December Decluttering

What I’m de-cluttering out of my life....

I have always been a fan of de-cluttering, and this year is no exception!

De-cluttering definitely makes one feel more at peace, gives room for creativity and generally for new things to enter one's life.  I actually de-clutter on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis.

When we think of de-cluttering, a lot of us think of tangible objects, but I believe digital de-cluttering is just as important, as are relationships, the mind, energies and the physical.
So taking all this into consideration, here is what I’ve done and am in the process of doing in the month of December, to make more space for my life.

1.    Facebook - I don’t know about you, but Facebook stresses me out in a subtle way... I scroll to see what’s new, whose doing what/saying what, what’s on, has anyone liked or commented on my post, and have I missed any birthdays.. and along the way I get subjected to content I don’t want to see, news I don’t want to hear and have about 5 birthday wishes a day I have to keep note in my head to wish before the day is through! 
Also, as I scroll through my friends list I notice some ‘friends’ have never engaged with me, they are there because they shared a classroom with me once, others I don’t even know or remember, and some are on there just because they felt the need to add to their numbers or they want to see what’s going on in my life in order to gossip about it. There are people on there who were bit&£*y to me in real life but felt the need to be ‘friends’ on Facebook and I accepted that! How mad is that! Therefore, after many years of worrying about what’s so and so is going to think if I ‘de-friend’ them, I decided to cut my 400 FB ‘friends’ down to 10.   

I started this process by deleting the people I had never engaged with, then the people I didn’t recall, and then slowly, but surely going down to (almost) everyone else. I felt guilty doing this along the way. What will they think of me etc.. but then I came to my senses.. how old am I!? Should getting people off a social media app really have to offend people? I guess the answer is if I feel Facebook is having a negative impact on my life, I’m going to get rid of it! (although I am keeping it for very close friends and family and the few friends I have abroad, plus to edit my other FB pages, such as Deliciously me)
I have deleted 200 ‘friends' so far, and straight away it feels liberating, almost the same feeling as when I get a short hair-cut.
After ‘de-friending’ I have more time on my hands to fill with other things that feed me more, such as, reading a book or phoning/emailing or meeting up with the friend I ‘defriended’ and having a more meaningful, live conversation rather than just ‘liking’ a post of theirs. I also don’t have to worry about accidentally coming across pictures of dead bodies and the like whilst scrolling. I have noticed that the less friends I have, the less posts I see, helping kick the habit of going on FB on auto-pilot. 

Lastly, I have always been an open book but keeping my life more private makes me feel I’m being kinder to myself somehow. Not everyone who is a ‘friend’ is really your friend! 

2.    Instagram - Taking Instagram photos - my phone memory is way beyond my iCloud capacity! Why!? Because for example, I have 10 pictures of the same cup of tea I drank this morning, amongst everything else. I scroll through my pics trying to decide which 2 are the best out of 50 pics I’ve taken of a random car the other day. Soo many pics I’ve kept just in case they’re needed for a new blog post or a dry moment on insta. Here’s some news for myself! If I want to write a blog about something I can take pics for it when that time comes. Also, I will never have a dry Insta moment as all I have to do is take a pic of anything and it becomes something on Instagram. So, apart from Deliciously Me related photos and family and friends photos, I’ve deleted everything! Phew! That feels good!  (I mean looking at the pics below just makes me feel all agitated. All this unnecessary space being filled, when one pic would suffice!)

I started Instagram way before Deliciously me started , just because I missed doing my photography, but instead of doing photography, I somehow got into the habit of taking ‘snaps’ of everything and anything. These pics included where I went, what I did, what I ate, what my view was, and now as of recently, I’m not doing that as often. For example, when I went for a walk today, I didn’t take 50 pictures of every flower and lane along the way, or of the mass of birds that flew so gracefully above me, instead I lived those moments, experienced them fully, in the present, and that felt so much more freeing. From now on, on most part I will set days for purposeful photography, and leave the other days not a slave to my phone camera and digital living.   

3.    Emails- this one is not new to me, I do this probably at least every quarter; I delete all emails apart from any truly important ones. But one thing I tend to do only in December, is have a look at my email subscriptions and only keep the most relevant to my life now, and unsubscribe to the rest. It’s such a thrilling satisfaction when you search one subject or email in your search bar and then ‘select all’ and delete! 

4.    Those VHS and camcorder home videos that take up boxes of space - I promise myself every year that I will digitise them, mainly because some are getting ruined and along with them their memories of childhood, friends, family, and people no longer with us. And every year I find some reason of not justifying the cost. However, as of last week, I promised myself I will get one done every week, and so handed my first one in last week, and second tape today. Apart from being soo excited to see what’s on them, finding some joy and learning from the past, I am getting rid of heavy bulky,dusty, VHS’ and the constant nagging burden at the back of my mind of getting this done!

What are you de-cluttering this December?

Raha x

Island Papaya-Pineapple Soup

We have had some very hot days here in London, quite a lot of mugginess and high pollen and I found myself wanting some relief from it all. My body felt it needed much nutrients and also, to cool down at the same time. Luckily, I came across this recipe from one of my mom's old Bon Appetit magazines from the 1980s!!

This soup used to be an opener at the Westin Kauai Resort Hotel in Hawaii and is such a delight! It instantly cools and lifts and leaves you with excited anticipation for what's next to come your way at the dining table!

So, I thought to share their recipe! 


For 8 Servings:

6 cups peeled, cored and cubed pineapple (approx. 1 1/2 pineapples)
3 cups peeled, seeded and cubed papaya (about 2 papayas)
4 cups fresh orange juice

2 cups fruity white wine 'such as Johannisberg Riesling'
*I used Chardonnay
1/2 cup sugar
*I used just over a quarter instead
4 whole cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
*I used one- you should still halve it though to get the best flavour out of it
1/2 bay leaf
*I used one and again, halved it

Cheese cloth
Soda water
Fresh mint leaves

And what to do!

  • Puree the papaya & the pineapple in a food processor and pour into a large saucepan.
  • Add the orange juice, wine, sugar and lemon juice. In the magazine it says to wrap the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf in a cheesecloth and add that to the mixture. *I just chucked them in and didn't use a cheesecloth.
  • Bring the soup to boil, stirring constantly on boil for 5 minutes.
  • Strain the soup (and discard the spice cloth)* I didn't strain my soup as I didn't feel it really needed it as I like a bit of texture and actually it really still came out pretty smooth

*It's also noted to thin the soup to whatever your desired consistency would be with soda water, but my consistency felt just right so I didn't. I did however try it just to see how much of a difference it would make and I personally preferred it without the soda water.

  • Let the pot cool completely and then cover, if not already, and put in the fridge to chill until you are ready to serve. I left it over-night.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with mint (and miniature Vanda orchids, if you would like to serve exactly the way the Westin Kauai resort served it!) Just garnishing it with mint, makes such a difference to the appearance as well as the aroma of the dish

I have found much respite from the hot weather and also my allergies this summer, with this chilled, fruity, tropical soup. I love how not one ingredient overtakes and instead give each their moment to suddenly pop up and shine. I have enjoyed this island soup, not only as the opener for which it was intended, but also as a substantial starter, as a dessert and whenever I've felt a pick-me-up and obviously some cooling down! 


Chicken-Soup when you are sick!

If you follow my Instagram, you will know that I am at home sick! I had a severe asthma attack on Monday night/Tuesday and needed to go to A&E and have some nebulisers and oxygen. I then had to start taking a course of steroids. Again, if you have followed me on Instagram for a while, you will know that my life has been filled with steroids, on and off, for quite a number of years! I haven't talked about it that much to be fair and I keep wanting to write a blog post on Prednisolone and all it's side effects and how to handle them; what to expect etc. And I will write one soon, as soon as I feel stronger and my brain is less fuzzy! As I feel that for anyone who has to be on them, whether for a short period or a long period (I've had both experiences) it is always comforting to know what side effects are normal and that you are not alone.

But for now, I'm just going share a dish I made today (and yesterday). I posted what I ate for lunch today and quite a few people DMd me on Instagram and asked what it was and how to make it. The truth is I just bought a few ingredients when at my local Marks & Spencer the day back from the Drs, to make sure I had enough good food to survive on until I was well enough to do a proper shop. So, I bought me some:

1.Chicken thighs (as for me, chicken thigh is always so much yummier in soups and stews than any other part of a chicken! Plus chicken is amazing for anti-inflammation, anti-other things I'm not going to name to put you off your food! and anti-viruses and as an antioxidant, all due to containing the amino-acid, Cystene)

2.Pak Choi (because Chinese food of any form is my comfort food and I love the taste of Pak Choy, and always feel so much healthier after eating any - no surprise there as it holds an array of super nutrients - vitamin C, K, folate, calcium, beta-carotene, excellent anti-oxidant, selenium, anti-cancer and more!)

3. Spring onion  (because I wanted to keep my soup light and not heavy with onions)

4. A couple of carrots (as they are so good for lung health)

5. Ready made egg noodles (for a good mixture of carbs & protein)

and some fresh..

6. garlic (because they are good for so much I need right now. Good circulation, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and so on). Yes, I also have a temperature, my lungs are in pain and my sinuses are playing up, so yeah, I needed everything in a soup!

To be perfectly honest, I hardly remember how I cooked the soup yesterday, I was so sick! I remember putting the chicken in with some water and putting the fire on medium. I chopped up two spring onions, and added some soya sauce, sea salt and chilli flakes.

I then  let the chicken cook and then added the sliced carrots and a few minutes later pak choy. I know I chucked in some green beans I had in the fridge too at some point! This all probably cooked for 1.5 hours, simmering after 45 minutes or so.
About 10 minutes before switching the pot off, I added the noodles, put on a low heat and it was done!!

I ate a few bowls and felt so much stronger.

Then today, when I felt more compos mentis, I decided to add more to the pot as it still had two chicken thighs left as well as some soup..

So, I added more water, three big cloves of garlic, I kept two whole and 1 halved,
I added two big chunks of ginger and a few little slices too
I added more chilli, no need for soya though and a little sea salt. I ended up cooking the rest of the pak choi I had and a huge batch of spinach! And a few more carrots!!

I let all that simmer for probably 40 minutes and again, added some noodles towards the end.

These added changes made this soup sooo much yummier than yesterday! It was incredible.

*Apologies for not writing this in my normal recipe format, but I suppose it wasn't made in a thoughtful way so encaptures the real feel of how I cooked this! Also, apologies for any errors. But goes to show how easy it is to make some fresh nutritious soup when sometimes we just buy ready-made for convenience (which I have definitely been guilty of doing!) but it also helps when you are strung out on steroids so can actually get up and make the soup even when your body needs you to rest! So, if you're not on steroids and not on your own, like I have been the last few days, do yourself a favour and ask someone else to make this for you :).

Wishing Everyone a lovely Sunday evening! xx

What I honestly think of Zest & Zing's Vegan Pesto

Zest & Zing saw my Avocado Pesto Recipe Here! and asked me if I would try their Vegan Pesto.. so I did and this is what I thought!

On first impression, when I opened Zest & Zing's post, their packaging was stylish and the attached wooden spoon a really cute touch! 

Also, the herbs smelt amazing! All a good start, but I just didn't understand how this was called pesto when it wasn't a paste with olive oil - though I got why it wouldn't have Parmesan cheese (duh! it's vegan!) and then I got more used to the idea - for example, one can just add the oil to the herbs when cooking, and so, I thought to go along with it and see how it would turn out and I am sooo glad I did.

This stuff is delicious and adds such tastiness to your dish! Whatever you make, it enhances it. I first tried the recipe that is on the Zest & Zing's website. It was easy to follow, so simple in fact, that as I was cooking it I said to myself, this can't really end up tasting like much but it actually tasted incredible for a simple pasta dish ! Here is their recipe

*Pics here of me trying out the above recipe (though I regrettably didn't use fusilli)

 I then tried my own variations - as you can see below and as I'm not vegan or going dairy free atm, with different cheeses. Later I added it to cheese on toast, my own made up bruschetta and basically, I add it to anything I feel like! It's just soo convenient and honestly makes anything taste yummier! I cooked a dish for a friend and he said that normally he doesn't like pesto sauce as he finds them too oily and he loved this as it had the taste but without any oiliness. 

I was surprisingly impressed and now want to try their other products, starting with their Lebanese Seven & Paella!

So there you have it, Zest & Zing, you definitely have my approval and I look forward to trying more of your spices.

Zest & Zing are selling the following on their site:

Vegan Pesto
Hummus spice
Harissa Spice
Ras el Hanout
Porcini Mushroom
Lebanese Seven
Mexican Mole blend

*Disclaimer - I have not been paid for this blog post and my opinion is very much my own. 

Raha x

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