Curried Coconut Dal Cauliflower Casserole

curried-cauliflower-dal Sooner or later (I fear sooner) there will be an entire category of recipes here loosely grouped under “What To Eat When The World Spins Out of Control.” Cauliflower will play a starring role, as will curry. Soup is always comforting, as much as anything can offer comfort in dark times. And given the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, not to mention Beirut and Kenya, a brutal attack that occurred months ago and is just now making waves in Western media, these are dark times indeed.

I have little to add to what I’ve already said in the face of incomprehensible tragedy: shock, fear, despair, solidarity. Perhaps cooking food & flavors from across the globe, in an attempt to remind myself and others that we are truly all one people under it all, is grasping at straws. But it’s all I’ve got. I fear if we stop…

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Caught Reading A Book

For years, we have taken books for granted. We have them in schools and libraries. We are provided them in the waiting room at the doctors or the dentist. We receive them as gifts and some of us even enjoy a visit to a bookshop.

As a writer, I have naturally been a keen reader from a young age. I remember the basic Biff and Chip books in primary school, Recycled Cyril in bed and who could forget the Jacqueline Wilson girls books that I certainly never borrowed from my sister.

As a teenager, we did the usual Frankenstein and Kes for GCSEs and I was really into the Anthony Horowitz Stormbreaker series. On a long car journey or on a flight abroad, the first thing I would pack would be a book.

Since leaving school, I estimate 90% of my friends and colleagues have not even picked up a book to move it from the coffee table. Each to their own but what is happening to books? Why are they so uncool?

Growing up in the 90s, you would be ridiculed if you were caught reading a book. “Caught reading a book”. How is that a phrase? Answers on a postcard (or in the comment box).

Fast forward 10 years and the technology boom as fully hit us. Within 5 metres of me are the following:

  • PS4 with 2 Controllers
  • TV
  • Surround Sound
  • YouView Box
  • 4 Remote Controls
  • 2 Laptops
  • Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
  • Mobile Phone
  • iPad
  • Router
  • Kindle

And that’s without routing around to look. Its mad, even the keys to your car are wireless! Not that any of this is a problem. I still have a wealth of books, a library card and a Kindle.

The Kindle, what a revolutionary idea this has been. The killer of bookshops, libraries and librarians according to some extremists – not those extremists.

This may be a little extreme but who knows what 10 years time will look like? Instead of doing your Christmas shop in Waterstone or WHSmith, maybe we’ll see a Kindle top up booth or simply everything will be online.

Whilst you ponder that, I’ll be finishing my book. Unless I get caught.

What happens in Winter?

funny-picture-winter-problemsThis week I am tasked with thinking up a different theme each week for a newsletter. Easy, you’d think. It’s Halloween then Bonfire Night then Christmas.

Except that’s only three themes and there’s a rather large gap in between. Initially, off the top of my head, I could only think of being cold and sitting inside and doing nothing. Not fascinating stuff and certainly not worthy of being published in a newsletter.

It’s November 1st. Are we ready for Christmas yet? No, I don’t mean have you put up your decorations? That would be crazy, wouldn’t it Oxford Street? Sure, we may have done a little Christmas shopping but who doesn’t want to leave it until 3.30 on Christmas Eve? Let us have November first then we’ll start properly focusing on the birth of that chap that we don’t even believe existed.

The nights grow darker quicker and the frost sticks to your windscreen longer each morning but other than that, What Happens In Winter?

We rarely get a decent amount of snow in the UK so the wintry activities such as sledging, snowman making and eating yellow snow are a half day activity. Snuggling up by the fire with the family usually equates to Netflix for one in bed. Lets not even think about how painful and embarrassing ice skating and what even is snow-shoeing?

CoorsLooking out the window, it’s actually a clear blue sky. Perfect for a winter activity, some might argue. However, there is nobody outside and I am indoors writing this blog. Even my dog doesn’t want to leave the house – and he has a jumper on.

So if anyone does work out What Happens In Winter, please do let me know. I’ll be in bed watching Netflix.