Article

My bookish Christmas gifts

Two bookish gifts for me that I am really looking forward to read and watch:

A cabinet of Roman curiosities

A cabinet of Roman curiosities by J.C. McKeown.

This one has been on my wishlist for a long time. In structure it reminds me a bit of Schott’s Miscellany, in that it is just a number of “strange tales and surprising facts”.

 

Night train to Lisbon

 

The movie “Night train to Lisbon” with Jeremy Irons. I just hope they didn’t butcher the wonderful Nachtzug nach Lissabon by Pascal Mercier. Relying on Bille August here.

Will be watching it tonight. 

Article

The best of Amish friends – Cookbook collection

Cover The best of Amish friends cookbook collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter

In real life this seems to be a spiral bound book, which I quite like. The cover immediately appealed to me and this time I was not disappointed with the photos inside either (see my review of Simply Delicious Amish Cooking). That is until I noticed quite a few pixelated images which still had an iStockphoto watermark on them. I am not sure what is going on but if you buy an image you normally receive the image without a watermark, so I found this quite strange (and they were not pleasing to look at either).

The book is divided into various sections, from breads and rolls, jams and jellies to main dishes, desserts and miscellaneous. Interspersed between the recipes are little stories and tidbits about Amish life and quotes, some are from the Bible, some from other sources, some are trite, some nice. The book makes for an entertaining read even without the recipes.

Most of the main dishes are with meat, but I found lots of nice things among the other chapters. Especially a recipe for zucchini and carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting (see my post about that treat here) has caught my fancy. I will definitely give that one a try.

All in all, a nice cookbook with pretty pictures and some wisdom and information about the Amish thrown in.


Product info and buy link :

Title The best of Amish friends – Cookbook collection
Author Wanda E. Brunstetter
Publisher Barbour Publishing
ISBN 9781624162145
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy The best of Amish friends – Cookbook collection

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

Simply delicious Amish cooking by Sherry Gore

Cover Simply Delicious Amish Cooking by Sherry Gore

 

I was a tiny bit disappointed with this book. Not so much with the contents but the presentation. For some reason the lovely cover made me anticipate tons of color photos of Amish life, farms, kitchens and what not, but all it offered was a black and white photograph at the beginning of each chapter. Other than that the contents is exactly what it says on the cover, recipes and short stories or memories told by various people. Interesting but nothing Earth shattering either.

The recipes are organized in various chapters starting with breakfast recipes then going through the usual vegetables, meats, seafood, pies to a chapter called “this and that”, which consists of some rather “exotic” recipes like for example “Dark chocolate-covered caramels with sea salt” or “Hand-dipped chocolate-covered coconut patties”. This surprised me as I somehow thought that Amish meals would be a little more, um, frugal. Obviously I don’t know a lot about the Amish. Anyway, I quite liked the sound of most of them and will definitely try out a few in the course of my NEW52 Foodie Project.

Some of my favourites that I want to try were:

  • Banana sour cream bread
  • Grilled lime fish fillets
  • Shrimp scampi
  • Busy day cookies and probably every other cookie in the book
  • Lemon sour cream pie

I got quite a lot of nice sounding recipes out of this book but all in all it did not quite meet my expectations.


Product info and buy link :

Title Simply delicious Amish cooking
Author Sherry Gore
Publisher Zondervan
ISBN 9780310335542
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy Simply delicious Amish cooking

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

Fix-it and forget-it: Vegetarian Main dishes by Phyllis Pellman Good

Cover Fix it and forget it Vegetarian main dishes


inanutshell 

I was slightly disappointed with this book. The last vegetarian book in this series had plenty of slow cooker meals, but in this book a lot of the recipes were non-crockpot meals and I am not sure how that ties in with the fix-it and forget-it idea.

Right the first recipe is for mushroom manicotti, and, frankly, I do not see the “forget-it” in a meal that calls for cooked manicotti, preparing the stuffing, stuffing the pasta, bake it and then prepare a tomato sauce on the side to serve it with.

So far to me this series represented easy recipes where I could throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and forget about them until the cooker had worked its magic. This concept seems to have been given up now for the sake of “roasting, stir-frying and steaming – all the methods that so highlight vegetables’ star qualities”. Admittedly those recipes sound mouth watering and lovely: Tasty lentil tacos, Polenta with spicy bean sauce, Quinoa with broccoli and hoisin sauce, but they are not what I came for.

I saved some of the slow cooker recipes and am definitely planning on making them soon. The non-crockpot dishes are definitely worth a go as well, just that they are not the fix-it and forget-it kind. If you don’t mind that, go for this book.


Product info and buy link :

Title Fix-it and forget it: Vegetarian main dishes
Author Phyllis Pellman Good
Publisher Open Road Integrated Media
ISBN ASIN B00AYRI3GM
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy Fix-it and forget-it: Vegetarian Main Dishes

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 Borgias–The hidden history by G J. Meyer

Cover The Borgias by G. J. Meyer

 

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

An unbiased (or maybe not quite, rather a little pro-Borgia) look at the Borgias from pope Calixtus III. to Cesare and Lucrezia.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Very much

For people who: like European history, the Renaissance


My thoughts: 

When I started reading this I knew next to nothing about the Borgias. I only knew that they are said to have been an infamous family, poisoning people to the left and right, power greedy as nobody else before or after, you know what I mean. Other than that I was clueless.

G.J. Meyer set out to write a book to rehabilitate that family and he does an excellent job. He starts at a time when the first member of the Borgias, Alonso de Borja, who later became pope Calixtus III., begins his career. We then are taken on a mind spinning journey through the next 80 years or so, learning about the rise of this incredible family, their drawbacks, the ramifications of their actions as well as all the political goings on in Renaissance Italy. And there is a lot to tell.

Alliances were formed one day and withdrawn the next, warlords were usurping cities all over the place, condottieri sold their services to one baron this moment and to another one the next, foreign kings were meddling nonstop. The intermarriages between families and the various relationships were mind-boggling; this is not a book that you can read without concentrating on it. The author, however, has a writing style that just flows and he explains everything so well that it is a pleasure to follow otherwise confusing events.

After every chapter he inserts a background chapter where he explains one specific aspect of the time, for example a short history of Venice and how come it was the only city state reigned over by a council of men, what condottieri were, great discoveries of the time etc. Those chapters were breaks where one could learn about a subject in more detail before the eventful family story was taken up again.

While being pro-Borgia the author still does not sugarcoat what the Borgias did. He tells facts and does not gossip. He interprets events for which there is no evidence in the Borgias’ favour, but always mentions other points of view as well. However, his interpretations make sense.

I feel that I can hold up a conversation about the Borgias now and know what I am talking about. Next time someone mentions Lucrezia Borgia being the ultimate venefica of the last millennium, I will be able to defend her with ease. What more can you ask for?

If you even have a faint interest in history and the Renaissance and/or the Borgias, you have to read this book.


Movie tip

I could recommend the TV series from 2011 “The Borgias”, but somehow I have the feeling it won’t do justice to the Borgias, so better stay away from it.


Product info and buy link :

Title The Borgias – The hidden history
Author G. J. Meyer
Publisher Bantam
ISBN 9780345526915
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy The Borgias – The hidden history

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.

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This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

Article

The non-fiction giveaway blog hop

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

Welcome to the first non-fiction giveaway blog hop. Non-fiction is a sadly neglected topic among book bloggers as most of us are mainly talking about fiction. So here we are to give non-fiction its much needed exposure. I am sure you will find a a book about a topic you would like to know more about among the participants’ giveaways. Make sure you visit all of them and sign up for their giveaways. After all…

"You know, everybody’s ignorant, just on different subjects."

~Will Rogers

You will find a list of the participating blogs below my giveaway.

What am I giving away?

week-at-the-airport

It’s a new copy of Alain de Botton’s “A week at the airport”. You can read my review of it here.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment with your name and email and tell me what’s your favourite non-fiction topic, and your favourite book about it.

The giveaway is international and closes on April 29.

Now start hopping on to the other participants:

Rikki’s Teleidoscope (Int’l) – this is where you are right now

The Book Garden (Int’l)

Curiosity killed the bookworm (Int’l)

Ex urbanis (Int’l)

Bookchickdi (Int’l & US)

Snow Feathers (Int’l)

Buku-Buku Didi (Int’l)

Doing Dewey (US)

Saving in seconds (US)

 

Have fun and good luck!

Article

Fix-it and forget-it vegetarian soups, stews and chilis by Phyllis Pellman Good

Cover Fix it and forget it Vegetarian Soups, stews and chilis


inanutshell 

Just like the first Fix it and forget it book that I reviewed, this is a no-nonsense book with recipes suitable for a busy life with real life pictures. The recipes are all fairly easy and mostly for the slow cooker. With a few exceptions the instructions are limited to “mix all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 7-8 hours on low”. Can it be any easier? If you love beans and lentils especially, this is a book for you.

Out of the fifty recipes so far I have tried the Red Lentil Soup and it was super easy and very delicious. With baguette it is a nice, convenient and filling meal.

Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1,2 l vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 tbsp rice uncooked
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1.5 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

Mix everything in crockpot

Cook 4-5h on high or 7-8 hours on low.

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

By the way, today is the last day to sign up for the Non-fiction giveaway blog hop. Have you got a cookbook you want to give away? Sign up and find a new home for it.


Product info and buy link :

Title Fix-it-and-forget-it vegetarian soups, stews and chilis
Author Phyllis Pellman Good
Publisher Open Road Media
ISBN ASIN B00AYRI5FQ
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy Fix-it-and-forget-it vegetarian soups, stews and chilis

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

Weekend Cooking: Two greedy Italians

Cover Two greedy Italians

Today I want to share something from “Two greedy Italians”, a delightful book with a lot of delicious sounding recipes. The German title is “Trattoriaküche” (Trattoria cuisine) which indicates down-to-earth food. My recipe today is for a poor man’s meal that has obviously taken the gourmet world by storm – Testaroli.

The ingredients couldn’t be cheaper or simpler, the result is pretty delicious – even though I think I cooked mine a tiny little bit too long.

Testaroli

Testaroli

Ingredients:

250 g flour

1 pinch of salt

2 tbsp olive oil

400 ml water

Instructions:

Sieve flour and salt into a bowl. Slowly whisk in 400 ml water until it is a smooth dough. Mix in olive oil.

In hot olive oil fry one ladle of dough  at a time. Each side 3-4 minutes.
Cut the slices into 8 strips each.
(A research on the net showed that usually the testaroli are cut into a diamond shape. )

Bring salted water to a boil. Add the testaroli and boil until they rise to the surface. Take out and drain properly.

Serve with a sauce of your choice, best is homemade tomato sauce or pesto.

The veggie factor of the book.

Recipe ratio (non.veg./veg.) can’t say but there are a lot of veggie recipes in there.
Worth it? Yes

Product info and buy link :

Title Two greedy Italians
Author Antonio Carluccio & Gennaro Contaldo
Publisher Quadrille Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 9781844009428
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Two greedy Italians

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

A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela

Cover A day in the life of ancient Rome by Alberto Angela 

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

We accompany the author during his day wandering around ancient Rome, sightseeing, admiring, explaining things.

Language I read the book in: German (Ein Tag im alten Rom)

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like Ancient Rom and history made come to life by describing daily occurrences.


My thoughts: 

If you are interested in ancient Rome this book is a must read.

Alberto Angela takes us on a guided tour around Rome at the time of Trajan. We start in the very early morning in the house of a rich man, move on to shops, insulae, taverns, tempels, the baths, banquets and the Colosseum. We explore every aspect of daily ancient Roman life, breakfast, cooking, shopping, eating out, religion, entertainment, childbirth, teaching, dying….

Everything is presented in a very digestible way, explained properly with the appropriate background and shown from all sides (e.g. slavery or gladiators).

Where possible we are told about archaeological discoveries that back up the fictional stories (for example a fight between two gladiators that was documented on a mosaic, so detailed that even the names of the fighters were recorded).

There are only a few illustrations, no models, photos or other visual helpers to conjure Rome, but that is not necessary. Every chapter was so interesting and entertaining that I finished this book in no time. The German subtitle of this book is “Common, mysterious and astonishing facts”, and it completely lives up to that. Highly recommended.

Mr. Angela has one more book on the subject of ancient Rome out and one coming out in June that I will have to track down now.


Product info and buy link :

Title A day in the life of ancient Rome
Author Alberto Angelo
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 9781933372716
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy A day in the life of ancient Rome

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.

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This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

Article

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

When I joined Birgit’s This isn’t fiction reading challenge I didn’t know that I would be going through quite a number of non-fiction books this year. I signed up for five books and already almost reached this goal and it is not even April! I know from her recent series about non-fiction that there are quite a few other non-fiction readers out there (after all somebody must buy all those tons of non-fiction books coming out every year). So, how about a non-fiction giveaway blog hop? A lot of those books are never re-read, why let them sit on the shelf and catch dust?

Join the Non-fiction giveaway blog hop and give those books to a good home where they will serve their purpose all over again! Alternatively give away a new book that you loved and want to share with other readers!

The rules:

The giveaway runs from April 26 to 29, 2013.

Everybody stipulates their own rules. One country or international, it is up to you.

The giveaway must be a non-fiction book, it can be a cook book, a craft book, a biography, it can be about whatever topic you want, as long as the content is not fictional.

Winners should be drawn within 5 days of giveaway closing and made public on your blog.

Sign up:

Please use the form below to sign up and make sure you add whether your giveaway is international or what country/continent it is limited to. Sign up closes on April 20. You will receive a reminder about the hop a few days before its start. Please, do not sign up if you do not intend to have your giveaway post up on the morning of April 26.

There is no obligation to write a sign-up post on your blog, but I would be eternally grateful if you did anyway to spread the word about this hop.

Join the Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop and give a non-fiction book a new home!

"You know, everybody’s ignorant, just on different subjects."

~Will Rogers 

Article

Weekend cooking: Cooking from above–Baking

On my quest for new recipes I stumbled upon a book called “Cooking from above – Baking” by Marianne Magnier- Moreno (Original title: Mon Cours de Cuisine – Ma Pâtisserie).

baking_above

It is an absolutely beautiful baking book for visual people. The concept is that every recipe is accompanied by photographs of all the steps taken from above. Very helpful if you are not sure what the result of the various steps should look like. But whereas in most cookbooks the images of in between steps serve just an educational purpose and are often done in a rather uninspired way, here the aesthetic appeal is just as extraordinary as the culinary one.

baking1

Every piece of equipment is beautiful, vintage knifes, enamel spatulas, the stoves are just the size they need to be to fit the pot, it is just a pleasure to look at those images depicting the gathered ingredients (always neatly lined up) up to the finished product.

baking2

Apart from the visual pleasure you get a lot of delicious recipes. As it is a pâtisserie book it is not only about baking (the English title is a bit misleading). It covers desserts creams, sweet sauces, various cakes – from simple to sophisticated –, small pastry (among them maccarons and madeleines) and fruit cakes.

I recommend this to everybody who loves to browse through cook books and admire the beautiful food pictures, as well as to pâtisserie lovers. 


Product info and buy link :  

Title Cooking from above – baking
Author Marianne Magnier-Moreno
Publisher Hamlyn
ISBN 0600619982
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Cooking from above – Baking on Amazon as a used book

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.

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This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

Article

Ancient Rome on five denarii a day by Philip Matyszak

Cover Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Phili Matyszak

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

A time-traveler’s guide to sightseeing, shopping, and survival in the city of the Caesars.

Language I read the book in: German

Did I like it? It was quite entertaining.

For people who: would like to know a bit about ancient Rome without going into detail; would like to read an entertaining guide instead of a history book.


My thoughts: 

 

This is a fun little guide. Written like a contemporary travel guide it covers areas like hot to get to Rome, being a guest in a Roman household, where to find entertainment, where to shop etc. Pretty nice and enjoyable.

Interspersed are illustrations and little tidbits and trivia that add an extra touch. Want to know where certain modern words come from? About the state of Roman rented flats? You can learn a quite a lot about ancient Rome here. However, don’t expect too much depth! This book only lightly scratches the surface of what is to know, so if you want in depth knowledge you have to look elsewhere.

Two things that bothered me is that I was not sure in what time period I was visiting the city. From what is being said I assume it must be after Commodus (I think he is the last emperor that was mentioned), that would leave us at some point after 192 AD. I would have liked to know in what time I am travelling.

Also I did not particularly like the fact that often something was explained with a “and this will still be so 2000 years later” added at the end. This dulled the “contemporary” experience as it became clear that we are not in that period anymore. Of course, I am very much aware of that fact, but in a truly “fake” contemporary guide there should not be hints at what is going to happen in the future.

All in all, however, an enjoyable short read. If you are not already hooked on Ancient Rome, it might prompt you to read more about it.

You can find a small sample of the book in my Weekend Cooking post from last weekend where I talked about a delicious ancient Roman recipe that I found in this guide.


Product info and buy link :

 

Title Ancient Rome on five denarii a day
Author Philip Matyszak
Publisher Thames & Hudson Ltd.
ISBN 9780500051474
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Ancient Rome on five denarii a day

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.

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This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

Article

Crochet One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

Cover Crochet One-skein Wonders by Judith Durant

Crochet one skein wonders is a great book for projects and ideas for experienced crocheters. Every project uses 100g yarn or less, so none of them is overwhelming or too time consuming.

The projects are sorted by yarn weight starting from thread to heavy weight with everything in between. If you feel like a quick project, just look in your stash what you have got at home and then look up a project for that type of yarn – very convenient. They range from scarves and cowls to doll clothes, baby caps or shoes, jewellery and bags to mittens and gloves. The style varies and I am sure everybody will find something they will like.

At the end there is a list of abbreviations commonly used in stitching instructions  as well as a symbol key in order to understand the charts. A guide to yarn weights and a glossary complete the book. The glossary consists of short instructions on how to crochet the various stitches and comes with a few illustrations.

All instructions are clear and easy to follow. As a bonus for non-American readers all measurements are given in cm as well as inches, which is a great help. I already went through my stash and chose a spiral mesh bag as my first project. I admit I am slow, but but will post my progress here on Crafty Tuesday.

All in all for crocheters this is a really nice book with lots of ideas to choose from, and they are all do-able with what we have at home already without additional expense. All of us have a leftover skein lying around somewhere. Let’s put it to good use!


Product info and buy link :

 

Title Crochet One-Skein Wonders
Author Judith Durant (editor)
Publisher Storey Publishing
ISBN 9781612120423
I got this book from Storey Punlishing via Netgalley
Buy link Buy Crochet one-skein wonders

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.

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This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

Article

Paper artist by Gail Green

paper_artist


In a nutshell:   

 

Short synopsis: Paper projects for children of all ages

Did I like it? Yes, it is inspirational and gives tons of ideas and instructions

For people who: like paper and crafting


My thoughts:   

 

The projects in this book cover a wide range of topics and levels of difficulty. Every (future) paper crafter can find something here that appeals to him/her. The book is divided into several chapters, from “Adorable Accessories” (definitely for girls), “Pretty Presents”, “Classy Keepsakes” to “Dazzling Decorations”.

Some of the projects are intricate and fragile; as the mother of two boys I would predict that they won’t stay intact for very long, but maybe girls are a bit more careful with paper art. If you are a beginner or you have clumsy and impatient kids, you should start with some of the easier, more sturdy items, but as you get more experienced you can try your skills with more advanced projects. And there is plenty to choose from. Tubular frames, quilled name plates, cards, photo cubes, book ends, owls, boxes, ornaments, time capsules, you name it. The techniques vary, from scrapbooking to quilling, to weaving to mosaic. Some of them easy, some of them rather sophisticated and with a lot of supplies. The instructions are always clear and easy to follow.

If you are a paper crafter and would like to introduce your child to it, or if you want to explore paper crafting together with your child, this book is something you should definitely have a look out for.


Product info and buy link :

Title Paper artist: Creations kids can fold, wear, tear or share
Author Gail Green
Publisher Capstone Press
ISBN 9781623700041
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy Paper artist (publishing date March 01, 2013)

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.

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This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

Article

Fix-it and Forget-it Holiday Dishes and Sides by Phyllis Pellman Good

Cover Fix-it and forget-it Holiday Dishes and Sides by Phyllis Pellman

Cookbook for the crockpot lover

My thoughts: 

Meat and crockpot lovers will like this book. Being a vegetarian I didn’t get too much out of it, as all main dishes, except two (Arroz con queso and Minestra di Ceci), are with meat or seafood.

From what I understood Phyllis Pellman Good collected those recipes from other people and edited them for this book. Every recipe has a name and town at the top, so I assume that is the person who contributed the recipe. A good sign, as those meals tend to be more “real life” as some you can find in the cookbooks from professional cook book authors. All ingredients are common and easy to find, no recipe has an impossible amount of ingredients and all you do is put them in the crockpot and let it do its magic.

Some recipes come with a photo and those also look like real life pictures taken in a real environment – not the kind where the food stylist has created a “dish” that nobody will ever be able to produce.

If I were a meat eater I’d cook several of the recipes. Here are some that would have appealed to me in my previous life.

  • Barbecued Ribs
  • Ham with sweet potatoes and oranges
  • Garlic with lime chicken
  • Turkey Fajitas

The veggie factor

Recipe ratio (non.veg./veg) 40/60. Almost all main dishes are non veggie, the sides are without meat.
Worth it? No


Product info and buy link :

Title Fix-it and Forget-it Holiday Dishes and Sides
Author Phyllis Pellman Good
Publisher Good Books
ISBN 9781453276969
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy Fix-it and Forget-it Holiday Dishes and Sides for Kindle

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

What matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan

Cover What matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan

Twenty puzzles in Jane Austen’s fiction – twenty (possible) solutions.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

John Mullan shows that we can best appreciate Austen’s brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction. Asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals the inner workings of their greatness.

Language I read the book in:  English

Did I like it?  Yes

For people who:  hate it when apple blossoms turn up in June and nobody has an explanation for it.


My thoughts: 

Both for Jane Austen aficionados as well as for those who simply want to learn more about her this is a must read. In various chapters we are being told about all the little details in her books that most readers don’t even notice and never think about.

Who does never speak? Who calls each other by their first names and if they don’t, why? Not only gives the book insight into the books that you would otherwise not have, it also tells you a lot about the time Jane Austen lived in, her life, letters and circumstances. It dissects the stories, but not in a way that you think “oh, I am sick of Jane Austen now and never want to read anything by her again” but rather in the way that you want to go and re-read all her books once more and discover all those things yourself. You will see her stories in a different light because this book opened your eyes for them.

I will probably buy this book in print and then start to re-read Austen. Also, I will buy it for my Austenite friend. I know that she will love it, too. And, I am sure, so will you. 


Movie tip

Any Jane Austen movie. My recommendations: Pride and Prejudice TV mini series and Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow.


Product info and buy link :

Title What matters in Jane Austen?
Author John Mullan
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN 9781620400418
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy What matters in Jane Austen? (out in Jan 2013) or an older edition What matters in Jane Austen?

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

Is Heathcliff a murderer? by John Sutherland

inanutshell
Puzzles in 19th-century fiction 

Short synopsis:

John Sutherland analyzes unsolved mysteries and enigmas in classic 19th century fiction.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like to get to the bottom of things, enjoy speculating about what happened that the writers kept quiet about.

This is a delightful read if you have read the books in question and always wondered about certain aspects, like, for example, what the hell was that transcendental experience when Jane and Mr. Rochester communicate via “celestial telegram”? Or, what went really on between Ms. Stoner and Dr. Roylott in “The Speckled Band”? Or whether Alec is a rapist or not?

Out of the 34 books tackled I have read only 13, not an impressive figure, but it is still worth getting this book. Plus, the intriguing chapter titles encourage you to go and read the rest. Who wouldn’t want to know what is behind the question “What kind of murderer is John Barton?”, or what is the story of “Effie Dean’s phantom pregnancy”

Highly recommended!


Related books by John Sutherland:

Can Jane Eyre be happy? *** Who betrays Elizabeth Bennett?


Product info and buy link :

Title Is Heathcliff a murderer?
Author John Sutherland
Publisher Oxford Paperbacks
ISBN 9780192834683
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Is Heathcliff a murderer? in Awesome Books’ bargain bin

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

Article

Weekend Cooking: Duchy Originals Cookbook

duchy_origEver since I tasted Duchy originals lemon curd I was in love with the products.

On my last trip to the library I came across this Duchy Originals Cookbook and took it home without even looking inside. I knew there would probably be a lot of meat recipes in there but that didn’t matter. I just wanted to have a closer look at it. And I am glad I did.

The book is divided into four seasonal chapters with sub chapters like lambs or the forest in spring, bread or bees and honey in summer, jam or salmon in autumn and cheese, sausages or chocolate in winter.

The foreword is written by Prince Charles, who founded Duchy Originals twenty years ago, then we learn about the history and philosophy of the company. Some of those are the promotion of sustainable and organic farming, producing food in a traditional manner and working according to the cycle of nature.

It is an absolutely lovely book with beautiful pictures, interesting articles and very yummy recipes. Even though I only looked at the vegetarian ones I found plenty of dishes I want to try out.

The one I did try out right away are the granola bars. 

Granola Bars with organic honey

granola_bars

Frame by Audrey Neal. 

Ingredients

  • 100 g rolled oats
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 25 g sunflower seeds
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 150 g butter
  • 75 g organic honey (preferably Duchy Originals, but any kind will do)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Mix rolled oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and sugar in a bowl.

Melt butter together with honey and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Line a baking dish with baking paper and pour mixture into it. Even it out and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Take out of the oven and cool down completely. Take off paper and cut into bars.

They keep in an airtight container for about a week.

I didn’t have bought pumpkin seeds but a Hokkaido pumpkin instead and wanted to roast my own seeds, but it didn’t work out. They burnt in the end, but I am not sure they would have turned out ok even if they hadn’t.

If anyone has a few tips on how to roast your own pumpkin seeds I would be grateful.

Anyway, I ended up using twice the amount of sunflower seeds instead and that worked, too. The bars are super nice, a bit on the sweet side, so I suppose you could cut down on the sugar a little. 

The veggie factor

Recipe ratio (non.veg./veg.) I didn’t count, and I could be way off, but I reckon about 75%/25%
Worth it? Yes, definitely. In spite of the veggie factor.

Product info and buy link :

Title Duchy Originals Cookbook
Author Johnny Acton & Nick Sandler
Publisher Kyle Cathie Limited
ISBN 9781904920694
I got this book from the libary
Buy link Buy Duchy Originals Cookbook

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 art of travel by Alain de Botton

kunstdesreisensWhy our way of travelling won’t work.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

The Art of Travel explains our way of travelling, why it doesn’t work and what we could do to improve our travel experiences.

Language I read the book in: German (Kunst des Reisens)

Did I like it? Only in parts

For people who: like Alain de Botton, long winded musings.

 


My thoughts: 

I read this book in German and was very pleased with the translation by Silvia Morawetz. I know Alain de Botton’s writing style from other books and she seems to have captured it very well. It was a pleasure to read this book – as far as the German was concerned.

I love travelling. I have been working in the hospitality industry for decades and everything even remotely travelling related is in my nature. That is why I was really looking forward to this book. Unfortunately I was disappointed by it.

The book is divided into several chapters about departure, reasons for travelling, landscapes, art and return. In each chapter Alain de Botton is musing about what we do while travelling, how we do it and why it does or doesn’t work, enriched with his own experiences. His reasoning was always right on, not that they were anything new, mind. Everybody who has travelled and possesses the ability for self reflection must come to the conclusion that travelling won’t make you happy if you haven’t been happy in the first place. The conclusion that you are always bringing yourself is not that original, but I am sure there are people out there who still think that going from one place to another will change their own  disposition. Those are the people this book is for.

I also found his arguments about sightseeing and why it usually isn’t educating very reasonable and convincing. It all makes sense and it was really nice to read about it.

Unfortunately, as if he thought his books needs more substance or as if he thought he needed help from other writers or artists, he brought other people’s thoughts into it. And that is exactly what bored me to death. Alain de Botton could have gone on ad infinitum about travelling and I would have gladly read it all, but Gustave Flaubert’s thoughts on France and the Orient, Edward Hopper’s love for gas stations, or von Humboldt’s obsession with plants I found plain boring. And those guys (among others) took over a big part of the book.

The only interesting chapters and their “supporting writers”, in my opinion anyway, were the ones about Vincent van Gogh and John Ruskin (about whom I knew next to nothing before).  Those were interesting reflections about beauty, art, painting and drawing.

All in all, I would have preferred it if the book had been smaller and had focused less on other people’s thoughts.


Product info and buy link :

Title The art of travel
Author Alain de Botton
Publisher Penguin Books
ISBN 9780140276626
I got this book from I swapped it
Buy link Buy The art of travel

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

Election! by Dan Gutman

election

Once you know it, it’s not that complicated.  

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Explaining to kids the secrets of the US way to elect a president-

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For children who: want to know more about the US system of electing the US President.

 


My thoughts: 

Dan Gutman has quite a knack for explaining the election process that until now seemed complicated and inexplicable to me. As a European I don’t know much about it, but at the same time am not willing to read some dry political essay about how that system works. This book came in handy and it was a useful guide.

It works with questions and answers; questions that children would ask, and answers that are simple enough for them to understand, but still not simplifying too much.

Dan Gutman goes a bit back into the history here and there and throws in little tidbits of information and trivia, like who started campaigning, who won the electoral vote even though they lost the popular vote etc. Quite interesting!

I liked that he also tried to pass along the message to his readers how important it is to vote and how you should go about it, i.e. how to make informed decisions and not just believe what TV ads tell them.

All in all I think this is a very helpful book for children in the US to understand a bit more about how presidential elections work. The other target group would be people like me, non-US adults who want to know a bit about this topic but are unwilling to read tons of detailed administrative papers. That little, basic knowledge, prepared for children, was just the right thing for me.


Location:

USA map

Map from wikipedia.org


Movie tip

All the President’s Men (1976)


Product info and buy link :

Title Election!
Author Dan Gutman
Publisher Open Road Media
ISBN n/a
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy Election! at Open Road Media (out August 21)

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

Article

In my mailbox: The long journey

With my book buying ban still in place there is not much to report. However, I did receive one book this week that went around the globe on a long journey indeed. I “mooched” it from Bookmooch and it was posted in Australia on April 19. It took almost three months to get here, but eventually it made its way into my mailbox this week.

 

I swapped

  • A Night to Remember by Walter Lord, about the last night of the Titanic. It will not come as a surprise that I wanted it when the Titanic hype was at its high this year. Now I will probably have to wait for another fifty years before I feel like reading it. Just kidding!

Sea mailA night to remember by Walter Lord

 

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

Article

In my mailbox

 

You might wonder why there is an IMM post today, seeing that I am in the middle of a book buying ban. True, but when I saw the book below on Netgalley I just had to request it.

 

For review

  •  Election! by Dan Gutman.
    A kids’ book is exactly what I need to explain the secrets of the American political system. Now at least I will be able to add my 2 cents in November.
    election

 

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

Article

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.