Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It ain't easy being a hippie

So, what is a hippie? Flower power? Drugs and rock and roll? Tree hugger?

I never knew what exactly defined a hippie. It’s a fun word to throw around and I may have used it quite loosely at times but having Fitzroy and Carlton as my ‘hood’, I am slowly unveiling the true meaning of a hippie. I can proudly say that I am a hippie wannabe. It’s not so much the dressing or the clich├ęs that I am into but more the philosophy of it. It emphasizes a life of love, freedom and peace. It emphasizes on small changes all individuals can do to make a difference. It emphasizes on not giving into the pressures of big corporations or giving into pressures to conform.

In terms of food (haha I’ve just noticed my blog has a huge food theme), I love the idea of slow food. Slow food as compared to fast food. I try to buy seasonal organic fruits and vegetables as much as I can. I’m trying to cut down on my meat intake and am eating more tofu instead. I try not to buy imported food.

My favourite shop at the moment is the Friends of The Earth Food Co-op on Smith Street. You can read more about what their about here:


I go there at least once a month to stock up on food staples like grains, tofu, milk and peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter is an essential. Do not judge!

I usually bring my grocery bags along as plastic bags are a big no-no but I forgot to the other day. They kindly pointed out that I could use one of the boxes provided. And so I did. Take note that it’s about a 30 minute stroll back to my place. So, there I was, carrying my box, smiling smugly with my pro-earth life choice. 5 minutes in, my nose was itching and I had no spare hand to ease my itch. 10 minutes in, my arms were aching. People were staring. Well, let’s just say my fashion theme for the day was comfort and practicality. And I hit the tipping point. I succumbed. I walked into Woolies, bought a small item and grabbed a few extra bags to bag my other items. And I threw the box away. I THREW THE BOX AWAY, along with my pride and my pro-earth statement. Arghhh, I am ashamed.

I guess I’ll save the earth some other day.

Beautiful, non mass produced peanut butter aka product code 21

Much love,
Michelle, 11 degrees

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Belated Father's Day Dedication

Well, I've written a lil tune to thank my dad for all that he's done. I love you Dadu!

Sorry for the crazy hair flippin' action.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eat. Pray. Eat

I’m reading the book Eat Pray Love and hoping to finish it by the time the movie screens in cinemas. I’m averaging about 10 pages per week at the moment. I think I’m on track.

It’s no surprise that it’s a bestseller. Elizabeth Gilbert presents such an honest vulnerability and a gamut of emotion. I actually do LOL*, tinkering on a ROFL* at times. The book chronicles her journey of self discovery after a tumultuous divorce where she finds herself eating herself crazy in Italy, finding zen in India and falling in love in Indonesia.

I guess a lot of women can relate to her journey. I can too. The eating part is self explanatory but I’ll explain how I can relate to her as she looks for inner peace. She writes about how she finds it so difficult to be still and achieve zero thoughts while meditating in an Indian ashram.

I’ve been attending Ashtanga Yoga classes for awhile now. It’s a dynamic mix of different asanas and breathing techniques. Artee, our instructor consistently reminds us to focus on our breathing and ‘zone out’ by focussing on a point in front of us. I struggle to turn off my brain chatter. I’m sure I’m not the only one but that doesn’t make me feel any better. Telling myself not to think of anything is just counterintuitive and makes my thoughts race even further from zen island. In front of me is a glass wall with abstract frosted designs on it. I focus on a point and it starts looking like…….char siu pau (BBQ pork bun)! Another part of the class which always makes me chuckle is when we move from a pose where we stand on our toes and drop down into a squat. As the class approaches the squat, you can hear a series of knees going POP…pop..pop…POP POP POP as it resonates through the class. The acoustic memory part of my brain somehow relates that to the sound of juicy charchoal-grilled chicken wings being snapped at the joints. Oh, how I miss home.

Well, it's soup for dinner....again. Sigh.

*for you baby boomers, LOL is abbreviation for laugh out loud and ROFL is abbreviation for rolling on the floor laughing

Much love,
Michelle, 14 degrees

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I have a new found obsession! I'm in love with all things Japanese. Ever since arriving in Melbourne, I have been on the look out for good authentic Japanese food. From a roll of good sushi, you can almost sum up the Japanese philosophy. Clean, simple, fresh. I've also grown fond of the culture.

From Malaysia to Australia, I have gained amazing insights into different cultures and a very different lifestyle. I have discovered a more confident self in Australia, embracing the boisterous nature of the people here who are ever more than willing to share their opinions on all matters.

Albeit loving the energetic spirit, I find myself mellowing down. I'm not even sure whether I am allowed to use that word considering I am still very much a neophyte in this world but I do feel a sense of seeking a genteel way of life.

Hence, I have taken up Japanese lessons. I had my very first lesson yesterday and I have never had so much fun learning. I can very well say it was the first time I was excited about homework. The class is small and the centre believes in teaching Japanese the way Japanese would learn it. So, that pretty much means you go into your first class and the sensei starts conversing in Japanese with you. I found the approach very refreshing. None of the patronising stuff where you start learning about "John is a boy. This is a ball. This is John's ball". It was an instant immersion of culture. She would use Japanese to teach us hiragana and repeats the questions in different ways until we see the pattern. Obviously we looked like lost tourists half of the time, trying to decipher these sounds coming out from her mouth. She had the patience of a saint and great body language skills. I reckon I enjoyed it so much because it felt like a good game of charades.

Anyways, I'll leave you with these pictures of our bento boxes before class and a sunflower my sensei drew on my homework for ahem.. excellence in not looking like a complete fool in Japanese 101.

Much love,
Michelle, 14 degrees

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Well, this is my fifth attempt to start a blog. And hopefully this one sticks. I really wanted to get a blog going again because I'd like to chronicle my time in Melbourne and share it with loved ones be it the random thoughts I have or the dishes I cook. I think that I've aptly titled my blog so because this is how I go about life. I often find it hard to settle down as I am, well...chasing utopia.

What better way to kick start my blog than with a sampling of food Ive had thus far!

Roast Suckling Pig with apple sauce
at The Commoner

Pan fried semolina gnocchi with sauteed wild mushroom, thyme and ricotta salt
at The Commoner

Toasted brioche with smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce
at Cavallero

I crown thee the best hot choc in the world!
at we'll keep this one a secret

The 'Shady' - poached eggs in rich chorizo salsa with dukkah and grilled flat bread
at Auction Rooms

Please note that all this gluttony was done over a period of time....maybe a week? I'm always on the look out for food adventures! Say hi in the comment box. Would love to know what people think of my daily musings.

Much love,
Michelle, 11 degrees