Hilary Usfun

So I’m a political pescatarian; and what that means is that I choose not to eat meat due to a range of reasons rather than simply not liking it.  Having said that; I’m also not a huge fan which I admit makes things easier.

(and as well as not eating meat on political grounds I also am a political person who doesn’t eat meat. Quite a good self descriptor methinks)

So I’m happy to eat quorn, and other things which taste a bit like meat for variety and in some cases for speed of preparation, so reading about Hot and Spicy Soy Buffalo Chicken sounded like a link worth clicking.  And while I was surprised to hear it was a foodstuff and not a recipe, that was NOTHING to the surprised I felt when I read it had a bit of dowel in as a ‘bone’.

Just a small step too far…


I have finally watched DCI Banks: Aftermath, the ITV adaptation of Aftermah by Peter Robinson. I enjoyed it, but was really disrtacted by the fact that Stephen Tompkinson was far too tall for that role. I think this makes me weird.

Today involved the vet AND the GP; why yes we are the house of the healthy.

I am reknitting a scarf which I made 18 months ago as it was too narrow. This feels rather radical.

Bangers and mash for tea. In therapeutic doses.

People of blogland; I’m on a quest.  I’m on a quest to devise a really good, cheap, quickish, easily replicable bean burger.  Which is vegan, and gluten free, as this suits most of the frequent diners chez Usfun.

My old recipe was a Rose Elliott one from Vegan Feasts which involved vegetable shredded and mixed with mashed beans and mashed bread. Definitely tasty, but always seemed quite time consuming. I’m keen to keep my wheat intake in check, so was keen to find another recipe and ideally one which doesn’t involve the food processor, which always seems like a lot of effort.

So last night, with the able assistance of my best friend, we sauteed some finely chopped shallot, and added an indecent amount of crushed and chopped garlic.  We shredded a small carrot and parsnip and added that while searching determinedly for some tomato puree.  A slight smell of burning heralded the realisation we didn’t have any tomato puree and we went back to the frying pan with some Cajun spice paste and a jar of thyme, added both and mixed the contents with some two cans of roughly mashed cannelloni* beans. I feel sure that were she still here she would wish to make comment on the fact that the masher was rather style over substance, but, she’s not, so bless her she’ll have to just think it. Seasoning was then applied, they were shaped with wet hands and fried in a hot pan and, well, we’re on our way.  Still a tad dry; but nothing that a heap of piccalilli and some tomato ketchup didn’t fix.


*always looks spelled wrong. They are the white ones. Look a bit like white kidney beans.

So Dr Usfun have had a couple of weeks off; one week in Wales (cosy, slightly damp) and a week at home (cosier, slightly less damp) We have been Doing Fun Stuff and scheduled in a proper day of lazy. Proper days of lazy include various features; but without doubt include Comfy Trousers.

I turn to the PA and command her to bring me the Comfy Trousers. (I don’t of course, I turn to her and smile and ask her to please get out my trackie pants. But that doesn’t sound so good)  I love my Comfy trousers, I love the ease by which they go on and off, the stretchy spreadyness of them and the squishiness beneath my behind. Dr Usfun is a jeans and occassional suit wearer. He doesn’t do pyjamas, or tracksuit trousers for anything other than sport, or leggings.

(Which is a relief to us all, but anyway)

I turn to Dr Usfun and spot a slightly bemused face. I am guessing this is because he is unfamiliar with the sensation of comfort embracing my arse. I again suggest a trip to the shops forthwith to correct this wardrobe error he is experiencing.

‘Hils’, he says patiently, ‘I only own comfy trousers. It’s the first criteria’


Is anyone a fan of the ConDem coalition? I was scared and unsettled in May, and I am still scared and unsettled now. Particularly with this list of quangos to be axed.

In another time, I’d perhaps have agreed that there were too many, and certainly some replicate the work of other bodies.  And this may still be true. However; the ones I know about (and the ones which affect me. Directly) do make a difference by providing practical/financial support.

This government is obsessed with paid work, and certainly it is a tragedy that so many people who could and who in the main want to work do not.  However; I do work, and so does Dr Usfun.  I need social care regardless of whether I’m working or not, it isn’t an income replacement benefit.  (For which there is a need, but that’s a different rant)

Being able to go the loo when you want, being able to eat/drink when you want, these aren’t luxuries.  Why are those under even more threat? Already there is charging for such services; yet not for refuse collection, or for education in schools? Of course there shouldn’t be a charge for that either, but either way the system is utterly broken. And I feel rather sick.

So I had a call from a friend. Not an unusual happening. She asked me what I was having for tea; and I asked her the same. She said roast kale.

Roast kale? Isn’t kale a slightly bitter green leafy vegetable? Well yes, actually but by jingo it is nice roasted.  Its one of those things that if you try to eat seasonally and locally you end up seeing quite a lot of; and its fine. I usually slice thinly for stir fries or curries, make soup in a vaguely Polish style or stir fry with chilli.  But it’s always good to try something new.

I found this recipe and I have to admit there was concern chez Usfun.  If they’d known I’d misread the recipe and used 2 tablespoons of vinegar rather than 2 teaspoons I think I may have felt they were justified.  However; even I didn’t notice til I wrote this post. Is THAT the power of blogging?


They were amazing. Terribly simple and truly they become crisps in the oven. They were a lovely contrast to the rice thingummy they were served with and looked rather fancy.  I bet they’ll be even better with less vinegar….

It’s often noted that I’m Not an Intellectual.  I don’t mind, all that much, really.  I’m not stupid, or dense or anything, I just often miss things.

I aspire one day to read Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne.  I often think it is one of those things I’ll do When I Grow Up.  As a nod in this general direction, Dr Usfun and I sat down to watch ‘A Cock and Bull Story‘ which is one of those  independent films where you aren’t quite sure what you’re meant to think.  I don’t really care; but sometimes its nice to know what the director intended.  So we sat there watching the film, which felt rather deliberately quirky.  There was an intermission; for tea, chocolate, yarn interventions and lagomorph wrangling and when we recommenced viewing it was as if the film was being narrated. Which seemed a little off. Right up to the end of the film when the narrator ended with the phrase ‘Audio Description provided by…..’

I think Monsieur Shandy may need to wait a while….