I like reading random facts about people – all the ins and outs that you would never think to ask. I’m not always great at asking questions, I think social media and texting has made talking really superficial. ‘Yu kay? Ye You? – Good WKend?’ I know we don’t all speak like that, but what was the last time you really asked someone a question. Here’s a few randomly generated questions from your truly.

What is your favorite thing about summer?

Ice cream. Is there anything better than sitting in the sunshine, sunglasses on, limbs splayed out, devouring an ice cream? Favourite flavours include mint chocolate chip, double chocolate, anything coffee flavoured, raspberry, or tiramisu.

What’s better, having high expectations or having low expectations?

Is it bad to say low expectations? As a kid I would have said high – but recently I’ve been better at taking life as it comes. If it goes well – brilliant. If it doesn’t? Well find another way to sort it out.

What is your favorite candy/chocolate?

Malteasers, boiled fruit sweets and dairy milk with Oreo’s. Big fan of crunch chocolate bars too.

What is your middle name?

Thomson – it’s my mothers maiden name and I kind of like it.

If you could choose to have any useless super power, what would you pick?

Be able to read squirrels minds.

Or maybe something to do with prossecco.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Turn of that dang alarm. Search my phone to check something terrible hasn’t happened during the night and then drag myself out of bed to brush my teeth.

Do you like to plan things out or be spontaneous?

I’ve always been a planner, not leaving any details out and getting super stressed if anything goes wrong. But recently I’ve been leaving things a lot more to chance. Life is a little too short to panic to much. Keeping things spontaneous is brighter.

What do you do to stay in shape?

CARDIO – at least three times a week and a lot of walking. I can’t drive (although not the end of the world in London) but I have always walked/wandered/explored a hell of a lot. I’m going to go and circle Greenwich park a couple of times this afternoon.

Do you shower in the morning or evening?

In the evening generally (after said cardio ^.) I have super long hair and it’s much less frizzy and crazy when it dries naturally overnight.

What was the last movie you saw?

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – baby Groot is a little legend.

So there you have it – 10 questions about me. I’m off to find a re-run of Guardians and malteasers. Byee.

 

I recently went to Crete and it was fantastic.

Time to relax, time to take a minute, try and get a tan and read. Lots of reading. I downloaded The Memory of Water novel onto my Kindle purely because of the cover. I was desperately downloading books before my holiday and didn’t have time to really go through and look at every single one. The Memory of Water appearing under the search Free Romance, but that’s not strictly what is was. Here’s what I thought (either way.)

Blurb

Slade Harris will do anything for a story, including murdering the woman he loves.

Slade doesn’t think twice about jumping out of a plane or conducting disastrous love affairs to gather material for his work, but his self-indulgent life is catching up with him. Stumbling through his late thirties hopeless and a little drunk, Slade has a dazzling, dangerous idea which will change his life forever. It’s going to be Slade’s ultimate story … and all he’s hoping for is to survive it.

My Review

I didn’t read the blurb before beginning the book, but it goes a little like this. Haunted by his past and struggling with writer’s block novelist Slade Harris plans a theoretical murder in order to the get words flowing again. When the events of his outline begin to play out he can’t control where fiction and reality blur. Set in modern day South Africa the action moves between rich suburbs and seedy towns. The plot moves with pace and constantly keeps you on your toes guessing what is real and what is only in Slade’s head.

Slade Harris is an author who likes to experience life high’s and lows to feed his writing. He carries around a car load of baggage from a family tragedy and the author documents it sublimely. The style has a contemporary crime novel feel with modern and classic culture references. The twist at the end left me off guard but I had an inkling. I liked the hints of the locale language that helped place me as a reader in South Africa. The place depicted add a flavour without too much focus on the country and its recent history.

The writing is phenomenal (and I don’t say that too often.) It has a melancholic, deliciousness to it. Slade is a hedonist who is too self-absorbed but definitely lovable. He sees himself as a Jay Gatsby character; a little shady, with brushes with the law and a vagueness about his sister’s death. We do in the end have the stories of Eve and Emily tied up. I had to definitely re-assess Slade, but I still thought he was wonderful. It’s a crime novel but the sex scenes are evocative, dark and delicious. Big fan.

Final Thoughts

The ending isn’t perfect. We have a double ending which is interesting but doesn’t quite get pulled off. Otherwise, I adored this. I couldn’t stop myself from reading it. The plot is excellent, the characterisation is fantastic, the themes and writing are a storm. It’s one of those books I find super difficult to review because it’s everything I was from a book. Just go read it. It’s bloody gorgeous.

Amazon Goodreads 

 

Is there anyone who doesn’t like chips and dips. Nope? Good.

Recently T and I hosted dinner. We did a bits and pieces dinner. Frittata, flat-breads and salad which gave me the chance to try two dips. One an aubergine, yoghurt combo and the second a thick white-bean citrus mash. Both were delicious. Yes, they were.

These are wonderful with flat-breads and chips, but you could also serve with vegetables. The white-bean mash could also be served as a mash, with steak/sausages/quorn pepper steaks. Perfect.

Aubergine Dips

Put in your trolley

For white bean mash

Olive oil (plus 2 teaspoons)

Half a head of garlic

Fresh rosemary

One green chilli

Grated zest 1 lemon and juice of half a lemon

2 x 400g of Cannellini beans (or white beans)

Salt and pepper

For Aubergine and Yoghurt Dip

2 medium aubergines

half a bulb of  garlic,

2tsp of ground cumin

2 tsp of paprika

Salt

4 big tbs of Greek natural yoghurt

6 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Jalapenos for topping

Method for White Bean Mash

Chop off the top of a bulb of garlic (to use with both recipe.) Pop the oven on 200 and slam in the garlic and leave to roast. While you’re waiting, drain the cannellini beans and chop the chilli. Once the garlic is soft (only takes 5/6 minutes,) squeeze half the garlic into a blender. Add the beans, lemon, chilli, rosemary, salt to season and blitz. Use the lemon juice to your taste and to help with consistency. I like it thick but not chalky. Serve!

Method for Aubergine and yoghurt dip

Oven should be nicely warm. Chop up the aubergines into slices, season well with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven, turn over regularly until they are cooked. Take from the oven, and once you ‘can’ chop into smaller chunks. Then add all the ingredients into the nutri-bullet/blender until mixed. Whiz until blended and serve. Top with jalapenos if you so wish.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

Both of these are very calorie friendly coming in at 50 calories per portion for the aubergine and closer to 90 for the white bean mash. (Depending on how much you demolish.)

I’m really pleased with the photographs of these books today. Must admit I’m not the greatest photographer but I snapped these on the train home recently. I’m kinda super proud of them. The tale inside though is filled with pain, hurt, disgust, human destruction and perseverance. I’m going to try to do it justice. I probably won’t so just read the book.

Blurb

When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, the prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared death for a grimmer fate: to perform “scientific research” on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the man who became known as the infamous “Angel of Death” – Dr. Josef Mengele.

Nyiszli was named Mengele’s personal research pathologist. In that capactity he also served as physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked exclusively in the crematoriums and were routinely executed after four months. Miraculously, Nyiszli survived to give this horrifying and sobering account.

My Review

Auschwitz A Doctor’s Eyewitess Account by Dr. Mik­lós Nyis­zli is a non-fiction memoir of a Jewish Hungarian Medical Doctor who performed research on other Jews under Dr. Josef Mengele also known as the ‘Angel of Death.’ Not an easy read but a super super important one.

Mik­lós was sent to Auschwitz when the Nazi invaded Hungary in 1994 but was picked by Mengele to perform scientific research on inmates. He later became Mengele’s personal research pathologist. Surviving the war  but having to live with knowledge that you’ve helped one of the biggest criminals is a struggle Mik­lós constantly discusses.

Dr Nyiszli describes the terrible things he’s seen and done and stories he’s witnessed. The horrors of the gas chambers. (There is a terrifying account of girl that survives the chamber only to be brought back to life to then be shot immediately) The stories of the twelfth Sonderkommando, the Jews who had to work in the crematoria (something I hadn’t known) and revolted before being brutally murdered. The Nazi’s replaced the Sonderkommando every four months. The new Sonderkommando getting rid of the bodies from the previous group; it will later be their turn. (Horrendous.)

A comment on the style?

There’s a little controversy as to the clinical telling of  Dr. Nyiszli’s experience. I don’t think we can really comment from our comfortable lives. Yes the writing is cold, but if Dr. Nyiszli’s had poured his heart out, maybe he wouldn’t have survived. It is a clinical telling from a doctor who wanted to get down on paper what the horrors he personally experienced. Yes there are no surviving witnesses that can corroborate the story, but this is a story of survival. What would any of us have done in his place.

Final Thoughts

This book was a struggle to read but one I’m glad to have. It’s like nothing I’ve read before about the experiences at Auschwitz and I definitely recommend it.

GoodreadsAmazon 

One of the most used things in my kitchen is a vegetable sharpener.

I mean you could call it a spiralizer but to me it looks like a pencil sharpener. But, you use it on courgette/carrot/sweet-potato, not crayons.

Recently I bought a meat hamper from Campbell’s. It was stuffed with sausages, black pudding, haggis and bacon. Due to buying it through Wowcher it cost me only £10. I told myself I would revert from my tried and tested bangers n’ mash and make something different. This is my Tomatoey Courgette Spaghetti and Vegetable Medley.

Tomato and Herby Sausage Courgetti Spaghetti

Put in your trolley

Serves 4 hangry people 

400g of sausages (I used Campbell’s haggis sausages but a good herby sausage will do.)

A couple of spritzs of low Cal cooking spray

400g of Chestnut mushrooms cut into slices

1 tbsp of Paprika

2 Birdseye chilies chopped finely (adjust to your taste.)

Salt and Pepper 

600g of courgette

280g of sweetcorn

700g of chopped tomatoes (with basil/garlic/chilli.)

Step One

Take the sausages out of their casings and roughly chop. Fry in a small pan with the low Cal cooking spray till browned. Add the mushrooms and cover the pan with a lid to create moisture. Cook for a minute. Add the paprika, chillies, and a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper. (Lots of it.) Cook for another minute.

 

Step Two

Spiralise the courgettes. Just pop them in the end and then twist until you get pasta like ribbons. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a potato peeler (works just as well.) Set aside ready for cooking.

Step Three

 

Add the sweetcorn to the pan and cook for a minute then tip in the chopped tomatoes and heat until bubbly hot. Then add the courgette spirals and toss in the mixture. Cook for a two minutes. You don’t want them to go too soft but you don’t want them crunchy.

Step Four

Take off the heat and pile high in gorgeous bowls.

Tomato and Herby Sausage Courgetti Spaghetti

Tomato and Herby Sausage Courgetti Spaghetti

Numbers if you’re bothered!

This works out to around 500 cals a portion (depending on the sausages. But this is the perfect dinner that’s filling but not full of carbohydrates. Using the courgette instead of pasta allows you eat a lot more (which is always good non?)

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading Angela Carter’s book of dark fairy-tales. I saw a gorgeous copy featured on Katy’s blog and it reminded me it’s been forever since I dived into that rollercoaster of a book! PERFECT MATCH.