Autotherapy – A Thriller

Set in provincial Cumbria, Autotherapy is a dark thriller with far reaching implications. Good ideas turn bad and Death is always ready to catch the careless.

Click on the image to go to Amazon (I am so proud of it).

Published by Rainstorm Press on 17 April, 2012.


Editing and Eating; or, Bulgar Burger yum

Editing my book has been a challenge. I’ve been through it once, and I’m two thirds of the way through the second pass. Much more stringent this time. I missed a lot in the first pass. I’m worried I’m overstepping my time with it, so I’m calmly panicking, with the aim of finishing today.

Unfortunately, for me, sitting in my kitchen equals stuffing my face. And sitting in my couch in front of the fire, equals falling asleep. So for editing, I have to park in the kitchen and risk becoming a large lady. I’m trying to be good, but endless fights with cigarette addiction has shown me that I can only concentrate on improving one area of my life at a time. So I’m editing my book and I’m stuffing my face, and I’m trying to eat healthily so that my body forgives me more readily.

Yesterday I accidentally created a vegan meal*. And ate it. And it was gorgeous. As a dyed in the wool carnivore, I have very little good to say about veganism. Many recipes I have scoured have advocated the eating of what I consider to be barely food. More nutritional chemistry than food as we know it. I can’t approve, I believe in natural. What you put in is what you get out, that is the remit of foodyism and I’m planning to stick to it as a belief system. However this one is a goody and if you can be bothered to faff a little bit, knock yourself out, I say.

*If it isn’t, please let me know, I’m hardly an expert in these things, but I couldn’t see any ingredients that were remotely of animal origin.

Bulgar Burgers

Simmer a couple of handfuls of bulgar wheat in salted water until soft. Blitz a handful of nuts in the food processor and add a tin of pinto (or other) beans. Gently saute an onion with some garlic and add a few teaspoons of cumin and smoked paprika (or chilli powder). Add this to the processor. Salt bravely. Non-iodised Maldon of course.

Tip in enough bulgar to balance the other ingredients (about the same amount of bulgar as there is quantity of other) and heave in two or three scoops of tahini to bind everything. Blitz until it is mainly mush.

Make a series of burger sized pucks, using a tennis ball quantity of gunge. Place on greaseproof paper on a tray and freeze for at least 10 minutes. This stiffens everything up, making it easier to handle. (Honestly, sometimes I think innuendo hits me like a shower of meteorites).

Heat some oil in a frying pan, and get frying. They just need browning on both sides. Don’t bother with the grill or the oven, the oil is extra wonderful. The crispy outer layer of the burgers melt nuttily into your mouth.

I had these with coronation butterbeans and minted cucumber. Vegan, right?

Don’t plants have feelings too?

Autotherapist vs Soulsubsistence

Okay, so I love writing and I love food. Here lies the point of soulsubsistence (that and my hedonistic puritan tendencies). And I kept on writing about food until there was an upset at work. Such an upset that I lost my job overnight. This led to an overnight loss in interest in food which lasted the two weeks it took me to get another job (happily under the same people as before). This is not surprising. What was, was that my life changed more significantly than I had expected.

Then a publisher ( offered to publish my novel, Autotherapy.

What came from all of this was a new pressure to have a ‘proper’ blog with some relevance to the book (Autotherapy, so self-healing), exhaustion from the day job and no time to myself. None of which was conducive to writing about food.

STOP PRESS: the new blog is a disaster because I’m not interested in day-to-day pontifications about self-healing, however much I think about it and apply it to my day and night, and therefore writing about it doesn’t work for me. Up-your-arse-twaddle about something you know little about doesn’t wear well on me and whilst I’m not a quitter, I know when to quit.

Then today I read an article from Recipe Rifle, a blog about food and life which (despite the fuck words) gives me a sharp crosswind of air and this particular one reminded me of my problem. Esther writes without impunity, without pontification and damnit, without worrying whether or not she’s getting it right.

So now I know what to do.

Soulsubsistence may not have obvious links to Autotherapy (such as title, subject or characters) but it is connected. Autotherapy is (at a long shot) about the healing process. Its characters mainly get to heal themselves or die. And death performs a function of healing of a sort. I get my daily healing from the process of cooking, be it ordinary or puritan or hedonist and there I rest my case. If I can’t make it work this way, then I don’t know why I want to write at all.

Try the other blog and see what you think (I’m right, whatever you think of it).

In the meantime, note that I am alone tonight, with the opportunity to eat something which doesn’t involve the death of an innocent creature. Lentils and rice. Detoxifying hedonistic puritanism at its best. See here for the recipe.