Oodles of Zoodles

Cooking is the biggest form of therapy and procrastination for me. Especially when you’re cooking and you’ve banished the rest of the family to their rooms so you can blast music and dance around. So much relaxation.

Today, I was feeling a little bit blergh. In the midst of doing too much work, I’ve been missing some of my mates a lot, one of my best friends is in America which doesn’t help me at all, and did I mention there is too much work to do?

At around 4pm, while I was savouring a fresh mug of masala chai, the insatiable craving to have pasta settled in the pit of my stomach. But I’ve been on a little bit of a health conscious/flu ridden rollercoaster over the past few weeks, and carbs don’t help that cause. Instead, I decided to use zoodles instead of traditional noodles.

God bless zucchini. I’m in love.

I made a herbed tomato and onion, roasted pumpkin and mushroom, and olive pasta. Bu obviously, I swapped out noodles for zucchini noodles, or zoodles.

A note with my recipes: unless I’m baking, I rarely ever use measurements or precision. I don’t know if it’s come from always watching my mum cook, but I just know how much to add. So I’ll be estimating measurements here.

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the finished product (:

To make the pasta, you need 6 truss tomatoes, 2 large red onions, 1 quarter of a pumpkin, 400 grams mushrooms, oregano, thyme, freshly ground black pepper, salt, 5 zucchinis, 100 grams of chilli stuffed olives (cut into halves) and tomato paste.

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the raw ingredients

Cut up the pumpkin into 2cm squares and steam so the pumpkin softens. Blanch tomatoes, remove the skin and roughly dice.

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diced blanched tomatoes

Slice mushrooms and onions, making sure to keep them separate.

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To make the zoodles, the easy way out is using a spiralizer. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to one (It’s on my birthday wishlist because it’s something I’ll use a lot) so instead, I improvised and used a vegetable peeler to peel my noodles. The result was flat strips of zucchini, bearing resemblance to fettuccini.

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To prep the zoodles, toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and cover.

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All the vegetables. In the final recipe, I took out the broccoli cos I didn’t want to add it in. I thought about steaming it and serving as a side dish, but I was not bothered.

In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil with one teaspoon of oregano. Toss pumpkin and mushrooms and let them absorb the flavour and roast.

In a wok, heat two tablespoons of olive oil with one table spoon of olive oil and one table spoon of thyme. Cook the onions until golden brown and add in the diced tomatoes and olives. At this point, I thought the quantity would be a little less, so I added in about 200ml of tomato puree. Add in half a teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir and cover for 10 minutes, cooking on medium heat always.

Add in the roasted pumpkin and mushroom, stir well and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

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roasted mushrooms and pumpkin

To cook the zoodles, heat a frying pan on medium heat and toss the zoodles, allowing them to become slightly crispy, but not burn. I ensured there was a little bit of crunch to my zoodles, just for texture. Cook for approximately 5-6 minutes until the desired crispiness is achieved.

Because I’m lactose sensitive, I left out the cheese to serve. However, what would really bring the dish together is some fresh bocconcini on top, just to complement the roasted vegetables and zucchini. Another nice touch would be fresh walnuts and toasted pine nuts, but after 1.5 hours due to the insane prep time that comes with vegetables, I wasn’t bothered to crack fresh walnuts.

The sauce serves more than 4 people, but because zucchini shrinks when it cooks, the zoodle quantity was perfect.

Yay for Autumn cooking, comfort food and the best music to cook/dance to. While I was cooking, I listened to Beyonce (bless Lemonade especially 6 Inch), Justin Timberlake, Zayn, The Weeknd, Nathan Sykes, The Hairspray Soundtrack, The King and I soundtrack, Ruelle, Timbaland and Trey Songz.

My music is a hot mess.

xx Simran

brown eyes appreciation post

I have brown eyes. I consider them black because they’re so dark. I often joke that my eyes are black, much like my soul. And it is a little sardonic.

55% of the world’s population shares the “same” eye colour. That’s roughly 4 billion people. That’s a lot of people. Throughout since I can remember, brown eyes have always been given the boring, tossed aside treatment. Everyone has hated their brown eyes. As much as I hate the series, Bella Swan from Twilight was never happy with her “boring brown eyes” until she became a vampire because then she struck jackpot with golden eyes.

Everywhere around us, brown eyes have been shown the door and told that because it’s so common, brown eyes aren’t anything special.

I’ve come to love my brown eyes. It took a lot of time though. When I was younger, I would look into the mirror and see these intensely dark eyes framed by dark long lashes. And I would whine to my mum and ask for green coloured contacts because what better combination then an a young girl with Indian heritage and therefore fair, olive skin having dark long lashes to frame expressive green eyes? But of course, the world is cruel and I was told I couldn’t wear contacts because I had astigmatism. And therefore, not only was I stuck to wearing glasses, but I also had to come to terms with the fact that my eye colour would remain “black” for the duration of my life.

And I did resent it. A lot. I consider myself blessed to have rounded eyes and long curled lashes. But I thought it was a curse that I was stuck with these ugly dark brown eyes that looked so emotionless and boring all the time.
Until of course, I saw my true eye colour. While playing around with lighting, I took a selfie with natural lighting flowing through my room. And I was pleasantly surprised to see my eyes were not black or shit brown like I enjoyed referring to them in my typically cynical way. They were in fact black pupils surrounded by a combination of hazelnut, freshly brewed coffee and golden flecks, with a ring of grey around the iris.
My reaction? Gurl hot damn your eyes are freaking gorgeous.
As cliched as it does sound, I think that’s when I truly started appreciating brown eyes. Because I realised the hidden mysticism and beauty behind brown eyes. Our eyes tell stories, hide treasures and are so expressive.
Our eyes transform from looking like freshly brewed single origin Ecuadorean coffee at 10am to pools of amber whiskey sitting in a crystal tumbler at 4pm. Our eyes are the colour of home, warmth comfort and safety. Of Autumn and Winter, happiness and love shared between others. Our eyes are molten pools of caramel, honey, chocolate and copper. Our eyes are the colour of the night – mysterious and captivating. Most of all, brown eyes are beautiful.
So here’s to romantising brown eyes. Here’s to celebrating the beauty of an eye colour that isn’t encompassed by one colour. Because, if I’m being honest, there is nothing more attractive then staring into a pair of gorgeous brown eyes and getting lost in the depths of gold and copper, green and grey that hide within the shell of brown.
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Yes I am playing around with one of my favourite snapchat filters, but my eye colour never changed in between a normal selfie and this photo. Brown eyes are just as magical, mystical and ethereal as blue eyes or green eyes or grey eyes. Our magic is veiled however. Waiting to be discovered.
Brown eyes deserve every bit of romanticism. Because they are just as beautiful.
xx Simran

In nature

We travel, not to escape life; but for life to not escape us.

9:00 am sharp. It’s 15 degrees outside. The Audi is packed. The road trip playlist is already blasting. We have a stash of the best snacks with us in the back seat. We’re decked in Autumn-winter beauty: Ponchos, gorgeous knits, jeans, gold jewellery and boots. We’re ready to party hard all the way to the Blue Mountains for our biannual escape to Mount Tomah.

Every time I return to Mount Tomah, I fall more and more in love with the place. It isn’t just about the nature, the tutti fruitti ice cream or the best alcoholic cider I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. It’s about the sense of serenity I gain. It’s about the peace and calm and innate beauty that comes back to remind me that there is so much beauty and perfection in our world. We just have to go searching for it.

*all photos taken with an iPhone 6S plus. There’s something satisfying about capturing beauty with the touch of your finger. While I love my DSLR to bits, and my canon is my baby, learning to capture good quality images on an iPhone has brought an immense amount of satisfaction*

 

After going through hell with my health and midsemester exams, this escape was so worth everything. All we needed was our family, good food and the want to go and find ourselves in nature.

Withdrawals from paradise are real.

xx Simran

Wanderlust 

  
Traveling leaves us speechless, and then turns us into the world’s greatest storytellers. 

Seeing this glorious sunset outside my window as I study for my mid-semester exams is doing nothing to curb my wanderlust. July and South Africa cannot come fast enough. 

xx Simran 

The rant life is real

It’s 2016. When are people going to grow the hell up and realise that publishing hate on social media does nothing more then proclaim that they are bigoted, narrow minded assholes who have nothing more to do then throw bullshit on someone else’s happiness because they lead such boring and unfulfilling lives. 

It breaks my heart to think that humanity is capable to blatantly calling someone a “fking faggot” to their metaphorical face, as they leave comments on an Instagram photo signifying something exciting and happy and celebratory. How do people even possess the ability to write such horrendous things? 

Grow up. We don’t live in a black and white world. 

xx Simran 

( ಠ ಠ )

*More rants about politics in Australia because why not? What more do I have to lose, apart from stable healthcare, solid education and all of Australia’s resource companies? Oh and over half my income?* If you don’t like my views, don’t read. And please don’t tell me about it either! Please and thank you (:

I am a young Australian with a keen interest in having a nice life that entails having a net income that supports a healthy amount of luxury, access to stable health care and a wonderful education system for the future Australians (affordable, quality education that makes our future even brighter as a nation). I also want a stable economy and for Australia to retain industries and companies for which it has a comparative advantage in. AKA natural resources and services.

BUT with our current government and parliament in general, let’s just say that there is so much drama and controversy, hypocrisy and downright stupidity. EVERYWHERE. It’s gotten to the point where I’m so frustrated with decisions being made and press conferences being held where the most ludicrous ideas seem to pop out, that I don’t even have the energy to rant about it.

*IMPORTANT UPDATE*: I JUST GOT LINKED TO THIS AND I DON’T KNOW WHETHER TO BURST INTO LAUGHTER OR WEEP: https://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/live-large-within-our-means#.bdbpO9Exa .

We’re spending and living within our means aren’t we Mr Turnbull? Where’s all this money coming from? Where’s all the talk about states funding for themselves like this is the bloody Hunger Games coming from when we clearly can spend $15000 on an oven? Why are you whining about the fact that our education system is milking the Federal Government’s ATM like a dehydrated cow when we clearly have $500,000 to spend on new Australian flags?!? I’m all for patriotism, but are the flags even products of Australia?

Honestly, we as Australians need to reevaluate who we elect into power, because I cannot handle 3 more years under Malcolm Turnbull. The atrocities that he spouts, and has been consistently spouting since the start of April makes me want to throw myself off Sydney Harbour Bridge. The fact that our economy is treated like a textbook situation makes me want to weep, and the potential for further cuts to be made to education. including the fact that the HECS/HELP scheme that helps put so many students through tertiary education is a sin (This is a bloody joke and I will actually move to frigging Canada if this somehow passes through senate if it’s proposed). Also, can we PLEASE STOP offshoring and selling our resource companies to Asia? We have no manufactoring industry, our mining sector isn’t what it used to be, and we still think coal is a great thing to deal with. Well done Australia. My friends and I share the opinion that Turnbull is the more eloquent version of Abbott.

What I really want is a young Prime Minister who understands what’s up. Someone who understands the views of the youth and the minorities and isn’t blinded by preconceived social, economic and political stigmas. Someone who wasn’t brought up in an elitist environment and who doesn’t have an elitist, inflated education under their belt. That would be lovely, thanks.

Just. Ugh.

Politics is so bloody problematic. The Liberal Party and 90% of Parliament makes me want to neck myself. We need young leaders. We’re a young nation with an ageing population and we really need people who aren’t in their 50s and 60s governing us. Would it hurt to have some more Sam Dastyari’s amongst the upper and lower house? Younger politicians who know what they’re on about, but can also successfully sass out crabby, stuck up losers with a well played critique (HSPs and that award winning address)? Is that a crime? Is it a crime to have politics be interesting and amusing and not make me want to throw myself off a building because my future looks so bleak?

xx Simran

 

//V I B E//

It occurred to me today, that nothing is truly hidden from the world. Nothing is truly hidden from our eyes and our minds. 

  
  The smiles and the expressions; the beauty behind the chaos. All of it could be muted, hidden and grey, but our eyes would still highlight our inhibitions, our fears, our sorrows, our happiness and our faith. Our eyes would still be alight with the emotion and passion coursing through us, whether positive or negative. 

No matter how many fake smiles or reassurances or forced exclamations of pride and exuberance are thrown out to the world, we can never hide our truest and purest intentions from our eyes. 

And I’ve realised how accurate this all is when I think about myself. My poker face is worthless in the light of brewed Ecuadorean single origin coffee coloured eyes (self love for eyes so dark, they’re basically black) that defy my motive to stay hidden and not reveal my truest emotions 

– 

  
Solace is found for the veiled piano player playing her heartfelt transposition of ‘Say Something’ by A Great Big World, and quietly humming along lest she wake the rest of the house – although of course if she was given the opportunity, her mezzo-Saprano voice would reverberate throughout the house. Obviously. While the second floor may be her castle, few are appreciative of a midnight piano session. 

I’ve taken to piano again in the midst of a chaotic roller coaster of emotions. It’s a little messy right now. Self love is so difficult. Memories that were once cherished have turned into poisoned blades and they keep resurfacing. It isn’t fun. But I never quit. The hustle is real and I wasn’t raised to hide from my fears and insecurities. 

In recent weeks, I’ve taken to playing around with lighting and temperature and portraiture through the lens. I love using my DSLR but I proved to myself that iPhone photography when done right is bloody brilliant. 

It’s a thing now? 

Let’s see where my grey scale obsession takes me. 

xx Simran 

An organic fruit market assembled itself in my breakfast bowl

It’s exam season. Well mid-semester exam season.

And I’m flooded with accounting, economic statistics, microeconomics (my love), and the bane of my existence – the most pathetic course I’ve had to undertake: management (rant post about the education system coming soon. During exams, my body does this thing where it drinks incessant amounts of hot water, tea and coffee (for warmth and comfort) but it forgets to eat. There have been instances where my mum has had to hand-feed me because I’ve forgotten to eat.

So before the HSC, I made a pact with myself that on the days where I didn’t have an exam, I could stray away from omelettes and green smoothies and treat myself to some healthy decadence.

This morning was no different. I was going to make bircher muesli properly, but last night after watching the Avengers, I immersed myself in stats revision and forgot to soak my brekkie.

SO, this morning, I was awake at 5:30 am and before I hit the road for 1.5 hours to build my driving hours so I can get my Ps, I made a cheat bircher.

And when I consumed the divine food at 8 am, I was in heaven:

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The muesli does look a little porridge like, but that’s due to the ingredients.

To make this cheat “overnight” muesli, I used 1 cup of amaranth seeds, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed, 1 tablespoon of pepitas, 1 teaspoon of unsweetened, shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons of steel cut oats, half a cup of lite (reduced fat) milk and 1 tablespoon of honey. I dumped everything into a glass box, mixed it around and let it chill in the fridge.

I think the best thing about my cereal is the fruit. Yesterday, I came home from a run to see boxes of raspberries, blueberries, green figs, avocado and grapes overtaking the kitchen island and I knew my brekkies in the subsequent days were going to be amazing.

For brekkie, as the image shows, I used half a punnet of blueberries, raspberries and one fig. And I topped my brekkie with fresh pistachios and pecan nuts.

I make great life decisions.

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This is me being a huge procrastinator, and not wanting to do statistics. I wanted to play around with greyscale and lighting and decided to portray my eternal misery with stats.

Praying for my sanity over the next two weeks.

xx Simran

 

 

🙃🦄

Currently in eternal anguish because my sass queen/glitter/makeup game will NEVER be as strong as Magnus Bane’s from Shadowhunters. 

Why did I decide to binge the show over my mid semester break, in the midst of exam prep, group assessments, catch ups with friends and work? 

Solid life decisions being made on my behalf. 

xx Simran