Monday, May 16, 2022

This week.....


I'm reading....

A quick glimpse at my post last week tells me that I was intending to finish The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles and then I was going to read Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. One out of two ain't bad right? I did finish The Lincoln Highway and I enjoyed it. I can now see why so many people love his writing and I am definitely intending to read more by him.

I did read a couple of chapters of Birdcage Walk but in the end I realised that it wasn't the book for me right now, so I ended up returning it to the library unread and I started reading The Lost Valley of Stories by Vanessa McCausland. It's early days but I can see myself getting stuck into this one.

I'm watching....

This week I finished watching both Bridgerton and Picard and didn't start anything new! I am already looking forward to the next season of both of those shows.

Actually, we did kind of start something. My husband loves sailing and the third season of Sail GP started this weekend, so we watched some of that tonight. I have a bit of a plan to try and get to Christchurch in New Zealand for one of the later rounds in the season. We'll see how that works out.


I was still crook last week but unlike the week before I actually worked all week! It took until Friday for me to have a day where no one said shoudl you be here.

Luckily, I was recovered enough to be able to go and see Hamilton again! So good! And I then listened to the soundtrack again today.

We also went to dinner last night with three of our four kids and their respective partners (well, the two that have a partner) because it is my husband's birthday today. I think he was happy with that as a celebration! A bit of sailing on the telly, a bit of rain on the roof, some cake and he's a happy man. Or at least he says so!

Posts from the last week

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish
Weekend Cooking: Cajun Risoni with Chorizo
Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: April stats

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge April stats



This year as part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge I am intending to provide some stats after each month and then at the end of the year I will do an overall wrap up for the year. That's the plan anyway. And today I am sharing a few stats about April, so three months in I am sticking to the plan!!

During April there were 80  reviews shared by 27 participants. This month five of you have shared more than 5 reviews which is amazing! Well done and keep it up! 

In terms of the books, there were 7i individual titles reviewed, written by 75 different authors. 

There were only 2 books that were reviewed more than once this month. One was an an older title and the other is a new Austrlalian new release. They were:

Katherine by Anya Seton which was reviewed by Becky at Becky's Reviews and at WhatMeRead.

The Nurses' War by Victoria Purman wsa reviewed by Shelleyrae at Book'd Out and also by Denise Newton

The other authors who were reviewed multiple times were Kate Quinn, Kerry Greenwood and Stacie Murphy

It's not too late to join the challenge this year. You can find all the sign up details here and if you have a link to add to the challenge the May Linky can be found here.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Weekend Cooking: Cajun Risoni with Chorizo

After a few months of not really trying too many new recipes, we have once again said that we are going to try and make some new recipes. It's a solid plan. Now we just need to stick to it. Every month we we get the free magazines from the supermarkets and this recipe comes from one of those.

Recently we made Baked Nasi Goreng and this week we tried another recipe. Only thing is, it really did share a lot of similarities to the nasi recipe! Yes, instead of rice this recipe uses risoni and it is a different flavour profile, but after we finished this one we were talking about the fact that we could add prawns in.

We did find that this stuck a little to the bottom of the pot, but I do think that might have something to do with the fact that we had the heat up too high. Oh and instead of using half a packet of risoni we used the whole packet. Oops.

I would mention that risoni is an example of one of those ingredients which goes by another name in different countries. For example, in the US I believe this is called orzo. 

Usually my favourite recipe to cook with risoni is this Bacon, Vegetable and Risoni Soup, but this recipe will definitely be one that we make again.

Cajun Risoni with Chorizo

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
250 grams chorizo sausages, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, deseeded, finely chopped
3 tsp cajun seasoning
250g risoni
400g canned diced tomatoes
2 cups salt-reduced chicken stock
2 thirds cup frozen peas
3 spring onions, thinly sliced

Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chorizo, brown onion and capsicum for 4 minutes, stirring, or until softened. Add seasoning and risoni, then cook for 1 minute, stirring, or until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup water and stock, then bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding peas in last minute of cooking, or until risoni is tender. Season.

Stir half of the spring onion into risoni mixture. Serve topped with remaining spring onion.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Eggs and baked beans with toast
Sunday - 
Monday - Risoni with Chorizo
Tuesday - 
Wednesday - Beef and Veggie stir fry
Thursday - Pressure Cooker spaghetti bolognaise
Friday - Takeaway

3 spring onions, thinly sliced

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish ....


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the topic is Bookish Characters (these could be readers, writers, authors, librarians, professors, etc.)

Here are my choices, which re possibly more accurately described as bookish books or having bookish characters.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles - One of the central threads in the book revolve around a book called "Professor Abacus Abernathe's Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers and Other Intrepid Travellers" that the youngest character in book carries around with him everywhere he goes

Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens by Shankari Chandran - This book is all about the life stories of these characters and how the past continues to shape us. One of the key characters also moonlights as an author, albeit under a pen name.

The Beautiful Words by Vanessa McCausland - Another ode to words and books, with an author as one of the main characters.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr - Doerr brings us mutliple stories, all connected through one fable

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - When an author finds herself living in a cottage in Scotland, the voices of the historical characters from her story come to life (and another excuse to sneak a Kearsley book into a TTT post!)

The Great Passage by Shion Miura - A nice story telling about the creation of a dictionary.

Beach Read by Emily Henry - Two authors who write in different genres end up living next door to each other.

The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte - During WWII, the German army use Tolstoy's country house as a base.

Aria's Travelling Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin - Books and France! Yes please.

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - Books and Scotland. Yes please!

What books did you have on your list this week.

Monday, May 09, 2022

This week...

I'm reading...

Well, after last week's post where I said I needed to finish one of two books for book club on Saturday. In the end, I didn't finish either of them, and I didn't go to book club because I have been sick all week.  I have only got 100 pages to go of The Lincoln Highway so I will definitely finishing it today.

The next read-on-a-theme choice is "family". I am pretty sure I will find at least one book on my real or virtual foundations which will suit that theme.

I have already decided that my next read is going to be Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. Or rather, the library told me that the book must be returned soon so I have to read it.

I'm watching...

Lots of time feeling crook over the last week has given me plenty of TV viewing time in contrast with previous weeks where we have watched very little.

I finally finished watching The Parisian Agency season 2 so I am going to have to find some other Paris porn to watch. I do really enjoy watching this show with the amazing houses that the very wealthy quite often look at and think it isn't quite enough or just right! I really the family dynamic between the family who run the agency. 

We are big fans of the British show, The Repair Shop and so we were very please to start watching the Australian version. One episode in and we are happy with it so far.

I also started watching a Korean reality show called The Hungry and the Hairy. The idea is that two celebrity friends head out on their motorbikes and visit some of South Korea's famous sites and eat some amazing food. It's a premise that has been seen around the world before, but I don't recall ever watching much set in South Korea. I will watch a bit more and I am thinking that maybe it will be a Weekend Cooking post at some point.

I have a number of shows on my list that I want to watch including shows like Outlander, Julia, Reacher and more, but this week I started season 2 of Bridgerton. I think I am just over half way through so hopefully will watch more this week.

Finally, we binged a few episodes of Picard on Saturday night


We had a few plans over the weekend but none of them happened.

We really are getting to crunch time in relation to this house. We need to get this house to a point where it is ready too start showing people through. To say I am starting to stress and get a bit anxious about this whole selling and moving thing is an understatement. Luckily every time we go to the new house we are pleasantly surprise by the progress that has been made. Just have to keep the end goal in mind I guess.

Posts from the last week

Top Ten Tuesday: One Word Reviews!
Weekend Cooking: What I Baked in April

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation: The True History of the Kelly Gang to The Goldminer's Sister



Welcome to this month's edition of Six Degrees of Separation, which is a monthly meme hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best.  The idea is to start with a specific book and make a series of links from one book to the next using whatever link you can find and see where you end up after six links.  I am also linking this post up with The Sunday Salon, hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz. 

The starting point for this month is The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair - My first choice based on a true story that didn't come to light until the early 2000s. This book tells the story of the women who worked out of a garage in suburban Brisbane breaking codes.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn - Another book based on the hidden history of codebreakers, this time based in Bletchley Park in the UK.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn - Myconnection is really that this another Kate Quinn novel, but it doesn't hurt that this book features  a femail pilot which links it back to The Codebreakers too.

Black Diamonds by Kim Kelly - Speaking of diamonds.....

The Diamond Hunter by Fiona McIntosh- and sticking with the diamond theme

The Goldminer's Sister by Alison Stuart - My final selection moves away from diamonds towards gold. Another name for someone who hunts for diamonds and gold is a miner.

So there we have six choices that  are all historical fiction which often gives us a fictionalised version of history.

The starting poing for next month is Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Weekend Cooking: What I Baked in April and a few other things

The first Saturday each month is generally share all the things I made in the month. Most months that would mean that I have three or maybe four things to share photos and commentary about. This month though, there is only one! I am not sure why I haven't made much. We did go away for Easter and had a few busy weekends and I did work one weekend. Maybe that's why!

The one thing I did make this month was Milk Tart, which I have shared the recipe for previously. I have posted about making milk tart before which was a big hit. My reason for making it this month was because it is my stepson's favourite dessert, and we were having a surprise belated 18th birthday celebration for him, so I decided to make it.

The only flaw in my plan was that I forgot that I, as one of two people there who doesn't come from South Africa, was making the tart for a room full of people of South African origins so I was a little anxious. Luckily, it was a hit!

When I posted about my What I Baked in March and making Milk Tart, I mentioned that my pastry was somewhat rustic and Tandy from Lavender and Lime gave a couple of tips which I attempted to follow this time. I have to say, this was best attempt at a tart case yet. I was very happy with how it turned out. so thanks Tandy!

I thought I would mention a foodie weekend last weekend. I was invited to go to a long lunch on Friday at one of the most famous restaurants in Melbourne called Vue du Monde.  This is a restaurant on the upper end of the dining scale. If you go for dinner there, then it will cost about $320 so it would have to be a very special occasion. Luckily, the food we had was delicious. 

The menu was absolutely delicious bread and butter, sprinkled with salt. I could have been happy just to eat the bread, although that changed once I tasted the first dish, which was spanner crab, served in the shell.

The second course was wagyu beef with delicious onions.

Dessert was a caramel slice with a difference. I think that the base had macadamia nuts in it whereas it is normally just a biscuit base. The green thing on the plate was interesting. This is called pigface, a native ingredient, which I had never tried before. It was served very cold and it had been dipped in some kind of flavouring and then dipped in sugar. Texture wise, it was not disimilar to eating a raw green bean. 

I won't mention how many glasses of wine were consumed between lunch and dinner. Yes, I was also going out for dinner. This was already planned before I knew I was going for lunch. I ended up having chicken with paris mash (the mash was amazing), and then a classic lemon tart for dinner.

You would think that would be enough, but we also went to dinner on Sunday night before heading off to see Robbie Williams in concert. This time we went to a restaurant called Chocolate Buddha, a Japanese restaurant.

We had Terriyaki chicken and then for dessert I had a fun dessert of chocolate spring rolls, which I have never heard of before. They are spring roll wrappers wrapped around white or dark chocolate filling and then came with a miso caramel sauce.

I feel like I should say and then....but no that was enough for one weekend! It isn't all good news. Somewhere along the way I picked up a lurgy and have been feeling dreadful all week.

I did pick up a new cookbook and some new tea towels this week. These were purchased from one of the auxillary organisations which support the work in our hospitals. I am looking forward to see if there is anything I want to make from it!

And finally, Here is a picture from what will end up being my new kitchen.

Weekly meals

Saturday - 
Sunday - Out for dinner
Monday - French chicken
Tuesday - Burgers
Wednesday - Takeaway
Thursday - Risoni and vegetable soup with meatballs
Friday - Out for dinner

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: One Word Reviews



Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the 

topic is One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read (submitted by Susan @ Bloggin’ ’bout Books). A fun topic!

The Life She Dreams by Maggie Christensen - Farewell - The last book in the Granite Springs series.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones - Classic- My first book by this beloved fantasy author.

The Postcard from Italy by Angela Petch - Inspiring - We are now planning to visit the part of Italy that this book is set in.

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan - Engrossing - Read this one in a single sitting which is very rare for me now.

The Beautiful Words by Vanessa McCausland - Beautiful - Obviously taking inspiration here from the title but it does apply as a review too.

The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair - Fascinating - a little known story from Australian WWII history.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (translated by Geoffrey Trousselot - Time-travel - The second book set in a cafe in Tokyo

The Custard Tart Café by the Sea by Isabella May - Tasty - Just thinking about this book makes me want to eat custard tarts.

The Snowy Mountain Cattleman by Alissa Callen - Fab! - Already looking forward to the next book in this series.

Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens by Shankari Chandran Unexpected - The saying don't judge a book by it's cover applies here. The cover looks kind of light and cutesy but it has so many deep topics inside the cover.

So there are the last ten books I have read!

Monday, May 02, 2022

This week....

I'm reading ....

Erm...not a lot! I mean I have to finish one of the two books that I am reading for bookclub by Saturday. I am still reading Lincoln Highway but I also started Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O'Connor on my kindle as I caught the train to the city on Friday because I didn't want to be carryng such a big book around. 

I'm watching....

Who has time to watch TV??


Friday I was a lady who lunches at one of the top restaurants in Melbourne called Vue de Monde (and you might be able to see why). I was then also a lady who dines, with a few wines in between. It was an unusual event for me but so much fun.  Only of the guests who was part of the small client group we were with has now tested positive to Covid. 

I had to work most of Sunday, but we also had tickets to see Robbie Williams perform. He is filming a biopic here in Melbourne, so they put on two concerts so they could film concert scenes for the movie. He is such a great showman and even though it wasn't a normal concert it was so much fun. I am, however, a little weary tonight.

Here's just a taste, although to be fair this is more the crowd than Robbie!

Posts from the last week

Top Ten Tuesday: Chocolate Anyone?
Vintage Weekend Cooking: Chocolate Brownies
Weekend Cooking: Yet more chocolate
Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: May link up

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date


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