Yelly Eats

The power of the crinkle

I comfort eat.  Now I know psychologists and nutritionists and every healthcare professional reading this will be gasping and tutting and shaking their head right now.  Comfort eating is a terrible coping mechanism and will have far reaching consequences.  Ha!  How highfalluting and technical-sounding is that sentence, eh?  Mind you, I am very aware my comfort eating has allowed me to balloon and gain a whole child in terms of weight since I moved to the UK.

Apart from the comfort eating, I’ve been comfort cooking and comfort baking.  I’ve been trying to recreate in my kitchen the food that was readily available to me in the Philippines.  My favourite English proverb (which helps me justify my kitchen sessions) is: “Necessity  is the mother of invention.”  Mind you, the food that I produce in my kitchen aren’t necessarily my own inventions.  Sometimes it’s a result of me trawling the internet for tips on how to cook Filipino food.  Since Filipino food isn’t readily available to take away or to buy at the nearest convenience store, I’ve got to learn how to make things myself if I miss eating them.  I’m quite pleased that I’m able to make things that I would normally just go out and buy if I was in the Philippines.

I finally gave in to a long-standing baking to-do: making chocolate crinkles.  Chocolate crinkles will feature in most Filipinos’ top 10 list of their favourite cookies.  I’m not entirely certain whether it is a Filipino invention but it is certainly readily available in the Philippines, everywhere.  Say the phrase “chocolate crinkles” to a Filipino and you more often than not will hear them say “Awww chocolate crinkles!”

For those of you who don’t know, chocolate crinkles are soft, fudgy chocolate cookies that are slightly firm, almost crispy, on the outside and moist and cakey on the inside.  It’s covered with a generous coating of icing sugar outside and when you bite into the cookie, it’s rich and indulgent.

I’m going to share the recipe here once I’ve tried another test run, just to make sure that the recipe works properly.  Any taste testers available?

Chocolate crinkle


Yelly Writes

Me before Me Before You

I’ve read the heart-wrenching book (twice – yes, I thought I could handle it.  I was boohooing half-way through the second read because I knew what was to come!  My eyelids were sore from all the tear-Kleenex soaking.).  I think most of the people who wanted to watch the movie version of Jojo Moyle’s wildly successful book have seen the movie.  I’m one of the stragglers.  Mostly because Alan didn’t want to watch the movie.  I’ve not yet taken to watching a movie on my own here yet.

But I’ve seen it now.  Despite the reviews about how it glorified suicide, I think some people took the wrong way and didn’t notice that the movie was about falling in love and letting yourself spread your wings and widen your horizons.

I don’t know if I can review the movie objectively.  I’m still sobbing, so, obviously, it has touched me and affected me.  It hasn’t made me cry as much as the book, and strangely, Emilia Clarke wasn’t how I pictured Lou at all, but Sam Claflin was a good Will (Sam’s features sort of fit how I pictured Will Traynor in my head).  It’s hard to dig into the meat of the story when you only have two hours to go through everything written (if you haven’t read the book, you need to!  Remember to get a box of tissues, a bottle of water – you’ll need the water for the possibly dehydration because of the possible crying – and the book.).  But it was a good movie.  I don’t think Jojo Moyes would be too disappointed.

But now, I’m going to nurse my sore eyelids.


Yelly Writes

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

No I wasn’t in New York, I was in Atlanta the day the two planes crashed into the Twin Towers.  I think most of the people in the world who were old enough to remember and understand what happened can remember where they were when they learned about the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, into the Pentagon in Washington DC and into that field in Pennsylvania.

NeverForgetI was living with my relatives in Atlanta and it started out like a normal Tuesday.  I’d started helping my uncle with his medical records.  I worked at his clinic, in the back office, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  They were transitioning into digital records so I was doing data entry for them, taking patient records and inputting all the patient information, doctor’s notes and procedures into a patient records management system that they’d just installed.

I got ready to go to the clinic, went down and had coffee and a piece of toast and left the house with my aunt.  We had a small white TV in the kitchen and it was usually switched on whilst we had coffee.  Strangely on that day, I don’t remember the TV being on.  We got to the office shortly before 9AM.  The first plane had already hit the North Tower so it was definitely after 8:46AM.  I don’t remember what time we got there.  But I remember one of the patients in the waiting room saying “Oh my God!” over and over again whilst staring at the TV.

The TV in the clinic’s waiting room was tuned into CNN (we were in Atlanta after all).  I remember switching on the computer and walking to the water cooler to get myself a huge glass of water. I can still remember rounding the corner and walking into the waiting room.  I remember looking at the television and seeing the the second plane crash into the South Tower.  I can still see it.  I don’t think it’s something you can “unsee”.  It’s one of those images that embeds itself permanently in your brain.  I’m sure it all happened in real time but it I know that I can see it in slow motion.  How the plane flew straight into the South Tower and the ball of fire that exploded shortly after.

The rest of the day passed into a blur.  I don’t remember much about what happened except for all the TV watching we did.  There were a few panicked hours because we couldn’t get in touch with my cousin and her husband who were both in New York.  But at the end of the day, we were all accounted for, safe and sound, rattled, unsettled and terrified, but scared.

I think I never really understood the feeling of helplessness until that day.  Even now, it isn’t difficult to remember the feeling of not being able to wrap my mind around the enormity of what happened to America on that day.  The shock, grief, utter helplessness and eventual anger that everyone felt on that day.  It will always be a day that I will sit quietly and think about life, how blessed I am to have all my loved ones with me.  My heart goes out to all those people who lost their loved ones on that day, not just in New York but in Washington DC and in Pennsylvannia.  We will never forget all those senseless deaths.  Know that we will always remember.

Last year, in November, was the first time I went back to New York after that day in 2001.  We went to the 9/11 Memorial and did the walking tour with a firefighter and a lady who worked in an office across the street from the World Trade Center.  Before we went on the tour, we walked around the 9/11 Tribute Center.  I was fighting the tears by the time we finished walking around the exhibition.  Our tour guides talked about their experiences, what happened to them on that horrible day.  It was heart-breakingly poignant.  They were ordinary people who were thrust into extraordinarily horrific circumstances.  But what struck me was the underlying spirit of hope and the indomitable human spirit.

The enduring Sphere sculpture by Fritz Koenig was once the center of the the Austin J. Tobin Plaza.
The enduring Sphere sculpture by Fritz Koenig was once the center of the the Austin J. Tobin Plaza.

We must all never forget.  We must all remember so that this will never happen again.  We should always try to walk in someone else’s shoes.  Our first response must always be peace.  We must always be guided by love.

NYC Skyline


Yelly Writes

Moving across the pond!

Well, okay, strictly speaking, this turn of phrase applies to people moving from the States to the UK, the pond being the Atlantic Ocean, and strictly speaking, the flight route from Manila to Heathrow doesn’t necessarily involve flying over the Atlantic Ocean at all.  But allow me the poetic license.

It was 8 years ago, on a hot and muggy afternoon, that I got on a plane with two suitcases and moved to the UK.  When I watched The Woman in Gold, a line that the character Gustav Bloch-Bauer said struck me as true for every Filipino who has moved countries: “We [will do] everything to contribute and belong and we are proud of what we’ve done.”  This is true not just for every Filipino, but for everyone who has left home to find a better life.  For those of us who do, we go to our chosen country, respect and follow its laws, its social mores, its norms, learn the language, the vernacular and its culture.  We want to be productive citizens and we want to contribute, we want to make sure that we put our best foot forward because we know, intrinsically, that whatever we do, our actions reflect back on our country, whatever we do forms people’s opinions of our country.

I’ve learned a lot in the 8 years that I’ve moved, about myself and about what I am able to do.  But the learning won’t stop there.  There are more experiences to be had and more lessons to be learned.  God has blessed me with the opportunity to expand my territory, and has surrounded me with people who will always have my best interests and well being at heart who are willing co-travelers with me on this journey of continuous self-discovery (awwwww!!!)♥

Happy moving anniversary to me!

immigration stamp