Saturday, January 12, 2019

Book 5: Alberto's Lost Birthday, Diana Rosie

Picked this up a while back at the Kingston Hospital Donation Book Shelf and finally got around to reading it. It was a cute story, I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Book 4: Glass Houses by Louise Penny

The latest in the Gamache series. Another fairly dark one, though of course, well written and gripping as always.

Dinner, 9/1/19: Chat' Patay

This was a really tasty chickpea and potato dish - we liked it a lot. It's not really enough for a meal on its own, so I'd cook something else - a vegetable dish, like spinach or something - with it.  We had a substantial salad and a big plate of fruit along side.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Dinner, 8/1/19: Spaghetti "Puttanesca"

Not strictly puttanesca, as no anchovies, but really yummy, and really liked the addition of the broccoli into this. We did have a good laugh at the recipe, though, which asked for 10 kalamata olives, in a recipe which supposedly serves 6 people.  I put the whole jar in!

Monday, January 07, 2019

Book 3: Matilda, Roald Dahl (re-read)

Having recently seen the stage production (and having seen the excellent 1996 film many times) I was curious as to how they compare to the original, so decided to go back and re-read it. Plus my current book, while excellent,  is kinda depressing (crime novel, lots of stuff about the "war on drugs") and I needed some light relief.

Dinner, 7/1/19: Stir Fry with black beans, tofu & cashews

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Dinner, 6/1/19: Giant butter bean stew

Another hearty, warming winter meal. We love butter beans and this vegetable and butter bean stew was really tasty. 

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Dinner, 5/1/19: Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas & Harissa with couscous

Very tasty and easy. Cauliflower is an underrated vegetable, I think. We also roasted the leaves and outside stems to have with it.

Books in

Sarah and I spent some time browsing through the charity shops this afternoon - fun for us: we always enjoy that. I picked up a couple of books in charity shops, and a few in the Waterstones as well (on the Buy One Get One Half Price table). 

Friday, January 04, 2019

Book 2: Vengeance in Venice, Philip Gwynne Jones

While this book isn't up there with my favourite Venetian crime novels (Donna Leon), it was a respectable story, with a decent feel for Venice (the protagonist being a non-native meant his Venice was a little different than Brunetti's, though still felt authentic to me - but what do I know? I've only visited...) A good holiday read.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Dinner, 3/1/19: Santorini Style Spaghetti

This sauce has fresh tomatoes, capers, parsley, lemon juice, garlic. Can't really go wrong with that.

Book 1: The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas, David Almond

First book of 2019 - this is a children's book, and we are going to use it as our homework book for my class for this half term, so I needed to make sure I'd read it. It was a cute story, I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Dinner, 2/1/18: Butternut Squash Soup

With a few other things thrown in, like one sweet potato which was lurking in the cuboard, plus a couple of parsnips (as well as the onion & celery in the recipe) - but without the carrot in the recipe as we were out of carrots. Soup is soup.  I liked the toasted pumpkin seed garnish and the swirl of sesame oil - nice touches.  We also had some leftover pakoras, heated up, but no photo of them. That was a bonus as they weren't even OUR leftovers - our friends who had the New Year's Eve party had lots leftover and offered them to us (I think our family has a reputation for eating...).

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Dinner, 1/1/19: Vegan Lancashire Hotpot

We love this - the flavours are deep and intense and yummy. As Olivia and a friend are trying to do Veganuary this year (eating a vegan diet during January, for those who have no idea what I mean), our dinners until she goes back to uni will be vegan or flexible (e.g. optional cheese sprinkle, etc) - this is a great one to start as we already know we love it and it's nice and warming on a chilly winter's day...

Book 102: The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

My final read of 2018, technically finished in 2019, but only just, so I'm counting it for 2018. I enjoyed this (if enjoyed is quite the word, as parts of it are pretty horrific), though I found the embodiment of the underground railroad as an actual railroad a somewhat peculiar device and wonder at the choice to do it that way. Didn't interfere with my interest in the characters, just a curiosity.

2018 Reading Review

At the beginning of 2018, I set myself the usual goal of reading 100 books over the course of the year, and I have hit that pretty much on the nose - a couple of books over is all. I'll set the same goal for 2019 - in the past few years, it's about what I have time for. Lately, an increasing number of these books are children's books, as I like to find things I think my class (who are Year 6, which is 10-11 years old) would find interesting - part of an ongoing project to broaden the reading horizons of children who think that Harry Potter (which don't get me wrong, I love) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid (no comment) are all there are to the world of children's books.

Anyway, what did I read this year, and among those reads, what really stood out? Below is the list of books I've read this year (in reverse order, because it's easier to grab it from the sideline of my blog that way).  I've underlined the ones I thought were really outstanding - and by this I mean literally that: the ones which stood out for me, for whatever reason. Not counting re-reads in those outstanding books (after some dithering), though I was tempted with a couple.

  • 102: The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  • 101: Lethal White, Robert Galbraith
  • 100: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (re-read)
  • 99: Moon over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool (chn)
  • 98: The Princess Bride, William Goldman (re-read)
  • 97: Reader, I Married Him (collection) (ss)
  • 96: Sky Song, Abi Elphinstone (chn)
  • 95: A Place Called Winter, Patrick Gale
  • 94: If We Were Villains, M L Rio
  • 93: Flood Child, Emily Diamand (chn)
  • 92: The Last of August, Brittany Cavallaro (YA)
  • 91: Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
  • 90: Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz
  • 89: The Murder of Mary Russell, Laurie R King
  • 88: A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 87: The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden (YA)
  • 86: How to Stop Time, Matt Haig
  • 85: The End We Start From, Megan Hunter
  • 84: Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor (YA)
  • 83: The Descent of Man, Grayson Perry (NF)
  • 82: Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J Maas (YA)
  • 81: The Song of Seven, Tonke Dragt (chn)
  • 80: Hero at the Fall, Alwyn Hamilton (YA)
  • 79: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J Maas (YA)
  • 78: The Shape of Water, Andrea Camilleri
  • 77: Wilful Behaviour, Donna Leon
  • 76: Everless, Sara Holland (YA)
  • 75: So Many Ways to Begin, Jon McGregor
  • 74; The Undrowned Child, Michelle Louvric (chn)
  • 73: Midwinter Break, Bernard MacLaverty
  • 72: The Tea Lords, Hella Haasse
  • 71: The Storm Keeper's Island, Catherine Doyle (chn)
  • 70: The Middle of Nowhere, Geraldine McCaughrean (chn)
  • 69: Cogheart, Peter Bunzl (chn)
  • 68: The House with Chicken Legs, Sophie Anderson (chn)
  • 67: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Claire North
  • 66: Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks
  • 65: Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn (re-read)
  • 64: Open Road Summer, Emery Lord (YA)
  • 63: The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
  • 62: How to Look for a Lost Dog, Ann Martin (chn)
  • 61: Cousins, Sally Vickers
  • 60: Counting by 7s, Holly Goldberg Sloan (chn)
  • 59: A Boy Called Hope, Lara Williamson (chn)
  • 58: A Sea of Troubles, Donna Leon
  • 57: I am Malala, Malala Yousafzai (chn edition)
  • 56: Chasing Augustus, Kimberly Newton Fusco (chn)
  • 55: Release, Patrick Ness (YA)
  • 54: Runaway, Alice Munro (short stories)
  • 53: I was born for this, Alice Oseman (YA)
  • 52: A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers
  • 51: Wolf Brother, Michelle Paver (chn)
  • 50: The Silver Boy, Kristina Ohlsson (chn)
  • 49: Autumn, Ali Smith
  • 48: What the Moon Saw, Laura Resau (chn)
  • 47: A House without Mirrors, Marten Sanden (chn)
  • 46: New Boy, Tracy Chevalier
  • 45: The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater (YA)
  • 44: The Button Box, Lynn Knight (non-fiction)
  • 43: Hens Dancing, Raffaella Barker (re-read)
  • 42: A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny (crime)
  • 41: A Room Full of Chocolate, Jane Elson (chn)
  • 40: Ghostwritten, David Mitchell (re-read)
  • 39: The Girl Savage, Katherine Rundell (chn)
  • 38: Holes, Louis Sachar (chn)
  • 37: The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon (Fantasy)
  • 36: Boy 87, Ele Fountain (chn)
  • 35: Noah Barleywater Runs Away, John Boyne (chn)
  • 34: Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (re-read)
  • 33: Pax, Sara Pennypacker (chn)
  • 32: Friends in High Places, Donna Leon (crime)
  • 31: Tales of Terror from the Black Ship, Chris Priestly (chn)
  • 30: The Dark Circle, Linda Grant
  • 29: At the Water's Edge, Sara Gruen
  • 28:Our Endless Numbered Days, Claire Fuller
  • 27: Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror, Chris Preistly (chn)
  • 26: Dark Matter, Michelle Paver
  • 25: The Muse, Jessie Burton
  • 24: This Must be the Place, Maggie O'Farrell
  • 23: The Stone Sky, N K Jemisin (Fantasy)
  • 22: The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate (chn)
  • 21: The Secret Chord, Geraldine Brooks
  • 20: Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli (chn)
  • 19: When we Collided, Emery Lord (YA)
  • 18: Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (Fantasy)
  • 17: The Start of Me and You, Emery Lord (YA)
  • 16: Lost Boy, Christina Henry (YA, Fantasy)
  • 15: The Obelisk Gate, N K Jemisin (Fantasy)
  • 14: Fatal Remedies, Donna Leon (crime)
  • 13: The Wonder, Emma Donohue
  • 12: Three Things About Elsie, Joanna Cannon
  • 11: Reservoir 13: Jon McGregor
  • 10: The Girl in the Blue Coat, Monica Hesse (YA)
  • 9: The Fifth Season, N K Jemison (Fantasy)
  • 8: The Book Borrower, Alice Mattison
  • 7: The House at Pooh Corner, A A Milne (re-read, chn)
  • 6: The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forester (chn)
  • 5: Winnie the Pooh, A A Milne (re-read, chn)
  • 4: Rooftoppers, Katherine Rundell (chn)
  • 3: Daughter of the Burning City, Amanda Foody (YA, Fantasy)
  • 2: The Garbage King, Elizabeth Laird (chn)
  • 1: The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry

December Round Up


  • 31st: Stuffed Pasta Shells
  • 30th: Sausages, Yorkies, Green Beans
  • 29th: Lunch out at Thai Pot
  • 28th: Black Bean & Tofu Fajitas
  • 27th: Christmas Curry
  • 26th: Leftovers
  • 25th: Christmas Feast
  • 24th: Christmas Eve Party at Friends'
  • 23rd: Spicy Parsnip Bubble & Squeak Cake
  • 22nd: Christmas Uptown Pret Sandwich Traditional Meal
  • 21st: Fish & Chips (etc) at Friends' House
  • 20th: Fend for yourself Thursday
  • 19th: Swede Laksa
  • 18th: Stir Fried Tofu with Chili and Basil
  • 17th: Mixed Bean Goulash
  • 16th: Carrot & Chickpea Tagine with Couscous
  • 15th: New Potato and Mince Curry
  • 14th: Spaghetti with capers and pancetta (Alex cooking, K out)
  • 13th: Fend for yourself Thursday
  • 12th: Sausages, Peas, New Potatoes
  • 11th: Vegetable Jalfrezi
  • 10th: Spaghetti Puttanesca
  • 9th: Baked Mushroom Frittata
  • 8th: Chicken and Artichoke Paella
  • 7th: Pasta Bake with Pine Nuts
  • 6th: Fend for yourself Thursday
  • 5th: Bacon, sweet potato & potato penne
  • 4th: Potato Chowder
  • 3rd: Cheeseburger Quesadillas
  • 2nd: Tikka Salmon
  • 1st: Spinach and Potato Pies