Saturday, February 25, 2017

Book 19: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

This is the third in the Grisha trilogy and a satisfying conclusion to it, with a bit more on character and a bit less on mystic magic (which is fine with me) - also felt a bit less rushed than the second (which was ok, don't get me wrong, just quite intensely paced). There's another series about the Grisha of which I've read the first (Six of Crows) previously. I have the second, but think I might re-read Six of Crows to remind myself and also, in light of knowing more about the world, it would be interesting to re-read...

Dinner, 25/2/17: Cauliflower "Steaks" with Chimichurri (Niomi Smart); Spicy Wedges

These were seriously awesome. We love cauliflower anyway - such a versatile veggie and lots of people don't really use it to its full potential - and this was great. Roasting it adds a lovely touch and the chimichurri sauce was super. The wedges were plain and sweet potatoes and weren't anything special (but tasted nice anyway) - I just dumped some peri-peri salt on them and did them in the oven.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book 18: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

This was a creepy, atmospheric, gripping story. Not sure how I feel about the end, but it's still a very good read. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dinner, 22/2/17: Jacket Potatoes, Cheese, Beans, Bacon

A good one for when people have to be different places at different times as the potatoes can keep warm in the oven until needed. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dinner, 20/2/17: Sausage and Rocket Linguine

This is an easy pasta dish which can be thrown together in a hurry - perfect weeknight supper. And tasty.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book 17: The Humans by Matt Haig

An interesting take on what it's like - both good and bad - to be human, from the point of view of someone who isn't. Clever idea for a story which doesn't overwork itself too much (though it comes close a couple of times) and a nice reflection on the joys and pains of humanity. 

Dinner, 18/2/17: Vegetable Biryani

This is one we make fairly often - and though the recipe uses sweet potato rather than squash, the fact that I had half a cauliflower and half a butternut in my fridge seemed to call out for it... It's easy to make and always tastes great. And usually there are leftovers for lunches, which is always a bonus.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book 16: The Anonymous Venetian by Donna Leon (re-read)

Re-reading my way through this series, now that I've been to Venice. They all seem a little more real somehow because I can picture some of the places. But I enjoyed the series before, so I expect to do so again. And many of them, I read so long ago that I don't remember much of the plot, I just have a  vague sense of familiarity...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dinner, 16/2/17: Macaroni with Minced Meat and Onions (Gino D'Acampo)

This was like a ragu sauce but with no tomato - rich and tasty, but not quite as overwhelming as a bolognese. Really nice.

Books in

Several books bought today - in fact, this is only a small selection of them. However, only one (Crooked Kingdom) counts towards my reading list. Traitor to the Throne, I will read, but I technically bought it for Sarah as it's second in a series she owns the first of; the Rough Guide to Amsterdam is a travel guide. I also bought a cookbook by a blogger, which Olivia was really keen to own, a book for Geoff (The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore) which we've been waiting for in paperback, plus an Andrew Taylor mystery, which I bought with the other book to take advantage of a multi-buy deal.  I also chose a few titles which will go away for Mother's Day presents for next month and Alex bought two manga.  Quite a haul, but in all, only one title for the list (though the Mother's Day titles will go on it in March, so they will count in the end).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book 15: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

I enjoyed this. Zevin writes realistic (only in the sense that the people act real) stories about teens (and grownups) - this was a quick read, but enjoyable.

Dinner, 15/2/17: Sweet and Sour Pork with Daikon Noodles (Spiralise Every Day)

This was very good, but we thought it needed a lot more daikon (mooli) - I used one large one, I think it wants at least another whole one.  Definitely one to have again, though. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book 14: The Wilding by Maria McCann

I enjoyed this. Set in the late 17th century, with a tone to match (but not too much, as that would be annoying) it's a compelling story of family secretts. A good read.

Dinner, 14/2/17: Potato and Cauliflower Curry, Black Rice (Aine Carlin)

Like an aloo gobi, but not as dry. The black rice was nice, but regular rice would have been just fine. But very tasty, overall. I liked the kale (and cavolo nero, as suggested as an alternative in the recipe, would have been excellent, too). 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Book 13: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I wouldn't want to be a teenager again - not for a lot of money, not even for a short time. However, if I had to do it, the one - possibly the only - good thing (other than not aching every time I sit on the floor for more than five minutes) about the experience would be the vast array of truly excellent books aimed at the young adult market. I mean, I was virtually inseperable from whatever my book was at the time, and there was very little actually AIMED at people my age. I read a lot of YA books now. Because on the whole, they are fairly awesome. This book, though, wow. I just loved it. It manages to be an extremely serious novel about teen angst and mental health and not fitting in and loneliness and insecurity while at the same time not taking itself in the least seriously, and being truly laugh-aloud funny at the same time (and not just the great epigraphs at the top of each chapter). It's less accurate to say that I read this, than that I inhaled it. Just fantastic. And if you are a big fan of Buffy who doesn't take yourself too seriously (not sure any true fan of Buffy can take themselves too seriously) you will just love the Indie side plot where Ness teases and pokes fun at Buffy (and its ilk) in the way you only can when secretly, Buffy is your BFF or favourite child. 

Dinner, 13/2/17: Crusted Pumpkin Wedges (Yotam Ottolenghi)

This is another from the book Plenty, and again, very tasty. I served it with leftover couscous from last night's peppers, a salad made from thinly sliced celery, cucumber, apple & grated carrot and some nice crusty bread. Sour Cream topping optional...  Recipe can be found online...

Book 12: Slade House by David Mitchell

Pretty much read this in one sitting (it's fairly short) with a little time in the middle to watch a little telly with the family, pick Olivia up from work and talk to my mum on the phone. Thought the book was really compelling, and the first 4 or 5 sections read well completely independently of other stories; the end was a bit more complicated, and I'm trying to work out how it would read if one hadn't read The Bone Clocks (ok, I think) - of course, I have, so the fact that some of it is intertwined there is hard to escape.