The synonyms this week are loose and tough. Sound tricky, thinking, thinking… what to write?
NONET: A nonet is stanzaic and written in any number of 9-line stanzas with the following syllable count per line: 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 syllables per line
Bless all manner of ingredients
Making something unique and free
Hard to decide what to use
But chili is a must
As is some red beans
By now you’ll guess
What I am
I’ve been having fun creating new recipes at home with my eldest daughter, Natasha.
The other day I had an urge to make some scones and we did. We weren’t sure what to use, one recipe said eggs, the other one omitted them, so in the end we decided upon adding the eggs (a Mary Berry’s recipe,) and the scones turned out really well.
Recently, we did our own take on the traditional Chilli Con Carne recipe. I’m planning to share this later in the year around Halloween… More about that to come!
We also had great fun making a Chinese Banquet for Lunar New Year, we made Roast Duck and Singapore noodles plus I bought a lot of dim sum. It was so tasty!
Such a fun thing to do. I’m really enjoying trying out new ideas with food at the moment.
Hope you enjoyed the nonet. Happy Valentines, I’m looking forward to my dinner tonight, hubby is making me his signature dish – steak!
I have a new book coming out soon… Lockdown Innit, Poems About Absurdity. It is available to preorder. Make this author really happy by ordering your copy on kindle today!
By early afternoon I knew my hubby would be chaffing at the bit if I didn’t do some chores around the house. Window cleaner, that’s my new job role! It pays no cash but keeping my spouse happy counts towards extra brownie points. Of course, I’d much rather be writing… Eldest daughter, Tasha assisted and she’d much rather be reading. Hubby bought a special gizmo to help with the job. A no streak device – I never trust gizmos.
Well, the gizmo worked for a while until it started flashing red – a re-charge. Apparently, the re-charge takes two hours. What to do now… sit in the garden perhaps.
I know what to do… You guessed it… hide from hubby…
23rd Apri, 2020
We did a yoga video in the morning… it was great.
I had this idea to get mum and dad a treat. A delivery of food so they wouldn’t have to go out and brave the shops. What a joke! I ordered from a company … but there was no mince…
How can you make burgers with no mince?
Later on when Mum started cooking she realised the garlic was missing too… But, she also mentioned it was tasty. Hope mum’s delivery next week has some mince… Hello! Hint Hint…
Jackie is an award winning author, playwright, world citizen and huge movie fan She is also a very generous lady as she kindly sent me two of her books: The Seventh Train and Sleeping Through War, looking forward to reading these.
In the afternoon I braved the supermarket. I had tapas and cocktail ingredients to buy! Lockdown has it’s positives!
25th April, 2020
The highlight of the day came as my hubby David was washing his car with a jet power washer gadget which I’ve never seen before… When did he buy that? An unexpected visitor – what excitement – arrived at our door. It was Gina’s friend Elise who had popped round with a present to thank Gina for the present she’d had for her birthday! How eccentric to give your friend a present when it’s your birthday. Lockdown does that to people. Sweet. The two of them chatted for a while (at a safe distance,) and then Gina came in carrying her present looking much cheerier for having seen her friend for a while. The gift bag contained a lovely goodie bag full of treats. Lucky girl!
Earlier in the day I emailed my mum who’s getting fed up. She is very active for a 78 year old lady. Apparently, she has been doing Spring cleaning and painting but has now had enough of it. I don’t blame her!
I’m a bit worried about the painting… I hope she hasn’t been climbing up ladders!
The other funny thing about today is I forgot what day it is.
I submitted a 300 word piece to be featured in Writers Write – CoVID-19 Reflections on Quarantine on Saturday 25th and I completely forgot all about it.
Lockdown does that to you, you forget what day of the week it is.
In the evening, we had the tapas meal which was more tricky than I expected as our bottom oven wasn’t working.
It took forever to make all the little bits and pieces. The predominate ingredient seemed to be CHEESE – cheese balls coated in breadcrumbs, melted cheese Camembert (which my daughter Gina spelt Cannon Bear on the shopping list!) I thought that was kinda cute – she has always struggled with spelling being somewhat dyslexic – and Nachos with cheddar cheese. We also gobbled down home made wedges, sweet peppers filled with rice, chorizo and tomatoes, cold meats, sausages, cucumber strips and olives. All mighty tasty. The only slight disaster was the Camembert which imploded in the oven. It must have been those Cammon Bears getting up to mischief! Still we saved what we could, it wasn’t too bad.
I didn’t care too much for the Aperol cocktail concoction that the girls insisted upon but they loved it. We dressed up and took some photos by a flowering plant in our garden. It was a great evening which seems odd considering all that is going on in the world. It seems our only way to cope is to try to fill our days as best we can.
During lockdown it’s the little things that mean so much. Family time is precious.
Before I go, perhaps I might suggest a little Lockdown reading:
My poetry, prose and photography book – Mr. Sagittarius
I just discovered a new review, thank you Adele <3
Adele Park 5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic journey through life Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2020 Verified Purchase Shaped with poems and beautiful pictures this book is a must-read and keep. This novel is the kind you will go back to again and again to dip into and read your favourites. A fantastic book, the author has delivered with engaging characters and beautiful prose. Well done.
My YA Fantasy – The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone.
One of the things I discovered as we were sitting in the taxi on route to catch our bus to Heathrow was I’d forgotten my coat! So, I ended up borrowing my eldest daughter’s jacket when I could – this furry brown one was my favourite!
As you can see we stopped for a cocktail – the first of many!!! We went there on another evening to sample their fantastic pizzas. Yum…
I did buy myself a new jacket… think tulips and jazzy coat. I’m in the slideshow below. The tulips were stunning at the Botanical Gardens, Montreal. Talk about a field of colour…
Getting back to cocktails. See the green one below? That was my favourite! We were on a rooftop bar, and it was the bizz!
The food… Boy, was it tasty – my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Here are a few of the amazing dishes we tried… Look at this plate of beautiful food at Arthurs Nosh Bar… 4621 Notre-Dame O Rue, Montreal QC H4C 1S5 Not only does it look like a work of art it tasted like one too! It was well worth the wait. We had to queue to get in but this looked and tasted fantastic. A definite favourite!
And these two meals were from the same pub which was very near our AirBnB, Pub Bishop and Bagg 52 Rue Saint Viateur O, Montreal QC H2T 2K8 the food was amazing. See those potatoes they were cooked to perfection. Yum… And there vegetarian option was fantastic too. All very hearty but tasty food.
https://www.lov.com/ At Taiyo we ordered from a tablet on our table and after a while we couldn’t quite remember just how much we ordered! Needless to say we ate everything but had less room for the amazing banana fritters. 1709 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal H2X 3K4.
Montreal is definitely a foodie’s paradise. This is just a sample of some of the amazing restaurants we went to and the cocktails… what can I say? Whilst on holiday, it’s imperative to let your hair down!
This week I thought I’d have a go at Hugh’s Photo Challenge – the prompt word this week is Fresh. I had just the photo in mind, flowers….. I like to photograph flowers.
The bouquet below was a gift from my friend who came to mine for dinner a while ago. I like to photograph flowers when they’re still fresh and beautiful. I always think it’s sad when they die so this is my way to preserve them, and keep them fresh for me to remember them at their very best. That way when I look at them I remember the occasion too, which is always nice, a lovely memory to retain.
My friend and her daughter came round one evening for a meal, I went all Jame Oliver on them and made lots of fresh Italian food from scratch with fresh herbs, salad, and pasta!
It was a blast. Loved the company, the food and of course the beautiful flowers!
Here’s the photo of the salad (to the left,) it was so fresh, and inviting: peppers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, oregano, cucumber, and Greek feta…. It had a very fancy name:
To the right is my photo of the sauce. I’m afraid the photo didn’t quite do it justice. It was yum.
Enjoy!! There’s nothing quite like sharing home cooked food made with fresh herbs and love.
Oh, before I go I have some news for you. I’ve been particularly inspired recently and have been editing my WIP. (So I haven’t had so much time for blogging, apologies if I haven’t been taking part in all of my usual weekly activities. I’m really missing my haiku, writer’s quotes, blog battle, etc…… So I’m trying to do what I can when I can….)
Amazingly my WIP now stands at 84,338 words!! My baby has grown so much! It’s putting on weight, getting plump. I’m getting it ready for the final read with beta readers…. And I’m so much more confident with its progress…..
It’s now on Wattpad, and I’ve decided on a title. Doing a happy dance…
I was a bit apprehensive when I received my appointment letter for my Gallbladder operation. The date was set as Monday 13th of October, being a bit superstitious the number 13 just didn’t do much to alleviate my fears. On the day of the operation my husband was driving me to Addenbrookes in the early hours of the morning when he suddenly said, “Oh No.” I thought his outburst was most probably due to an announcement about bad traffic ahead, but no of course it couldn’t be that, the NHS were on strike! So as we drove to the hospital I had no idea whether my operation would go ahead as planned. The superstitious no 13, lifted his ugly head and smirked.
I was admitted, given a bed, and everything seemed to be going as planned. The doctors and nurses checked me for everything under the sun, diabetes, high blood pressure, and my medical record was clarified and re-checked over and over again. One thing surprised me, the check for nail polish and makeup, whatever was that in aid of? This one might seem irrelevant but believe me it is not. Your nails and skin are a means to verify that enough oxygen is reaching you whilst you are under. So leave the make up and nail polish at home ladies, oh and any gents too who are so inclined! I met my anaesthetist and was somewhat perturbed when I saw that she was very heavily pregnant. She made a comment about coming in as a patient herself in the next two weeks. Please don’t have your baby today, I silently prayed.
I hadn’t eaten or had any fluid since the night before and my operation wasn’t scheduled until around 3 o’clock. A very chatty member of the hospital staff waited with me while I perspired anxiously. I told him all about my writing journey and my completed book. Then I was called in. No going back. I woke up around 4.20pm and just before I stirred I could have sworn that I was on my computer writing my latest blog post about my experience at the hospital! Trust me to think about writing whilst I was under the surgeon’s knife. Fortunately I didn’t embarrass myself too much, I was a quiet patient, but the guy in the bed next to me was a challenge to say the least. He just wouldn’t stay still when he awoke. The nurses had a difficult job restraining him. I suppose even the quietest of guys may react badly to a general anaesthetic.
I didn’t stay in recovery for long and was quickly transferred back to the original ward. It was a bit of a lonely night as I was all by myself on the ward. Mind you it wasn’t as if I was up to much socialising I had enough trouble going to the toilet! The next morning one of the nurses casually suggested that I might like to wash my face and freshen up a bit. I must have smelt pretty bad and this was her polite way of saying I needed to wash. I really wished that I’d packed some nicely smelling deodorant but all I had was a functional roll on. Still, I was so glad I had packed a dressing gown, a must if you are going in for an operation.
Then a new batch of patients arrived waiting for their operations. I was struck by their positivity and cheerfulness. I felt guilty eating and drinking as they were unable to indulge in either of these pursuits. The aroma of my food must have been distressing. Nevertheless, we were drawn together by this strange experience, it was a club of sorts but not one you would normally want to join. An elderly Italian lady made a big impression upon me. She had been for countless operations before but she just smiled, and talked endlessly. I have never heard anyone talk so much! Even though everything must have been a bit of a challenge for her, she had a walking stick, suffered from dizzy spells, yet she didn’t complain. Even after she returned from her operation she still had so much to say! She gave me a lovely wave and wished me well when she left to go home. I just hope she will be fine too, her arm was limp after the operation and I wonder whether it is fine now? She made light of it, joking that she didn’t think the alien arm belonged to her. I couldn’t believe she was released within a day, what a tough old cookie! Not like me, I stayed overnight, was hardly able to walk after the operation, and had a raised temperature for the first night. An eighty three year old with a walking stick, definitely put me to shame!
Overall surgery is not an experience I would like to repeat in a hurry, but the nurses and doctors did a sterling job. NHS staff shouldn’t need to strike to get a 1% pay rise, they deserve every single penny. I’m relieved that my short stay at Addenbrookes is all over. Hopefully now I’ll be able to eat normally again, a favourite pastime of mine. I can’t wait to tuck into a long awaited Chinese Buffet!
Oh and now my Gallbladder is gone I may never suffer from indecisiveness ever again, apparently in Chinese medicine, quoting Wikipedia, ” the Gallbladder is a Yang (Fu) organ; its paired Yin (Zang) organ is the Liver. The pair is associated with the element of Wood. While the Liver is associated with the emotion of anger, the Gallbladder is associated with indecision or decisiveness.” So no more procrastinating, time to get my book published!
Food is a major part of my life. It has been since I was little. If you come from a family like mine you would understand. Even before you have wiped the last vestiges of sleep from your eyes you are bombarded with the inevitable question. “What do you want to eat tonight?” Well the good news is whatever it is it will be amazing, because my mother is without a doubt an amazing cook.
She can make a Malaysian rendang curry that titillates your senses, and her trifle is exquisite. In fact she is such a good cook that I think that quite possibly my husband fell in love with me after he tasted my mother’s cooking!
This spring I was struck down with a sudden inability to eat what I want. Shock. It all started in the months leading up to Easter. I kept getting stomach problems, pains in the upper chest. At one point I went to the doctors fearing that I was having a heart problem. My doctor confirmed that my heart was fine so I carried on.
I travelled up to Edinburgh on the train with my two teenage daughters and seemed to be fine. Then one morning I was woken with terrible stomach pains again. I went to my parent’s doctors surgery, and met with my first obstacle, I had to fill in a temporary patient form. The receptionist looked at me sympathetically, she asked, “Is it an emergency?” I began to wonder if it was. Luckily I managed to get an appointment the very same day. I was examined by a chatty Scottish doctor who I think thought I was tippling into the whisky. My gallbladder and liver area seemed tender. Ok so the week before I had consumed more than my usual amount as we had been partying, but I am not a heavy drinker! When I returned to see him after my blood tests he prodded my liver and said, “You’ve only got one of these.” My heart sank. I forgave him his jocularity, I was even faintly amused, living in England for such a long time hadn’t made me forget the Scot’s wry sense of humour. Well if you lived up in the cold all the time you would make weird jokes too, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Anyway, he meant well!
Well it looks likely that I had gallstones. Which I most probably have passed out of my system. I won’t dwell on this, I don’t want to put you off reading my blog. So everything should be ok now shouldn’t it? WRONG. Forget eating what I want. Enter bland, boring diet, plus no alcohol. GREAT. Let’s just hope that this settles down or disappears. This is when I really could do with a magic wand. Shame I write magical stories but can’t quite cure myself. It happens on paper but just not in real life.
Well spicy foods are off my list, plus chocolate, biscuits, cakes, puddings, coffee and tea. Oh and of course no alcohol. Is there any point in living? On the positive side, there are positives! I will most probably regain my flat stomach, a relic of the past. Also I can eat fruit. I love fruit.
For all those high calorie delicacies I get by stalking food on tumblr, salivating over cappuccinos,