Tag Archives: vegetarian

The Ick Factor

Sky High


Susan O’Brien

A NetGalley Review

C Difficile where the ‘ick’ factor is the latest cure is a major theme of this book.

CDiff is a very difficult virus to remove from anyone’s system – worse than Norovirus. It is known as a killer in those who are in hospital – a prime place to catch it, and those with compromised immune systems.

Now I am learning about Norovirus from personal experience as it has been with me now for nearly 3 months and is improving but prone to ‘flash backs’. [much longer than the medical tests say it can last but with a compromised system ,like my own..]. So I certainly would not want CDiff but one of the central characters in this story about the Sky Investigative Agency and its owner, does have this disease and the story features much discussion of how it can be cured.

So just what is this ‘ick’ factor? Well it is a poo transplant – yes, you got it, faecal matter is injected into the body from a healthy person.

Our NHS says: This involves a sample of faeces being taken from a healthy donor and placed into the colon of someone with a C. difficile infection using a catheter. Alternatively, it may be placed using a thin tube through the nose into the small bowel below the stomach.

The donated sample restores the normal balance of bacteria inside your digestive system with that from the healthy donor.

While this may sound unpleasant, the treatment does have very good results, with a success rate of more than 90%, and is probably the best treatment currently available.


Personally, I’ve been treating my norovirus with acidophilus and it does seem to have a similar effect.

Apart from the nicely accurate medical condition which provides a nice background story, I liked the whole book.

It was gentle, it had fun bits and I just loved ‘Super Teddy’ and the photos of him and could just imagine that happening  for a fretful child. I also had not heard of a Norwich Terrier, though looking them up I had seen them about and coveted them – such friendly lively dogs.A_Norwich_Terrier

I also empathised with the narrator as a vegetarian in the US. Being one myself, I have had some interesting experiences – 1. Where a waiter empathised with me, exclaiming, ‘I so agree! Isn’t chicken wonderful and so much better for you!’; and also 2. at a conference where at the formal dinner I was offered a plate of fruit as my main dish.. I got hungry quite quickly afterwards.

And finally, I am waiting for my gym to offer pole dancing lessons just to see who turns up! And what they wear!

So was the storyline good? I enjoyed it – I liked the style and it kept moving along with some nice twists and turns. It is not a complicated and deep, dark  PI story, but one to feel cosy with and to empathise with the narrator as she manages her life as a single mum with 2 kids and a business to run.



Winter needs Soup!

It’s cold and snowing so time to get out the really big pan from the bottom of the cupboard and collect all those lovely veggies up and make some soup.P1030089

You make some soup to add vitamins or you can make soup to add bulk or just as a meal in a pot. Soup is incredibly versatile  and I have lots of recipes that I try from time to time and then ring the changes on them.

So here are two for you to try. Let me know if you find a nice addition to either!

Watercress soup

2 bunches watercress

3/4lbs potatoes


2 pints stock; 1.5 oz butter; bayleaf; garlic; salt; pepper;

3tbsp cream

Wash cress. Peel and slice potatoes and onions.

Put cress, pots , onions, stock, butter, bayleaf, garlic into large pan. Season. Boil and then simmer until ingredients soft.

Liquidise. Return to pan and stir in cream and then heat very gently.

Serve chilled if wanted.

Winter Lunch in a soup

Potatoes – left over boiled will do fine

White onion

Mixed soup base – buy in a packet as a mix of beans and peas dried – if not available use a mix of dried peas; split peas; lentils green, black and red; and barley;

Stock – preferably a good herby stock base or add some herbs such as parsley, oregano etc. mixed herbs or French herbs.


Hot dogs – I use the vegetarian ones.


The amounts of each ingredient are variable but I use a small handful of everything to around 2 pints of stock.

You can flavour with tomato ketchup for a variant.

Gently fry onion until soft and then add stock and bring to boil. Add the soup mix next and bring to boil. There is likely to be a scum on the top of the pan – carefully scoop this off – try not to take the lentils with it.. until the top of the soup seems clear. Then add the potatoes, salt/pepper and simmer for 1 hour. Test if  soup mix and barley cooked.

If so, add hot dogs cut into bite sized pieces – 2 per person is plenty and bring to boil again. Simmer for another 10 minutes for vegetarian hot dogs.  Serve big ladles of this for lunch!

You can miss out the hot dogs and add grated cheese instead.

Vary the different pulses to your taste …



13 things I might do


 Vegetarian Magazine’s 13 Things only Vegetarians do post

 came out today. 

I am actually a pescatarian but I do get the Vegetarian newsletter regularly as I mostly eat vegetarian – fish in restaurants where the only offer is mushroom goulash – or tomato pasta for vegetarians – or even – as a certain Michelin starred place offered me once, roasted vegetables!

I did think that this particular list was great fun and so I’m reproducing it for you with a few comments of my own added.

  1. Google a restaurant’s menu the moment someone suggests dining there.
    Because c**** veggie options still aren’t that unusual. See above comments.
  2. Dry retch when you walk past a butcher’s shop and the smell hits you.
    Do meat eaters seriously think that smells good..?! oh and what about when you have meat eaters for a meal and they won’t eat veggie? Do you too wear gloves and use long forks to touch the meat? And try not to smell at all? And ask someone else to cook the meat?
  3. Get annoyed when other people tuck into the special diet stuff at a buffet.
    Eat one more veggie samosa and I’ll eat you! If meat eaters think vegetarian offerings are so much better than their own – why aren’t they vegetarian?
  4. Buy hemp oil.
    This fish-free source of omegas is a secret ingredient only seasoned veggies seem to know about. Good stuff this – tastes OK too.
  5. Die a little inside when a mate uses Parmesan in your food.
    “But it’s not veggie!” you sob quietly…true but have you ever been offered an alternative? I always thought Pecorino was a vegetarian alternative and now I find it isn’t! It uses lamb rennet… oh well, back to the search for vegetarian parmesan type cheese which is OK but not as good…
  6. Instantly fall in love with other veggies you meet at parties.
    And you have a new temporary bestie until the recipe sharing conversation dries up.   And it can dry up quite quickly or not as the case may be – what about ‘besties’ on the internet? And blog?
  7. Have 100% more patience for dumb questions.
    “What about wafer-thin ham? Can you eat that?” or as I was once told – Yes chicken is really so good for you! – or when a catering company at a conference dinner offered a plate of fruit – or when offered a combination of broccoli and potatoes for the 3rd time!
  8. Have a special place in your heart for Marks & Spencer.
    Two words: Veggie Percy. Never tried it!
  9. Enjoy a difficult relationship with pans that have been used to cook meat.
    Do you leave it for the meat eater to clean, or do you scrub it yourself so you know it’s clear of all animal? Leave it for the meat eater I say!
  10. Find the smell of boiling cabbage oddly intoxicating.
    Never something to actually vocalise though. No!!! I don’t like cabbage.. only when it is red and cooked with apples and red wine vinegar and some sugar and raisins and slow cooked for hours….
  11. Have a fake surprised-yet-interested face.
    For when meat eaters tell you how much vegetarian food they eat. Ie all the vegetarian offerings at the buffet!
  12. Know more than a dozen ways to use a butternut squash.
    This humble veg is basically our best friend. I am sure I could equal that if I tried… anyone want to try and list them?
  13. Not eat fish.
    Not even a little bit.  And this is where I fail dramatically – but I do have lots of health reasons…