Autumn is a time for eating.

Autumn is  coming, fresh and chilly. It’s time to go into hibernation, but you can’t snooze on an empty stomach. Here’s a weeks’ worth of gluttonous goodness! Get your chops round these vegan, GF beauties! They’re delicious, cheap to make and more moreish than you can possibly imagine ❤

 

The Most Velvety Butternut and Chickpea Curry Ever:

You will need:

1 butternut squash

1 red onion

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp ready grated ginger

1 large can chickpeas (drained)

Handful of cherry tomatoes

2 stock cubes

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinammon

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

Brown rice to serve

 

This is how we do:

  • Dice butternut squash (in 1 inch pieces approx)
  • Toss squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinammon in a baking tin.
  • Roast at gas mark 4 for 25 minutes or until soft
  • Meanwhile, fry off the red onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and remaining spices.
  • Add stock a bit at a time to form a thick sauce.
  • Add chickpeas.
  • When the squash is cooked add to the sauce.
  • Add water as required and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the squash begins to disintegrate a little. Or, do it to whatever consistency you like it.
  • While it’s simmering away, boil the rice.
  • Serve!

 

Ultimate Comfort Food Honey-roast Veg and Sweet Potato Mash:

(Good with some grilled halloumi, too, if you’re veggie)

You will need:

1 large red onion

1 carrot

4 cloves garlic

1/2 butternut squash/ gourd

Handful cherry tomatoes

2 courgettes

1 red, orange or yellow pepper

1 beetroot

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Salt & Pepper

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Honey

Sweet potatoes

Vegan butter/ spread

 

This is how we do:

  • Chop all veg and place in a large baking tin or pyrex dish.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and toss with the spices.
  • Add a dash of balsamic vinegar.
  • If you’re in a hurry, roast on a medium high heat for 25 minutes, then add the honey for another 5-10 minutes.
  • OR if you’ve got all day/ are in dire need of a cup of tea then roast on a low heat for a couple of hours then turn it up for 10 minutes and add the honey for a delightful glaze.
  • Boil the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender.
  • Mash up with a little knob of vegan spread.

 

Vegetables Galore Stirfry:

You will need:

Sesame oil

Spring onions

Baby corn

Peppers

Pak choi

Sugar snap peas

Broccoli

Any other veg you fancy – try grating raw carrot on top

Rice noodles

Grated ginger

1 clove garlic

Salt & Pepper

GF soy sauce

Honey

 

This is how we do:

  • Chop the veg to bit size chunks.
  • Heat the oil.
  • Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger and fry up for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the rest of the veggies.
  • Season and add soy sauce and honey.
  • Prepare the noodles whilst the veggies cook.
  • Eat!

 

Scrumdidilumptious Lentil Dahl:

You will need:

Olive oil

1 red onion

1 clove garlic

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garam masala

1 stock cube

Red lentils

Yellow split peas/ green lentils (optional)

Brown rice, naan bread and mango chutney to serve.

 

This is how we do:

  • Heat the oil and fry the onion with the garlic.
  • Add the spices and soften the onions on a low heat for a few minutes.
  • Add the lentils (I tend to do it by eye and make loads as it freezes well)
  • Add boiling water and simmer.
  • Keep adding water and stirring as the lentils soften.
  • Cook the rice and simmer the dahl until cooked.
  • Devour!

 

Cous-cous Stuffed Peppers:

You will need:

1 pepper per person

Maize cous-cous

Pomegrante seeds

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp harissa paste

Vegan spread

 

This is how we do:

  • Prepare the cous-cous according to the instructions.
  • Add the spices and spread and stir in while the cous cous is absorbing the water.
  • Cut the top off the peppers and de-seed.
  • Fill with the cous-cous.
  • Replace the tops of the peppers and roast for 20 minutes until soft and slightly browned on top.
  • Serve with the pomegrante seeds and any additional veg you fancy.

 

*Not technically food* Comforting Mulled Cider:

You will need:

  • 2 litres of apple cider
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 orange (quartered)
  • Honey (to taste)
  • Brown sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 2 star anise
  • 4/5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

 

This is how we do:

  • Put the cider in a large pan over a low heat.
  • Add the spices, orange pieces and orange juice.
  • Add the sugar and a large squidge of honey.
  • Stir and heat until the flavours have all come together and steam is rising (no need to boil)
  • Adjust the sweetness to taste.
  • Serve on cold nights!

 

Aubergine Dream Pasta:

You will need:

  • 1 aubergine
  • Olive oil
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton passata
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 carrot (diced up small)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)
  • GF pasta
  • Vegan cheese (optional but opulent)

 

This is how we do:

  • Dice the aubergine and courgette.
  • Roast for 20-30 minutes.
  • While the veggies are roasting, make the sauce.
  • Fry the onion, carrot and garlic and season.
  • Add the wine gradually and allow the alcohol to evaporate off.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and passata.
  • If you want a smoother sauce you can blitz using a handblender.
  • Cook the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  • Combine the roasted veg with the sauce and serve!

 

Now, HIBERNATE!

Take care 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pick-Me-Ups for Pin Ups and other magical beings

 

Pick-me-ups we could all use now and again:

 

  • Piece of quiet: Half an hour of carefully cultivated silence might do the trick.

 

  • Roller-set: Waking up to a done ‘do is some people’s idea of heaven. Definitely mine.

 

  • Prep-set-go: Get organised for the week. Make lunches, pack bags, iron clothes… Future you is going to love you!

 

  • Me-day: Give yourself a bank-holiday. Book a day off, get rid of the dog, kiss your significant other goodbye and plan a day of unadulterated ME time. Get lost in an antique emporium, eat ice-cream by the tub-load, book into a craft workshop, go to a sex shop, whatever it is, it’s yours!

 

  • Selfie-love: Taking that one perfect, crafted self-portrait gives you a buzz. Take a hit.

 

  • You scrub up well: It might be something as small as lip-liner, it might be a bobby-dazzler of a fur coat – dress up to the nines and shine!

 

  • Take me down to the paradise city: Day trip to a nearby city you don’t see nearly enough of… have a love affair there. With the city. Obviously.

 

  • Vital signs: Take a few minutes to scan your body and put anything right that you can right away. Take your vitamins, drink a glass of water, put a wheat bag on that niggly shoulder, put on some lip balm and hand cream. Note down anything that might need more attention when you have more time.

 

Disclaimer: There are other ‘Pick-Me-Up’ lists  on the market.

Distraction Tactics

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Life is sometimes a thrower of curveballs; it likes to test us and see how we cope. When you feel like you can’t cope, maybe, in that moment, you can’t. So you need tools to take your mind outside of your life for a little while.

Here are my top 5 Distraction Tactics:

  1. Read a book: No, I’m never going to stop recommending this as a course of action. It’s appropriate to all situations and it has been a life-saver for me (and I mean that in a literal sense).
  2. Puzzle it out: Do some online quizzes, print out a sudoku and immerse yourself, do a wordsearch using pretty colours. Concentrate and work that grey matter.
  3. Get some grief-bacon: Bake a big, fat, fudge cake. Create a curry. Make moussaka. Chargrill chicken. Delight in dough. Well… you get the idea.
  4. Potter with plants: Have a good nip with the secateurs, wrangle out the weeds, rake vigorously. Green fingers, assemble!
  5. Plans with people: Actual real life people who care about you. Go to the cinema, eat together, read aloud to each other, play a board game that takes hours and ends in a hissy fit. Spend time in other people’s worlds and your own becomes less daunting.

For anyone struggling with self-harm, here are some links:

Scar Tissue

Alternatives to self-harm from rcpsych.ac.uk

No More Panic

Give yourself a break 🙂

A Veritable, Vegetable Feast

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Delicious, healthy, vegetarian curry and accoutrements!

Veggie Curry – Ingredients

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • any other veg you like
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton of passata/ sieved tomatoes
  • Spice mix: 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper

Veggie curry – Method

  • Chop all the veg and place in a slow cooker (you can use a normal pan if you prefer)
  • Fry off the garlic and spices in 2-3 tbsp of oil in a medium sized pan
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and passata to form the sauce
  • Pour over the vegetables and set on ‘High’ for four hours, or low for longer. (If using a normal pan, simmer until the vegetables are cooked)
  • When cooked, add coconut milk, stir thoroughly and serve.

Lentil dahl – Ingredients

  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 cup of lentils
  • Spice mix – salt, pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

Lentil dahl – Method

  • Soften the onion in plenty of oil (2-3 tbsp)
  • Add the spices
  • Add the lentils and stock
  • Simmer until lentils are tender – you may need to add more stock

Rice – Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • Bay leaf
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • can of chickpeas (optional)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of water

Rice –  Method

  • Melt the butter
  • Add the rice and coat in the butter
  • Add the spices and water
  • Boil for 15 minutes, checking water levels every few minutes

Butternut squash

  • Chop the rest of the butternut squash
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Coat the squash in oil and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • Roast for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your chunks etc.

To serve:

  • Raita: Natural yoghurt with chopped cucumber and mint makes a refreshing dip.
  • Chopped banana or raisins add a little sweetness.
  • Naan bread is surprisingly simple to make – have a go.

Enjoy!

Masturdating – the science, the art.

Here’s a handy guide to masturdation which, in case you were wondering, or misreading, means the following:

Masturdation: n. the act of spending time with oneself, in the manner of a two person date, but (terrifyingly, beautifully) alone.

Silence may not be golden but a bit of solitude is good for the soul. It helps ground you, focus your mind and see what’s really going on in that little noggin of yours. It’s a space where you can value both yourself and your loved ones at the same time. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Here’s how I masturdate:

  • Loser lunches: My charmingly-titled go-to self-date. It’s liberating and delicious. Try it.
  • Haul it in: I am the charity-shop fisherwoman. Nothing like the silvery glow of a day’s catch.
  • A-muse me: Museums – free and full of lovely, useless imformation. A good place to write.
  • The gall of some people: Get me to the gallery, get inspired.
  • Touchy-feely: Have someone pummel your back. Preferably a professional.
  • Limber up: Go to a yoga class or crack out the mat. Sun salutations or a cat nap – it all counts.
  • Get hairy: Find a good hairdresser and trust them.
  • Stack up: Libraries are much bigger on the inside.
  • Aromatherapy: Go somewhere that smells really good, like Lush. Breathe deeply and exhale whatever’s stinking up your life.
  • Pet Shop, boys: Enough fluffy to make life less sucky.

So, how do you do it?

How to streamline your life.

It’s easy to get caught up in stuff, whether emotional or physical – sometimes you need to muck out and let the horse crap of your past fertilise your fallow future (I’m big on metaphors and bucolic imagery). So cut the crap, live little for a while and see how the world gets bigger than the inside of your head.

  • Set Fire to the Rain: Burn things. Burn your ex’s t-shirts, your old school books, Christmas cards from people you hate, whatever it is that you’ve been hoarding away – take back the space.
  • Get creative: Write a song or a poem. Title it, ‘Fuck (insert object of your aggression here)’
  • Release the beast: Scream into a pillow. Pillow optional. Release brings renewal.
  • Pantry party: Use up everything in your cupboards, clean them, restock in an orderly fashion.
  • Sell-out: Sell any of your possessions that have bad associations. Especially that red dress… I know what you did last summer.
  • Discoball: Make something shiny with old CDs. Inspiration here.
  • Trink-ing of you: Have something that reminds you of someone? Write them a lovely letter and send them a little trinket. Unclutter and reconnect in one fell swoop.
  • Bastards, cripples and broken things: Like Tyrion, we all have a place in our hearts for the imperfect. But be realistic. If you have a single shoe, get rid. If you have multiple breadmakers with no home, get online and find them one.
  • Get to the bottom of it: Simmer in the last of your Christmas smellies, hold a fire festival in your house with your half-burnt candles.

Life can be a bit treacly sometimes and a bunch of stuff weighing you down will only get you drowned in delicious, deadly treacle. So inhale that cow-pat-scented air and let it clear out your sinuses. Bucolic enough for you?