Don’t ask me why Saturday night is dessert night in our home, rather than say Wednesday or Monday…because I don’t know.
Last night we had one of my favourite desserts: pear and coconut crumble. It’s quick and easy to make, and tastes gorgeous!
I first wrote about this dessert in my novel, Bluey’s Café:
Home alone on Saturday night, instead of crawling into bed or watching late-night TV, Bluey headed to the kitchen. A small hessian sackful of ripe pears were begging for her to take notice of them. She peeled half a dozen, and sliced their tender juicy flesh in half, laying them in a pan with coconut oil and brown sugar. They began simmering. Their buttery and gritty flesh was perfect for a crumble. Coconut cream swirled around the pears, and a sprinkling of ground ginger dusted the top.
Bluey loved cooking with coconut, and always found it lent an erotic edge to her recipes, not to mention that it reminded her of Cole Hadden, a dashing young English businessmen who had taken her to dinner while in Jamaica several years ago. His kisses tasted like coconut with a hint of cinnamon and Caribbean sunshine. She could never look at coconuts in the same way again.
Serves four to six
4-6 large ripe pears
30g coconut oil (or margarine)
50g coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar) or maple syrup
Juice of half a lemon
500ml coconut cream
Dusting of ground ginger
85g solid coconut oil (or margarine, but coconut is better)
100g coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar)
2 cups jumbo oats
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
100g 80% dark chocolate, broken into pieces (ginger chocolate is especially good!)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Peel the pears, cut in half and remove the stalks and seeds. Drizzle with lemon juice to stop browning.
Melt coconut oil (or margarine) in a pan, and add the pear halves. Add the sugar, and allow to caramelise.
After about fifteen minutes, add the coconut cream. Place the contents into a casserole dish. It will look like there’s too much liquid, but don’t worry, as it will be absorbed by the crumble.
Make the crumble. I prefer not to use flour in my crumble as I’m gluten free, but if you’d like it, use about 80g flour, and half the amount of oats. Rub the oil or margarine into the oats. Add the sugar and desiccated coconut. Add the pieces of chocolate and mix well. Place the mixture onto the top of the pears. Bake for 45 minutes.
Serve with soya cream or soya ice cream.
Equinox blessings, and happy New Moon in Libra.
Issue four of Starflower Living is now available to download.
- Walking with Beauty
- New Moon in Libra
- Officiating Weddings
- Healing Adrenals
- Thyme Honey
- In my Kitchen
- Conscious Uncoupling
- Love (poem)
- The Starthrower
- Autumn Equinox
- Creating a Charmed Life
- May Di Vorce be with You
- The Mirror of Relationships
Cover photo by Sabine Scherer Photography.
Do you like to read romance novels? You can find the first chapter or two of the five contemporary romance novels I wrote last Summer here on Wattpad. Pop on over. They’re free to read! http://www.wattpad.com/VeronikaRobinson
You can find my first two novels on my website www.veronikarobinson.com, Amazon, good bookshops or www.starflowerpress.com Bluey’s Cafe is also available on Kindle.
Pharmacy shelves abound with ‘remedies’ for coughs and colds, but I can promise you nothing will come close to being as brilliant as your own home-made elixir.
I’ve made up a batch of Autumnal cold syrup so my daughter can take some to Bangor University when she leaves (in two days). There are rumours of Freshers Flu which are leaving all the new students rather terrified.
What you’ll need:
Organic lemons (you’re leaving the skins on, so make sure they’re organic)
Fresh ginger root (one decent chunk, about five inches long)
30 ml 100% eucalyptus oil (do NOT use synthetic oils)
Raw honey (depends on how much you’re making)
Old glass jars
Place the glass jars and lids into a large pot and fill with water and bring to the boil. While they’re sterilising, get to work make your mixture.
Slice the lemons. (I used three bags of lemons, but one bag is fine)
Slice the ginger root.
Sprinkle liberally with lots of eucalyptus oil.
Gentle warm the honey if it’s ‘set’ honey. Don’t boil it. You just want it soft enough to pour into your jars.
When the jars are done, and have cooled a little, place the lemons and ginger root in each one until filled to the top. Sprinkle in more eucalyptus oil. Pour honey in until covered. Screw lid on tightly. I tip my jars upside down, and upright, and down again a few times over the course of the next day.
To use: simply take a spoon of honey (including lemon and ginger) and pop it into a mug with boiling water. Sip as often as needed throughout the day.
This can be used as a preventative, too. This mixture will last for months in the fridge.
So, all you Freshers starting university life, get drinking this remedy. Stay strong, study hard, have fun ~ and most importantly, phone your mother!
*You can also find a recipe for Thyme Honey (also effective for coughs and colds) in issue 4 of Starflower Living (publishing Sept 24). http://www.starflowerpress.com/living/index.shtml
It’s such a gorgeous Autumn morning here in the Eden Valley. My husband Paul and I are in ‘my’ writing room (which doubles as a guest room and second lounge room and general workspace for the whole family) at work on our various projects. Eliza’s at school. Bethany’s asleep (four days till she leaves for university!!!!) I love this time of day when the early morning Sun isn’t long over the hills, mist is in the fields before me, and there’s a gentleness to the morning.
It took a long time to get to the point where we could create a life where we mostly work side by side rather than Paul being at other work. I enjoy this daily companionship so much (though I still need to find a way to press the ‘off’ button when Paul starts talking to me about sports).
In April, we will have been together for twenty years. I have no sense of our relationship being ‘old’, even though when we met it was:
“I’ve known you forever”
at first sight.
I still love it when Paul holds my hand as we walk down the street, or puts his arm around my waist for a cuddle as we’re waiting in a queue. I never tire of the way his face lights up when he sees me.
So, in April, we will have a Vow Renewal Ceremony shared with our friends to honour this chapter of our lives. We both feel we’ve grown and changed a lot in that time. Renewing our vows is about recognising this, and saying ‘we still do’.
The story of how we got together still makes me smile. I invited Paul for dinner and he never went home again. We moved in together straight away. This photo is from the morning after that dinner. My flatmate said ‘let’s get a photo so you can remember this day’… as if I’d forget!
It is, indeed, a privilege to grow old together (even if he has few wrinkles than me!)
Have you signed up to Starflower Living magazine yet? Issue 4 is out in two weeks. Lots of interesting articles along the theme of relationships and beauty. I hope you enjoy. ~ Veronika xx http://www.starflowerpress.com/living/index.shtml
Bluey Miller lives a charmed life in Calico Bay, a small rural town on the east coast of Australia. She built her popular wholefood café from nothing, and it has garnered a well-deserved reputation for world foods. When her mother dies, Bluey discovers that there was far more to her mother’s life than she’d realised. Why so many secrets? As she begins to unravel her mother’s past, she’s left wondering about their relationship. They had been so close over the years, yet now Bluey feels like she didn’t know her at all. Her very identity hangs by a thread. Who am I? she wonders. Who was my mother?
Seemingly insurmountable challenges lie ahead, and Bluey must face them without her mother by her side. She finds strength from her local community and daily nourishment from the welcoming atmosphere of her café, but is this enough? Drawing succour from the Australian bushland around her, friendships, emerging spirituality, a life-changing romance, and the memories of good mother love, Bluey must somehow find enough courage to allow the best of the past to become the foundation for her future.
This is my second novel, and is available on Amazon, from good bookshops, www.starflowerpress.com or www.veronikarobinson.com I do hope you enjoy reading it as much I enjoyed telling Bluey’s story. Love, Veronika x
I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. I was about 22 years old, and working in the newsroom of our local paper. Two of the female journalists were talking about a woman who owned a small fruit shop on the outskirts of town. I knew who they meant because the shop was one I often bought fruit from, and my parents had shopped there for years.
The women were discussing how the fruit-shop lady read lots of books and had a wide knowledge of so many topics, and was involved in all sorts of community groups and this and that, and still managed to run her shop seven days a week. I listened in awe. I remember a light going on inside of me, and wondering about what it was like to live such a full and interesting life. I, too, wanted to grab life with both hands and breathe it in to the deepest part of my being.
This lady was a classic example that you can be considered as someone who lives an ‘ordinary’ life, but is able to live it in an extraordinary way. You see, it isn’t about the big achievements in life, but the small things. The everyday things. It’s in the detail. Although I think of the fruit-lady often, I remembered her again at first light this morning. One of the first things I do each day is to open the kitchen door and step out onto the porch.
I love, love, love to breathe in the fresh air of a new day. It’s exhilarating. To me, it’s sacred. The first breath of clean and vibrant air shapes the course of my day. Birdsong, sunrise, cats purring. These small events in my day go by unnoticed by the world, but they are my world.
A beautiful and extraordinary life isn’t about how much money is in the bank or the level of fame or career success we achieve. A charmed life is one where we are touched by a million magical moments: ones which are often invisible to everyone else, but that light a candle in our soul.
I will always remember the fruit-shop lady.
Spring is here! I made the most of the gorgeous sunshine yesterday and began spring cleaning the garden, tidying up the branches and twigs from my husband’s recent pruning of the old plum trees. Included in my tidy up was the porch area where we store firewood. I found one of my children’s old wooden toys lying in the bark. My heart dipped. It feels like yesterday when they played with their toys. They were always so passionate in the games they played, and their imagination knew no bounds. I have no doubt that this is where my daughter Eliza www.elizaserenarobinson.com first became a novelist. She had characterisation and plot lines perfected. During those few seconds of holding that wooden toy, their whole childhood came flooding back to me. Clichés are clichés for a reason! Children DO grow up too quickly.
How has having children shaped me as a writer? It’s simple, really. I was about ten years old when I made the conscious decision that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I was certain that this profession would allow me to write and be a mother. The truth was that I wanted to stay home with my children, and to enjoy every moment of their lives.
As for most writers, I’m sure, the path here was not so straightforward. My career path has been rich and varied, including working in Montessori and Steiner schools, exercising race horses!, working as a media officer for animal welfare charities, reporting on newspapers, and even packing puzzles in a jigsaw factory (YUK). As for the latter, desperate times call for desperate measures. Arriving back in a country with ten dollars to your name tends to wipe out idealistic fantasies. However, I did write an editorial once on this theme, so my days weren’t totally wasted. https://www.veronikarobinson.com/magazine_editor/editorials/2009/TM33.shtml
The birth of my first child saw me writing about her gentle birth for a natural parenting magazine in Canada (the late Nurturing magazine), and setting up the National Waterbirth Trust (NZ) and writing newsletters. I wrote affirmations for a CD called Peaceful Pregnancy. They might have been considered insignificant forms of writing, but they were writing. That is the key to being a writer: you just write!
By the time I had two children under the age of three, I somehow navigated my way through sleep deprivation (I was also tandem nursing) and moving from New Zealand to Australia to England within the space of six months, and wrote several children’s stories and a non-fiction book. That non-fiction book has been with me for fifteen years, and is finally being published this Summer. The delay? I was waiting for the right artist! Cycle to the Moon: celebrating the menstrual trinity is illustrated by Susan Merrick.
Children teach us about patience (or about how little patience we have). I did The Artist’s Way about thirteen years ago, and most of my Morning Pages were filled with moaning: my children won’t let me write!
I can’t recommend The Artist’s Way highly enough. By the time I’d finished that 12-week course in rediscovering your inner artist, I was preparing to launch a parenting publication (which I went on to publish and edit for twelve years ~ www.themothermagazine.co.uk) Editing and writing about children and parenting has played a fundamental part in my life. During this time I also wrote nine non-fiction books, and two novels.
When my daughters were hitting their teenage years, they decided to do The Artist’s Way. I was thrilled, until I realised my then home-educated teen daughters were quite adamant that they couldn’t be disturbed for very long tranches of time each morning. “I can’t help with that; I’m doing my Morning Pages!”
Well, over the years with changes of computers and laptops, my children’s stories all but disappeared, apart from one which is currently being illustrated.
Last year I was standing outside, enjoying the sunshine, taking the washing off the line and reflecting on how quickly children outgrow their clothes. Within seconds, a story came to me. Blue Jeans, my first illustrated children’s book, was published on my first daughter’s 18th birthday. The last line of the story is “Oh my, children grow so quickly.”
My children have shaped me as a mother and as a woman, and that is the template for me as a writer. All those years of pressure-pot parenting mean that I can actually drag my butt out of bed at 4am to write. I was asked a couple of days ago if I’m going to suffer from empty-nest syndrome when my children leave home over the next two years.
I sold The Mother magazine in January so I could focus on writing romance novels. I was exhausted from trying to run two careers and manage family life. In the past twelve months I’ve written six novels.
I had thought, after selling the magazine, that I would spend long periods of time each day writing, but as it turns out, my needs are still the same: I need perfect quiet around me as I write. The only way I can achieve this is to be awake hours before my family. The upside of cutting short sleep time is that my writing day is generally finished by breakfast time, leaving me free to catch up with friends, go to the gym with my husband, take longs walks in the beautiful countryside, cook meals for my family, and read. The most important nutrient for a writer is to live life.
It is inevitable that the energy around the home will change when my daughters are in university; it has to. But for me, as a mother and a woman, this is my time: my time to write without thinking about other people. Of course, mothering never stops. Our role changes, somewhat, but emotionally, we’ll always be mothers. I have no doubt that my beautiful daughters will continue to shape me as a writer for years to come.