The Oat Milk Miracle

oats in tin

According to a May 2018 article in the Guardian newspaper, avoiding meat and diary is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on earth.

I went on a quest to find a non-dairy milk, and I have to admit that I struggled. I trawled the aisles of my local supermarket, and bought cartons of soya milk, almond milk, rice milk – you name it. They all tasted like – well of nothing really. Then I came across a recipe for making oat milk, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m a convert – not only does it actually taste good, it’s unbelievably easy to make at home (reducing packaging) and it’s really cheap to make.

Here’s the recipe:

1 Cup Oats / 4 Cups Water / Pinch of Salt / 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Just pour the oats and water into a blender and whizz for a good minute. Then strain through muslin (I put a small piece of muslin over a 2 pint glass measuring jug, secure it with a rubber band and pour the oats and water through it. You’ll need to push the gloop around with a spoon to get it to strain through the muslin.) When all the liquid is strained, I lift off the muslin containing the leftover bits of oat and give it a good squeeze over the jug to get all the liquid out. Then I add a pinch of salt. You can add a tiny bit of vanilla essence or even honey to taste. Use the leftover oat particles in cookies if you like or you can feed them to the birds.

Oat milk is perfect on cereal and you can use it for tea and coffee. However, if you heat it to use it in cooking, it will go gloopy. You have been warned!

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Dead or Alive?

This beautiful image of a lion in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana was taken by Yathin Krishnappa. Although the lion is yawning and at rest, it’s a stunning visual reminder of the killing power of this magnificent beast. There are times when authors are driven to take peoples’ lives. I’m talking about their fictional characters, of course (well in my case anyway). When I began to write Sunny Spells & Scattered Showers, I was aware that two of my characters were going to have to die before the story was resumed from my previous novel, Shipwrecks Happen.

I found it surprisingly difficult to do. I had lived with those characters for a few years when I was writing Shipwrecks Happen. I’d grown fond of them, and invested  a considerable amount of time in creating them. One of the characters even contained some biographical details from my grandmother’s life. Hopefully that struggle was a good thing – with any luck my readers will also feel they have come to know and love these particular characters. Although, I have to confess, worryingly, there was a very small part of me who, for a brief moment, enjoyed having the power of life and death. Maybe I need to revisit that feeling at some point and check myself out.

There was one character, however, who was given a reprieve from an early grave. I had intended to kill off Oscar, the dog who now appears in both books. He’s a central figure in Shipwrecks Happen and was a total product of my imagination. Life is a funny thing though, and after I’d finished writing Shipwrecks Happen, I became the owner of a little black dog just like Oscar. So when I tried to write him out of the next novel, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Do you know, I think it’s a shame, because I had great plans for Oscar’s successor – the new dog was going to rescue one of the characters in Sunny Spells and provide vital services in the daily round up of ponies at the trekking farm.

Perhaps the novel is a bit the poorer for the fact this particular storyline never happened. But I feel a whole lot happier to see Oscar live on.


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Hot off the press


Don’t you just love the part in the James Bond movies when the villain presses a button to launch the killer missile that is going to wreak havoc on millions… Well today, I pressed the button to approve the proof of my latest novel and, I’d like to think it gave me far more pleasure to do so than Blofeld ever experienced.

Sunny Spells & Scattered Showers is the follow up novel to Shipwrecks Happen. I wasn’t intending to write it. In fact, I’d a totally different book up my sleeve and was really looking forward to working on it. But, not only was I constantly pestered by readers of Shipwrecks Happen, wanting to know when I was going to write a sequel, I also found my thought drifting to the characters of Shipwrecks Happen. They wouldn’t leave me alone and soon were finding new things to get up to of their own accord. So I gave in, and began Sunny Spells & Scattered Showers, and now I’m pleased I did. It was great to find out what my characters did next and I hope you enjoy it too. Happy Reading!

p.s. The picture was taken on the Black Mountains, where the action in Sunny Spells & Scattered Showers takes place. The photogapher was the very talented Jai Cove.



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