Beetroot Alchemy

I’ve been ordering local organic food boxes for well over a year now, and all in all they’ve been good fun and great value. One amazing realisation is that there is more to vegetables than peas, carrots, and potatoes. The day a Romanesco cabbage the size of my head arrived I was in awe of the fractalness of nature. Artichokes are ok but a pain in the arse to cook. Purple sprouting rules.

But there is one vegetable that fills me with a sinking feeling everytime I see it. I thought I’d got away from it after switching to a different provider. No. It’s got to the time of year that BEETROOT are coming into season. In my latest food box I found not one, or two, but an entire bag of small beets.

What the hell do you DO with beetroot? Most people in the uk only seem to encounter beetroot in it’s pickled jar format. I really don’t like that. And I want to make some kind of a MEAL out of the stuff.

Not one to give up easily, over the last year I’ve tried a whole host of recipes. Beetroot risotto. Beetroot and cheese sauce pasta. Just roasting the bastard. I feel like a 17th century alchemist looking for some mystical formula to turn a root vegetable into the meal equivalent of philospher’s gold.

And I think, on saturday, I found it!

Spicy beetroot and coconut soup – BBC recipes

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Bowl of soup…mmm…you’ve got to like something that colour
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The photo doesn’t do it justice, the stuff looked like enamel paint or liquid lipstick

The kitchen did start looking like it belonged some deranged homicidal maniac
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And here’s the best bit
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Packaged up and ready to inflict on others! One of these went to Mike’s mum, and the other is going to Megadog this weekend. Mostly because after adding 3 red chillis and a load of garlic he is probably one of the few people I know that might be able to eat it 🙂 Yes – it’s really nice but I recommend using less spice next time!


The best thing about cutting out caffeine and clearing your system out is what happens when you DO drink some coffee. As this afternoon has been set aside for writing pigeon-peck programs (when do we get on with the squirrels, that’s what I want to know) I decided to treat myself to a REAL latte.

Now my heart is racing and dopamine rushes through my nervous system, my muscles have tightened and I feel as though I want to leap out of my head. wheeee. This would be great if I could throw myself into generating a whole new program, but sadly not to sit and carefully pick through the badly commented code left as a legacy by the last research assistant

I spent most of my A-level years being hyped up on caffeine and sugar, so in a way drinking coffee makes me feel somewhat nostalgic. On the other hand I really feel SO much better being collected and centred.

I want to get off this rollercoaster and get back to being calm (I guess the solution would be a cigarette…or maybe follow the lemur’s example and chew on a millipede.)



I watched the new Doctor Who episode about cybermen on saturday. And had nightmare-ish dreams ever since!

I find something particularly heinous and disturbing about the concept of stripping away all your body and just sticking the brain in an ‘immortal metal shell’. In real life, I don’t believe this could ever work, though if it DID work it would be a horribly cold existance.


SO-REI! don don don don..kara-ka!-ka! don don don don

YES! I’ve started a short class of Taiko (‘big-drum’), monday evenings, 8.30 pm to 10. I thought I would be tired by 10, but I ended up so invigorated I couldn’t even think about going to sleep till gone midnight.

Forget drugs, if anything I’m addicted to these drums. And yet it has taken me years to get as far as even thinking I could try to take part in a group. I watched my brother teach himself to play a drumkit with some awe but wrote myself off without even trying.

One of the reasons for this is, despite talking a lot, I’m not very good at *really* expressing myself. My handwriting is a tiny, cramped scrawl, my artwork little pencil doodles in the corner of pages, and stand me up in front of others and tell me to talk, and I fall apart. It seems slightly ironic that someone who on the one hand has spent a long time craving attention, also has spent a long time being shy and afraid of expansive gestures that might expose who I really am. I think about the freedom which comes from wearing a mask, or a costume.

And yet, I want to be able to express myself more rawly and immediatly. I want to be able to play roleplay games and not be hindered by these fears. To be able to REALLY dance without caring what I look like. To play high register notes on my flute. To be able to shout loud enough for people to hear me in bars. To have totally unhibited noisy sex even WITH other people in the same building 😉 Sometimes I get a taste of this, as though I’m -almost- there. But there is still something in the way..

So, I stand in front of a big and very loud drum, and suddenly have to hit it, quite hard, surrounded by 10 other people who will notice if I get out of time. Taiko is not only about the noise, but also the visuals – so there are also some really big, expansive and flowing moves to build into the drumming. A real all body action. It looks, and feels amazing, but I am still shakey and hesistant. What I found yesterday though was I did start getting into it, and feeling how it -could- be. When I was thinking no longer, but instead feeling the bass in my stomach, trembling through my feet, and suddently awareness expands from just your own sticks and drums to the sounds and group around you. It’s always over too soon!

Still, I can feel the drumming loosening me inside, pulling me into my body and making me happy to be there. When I drum, I feel engaged with the world, making physical and obvious impact. My drumming is still a bit quiet, tentative, I stumble when I think too much, and hit the sticks together by mistake when I loose concentration. But I hope, and intend, that this will change over the remaining 7 sessions. And if I can get to the point I can try solo-ing (I start shitting myself even hearing that word) then so much the better.

…energy and wolf-shifts

Romance in May

Lovers in the long grass
Look above them
Only they can see
Where the clouds are going
Only to discover
Dust and sunlight
Ever make the sky so blue (Enya)

It felt like summer in Exeter today. As I walked to the university I was greeted by glorious sunshine and the fresh green of new leaves exploding from trees all around me…

The sun lifts the mood of the nation, and suddenly there are girls with short summer skirts and guys in flip flops (this may be a pecularity of Exeter students). And, everywhere I went today, from Quayside to Cathedral green, I saw romance. Couples holding hands, smiling, kissing in the park, louging on each other.. everything looking so carefree.

Reminds single people of what they don’t have, and those of us with long and complex relationship history what we had once but eludes us right now. Right now, my relationships are tiring me. Still..perhaps it’s the time of year, (human mating-season?) but I find myself looking at the happy couples and wish for that first stage of a blossoming romance, when all heart fills itself with yearning and drinks in hope and need. When you haven’t found out the faults of the other person yet, and through rose-tint all you see is glorious perfection. Just give me that innocent ignorance for a day. In a dream. Anything.

It’s been so long since I fell in love. I’ve had lusts, foolish games, drunken gropings. I’ve bathed in the sweet affection of others, absorbing it all, sometimes throwing that love back. But nothing akin to that first time.

And that boy, now almost a man, is still here and still loves me. Do I still love him? Not with the infatuation, intention, simplicity I used to. I don’t feel carefree about it, I feel ground down and burdended by the years of hope and dissapointment. And yet..and yet… I can’t quite let go of those burdens. What keeps me going is the same thing that has for years, and that is a dangerous hope, and a shared dream, that maybe, if we could just change the circumstances, would be fulfilled. That and the spark of soul I see flash in his eyes, a connection that runs deep but shows itself so very rarely. I need to know if that is real or fantasy before I will allow myself to give up. It is as though that sweet smelling flower has become a big complex thorny bush, trapping me.

… so maybe I don’t want romance again. Everything else was much easier to walk away from 😉 I don’t think I can do that until I’ve given the dream a chance to fail.
(although I also wonder, would I sacrifice it all for the chance to feel that new romance again? on a spring summer day, when I want to let all my cares into the wind and dance on free feet, yes.)

Some they know as passion
Some as freedom
Some they know as love
And the way it leaves them
Summer snowflake
For a season
When the sky above is blue