Charnamrita inspired breakfast bowl

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I vividly remember two occasions when I have had a Panchamrita/ Charnamrita. One was when my aunt had taken us two sisters for attending some Puja in an old haveli in Lucknow. I remember asking for a second helping of the 1-2 tablespoon serving that we were given. And the other time when a dear friend’s mother had summoned me to help mash bananas in a big pot of cold milk and yogurt mixture. I was then made aware that this has to be done by hand only.

Panchamrita/ Charnamrita is the offering to the Divine and then consumed also by those making the offering. Yogurt, milk, ghee, honey, sugar, Indian Basil. Dry fruits, and bananas are added by others.

Because it is so tasty I thought about using the same ingredients with the addition of roasted Amarnath and Foxnut, which is very popular food during this fasting time and making a breakfast bowl.
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Ingredients:
1 cup Yogurt
2 cup Milk/ Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Honey (you could use a combination of sugar and honey)
1/4 cup Ghee
2 Bananas
1/2 cup Dry Fruits of your choice
1 cup Roasted Foxnut
1 cup Roasted Amarnath seeds
2-3 sprigs Indian Basil

1. Soak the torn Indian Basil leaves in the milk for a few hours.
2. Peel and mash the bananas in the yogurt. I did it by hand, just for the memory. It is fun. You can try it.
3. Mix the milk, ghee and honey into the banana yogurt mixture. Once every thing is assimilated add the dry fruits, roasted foxnut and roasted amarnath seeds.
4. Divide into bowls and serve.
5. Its another great bowl of food post a morning yoga flow.
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Potato Pancakes (Potato Chilla)

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The way of life in India and Yoga, is the current inspiration to the Western World. Especially the food we eat. We are traditionally whole grain and coarse grain and plant based eaters, with a vast variety of methods of cooking and a multitude of spices and thats probably why once Liz Hurley had once said that its easy to be vegetarian if you are eating Indian.

But twice a year at least, we give up grains as well. Once such time of the year started yesterday, the start of the Hindu month of Kartik, the end of Shradha (Autumn). This is the weather transition period and characterised by special food for the next nine days. The food is special because the focus is on a complete plant based diet, minimal to no spice and no table salt or sugar. Unrefined sugar and jaggery are allowed. And salt if at all required is Himalayan or Rock salt.

I am a vegetarian and I usually eat quite mindfully and since I travel a lot, sicking to 100 percent plant based diet for all meals can be tough. But this time around I am not travelling, so I decided to not eat grain for the next nine days. Its a tough challenge at hand and since I feel that some fun recipes can help kill the monotony of the food that you all are having at this time of the year.

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The quantity below makes 2 pancakes and serves one person. Multiply the portions as per the number of people.
Ingredients:
1 boiled potato grated
2 tbsp water chestnut flour
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 green chilli chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ghee
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp mint chutney (just blend 1 green chilli, 1/2 cup mint leaves and 1/2 cup raw mango, 1 pinch rock salt, splash of water)
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

1. Heat thoroughly a non stick pan. Add some ghee on the pan and spread with a brush.
2. In a bowl add the grated potato, water chestnut flour, green chilli, dill and water. Whip through till well mixed. The batter should not be too thick of thin. It should coat the back of a spoon.
3. Pour half the mixture on the non stick pan and spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Do not make the pancake too thin.
4. Now its time for patience. Do not touch the pancake till the edges have started to brown, else it will be difficult to turn and might break. Once the edges are browned, flip it over and gook on the other side as well. Repeat this activity with the rest of the batter.
5. Serve with yogurt, mint chutney and pomegranate seeds.
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Pancakes with Thyme, Grilled Mango and Mango Syrup

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Crepes and mangoes I sorted for you all. Now well they are tricky, more technique requiring and demand more patience. But then pancakes are better. This one is a multigrain pancake. I usually take a big jar and just add various coarse grain flours and keep it for such handy use. So be more we proceed lets get this little tip on multigrain flour out of the way.

Multigrain flour.
Add all the flours below in a jar and shake it up.
250 gms Buckwheat Flour (Mothi /Kuttu Atta)
250 gms Maize Flour (Makai Atta)
250 gms Bengal Gram Flour (besan)
250 gms Sorghum Flour (Jowar Atta)
250 gms Pearl Millet Flour (Bajra Atta)
250 gms Oats Flour
250 gms Ragi Flour
500 gms Whole Wheat Flour
250 gms Rice Flour

So I made these same pancakes all the time. This one here had a mango syrup, grilled mangoes and there is thyme in the pancakes. Ya odd. But works beautifully. I personally love some cream with my Pancakes, so you will find them a regular feature.
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Ingredients:
Grilled mangoes:
2 ripe Fibrous Mangoes
2-3 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Ghee
Mango Syrup:
500 ml Mango Juice (they are only now going to be preserved ones)
1/2 lemon
Pancakes:
1 cup 9 Grain Flour (as mentioned above)
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Ricotta
1 cup Diced Mango
1 pinch Salt
1/2 tsp Sodium bicarbonate
1 tsp Thyme
2-3 tbsp Ghee

1. For the grilled mangoes. Peal the mangoes and try not to lick your elbows while at it. Heat a grill pan and brush with some ghee. Place the mango chunks. Brush the chunks of mango with Honey and balsamic vinegar alternatively. Keep the flame low and keep turning the mango chunks on the grill pan. Once you can see that there is colour on the mangoes. Take them off the flame
2. Simultaneously take a heavy bottomed pan and add the mango juice and let it simmer away and reduce slowly. Keep stirring occasionally. Once it starts coating the back of a spoon, turn ff the heat and add the lemon juice. The lemon juice is to prevent any crystallisation and also makes the syrup more fresh and zingy
3. Heat a non stick pan and coat it with some ghee. In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients of the pancake batter. Then add the ricotta. Use a balloon whisk and add the buttermilk. Then fold in the mango chunks
4. Take a ladle and pour the batter on the greased nonstick pan. Allow the pancakes to form shape. Bubbles will emerge from the pancake and it will appear cooked on the sides. This is time to flip the pancakes. Place them on a serving plate once cooked on both sides.
5. Serve the pancakes with chunks of grilled Mano and mango syrup, some quark cheese or sour creme
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P.S.
Watch
Netflix – 13 Reasons Why – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1837492/
Movie – Room – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3170832/

Listen –
Come Together – Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher – for War Child – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQVPZI7dvWs
The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8
Song for the Deaf in general – No One Know – Queens Of The Stone Age – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s88r_q7oufE

Read
Blog/ Webpage: http://www.refinery29.com
Book: Beautiful Maria of My Soul – by. – Oscar Hijuelos – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7600936-beautiful-maria-of-my-soul

Poem
Moonlight, summer moonlight

‘Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,

But most where trees are sending
Their breezy boughs on high,
Or stooping low are lending
A shelter from the sky.

And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.

– Emily Bronte

Jam the Mango and Mummify Summer

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For a lot of us a morning breakfast is a morning ritual. Something repeated time and time again. For me there are phases. One of the phases I go through is the tea and toast mornings. And this specially when I settle back into the morning routine. After an hour of running, kickboxing or yoga. There is comfort in the familiarity of tea and toast. How boring you might say. But change the jams, experiment with nut butters and tea combinations and it never is boring. I love fresh home made small batch jams. It keeps me interested in the toast morning after morning.

And just as the mangoes are bidding adieu, what better way to savour them a tad longer than Jamming it.

I do not add any flavour or spice in mine, but you can add chilli flakes or cinnamon or cardamom. Just a hint of after taste. Let the mango shine
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Ingredients
2 cups chopped mango
3/4 cup of raw sugar
1/2 lemon juice

1. Chop the mangoes and add them in a pan on low heat. Add the sugar and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally.
2. Cook till the consistency you like has been reached. I like my jams chunky, so for me its all about tenderising the mango.
3. Before turning the heat off, add a squirt lemon. Stir and turn off the heat. Pour in a clean try jar. As the sugar quantity of the jam is low, it is not apt for long term storage outside the fridge. So store in the fridge and enjoy with toast, pancakes, crepes etc.
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P.S.
Watch?
Netflix – Are you done with Game of Thrones?. I am not. – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0944947/
Movie – Out of Africa – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089755/
Listen –
Wolfman ft. Peter Doherty – For Lovers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLY0eUtVlXo
Electronic – Getting Away With It – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSfjtdnUsls
Arctic Monkeys – Knee Socks – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZvn3KsUYwk
The Chemical Brothers – Come With Us/The Test Clip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsHzrbebhjc

Read
Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/202897.Foreign_Affairs

Poem
Tis the Last Rose of Summer Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone:
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie wither’d,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

– Thomas Moore

Dunked Plums with Rosemary

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Every summer we have a family ritual, one to go to the hills and two to stay at an orchard. The Himalayan foothills are resplendent with stone fruit at this time of the year, mostly July to August. Great yellow peaches, brilliant nectarines, wild plums, golden yellow apricots and lovely berries, wild golden raspberries included.

This recipe is a tribute to the plums. The colour, flavour and aroma are all celebrated in this cake, dotted with little moorish, squishy, jammy pools of plum, on a bed of crumbly butter cake.

This is a season repeat for me, time after time and is a no fail recipe. It marries plums with rosemary which is an excellent herb for desserts as well. This makes for a great tea cake and a tray cake. What I mean is that I have used a 10 inch cake tin for this cake and its best to use bigger cake tins/trays to ensure that there is just the right amount of cake and plum.
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Ingredients:
Rosemary Sugar
135 gms regular sugar
5-6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Dunked Plums
4 large plums cut into thick slices
150 ml plum liqueur
2-3 tbsp dark brown sugar

Cake
125 gas salted butter
2 large eggs
180 gas flour
2 tbsp water
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Blitz together the sugar and fresh dry rosemary leaves. Ensure that the rosemary is fresh, green and absolutely dry. You can make more of this sugar and use it for lemonades. It gives a definite zing to them
2. Stone and slice the plums. Add sugar and the liqueur and toss them together. Let this sit for atlas 1 hour.
3. Use 125 gas of the rosemary sugar (save the rest for dusting) the butter and cream it with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes. Then add one egg at a time and whisk again. Now add the water and whisk. Do not whisk too much as it might result in a flat cake. Fold the sifted flour and baking powder and pour the mixture in a ten inch circular cake tin. (I used a teflon coated non stick cake tin and covered its bottom with baking paper)
4. Flatten and even out the cake batter with a spatula. Now the the plum chunks and arrange them on the batter, however tidily you can. Try not to eat any o =f the succulent, fragrant slippery pieces of plum while you are at it.
Place the cake in a 190 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes or thill the to is golden.
5. Take you time to cool the cake and a warm one while very aromatic, is quite delicate for slicing.
6. Enjoy with a cup of Darjeeling’s finest.
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P.S.
Watch
Netflix – I am looking for recommendations. I have spent this week watching trailers of some of the new stuff on Netflix, Bloodline, Ozark, 13 reasons why, etc.
Movie – Dunkirk Catch it while it is still in the cinemas. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5013056/

Listen
Ben Lee – Gamble everything for love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reIDepQzVJY
Don Browningg – How are you supposed to know. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmV40wxr8gY
Pearl Jam – Just Breathe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5bAawsa7_s

Read
Blog – AM taking you away from food this time to promote pointless, yet strangely cool, time-killing things on the internet. boingboing.net

Book – Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52036.Siddhartha

Poem – [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

– E. E. Cummings

Melons and Honey

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Super stoked to receive a bag of goodies from Societé Naturelle. Big shout out to Preet Singh. Totally loved the raw honey and bee pollen and immediately put it to use.

With summers at its peak, melons are at their best right now. They are a great snack and are very good for keep you well hydrated.

I love a bowl of cantaloupe or honey dew or musk melon or watermelon with a drizzle of good honey. It tends to bring out the flavours of the melons. This here is a great snack and requires just about no effort to assemble. Served cold it is a great refreshing snack.

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Ingredients: (Makes 2-3 Jars)
1 cup musk melon
1 cup water melon
1 cup cantaloupe
1 cup chilled whipped yogurt
1 cup bran flakes
2 tbsp sunflower seeds/ flaked almonds
2 tbsp bee pollen from Societé Naturelle
2 tbsp honey from Societé Naturelle for garnish. (Extra for sweetening the yogurt if you like)

1. Skin, deseed and cut the melons in cubes. It is best to work with cold melons.
2. Take a tall wide jar, I have used one that is 6 inches in diameter and 6 inches tall (approx)
3. Whip the cold yogurt. You can sweeten it with 2 tbsp. Honey.
4. Assemble. Simply spoon the melons in the serving bowl/ jar. Add the whipped yogurt on top. Sprinkle the top with bran flakes and seeds/nuts of your choice. Drizzle over delicious ‘Raw Honey’ from Societé Naturelle. Thats it. Dig in.

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P.S.
Watch
Netflix – Are you watching Blacklist. Because Raymond Reddington has me hooked. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2741602/
Movie – The Hours. A Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore starrer movie on how Mrs. Dalloway affects three generations of women.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274558/

Listen
Ásgeir – In The Silence – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWCUdy2Af58
Agnes Obel – Riverside (Official) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjncyiuwwXQ
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – The Boatman’s Call (1997) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcKYaf0LW2g
Goldmund: Threnody – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdEuCRiW2l0&list=PL6EC19B29711523B4&index=5

Read
Blog – Road tripping in america. This is a great guide to the eating your way through it. https://roadfood.com

Book – The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16158542-the-boys-in-the-boat

Poem – Childhood nostalgia, this poem
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth

3 Portions of Fruit Sorted, that too for Breakfast

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Some friends of mine are constantly travelling to Ubud and punishing me by posting photographs of their fruity breakfast bowls. And they have been making me salivate. As the temperature rises here in India, the cold fruit and yogurt bowls are more tempting than ever.

This one here is berry involved and sorts our daily 3 fruit portion requirement easily. Nutrition concentrate and taste un-compromised, these bowls of goodness are ideal pre workout meals too. The fibre of choice for me was oats (rolled oats if made overnight, or if like me you are lazy then the regular oats work just as fine) and psyllium husk. These two things almost give this smoothie bowl a dessert like quality as they give texture and adds to the fibre consumption. What’s not to love.

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Ingredients
1 cup frozen blackberries
1 cup frozen bananas
1 cup fresh strawberries
2 tbsp oats
1 cup thick yogurt/ coconut yogurt
1 tbsp psyllium husk
1 tbsp hemp powder
2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds

1. In a blender wiz together blackberries, bananas, half of the strawberries, oats, yogurt and hemp powder.
2. Stir in psyllium husk.
3. Pour over your favourite bowl and decorate with the half cup of strawberries sliced and the roasted pumpkin seeds.
4. Dig in
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P.S.
Watch
Series – F.R.I.E.N.D.S. – Who said you cant watch something over and over again and from anywhere
Movie – As a runner I am inspired today as we started on the Adidas #100daysofrunning. There are some inspiring movies that come to mind
Silver Lining Playbook – Jennifer Lawrence twisted and loveable to the core – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045658/
Marathon Man and Dustin Hoffman in it – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074860/

Listen
Never miss the theme of Chariots of Fire when talking of running – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY3XiM7oGj0
Great peppy songs to run to:
Something Different – Why Don’t We – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QKreWPyPwc
Gypsy from Catch Me if You Can – Norda and Mike de Ville – https://itunes.apple.com/de/album/gypsy-catch-me-if-you-can-feat-joanna-jones-single/id1227738030
Shape of You – Ed Sherman – if you have ever kick boxed you will love it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dK2tDK9grQ
Rockabye ft. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Great story, great peppy number – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=papuvlVeZg8&list=PLx0sYbCqOb8TBPRdmBHs5Iftvv9TPboYG&index=2

Blog – https://www.halfbakedharvest.com this blog is a recipe treasure trove

Book – The Handmaid’s Tale – Margret Atwood – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38447.The_Handmaid_s_Tale

Poem – Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Morning Credits – Mango Chia Breakfast Bischer

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To what do we owe the start of a good day. A good Breakfast perhaps. If you do not eat eggs in the morning then you are struggling like me to not get bored with breakfast. Thankfully we Indians have a lot of savoury non egg options but come warmer weather then you want something cold and refreshing and filling for breakfast.

So breakfast bowls are an easy answer, a combination of fruit and a slow digesting grain. They take care of about 3 portions of fruit consumption (if thought through) and are easy to prep the night before. One can also can enjoy them on the run if prepped in take away jars instead of bowls

My sister hates granola and that makes breakfast bowls a struggle really. Finicky eaters these younger ones and if you suffer like me then this quick recipe is sure going to help. Oats are replaced by chia seeds along with the seasons first mangoes, this is quite a tropical breakfast. Plus this one is vegan.
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Ingredients:

1 cup mango pulp
1/2 cup mango slices
1/2 cup coconut milk
2-3 tbsp chia seeds
2-3 tbsp dedicated coconut lightly tossed in a pan to enhance flavour, save some for garnish
2-3 tbsp sliced almonds for garnish
1 kiwi/ banana to top up the bowl

  1. Mix together the mango, coconut milk, chia and desiccated coconut.
  2. Leave it overnight.
  3. Serve with sliced almonds, kiwi/ banana slices.

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P.S.

Watch
HBO series – Big Little Lies – This Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley starred HBO 8 episode miniseries is the series of the season. Great who dunnit with great stories of each of the leading ladies.
Movie – The Breakfast Club – Since we are talking breakfast movies

Listen
We are in the times of great cinema and greater television series. The power of being in our drawing rooms and the greatness of opening credits
Cold Little Heart – Michael Kiwanuka – Big little Lies  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOubjLM9Cbc
The Crown  – Hans Zimmer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLhBEeT4wQg
The Affair – Fiona Apple – Container – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6muh9kTlr88
The Suits – Ima Robot – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWYNr4rPads
Narcos – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtJ6yAGjsIs

Read
Blog – Sarah Britton has been an inspiration to a generation to create plant based recipes and the writing is just as amazing as the photographs.https://www.mynewroots.org/site/

Book – All the Odes – Pablo Neruda – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13538718-all-the-odes
Poem –

Auguries of Innocence

By William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand 

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 

And Eternity in an hour