Life & Stuff

Calling It A Day

PeonyFew months and a new country later, yet another different language to pick up.. I decide to bring the curtain down on this food blog for now. I still come back regularly to get the recipes of our old favorites but time is going way too fast that blogging is just not possible. I am at this juncture in life that I know, if I don’t sit still and soak everything in, I will regret it. I will never feel this way again.

So I tell myself to spend every moment with intention, to just “be” with E while he still thinks I’m his favorite person on earth. To just “be” with H, loving him the way he deserves to be loved. He has taken a back seat ever since E arrived and all my priorities were him, but we need to be just S & H too.

I hope the good Lord is keeping you & your family safe wherever you are.


The Part of My Becoming

There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time
– Milan Kundera

I forgot how therapeutic cooking is. Chopping, pounding, stirring, tossing.. the perfect mindless activity while I self-doubt my parenting method. Let him be. No, he doesn’t understand yet. Let him cry a little. 30 mins is not a little! Besides, he’ll outlast you. Ahh, the never ending argument. Our little guy is headstrong. When he wants something, he will fight for it till he gets it. And when we finally give in, he will let you know he wasn’t happy that you did not just succumb since the beginning. Daddy’s attempt to show who the boss is met with equal fervor. And daddy’s is not winning…

Lentil & Brussel Sprouts Salad 2

Brussel sprouts are a vegetable that only now I taste and discover. Its bad rep goes for a mile, H doesn’t really like them. Then in my attempt to convert him, I bought a kilo of it. One you-must-be-joking kilo of brussel sprouts. Hey, I bought 200 grams of it (about 10) and ate in one sitting. So I figured one kilo between the two of us is possible. Until H informed me that he’s gonna be away for a week. How convenient.

Anyway, this is a recipe from Happy Yolks that I barely modify. I found the salad to be delicious and filling. I would certainly make this again when H is back home. The only thing I would do differently is probably cut the pears thicker. Comice Pears are in season and they are really delicious. When I cut them thinly like I did here, the sweet juicy taste is overshadowed by the dressing, which is a shame. That or add them to the bowl last. (more…)


This blogging thing takes a lotttt of time! Taking photos, editing them, writing the post, blablabla.. there are a lot of things to do considering it’s something that I’m doing to pass time. I tried posting several times in the last few months, but then the little screamer (I said it adoringly OF COURSE. Or not) wailed. Who has time to cook, c’mon. I don’t know how other bloggers do it. I sleep every chance I get. Or whenever I’m not browsing the net or forums why my baby is gassy/pulling his hairs/not pooing and what have you. But thank God, he’s 5 months, 7.6 kg (a big potato sack, I’ve been told) and becoming more predictable. He’s been cleared to take solid too. Boy, he’s growing up fast!

Anyway, once the family visits are over, I plan to find my place back in the kitchen. At the moment, that spot is kind of occupied. Not that I’m complaining.

A bientot!


And Now We Are Three

Our little Boo arrived early at 38 w+5, much to everyone’s delight. I dreamt of a waterfall and I woke up to a wet bed and even wetter shorts. It wasn’t like Charlotte in Sex & The City , “I think my water’s just broke”. It was “Where did all this water come from? Did my entire bladder just explode?” Scary thing. I drenched 2 pads even before arriving at the hospital.

After 10 hrs of labor and 21 mins of pushing, our little E arrived. I imagined some tears, lots of tears, but what happened felt natural. “Come to mommy”, was all I said, when he was placed on my chest. And that sealed it.

The following 2 weeks were brutal. The french’s obsession with weight gain put additional pressure when E lost weight (natural for a newborn) and my milk didn’t come until day 5. The daily weigh in was stressful, I was scolded by one midwife. I was confused. Everyone were giving different advices, depending who you asked: pediatrician, midwife, or the puĂ©ricultrice (pediatric nurse). My mom and mom in law would have other suggestions. I didn’t know what to do when E cried, nor the reason behind it. I gave all of me and nothing seemed enough. I remember crying alot those days. I remember having lots of misplaced anger, everyone were having a regal time with him while I crawled from feeding him then expressing my milk then it’s time to feed him again.

Then one morning, I woke up with clarity in my mind. I gave birth to him, I know him eversince he was still inside me. I know his kicks, his hiccups, and his temperament. I know him better than anyone. I just do. With that, I throw away everything I have read or heard. I start anew. And ever since, E’s weight slowly climbed back up. On Monday we were officially “cleared” by the midwife who has been following us since E left hospital. His next health check up will be done by a pediatrician in 2 weeks time.

“I like seeing you like this,” H said this morning when he saw me lying down with E sleeping peacefully on my chest.

“Me too.”

And now there are three of us.


Hello World

I hope life has been treating you well. It’s been awhile since I last wrote my thoughts down (kitchen related or not) and now that all exams are officially over and the partying done, I feel a little bit alone.. The past few months I had been going to school, attending lectures and immersing myself in the french education system, going to university canteens, studying at libraries, etc. I feel ashamed that I know more about France than my own country. Yes, my french is getting so much better 😉

Sainte Genevieve Library 3

The economy is still bad, Europe seems to be the worst hit region from the 2008 crisis. While the US economy appears to be picking up, the french politicians are still in denial. Any little signs of stabilization will be touted as the turning point, so much that the Labor Minister is nicknamed Mr Curve, with him referring any upward number of employment (as small as 0.1%) as the curve up to recovery. Unfortunately the following month, the number was again downward..

Other than that, H and I are preparing for the arrival of our little baby Boo this spring. Whoever says life is not about the end destination but the journey obviously has never been pregnant and lived inside a toilet! That’s also why I haven’t been blogging. Any reference to food simply repels me and only last week that I started cooking again regularly. The person who has been trying out new recipes every other day? She doesn’t exist anymore. This person inhabiting my body now has been going back to simpler, fuss free recipes. One that doesn’t tip the scale much, because she was also advised to stay within a certain weight (my doc will scold me when I put on too much!)

There seems to be a whole lot of things to prepare for such a little person. But I’m grateful for the network of other (anglophone) mommies here, helping me to navigate the myriad of french hospital system, the panic of booking a hospital bed, to be done as soon as you know you’re pregnant (which hospital? GP/ mid wives / doula/ obgyn? English speaking??).

Anyway, I am slowly warming up to the idea of having Boo. I think at the beginning, I was miserable and too focused on what I was losing in the process. Wanting is one thing, but actually having the course of your life turned is quite another thing.

2014 will be the year of doing many, many things for the first time.. of learning and adjusting. May God bless us all.

Le Grand Palais

I have thought long and hard before posting this. I did not want to embody the very thing that I hate when it comes to travel. Excluding the net, there are many affordable publications on Paris’ best addresses (supposedly a secret known only to Parisian blablabla), where the french eat, what the french do, where they go, what to see. I don’t want to be a slave to another to-do list when I’m supposedly on holiday. I also do not want to impose what happened to me onto others, when someone said to me “What’s the point of you going to (insert city/ country) if you did not see (insert key attractions) ?”

However, I wanted to post this because I spent a good three hour in Le Grand Palais with one thousand other people (there’s a counter on the wall so I’m not exaggerating) and I barely heard any non-french conversation. Don’t the tourists know about Le Grand Palais?

Le Grand Palais

For a first time visitor, among other things to see is La Joconde (this is how the french calls Mona Lisa), Van Gogh, Monet etc. I personally like Matisse, but that’s beside the point. Louvre, Musee d’Orsay or Pompidou indeed have great collections and a big portion of them are permanent collections (i.e. it will be there for a long, long time). The difference with Le Grand Palais is that Grand Palais has no permanent collection. It isn’t even classified under museum, otherwise it would have to conform to the decree of free museum visit on first Sunday of the month.  Hence by my french deductive reasoning, their exhibitions must be really worth watching. Otherwise the french would have protested. Le Grand Palais a national monument, located just right the end of the shopping avenue Champs Elysee, offering exhibitions that would probably never appear anywhere else in France.

What I want to say is that.. if you only have one time to visit an exhibition in Paris, do include Le Grand Palais inside your pool of considerations. Do check out their website on what’s currently showing. Their exhibitions rarely disappoint.

Le Grand Palais 2
Till July 22, Le Grand Palais is offering an exhibition on Contemporary Art in the last 100 years, titled Dynamo. No longer art means still painting or sculptures. The past 100 years have seen artists engaging audience more and more into active enjoyment of art using movement, be it by having the audience moving or using motor to redefine space, abstract, manipulation of lighting and optical sensory.

In the above photo, the same 3D art seen from the left and from the right offer two very different views. Below is how fluorescent light manipulates an otherwise white palate.

Le Grand Palais 3

I’m Ready

Here we are saying goodbye and thank you to the people and the place that have hosted us the past three years. There are no words beside this certainty that they will stay with us till the very end.

Tu es prete?” H asked me. Switching to french are we now?

“Yes, ready.” I answered.

One last look. Then off we go, with our suitcases, heading up north to chase our next summer. The page has been turned, a new chapter ready to be written. Ate a proxima vez, Angola! Te gosto muito.

p.s. Gonna see my parents whom we have not met in two years. Be back end of May. Till then, keep safe & have a good one.