Wednesday 30 November 2011

Run For It!

It's no secret that I'm a gym bunny. I love working out so much that when I was unceremoniously dumped from my TV job I decided to move into the fitness industry.

However. Needing sufficient brain power and co-ordination to teach classes through the day and most evenings has put the mockers on training hard for myself. I simply cannot grapevine in the correct direction without going over on my ankles, not to mention remembering that right is actually left, if I have trained hard for my usual hour or (ideally) hour-and-a-bit during the day. So while my classes keep me generally very fit and a lot stronger than I was, my running fitness (always the first thing to go without focused training) has dwindled to pathetic.

Now I love to run. Since I've been a personal trainer I feel very proud to have got a lot of people -who swore blind they couldn't do it- into this high-endorphin buzz club. Running makes you feel better, it is addictive and brilliant for controlling weight and also re-focusing people who are fixated on unnecessary weight loss because it immediately gives you a new set of  healthy targets. It makes your bones and your heart stronger. It gives your brain a boost. It helps you sleep. It eases depression.

It is no WONDER I feel like crap for not doing it regularly any more.

What do I do if my clients get out of whack with their running, or need an extra push? I get them to sign up for a road race.

Confession: I have NEVER done a road race. The reasons being:

-I HATE competition

-I HATE competition even more when I know I'm not the best at something (yes, I realise competition when you're the best at something isn't technically a competition, it's SHOWING OFF. And that's the only competition I like. What of it)

-I am a REALLY slow runner.

When I say slow, I mean SLOW. My focus has always been on increasing my distance (although I've never run further than 15k - so clearly not THAT focused of a focus) and never my speed. I am a plodder. I LIKE running slowly, I'll admit it. I like the soothing thump-thump of my feet on the floor. I like to think about things other than what I'm doing - generally what crazy tricks the guitarist is shredding at during the solo whatever ludicrous band I'm listening to at the time. So although prior to my hiatus I was a manically regular runner (no less than 4 times a week, ideally 6), I've never really improved. I've genuinely never wanted to try any harder. Running was my stress release, my escape. Not a punishment.

But now I realise I need a target to get me going again. And I think this is it. The Harewood race gives me about 3 and a half months to get back into regular training, and hopefully then get my 10k time down so I don't embarrass myself completely (although I realise this is still almost definitely going to happen). Unless I can get Catie to do it as well, and we do it as a 3-legged race. So that we both lose.

Have you ever done a race? Want to do this one with me? Any tips for being a gracious loser?*

*Advice on losing at Monopoly also appreciated - another competition I have avoided for years for similar reasons. Although I like to think it's because of my kind and generous nature that I can't even hold on to FAKE money.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Double Trouble

Last week I talked a little bit about tolerance regarding other peoples beliefs. I firmly believe that, providing it harms nobody else, people should be allowed to live their lives without fear of derision.

Not to trivialise this sentiment, but I hope you will extend this tolerance to me today, as I am about to reveal a passion of mine that I know some of you will find distasteful.

More fool you.

Because I love JEDWARD.

I mean, I LOVE them. I can only be sad for so long when Jedward are on my Twitter feed with their absurd, dadaist stream of consciousness. Their wonder at the world around them is infectious and delightful. You say they're talentless? I disagree. They are more entertaining than a thousand silky-voiced cruise-ship bores. In fact, they don't really need to be able to sing or dance, I could listen to them talk all day. Or just marvel at their existence.

I will admit to watching Celebrity Big Brother 24 hour feed just to see what they were going to do next.

And I am still not bored.

I am baffled by how divisive they are - people either "get" Jedward, or they don't. How do they invoke such rage from the haters? What grumpy buttons do they push? There are people in positions of political power who are perhaps not cerebrally blessed, wouldn't we be better off getting pissy about them? And I don't think Jedward are stupid anyway, they just have a different way of looking at the world. And why not.


It's Jepic.

Jedward's new single Wow Oh Wow (the THIRD release from their SECOND studio album believe it or not - co written by Oriste from JLS) was released last week, and you can listen to it here

Monday 28 November 2011

This Weekend Contained...

A lovely do....

...some very exciting reading material (including a brilliant parlour game where you have to pretend you're on a sledge in Russia being chased by wolves and in order to survive you have to pick which of your best friends to chuck off first)...

....some very silly faces (WHY are there no serious photographs of me in existence?)....

 ....some proper dancing....I need to find photographic evidence of how I managed to do it in those crazy green shoes, it must have been some kind of miracle I didn't break my ankles/neck....

....and following a late night drinking marathon back at the hotel bar and a shakey start to the morning, we rallied ourselves and had an excellent Sunday around Saltaire with our friends Rayne, Richard and the completely charming and very cheeky Gwen....

....this is on the Shipley Glen Tramway - Britain's oldest working cable tram. It has an old-fashioned sweet shop at the top! The coconut toasted teacakes definitely took the edge off my hangover. And a burger for lunch at Salt's Mill didn't hurt either.

Brilliant weekend, congratulations the Hastwells!

Friday 25 November 2011

First Dance Friday: Loves Dirty Dancing

The film I mean, not the act of dirty dancing as your first dance. That would be awful.

Early on in mine and Sam's courtship, I remember being very impressed when (in a moment of drunk and impassioned loudness) he shouted out at somebody-or-other "Nobody puts Penny in the corner!". Always easily won over by knowledge of film quotes and anybody willing to stick up for me after a few pints, I also took this as evidence that the seemingly buffoonish Sam was actually completely in touch with his feminine side. Well! Thought I. This new man of mine LOVES the chick flicks and he's not shy about showing it!

Years later I came to realise that Sam's ability to quote from Dirty Dancing and a number of other films (Pretty Woman, Beauty & The Beast and virtually all of Greases 1 & 2 word for word) was a direct result of growing up with three younger sisters who played all of the above on an endless loop until he left home. But never mind. I'm just happy he's always up for watching Legally Blonde whenever it's on TV and will happily prance around the front room with me going "Bend.... and SNAP!"

Can somebody take me to see the show? PLEASE?

When I was thinking of music for the wedding, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack was never far from my mind. Every song is a crowd pleaser - classic because they're originally 60s, but also nostalgic because they hold 90s memories for most of us too. And every song now makes me think of Sam.

I went right up to two weeks before the wedding (when I switched to Hall & Oates) intending to walk up the aisle to this:

WHAT A SONG! That strident opening beat, the way the song just explodes into life, no let-up, just a few lines of verse, that brilliant lift in the bridge and then - WHAM! - a perfect girl group chorus. The mahoosive Spector production actually makes it quite a statement song, great for an entrance but also perfect for a first dance - it's nice and short too. Not one for the swayers - you might want to practice a few steps.

There are a few weddings this weekend, hugest of good lucks to Linsey and also to my lovely friends Ellie and Steve, who I can't wait to see first-dancing tomorrow (I predict Carrot Rope by Pavement). This wedding is going to be STYLING, so people get ready. The teacup candles and green shoes will finally be put into action!

Good weekends one and all, be sure to get your Pen Do requests in if you haven't already - closing date is Thursday 1st December. I'm already plotting our schedule, ladies....

Thursday 24 November 2011

In Which I Have A Little Grumble

 I’m not normally a ranter, especially not on serious topics. I’m not really a very serious person, to be honest. I’m not sure if you’d noticed.


I’m going right off Facebook for a number of reasons, and one of them is how SHOCKED I am by what people I obviously have considered to be friends think they can bung up there.  Oh, there’s no racism, no sexism and no homophobia on my feed. But apparently there is one group of people you’re still allowed to slam, even if you call yourself an open-minded liberal. And that is anybody who believes in God.

I can’t count the number of times I have read status updates that belittle anybody with faith, and it makes me FUCKING angry. I’m all for freedom of speech, but mocking people for what they believe is small-minded bullshit. Do these people think atheism is a radical new concept to the other Guardian reading woollies on their friends list? Whose mind are you trying to change? And I notice it’s nearly always Christianity that gets the belt as well, because these people wouldn’t want to knock a different culture, because, you know, that’s SO NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT.

Stop thinking about the big stuff for a minute, and think about how spirituality works for the individual. I’m about as far from a theologist as you can get, but I have enough of a brain to know that how much faith matters and why. Challenging concepts and ideas is one thing, but calling people stupid for their way of life is just rude and pointless.

When did people become so intolerant? Isn’t THAT the thing that starts the wars?

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Nerd Love

"You have your fans, I have mine. 
Someday your fans are going to work for my fans."


There are so many glossy youth programmes around that deal with hot girls fancying hot guys and vice versa. Lands of make-believe where beautiful people stand around wearing beautiful clothes and smoulder at each other while Death Cab For Cutie play in the background. Maybe it's symptomatic of a society craving escapism that we only wish to gaze upon things that are unchallenging for our eyes. Whatever. The upshot is that I sometimes feel myself slipping into a daydream where I actually start to believe my own teenagehood was this lip-glossed and spot-free.

And it really wasn't.

That's why it's so funny, and so refreshing when (in the latest episode of hit ABC show Modern Family) super-popular Haley Dunphy expresses disbelief when her geeky little sister Alex stops a gang of bullies in their tracks. Because the bespectacled, frizzy haired bullies are in love with Alex. "oh my GOD it's Alex Dunphy!" they swoon. Finally the square girl has her own legion of admirers - the nerds.

I remember the first day I realised that, far from being at the bottom of the hierarchy of fancying, I was, like Alex, on a different scale altogether. That it was actually possible that I wouldn't spend my existence in a terminal science lesson pining for That Boy to ask to borrow my set square, with nobody ever desperate to lend me theirs. It was the day Nick from the year above threw me into the sailing lake (in the nicest possible way) and I realised that some boys fancied me. A certain type of boy. The nerd.

This progressed through college and into my adult life. I don't think I've ever had an ardent admirer who wasn't at the very least a bit of a nerd. And nerds are GOOD, they're clever and focused (on sci-fi/record collecting/Russian cinema, if not anything else) and because they're not great at sport or being cool they're forced to learn to be VERY FUNNY in order to get through their teens without being beaten up. So two fingers up to the Haley Dunphys and their flakey, good-looking boyfriends. You only need to look on Facebook to see how the people who were top rung popular at school turned out.

The girls who chose the nerdy boys win.

Another nerdy tattoo - Sam's is even better

Although we now all have houses full of Ghostbusters figures to dust.

Now, you must all go and watch THIS for a far more accurate representation of life than that portrayed in Gossip Girl. Please. It's amazing.

Tuesday 22 November 2011


We managed to squeeze in another film at the festival in the final weekend - Alex Chandon's grisly, hilarious masterpiece Inbred. It was AMAZING, and if you have any interest in horror or comedy it's a must-see.

The action takes place in fictional North Yorkshire backwater Mortlake, when a group of young offenders are brought to the countryside by their care-workers for a weekend of outdoors-y activities. They don't realise that the villagers don't take kindly to strangers, and it's not long before there's bloodshed, and it's a race to get out of Mortlake alive.

I'm fairly squeamish when it comes to gore, and there really are buckets of it. But the jokes come as fast as the blood, and countless times I found myself peeping through my fingers only to explode into a belly laugh moments later. This will get a LOT of comparisons to The League Of Gentlemen, but it's so much more than that - it's brilliantly paced with some great performances and characters that you actually give a shit about, not to mention some stunning shots of our beautiful county (it was filmed in Thirsk). There is wit, energy and seriously good use of prosthetics. The savvy use of a small budget reminds me of my beloved Bad Taste.

It was amusing to hear Fanomenon's Martin Grund recount his experience of Inbred's showing at Frightfest down in London, with the Southerners not knowing whether to laugh or not, in case it wasn't politically correct to poke this much fun at the North.

When it's this funny, it's definitely OK.

I see on the Inbred website that the team are currently in talks regarding a worldwide release for the film. Let's hope this comes to your local cinema soon.

I promise you will never look at a carrot the same way again.

Monday 21 November 2011

Pink, Gold, Grey & Green

It was always going to sound like a tenuous combination, but I think in practice it works.....

Pink skater dress - H&M, £14.99
Gold rabbit pendant - Joy, £9
Grey tights - Elle at TK Maxx, £3.99
Green kicks - Office, £80

Friday 18 November 2011

First Dance Friday: Sea Of Love

I realise I have recently been straying from my remit with the old First Dance Fridays, so today I am going to pick a song you might actually choose for your first dance.

There's a horrid trend for whispery girlie acoustic music at the moment. You can't turn on your telly without a fey indie version of something-or-other clogging up your ears (cough-John Lewis advert-cough). But there was a time when you didn't have to be a model/fashion blogger/in an art collective in LA before you were allowed to splurge your musical talents all over the listening public. There really was!

Chan Marshall (proper name) has been sitting on a stage singing to her guitar for almost 20 years as Cat Power, and I think she's still one of the best in the game. I fell in love with her 1998 album Moonpix when I was a teenager, enchanted by her plaintive delivery and haunting, soulful songs. Around this time, I went to see her at Reading festival, in a tiny tent. She was drowned out by people talking. Turn up your guitar, missy! I thought. Tell 'em to shut up! But she didn't, and it was shit. I went home that summer thinking "well, if she's so awesome and she still flopped, why don't I have a go?"

A year and a bit later, with an acoustic guitar, a 1-octave keyboard that came free with some petrol and a load of weird Moog effects we found on the internet, I recorded some songs as The Oubliette. There weren't many girls-and-their-guitars going on at that time, so I had the advantage of being a new prospect on a scene saturated with spotty boys playing punk rock. Hence, the EP got nice reviews in a few paper-things you won't have heard of, leading me to pluck up the courage to play some live gigs locally, and then around the country. This bumbled on for a few years, during which I met some heroes and generally accumulated some stories to tell the grandchildren. It was good. It culminated with an ace mini-tour involving a temporary backing band made up of some really terrific musicians - Stick (who is now in Hawkeyes), Alvin (who is in DuD and studying to become a doctor of drums) and the lovely Chris who is still in the same band as me (but the bass player from Sparks complimented his skills at our last gig - so, you know, he shreds).

And then, after the tour, I gave up. Because I liked being with other people, and I didn't like being back on my own again. I have a role in a band, I know who I am. When I'm on my own it's a bit horrible to be honest. It's a long way to travel to gigs by yourself. It's a lot of yourself to put on the line in front of other people who are quite often talking (turns out telling people to "shut the fuck up" in the middle of a song can be construed as being stroppy- who knew?), playing on their phones and generally moaning about how many boring girls with acoustic guitars there are these days. And by 2004 there were, they were every-bloody-where.

Over a decade later, Cat Power is still pretty much the best one. Turns out what she does is NOT that easy after all. This is a beautiful, romantic song, and would make an amazing first dance.

EDIT: If you haven't seen my first music review column for the gorgeous lifestyle blog Florence Finds, go check it out now, fool!

Thursday 17 November 2011

Legging It

The great thing about the internet is that it gives a platform to so many voices talking about a multitude of things that really matter. Controversial political opinion, exposure of oppressive regimes, first-hand accounts of war zones. These are the blogs that will change history.

However, on THIS blog, today, we are going to talk about leggings.


I realise that leggings are not a significant or earth shattering part of many peoples' lives (potentially less than 50% of the country - although they're missing a trick if you ask me). In fact, I've heard they're more or less on their way out -if not actually, you know, OUT- in terms of fashion.

But for those of us who like to wear dresses on cold days, those who always ladder their tights, those who want to be a bit warmer under their trousers, or those who are fitness instructors and are starting to get seriously depressed about their lack of day-to-day style options, LEGGINGS are where it's at.

This is how I chill on my breaks. Flexible hamstrings, non?
You can wear socks with leggings. Big socks and chunky legwarmers that make you look like the lady in Flashdance. You can wear them under shorts (shhh, you can, you can) and not have to worry about the condition of your legs, or whether the hem of your shorts is going to ride up over the "acceptable" bit of thigh. If you wear leggings with a scandalously short dress or a tunic top, it becomes a decent and acceptable outfit. Because, you know, they're ALMOST trousers. But not quite.

Leggings love YOU. Leggings will not make your bottom itchy if you're sitting on a plastic seat for an extended period. Leggings are sporty - you can squat in them and they won't rip right across your arse like a certain pair of combat trousers I once owned. Leggings are cheap and they go with everything. That is, providing you keep your bottom tucked away under a long top/skirt/dress. So people don't burn their eyes when they look at your rear end. Just saying.

These bitches be STYLIN'! (sorry, I don't know what came over me there)

Sadly, their cheapness may well be their downfall. It is not in the fashion industry's interest to have us salivating at a £12 double pack of leggos from Peacocks when we ought to be desirous of £150 Jigsaw slacks. Leggings are not a luxury item, they are worn by people who don't have a lot of money (of which there are quite a few at the moment), and those people are not deemed to be stylish, and certainly not aspirational. But I am standing firm against the tide that threatens to wash away my leggy friends. Goddamit, I am going down with this 80% cotton/20% elastane ship.

And I am willing to explore a million different varieties of leggings in order to fend off the frump factor and keep my legs current....

Summer of Love? Summer of lovely legs more like, thanks Topshop...

....ASOS give us leggings with heart (too cute)....

.....drop boring black and go for the colour du jour with some cheeky burgundies from Miss Selfridge....

...and finally, why bother with long socks alone when you can have FULL LEG AND BUM WARMTH and the appearance of a Japanese schoolgirl with these knitted Fairisle lovelies from River Island.

Legging lovers of the world unite and take over! (but please don't buy any jeggings).

Wednesday 16 November 2011

The Eyes Have It

I’ve been meaning to do a makeup post ever since Charlotte requested it way back when my eyes were being REALLY rubbish. And finally (yessss) my eyes seem to be happy enough wearing contact lenses, so I can actually manage to put makeup on without drawing my eyeliner on half a centimetre above where it ought to be.

I thought about hiring a professional makeup artist on our wedding day, but the appeal of spending the same money on products was just TOO GREAT for Little Miss Makeup Junkie. And after having two excellent trials at MAC and still coming away thinking I could go one better, I reckon I probably made the right decision.

So here it is, my smoky eye. It’s faffy, but it’s worth the effort for a special occasion. I’ve used browns because I had some coppery feathers in my dress, but you could use greys/blues/whatevers in the same varying degrees of depth. Great tip: always do your most difficult eye first, it’s then easier to match it on your good side.

You don’t need to use an eyeshadow primer, but if you want a complicated eye to stay put and looking good for a whole day/long night of partying, then it’s a good idea. This is MAC Paint pot in Painterly, which does the job, and evens out my rubbish skin tone nicely.

While that’s sinking into the skin, brush the brows and define with a brow pencil. This is just an ancient Rimmel one.
Next up, a copper over the lid, and blend up and out.

Now a mid brown into the crease, and blend it up into the socket.

You could leave it there, but to add a bit of drama use an angled brush to press a really dark brown into  the crease of your eyelid.

Highlight a little bit (my MAC man told me to be careful not to go “too Jordan” with highlighter - something I am definitely a little guilty of). I used a brush of pearly white in the corner of the eye, and a sweep of Benefit High Beam under the brow.

Liner next, and you cannot fail with a good quality angled liner brush and a gel pot. It is FOOL PROOF and magical.

But one line is not enough! I then use a pencil on the lower lashes, then the lower and upper water line (warning, depending on the set of your eyes/how much sleep you’ve had, this may make them look squinty)

Curl lashes for a WHOLE MINUTE each side and paint. It doesn’t matter how many expensive mascaras I try, I always go back to Rimmel Volume Flash. One big coat with a wiggle through, then another to separate out the lashes and add definition to the tips.

I did use false lashes on the day too, mainly because I knew they’d look better on camera. But for today (as I am going to teach Pilates rather than getting married) I haven't bothered, as I never seem to be able to keep a pair for more than one wear. Do the rest of your makeup after your eyes - no point putting foundation on if it's going to get bits of eyeshadow stuck in it!

Oh look! I found some better light, right at the end. I will never be a photographer. Also, macro makes me look like a conehead. Ace!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

25th Leeds International Film Festival

One of my favourite things about Leeds is its behemoth of a film festival. Two and a half weeks of strange, beautiful and amazing films, and as usual this year I can only go to a handful of showings. This means I pour over the programme like Charlie Bucket in a sweet shop, trying to decide where best to stake my money - which is actually kind of fun, and a bit of an art. I am also lucky that Sam is too lazy to do the same, so I’ve ended up picking all of our films again this year.

Generally I manage to get away with only one dud. Last year it was Uruguayan horror “The Silent House” which started out brilliantly creepy, but had a disappointing fart of an ending. We also took in the crazy French  “Panique Au Village” which had us rolling in the aisles, and the droll, brilliant Norwegian film “The Art Of Negative Thinking” which was probably the best thing I saw last year full stop.

This year we’ve already seen absurd Japanese comedy “Mitsuko Delivers”, which I loved, and "Kill Me Please", a French black comedy, which I didn't enjoy as much as everyone else (hoping this is my annual damp squib over and done with). We're yet to see the bizarre musical detective caper “The Sound Of Noise” at the Leeds Town Hall, which is where we got married earlier this year. I'm very excited about seeing a film at this venue, no idea how I've avoided it for so long.

Every year I come away from the film festival with a sense of relief that there is so much talent in the world that manages to exist and thrive far away from the vacant, bloated, white-sequin-jumpsuited monster that is Hollywood. Every year I feel inspired by what I’ve seen, and it makes me want to go away and make something brilliant.

I'm also wowed by Sam's ability to eat all of his sweets before the film starts. Every single time.

Monday 14 November 2011

A Bit Of A Do

 Seeing as I keep missing all the Any Other Parties and Ring Bashes I thought it was time I stopped whinging about not getting to meet you all, pull my finger out and organise something myself.  So on Saturday 25th February 2012, I am having a party (or #PenDo as somebody has christened it) and you are invited.

This isn’t a wedding event, there will be no suppliers and (just like me) it won‘t be especially sophisticated. It will be in Leeds, there may be some entertainment, there will certainly be a bar, great tunes, cake and some lovely people wearing sparkly boots.

If you would like to come, don’t be shy, drop me an email to the address on the top right and I’ll put you on the list. Make sure you do it soon to guarantee your place. I’ll email out official invitations (with all the details about venue, times etc) in the near future, when I’ve come up with something  pretty to put on them.


Friday 11 November 2011

First Dance Friday: The Karaoke Edition

Tonight is all about going to the Leeds Christmas market (popular post-work hangout where people regularly enjoy standing in the queue for the Bierkeller for two hours, then giving up and going home) and cheap deals at our local karaoke emporium.


Love it or loathe it, everyone has a karaoke song. If you think you haven't, then you just haven't found it yet. IT IS IN YOU. I spent 25 years denying the pull of the karaoke mic, and now I am that annoying person who won't get off it, and Sam is EVEN worse. Don't invite us to your karaoke party. You'd think performing pop hits with a live band would be enough to satisfy our egos, but trust me it isn't.
Karaoke is family bonding for Smyths: this is Boxing Day last year in Wakefield where Sam's littlest sister used to be the karaoke compere, and I instigated the venue catchphrase "Don't bore us, get to the chorus!"

Karaoke songs are much easier to pick than first dance songs, because you can change your mind several times a year. You also have a much wider palette to choose from - I started with This Charming Man, and have since been through Eye Of The Tiger, Alone by Heart, Young Hearts Run Free and currently Regulate by Warren G (singing both parts, which some people think is funny, but I can assure you is very accomplished. VERY.). And by the end of tonight I'll have yet another brand new karaoke song, after having completely and shamefully fluffed the one I've screamed about being "MYSONGMYSONGMYSONG!", because that is what happens every single time. The inevitablility is comforting. 

Sam's song is Gold by Spandau Ballet, my Mum (the first person I ever knew to have a karaoke song) always does Stand By Your Man better than she thinks and my youngest sister-in-law does one of those so-good-everybody-stops-what-they're-doing-and-stares versions of Son Of A Preacher Man.

Mine and Sam's go-to duet (Pump Up The Jam) was also our sort-of first dance, so I think this tenuously links my MASSIVE KARAOKE EXCITEMENT to first dances, and definitely Fridays.


Happy weekend, everyone.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Hey Dudhi!

A dudhi is a gourd, so it's kind of a marrow situation we're in here. I made this with green beans, but you could use any vegetable. I meant to use chickpeas as well, but in my usual fluffy-brained style completely forgot to buy any.

Dudhi & Green Bean Curry
 Ingredients: 2 onions, green beans, coconut milk (as your personal trainer I'm obliged to advise you to use low fat, but as you see Tesco Metro only had the sinfully lardy stuff) and, of course, a dudhi.

Spice Up Your Life: Minced garlic, coriander and chilli. Dried cumin, turmeric and garam masala.

Peel and chop your dudhi, onions and beans.

Put your spices in a pestle and mortar and bash them around.

Fry the spices in oil until they smell nice.

Add your veggies and fry for 5-10 minutes, then add the coconut milk (I used 2/3rds of the tin) and simmer for another 10-15  minutes.

Serve with rice, naan, or whatever floats your pickle. Too. Easy.

The dudhi tasted like a denser courgette, so not especially flavourful but a pleasant texture. And the sauce was AMAZING. Sometimes full-fat is totally worth it.

And that's what dudhi do! (no more puns now, I promise)

This experiment has been fun. I am going to tackle another exotic vegetable from the ludicrous Morrison's array soon. Mostly because I'm worried nobody is buying them, and then they will take them away again.

Have you ever cooked with a dudhi? Ever heard of a dudhi? Ever opened a veg box, not known what something was, and cooked the hell out of it anyway?