Saturday, November 27, 2010

What do you mean, you have no time?

To people who know me, it's no news that I love eating and cooking. And, if possible, I cook everything from scratch, even if I don't have much time. I am a firm believer that everyone can learn how to cook or has 30 minutes a day to do something fresh. You owe it to your body and your taste buds will jubilate.
Since I love the time in the kitchen so much, I thought I could share some easy recipes. I'm starting with my own quick version of spaghetti bolognese:

For four people you need:
  • pasta of your choice
  • 500g minced meat (pork. lamb, beef, mixed)
  • one big red onion
  • garlic
  • passata
  • button mushrooms (optional)
  • Salt and pepper/ parmesan 
Fill the kettle, then peel the onion and cut it into stripes or cubes, peel the garlic and do the same. Switch the kettle on.
Put the pan onto maximum heat with 1 tablespoon of oil..When hot, fry the meat until brown, add the onion. Stir until the onion is soft, then add the garlic. Stir for another minute.
Ad the passata until everything is covered properly. Make sure to scrape the brown bits that stick to the pan, it's all adding flavour. Add the mushrooms.
Turn the heat down so the sauce can simmer away. When the kettle is boiling, pour the water into a different pan, add a pinch of salt. When it's bubbling, add the pasta and stir from time to time.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper. You can add chili or herbs, it's down to your taste.
After about 10 minutes the pasta should be ready and so is the sauce. Drain the pasta, serve it up with a knob of butter and the sauce, then grate some parmesan over it. Enjoy!

Thirty minutes including all preparation. Now, there is really no excuse anymore to not cook from scratch. I know, I know, the passata is cheating, but it's a recipe for the lazy who want tasty.

Try it out and tell me if you liked it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Writing and chocolate

Though I'm usually more the savory person, I admit that when I write I eat sweets and chocolate. I'm sure many do that, even without writing. The weird thing is the how.

For example: I have a tube of Smarties next to me, yes, laugh all you want, but Smarties are not only for kids. Normally, when I concentrate, I just shove the chocolate into my mouth, chew it, swallow it. I don't pay attention to the taste as much or let it slowly dissolve on my tongue. A bit dangerous, because with increase of the word-count the waistline might expand, too. Not that I'm too bothered, it's winter, I need my natural coat.

When I'm not working on my novel, I have the weird habit to eat colour-orientated. Let's say I've got a hand full of Smarties, I eat all the colours first that seem to dominate until I have two of each colour left, two yellow, two red, two blue, etc. Then I eat from yellow to blue, it has to be in this order. I can't just jump pink. I almost never break this rule.

Same goes with those MAOAM stripes. I eat all flavours in order until I have only three of each left. Then I go for taste. My favourites will be kept until the end. Raspberry and orange if you must know.

Such a behaviour has almost autistic quality or maybe I'm just plain weird. A side note, though: I'm not eating it all in one go or even one day. This goes on for several days.

For all you chocolate and sweets lovers out there: you are not alone. And if it helps to get your manuscript finished.....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yes, that's right, I changed my name.

Well, a few of you know that Stella has always been my nickname and Ryan, a good friend of mine, gave me his surname a while ago, so I couldn't resist taking it as a pen name. Since I finished my first book, I played with the thought of it and here we go.

Stella Deleuze

It sounds so much nicer, sophisticated even. 

Don't you think?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is blogging promoting?

Today, I reached a goal and that was to have forty followers by midnight. If you have a facebook or twitter account, or are part of a big community, it is not a problem to find some followers and every time I have a new one, my heart jumps a tiny bit. Especially, if the new person appears out of nowhere, because it seems I have posted about something someone found interesting.

I've said on several occasions I could easily live without blogger, twitter and facebook, for it eats a lot of time, but I now have somehow found a little love for the ability to post about what is going on in my life. Not only when it comes to writing, but also when it comes to my iguana and the mission to inform people about these wonderful creatures.

In addition to that, blogging is a great marketing-tool, since every author who aims to be published needs to do a lot of marketing and promotion herself or himself nowadays. Books don't sell if you don't get the word out there. Well, let's be honest, the majority of first time authors struggle.

Publishers and agents like to see their authors active, for the market is competitive and if you have a good crowd following you, the ones that really like what you write about, you have certainly an advantage to someone who doesn't blog at all. I personally am more inclined to buy a book from someone whose blogs I enjoy and who keeps me up to date with the process of the novel and I believe I'm not alone.
The internet offers great possibilities to promote yourself, you just need to overcome your shyness and get started. With blogging, it can be utter fun, as I have learned. So yes, it is promoting. What are you waiting for?

Friday, November 5, 2010

I wish I owned a greenhouse

I'm very proud of my big boy Zorro. He's grown so much since I got him, not only in length, but also got, well, fat. He is 17.7 inches (45cm) from snout to vent (the, well, the anus) and weighs over 7.7 pounds (over 3.5kg). A recent blood count revealed he's in tip top condition, but I need to feed more calcium.

He has developed quite an appetite. Not that he ever was a bad eater, but in the beginning, he was picky due to the change of diet from his previous owners to me.

What do I feed him? Greens mainly. Wild rocket, watercress, cress, alfalfa, bean sprouts, curly cale, coriander, basil, mint, pea shots (occasionally), spinach (rarely) as the latter don't have a good calcium phosphorus balance.

He also gets carrots and butternut squash, both grated, tomatoes, red pepper.

And fruits like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, figs, apples, pears, banana (occasionally, though he loves them), red grapes, you name it.

In addition, I dust his food with calcium powder and once per week, he gets a multivitamin syrup for children, measured down to his needs.
An iguana's diet should be as varied as possible, greens, squash and carrots should be staples and fruit be treats.

For everyone who thinks about getting an iguana I can only say: be warned, they eat you alive!

My boy eats about two full packets of wild rocket and other greens, and quite a bit of butternut squash/carrot mix. In addition to this he has his treats in form of fruits and he manages easily a whole banana and later a whole clementine.

<---that's him being annoyed and about to bite, because I rustle the package. He hates that.

If only I had a greenhouse, I had even more variety and it would be a lot cheaper. The rocket alone is �2 on a daily basis. Do the math.

But I'm glad to have him and I love to spoil him rotten. And if he is not in the fighting mood, he actually enjoys a little bit of a scrub.--------->