Saturday, April 25, 2015

Book 35: Rough Music by Patrick Gale

I always enjoy Patrick Gale (think I've read 4 or 5 of them) - a good, solid family story, with well-drawn characters with a plotline that isn't predictable necessarily, but is believeable, rather than soap-opera-like, even when there are crises and ructions. He does portraits of relationships very well, and I really like his writing style, too. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book 34: Thornyhold by Mary Stewart (re-read)

After re-reading My Brother Michael recently, I fancied some more Mary Stewart, so grabbed this one as my bedtime book. Didn't take long to get through it - it's very short - and when I got to the last few chapters, I just finished them off even though it wasn't bedtime (shock, horror).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dinner, 21/4/15: Feta, Pea and Dill Pasta

Original recipe uses orichiette, which my local didn't have, so I've used shells instead. Very similar result, and the way of coooking the pasta in stock adds richness, which is nice.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book 33: Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson

I picked this up recently after a friend mentioned it in a Facebook conversation and I was going to use it as my bedside book, but yesterday afternoon, I just fancied something light and cheerful that I could read without too much thought (but which was still enjoyable) and this seemed likely to fit the bill - I was right, it did. It was cute, well written, nice premise.  It's part of a series, so I've ordered a few more in the series from Abe Books (great online source for used books) for future light relief. And now back to my regularly scheduled reading (who am I kidding - I usually have several books on the go at once anyway!)

Dinner, 20/4/15: Carrot, Potato and Leek Soup

Recipe from The Crepes of Wrath.  A really nice, spicy carrot soup, with roasted garlic (and other roasted veg) for a mellower flavour. Yum. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pizza Night

Olivia's pizza (top right) was a sort of re-creation of a Pizza Express pizza she likes, with pesto on the base, then proscuitto, rocket, shaved pecorino cheese and caesar dressing (the rocket, pecorino and caesar added after it's cooked). The others were a bit more usual...  Geoff's away, so it was only a 4 pizza day.

Book 32: My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart (re-read)

This has been my bedside book for a few weeks (I don't always keep a separate book at the bedside for night time reading, but sometimes I do) - I found a copy in a charity shop to replace my old, falling apart copy and decided to re-read it at the same time. I always enjoy Mary Stewart - good solid romance/thrillers of the slightly old-fashioned vein, which is nice sometimes (not a fan of novels with a lot of graphic sex, generally). Especially restful when trying to fall asleep!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dinner: Spicy cajun chicken quinoa with salad; rice pudding

My first time cooking quinoa, that trendy new grain - I've been contemplating it for a while, and when a friend recommended it, I decided it was time. It was very nice, not particularly exciting or not, just a good solid grain alternative to some of the other things we use. I think it will be particularly nice in salads, so I imagine we'll be seeing more of it this summer, especially. Found this recipe on the good food website...  And then rice pudding for dessert - mmm.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dinner, 17/4/15: Italian Stuffed Courgettes, Salad, Greens

This was very tasty; I could have eaten more, easily.  Next time, I'll make more!

Book 31: The Cat's Table, Michael Ondaatje

This was great. I've read other Michael Ondaatje books before (most famous title of his is probably The English Patient, which I don't think I've actually read), so I knew he could write, so I guess it's not surprising, but still - always nice to find. It's the story of a young boy's (told in retrospect, with some of his adult life interspersed) journey from Sri Lanka to England on board a large ship, and what happened on board. I really enjoyed the way that got inside the young boy's point of view enough so that we, as adult readers, could sometimes see what he was seeing from an adult perspective, but sometimes, not quite get the full picture until a little more had been revealed. A good story, with interesting characters and great writing. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book 30: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Well, hmm. To be honest, I really don't quite know what to make of this book. It's an odd book, I think, kind of a fable, told in an unusual, conversational way. Ishiguro plays a bit with narrative style anyway (thinking of When We Were Orphans, which while not really a pastiche certainly emulates the style of detective stories of a certain era), so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but still - not sure what to make of this. One might call it fantasy, I suppose, but it's presented almost as history - like old oral tradition tales, Beowulf or something, except it's so conversational in tone. I didn't dislike it, but I'm not sure I precisely liked it either. Given that the novel's themes of loss and memory are pervasive, perhaps the somewhat disquieting feel you get from the book is simply part and parcel of the author's intent. I think I shall have to reserve judgement on this one. 

Dinner, 15/4/15: Chili con carne (Geoff cooking)

One of the advantages of a husband who works at home a lot is that sometimes he cooks dinner. Mmm. I did make the cornbread muffins, but who's counting...

Books in - kind of

Two books to add to my reading pile  - one is a legitimate purchase (the left one, mentioned in a FB discussion, sounded fun), the other I bought a while back from a charity shop for Geoff, but he's now read it and pronounced it good, and passed it back to me to read, so it doesn't count as a purchase, but I guess it counts as an addition to my list...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dinner, 14/4/15: Penne all'Arrabbiata

Recipe originally from Good Food Magazine website, though I only follow it loosely, anyway...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dinner, 12/4/15: Spinach and Potato Pastries, Beans, Carrots

A family favourite - made also because tomorrow at work we are having a bring and share lunch (or potluck as the two North American staff members like to call it!) and this is what I decided to make...