Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Jambalaya medley of Chorizo, Chicken and Okra


1 boneless chicken breast for each person cut into chunks
1 chorizo sausage, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 white cooking onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
250g of long grain rice
350ml of chicken stock
A small glass of white wine
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp of paprika
1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning
200g of frozen okra
1/2 a teaspoon of salt and few grinds of black pepper


Pour the olive oil into a frying pan and add the chorizo until the oil turns red.  Add the onions and slowly fry for about 5 minutes until they are translucent.  Then add the chicken chunks and turn until browned a little on the outside.  Add the crushed garlic, paprika, salt, Cajun seasoning and pepper.  Add the rice.  Give it all a good stir.  Then add the chopped tomatoes and a little white wine.  Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes before adding the okra.

Cover the pan with a lid or tin foil and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Living in Trinidad Part One

I was born in Southport, Lancashire, in Northern England and moved south with mum and dad. 

When I was 5 mum fell out of love with my dad, a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy. If anybody recognises him, I would appreciate information as he has been presumed dead for years and I have no history.  I believe he was married before mum to a woman in the Netherlands, and I may have other siblings.

Mum got together with my stepfather, a man she met in The Peter Boat pub in Leigh-on- Sea, Essex  one evening whilst out with her mum, my nana.  His mum gave them a caravan and their life together began.

Although travel had featured largely in my young life, as my stepfather was also an engineer, trained by the Merchant Navy, we travelled with our caravan to wherever "dad" was working..

We lived on Holmbush Farm in Sussex, just outside of Brighton for about a year, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Macclesfield in Cheshire and Amington in Staffordshire, where my younger sister was born.  I was no stranger to moving home, but one day, "dad" came home and said "Have you heard of Trinidad?"  I hadn't but looked it up on the world globe I had received as a present one Christmas to help with my geography lessons.  It was on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of South America.
When I told my schoolmates and the teachers, they were just as mystified as to where I was going but promised to keep in touch with blue airmail letters (no instant internet back then, the letters took a minimum of 5 days to receive and were very welcome).  The teachers organised 6 months homework for me, so that I wouldn't lose touch with the British curriculum.

"Dad" was to work on an oil refinery in Pointe-à-Pierre just north of San Fernando in Trinidad.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Lentil Soup With Frankfurters


500g of red lentils
12 frankfurters

lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste


Wash and strain the lentils several times to remove the starch.  Put in a large saucepan and cover with water, about 2 cms. over the lentils.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour.  It should have turned into a thick soup by then.  Cut the frankfurters into bite sized pieces and add them to the soup.  Continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the salt, pepper and lemon.

Nice served with crusty bread and crispy fried onions.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Fried Halloumi Cheese With Sesame Seeds and Za'atar

Fried halloumi cheese with sesame seeds

The reason I'm so big on sesame seeds at the moment is I've broken my shoulder and arm and the prognosis wasn't good.  Will never be the same or swim the butterfly so now butter and cream are no longer baddies I'm upping my intake as well as sesame seeds as they are a bone building food.  I'm tiring a little of tinned sardines and salmon as I was eating them daily but maybe it is time for moderation as I broke my arm in early May.  The latest x-ray shows it is healing well but the surgeon thought recovery time would be 9 months.  Yawn, sorry readers if you reached this far.

1 packet of Cypriot halloumi cheese
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
A couple of teaspoons of za'atar
A packet of pita bread

In a small frying pan, put the olive oil to warm gently.  Cut the cheese into thick slices (generally you will get 4-6 slices from one packet, so double up if you have a lot of mouths to feed).  Fry the cheese for about 3-4 minutes each side, meanwhile sprinkling with the za'atar.

Because halloumi cheese is rather salty, I skip the usual salt from the ingredients and pepper?  That's up to you.  Serve with pita bread (brown or white) to your taste.

P.S. Za'atar means thyme in English and I believe I used one with sumac and sesame seeds added.  Check Wikipedia for the full story and health enhancing properties of Za'atar.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Avocado Spring Salad


Half a bag of prepared mixed salad
Half an avocado, peeled and sliced
One third of a cucumber, washed and sliced in rings
4 baby potatoes boiled and cut in half
A handful of mustard and cress

Suggestions to perk it up

Boiled eggs
Green beans
Sliced beetroot

Thursday, 30 June 2016

My Very First Pedicure in Rhodes, Greece

imageI think of visiting posh spas as a pastime for  well off ladies and have to admit I feel a bit intimidated, although had a good time at Bluestone Spa in Wales trying the outdoor jacuzzi in the rain.
Out of desperation I visited the spa recently at the Amathus Beach Hotel in Rhodes. With my broken shoulder it isn't impossible to reach my feet as I can tie my shoe laces but cutting my toe nails is another matter so that is why I braved the posh spa last week. I needn't have worried as the girl who gives out the pool towels remembered me and noticed I rocked up . without the sling. She was easy to get along with and took me to the treatment room with warm foot jacuzzi followed by electric dead skin removal and all the things they do. I am sure many of you have been down this path. It cost me 40 euros with the tip but was worth every penny in my current predicament. In a months time I will need the same and where I live in London is pedicure land, so I will go in pretending I'm a posh regular but it will no way compare to the pampering I enjoyed in Greece.  

Friday, 10 June 2016


Since breaking my shoulder last month, there is little I can do and time is dragging by, so I am typing with one finger (very frustrating for a speed touch typist). I am using the time to edit the books I started to write ages ago.  Some of them didn’t even reach the 3 chapter stage, ready to approach an agent.
Here is Chapter One.  Do you want to see Chapter Two?  If so, let me know.


Jane looked at herself in the mirror.  What had brought her to this?  She was bloated, overweight and podgy.  Having broken her leg some weeks ago and spending some time in a wheelchair, the pounds had piled on.  She was now more mobile and ready to ditch her crutches and get down to losing weight.

First Jane needed to get some medical advice on what was possible and she had an appointment with Mr Mark Walker this afternoon, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon.  She had broken her leg whilst skiing in Gstaad with Pete, her boyfriend.  She hadn’t wanted to go skiing, being more a sunshine and beach girl, but Pete was not the kind of man to deny his pleasures.

Disappointed with her reflection in the mirror, Jane tried on several clothes, now piled up on the bed in an untidy heap.  It had been several months since she needed to leave the house, preferring to hobble about the house on crutches and unable to face the flight of stairs from her first floor flat.  She lived alone, despite dropping hints to Pete about moving in together.  Goodness, she could have done with a more sympathetic partner, but he was more interested in being seen out and about with able bodied people.

All her clothes were tight, frumpy or old fashioned.  She finally decided on a woollen grey dress which stretched over her lumps and bumps and with a supportive piece of underwear, she turned sideways on and at least her stomach looked flat.  She couldn’t wear heels of course, but chose some gunmetal ballet pumps with matching tights.  She accessorised with a long gold necklace and a red scarf.  All in all, she started to look like the old Jane.  Somewhere deep inside, she felt some excitement that the worst was over.

Pete was too busy to take her to the appointment, so she bumped down the stairs on her behind and opened the front door to the awaiting taxi.

At the hospital, Mr.Walker came out of his consulting rooms to apologise that he was running an hour late.

When he finally called Jane, she hobbled into the room, feeling somewhat awkward, but hopeful.

“I’m sorry you have been waiting so long Jane, and thank you for your patience,” he said.

“That’s OK Mr. Walker,” Jane mumbled, wishing she was somewhere else.

“Please call me Mark,” he told her.

“I need to take a few notes he told her,” pen poised over a blank sheet of paper.

He asked her how the accident happened and how long she had been recovering, then he asked a few general medical questions such as “Have you ever smoked?”

She replied, “No”.

Then he asked about her drinking habits.  She felt a bit guilty but decided it was in her best interests to tell him the truth.

“I drink more than I should, to be honest,” was her reply.

“How many units?”

“I don’t know about that, but half a bottle of wine a night and then two vodka and tonics. Sometimes, after dinner, I also have a liqueur.”

“So you use alcohol as your anaesthetic?” he asked her.

She just nodded, feeling somewhat embarrassed.  If only he knew all the things she had to put up with, he would understand why she had to numb herself with alcohol.

For starters, she had discovered condoms in Pete’s luggage when he went away on a business trip.  She hadn’t confronted him as she felt so lost and lonely.  Who else would look at her on crutches?

Mark’s deep voice broke into her thoughts, “I shall arrange some water therapy sessions for you twice a week and then I’d like to see you next month to assess your progress.”

She left the hospital in a haze, called the taxi and sat on a bench with her thoughts.  She was thinking how good it would feel to be able bodied again.

When she reached home, she made a cup of tea and sat in her favourite armchair, looking out of the window, her mind in a turmoil.  She was glad Pete had a business dinner in the evening as she felt the need to be alone with her thoughts.

A few days later she attended her first water therapy session.  Getting changed in a changing room with a slippery wet floor was a challenge but she kept one crutch at her side at all times and had a swift shower.  The physiotherapist told her to get into the water, using the steps with a handrail.  She joined 5 other people, walking the length of the pool, followed by various exercises to strengthen the muscles.
Despite messing about with other women himself, Pete was very jealous.  That evening he questioned Jane about the physiotherapist.  He wanted to know if it was a male physiotherapist.  When she admitted he was, the third degree began about whether he touched her, massaged her leg or looked at her cleavage.  In fact, he hinted it would be better if she didn’t go to any more sessions.
Not wishing to set off his bad temper she reluctantly agreed to give up the physiotherapy.

A month later, she kept her appointment with Mark.

Whilst she was lying on the examination bed, he asked her why she hadn’t attended all the water therapy sessions to strengthen her muscles and she hesitated to reply.

“You can tell me anything,” he ventured.  “Your secrets are safe with me.”

She suddenly burst into tears and he asked her to get off the examination table and sit in a chair. 

Whilst climbing down, she slipped as she jumped onto her good leg.  Mark caught her and she was aware of his strong arms around her and the closeness of his full lips as he supported her.  It all happened in seconds, but the moment seemed to last forever and she started to blush.

When she composed herself, he asked her to restart the water therapy and come and see him the following month.  He asked for her email address so he could chase up her progress and ensure she attended the treatment.

Pete had invited her to a business dinner on Friday evening.  She felt happy that at last he seemed to be including her in his life.  He even offered to come around an hour earlier to help her get ready,

which she appreciated.  Pete worked as a salesman for a large marketing company in the City.  All the salespeople were expected to attend the dinner in a nightclub and partners were expected.

She had set out a long red dress on the bed which clung to her shapely curves.  Next to it was a little black cocktail dress with matching shawl.  When she slipped on the red one, Pete was so taken with how beautiful she looked, he flung her down on the bed and kissed her until her lips were as red as the dress.  He jumped up suddenly, mumbling about being late for the dinner.

Jane felt flustered and confused.  Needing to feel relaxed and more than anything, comfortable, she changed into the LBD and sat on a chair to carefully apply some make up, finishing off with a light slick of pink lipgloss.  She hobbled to the full length mirror and was happy with her reflection.

Jane hadn’t failed to notice how handsome Pete looked in a grey mohair suit with a lighter grey shirt.  He didn’t bother with a tie, just leaving a glimpse of chest hair showing at the collar.

They arrived at Buddha-Bar-London before the others and went to the bar to order a cocktail.  Jane chose a Hotch Kiss 22 in the hope it would settle her nerves, even though some of the ingredients were not familiar.  Pete ordered the Manhattan and moaned about the prices, spoiling the mood.  It wasn’t long before the Head of Marketing arrived with his Plus One (always a new simpering young woman….at least then years younger than him).  They seemed to have already had a few drinks but insisted on having a cocktail too.  Soon Pete’s friend Andy arrived with his wife Miranda.  Jane liked Miranda who gave up studying law when she became pregnant with Natasha.  Now Natasha was at nursery school, Miranda had returned to her law studies.

Jane and Miranda ordered a glass of Viognier and sat chatting, waiting for the others to turn up so they could go to dinner.  As it happened the evening passed in a very pleasant way and as there were quite a few of them, everyone agreed to experience the sharing menu which was excellent.

About 1 p.m. as everyone decided to stay behind and listen to the chilled out music Pete whispered to Jane that his boss was insisting they go on to a “proper” nightclub.  He said, “I explained to him that you have a broken leg, but he is persisting, so I have called you a cab.”  Great, she thought.  Jane loved dancing and to be shoved off home, not even allowed to watch from the sidelines didn’t put her in the best of moods.

When she got home, she went to the bathroom and sat on a stool to take off her make-up and change into a nightie.  She had enjoyed the evening so much and was feeling on a high.  It had been her first night out for ages and she almost felt able-bodied again until Pete had decided to have a little dance at the restaurant with Hetty, a new recruit from sales.  She was of Russian descent and certainly couldn’t be called shy.  She certainly had all the dance moves and kept whispering in Pete’s ear.

After finishing in the bathroom, Jane, wandered over to their fridge and put ice in a glass followed by Tia Maria….and why not…..he hadn’t offered her a liqueur after the meal, always thinking about economising, even though she earned a higher salary than him as a freelance journalist..