Venison and Chorizo Casserole

Winter is coming and that means the slow cooker is getting dragged out.  It turns out that Christmas dinner will be hosted at Spinne haus this year, therefore I’m trying to use up whatever is in the freezer in order to make room for everything.  Turns out I had venison and chopped butternut squash already in (courtesy of the Whoops aisle) as well as everything else.  The chorizo was acquired from Aldi’s for less than £2.  Basically I finished work one morning (I work nights), shoved this in the slow cooker, threw some dumplings in once I’d woken up (also from the freezer – I had leftovers from a previous recipe) and then cranked the heat up. Totally easy to do and delicious.


Venison and Chorizo Casserole (Serves 3)


  • 300 Grams Venison Diced and dried with kitchen roll
  • 2 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 75 Grams Chorizo Diced
  • 1 Onion Chopped
  • 2 Clove Garlic Crushed
  • 2 tsp Spanish Paprika
  • 250 ml Beef Stock
  • 250 ml Red Wine
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 200 Grams Butternut Squash Peeled and chopped


  • Cover the venison in flour, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the venison and brown all over.
  • Add the onion and garlic and stir until the onion softens.
  • Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker, season and cook on low for about 6 hours.
  • If adding dumplings to the mix, add them with an hour or so to go and turn the heat up to high.

Bish, Bash, Bosh.

Bloody L…


So after 16 months of lessons, passing my theory test first time and failing my practical three times, I got back on the wagon yesterday and I FUCKING PASSED!!!  Seriously I’m thrilled.

Yesterday was also my birthday so it was kind of a double whammy for me!

It feels really strange knowing that I can now go and drive a car on my own.  If I’m honest, the prospect utterly terrifies me but I hope that once I’ve been out and about a few times, I’ll not even notice.

Many thanks to Stu from Apollo Driving School.  He’s an utter legend with the patience of a saint!

Too Much Info?


For the last decade I’ve been using the Mirena coil as my contraceptive as choice.  This was mostly due to the fact that my time of the month was quite frankly a horrific and painful ordeal (like seriously, anemia inducing) and secondly because I was rubbish at remembering to take the pill.  I know some ladies who’ve had problems with the Mirena, but for me it worked a treat and it was ace to not have to worry about periods or babies for five years at a time.

Last October I had my last one taken out and decided against getting it replaced.  I figured that, since I’m 36, if I want to have kids at any point in my life I was going to obviously have to think long and hard about it, and essentially get a move on.  With this in mind I also thought it would probably take a while for my body to go back to normal too.

Since then I’ve had the occasional spotting but no “official” period until two days ago and seriously… What the hell???  I’m bloated, to the point I look pregnant I’m that swollen.  I feel as weak as a kitten and as if I’ve been kicked in the gut.  I’m also exhausted and am craving iron rich foods, probably due to the gallons of blood I’m losing on an hourly basis.  Obviously my memory has blocked out how traumatic being on the rag actually is and quite frankly it sucks!

Also how bloody (pardon the pun) expensive is it?  I’ve spent a small fortune so far on drugs and heat pads (both are essential, trust me).  I’m not one for tampons either and it seems that decent sanitary pads are a) expensive and b) constantly need changing.  It get’s better. I’m paying 5% tax too as the EU still classes sanitary products as “luxury items” (there’s a petition to get this abolished here).  Like pardon my ignorance but what else are us ladies supposed to do/use?

I’m all for looking into alternatives but in the meantime I’m off to curl into a ball and drink a fuck load of sugary tea.  Here’s hoping next month won’t be as bad *fingers crossed*.

New Year, New Me?


New Year, New Me… I for one bloody detest that saying.  I’ve mentioned in the past that we all have the ability to make positive changes at any point of our life and this is why I never bother with resolutions.  With that in mind however, I am aiming to refresh this blog and post more regularly this year so I guess January is as good as anytime to start.

In the past I’ve always struggled with both the voice, and the direction I should go with when posting on this blog and if anything, this made updating rather overwhelming.  I’m now of the opinion that since I don’t do this for a living, nor do I get paid for it, I should just go with the flow, enjoy it and hope for the best.  So here goes…



So the other night I slipped and fell on my front steps and smashed the side of my face as you can see.   I now look like an utter thug.  The photo below was taken 2-3 days after it’s happened.  I wish the story behind it was more interesting but unfortunately not.



It’s times like these where I wish I had drag queens as friends as I bet they’d be able to help me cover it with make up so I don’t look like an absolute nutter when I go to work.  Also how come in all of my years doing sports like kickboxing and as of late, roller derby have I never invested in any arnica either?  I could do with some right about now.  Thankfully it looks worse than it feels.

Oh My Stars…

Why hello there my poor neglected blog.  Yes it’s been a while… almost a year in fact.  It’s been one hell of a year as well.  A lot has happened and I have lots of stories to tell so do keep your eyes peeled.

I’m currently in the middle of a serious downgrading of possessions, kitchen ingredients included.  Mealtimes are starting to get interesting that’s for sure.  Knowing how much of a sweet tooth I have, especially whilst at work, I decided to have a play about after seeing various recipes online.  I’m rather impressed if I’m honest, especially since I already had everything in and that there’s no cooking involved.  Enjoy.


Coconut And Spirulina Bites

  • 180g dates (I had dried pitted ones)
  • 130g cashew nuts (but you could substitute these with any other unsalted nuts)
  • 2 large tsp of coconut oil
  • 3 tsp of spirulina powder
  • 2 tsp of matcha tea
  • unsweetened desiccated coconut (I just added a bit at a time)

Firstly soak the dates in water for at least 30 minutes.  Whilst they’re soaking, blitz the cashew nuts in a food processor for about 45 seconds.

Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, except the desiccated coconut.

Rinse the dates, add to the food processor and blitz until everything is combined and essentially resembles a large sticky ball.

Fill one bowl with water and one with the unsweetened desiccated coconut.  With wet hands (it stops the mixture from sticking to you), pinch off pieces of the mixture and roll into balls (about the size of an average cherry tomato).

Roll each ball into the desiccated coconut until evenly coated.

Place on a plate and then refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes before consuming.  These are best stored in an airtight container and will last about a fortnight at the most.

They’re really foolproof, vegan and best of all you can add or substitute the majority of the above ingredients with whatever you have in at the time.  Next time I make these I may add different nuts, dried apricots, cacao nibs, flaxseed etc.  The possibilities are endless.  If you try these and you come up with any awesome combinations then please let me know.

Sunderland Zip Wire 2014…

So at the beginning of this year I decided that, in 2014 I was going to indulge in crazy activities that I’d never done before, call it a mid thirties crisis or whatever.  The first experience (hopefully of many) that caught my eye was the annual zip wire that happens in my home town.  I figured it would be fun, that I could channel my inner James Bond and also had the option for doing it for charity so figured “why not”.  I chose to raise funds for Water Aid who I think are awesome and to be honest I’d forgotten all about it until I saw the link for this video on Twitter.  It was then that it hit me what exactly I had signed up for and quite frankly I started to brick it.  I put it to the back of my mind however, joked about it amongst friends and started to hound everyone for donations.

This morning I woke up feeling fairly nervous.  I’m not scared of heights but I am scared of throwing myself from bridges but I reasoned that it would be akin to a rollercoaster ride and I love rollercoasters.  I arrived at the registration point, got harnessed up and off I went to jump.  I really didn’t want to wait about as I knew that by doing so, this would make me more nervous so I let the lady who I had walked up with first so I could see what was about to happen and then climbed up to the launching platform myself.

For me the worst part of the zip wire was the lowering myself off the bridge.  My method in the end was to shuffle my bottom towards the edge until gravity could take over (my legs were having none of it at this point).  As soon as I was off my stomach flipped, and for a brief second thought “HOLY SHIT what the hell have I done”, but within the next second I started to enjoy it, and then I reeeeaallly started to enjoy myself as the adrenalin kicked in.  I even let out a “WWWAAAHHOOOOOOOOO” and waved to V who was waiting for me at the landing (and who also took the video below).  Once I’d landed I found my legs still weren’t computing with my brain but given the chance I would have climbed back up to the bridge and done it all over again (and again and again and again).

So yeah.  In conclusion I’m really pleased I did it.  So far I’ve raised just over £100 for Water Aid which works out the equivalent of providing clean water and sanitation to nearly 7 people which is ace.  If you would like to donate too you can do so here.  I really can’t wait to do it again next year.

Make Your Own Houmous…

I love houmous/hummus.  I can sit down with a tub of the stuff along with some pitta/carrot sticks/celery and quite happily munch away until my heart and tummy is content.  It’s so bloody easy to make too that I have no idea why I even buy the stuff anymore.  It works out a lot cheaper to make your own too, if you go by weight. Below is my easy go to recipe.  There are no measurements as such as it’s the kind of food that everyone has different preferences for.  Some like it smooth, others lumpy, some like lots of lemon juice etc etc.  My advice would be to have a play and see what works the best for you.  If you end up with something that tastes and resembles houmous at the end then well done.


The main ingredient of houmous is chickpeas (or garbanzo beans).  I never buy tinned if I’m honest.  A tin of ready soaked costs 55p.  I can buy a lot more chickpeas for my moolah if I buy a 500g bag of dried for £1.10.  I normally go by the 1/2 a cup of dried = 1 tin of soaked ratio too.  The only downfall to buying dried however is that you need to prepare them in advance but it’s easy when you know how.  I normally just measure as many cups as I can get out of a 500g bag, soak them overnight and then stick them in the slow cooker the next day.  Once cooked I’ll then measure them out in equivalent of tins and freeze in individual freezer bags until required.  I do the same with the majority of my dried beans and pulses too.  I have heard stories of people sprouting them for additional nutrients but I’ve never tried that myself I must say.


When it comes to making actual houmous I normally grab one or two freezer bags (remember these have been measured to be the equivalent of a tin each) bring them to the boil just to defrost/make sure that they’re properly cooked, bung them in a food processor with a little bit of the water, some garlic, some salt, pepper, ground cumin, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil and blend it until it resembles the consistency/taste that you require.  It keeps for a few days in the fridge and if you’re feeling adventurous you can add any extras to it, such as chilli or roast veg.  In my view there really isn’t a set of concrete rules with this.  I’ve used limes when I’ve had no lemons, flaxseed oil instead of olive oil etc. etc. and as long as it tastes great to you then that’s all that matters.


I hope this has helped and if you discover any good flavour combinations then please let me know.  Also if you know the reason behind the different spellings of houmous/hummus then let me know too.




Avoiding/Curing Hangovers…


Overindulgence and heavy partying normally leads to feeling as if Death himself decided to do ten rounds with you in a ring when you wake up the next day.  I’ve noticed that the older I’m getting the longer and more painful the hangovers are.

In my early 20’s hangovers were but a mere myth.  I would easily go out, get rather trollied, go clubbing and be at my desk the next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed.  At the very most I may have needed a coffee.  Nowadays however a hangover will mean that I’m lucky if I see the afternoon of the next day and even then if I’m not vomiting it’s a major plus.  A typical bender will leave me ill for about 2 days now and although I have it sussed where I can normally stop before it gets that bad, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go up the proverbial shitter as soon as someone mentions shots.


Therefore this is a list of my favourite hangover cures for you all to try out as/when applicable.  I hope you never have to use it, however the only way I can guarantee that you wont, is if you don’t drink in the first place and if you’re willpower is anything like mine…

*  Before you go out eat something.  Make it something stodgy too.  Anything that’s going to line your stomach.  Research indicates the fattier the meal the better.

*  Make yourself neck about 2 pints of water before you go to bed, more if you can.  I’ve found that this will either eliminate or lessen the after effects.  Even if I have to stay up and go to the toilet another 3 times during the night it will be worth it the next day.  Bonus points if you are semi conscious enough to brush your teeth/take your make up off too.

*  Sleep.  Lots of it.

*  Fizzy Lucozade (it’s full of electrolytes that your body needs, even more so if you’ve been vomiting).  Did you know it was invented by a fellow Northerner?  My favourite is the orange flavour.

*  Fizzy Fanta.  None of this zero sugar lark.  I normally need the full fat stuff, if anything to help with the shakes.

*  Food.  When I have a hangover I normally only crave either of two things:  Pizza or Eggs.  I love the fact that I can order a pizza without even ringing up thanks to Domino’s website.  If you go down this route it’s worth looking online for money off vouchers.  My hangover pizza normally only consists of cheese, onion, mushrooms and possibly sweetcorn.  If a pizza is too much of a challenge then egg on toast is a good call too (boiled/scrambled/fried) or a banana.

*  If food is a complete no no then a mug of vegetable bouillon is pretty good too, purely because it helps replenish some of the salt and potassium you’ve lost due to the alcohol.  I’d never even considered this before until I read it elsewhere and I tried it and it definitely helped.

*  A shower.  If I’m able too I’ll throw myself into the shower where I’ll wash my hair (and the smell of cigarettes away) and myself.  Sometimes it may take all my strength to climb into it and I will just stand there for half an hour whilst I try and muster the very basic of motor skills whilst drinking the shower water (yes really) but once I’m dressed and dried I normally feel so much better.

*  I’m rather scared of taking pain killers when hungover.  I’m allergic to aspirin and a doctor friend once advised that taking Paracetamol is rather dangerous as it gives your already overworked liver even more work to do.  So I normally just do without.  At the very most I’ll either have a sachet or two of Dioralyte and/or maybe some Motilium to settle my tummy.

*  A good TV series, either a box set of something on Netflix.  I have to admit when my attention span is rubbish I’d rather watch a TV series than a film so that if I fall asleep during, I won’t have to rewatch the whole thing.  My TV show of choice at the moment has to be American Horror Story.

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Vegan Friendly Pancakes…

I love pancakes.  I don’t think I’ve ever turned my nose up at them.  I like them sweet, I like them savoury, I like both sweet and savoury (bacon and maple syrup in my meat eating days f0r example).  Although I’m not vegan (just a veggie) I do eat and try to eat a lot of vegan friendly food and to be honest I feel as if it’s a waste of egg  if I use one whilst baking so I never bother and use substitutes instead with great success so far.  Anyway I was really pleased with this pancake batter recipe.  I’ve tried it with both plain and self raising flour and plain definitely made the better pancakes.   They’re seriously easy to make and you can have a plate of them in about 20 minutes.


Vegan Friendly Pancakes


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup soya milk (could use any other dairy free milk or even water at a push)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

To be honest there’s not much needed in terms of instructions.  All I did was stick my frying pan on the hob (the hotter the pan the better the pancakes), whilst I mixed all of the dry ingredients together and all of the wet ingredients together.  Once I’d done that I whisked everything together until my pancake batter was nice and silky smooth.

I didn’t want huge pancakes as small and thin seem to come out better in my experience so I used about 1/3 of a ladle per pancake (this made tea saucer sized pancakes which were perfect).  Once bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, flip it over to cook on the other side for a few minutes.  It’s that simple.  I got about 8 pancakes from the above measurements which easily served 2 hungry people for breakfast.  We had these with chopped banana and maple syrup.  I’m rather tempted to make another batch now.

Music Monday: Rasputina – Secret Message.

I love Rasputina.  Have done for years.  I still consider myself lucky for finding out about their gig in Leeds last year too, even if it were a support slot for about 40 minutes.  It still meant that my best friend and I after waiting *years* finally got to see them.  We have also always said we were going to learn to play cello too but never have hah.


The only merch I bought at the gig.

Music Mondays: RuPaul – Glamazon.


I’ve been watching a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race as of late.  Initially I only started watching it for make up tips but in honesty I’ve learnt a lot more.  RuPaul comes across as a very strong role model for positivity and lets face it we all need to embrace more PMA in our lives.  Anyway this song is catchy as hell and has became a bit of a gym favourite.