Monthly Archives: September 2013

One Step Ahead


….tis confirmed, my mother has developed a second bout of cancer, liver with a possibility of the oesophagus being involved somewhere as well. She’s still at home, and quite mobile, independent and coherent (if a little Off With The Fairies due to the morphine). But the hospital seem confident that there are still options for treatment and management, and quite a long road yet to go before we all give up and go get our smartest black clothes dry-cleaned.

I suppose that counts, in the circumstances, as a winning score.

In the meantime life goes on; weather continues cloudy and humid, employers expect myself and my sister to show up for paid employment, my nephew still requires feeding, clothing, schooling and Harry Potter-ing, and I’m on the hunt for a suitable coffee table for the flat (long, low, sturdy, and made of wood in an “oak” or “birch” tone).

I continue to stalk the blog – this time accidentally. Sainsbury’s are selling wedges of brie for £1*, and I have a couple of ends of courgette in the fridge. Googling said ingredients brought up a tasty Tomato, Brie and Courgette gratin from the blog. Enjoy……..


*at this point half my readership drop the mouse and leg it to the nearest store….**
**too slow, suckers, I’ve bought it aaaaaallllllll….

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The Owl Service


“but you’re always there,
like a ghost in my dreams…”

Don’t have the time right now or the emotional focus to write the post that deserves to go with the title, so I’ll leave you with this stir-fried vegetable, soft cheese and pancake burrito instead, from It’s a little oil and carbohydrate-heavy so not perhaps not ideal for the waistline-conscious, but if you’re looking for tasty, cheap, quick and seriously rib-sticking then you could do far worse…..


Pancakes and vegetables mid-cook.


Finished burritos packed for lunch tomorrow.

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Vegetable Tagine


By the love of All That Is Unholy, the kitchen is a feckin’mess. I’m behind on the housework; off camping last weekend and then this week was taken up with Not-Fun family stuff. I’ve now tried to make two dishes simultaneously and there’s vegetable peelings and saucepans everywhere. However out of the chaos I’ve conjured the tasty koftas mentioned before, and now also a lovely tagine. All Mediterranean colours, spices and banked heat, in a fine contrast to a damp grey Sunday afternoon where the wind is whipping the leaves on the trees from green to silver to green again.

This one is a version of another recipe.


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Sweet potato, carrot and blackbean koftas


Tripped over a roasted butternut & black-bean kofta recipe on As I soaked and boiled a barrelful of black beans to make the chilli in the last recipe, I thought I’d set aside a couple of handfuls for this. With pitta bread, salad and low-fat mayo they’ll make an excellent packed lunch for the next couple of days. Assuming I don’t snaffle them all once they’re out of the oven….


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Chocolate chilli


There may be a flurry of posts today (all hands brace for impact!), as I’m having a bit of a cook-a-thon. After that it might be radio silence for a bit, as the information from doctors is that my mother’s cancer has reoccurred and now spread to her liver, and as such my focus may be elsewhere.

In the meantime I would like to introduce you to some new members of the family; joining Spike the Lucky Bamboo plant and Steve the basil plant, are these charming young Cayenne pepper seedlings. I found a box of seeds for 99p in the 99p Shop (naturally) and although the packet was a year out of date, and the peppers normally need to be planted between February and June, I like a challenge. So does the cayenne pepper plant it seems, and I now have four healthy seedlings that I transferred to their own pots yesterday.


I’d also like to introduce you to another Jack Monroe recipe, this time for bean chilli with dark chocolate, a smooth, tasty and somewhat luxurious take on yer bog-standard chilli con carne…


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Lost in a Forest…


Returned to the campsite described in with a few additional friends, more wine, and (sod the firelighters) bags of amazing ready-burn charcoal, just add matches and stand back*. We battled rain, hail, thunder and madly-flailing low-flying pheasants (and that was just the first couple of hours). In return, New Rivendell delivered in full on its promise of campfire BBQs, impossibly-clear starry nights, and the opportunity to perfect your peeing-in-the-woods-at-2am technique.

Back to reality with a massive THWACK!! on Monday morning. My mother has recurring health issues, (which may or may not suggest a secondary cancer is now in situ). We await the results of her meeting with the consultant on Tuesday afternoon. My company is making redundancies, and whilst I think I’m reasonably safe, my manager, who has sweated blood, sweat, tears, bad coffee and fluorescent marker-pen to make this team a success that is recognised and name-checked at the highest levels of the company, is now also in the pool for potential redundancies (there’s gratitude for you). And no, I don’t want her job – do I look feckin’ stupid?

Whilst you ponder that question, I bring you a combination of BBQ leftovers and a Jack Monroe recipe (original at ).


*wood fires are still more fffuuunnnn though.

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