Reads: A Simple Table by Chi-San Wan and Natali Stajcic

We’re feeling rather in awe of some of the creative women in our Glasshouse circle at the moment, who have been releasing some pretty great books. First was the Clean Beauty Co girls with their DIY beauty bible, second came Daisy and Leah of The Hardihood with the mouth-watering Raw Cake, and this week it’s the turn of our former Expecting featuree, Chi-San Wan.

Chi co-founded organic almond milk company The Pressery with her friend and fellow foodie Natali Stajcic, and the pair’s simple, healthy approach to both food and life continues to inspire. So much so that the duo have created a book based on their ethos. ‘A Simple Table - recipes and rituals for a life in balance’ is exactly that - a beautiful collection of nourishing food and drink and simple measures we can take to encourage a healthier mind and body. Think gentle meditation, natural beauty tips and plenty of uncomplicated, whole food recipes.

“The book is essentially a toolkit for enjoying the importance of self care, whether that be a green smoothie or a bowl of pasta, a run around the park or crystal healing” Chi told us, “It doesn’t dictate to you what will make you feel amazing, but offers you the recipes and rituals in which you can explore, to find what grounds you.”

Recipe books nowadays can easily feel like they’re dictating the way we eat - classing certain food types as “wrong” or tapping into popular eating trends. What’s so refreshing about A Simple Table is it’s pared-back approach to eating, drinking and living. It’s all about balance, listening to your body and taking time look after yourself - without fad diets or fussy, over-complicated recipes. You can expect everything from soups and sauerkraut to the slightly more adventurous - warming congee or a fresh seaweed salad.

“Currently I have been obsessed with batch-making the Chocolate Granola every few weeks” said Chi when we asked for her favourite recipe from the book, “I have it almost every morning with natural yoghurt and pear or whatever fruit I have on hand. The Roast Chicken Orzo is an easy crowd-pleaser too - it’s the perfect one pan dish, great for new mums like myself still keen on dinner parties.”

The last time we caught up with Chi was at her Hackney home a month or so before the birth of her daughter, Marloe as part of our Expecting series. As you can imagine, life has changed for Chi since having a baby and her daily rituals have adapted alongside.

“Now that Marloe is 6.5 months, she has settled herself into a loose ‘routine’ on her own, so she is a little more predictable than the first few months, which allows me to pick up the rituals that I find balances me out” says Chi, “Things like dry body-brushing, meditating for 15 minutes, acupuncture and yoga.”

Natali and Chi’s book also brings focus to the importance of a healthy mind and how to maintain it, with simple rituals like gratitude diaries and affirmations. Since becoming a mother, Chi’s felt the pace of life switch somewhat, and new motherhood has had an equally as positive effect on the way she sees the world.

“I tend to get out and about a lot more nowadays (Marloe is very sociable) rather than sitting at my laptop, so she has helped me chill out a bit” says Chi, “I now take the time to really notice the smell of freshly cut grass, the blossom in the trees or a dog chasing a duck in the park for example, instead of rushing from one to-do list to the next.”

This thoughtful, balanced approach is everything A Simple Table stands for and we love that it doesn’t just encompass food, stretching to our rituals and routines as well. Self-care is a term that’s batted about often these days, but we feel that Chi and Natali are doing it in the most authentic, achievable way possible. So, we suggest arranging a simple table for yourself, sitting back, and taking time to enjoy this book and everything it encourages.

A Simple Table by Chi-San Wan and Natali Stajcic is published by Yellow Kite and available to buy here.

Words: Lucy Vincent
All images: Emma Lee 2017

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