Yelly Writes

The jaundiced eye of prejudice

If people are really hateful and disgusting in the way they treat other people, that probably came from a hurt place – but then, when does it stop? When does this spiral end?

— Lauren Mayberry

In the nearly 12 years I’ve lived in the UK, I’ve never experienced overt racism or harassment …until tonight.

I’d bought hot food and was carrying my backpack, my lunch bag and 2 carrier bags of hot food. I didn’t expect the Greater Anglia 17:02 train to be busy but after the cancellations, I should’ve expected it. I got on a fairly empty train, with about 8 minutes before the train left and there were so many empty seats. So I placed the bags of hot food next to me. Whilst the train was filling up, I was mentally rearranging my bags so that I could quickly move things around because I didn’t think anyone would look too kindly about my letting my food sit on a seat that someone else could occupy.

This man got on and to me really slowly, and really loudly, “Put your bags on the floor.” I said to him that it was food so I didn’t want to move it to the floor. I was still trying to figure out how to balance my bags of food and other bags. I think he got tired of waiting for me and said loudly, “FFS!” He flounced off and sat down next to this woman in a 6-seater section. He said quite audibly, because I could hear him across the aisle, “Stupid Chinese.” The woman he sat next to laughed and said sympathetically, “You wouldn’t want her virus anyway.”

I am outspoken and am liable to say whatever comes to mind. But tonight I didn’t know how to say the things that were going through in my mind. I was incensed and I had things to say, but I couldn’t say them. I was screaming in my head. I wanted to cry but I didn’t want to give that man and that woman the satisfaction that they’d got to me. I hate how I felt. I felt so injured and angry but so inept and helpless. 

At the same time, I knew that if I’d said exactly what was going on in my head, I would never be able to live with myself, for saying the cruelly sharp words that I wanted to throw back at them. Because I know that once you say them, you can’t ever take them back. Even now, I cringe at the abusive words that were reverberating in my head at the time. I’m glad I didn’t give them utterance.

I try to tell myself that racism is a result of narrow-mindedness, of fear of the unfamiliar, of ignorance and arrogance, and education will help cure all that. And sometimes it’s not. Sometimes people are just hurtful and cruel. Sometimes it’s just mean-spiritedness and cruelty, and there’s no cure for that.

Yelly Writes

Monday musings

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you’re grown up. Growing up means being patient, holding your temper, cutting out the self-pity, and quitting with the righteous indignation.”

― Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York

I hate to admit it but I think I’m guilty of allowing the arrogance of youth to give me licence to wallow in righteous indignation without self checking. This is not to say I consider myself to be young. Anything but. Which is why I am constantly telling myself off because I don’t necessarily act my age.

As adults we’re meant to be more contemplative and less prone to impulsive behaviour. We preface it with the excuse that we’re “following our heart.” But as adults our actions should be more measured, more considered, because we’re meant to be guided by experience and the knowledge that we have responsibilities and people who count on us.

The operative word is SHOULD. But we don’t always act our age. Some worse than others.

Yelly Writes

Another new year…

“The New Year is a painting not yet painted; a path not yet stepped on; a wing not yet taken off! Things haven’t happened as yet! Before the clock strikes twelve, remember that you are blessed with the ability to reshape your life!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

I said I wasn’t going to do New Year’s resolutions.

But I knew that if I didn’t write things down, if I didn’t list things down, I would start the year without a rough plan. And the people who know me well know that I love a list!

So I went and listed my 5 goals for 2020.

To write more.

To read more.

To take more photos.

To be healthier.

To be kinder.

Yelly Eats

Lucky me, I found Lucky Tea!

Another day, another milk tea place in London. We’re enjoying milk/bubblet tea at the moment and we’ve sort of started a milk/bubble tea crawl of sorts. Alan saw posts on Instagram about Lucky Tea and the people reviewing the new tea place were more than positive, so we thought we’d try it. We managed to find Lucky Tea after a longish walk along Shaftesbury Avenue. Who knew Shaftesbury Avenue was that extensive? But then again, it’s like walking through Drury Lane, which is actually longer than I thought as well (we were off to find a cheesecake place…but that’s another story!

It wasn’t busy but, there was, effectively, just one seating are for a comfortable 2 and about 5 barstool seats. There were already a few people waiting for their orders but I don’t think people are expected to linger like we did. The staff were so smiley and friendly. It’s a good sign when they’re happy to talk about their products and the various promotions they had.

We decided on the smoothies because we really wanted the bottles that the smoothies came in (we’re coming back for the other one…hopefully they have them back in stock then!). Our friend, and resident milk tea addict, Yuki, chose a dragonfruit smoothie, Alan​ chose the strawberry and I chose mango (of course!). All our smoothies were topped with a cream cheese foam. Now you’ll probably think that sounds bizarre but strangely (or not so strangely) it absolutely worked! It tasted like you were drinking a slice of cheesecake! Those who know me well know that I LOVE cheesecake in all its different iterations. So this was an absolute treat. My favourite creamy dessert and my favourite fruit in the whole wide world (hey, I am Filipino!), what more could I want? I absolutely loved my mango smoothie! And because it was two of my favourite things, I really, REALLY wanted to have another one!

I’m so looking forward going back and trying their other offerings. They have a Yakult range and that’s got me all excited!

One of the rationalisations for going to Lucky Tea was that they had lovely packaging. Whilst I know you can probably buy these cutesy bottles online, it’s part of the fun of having milk tea! Here’s said Lucky Tea bottle rinsed again at home (thank you to the lovely girls at Lucky Tea who graciously rinsed out empty bottles after we hogged the seating area for longer than they’re probably used to!). I’m going back for the other bottle!

**P.S. The metal straw isn’t part of the purchase. I got this from my fabulous eco-warrior friend Kira, the beauty and brains behind Rinse + Repeat PH, purveyors of handmade shampoo and conditioner bars (when I say purveyors, I mean Kira herself makes the bars! How’s that for a super eco-warrior?).

Yelly Eats

Eating Taiwan in London!

We’ve walked past this little place on Rupert Street in Chinatown that specialises in Taiwanese dishes so many times for ages, either on our way to another restaurant in Chinatown or on our way to Yolkin (the cutesy shop that sells macaroon ice cream sandwiches, also found on Rupert Street). We’ve always been curious about the food and how good the food was because there was always a queue of people. But we never really had the opportunity to try the food, because we were always going for a meal somewhere else. But thankfully, last Saturday provided an excellent opportunity to stand in the queue and chance it!

We waited in the queue for about 20 minutes and looked at the menu that was very helpfully next to us, by the shop window, next to where we were queuing. We ordered a few dishes to have individually and thoroughly enjoyed our choices! For our individual meals Alan had deep fried salt & pepper pork chop with rice (which was served with preserved greens and braised pork), I had a very generous bowl of Sichuan dan-dan noodles that had an extremely tasty peanut sauce and the right amount of heat and spice and Yuki had the Old Tree thin noodles soup with oysters which as deceptively small but was incredibly filling! We also ordered a side of Taiwanese style salt and pepper crispy squid which sooooooooo good! It had the right amount of plum favouring sprinkled on it too!

The space has maybe 20-30 seats but always seems packed to the rafters. So if you’re aiming to go and try the food, be prepared to wait a little. It’s a fairly good sign that a lot of their diners look Taiwanese, and that they all seem willing to wait in the cold for their chance to be seated. To me that means the food is good enough to queue and wait for, and it was a taste of home away from home.

I so wish I could’ve been to Taiwan, to try the restaurant food, and the street food and the fabulous snacks. However, I’m more than happy to trust the opinions of all the customers queuing up by OTDB. There is something infinitely comforting about the small space with the assortment of tables all crammed to maximise possible revenue. It reminded me of the little eateries (which we called carinderia in Filipino) which my friends and I used to go to to eat cheap but delicious food.

The food at OTDB is more than just cheap and cheerful though. It is yummy and ultimately comforting. I suppose to me it is such a comfort because the food traditions in Asia, especially around Southeast Asia are very similar to what their neighbours are eating. Also, everything is relatively…incestuous for a lack of a better word. Everyone has a version of a dish that is similar to something from another country.

Apart from the culturally similar flavours, I absolutely enjoyed the numbing heat of the Sichuan dan-dan noodles. I’ve had a couple of other versions of it, and I think this is, by far, my favourite version of the spicy stringed yumminess. I think the addition of the peanut flavour provides a different yumminess to the numbing heat of the noodles. My tolerance for spicy food has definitely waned a lot, because Alan and I stopped actually eating hot food. I’ve got a spicy new favourite now though…and I think I’m going to start eating a lot of spicy noodles again!

Yelly Eats

Food tripping in Colchester

Food tripping in Colchester today.

We went to try a relatively new Taiwanese food street place named Honey Bear (cutesy, I know! But you’ve gotta love a bit of kitsch, eh?). I had I had a taro milk tea with black pearls (black sago) and egg pudding. Alan had the fresh milk oolong tea, which was okay, but it was certainly very milky.

For lunch I had a I had a traditional Taiwanese breaded and deep fried fillet of chicken beaten until it’s thin and about twice its size. It comes as a “bento” – and I use the quotation marks because, strictly speaking, a bento meal is Japanese. My deep fried chicken was served with fragrant rice, curry sauce, spring rolls, pickled veg and a fried egg. Alan chose a dish from the chef’s recommendations board which was beef brisket served with steamed rice and a lot of carrots!

There was a lot of food and I must admit it was better value than I expected. I couldn’t finish the rice! I did love the pickled vegetables and wished there was more than what was served in the bento.

The taro milk bubble tea was okay, if a little too milky, but the egg custard pudding in my taro milk tea tasted the way I remembered it from bubble tea drinks in the Philippines. I could probably eat a whole glass of just the pudding completely on its own quite happily!

Whilst it’s good to know that there is a “specialist” bubble tea place accessible in Colchester, to be quite honest, I might be happier waiting for my next trip to Chinatown in London to get my bubble tea fix! 🤭🤔

Yelly Eats

Mango and sago pudding

This dessert is mostly Chinese, or more specifically, Taiwanese, I think. Alan and I first had this at Cafe TPT in Chinatown in London. At the time, I could still have grapefruit, so the variant we got was mango, grapefruit, tofu and sago. It was so yummy! Cafe TPT has quite an extensive dessert menu and I think one day, I’m going to have to just go and have all the cold desserts! It’s well worth the trip!

This dessert is so simple but so yummy. It’s basically mango pulp with sweet bean curd and sago. I love the bean curd because it’s silken texture reminds me of taho (I think it actually is taho!)- a silken fresh soy bean curd street food that most Filipinos will have at breakfast.

But because going to London involves a 90-minute train journey from Harwich to Liverpool Street station, and then a 20-minute tube ride (with at least 1 change), I told myself that it was necessary for me to learn how to make a version of this that I was happy to eat to tide me over in between London Chinatown visits. I’ve made this several times now and am happy with the result each time, so I’m finally happy to share this with you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 850g can of mango pulp (or you can blitz up the same amount of mango flesh — use ripe Pakistan or Alfonso mangoes, or if you’re lucky enough to live in Southeast Asia, ripe mangoes)
  • 100g mini sago cooked according to instructions
  • 2 247g cans of peach slices (don’t use canned mangoes, better to use fresh if you can)
  • 1 410g can of evaporated milk
  • 2 349g packs of silken tofu diced.

It’s so easy to put together. First drain the juice from the canned peaches. Then in a appropriately sized container, mix the mango pulp and the evaporated milk. i don’t usually feel the need to add any sugar because I find that the mango pulp is already sweet enough. However, if you are using freshly made mango pulp, it might be necessary to switch the evaporated milk with condensed milk, or if you don’t want it to be too rich, use sugar to sweeten. Add the drained peach slices and gently fold in the tofu cubes. As the sago will absorb as much liquid as it possibly can, I usually store them in cold water in a separate container. I spoon the appropriate amount of sago in the bottom of my dessert bowl and top it with the mango pulp-peach-tofu mixture.

Et voila! Now you can enjoy mango sago pudding as much as you want at home.

Let me know if you try the recipe and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you!

Yelly Eats

A slow (cooking) kind of weekend

I love being able to just put a rub together and putting it on a joint of meat and then just leaving it to cook in the oven low and v-e-r-y slow.

I wanted to do something TexMex inspired and I think I might have hit on something amazing. I saw a carnitas recipe that I tried to replicate. I think it just needs less salt and more of all the spices and a heck of a lot more sugar!

My next thing to do is to write down the recipe!

Is anyone up for another wet rub recipe?

Yelly Writes

Girl on the train feels

If you follow me on Instgram (and if you don’t, please do! I’m @yellywelly), you’ll know that I more often than not story my trials and tribulations on the work commute that is the Greater Anglia service under the hashtag #girlonthetrainfeels.  

I’ve been using that hashtag for about 3 or so years now.  It’s has basically been my whinge board for all things related to my morning and evening commute on Greater Anglia.  Sometimes it’s just short videos of my train swooshing past pretty Essex fields, and sometimes (well, okay, most of the time) it’s me complaining about the delays on the service, but sometimes I share my thoughts on the passengers I share the train with.  Once, a lady got on the train from Stratford with the biggest Nemo balloon that I’d ever seen.  You can guess what my caption was (something about finding Nemo…of course!). 

I have an hourlong commute to work (I get on at Harwich and get off at Chelmsford) so it’s necessary to find ways to entertain myself.  I normally allow my mind to float away on flights of fancy.  I like to give nicknames to the people I come across on the train.  I wonder about their lives or why they behave the way they do on the train.  There are the train regulars like Colonel Mustard, Mr and Mrs Coughie, Lady Tosser, Cath (Kidston), Ichabod Crane…

These, of course, aren’t their real names.  I just call these names because of how they dress or behave.

I wonder if y’all want to hear about them?

Yelly Writes

Half the year’s gone!

Tomorrow is the First of July, which means, of course, that half of the year has been and gone.

I know at the beginning of the year I said that I wouldn’t write down goals this year. Because I always don’t finish. I’m horrible at follow through when it’s something I have to do for myself. I have trouble keeping on track on my work to-do lists most times. I always break that vow at the end of January and I always end up writing down the things I want to do for the year.

But this year, funnily, I stuck to my guns. I’ve resisted the urge to write down my goals. Even when the little voice in my head demanded that I do so to have direction (I’m a list writer. I need lists!). I think I need to see my goals to nudge me out of the inertia.

I used to write things down in my diary and have a mood board. I think I needed the visual prompts to keep me on track.

Do you write down your goals? What’s your goal setting style? Care to share success tips?