So here we are.
12 long months have flown by since I left my job last year in an attempt to seek for more meaningful life. My quest was simple; to be happy and to truly live the life by example for my darling girl.
At first, I felt relieved. I no longer had to drive 45mins long and spend another 30mins trying to find parking space twice a week. There was no more rushing to get to and from, no more anxiety whether I’ll get to the nursery on time, no more guilt if I was doing the right thing by leaving my child in day care when I am not even breaking even and no more restless longing for something better suited and fulfilling.I now had freedom of working for myself.
Finally, the opportunity to dig deep and materialise that long lost dream of designing purposeful clothes was there, right in front of me. (I will tell you more about that another time.)
I was excited, exuberant in fact. With the surge of adrenaline pumping deep and hard, I pushed on with the project. I had no real experience except that I am creative. Sometimes all seemed too easy. Other times I felt completely out of depth. But do it with passion and you will eventually get there, right? So I carried on, desperate to show something. I was quite desperate to be proud of myself for something other than being a mother. Not that being a mother wasn’t enough of accolade itself, but I craved this work thing.
I wanted show myself I still had it in me to do whatever I wanted, like the time when I first came to London at the age of barely 20 with next to non existent English. I was brave, then. No fear, beautiful naivety of youth and driven. I am still quite proud of making this far. But then again, back then, it was all about survival.
But slowly, faced with few challenges along the way, my doubtful mind outweighed my confidence, and came the fear. When the fear takes the control over you, it can become such a powerful darkness. It’s a feeder of all doubts. It felt like the game was over.
The truth is, my approach was little shambolic. Rushed. Not measured enough. Considering I only just managed to get myself out of the thick fog of what I call, post natal identity crisis, to jump into something without having solid foundation, by that I mean mentally, it was always going to crack, at some point.
I had temporarily forgotten this was about self discovery or maybe even a reinvention. And that the answers to who I have become since the birth of Kiki was all in me, somewhere deep inside of me waiting to be uncovered. It was to be explored for the purpose to truly understand what this motherhood has gifted me with.
So I slowed down. Looked no further than me and my surroundings. I wondered if I was feeling the feels. Was I honest of my emotions? Where was my head at right now? I wanted to know me inside out and ground up.
What I realise is that I am often driven by my emotions. Sometimes it takes over everything and I can be blinded and head over heals. I am passionate by nature. I’m a dreamer. I can often be hard on myself, but my glass is always half full. I probably have lived in denial that I was going to shrink back to pre pregnancy weight in a click of fingers. I most definitely didn’t consider drinking couple of glasses of wine every evening since the birth of my child to be a problem. I mean it was just to take the edge off and suitably numb the traumas of relentless mothering and the challenging yet lacklustre daily mundane, if you know what I mean.
But above all, I am not afraid of my emotionally rich soul. And if it needs to be, I can explore the dark place. Suffering to a degree, I think allows me to grow.
You know, knowledge is a power, as they say.
The journey of self discovery has brought me to be fully aware of what was going on and how cluttered my mind was. And I come to conclusion that to be truly happy, I need to accept and surrender to who I am, to nurture my soul and change the bad habits to nourish my body. Self-awareness is a powerful tool that we should all tap into to give ourselves a break; the love and care it deserves.
I now also know, that the vulnerability can be the first positive step towards growth and strength. Baring it all is scary. Truth often speaks so much of painful memories. Over powering emotions are rather consuming. But we are humans. We’re made to feel. We’re complexed. The connection you make with yourself and others, once you’re truly true to yourself is deeply profound and liberating.
So here I am. At last, working everyday to really live the life in the moment, finding joy in small things that every day to day mundane brings me. Fine tuning the art of slow living; the gift that motherhood brought me. The better version of me.
Korean Fried Chicken
makes 8 pieces
for the marinade
4 chicken wings, cut into 8 pieces
pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 mild curry powder (optional)
for the batter
1tbsp plain flour and extra for dusting
1/2tsp baking powder
some sparkling water
for the spicy sauce
2tbsp tomato ketchup
1/2tbsp korean chilli paste
1/2tbsp soy sauce
1/2tsp English mustard
1/2tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2-1tbsp maple syrup
1tbsp rice vinegar
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
pinch of Korean chilli powder or crushed chilli (optional)
handful of toasted peanuts and pumpkin seeds
Koreans do fried chicken really well. Actually I think no one does it better than Koreans, to tell you the truth. It’s the kind of food that is deeply embedded in Korean culture. From young to old, everyone loves a bit of fried chicken. My grandmother had a food stall selling fried chickens. I grew up having this humble morsels straight out from slightly greased paper takeaway box as a treat. Then over a few beers with friends, later on as an adult, while we put the world right.
When made well, the batter is at its lightest. It is often served with pickled cubed mooli or shredded white cabbage salad. Traditionally, they’re fried twice for extra crispness. I am frying mine only once and then oven bake to keep it on the healthier side.
You could make a meal out of it if you bulk it up with some sweet potato wedges and served it with coleslaw salad and/or some pickles. I do think the sour comes from pickled mooli really cuts through the dish and balances the flavour.
First of all, to marinade chicken, mix all ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag and give them a good massage. Leave them in the fridge preferably over night but couple of hours will also do fine.
Use of buttermilk makes the chicken extra tender and it gets rid of smell. You could use yogurt or milk instead if you wish. I cut the wings in half to make them smaller but you could use any other preferred joints. Just be mindful of cooking time.
When ready to fry, drain the chicken pieces and dust them with little flour. Put them into a large bowl. Coat them well with dry batter ingredients. Add the sparkling water to loosen the mixture ever so slightly. The batter should be still fairly thin but not runny. Add more cornflour or water if necessary to get the right consistency. You could use beer instead if you wish.
Fry the chicken pieces in hot oil and place them on kitchen towel to drain excess fat. The aim is to get the coatings nice and light golden. Be careful while frying as it might splatter or spit.
Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Line the baking tray with grease proof paper and bake the chicken for 25mins or so until cooked thoroughly, golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, place all spicy sauce ingredients into small sauce pan. Bring it up to boil then gently simmer until slightly sticky. You may want to add a splash of water. Taste and balance the sweet, sour and hot to your liking. It shouldn’t be too hot. Spicy kick with sweet and sour is what I look for.
When chickens are cooked, coat them generously with sauce and chosen garnish.
Hope you enjoy.
Life truly is a journey, isn’t it?
So I’m going to take it slow and savour this delicious moments I get to create with my tribe.