About Me

My photo
Three and a half years ago I became vegetarian. Three and a half weeks ago, anticipating a certain health diagnosis at any time, I also gave up all added sugar in my diet. My mother is of a certain generation and, although a very good cook, struggles to know what to offer guests with specific dietary restrictions. She once had a vegetarian and a coeliac for dinner at the same time, and nearly lost her reason! So, the idea for this blog was born. Every recipe that features here will be vegan (and, obviously, vegetarian), gluten free, sugar free, lactose and dairy free, and suitable for people on a low sodium diet. That's right, you read that correctly. Even if you have guests with each of these restrictions coming to the same meal, everything here is safe for them. And, before you expect weird and wonderful ingredients to make an appearance, everything I'm using can be bought in larger branches of all major supermarkets - you don't even need to visit health food stores. Try the recipes and tell me what you think!

So What's This Tweet Treats Thingy All About?

Watch the brilliant 30 second trailer below and all will become clear!

Tweet Treats Trailer from Catherine Ryan Howard on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Travels of Tweet Treats! Warning: contains Neil Gaiman

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don't, why not?) you would know that I'm a total fangirl when it comes to Neil Gaiman. You would also know that he donated a recipe to Tweet Treats. Finally, you would know that my hubby @ukegnome and I had a fit of insanity and decided to fly to Seattle last week to see Neil and his wife @amandapalmer on the final night of their west coast tour.

There are plenty of bands, actors, comedians, writers who could be appearing in my own hometown, who I wouldn't bother going to see. There are a few for whom I might travel as far as Dublin; or, if they were really special and I fancied a shopping trip as well, maybe even London. But for Neil Gaiman I was willing - nay, happy - to travel half way round the world.

Why do I love Neil Gaiman so much?

To be honest, I don't fully know the answer to that myself. There are probably better writers out there; certainly, there are better-known writers out there. (Sorry Neil, but most of my family and friends would have no idea who you are if it wasn't for me raving about you constantly.)

Really, I think it's his voice. No, not his singing voice (though that's not half bad, and I'm still wandering around the house singing 'You Think I'm Psycho Don't You, Momma' to the dogs. They love it.) I'm talking about his writer's voice, that thing that every creative writing coach tells you you have to develop for yourself. Before I'd ever seriously thought about writing myself, before I'd wondered if I could develop a 'voice' of my own, I was aware of Neil's.

I was a damn good essay writer when I was in university - A's and A+'s were the norm. However, as the result of my own peculiar brand of warped logic, I convinced myself that if I could write non-fiction well then I would only ever write fiction poorly. All my dreams of being a writer - forget it. Maybe I had the ability to review books, spend my life parasitically feeding on the creativity of others, but I certainly didn't hold any of that creativity myself.

Then, around about 1999 I read Gaiman's The Price. I held my breath the whole way through, then read it again. And again. My hair stood on end; not only at the story, but at the fact that this story was VOICE, pure and simple. To paraphrase Yeats, it was impossible to tell the dancer from the dance, or where the author ended and the story began. I read The Price and felt like I knew the author, as though he had sat beside me and told me the story directly. The Price is a simple tale, written in simple terms, and it changed my whole mindset on writing. Suddenly I thought, "I can do this too." It was a whole new concept for me. (And yes, it is the mark of any good art that it makes you think "but I could do that". I know that. Don't burst my bubble.)

So, now I have Tweet Treats published and that's terrific. I'm fiercely proud of this cute little blue book - it was creative in its own way, in its concept - but I want more. I want to publish a work of fiction that is entirely of my own creation. Frequently I feel the fear, that old conviction that I'll never write good fiction; but when I do, I re-read The Price. Or any other Gaiman short story - or novel. His voice rings clear through them all. It comforts me, and I know I can find my own.

So what has this post got to do with Tweet Treats, you ask? Well, I did get to give Neil a copy of Tweet Treats - and got him to sign mine. A spurious excuse perhaps, but I'm ok with that.

You can find Neil's contribution to Tweet Treats on page 159, called Cthulhu Crumble. Will I copy the recipe here for you all to have a look at? Will I heck. Go buy a copy yourselves, you wastrels (or look closely at the pic above!). If you live in Ireland, you can visit Irishfoodbloggers.com who are giving away five copies this week - just leave a comment.

And thanks for tolerating my fangirlisms. (What? It's a word if I say it is.)
Yes, I know this is a Cthulhu Cookie, not a crumble. So sue me.


  1. I don't think there are many better storytellers than Neil Gaiman out there, to be honest. Congrats on everything, Jane: meeting The Man and his wife, flying to Seattle like nothing else mattered, and on getting an autograph in your tweet treats! :)

  2. Thanks Mariam, I know you're a fellow fan :)

  3. I want that cookie!
    (hi. came here because of the Neil. Yes. The infamous one. The cooking one. he's got GREAT pans)

  4. Is pans a euphemism? ;)

    I'm really glad you popped in and to virtually "meet" you :)

  5. Not a euphemism (at least that I am aware of - better talk to Amanda for this possibly) nor a typo (although he does have great fans too).