Here’s another bottler !   :)

Today’s recipe (another wonderful discovery !) is called “Spicy Chickpea and Vegetable Stew”.


I do wish there were some place somewhere to which recipe inventers could turn to find inspiration for Better Names For Recipes !

Still, it’s correctly descriptive: it just doesn’t give the faintest indication of how yummy and good for you the recipe is ..


Time: 30 mins – 1 hour     Serves: 4 gourmands/6 gourmets


  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tsps ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and lightly rinsed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 375ml vegetable stock
  • 300g butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced small
  • 150g green beans, topped/tailed and trimmed into thumb-length bits
  • 200g zucchini, {ditto} into halves then thick slices

(basically, think of the logic re cooking times of these vegies)

  • little can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add the cumin, chilli powder and allspice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the chickpeas, tomato and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the pumpkin, beans, zucchini, tomato paste and oregano. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Remove the lid and simmer, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce slightly. Serve hot.

Cooking times can be varied to suit taste: do you like your pumpkin squashy ? – or maybe you prefer your zucchini firmer ? Just try it out as you go along, basically.

Sames goes for the amount of chilli powder. The recipe I found calls for a half tsp: but that’s pretty pathetic in my eyes. [grin]

I’m incapable of believing that I could ever derive as much joy from coming across non-vego recipes as I do from these DELICIOUS vegetarian ones.

Btw: I invite anyone interested to suggest a more attractive/appealing names for this terrific bringing-together of pulse and vegetables (not overlooking a wee bit of heat) ..

And for those like the beautiful Debra up there in California, it’s 3 points if you divide it into six serves. Points only in the olive oil and the tomato paste.

All this WW business ..

You can see in that screen-grab both of the newest switcheroos of WW:

  1.  is the word “reimagined”, and
  2.  is the phrase “personal points”.

When I started with WW it was the beginning of April of this year: I weighed in at just over 104kg (by no means the heaviest I’ve been, as I can clearly recall being crapped on by my doted-upon Sydney GP, Uttam, for being 112kg !!); and I believe the “reimagined” bit hadn’t been running for all that long. But I’m not at all sure when they started with the creation of ‘four pillars’, as they’d come up with for the reimagining ..

Sleep, Mindfulness (or Mental Attitude, or something), Food and Exercise: these comprise the quartet of support.

I can honestly say that the 1st, 2nd and 4th pillars in my house did not exist; so it was required to .. ahh .. manage (balance ?) on one pillar alone – that of Food. I simply ignored those three topics and concentrated on what I stuffed into my cakehole.

I didn’t actually SET OUT to  be thusly wicked; I mean, I never formulated the thought that I had no intention of doing what was expected .. I just went to the website (no horrid smartphone for me !) and sorted out how to ‘do’ the points thing with my food, and it worked.  So what point would there have been in carrying on with all the rest of the stuff, I ask you ..?

The reason it worked ? — my circumstances; namely, living alone and thus never needing to consider anyone else’s tastes or preferences or allergies or refusal to eat the same meal two or even three days in a row. There was no-one else in my group (talking the first few weeks of workshops, before Covid-19 ruined lives and put a total halt to meetings) in a position to do that; hence my kind of leaving them all behind. She said, modestly ..

So everything was hunky dory anyway when WW suddenly introduced A Much Better Thing: the now-famous ‘Personal Points’. Long story short— no, I can’t do it, sorry. Not possible to explain it without taking up far too much text. Just accept that this is a genuine improvement, except for ..

this kind of thinking, that continues to be my personal bugbear. “Low of 99% fat-free dairy” ?? – what the— ?! Everyone knows that when the words ‘low fat’ or ‘fat-free’ appear referring to .. anything, I believe !, then that food’s sugar content has been jacked up by a frightening factor. What would I rather eat than sugar ? – FAT, that’s what.

Consider this book:

and if you want, you can watch its author, the wonderful and determined Nina Teicholz, here at a TedX talk, which is a brief summary of her work over EIGHT YEARS of research. Unfortunately, her voice is not a good one for giving a talk, and she can prove difficult to understand at times; but if you zot in and out a bit you’ll find sections that are not only fascinating – as is her entire thesis – but able to be comprehended. The book is rivetting throughout; and I’ve listened to most of it – skipping only the parts where chemistry (I think it’s chemistry !) proves too weighty. I am a convert, and a passionate one.

But .. WW hasn’t caught up with this thinking — here’s an email about how it’s spreading — and will probably take a looong time to do anything about it, even when it’s set in stone in the American Dietary Guidelines. Because it’s going to mean they have to re-think their algorithms, re-think their wordings, re-think bloody EVERYTHING.

The bottom line to all this raving is that I have little idea how it is that since April Fool’s Day I’ve managed to lose 22kg.

What about the 99% fat-free cottage cheese ? – or the ditto cheese slices ? Have I lost these kgs on account of eating no bread at all ? – or is it the absence of marmalade on my non-existent toast ? Can’t be.

it’s the quantities. I very often don’t have an evening meal – not because I want to fast, but because I’m not hungry. One of my delicious vego meals for lunch can fill me up to dolly’s wax (or pussy’s bow, of course): I’m eating probably half or less than I was before April.

I’m staying with this. It’s become a sort of hobby, and it’s interesting. If only the same could be said of this post, eh wot ? [grin]

Yummy new recipe !



  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • long red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels (note: not can !)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsps chopped fresh parsley


—Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and chilli, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

—Stir in quinoa, stock, beans, tomatoes, corn, chilli powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

—Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

—Stir in avocado, lime juice and parsley and serve immediately.

There’s a bit of a problem with seconds, as in next day seconds: the quinoa goes on soaking up the liquid so that there isn’t any left after the first delicious consuming’s done. I have yet to solve this; but I think I’ll make a bit of  weak stock, because I’m not keen on the thought of adding simply water.

This interests me: there are many vegetarian meals to which the thinning down with water is absolutely fine, so what’s the difference ?

My suspicion is that it’s the amount of tomato in this recipe, and/or its prevalence (so to speak): there isn’t much. Also, I used Mutti’s Polpa Pronta (i.e., no chunks), which meant that the tomato content was largely .. erhmm .. absorbed. Or perhaps hidden ? And this is food for thought for all vegetarian dishes, especially as I quite often feel that there’s too much tomato. (Northern Italians are very demeaning about Southerners’ over-use of this vegetable; but their emphasis on cream-based sauces is out of bounds for me.)

I’m still on the WW thing, and I’ll post about it because it’s changed again ..

OK, so I lied .. Big whinge ahead !

This was the cut on the day I had it, yes ?

And this was on Sunday, after I’d washed my hair and done my best to flatten the sides. (All the tops I bought from Shein are now  too big, and this one has splashes of toothpaste down it. JESUS CHRIST ! – can’t I even clean my teeth before getting dressed ??? I blame it on looking like an elderly matron.)

This one I took about ten minutes ago, to show you how going from the sublime to the ridiculous can make an old fart happy.

I shall put in my hoop earrings when I go out – or my river pearl drops – cos otherwise people will think I’m cruising .. [grin]

As can be easily seen, I actually detest this selfie process as much as I detest my fucking PHONE.  If Stringer were still with me, he would teach me how to use it and life would be absolutely fine (as Max was wont  to say whenever asked – cf “The St Mary’s Chronicles”). But although I’m good with everything PC on my laptop, I realize how set in my ways I am, and how much I hate having to learn alternative methodologies – like this bloody phone, or the tablet that’s still sitting in its box because I hate it too.

I signed up for a Zoom course on U3A about making the most of your Android phone; but all it’s done for me so far is make see how totally and irrevocably tied in with everything related to Google (their parent) these phones are. I seem to spend most of my life trying to delete everything to do with Google and discovering that the phone won’t work if I manage to.

What’s the solution ? – an Apple phone ??? Apart from the fact that even re-thingummied Apple phones can cost up to a cool thou, and the cheapest I’ve found so far is well over $400 (and isn’t recommended !) – not to mention the RAGE this fact brings on when I think about Tim Cook’s wealth – the whole idea of having to have what I laughingly call my personality split between the two OSs is horrifying.

Even trying to access the WW app on my Oppo is .. well, horrible. I simply haven’t the faintest idea of how to navigate my way around the site. So I don’t: I just stick with the website on the laptop and hope that somewhere I’ll find someone to teach me how to use the tablet. Surely that would be easier that this stupid, INFURIATING little piece of hardware that I actually threw onto the floor a short time ago, hoping it would die .. but of course it didn’t.   :(

And remember – I have another, identical phone, still in its presentation gear. Anyone want an Oppo ?



Let the record show ..

.. something absolutely ghastly.

I look so like my mother that I am seized with terror: if I LOOK so like her, surely I must BE like her ???

First reaction: erhmmmmmm .. this is nothing like the kind of cut I asked the hairdresser for.

But I’m going to have to live with it – at least for a while. (What the devil are those puffed-out bits on the sides ???)

And before you start shouting at me about the buzz-cut I was supposed to have, I can explain that !

The barber said my hair was too curly, and only a #2 (or #1 !) would prevent its lying about at strange and discrete angles. And as I had already come to the conclusion that I might have a #5 rather than a #4, just in case all the hair that fell out while it was so long had left nekkid bits behind, I was easily persuaded not to do it.

Turned out there’s a ladies’ hairdresser next to the barber, so I went in and asked them “If I say I’d like a haircut and possibly a colour job to dye my hair WHITE (not blonde !), how many years would it be before you could do it ?” As a client had forgotten her appointment, the boss lady could do it, like, then (having phoned said client to ascertain her whereabouts) but not the colour. She agreed that my hair is very curly (what on earth is going on ?!), and here is a terribly bad frame that’s meant to show you:

 It’s only curly at the back ! – nowhere else. Because I whinged so much about how the curliness is entirely new and very unwelcome, she has done her best to de-curl me, with some success. Alas that the over-all impression is of a much taller Joyce (me auld mither), especially now that I almost have a shape.

How long have I been complaining how bad my photos are ? – roughly since I’ve been blogging, I believe .. I can’t even take selfies ! Still, it’s not of any importance, as taking selfies is not one of my hobbies. Yesyesyes, shut up ! – I agree I have been taking a plethora of ’em of late. But that’s it, I promise !!!

Just for the record

I have an appointment with the local barber next Thursday morning, and she is going to give me a #4 all over. YAAAAAAaaaay !!

I’ve had quite enough of HAIR. Don’t recall the last time I had this much ! – but it would’ve been black, not grey. And possibly not as curly – that surprised me. I note that HAIR is not around when it comes to eyebrows or eyelashes – only on me bonce. Can’t think where the brows and lashes went ..

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the contrasting photo as of Thursday next !! – no more seeing frizzy hair out of the corner of my eye when I lean back against my chair ..

Boasting day ..

This-morning wasn’t as cold as of recently yore (so to speak), so I weighed meself.

To my unutterable joy I weighed in at 84.5kg ! – FINALLY broke the 85kg mark.   :)

This means that I’ve now lost 20kg — on April Fool’s Day I was 104.5kg. Am I pleased ? – I am bloody ecstatic ! I don’t remember when last I weighed under 85kg – probably around 20 years ago is my best guess.

I had actually gone so far as to cancel my MyWW account,  because I’d finished my six-month special rate and the next one was billed at $79 per month. Nearly fainted. But during the 2 or 3 weeks of said cancellation I was bereft – simply couldn’t cope without the WW site to refer to for working out the points in various things and recording and tracking the number of ‘blue’ points consumed per day. I felt really odd without what I’d been referring to for the past six months ..

So I emailed them and found an even better financial deal: first 3 months free, followed by another six months at the same $40-odd (can’t recall exactly).

And here I am, ready and willing to just keep going indefinitely with this ¼ use of MyWW – meaning, using only one of their four ‘pillars’ – that’s apparently become part of my lifestyle now.

SUCH an exciting day .. like, not !

On Wednesday my blood  pressure decided it was bored with being almost perfect, and took a dive. I was in the local laundromat at the time, and saved by three total strangers who came together to demonstrate that good samaritans still abound – and how !   :)

In spite of the enormous pressure on ambulance drivers because of people’s needing to be carted off to hospital with Covid-19, one turned up for me, took me on board and proceeded to force it (the blood pressure) back up over 100 – the systolic, that is ! – so that I could be taken to a hospital other than The Alfred; for The Alfred is currently so chaotic that the ambos knew they’d be there with me till night-time and it was only around 2pm ! They had a bit of a struggle: at one point I gave a very loud yell of pain, accompanied by a naughty word (wot, moi ?) because at the same moment as my b.p. dropped below 80 the machine cut in, and attempted to sever my arm in its effort to get a reading ! Anyway, the drip was effective and the systolic was got up to 104 and they were allowed to take me to Cabrini, a wonderful private hospital !

And there I remained for the rest of the day and some of the night, being looked after brilliantly as well as being eventually attended by the most delectable young doctor, a total sweetheart who appeared to comprehend everything I said. Amazing. [grin]

When blood tests and an X-ray all came in OK, he arranged for me to be given an echo (ultrasound) next week rather than waiting for yet another three weeks for the appointment I’d made two months back with a cardio up in St Albans – when still living in Maribyrnong – and set me up for a consultation with the cardio there at Cabrini the day after ! YAAAAay !! – I had been dreading having to traipse all the way up to St Albans.

Not sure of the reason for my b.p.’s sudden descent. I mean, Dr James told me, but I am renowned for never taking in what medicos tell me.   :(

Something to do with the atrial fibrillation discovered by my GP (to whom I am devoted) back up there in Maidstone, plus dehydration. Apparently the danger in AF is that it can give rise to stroke; and I would not be keen to experience that !

This episode has really annoyed me; for basically I have always been a healthy old fart. Now I have to admit (if anyone entitled to do so asks me) to not being so, and it gives me the shits bigtime. Mortality ? – I suppose so .. although to be honest, now that I am no longer fainting or feeling horrible, I am not thinking of it. Thinking grumpily more about how I can no longer afford MyWW, as it has now escalated to $79 a month ! Jesus. Who can afford THAT ?! Grrrrrrrrrr ..

That was it. The Episode. I have various little round bandaid thingies stuck to me still where cannulas were inserted (yesyes, and then removed !) and some bruising; but I also have clear memories of the Victorian health system and its workers. It cannot be compared with that of NSW back in 2005/6 when Chic was dying, because that was absolutely vile. No: I am happy to be here in Victoria with its excellent support of ancients’ health; and especially happy with my ‘new’ (but old) flat in St Kilda East. I even have a small community already !

I am counting my blessings.



It was shortly after 9am, and I, still (of course !) in my nightie and dressing-gown, had just put the dishwasher on. I was wondering idly if I could shower while the dishwasher was on, when the world changed.

For half a second I thought I was dizzy; and for another half second I wondered why ..

And then I understood that I was being shaken to and fro, to and fro .. Things were sliding about, and the fern on the plant-stand next to me tried to throw itself off; but a part of my brain functioned automatically – the part not frozen in terror – and I caught it. I was screaming “What’s happening ? What’s HAPPENING ?” because, once having saved the fern, the same brain section was telling me that the building, erected by a company not admired in the construction industry, was imploding ..

I don’t have the ability to explain the experience of standing in a top floor (7th storey) apartment, alone, as the floor under one’s feet MOVES, quite violently .. as the building becomes, suddenly, unstable .. I’ve only once before in my whole life felt a fear like that; and that was nothing to do with Mother Nature but with my utterly beloved husband in a car, in France, so far removed from the brilliantly clever man he had always been by the crab that was eating him, trying to drive towards me around the corner of a house – a slope away to nothing on his right and stopped by only a small ridge of bricks that had caught the wheels .. I believe that, yesterday, it was the memory of this blind terror in my situation of total inability to do anything that my brain had instantly thrown up ..

And then I un-froze. There were bangs as things fell over; but I managed to scorch into the bedroom, reef back the duvet and seize Boodie. He, sound asleep, was incensed when so rudely grabbed, and would have struggled free; but I, powerful in my terror, thrust him into his carrier, threw its long belt over my neck, grabbed my keys and was out of the apartment in a heartbeat. By now the building had stopped moving, but the fear was omni-present; for who could know that it would not start again ..?

My next-door neighbours were there, as they had been the other week when we all suffered five false fire alarms between midnight and 9am, with Andrea waiting to take Boodie from me so that I could properly negotiate the seven storeys of fire stairs. (Please note that we did this only the first time during the alarms, and simply rolled our eyes during the next four.) And, as everyone now knows, there were no more tremors.

Once down on the ground I found that my legs were trembling even though it wasn’t. Having found Oanh among the crowd, carrying her beautiful little daughter Annabelle, and kissed her and given her a one-armed hug, I eventually had to walk around to the front of the building to find a place to sit down ..

I’ve never regretted being old the way I did then.

And I can’t explain this, either.


Oh gawd, AT LAST !!!

I’ve signed the lease and paid a month’s rent, so there ain’t no backing out of it – I have a place to move to !

Doesn’t that remind you of some of the places you rented when you were young ? – it does me.   :)

It’s a 2-bedroom flat (you can’t see it ‘cos it’s ’round the back, ground floor) in Orrong Road, St Kilda East. I suppose I’ll get used to calling it that, although it’s going to be hard since it was known as East St Kilda during all the years I lived in Melbourne, back in my palmy days ..

And it’s only $280 a week ! – that’s $5 less a week than I’m currently paying – not too smelly, eh ? It even has a free-standing shower and taps for my washing-machine ! But for me, one of the very best aspects – there are two ! – is that my new Property Manager is a doll. I expect I’ll enjoy interacting with her as much as I have the wonderful Cobie, over nearly a year.

The other one is best represented by this map:

See, when I was looking in this area – which meant suburbs like Armadale and Carnegie and Caulfield, etc., etc. – one of the first things I’d do is enter the flat building’s address into Google maps and then use the ‘Direction’ facility to find out if I could get to the Woolworths Metro that’s the biggest Woolies symbol up there. AND ! – my next flat building is, like, across the road from it !!!

You may wonder at my extreme enthusiasm; but unless you are someone without a car, you can’t possibly understand what it’ll mean to me to be able to walk over the road to shop for my dinner every day.

That line there was a pause while I contemplated how totally excellent it’s going to be. I can scarcely take it in !

Anyway. There it is. I’ll be moving on 29th September, until which day I shall dream of Woolies Metro shopping ..