Saturday, 29 October 2016

Scary Recipe for Halloween Fun

Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble,

Macbeth Act 4 Scene 1

Here's a recipe for a Halloween supper, a vegetarian stew that will have you reciting Shakespeare and giving a cackle or two. It's a bit like an Autumn Ratatouille lots of lovely seasonal vegetables washed and sliced and then slowly cooked together with your choice of seasoning.
The beautiful colours of the Autumn leaves are found in the pumpkin. I love Autumn. In Spring the sight of the blossom will lighten your heart, in Autumn the bright yellows and oranges will warm your heart and prepare your soul for Winter.

Halloween Vegetarian Stew

400g can of chickpeas
1 red onion peeled and chopped
500g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 leek, washed and sliced thinly
500g passata, tomato sauce
450ml vegetable stock
400g can butter beans
200g spinach leaves washed (optional)

Magic spell seasonings, to be added according to your taste)
curry powder

Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened.
Add your favourite seasonings, curry powder, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper to taste and stir gently.
Add the leeks and cook gently for another few minutes until the leeks are softened.
Add the chopped pumpkin and stir gently then add the tomato passata and stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, stirring and tasting and uttering magic spells.
Add the butter beans, spinach leaves and chickpeas and mix together gently..
Check the seasoning.
Serve with boiled rice if liked, or crusty bread and salad.

This is a great recipe to prepare in advance. Let it cool completely and then cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge then just heat gently until it is nice and hot.
Just the thing to come home to in the evening.

 Happy Halloween everybody, take care and have fun!

Easy to get your five-a-day with this stew

A friend made these halloween cupcakes, delicious!!

It's easy to carve a friendly face to keep you safe on Halloween night

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Rambling On

If this title was written by Bob Dylan it would  probably be 'Ramblin' on' . Just saying, cos he won the Nobel prize and all that. Anyway this is rambling post with random thoughts which we surely all have.
Driving along the motorway through a built up industrial area all at once the sky cleard to reveal a most magnificent sunset, blazing, golden, glorious. Reflecting on the contrast between the factories and the sky all sorts of philosophical thoughts started to swirl in my head. For some reason this verse by Emily Dickinson popped up

Who has not found the heaven below,
Will fail of it above:
For angels rent the house next our's
Wherever we remove.

Wherever we go we take ourselves with us, so it's our thoughts and are eyes that make what is around us appealing.
 We just have to wait a while and something nice will happen, look for the beauty around you every day, whether it is a person's smile or greeting or a lovely sunset.

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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Words that open your heart and your mind

Bob Dylan has received the Nobel prize for literature. It's the first time that it's been won by a song-writer. It's probably the first time that I haven't rushed off to buy a book written by the Nobel prize winner, so many books that I've only read because of that prize, Beowulf by Seamus Heaney for example. Actually I didn't read all of it but I thought I should as it had won the Nobel prize.

I know most of Bob Dylan's songs they followed me through my youth. The very first record I ever bought with my pocket money was' Hey Mr. Tambourine Man', sang by The Byrds but written by Bob.It is still one of my favourite songs and still works it's magic on me. In a film where Michelle Pfeiffer was an ex Marine and went to teach in a rough school she uses this song to get  her students attention.

Another favourite was 'Like a Rolling Stone' the chorus of which can be sung at the top of your voice going along in the car. 'Blowing in the wind' is arguably the best song for peace, it was supposedly written in ten minutes in a cafè. Its' message echoes down the years, as relevant today as when it was written.
'Forever Young' is a heartwarming wish for us all, Bob Dylan's songs are powerful and poetic. They open the mind and they open the heart.
Olivia Newton John singing 'If not for you' is a sweet and gentle love song, sung by Bob Dylan it is husky and sensual.

No doubt Bob Dylan's nomination will cause some discussion, but I was thinking that maybe we need to be reminded of the message in his songs. Some were written over forty years ago and are still relevant today and always.

Just look at the questions he asks in 'Blowin' in the wind'.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?

How many times must cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?

How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

And then there is the verse from 'The Times they are a changin''

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall,
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled,
There's a battle outside and it's ragin'.

Then there is his beautiful love song 'If not for you', which along with 'I will' by The Beatles and 'Your song' by Elton must surely have sent shivers down the spine of many a lover.. I know, I'm one!!

If not for you, my sky would fall, rain would gather too
Without your love I'm nowhere at all,
I'd be lost if not for you
And you know it's true..

Maybe it's time to listen to all his songs again, thinking about today.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Poem for the Day, Autumn Walks

Anyone lucky enough to have seen New England in the fall, or Autumn, knows what a spectacular display Nature puts on and anyone who lives in a country with seasons knows the joy of walking through golden fields, crunching dry leaves underfoot, caressing a shiny conker, or horse- chestnut, breathing in the first smoky scents and chill in the early morning air, the mists across the fields, the golden sun ever lower in the sky.
Here is a poem by the American poet John Greenleaf Whittaker ( 1807 - 1892) to accompany through the beautiful Autumn days.

The autumn time has come,
On woods that dream of bloom,
And over purpling vines,
The low sun fainter shines.

The aster flower is failing,
The hazel's gold is paling,
Yet overhead more near
The eternal stars appear.

And present gratitude
Insures the future's good,
And for the things I see
I trust the things to be;

Hope you like it!