Note To Self…

I write myself notes and lists all the time, but especially during a long retreat. There’s an ongoing shopping list in the kitchen, a master shopping list for the week in my bedroom/office, a to-do list for when I’m next in town, records of food spends vs budget, lists piled upon lists of recipes and meal plans, an ever changing list of garden produce ready to be harvested, and notes on meals that have been served – to remind me how they could be tweaked for the better were I to serve them again.

Writing myself notes does stop an overload of chatter in my head, though of course, voices are still there. “How about some cinnamon in that soup? You should have gone to meditation tonight. Tomorrow is preserving day – need to pick tomatoes. Must get up earlier tomorrow to bake bread. One bottle of milk out the freezer will be plenty”. Not all messages to self are helpful or even true!

Note to self – must find out who’s writing these notes!


I enjoy listening to other cooks’ voices when it comes to recipe ideas, and am getting better there, too, at discerning which ideas are worth following. Here are three recipes I’ve ‘pinned’ this week.

These black tahini morning rolls by Hummingbird High look incredible; my love affair with tahini continues! Interesting, gluten free cookies, especially ones that are steeped in tradition always catch my eye, so these Persian cookies by Ahead Of Thyme are definitely getting trialled. And as we have a mini heatwave approaching, I’ll be putting this Love and Lemons, mostly raw, chilled zucchini soup on the menu too.

Some photos of my own food that we’ve eaten recently on this month-long retreat are up on my Instagram!

As my time at Wangapeka is coming to an end, there are plenty of voices in my head about ‘THE FUTURE’. A friend put this wonderful Mary Oliver poem in my mind today. It’s called The Journey, and is also about voices.

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shoutingIMG_2234
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – – determined to save
the only life you could save.

I’ll give the final word though to Anthony Bourdain. In his latest cook book Appetites, there is no pudding chapter. There is one page with the heading ‘Desserts’ but all it says is ‘Fuck Dessert’ and he suggests Stilton instead! I decided to pay heed and today bought some Gibbston Valley Kawarau Blue (in lieu of Stilton being actually available in NZ.) Today at least, he was right; it was fucking delicious!

It’s not a bad thing to expect the unexpected. May we all be able to discern the  kind and wise voices in our heads!




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