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In my mailbox

 

This week was extremely slow as far as books are concerned – and that is a good thing. I really don’t know when to read all the books that I received in the last few weeks. Maybe a book acquiring ban is in order?!

 

I swapped

  • Nothing

I bought

  •   Nothing

From the library

That’s it! What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

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Weekend Cooking: Delia’s Vegetarian Collection

deliaI found this book in our library and even though I don’t know Delia Smith I had to get it right away. It looked so enticing and the first recipe I saw when opening it was a Maccaroni-cheese-soufflé. A very ordinary dish and exactly what I like.

Often in vegatarian cookbooks the recipes feature unusual ingredients, fancy combinations and dishes that are not do-able unless you have hours to spend in the kitchen and in specialty shops. So a maccaroni-cheese soufflè drew me right in.

Delia Smith is a very popular TV chef and cookbook author in the UK and this book contains 250 recipes that she has collected over the years. The recipes all sound rather down to earth, not too complicated and very delicious.

I want to share one that immediately caught my eye while browsing (I love toasties).

Sandwich with grilled cheese and relish

This is the veggie version of the “Croque Monsieur”. You can either use bought relish, or make your won with Delia’s recipe (also provided in the book).

Ingredients:

  • 2 large slices white bread, buttered
  • 2 heaped tsp of onion-tomato-chili relish
  • 50g Gruyere or Emmentaler cheese, grated
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled and cut into fine rings
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10g butter, melted
  • 25g Parmesan cheese, grated
    Pre-heat grill at highest temperature.
    Spread one teaspoon relish on each slice of bread. Sprinkle cheese on one slice of bread. Spread onion rings evenly on top of cheese, salt and pepper and cover with second slice.
    Spread half of melted butter and half of Parmesan on top of the sandwich  and squeeze together slightly. Put sandwich under the grill and grill for 2 minutes, about 5cm away from the heat source until golden brown. Turn the sandwich, spread rest of butter and Parmesanon it and grill again for 2 minutes.
    Enjoy!

    The veggie factor

    Recipe ratio (non.veg./veg.) 0/250; 100% vegetarian
    Worth it? Yes, definitely

    Product info and buy link :

    Title Delia’s Vegetarian Collection
    Author Delia Smith
    Publisher BBC Books
    ISBN 9780563493648
    I got this book from the library
    Buy link Buy Delia’s Vegetarian Collection
    More info Delia online

    If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

    Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

    This post is part of

    Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

    Article

    Book beginnings on Friday

    Boog beginnings on FridayCover The Accusers by Lindsey Davis

    My book beginning today is from another detective novel set in ancient Rome, about 40 years later than Bodies Politic, in 75AD. The Accusers is the 15th book in the very popular Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis.

    I had been an informer for over a decade when I finally learned what the job entailed.

    About time, I would say….

    What is YOUR book beginning today? To see more book beginnings go to Rose City Reader!

    Article

    Encyclopedia of an ordinary life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

    encyclopediaRead in print what you were always thinking!

    In a nutshell:

    Short synopsis:

    Short musings of an ordinary person about ordinary things.

    Language I read the book in: English

    Did I like it? Yes

    For people who: like snippets of thoughts, vignettes, encyclopedias, books where nothing is going on.

     


    My thoughts: 

    Amy Krouse Rosenthal has not survived against all odds. She has not lived to tell. She has not witnessed the extraordinary. She is just a person like you and me (provided you consider yourself to be ordinary – maybe you don’t). This is her book about her ordinary life and this is all it is. Don’t expect profound discoveries and complicated theories. Amy Krouse Rosenthal talks about everyday things in short dictionary entries.
    Almost no thought that you will read here will be completely new to you, most likely you will have had the same thought yourself a number of times already. Reading this book simply makes you realize you are not alone.

    More original than the content is how it is presented. Probably not many of us have imagined their life to be written down in alphabetical order, explaining your most mundane thoughts about truck cabs or the loudness of the car radio when you turn it on.

    Want an example?

    Butterscotch
    I love Butterscotch but rarely think to seek it out.

    You can read this in small doses or in one go, it doesn’t matter, as the entries are unrelated and stand-alone. It is nice to read, entertaining, with those moments when you say "Yes, exactly!"continuously happening, you close the book and then you forget about it. Just that you keep thinking those thoughts over and over again, because they are your own. Does that sound weird?

    Anyway, a quick read, a fun book, but nothing more.


    Product info and buy link :

    Title Encyclopedia of an ordinary life
    Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal
    Publisher Three Rivers Press
    ISBN 9781400080465
    I got this book from I bought it because a few years ago it was trendy among scrapbookers
    Buy link Buy Encyclopedia of an ordinary life
    More info The Encyclopedia of an ordinary life website

    If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

    Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

    Article

    Hector and the search for happiness by François Lelord

    Cover Hectors Reise oder die Suche nach dem Glück von Francois Lelord

    There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.

    In a nutshell:

    Short synopsis:

    A psychiatrist sets out on a journey to find out what makes people happy.

    Language I read the book in: German (Hectors Reise oder die Suche nach dem Glück)

    Did I like it? Yes

    For people who: like light reading that is more than meets the eye.


    My thoughts: 

    Starting to read:

    The writing style is unpretentious, simple and suitable even for children.

    Oh, Hector is adorable. He is a psychiatrist and so wonderfully innocent, it is a pleasure to meet him. However, I am glad to find that Hector is not completely angelic. After his little escapade with the Chinese girl (that he takes for a love match whereas she is a prostitute)  he manages to actually pass the blame for it to his girlfriend in this roundabout way that we all know. Had she come with him (as he asked her to) he would never have met Ying Li, ergo never have slept with her. Makes sense, right?

    I just read a few reviews of this book on GR and can’t understand people who criticize the book for not providing new insightful answers how to attain happiness. There are no new and insightful answers. What did they expect? That François Lelord tells them what to do in any given situation and, wham, happiness comes around the corner?

    Later on:

    Poor Hector, he goes through quite a lot, but there you see how the friendship with even the lowest life forms sometimes can help a great deal.

    Towards the end:

    I am glad things worked out ok. Ying Li has found a way out (again, never underestimate the positive power of criminals), Edouard has found a new vocation, Hector has found the various keys to happiness and they all lived happily ever after.

    All in all:

    This is a lovely, uplifting, positive book that just makes you smile from beginning to end. I am looking forward to the sequel which is already waiting for me on my shelf.


    Product info and buy link :

    Title Hector and the search for happiness
    Author François Lelord
    Publisher Gallic Books
    ISBN 9781906040239
    I got this book from I swapped it
    Buy link Buy Hector and the search for happiness

    If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

    Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

    Article

    Top ten all time favourite characters in books

    Top Ten Tuesday

    After I compiled my list of favourite characters in books it turned out that most of them are recurring characters from series and not stand-alone books. It seems they don’t make such an impression on me to really stick with me (except for a few, as you will see).

    Three are from detective novels, maybe this indicates that, even though I am not a stickler for law and order, at least I am a stickler for justice. My favourite detective heroes all have proven to be able to bend the rules and let something slide once in a while.

    Anyway, this is quite an eclectic list and not complete at all. They all just popped into my head.

    Top ten all time favourite characters in books
    1. Wesley from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Even though my last reading of the book was not that enthusiastic I still like Wesley who is the ultimate lover, hero, pirate, swordsman and whatever else you want him to be. At least I imagine him to be that way. 
    2. Marianne Engel from The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. I wouldn’t have thought I would choose a religious nut for this list, but I very much like her.
    3. Adrian Mole from the Adrian Mole diaries by Sue Townsend. The funniest diaries ever. Adrian’s comments about his life are priceless. A complete loser, but you sympathize with him and his plight.
    4. Sam I am from Green eggs and ham by Dr. Seuss. Shows if you are only insistent and obstinate enough you will get there.
    5. Saskia from Girl in Hyacinth Blue. I liked how she hung on to the painting and when she had to sell it was smart enough not to just sell it to the first bidder, but was cautious.
    6. The father in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story Outside the cabinet-maker’s. That guy just stuck with me. What a storyteller! I loved how he passed the boring waiting time for a little girl.
    7. A blog post made me think about him just this weekend. The Comte de Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos. He thinks he is on top of things when in reality he is simply getting as manipulated as everbody else.
    8. Lord Peter Wimsey from the books by Dorothy L. Sayers. The nobleman detective. Smart, clever, funny, literate, a gentleman.
    9. Marcus Valerius Corvinus from the series of the same name by David Wishart. A very modern Patrician sleuth in ancient Rome, drunkard lover of wine, rich and idle but always on the right side.
    10. Salvo Montalbano from the detective series by Andrea Camilleri. He is THE man. Sorry, Donna Leon, don’t even mention that Brunetti fellow in his presence.

    What are your Top Ten Favourite Characters in Books?

    Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.

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    Quizzical Monday

    quizzical_monday

    It’s time for another “Quizzical Monday”!

    Question:

    What book does the bear “State o’ Maine” belong into and who is his owner?

    Leave a comment with your answer. Then, to see whether you got it right,  click on "Show" below.  As usual, there is nothing to be won, this is just for fun!

    Answer SelectShow
    Article

    Tea & Books Reading Challenge

    Tea & Books Reading Challenge

    Ally reminded me of this fun challenge that Birgit is organizing at her blog The Book Garden. The Tea & Books Reading Challenge is all about the big books that we all are a bit reluctant to tackle – at least I am.

    Now that “The Museum of Innocence” arrived at my house Ally suggested I join in.

    Unfortunately after signing up I realized that the book “only” has around 600 pages, not sure Birgit will accept this as an entry. We will see. Anyway, I am already reading ANOTHER real chunkster which definitely qualifies.

    So, with two potential candidates I am opting for the lowest level which is called “Chamomile lover” (two books).

    My books are

    • “The Museum of Innocence” by Orhan Pamuk (if allowed) and
    • “The first man in Rome” by Colleen McCullough
      We will see how it goes…
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    Earth Day and The Lorax Project

    Another Earth Day and time for another Lorax Project. At Seussville you will find plenty of idea about how to introduce your children to environmental issues and how to teach them about taking good care of our environment.

    The Lorax Project Screenshot

    They can take the pledge to help the Lorax and print out a little certificate, create stickers and tags, send a letter to the Lorax, play games, learn about animals and find out what they can do to help the environment.

    Check out the Lorax Project today!

    Article

    In my mailbox


    Hosted by The Story Siren

    I received the rest of my order from Awesome Books this week, plus a few other things I am really looking forward to. A good book week, indeed!

    I swapped

    I bought

    • 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith. This is the first book in the series. I was only waiting for this one so I can start reading.
    • A Presumption of Death by Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers. This is the second Lord Peter Wimsey book that Jill Paton Walsh wrote/finished/co-wrote after “Thrones, Dominations”. Should be good.

    For review

    • Beyond Snapshots by Rachel Devina and Peta Mazey. How to take that fancy DSLR camera off “Auto” and photograph your life like a pro.
      I had totally forgotten that I requested this on Netgalley because it was months ago. The approval came only now – strange! But I will enjoy reading this.

    From the library

    •   The Accusers by Lindsey Davis. The 15th novel in the Marcus Didius Falco series. It is not my favourite Roman sleuth, but some of the books in this series are really good.

    Cover The museum of innocence by Orhan PamukCover 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall SmithCover A presumption of death by Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy L. Sayers

    Cover The Accusers by Lindsey DavisCover Beyond snapshots

    What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.

    Article

    Murder most frothy by Cleo Coyle

    Cover Murder most frothy by Cleo Coyle

    Endless chatter about coffee meets High Society – and murder.

    In a nutshell:

    Short synopsis:

    New York barista investigates murder in the fashionable Hamptons. Was the victim the real target or will the killer strike again?

    Language I read the book in: English

    Did I like it? Yes

    For people who: like cozy mysteries, first person POV, coffee talk, feisty heroine which lacks a little common sense.


    My thoughts: 

    Starting to read:

    This starts out nice enough. I like the protagonist, she is sensible and down to Earth. I was afraid the millionaire would be a gorgeous hunk, but he turns out to be middle-aged, short and chubby. Much better!

    I kind of find the constant references to the coffee blend Clare uses out of place. It is a coffeehouse mystery, so maybe this is normal in those themed cozies, but would you – after finding a corpse – ponder the type of coffee blend to use next?

    By the way, the painter with his studio in the Hamptons is not Jackson Pollack, for crying out loud. His name is Pollock, I hope this is just a typo.

    Later on:

    Clare is starting to get a bit too bossy with her daughter and too nosy for my taste. She obviously thinks she knows everything best and her promise to let her suspicions go isn’t worth anything. You better not make deals with her as she won’t stick to them.

    Moreover, she is practically breaking into a home in order to snoop around, something I find highly irresponsible and idiotic, not even counting the fact that she thinks it is the house of the killer. Is that woman crazy? I can’t say I like that sort of behaviour. Ha, appearance of the hunk! I knew it.

    No, unfortunately it was not a typo. The name of the guy is Pollock, dammit!

    Towards the end:

    Of couse, she has to meddle and not follow the advice from people who know what they are talking about. Figures. By now I am used to that already and don’t mind that much anymore.

    All in all:

    A nice, light read, perfect for a relaxed afternoon. It is the second book in the series but this was no problem at all. You can read it as a stand alone easily. The recipes at the end of the book are a nice bonus for coffee lovers, even though I think the eight layered chocolate-almond espresso will be awfully sweet. But worth a try!


    Location: The Hamptons, Long Island, New York, USA

    The Hamptons mapMontauk Point Lighthouse

    Images from wikipedia, Lighthouse picture by Wolfgang Wander


    Product info and buy link :

    Title Murder most frothy
    Author Cleo Coyle
    Publisher Berkley Publishing Group
    ISBN 9780425211137
    I got this book from Birgit at The Book Garden
    Buy link Buy Murder most frothy
    More info The Coffeehouse mysteries series
    Even more info Cleo Coyle’s Internet coffeehouse

    If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

    Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

    Article

    Readers’ workouts #2

    Readers' Workouts

    Last week was my first week to actually DO someting. I had planned to working out 90 minutes/week and that “worked out” alright.

    I rode my bike at home while watching TV (time just flies that way – sort of) and once I went swimming with my swimming buddy. I counted that with 20 minutes even though we were at the pool much longer (basically chatting and having fun in the hot outdoor pool).

    All in all I managed 95 minutes which is  perfectly fine with me.

    I love My Fitness Pal and am always so pleased when I can enter another exercise or weigh in. This is such fun!

    How is everybody else doing?

    To see other participants’ progress go to Joy’s Book Blog.

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    Top ten tips for new book bloggers

    Top Ten Tuesday

    Today we are asked to give some tips to new book bloggers. I have been book blogging for a few years now. I can tell new book bloggers what I like in book blogs and what makes them good book blogs in my eyes, but that does not mean that the blogs are successful in terms of “followers”, or whether they will monetize well. These are just my ideas and not carved in stone.

    Above all, remember that it is YOUR blog and YOUR voice, don’t try to please people. Here are my ten tips for what they’re worth:

     

    Top ten tips for new book bloggers

     

    1. Answer comments on your own blog.
      If I leave a comment and you don’t answer me I will come back. If it happens again I lose interest and won’t be back. Obviously you are not interested in talking with your readers.
    2. Don’t leave comments that don’t mean a thing.
      If I receive a comment that says “Nice choice of books. Check out my post!” I wonder why you even bothered.
    3. Don’t clutter your blog with crap.
      Don’t put fifty buttons, widgets, blinkies and links to challenges in your sidebar so I can’t find what I am looking for because of button overload. Especially consider re-doing your sidebar if its length is longer than the length of your posts on your homepage. I don’t want to scroll down only to see your sidebar with no other  content.
      If you insist on umpteen buttons, blinkies and what not, at least make sure they align, that they don’t mess up the layout and that they look as pleasing as possible.
    4. Don’t review hype books, at least not during the hype.
      If I see the hundredth review of Mockingjay within one week I get incredibly bored. I know the book is out (how can I not know having seen five hundred count down buttons?), I have heard it is FANTASTIC and that it is a must read already.
    5. Don’t use color combos that hurt my eyes.
      If I can’t look at your blog without going blind I won’t go there at all.   
    6. Don’t use ads too obviously.
      I don’t mind inconspicuous affiliate links to books, but if I see google ads at the top of every post, or even worse, flashy ad banners to whatever shop might fit my IP address, I am turned off very quickly.
    7. Try to make the same kinds of posts look the same.
      If you have a regular post on every Tuesday about, let’s say, books you read last week, it is helpful when these posts always look the same, so I can recognize right away the nature of your post. The same goes for reviews, memes etc.
    8. Go on twitter and participate in blogging events, like Bloggiesta, Blogfest, readalongs or maybe a giveaway. People will notice your blog only if you promote it and participate in community life.
    9. If you run a giveaway don’t make it mandatory to follow your blog in order to enter.
      If I have to follow a blog just to enter a giveaway I won’t enter. I won’t clutter up my RSS feed with blogs that I won’t visit regularly. You could argue that if I don’t want to follow you then I don’t deserve winning your book. Fair enough, it’s your blog. But forced followers do not equal loyal readers.
    10. Blog regularly.
      You don’t need to blog every day, but regularly. If a blog is only updated infrequently I will forget about its existence.

    What are your Top Ten Tips for new book bloggers?

    Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.

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    No strings attached giveaway hop

    Welcome to the No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop!

    The No strings attached giveaway hop is hosted by I am a reader, not a writer. There is no jumping through hoops in order to participate in this giveaway. One entry for everybody and no strings attached.

    I hope you are enjoying your stay at my blog and have a look around. If you would like to know about future giveaways and new posts in general please consider subscribing to my RSS feed or follow me on twitter. You can also add me on Google+.

    no_strings

    What am I giving away?

    I am giving away a used copy of The Shipping News by Annie Proulx.

    This the blurb:

    When Quoyle’s two-timing wife meets her just desserts, he retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters and family members all play a part in Quoyle’s struggle to reclaim his life. As Quoyle confronts his private demons — and the unpredictable forces of nature and society — he begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery.

    The Shipping News

    Above is a picture of the actual book you will be getting. It is in good condition, but it IS a used book, so please don’t expect it to be pristine!

    Oh, and, by the way, this is the novel that is “Ambitious and accomplished…The characterisation is rich, the dialogue both original and convincing.” that I asked for under No. 5 in my Quizzical Monday post here.

    Enter the giveaway
    No strings attached giveaway, April 17-22

     

     
    Contest is

    OVER
    164total entries
    0/0entries earned
    • A used copy of Annie Proulx’ "The Shipping News"

    And the winner is…

    results powered by Random.org

    Entry #104Black W.

    Do you run giveaways, too? Try Rafflecopter! It’s free.

    You an advertiser? Promote your brand w/ Rafflecopter.

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    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     


    Article

    Quizzical Monday

    quizzical_monday

    It’s time for another “Quizzical Monday”!

    Question:

    What book is this beginning from?

    “I see…” said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window.

    Leave a comment with your answer. Then, to see whether you got it right,  click on "Show" below.  As usual, there is nothing to be won, this is just for fun!

    Answer SelectShow
    Article

    Happy Birthday, Wilhelm Busch!

    Max und MoritzToday it would be the 180th birthday of Wilhelm Busch, a German poet and illustrator who wrote and drew picture stories that are regarded as precursor to comic strips. His most famous one is Max und Moritz, two boys who continuously play evil tricks on people and were a pain in the neck.

    Google is honoring him with a Google Doodle today.

    Wilhelm Busch Google Doodle

    The doodle is from Max and Moritz’ third prank they pull with Tailor Böck. They saw into the bridge that leads to his house and provoke him to cross it. When he does, the bridge collapses, he falls into the water and can only rescue himself by holding on to the legs of some geese that then pull him out of the water. Max and Moritz meanwhile are rejoicing behind the bush. Nice guys, them!

    Article

    In my mailbox


    Hosted by The Story Siren

     

    I have been on a bit of a cozy binge with the help of a coupon from Awesome books. Totally love that shop!

     

    I bought

    Another book in the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. I am still waiting for the first book to turn up.

    Cover Death of a Glutton by M. C. BeatonCover Death of a Travelling Man by M. C. BeatonCover Death of a Charming Man by M. C. Beaton

    Cover Death of a Nag by M. C. BeatonCover Death of a Macho Man by M. C. BeatonCover Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith

     

    What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.

    Article

    Weekend Cooking: The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla

    Cover The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy SinglaI bought this soon after I got my slow cooker, but unfortunately I haven’t used any recipes from it, even though they all sound great. Just another one of those things.

    The Indian Slow Cooker is a great book for curry lovers. Anupy Singla says she is the first one to combine Indian cuisine with slow cooking. According to her nobody ever thought of it before because Indian cooking normally includes very hot oil to which spices are added. This step is being left out when slow cooking (unless – like some of her friends do – you add this spice infused oil afterwards).

    The book starts with a chapter on how to get started cooking Indian and then moves on to slow cookers in general, spices, tools of the trade, pantry staples, beans, bread and how to eat Indian food.

    The recipes are divided into recipes with lentils, beans & peas, vegetables and meats followed by a chapter on side dishes and desserts. Except for the meat recipes, all recipes are perfectly suited for vegetarians. Out of the 80 odd pages only 16 are covering meat dishes, so the recipe ratio is great. Funnily enough, even in the meat section (and I almost missed that one) there is a vegetarian recipe called “Mock Keema”, which is made with “vegetarian crumbles”, which I suppose is soy mince.

    Before you start cooking and you haven’t got a kitchen already equipped with all the spices, you better go shopping to your local Indian/Asian grocery store to stock up. The recipes need a lot of different ingredients that are no kitchen staples, at least not for me.

     Spices and beans Spice jars

    Round labels from Cathe Holden’s site Just something I made. Lovely handwriting by my son.

    Recipes range from Simple split chickpea curry, Goan black-eyed peas, Simplest of simple yellow lentils to Spiced cauliflower and potatoes, Butter chicken and Lamb Biryani. The last chapter covers chutney, rice, naan yoghurt and other side dishes.

    Especially helpful for metric people: Right in the ingredients list it gives the American system (what is the name of it? I have no idea. spoon and cup system?) along with the metric measurements.

    If you like Indian food and want to use your slow cooker more, you might want to give this book a try.

      The veggie factor

      Recipe ratio (non.veg./veg.) ca. 7/43
      Worth it? Definitely

      Product info and buy link :

      Title The Indian Slow Cooker
      Author Anupy Singla
      Publisher Agate Publishing
      ISBN 9781572841116
      I got this book from I bought it
      Buy link Buy The Indian Slow Cooker

      If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

      Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

      This post is part of

      Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

    Article

    The Paris myth

    Don’t get me wrong. I like Paris, it is a great city that is well worth visiting.

    However, reviews of "Paris in Love" made me realize that people have all sorts of ideas about Paris. Yes, Paris is lovely, it is wonderful, beautiful when the cherry trees are in bloom (if there are cherry trees, that is), the people are friendly, the food is gorgeous and the people have an unequalled sense of fashion. Yes, but this is so in every other city on the planet when you go to the right spot, the orchard, the right restaurant, when you are in the right frame of mind and when you are off (and preferably everybody else is, too).

    I don’t know what it is about Paris that people seem to think that it is different from any other metropolitan area on Earth. I am sorry to say it is not. Not every Parisian ambles down the street to meet his friends for a Pernod and spends two minutes kissing before settling down to chat for hours. Not every Parisian gets up leisurely before slowly taking a stroll to his local boulangerie to get a delicious croissant and then go home again to enjoy his French pressed coffee and breakfast on his cast iron balcony looking over the roofs of Paris while the sun is slowly rising on the horizon, bathing the Eiffel tower in a soft light.

    Instead people are just as pressed for time as in every other part of the world, they hurry to work, complain about rude waiters, get mugged and spend hours in a tunnel in a stinking subway squeezed in between cursing commuters during rush hour because some miserable sap has committed suicide on the tracks ahead. I am talking from experience.

    So, yes, there are picturesque scenes in Paris, just like there are in New York, Copenhagen, Riga and Tokyo. Please, don’t give me all that stuff about Paris being the ultimate romantic lovers’ city with rose petals scattered in the streets.  It is perfectly fine to project your dreams about the perfect place into Paris and conjure it up in your head, but don’t make it sound as if this was reality. Because it is not.

    Animum debes mutare, non caelum. ~Horace, and later Seneca

    Just to counteract all that Paris glorification I am giving away a used copy of “A year in the merde” by Stephen Clarke today.

    Sorry – the giveaway has ended.  

    year

    Paul West arrives in Paris to start a new job – and finds out what the French are really like.

    Article

    History locations: St. Johannis cemetery

    One of the most famous graves at St.Johannis cemetery is the grave of Albrecht Dürer, one of THE artists of theAlbrecht Dürer's monogram Renaissance in Northern Europe.

    The plaque says “Quicquid Alberti Dureri mortale fuit, sub hoc conditur tumulo” (The mortal remains of Albreacht Dürer are resting under this grave). Albrecht Dürer died on April 6, 1528 from Malaria. The grave was neglected for a long time (he had no children) and only in 1681 it was renovated by the artist Joachim von Sandrart who was buried in the same cemetery only seven years later.

    Dürer's hare

    Apart from both these two artists a lot of celebrities are buried here, among them Veit Stoß, a sculptor,  Anton Koberger, one of the first typographers, publishers and booksellers who in the 15th century operated his business in a capitalist way (I wouldn’t be surprised if he even practiced hostile takeovers), Hans Sachs, a Meistersinger, and William Wilson, a railway pioneer who drove the first German locomotive “Adler” between Nürnberg and Fürth in 1835.

     

     

    Albrecht Dürer grave

    Article

    Bodies politic by David Wishart

    Cover Bodies Politic by David Wishart

    Conspiracies and wedding preparations in ancient Rome.

    In a nutshell:

    Short synopsis:

    Marcus Valerius Corvinus is setting out to vindicate Macro who was forced to commit suicide by his former bosom buddy, the Emperor.

    Language I read the book in: English

    Did I like it? Yes, this is another great addition to the series

    For people who… like the Marcus Corvinus series, mysteries set in Ancient Rome, wisecracking modern sleuths in a historical environment


    My thoughts: 

    Starting to read

    As opposed to all the earlier books now we are in the reign of Caligula. I kind of like that because not only is Caligula a rather interesting character (maybe not likeable, but colourful), but I also found him in earlier books rather refreshing, especially together with some of his entourage, e.g. Felix and his sidekick. It also helps that I always picture John Hurt as Caligula in my mind.

    Marcus Corvinus is once more drawn into an investigation which turns out to be under false pretenses from the start. When I heard that the note that starts it all did not come from Macro I immediately thought of Felix’ scheming, but after visiting Caligula I dismissed this. Maybe, however, this is a double bluff. We’ll see.

    Already the lack of continuity in the books is apparent again. Not that it matters that much, but Marcia’s husband is not Paullus, but Fabius. David Wishart sometimes just doesn’t get his names right (see the name of Marcus’ mother or Marcia’s relationship with Fabius in previous books). 

    Later on

    I have been waiting for this. In all Marcue Corvinus books there is a Deus ex Machina in the shape of Caelius Crispus. Whenever Marcus needs information, secrets that nobody possibly could know, he turns to Caelius Crispus for it. The man is a notorious gossip monger, he knows everything about everybody, a knowledge he uses to climb up the career ladder. He only imparts information reluctantly but always sends Marcus into the right direction nevertheless. He is indispensable for Marcus’ sleuthing, because without him the plot would be stuck.

    Towards the end

    The political mysteries are always a little convoluted with all the people involved and goings on in the various political camps and parts of the world. This one was even more so, because there were a few separate conspiracies (real and fake ones), so you had to really be on your toes to follow them all. I love the vacation in Alexandria with a bit of local flair. It is also nice to compare it with the same trip of Decius Caecilius Metellus in “The Temple of the Muses”  around 60 B.C.

    All in all

    This is a very good continuation of the series and I hope that there will be more, especially now that Caligula is emperor. He is a much more lively character than Tiberius and provides a lot of entertainment for the reader (even though not necessarily for the people around him).

    If you don’t know the series, I recommend you start with the first book, “Ovid” and work your way through, though.


    Location: Ancient Rome at the time of Caligula

    CaligulaTemple of Castor and Pollux

    Images from wikipedia


    Movie tip:

    I, Claudius (TV series)

     


    Product info and buy link :

    Title Bodies Politic
    Author David Wishart
    Publisher self published
    ISBN 9781476446431
    I got this book from I bought it from Smashwords
    Buy link Buy Bodies politic as e-book from Smashwords
    More info The Marcus Corvinus series
    Even more info David Wishart’s website

     

    Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.