A squid rice with a side of greens - how to stress a self published author and the joys of motherhood on Halloween

And all of a sudden, October is drawing to an end! This next Sunday will be my husband's birthday, and Halloween seems just around the corner, reminding me that there's one little boy who longs to dress up as Harry Potter - score!!! - this year. We have managed to some how pull together a kind of Harry Potter costume with clothes he has already, he owns a white shirt - he also has two dark blue blazers, don't ask, my son is a mini forty year old - he needed a sweater, so we got him a grey one, he has a few dark wash trousers that look the part, and with a burgundy and gold tie that belonged to his great grandfather, we've got him covered.

Except for the things that really make him into Harry Potter. Because, quite frankly, with these he could be Ron, or Seamus, or even Neville, right? He thinks he's not getting the robe, the one thing he wanted the most, because it was far too expensive, and he already said he'd go pick up a fallen branch and make a wand from it, the only thing he asked for were the glasses. This attitude made me really proud, if you want to know, so many other kids would have thrown huge tantrums at not getting the complete costume, and mine didn't. So we tracked down a set that has a robe, glasses and a wand, and that was rather affordable, but the kid doesn't know!! I can only tear up as I imagine his look of complete joy once he sees the costume ready and laid out for him!! So that's Halloween covered.

But the fact that October is on its last legs has left me with a certain sense of dread, you know? I am currently smack in the middle of the narrative for the second book on my vampire and witches series, having let the first volume rest and simmer on its own. A volume I wanted to self publish by the end of November, early December, in time for Christmas, you know? Looking at things rather objectively, I still seem to have a lot of time, right? I don't think so, honestly. I'm begining to feel panic grab the tips of my fingers, actually, I'm begining to divert my thoughts every time my head goes there, to that book and its publishing, because quite frankly, I don't want to think about it right now!

I tell myself that being in the middle of constructing a narrative for volume two, and it being the first draft, I cannot be distracted by random matters, so I shut my mind whenever the issue of the first volume pops there. Because the first volume is on its second draft but it needs to be reread, and it needs to be edited, and I suck so big time at editing my own writing and I hate doing it, and I fear I might cringe at every line and word of that novel, cringe to the point of not wanting to publish it anytime soon, or ever! But then I feel like I do want to set it loose in the world, I do want to share it with the world - oh vanitas, vain that I am!! - and in order to do that, I really need to pick it up and do the darn editing. But that's the least of my worries, in fact.

I don't have a cover for that book. I don't. And that sometimes wakes me up at night, how ridiculous is that? wondering what can I do about it, what should I do about it? I was going to have some help with it, but things happen and life happens and the person who was going to help me out with it, my very talented brother in law, has had a lot on his plate lately, so I don't really want to add up to the stress he's been under in his professional and personal life. It falls back to me, as it should, and being such a control freak that I am, it should have stayed that way all along. I should be doing the cover, only I have no idea what I want on that cover!!

So that is stressing me out big time, because on the one hand, I am struggling - so haaaard!! - with writing the second volume where I can see a world of editing already laid out for me, as it is filled with platitudes and scenes that are of no consequence for the plot or the characters; and on the other hand I am worrying about not having enough time to work on the cover of volume one and reread it and edit and get it fit for publishing. Looks like I have a lot of time still ahead of me to work on this, but the truth is I have forty days until December, forty days to have it all ready and done, forty days to find myself able to hit the button and set it loose. It is not a lot of time. It is stressing me out a little. So this blog comes as a breath of fresh air in the midst of my own chaos, where I can at least pretend to think of something other than my writing. Like this squid rice that was to die for. 

I've already mentioned we buy a particular kind of squid that is stronger in flavour, but use regular squids if you happen to dislike pota.
  • four large pota squids - if using small, double it
  • one cup paella rice - trsut me, it makes all the difference
  • five large ripe tomatoes
  • one dry chilly
  • one cup red wine
  • two cups water
  • dry chives
  • one tsp paprika
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • one onion, peeled and diced
  • one clove of garlic peeled and sliced
For the greens:
  • 100 gr rabe leaves
  • 100 gr spinach leaves
  • two crushed cloves of garlic
  • zest of lemon - just a sprinkle
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice - a few drops are enough
Start by cleaning your squids and chopping them into smaller pieces. Reserve. On a large pan, heat a good glug of olive oil and add the onion and the garlic, allowing to cook until they're becoming translucent. Add the paprika and the dry chilli, sliced. Once the flavours in those have opened up, throw in the squid and and the rice and let if fry slightly. Now wash and chop the tomatoes and get them in the pan. Add the wine and let it evaporate, stirring carefully. Season with the salt and the chives and add the two cups of water. Let it come to a boil and then lower the heat and put a lid on the pan, letting it cook slowly. Turn to your side of greens. I used frozen greens, but if you have fresh ones, well, even better. Heat a glug of olive oil on a frying pan and add the garlic to it, allowing it to seep its flavours into the oil. Add the leaves and allow them to slightly wilt. Season with salt, lemon zest, pepper and the lemon juice - it doesn't need much. Keep and eye on your squid rice, in the mean time, stiring occasionally to make sure it hasn't dried up. Once the rice is cooked and the squid tender, bring it off the heat and let it rest. Let the greens cook slightly, unless you're rather fond of overcooked greens, that is. Bring off the heat as soon as the leaves turn darker and serve as a side to your squid rice. Pair up with a full bodied red, and bob's your uncle: instant comfort for a Friday or a Saturday night!


  1. Aaaa I totally forgot about it. I'll have to think of costume for Mia as well :D So cool! I like the Harry Potter idea, and I have few clothes already as well :D The meal looks delicious!


    1. I may or may not have kind of bullied my son into wanting to dress up as Harry Potter... I fear he might make me dress up as McGonnagall, now...! Thank you so much for your words!!


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