For my Mother…I may never get another chance.

I’m so fearful of the idea that one day you will leave me, that I often forget to live in the moment. Sometimes, I lie awake, just thinking about what life would be like, when you leave me. You are the first person to love me, before any other. Your sacrifices are endless. I remember when we had to live on banana sandwiches for a while, yet you made it feel like I was eating the best meal on Earth, everyday. I remember hardly seeing you, because you were working day and night, all for us. When Anna and Akka were out, figuring their own lives out, I saw your struggle. I remember your tears, I remember you wiping them away and I remember you smiling. I remember you always telling me to try. My success wasn’t important to you, it was the journey that you were most impressed with. That’s something I have always remembered.

No one puts up with my stupidity, as well as you do. You understand what I feel, without me having to say anything. You remember what it was like being my age and you never stop me from enjoying my youth. You allow me to express myself, without being judged. You give me so much freedom. You know when to give me space and when to smother me in love. You remind me of your mistakes, so that I know that my mistakes are human. You understand the way I look at the world, you understand it’s unconventional and very unlike the way you see it, and yet you never make me feel bad for it. You show your pride through the respect and love you have for me. I only hope to extend these amazing qualities, when (and if) I become a mother.

You’re my best friend. You are so much fun to be around. I am beyond proud to call you my Mother. I know I’m not very emotional, and sometimes I beat myself over how I don’t express my love for you. It’s unusually easier telling other people how much I love you, than telling you yourself. I think since Appa’s passing, I have grown more and more fearful of losing you. I guess I think that detaching myself from you will make that dreaded day easier on me. I know I’m wrong. Thank you for showing me what love means. You have given me a very comfortable life, through your struggle. I know I’m very hard to live with; I’m a minimalist and you’re very opposite. I like how you never give up your ways for me – it reminds me of how strong of a woman you are.

I know your old age has weathered our relationship. It has also brought us closer. It’s a constant reminder of how limited my time is with you. I know what you’re going to say: “I’m not old, I’m still a spring chicken.” The truth is, I don’t want to regret things unsaid. You will never understand how much I love you, Ma. I want to proclaim it to the world. My love for you is infinite. I will always love you, for the rest of my life. Please, never forget that. I don’t ever want you to leave me. I know one day you will, and that’s something I’m slowly growing to accept. I just hope you know that as emotionless as I am towards you, I love you hundred-fold more. You leaving me will, without a doubt, crush me, but I want to relish in the memories I have of you. I love how fun you are, your zeal for life and how adventurous you are. I love how nothing stops you. I love how unbelievably strong you are. More than anything, I love how you are just you.

As your memory fades, I just hope you remember this. God knows when I’ll be able to say it to your face. I know when you read this, tears will be streaming from my eyes. It’s from the bottom of my heart, Mum. I love you very much. You have no idea. You will never leave me, even when you physically do. My love for you will carry on, beyond graves and lifetimes.

Usually, before I sleep, I say two things out loud that I’m thankful for. The first is usually something that happened/I felt during the day. The second never changes:

Thank you, Universe, for my Mother.

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South Indian pumpkin recipe – vegetarian and vegan friendly!

First and foremost, let’s establish the obvious: I’m a terrible blogger. It has been months and I am so sorry. I don’t think apologising every time is going to change anything, so I just hope you’ll understand that a potato kidnapped me and wouldn’t let me blog recipes. Moving on…

I recently found out that not many people have tried pumpkin before. Waaa? You’re crazy! Pumpkin is delicious! So, to expand your taste buds, I have a very simple South Indian pumpkin recipe that you’ll love. Yeah, you’ll love it, marry it and have pumpkin babies… *awkward silence*. This recipe is especially dedicated to my cousin, Khalyani, who is living a dream of a life in Nicaragua. More on that later, first: the recipe for this pumpkin…I-don’t-know-what-the-word-is. It’s not a ‘kootu’ (Tamil for ‘add’ – in essence it’s a dish that has lentils in it, that has less liquid than sambhar, but it’s not dry). It’s also not really a ‘poriyal’ (Tamil for a dish that has been shallow-fried). I guess it’s closer to being a pumpkin poriyal, but it’s not…this isn’t important. Now, where were we? Aha, the recipe!

Firstly, you want to grab a pan, heat it up and to this pan, add gingelly oil. Gingelly oil is pretty much the same as sesame oil, except it has a touch of jaggery (pure, unrefined cane sugar) in it. If you can’t find gingelly oil, you can use normal light sesame oil. To the oil, you want to add half a tsp of mustard seeds, 1 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 tsp of fennel seeds and a tsp of toor dal (optional). If you do use gingelly oil, you’ll notice that it froths, as soon as you add the seeds and dal to it. This is normal, don’t worry. It’s just to do with the melting and heating temperatures of the jaggery in the sesame oil.

As soon as it starts frothing and doing its thing, add 1 tsp of turmeric powder and mix for a literal few seconds. Then, add in the pumpkin. I’ve cut up half a small blue/green pumpkin into small, inch cubes. The pumpkin I used, I believe, is a Queensland blue pumpkin; its skin is a blue/green colour, but the inside is a beautiful orange.

To the pumpkin, add salt to your taste and mix gently. You’ll see that the pumpkin starts to pick up the turmeric and the beautiful orange colour intensifies.

Next, add some crushed red chilli flakes. I added about three-quarters of a tbsp, but obviously this is dependent on your spice intake. Add more or less, that’s all up to you! Give it a good, gentle mix once you have added it.

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After you have mixed the crushed red chilli flakes in, add three-quarters of a cup of cold water and half a tsp of cinnamon powder. Give it a gentle fold. You will most likely notice that the consistency has become a little thick, perhaps a little mushy as well. Typically, this is eaten with some sort of flatbread, so the pumpkin has to be soft. By folding it gently, you will be retaining most of the pumpkin in its normal shape. Once you have folded the cinnamon in, put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for a good ten minutes. Make sure you fold it gently, every so often. The water will reduce and the dish will become less mushy and more dry.

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After ten minutes, it’s done! I really like eating couscous with this – probably not a normal combination, but it is so yum!

There you have it! If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below. I hope you all start eating more pumpkin, you’re really missing out. Pumpkin pie doesn’t count!

Continuing from before, Khalyani and Rafał write a brilliant blog about their adventures in Nicaragua, and other parts of Central America. They gave up their consultancy jobs, in Europe, and are now living over there with two languages between them – very brave! Find out more about their ventures and the people they have met during their amazing travels: www.trailwinds.me.

Until next time! (I won’t get kidnapped by a potato, again!)

 

Crazy love, broken promises, food dead, cannibalism, hybrid insects and a beautiful eye!

I’m back! *pop*

It has been just shy of  four months since my last post, and I expected this blog to have absolutely no views in that time. How wrong am I? It’s astounding how many people read this blog. I have readers from ALL OVER THE WORLD!  Not only from the UK, USA or Canada but Bahrain, Israel, Brazil, Dubai, Laos, Korea, Spain, Russia, Kenya, Mongolia, New Zealand, Turkey…the list goes on! I never expected it, at all. I don’t even have that many posts! Other bloggers out there might think this is normal, but it’s huge for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I’ll try my best to not disappoint you with late posts again! Love, love, love!

A couple of posts ago, I was nominated for the Liebster Award and I promised once I found 11 good blogs, I would nominate them. Truth is, the blogs I found already had been nominated. Also, they didn’t nominate everyone themselves (except one). Somewhere down the line, the rules have been muddled. Tut tut.

Also, I mentioned the chalazion on my eye. It’s gone! It went a while ago, I just never told you guys. Oopsy! But, I shall pass down my chalazion-fighting wisdom to you. Red sandalwood powder! Just mix it with rose water, or just plain water, and leave it on for 2 minutes and wash off, very carefully. From beginning to end, it took just under two months to clear, however the nurse did say it could take anywhere from 5 months to 2 years! I patted my immune system on its back and gave it some nutella, don’t worry.

Talking about health, I haven’t been ill more times than I have been so this year. I don’t know why, but everything is going pear-shaped, health-wise. Normally, I only have the seasonal flu twice a year, but this year, I’ve had a little more than that. I blame my vegetarian diet. On that note, not long to go before my vegetarianism is over! Not that you care…

On a completely unrelated note, I had a very funny dream that only accentuates my personality. I had been held hostage on a vintage train by life-sized hybrid insects. I say hybrid, I don’t really know what word to use.  The “leader” was a very fat, slimy, grey worm/slug/caterpillar, who wore a monocle, top hat and waistcoat. He wanted to blow up the Earth (I don’t know why) and only had 24 hours to do it in. Just as he was about to press the gooey chocolate button, his insect men came in and said that the only way he could blow up the Earth was to twist once. Yes, twist. That was the exact word they used. What they meant was he had to rotate his whole body once for the Earth to blow up. His monocle dropped and he raised his voice saying, “But it takes 10 days to twist…well, we better get a move on then, quick!” He then twisted his head once and headed for the door, whilst his insect men followed him and tried to help. Then, in Picasso-style, a moth/daddy-long leg/helicopter thing flew out very slowly, as if it were injured. And I woke up. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY! But this isn’t the first time I have dreamt about strange, strange things. Just ask my sister (okay, so you can’t really ask her); she gets annoyed at me every time I tell her one of my dreams.

Food. My diet hasn’t been great recently. I started this blog to talk about food, share recipes and reviews and also talk about stuff that happens in my life. But I haven’t really been keen on anything food-related, surprisingly. I haven’t gone off food, oh no no no. I just can’t stand cooking in my kitchen. My flatmates are disgusting. They leave bits of food lying around, raw meat just sitting in bowls, they don’t take the bins out and I don’t even think they’ve cleaned the work-tops since we all moved in. I have a few times, but I stopped doing so as soon as I stopped eating/cooking in there. I only go in there if I want milk from the fridge. It’s so horrible. I’m not sure if this is insignificant to you, but for someone who loves food as much as I do, I won’t disrespect it. I can’t enjoy cooking, if the place I’m preparing food in is unhygienic. In less than 20 days, I’ll be back home in London, at my sister’s house, visiting family and friends – I know they’ll encourage me to cook and enjoy it all over again. So, until then, sorry no recipes. I can’t lie to you and post a recipe I haven’t tried. Sorry! I’ll update you on my life and the craziness that happens until then.

You lot are a funny bunch. I often look at what people search for in order to find this page. My favourites, so far, are “ninja girl eat indian” and “chocolate ninja eat indian”. I like how you know my love of eating, but I really don’t eat Indians.

I’ll be posting again soon, so watch this space. Wait, you can’t leave yet! Have a look at this camel taking a selfie, and then you can go. Ciao!

The Liebster Award – my response and…wait, what? I’m breaking the rules?!

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Thank you to Dutch Guyana for nominating me for the Liebster Award! To be honest, I had no idea what the Liebster Award was, so I researched and it sounds quite fun, more than winning itself – so I thought I’d give it a go.

The rules are: publicly thank the person that nominated you; then, tell everyone 11 things about yourself. Answer the 11 questions asked of you, and, in turn, make 11 questions for your own 11 nominees. Link to those 11 nominees, and tell them about it at their blogs.

I might have to break the rules a little. Okay, maybe by quite a lot. Rules are meant to be broken, right? I’m not sure if I know of 11 bloggers who entice me to their blogs – I can hardly keep up with my own! (On that note, sorry for being MIA recently – I’ve been quite busy!) As I was saying, the blogs I follow aren’t really new; they’ve got quite a strong fan-base. So therefore, I’ll tell you 11 things about me, and I’ll answer the questions Dutch Guyana has set for me – but my nominations and questions for the nominees will have to be withheld for a little while until I find new blogs I think deserve to win!

So here are 11 things you may or may not know about me:

1) I’m a female of 21 years of age.

2) The first item of food I ever “cooked” was a boiled egg, at the age of four.

3) I’m studying a biology-related degree, but I’m on a placement at the moment.

4) The person who knows my deepest, darkest secret is my Mum!

5) My real name has 9 letters in it.

6) My favourite colour is white. Red is next.

7) The closest person in the world to me is my sister.

8) I have a fear of needles/anything that pierces the skin and humanoids.

9) I’m double-jointed.

10) I can speak Mandarin-Chinese fluently, as well as read and write.

11) I’m secretly addicted to the Kardashians.

And here are my answers to Dutch Guyana’s questions:

1) Describe yourself in an elevator pitch.

An incredibly crazy “fun-sponge”; mature yet childish, with a weird sense of humour. You’ll never be able to fully understand me.

2) How do you look back on yesterday?

A triumph. Since Saturday, I have had a chalazion on my left eye, that is incredibly painful. Working in a white-washed lab didn’t make it any easier so I’m quite glad I worked well, under the circumstances.

3) What are your plans for tomorrow?

I’ll be heading down to London after work, to see friends and family. Nothing too spectacular otherwise.

4) What will you do today?

Well, today has already finished…nearly. I could tell you what I did today, but it wasn’t fun, so I’ll leave it out.

5) What will bring a smile to your face at the mere mention of it? Is there a story behind that?

Riverside. It’s about 30 seconds from my house, but it’s my most favourite place. And there are a thousand stories relating to it!

6) What will get you angry just by thinking of it? Why?

Hmm, this is a good question. I try to not let things bug me too much nowadays, so off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything. Oh, I know. Ignorance. I severely dislike people who say they do not like/agree with/want something without knowing what it is.

7) Name a documentary that made a big impression on you? Why?

Anything with David Attenborough is pretty much amazing; he has that Morgan Freeman effect with talking about nature. Other than that, I really enjoyed the Food Unwrapped series, on Channel 4. It’s not really a documentary, but it was so interesting. I now know to make sure my tiger prawns have two eyes on them!

8) How would you suggest to end modern-day slavery?

Invent a powdery substance that induces thoughts of sunshine and rainbows into people’s brains, and deposit it into drinking water. By sunshine and rainbows, I mean a dose of happiness, sharing-is-caring-policy and we-are-one theory. In other words, I have no idea.

9) What are your thoughts on ‘world peace’.

There will never be any peace until everyone remembers that we belong to each other. Then again, there would be no peace if it weren’t for conflict.

10) Did you help Nature today? How? Why?

I threw my rubbish in the bin, instead of the floor. Does that count?

11) Do you have a cell phone? If so, what do you use it for?

I do have a mobile phone. I use it to keep in contact with everyone; text, call, social media etc – as well as the odd games here and there. It also comes in handy when I need directions getting somewhere. …oh, technology.

Wahey, all answered! I promise, when I find 11 new bloggers, who should be nominated for the Liebster Award, I’ll follow up another post and let them know, along with my questions!

Also, in response to my absence, I’ll be posting 5 new recipes and also give you an update on my chalazion, once I’m back from London. If the chalazion goes down before the 6 week mark I’ve been given, I’ll share what I did to you all. Sharing is caring! And if it doesn’t, I’ll do a post-surgery post.

Until next time (which will be sooner, rather than later hopefully), have an awesomesauce day!

Here it begins…

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Welcome to my page! I’m Ninja – of course not my real name, but rather a play on it. The genius behind it was my Dad; he often called me Ninja Turtle *insert Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme tune*.

My extreme love of food and all of life’s quirks has driven me to start my own blog. My life isn’t anything extraordinary, but I come across the most fascinating people/situations. I can’t keep it all to myself! Also, being a keen foodie, I will also post recipes, cooking tips and tricks, as well as my own reviews on places I have been to eat!

N.B. I am not an official food critic. Everything I post on this blog is purely my own opinion and it will not be influenced in any way. My opinions should not be considered as a form of personal/commercial attack. 

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and feel free to comment on anything!