KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — You see a golden ocean.
Its changing states — from water to ice, from blue to violet, from undulating honey to slippery discs of sea coconut – reflects our emotional roller coaster this year.
This is a simple recipe — something to sip on and to chew, something to sweeten the bitter taste of too many long months, something to marvel at (the pretty colours!) — for we are all exhausted, are we not?
More drink than dessert, a concoction of honeyed sea coconut and sparkling water and ice cubes made from blue pea flower tea, it’s a more sophisticated riff on an earlier, popular sapphire-hued sizzler.
Classier, yes, but not challenging. Goodness knows life right now is tough enough. Rough times and weary hearts.
Life is complex but it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are some things we are sure of: that we need a shelter above our heads, food on the table, the love of the ones whom we love.
We ought to know, we ought to understand what we care the most about. Here’s a hint: it’s not more stuff.
Author and ABC News journalist Dan Harris shared in his book 10% Happier how his father used to say, “The price of security is insecurity.” What he meant was that once we have attained or achieved something, be it a new car or high-paying job, we inevitably begin worrying about losing it.
There are no certainties in life but it is how we navigate these uncertainties that determines how we experience our hours and our days.
If nothing else, this terrible year has taught even the most cynical and pessimistic among us that we can adapt. We can adjust to new ways of doing things while retaining the very best of us: how we think, how we communicate with others, the way we share and the way we contribute.
We are not bested, not even by the worst of Nature and of human nature. We are not conquered by what is man made nor by what is man broken. We repair what we can and we learn to go around what obstacles we cannot move.
We go on.
So we ask ourselves what we are grateful for this year, this annus horribilis.
I am grateful for my health and that of my family and friends, something we have finally stopped taking for granted. I am grateful for those whose daily sacrifices and support allow all of us to stay this way.
I am grateful for the smiles I still see in my community, my neighbours making the best of whatever cards we have all been dealt with and inspiring me along the way.
I am grateful that, more than a job with a salary, I have honest work with which I can do my best to brighten the lives of others, however small that light might be.
I am grateful for food on my table and not too much of it.
And though the roar of construction and of traffic has returned, I am grateful for the few months of silence and sanctuary when I saw for the first time birds and squirrels and butterflies in my garden, their songs and their quarrels, the destiny-changing flutter of their incandescent wings.
What are we grateful for? More than we realise if we pay attention.
And so let us end this year with sweetness.
You see a golden ocean. The monstrous waves, the fear of drowning, the dangers of shipwrecks, the loss of lives, the heartache and the broken hearts.
But you also see the honey and the promise of sunrise, of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, of better things. Of not being conquered by Fate but conquering Fate itself, nay, of conquering yourself.
Let us raise our glasses to each other, let us drink this syrupy tonic, let us chew on what has passed and look forward to finer days to come.
Let us await and greet and claim a happy new year.
GOLDEN OCEAN: BLUE PEA SEA COCONUT IN HONEY
When brewing a blue pea flower tea, it’s easy to brew extra. Once cool, you may reserve liquid in the fridge for several days in an airtight container.
Or, as we have done here, you can freeze these in any ice cube trays. It’s the same principle as baristas who freeze coffee to make coffee ice cubes that won’t dilute an iced Americano or iced latte.
The sea coconut in honey? That comes out of a can. (Recipes don’t have to require a hundred steps to make them worth making, no?)
600 ml blue pea flower tea (see recipe here)
250g sea coconut in honey (about half a can)
1 bottle of sparkling water
Half a lemon, for the juice (optional)
Pour the blue pea flower tea into an ice cube tray, distributing the liquid evenly. Freeze in your home freezer for at least 3-4 hours or overnight to ensure the ice cubes have completely set.
Once ready, remove the ice cube tray from the freezer. Flip the tray over a dish or bowl, twisting the tray slightly to release the blue pea flower ice cubes.
Divide the sea coconut in honey evenly between two glasses. Spoon the blue pea flower ice cubes over the sea coconut in honey, again making sure to distribute equally. Top up each glass with enough sparkling water without overflowing.
Serve immediately, stirring sufficiently with a spoon to allow the honey and the sparkling water to combine. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.
For more Weekend Kitchen and other slice-of-life stories, visit lifeforbeginners.com.
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