Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines & why chipped nail polish is totally okay

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

I’ve recently become obsessed with stacking rings. I was already in love with generally wearing them so when I saw midi rings that meant you could get EVEN MORE rings onto your hands, I was SOOOLD.

I’ll always buy more rings than I can handle, it’s inevitable. Reasoning: there’s a high likelihood of me eventually ‘misplacing’ between one and twenty rings over a period of about 2 years, so I need many a ring to replace them.

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

Anywho, because I have this tendency to end up with a lot less rings than I started with, I just buy the cheap ones that come in sets. I ordered two packs from Urb-O (aka urban outfitters) and was super psyched when I found out that the sticky labels on them had stuck to an extra packet meaning I got another 3 rings for free. BOOM SHACKOW. Hella yes I wore all those rings.

NINE. plus the two plain gold ones I’d bought at Brooklyn Flea.

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

Now, here’s the rant part. So skip past it if you’re adverse to bloggers complaining about things.

I try to stay away from some topics on here because I don’t want to infuriate the wrath of some internet trolls who’ll make me feel bad enough from their anonymous words to wonder if I should just delete a post.

But this is something I feel like I HAVE to bring up.

I was standing at the tube station on my way to a friend’s. I was wearing alllll of my rings. Don’t doubt it. I posted a picture of said ring-covered hand on instagram. Caption ‘I think I need more rings’.

The next morning I saw that I had a comment on it saying  ‘You need to be like a lady and fix that ugly nail polish :-S ‘

Wow. I wasn’t expecting such a sexist, offensive and degrading comment.

I was going to delete it, but I didn’t.

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

Apparently, being female requires me to a) need to be like a lady and b) have non-chipped nail polish.


Why does me having two X chromosomes mean that I NEED to be like a ‘LADY’ and since when does having chipped nail polish make one LESS of a ‘lady’?  Doesn’t the very fact that I can BIRTH a human child mean that I am a lady? (Ps, totally not saying if you can’t, that you’re not a lady!!)

Definition time: “Lady, 1. A well-mannered and considerate woman with high standards of proper behavior.”

So having chipped nail polish now makes me an ill-mannered, inconsiderate person with low standards of proper behaviour. (Funny how it doesn’t mention anything about appearance.)

Geez, I didn’t know that my morals, 17 years of upbringing and record of no complaints about my behaviour (except maybe from my mum when she gets annoyed at me) would all be struck through, just from this one thing.

Does this mean that I can no longer walk through the restroom door marked ‘Ladies’ until I have fixed my nail polish? Is there a ninja standing by the door throwing nunchucks at women without perfect appearances?

I really don’t see how any of it makes sense at all.

The reason I always (and I mean alwayssss) have chipped nail polish is because I spend a ridiculous amount of time washing up dishes after cooking. I wonder if that female stereotype of ‘being in the kitchen 24/7 and cleaning up’ would make her accept such ugly nail polish more. Or does that make me even less of a lady seeming as an upper-class ‘lady’ in the 19th Century (the era in which similarly sexist stereotypes were common) would have had enough money to have a servant to cook and clean all the dishes for them.

I wonder what she’d think about the state of my hair too – split ends and frizz. Too much time spent learning, socialising and creating. Not enough time spent on upkeep of my appearance. Most un-ladylike.

What’s sad is that this is 2013, not the 19th Century. I’d like to think nowadays that people would support and promote equality, not sexism and insults. The use of the word ‘lady’ should literally be a polite way of referring to a female human being. Not a word used to refer to your class or someone else’s standards of how you should look.

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

I don’t think people have the authority to criticise others’ appearances, especially if one makes it about a person’s gender or bases it on ‘stereotypical’ outdated ideas about what is ‘proper’.

In conclusion
……..\(  ° ͜ʖ ͡°)
………./   へ\
……../  / \\
…….レ ノ   ヽ_つ
……/ /
…./ /|
( (ヽ
| |、\
| 丿   \ ⌒)
| |  )  /
ノ )   Lノ
i am fab u r all fab

and chipped nail polish is totally okay, because guess what – your appearance does NOT qualify as a measure of your womanliness, manliness, how lady-like/un lady-like you are or your importance as a human being. Do what your doing, OWN IT and don’t let close-minded people get you down.

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

Now me mateys, we are going to to get back to the food!

I mentioned in my New York post that I had this dish at ABC Kitchen and managed to get the basic recipe from our brilliant waitress. The note I took was:

Sourdough bread – toasted with olive oil and salt

Squash – roasted with chili, lemon, salt. Mash with caramelised onions, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.

You’ve probably already got an idea of how this is made.

Toast some rustic stylie bread (I didn’t bother with the olive oil) and spread on ricotta

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

Top it with a DELICIOUS mixture of roasted squash (they were using Kabocha. I used Butternut), caramelised onions, vinegar and maple syrup (a bit like pumpkin butter, I guess)

and you’re done! (I decorated mine with basil leaves, too). Its a really good way to use up any lacklustre squash and is perfect for a light, Winter-y lunch.

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

(p.s. yes  I do have chipped nail polish on in these photos)

Caramelised Onion, Squash and Ricotta Tartines

Serving Size: enough topping for 6-8 slices of bread

1 medium butternut squash (or other winter squash), ~1.5lbs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of chili flakes
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 small white or red onions, or shallots, peeled and sliced
To serve: ricotta cheese, sourdough bread (sliced and toasted)

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).

Peel medium butternut squash and halve it length-ways. Scoop out the seeds, then cut the squash into ~1-inch cubes. Place on a rimmed baking tray, toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil, lemon juice and the chili flakes. Roast for 30 minutes.

Either place into bowl and mash with a potato masher / blend with an immersion blender, or puree in a blender. Mix in the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and season with salt to taste.

Meanwhile, add the onions to a dry frying pan and cook, stirring over a medium heat until browned. Add the remaining oil and a pinch of salt, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Stir the caramelised onions into the mashed squash.

Spread about 1 tbsp of ricotta onto a toasted slice of bread and top with a generous amount of squash mixture. Serve warm or room temperature.


  1. says

    IN THE FACE of that person who made that comment. You nailed it – sexist buttholes who have nothing better to do than put petty comments on people’s instagram photos can go jump in a lake. And over CHIPPED NAIL POLISH?? The shirt I’m wearing right now has no less than 5 chocolate stains on it. I guess I’m no lady either, except that I AM, because of my GENDER!

    So from one lady to another HIGH FIVE! Suck it sexism.

  2. says

    Oh gosh, everything you said there is so true! Kudus to you. I love the idea of spreading squash on toast, pinned. Can’t wait to see more chipped nail polish photos haha :)

  3. says

    I here you girl, I got the same comments on my arms and hands just a few weeks ago. They said I looked like man… because of all the scars and cuts I had from cooking.
    We need to rally for home cook equality!
    On another note these look so tasty! I love your savoury post!

  4. says

    Hear, hear!! I was just ranting on twitter how I didn’t’ understand why people feel the need to leave rude, cruel comments. They just seem so pointless. I’ve gotten a few recently and I’m just not sure what purpose they serve. Sure, I understand people wanting to give their opinions when it comes to moral or political issues, but freakin’ nail polish!!? If you don’t like it, move on. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think people feel free to say whatever they want on the internet because there really aren’t any consequences. They would probably never say it to your face. I think you rock…

  5. says

    Yes. Could not agree more, because how is it even possible for nail polish to remain unchipped after a day? And those tartines look amazing.

  6. says

    I didn’t think it was possible to like you even more but that little text image is so fabulous I can’t handle it. Also you best believe I want a big hunk of that toast.

  7. says

    I think my polish is more often chipper than not… some people are so ridic.
    u r fab & don’t forget it. plus, you make really good food. so you win.


  8. says

    Love your post, your rant, recipe, all of it. Here’s to another lady who has chipped nail polish, burnt hands, and wears sweatpants to bake. As a wise person once said to me, “do you boo boo”

  9. says

    Pfft, a big fat chipped-nail-polish finger to that hater. If chipped nail polish doesn’t make me a “lady” then I don’t wanna be one (clearly you have a way more fabulous life than this judgey freak so sucks to be her I guess) x

  10. says

    Besides this looking like a fantastic hors d’oeurve that I’m going to try ASAP, even sexism aside, who gives a shit if you have chipped nail polish? Like, they might as well make fun of you for the color or for having the polish on your hands instead of your feet, or if you got it done at some swanky salon or did it yourself 3 weeks ago in your bathroom. But really WHO CARES. It’s honestly, I think, just people who want something to say so a) they have something to say, ie: a comment to make and b) so they sound a little more educated, a little more ahead of the curve, ie: helping you. I hate that! Personally I don’t like chipped nail polish, but that’s because I am a little OCD about it and never really wear it anyway and it’s just me. Girl, you wear that shit UP and don’t feel bad. And that’s badass that you can wear that many rings at once. More power to ya.

  11. says

    Girl, one thing is true, in Berlin it is so in fashion to have nails like yours, that girls do it on purpose. I spend hours in my kitchen as well, so mine look similar most of the time, and sometimes females even ask me how I do them, hahaha. I simply unswear that I don’t own dishwasher and I cook a lot :) Big hug to you, I love your rings and idea for swuash as well.

  12. says

    Comments like the one you got infuriate me – and your response is so spot on. Well done for owning that idiot! And the tartines look amazing!

  13. says

    People are so stupid sometimes. Is appearance becoming such a big deal that someone would have the nerve to comment on the state of your freaking nail polish? Lame. Rock it, lady friend!!

  14. says

    I read your posts for you (and your recipes) but mostly cause you’re the one creating them. Please don’t go down that I’m too good to be me any more road. I’ve seen too many bloggers get into the financial end of the business and you end up not being able to even recognize them anymore. Love your food, love your nails. Go for it Girlfriend ♥

  15. says

    Seriously some people are so ridiculous – love your comments back though!

    On a better note – that recipe looks beautiful. I love butternut squash!

    Katie <3

  16. says

    Oh wow, this looks fab! And this rant is spot on! So relevant to me because I just went back and read an article I’d written for my university’s newspaper (published online) and saw some comment written by some gnarly troll that said that I reflected poorly on the entire student body and that I was probably the laughingstock of the office wherever my application was submitted. Yeah thanks troll. Why are people so RUDE? Whatever. I’m totally into your chipped nail polish because I chip mine too and don’t careee. I don’t need to be a lady and I’m also too busy washing dishes to keep those cracks from showing. #notanissue

  17. Elizabeth says

    I think you are beyond fabulous! Do not doubt yourself at all. You are more self aware than most adults I know and certainly more articulate. I adore you and your delicious beautiful food!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  18. KS says

    That bites! I come from a very old-fashioned family where patriarchy is a huge driving force that keeps the family together. And trust me it gets so frustrating to have to deal with skewed perceptions of being a woman! If it helps, just know that some people aren’t as progressive thinkers as *we *are. And in a way I pity them. But that’s just that–they’re innately a product of possibly their culture, their own time and history, which can just as easily rear its head in this age of social media. Kind of like the mindset I had to just get into when my dad would ramble on about very colloquial views about family, “religion” and womanhood. I gather that the woman wasn’t being all together mean and combative, but she honestly thought she was in the right for calling you out on those nails. Which I think is sadder than if she was deliberately doing it to piss u off. Goes to show how skewed her own perceptions on feminism are. We just have to take it in strides.

  19. says

    I don’t understand why some people feel compelled to say something negative at all ever. Very Strange.
    These crostini are absolutely fabulous. And your photos? Out of this world. Not bad for an unladylike gal!

  20. Vinci L. says

    WOW!!!!!!! oh my gosh!!!! I’ve been following your blog for the longest time and this is the first time I’m posting a comment….. BECAUSE THAT PERSON THAT HAD THE GUTS TO POST ON YOUR INSTAGRAM IS A SAD LITTLE PERSON WHO TROLLS THE INTERNET TO MAKE HIM/HERSELF FEEL BETTER!!!!! UGHHHHHH!!!!! Seriously, people have to stop raining on amazing people’s (aka you 😀 ) parades just to make themselves feel better. I feel bad for the person who commented, but I also feel angered because YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING!!!!! like legen….. Wait for it…… DAIRY <—- (ahaha see what I/HIMYM did there BD )


    -lotsa love from Vancouver!!!!!!!

  21. Lil says

    Funny how your post offended me in a way. I did not like at all when you defined a lady by her ability to give birth to a human being. What about infertile women ? Can’t they be called ladies then ? They’re not worth the name ? Suddenly this statement made me sad. But well, I guess you did not really mean this.
    Did you know your “hater” before this comment? At first I thought she was joking, but it’s true that if she was commenting for the first time, her comment was rather rude. Some people have those strong beliefs about what other people should do and look like. But it’s rarely important. This comment was not important. This girl saw your instagram, saw the chipped nails, immediatly her strong beliefs about what a woman should do or shouldn’t made her post this comment as if she had any right to judge you. As if it was interesting. It only translates how close-minded she is and I understand that it can seem hurtful (and if I may say, it is not very ladylike to post rude comments on a stranger’s instagrams… :p) but really it should not bother you.
    I don’t like chipped nails. I also don’t find it “ladylike”, it’s rather inelegant. But I also think it communicates some coolness, as if the woman showed that she doesn’t need any exterior approbation. That she doesn’t care too much about what others think of her appearance, about what others think she should do. It shows some confidence and freedom, and as you said, it shows you simply use your hands, have a busy life etc. It may not be ladylike but it is womanlike and isn’t it all that matters ?

    • says

      I’ll amend it in a sec with a bracket, but you’re right. I didn’t mean to imply that infertile women aren’t ladies – I could be infertile for all I know, I’m only seventeen, it ain’t my time yet! But I have had no warning signals or anything to make me think I’m not, so that was a personal example.The assumption that I meant that infertile women aren’t ladies because they can’t birth children would be a flawed post hoc argument. But anyway, I’m sorry if that offended you, it was a hyperbolic expression of my sentiment of how ridiculous the whole thing was.

      I didn’t know the woman before she commented, no. She had never previously commented via any form of social media and as far as I know, doesn’t even follow me on Instagram. I did find it rude for her to comment with an insult out of the blue. I didn’t take it as a joke. Women face so much sexism even NOW and I think that we should be supporting each other, not calling each other out on what one’s personal opinion is. Constructive criticism, sure! But that consists of a well backed up argument and facts – not just a straight up insult.

      Ladylike is an outdated expression in my opinion, if it is use with connotations of sexism. Nowadays it’s generally used to just be polite to a woman. So ladylike and womanly should essentially be the same expression. What does appearance matter? It is the quality of a person’s character that we should be looking at to guide us as to whether they are ‘well behaved’ or have good manners and morals. It is fine if your opinion is that chipped nail Polish is unladylike, but I think if you’re not asked by someone about your opinion, you don’t have to use it to insult them. I have feelings!!! Especially as I’m a hormonal teenage girl!!! (I’m not saying you insulted me btw haha, I’m saying the commenter did). There is immense pressure on girls of my age nowadays to look a certain way, dress a certain way and act a certain way, which is TOTAL bull. I’m not saying I don’t sometimes feel like crap about how I look, but I think that is a product of the influence of our still kinda sexist culture. We need to start changing our mindset about the importance of appearance so that generations to come don’t feel such pressures when they’re growing up and can lead happier lives! :)

      • Lil says

        You are right, the term “lady” itself is rather outdated. It refers to a time when women were “right” when they were mainly beautiful and docile. And noble, as only women form high society were called ladies. As noble ladies, they were supposed to act in a certain way (again being very beautiful and very docile…particularly submissive to patriarchy). And I think with the term we have inherited some of these expectations, even if the word has gained some wider range. There is still an idea of nobility in it, but it evolved with our idea of nobility which also got wider : a feminist will often be called a lady or noble with that hint of admiration even if she is the opposite of docile. And why not ? It’s just that some people will use the word lady with its old-fashioned meaning whereas others (like you I think ?) will use it in a more modern way, while others will use it meaning something in-between. It’s kinda interesting to realize that we are litterally watching the notion of “lady” evolve. Especially as it seems to evolve towards more assertive women.
        I hope my comment did not bother you, I only wanted to enhance the fact that if this girl commented out of the blue 1) she isn’t respectful = she doesn’t deserve to be listened to on this topic and 2) She isn’t even behaving properly according to her own values, as it is not at all ladylike (in the old fashioned meaning of being perfectly sophisticated and well mannered) to be as aggressive towards a stranger = she doesn’t deserve to be listened to on this topic
        Err… Didn”t mean to rant about semantics on your blog, sorry ! I think the topic is interesting though, that’s why I kept writing, apologies :p
        “There is immense pressure on girls of my age nowadays to look a certain way, dress a certain way and act a certain way, which is TOTAL bull.” Oh my, but you could just erase “of my age” in this sentence… I’m older than you and still feels this everyday. At work I heard men judging candidates on their breast size and blond hair (“just joking !”), my boss asking me if I was “in heat” when I once said a room was hot (“just joking!”), people judging my outfit “not pro enough”… and each time I speak about this I get labelled “hysteric feminist that forgot her sense of humour at home”. Grmf. And now that I get older I am beginning to sense other pressions : you should have got married by now, you should hurry to have children, you should start to use anti-wrinkle creams, you will never be able to compete with younger gals for beauty from now… sometimes I feel close to some sort of expiry date even if I’m supposed to still have decades to live. It’s completely depressing. That’s why I still think it is important to speak up and dare to say when things aren’t right, like what you did on this post. Quite refreshing, and inspiring too. It’s nice to see young girls aware of these issues. Bravo, girl 😉

  22. clare robinson says

    Izy, just about to tuck into this and it’s delightful. What you rant about will never offend me (and I’m dead old) you are young, vibrant and a joy to follow. What you have to say is really heartfelt, so don’t be distracted by detractors!

  23. says

    This is beautiful, and as always, I am obsessed with your pictures! I need to try it!!!! Also–I totally enjoyed your rant. I almost never paint my nails, because they chip about 2 seconds after I paint them. I’ve given up. And I’m notorious for having paint chips on my toes like 4 months after I get a pedicure (which almost never happens).

  24. says

    These tartines look great! love the colors and the light.

    And, for the record, my nail polish chips pretty much 10 seconds after it finishes drying because I do dishes and wash my hands and cook things, sometimes even craft or create, and you know…just generally use my hands for things. It definitely doesn’t make me some sort of inelegant, raised-by-wolves, non-woman. Haters gonna hate.

  25. says

    Totally agree with every word in your post. Anytime I paint my nails (not often anymore because the upkeep is so annoying), they end up chipped within a day and take me a week or more to finally take off. I agree that being a lady is very much an outdated concept. The person who posted on your photo was lacking her “lady-like” skills by making a rude comment out of nowhere for no reason. No tact whatsoever. Right on for calling her out. :) And those tartines look absolutely scrumptious!

  26. Jaime says

    I feel I need to speak up for the chipped-polish haters out there. My motto is “no nail polish is better than chipped nail polish”. I guess I just don’t understand the excuse that a person doesn’t have 30 seconds to grab a cotton ball and wipe it off. For the record, I never wear polish on my fingers because it chips in 2.5 seconds and it is just wasted effort, but I do polish my toes and yes, sometimes it does chip but you can bet I am removing it within a day or two. I don’t see it as sexist to think chipped nail polish looks tacky or gross. (I am female, by the way) If someone wants to rock the chipped polish look, I don’t really care, that’s their choice, it’s a free country last time I checked. But to those defending their chipped nails as a result of all the cooking they do, ummm where do you think some of that chipped nail polish is going?? And how is that any different than someone with dirt under their nails preparing food??

  27. says

    The tartines look lovely and chipped nail polish totally is okay. My hands are often scarred and rough from gardening, cooking, woodworking… When I look at them I feel proud becasue to me they are a proof that I, in a very literal sence, provide for myself, at least partially. Is that lady-like? :-)

  28. Laine says

    Hey. Way to go. More people need to speak out about the terrible degrading sexism that still exists today, and you did it beautifully and eloquently. Thank you.

  29. says

    I absolutely agree with you! And I would be ranting too if someone said that too me. Although, I never wear nail polish, so they can’t say it to me, but anywho, I totally agree with you about the lady thing.
    Have you read King Arthur? It’s strange how lowly us “ladies” were. Also, how amazingly helpless they made us seem. A good book nevertheless.
    I love your pictures! You have me drooling on my computer.


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