ADHD Update + Choc-Chip Apricot Cake + Homestyle Japanese Food πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

Happy last day of autumn or spring, wherever you are reading this : ) All the autumn leaves still haven't fallen here but we've had some bloody freezing, dark and dreary days.

May has felt long! I've spent it making good progress on my next cookbook (up to 45 recipes, aiming for 70), riding out different bugs, then an infection, watching in horror, rage and endless political frustration at what's happening in Rafa, making seagulls out of paper plates for my room (crafts are really soothing) and starting my new job at a school doing exam supervision.

Exam supervision is cute! I've actually only been delegated as a "reader" so far. Meaning I'm 1:1 with someone who has special considerations like extra time and someone to read the exam booklet for them. It's not the *in a huge hall with lots of students* vibe I had envisaged. But I think this suits me well, it's quiet! Only thing is I leave with a thumping headache from the industrial panelled fluorescent lighting while feeling tired but wired from remaining vigilant over a long period of time.

I started the month doing a lovely house sit with Ruby the doodle (pictured center). It was a really peaceful time. While there, I reacquainted myself with the Prince of Egypt soundtrack (so good!) while throwing the ball a zillion times, enjoyed sampling all the owners' chilli crisps and made the most delicious butter tofu "chicken" meatball curry (pictured later on).

I've been enjoying my Toolkits fiction course and doing some more freelance writing for frankie magazine (new issue out on Monday, I have a love letter to Andrew Scott in it hehe), but otherwise have found myself in a writing rut. It's not felt like the biggest priority at the moment (especially fiction or that which won't lead to payment) and cooking has been a more absorbing distraction. I find balancing multiple creative formats quite difficult so I'm just accepting this is the season for cookbook writing and other writing might come later.

I wanted to mention a delicious homestyle Japanese spot called Hatchi Kitchi that my friend took me to which was SO GOOD. It's in Brighton and is (ironically) quite unpretentious, has lots of CLEARLY MARKED (!) vegan & gluten-free options and feels reasonably priced. I'll be back!

the ADHD assessment...

I had the follow up psychiatrist appointment for the ADHD assessment and long story short, I am not going back to her as it was an extremely confusing and dismissive experience where she didn't think I was ADHD or Autistic (joy!). She didn't believe in internalised presentations of Autism/ADHD and was of the opinion that there is an over-diagnosis of these things from people relating to traits on TikTok *sigghhhh*. I think the most damaging part was being in a dynamic with someone (with that much power) who is claiming to know you better than you know yourself (after 90 minutes). Ultimately, I have three health professionals who think I am Autistic (the diagnosis coming from a researcher in the field) and I know myself – which as my psychologist reminds me is the most important thing. So I'm currently trying to get onto the waitlist of a more neuroaffirming psychiatrist. Hopefully in a years time this will all be a blip in the wacky late-diagnosis journey that was. Bloody annoying it has to take this long though!

I've felt my mental health go downhill a bit since it happened. I'm just trying to be extra gentle with myself (which isn't always easy) and know I'll get back to where I was, it might just take some time.


I've made an... Apricot & Chocolate Chip Cake recipe for you all. It's a vegan & gluten-free copycat of a beloved vintage Women's Weekly cookbook recipe many of my mum's friends still swear by as their go-to entertaining cake. The original (see right) is pretty burnt looking so I'm glad my version is a little gentler on the eye. While still not exactly a "looker" the reward's in the eating!

It's the perfect recipe for those who find most cakes too sweet, but still enjoy participating in life's (grand or domestic) cake eating ceremonies.


Cookbook recipe writing, simple get-me-through dinners and technique experimentation continued this month. This butter tofu chicken meatball curry was a GOD SEND. I tried coating tofu in crushed potato chips and honestly it was so underwhelming!!! The potato chips (surprise surprise) taste like warm potatoes when cooked, so they don't have much potato-chip flavour. The moorish-quality returns once the tofu cools, but that's missing the point I feel.

Amy's Kitchen bean burritos with a simple salad, miso ramen bowls with dumplings and Crum by Flora Foods gluten-free milo which is sadly now out of business, but so so delicious.

Sesame carrot, tofu & kimchi cheese rice whipped up for lunch, homestyle Japanese dinner spread inspired by Yasuko's Cooking Diaries and a vegan bacon, potato, kimchi, spinach hash with an egg.

I made some pickled red cabbage which has been brightening up my plates – fluffed out bowls of Yoodles ramen, a zaatar tofu, herbed rice, feta hummus spread and a mega delicious sage & pumpkin pasta bake.

Experimenting with a shawarma seasoning on tofu, another Japanese homestyle spread and an egg-salad, avocado, chilli crisp topped hash brown situation for a Sunday brunch moment.

I perfected a frangipane almond slice (froth) and chocolate caramel slice (yum) this month. Custard & nutmeg cakes need one more test, but the flavour combo is the most nostalgic delicious thing omg!


I feel like a party-pooper saying I didn't like The Taste of Things, a unique French film starring Juliette Binoche all about the art and romance of cooking. But my reasons are easy fixes (that's me trying to put a positive spin on it, also – spoilers ahead!): the male protagonist actor drove me NUTS. The actors who play the two main characters have a child together in real life (not currently together) so I get that it was strategic casting, but the masculine energy the male actor brought butchered the whole thing for me. I KNOW others would like him (think Chris Hemsworth, aged 50, but French), but it was such a turn off for me. Juliette Binoche plays a gifted cook in the film, who dies from a mysterious (coughing & fainting related) illness 3/4 through. That felt ALL TOO CLICHE, you could see it coming from the opening scene and it meant that the last 1/4 was the male lead grieving and figuring out how he could live without her (snooze). If the film had more feminine energy throughout then I would have loved it! I should say though, impeccably shot! The opening cooking sequence alone is worth watching.


All Tangled Up in Autism and Chronic Illness was neuroaffirming, thorough and practically helpful. I wish I read it earlier on and skipped past so many Autism-related books I didn't gel with. Because of this only 10% was illuminating for me, but a fantastic first port of call I'd 10/10 recommend.

I've been wanting to read The Autism Friendly Cookbook not for the recipes but to see what the book is trying to achieve. Because it's claiming to address an incredibly varied and complex target audience. And with this current cookbook I'm writing (which is not a collection of Autistic recipes, but does aim to understand my special-interest lead relationship to cooking), I'm interested in making sense of the autism/food overlap. Most recipes are veggie or vegan, with sensory-avoiding or sensory-seeking labels. It's written by an Autistic journalist who taught themselves to cook as an adult – which is an important perspective, but does limit the book in many ways. The recipes are quite white-person flavoured, it conflates simple-recipes with autism-friendly (which I don't think is necessarily the case) and sweet chilli sauce is used as the go-to condiment because it's the authors (which is making an assumption). I don't think this type of book would be published in Australia. It speaks to the greater scope of conversation around Autism in the UK. I hope more attention is paid to this nuanced overlap though, I think a lot more can be done in this space which would benefit everyones relationship to food.

With Autism, comes a difficulty in Interoception: the ability to be aware of your internal sensations. Or if you're late diagnosed like me, an expert ability at ignoring your internal symptoms so you can get on with the demands of daily life. Interoception and Regulation is a short, practical & research-led book on becoming more aware of your internal state. I wish it focused on the reasons why one might ignore their bodily signals and how to manage that – because from my experience doing more noticing of your bodies relentless DISCOMFORT just feesl more disabling.

Letters To My Weird Sisters: on autism, feminism and motherhood did not tickle my fancy. This book comes HYPED and is formatted as letters to figures in history (eg. Virginia Wolf) about the various Autistic-themed difficulties they might have faced. The author relates to these figures, brings it back to her own experience, while speaking to social problems as well. I just found the premise really grating. The author claims she's not diagnosing into the past (and slams other's attempts to do so), but I didn't see how what she was doing is all that different. The depth with which she hypothesises establishes her as an authority figure on the topic and it's this talking down to past individuals (that are in the ground), that had me wanting to throw it at the wall lol.

The Modern, by Anna Kate Blair is written by the facilitator of the Toolkits fiction course I am currently doing. So of course I had to read their book about an Australian working at MoMa in NYC. It's about modern art (literally and metaphorically), aims to let down the reader at every point and plot-wise be a bit like a hiking trail which the protagonists fiancΓ© is completing over the course of the book. I'm impartial. It felt familiar, but smart and well written.

Thank you for reading this far (this was a long one!). Until next time,

Phoebe x