Sunday, February 07, 2016

Dinner, 7/2/16: Legume Noodle Soup (Yotam Ottolenghi)

Excellent. I have yet to find an Ottolenghi recipe I didn't like. This is an Iranian soup, and it was great. I did modify the recipe a little (used tinned beans instead of dried and egg noodles because I had them in the house) but it was still awesome. 

Book 10: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

This is a "young adult" title  - and although not much would make me want to be a teenager again, some of the YA titles I've read in recent years put forward a strong case - if only there was that much excellent YA fiction when I was younger...  Still, doesn't stop me from reading it now! This is a hard book to categorise; it's mostly a historical novel. about a girl whose family moves to a remote island for her father to work in an excavation. Or, it's mostly a book about a Victorian girl's complicated relationship with her parents. Or, it's about a mysterious tree which grows when you feed it lies and which everyone seems to be trying to find and secure for their own nefarious purposes. Anyway, however you look at it, it was excellent; I shall be looking out for more by this author.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Book 9: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling (re-read)

Second in the series, which I am re-reading. Even though I've read this one several times, I ran across a passage I don't recall at all from before (obviously not in the film version, either) - funny what the brain does and doesn't remember!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Dinner, 1/2/16: Haddock, peas, potatoes

(Only got a photo of the haddock). I got a  real bargain on this by picking it up at the fish counter on Sunday afternoon  - obviously Waitrose was trying to shift its fish before the end of the day. It was still fresh and lovely - I might have to employ this tactic more often!

January Round Up

So, what did we eat in January? I expect this year that there won't be quite so many interesting mid-week meals, just because I am out so much in the dinner prep time, but hopefully, it will still be fairly interesting...


  • 31st: Roast Chicken, roast potatoes, carrots & squash
  • 30th: Spicy root vegetable & lentil casserole
  • 29th: Mexican bean & tortilla bake
  • 28th: Asian tofu & cucumber noodles (Geoff, Sarah only - Sarah cooking)
  • 27th: Chicken chasseur, mash (Geoff cooking)
  • 26th: sausages, jacket potatoes, courgette
  • 25th: Chili con carne (from freezer)
  • 24th: Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie
  • 23rd: Ratatouille
  • 22nd: Spinach, Chickpea & Potato Curry
  • 21st: Everyone find your own
  • 20th: Chicken with Ginger and Carrots (Geoff cooking)
  • 19th: Fish, potatoes, peas (Geoff, Alex)
  • 18th: Courgette Lasagne
  • 17th: Roast Duck with roast potatoes & veg
  • 16th: Sausages, Yorkshire Puddings, Cabbage
  • 15th: Lamb & Bean Soup with Barley
  • 14th: Everyone find your own
  • 13th: Brussel Sprout and Chestnut Soup
  • 12th: Omelettes (S&O out)
  • 11th: Canneloni with rocket, Spinach and ricotta
  • 10th: Minted Slow-Cooked Lamb
  • 9th: Vegan Lancashire Hotpot
  • 8th: Stir Fried veg & Courgette "Noodles"
  • 7th: Everyone find your own
  • 6th: Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Coleslaw, Potatoes, Beans
  • 5th: Ham, Bean & Lentil Soup
  • 4th: Linguine with garlic, prawns, spinach
  • 3rd: Jambalaya
  • 2nd: Courgette, mushroom and mozzarella tart
  • 1st: Chili con Carne (Geoff cooking)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Reading plan update - January

Once again, I'm trying this year to read through books I own, and not buy so many new books until I've made a substantial reduction in the (unread) books I already had. New year, new tracking...  How am I doing so far?
  • I  read 5 titles from my list (Sarasawati Park by Anjali Joseph, Goodnight, Nebraska by Tom McNeal, Merivel by Rose Tremain, The Good Italian by Stephen Burke, Play with Fire by Dana Stabenow)
  • and removed 2 which I started, but didn't really get into  (The Land of Spices by Kate O'Brien (50 pages); Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson (100 pages) )
  • I read (or apparently, re-read, though I don't really remember it) one book I already had around the house in a series I am reading before donating to the charity shop (Flight, Jan Burke)
  • I re-read one book we owned already (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J K Rowling)
  • I read one library book (Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith)
  • I bought one used book from Abe Books (Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal)
  • I bought one book in Waterstones Kingston when shopping for Alex's birthday presents (A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson)
January's tally is therefore...
books read: 8.5
books removed from list: 7,  books added: 2; net result -5
[Goal (no more than 1 book in for every two books removed) achieved/exceeded this month.]

Here's the updated list of Books to Read in 2016.  There were 55 books at the beginning of January, and now there are 50 - of those, only 7 are left from before 2015. [Books with an asterisk]. 
  1. Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins (Waterstones Kingston, January 2016)
  2. Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows (Waterstones online, November 2015)
  3. Philip Baruth, The Brothers Boswell (Waterstones Canterbury bargain bin, July 2015)
  4. Laura Beatty, Darkling (Big Waterstones, August 2015)
  5. Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead (AbeBooks, October 2015)
  6. Wilkie Collins, The Haunted Hotel (birthday present, November 2015)
  7. Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (Waterstones Kingston, Boxing Day 2015)
  8. Arthur Conan Doyle, Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (World of Books, October 2015)
  9. Rene Denfield, The Enchanted (Waterstones Reading, October 2015)
  10. Anthony Doerr, All the Light we Cannot See (Big Waterstones, August 2015)
  11. Hans Fallada, Alone in Berlin (car boot sale, Bristol, Sept 2015)
  12. Nathan Filer, The Shock of the Fall (charity shop, August 2015)
  13. 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...) *
  14. E M Forster, Howards End (late 2014) *
  15. 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...) *
  16. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South *
  17. Graham Greene, Brighton Rock *
  18. Kate Grenville, The Lieutenant (charity shop, December 2015)
  19. Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree (Waterstones Durham, August 2015)
  20. Georgette Heyer, A Christmas Party (from my mother, December 2015)
  21. Anthony Horowitz, Moriarty (Waterstones Kingston, Boxing Day 2015)
  22. Laurie R King, Dreaming Spies (birthday present, November 2015)
  23. Donna Leon, Doctored Evidence (charity shop, December 2015)
  24. Maria McCain, The Wilding (charity shop, December 2015)
  25. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (charity table, Wetland Centre, May 2015)
  26. Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (charity shop, December 2015)
  27. John McGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (charity shop, April 2015 - will be a re-read as have read it in (apparently) October 2004 for a book group)
  28. Tom McNeal, Far Far Away (AbeBooks, January 2016)
  29. Philipp Meyer, American Rust (charity shop, December 2015)
  30. Kim Newman, An English Ghost Story (The Last Bookshop, Brisol, Sept 2015)
  31. David Nicholls, Us (Waterstones Durham, August 2015)
  32. Flannery O'Connor, Complete Stories (charity shop, December 2015)
  33. Liliane Paul, The Bees (Waterstones Reading, October 2015)
  34. Elizabeth Redfern, The Music of the Spheres  (charity shop, December 2015)
  35. Peter Robinson, Abbatoir Blues (charity shop, August 2015)
  36. Peter Robinson, Bad Boy  (charity shop, December 2015)
  37. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Prisoner of Heaven (charity shop, August 2015)
  38. Jane Smiley, Some Luck (Waterstones Reading, October 2015)
  39. Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Barnes & Noble (in MD), Summer 2013 - a re-read, as I read it when a teen) *
  40. Andrew Taylor, The Anatomy of Ghosts (passed on from Geoff, April 2015)
  41. Matthew Thomas, We Are Not Ourselves (Waterstones Kingston, Boxing Day 2015)
  42. Rosie Thomas, The Illusionists (WH Smith, May 2015)
  43. Rose Tremain, Tresspass (charity shop, December 2015)
  44. Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread (World of Books, October 2015)
  45. Barry Unsworth, The Ruby in her Navel  *
  46. Ferdinand von Schirach, The Girl who wasn't There (charity shop, December 2015)
  47. Susan Vreeland, Lisette's List (birthday present, November 2015)
  48. William Wharton, Birdy (The Last Bookshop, Bristol, Sept 2015)
  49. Niall Williams, Only Say the Word (charity shop, August 2015)
  50. Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A J Firky (Waterstones Reading, October 2015)

Book 8: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Third in the series, and just as compelling as the first two. A bit more about Robin's personal life and history in this one (had to come out sooner or later) and as the mystery is tied quite closely to Cormoran's past, about his as well. I'm really enjoying these books - the woman can write, that's for sure!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book 7: Play with Fire by Dana Stabenow

I've read some in this series a long time ago, can't remember if this was one I read, even after reading it, so I'm counting it as a new read. A good, solid crime/detective novel with interesting characters and a fascinating setting (Alaskan wilderness). 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dinner, 27/1/16: Chicken Chassseur, Mash (Geoff cooking)

Lovely having a husband who works from home at least three days a week; with my busy evening schedule he can often cook dinner. Even things which take a while, like this chicken casserole.