this side of Christmas!

This is also my favourite blush colour, heather blusher by Neals Yard remedies.

I wish clothing retailers offered this colour in clothes more often.  I can imagine and believe that Chloe uses this colour sometimes.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pretty lonely

It's a pretty lonely life where you buy your own flowers and wander the streets alone at lunchtime, which I have been doing lately.  I used to nearly always wander and discover things by myself but the recently It feels   wrong and I don't enjoy it as much....

I currently work near Borough market in London, London Bridge and its really nice to wander there, there are amazing independent food shops, cafes, food stalls and I found Neals Yard Remedies and Aesop today.

I came across a small florist which sells plants and dusky pink roses which I am tempted to buy.....

Monday, 5 November 2012

"She lives the poetry she cannot write." — Oscar Wilde

We all need some poetry in our are some of mine and other wants on a wishlist....

This book has beautiful poetry and captures the love that the Arabs had for Andaluisa in Spain, the poems are of love, wine (they clearly had fun in Spain it seems!), of battles and  dreams and sadness when they were banished.

This poetry book is a gem, it contains poems that can make you think deeply and there are discussions about the poems too. Maybe they won't change your life but they highlight how powerful and great poetry can be.


Monica Vinader Siren ring.  The ring to go with me day to day, simple classic, matches work attire.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
A book to read for the next book club meeting, fingers crossed I can make it - no train delays or any other spanners in the works!

Wool skirt by Cos- perfect to match with blouses, shirts and tops, no?

A note:

I used to be mildly allergic to pears but after giving it a chance after several years- I tried one  in Naples, Italy - hurrah !! Just goes to show never say never and that travels can make one subconsiously bold to try things!

Sunday, 4 November 2012


On the subject of lifestyle and looking after oneself, I bought this book. It covers well lifestyle! Exercise, food, and wellbeing tips and strategies. There isn't much bias about buying Aveda products.  It makes me think how bad my lifestyle is!!  But at least I know I have to work on it!

Japanese vegetarian food

I am so happy that I have discovered Japanese food.  Japanese vegetarian food is so tasty- I still can't stomach the idea of eating raw fish though!  This may sound strange but compared to many foods from other countries, Japanese food tastes "clean" , no wonder the food is one of the healthiest around. It makes me feel ashamed that I once enjoyed McDonalds!!

I have eaten Japanese vegetarian food at Moshi Moshi- Liverpool Street, London and separately Tokyo Diner, Leicseter Square, London.  Both places are relaxed and informal, ideal environments for trying out Japanese food if you would like to explore.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Work-life balance

Work life balance for most people this is an issue.  How can one truly balance work and life without sacrificing too much either side?

I have suffered from this problem a lot.  I often focused too much on work and neglected keeping up with family and cherished friends, but looking at this I think most people do.  Marching to the rhythm of work, pay, bills and escaping in TV shows and holidays is a fabric of many peoples lives in the UK.

Some people even neglect their health, like me.  I hardly exercise, I used to a year ago, going to a fitness centre, Curves, for women.  No I hardly do anything.   It is so bad, I need to change this right now.  I don't eat healthily either and often skip lunch , yes, yes I sound like a crazy woman, I am crazy.    So yes, my list is to:

1) Eat fruit and vegetables- no junk food or skipping lunch
2) Exercise- cycling, yoga, pilates, running