Monday, March 12, 2018

Book 16: Lost Boy by Christina Henry

This was super. A dark re-telling of a classic story, but from a very different perspective. Totally convincing, well-plotted and frankly, makes Peter Pan far more believable as a character (though seriously creepy as a result) than the classic tale. Also gives depth to other aspect of the traditional story, like the enmity between Pan and the pirates, as we see them. Although ostensibly a children's/young adult book, NOT a book for young children by any means, nor for those likely to be haunted by bad dreams, but wow, such an amazing read and such an imagination the author has. I'm almost scared to try her retelling of Alice in Wonderland, as that's a lot creepier to start off with!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dinner, 11/3/18: Sweet Potato Pancakes (Moosewood Cookbook)

Although I altered these a touch by adding some feta cheese, they are pretty much just the Moosewood Recipe - and they were great. Even the non-sweet-potato fan in the house liked them. Yum!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dinner, 10/3/18: Roasted Aloo Gobi (Good Food)

This was nice, though maybe a little sweeter than I really like my curries.  But the texture of the veg was very good. I chucked in some of the cauliflower leaves/stems as well as the cauliflower I had, had loads of them and it seemed a waste not to. Recipe online here

Book 15: The Obelisk Gate, N K Jemisin

The second in this series, and excellent. Not sure if things are clearer now or more confused, but I'm certainly eager to see what happens - to ALL the characters. Such a different and complex world created here. Hurts my brain to think of the effort that must have gone into structuring it, but it sure makes it rich and interesting to read.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Dinner, 7/3/18: Herby Sausage Stew, Baked Potatoes

We used two types of sausages in this one - a tofu-based vegan one which we got as a free sample (pictured) and some regular sausages (not pictured, as they weren't quite done and had to go back in the pan). It was an easy assembly type of meal and tasty, once the sausages were cooked through!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Dinner, 6/3/18: Sticky Citrus Chicken (Alex cooking)

This is a nice traybake with baby carrots and a lovely, sticky, gingery glaze. Yum.  Alex assembled it and stuck it in the oven.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Dinner, 5/3/18: Chickpea & Spinach Curry

One which we have a lot. The original recipe adds some yogurt to the curry at the end, but I don't usually bother; it doesn't need it. You can if you like, though.  If we can get them, we serve it with fresh flatbreads from our local shop. Yum.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Book 14: Fatal Remedies, Donna Leon

Next in the Commisario Brunetti series, set in Venice. As usual, an interesting, reliable read where the emphasis is less on the mystery/plot element and more on the moral questions and the character development. And of course, setting the Venetian scene.

Dinner, 4/3/18: Lasagne

Luckily, Geoff had madespaghetti bolognese a while back and there was leftover ragu in the freezer, so this lasagne was easy to assemble - I only had to make a white sauce and then layer it up and let it cook. Yum.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

February Round Up


  • 24th: Tofu coconut katsu curry
  • 23rd: Pizza night
  • 22nd: Fend for yourself Thursday
  • 21st: Dandan noodles
  • 20th: Spaghetti with wanut & pecorino pesto
  • 19th: Carrot and Chickpea Stew
  • 18th: Vegan Swede Laksa
  • 17th: K&A out, Geoff cooking
  • 16th: Spicy Roast Root Vegetable Soup
  • 15th: K & A out with gang show, Geoff cooking
  • 14th: Everyone else out, Geoff cooking for himself
  • 13th: Tofu with black bean sauce (Geoff & Liv; no photo)
  • 12th: Pasta with butternut squash, potato & Bacon
  • 11th: Tamara's Ratatouille
  • 10th: Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese
  • 9th: Jacket potatoes with toppings
  • 8th: Fend for yourself Thursday
  • 7th: Pork mince & Kimchi Stir Fry (Geoff)
  • 6th: Pasta with bacon & kale
  • 5th: Sausages, new potatoes, green beans
  • 4th: Spicy Bean Hotpot
  • 3rd: Roast Pork, Roast Potatoes, Cabbage
  • 2nd: Out for dinner (Franco Manca) for Alex's birthday
  • 1st: Fend for yourself Thursday

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Book Summary

So, in 2018, I'm taking a slightly different approach to blogging about my reading - I'm not really worrying about the in/out balance or how many books I read each month versus how many have been removed from the list. My only goal in 2018 is to read at least 100 books (as usual), so I'll be counting towards that, and noting books I read, acquire, get rid of, etc, but only for interest. I'm tired of feeling guilty if I acquire new books!

In January:  books read: 7; books otherwise removed: 3; books in: 7; books on windowsill: 62
In February: books read: 6; books otherwise removed: 1; books in: 3;  books on windowsill: 61

And here's the breakdown for this month: 
  • I read five books from my list (The Book Borrower by Alice Mattison, The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin, The Girl in the Blue Coat, Monica Hesse, Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue)
  • I read part of one book on my list and decided that I just really wasn't that into it. It was a quirky book (The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie), perhaps a little too quirky for me. There really wasn't anything wrong with it that I can put my finger on, it just didn't grab me.  Sometimes books are like that.
  • I read one library book (Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon)
  • I ordered a book into my local Waterstones because I couldn't NOT buy it after reading the first in the trilogy (The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin)
  • And of course I bought a few more books while I was in there... (The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid)
  • I added a book to the Windowsill which Geoff got for Christmas and has now finished reading (The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy) 
Here's the updated list of Books to Read in 2018. These are the books hanging out on my windowsill upstairs, waiting to be read. Or discarded. But hopefully, read. I started the year with 60 books on this list - you can see how long the books have been knocking around by the dates in brackets.
  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. 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)
  6. 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)
  7. Alice Munro, Runaway (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  8. Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram (Abe Books, July 2016)
  9. Susan Barker, The Incarnations (charity shop, July 2016)
  10. 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...)
  11. Orhan Pamuk. A Strangeness in Mind (Christmas present 2016)
  12. Jessie Burton, The Muse (Waitrose, January 2017)
  13. Andrew Taylor, The Ashes of London (passed to me by Geoff after he read it, April 2017)
  14. Mark Haddon (Introduction), States of Mind: Experiences at the Edge of Consciousness (Waterstones Piccadilly, April 2017)
  15. John Irving, Avenue of Mysteries  (Waterstones Piccadilly, April 2017)
  16. Lynn Knight, The Button Box  (Waterstones Piccadilly, April 2017) (This book is actually not on the windowsill either, as I've started reading it, but as it's non-fiction, it may take me a while to get through it; I'm reading it in little bits...)
  17. Mikhail Bulgokov, The Master and Margarita (charity shop, April 2017)
  18. Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor (charity shop, April 2017)
  19. Rachel Ward, Numbers 2: The Chaos (Sarah's - added to my shelf after I read the first one, April 2017)
  20. Rachel Ward, Numbers 3: Infinity (Sarah's - added to my shelf after I read the first one, April 2017)
  21. Jane Smiley, Early Warning (Abe Books, May 2017, after finishing the first in the series)
  22. Linda Grant, The Dark Circle (Waterstones Nottingham, July 2017)
  23. Siri Hustvedt, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women (Waterstones Wimbledon, July 2017)
  24. Sally Vickers, Cousins (Waterstones Wimbledon, July 2017)
  25. 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)
  26. Hella Haasse, The Tea Lords (Bookhandel von Rossum, Amsterdam, August 2017)
  27. Ernest van der Kwast, The Ice Cream Makers (Amsterdam, August 2017)
  28. Lucy Worsley, A Very British Murder (Waterstones Oxford, August 2017)
  29. Lucy Ribchester, The Hourglass Factory (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  30. Bi Fieyu, Three Sisters (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  31. Claire Fuller, Our Endless Numbered Days (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  32. Michelle Paver, Dark Matter (charity shop, Farnham, September 2017)
  33. Ali Smith, Autumn (Waterstones Brighton, October 2017)
  34. Maggie O'Farrell, This Must be the Place (Waterstones Brighton, October 2017)
  35. Greg Fowler, T is for Tree (bought for Sarah, Waterstones Brighton, October 2017)
  36. Ben Marcus, The Flame Alphabet (2nd Hand Shop, Brighton, October 2017)
  37. Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit (Waterstones Piccadilly, October 2017, after finishing the first in the series)
  38. Christina Henry, Lost Boy (Waterstones Piccadilly, October 2017)
  39. Alexia Casale, The Bone Dragon (Waterstones Piccadilly, October 2017)
  40. Sarah Pennypacker, Pax (Waterstones Kingston, October 2017)
  41. Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season  (Waterstones Kingston, October 2017)
  42. Ernest Cline, Ready Player One  (Waterstones Kingston, October 2017)
  43. 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.)
  44. Grayson Perry, The Descent of Man (December 2017, RA Gift Shop)
  45. Sara Guen, At the Water's Edge (Christmas present, 2017)
  46. Geraldine Brooks, The Secret Chord (Christmas present, 2017)
  47. Sarah J Maas, Court of Thorns and Roses (Christmas present, 2017)
  48. Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale (Christmas present, 2017)
  49. Emery Lord, The Start of Me and You (passed to me by Sarah, December 2017)
  50. Patrick Gale, A Place Called Winter (charity shop, December 2017)
  51. Sebastian Barry, Days without End (Abe Books, January 2018)
  52. Anthony Horowitz, Magpie Murders (W H Smith, January 2018)
  53. Laline Paull, The Ice (W H Smith, January 2018)
  54. Matt Haig, How to Stop Time (W H Smith, January 2018)
  55. Bernie MacLaverty, Midwinter Break (Watersones Piccadilly, January 2018)
  56. Ursula K LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness (Watersones Piccadilly, January 2018)
  57. Clare Vanderpool, Moon over Manifest (was in the house, moved to my shelf Feb 2018)
  58. N K Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate (Waterstones Wimbledon, Feb 2018)
  59. Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (Waterstones Wimbledon, Feb 2018)
  60. Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Waterstones Wimbledon, Feb 2018)
  61. Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (passed to me by Geoff, Feb 2018)