i went to kansai!

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mango mousse cake

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As promised days ago – the baby sister’s birthday cake. One can hardly go wrong making sweets for my sister, as she is both easily pleased with regards to food, as well as being the official #1 fan of mangoes. In fact, the year before she didn’t want cake, a giant plate of mangoes with a candle stuck on it was her dream come true.

I don’t feel like I should post the recipe though. I wasn’t completely happy with the lack of texture or the fact that it was melting all over the place as soon as it came out of the freezer. I guess that’s the inherent property of mousse cakes – not much variety in texture, just creaminess all round. At least the birthday girl was happy.

(Just for record, it consisted of a sponge base brushed with passion fruit syrup, passion fruit curd, mango mousse and cream cheese mousse with mango bits.)

 

We took a little trip down to the Gold Coast the past few days, as per our annual tradition. Thankfully, the weather was on our side as we were able to enjoy sunshine without getting our skins peeled off. (I did still get sunburn but only because I was stupid enough to play on the beach sleeveless, for an hour.)

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No tight schedule or rushing off to places. Just proper relaxation and lots of good food.

To make the start of the holidays even better, I was able to catch my acoustic hero Passenger busking in the city this afternoon. It was less surreal than I always imagined what it’d be like hearing him in person. It was real and the lyrics rang truer than ever. Actually, it was more like a free outdoor concert than anything, literally thousands of people were in attendance.

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If memory serves, 9 songs were played, just 10 metres from me without the barrier of a screen or cord.

pumpkin roll

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Why aren’t pumpkin desserts a thing in Australia? For all of the obsession with pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween and fall season in general in the US, we’re just sort of ‘meh’ on the whole phenomenon this time of year. Maybe it’s just hard to get excited for Halloween when there aren’t any autumn leaves lying around. So I was determined to educate myself and give in to the passion surrounding pumpkin-flavoured sweets.

Random story, there’s an English tuition place near us back home named ‘Pumkin Kids’, spelling mistake and all boldly displayed on its signs. Irony at its finest.

Anyway, no typed up recipe today as it’s just the one everyone uses and credits on the interwebs. Simple straightforward fall staple – I thought I’d keep it classic for this historic moment that is trying sweetened pumpkin. If it wasn’t for the sugar it’d be pretty much healthy: virtually no fat and a full cup of vegetables. I thought it really resembled yam cake which I’ve made before both flavour and texture-wise, meaning it’s sort of mellow, complemented perfectly by spice, awesome comfort food.

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So far I’m loving blogging. I can create a relatively safe space for myself to reflect without judgement. A retreat where I don’t have to retreat. As much as I’m still self-consciously aware of how I’m in that awkward initial phase where I haven’t really found my style and am posting shitty photos taken with a phone camera; I feel like I own something. Maybe one day when I’m comfortable enough I’ll even go without an alias.

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I try to remember to thank God for one of his greatest gifts – friendship – every night. It’s saved my ass more times than I care to count. I’ve moved schools literally ten times growing up, between two countries. It got to the point where I’d pretend I hadn’t learned my classmates’ names yet in order to still pass as the foreigner, so that when it came time to break bonds, I wouldn’t have to because I didn’t have any. My efforts at building fences didn’t work out, fortunately, and there would almost always be souls kind enough to approach me, aloof as I seemed. It was a weird and unnecessarily self-induced phase, my early teenage years, where my life was spent in self-pity and my extreme shyness took a toll. If I ever have my 15 minutes of fame I’ll remember those who kept me in perspective and make my junior high and high school years not entirely miserable.

forgive thyself

One of the influential teachers I was blessed with in junior high once said to a defeated, deflated me: “you have to learn to forgive yourself.” At the time, it only seemed to apply to her observation that I was unhealthily obsessed with grades and percentages and making top 3 in the class. Nowadays, a fair few stations down the railroad, I’m starting to wonder what self-forgiveness really encompasses and releases.

We ask for forgiveness all the time. From our parents. From our teachers (mostly pre-clinic supervisors really…). And of course from God. It’s easy to assume that nothing has changed when the trespass is small. When we’ve made a major oopsie – that’s a whole different story altogether, and that’s where the anxiety creeps in. A definite amount of self-confidence is lost permanently. It becomes harder to look at ourselves squarely in the eye.

I bring this up because I often wonder how far I’ve come in overcoming my social anxiety. Occasionally I still feel like pulling a blanket over my head, so self-conscious I feel. But the self-pity I drowned myself in is no longer. Instead of ruminating upon the fact that I’m the shittiest sister to my siblings and crying in my bed, I can now try and think of ways to change and let the atoning take its slow natural course.