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things i've loved in portsmouth pt. I.

Posted on 2010.06.02 at 00:38
hearing: florence welch:halo
ok. so. we all know it isn't a thursday. but we also know i'm leaving town. and i'm leaving this weekend. and i've been here for four years. and this town and it's people have done a lot to make me who i am. and i'm not good at goodbyes, and here is part one of the things i'll never forget about portsmouth, and the people, and the good times; (see the inevitable part two and possibly part three/four that will happen), the things that made me who i am today:


that first week of halls. i was so fucking afraid and i hated like, six months of my experience in halls, but krista, you set a fucking precedent of me being ready to dress up for your birthday every year. i love you, so much.


dan, we'll forever be mocked for this weekend, but you're still my best mate forever in the universe (well, you and krista); and i think neither of us will ever forget the other. so glad we met on the first night of halls and i'm not sorry for anything that happened since apart from my behaviour. i love you, so much.


tallie do you remember this gig? i know the previous two will never have to ever be nagged about keeping in touch cos they love me. but you will, cos we've only just re-acquainted. you helped me live through the first year, and i love you. so much. keep in touch.


ahahaha krista, do you remember this?? 'welcome to university!'... by the way, you are SO FINE it's unreal.


I LOVE YOU JENNY. never forget i yelled that when you were onstage for graduation in a forrest gump voice (not that i think you ever will). your 21st was a real good time; i wish you all the best.


oh, idris. you and your lectures. preferred you with the big hair but you'll always be one of life's non-supplement reading bastards. i love you, so much.


and this was the beginning of my summer. where i'd just moved back to portsmouth and lost my phone on a boat. ck made this an awesome and hilarious night but mr. t. made sure the tunes were good.


things i love thursday.

Posted on 2010.05.27 at 18:19
hearing: the drifters:under the boardwalk

fuuuuuck what a week. i've basically made some major, as in life-changing decisions this week and today i think is the first day i'm finally okay with that. it's been kind of hard to see the good things a lot of the time, but i'm continuing to try; i don't want to get bogged down in the negatives and lose sight of where i'm going. so here we go:

finally coming to a decision.
yeah, so basically i've finally decided what to do to move forward, and i'm feeling thrilled about that; i still have a few things to do tonight, and then i will feel genuinely like a weight's lifted. i had to spend a hell of a lot of time on my own thinking things through, but it's all proved worth it. i'm really scared about the next steps i'm taking but it has to be said that i'd be scared regardless, so this fear is probably a good thing and will motivate me.

so i watched west side story this week (SHUT. UP. YEAH?) and i've been rinsing the supremes on my ipod. as it goes this video kills two birds with one stone.

people who have restored my faith in humanity.
there's been a lot of people i've spent one-on-one time with this week to get away from my own internal monologue and they've all really helped me. talking to joel in the rock gardens and watching doctor who on saturday was great, beers with pigeon by the sea was a nice chillout, a few beers with benjy was a pleasant catchup; that kind of thing. the boy has once again been a total rock and made me really appreciative of having somebody so supportive on my side, and my mum has been totally understanding and patient with my decision making too. not to mention the brilliant lady at sussex progress and admissions, who gave me all the advice i need and told me she was disappointed at how many people had been fobbing me off and gave me advice on how to complain.

speaking again of west side story; rita moreno is a stone cold fox and dior homme owes the costume designer BIG.

spending time alone in my town.
not to hint too much about what i'm planning before i've had the chance to talk to the people it concerns, i have been testing my willpower by spending a lot of time in the nicest parts of southsea on my own. i'm red from lying on the stones of the beach and baking, and i've been strolling past all the big houses i dreamed about living in someday listening to my ipod and inhaling deeply everytime i see honeysuckles. i've smoked cigarettes under the pier and barefooted across the common. it's basically been a meditative process, a testing of what i can give up, a goodbye to all the 'when i smile at my city, it smiles back at me' stuff.

honourable mentions.
deleting people on facebook to lighten the mental load, cheesy chips at the fat fox, miniature bottles of wine, texts from the boy that make me smile, that tingly feeling when i'm sunburnt reminding me of holiday, pee-wee's big adventure, the prospect of cocktails with tallie tonight, going bare legged and not feeling cold, feeling a real sense of abandon for the first time in a year or so, summer vogue, filing my recipes, being told by an old friend that i know i'm good at what i do and to not lose sight of that, listening to a crapload of motown, wearing feathers in my hair, sunglasses, tinted moisturiser instead of foundation, painting my toenails on the beach, cherryade, getting an apology from a customer who really offended me, palmer's cocoa butter, wearing my hair in a side plait, watching up again, co-op three for a quid kiddie sweets, smoking proper cigarettes, peanut butter hummus (OMG SO GOOD), oversized sheer shirts and cut offs, comfy sandals, laundry smells, seeing rosie buying stuff for her baby already, the fact my flowers have now lasted a week, the prospect of planting salad leaves and herbs and autumn veg, sewing up crocheted flowers to prep for the land girls fete, epic amounts of black coffee, purple potatoes, the prospect of a lovely kitchen, sunburn fading to tan, falling asleep dazedly thinking about the boy, freckles, mugs of rose on the beach in the morning with the housemates, elvis videos, the heat of the evenings, thinking i'll probably be able to see my dad soon.


it's that time of the week again

Posted on 2010.05.25 at 22:10
it's curious tuesday over at www.galadarling.com so here i go:

1. Who is your favourite musician, NOT in terms of talent or aptitude, but based on pure sex appeal?
beyonce knowles. how on earth could i say anything else, i would actually murder to look like her.

2. What were some quirks of your past lovers that drove you crazy?
lovers? so not necessarily a relationship, just people i've slept with or whatevs? and i'm assuming driven crazy in a bad way? ohh, i have made some bad choices, this is gon' be a long old answer (no names though, that would be completely vulgar). here goes; i've had so many amateur psychoanalysts who liked to TELL me what i was thinking, or why i act the way i do/am the way i am (and god did i hate that); had guys who assume my submissive nature with men in the bedroom means i'll just take whatever abuse they throw at me outside the bedroom, for a while i had a bad habit of sleeping with maths/science oriented blokes who naturally assumed superiority over ickle humanities student me cos my subject isn't 'real', also had people who claim age as superiority emotionally and intellectually too. oh and i've had partners who tried to change me a lot, both male and female. none of the above got to stick around very long, but i guess it shows my character judgement has been formed through trial and error (and that i sometimes lapse into thinking with my genitalia, but whatevs, we all do).

3. If there was a movie made about your life, what song would you absolutely INSIST be on the soundtrack?
oh you got me there. my life would probably be some sort of black comedy if it was a movie, so i'll say probably wild wild life by talking heads.

4. What is your favourite quote right now?
man, i dunno, i got quotes up to the eyeballs, i'm a literature student. at the moment i'm currently very much enjoying 'If there is a god, then he's a shit, and I'd like to kick him in the butt.' from fanny and alexander, a bergman film. sums up the rough time i'm having at the moment.

5. Connect up with other nonpareils! Post links to your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc., here! (We haven’t done this in a long time & it’s so much fun! Thanks to Vixxie for reminding me!)

yeah alright:

i feel awful today. it's so sunny that i feel like the world is making fun of me. that is how i seem to feel everytime i leave the house at the moment.

i've been back a week and i really thought i had won, and taken the reins of my life and gotten control back and i haven't at all. since i've been back, other than being at work i've spent most of my time on my own, reading, cleaning, cooking, watching films. last night i spent some concrete time with my housemates then went across the road to a gig. all day i felt too conscious of myself, i have to think and think til it hurts before i can say anything that isn't a torrent of sobs interspersed with 'i hate my life....i hate myself....' to other people. i have to hold myself in tightly when i'm around anyone else. i took out my mood on the leeks and mushrooms i cut up for dinner and i thought i would be fine if i just kept drinking cheap white wine and plastered a vacant grin on. when i went across to the gig it was too hot, everything was too loud, and i got an ache from trying to keep my head up rather than looking at the floor. i stayed for about a band and a half before i had to leave and cloister myself in my bedroom so i could cry.

i ended up genuinely asking my mother if i quit my job here but carried on paying rent til the end of tenancy could i stay with her, up in northampton. i guess this idea takes some explaining, so here goes. my job earns me fifty pounds a week if i do my proper shift pattern. no more, no less. it doesn't even cover a month's rent in this place. i've been paying rent with savings from when roy died, but because i've been covering for rent for other people those are disappearing faster than they should be. but basically, i'm not working to pay rent, i'm working to buy groceries and pay bills to keep me ticking over until i can find a job that has enough hours to actually sustain a lifestyle. so if i move home and cut out those grocery and bill costs i can carry on paying my rent here and stop living in a situation that makes me miserable, no harm done.

as for my masters; well, sussex are still not replying to my plea for a thesis supervisor. i am getting to the point where i don't care enough to finish it. all it's done is make me feel more stupid and worthless, nigh-on bankrupt me, and make me realize that probably the future i wanted isn't within my reach. i would only have to be in university a handful of times to finish this degree, if the university would actually respond to my correspondence, anyways. it all just feels a bit useless and i don't know why i'm insisting on staying near it anymore.

i was very serious about asking that of my mum last night. this morning i've woken up and thought maybe i shouldn't, but the idea's still there, inflating itself in the back of my mind. it won't go away. i know it would be admitting defeat, throwing in the scrap of towel i've got left; and i've never given up on anything before, i''ve gone on ripping myself to shreds until i finished whatever it was that needed to be done, then lain there panting for a few months until i have to take a deep breath and steel myself for the next challenge. and i know people think i'm strong because of this, but it's not strength that's motivated me, ever. it's fear of what would happen if i didn't push on outweighing the pain i'm feeling. i'm actually at the tipping point. i'm not really afraid of what happens if i give up, anymore. it's actually gotten to the point where failing would feel like an immense relief. where not having to do anything anymore and facing the fact i've wasted my time and given up on what i wanted out of life would sit better with me than exhausting myself and spilling my guts out for a success that doesn't even mean anything to me anymore.

i'm tired of pushing myself and i want nothing more than to curl up in a ball and let the world carry on it's own sweet way without me. i feel like i don't have any trying left in me.


things i love thursday.

Posted on 2010.05.20 at 17:12
hearing: sexual harassment:if i gave you a party

so it's been a nice week; i guess weeks where you realize you're in a rut and have to change something then proceed to do so are like that, really. today i went to the bank to give other people more of my ever dwindling money, but took the edge off by wandering to the sea, picking up a bunch of chrsyanths in a peachy/orange/yellow/pink colour for 99p, finding reduced granary bread and heritage potatoes (the skin is like, navy blue, amazing-gonna try a real colourful potato salad with those ones as i'm addicted to the stuff atm) in the supermarket, and wandering through the rose gardens eating rice crackers, drinking water, and wondering to myself why i sometimes forget i don't have to make life hard for myself, i just need to learn to stay more in touch with my own rhythms and how i work, as opposed to listening to other people and trying to sync.
so, without further ado:

spending time with the bloke.
oh, come on, we all knew this was going to be number one, didn't we? had a brilliant weekend with john, spent lots of time just together, and had a nice lazy barbecue where i spent lots of time making food and being in the sun, two of my favourite things. talking to john about what i'm afraid of and what i'm trying to do is a lot easier than talking to anyone else i know, and helps me straighten myself out, and hearing how well he's doing in his job and listening to his plans always fills me with masses of pride. it was a genuine and much-needed recharge. not gonna lie, there was also the wounded-baby-animal side of me that probably just needed a lot of hugs being soothed here. the fact i keep getting little phonecalls from him since i've been back is super cute, too.

gaining some resolve.
there are several areas in my life currently that have been a problem and while i can't change everything about my circumstances i can work with what i've got. i have been on cleaning, cooking, and paperwork missions lately trying to sort things out. as a result i have applied for nearly triple-figure amounts of jobs, have a remarkably thought-out food budget and have been eating ludicrously healthily, have a nearly-totally clean room that smells of laundry and cleaning products, have been walking around my town seeing things that make me smile rather than sitting in my room thinking about things that make me frown. it's also made me re-juggle my priorities and realized that lot of scenarios that previously felt like the end of the world, are in fact, livable.

this song.

choosing my company wisely.
even if this means spending time completely alone, it's still smarter than being around people who have a negative impact on my behaviour. the people i have chosen to be around have been really interesting, energizing, and relaxing to be around over the past week. i've been on minimal beer as it's not been doing me any good, and i feel so much better for it.

honourable mentions.
cassie giving me a lift up to northampton, finally starting ursula leguin's the dispossessed after lee's wonderful essay and lara's recommendation, john's mum offering to lend me the yellow wallpaper if i hadn't already read it, peanut rice crackers, potential freegan activity after internet inspiration, hanging out drinking wine with my mum, black coffee en masse, trying to drink the proper amount of water, keeping my tobacco in a ginger altoids tin, peachypinkyellow as a colour, talking to john on the phone when he's got good news and feeling all pleased, dried mango, toasting squash seeds, stereomood (new obsession, seriously), asking interesting questions on formspring, doing the radio show again with joel and all the other nutters, drinking the amount of water i'm supposed to, taking my skincare seriously for once, miso soup all the time, thinking about going foraging for seaweed/seabeet, emily literally just coming in and giving me a free pack of menthols her sort-of-bloke bought back from china, matching my manicure to the flowers in my room, vicky cristina barcelona, looking forward to going to the birdcage tomorrow plus a quiet weekend, getting to properly meet john's mates, first asparagus all year, hearing about my old history teacher, cranberry and blackcurrant shower gel, making broccoli soup, jojoba oil as a hair product, tie-dye leggings, diana ross, plotting going to southsea food festival, planning more hummus adventures, crocheting flowers for the land girls, anything with peach in it, greek yoghurt, blackberries (can't wait til they start growing on the road to gunwharf, i'm going down there with tub after tub. i want pies, crumbles, jam, the LOT), tasting cold chicken and knowing my mum roasted it and how, getting rid of seven binbags of stuff.

so, talking to a fair few people i know who've been reading my recipes, it's come to my attention that a lot of people think i'm a vegetarian because of the food i often make. so here i am, saying, i'm not. i have no problem with vegetarianism or veganism, and often admire the people who practice it, and the creative things they come up with in day-to-day cooking. it is actually a little bit of a personal struggle for me as to whether i should take the plunge and become a vegetarian myself. it's a struggle between selfishness (i would miss a lot of what i had to give up, not just the eating but the cooking) and principle (i obviously know environmentally and ethically i would be doing far less damage if i ate vegetarian). so i settle for the current situation i am in. my situation is that most days i do not eat meat, nor cook with it. the reasons for this are twofold; one, that i cannot afford to buy meat very often, and two, we eat too much meat as a society anyway (it may have been necessary when we were all manual labourers but most people i know work in offices). so, i am mostly vegetarian, and therefore ethically on the fence. not the worst, but not the best.

anyway, this is all a preamble to explain to those who might be puzzled, as to why there's a meat recipe on here. my family are they type of people who, upon hearing there's no meat in a meal, will suddenly not be hungry. so most of the recipes i cook for them do, in fact, have meat in. they also have fairly conservative tastes and will only adventure within limited scope (for example, my mum will eat thai because she's had it before, but not japanese. my brother will eat italian food, but would be suspicious of spanish) so i tend to have to disregard my cookbooks and try to toss together something that keeps them all happy. on monday night, i did just that:

lemon and basil chicken pasta

serves 4.

olive oil (i used mum's basil infused stuff for extra flavour)
chicken breasts (i would have been happy with 2, but mum said use four cos of family appetite and she was, sadly, right),
mushrooms (i used about half a supermarket 500g tub),
a big bunch of basil (about two handfuls),
three cloves of garlic, minced,
one onion,
zest and juice of a lemon,
black pepper,
pasta to appetite (i didn't really count but i probably used about 500g penne)
pine nuts (a handful),

1. bring a pan of water to the boil and put the pasta in to cook. soften the onion and garlic in the oil, a large frying pan.

2. butterfly and thinly slice the chicken breast into strips. season liberally with the black pepper and add, with the lemon zest, to the onions and fry.

3. thickly slice the mushrooms. add to the pan with the chicken and squeeze over the juice of the lemon.

4. toast the pine nuts lightly in a seperate saucepan. roughly chop the basil and add half to the pan, stirring for 30 seconds.

5. add the creme fraiche to the pan and stir in the rest of the basil. heat through, toss the drained pasta in and mix well.

serve with lots more black pepper and top with the toasted pine nuts.

this went down well with the family, for sure. i think were i to do it again i'd personally add a spring vegetable, peas or broad beans, instead of so much chicken, mostly as i prefer lighter pasta dishes, especially in spring weather like this. i served it with a salad and garlic bread and there were no leftovers. recipes coming up are a three bean and spinach stew i made for cassie, and an asparagus and potato salad i whipped up yesterday.


yes i do everything gala darling tells me unless it involves any degree of motivation.

Posted on 2010.05.18 at 19:20
hearing: etta james:i just want to make love to you
so i decided to start doing curious tuesdays, gala darling's latest idea (from www.galadarling.com, obviously). just because i can't seem to be bothered to write about myself so much these days and this kind of forces the issue without being a bunch of one word answer questions. plus it's something to fill the cavernous expanse that is my empty life til i figure out something more constructive. so here goes.

1. Who is your #1 crush?
(don't puke) am i allowed to say my boyfriend? i know how at risk i am of being one of those incessantly public relationship-bores but actually, i have managed to bag myself a really good man. and to think, all i did to do so is get steamingly drunk with my mates all weekend and go out and party; can we say mad skills? but yeah, john is a smart, funny, cute primary school teacher, who is very supportive and interesting, plus the sexual chemistry is stellar, if you wanted to know (which i suspect you didn't). i'd be a bit of mug to be any less smitten than i am. if i'm not allowed to say him, fuck it, i'd do russell brand any day of the week. i think it's the visible mental illness channelled into comic-device plus large vocabulary there.

2. Have you ever tried online dating? How did it go? Any tips?
i'm going to go with, not technically, here. i have met people from the internet, with varying degress of success, both male and female, platonic and non, so i guess that maybe falls under the umbrella. with the non-platonic shiznit my advice, from experience, is take people at face value and don't be any more cynical than you need to be, and make sure you're always claer about your actions and headspace. that way nobody will get burned or feel stupid (trust me, i speak from experience).

3. Are you sentimental? Do you keep the things other people give you?
i'm going to go with another iffy answer here. yes and no. i do keep things, yes, but i also go through these phases of stalinist revisionism where i chuck out a load of them. mostly when i get frustrated at having so much stuff, or when i feel like i need to move on from a certain phase in my life because holding on to it is holding me back or doing more harm than good. i still have a few things knocking around from years ago; mainly things that will make me smile when i feel like everything's fucked; memories of achievements or nice things people have said to me, that kind of thing.

4. As a child, what were your primary interests?
reading, writing stories, concocting elaborate dioramas/situations with my toys but leaving them that way, playing lego and other buildy type stuff with my little brother, messing around in my garden, baking with my mum, making a mess playing with all kinds of craft kits (remember those get-set ones, with like, candle-making or soap-making?? i used to always get those at christmas), watching compilation videos of cartoons, cutting and sticking with pictures from catalogues, drawing.

5. What are your top 3 guilty pleasures?
oh, now we're talking. here we go (in no particular order):

1. marathoning television when i'm bored.
current brain switch-off favourites are doctor who, glee, come dine with me, green wing, channel 4's comedy lab/showcase, never mind the buzzcocks, you have been watching, peep show, and various cooking programmes (especially anything to do with the river cottage). it's something i'm trying to cut down on because, basically, it's making me demotivated and stupid.

2. smoking.
i suppose i should put this here. do i care about the negative health impacts? no. i know that when i'm upset, tired, or wanting some headspace the first thing i do is light up. i've been smoking for god, nearly ten years now, and don't plan to give up. i consider myself a considerate smoker, i'll do it outside if someone doesn't like it, and i'll never do it when people are eating or around children. so i don't think i'm the worst offender there could be. it's just as much psychological/emotional as anything else i think.

3. sugar.
when it comes to 'proper food' i have a real savoury tooth but if i'm on a junkfood session i want crap gummy sweets and lots of them. you would be amazed at how many haribo i can put away if the time is right. if i'm feeling grown up or incredibly rich, green and blacks it is, but the rest of the time give me a bag of tangfastics or maoam and i will clear them at an alarming rate.

in other news folks, i have been cleaning since i got back to portsmouth and am now off to make something with asparagus in it for dinner, find a nice mushroom soup recipe for tomorrow, and knit some things for the land girls fete.


when you kiss me i am happy enough.

Posted on 2010.05.17 at 11:50
hearing: florence and the machine:i'm not calling you a liar
disclaimer: you will feel sick from sentimentality at this poost, the same way i will probably get frustrated at myself for not being able to write about this weekend without resort to cliche.

so i am in northampton. i've decided to stay an extra day just because i really am feeling relaxed and i don't want to go back to the money worries, social claustrophobia and repetitive nature that characterize my life in portsmouth at the moment. i have actually chosen to just be on my own at mum's over being in portsmouth 'living my life', which is weird to me, i spent so much time on the sofa, exactly where i am, doing pretty much nothing, which is exactly what i'm doing, when i was in sixth form, and it drove me near-insane. but at the moment it's preferable to being in portsmouth, not doing what i should be, applying for endless jobs, scraping together money to buy groceries, pay rent, and have money to do things that involve leaving the house, all the while feeling like i have no one to talk to since my closest confidants have all moved or were never in portsmouth in the first place. granted, i have positive things, like the radio show, and the land girls, but just sitting here not worrying about anything is the best respite i could ask for at the moment.

i have had a lovely weekend. i got no sleep thursday night because there was a crash involving drunk drivers outside my house and i had to give a statement, then there was emergency building work, then the shop deliveries started. so i had no idea if i'd manage to stay awake when cass drove me up, but i did. it was nice; i really like cassie and am very glad i've met her. i got to mum's about mid-afternoon and just hung out with her and bob chatting and catching up. bob had slung me a load of cookbooks to have a look at, so i browsed those, foraged in the kitchen for whatever the hell i wanted, and filled mum and bob in on the new developments and so on. about seven i got over to john's, packing beer cos i knew he'd got his permanent contract, and we had our usual hour of just sitting on the sofa catching up and settling back in with each other. friday night was nice, he and i made our way across the fields and through the woods to the pub in the village, and just talked and talked. i sometimes feel like if we spend all weekend socializing we miss out on that, so it was nice. walking back through the woods with the torch made me feel like a ridiculous cliche, mind. i got the best night's sleep i've had in two weeks on friday night. part of that might have been the previous night's deprivation, the rest was probably down to being curled up against john.

saturday was even better, although i was slightly nervous. john decided because of the portsmouth game, that we would have a barbecue at his parents. i was nervous because i suffer massive-character anxiety a lot of the time, and given that i've been assured i cut quite a strong figure, which is definitely love/hate; i was basically in serious fear that his friends wouldn't like me. but i figured if i just manned the barbecue i'd be pretty safe. i faffed in the kitchen all afternoon to relax (john's mum's kitchen you guys, seriously, it is AMAZING, she has one of those fancy-ass several compartment gas stoves and every kind of seasoning or oil you could ever actually think you might need; working in it was such a breeze), making halloumi kebabs, halloumi and chorizo kebabs, lemon yoghurt chicken wings, tomato and basil salad, herb butter to roast squash with, couscous with cumin-toasted squash seeds and veg, and a dressed green salad. it was nice pottering around, occasionally getting john to lend a hand with chopping when he wasn't distracted by pre-game radio coverage.
when the guests arrived and the game got started i contented myself getting involved on the grill, grabbing people beers when needed, and chilling with john's dog barney in the sunshine. it was nice, the food went down really well, and after the match i got to actually chatting to john's mates; one of whom, rosie, was the daughter of mrs. ansell, who taught me history at gcse and sixth form and was actually one of my favourite teachers. it was odd, normally northampton's small-world syndrome makes me feel like i want to climb out of my own ribcage, but on saturday it felt nice. i couldn't tell you whether it's to do with the fact i'm currently in a frying-pan/fire scenario with here and portsmouth, or whether it's to do with the fact i'm growing up and realizing that a narrow view of this town which only encompasses people who beat the shit out of me physically and psychologically plus the kitchen-sink drama of my failed family relationships is entirely unfair. either way, it was really nice. i think john's friends liked me anyways, and it was a really nice change to sit and talk with people who actually had knowledge about the political system currently in place and were trying to come up with constructive responses to it, rather than the 'shut up about politics' or 'they're all the same anyway' shit i've been getting in portsmouth so regularly of late, from people i'd previously thought better of. it was nice to be allowed a voice. we were actually supposed to head out afterwards, to town, but john had had a bit too much, and i was feeling sleepy as, so we stayed home, and were asleep by ten pm.

sunday was nice too. it involved slow waking up and shaking off of hangovers, poring through the observer (and, as if the gods were smiling on me, it was food monthly week, and there was an indepth feature on tapas), having dinner with his family (who i also think have warmed to me; an odd sensation because of all the ideal girlfriends a nice middle-class boy like john could bring home, i'm not exactly top of the list, am i?), followed by cosying up to each other like sleepy children on the sofa to watch the cricket (cricket is the only sport i can really party with; you gotta watch it all day in the sunshine getting slowly pissed or you're not doing it properly. not to mention true to my dad's roots i don't care who wins as long as it isn't australia. which it wasn't. winner.) before i had to leave.

so, as you can see i've had a lovely weekend-it's not hard to see why i don't want to go back to where i'm at in portsmouth at the moment, huh?


things i love thursday

Posted on 2010.05.13 at 16:43
hearing: florence and the machine:dog days

god, it's been a while since one of these, hasn't it. it has to be said that personal circumstance combined with major social bummers like the general election have kept me at my lowest but after possibly my lowest weekend in a very long time i have realized that i need to hold onto whatever mechanisms i have in place to look to the future, no matter how little i feel like doing so, because there's no one who's going to be able to pull me out of this for me. so, here goes:

making new friends and getting in touch with old ones.
it has to be said that i've really had a fairly eventful week or two in this light. i joined the albert road land girls (a women's group, a social network type thing concerned with community, we have an allotment and all sorts, and are organizing a garden fete for a local rape crisis charity, very exciting and full of nice new ladies), met pete's new girlfriend cassie for a drink and got on like a house on fire, hung out with my old housemate tallie and swapped book chat and caught up, and bumped into joel here there and everywhere which has involved massive giggles and conspiring.

the boy.
let me tell you folks, i have a real rock of a man right here. he's amazingly supportive and caring, always on the end of the phone when i need him. i'm going up to northampton this weekend, predominantly spending my time at his, and it will be really nice just to be with him without him having to deal with my social circle and the dramas therein, and so on. it'll be nice, just to be able to say thankyou to be honest, because i've been doing far too much crying on his shoulder and not enough listening lately.

preserving my sanity via the kitchen
i've spent so much time in there, trying out new recipes and just chopping, stirring, and seasoning in silence. for me, or for other people, it makes no difference to me. working with food calms down the panic in my chest like nothing else. i've even set myself a challenge for the summer, to try one new hummus recipe every week until i find the perfect one. i started off with this one: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/quickhummousandolive_71473.shtml which is totally basic, but surprisingly i'd never really made it before, despite having made all kinds of bean pates and dips previously. i'll keep updating on other ones i try my hands at, i'm particularly interested in speciality ones, like red pepper, and almond, and lemon and coriander. so i'll let you know how that goes.

honourable mentions:
going to see caz play in the acoustic showcase on tuesday, 'i'm not calling you a liar' by florence and the machine, getting drunk all night with brad and matt on sunday, miso soup keeping me alive because i'm ill (it's still so good though), sitting on the floor with dan eating chinese food and drinking crabbie's and chatting, 'get money, get paid, mmmhmm', buying a present for boy cos i can, little johnny russell's beer garden, the shaking woman by siri hustvedt, puck doing sammy davis jr., any and every red nail varnish ever, radio plans with joel, ribbed black tights, lace leggings, bubble and squeak, winter spiced tea, finding rose petals on the pavement, original flavour lucozade (always reminds me of my great grandma), mustard yellow knitwear, peach iced tea, grape jolly ranchers, my polka dot mug, anything by the four tops, talking about how shit everyone is with sis face, red stripe with lime, throwing things away, not thinking too much about things i can't change.


kaffir lime and rice salad with tofu and cashews.

Posted on 2010.05.13 at 02:31
hearing: david byrne and fatboy slim ft. florence welch: here lies love
Tags: , , ,
so everytime i update this thing these days i seem to be apologizing for silence of some kind. what with a busy week, plus the election, plus the usual academic, financial and psychological worries i can't honestly say there's been much i've said that hasn't been similar to the ramblings of a madwoman.
i have been doing a lot better at feeding myself than can be said for the past couple of months; though. it would seem my efforts are a little too late-today i've been achey and throaty (nowhere near as bad as i was pre-christmas, but definitely noticeably impacting my life) and am on an almost entirely liquid diet (all i've managed today food wise is instant miso soup, the kind with tofu in, with some chopped spring onion and baby spinach in it), and have just been necking fruit juice, lucozade, water, and tea and taking painkillers and echinacea. if it's not feeling any better tomorrow i'll start on the raw garlic and add ginger and honey tea into the equation. ordinarily i'd say it served me right for wearing my body down, but i'm beginning to think i don't deserve the cirumstances i'm in, a lot of the time. granted, there are things i can work to improve, like drinking in response to stress, and not feeding myself properly, but i'm working on those. i can't help the stress of my life though. there's nothing i can do to avoid that. i just have to keep working on how i handle my stress, listening to my priorities as opposed to other people's, and trying to focus on doing things that make me feel good but that don't have any adverse effect on my health.

in the spirit of that, here's a recipe i decided to try last week. now, adventurous as i am, i had never really tried tofu until recently. given my ludicrously minimal food budget it's an expensive ingredient to buy only to realize you don't like it. i ended up trying an smoked tofu and soba recipe while i was with john in brighton (when we ordered the taster tapas menu at terre a terre), and i really enjoyed it, so i decided it was an ingredient i would try to learn to work with in my cooking. this recipe, from a cookbook i have which is from australian women's weekly, purely entitled spicy, seemed like a good one to begin with for two reasons; it used ready marinated tofu so i could get a feel for how the product itself took flavour before experimenting myself, and it was the kind of thing i could, again, keep in the tub and dip into during busy days when i wouldn't necessarily have time to faff in the kitchen. turned out i couldn't have been more right.

kaffir lime and rice salad with tofu and cashews

prepertion time 20 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes, serves 4.

2 cups/400g jasmine rice
2 fresh kaffir lime leaves chopped finely
2 fresh long red chillies, chopped finely
2m piece fresh ginger, grated
400g packed marinated tofu pieces, sliced thickly
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 spring onions, sliced thinly
3/4 cups cashews, coarsely chopped, toasted

lime and palm sugar dressing:
1 tsp finely grated lime rind
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp grated palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce. (although this seems weird to me; it's all otherwise vegan, why not just use soy?)

1. cook rice in large saucepan of boiling water, uncovered, until tender; drain. rinse under cold water; drain. rinse under cold water; drain.

2. meanwhile; make lime and palm sugar dressing.

3. combine rice, lime leaves, chilli, ginger, tofu, corainder, carrot, half the onion, 1/2 cup nuts and dressing in a large bowl.

serve salad sprinkled with remaining onion and nuts.

basically, this was so good. i left the seeds in the chilli, and used extra ginger to give it more heat and bite, and i got the blance spot-on first time, which rarely happens to me. the marinated tofu i bought from southsea health foods was advertised as 'japanese style', and was tamari soy, garlic, and ginger/chilli based as far as i could tell. it worked perfectly (the other one they has was a 'basil' one which basically seemed to equate to pesto flavoured) i think if i were to make this again i'd definitely be more confident in marinating my own tofu and messing with it. oh, and i did cut corners, the only kaffir lime leaves in the thai grocery looked vile, and i couldn't fine palm sugar anywhere so i followed the book's advice and just boosted the lime juice and zest intake and used a bit more coriander, and subbed the palm sugar with muscovado. i think this must become a bit of a spring/summer staple.

i also last week made the first of many hummus recipes i'll be trying this summer, and a three bean and spinach stew, so there'll be plenty more recipe posts coming from me, if nothing else.

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