Settlers

Falling off the grid is my favourite thing to do when I feel like I’ve had enough of life, which explains my radio silence for the past month and a half. April was a month of letting go and making tough decisions, while May instantly opened up a new and good chapter in my life.

Here’s what went down:

1. I resigned! I finally tendered my resignation last April. I remember talking to a friend, and she told me something I would never forget. Life is so short, so I also figured that if you are going to burn out doing something, you better be having fun while you are at it. I want to do more things that emotionally reward me, and I want the people I love to feel it. My health was also deteriorating because of the stress and pressure, and it took a lot of humility for me to admit that I needed to let go because I’m the type of person who would fight (unreasonably) to show that I’m strong and that I could do it and I would also do a lot of pep-talks to validate my actions. But I reached a breaking point. When the doctor told me that I needed to listen to my body when it told me to rest, I knew that was it. Advertising just wasn’t meant for me, and I needed to accept that and let go.

2. I travelled. Following my last day of work, Andre and I flew to Melbourne to get some much-needed rest. Melbourne has easily become one of my favourite cities in the world because of its culture, its warmth, its accessible beaches and nature trails, and of course, its food. I’m also ecstatic that I went trekking in a rainforest and visited gorges and coastlines. We were there during early-May, and it was nice to experience the cold winter weather (no swimming because the water was freezing!) since it’s been sweltering here in Singapore.

3. I also got engaged! Apart from being the obvious highlight of our trip and the most life-changing thing that’s happened so far, this came as a very pleasant surprise. It was a very emotional moment where my yes came in a heartbeat. Now that it’s sinking in, I realised how much I’ve changed in the past two-and-a-half years. Before getting together with Andre, I didn’t quite believe in marriage, and it was tough for me to absolutely commit because I always had my doubts about love—but that all changed with him. Despite our differences, they are differences we can live with. We make a great team, and I couldn’t be happier.

4. I’ve got my hands full with food work. In the past year and a half, I’ve gained the clarity to know that I am happiest when my energy is poured into my passions—and that’s food and travel. And easing my way again into the food scene (but now, in Singapore), is a refreshing and exciting change.

5. I’m taking my first writing workshop ever. My friend Camille started 15 Days of Writing True, an online writing workshop with a setup that works perfectly for me because I’m based overseas. I’m still catching up with the modules because I missed a week’s worth of classes because I was in Melbourne, but so far, it’s feels great to dust off the cobwebs (in my brain) and rev up the engine once again.

For the first time (in a really long time) I’m excited and very much looking forward to the future. I’m anticipating the busyness of the coming days, weeks, and months—and I know it’s the good kind of busy. We’ve been taught to look forward to the next “big thing”, whether it’s a great escape or a new adventure, and to never settle. But for now, basking in the light of how things are settling down in the places they’re meant to be seems to be the right thing for this season.

Hope you’re ending your weekend on a magical note filled lots of lovely madness.

Introducing: Wee Meals! Mixed Mushroom Japanese Curry with Egg and Nori Furikake

Moving to Singapore and learning to survive on my own was one of the best things that happened to me in 2016. I won’t say that I’m a pro at solo living (far from it); there are days when I miss the convenience and comfort of home (not having to pay for rent and utilities are on the top of the list), but there are days when I enjoy tiny victories such as having successfully removed a stubborn stain with baking soda, unplugging a jammed pop-up sink plug with silicone suction disks, or cooking a meal that I enjoy such as this one below.

Mixed Mushroom Japanese Curry with Egg and Nori Furikake

Also, I miss working in the food industry terribly! I used to be a food writer and editor back in Manila, so I wanted to ease my way into food writing again, among other topics, through this blog.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting different ways on how to make just the right portion of food for me to eat on the same day and take to work with me the next day. I thought I’d start by sharing some recipes that I make at home by myself because:

  • I live on my own (with awesome roomies)
  • I live on my own abroad
  • I get tired of eating the same thing over and over and over again
  • I don’t like washing the dishes, so I keep these meals as simple as can be
  • I like exploring different flavours
  • I am picky with my food (I dislike capsicum and carrots)
  • I am always “on a budget”, but end up spending a little over – but will do it for food
  • I’m lazy on most days
  • I love to cook—it’s therapy and stress-relieving for me. “Cooking, to me, is meditation…” – Jeong Kwan

I aim to share a recipe or two each week!

So, for the pilot episode of this series, I’ll share with you a recipe I made for Sunday lunch+dinner (linner? dunch?) – Mixed Mushroom Japanese Curry with Egg and Nori Furikake.

Looks shitty, but it’s tasty. (I promise~!)

This is my quick fix to curb a Coco Ichibanya craving (but I don’t want to spend so much on a plate of curry that I can’t finish). I am faaar from mastering the art of curry—not that I intend to in this lifetime—so I just use S&B Golden Curry in mild because I’m a heat wuss. When the sauce cools down, it turns into this gravy-like slurry that’s punchy and umami-filled. I store this dish in two Tupperware containers, separating the sauce and the mushrooms, in case I want to have just the curry or just the mushrooms. But I’ve never regretted having them both at once.

INGREDIENTS (makes 2-3 portions)

  • 1 packet of S&B Golden Curry
  • 5 cups of water (the instructions on the curry box say 6, but I find 5 to work better)
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Mushrooms (I used a combination of brown mushrooms, shimeji, and enoki—love that springy bite)
  • S&P
  • Scrambled egg
  • Chopped spring onions
  • Nori furikake (optional but highly recommended)

PREPARATION

  1. Fire up the stove. In a saucepan, add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the packet of S&B Golden Curry and lower the heat, lest you want curry sauce splattering over that nice clean shirt. Obviously, it happened to me.
  3. Once the curry has dissolved and thickened, set aside.
  4. In a clean saucepan, heat up some oil and melt the butter. Do not wash the mushrooms before cooking—just brush them with a paper towel. I read somewhere that this allows the mushrooms to absorb the flavour better; contact with water tampers the mushrooms’ flavour-absorbing quality.
  5. Cook and wait for them to brown and soak up all the butter (makes up for the meatless quality of this dish). Add salt and pepper, and then set aside.
  6. To assemble, pile up some rice, then ladle on some curry.
  7. Add a scrambled egg. I like mine Gordon-Ramsay-YouTube-style.
  8. Add the mushrooms.
  9. Add some chopped spring onions.
  10. Sprinkle with nori furikake.
  11. Demolish and keep the leftovers for your office lunch or dinner the next day—or both.

This is Nori Furikake.

A gift from the gods.

Furikake is a type of Japanese seasoning that you can get in any Japanese grocery made with aromatics, dried fish, sesame seeds, salt, sugar—basically, a blend of ingredients that induces this sublime and addictive flavour known as umami. For sure this stuff’s got MSG. But it’s a quick way to make your rice bowl less lonely and more flavourful.

On some days, I just heat some rice in the microwave, crack a raw egg on top, add a bit of soy sauce, sprinkle furikake, and that’s the dish!

It’s one of my pantry staples, and if you’re the type who just needs quick comfort food. Furikake will become your best friend.