Georgina’s Gnocchi with sage and garlic butter

Gnocchi is so expensive in Asia, though it is made of nothing more than flour and potatoes. My daughter made this, and it was absolutely delicious. That’s with some modification to the traditional recipe (we added some pumpkin because we didn’t have enough potatoes).


Two cups of diced potato and pumpkin (she used 3/4 potato to 1/4 pumpkin)
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 egg
Salt and pepper

For the butter:

1/2 a cup of butter
5/6 cloves garlic
A sprinkling of dried sage (or chopped fresh ones)

Boil the diced potato and pumpkin until tender (but still firm). This would take about 15-20 minutes. Mash them up and all the other ingredients. Roll the dough out into tubes and cut the tubes into bite-size portions.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top; drain and serve.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan. Saute the garlic until soft but not browned. Add the sage. Pour over the gnocchi.

True soul food ❤


Why Emotions Coaching should be on the school syllabus

At a certain stage in their lives, our young-adult children leave an institution of higher education (be in high school, college or university) with a piece of paper that declares them literate and numerate, and thus ready for the world of work.

Unfortunately, there is no syllabus, tests or qualifications on the very important subject called Emotions.

In a bygone era, it was kind of taken for granted that children learn that from the home. That was in a time where families lived close together and children had the luxury of playing with neighborhood friends after school. It is amazing how much children learn from unstructured play and from being outdoors; how to get on with others, how to make up rules, conflict resolution, self-regulation, handling playground politics, coping with losing, managing own safety and the world they live in, to name but a few.

When unstructured, outdoor play and the benefit of extended families are removed from children, the task of Emotions Coaching is left unfulfilled. To compound matters, growing up in emotionally cold households does not provide children with the opportunities to learn about Emotions – theirs and other people’s.

Emotions are living beings within our physical selves, vibrant and alive. We have to learn how to connect with the Emotions within us and to manage them, rather than control and suppress a part of the human being that is meant to live and breathe. Controlling and suppressing are the cornerstones of Discipline. I think a more positive coaching path is to teach children how to connect and deal with the entity within.

We tell children to stop crying, without finding out why they are crying. We tell them it is silly to be frightened, without knowing what their fears are.

If we don’t know the Emotions that live within us, we feed them the wrong diet. They either grow into beasts or they die. If they are unloved, they will someday rebel or they will simply stop breathing. Even if these worst-case scenarios don’t happen, isn’t it sad that we are strangers to our own Emotions?

I have known adults who have successfully built cages for their Emotions, but there are incidences when their caged Emotions break free – as they do when they grow too large or too strong to be successfully suppressed by will power.

In some cases, Emotions die from neglect or never had the chance to grow to their full maturity. I have known a successful professional, a very charming friend and an attractive looking individual. But peel back the layers and you find a hurt and frightened little boy who lashes out uncontrollably, who was never given the chance to mature into a grown-up lover, a strong husband, a tender father. No outward career success, long line of exciting lovers or big address book of acquaintances can ever compensate for not knowing the deep joys of really loving and being loved, that only comes when we are connected with our own Emotions.

Thus, we have to step up to the mark and implement Emotions Coaching, first on ourselves, then our spouses and children. Be literate in this subject, because you have to know love before you can love; you have to love yourself the way you want to be loved before you can teach someone how to love you in the same way. Yes, it is deep. Yes, the syllabus is arduous and can be complicated. But you can’t afford not to invest in Emotions Coaching. Leave no child (including yourself) stunted, silenced and dying.

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Why we should make a fuss over the birthday child

Ideally, we should make a fuss about our children everyday, but reality is that in the busy-ness of modern life, these tiny but very important people often get lost somewhere in between a rushed breakfast, sitting in a classroom, tired parents and every minute that is dedicated elsewhere just to keep the day afloat.

I have five children, and for a time, both their father and I had full-time jobs out of necessity. This was what we did to ensure that our children didn’t feel like they are not special:


  1. Bedtime stories EVERY NIGHT with a parent (sometimes both parents). I swear by them. Having that time to lie down with them every night is something that is so special and precious;
  2. Make an effort to spend a day (or at least an afternoon) with a child. Arrange childcare for the others;
  3. Choose godparents who will make them feel special.
  4. Get to know each child.
  5. Do meaningful things.
  6. Take the opportunity to transform simple things into a memorable event – like picnic indoors (we recently did it though our youngest child is 17 and we live close to the beach).


A Birthdays is that one day that a person (whatever the age) is supposed to be king or queen for the day. It’s not about the presents or the lavishness. Far from it. These are some snaps from my daughter’s birthday party ten years ago. It took place in our garden and the chief organisers were my older daughter and her boyfriend. As it was in our house rather than some fancy venue, we invited every child in the class. They played simple traditional games – no paid entertainer apart from the two teenagers who worked very hard to organise the special day.

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Here’s a simple party game: the children have to get on this day bed all together and burst the balloons by squashing them.

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Georgina recently turned 17 and she requested a quiet day (perhaps she has had too much birthday party fun all her life!). So she spent a quiet day which began with church the night before, the whole day with her boyfriend revising for their exams and a small family dinner in the evening in an Italian restaurant. As it was a Sunday night, she refused a glass of wine!!!!
But I wasn’t going to let her off so lightly. The following day, she was surprised in class with this ‘chemistry cake’ – BIG SMILE. Let’s make birthdays special, folks! ❤

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