Pomegranate & Walnut Chicken Stew


I’m sure I’m not the only basic bitch around here who is a big fan of autumn. After a rather disappointing summer, it is a joy to be experiencing a season who knows its stuff, isn’t it? The crispness in the air in the mornings. The crunchy leaves under foot. This is the very best time of year, for me. The sun is still shining more often than not, but it’s still perfectly acceptable to turn your attention to comfort food. Because, of course, the joy of the changing seasons is so much in the change in menu, is it not? Roast dinners with plenty of gravy, freshly baked apple pies, stews and big hunks of crusty bread. The food of autumn is like wrapping yourself in a snuggly blanket. I have some old favourites that I always like to bring out at this time of year – sausage and bean casserole, my fail safe chicken curry and these pork, apple & cheddar meatballs – but it’s always nice to try something a little bit different. 


I made this pomegranate & walnut chicken stew for a dinner party of sorts, served up alongside some other middle Eastern inspired dishes, but I actually think it’s a pretty good weeknight meal. It’s warming and cosy, but with the bright crunch of the pomegranate seeds doesn’t feel too wintery. Plus, it reheats pretty well in the microwave (sans pomegranate seeds) if you want to take the leftovers in for lunch the next day. The combination of toasted walnuts and sweet pomegranate molasses is enough to brighten even the rainiest of days, and you can easily double (or triple) if you’re feeding a big group. Serve with rice or fresh flatbreads, and maybe some honey roasted carrots if you’re after some more vegetables in you life. 

Pomegranate & Walnut Chicken Stew
Serves 3
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  1. 300g walnut halves
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  4. 400ml chicken stock
  5. 50ml pomegranate molasses
  6. 2 tbsp. honey
  7. 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  8. pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg
  9. salt & pepper to taste
  10. pomegranate seeds & chopped parsley, to serve (optional)
  1. Toast the walnut halves in a frying pan over a medium heat. Allow to cool and then blend in a food processor until you have a fine meal.
  2. In a large saucepan or casserole dish, fry the onions and chicken until the onions have softened and the chicken has started to brown.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg followed by the ground walnuts. Season to taste.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with basmati rice or flatbreads (or both!), and scatter the pomegranate seeds & parsley on top.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/


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September Book Reviews


Modern Lovers by Emma Straub*

Elizabeth, Andrew and Zoe were in a pretty popular college band, but now they just do regular people things. The fourth member of Kitty’s Mustache went on to become a star, burning out in her youth and leaving behind the band’s best song as her legacy to the world. Now, they live almost-next-door to each other in Ditmas Park, and their lives are simultaneously tangled and completely separate. When a producer gets in touch to buy their life rights for a movie about Lydia, their once-friend and fated rockstar, it brings up a whole host of issues and feelings on ageing, purpose and relationships. 

This book manages to be dramatic and quiet, all at the same time – which is quite some feat. Fans of literary fiction will love the phrasing in this novel, which is beautiful and slow-paced without being dull. The characters are well-rounded and I very much felt that they could be real, from Andrew’s mid-life crisis to Ruby’s teenage one. This book does an excellent job of juxtaposing young love with the realities of what ‘happily ever after’ really means, the spontaneity against the monotony, the honest against the buried secrets. If you’re looking for something sweet and thought-provoking, then I think you will love this.

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven*

This book took me completely by surprise. I am a little sceptical, probably unjustly, by the suite of YA novels populated by dying teenage characters, or characters who want to die – as in Jennifer Niven’s first, very popular novel All the Bright Places. They feel a little bit emotionally manipulative to me, and they’re just not my jam. It should be noted that I haven’t read any of the really popular ones, but it’s just a feeling I get – and I’m willing to be proved wrong some day. This book, though? Is about the very opposite – about living, seizing every day and squeezing every last experience out of your time here on earth. It was inspiring, joyful and so full of love for the characters. 

Libby was once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’ and had to be cut out of her own house. That was years ago, and now she’s ready to embrace every possibility that life has to offer. Jack is one of the popular kids at school, but he has a secret. He can’t recognise faces – including those of his own family. Every day is a struggle to play it cool. When the two get tangled in a cruel high school game that ends them in group counselling, they come to realise they have more in common than they’d first imagined and they start to change each others’ worlds. This is a gorgeous love story, and if you don’t adore Libby and her fat-positive, grab-life-by-the-balls attitude then you maybe don’t have a heart. This is the YA story that I want to see them make a movie out of, please. 

What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne 

I am clearly on a feminist YA kick at the moment, and this is the most feminist of them all, in that it is explicitly about being a feminist and all that entails. The third in Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club series, and the best of the three, in my humble opinion (although the others are definitely worth picking up), follows Lottie as she takes on the world with her #Vagilante campaign. Determined to call out every incidence of sexism she encounters for a full month, Lottie finds herself at the centre of a feminist revolution at school and in the wider world – until it all starts to get out of hand. This is a really excellent look at the struggles of being a modern feminist, and Lottie is such an amazing character – I love her no-holds-barred approach to life and love. The scenes of sisterhood in this novel had me welling up, and I’m sure I punched the air a few times as Lottie got down to some serious feminist business. We need more books like this – it’s an absolute triumph.

The Brothers Sinister Series by Courtney Milan

I’m going to lump all these books together for the sake of this post, but they are all individually pretty excellent so I would definitely encourage you to look them up and discover their individual merits. As well a feminist YA kick, I’ve also been dabbling in the world of historical romances and I am completely head over heels for this series. I’m always a fan of books with crossovers, where characters you fell in love with in the previous novel come back with cameo roles and/or get their own starring title, and this series does it perfectly. By the time I was reading The Suffragette Scandal: Volume 4 (The Brothers Sinister) I was so enmeshed in the world of these characters that I never wanted it to end; I’m still in denial that I won’t ever find out more about their lives because they felt so real to me. These books completely smashed my preconceptions about romance novels – they’re body positive, they’re diverse, they’re feminist and each time I thought I couldn’t love another one more, the next one came along. Although the series is named for the Brothers Sinister, the three heroes of the novels, it is the heroines who steal the show. These are books about women who won’t be put into boxes, and the men who love them because of, rather than in spite of, that fact. 


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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Anthony DELANOIX

Hey pals, I hope you have all had lovely weekends! On Friday night, I was out celebrating my friend Tom’s birthday at MOJO, complete with gin cocktails and cheesy chips on the way home. I always say I’m not going to stay out, and then get swept up in the excitement – especially when it’s somebody’s birthday. It is one of my favourite things to mix all of my friends together and see what happens, and so I always imagine everyone else loves it, too – it’s fun to meet the people who love the people you love, isn’t it? 

Whilst the weekend was off to a rock ‘n’ roll start, the rest has actually been very sedate – which is basically the best balance of a weekend. Paul was away in London for our friend Gillian’s birthday so I had the house all to myself. I ate baked camembert, read a whole load of books and took a bath in the afternoon. Afternoon baths are way better than evening baths, for some reason. It was delightful and I’m feeling ready to take on the next week! 

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Creating Not Consuming


[Photo by Beauty Cocktails Girltalk

I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between creation and consumption recently. I am a big consumer. I check my phone constantly throughout the day, I read as many articles online as I can manage. I’m easily distracted by videos, blog posts, Instagram photos. You name it, I’ve probably already seen it on Twitter. The Internet has brought so many wonderful things into my life and shaped so many of my ideas and interests. But so much consumption is getting the way of my creativity and creation. I’ve always got my head away from my own work, scouting out the competition. If comparison is the thief of joy, then consumption is the thief of time, energy and productivity. 

I’m so busy feeding my FOMO, and for what purpose? I’ve read enough of the Internet to realise that I’m not going to stumble across a think piece that’s going to change my life in any real sense. You can read as much as you like about inspiration, motivation and getting shit done but still not be able to write a bestseller or complete a creative project. I think that’s what I’m searching for with my endless scrolling of the Internet: the magical tips and tricks that will give me a better life and make my creative work better, without actually putting in the time to make it happen in reality. But I know as well as you that you have to do the work and grind out the hours to make anything of real worth. 

It’s not as if I’m neglecting my life in favour of articles about Millennial habits and Parks & Rec gifs, but my ratio between creation and consumption has been tipping too far to the latter side recently. Consumption is an important part of creativity. The inspiration and instruction you get from consuming others’ work in your field can be a vital part of the process. I am a better blogger for observing how others are doing things, and trying out ideas on my own. That’s the crux of it. I’m not a better blogger simply because of the observation, but because of the trying and the doing. And I know I have less motivation for the trying and the doing when my head is so full with others’ ideas. 


I’ve got a lot of projects on the back burner. I am constantly keeping lots of ideas warm. Sometimes they come to fruition. Sometimes they fall by the wayside. That’s just the creative process. But I need to make more space for actual work.I need space to let my own ideas live.  You can only find out which ideas are best through the doing, not the planning. You can only improve and create something worthwhile through doing it over and over again. Through actually creating, not just consuming. 

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A Sunday Well Spent

 We were all getting our breakfast. I had a basket full of juice and eggs and mushrooms. The man in front of my had a pile of bacon, and the man in front of him had a bag bursting with pastries. There was another man carrying a toddler on one hip and apologising profusely as his other son dragged their basket right into the path of everyone else in the store. But nobody minded, because it was Sunday and the sun was shining and we were all getting our breakfast. It’s easy to smile, at such a time (although who wouldn’t smile at any time, when a small boy is just so excited about getting to carry the basket?). There was a slight crisp in the air and the tops of the trees had started to turn yellow, and I grinned the whole way home. That’s what Sundays are for, aren’t they? 


They say that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content and, for me, there’s never been a truer saying. With autumn starting to show her face around these parts, I’m preparing myself for a season of well-spent Sundays. For me, a Sunday well spent is one mostly at home – perhaps with a short trip out to pick up brunch items. Brunch is a big part of an excellent Sunday. Golden yellow yolk spilling out over generously buttered toast. Pancakes drizzled with ample amount of maple syrup and finished off with the last of the summer’s berries. Whichever way you want to do it, it should be slow and savoured. 

Everyone’s well-spent Sunday will look different, but I like to do my chores on a Sunday. Anything that’s left over from the week – the laundry, the hoovering, the food shopping. It’s not the most fun of activities, so it’s best to get it out of the way early on. Stick on a podcast (see my recommendations here) and fold, tidy and get everything sorted for the week ahead. You’re setting yourself up for success. 


No day is well spent for me without reading. A new book is preferred, but finishing off an old favourite will also while away the afternoon hours. If the sun is shining, you might want to be outside. I like to read in my armchair, legs tucked underneath me. Ideally there’d be a cat in my lap, too, but Tuna’s idea of a Sunday well-spent is alternately jumping in and out of boxes, and glaring at me from Paul’s arms. You can’t have everything, even on the perfect Sunday. 

Baking is also a great way to spend your Sunday. Something that requires patience. Bread is good, because there’s nothing better than freshly baked bread with salted butter as a mid-afternoon snack. I’m still working my way through my 40 loaves project, and tea bread is next on the agenda. Running is also a surprisingly good way to spend some time on a Sunday. It never seems that appealing, but you’ll be grateful that you did it. Especially when you’re opening a bottle of wine later on. I also love a yoga class – there’s one at Yoga Kula on a Sunday afternoon that is perfect for stretching, relaxing, and feeling a bit smug. Napping will give you the same warm feeling, but maybe not so much of the smug feeling. 


It was too hot this week, but I think a roast dinner will be on the cards as the night starts drawing in. No Sunday is really complete without a Sunday roast. My favourite is Pork Belly, because that little bit of extra time you have is all the better for getting really juicy meat and really crispy skin. Roast potatoes are a must. As is pudding. Pudding is essential for a Sunday well-spent. 

And then, it’s time for a spot of pampering. You deserve it – you’ve got a busy week ahead. Now that we have a bath (rather than just a shower), I’ve taken to having a Sunday night bath. It’s the perfect time, because it allows Paul to catch up on the violent TV shows that he likes without me cringing in the corner asking if it’s all over yet. We couldn’t really be any more cliche if we tried. I’m not fussy about my bath products, but I do like a lot of bubbles. The water should be just too hot when I get in, so that I don’t have to top up the water as time goes on. Another book is a good addition, as is a face mask (I like this one). And a candle, for ultimate relaxation. Neom sent me this English Lavender, Sweet Basil and Jasmine candle, which is absolutely divine. It’s also designed to help you sleep, which is handy because that’s the next step… 


Clean sheets. This is an important part of the chores process, earlier in the day. A tidy bedroom. An early night. Sunday nights need to be well-rested ones. I’m lucky not to struggle to fall (or stay) asleep – I know others who suffer terribly from insomnia – but we could all do with a little extra sleep to set us up for Monday. I’ve been using this Neom Pillow Mist and Sleep Treatment as part of their #SleepWithNeom campaign to help set a sleepy mood just before bed. A little extra treat to finish up my Sunday. Shall we do it again next week? 

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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Benny Jackson]

I feel like I can chart the busy-ness of my life against the organisation (or lack thereof) of this blog. All my good intentions are thrown out of the window when things get hectic, as they have been over the past few weeks. My laundry pile is overflowing and my fridge is pretty much empty, but my heart is so, so full. How could it be otherwise? We have watched two of our friends get married this weekend, and today we sent Ellie off to University. She was very chill about it. I was not (but only after we left – I can be cool). The weekend before we cooked dinner on Friday night, drinking whisky and chatting well into the early hours, and then threw a mini party complete an all-American feast and toasting marshmallows over our new fire pit. We’re in the dying days of summer, now. But I’m ready for autumn. For that back to school feeling. I’m ready to get organised again. 


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4 New Podcast Obsessions


[Photo by William Iven]

Not to sound hipster about it, but I’ve been listening to podcasts for years. A friend shared the Savage Love podcast with me about six years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s the perfect way for me to consume content; I’ve always been quite a good aural learner and I like being able to go about my day at the same time as listening, which you can’t really do with blogs or video. I’ve also never been much of a music fan. People find that strange, but whilst I like certain bands and songs, and will happily dance my socks off on a night out, I don’t really listen to music for fun. So podcasts are my sweet spot. And I’m really happy that the world at large has cottoned on to them, because it means there’s been an explosion of new podcasts coming in to my life in the past few months. I literally cannot keep up with the amount of content contained in my phone – so it’s just as well that I’m training for a 10k so need to be going on more, longer runs – the perfect podcast listening time! Some of these have been running a lot longer than that, but with more podcasts comes more podcast recommendations so I’ve been discovering some gems that I’d love to share with you! 

All Killa No Filla 

I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with serial killers. I just find them fascinating. They’re so far removed from my experience and I just want to know *why*. I think we all do, right? It’s morbid, but we can’t help it. All Killa No Filla makes me believe that it’s not just me with this slightly macabre interest. Rachel Fairburn & Kiri Pritchard-McLean dig deep into the lives and crimes of notorious serials killers from Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy to Jack the Ripper and The Zodiac Killer. This podcast is darkly funny (very darkly funny) and will make the world of serial killers seem even weirder and more eccentric than you ever imagined. Seriously addictive stuff. 

Witch, Please 

If there was ever a podcast made for me, it is this one. Two lady scholars discussing Harry Potter, literary criticism, feminism and all things Hogwarts? I am so down for it. I’ve been making my way through the back catalogue over the past few weeks and every time I think I can’t love it more, these awesome ladies bring out something better. Let it be known, this is not dry and boring academic stuff – it’s funny, touching and air-punchingly righteous. It makes me love Harry Potter even more than ever, and almost persuades me that academia is the life for me (does the world need more Harry Potter PhD students? I volunteer as tribute!). Plus, I need to hang out with the hosts at least once before I die – this is my new life goal. 


This is another very Amy-specific podcast recommendation, but chances are if you read this blog then you might have a few of the same interests as me. I’m not talking baking, knitting and my other Pinterest-friendly pursuits. I’m talking sex positive feminist theory. Oh, yes. One of my truest loves. Kick-ass lady boss Jaclyn Friedman hosts the Unscrewed podcast, the show which ‘knows that real liberation includes sexual liberation’. I listened to the episode on ‘Feminists with Rape Fantasies’ on Sunday, with Tristan Taormino as a guest star, and almost burst into applause at the end. These are the conversations about sexuality and feminism we need (and I want) to be having. 

Slate’s Dear Prudence 

Mallory Ortberg is one of my favourite people on the Internet – her sense of humour ticks all of my boxes and if you are a fan of The Hairpin or The Toast, you’ll probably feel the same. If you’re not following her on Twitter, you’re missing a trick. I am also incredibly partial to an advice column-based podcast and this is a great one. Mallory and her guests mix whimsy and humour with straight-talking, generous advice, which is basically a winning formula in my book. The problems range from the slightly ridiculous to the heart-breaking, and I enjoy the variety – it’s a little lighter than Dear Sugar but has the same kind-hearted feel to it. You’ll be hooked, I promise. 

P.S. Discover my favourite podcasts circa 2014, 5 bookish podcasts and 11 more podcasts you should be listening to. You’re welcome! 

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The Kind of Woman I Want To Be


The kind who laughs generously. 

The kind that has skills and hobbies that surprise you. 

The kind that keeps pouring after you say ‘stop’ because anything less than full glass is a waste. 

The kind whose door is always open to friends, and family, and family friends, and friends’ family. 

The kind who always has clean sheets in the cupboard in case you want to stay… 

… and Prosecco in the fridge for if you want to celebrate. 

The kind that doesn’t mind leaving the washing up until the next day. 

The kind that piles your plate high and insists on seconds. 

The kind that is as good at listening as at talking (I’m working on this one…). 

The kind that takes you seriously but is never too serious. 

The kind that remembers birthdays without the help of Facebook. 

The kind who always has a book in her bag. And one you absolutely *must* read to hand. 

The kind that only offers advice when it is asked for, and never when it’s not. 

The kind whose recommendation and word you can trust. 

The kind who insists you show off, and never accuses you of ‘seeking attention’. 

The kind who cooks with wine. 

The kind who always thinks the best of you. 

The kind who always wants to look at your wedding photos, baby photos, holiday photos. 

The kind who never sends a passive aggressive text. 

The kind whose home is pretty but who never makes you take off your shoes when you come to visit. 

The kind who will lend you her favourite dress or her designer handbag (God willing) and tell you it’s better on you anyway. 

The kind who will babysit and dog-sit and cat-sit and housesit. 

The kind who you can trust with your house keys and your heart. 

The kind who buoys you up not brings you down. 

The kind who will always be first on the dance floor and never shies away from karaoke. 

The kind who loves generously and expansively and unconditionally. 

That’s the kind of woman I want to be. 

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Weekend Link Love


I am taking a lax attitude to my ‘to do’ list these days. Somehow our autumn has become full without us even trying, with almost every weekend booked up with something fun to do. I am not usually very good with that; I get worried about all the ‘home’ stuff that I need to get done and that I’ll be tired at work and the house will end up a mess. Except, that is not the life stuff. The life stuff is late September barbecues and picking pumpkins and visiting friends and hosting dinners. That’s the real life stuff. Also, I’m just as anxious when I have less social commitments because I feel like I’m wasting time and also I *still* have a to do list as long as my arm. So basically, all I have learnt is that I am an anxious person. Wine helps. And so does the company of wonderful people. We spent the weekend at my aunt’s house, which is messy (soz Michelle) but so full of love. I feel it for days after I leave, and I hope one day my house feels the same. With cuddle chairs you can immediately climb into, red wine for days, and shaggy dogs that fall asleep on your lap. And the best people. They are key in all this. I hope you have had a similarly relaxing weekend. 

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September Goals


[Photo by Benjamin Combs

I didn’t do too badly with my August goals; I pretty much kept to my couch to 10k programme and managed to bring lunches into work with me for a whole week (and beyond). It’s nice to finally feel like we’re in a bit more of a routine – especially since September looks to be our busiest month of the year. Weddings, family visits, birthday celebrations, barbecues (weather permitting) and so much more. We’ll also be taking Ellie to Uni halfway through the month, which means things will feel pretty different around here. I love September; it feels like a new beginning in a way that January never does for me, and gives me an excuse to buy new stationary. 

Keep up with my Couch to 10K Programme

I’m bad at sticking to exercise regimes but this one is pretty manageable – and with the Abbey Dash looming on the horizon, I can’t afford to fall off the running wagon now! 

Put up shelves & unpack books 

We didn’t get round to doing this in August, but we did buy the wood. So now we need to stain and fit the shelves, and actually unpack all my poor books that have been waiting so patiently in boxes. 

Take More Photos 

Like I said, we have a lot of stuff going on in September and some of it is definitely worth documenting. I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking photos unless it’s of brunch, so I’d like to get more of people and events. 

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