Friday, September 30, 2016

Dinner, 30/9/16: Courgette Noodle Miso Ramen (Itsu cookbook)

This was lovely, apparently (I went out, so I didn't eat it) - the courgette noodles worked really well and the broth was tasty. Technically it wasn't vegetarian when we ate it, as I used chicken stock, but it would easily make a vegetarian meal, so I'm tagging it that way.

Book Plan Update - September

Continuing in 2016 to make inroads on the books I own (un-read) and not buy too many new ones. Progress to date:
  1. January: books removed from list: 7,  books added: 2; net result -5
  2. February: books removed from list: 4, books added: 0; net result -4 (total YTD: -9)
  3. March: books removed from list: 8, books added:8; net result 0 (total YTD: -9)
  4. April: books removed from list: 6, books added: 0; net result -6 (total YTD: -15)
  5. May: books removed from list: 6, books added: 4; net result -2 (total YTD: -17)
  6. June: books removed from list: 3, books added: 0; net result -3 (total YTD: -20)
  7. July: books removed from list: 4; books added: 8; net result +4 (total YTD: -16)
  8. August: books removed from list: 2; books added: 0; net result -2 (total YTD: -18)
In September:
  • I read three books from my list (My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins)
  • I re-read one book I already own (Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L Sayers
  • I read one library book (Cress by Marissa Meyer)
September's tally is therefore...
books read: 5
books removed from list:  3 books added: 0 ; net result -3
[Goal (no more than 1 book added to the list 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 34 - of those, only 4 are left from before 2015. [Books with an asterisk]. 
  1. Susan Barker, The Incantations (charity shop, July 2016)
  2. Philip Baruth, The Brothers Boswell (Waterstones Canterbury bargain bin, July 2015)
  3. Rachel Caine, Ink and Bone (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  4. Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead (AbeBooks, October 2015)
  5. Wilkie Collins, The Haunted Hotel (birthday present, November 2015)
  6. Arthur Conan Doyle, Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (World of Books, October 2015)
  7. Jean-Paul Didierlaurente, The Reader on the 6.27 (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  8. Anthony Doerr, About Grace (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  9. Carol Ann Duffy, Faery Tales (charity shop, July 2016)
  10. 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...) *
  11. 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...) *
  12. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (2014)*
  13. Kate Grenville, The Lieutenant (charity shop, December 2015)
  14. Frances Hardinge, A Face Like Glass (Mother's Day present, March 2016)
  15. Melissa Harrison, At Hawthorn Time (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  16. Antonia Hodgkin, The Devil in the Marshalsea (charity shop, May 2016)
  17. Andrew Michael Hurley, The Loney (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  18. Jennifer Johnston, Two Moons (charity table at Sainsbury's, July 2016)
  19. Maria McCain, The Wilding (charity shop, December 2015)
  20. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (charity table, Wetland Centre, May 2015)
  21. Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (charity shop, December 2015)
  22. John McGregor, This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  23. Darragh McKeon, All That is Solid Melts into Air (Waterstones Kingston, May 2016)
  24. Philipp Meyer, American Rust (charity shop, December 2015)
  25. Alice Munro, Runaway (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  26. Flannery O'Connor, Complete Stories (charity shop, December 2015)
  27. Elizabeth Redfern, The Music of the Spheres  (charity shop, December 2015)
  28. Ransom Riggs, Hollow City (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  29. Gregory David Roberts, Shataram (Abe Books, July 2016)
  30. Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways  (Mother's Day present, March 2016)
  31. Jane Smiley, Some Luck (Waterstones Reading, October 2015)
  32. Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Barnes & Noble (in MD), Summer 2013 - a re-read, as I read it when a teen) *
  33. Emily St John Mandel, Station Eleven (Waterstones Kingston, May 2016)
  34. Rose Tremain, Tresspass (charity shop, December 2015)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Dinner, 24/9/16: Roast Chicken, roast potatoes, roast beetroot

A nice autumnal dinner, and one which gives another meal - cold chicken for Tuesday, which is our difficult dinner day. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Book 80: Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo

A while back I read the book Six of Crows by the same author and enjoyed it; I wanted to go back and pick up the original stories which set up the world in which that book is placed. This is the first of them, and is yet another piece of good young adult fantasy - I wish all these stories had existed when I was  a teenager - not that I can't enjoy them now, I can, it's just a shame YA fiction was so thin on the ground in those days!

Dinner, 23/9/16: Potato & Carrot Tart; Indian Spiced Greens

The carrot tart is an old favourite (though I have altered it, mainly to put in a lot more carrots); to accompany it this time I chose this recipe of Indian spiced greens, which was a perfect accompaniment. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book 79: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

This is the first in a series which seems to get raves everywhere, and I enjoyed it, but not to the rave extent.  Nicely written and characters interesting enough to want to see where it went (though I did find I got a bit confused about who was who, even with the handy guide at the beginning - partly because everyone seems to go by at least two names) but I don't think I'll be following through with the rest of the series. I didn't dislike it, I just didn't love it.

Dinner, 21/9/16: Chicken and Cauliflower Curry

Geoff cooked today; this is a chicken and cauliflower curry he's made before, though I wasn't home on that occasion, not sure why. It was lovely, and of course it's always nice to have a meal someone else cooked!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dinner, 20/9/16: Green Bean Mac and Cheese (Good Food)

A nice variation on the mac & cheese theme. Made ahead on Sunday, ready for the oven on Tuesday, which is our difficult night. And plenty of leftovers for lunch in the week. Win/win.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book 78: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Third in this enjoyable YA series, loosely based on fairy tale characters - but only loosely, really. A jumping off point, let's say. Looking forward to the next one - Winter.

Mmm, Apple & Pear Crumble...

Kudos to The Boychild for his yummy crumble - that's what happens to slightly old fruit in our house - tasty!  We looked to see if our (elderly, housebound) neighbour's garden had any more blackberries from her (extremely overgrown) bushes, but looks like they've finished for the season - shame, as blackberries are lovely in a crumble.

Dinner, 18/9/16: Lamb Rogan Josh (Beverly LeBlanc)

From the book I my Slow Cooker. I've made this before; it's an excellent Rogan Josh, and the nice thing is that it just sits there cooking away while you get on with other stuff. As I also wanted to make something ahead today for Tuesday, it was good to have a dinner which could be done earlier. Now that we are returning to Autumn and the weather is getting crisper, I imagine there'll be more use of the slow cooker and more curries, casseroles and stews. Hearty, warming fare...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dinner, 14/9/16: Penne, pecorino and broad bean gratin (Ainsley Harriot), salad

Good, but needed longer in the oven - we were in a rush, though, so had to take it out a bit early.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dinner, 13/9/16: Lemony couscous with chickpeas (Moosewood), tomato & cucumber salad

A make-ahead for Tuesday - Tuesday is my night to tutor quite late, so I don't have time to make dinner. Sometimes someone else will make it (not a good night for Geoff to cook as it's the one day a week he reliably goes into the office), but sometimes we'll try to make things ahead on the weekend. This was the latter, served with a tomato and cucumber salad (no picture) and pita bread and hummous for people who didn't have enough!  And leftover couscous salad for lunch Wednesday!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Dinner, 12/9/16: Sloppy Joes (Nigel Slater), corn on the cob

A strikingly American meal, as my husband said. But good for the intense Indian summer we seem to be experiencing this week!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dinner, 10/9/16: Pesto Pizza with Prosciutto and Artichokes (Good Food)

A standby & one of Sarah's favourites. As it's her last meal before heading off to university tomorrow, it seemed fitting.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Dinner, 7/9/16: Middle Eastern Lamb Nachos (John Whaite)

Another recipe from the book Perfect Plates in Five Ingredients. I've cooked 4 or 5 dishes from this now, and we've liked them all. This was great - perfect combination of tastes and textures. We all agree that we could have eaten more. We didn't need more, but we could have eaten it!  I made a little cucumber and celery salad to go alongside...

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Dinner, 6/9/16: Thai Chicken Soup

Impossible to photograph soup interestingly, I think. But this is a nice tasting soup (though in this instance, the beans were a bit tough - I think they were picked quite old) - we thought it might be nice with glass noodles. Or flat rice noodles.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Dinner, 5/9/16: Vegetable and Cashew Stir Fry

Something simple to use up a couple of peppers and some carrots which were aging a little in the fridge.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Book 77: Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)

Back to re-reading this series - not many left to go, though I will read the Jill Paton Walsh books as well, which are good, though not quite up to the original ones. Still, at least it keeps me with the characters for a bit longer.

Fried Butterbeans with feta, spinach and sumac (Yotam Ottolenghi), Lamb Steaks

These beans were great, though I had to make a few changes from the original recipe (which is from the book Plenty). I had to use tinned beans, as I couldn't get dried butter beans - this worked fine. And not being able to find sorrel, I used spinach, as was suggested in the recipe, and doubled the lemon juice. Also worked excellently. We ate them as a side dish with some lamb, for that Middle Eastern feel. Another successful recipe from the Ottolenghi stable.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Dinner, 3/9/16: Courgette & Bacon Risotto

No recipe - I just cook risotto the way I cook it. This was my first meal cooked when I got home from holiday (we had hotdogs, etc last night - I didn't cook)  and was prompted by a lot of chicken bones in the freezer and a large handful of unused courgettes in the vegetable drawer. I did the bacon and courgettes separate from the rice, which really gave a nice texture.