Friday, January 12, 2018

Book 2: The Garbage King, Elizabeth Laird


This is a childrens' book - it's the one my class is currently reading. There are a few bits of it which are probably a bit beyond their age, but the basic idea - the contrast (and interaction) between the two main characters in Addis Ababa,  one incredibly poor, living in the slums and then sold into slavery and one very wealthy - is provoking a lot of discussion among the kids - most of whom have no real concept of poverty, even those who are pretty poorly off by London standards. I thought it very compelling read, with well-drawn characters, none of whom was black or white in their behaviour and choices, and would definitely recommend it for mature tweens and younger teens (and older, too). 

Dinner, 12/1/18: Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)


Once again, I forgot to take a photo of my dinner until it was nearly gone, so the crusty crunchy pastry on top isn't as attractive as it usually is, but still, you get the general idea...

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Book 1: The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry


A very enjoyable historical novel; a good start to the reading year, even if it has taken me a while to finish it (it's been busy here, but also, I have several books going at the same time at the moment for various reasons...)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dinner, 10/1/18: Tofu & Vegetable Stir Fry with Cashews


We have some variation on this a lot - it's quick, simple, tasty, healthy.  This one had bamboo shoots and water chestnuts in it, as the online supermarket was out of sugar snap peas, which I really like in a stir fry.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Dinner, 9/1/18: Lemon & Herb Chicken with Orzo & Courgettes


Sarah cooked this one tonight - it's not complicated, it's just a traybake, and then the cooked orzo is mixed in with the pan juices, which gives a lovely, rich flavour.  We threw the courgettes in towards the end of the chicken cooking time. Easy!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Dinner, 8/1/18: Chorizo & Bean One Pot


An easy assembly dinner, similar to another one we have, except that this one has bits of chorizo in it, too (instead of just beans & tomatoes & corn).  I made American style biscuits with it, as well. Tasty!

Friday, January 05, 2018

Dinner, 5/1/18: Pasta with pancetta, chili & lemon


A quick supper, with garlic bread, before a trip out to the Panto. Very tasty.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Dinner, 4/1/18: Grilled Halloumi with Lentil and Chickpea Salad


We've had this before and enjoyed it, so it seemed a nice option again - something a bit lighter than all the heavy holiday food we've been eating. With a couple of pieces of halloumi each (ok, three), the rest is just lentils, chickpeas, etc, so nice and refreshing.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Dinner, 3/1/18; Cheeseburger Quesadillas (John Whaite)


A family favourite, and fairly quick and easy to rustle up after a day back at work, when I really still want to be on holiday... At least none of our evening activities have started up yet, so we can still do a fair bit of lazing around in the evening!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

December Round Up

What was for  DINNER, DECEMBER 2017

  • 31st: New Year's Eve Party
  • 30th: Pesto Pizza with Artichokes and Parma Ham
  • 29th: Vegetable Jalfrezi
  • 28th: Leek fritters
  • 27th: Leftovers
  • 26th: Leftovers
  • 25th: Christmas Feast
  • 24th: Christmas Eve Party
  • 23rd: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
  • 22nd: Out in town to see the Lights
  • 21st: Vegtable and Tofu Stir Fry
  • 20th: New Potato and Rosemary Pizza
  • 19th: fend for yourself
  • 18th: Pasta with sausage, fennel and garlic (Sarah cooking)
  • 17th: Beef Stew
  • 16th: leftovers (G&O; A, K, S out & Grandma)
  • 15th: Mozzarella, Ham & Pesto Pizzas
  • 14th: Chicken & Veg tray bake
  • 13th: Celery Soup with Biscuits
  • 12th: Omelettes (G&A; K out, O out)
  • 11th: Orichiette with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
  • 10th: Massaman Beef & Potato Curry
  • 9th: Chicken Kievs, Potatoes, Veg
  • 8th: Fish and Chips
  • 7th: Fend for yourself
  • 6th: Tofu and Veg Stir Fry
  • 5th: Courgette and Cheddar Soup
  • 4th: Spag Bol
  • 3rd: Salmon, Pak Choi, New Potatoes
  • 2nd: Omelettes (G&A; K&O out)
  • 1st: Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

Monday, January 01, 2018

Dinner, 1/1/18: Roast Duck with roast potatoes and carrots


Happy New Year!

Books & Reading in 2018


For the past few years, I've been keeping track of my reading, both in terms of number of books read and in terms of reading books I've had on my Reading List for a long time, trying to work through the list, etc. And while this is in some ways a good thing, I noticed last year in particular that one effect it has had recently is to make me feel really guilty about bringing new books into the house. Some people might think that's not a bad thing, but I don't like it. I do get rid of books (by reading them and passing them to others or to the charity shop) quite regularly, so it's not really a problem that I have a nice shelf of books waiting for me to choose from them when I fancy a new book to read. 


So, this year, I'm going to take a modified approach. I will set a goal for number of books to read this year (it's going to be 100 - same as usual).  I'm going to continue to blog when I read a book, and when I buy/otherwise acquire new books, but I'm not going to worry too much about the in/out balance. And I'm going to re-order my list on my blog to reflect the way my actual TBR shelf is organised (see pictures!) - by when the book was acquired (new books get stuck at the end). And I'm going to incorporate all the books that are in there which weren't on The List of the previous years (these are mainly books I intend to re-read or books that other members of the family have handed me to read). 

And yes, I'll still do a monthly round up of how many books I've read, but as I said, I won't worry about the balance of the in/out, as why should I add stressors to something which I find really enjoyable?

It will still be interesting (to me, if no one else) to see how long books hang around, so I'll still make a note of when they were acquired (or added to the shelf, as the case may be). And I may track how many books are on the shelf from month to month - it's sort of self-limiting by the length of my windowsill anyway... But I'm not going to stress about it. 


So, here it is - The Books on my Windowsill (to-be-read), as of 1 January 2018:

  1. Ford Maddox Ford, Parade's End (Nov 2012 - birthday present - bought after the BBC adaptation - but I knew I wouldn't read it straight away as I wanted to let time pass from the adaptation.  Enough time has probably passed now...)
  2. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (2014)
  3. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (would be a re-read, bought shortly after his death - spring 2014 - as I was reminded how much I enjoyed it and I didn't seem to own a copy - think my old one fell apart, probably...) 
  4. Philip Baruth, The Brothers Boswell (Waterstones Canterbury bargain bin, July 2015)
  5. Flannery O'Connor, Complete Stories (charity shop, December 2015)
  6. Daphne du Maurier, Frenchman's Creek (Waterstones Piccadilly - 2016? bought in principle for the girls, but thought I might read it again as it's been ages)
  7. Daphne du Maurier, Jamaica Inn (Waterstones Piccadilly - 2016? bought in principle for the girls, but thought I might read it again as it's been ages)
  8. Alice Munro, Runaway (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  9. Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram (Abe Books, July 2016)
  10. Susan Barker, The Incarnations (charity shop, July 2016)
  11. Neil MacGregor, Germany: Memories of  a Nation (birthday present, Nov 2016) (This book isn't technically on my windowsill, it's downstairs because I keep thinking I might have a go at reading it, but haven't really got around to it yet...)
  12. Orhan Pamuk. A Strangeness in Mind (Christmas present 2016)
  13. Jessie Burton, The Muse (Waitrose, January 2017)
  14. Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen (Mother's Day, 2017)
  15. Andrew Taylor, The Ashes of London (passed to me by Geoff after he read it, April 2017)
  16. Mark Haddon (Introduction), States of Mind: Experiences at the Edge of Consciousness (Waterstones Piccadilly, April 2017)
  17. Lynn Knight, The Button Box  (Waterstones Piccadilly, April 2017)
  18. John Irving, Avenue of Mysteries  (Waterstones Piccadilly, April 2017)
  19. Alice Mattison, The Book Borrower (Used Book Depot, Vero Beach, April 2017)
  20. Mikhail Bulgokov, The Master and Margarita (charity shop, April 2017)
  21. Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor (charity shop, April 2017)
  22. Rachel Ward, Numbers 2: The Chaos (Sarah's - added to my shelf after I read the first one, April 2017)
  23. Rachel Ward, Numbers 3: Infinity (Sarah's - added to my shelf after I read the first one, April 2017)
  24. Magnus Mills, The Restraint of Beasts (Abe Books, May 2017, on recommendation of my cousin after my trip to Florida)
  25. Jane Smiley, Early Warning (Abe Books, May 2017, after finishing the first in the series)
  26. Sara Perry, The Essex Serpent (Waterstones Nottingham, July 2017)
  27. Linda Grant, The Dark Circle (Waterstones Nottingham, July 2017)
  28. Emma Donohue, The Wonder (Waterstones Nottingham, July 2017)
  29. Siri Hustvedt, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women (Waterstones Wimbledon, July 2017)
  30. Sally Vickers, Cousins (Waterstones Wimbledon, July 2017)
  31. Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl (Waterstones Wimbledon, July 2017, bought with my trip to Amsterdam in mind, though not necessarily to read before or during the trip)
  32. Hella Haasse, The Tea Lords (Bookhandel von Rossum, Amsterdam, August 2017)
  33. Ernest van der Kwast, The Ice Cream Makers (Amsterdam, August 2017)
  34. Lucy Worsley, A Very British Murder (Waterstones Oxford, August 2017)
  35. Monica Hesse, The Girl in the Blue Coat (Oxfam Bookshop, Kingston, August 2017)
  36. Edward Marston, The Railway Detective (charity shop, Farnham, Sept 2017)
  37. Lucy Ribchester, The Hourglass Factory (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  38. Bi Fieyu, Three Sisters (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  39. Claire Fuller, Our Endless Numbered Days (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  40. Michelle Paver, Dark Matter (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  41. N K Jemisin, The Fifth Season (AbeBooks, Sept 2017)
  42. Ali Smith, Autumn (Waterstones Brighton, October 2017)
  43. Maggie O'Farrell, This Must be the Place (Waterstones Brighton, October 2017)
  44. Amanda Foody, Daughter of the Burning City (bought for Sarah, Waterstones Brighton, October 2017)
  45. Greg Fowler, T is for Tree (bought for Sarah, Waterstones Brighton, October 2017)
  46. Ben Marcus, The Flame Alphabet (2nd Hand Shop, Brighton, October 2017)
  47. Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit (Waterstones Piccadilly, October 2017, after finishing the first in the series)
  48. Christina Henry, Lost Boy (Waterstones Piccadilly, October 2017)
  49. Alexia Casale, The Bone Dragon (Waterstones Piccadilly, October 2017)
  50. Sarah Pennypacker, Pax (Waterstones Kingston, October 2017)
  51. Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season  (Waterstones Kingston, October 2017)
  52. Ernest Cline, Ready Player One  (Waterstones Kingston, October 2017)
  53. Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (November 2017, book was in the house already, added after I read Divisadero and realised I'd never actually read this one.)
  54. Grayson Perry, The Descent of Man (December 2017, RA Gift Shop)
  55. Sara Guen, At the Water's Edge (Christmas present, 2017)
  56. Geraldine Brooks, The Secret Chord (Christmas present, 2017)
  57. Sarah J Maas, Court of Thorns and Roses (Christmas present, 2017)
  58. Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale (Christmas present, 2017)
  59. Emery Lord, The Start of Me and You (passed to me by Sarah, December 2017)
  60. Patrick Gale, A Place Called Winter (charity shop, December 2017)