Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

The Stolen Marriage is the first book by Diane Chamberlain that I have read.  She has written at least 20 others.

The story is set in the early 1940's in the USA and that setting is very important to the story.  This is well written and paced.  Lots of short chapters, which I like.

And a great story with an unexpected but very satisfactory ending.

I should tell you a bit more about this book – but that might not encourage you to give it a go!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

That pig has to have studied law...

Carrot & Ginger Soup – for when the weather is cool

Just pop all the ingredients (except the garnish) into your crockpot (you could also do this in a pot).  Here's what I used: 

Coconut water – about a cupful
A knob of fresh ginger (peeled) and some powdered ginger too
3 carrots – sliced
1 parsnip – sliced
1 small potato - cubed
Coconut milk – small tin
Water to cover the vegetables
Chilli flakes to taste
Pinch of lemon zest
Salt and white pepper to taste
Tablespoon of coconut flour (you could omit this and just rely on the potato for thickening)
1 teaspoon of garlic infused olive oil (watch out – this stuff's potent!) 

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for about 8.  Let the soup cool a little before pureeing it.  Serve with a garnish.  Coriander would have been perfect but I used some slices of green chilli which is what I had to hand.

I won't bore you with what eating Low FODMAP is all about – you can always Google it.  But for those of us who want to eat that way this is a soup that is low FODMAP.

Monday, 19 March 2018

I find it hard to convince some people of this....

Michael Parekowhai – Story of a New Zealand River

This work is very striking.  The artist has started with a Steinway grand piano and then added panels of carving.  The piano works.

This is one of 6 piano sculptures he has done.  It is an intriguing blend of European and Maori culture.  This sculpture also is a nod to the film, The Piano (which was directed by Jane Campion, a New Zealander)

Saturday, 17 March 2018

An Irish Blessing for St Patrick's Day

This Day In History


Nat King Cole (1919)
Patrick Duffy aka Bobby Ewing (1949)
Kurt Russell (1951)
Gary Sinise (1955)


Golda Meir becomes first female PM of Israel (1969)

Referendum to end apartheid in South Africa passed (1992)

Friday, 16 March 2018

Thinking of someone I know in Texas!

Foodie Friday - Good Old English Spotted Dick

The very traditional dish Spotted Dick has been the subject of double entendres for centuries.  Whatever the name conjures up for you, the dish is in fact a pudding.

This pudding is traditionally served with custard.  It's been around at least since the 1840's and features in Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

You can even buy it in a can in the UK!  The mind boggles.

So why the name?  The full reason is lost in the mists of time.  It seems there is agreement that Spotted refers to the dish being spotted throughout with raisins and currants.  But why Dick?  No satisfactory explanation, I'm afraid.  The same pudding in Scotland can be called Spotted Dog…

Here's the recipe for a traditional Spotted Dick.  I haven't cooked it myself so can't be sure how it'll turn out.  Thanks to Epicurious for the recipe


    • 1/2 cup mixed currants and golden raisins or other assorted dried fruit
    • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
    • Suet pastry dough
    • Custard sauce
Special Equipment
    • 1-quart ceramic pudding mold


    1. Fill a large heavy pot (at least 8 inches across by 6 inches deep, with a tight-fitting lid) with 1 1/2 inches water. Make a platform for pudding by setting metal cookie cutters or egg-poaching rings in bottom of pot. Knead fruit and zest into dough and form dough into a ball. Put into well-buttered pudding mold and flatten top. Top dough with a round of buttered wax paper, buttered side down, and cover top of mold with heavy-duty foil, crimping tightly around edge.
    2. Bring water in pot to a boil and set mold on platform. Steam pudding, covered, over simmering water 1 1/2 to 2 hours (add more boiling water to pot if necessary), or until golden and puffed. Transfer pudding in mold to a rack and let stand 5 minutes. Discard foil and wax paper and run a thin knife around edge of pudding. Invert a plate over mold, then invert pudding onto plate. Serve immediately with custard sauce.