My take on Waldorf Salad

I remember a couple of years ago, my Mum was tired of doing the usual salads to accompany Summer BBQs. She came across the Waldorf salad, and I was very impressed. It seemed to me a high class salad. Of course, you know what happens, once you hear a term, taste a new salad, it starts appearing everywhere. You could order it at a restaurant and everyone was suggesting it and sharing the recipe.

The second time I tried it, at a friend’s house, I was less than impressed. I think it was the fact that the celery was too chunky and overtook the salad. From then on, I’ve been wary about celery and Waldorf salad in general.

Yesterday I was looking on Pinterest to see what I could make with some leftover cottage cheese (as you do!), when I came across a Waldorf salad made me cottage cheese. It got me thinking, and with some tweaks to this recipe, I made my very first Waldorf salad.

It contains:

Cottage cheese
Apples (Gala)
Celery
Lettuce
Cabbage (thinly sliced)
Peanuts (honey roasted)
Balsamic dressing
Cracked black pepper.

Here is the result.

cottage cheese waldorf

Pretty yummy if I do say so myself!

Do you have your own versions of classic salads?

What would I have done?

It has been a couple of days since a Hungarian student in Malta was spat at and slapped at a bus terminus and then promptly arrested to the sound of clapping. Most agree that this was a racial attack. I do not know what upset me most – the tactless interviewer, the fact that some comments justified the actions, or the fact that the woman who did this was twenty-nine years old, eligible to the same free education system I went through!

There have been interviews, and the Minister herself has apologised to him. Journalists and bloggers have written excellent pieces about the incident which I do not need to repeat. (Herman Grech’s piece and Daphne Caruana Galizia’s piece are pretty good).

My thoughts take a slightly different vein. In mass last Sunday, the priest told us to stand up and be counted, that nowadays we have a tendency to lay low. This made me think back to this racial incident. Had I been in the crowd, what would I have done? Would I have spoken to the police, explained the situation? Would I even have chased after the woman, told her off?

I admit that I wouldn’t have done anything. At most, I would have walked away and written a blog post. There were over 20 shares of the story on my Facebook page that day. I was in the UK, so it is even easier for me to condemn it, dissociate myself from that Maltese woman. But it is oh so easy to share a story, write an emotive blog about morals, rights and wrongs.

Why would I not have stood up to the man? Fear of the woman, fear of the crowd. How sad it is when ignorant people in their aggressiveness have power over people of good will. Ironically this is what is happening everywhere – ignorant people can be bullies. To protect ourselves, we stay back. Acceptance is the best way forward, next time should I find myself in a similar situation, I would not be so quiet in the face of injustice.

How right Edward Burke was

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

 

Increased prevalence of 22q

My current project about information seeking in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome families means that I am constantly with ears pricked for any new article or news.

As many parents and support group representatives have told me, it is only a matter of time before someone realises that 22q is more common than people are saying. 22qIreland tell me that although part of the Rare diseases group, this might not be the case for long.

Sure enough, a study into microdeletions and microduplications (small additions/deletions of DNA) in prenatal cases revealed 1 in 992 pregnancies have the 22q11.2 DS. This is different to the 1 in 2,000-4,000 I have quoted in my literature review!

Will this change things? I doubt it. The condition is so complex that although finding it isn’t rare allegedly, the combinations of issues are plenty and one child is not similar to another. This means that GPs will not know the sure signs that could help make diagnosis easier. The information around 22q can fill up volumes of management criteria that GPs may just have no time to read. As a parent told me, 22q can often be invisible, which adds to the difficulty in assessing.

So although the prevalence shows an increase, I think it will be a long way before the condition is treated like Down Syndrome, and the awareness is similar. But this is a step in the right direction, at least that is what the support group thinks. However, do not remove it off the rare diseases spectrum yet. Like many other rare diseases, the difficulties faced are similar – lack of knowledge and experience with the condition, parents are blaming for their child’s behaviour, difficulty in obtaining school support, and they still miss out on strength in numbers, finding communities only in an online environment.

 

This is why they are so inspirational to me!

Lavender in Lyon

Family weddings are always incredible. When it is a Camilleri wedding (my mother’s side of the family), the wedding is madness and exuberance guaranteed!

My cousin Bernard married his lovely French bride on Saturday. This was my first experience of a French wedding and I loved it.

The wedding theme was lavender and on arriving in Valence (the bride’s home town) it was easy to see why.

Such vibrant purple was incredible, and has become a cultural symbol in this area (click here for more info). In fact, instead of confetti and/or rice, we true lavender at the bride and groom as they came out of the church and made their way to their cute red car.

The nice thing about the small village of Valence was that it was relatively tourist-free. Although this had the added difficulty of understanding and speaking French it was nice to absorb the lifestyle as well as the sun. The people were very friendly and patient with my broken French. The bride’s parents were very welcoming and invited us to a Sunday brunch with more food (especially cheese!).

The wedding itself was something out of a perfect Pinterest board. The theme was very 1950s, 1960s. This meant that with my simple blue polka dot dress and curl wanded hair, I fit right in. Emanuel, with his matching blue polka dot tie, could not be more dashing.

emanuelandi

The church ceremony was in a small church and I liked that the groom was the first to enter with his mother, something not traditionally done elsewhere. The list of witnesses was surprising – around 6 witnesses, more than your typical two.

I was mostly impressed with the jazz band. The 75 year old clarinet player had so much energy he could out-do me in a race any day. The whole band kept everybody going in between nibbles and the main dinner courses as well as speeches and presentations. As always, the Maltese family did their bit to ensure the noise levels were through the roof at all times.

All in all, a superb holiday and wedding!

 

Oh How I love to be by the seaside

The weather has just decided to do a usual U-turn, midway through a heat wave. It just can’t handle the pressure (literally, the low weather pressure). Do not lose faith however because my post will take you back to blue waters and seaside. My post on Whitstable is finally here!

Whitstable was part of my Guy’s Hospital adventure, and similar to Midas’ golden touch, it was always going to be a beacon of beauty, even if I had only been to a clinic room there. I had the chance to witness all its corners over Easter when Emanuel and I were in the Canterbury region. Without a doubt this was my favourite part of the holiday.

Whitstable is known for the oysters, and it is teeming with oyster shells, and oyster stalls. Following a bad experience a couple of years ago, I declined tasting them, but have regretted it ever since.

2015-04-07 12.49.22 2015-04-07 12.49.40 2015-04-07 12.50.00

The tradition of oysters in Whitstable dates back to the Romans according to the The Whitstable Oyster Festival association. If you are interested in the Oyster festival it is due to happen in late July, ironically outside the season of the native oysters since the ‘farmers’ are too busy during the season.

Another attraction in Whitstable are the beach huts which reminded me of those retro beach ads! We were lucky to have glorious weather but quiet –  I can imagine it is crazy at this time of the year and later into the Summer. They are all painted differently and that adds to the attraction. It was fun trying to find our favourite one. We couldn’t believe how expensive they are to rent and buy!

 

2015-04-07 12.50.10 2015-04-07 12.50.33 2015-04-07 13.11.50 2015-04-07 13.23.32

Perfect stay-cation! However the holiday wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to some sort of gallery. We usually go to an Art Gallery on holiday however this time round, we went to something slightly different. More on that soon I hope (my dissertation writing is top priority I’m afraid!)

 

Colourful and confusing coding

This is the first time I am attempting to work with qualitative data and I must say it is quite an experience. My supervisor is a queen and I have enjoyed meeting her and listening to her advice. Qualitative analysis is one of the things I think which you can never really learn about from lectures. Since every person’s data is different, extracting meaningful findings (finding never results!) is a personal experience. Looking through other people’s thorough work is helpful and I’ve used Bruan and Clarke as the Bible as well as looking at my supervisor’s previous work.

I have chosen Thematic analysis as a means of looking at my data and I love it. It seems to me to be a game a puzzle. These youtube videos have helped loads but mostly are these highlighters and fluorescent stars. Nothing like colour to highlight to beauty of people’s lived experiences. Can’t waiting to start piecing things together!coding