Wednesday, 31 October 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Healthy Butterfingers

Hello lovelies! Lately we have been looking at healthy nutrient dense recipes, but as Halloween is today, I thought I would share a sweet recipe that we have fallen in love with. When I was in the US visiting my lovely daughter in February, we made a recipe that involved peanut butter, lots of sugar and lots of corn syrup and rice krispies cereal. It was so good that we made it twice. But it was crazy high in sugar. Or maybe I was just crazy high after eating two batches. Who knows. Anyway, I saw this recipe on CHOCOLATE COVERED KATIE’s blog for Healthy Butterfingers and knew I had to try it.

We were not disappointed. It is not ridiculously easy like PEANUT BUTTER CUPS as it involves 1 extra step but they are still super easy to make. Last night Spiderman says—all casual like—“Did you say these were easy to make? “ I replied, “Yes, quite easy. Why?” To which he just shoved the remainder of the Healthy Butterfingers into his mouth and made puppy eyes at me. So I know that’s a vote for having them again.  

It does have three kinds of sweetener but all of them together only add up to about 7 TB rather than a cup of sugar and a cup of corn syrup. Plus 1 TB is molasses (Blackstrap if you can get it) which is very high in both iron and calcium. Perhaps this makes them "Betterfingers"? The chocolate coating is completely optional. I used it this time as I had a 100g chocolate bar to melt, but it would be equally delicious without it.

you can even use them as building blocks 

Healthy Butterfingers
1/4 cup liquid sweetener like agave or maple syrup or golden syrup (I used the last one as it has a butterscotch sort of taste)
1 tbsp regular or blackstrap molasses 
3 TB demerara sugar (I used 1.5 TB demerara sugar with stevia)
1 cup peanut butter, or allergy-friendly sub
1 1/2 cups bran flakes, or corn flakes, or another flake cereal (56g)
1/8 tsp salt, plus a little extra if using unsalted PB

Optional: 100g chocolate bar, melted or 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil mixed with 1/4 cup cocoa powder and liquid sweetener to taste

1. Combine first three ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Boil about a minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.

2.Add the peanut butter and salt to the melted sugary syrup and stir until it makes a paste. Add the cereal and stir very well to coat, partially crushing the cereal flakes as you stir. Make sure the flakes are very evenly coated. 

3.Press into an 8×8 pan lined with wax or parchment paper (careful as it is warm) and freeze for about 10 minutes then cut into bars and pop back in the freezer until completely frozen. If you want to add the chocolate, then just freeze and don't cut yet. 

4. If you wish to cover in chocolate then simply melt the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth, or mix the melted coconut oil with the sweetener and cocoa. Then spread over the bars with a spatula, cut your bars and pop back in the freezer to harden.

5. When solid, carefully remove from pan and store in an airtight container. Store in the fridge. Or freezer if you like a bit more “snap.”

Now Chocolate Covered Katie says it makes 12 to 16 bars. LOL and ROTFL and all those cliché internet acronyms, We cut it into 8 as we are greedy vegans.

Enjoy And have a spook-tacular Halloween

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--A Girl in Perrault Is A Temporary Thing (2003)

Hello and welcome to our last Red Riding Hood Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin.

For the the past 34 weeks we have looked at variations on the story Little Red Riding Hood. Today is our last look at this classic story before we begin looking at Cinderella next week. 
click to enlarge to see our stamps of LRRH from around the world
This week is different because the final story we look at is written by me. I wrote this story in 2003, the year before we emigrated to the UK. We owned a bookshop called Books, Etc and I was devouring the short story collections of fairy tales  edited and compiled by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow. These were inspired by the darker children's fairy tales, but these were definitely not for children. This story was the first in a series of what my mother calls my "creepy" tales. 

The title was suggested by Spiderman as a reference to both Charles Perrault and the 1984 song A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing) by new wave/post punk band Romeo Void. 

I hope you enjoy it. 

A Girl in Perrault Is A Temporary Thing

By Heather Elizabeth Tisdale

            The moon rose over the canopy of trees like a silver orb. It was dark in the forest below; the trees were too thick to allow more than a sliver of light from the circle of the moon. The huntsman put down his axe. He could feel the pull of the moon pricking at the back of his neck. The hairs on his arms stood on end. It would not be long before the change. He locked the axe in the cabinet then took off his clothes and folded them neatly and placed them on a chair at the far corner of the room. He then lay down on the bare floor and waited for the inevitable. He could hear his blood pounding in his ears and he knew it had begun. He felt the terrible rip of muscles as they tore and reformed into his lupine limbs. He twisted in agony as bones broke and stretched into that all too familiar shape. He cried out as teeth ripped through his gums and wiry hair covered his naked body.  The ground was covered with sweat and faeces from the transformation. He leapt onto the bed, flexing his hind legs, and growled at his reflection in the mirror. In one swift movement, he jumped through the open window and into the night. He called out to the moon to send him blood to sustain himself for another cycle and give him the courage to kill when he found it. His terrible howl could be heard for miles.           
            In a little cabin beside the woods a mother worked quickly. The mother was packing a basket full of food while the daughter lay in her bed and looked out of the window into the darkness. She heard the howl and shivered. Her mother, sensing her fear, came and put her hand on her daughter's shoulder. She turned to look at her mother's face which was pale and lined with worry.  The mother took hold of her hands and whispered, “This is the only way, my child. Your grandmother cannot feed herself any longer and so we must provide for her.  It is time for you to learn to go by yourself. I must stay here and feed your brothers and sisters for they are as helpless as Grandmother and cannot fend for themselves yet.”

The daughter knew it was so, but she could not help but be a little afraid. She climbed out of the bed; her nakedness was as pale as the moonlight itself. Silently she dressed herself. She wrapped herself in her cape, the same blood red cape that her grandmother had given her when she was confirmed into the faith. Her mother handed her the basket of goodies. It had an odd smell that made her want to retch. As she pulled the hood up over her head she could hear the snapping of neck bones. She looked over to see her mother leaning over the rabbit hutch, softly cradling the dead animal in her arms. The little ones will have rabbit tonight, she thought. How I wish I could stay here and not have to go all alone. Her mother pointed to the door, her lips pressed together as if she might cry. The girl pulled the velvet cape around her body and slipped out the door into the blackness of the night.   
            The wolf prowled through the darkness trying to feel the heat from some hapless animal that would be his prey. He crouched silently behind a tree, listening, smelling and tasting the air. His golden eyes glimmered in the darkness. He could faintly hear footsteps coming toward him in the darkness. He rolled his ears back so that could hear more clearly in the frozen air. This was no animal on four legs approaching. He could only hear the sound of two feet. A human being. What would a human be doing in the woods in the dead of night? He growled to himself and hunched low to be ready to attack.

            She walked down the uneven path that cut through the heart of the forest. Her breathing came at ragged intervals. She didn't know if it was from fear or excitement. After all, this was her first trip alone through the woods. She quickened her pace, swinging the little basket by her side. The odour from the contents made her feel queasy, but she kept on at a steady pace. Almost there, she thought to herself, Not much longer now. You can do it. The smell drifted ahead of her, carried on the cool night air to where the wolf lay in wait. His mouth began to water as he waited for her to pass by.  Almost here, he thought to himself, Not much longer now. You can do it. His breath came at ragged intervals at the thought of devouring the girl and the basket she held in her hand. Suddenly, he saw her. She was like no human he had ever seen. Her skin was as pale as the moon itself and her green eyes glimmered in the blackness around her. She was walking quickly now and mumbling to herself. He leapt out of the shadows and crouched before her on the path. Her eyes grew wide and her teeth chattered with fear or cold, he could not tell which. He hoped it was cold; it was so hard for him to kill when they were afraid. She burst into tears right there on the spot, wiping her nose on the red sleeve of her cape. He couldn't kill her now. He would have to wait until she was without fear. He looked at the pale, weeping figure and managed to growl a few words at her. He inquired as to where she was going in the middle of the night all alone in the dark, dark woods. She sniffled and replied that her grandmother was very ill. She could feed herself no longer and someone in the family must bring her food. She must get to the little house on the far side of the woods before dawn or her grandmother would surely die. He knew he could not eat her now. She was terrified. But at her grandmother's house she will be calm, he thought. I will eat the grandmother and then when she comes, I shall consume her as well. He howled one last howl at the moon a thank you for sending him prey and dashed off through the trees.     

            The girl stood as still as a marble statue there in the darkness until the creature was out of sight. She breathed a heavy sigh. She had done it. She had talked to a wolf and she was still alive to tell about it. With renewed strength, she skipped through the forest. How clever that I have outsmarted that wolf!  she whispered to herself and she went on about her mission.

            In the meantime, the wolf had reached the little house on the far side of the woods. It was just as the blubbering girl had said. This was going to be so easy. How clever that I have outsmarted this girl, he whispered to himself. He lifted the latch on the door with his hairy paw and slunk into the house. When he saw the grandmother, it was worse than the girl had let on. The woman was as pale as death and lay like skin and bones in the bed. The faint smell of decay rose from her body. He decided not to eat her after all. What if she had some contagious disease? He might be poisoned by the ingestion of her flesh. He picked her up by the scruff of the neck and dragged her to the wardrobe. He left her there in a heap and closed the door. There was no need to lock her in; the woman would not have enough strength to try to escape.     

            She arrived on the porch of the little house. She laid the little basket down outside the door and tiptoed in. She entered the old woman's bedroom and saw a dark figure lying in the bed. Her heart skipped a beat, but she continued. “Grandmother!” She called out, “Just wait until you hear! I was stopped in the woods by a humongous wolf, but I cried and pretended to be a baby so that he would not eat me! And it worked! He ran off into the night and here I am safe and sound.”

The wolf made a low guttural noise under the blankets, but the girl took no notice as she neatly folded up her red cape and placed it on a chair at the far corner of the room. He saw that she was naked. No wonder she had been cold. She climbed right up in the bed with the wolf, pressing her soft body into his. “Mmmmm,” she said. “You feel warm.” The wolf's heart started to pound. She was without fear; he would be able to tear into her pieces and glut himself until her was sick. Suddenly, she sat up in the bed and looked at him quizzically. 
“Grandmother, what big eyes you have!” she whispered.
“The better to see you with, my dear!” he growled. She continued to stare at him.
But Grandmother, what big ears you have!” she murmured.
            “The better to hear you with, my dear!” he rasped. He saw a flash of white in the dark. His eyes grew wide as he stammered,
“Little girl, what big teeth you have!”  She bared her fangs and laughed,
“The better to eat you with, my dear!” Then she sank her teeth into his neck and cut the vein until the blood flowed freely. She sucked on his neck until he was too weak to move. She sat up, her lips and teeth stained scarlet and said, “Grandmother, come out! Look and see what I have brought you for supper!” The wardrobe door creaked, and the grandmother stepped out. She was pale and thin, but her eyes still glimmered in the darkness. She climbed up in the bed and licked the punctures in his neck that her granddaughter had so thoughtfully provided. “They taste so much better when they're afraid, don't you think?” said the grandmother as she slurped away at his neck.
“Mmmm,” said the little girl. A thin trickle of blood fell from the corner of her mouth as she stared into the terrified eyes of the beast, “Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Wolf?”

 That's all for this week. Join me next week as we begin to look at Cinderella. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

What we Ate Wednesday--Indian Style Kale with Chickpeas

Hello lovelies! Here's another quick and easy recipe that's healthy. As promised in last week's food post it also uses curry paste. Here are  some other  recipes that use curry paste to help you use up your jar:

This recipe is loosely based on one I read in the How Not To Die Cookbook. His recipe used spinach, mine uses kale, but put in whatever greens you have on hand. His uses all mushrooms and mine uses a few mushrooms and chickpeas. Because chickpeas. I added garlic (of course) and instead of a TB of miso paste i used a TB curry paste and a TB lemon juice to brighten it at the end.

I also threw in some boiled potatoes instead of rice.

It came together surprisingly quickly and was mega-delicious. Plus if you have read How Not To Die (and I highly recommend you do as it shows you all the diseases that can be prevented or reversed through diet) this contains several of your daily dozen: Beans, spices, leafy greens, mushrooms and other vegetables.

Indian Style Kale With Chickpeas

200-300g potatoes, chopped (this was about 5 new potatoes ranging from a walnut size to an egg size)
1 onion, chopped
4-5 button mushrooms
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
a few cloves of garlic, crushed
heaping TB peeled and chopped fresh ginger root
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TB Balti curry paste
1 tin tomatoes
100g kale (about 4 cups) de-stemmed and torn into bits.
1 TB lemon juice (bottled is fine)

1.In a medium pot, cover the chopped potatoes with water or vegetable broth and bring to the boil. Boil until easily pierced by a fork---about 5-7 minutes. Then drain and wait.

2.Meanwhile, once the potatoes are coming to the boil, in a larger pot cook the onion and garlic, ginger and mushrooms in a splash of water or oil until softened.

3. Add the dry spices and stir to coat.

4. Add the chickpeas, curry paste and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for about ten minutes.

5. Add in the kale and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the kale softens and reduces. Toss in the cooked potatoes when you add the kale.

6. Add the lemon juice. Serve.

This was quick and really tasty as well as very nutritious. Enjoy!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Red Riding Hood (2011 film)

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

This week is the penultimate week of looking at Little Red Riding Hood. It's also a bonus week and this post will have two interconnected Red Riding Hood versions to explore. We start with a 2011 film starring Amanda Seyfried. It features many allusions to classic versions of our story such as the underlying sexuality of the tale (Valerie and Peter have many sexy romps in the soft hay or on the white snow, all with her blood red cape spilling around her as they make the "beast with two backs." In earlier tales, red symbolised menstrual blood which was to show that the female protagonist was ripe and ready for marriage, but was warned not to stray from the path of virginity. Clearly, this doesn't apply to Amanda Seyfried's character.

It also features filling the wolf's belly with stones to prevent it from escaping which sometimes appears in the versions of our tale for children as well as the musical Into the Woods where Granny suggests they cut the wolf open and fill him with stones and then laugh as they "watch him try to run away!" 

Image result for red riding hood film 2011

 You can watch the trailer here:

According to Wikipedia:

Valerie is a young woman who lives in the village of Daggerhorn with her parents and older sister Lucie. They live on the edge of the forest which is plagued by a werewolf which has so far been appeased by livestock offerings.  She is in love with the town woodcutter Peter, but her parents have arranged for her to marry the son of the wealthy blacksmith. Valerie and Peter plan to run away together, only to learn that the Wolf has broken its truce not to prey on the townspeople and has murdered her sister Lucie.

The townspeople send out a search party to kill the wolf consisting of Peter, the blacksmith and his son Henry. Peter separates from them moments before the Wolf attacks and murders the blacksmith. They corner the wolf and slaughter it, but as it doesn’t return to its human form after death then it was just a common grey wolf.

The priest reveals that they've entered the Blood Moon Week, an event that happens every thirteen years, in which whoever is bitten by the Wolf is cursed to become one as well. Father Solomon's men isolate the town and begin to investigate its people in search of the Wolf. That night, the Wolf attacks and, while the townspeople rush to the Church (as the Wolf is unable to step onto holy ground), Valerie and her friend Roxanne venture into the village to search for Roxanne's autistic brother, Claude. They are cornered by the creature and Valerie discovers that she is able to understand the Wolf's sounds. It threatens to kill Roxanne and destroy the village if Valerie doesn't leave with it. The Wolf then escapes, vowing to return to learn Valerie's decision.

Watch Valerie's startled response here:

Following the wolf attack, the village descends into a witch hunt with Claude captured and accused of witchcraft because he can do a card trick which is considered magic.Clause is locked up in a Brazen bull ( a box made of metal that has a fire burning under it to roast the accused to death.)  In exchange for her brother's release, Roxanne reveals that Valerie is able to communicate with the Wolf but Claude is already dead by the time the Captain opens the box.  Believing Valerie to be a witch, Father Solomon has her captured and displayed at the town's square in order to lure the Wolf out so he can kill it. Henry and Peter join forces and help Valerie to escape.

Henry takes Valerie to the church, but they are attacked by the Wolf, who bites off Father Solomon's hand, which contains silver-coated fingernails. The townspeople shield Valerie from the Wolf, who is once again forced to flee, but not before burning a paw by touching holy land. The now cursed Father Solomon is subsequently killed by the Captain.

Valerie dreams that the Wolf is her grandmother, who lives in a cabin in the nearby woods, so she goes to check on her. After retrieving Father Solomon's hand on the way, Valerie rushes to her grandmother's cabin, but is confronted on the way by Peter. She then notices that he is wearing a glove on his right hand, the same paw that the Wolf burned trying to enter the church, Valerie assumes Peter is the Wolf and stabs him.

Watch this scene here:

 Arriving at Grandmother's house, Valerie is horrified to find her dead, and learns that the Wolf is her father. . He reveals that the curse was passed to him by his own father, and he intended to leave the village but wanted to take his children with him. He sent a note to Lucie  to meet him at night so he could ask her to accept her "gift". However, when he confronted her, she couldn't understand him. Realising Lucie was not his daughter, he murdered her in a fit of rage. He then took revenge against the blacksmith, his wife's lover, and now wants Valerie to accept the curse.

Watch the above scene: 

Valerie refuses, just as Peter appears and confronts her father, who bites Peter (thus giving him the curse) and tosses him aside. Peter is able to throw an axe into the fathers back, distracting him. Valerie stabs her father to death with Father Solomon's hand. Valerie and Peter fill the father's body with rocks so he can never be found and dumps the body in the lake. Peter departs in order to learn how to control his curse, vowing to return only when he's able to ensure Valerie's safety. Valerie narrates that Henry found his courage and joins the ranks of the Captain's monster hunters. Valerie's mother finally accepts that her husband will never come home, and the village continues to live in fear even though the wolf never returned. Valerie then moves to her grandmother's house, leaving her old life behind as she can't go back to the village because she is married to the wolf (Peter) and wants to keep that a secret.

Watch the scene above: 

The last scene shows Valerie outside the cabin on a full moon. She hears a slight growl, turns around and sees Peter in wolf form as she begins to smile. In an alternate ending, Valerie is seen holding a baby, which is her baby with Peter.

This film captures much of the sensuality of the earlier tales, but also with the warnings that come with sexuality. 

As a bonus, I would like to share Amanda Seyfried playing the guitar and singing the song  Li'l Red Riding Hood that we explored earlier. There are many versions of this song, but by far the best that captures the complete animal nature and sexiness of the song is the one by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs which you can listen to HERE. Of all the other versions, this comes the closest.

This was released on YouTube as a tie-in to the film. Enjoy.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned next week for our last version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Sweet Potato and White Bean Curry

Hello lovelies! I was just saying to Spiderman that we eat quite a lot of orange food. But that's good from a nutritional standpoint because we eat lots of red lentils, sweet potatoes and tomatoes which all full of goodness and vibrancy.

This recipe is an old favourite of ours. I am not sure where it came from. I suspect I found it somewhere on the internet and no doubt adapted it because that's what I do.

It is great with rice or naan bread and makes enough to feed us for two nights.

If you don't have enough sweet potatoes, then sub in some carrots. After all they are both orange root vegetables.

It's all about the orange, baby.

This recipe needs curry paste. Yes, it is more expensive than curry powder, but I think tastes sooo much better. It's worth the investment. I'll also post a recipe next week that uses curry paste so you won't feel like you don't know what to do with the rest of the jar.

Sweet Potato and White Bean Curry
1 onion, diced
a few cloves garlic, crushed
800g chopped sweet potatoes or a mix of sweet potatoes and carrots For me this was 3 medium sweet potatoes and a big carrot
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tin haricot or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2-3 TB Curry paste We like Patak's Balti paste

1. Cook your onion and garlic in a splash or oil or water until softened.
2. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until your root vegetables are soft.
3. Scoop out about half of it and whizz it in a blender until smooth then add it back into the pot so you've got chunky and smooth bits. Or if you like it all smooth then whizz up the whole thing. Whatever.

That's it. It's really easy and the curry paste gives it a huge depth of flavour without having to add the 12 spices individually or go out and buy tamarind paste.

We had it with brown rice the first night and homemade GF flatbread with a bit of sugar, cinnamon, coconut and raisins the second night to make sort of ersatz Peshwari naan . Flat bread recipe found  HERE.  These days I don't use soya yogurt and water like I did in the recipe link.  I sub all liquid ingredients  with buttermilk made from 1 TB vinegar topped up with soya milk to make 1 cup (250ml.) If you want to make the sweet version--3 TB each brown sugar, ground almonds and coconut and 1 tsp cinnamon plus a handful of raisins.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Hard Candy (2005)

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

This is the second Fairy Tale Friday I have had to put a disclaimer on. The film Hard Candy is a thrilling psychological game of cat and mouse. Or girl and wolf, in this case. It also contains violence and some very disturbing scenes. It is an excellent example of predator vs prey where those roles flip in an unexpected way, but it also contains a scene of shocking violence.

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Image result for hard candy film

This film, directed by David Slade, focuses on a 14-year-old female vigilante's trapping and torture of a man whom she suspects of being a sexual predator. Heavy stuff. It is essentially a two-hander and stars the amazing Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson. Ellen Page's character wears a red hoodie which reflects back to us the idea of a red hooded cape. She is the young girl, navigating the deep woods of puberty and adulthood, who comes face to face with a wolfish older man. The tagline on the Japanese version was Red Hood Traps Wolf At His Own Game. 

Our film starts off with this online conversation between the 14 year old Thonggrrrl14 and Lensman319. The conversation is flirty and dangerous. It rings every alarm bell about online safety and my heart starts to pound when she suggests they hook up. That's right. it looks like her idea. The first thing that really struck me was her use of grrrl (like Riotgrrrl --the same reason i use Spidergrrl) and the 14. We are clear that this is a young teen. On the other hand, he announces his maturity without letting slip his age through the word LensMAN. This is a dangerous situation waiting to happen. All the fears we have for our teenage daughters can be encapsulated in this opening scene. Don't chat online with people you don't know and don't agree to meet up with them (even in a public place.) You fear for her, afraid for her safety and possibly her life. 

They meet up and she looks even younger than fourteen. Ellen Page's character Hayley has such a baby face that she could be twelve here. (Ellen Page was actually eighteen at the time of filming.)Her voice is high and childish. What is particularly worrying is that this does not deter Jeff. You see him sensually wipe the chocolate from her lip with his thumb.

After a bit of flirting they go back to his place, which is also his photography studio. He wants to take some pictures of her (another red flag.) She offers to make them both screwdrivers saying they have taught in her school to never drink something she didn't make herself because someone could put something in it. He laughs and commends her for her wisdom and allows her to make them alcoholic drinks.  We see him drink, then become dizzy and collapse. All of our fears about her safety in the deep dark woods with the older man have suddenly been turned on its head. The opening scenes present him very much as predator and Hayley as the prey, but this changes the dynamic. After an unspecified amount of time he wakes up, tied to a chair.

He wakes up disoriented, oblivious to the fact that she has removed her red hooded cape (symbolising the shedding of her innocence) and her face has become hard and her voice slightly deeper. He thinks this is some teenage sex game. but as she tells him, Playtime's over. Over the course of their conversation you learn that she has been stalking him online. She chose this day to meet up as she knew his neighbours were away so there is no one to hear him scream. But then she accuses him of stalking her, of trying to do everything he could to get her to like him so they could meet up and he could have sex with her. She berates him for behaving inappropriately by asking her over and giving her alcohol. She accuses him of being a paedophile.

This is heady stuff. She looks like the victim here and his behaviour clearly looks dodgy. It gets worse.  She claims while he was unconscious she has uncovered "sick" photos of a local girl who had been kidnapped and remains missing. Now she accuses him of being not only a paedophile, but a murderer as well.

Ok, folks. here comes the bit that needed the disclaimer. Hayley once again incapacitates Jeff and when he wakes he is strapped to the table with an icepack on his groin. Hayley tells him that she is numbing his testicles with ice as she is going to castrate him as punishment for hurting young girls. Then she does it. Literally, does it. With a scalpel and a medical textbook from her dad's office. He is the prey and she is now the predator. Feel free to skip this one.

After she leaves him, he discovers that she has not actually cut his balls off, only numbed them and squeezed them in a bulldog clip. He pursues her --she is now his prey--but she attacks him with a stun gun. When he wakes she has put a noose around his neck and says if he will go ahead and kill himself that she will erase all evidence of his crimes, but if he refuses then she will expose his sordid secrets. He escapes and chases her up onto the roof. The predator/prey aspect ping-pongs back and forth in this tense rooftop struggle.

On the roof she tells him she has phoned his ex-girlfriend Janelle and posing as a police officer has asked her to come over to his house. She says that she will run half-naked into Janelle's arms to expose him as a paedophile. But if he hangs himself she will destroy the evidence of his crime.

The scariest thing to me is when he finally breaks down and confesses that he watched while another man raped and murdered the missing girl Donna Mauer. He promises that if she spares his life, he will tell her the other man's name so she can exact her revenge. It is the chilling way that she says, "Aaron told me that you did it before he killed himself," that you know he is not her first. And the way she convinces him to hang himself and then casually exclaims that she has no intention of destroying the evidence also chills me. This girl is no man's meat  (to quote Angela Carter.) 

Throughout the film, the predator/prey balance shifts. We see Hayley go from wronged innocent to vigilante, to cold blooded (assisted)  killer. We see Jeff as sexual predator, then emasculated, then broken. 

The film ends with Hayley back in her innocent red hoodie, walking home through the woods. Perhaps planning her next assault on a predatory wolf. 

That's all for this week. Next week will be the penultimate  Fairy Tale Friday look at Little Red Riding Hood. Stay tuned.  

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Balsamic Potatoes, Apple and Kale Soup

Hello lovelies! This was another clean out the fridge sort of meal. We've had it before (you can see the original recipe HERE) but this time I adapted it a bit to what I had and turned it into a soup.

We had the fag end of a bag of white potatoes and the beginning of a bag of sweet potatoes, so I thought this would be perfect. And who doesn't like soup? Soup Nazis, that's who. Go away Soup Nazis. You are not welcome here.

This is easy to make and takes 40 minutes to roast the veggies, but it is all downtime. So bung them in the oven and go read a book. Then stir halfway and finish the chapter.

Balsamic Potatoes, Apple and Kale Soup
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Normally I roast at 200C/400F but you need a slightly lower temperature and longer cooking time so the apples don't turn to mush.

In your biggest roasting pan put all your chopped veg.
I used:
3 small to medium sweet potatoes (mine were about the size of a man's "naughty bits" if you know what I mean)
1 red onion, chopped
half a red pepper, chopped
1 gala apple,  cored and chopped
about 3 small potatoes, chopped (mine ranged between the size of a walnut to an egg)

So by now my pan was full, so I added:
1.5 TB tamari (or soy sauce)
3 TB balsamic vinegar
lots of shakes of fennel seeds
pinch of salt and pepper

Roast for 20 minutes, stir and roast for 20 more minutes.

For the soup:
100g curly kale (4-5 handfuls), destemmed and torn into bits
4 cups (1 litre) hot vegetable stock

Right before the veg are done then work on the soup. Heat 1 litre of stock in your biggest pot. Add HALF the roasted veg and puree until smooth with an immersion (stick) blender . Add the rest of the roasted veg and the kale and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly to keep the greens submerged so they can soften. When the greens are softened to your liking, it's done.

That's it. It made 4 HUGE bowls, but if you were feeding a crowd add some chickpeas and serve over rice.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Freeway (1996)

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

This is the only Fairy Tale Friday so far I have had to put a disclaimer on. The film Freeway is violent, sweary and contains very sexually explicit dialogue, so if those things are likely to offend you then perhaps stay away from this week’s post. It was originally rated NC-17 but was reduced to R after some explicit dialogue was removed.  But if you are willing to go along for the ride, it is a remarkable modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Image result for freeway film

Our modern day Red Riding Hood is Vanessa Lutz, a poor illiterate teenage girl living in Los Angeles. The name Lutz is also the surname of the family who lived in terror in the house that became known as The Amityville Horror. I don't know if that is intentional, but it is a nice touch. Other ties to the story include her gang member boyfriend Chopper Woods and Bob Wolverton, a seemingly nice man who gives her a lift when her car breaks down, but proves himself to be more of a predator. 

According to Wikipedia:

 Vanessa's mother is arrested for prostitution and her stepfather is taken into custody on drug and child abuse charges. Rather than be taken into care and forced into a foster home, Vanessa takes the car and plans to go to her grandmother in Stockton. Along the way, Vanessa stops to see her boyfriend Chopper Wood, a local gang member, to tell him about her trip and he gives her a gun to sell upon arriving at her destination. Minutes after Vanessa leaves, Chopper is killed in a drive-by shooting by rival gang members. Later, Bob Wolverton, a counsellor at a school for boys with emotional trouble, picks her up after her car breaks down and offers to take her as far as Los Angeles where he is headed.
Over the long drive, Vanessa comes to trust Bob, and confesses to him the details of her painfully dysfunctional life, including being sexually abused by her stepfather. At one point, Vanessa shows Bob a photo she keeps in her wallet of her biological father. Bit of trivia: The photo that she shows him is actually of Richard Speck who murdered 8 nurses in 1966.

That evening, Bob reveals he is a serial killer of young girls – known in the press as the "I-5 Killer". He tries to kill Vanessa when she refuses to give in to him. The tables are turned, however, as Vanessa eventually pulls out her gun and shoots him several times before escaping. She goes to a local restaurant where her blood-stained appearance attracts attention from the patrons and staff.

Bob has survived, but the bullet wounds have left him severely handicapped and disfigured. Vanessa is put on trial, with everyone believing that Bob is the innocent victim he claims to be since he has no criminal record, while Vanessa has a long record and is a veteran of juvenile homes. Vanessa goes to prison, while Bob and his socialite wife Mimi, who knows nothing of his crimes, are treated like heroes.

The rest of the film follows Vanessa as she spends time in juvie, makes friends with a Hispanic gang leader and a heroin addicted lesbian. Using a sharpened toothbrush as a crude knife, she escapes, steals a car and once again heads towards her grandmother’s house.

Wikipedia continues:

When new evidence shows that Vanessa had told the truth, Bob's home is searched, violent child pornography is found, and his wife told about their suspicions. Mimi commits suicide. Bob finds the police at his home, and flees to Vanessa's grandmother's place, a trailer park. The address was found on the photograph Vanessa shared with Bob.

When Vanessa arrives at her grandmother's house she finds Bob in bed wearing her grandmother's nightgown and nightcap with the covers pulled up to his nose. His big sharp teeth can be seen above the blanket. Bob reveals himself and Vanessa sees her grandmother's body on the floor. A struggle ensues, culminating in Vanessa strangling Bob. Vanessa eventually exits the trailer exhausted after her struggle and finds the detectives waiting for her. They enter to find Bob and Vanessa's grandmother both dead.

Here is the scene where she finds out that Bob Wolverton is planning to kill her and "do sex to her body after she's dead." This phrase "do sex to me" always stands out to me as it is a perfect example of someone who has been sexually abused and has never had a loving consensual relationship. Even with her boyfriend Chopper Wood, she is like to to be no more than a passive receptacle  for semen. I also really love the fact that Vanessa cannot shoot Bob until she has found out if he believes in Jesus as his lord and saviour. It is an unexpected moment that shows her vulnerability. 

Here is the court scene where it really looks like Vanessa is the baddie and Bob is goodie, but as we know things are not always as they seem.

Finally, the ending.

That's all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a Little Red Riding Hood version where you can't tell who is the predator and who is the prey.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Cocoa Coconut "Nung" Balls

Hello lovelies! This is one of those copycat recipes. It's Not Quite made like the original (but tastes just like it), but I just used what I had on hand to make them.

I try really hard not to buy single serve snacks in non-recyclable wrappers. But the other day I had been out and about running errands and I was out much longer then i meant to be and I started to go all funny.

I am hypoglycemic so when I go funny:

  • My vision goes all wibbly
  •  I feel extremely tired
  • I feel dizzy
  • I can actually see the energy slowly drain out of my body  like the water from a kiddie pool
I also get HANGRY (hungry + angry) so this is not a good combination. I was loaded down with library books and and a kilogram bag of rice flour and half a kilo head of broccoli and I suddenly needed a bit of food and a sit down. 

I popped into our local Health Food Shop Aardvark Alternatives and bought one of these for 99p. 
Nākd Cocoa Coconut
I had never tried this flavour, but it was really good. I sat down on a bench and ate my Nakd Bar and pondered on the ingredients as my energy level rose like the mercury in a hot thermometer. I *knew* I could make this at home. 

Now I have made little LITTLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BITES rolled in coconut, but these had the coconut inside. 

I went home, unpacked all my bags and got to work.

Now their recipe used dates, raisins, coconut, cocoa powder and cashews. I didn't have raisins or cashews on hand, so i used all dates and (GF) oats. 

They taste *exactly* like the Nakd bar, but in reality they look like little DUNG BALLS. Seriously, like the sort of ball the ancient Egyptians believed was rolled across the sky to be the sun by the solar deity Khepri. 

That is why there are no photos of this delicious treat as I don't want to put you off. 

I have called them NUNG BALLS because they are Not Dung balls, ya dig? 

Nung Balls
3/4 cup dates soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes then drained (save the soaking water)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut (dried shredded coconut)
1/2 cups (GF) oats or cashews
3 TB cocoa powder

Whack everything in your food processor and blend until it sticks together. Adding in a TB at a time of the date water if it is not sticking together properly. Then roll into a dozen balls while pretending to be  a scarab beetle or the god Khepri. Or just be yourself rolling up treats if you lack imagination or don't have time for nonsense ..

Store in the fridge. it made 12 balls...well, probably more like 13 but i kept nibbling at it. If you were making bar shapes like the actual nakd bar, I'd say it would make 4.