Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Edge-Lit and Everything After - Undoing the Damage...

The Science-Fiction fan readership of this blog may possibly have taken a look at my latest blog title, and gone, "Damage? What damage? Oh my life, what happened at Edge-Lit? What juicy tidbit could we possibly have missed?" Because, ah, fickle Interwebverse, it seems that barely a week goes by in the world of genre literature without someone writing about something that went horribly wrong, or something that someone else disagrees with. Because books can make people all hot and fiery. As hot and fiery as the crisps at the launch of Spacewitch and Fox Spirit's Noir Carnival... (they were jolly hot).

 I don't really want to get into the fish and chip paper, even if it irks me when I see the term 'victim-blaming' used by a well-intentioned (?) pro-feminist man against a female writer who has very recently bared her soul and come out as a survivor of abuse. Cons are great things to go to, and we can all as fans, as professionals, as influencers, as human beans, use our powers to 'pay it forward'. And by 'it', I mean that lovely, warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you've been somewhere nice and met lovely people you share common ground with and feel all included and happy and glad you went. I appreciate that's not how most of you experience hangovers, but I'm a jammy sod, and that's my privilege.

Anyhoo, the damage I refer to is twofold: yet again, I suffer this week as hayfever contends with the germs circulating round the air-conditioning, it is clear I lowered my defenses by imbibing some lots of pinot grigio. I'm fine, just I start sounding like the penguin from Toy Story if I go on for too long.

Secondly, even though I stayed in a grotty budget room (knocking shop?) by myself and used all my internet savvy to get there cheaply, and didn't drink until it was officially 'evening', and just came home with the free books, it was so hot in Derby town centre, that I probably bought shares in evil Coca Cola. At least the first bottle of the day had my OH's name on, so I could say, "He's here! I just got very thirsty..." Beware my powers!

So what did I get up to? Well, I did what I went to do, and met lots of writers and fellows (who need editors, of course), and met up with friends and colleagues, and nabbed potential event guests and article contributors. And I came back with even more to do...

There were panels I went to on crime fiction, as well as fantasy fiction, and even though it was very warm in the cinema rooms and I had to battle with what I realise is now probably a mild form of narcolepsy (not once in the last 6 months have I managed to stay awake for an entire cinema film, or bus journey of more than 20 minutes.Yes - be glad I don't drive!), they were all very enjoyable. (I kept coming to and seeing Conrad Williams on stage staring at me. Eek! Sorry...)

Going logo...
I went to the joint launch of Spacewitch website for independent publishers, and Noir Carnival by Fox Spirit Books (click the link to see videos of readings at Edge-Lit from their latest anthology - ooh, er, I'm in the audience!!!). They supplied wine, very hot crisps, olives and gorgeous cupcakes. Damien G Walter came up to chat to me while I was trying to get into the butter cream, so I had to hold back a bit to avoid looking like a right butter cream-loving pig... otherwise nom, nom, nom. Schlurp!
Lots of cool books by Fox Spirit.

Del Lakin-Smith launches Spacewitch. My eyes! These photos didn't look so blurry on my phone...
All in all, it was a great event, and I loved spending time with friends in publishing.
In the morning, I went for a tiny explore of Derby town centre, taking in the outside of the historic market hall, and the cathedral, which was just about to have a service, so I didn't go in. The cathedral has green men on the entrance! I didn't take any pics because my battery was going. See this picture from the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project:
So, extreme frugaldom is called for, with an added twist: healthy eating. Unfortunately, all the week's budget has gone on the cats, whose little friends have developed immunity to Frontline, damn them. So, for us human beans, I'm using up stuff we have and have spent just £7.30 on the week's shop. Oh yes! Yellow sticker a-go-go.

Red Pesto Pollock with Fennel Rice and vegetables

First dinner of the week for 2 comes in for me at £2.71 - so that's £1.35 per portion, and is very yummy and nutritious. Apart from the free garlic, the ingredients were all sourced from shops at non-reduced prices, so most should be able to repeat for the same money. Go to the market at 3 to get more fruit and veg in your £1 bowls, but no later, as the stalls may close or sell out.

Sainsburys's basic pollock fillets - £2.00
Sainsbury's basic stock cube, half - £0.005
Basic long grain rice (40p per kilo) - £0.04
Home Bargains red pesto, 49p per jar - £0.13
garlic - free from garden
a few fennel seeds - use them if you have them, they're nice!
1 x onion from market £0.10
2 x tomatoes from market £0.05
1/4 bag green beans from market £0.25
half a market pepper £0.13

Very basically, set your oven to 200 degrees for the fish. Meanwhile, chop and  saute your veg in a pot with some oil or a little water if you can get away without using any, and if you have the fennel seeds, add them at this point so they release more flavour. Measure out 50g rice per person and add them to the veg pot and top with cold water to about 2cm above the top. Crumble in the stock cube and simmer away until the rice has absorbed all the water, about 20 mins.

Make 2 foil parcels for your fish, and spoon the pesto on top. Fold the foil over, making a fold to allow for steam. In a preheated oven, they will take 20-25 mins.

Waste not, want not: when everything was done, I added the juices released by the cooked fish to the rice for extra flavour and stirred through. Serve!

 Dinner yesterday was light shepherds pie, made with basic peas, basic gravy, yellow sticker lean lamb mince, yellow sticker swede mash on top, and served with yellow sticker cabbage and a drizzle of mint sauce. Less than £1 a big portion.

I'm joining in SFT with her health kick, as I'm turning 40 next month, and need to be FAB. But until then, can I resist the cider...?


  1. Hi, great post, but with my editing hat on ..
    you've said
    "Measure out 50g rice per person and add them to the pot and top with cold water. Crumble in the stock cube and simmer away." - TWICE :-)


  2. Ha! Thanks!

    Well, it is for 2 :)