Guest Blogger: Esmé’s Butternut Soup

Soup greens cut into small pieces – leeks, onion, celery, potato, parsnips, turnips, carrots and quite a lot of Butternut cut into also small cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable stock powder (I use Kosher Feigels or Thelma vegetable cubes – 2)
1 tablespoon onion stock powder (Feigels)
Salt and pepper

Put into big pot on stove (I use a quick boil non spill lid) to make the process quicker.
Fill with water till covering all the vegetables plus about 2 cups extra.
Let boil until vegetables are soft. A lot of the liquid will boil away.
When ready, I use a blender stick to blend all together till smooth.
Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
For 2 of us, this makes enough for 5 meals so I decant into Tupperware x 5 and freeze and take out when needed. It is yummy.

Sinister Countdown: The Witch’s Thumb

Dance around these stones quite gray,

Call upon the end of day.

Bury deep the light sublime,

To grow back our tenacious vine.

Black on black our souls do wear,

Tangled about with lively hair.

Laughter bursts to draw saints in,

Down wicked steps and paths of sin.

Now it’s time for our mischievous fun,

You’ve found yourself ‘neath the Witch’s Thumb!

-M.E. InkOwl

Sinister Countdown: The Hissing Weave

Ever hear of the hissing weave?

Tightly bound to make a chest heave?

Thought of doom and life’s blood spent,

Chase away all things even spent.

Stitching here and suture there,

Scream out loud at flesh tears.

Weeping softly beneath the fabric,

You minds a writhing best of havoc.

Best laid plans of men and gods,

Know nothing now beneath the bog.

Slip into silence as we miss,

The hissing weave down the abyss.

-M.E. InkOwl

Pay It Forward Thursday- October 18, 2018

Great opportunity here!!

Go Dog Go Café

Pay It Forward 7-4-2018

The baristas at Go Dog Go Cafe are big fans of Pay It Forward Thursdays. We think it is a great opportunity to give a shout-out to another writer who has wowed us or creatively inspired us.  However, Pay It Forward Thursday has not been getting a lot of love lately, which we think is a shame. Dear reader, you are losing out on some great writing! We’ve decided to shake things up a little and the baristas will be reblogging our Pay It Forward picks for the week directly onto GDG Cafe so you don’t miss out on our favorites.

We like this idea so much that we will also reblog the posts you think were the best thing you read this week if you drop a link below. You are invited to post one link to one specific post (600 words or less please!) from someone…

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Guest Submission: Esmé’s Kale, Butternut and Beet Salad

Kale, Butternut and Beet Salad

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 very large onion, sliced into large pieces
5 cloves garlic, sliced into long slivers. I actually use a very large tablespoon full of minced garlic – we love garlic! ♥
2 bunches kale, cut into bite-sized pieces, stems removed
Fresh ground black pepper
Brown sugar
Extra Olive oil as needed
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme (fresh will also work)

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place the butternut in a baking tray lined with tinfoil, in a single layer and sprinkle with oil, then season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Repeat the previous step with the beets, but here I sprinkled it with brown sugar.
Bake both trays in the preheated oven until tender, ±20 to 30 minutes. We prefer the veggies to still have a bit of crunch to it, so be cautious not to over cook it.
Set both baking trays aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat ±1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Cook the onion and garlic until it starts to caramelize. Continue to cook while stirring until golden brown, at least 15 minutes and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Now add the kale to your skillet (add oil if needed) and cook until wilted and tender – it only takes about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave the kale to cool to room temperature.
In a large serving dish, add the butternut, beet and onions in three separate heaps and then add the kale and gently mix till combined.
Mix the apple cider vinegar with a bit more pepper and the thyme and pour over your veggie mixture.

If you prefer you can use yams instead of butternut, and any type of vinegar you prefer.

Sinister Countdown: The Grave Door

“Don’t you go by the Grave Door ya hear?” Grandma Flo yelled from the porch swing. I waved back, pretending I hadn’t heard and marched on down the street.

“The Grave Door?” asked Sally, her blond curls cupping up under chin. She looked angelic in the evening light, her green eyes glowing with fear and excitement.

I smiled my most mature ten-year-old smile and said, “Yeah you’ll see!”

Together we raced toward Oak Hills community cemetery, only two blocks from my own home. The raged stone and chain fence that surrounded the space witnessed our secret entry. Beneath a low hedge of faded wisteria, we paused looking to make sure the coast was clear.

“Tom, should we even be here?” Sally asked again, grabbing hold of my hand as she spoke.

“Of course we are, we’re not gonna hurt nothin’ right?” I said with a smile and a wink.

Sally’s smile was wand as the light in the sky grew dim, and it was then I realized how much I had fallen for her.

“We’re almost there, just a bit further down this path and then you’ll see it-”

“The Grave Door?” she said, apprehension flashing within her eyes.

I felt myself smile even wider with a wicked glee and nodded in assent. Sally gulped and we quietly began to weave between headstones and markers alike.

And in the last rays of the even sun, we found it, nestled at the bottom of the lane.

“There it is!” I hissed pulling Sally close, I could feel her body grow tense.

She looked up at the sky and drew in a tight breath and said, “it’s time Tommy, let’s do it now.”

“Okay,” I said feeling a cresting wave of hysteria, “I’ve got the stone.”

Around us, trees shifted in the cool October air casting a greenish-blue shade over everything. There before me was the Grave Door, inlaid with concrete and stone. Old slats of yew wood held fast with iron nails secured the entrance below.

“Be careful, Tom!” Sally hissed from behind a cold faced angel as I stepped away from her warm embrace.

In full view of anyone watching I stood right on the black paved lane clutching tight to my rock. Taking three steps I stopped in a patch of shimmering sunlight and said the words the old Hag had told us never to say.

“Break bone, bruise root, bring forth, bear fruit.”

And with that my rock was tossed high into the air a bull’s eye directly on the Grave Door.

With a plunk it wedge in fast between two slats and held fast to the wood.

Utterly astonished I stared in wonder as the rock twisted round like a knob. Wind shifted about my head, rustling leaves as I turn to face Sally. Her face was horror-stricken as she looked past my feet to the door now vibrating in its cement lining.

A low hiss escaped from between the slats of yew as I felt myself stumble back. It was then that I saw my sneaker smoking upon the ground, their soles melting into the asphalt.

I gasped and cried out as heat seared my toes. I felt to the ground and rolled to the curb, skin, shirt, and pants hissing loudly. Sally was screaming as the hiss became a roar. Wood splintered beyond my spinning head.

Something grabbed at my shoulder, turning me over and I screamed out again, thinking the worst. It was Sally with her golden white hair brushing against my face.

“Come on Tom! Let’s go!”

I stood up, feeling cold, wet grass seeping into my socks and looked back at the now glowing Grave Door. The sneakers were gone, replaced with smoking tread marks. The cemetery seemed to spin all around us as we ran, willing the perimeter fence to appear.

Behind us, wood splintered and cement shattered as whatever was underneath lurched free.

A scream deep and harsh sounded from beyond the twisting wisteria bush, piercing our ears to the bone. I felt wetness flood from my nose and each ear as we sobbed our way back to the road.

Sally looked back once, her face stained with flowing blood, but after that, she just ran faster. We jumped out onto the deserted main road, wet, bloody, and shaken.

“What . . . was that?” Sally whimpered between breaths.

I shook my head, unable to answer, whatever it was hadn’t followed. Silence gathered in close around us as we peered into the brush, but only the wind whispered it’s greeting.

“I don’t know what we did, I thought it was a joke,” I said, guilt flooding my voice.

“We’d better get back home-” Sally began, but that was when the screaming started, on the street perpendicular to ours. A screeching of tires could be heard as a series of pops and crashes sang out. And then with an ear-splitting roar, a car careened onto the street. It’s doors hanging askew and the windows erupting in flames.

We looked at each other as more screams sounded from the street.

“What did we do?”

-M.E. InkOwl

Sinister Countdown: The Darkest Night- Fanni Suto

This is the darkest night of the year for us; the night of dead souls, screams and dancing will o’ wisps: All Hallow’s Eve. The unpronounceable fear descends on us and in the cold night we mourn our lost ones. We murmur the ancient prayer of our kind as the darkness draws closer:

“Save us from the grinning death

Keep us from the flashing knives

Let our soul not turn to light.

Hold us through this fateful night.”

And we shudder in our warm beds, cuddling together as much as we can. We can hear their footsteps, they’re coming to reap us. They don’t need our flesh – they rip us apart because an ancient tradition demands so. Also for the fun of it. We can’t escape. If you’re picked, you’re damned. The rest of us can do nothing to save you. We are taught to think of the taken as a sacrifice, they give their souls to save the rest of us. The monsters tear their souls out and throw it away. Why? Because they want to replace it with a feeble flame, a candle shining its treacherous light through the mutilated faces of our brothers. Their horrible grimaces cast a shadow over our huddling forms and we tremble, fearing the next Halloween.


Bio: Fanni Sütő writer, poet, translator and the proud owner of a growing number of novels-in-progress. She publishes in English and Hungarian and finds inspiration in reading, paintings and music. She writes about everything which comes in her way or goes bump in the night. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants.
Previous publications include: The Casket of Fictional Delights, Tincture Journal, Enchanted Conversation. Paris Lit Up 5.
Twitter: @Fanni_Pumpkin

Sinister Countdown: Tiptoe

Tiptoe between the weeds,

Circle round the foundation green.

Hear the chirp and paper whisper,

Of a secret-keeping sister.

Hiss of cat and creak of stair,

Close your eyes and wish Them here.

Now you’ve lifted forbidden vale,

Seeing the very depths of hell.

Lay your body upon crypt floor,

And wait your doom forever more.

Circle round the foundation green,

Tip toe, tip toe, forever unseen.

-M.E. InkOwl

Guest Submission: Esmé’s


The best ever salad, with fresh figs and yummy beetroot topped with all the healthy goodness of pumpkin and sunflower seeds!!
6-8 medium sized beetroots, peeled and cut into wedges
125ml sugar
125ml balsamic vinegar
125ml boiling water
60ml olive oil
100ml pumpkin seeds
100ml sunflower seeds
1 bunch radishes, well rinsed and leaves trimmed off
8-12 ripe purple figs, broken open (we could not get fresh purple figs, so used store-bought dried figs)
2-3 handfuls rocket or baby salad leaves
100ml dried cranberries

Parmesan shavings (omit for vegan, or as we did, only add to the one side of the salad)

Boil the beetroot in the sugar, vinegar, and water until tender and syrupy.
Allow cooling completely. Season with salt & black pepper.
Heat half the olive oil and roast the seeds slowly until they start to puff up.
Remove from the heat and season with coarse salt. Allow cooling.
Mix the radishes with the remaining olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
Roast for a few minutes under the hot grill, it gives them a lovely texture.
To assemble, arrange the beetroot, radishes, and figs in-between the leaves, then sprinkle the cranberries, seeds and Parmesan cheese on top.
Serve with olive oil & extra balsamic vinegar.

Sinister Countdown: The Beast

Quick step, tip toe,

Secret breath, let go.

Lie still, stay calm,

Hear this, somethings wrong.

Creaking stair, silence falls,

Don’t move, watch the walls.

Burst of sound, throaty call.

Fetted breath, raking claws.

Bitting deep, breaking bone.

Gasping shrieks, snapping jaws.

Moaning pain, rattling air.

Endings begin in a darkening lair.

-M.E. InkOwl