I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about life lately. In particular, the fleetingness of it. How often we take life for granted, especially me. Some time last week, Mum shared with me about her good friend’s friend, S, relapsing in her battle against cancer. S has always been a big fan of my ginger cookies, always requesting for them to be made with coconut sugar and with more crystallised ginger.

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Mum’s friend asked for a batch to be made as a gift to S, the ardent Ginger fan. And so, I obliged. As usual, I kept to her default request for coconut sugar and this time, I doubled the amount of crystallised ginger I put into the batter since that’s the part she loves the most. The original quantity I usually use is already quite a bit, but hey, for S? Why not?

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It’s funny how I’ve never met S before but she’s always supported me through her orders for these ginger cookies – not always for her own consumption. She’s ordered them before as Christmas/Lunar New Year gifts to friends. So in a way, there’s still this invisible tie I feel towards her. And knowing that she’s not doing so well health wise, does make my heart feel heavy.

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My ginger cookies are highly unlikely to cure S, but I hope that they bring her some form of comfort and joy as she continues to battle cancer.

 

Thinking about S has made me re-realise that I have been taking life for granted far too much. I have a body that works hard for me but I don’t treat it half as well as I should. I am physically able and while I should be grateful for having legs to walk, arms to work and eyes to see… more often than not, I look into the mirror just to scour my body for all its imperfections. Instead of loving myself, I fill myself with self-loathing. WHY?! When there is so much more in this world other than the things I allow to fill my mind in order to feed Self-Destruction.

Life is fleeting. Whether we live to 120, or whether we don’t – it will never seem long enough. So it’s time to look outwards at the world and appreciate it’s beauty, time to practice some self-love, time to take hold of Time and maximise it with good things.

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Good things such as this Savoury Beetroot and Walnut Loaf. It looks like a cake but is really more a quick bread and perfect for kickstarting the day on a nice clean slate! It’s entirely free of sweeteners so if you want to drizzle on some honey, or spread on some marmalade, a slice or two of this loaf will make an ideal piece of edible canvas.

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Or you can keep it savoury and go with a pat of butter. Sweet and simple! I added some walnuts for crunch and if I had some fresh Rosemary or Thyme, I’d have used them instead since they’d elevate the fresh, herbaceous flavour of this bread even more. I might add some sultanas in next time just for that added burst of sweet – but that’s really because I like a little sweet to my savouries. Then again, a touch of salty feta might work well too against the earthiness of the beetroot.

As always, you can chop and change the ‘optional‘ ingredients as you like. ‘Optional’ in this context being the walnuts and choice of herbs. Just make sure you keep the beets because they not only impart that beautiful pink hue into the loaf, they also make it lovely and moist.

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Savoury Beetroot Walnut Loaf (Makes 1 6×2″ loaf)

150g Grated Beetroot (I used cooked beets)
160g Plain Flour
10g Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Black Pepper
20g Walnuts, Chopped
1 Egg
120g Buttermilk
45g Melted Butter

  1. Preheat oven to 175 deg C and line a small loaf tin.
  2. In a clean bowl, mix egg, buttermilk and melted butter.
  3. In another bowl, blend together flour, baking powder, salt, thyme and black pepper. Make a well in the middle. 
  4. Add egg mixture into the middle and mix everything together until just incorporated. 
  5. Fold in walnuts and beetroot. Pour batter into prepared baking tin.
  6. Bake for 40-45min until a skewer inserted comes out clean. 

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I guess we all tend to do things on a daily basis that generally gets quite routine and can get very comfortable. So much so that we end up taking what we have, what we do, what we see, for granted. As most of you probably know, my work revolves around baking cakes and even when I’m relaxing, I go to the kitchen to whip up more sweet treats. So baking this savoury life was a nice change. Kind of makes me appreciate savoury bakes even more especially since I don’t make them so often.

Similarly, it’s when we hear about people like S are we hit by a new wave of appreciation for life and what’s important in life. It’s so easy to forget, or to imagine that Life won’t deal us a bad hand, but when it hits, it can hit so quickly that you might not even see it coming. And that’s another story of another brave woman I will share with you another day.

Flo said to me that my ‘bad days‘ were when I was at my worst with the ED, and that I’m past that so I’ll be ok. Yet, I struggle to see it as ‘rough’ because even though EDs are psychological illnesses, they feel within my ability to control unlike with physical illnesses where you can fight your hardest and still be at the losing end. Every day I wake up and I have a choice. And I feel so lucky, too lucky to still be here when I don’t think I deserve to. Not when so many people are battling to see another day, grateful for each time they get to see the sun rise once more.

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