Thursday, 31 December 2015


3 dozen Quail eggs
2 cups of lentils (tinned)
a handful spring onions
1 tablespoon cummin seeds
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp curry
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp chillie
1 tsp coriander powder
3 large tomatoes
2 tablespoons oil

Boil the eggs three minutes and carefully shell them - reserve.

In a saucepan heat the oil and toss in the chopped garlic, the spring onions and the chopped tomatoes. Add the spices, and once the tomato is soft, pureé. Add water and stir, bringing the misture to a simmer, then add the lentils. You may want to thicken the sauce a little, so you can add three soup-spoons of cream. Add the eggs and simmer at low heat. Serve with coconut rice, and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.

This is lovely with lots of garlic naam to scoop up the curry sauce!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

GLUTEN FREE Creamy Corn and Coconut Pudding

Ivan's GLUTEN FREE Creamy Corn and Coconut Pudding

1 tin sweet corn
1 1/2 cups milk
300 g dessicated coconut
1 tin condensed milk
3 eggs
3 heaped soupspoons cornflour
grated rind of one small lemon

Boil up the corn and half the coconut in the milk, then liquify it, add eggs, condensed milk and cornflour.

Pour into a deep buttered oven-dish and sprinkle remaining coconut over the top.
Bake at 180ºC until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Should be golden and puffy and yummy!


Monday, 28 December 2015

Starting over with a clean slate...


Let’s talk about doors.

People keep talking about closing doors, opening doors; but no one talks about the going through doors. The Romans considered crossing door-ways to be magical processes, hence the crossing with your right foot, carrying brides, sprinkling salt and things, bedecking door-jambs with herbs, etc. They even had a God for it. Guy called Janus.

The poor thing was bloody busy, let me tell you, and if being invoked every time someone traipsed in and out of a room wasn’t enough, they unloaded the New Year on the poor sucker.

Not that he got much from all this labour. Oh no! Guys like Jupiter, with his thunderbolts, or that money-bags bitch Fortuna, or Mars with his prancing soldier-boys got all the attention and the big temples. Not to mention Venus! Sex always sells, and believe me, Venus was a big seller. She had loads of temples and eager followers frolicking about.

So what about Janus, I ask you? Janus got a month. That’s right. Janus got January. NOT parades, silken girls jiggling in the nude, or nubile Virgins sworn to him; no returning conquerors burning incense on his altar in thanks for victories, no hordes of thankful accountants…

Janus got January and a few statues of a weirdo with two faces: one facing forward, one backward. Can you believe it? They had that poor Janus constantly looking down on his own bum.

Is this gratitude? This was the Divinity that was invoked hundreds of times a day by each Roman. How many times do you cross doors? Move from room to another? From one phase of your life to the next? They went around muttering the poor sod’s name in vain ALL DAY!

Ah, but once a year, Janus came into his own…
That one day and night, the great Doorway leading from one Solar Year to the next was crossed. Then Janus ruled absolutely. Even the other Gods bowed down to him. On that day, humble Janus was the inheritor of the mighty Titan Chronos. He held the vicious sickle of Time in his hands and  all must bow to him. Still, Janus was a humble God (spending eternity gazing down on your own rear-end teaches you humility, not to mention compassion) and wielded his absolute power with a gentle hand.

On Janus-day, New-Years Day they all got a golden chance for new beginnings and so can we. We can look back with kindness on our own short-comings (as poor Janus on his own derriere…) and forward; ever forward into a new and dazzling horizon: a clean slate. Janus takes that Sickle and cuts us some major slack.

“Go forth and start anew. Take from the past only that which makes you strong: only love, joy, good memories. Leave all else behind. See? Here I cut the ugly clinging tentacles of past mistakes and pain from your ankles and set you free! Dance in that New Year!”

Being pagan had its up side and Janus was a good guy. I’d take his advice if I were you I do. I also intend to render up a series of libations to poor neglected Janus, in Champagne, of course.
For religious purposes only, I’m a VERY religious woman.

All Hail Janus!

May this New Year bring many fruitful crossings, may Janus bless your steps on your new beginnings and teach you to cast a kinder eye on past mistakes.
Happy New Year!

Manuela Cardiga

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

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He sees her, through the stone-lace trellis, bathing her arms in the fountain and the water runs down, wetting her tunic; the thin muslin clings to her breasts.

He calls to his eunuch: “Bring me the woman with the white arms,” and the eunuch says... “But Master that one is not for you..."

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Sunday, 20 December 2015


One Friday last Christmas something happened.

I was coming home after a cold hard day – I take a train, usually with a friend, and we gossip the whole way, it makes the journey shorter. We trooped out of the gates chattering away, in the middle of the crowd of people in a rush to get home, and I noticed a girl.

She was in a dead space next to the ticket office, a stretch of grey concrete wall, pressed up into the corner.
She was very young, about sixteen or seventeen; medium brown hair, glasses, non-descriptive clothing.
She was also crying.
She was huddled agaist that wall sobbing.

I nearly walked past.
I’m not proud of that.
I nearly walked past her; and up that ramp leading out of the station, and into the street, smelling of roast chestnuts and caramel walnuts and lit up with thousands of Christmas decorations.
Hundreds walked past, and I nearly did too.
It would have been so easy, just let that human river sweep me past…

And then I imagined it was my daughter, my girl, alone in distress in a crowd.
We walked up to her, my friend and I, and I asked her if she needed help.
She kept shaking her head: no, no, no…
“Are you ill, should we call the Police?”
“Do you need to call anyone, here is a phone, use it, call home…”
The more we tried to help, the harder she cried.
My friend asked her if she had been robbed, or if anyone had frightened her.

Did I tell you she was very young?
She was: also not one of those hip teens.
She was well and neatly dressed, but not a fashion victim.
She was fresh faced and sweet looking, her hair tied up in a pony-tail, carrying a school bag.

Finally she said:
“I don’t have enough money.”
“For the train?” I asked, “how much are you short?”
“60 cents.”

You cannot imagine her agonized shame.
60 cents.
That was all.
I gave it to her.
She was shaking and crying and she swept past me and ran to the Ticket Machine.
She ran up the ramp to the platform, and she was gone.

In these times we are living in, how many people are there in distress, too ashamed to ask for help?
How many times do we walk on by?
How hard can it be to stop?
Yes, there are many taking advantage, sponging off the soft-hearted; but so many more are genuinely in need, and sometimes that need is ridiculously small…

The usual excuse is: “I’m not rich, what I can do won’t make a difference…”
Neither am I.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
But I can tell you something, my 60 cents made a difference.
A young girl got home safely.

If we could ALL reach out, just once, with as little or as much as we can spare, we can make a difference.
If all you can spare is a hug and a smile: go on, give them.
We CAN matter, we can change things.

Life does NOT turn on a dime - it turns on love.
We have that power, so please don’t walk on by, not today.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Those of you with kids, or looking for a really cool XMAS gift for a child, look for 
a sweet and lovely story about an Easter Bunny on a mission to discover the true meaning of Christmas!

Friday, 11 December 2015


We pray to all you Gods
That love not pain;
Bird-Gods, and Storm-Gods,
Gods of Rice and Grain,
Gods that harvest tears,
And the fluttering hearts
Of small things:

Lift high the torches
In this, the Longest Night.
Lift high our hopes,
Let the Great Sun rejoin
That epic journ
Trundle and spark and roll
Across the star-drunk sky.

We pray to you, Gods
Let not our light go out.
Great Sol that loves us,
Bringer of our life,
Great Warrior,
Defeat the deadly Night;
We pray great Sol,
Be born again, be new,
Let there be Light.

Manuela Cardiga