Archive | December, 2013

More Christmas Food!

23 Dec

Jess cooked a large amount of christmassy food the other day. Here are some of the recipes. Sorry for the lack of pictures, many glasses of wine was drunk during the cooking process…!

Garlic Mushroom Hor d’Ouvres

Great if you have any pastry going spare. Fine chop an onion and saute with a few cloves of minced garlic. Add sliced mushrooms and sweat down with a splash of white wine and a splash of soy. Cook down for a bit and if necessary add a little flour to thicken. Season with salt, pepper and some chopped fresh parsley.

Pre-bake pastry rounds in a cupcake tin (or hor d’ouvre tin if you have one). Spoon in the mushroom mixture into the pastry case and serve.

Smoked Tofu with Pesto

This recipe is a bit of cheat really but excellent to get some nibbles / appetisers out of the way on a busy Christmas. We just bought some fancy smoked tofu, cut it into cubes and put them on little cocktail sticks and added a pesto dip. We made our pesto by blitzing together basil, pine-nuts, garlic and olive oil.

Sprouts with Sage and Apple

For this simple recipe we sweated down some red onion with garlic in a fair bit of butter and a dash of sugar until the onions had caramelised. We then added brussel sprouts which we had cut into quarters and sauteed them for a bit. We then added diced apples, lots of chopped fresh sage and seasoning.

Butternut Squash, Hazelnut and Sage Stuffing

Peel and chop up the butternut squash and roast in the oven until soft. Saute onion, garlic (we used loads), bay leaves, cubes of bread and hazelnuts in butter. Add the squash and mix, adding a splash of wine when the mix starts to stick. Roughly blend the mixture with a stick blender, put into a dish and bake until the top is brown.

Parsnip and Thyme Pancakes 

Grate about 5 or 6 parsnips and combine in a mixing bowl with a fine chopped onion, garlic, a splash of wine, 1/4 cup of veg oil, 1 egg replacer (we used the linseed goop), plenty of chopped fresh thyme, a dash of flour to bind (we used rice flour to make it gluten free), salt and pepper, and some runny honey (or agave syrup). Mix it together until the mix coats the parsnips and shallow fry a spoonful of the mixture for a minute or so on each side.

Roast Potatoes

Delicious roasties can be hard to get right. Preheat your oven to about 180’C. Add some oil to a roasting tray and let the oil heat up in the oven. Meanwhile, peel and cut your potatoes into regular sized pieces. Peeling is super important! (I hardly ever peel potatoes, I only really make the effort for roasties because it makes such a difference!) Pop in a pan of boiling salted water and boil for about 8 mins, til the outsides of the potatoes are soft and can be bashed a bit. Drain the water, keeping the potatoes in the pan and shake the pan about… this gets the outsides a bit fluffy which is the key to getting crispy roasties. Add the potatoes to the roasting tray and enjoy the sizzle as they hit the hot oil. Even them out a bit and roast for about 30 or 40 minutes until pleasantly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

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Kale and Apple Pancakes

14 Dec

These delicious kale and apple pancakes would make a good addition to a Xmas meal! We made these lot with a shop bought gluten free flour blend but they are also good with regular flour. The quantities are approximate, sorry about that, I was mostly making this up as I went along and wasnt really paying attention!

2013-12-13 19.56.55

Ingredients: a fair bit of kale, 2 apples, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1/4 bunch parsley, 1/4 bunch dill, 1/2 cup of whatever milk, 1/4 cup veg oil, 1 cup flour, 1 egg replacer (we used flaxseed salt and pepper to taste

Fine chop the kale, apple, onion, garlic, and herbs and place in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, oil, milk, egg replacement, salt and pepper. Check the consistency, the veggies should be coated but not too thick (add more flour, oil, or milk accordingly).

Heat some oil in a flat pan on the hob. Add a spoonful of mixture and fry both sides. Eat whilst hot. Enjoy!

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Our Christmas Menu

13 Dec

We always have about 10 Christmas dinners a year. This is what we are cooking this year. Some of the recipes will follow if your’e interested.


Smoked Tofu with Pesto


Hazelnut pate served with sesame seed toast

Main course

Red wine and chestnut pie with sweet potato pastry


Roast potatoes

Smoky mashed potatoes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Sage Butter

(instead of our usual roasted brussel sprouts with apples)

Red cabbage cooked with apples

Parsnip Pancakes

Butternut squash and chestnut stuffing

White wine gravy


Awesome Cointreau Pudding

Second Dessert

Fruits dipped in chocolate


A selection of potentially dubious homemade vegan cheeses


Pomegranate Gin

Rosehip Vodka

Rustic pineapple cider served in a bucket

Mulled Cider / Mulled Apple Juice

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Talking about gender in naturist spaces

2 Dec

Originally printed in H&E magazine 

Last year I was member of one of the local naked bike ride organising groups on facebook. The group was made up of the typical mix of cycling enthusiasts, naturists, and environmentalists with discussion focused around organising routes and advertising, alongside the odd post for bike or nudity related events. I didn’t get involved in discussion much, but one interaction did get me thinking about how we, as naturists, deal with conversations about gender.

Someone from a local cyclist group posted an event advertising a women’s-only bike maintenance workshop. As I understand it, the workshop was organised in response to many women feeling uncomfortable in the mixed gender workshops as there was a problem with some men in the group dominating conversations in a patronising manner. Women’s participation in the workshops dropped, and the organisers decided to try a women’s-only session to see if that made a difference.

When the event was posted in the naked bike ride group, some of the more prominent male organisers commented saying that they didn’t feel that a women’s-only bike maintenance workshop was needed. A long discussion between a handful of men nay-saying the event and a couple of women defending it ensued, getting quite heated. I interjected briefly to comment that perhaps all the men objecting were probably not the most qualified to comment on whether women’s only events are necessary as they are not women themselves.

After making that comment, I got a good few messages from women in the group thanking me for the comment and saying that they didn’t feel comfortable with arguing the case for the event in a group where male voices consistently dominated conversations. It struck me that a similar dynamic can sometimes occur within purely naturist spaces, particularly around discussions around the “Single Man Problem”. I’ve read countless articles online and in naturist publications discussing the issue and it surprised me how few were written by women, emphasised women’s voices or highlighted the role of women’s-only events in increasing women’s participation. What strategies are your groups using to address the male domination of naturist spaces? Have they been successful in increasing women’s participation?

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