Tag Archives: england

A Taste of England: Yorkshire Pudding (Recipe)

yorkshire puddingMy mom grew up in a small village 45 minutes south of London. Having a British mom has awarded me a lot of things in life that a lot of kids never get to have – true English Christmases, the ability to fake an accent better than anyone I know and getting the inside jokes on Downton Abbey. My favorite thing about being a half-brit though is yorkshire pudding.

It’s a running joke in our family that there are so many things to love about England, but food isn’t really one of them – outside of fish ‘n’ chips of course (and I don’t eat anything that comes out of the ocean – so bust.) I mean, would you be willing to be try a plate of spotted dick (that’s a real thing. Least appetizing dessert name ever)? Or maybe some steak and kidney pie? Didn’t think so. However, there is one delicious morsel usually reserved for Sunday roast dinners that make hearts appear in my eyes and the kickstart automatic drooling. Contrary to the name, yorkshire pudding are more like bread rolls and muffins had a baby than American pudding. As I said, they work as a side dish with a bit of gravy for roast dinners or can be eaten with jam for a light dessert.

Whenever I had a rough day at school or wasn’t feeling well my mom would whip up a batch of these delicious morsels to go with dinner and it was always the best surprise. As I’ve been trying to experiment more in the kitchen I decided to try them out for myself. Luckily, they are the simplest thing in the world to make! So get out your union jacks, put Monty Python in the DVD player and get in touch with your Brit side with this easy Yorkshire Pudding recipe.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (It also works with water instead if trying to cut down on fat, but milk makes them fluffier)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Cupcake pan


  • Pre-heat your oven to 450˚F
  • Mix together flour, salt, milk/water, butter and eggs in medium mixing bowl until mixture is cohesive with no bumps
  • Pour mix into cupcake pan, filling each well about halfway (they rise a lot so be careful).
  • Place in the oven for 10 minutes (or until golden brown)

The recipe makes about 12 medium yorkshires so prepare accordingly. I was so

Thursday Morning Melody: Do I Wanna Know?

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 1.56.16 AMIt’s late. You’ve had a little bit to drink. Your fingers are itching to call the one person who’s been running through your mind on repeat for God knows how long. It’s probably a bad idea – no, it’s definitely a bad idea – but you can’t help wondering if they feel the same way that you do. Is it safer to just wonder or do you go for it?

Maybe you should just put on the latest from Sheffield (England) natives The Arctic Monkeys. Frontman and lyricist Alex Turner captures the moment perfectly in “Do I Wanna Know?,” the second single from the band’s fifth full-length effort, AM. 

The Arctic Monkeys have been around since 2006, but this album is getting rave critical reviews from US press. It’s a combination of loose rock ‘n’ roll and early Dr. Dre influenced beats paired with clever songwriting.

“Do I Wanna Know?” hits the spot for two reasons – first the seductive guitar riff that gives the ballad a late 70s vintage rock feel. The second is Turner’s earnest crooning, “Ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few?/’Cause I always do/Maybe I’m too busy being yours to fall for somebody new/Now I’ve thought it through.” There’s a reason he was voted one of NME Magazine’s Greatest Lyricists of All Time. Turner has a way of turning universal every day experiences into poetry and emoting those occurrences with his northern accent in a way that makes you swoon. AM is the fifth consecutive album from the Monkeys to debut in the UK at number 1, making them the first indie act to ever do so. Our friends across the ocean have figured out what the US seems slow to pick up on – this band is something special, so stop missing out!

Check out the song and the official video below:

AM was released September 9, 2013 and available wherever records are sold.


This post is part of  our Thursday Morning Melody series. Every Thursday we feature the music video and lyrics to a song that touches us deeply. If there’s a melody you wish to share with the Intent community, please share it with us in the comments below! Click here to listen to past Thursday Morning Melodies.

Shameless Dancing on Margaret Thatcher’s Grave


The news of Margaret Thatcher’s death has been surprisingly sobering to me. It brought on a quiet mood from me. I hadn’t ever answered the questions I’d been asking myself about her. And now she’s gone. What do I feel about that?

I think of where I grew up in the 80’s –  in a mining community in West Lothian, where the miner’s strike ravaged my classmates lives, and I would go home and listen to adults talk about what was happening. My dad was the village doctor. Many of the little ones in my class had a father who worked in the coal pits. Some had mums who worked in the school kitchen as dinner ladies. Many had mums and dads who were unemployed. Nearly everyone at school had meal tickets. There was milk at breaks when I was really little – but then that stopped, for me when I was…still really little.

In the 1980’s, it wasn’t an easy childhood for any of us. Falla Hill Primary in Fauldhouse was not far from Whitburn and the largest coal pit in the region, Polkemmet. The rural mining community was devastated by the 1984-1985 miners strike. I remember all of it so vaguely and yet so clearly: I remember sadness clearly – sadness amongst my friends, kids whose family lives were unraveling. I remember anger clearly too – anger from parents, who seemed to me to have nothing and to be lost, and who would often vent their frustration in front of their children. But really I think my 10-year-old brain only vaguely understood what exactly was happening.

My classmates would go on to either Whitburn or Bathgage Academy (secondary school) in one of those two towns – although whether they’d stay until 1990 to take their prerequisites for a college education was really never quite certain to me. I remember a lot of the older brothers and sisters of my classmates talking about something called the YTS, which meant they could go straight to work, earning a wage, learning new skills.

As well as this culture of economic deprivation and undervaluing education, there was a culture of sectarian prejudice that was ingrained into all youngsters: Falla Hill was a protestant school, and St. John’s was a Catholic school and there would be regular (who arranged these?) fights between the two. I think back on it now with shock. Children – we were all children. And yet every few weeks (or so it seemed to me) there would be a coordinated rendezvous attended by 8-year-olds upwards to kick the s*** out of each other in the name of God? Or perhaps it was in the name of Jesus? I never knew or saw directly because I would never ever go. I couldn’t stand to think of it, and my Indian-ness saved any expectation that I should ever even observe such a meeting.

But not going to the scheduled fights didn’t make me immune to violence from strangers. I remember walking home from school, and a small boy, the same age as me (8-10) with red hair. I forget his name but we knew one another. He was not from my school. He was from the Catholic St. John’s. He would see me and his face would contort bitterly. I quickly learned it wasn’t because I was Protestant by association of my place of education. It was because my skin was brown.

He would take his bag – that I remember being something of a satchel – and swing it in the air above his head, like a heavy thick weighted lasso. He’d come towards me and he’d swing it at me. It would hit my head on my temples, and I’d fall to the ground. He would say ‘You wee Paki’ and sometimes spit. ‘Paki’ was the racist equivalent in the 80’s of the “n word” – applied to those of us who might have roots in India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka. I remember being dazed. Completely dazed. And too shocked to speak. I remember sometimes I’d try to scream but no sound would come out of my mouth: I’d be lying there with my mouth trying to make noises that wouldn’t come out.

Yes, people did see it happen. But they didn’t bother much. Racism was part of my 1980’s childhood in that mining community. It was hard to go to the shop without being called a wog, or a paki or without some things that you thought were cat calls but would actually be calls from local boys for the National Front to send you ‘home’.

Maybe for these reasons my parents had decided that I wouldn’t complete my education in the mining village. Instead I went off to an all girls school in Edinburgh where I clearly remember being 16-years-old and our teachers interrupting English class to watch the live footage of Mrs. Thatcher resigning. She was crying as she sat in the limo, looking out at her life as she knew it ending. So unceremoniously. So indignantly. Not toppled by Labour or the Unions, but by her own party. She looked vulnerable in that moment. The first time I think anyone had ever seen that in her. But she would not receive any support or sympathy: not from her opponents in the other parties, and especially not from her enemies from within her own party. Wow – I remember thinking. God, they look like hyenas. And, really, you did this. You created a monster.

A year or so later I went to Somerville College, at the University of Oxford to read English Language and Literature. This, I knew, was where Margaret Thatcher had also been an undergraduate. I used to think about that a lot when I would sit in the college library for hours, long nights – sometimes until dawn (although you weren’t meant t0 be there that late back then), trying to write, but actually preferring to read, or sleep, or just be silent in amongst the books.

I would look around me, soaking in the beautiful silence of this library and look out over the Oxford skies, and in summer see the greeness of the quad; and I’d think –  how can this place have formed a leader who created a national culture of  division and the experience of poverty and visceral hate? When did she decide it would be perfectly okay to be so hard-hearted? How did this happen?

In my own short childhood, lived out in the environment that she created for me, I had witnessed deprivation, sadness, and anger; and had directly experienced violence and hate targeted specifically at me.  I carried on wondering about Margaret Thatcher when I was at university. I was there 48 years after she left, and one year after she’d been deposed from her party; but actually she was there the whole time. With typical narcissism I took the 80’s personally. Did she mean to hurt me like that? She really didn’t care that it had been so divisive and degrading and hurtful? Or could it be, as some historians were beginning to say, that she was a woman who was brave enough to give our country a bad, bad medicine that it desperately needed to be saved from its 70’s disease? That we will never thank her for it, but generations to come will?

Of course I never really worked it out. I could never answer the questions. I could never feel good with how it felt. It’s true that the UK was in a mess. And it’s true that she was an incredibly intelligent woman. Beyond that – what? What else can we know. She thought she was helping us, of that I’m sure. It hurt dreadfully. Of that I am certain.

The nice thing, as the years have gone on, though, is that I have forgotten about her mostly. Those days are over. The 80’s for me now are represented only by the collection of pop that I would drown my ten year old self in as I roller-skated around my garden (too scared to go outside the grounds), safe in not being able to hear anything they might call me: Fiction Factory, Giorgio Moroder, Cyndi Lauper,  Julian Cope and Paul Young and Wham!

web-brixton-gettySo news of her death Monday morning unearthed in me some deeply sobering memories. Visceral memories of childhood confusion, suffering, loss, conflict, divisiveness and violence. Wow, I forgot about all that.

But as those sobering memories surfaced, so too did news of something else that I found somehow equally viscerally sad. Street parties to celebrate her death. Jeering songs without any kindness. It made me feel sick and my stomach knotted the way it did when those boys would call out National Front slogans and tell my 10-year-old self to ‘go home’.

Dancing on someone else’s grave is as far away from social justice as it gets to me. It’s not the way for a living, breathing, connected society based on compassion, civility and justice. To me it’s the way of a people who are still wounded and made crazy with pain. If this is healthy then tell me, when will we stop dancing? What about when Blair dies? Bush (senior)? Bush (junior)? Should we just keep dancing at the news of these deaths? Yes – this is what Margaret Thatcher’s legacy taught us: divisiveness, cruelty, heartlessness. She gave us the experience of being humiliated and dehumanized and now, wherever there are people dancing, it seems to me they are reinforcing every negative experience I had to grow up with in the 80’s: humiliation, dehumanization, and refusal to acknowledge another human being’s innate right to be deeply respected and valued regardless of their politics, race, or class.

As long as we’re able to forget and respect the precious value of each and every human life, we’re dancing in the dark. Margaret Thatcher, the leader who hurt us, is not dead. She lives on in anyone who is moved to publicly celebrate a woman’s death when her family is mourning. As if they truly are Thatcher’s children, they doing what she taught them best – confusing callousness for power and wearing their heartlessness on their sleeve.

The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.






Today a man in a coffee house in Glastonbury, England complained about the fact that when you visit Stonehenge, you are not allowed to go near the massive stones.  Years ago, one could walk up to the stones as one would walk into a church or temple.  Now one cannot get near the stones.  This young man said ” They are freezing Stonehenge into the past.  But it is part of the present and they are not letting us use it.”  I tried to reason with him, explaining that the “authorities” are trying to protect an incredible site from vandalism.  Nothing I said mattered and as this young man kept talking, I began to understand what he was saying.

Finally I said “build your own stone circle.”  He laughed and said he did not have the people who could complete such a project.   A cup of coffee later, we agreed that sand mandalas are the best way to go, as you can create these beautiful spiritual expressions and then sweep them away. You do not have to worry about the mortgage, fixing the roof or vandalism.

Our whole conversation left me thinking about how difficult it is for us to maintain all of our spiritual organizations and institutions because we have to cope with politics, maintaining buildings, staff, boards of directors, etc — etc — etc!    If I create a beautiful picture or image out of sand, it can be blown or swept away, but the experience I have while creating the picture will always be with me.

It IS great to see Stonehenge, but something IS lost as it has become a tourist site.  It is frozen in time as the young man commented. BUT still very impressive and beautiful.  Ice sculptures anyone?

Psychic Medium and Inspirational Author Carole Lynne



The Queen and the First Lady, and a look at the Obama marriage

Queen Elizabeth II is not known to be particularly casual in her willingness to break from protocol.  Royal etiquette is quite clear: "Whatever you do, don’t touch the Queen!"  So Britons were shocked to see Michelle Obama put her hand on the small of the Queen’s back in a gesture of affection to which the Queen responded by placing her own arm around the First Lady.
Dressed in one of her famous "J Crew Ensembles," Michelle Obama is charming her way across Britain just as she did the US, and her popularity is soaring.  I have been waiting to profile her, hoping we would find a birth time, but so far none is available.  I can wait no longer!
Michelle Robinson Obama (1/17/64, time unknown, Chicago) was born with the Sun in Capricorn, the sign of hard work, diligence, and achievement.  The individual with a Capricorn Sun is driven to achieve something that the world around them recognizes as success.  There is a strong streak of practicality and ambition in any Capricorn.  
We don’t know the exact placement of her Moon, which could be in either the late degrees of Aquarius or the early degrees of Pisces, but Venus in her chart is in Pisces.  Venus describes the way we relate to others, and that Pisces Venus reflects Mrs. Obama’s compassion and empathy.  Pisces is the soft side to her tough Capricorn exterior which is a lovely combination for a skilled political wife and especially for the First Lady of the United States.
Mrs. Obama’s Mercury is in Capricorn, identifying her as a shrewd and practical thinker with a good head for business.  Mercury is in a harmonious sextile to Venus and possibly her Moon, giving her a skill in communicating and an ability to express herself (Mercury) to others (Venus) in such a way that she is able to make her point without offense.  This is a marvelous aspect for anyone who deals with the public, and certainly would have helped her during her legal and administrative careers.
Mars in Mrs. Obama’s chart is in Aquarius and it appears to be unaspected. Mars represents our drive and desire, and when Mars is unaspected it operates freely without being encumbered by any other planet, and in these cases we see it at its best and at its worst.  Unaspected Mars is not afraid to venture forth where others fear to tread, and we saw this very clearly with President Bush II who also had an unaspected Mars.  For Mrs. Obama, though, the unaspected Mars has probably been very useful since she has a remarkable dearth of hard aspects in her chart.  It is the hard aspects (90 and 180 degree) that energize the chart and create the tension that generates change and evolution.  
Uranus and Pluto are conjunct in her chart, as they are for everyone born between 1962 and 1968.  This generation carries the principle of transformational (Pluto) revolutionary change (Uranus) within their individual personality.  This is a group of people that are not willing to let well enough alone – they are out to change the world.  Barack Obama, born in 1961, does not have this Uranus/Pluto revolutionary fervor so Mrs. Obama likely provides the inspiration that fuels his Aquarius ascendant (ruled by Uranus).
Looking at their charts, it’s easy to see the attraction between them.  Sun signs are one of the least important pieces of the compatibility puzzle; Mrs. Obama’s Pisces Venus is exactly (within 1 degree) trine the President’s Venus in Cancer.  Her Aries Jupiter (abundance and positive feelings) is exactly trine his Leo Sun, revealing how good he feels when he’s with her. His Virgo Mars is closely trine her Capricorn Sun, showing the energizing effect he has on her.   
Still, as in every good marriage, there are a couple of wrinkles between the charts of the Obamas.  Her Mars opposes his Mercury, and she very likely is often irritated (Mars) at the way he talks to her (Mercury).  Her Venus is square to his Moon, and it’s likely that he finds it difficult to express his true feelings (Moon) to her.  But overall, their interplanetary influences are overwhelmingly positive, and that helps to make for an enduring marriage.
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