Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

Twist in the “Cup”

Quiet mornings are high on the wish-list these days, so when the weekend rolls over; the lure of the peace is strengthened by a hearty cuppa. With the new trend of butter to bulletproof coffee, yours truly did a couple of twist after intense research and experimentation to give a different flavour to each weekend of the month. As the new saying may be like something new, something old and then an extra something borrowed (not blue) gives a new vibe for the coming week.

Coming to coffee trend across the continents, the Austrian Kaisemelange can keep one guessing the ingredients. Traditionally made by mixing the egg yolk and honey, and adding strong black coffee while stirring gradually; the flavours give a different meaning for the day. Doing it at home, it took quite a number of tries to get all the proportions in sync.

On the other hand, the traditional Finnish “Kaffeost” combines the cheese to the coffee. Into the birch burl carved mug, a cube of cheese (originally juustoleipä from reindeer milk, leipäjuusto or juusto; recipe variations mention about bread cheese) is placed at the bottom and boiling black coffee is poured into it. As the coffee is being sipped, the softened chunks can be spooned out or left behind as dregs. This coffee flavoured cheese and the nutty buttery coffee flavour, gives off a dessert-ish vibe and especially enrich the morning routine.

“Like a symphony, coffee’s power rests in the hands of a few individuals who orchestrate its appeal. So much can go wrong during the journey from soil to cup that when everything goes right, it is nothing short of brilliant! After all, coffee doesn’t lie. It can’t. Every sip is proof of the artistry – technical as well as human – that went into its creation.” Howard Schultz

Going across to the next continent, the traditional Malaysian “Ipoh White Coffee” is made by roasting the coffee beans with margarine and no added sugar. Roasting the beans with wheat, sugar and margarine gives the other popular Malaysian ‘black’ coffee roast (Kopi-O). Coming to the Indian kitchen, the ever popular spice rack holds a special position there. Which is why the Mexican Café de Olla was on the “to try” list. Made traditionally in the earthen clay pot, the basic ingredients include ground coffee, cinnamon and piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar or dark brown sugar); served with optional ingredients like orange peel, anise, and clove to spice it up. pot brewed coffee with raw sugar and spices. The coffee is prepared in a stainless steel saucepan with water, brown sugar, cinnamon and dark roasted ground coffee and served in a cup with an orange peel.

All in all, the different “coffee trends” around the globe makes for an interesting experience, whether it be in the popular cafe or in the comfort of our kitchen. Each “cuppa joe” has its’ own special story, to share, experience and relish in; a voyage even in the these times.

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

In the Flow

Because I can count on my fingers the number of sunsets I have left, and I don’t want to miss any of them.” Suzanne Collins (author of Catching Fire)

The hustle and bustle of daily living gets to us at times, especially when we see someone whose time is drawing to a close. Even though some professional sectors especially the emergency sectors, healthcare workers, military and the like see it on a more frequent scale; each life threatening event strikes the core of own self, knowingly or unknowingly. It wouldn’t be something new for those who work in a field where one is deals too close to death like the healthcare sector, the police or even the military. For some of us (or maybe many) it would be a wake-up call; either being involved directly or indirectly (through someone) in a near brush with near-death situation as simple as a road traffic accident. Then we can feel the waves crashing around us wondering about the point of wearing ourselves down with life when death is one surety for all.

In such an event, it is time to step and see the bigger picture especially through the eyes of those who have survived near-death. We then realize that the beauty of living is when the smaller things add up and we become a part of someone else’s life. Just as “no man is an island” we are all part of a bigger orchestra to play the symphony. It is the little notes that finally sing the big tune. No matter how dreary our lives seem, there are others who have had it worse. Yet no matter whichever way it maybe, the echoes of death teach us to appreciate the hidden joys of the daily living. Each of us form a small thread in the fabric of life, be it our own or of those around us. At the end of the day, these little waves are what brings the harmony to the shore.

“Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life,” murmured Niko. “They bring new food for shore creatures, and take ships out to sea. They are the ocean’s pulse, and our own heartbeat.” Tamora Pierce

The cycle of life and death, is an innate part of each of us. Many a time we chase behind the big wave or the bigger ride, forgetting that they came come few and far between. Instead chasing after the little clouds in our own sky zone, helps us to complete and draw a better picture than before. Not to get me wrong, do chase your dreams but learning not to forget that we are a small thread in the whole fabric makes the woven cloth a vibrancy of colours; a life of it’s own. In the face of that, the flaming embers don’t hide the gift that we all have received, been blessed with and have passed it on with our heart and soul.

The little wave The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “My God, this terrible”, the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!” Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him: “Why do you look so sad?” The first wave says: “You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?” The second wave says: “No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.” Source: “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom

Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts

Look up for a Smile

“Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.
(They change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea.)”
― Horace, The Odes of Horace

Well into the humdrum of the working day, the ten minute walk to the local grounds for lunch, is something that one looks forward too. True that the hunger pangs may be going strong, but along with that factor is the chance to simply view the clear blue skies above.

The glorious hue of the skies often bring to the mind, the possibility of chances, new shapes of dreams, His Love and His Grace as well as the infinity of the world around us. If by any chance one notes the shapes of the clouds; their shape-shifting ability is remarkable. No one can measure the beginning or the end of the blueness of the world above us. Neither can anyone change the colour of the skies by own choice. The different hues mimic own state of mind at times, but at the end of the day the darkness is lit by twinkling lights and the blackness gives way to the brighter tomorrow.

“In the beginning was the word and the word was love and love was imagination. When love takes us through the sun-dappled garden of our imagination, no stalking horses can perturb the rainbow in our mind or fade out its bright colors reflecting in the blue sky of our memory. (“Alpha and Omega”)” Erik Pevernagie

More or less, the skies teach us to rise above the ebbs of life. It tells to climb out of the troughs and trenches that we fall into. It promises a better tomorrow if put the light of today to good use. The blue skies always highlights the fact that even after rainy days, they do come again. As the skies bring their rays around, let those strengthen the souls that live within us. For then every dark day will fade away in due time, chased away if not by the brightness of the rays above, the strength from those memories will hold the tide till then. As time always moves ahead, so do the blue skies and so will the day that always comes after the present one. All we need to do is believe and forge ahead.

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

A New Day
by Anonymous
If life seems at its lowest ebb,
Because a day’s gone wrong.
Let not your heart be troubled,
For a new day soon will dawn

And we can never be quite sure,
Just what it has in store.
Since each one is so different,
Than the one just gone before

As it penetrates the darkness,
With its soft and tranquil beams.
It calms even the most restless soul,
And brings new hopes and dreams

So when a days been troubled,
And the night is dark and long.
Lift up your fallen spirits,
For a new day soon will dawn

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World

Angles to the Plane

Already a week into the new year, the way things are going across the world; it does sound like a rerun of the year past. But again, that is to one’s own perspective.

Each of us have come across plenty of illusions in our life. Often they are masked in the manner of dreams and hopes, other times they may be buried under the category of “futile thoughts”. What one doesn’t realize is that some of those “illusions” are on our own perception, but the rest on what has been fed to us by those around us or by what we seen through their eyes.

“What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, criscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be.” Margaret Atwood

The question then arises, the illusions that of theirs, why do they stay on in us. That’s when one needs to morph them into the varied angles through their own familiar planes; for it is our own perspective that matters in the end. For the urbanite, the city is the haven; whereas for the sylvan heart and soul the haven of the former becomes a nightmare. Those illusion made by the wayward thoughts need to be given their due depth and space depending on how one really wants it.

Placing all these illusions of colours onto the frame, raising them through their own angles gives a renewed perspective on how to see things. For this to happen, one has to place these choices in their own hands. Each of us have own canvas to colour, let’s do them as to the perspective that we hold. If not as in the year before, may this year echo such thoughts, dreams and hopes.

Different perspectives
The Minister travelled for days by train and car and boat to one of the furthest islands in the nation. As he surveyed the bleak but inspiring landscape, he turned to a local villager and said: “You’re very remote here, aren’t you?” She responded: “Remote from what?”
Source: The Internet