Wednesday, 2 December 2020

What We Ate Wednesday--Roasted Sweet Potato with Macaroni Cheese and Savoury Kale

 Hello lovelies! Times are busy and I am tired (Working retail is no joke in the run up to Christmas!) so I wanted a meal that I could do without a recipe to follow--one I knew how to do all the parts off by heart. Plus one that didn't require extra shopping. 

We had 2 sweet potatoes and a red onion--I knew how to roast those in the oven.

We had kale--I knew how to sauté it with a splash of tamari/soy sauce. 

I had just made cheese power using THIS RECIPE and so we could have Macaroni Cheese. This sauce is great--you make ahead so always have cheese powder ready for action. The ratio is 1/3 cup powder to 1 cup milk per person (also 1 cup pasta per person, but sometimes we just make it as a cheese sauce for nachos) 

Dinner is sorted.



Roasted Sweet Potato with Macaroni Cheese and Savoury Kale

1 large or 2 smaller sweet potatoes (about 400 grams), cubed

1 red onion, cut into large chunks

1 TB olive oil

100g kale (3 big handfuls)

splash tamari or soy sauce

2 cups macaroni (or other) pasta--use GF pasta if you need to

2/3 cups cheese powder--just make THIS RECIPE and you have instant cheesy sauce at your fingertips

2 cups unsweetened plant based milk--we used soya

1 TB lemon juice--bottled is fine

1 tsp wholegrain mustard (optional, but nice)

1 TB vegan buttery spread (optional to make it richer)

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F

1. Put your chopped sweet potatoes and red onion in a big roasting tin and drizzle on the TB of oil. Stir to coat. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, then take it out and stir and roast again for another 15 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, in a medium sized pan boil your macaroni according to package directions then drain and set aside. While your macaroni is boiling, in a large pot sauté your kale on medium high with a splash or two of water until it wilts and softens. Then add a splash of tamari or soy sauce and stir to coat your greens. Then take off the heat. Put on a lid and set aside. 

 3. In the same pot you cooked the macaroni, add the TB of vegan butter if you wish and let it melt then add the 2 cups milk, 2/3 cups cheese powder and the TB lemon juice and mustard (if using.) Whisk together and continue to whisk until the cheese sauce thickens. Add back in the pasta and stir to coat.

4. By this time the roasted sweet potatoes should be done. Remove from the oven. Mix the hot macaroni cheese with the kale you set aside and then spoon into two bowls and top with roasted sweet potatoes. 

5. Nom nom nom while putting your feet up. 

Friday, 27 November 2020

Fairy Tale Friday--Snow White and the Huntsman (Charlize Theron, 2012)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

We are nearly to the end of our Fairy Tale Friday look at Snow White. Today we look at what was advertised to be a feminist film version of our tale entitled Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristin Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the stepmother.


I can see why they promoted it as a feminist film—they tried to make it have overtones of women in power but in my opinion, it misses the mark. It opens with the powerful witch Ravenna (who sounds like she should have raven hair, but she is blond) tricking her way into the King’s heart. We see her tied up in a shack as if she is being held prisoner, but it is in fact all a ruse. The first glimpse we see of her is her bare foot in a shackle. My first thought was “How big are her feet??” and the answer is (according to Google) size 9.5 which feels very impressive since I am a size 3.5. But once she is back in the palace and all dressed up and out of her captive rags, she looks quite beautiful. She seems quite sweet, with a hint of nervousness as if she is worried what the country will think of her as she was only a poor captive who is marrying the King. This, in my opinion, in Theron’s best acting. Because on their wedding night she goes full on “evil voice” and announces that all men do is use, abuse and discard women. That happened to her before and she won’t let it happen again. Then she pulls out a huge bloody dagger and stabs him in the heart and she locks the young Princess in a dungeon. After that, Theron is either doing her whisper evil voice or shouty evil voice. It is a wonder she stayed so slim with all the scenery she chewed. Some of the makeup and effects are pretty good. We see her in various stages of old age makeup as her powers wax and wane. Sometimes she is young and fresh and bathing in some sort of milky liquid that looks suspiciously like paint and stealing the looks of young girls (played by Lily Cole) and sometimes she is all wrinkled and writhing on the floor in a weakened state of misery. The magic mirror was also interesting—a brass disc that turned into the melty men who oozed out of it and spoke to her.

Kristin Stewart who has been held in a dungeon for at least a decade and has lank greasy hairy and a dirty face and a tatty dress also has the most perfect blindingly white Hollywood teeth which were really distracting. All the dwarves (we will get to the problem with them in a minute) have various shades of “lived in” teeth. But she who has been held prisoner, suffers no decay. In the scenes where she has escaped and is getting increasingly muddier and dishevelled she still manages a subtle bit of lipstick. If her lips had been that shade the whole film you might think it was just rosy lips not lippy, but because several times she doesn’t have it on it is noticeable.

The problem with the dwarves is that they hired actual dwarves to do all the body shots (who were uncredited in the credits) and CGI’d full sized actor’s heads onto their bodies. ‘Nuff said.

Here is a summary by Wikipedia in which I will insert some comments.

While admiring a rose blooming in the winter, Queen Eleanor of the kingdom of Tabor pricks her finger on one of its thorns. Drops of blood fall onto the snow, and she wishes for a daughter as white as the snow, with lips as red as the blood, hair as black as a raven's wings and heart as strong as the rose. Note: One of the good things about this film is the cinematography. There are great scenes, including this one, of black trees, grey skies, white snow and blood or scarlet banners in a visual contrast. I liked how the blood active “plipped” and splashed onto the snow.

She gives birth to a daughter, Snow White, but falls ill and dies several years later. After her death, Snow White's father, King Magnus, and his army battle an invading dark army of demonic glass soldiers. Upon rescuing their prisoner Ravenna, the King becomes enchanted with her beauty and marries her. Note: The glass soldiers who shatter into shards of jet quartz are a decent CGI effect, but were a predicter of how many other noisy battles I would have to sit through. The King sees a shack where he finds Ravenna all shackled up and helpless with her size 9.5 feet. He is enchanted by her beauty but also he probably liked the feeling of being a rescuer/protector of women because they are the weaker sex.

Ravenna is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army's master. On their wedding night, Ravenna confesses there was a king much like Magnus that hurt her. She declares she cannot be a weak queen and kills Magnus before taking over the kingdom. Snow White's childhood friend William and his father, Duke Hammond, escape the castle but are unable to rescue her, and she is captured and locked away in a tower for many years. Note: Before Ravenna took over, we saw several childhood scenes between William and young Snow. They were best friends, playmates and probably promised in marriage to each other to seal a future alliance. There is a scene of them climbing an apple tree and him teasing her with an apple before biting it himself which is undoubtedly foreshadowing.

Watch the wedding night stabbing here: 



Tabor is ruined under Queen Ravenna's rule. She periodically drains the youth from the kingdom's young women in order to maintain a spell cast over her as a child by her mother, which allows her to keep her youthful beauty. Note: I was a little confused by this flashback scene—it may have been because I was worn out from all her evil voice shouting, but as best as I can understand, raiders were coming to their village to take pretty girls away (it was hard to tell as there was a long scene of banging/clanging sword fighting going on while they were talking) and her mother gifts her the gift of eternal youth so that she can somehow grow up and use that as a strength to defeat men. Who knows. But there was a nice echo in the magic potion of dropping three drops of blood into a milky cup which resembled the opening scene with the Queen pricking her finger.  

When her stepdaughter Snow White comes of age, she learns from her Magic Mirror that Snow White is destined to destroy her unless she consumes the girl's heart, which will make her immortal. Ravenna orders her brother Finn (Note: who has the worst bowl cut ever) to bring her Snow White's heart, but Snow White escapes into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna has no power. Note: The dark forest is like being on LSD. You hallucinate all sorts of scary stuff like tree branches turning into black snakes or birds trying to peck out your eyes after breathing some sort of swamp gas.

Watch the magic mirror scene here: 



Watch the dark forest drug trip here:



 Ravenna makes a bargain with Eric the Huntsman, a widower and drunkard, to capture Snow White, promising to bring his wife back to life in exchange. The Huntsman tracks down Snow White, but when Finn reveals that Ravenna does not actually have the power to revive the dead, the Huntsman helps Snow White escape. Finn gathers a band of men to find her, and the Duke and William learn that she is alive. William leaves the castle to find her, joining Finn's band as a bowman. Note: Despite being a drunkard who is dirty and dishevelled, Chris Hemsworth managed to look sexy in a rugged way with matching perfect teeth to Snow White. I guess only dwarves don’t have a dental plan.  

The Huntsman and Snow White leave the Dark Forest, where she saves his life by charming a huge troll that attacks them. They make their way to a fishing village populated by women who have disfigured themselves to make themselves useless to the Queen. Note: This bit was an interesting feminist concept to be judged by your character instead of appearance but would have liked to have seen it given more depth. Also, it stars Rachael Stirling (daughter of Diana Rigg) as the lead disfigured woman with some scars on her face but not really enough to make her that hideous.

 The Huntsman learns Snow White's true identity, and leaves her in the care of the women. He returns when he sees the village being burned down by Finn's men. Snow White and the Huntsman evade them and meet a band of eight dwarves. The blind dwarf Muir perceives that Snow White is the only person who can defeat Ravenna and end her reign.

As they travel through a fairy sanctuary, they are attacked by Finn and his men. Note: The fairy sanctuary is every bit as twee as you would expect—colourful creatures, hazy lighting, moss growing everywhere, twinkly fairy lights and a pure white stag with antlers so big he would never get in your front door if he came to visit in place of the more obvious white unicorn that is tamed by the pure female heroine.

Watch the white stage scene here: 



A battle ensues during which Finn, his men, and one of the dwarfs are killed, while William reveals himself and joins the group on their journey to Hammond's castle. Halfway there, Ravenna disguises herself as William and tempts Snow White into eating a poisoned apple. She flees when the Huntsman and William discover her. Note: This scene was great. I loved that it was the Queen disguised as William not an old crone that gave her the apple. She takes it from him as it harks back to a flirtation that had when she was a tomboy up a tree with him as children and it is truly a surprise when it turns out to be the witch.

Watch the poison apple scene here:



William kisses Snow White but she does not wake up (though no one notices the tear that comes from one of her eyes). Her body is taken to Hammond's castle. The Huntsman professes his regret for not being there to save her, as her heart and strength remind him of his late wife, Sara. He kisses her and does not notice a second tear fall from one of her eyes, as his kiss was second of true love needed. Snow White awakens and rallies the Duke's army to mount a siege against Ravenna.

The dwarves infiltrate the castle through the sewers and open the gates, allowing the Duke's army inside. Snow White confronts Ravenna, but is overpowered. Ravenna is about to kill her when Snow White uses a move the Huntsman taught her and mortally wounds Ravenna, defeating her for good. The kingdom once again enjoys peace and harmony as Snow White is crowned queen. Note: I was disappointed that she didn’t end up marrying the Huntsman as I was hoping this was a tale of bridging the class divide. But we know from the sequel (which bears quite a resemblance to Frozen) that she marries William.

For a laugh, watch an Honest Trailer here for the film and the sequel:

 


 

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for our penultimate blog about Snow White where we look at the Disney film.

 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

What We Ate Wednesday--Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies (three ingredients!)

 Hello lovelies! Sometimes you just need an easy treat that comes together in a snap and doesn't have a tonne of ingredients. Am I right???

I used to love Rice Krispie Treats as a child, but they rely on marshmallows to stick them together and marshmallows aren't vegan because they are made with gelatine (which if you don't know is made from boiling animal bones and hooves. Even if I wasn't vegan that is just gross.) Sure, there are cruelty free vegan marshmallows out there, but they are wicked expensive for a tiny bag. So I thought "I wonder if you can stick them together with peanut butter?

After consulting google, it is indeed possible. There were many recipes out there with varying degrees and amounts of ingredients. Simpler is better here and I have hit upon the right combination. 

These are a wee bit delicate--you might need to use a small plate or cup your hand underneath as you eat, but they taste delicious. 

We used Tesco brand Free From Choco Snaps cereal to make it gluten free but any chocolate Rice Krispie cereal will do. As for the liquid sweetener, it needs to be thicker than maple syrup so something like agave, rice syrup or golden syrup (what we used) would work, If you are in the US something like Karo syrup might work if you can't get agave or rice syrup. 




Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies

2/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup thick liquid sweetener (see above for suggestions)

3 cups chocolate crisp rice cereal

optional: 2 TB coconut oil (might help this stick together more...I never bothered)

Gently warm the peanut butter and liquid sweetener (and coconut oil if using) on the hob or in a microwave until more pliable and less stiff. Remove from heat and add the 3 cups of cereal and stir to combine making sure all pieces of coated. Stir carefully or you will smash all the krispies. Then spoon them into a greased 8 x 8 pan and press down with the back of a spoon. Then decide the spoon isn't working and press down very firmly with dampened fingers. 

Refrigerate for a few hours to firm up and then slice. Makes 8 slices if you are greedy or 16 if you have self control. Store in the fridge. 

That's it! 

Friday, 20 November 2020

Fairy Tale Friday--Grimm's Snow White (The Asylum, 2012)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

This week we look at a tale of Snow White that is part fairy tale, part Lord of the Rings. It is brought to us by The Asylum whom I have never heard of but a little research showed me they are the ones responsible for the Sharknado series. They are also primarily know for what is referred to in the industry as a “mockbuster.” They look at what big name Hollywood film is coming out and quickly churn out a lower budget similar title such as Transmorphers (Transformers), The Terminators (The Terminator), Snakes on a Train (Snakes on a Plane), Triassic World (Jurassic World)  etc. You get the idea. They also have a lots of films involving bad CGI sharks beyond the Sharknado ones such as Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus and 3 Headed Shark Attack, so I was thinking this was going to be rubbish, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The first startling thing is that our Snow White is blond. Although the cover of the DVD we bought the photo darkens her hair. I could not find a copy of that cover online, so you will have to settle for the blond version. Her stepmother is the one who has the raven hair. There are decent effects—the magic mirror flows like green water and and the face that speaks to the Queen looks like it is speaking through a waterfall. There are CGI effects that look as though they have stepped out of a video game—vicious dogs with giant heads and several CGI giant lizard-like creatures. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t good either. The costumes have the generic a-sort-of-ye-olde-times vibe. It looks as though they spent all the budget for the top of the costumes as many of the men have a brocade jacket and ruffle-y shirt up top and regular trousers below. Knee high boots were only worn by the main characters so the Prince looks more authentic than his (un) trustworthy assistant. But they get around this by mostly shooting from the thighs up in close up so it it is only noticeable in long shots. Also our blond Snow White wears a pale blue dress that bears an uncanny resemblance to Alice in Wonderland.

Snow White has been sent away to a convent school for many years by her stepmother and returns for her father’s funeral. We see the evil Queen planning to marry a nearby Prince because his land contains the crash site for a meteor which emits a green glow and gives the elves their power—and if she has the power, she will rule the world. Of course he falls in love with Snow White instead of her stepmother, which causes the events you would expect in a Snow White tale to happen: her stepmother sends her out into to the woods to be killed, her heart is to be brought back, Snow White escapes and is rescued by seven (or thereabouts) elves who nurse her back to health, her stepmother disguises herself as an old crone and tries to kill her, she is revived by the Prince and the Queen is destroyed and they live happily ever after. But it all happens in a very Tolkienesque way.

I wasn’t able to find a cohesive summary of this film so have combined the summary from several sources (MOVIE MAVERICKS and HORROR NEWS ) and will add comments in between. 



Grimm’s Snow White is a loose adaptation of the folklore collected by the Brothers Grimm. We begin with a mystical world where a star once fell from the sky and landed with a mighty green and flamey thud on a cliff top.  Soon magical elves and giant lizard-like dragons are fighting over territory and flamey magic. There is some kind of balance though, until the humans come along and mess that all up. Soon they are building kingdoms and getting eaten by the reptiles and treating the elves poorly. The Asylum’s version of the story finds Snow White summoned to the castle by her stepmother Queen Gwendolyn after her father was killed by a giant lizard. Note: We see the mystical green flame on the clifftop and the green crystal amulets that the elves all wear around their necks. They derive their power from the green flame and can do various bits of magic like causing earthquakes, transformation and healing the dying . We see the Queen crying and talking about her grief, but then we see that she is actually rehearsing these lines and practicing her crocodile tears. She touches several of the magic crystal amulets that she has stolen from elves and laid in a bowl on her dressing table. Using their magic she calls upon her magic mirror which also glows with a liquidy green flame.

After doing away with the King, the evil Queen now wants to get rid of Snow, and become the fairest of them all. She orders her to be killed, but Snow escapes into the enchanted forest with the aid of some elves (yes, not dwarfs). Note: These are very Tolkien elves---they all look remarkably like Legolas but with regular short hair as the budget doesn’t stretch to wigs. It does stretch to pointy ears, though. As you would expect, some of the elves are bitter from the way that humans mistreat them, but eventually come around. We have the wise woman elf who will heal Snow White with some herbal potion, and the elf called Runt who everyone thinks is useless but will save the day in the end.

 In a real estate scheme the Queen plans to marry Prince Alexander and take over his part of the enchanted forest (there’s a magic green fire that burns there that she’s after), but the Prince has already fallen for Snow White. The Queen claims Snow is dead, but the Prince doesn’t give up hope in finding her. Unfortunately the Queen is hellbent on getting that prime enchanted forest property (gotta have her green fire), and tries to force the Prince into marriage. Note: We see the Queen forcing her enslaved elf to do her bidding  by transforming her into an old crone who just really looks like she is wearing poorly applied Halloween makeup. She also transforms an ordinary ring into one that looks just like the one the Prince gave to Snow White as a token of his affection and then poisons it. The poison ring idea featured in several of the literary versions of this tale such as Nourie Hadig. We see Snow White trying to contact the elf that works for the Queen that the other elves consider a traitor and she is approached in the market by an old crone who convinces her to take the ring. She puts it on and falls down dead. The elves carry her body and lay it under a low hanging willow tree where they wave a torch around as if they are going to burn her on a funeral pyre. Surely this act of pyromania would best be performed on an open plain rather than beneath a flammable tree? The Prince arrives in the nick of time to save her being burnt alive and takes the ring off her finger (which has now reverted back to its original form) and she miraculously wakes up.

 Now Snow must rally her elven friends to join her battle against the evil Queen, take back her love and generally save the day.  Snow White and the Prince stage some kind of rebellion against the Queen, the elves go to war to carrying mostly bows and arrows and what appears to be sticks and twine. When they finally decide to go to war against the Evil Queen, we are treated to the least impressive motivational speech ever by the surliest of the dwarves … I mean ELVES, sorry … followed by all six of them (no extras must have been hanging out looking for work that day) marching across a field to what I could almost swear is the same music from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It was an incredibly underwhelming scene. The elves don’t manage to hold their own very well once the fighting begins (obviously) until, miracle of miracles, they are rescued by … dark elf ninjas. I am not making this up. The dark elves swing into the area on vines (a la Tarzan) in funky black pyjamas and start whacking people with swords. Note: These dark ninja elves are the keepers of the sacred green flame. It looks like all is lost—the Prince is mortally wounded and all the elves and Snow White are captured (being held in not very convincingly tight chokeholds). The Queen gets a priest to come out the forest and perform the wedding RIGHT THERE while the Prince gasps for air. Because if their marriage is until “death do us part” when he dies in a few minutes she will inherit the land with the sacred green flame, defeat the ninja elves and have all the power. Suddenly, Runt the elf that no one thought was useful escapes, rather too easily kills the guard holding Snow White and she takes his sword and kills the Queen. There was some shouting at the telly at this point—me screaming “Do it! Slice off her head! Ooooh! She actually did it!” as the slow motion footage shows Snow White slicing off the Queen’s head in one dramatic blow. Then the green flame is safe, and all the creatures both human and elf can live in harmony with the giant lizards with the Prince and Snow White ruling over them all.

 You can watch the film here:


 That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a tale with another spunky fighting Snow White.

 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

What We Ate Wednesday-- Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce

 Hello lovelies! Ever since Halloween I have been thinking about caramel apples. As you do. They were everywhere a few weeks ago-- in shops and on adverts--everywhere but in my belly. But I wanted a low sugar more natural vegan version so I dove into Google  and it turns out it is surprisingly easy to make using dates.

I made mine with the sweet soaking water from the dates, but other recipes used plant based milk or even coconut milk for a really rich and decadent version, but even my stripped down version was delicious. 

Try to get the best dates you can--medjool dates are king but can be expensive. I used some decent soft and squidgy deglet noor dates which are smaller. Softer, moister dates make a smoother product but you will be soaking them so it is OK if they are a bit on the dry side. You might just have to blend longer.


 

Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce

1 packed cup of pitted dates--medjool dates would probably be about 15 dates.  I used about 20 deglet noor dates 

boiling water to cover the dates

pinch sea salt (bonus points for smoked sea salt)

1 tsp vanilla essence

Optional: plant milk or coconut milk

Optional: 1 tsp peanut butter

1. Put your dates in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit for 30 minutes.

2. Scoop out your dates with a slotted spoon and put in a food processor with the salt and vanilla and optional peanut butter. Pulse until broken down. Then run the machine and drizzle in liquid through the chute 1/4 cup at a time. I used the sweetened soaking water, because waste not-want not. But it could be milk here. I found that 3/4 cup was the right consistency for me. It will thicken up the fridge so 3/4 cup liquid was a tad on the loose side (I had a momentary blip where I doubted myself and thought I had messed it up, then after an hour in the fridge was PERFECT.) 

3. That's it. Serve with apple slices. Feel a bit smug about being naughty and healthy simultaneously as you eat it. 

Google says it lasts for up to a week in the fridge but we ate it in about 3 days. It makes about a cup's worth so feel free to double or triple if you have a family to feed. 

Friday, 13 November 2020

Fairy Tale Friday--Mirror Mirror (Julia Roberts, 2012)

 Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

Today we look at a lushly costumed version of Snow White starring Julia Roberts entitled Mirror Mirror. I liked it because it was funny and the effects like the magic mirror were different than we have ever seen them—the mirror is like water and the stepmother steps through the liquid reflection and then emerges from a lake on the other side. There is also some interesting puppetry and stop-motion animation which lifts this film from the ordinary. The most striking aspect of the film were the stunningly outrageous costumes designed by Eiko Ishioka who created costumes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This film was her last film, and she was nominated posthumously for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

Most importantly, there is a strong and capable Snow White who learns to fight as well as having a strong moral centre.  This film was directed by Tarsem Singh who also directed the video for R.E.M.’s Losing my Religion. In an interview he says that he wanted the film to reflect that the stepmother was not bad, just terrible insecure.

Acting is interesting in this—Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins) tries hard to be both beautiful and have spunk. Armie Hammer (which just sounds like slightly off product placement for Arm & Hammer) is the prince who also has spunk and a bit of a twinkle and gets to play a dog. Julia Roberts has a lot of charisma and an accent that seems to fluctuateshe sounds posh and sort of British but then slips in to sort of nasal American when being sarcastic. But her timing is impeccable.



Thanks to Wikipedia for a summary in which I will insert comments in.

Note: This film begins with a stunning stop-motion animation with the baby being born and the wife dying in childbirth. We see the father raising the daughter and then remarrying. We see the new wife giving them matching crescent moon necklaces (this will be important later, oh best beloved) and lastly we see him go off to fight…where he was never heard from again so presumed dead. Watch the stunning animation here: (in the film it has a sarcastic voiceover from Julia Roberts but I like this silent version with a musical underscore better)

LINK TO VIMEO OPENING ANIMATION

A widowed King marries an evil witch named Clementianna, the most beautiful woman in the land. One day, the king leaves to fight an evil Beast that resides in the forest, but never returns; Clementianna rules in his absence, while confining her young stepdaughter, Snow White, to the palace. Note: We see here that she has kept her stepdaughter confined physically in the palace and mentally by belittling her in that mean girl way through humiliation which is always underscored with jealousy. There is a great scene of a game of human chess with the players all wearing fantastic hats all made like giant ships perched on bewigged heads. Here an older rich man tries to woo the stepmother, but she is having none of it as she wants a handsome toyboy not an older sugardaddy.

10 years later, Snow White desires to explore the kingdom and sneaks out. Walking through the forest, she meets the visiting Prince Andrew Alcott, who has been robbed by a band of Dwarves; she and the prince become smitten with each other. Snow White arrives in the town, and finds the people are destitute due to the Queen's heavy taxation. Note: She remembers the town when her father was alive as a place all in colour where people were always dancing and singing, but now it is all in sepia and everyone is poor due to the high taxation rate of the stepmother to fund her lavish lifestyle.

Meanwhile, Clementianna is introduced to Alcott and plans to marry him for his wealth. Note: There is a great scene where the stepmother goes through several torturous beauty treatments (many of which are real treatments) to look her best for the ball. Watch it here:


Clementianna throws a ball to woo the Prince, and Snow White secretly attends, planning to ask the prince to help her restore the kingdom. Note: It is a costume ball and the costumes are astounding. It is an animal theme, and the costumes are so ridiculously extravagant and yet you cannot stop looking. There is also a hint of Cinderella as she runs away from the ball. Watch it here:


The Queen notices them dancing and orders her manservant Brighton to take the princess into the forest and feed her to the Beast. Brighton leaves Snow White in the forest, and she flees the Beast, collapsing at the door to the Dwarves' hideout; the dwarves take her in and introduce themselves as Grimm, Butcher, Wolf, Napoleon, Half Pint, Grub, and Chuck. When Brighton collects more taxes levied by the Queen to pay for her expensive parties, the Dwarves rob him. Snow White takes the money and returns it to the townspeople, crediting the Dwarves, whom the people hail as heroes. Note: It is said that the Queen drove away anything deformed or ugly and so the dwarves were banished to the forest for being different and that the townspeople fear them due to their disability. They live as highwaymen in the woods and have created these enormous accordion pleat springy acrobatic trousers that make them look like fierce giants. Snow White gives them the credit for stealing the money and returning it to the village so that the townsfolk will see them as kind and not something to be afraid of. See them in their springy trousers here: 


Clementianna informs Alcott that Snow White is dead.
Note: Here we have a scene where Julia Roberts gets to be prickly and funny. After the Prince confesses that he thinks Snow White is the most beautiful, she callously mentions she has been killed by the beast and tries to propose marriage. Watch it here:


When the Prince finds out that the bandits have robbed Brighton, he goes after them. In the forest, Alcott discovers that Snow White is alive and in league with the Dwarves, who have trained her in combat. Each believing the other to be in the wrong, Snow White and Alcott duel. Alcott returns to the Palace defeated and informs the Queen that Snow White is alive. Note: There is a montage where she learns to fight in her big white dress and then she gets a makeover and gets some snazzy wide legged trousers and a sword. Watch the fight scene here:



Clementianna enters her Mirror House, within which lives her reflection, the Mirror Queen. Clementianna has the Mirror Queen temporarily turn Brighton into a cockroach, and requests a love potion so she can make the prince fall in love with her. The potion turns out to be a 'puppy love' potion and the prince becomes devoted to her like a puppy dog. Under this spell, the prince agrees to marry her. Note: This scene is hilarious. It must have been so fun to film.


Using dark magic, the Queen attacks Snow White and the Dwarves with two giant marionettes; but Snow White defeats them by finding and cutting their strings. Note: This scene was incredible—the way the magic was wrought, the puppetry, the execution of the fight. It would have only made it better if Ray Harryhausen had some it as stop-motion animation. Watch it here:


On the day of her wedding, Clementianna arrives to find that Snow White and the Dwarves have robbed the party and abducted the Prince; for her inability to handle bandits and for lying about Snow White's death, the aristocrats demand the Queen be deposed. Back in the forest, Snow White manages to break the spell on Alcott with a kiss. Note: A nice gender swap twist here with her having to kiss him to break a spell. She is a bit nervous as it is her first kiss and despite wearing thick burgundy lipstick throughout the whole time she has been out fighting with the dwarves in the woods she suddenly needs makeup. Her lips go pale and one of the dwarves gives her some natural makeup by rubbing a strawberry that has miraculously grown in the dead of winter onto her lips and she is back to her deep burgundy lips.

Snow White encounters Clementianna, who sends the Beast after her. Prince Alcott tries to save Snow White, but the Beast captures her. However, the Beast hesitates in killing her and Snow White sees that it wears a necklace with a moon charm on it similar to the one the Queen wears. Snow White cuts the necklace off, breaking Clementianna’s spell, and restoring the Beast to its true form: Snow White’s father. Clementianna begins to age rapidly; the Mirror Queen explains this is the price for using dark magic.

Grateful to Alcott for his assistance, the king agrees to let him marry Snow White. At the wedding, a hooded crone appears and offers Snow White an apple as a wedding gift. At first, Snow White accepts the apple; but, as she is about to bite it, she realizes that the crone is Clementianna. Snow White cuts a piece from the apple and gives it to Clementianna, who reluctantly accepts it. The Mirror House shatters declaring it Snow White's story after all. Snow White and the Dwarves live happily ever after. Note: But not before Snow White and her friends break out into a Bollywood style closing number to a film that has not been a musical. I know. I am as puzzled as you are. Watch it here:

Bonus points if you noticed her Louisiana College coloured wedding dress. 

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for another film version of our classic tale.

 

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

What We Ate Wednesday--Jalapeño Nachos

Hello lovelies! Sometimes you are just craving “dirty” food—like spicy nachos with a gooey cheesy sauce that you eat with your fingers and get really messy which feels like you are twelve again and splitting and order of loaded nachos with your bestie at the roller rink. Just me, then?

Jalapeño peppers always remind me of dear old dad. He always had a jar of pickled jalapeños in the fridge.

This recipe comes together in a snap if you have lentils already cooked. Lentils are my go-to substitute for ground meat. They are hearty and wholesome and a whole food. They freeze well too so I cook up 2 cups of brown lentils at a time in a strong broth make with 5 cups vegetable stock, a glug of tamari, a teaspoon of yeast extract, 6 cloves of garlic and a teaspoon mixed herbs. Boil then simmer until the lentils are tender (about 20 minutes) and most of the liquid is absorbed. If you plan to freeze then cook them slightly al dente. If you get distracted and they overcook they just lose their shape a bit and melt down a bit softer. They still taste good, so don’t worry. Make sure you use green lentils, brown lentils or black Puy lentils for this—not red or you will be left with mush. 2 cups dried lentils makes 4 portions of 1.25 cups each of meaty goodness. I divide mine into click lock sandwich boxes that stack well in my small freezer. Just defrost overnight in the fridge.  

This also uses my go-to cheese sauce mix—it is a dry powder mix that takes 5 minutes to make. You just add 1/3 cup dry mix to 1 cup plant based milk and whisk. You can make macaroni cheese or cheese sauces like this one. It is so easy. Find the recipe HERE.



Jalapeño Nachos for Two

200g bag of tortilla chips (100g for each person)

1 onion, diced

Garlic (we used 4 cloves) 

3 tsp Mexican spice mix—like taco seasoning

1.25 cups cooked lentils (or a tin of black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed)

Jar of salsa

Squeeze of lime juice—bottled is fine

For the cheese sauce:

1/3 cup dry powder—find the recipe HERE

1 cup unsweetened plant based milk—I used soya milk

1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapeños

Optional:

If you have some vegan sour cream or plain natural yogurt with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice that works too if you want a cooling topping. We have eaten it both ways-- with and without sour cream-- and it is all good.

1. Divide the tortilla chips between two plates or large bowls.

2. Cook the onion and garlic in a splash of water or oil until softened. Add the Mexican spice mix, lentils and salsa and put the lid on to heat it up.

3. While the meaty sauce bubbles away start heating the cheese. In another smaller pot add the powder, the milk and the jalapeño peppers and turn up the heat to medium high, whisking constantly until it bubbles and thickens. This sauce gets lovely and gooey.

4. Add the meaty mixture to your tortilla chips and then top with cheesy jalapeño sauce and the optional sour cream.

5. Eat with your fingers and make a huge mess while laughing about your misspent youth wanting to be a roller disco queen despite the fact that you cannot skate. Just me, again?