Half way through term one!

Currently reading some calming articles about vegetarianism and food taboos (much more relaxing than getting into the nitty gritty of the grinding-up-sick-dead-sheep-to-feed-our-cows-and-why-not-chuck-in-a-bit-of-human-placenta-not-to-mention-extract-collagen-from-the-dead-cows-to-make-face-cream stuff about BSE and food safety/lack food safety that was last week), just a few days from my much anticipated week up in Ullapool for reading week.

So much information! So many people! So many pathogens! I cunningly avoided most of Freshers’ Week as it made me feel old and conservative (WWWWAAAAH come and go vodka binge drinking with us on a NORDIC SOCIETY PUB CRAWL! gaaah no thank you I’ll just have my tea and the sandwich that I brought from home wrapped in a hanky….) and eventually managed to navigate the maze-like buildings (are all universities designed by people who build prisons? I can’t help but feel that they never want me to get out).

SOAS is, on the whole, flaming brilliant. Put aside any expectations of feeling settled, collected and on an even keel and just allow the tide of experience and collective know how sweep you along, upside down and banging your head on jutting out rocks of THEORETICAL ABSOLUTES and EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW and try to keep your head above water. Having been out of academia for so many years I can feel the crusted cogs of analytical thought grinding slowly and noisily into life (resisting the urge to put bike oil in my ears) and one or two of those terriers of scholarly interrogation waking up and taking a stretch. And a whizz on the carpet. It feels good.

I even enjoy ma crazy job, taking phone calls and stacking chairs for Psychics (not physics, as I first thought) at the College of Psychic Studies in Kensington. No really.

The one sad thing (apart from lack of sleep and being 800 miles from my best beloved) is that cooking has taken a back seat – I’ve made only two loaves of bread and soups and salads for lunch since I’ve been here. And one amazingly good lemon cake from gluten free bread flour – try it!

So today I girded my loins (?) or took myself in hand…? Whatever – took the veggie bull by the horns to make a more interesting salad with the paaand aa bouw man (plastic bowl full of veg/fruit for the princely sum of one pound) goodies lying in wrinkly fashion around the house.

Beetroot and sweet potato salad

Cook them, put them  together, dress with dressing, eat.

No, ok. Wrap beetroot in tin foil with a little bit of water, salt, honey and spring of thyme or rosemary if you have it, bake in oven for 40 mins depending on size.

Peel and dice sweet pot, toss in oil and bung in oven at 200C until tender (15 mins or so – try to coordinate with beetroot).

Dice cucumber and add to a bowl with some rocket/salad leaves/any old green stuff out of the garden that has avoided wee-ing onslaught from cat/dog etc, crumbled feta and then cooled, roasted, diced root veg.

Put into a jar crushed garlic, honey, grainy mustard, olive oil, salt n pepper and either lemon or orange and balsamic vinegar, shake it like a bitch and then pour over salad and devour.

Yum.

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