Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Going Into Town by Roz Chast

I loved Roz Chast's graphic memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? So when I realised that she had another graphic book out – this time about New York, I got the fingers going and got it from the library.

If you want something funny, gentle and authentic to read with great graphics, I highly recommend this.

Rather than rave on at length about it I have chosen a few pages to show you so you can get a taste for it yourself.

PS  Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? is in my Top 20 list.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

And some families didn't have even one!

Chicken Polpette on Orzo

Carole's Chatter: Chicken Polpette on Orzo

I got the original idea for the Chicken Polpette on Orzo off Food TV.  It was the first time I have done any sort of meatball by cooking it in stock rather than frying/roasting them.  Not only was the result healthier, it had a lovely delicate flavour.  The Orzo, which is rice like pasta, also worked out very nicely.  A keeper.

The meatball mix was a fairly simple one:

Chicken mince
An egg
Chopped fresh tarragon
Handful of shredded parmesan cheese
A pinch of lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Form these into small to medium sized balls – I use a small measuring cup to get a more or less equal amount of mix in each ball.

Heat up some chicken stock and pop the meatballs in and then cover with a paper cartouche ( just a round piece of baking paper or luncheon paper).  The meatballs won't take too long to cook if you haven't made them too big – you just simmer them gently in the stock.

When the meatballs are cooked take them out of the stock and keep them warm.  You will be using the stock for the orzo, so don't throw it out.

So heat some butter in a pan, fry off about ½ a finely chopped onion and ½ a clove of garlic (finely chopped or crushed).  Add the orzo and coat it in the butter and fry it off for a couple of minutes.  Then just add in the chicken stock gradually until the orzo is cooked. (This is almost a risotto like approach)

When cooked add back the meatballs and take the pan off the heat.  Relying on residual heat only then add some fresh chopped herbs (I did tarragon and chives), a handful of parmesan and a knob of butter.  Taste the orzo and add salt to your liking.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Off to the commonplace pinboard with you

You can find other commonplaces here

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me – The Iconic Dusty Springfield

You don't have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don't have to stay forever I will understand
Believe me, believe me I can't help but love you
But believe me I'll never tie you down

Dusty discovered this song herself at an Italian music festival with the same tune but completely different Italian words.  She asked an English lyricist to make up some English lyrics and so that is when this powerful song really came to be.

When Dusty recorded this she ended up doing part of it in a stairwell to achieve the sound she wanted.  No extreme digital manipulation in those days – it was 1966.

I've always loved this song.  To listen to the incomparable Dusty Springfield singing this great song – just click on this YouTube link.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Roxane rocks as a writer!

Chorizo & Bean Salad

Carole's Chatter: Chorizo & Bean Salad

I needed a lunch and spotted a chorizo in the fridge which my better half had procured.  So I made up a salad with it.


Chorizo sausage
1 small onion
1 can of mixed beans (cannellini, lima, pinto & kidney)
Red capsicum (bell pepper)
½ tomato
Lemon juice
White wine
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons of passata


Slice your chorizo and dice your onion – fry this off in a pan – no oil necessary – what you need will ocme out of the sausage.

I didn't realize for quite a while that each end of the chorizo had a metal clip – that would have made a nasty surprise for anyone biting into it!

Add your sliced bell peppers into the pan.

Drain and rinse your beans.

Pop the beans and the diced tomato into a salad bowl. 

When the bell pepper is lightly cooked finish off the pan with the passata, a splosh of white wine and a squirt of lemon juice.  Pour the lot over the top of the beans nad mix through.

Serve while the chorizo is still warm.  A nice change up for a lunch.  Sprinkle a few freshly chopped herbs on top for a pop of green.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

So I must be getting really good by now!

It's Just a Figure of Speech!

Last month we did Antithesis and Oxymoron.  3 more figures of speech for you!

Synecdoche is pretty abstruse – I had to look it up and was surprised.  It applies when you name something by just referring to part of them eg 'suits' to mean business people – it also applies the other way round – as in saying 'England won the test match' – England here stands for its cricket team.

Irony – oh boy, when I researched the meaning of this term, mostly I could only find really boring jargon laden explanations.  So I'll leave you to work it out for yourself from the examples.

Anthropomorphism – this one is a bit easier although it is a mouthful.  It is where you assign human qualities to an animal or thing.  We do this all the time.  In the classic Watership Down the rabbits could talk.  And Mr Ed of course.  And a whole empire was built on Mickey Mouse.  And the lovely work of Beatrix Potter.

Next month – Pun, Metonymy and Onomatopoeia – how on earth will we be able to wait that long!