Harvest Fruit Muffins.

I have work tomorrow, so I made these tonight. I’m not sure if that was the best idea, though – Shea has eaten four already! Will there be any left for tomorrow…? Well, the harvest is all about bounty, so I guess I can always bake more lol. Happy Equinox, everyone!

  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax (also called linseed) mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water and left for a few minutes to thicken)
  • 250ml soya milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 240g wholewheat flour
  • 150g sugar (coconut would be best, but I used cheap white, same as always)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking power
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 80 ml light-tasting oil (I used sunflower)
  • 2 peaches
  • 3 big, fat tablespoons of raspberry jam (ideally St Dalfour; in reality, Sainsbury’s value brand)

Begin by mixing the ground flax into it’s 3 tablespoons of warm water, and then pour the apple cider vinegar into the soya milk and give it a stir. Leave both these mixes alone to thicken whilst you get on with the rest of the recipe.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb together so that everything is evenly distributed.

Chop your peaches into little chunks and, if you have the kind of jam that is sort of jelly-like, give it a good stir to break it up.

Add the flax egg, curdled soya milk and oil to the dry mix, and stir into a batter. Try to mix it as little as possible so that you don’t over-work the gluten; get it just mixed, then stop.

Stir through the peach chunks, and then plonk in your 3 big tablespoons of jam. This is a time for abundance and generosity, remember – this is not a recipe for carefully measuring out flat tablespoons of jam! Vaguely kind of stir the jam through the mix to make a raspberry-ripple batter – the idea is to have fat jam ripples running through the batter, not to actually mix the jam into the batter.

Scoop your batter into cupcake moulds – I got 14 – and bake at Gas Mark 3/170C/325F for 45 -50 minutes, until risen and golden. You’ll know they’re done when a small knife or toothpick stuck into the centre of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Turn them out onto a rack to cool, and try to prevent your significant other from eating ALL of them before you have the chance to give any as offerings or take any to share at work lol.

These are sweet, cheerful and almost more suitable for Midsummer than the Autumn Equinox. Perhaps some mixed spice would have made them feel more autumnal? I just wanted them to be fruity and to feel a little indulgent, to remind us of the bounty of harvest time, and I think they do that (?). They’re at their best on the day that you bake them – they tend to collapse a bit if you leave them for too long. A great addition to these – and one that would take them from ‘a little indulgent’ to full-on ‘indulgent’ – would be some vegan white chocolate, melted and then poured over the top ❤

I also wanted to add that, if you’re not a fan of peach and raspberry, you could easily add different seasonal fruits to suit your tastes – in the UK, other possibilities would be apples (though I always associate them more with Samhain), bilberries, blackberries, damsons, elderberries, nectarines, pears, plumbs and redcurrants.

What do you think? Got a question? Have you tried it out? Let me know! I’m looking forward to hearing from you 🙂

appetizer apples berries berry

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Advertisements

Portable Altar Updates.

We went on holiday in July, and I took the opportunity to make some improvements to my portable altar. I want it to be made up of things I find on my travels, and as I don’t have many travels I need to take every opportunity that comes along!

I found a scrap ribbon box on a market stall, and hunted through it until I found green, white/clear-ish, red and blue – for Earth, Air, Fire and Water. On another market stall I found small incense burners decorated with glitter and mirrors, which I thought would be nicer than the little metal disc I had been using (though the new one does take up rather more space). Finally, I found some tiny shells on the beach and a small feather at the chalet park. Here’s my altar now;

I like it, but at the same time I kinda miss the pared-back simplicity that I had before? I know, I’m impossible to please lol. I also picked up a green paisley bandana (from yet another market stall), which I intend to make into an altar cloth. However, the pedal for my sewing machine appears to have gotten lost in the move and I still haven’t found it, so I can’t cut the bandana down to a suitable size yet (my hand-stitching is atrocious, so I need the machine!). That’s why this post is being published in September when our holiday was in July – I wanted to include the altar cloth, but clearly that’s going to have to wait.

The other thing I’ve done is make my altar cards double-sided, to save space. It was a good opportunity to try to improve the cards at the same time (though, as you can see, this is *yet another* of my unfinished projects…).

WP_20180902_19_12_34_ProWP_20180902_19_13_29_Pro

So there you have it. I love seeing pictures of altars and shrines, so here’s my contribution 😉

The Wolf At The Table.

Now that the identity of this site has changed – and it is no longer my only blog – I felt like it made sense to change the title.

The Wolf At The Table comes from a fairytale I loved as a child, Ivan Tsarevich and the Grey Wolf (though the book my parents read me re-titled it The Firebird). At one point in the story, the Grey wolf – who can speak Russian and is magical, of course – changes himself into the form of a Princess, so that Ivan can make a getaway with the real Princess. The wolf goes through a wedding ceremony with the King who wanted to marry the Princess, and his true colours are not revealed until everyone is enjoying the wedding feast. Sensing that Ivan is far enough away to be safe, the wolf reverts to his true form and makes a getaway in the resulting chaos.

At a time when I was *really* struggling with feelings of anger, frustration and aggression, Óðinn unexpectedly showed up in my life and reminded me of this little episode. I related to it in so many ways. I guess you’re all thinking the obvious thing of pretending to be a chick for the benefit of other people, and there is that dimension to it. But most important to me at the time – and now – is that feeling of being a wolf who has learnt how to pass as human; eating daintily at the table, making polite conversation, keeping all those vulpine instincts under close control. This was Óðinn’s way of showing me that I didn’t have to try to destroy and smother all feelings of aggression and anger (that’s so not healthy guys, just trust me on this one, I’m a fucking expert), but it was important for me to be in control of them.

People are often really surprised when (if) they find out that I have problems with intense anger, but all I can say is I am covered in self-harm scars. At least 90% of those are me controlling my anger by taking it out on myself. Clearly that is not a positive or sustainable way to deal with anger, but just shutting it all out isn’t healthy either. And the idea of The Wolf at the Table provided me with a new way to view that part of my nature – I don’t have to domesticate myself, but to survive in this world where I feel (metaphorically) like a wolf living amoungst humans, I need to learn the ways to behave. I’m still me underneath it all, though. I can still snap back to my true form and cause chaos when I decide it’s time to. I’m not taming and changing myself for other people’s benefit, I’m controlling myself for my own reasons. Things moved from being about having control over frustration and aggression to being about accepting who I am, however socially unacceptable that might be, and what my motives are for doing certain things.

Being at times angry and frustrated are, after all, parts of a whole personality. To try to remove those emotions entirely from your life is like removing a part of yourself. As I learnt to accept and control these emotions rather than attempt to smother them, I also found that I was able to be far more assertive and confident. I’m not saying that this is true for everyone, but certainly for me these things are all linked. To shut out ‘animal’, unacceptable parts of myself is to leave myself castrated; a terrified shell who cannot make a decision or care for himself. If I accept that I am capable of angry and aggressive feelings, I also become more able to do things, to have healthy relationships with other people, and to stand up for myself and others.

For me, The Wolf at the Table has become an archetype by which I understand myself and my life (my other two are The Princess in the Tower and The Knackered Warrior, if you were wondering pmsl. Yes, I do just make these up to suit myself).

I hope that makes…some kind of sense?

Re-Organization.

Remember I mentioned a little while ago that I was thinking of re-organising this site to focus on the spiritual side of things, and have a separate blog for recipes and stuff? Well, I did it.

I know some of you guys were here for the recipes, so if that’s you then you might wanna check out https://lessthanperfectloki.wordpress.com/ That’s where I’m putting recipes, product reviews and related content from now on (read https://lessthanperfectloki.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/the-journey-begins/ for more details). I probably will still share the odd recipe here, but only when it’s ‘what I baked for Samhain’ or whatever.

Because my faith informs every part of my life, to me it made sense to have everything here in one site – caring for the environment, being vegan, trying to buy Fairtrade, all that sort of thing – it all comes from and ultimately leads back to my faith. But I do recognize how that might have seemed very unfocused to readers, possibly giving you guys heaps of irrelevant posts alongside the stuff you actually wanted. Hopefully this re-shuffle will lead to a better and more relevant blog for you ❤

And hey, if you still want it all, nothing’s stopping you from signing up to both lol

I’m Back!

I thought I’d better write in case y’all thought I was dead lol.

Actually, being serious for a sec, a lot of the reason I vanished for a bit was that I hit a really bad low with my mental health, and I was starting to think that perhaps I wanted to be dead. Partly it was stress (I had two very stressful meetings one after the other, and there were other things going on too – let’s just not go there, ok?), and honestly partly I think it was just…how these things go. I’m very used to my mental health going through ups and downs – it’s the nature of the beast. This was just a worse down than usual. And as I’m trying so hard not to cut/burn/otherwise harm myself, I had no reliable way to regulate my mood.

I also went on holiday and had no internet access, and then – just as I was beginning to feel up to writing again – our laptop crashed lol. Happily, our family saved us and brought us a new laptop as a joint both-our-birthdays-and-our-wedding-anniversary present. Love my family ❤

Before you think it’s all doom and gloom, I have some really good news I’d like to share with you all – I’ve been signed off for T! I just have to wait for letters to get sent out and all that blah-de-blah, and then I can get my first shot. It came as a total surprise, given the way all my previous gender clinic meetings have gone. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that I will soon be actually beginning my physical transition. I’ve been socially but not medically transitioned for so long that I can’t quite believe it’s real.

The other thing I wanted to say is that I might be making some changes to this blog. Previously I’ve just been dumping whatever I felt like writing all in this one place, but I’m not sure that’s the best approach. So I might keep this blog for the more spiritual end of things, and start a separate blog for stuff like recipes. Sister suggested this, and I think she may be on to something. The content of this blog is quite…unfocused lol. What do you all think?

Anyway, it’s nice to be back 🙂

At Last, A Shrine!

Four months after we moved home, I’ve *finally* been able to set up a shrine. Husband put up some shelves this afternoon, and one of them is now occupied by Loki and Sigyn. I have to admit, I’m glad that Their shrine is the first.

I’m so happy that They have Their own space, and I’m also so happy that I have a space for Them. I’m not honestly happy with the shrine the way it is right now, but at least I have something to work with and improve. Here it is;

WP_20180624_18_30_00_Pro (1)

So yeah, not the awesomest, but it could be worse. I have a lot of ideas for how to make it better now that I have more room – I’ll post an update once I’ve made a decent amount of progress. Their old shrines were about 1/3 the size of this one, so I was more limited in what I could do.

After I’d set the shrine up and Husband and I were taking a look at it, I noticed a little spider on the wall. I have associated spiders with Loki for a while, so I mentioned to Husband that it was funny how one had popped up now I’d set up a shrine for Loki and Sigyn. I assumed it was a coincidence, but as we watched the spider crawled up to the shrine, and found a tiny gap behind one of the supports to hide itself in. So now it’s hidden right underneath the side of the shrine with Loki’s shrine cloth and offering bowl. I really feel like that’s more than just coincidence – I think Loki has arrived at His new pad.

I really like shrines because they literally give our Deities a place in our lives; saying ‘You are important, You are a part of my life’ by physically making room for Them and having a visible reminder of Them every day. It also helps me if I have a focus when I pray and meditate. Working on a shrine is a devotional offering – making things or searching for the right things to go on it, arranging everything so that it looks pleasing, keeping it all clean and tidy. I also keep my devotional jewelry on Their shrine, to imbue it with Their energy as much as possible.

Courgette and Chickpea Fritters.

I made these for Midsummer ❤

  • 2 courgettes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 400g tin chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons gram flour (chickpea/besan flour – it’s all the same thing)
  • Optional; herbs, spices and other flavorings. I used 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and a teaspoon of paprika, but I think parsley, chives and black pepper would also be nice, or mint and some lemon zest.

Grate the courgettes. Mix in the pinch of salt and leave it to sit for 10 minutes or so.

In the meantime, drain, rinse and either mash or blend the chickpeas.

After they’ve sat for a little while, put the grated courgettes into a colander and press out as much liquid from them as you can. I used the back of a spoon.

Mix the grated courgettes, mashed chickpeas, gram flour and any herbs and spices that you want to use until it all comes together into a thick dough.

With clean hands, make the dough into little balls – I got 8. Flatten them into discs and fry in a little oil until they are your preferred level of hot-and-crispy.

We ate these with potato salad, lettuce, tomatoes and red pepper, but I think the usual thing is to eat them with a dip.

Thai Peanut(less) Curry.

We had a friend over on Sunday, so I made this curry. As Friend is allergic to nuts, I served out her portion and then stirred the peanut butter into the remaining curry for Husband and I, and for the portion I was offering to all the Dads in our Ancestry/pantheon. I was a little nervous as Friend isn’t vegan, so I wondered if she’d miss the meat…but she liked it! So I thought I would share it with you all.

  • 1 onion
  • 1 courgette
  • About 1/4 of a cabbage
  • 200g mushrooms (I used button)
  • 300g sweetcorn
  • 1/2 a 400g tin beans or chickpeas (I used black-eyed, because they’re on offer at one of my local supermarkets)
  • 250g fresh pineapple/1 432g tin of pineapple chunks in juice (I used tinned)
  • 500ml water/vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • Vegan Thai curry paste to taste (I used 2 tablespoons of green paste)
  • A fat tablespoon of peanut butter for each person who is having peanut curry – I recommend crunchy
  • Optional; extra herbs and spices – I added a good pinch of chilli flakes and some parsley

Begin by chopping the onion, courgette and cabbage, and the pineapple if you’re using fresh. If you’re using tinned pineapple chunks, drain the juice (save it to drink later!). I left the mushrooms whole, but you could halve them if you liked.

Put all the vegetables and the beans/chickpeas into a big pan, add the water/stock, coconut milk, Thai paste and any extra herbs and spices, and simmer until all the vegetables are cooked. This doesn’t take long – about 15 minutes?

Serve up any peanut-less curry that you need, then add the peanut butter to the remaining curry. Be sure to give it a really thorough stir to make sure all the peanut butter has melted into the sauce.

This makes about 4 servings. I ate a small portion on it’s own (beach holiday soon lol), and Husband and Friend had it with Kilombero rice. I found it to be a very filling meal. It’s nice with yeast flakes (I eat pretty much every meal with yeast flakes though lol). You could easily adjust this recipe to use up any vegetables you have lying around in need of eating, or just to incorporate your favorites.

If you try this recipe, or have any questions, it would be great to hear from you 🙂

peanut butter

Mocha Banana Cupcakes.

Tomorrow my college course breaks up for the Summer, so to celebrate that – and also because it was Eid on Friday – some of us said we were going to bring food to class to share. Here’s my contribution, which just got taste-tested and fully approved by Husband and Friend.

  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax (also called linseed) mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water and set aside for a few minutes to thicken)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 big tablespoon of instant coffee
  • 80ml light-flavored oil (I used sunflower)
  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 120g sugar (I used cheap white)
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 25g cornflour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

 

  • 230g icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • Anywhere from 1 teaspoon to a big fat tablespoon of instant coffee granules, depending on how strong you like your coffee – I used a flat tablespoon)
  • 50g vegan spread (I used Vitalite)
  • 2 tablespoons plant milk (I used soya)

Begin with the first list of ingredients. Mash or blend the bananas (I blended to make sure there were no banana pieces in the finished cupcakes, because I know some people don’t like that). Mix the coffee, flax egg and oil into the banana.

Now mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, cornflour and baking soda together so that they are all evenly distributed.

Now simply stir the two mixtures together and scoop the resulting batter into cupcake cases – I ended up with 15.

Bake at Gas Mark 4/350F/180C for half an hour, until a small knife or toothpick stuck into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.

Once they are baked, put them out on a rack to cool. You need to let the cakes become completely cool before you ice them.

The buttercream is even more simple than the cupcakes – just cream all the second list of ingredients together. At first it will seem like there are too many dry ingredients and it will never some together, but it does. Just keep going!

I think the coffee comes out first and strongest in these cakes – but that’s what you want from a mocha cake, right? I chose this recipe to make for college because they’re simple to make (CFS has really been hitting me lately) and yet they’re a little different to the standard stuff you always get – though not *so* odd that lots of classmates won’t like them lol. But hey, maybe next year I’ll figure out a vegan (and Halal) version of one of these?  http://honestcooking.com/the-weirdest-cupcake-recipes-ever/

coffee chocolate

Father’s Day Gift Ideas 2018.

Here I am again with gift ideas 🙂

Last year I mentioned Ecoffee Cups (read more about them at https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/ecoffee-cups/). This year, I’m going to recommend Huskup (http://www.huskup.com/). We’ve recently begun to stock these where I volunteer. They look like plastic coffee cups, but they’re not – they’re made from rice husks. This is really cool because they’re taking a by-product from milling rice and turning it into something that can reduce plastic waste!

If you’re looking to splash out a bit more, a really nice shirt might be an idea. Nomads is an ethical fashion company with UK designers and Indian manufacturers. They are Global Organic Textile Standard certified, and a member of both the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and the Ethical Fashion Forum. They use organic cotton and their collections feature hand-loomed, hand-embroidered and block-printed pieces inspired by the textile traditions of India. To put the (organic, Fairtrade) cherry on the (vegan) cake, you can get 20% off men’s shirts right now! See the collection at  https://www.nomadsclothing.com/MensShirts?utm_campaign=19+Men%27s+shirts&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=

Maybe you already saw my company profile on Cycle of Good? (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/cycle-of-good/). I’d say that any of the inner tube items would make a great Father’s Day gift – manly, practical, fair trade and eco-friendly. Can it get any better than that?!

Well…the problem with a wallet made from inner tubes is that you can’t eat it. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? That’s certainly true of me, my husband and my Dad. If your Dad (/Grandad/step-Dad/other father-figure) has a sweet tooth, think about Traidcraft’s latest luxury chocolate range, Eat Your Hat – organic, Fairtrade, and free from GMOs, artificial colors and preservatives. The packaging is completely recyclable and compostable – even the ‘foil’ is plant-based. The dark 75%, dark 95% São Tomé, dark with Brazilian mandarin and dark with Sri Lankan turmeric and black pepper are all vegan – great for vegan Dads, but also useful if, like my Dad, your Dad is lactose-intolerant. There are also 3 milk chocolate bars and 2 ‘libraries’ (both of which are on offer right now, but which both unfortunately also contain milk bars). Check out the full range at  https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/producers/eat-your-hat

If your Dad (/gift recipient of some variety) is not so keen on sweets, maybe something like high-quality Palestinian olive oil would be better. Zaytoun is a community-interest company that sources premium quality organic produce from small-scale farmers, and they began with olive oil. Now they sell lots of things, including award-winning maftoul and freekeh, the za’atar I use to make my Easter roast (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/easter-roast-with-zaatar/) and the best dates I have ever tasted *in my life*. Have a look for yourself; https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/producers/zaytoun?product_list_limit=30

I hope this has been helpful and given you some ideas. If you have any more good Father’s Day ideas, please feel free to share them 🙂

 WP_20180602_11_08_01_Pro