Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist

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Chilli Sweet Potato Fishcakes

The great thing about fishcakes is that their integral recipe and cooking is the same, but one can experiment with different fish and different spices or veg to get completely different flavours and a dish to suit many palates. Because sweet potato is a warm, flavoursome starch anyway, it pairs well with medium-heat chillies that don’t overpower the soothing flavours of the potato. Plus, sweet potato is filled with nutritional vitamins, so it can be perfect for young mouths that have a picky side. (I should know!)



Two Haddock fillets

One large red chilli of medium heat

An onion

One sweet potato

An egg

Plain flour (for dusting)

Pepper (and salt if desired) for seasoning



Cut the sweet potato into even-sized chunks of medium size. Bring a half-filled pot of water to the boil. When the water is boiling, cook the sweet potato chunks for about 2 – 4 minutes to soften them.

Rub the haddock (both sides) with pepper and/or salt and/or a light seasoning of your choice. Stronger spices like turmeric or cumin might add too many flavours to the fishcakes, so I kept from adding anything more.

Put the fish into a colander and cover with foil. I used pre-smoked haddock for an additional layer of flavour, but any haddock would work here. Turn the heat in the pot down and heat the fish over the sweet potato for 8 – 10 minutes or until both the fish and the potato are cooked. Once cooked, remove the fish from the colander and set them aside; and drain the potatoes in the colander, then return the potatoes to the pot and leave them to steam dry for a minute.

Mash the sweet potato in a bowl. Now some recipes encourage mashing around the sides of the bowl to help the mash cool, but I found that moving the potatoes and fish from bowl to bowl was enough to help it cool, so I could mash straight away.

Remove any skin from the fish and flake it into the mash. With a dash more pepper/chosen light seasoning, start to mix the fish and the potato together.

Dice the onion and the chilli, and fry together in a pan for about four minutes, or until the onion is browned and fragrant. Put the pan aside to cool. If the onions and chilli don’t cool, there is no issue but with the possibility of them being too hot to handle when hand-mixing/folding the fishcake mixtures.

Once cool or when ready, add the onions and the chilli into the bowl fishcake mixture. Crack an egg into the mixture. This acts as a binding agent for the fishcakes. I suspect it could be left out, particularly with the softness the sweet potato gives to the cakes, but you might be left with crumblier mixture. Then by hand mix the fishcake ingredients, making sure all ingredients are folded in. Have fun doing this. ;) You will get messy hands.

Mould the fishcakes into flattened spheres of about two cm thick. I dusted a plate with flour and dusted both sides of the fishcakes individually. I believe this helps the final browning, but is by no means necessary to the fishcakes. Transfer to an oiled frying pan to cook. For efficiency, I used the same pan in which I fried my onions earlier. Now I managed to fit all of my fishcakes in a medium-large sized frying pan. I didn’t plan for my mixture to make four, but since it did, I wanted to be able to fry them altogether to save me time. However, if you have the time, I wouldn’t recommend this, particular for thicker fishcakes, as it is difficult to flip them or check sides when the cakes are rubbing shoulders.

Cook until each side of the fishcakes are browned, and serve immediately on a bed of salad. Or wait until they are cool and freeze/refrigerate until later.

Enjoy! ^_^

Doesn't look very glamorous, but it was certainly yummy.

Doesn’t look very glamorous, but it was certainly yummy.

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7 Quick Takes – The World Continues Turning

I may be a day late for the Friday Quick Takes, but I thought I ought to add something in this blog of a weekly writing update around the reblogs and photos of the week I’ve been placing down.


Wow, what a week it’s been. Hard to believe that this time last week I was in Lincoln for the big annual Steampunk festival and Lady Chronaire was cosplay Upgrade from Steam Powered Giraffe for the Saturday occasions. I had a lot of fun, though there were so many things I missed. The intimate problem with large conventions.

At the Empire Ball on the Sunday evening

At the Empire Ball on the Sunday evening


In my headspace at the moment, I don’t know, realistically, if I’ll be able to write a summary of this year’s Lincoln Asylum – particularly as there were more days than last year – but I had a lot of fun and did a lot of things. Seriously, I think I am still trying to declutter my head after all the events and talks.

Ooh, can I keep him? ^_^ <3 (Th Boyfriend dressed for the Empire Ball)

Ooh, can I keep him? ^_^ <3
(Th Boyfriend dressed for the Empire Ball)


I think part of what has inspired me to keep writing, to press on, and to hope more than ever, were the writing talks I went to in Lincoln. Three, in fact. I decided to skip the descriptive competition, as I did that last year and it would’ve taken the place of two hours on the timetable. Besides which, by Sunday, I was exhausted and socially overwhelmed that I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it.

My friend cosplaying as Rabbit from Steam Powered Giraffe

My friend cosplaying as Rabbit from Steam Powered Giraffe. Plus GG plush.


I met a bunch of fellow Steampunk writers in Lincoln [ie. the published ones] – Steve Turnbull, Ceri-Leigh Harper, Raven Dane, Rob Harkess, Sam Stone, and others that I’ve probably forgotten (which is my own fault for not taking copious amounts of photos that writers deserve, though I did pinch a few bookmarks ;)).


Writing. With September, I’m getting my working hat back on and finally getting back into the writing groove with Geeky Love. It’s already over wordcount and over the preferred length I would’ve had it, and there are still massive gaps between scenes that need to be connected and scenes written in dual POV that probably have no need of being. I have a lot of work to do before it’s ready.


In this extract, Kazia and Joel have to decide if they want to be a proper couple…

“Yup.” I grinned again, and pushed myself into a more upright position. “Joel, I was also thinking…well.”


“Is this—are we…a thing? An i-item? Together?”

His deer-in-headlights silence was hardly comforting and not a pinch satisfying. Still, I leant back on my haunches, and waited. I’d learnt, through my pitiful years of dating, that it was the waiting that mattered.


It’s been difficult for me to blog lately. Not for want of time – or want of material, for I could get some if I wished – but it’s turning into a chore with negative connotations, and that’s not something I want. I don’t know if I will take an official from-blogging break, but I also cannot guarantee any sort of routine or frequency to my posts.

The lower-classes are out of hand!

Those lower-classes are out of hand!

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Steaming Fourward ;)

Hahaha, puns. :P

The new, fourth Steam Powered Giraffe album, The Vice Quadrant, is out soon. We only have to wait until the beginning of September. I am excited, looking forward to it! However, what was even more exciting was when, this morning, they released one of the tracks from the album as a single:

Soliton. (One gets to learn a new word as one goes!)

Beautiful, no? The space opera is going to be massive, and I’m surprised how light this particular song is, if one compares it to the album release-date preview of the single Space and Technology, which is straight out of an 80s TV show intro*.

Support Steam Powered Giraffe. They are an independent band, and, though popular, do live off their album and live show sales. It’s great to see teasers like this, but it takes them a lot of time—and it’s incredible the time and effort they put into all their work and acting, and bands like these – with talent – need to continue to exist, otherwise one gets stuck in a world of popular, autotuned music.

*This is a compliment. ;)

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Alexandrina Brant:

Another Quote of the Day from independent author Trish Marie Dawson. For me, this exemplifies the life of a writer: all ideas swarming and we have to think of which to give precedent, and there are all the problems that automatically come with marketing and social media, et cetera. Being a writer is tough, but it’s not tougher than us; and we try again.

Originally posted on TRISH MARIE DAWSON:


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7 Quick Takes About Contemplating Consciousness, Birthday Business, and Anticipating Arrivals

Oh, look ^^ alphabetic alliteration. :P Another Friday has crept upon me, but I am glad it is the end of the week. 7 Quick Takes is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum, and you can see the rest of the blog-hop participants there.

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo


Exams: 2 down, 3 to go.


General poll for anyway passing who has an opinion: what is consciousness and how does it link to the concept of the mind?

Philosophy of Mind is proving a trickier module to revise, as I find myself falling into contemplation at every little question of the state of consciousness and how it ties into the actual question most philosophers are asking of whether and how the mind (or the mental) and brain (or the physical) are linked. I actually finally got myself to settle by asking my neighbour, who studies Systems Engineering and Cybernetics, and he gave me a satisfyingly empirical-evidence based answer that also involved squids. That will do nicely.

For now at least.


In Chamber Choir, we are cracking through Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C. Yesterday was quite a testing rehearsal for me, though, as I wasn’t on the game and got called out for at least three faults – and not even on the movement I didn’t know and was sight-reading on the spot. With my mental condition, it is moments like those that shock my confidence, which is only just beginning to revive me. I keep telling myself that others’ reassurance is irrelevant to how I view my singing, but after years of bullying for being a singer, I feel like I need to hide behind a crowd, rather than indulge my desires to be soloistic.


The Coronation Mass, as it is so elegant and summery. My personal favourite movement is the fourth, the Sanctus. I seem to have a soft spot for Sanctus movements in big choral pieces.



For my birthday week, I’ve actually not being doing that much. Revision as a priority, and then I joined the rest of the Swing Dance committee for a few drinks after our Weds lesson, as it coincided with my birthday. It was nice, and I wouldn’t really have wanted to do much in any case. I am 20, and it is inconsequential.


The Boyfriend is joining me this weekend – squee – and we’re attending a Swing Dance workshop focusing on footwork and British Collegiate style variations. It’s an all-afternoon thing, so I’m a little nervous, but it should be a fun break, as I know most of the other attendees. *looks to the sky* I will leave my room! :P


I’m also doing a really mature thing and cooking dinner tonight. I have a frittata recipe I tested out (for one) last week, and it worked pretty nicely. I will be tweaking the recipe when I do it for two, but I reckon I can come up with something nice either way. Fingers crossed! I think one of the biggest misconceptions about university students is that we are always low on food (I always have too much food) and (okay, two biggest misconceptions) that we somehow fail at cooking or don’t like it. I definitely fall into the contrary of that.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!

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Quick Takes about Guided Prayer, Farmyard Frolics, and a Rule of Life for Next Year

Oh, hi, Friday, come here often? Haha, the week has passed so quickly with the everything and nothing I’ve been doing.

seven quick takes friday 2


Guess what I’ve been doing this evening?


My Neuroscience revision is coming together for my exam next week, and that occasionally involves painting a silver squishy/stress ball brain with various colours to represent neurology pathways, such as the somatosensory cortex, the Fusiform Face Area (not shown), and the superior temporal sulcus.


Reading Uni has been running a Week of Guided Prayer this week, which has been a nice change. It involved half an hour of prayer a day I experienced a relaxing, calming pace of prayer and talked about women in the Gospels with my guide, where we both discovered more about the passages and people that we hadn’t realised through solo reading of the gospels. God also opened my eyes to the interplay between prayer and work; I can take half an hour out of my revision and my day, and yet I am still able to focus on my revision – more so at times!


It was the General Election in Britain this week. I did contemplate writing a post about it (in fact, how badly some of my friends had reacted to the news on social media rather upset and/or aroused my opinion), but, in the end, there is no point in complaining about people who are complaining, as that would make me as bad as them.

But we could have done worse than another Conservative government, and the result is no one’s fault (especially not the general public’s!), but a reflection of a plutocratic norm that has existed for centuries. I think that the only way to avoid a situation like this would be to convert back to a society of skill-and-gain exchange.


But back to happier things. This afternoon, as part of the Union’s relaxation/distressing regime to ease us from our exams, they brought in a selection of farmyard animals and cute pets for us to handle. I got to hold a bunny, guinea pig, and stroke various other cutesies. A lovely distraction from work and way to release those natural endorphins.

A 13 week old lamb, aww.

A 13 week old lamb, aww.

More photos on Monday – unless I find something better over the weekend for my photo of the week.


 As well as the evening talks/workshops for the Week of Guided prayer, Wednesday evening saw a meeting of my house group for next academic year. We signed the official contract last week, and we moved in in July, so that is all very exciting. There are four of us, and we plan to make our house a Christian community, a Chapter House for those wanting to pray together, eat together, and discuss scripture together. We started this this year, but it has been non-residential, out of the kitchen of the Chaplaincy assistant, so the residence-ness is a big step, and we were meeting to discuss our Rule of Life: our way of living as a community, including how much time we were giving to community work, social work, and Chapter House feedback.

It was an enlightening experience – we spent an hour in full discussion, and I didn’t realise there was so much to be considered – but a rewarding meeting. Just that meeting, imagine! I can’t wait to start living out our plans for faith living.


Again, nothing to report on the writing or editing side of life. I had a cracking vivid dream yesterday about the eldest of a collection of siblings – most of whom are twins, but he isn’t – who has to solve a life-size, Indiana-Jones-like-exploration puzzle (starting as a Where’s Wally/Waldo game) to reveal family secrets. I hold off from writing or planning it, because I know I will become immersed if I do. Story of my life.

I almost did this evening, but then my revision took my mind and left me a shell, waiting for the time for inspiration. It’s now 11.30 and later, so I have run out time.


I leave you with a quote from Hosea, the fancy image found on He is Our Strong Tower:


How apt for the start of my exams. Pray for me, that God gives me the wisdom, insight, and determination I need to power on through my revision, my birthday (yeah, that’s totally a thing I keep forgetting), and the rest of May.

God bless. Have a lovely weekend and a good following week.

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Freudian Time Slip

Alexandrina Brant:

Just something to think about for your Thursday. Does linguistic variation over time and the way society’s use of language changes it (sociolinguistics) stem from subconscious – and/or extraterrestrial – formation of what it means to be human?

Originally posted on Davetopia:

We all, I suspect, have words and phrases we repeatedly remember differently from the majority, whether in spelling or meaning. Often, they seem to stem from mere rote, such as my mistyping ‘from’ as ‘form’ but not vice versa because of a slight difference in the speed my fingers move when touch-typing. But sometimes they seem more meaningful.

Take the case of the anthropic principle: a series of philosophical considerations in astrophysics that observations of the physical universe must be compatible with the observer. While both the literature and experts (as far as I know) apply the correct name, I have noticed a significant minority of interested laypeople call it the anthropomorphic principle.

Assuming from context it is not a deliberate reference to a theological term that received some mention in the mid-1800s, it would be easy to dismiss the confusion as stemming from ‘anthropomorphic’ being a much more common…

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