Awesomely Creamy Pumpkin and Spinach Pasta

December 15th, 2008 § 3 comments § permalink

This is super easy to make and looks extra fancy. It’s ingredients are cheap but still gourmet. You just need a couple of vegetable and some pantry staples. Apart from baking the pumpkin, which gives it a lovely caramel flavour over a time period of 45 minutes, the rest takes 20 minutes tops and it’s well worth the effort.
Ingredients:
  • 1 butternut pumpkin
  • Salt, pepper and olive oil.
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tb unsalted butter and another 1/4 cup butter
  • Milk
  • Any cheese you have on hand. I use Parmesan but anything goes.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen shredded spinach
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Fresh or dried pasta
  • Semi-dried tomatoes and pine nuts to garnish
Preheat your oven to 180 degree Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Cut your pumpkin into even pieces.
Toss the pumpkin in a baking tray with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Check on your pumpkin in 45 mins. If you can easily pierce it with a fork, it’s done. Set aside.
Mince three cloves of garlic. Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add garlic, sizzle and stir for half a minute.
Add the frozen or fresh spinach and stir until wilted. Add a couple of squeezes of lemon. Set aside, separate from the pumpkin.
Bring at least a liter of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and the pasta. I used my big pot the night before to make chicken soup and it was still in the fridge, hosting the leftovers. Whoops. So, I cooked my pasta in a wok. Should have been a Girls’ Scout with resourcefulness like that.
Measure out your 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup butter. You need to be real specific about this. We’re making a roux, which is harder to pronounce than do.
Completely melt your butter then add the flour and mix furiously with a wooden spoon.
Keep mixing until it turns slightly brown and smells like nutmeg. Check on the pasta, making sure it’s just done, drain when it’s cooked.
Add roughly a cup of milk to the roux and using a whisk, stir furiously until lumps are gone. Add the spinach mixture and a handful of cheese. You should have a slightly runny consistency, like thick cream. If not, add more milk and whisk, baby, whisk. Take the white sauce off the heat.
Gently mix the spinach white sauce and pasta in a pan. Bung it into a bowl, sprinkle pumpkin and pine nuts on top. Be careful when mixing the pumpkin because it can break easily.  Season with salt and pepper.
Yummy and even a little bit healthy. Enjoy!
What do you put into your pasta?

Wise words

December 12th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

“The most interesting people I know don’t know where they’re going to be in two years. Don’t forget that.” – Jeff Hutchens

The Seven Stages of turning into your Mother

December 12th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

My name is Tash and I look like my mother. Knowing what you’re going to look like in the future is like getting your palm read by a true blue fortune teller. At first it’s exciting and then kinda disturbing.

My mum and I have tried to avoid looking too similar. She only cut her hair short after I left for the States. I’d change my clothes if we were wearing the same colours. I don’t care anymore. We can wear matching overalls from here on in. I am turning into my mother, at least on the outside, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it took me a lot to get where I am today. In fact, I went through The Seven Stages of turning into your Mum:

  1. Shock and Denial: This can last for the first 18 years of any life. Your body goes through a lot of changes, excuses and pimples so a definitive comparison can be avoided. My nose is bigger. My skin is darker. I like computers.  Anything goes. We’re different, I tell you.
  2. Pain: My life is a mess. I’m going to make all the mistakes my Mum made and none of the good stuff. We are one person. I don’t want to make curries for the rest of my life! Babies make me vomit, I don’t want to have four! The life-numbing horror of a predestined future.
  3. Anger and Bargaining: Yes, you will hate the parent you look like, even momentarily. Unfortunately for my poor Mother, this lasted seven years. I was a suburban Goth and she put up with the piercings, the eyeliner and blue hair stains, the death metal, the bad men. Then came the barter with my soul. If I get a tattoo then I’m definitely not my Mum. If I cut my hair like a boy’s, then people won’t confuse us from the back. If I talk rough, drink scotch and swear enough, then I’ll walk a different path.
  4. Reflection: Most often, this is accompanied with university/college. I am the feminist bitch that will walk in the opposite direction. You can’t control me, I’m too creative. I can change the world with just my thoughts, getting words out there is a lot harder. Stretching my freedom, trying to see how long I can last between phone calls with my Mum. I would say, looking back, that this was detrimental to the both of us.
  5. The slight Upward Turn: This is when I started to notice that my love of cooking came from her kitchen, my learned nurturing behaviour comes in handy when helping out friends. I still notice some negative things, like how both of us are incapable of dealing with stress and calculations.
  6. Reconstruction: Just because you look like your Mum doesn’t mean you are her. I learn a couple of ways to deal with stress, but more importantly, learn how to deal with that nasty inherited streak of Catholic guilt. Slowly, slowly, colour starts to find it’s way back into my wardrobe and I stop smoking, minimise swearing like a sailor and let go of bad people. Life is looking up and I look more and more like my Mummy dear. We try to talk every couple of days.
  7. My Mum and my Grandmother. Awh!
  8. Acceptance: Yes, it is something that I say proudly. I look like my Mum. I don’t act like her, for the majority of the time, and now that I’m at the grand old age of 22 I know I’m leading a completely different life to her own. She was my age when I was born and well, I’m not pregnant so one point for me. I don’t get embarrased when people say we look like sisters, instead I watch her blush with pride. I pack less when I go to her house so I can wear some of her clothes.

Do you think you’re turning out like your folks? Do you like it?

My name is Tahlea Moonwater. I am 20 years old.

December 3rd, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Tahlea is a modern day witch. She saw the occult film “the Craft” at the age of ten and has been on the witch hunt, so to speak, since. “I thought it was ‘cool’ and wanted to be like those girls…I read up on Witchcraft, which lead to reading about Wicca, and found that it was a perfect fit with my own personal views.  I identified as NeoPagan from that point on and started actively practising as a solitary Eclectic Wiccan from about age 15.” For those that don’t know what that is, here’s a Wiki definition: “Eclectic Wiccans are more often than not solitary practitioners.”

Moonwater lives in Tasmania, Australia with her fiance and two cats.

After nine years of website building and five years of Wicca research and practice, Moonwater decided to create GeekWitch.org. “I didn’t want to give a 101, but rather a place for the gaining of knowledge…a place to start discussion between those that are Pagan and those who aren’t.”

To date, GeekWitch has had 33,660 hits and the podcast has hit 4,500 downloads.

“I’m not sure it’s a matter of courage but rather a matter of wanting to get information out there about what I do and if it interests other people, how they can do it too.” Knowledge is power, as far as Moonwater is concerned.

“The general Australian public haven’t really heard of the terms ‘Paganism’ or ‘Wicca’ so they don’t really have an opinion about it, which is another reason I want to get out there; not to convert …but to bring about awareness of the fact that yes, there are people out there who practice Paganism, people who aren’t Christian, and we’re not all bad!”

But what about the negative people, the absolute cynics and head strong Atheists?

“I used to be hesitant [about stating my religion], but I think that was more for the fact that I wasn’t entirely sure what I was.  But nowadays, I am pretty open with my religious views.  Depending on the type of person I’m talking to and the situation, I will say “I’m Pagan”, “I’m Wiccan”, “I’m not Christian” or “I’d rather not say”.

Going back to her first Wiccan experience, the girls in “the Craft” progress from doing fun little spells on each other to a full-on mind fuck attack against two heroines, including hallucinations, levitation and shape shifting. No wonder most people think of Witchcraft, it’s always the dangerous stereotypes that spring to life. So is it evil and uncontrollable forces?

“I believe it all comes down to intent.  The main idea of Wicca is that it’s a religion you can practice without strict regime – you take on the responsibility for yourself to make time for practicing your faith.

Moonwater shared one of her positive stories, “I was laying in bed, and it was raining but only light rain.  I was hoping for a clear day the following day as I had plans to go out, etc. so I was laying in bed and repeating “Rain heavier overnight so we can enjoy tomorrow”…As I was repeating it, the rain starting hitting the roof just a little harder then a little harder, before a deluge just poured.  I was then startled by a noise somewhere (my brother closing his bedroom door, or something similar), my concentration was lost, and the rain stopped completely.  Needless to say, the next day was quite fine and I was able to carry out my day as planned.”

Tahlea Moonwater recommends:

Geekwitch.org (A self-proclaimed shameless plug)

“Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” by Scott Cunningham is an excellent 101 book for anyone wanting to find out about Wicca.

“There are plenty of websites out there that can help too, such as witchvox.com – you really just need to Google ‘Wicca’ and heaps will come up – but avoid anything that says it’s evil or devil-worship, because it just isn’t!!!”

Yes, there are people out there who practice Paganism, people who aren’t Christian, and we’re not all bad!