COVID-19 Isolation Diary – Day 8

We’re 8 days in and people are starting to go a little bit potty. At the supermarket the bread came back… And then sold out.

Flour came back, a tiny little bit anyway, only to sell out again.

Online shopping, even click and collect is a week out. As in you order, then wait a week before it can be delivered, or picked up.

On top of all that, my 88 year old grandmother is terminally ill, and I won’t get to see her again. I won’t get a chance to say goodbye. I probably won’t be able to go to her funeral. The only grandparent that I have been able to get along with as an adult, and I’m never going to see her again. No more phone calls, or letters.

Literary Food: Potatoes in Cream Sauce – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I love Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. I’m not as big a fan of the more recent additions to the series.

In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Mikael makes potatoes in cream sauce. It sounds delicious. I’ve not been able to find a satisfactory recipe online, until scrolling through the YouTube rabbit hole when I found a recipe for potato soup.

I made it, eyeballing the measurements… It came out closer to white sauce… But I still ate those spuds. Even the Beastie enjoyed them.

Now the reason it came out the way it did, was that when I eyeballed the measurements, I overestimated the cornflour. It was really, really good. Just how I imagined it would be when I was reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

The next time I made it, I followed the directions a lot closer… And it was definitely soup. The only change I made, the second time, was I used double the pepper. And it was good! Plain, simple, and delicious to the last drop. In the thickened version, it would make a fantastic side dish, as a soup is fabulous on its own.

Literary Food: Pumpkin Pasties


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Since we’re in luck down, I figured now was as good a time as any to do some catching up. I’ve been back through my posts and made a list of posts that I owe. Some of them I just need to write, others I need to cook, or re-read, before writing up… Like I said, it’s a good time for it.

Thus today I’ll be going over the pumpkin pasties. I made them for TGIO after NaNoWriMo 2018… But I wasn’t the only one who did.

When I looked up pumpkin pasty recipes I found one-ish that particularly appealed to me. And by one I mean a blog. (

They had two recipes, one sweet and one savoury. Because our TGIO was a pot luck dinner, I wanted to make the savoury ones. They also felt more appropriate to the Potterverse.

They were a definite hit with the attending Wrimos. And with the Beastie.

The other pumpkin pasties were more like a traditional pasty, with chunks of vegetables – lots of pumpkin; rather than the mashed pumpkin base of the Bijoux and Bits ones.

One day I’ll even make them again.

COVID-19 Isolation Diary – Day 1.


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At midnight last night New Zealand went into a state of emergency, beginning with the first nationwide lock down in our history.

At 8pm last night, a shrill noise came from every smartphone on a national network. The Civil Defence were reminding everyone of what was about to happen, and what it would mean.

This morning I woke up to a beautiful, if warmer than expected, day. Sunshine and birdsong. What more could I ask for? I went about my normal morning routine, and then walked out to the shop, hoping to get a bag of flour that had been sold out the day before – no luck.

There were fewer cars on the road, but more pedestrians. Families were out for walks, some taking pets, and though everyone kept a good amount of space to themselves (even crossing to the other side of the road to avoid walking through family groups) it was the friendliest bunch of strangers I’ve ever encountered. Everyone had a smile and a wave for everyone else, at the bare minimum, most gave a cheery good morning.

I’ve gotten into a routine of video calling my mother every day after lunch. Lockdown may have started 17 hours ago, but we’ve been preparing for it all week, at least as much as was possible. Today I taught my grandmother how to video call – she lives in another town. I’m going to talk to my other grandmother about downloading an app for video calling (I have no doubts that my dad will enjoy being able to see his mother during this time of isolation)

Since I don’t drive, I sent my brother out to do a couple of errands for me before lockdown started. He may still have to do one of them, unless the supermarket gets more delivery drivers.

My kid, on the other hand, feels suffocated by the ‘can’ts’ of it all, and is officially driving me crazy. At this rate my house will be under my version of martial law by dinner time tomorrow.

A Sudden, and Very Unexpected Series

As a rule I don’t write series. When I’m done with characters, I am DONE with them.

I’ve never particularly hoped that I would one day write a series.

But last week, I was sitting at a write in, and it hit me so hard that I felt like I had been smacked in the face.

My current WIP is the start of a series.

I’m still processing what that means in terms of my story, and the way I write.

I hope you are enjoying NaNoWriMo 2019, I’ll see you on the other side.

Long time no see

Y’all I have been badly out of touch with you lately. I’m sorry.

Other than status updates on my kitchen reno there hasn’t been a lot to tell you.

My other self has a new website, and it updates weekly. It’s keeping me busy. As is NaNo Prep, which is a little more complicated than I generally like, since we’ve got a new website for that too. Go and announce your novel if you’re taking part this year, time is running short.

I’ll try to keep y’all updated more regularly.

Stay safe, and keep writing!

I have not abandoned you!

It’s been 2 months since I last posted anything, if I hadn’t been so busy I’d be ashamed of myself.

I’m still working on the semi-secret novel project, and as of today I’ve launched The Tattooed Kiwi which is the documenting of my journey as a Tattoo Collector (aka a person with tattoos…), it had been nearly two months to get to this point with that super big project. And I’ve committed to writing an article for that website every week, to be posted on Fridays.

On top of that we’ve been doing a few unplanned but recently necessary renovations – head over to @talianyxauthor on Instagram to see photos of what it looks like now. I had a bit of a scare with an oil fire, but Beastie and myself are just fine, we lost the pot that caught fire, and the range hood, and there was a lot of smoke and soot everywhere. So, we’ve had to strip the wallpaper out of the kitchen, and we’re getting ready to paint. But first we might as well fix things that hadn’t been done right by whomever renovated last.

I hope you are having a good winter (or summer if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere).

Gender Neutral in Romance


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In my super secret project, I have a main character (female) who is in a relationship with a Gender Neutral person.

If any Gender Neutral person out there would be open to a frank and respectful discourse about the best way for me to portray this character in this situation. Please get in touch via email:

Literary Food – Forever


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Today’s episode of Literary Food comes from the, unfortunately cancelled, TV Series Forever, about an immortal human’s search for permanent death. It’s not nearly as depressing as it sounds, it’s also a police procedural since the immortal in question is also the medical examiner.

Abe’s Thai Jungle Curry

During the span of the series it was fairly rare for Henry (the immortal main character) to be merely injured, and his octogenarian son, Abe, had an opportunity to really look after his father. Really good food plays an important role in both men’s lives, though not so much in the show itself; except this one occasion.

I tried to find a recipe for Thai Jungle Curry, and failed. The dish that Abe served Henry in Episode 7 – New York Kids, however does sufficiently resemble Thai Green Curry that after fruitless searching for Thai Jungle Curry, I made a slight substitution.

Again, mildly fruitless search, but only mildly. I couldn’t find a single recipe, but many and each was different to the last. So I ran with all the ingredients that were common to them all, and cooked using my senses since I didn’t have measurements.

For four people (or fewer, but with left overs)

  • 1 cup rice,
  • 1/4 cup green curry paste (presumably I bought anglicised paste, and depending on what you can get you may need more or less)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 500 grams chopped animal protein, or 300 grams tofu (pre-cooked) [Read beyond the instructions for how to use the tofu in this unless you’re already a pro]
  • 1 tin bamboo shoots (as a substitute for Thai eggplant)
  • 1 400 gram tin of coconut milk
  • 1 180 gram tin of coconut cream (because I have a 10yo who doesn’t love hot spicy food) – optional can substitute with water if needed
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass shredded, or a teaspoon of paste
  • 1 red chilli pepper chopped and deseeded as you like, or a teaspoon of paste
  • 1 kafir lime leaf
  • 3 cups small and/or chopped vegetables of your choice
  • Coriander to garnish
  • Cashew nuts to garnish

First things first, get that rice cooking however you choose. I bung mine in the rice cooker so I don’t have to fuss with it. But if I were to do brown rice I would do that in an enamel pot on the stove next to the curry.

You are supposed to lightly fry the curry paste before adding the meat, but because I used chicken, I wanted to get that browned before I added anything else to the pan. When I used tofu, I started off frying the curry paste. This is where I use the oil, to fry the protein.

I follow that with the assorted vegetables, the most common in my house are corn, chopped carrot, and edamame beans; though I have used mushrooms and they are delicious I just don’t always have any. Don’t forget the lime leaf and bamboo shoots.

The lemongrass and chilli go next, followed by the coconut milk. Bring all of that up to a simmer, and give it a quick taste, if it’s too spicy bung in the coconut cream, if it’s just right but needs more curry sauce, add water. You can even add a little bit of curry paste and/or chilli if it’s not hitting your happy place on the spicy metre.

When your protein is cooked all the way through and you’re happy with the consistency of the curry sauce, you’re all done. Serve over rice in a bowl, topped with a few coriander leaves, and a sprinkle of cashew nuts – best served with company.

When I first tried this recipe, I invited my parents over and didn’t tell them it was an experiment. Fortunately, they both really enjoyed it. I made this with chicken for my parents, pork for my sister-in-law (my brother will eat anything I put in front of him), and just the other night I used tofu…

Let me tell you how I messed up the tofu:

I so rarely use tofu, but Thai Green Curry has become a staple meal in my house, and since it’s full of vegetables (that I can alternate for variety) I don’t really mind. However, animal proteins are becoming increasingly expensive, so I figured we’d give the tofu a shot. I tried to fry the tofu in the bottom of my curry pot, like I would with the chicken or pork… it started to scramble, so I called it quits and started throwing the other ingredients in.

[Tofu is safe to eat as it comes out of the package!]

But while I was taste testing, because despite the measurements above I still check and see, and I caught a piece of tofu. The texture was silky, soft, squishy… not what I was hoping for, but considering I had stopped frying early, it was about what I should have expected.

So, for next time, since I already know I suck at frying tofu, I’ll grill it in a greased pan in my oven before I begin.

I learn the hard way, so you don’t have to!

Let me know if you make it using my recipe, and how it goes for you, what protein you used… I’d love to hear.


Riding a Galloping Horse Straight to Burn Out.


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Figurative language, yes. Other than the part about the horse literal, also yes.

I live in a small city (or a medium town – whatever makes you happy), on a handkerchief sized section, the house takes up most of the space… definitely no horses here.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this about me, but I tend to get quite excited about new projects, and so they keep piling up, and I keep wanting to give all of my attention to all of them, all the time. Suddenly I find myself staring burn out right in the face, in relation to ALL my projects, not just the writing ones.

Things I’m trying to do all at once:

  • I have a new, super secret, writing project. Apparently I may have gone too far into the dark with it. But I’m not sure if my sounding board is basing this on my personality or the content… It’ll all come together in the end.
  • Making up my cleaning products, before I run out, or as soon as they run out…
  • Making UnPaper Towels for the kitchen, plus nicely hemmed rags/cleaning cloths that I can have in a basket in my kitchen, to help me and Beastie stay on top of our messes.
  • Birthday Palooza (aka July) – I’ve already started shopping for everyone’s presents, and it’s about finding the right gift for the person, not how much you spend.
  • Starting a Commonplace Book to keep all of my quotes, and non-fleshed out ideas all in one place, and organised.
  • My personal Spiritual studies, and practices.
  • A Block of the Month quilt.
  • Organising my long-term lists (not as many as you might think, but they need updating)
  • An stupidly big crochet blanket for Mrs Teddybear, who has abandoned me for Europe until the middle of winter – not that I can blame her, but the weather is going to be epic proportions of awful for her when she gets home.
  • 4KT Elephants (Please look into this it sings to my urban hippy, and my increasingly eco-friendly home)
  • Blog posts that I have organised into points, but haven’t written yet, because I suck.

It is absolute chaos trying to do it all at once, some of them are relatively small tasks, and if I focus on them exclusively for a short time I could get it finished and out of the way. So my task today (even though it’s adding yet another) is to organise, and prioritise these things. Then I can jump right into the things that will be finished at the end of a day or two, but still making time in this schedule for the ongoing tasks like my writing, and my block of the month quilt (which I can only work on as it comes in).

I have other projects on the back burner, but I’m no less enthusiastic about them.

[Edit]: I also need to bind up another journal, preferably before I run out of pages in the one I’m using.