Review: Retribution – Richard Anderson

Retribution

Richard Anderson

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713404

 

Description:

A rural-crime novel about finding out how to survive and surviving what you find.

 

In a small country town, an act of revenge causes five lives to collide. Early one Christmas morning, Graeme Sweetapple, a man down on his luck, is heading home with a truck full of stolen steers when he comes across an upended ute that has hit a tree. He is about to get involved with Luke, an environmental protestor who isn’t what he seems; a washed-up local politician, Caroline Statham, who is searching for a sense of purpose, but whose businessman husband seems to be sliding into corruption; and Carson, who is wild, bound to no one, and determined to escape her circumstances.

 

Into their midst comes Retribution, a legendary horse worth a fortune. Her disappearance triggers a cycle of violence and retaliation that threatens the whole community. As tensions build, they must answer one question: is true retribution ever possible — or even desirable?

 

 

My View:

A gripping page turner that will make you gasp at the injustice (there are a few but one really, really nasty and evil one that will have you groaning in despair, no spoilers here) and then there is triumph!  You will cheer on the protagonists and celebrate their victories when “something worthwhile and more than an act of simple vengeance” p.311 leaves a smile on your face as you pump your fist in the air. YES!!!!

 

I did enjoy this read!

 

Another author to add to your must read list.

 

 

Guest Review: The Desert Nurse – Pamela Hart

The Desert Nurse

The Desert Nurse

Pamela Hart

Hachette AU

ISBN: 9780733637568

 

Description:

Amid the Australian Army hospitals of World War I Egypt, two deeply determined individuals find the resilience of their love tested to its limits

It’s 1911, and 21-year-old Evelyn Northey desperately wants to become a doctor. Her father forbids it, withholding the inheritance that would allow her to attend university. At the outbreak of World War I, Evelyn disobeys her father, enlisting as an army nurse bound for Egypt and the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Under the blazing desert sun, Evelyn develops feelings for polio survivor Dr William Brent, who believes his disability makes him unfit to marry. For Evelyn, still pursuing her goal of studying medicine, a man has no place in her future. For two such self-reliant people, relying on someone else for happiness may be the hardest challenge of all.

From the casualty tents, the fever wards and the operating theatres of the palace; through the streets of Cairo during Ramadan, to the parched desert and the grim realities of war, Pamela Hart, beloved bestselling Australian author of THE WAR BRIDE, tells the heart-wrenching story of four years that changed the world forever.

Brenda’s Review:

Sublime, captivating, heartbreaking, brilliant! These words and more describe Aussie author Pamela Hart’s latest novel. The Desert Nurse is set in the early 1900s when a young Evelyn Northey had just turned twenty-one and expected to receive her mother’s inheritance so that she could study in Sydney to become a doctor – a dream she’d held since she was thirteen years of age. But her father was a staid, old fashioned man, and although a doctor himself, refused to allow his daughter the same privilege. He would hold her money until she turned thirty, or until she married, in which case the money would become her husband’s…

Training with a friend of her father’s in the Taree Manning Base Hospital as a nurse was the best Evelyn could do. She was grateful beyond words for his help – and when she presented the certificate to her father and he ripped it up, she informed him she had another; she was also heading to Cairo as a nurse and there was nothing he could do to stop her. World War I had begun – doctors and nurses would be needed, and Evelyn was determined to do her bit.

As the Heliopolis Palace was turned into the 1st Australian General Hospital, patients began arriving from the disastrous Dardanelles campaign; some were walking wounded, others had shocking injuries. But Dr William Brent, although struggling with a weak leg from polio as a child, was a hard-working, doggedly determined and compassionate doctor, and with Sister Northey by his side, they often worked twenty hours straight in theatre, with barely a break.

Four years of blood, sweat and tears – of heartache and loss; of hope and fear. And feelings that grew, whether they wanted them to or not. What would be the outcome for Evelyn and William – for the many others affected by a horrific and unnecessary war?

Pamela Hart writes historical fiction with seeming ease. The words flow; the research is obvious; the pages turn themselves. I’ve loved her previous historical fiction novels, and this one didn’t disappoint. The cover is perfect for the story; the red-haired beauty is Evelyn to a tee – the background picture of the hospital tents on the front line as I imagined. I can’t recommend The Desert Nurse highly enough – 5 stars.

With thanks to Hachette AU for my ARC to read and review.

Chocolate & Almond Nice Cream: Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook – Camilla Fayed

Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book by Camilla Fayed cover art

Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook by Camilla Fayed ($39.99), published by Hachette Australia.

 

Chocolate & Almond Nice Cream

GF R VG

Serves 6–8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 4 hours freezing

“Regulars at Farmacy know we love a nice cream. It was hard to choose which flavour to include. Emily loves this banana and almond version and could quite happily eat it every day. It has a creamy edge and chocolate fudge chunks in the middle. There are no grains in the recipe and no flour, and it is sweetened with natural sugars. All the ingredients support good health. This is a nice cream your body won’t mind you eating.” p.231

 

Chocolate and Almond Nice Cream

For the fudge

50g (1¾oz) coconut flour

3 tbsp cacao powder

6 tbsp maple syrup

¾ tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

 

For the ice cream

6 peeled, sliced and frozen bananas (you can use fresh but these take longer to set)

175g (6oz) smooth Almond Butter (see page 74)

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Put all the fudge ingredients into a small food processor and blend until well combined. The mixture should resemble dry brownie pieces. Turn into a bowl and break up the mixture into chunks or finer pieces if desired.

Put all the ice cream ingredients into a blender and whizz at a high speed until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture into a freezer-proof container. Add the fudge pieces, folding them in with a spoon until they are evenly distributed. Freeze for 4–5 hours until set.

 

Almond Butter

GF VG

Quantity: approx 250g (9oz)

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes cooking

 

500g (1lb 2oz) raw, peeled almonds, Unsoaked

 

“This recipe is a one-ingredient wonder that transforms almonds into a luxurious, velvety

spread. We use it as a butter replacement in our recipes and in a variety of plant-based

dishes. Almonds are high in vitamin E and are one of the most nutritional of all nuts. The

butter adds flavour and thickens sauces with all the nutty goodness that almonds provide.”p74

 

Preheat the oven to 150˚C (300˚F), Gas Mark 2. Place the almonds on a baking tray and put in the oven for 15 minutes. Be careful not to colour the nuts too much; do not fully toast them.

Place the nuts in a food processor and process at high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce to medium speed and process until the mixture has a creamy, tahini-like texture, and is smooth and velvety. If there are still lumps, continue processing. The mixture will go through different states, turning from almond meal to powder and then into butter. Be patient and scrape the bowl frequently, especially at the start. The time it takes will vary depending on the freshness of the nuts – this process can take up to 15 minutes.

Notes

This is one recipe for which you don’t need to soak the almonds. The almond butter works best when the nuts’ natural oils are warmed, allowing them to be released more easily. This recipe does not work with ready-ground almonds. Raw, peeled almonds produce a creamy and velvety butter texture free of the solids of the skin. Alternatively, you can use almonds with their skins to create a darker butter with a slightly different flavour.

This keeps well in an airtight container in a dry, cool place.

Sweet Potato & Mushroom Curry: Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook – Camilla Fayed

Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book by Camilla Fayed cover art

Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook by Camilla Fayed ($39.99), published by Hachette Australia.

 

Sweet Potato & Mushroom Curry

GF VG

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooking

“This Thai-inspired recipe is a homely update on our Farmacy restaurant curry. It’s colourful and bursting with goodness. Susie says that this curry would be her desert island luxury. This is one of the recipes that elicited excited gasps at the testing table. Its flavour is deep and delicious, warming heart and soul.” p. 180

 

Sweet Potato Mushroom Curry

For the curry paste

1 red chilli

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 lemon grass stalks, sliced

4 coriander sprigs, stems included

1½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp salt

 

For the curry

4 shallots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp curry paste (see above)

1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger

500ml (18fl oz) Vegetable Broth (see page 60)

1kg (2lb 4oz) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped

200g (7oz) oyster or other mushrooms

125g (4½oz) roasted peanuts, chopped

375ml (13fl oz) coconut milk

3 tbsp Philosopher’s Sauce (see page 64)

2 tbsp coconut nectar

 

For the cucumber raita

2 cucumbers, seeded and diced

125ml (4fl oz) Cashew Yogurt (see page 76)

3 tbsp chopped dill

1½ tbsp lemon juice

 

To garnish

dry toasted pumpkin seeds

coriander leaves

2 limes, halved

 

Blend together all the curry paste ingredients in a food processor until they form a paste. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water. Set aside. This will make more paste than you need for this recipe, but it will last several months if refrigerated. To make the curry, sauté the shallots and garlic in the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until they are translucent. Do not let them colour. Add the curry paste and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth, sweet potatoes and lime leaves and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, the peanuts and the coconut milk.

Stir in the philosopher’s sauce and the coconut nectar. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Test whether the sweet potatoes are done and simmer longer if necessary.

Turn off the heat under the saucepan, cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the raita by combining all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Serve the curry garnished with pumpkin seeds and coriander leaves along with a dollop of raita, and half a lime for squeezing over.

 

 

Sweet Potato Cakes: Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook – Camilla Fayed

Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book by Camilla Fayed cover art

Tonight’s dinner sorted ( and some in the freezer for when my vegetarian daughter visits next) and a few gifted to my other daughter for her dinner tonight.

 

Sweet Potato Cakes

These are so easy to make and look just as delicious as those in the recipe book. Great for entree or a main meal with salad or green vegetables.

 

 

Probiotic Jar: Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook – Camilla Fayed

Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book by Camilla Fayed cover art

 

Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook by Camilla Fayed ($39.99), published by Hachette Australia.

 

Probiotic Jar

GF R VG (if honey and bee pollen not used)

Makes 4 x 250ml (9fl oz) jars

Preparation time: 25 minutes

“This recipe will give you a beautiful probiotic parfait jar. We serve it at the restaurant and people always say how lovely this jar looks. Probiotic yogurt is full of good bacteria, which stabilize the gut, and the addition of spirulina makes it rich in minerals and protein. Chia is great for speeding up digestion, as well as being high in omega-3s. Enjoy taking care of your gut health with this beautiful jar of goodness.” p.89

 

For the chia pudding

475ml (17fl oz) homemade Nut & Seed Milk (see page 78)

1 tbsp honey or other sweetener (optional)

½ tsp vanilla extract

6 tbsp chia seeds

 

For the probiotic spirulina yogurt

500g Cashew Yogurt (see page 76)

¼ tsp vanilla powder

1 tbsp raw honey or other sweetener (optional)

½ tsp spirulina powder

pinch of salt

 

To serve

150g (5½oz) strawberries, sliced

2 tbsp bee pollen (optional)

25g (1oz) coconut chips

25g (1oz) flaked almonds

 

Probiotic Jar

To make the chia pudding, blend the nut or seed milk with the honey (if using) and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Stirin the chia seeds until well combined. Soak until the seeds have absorbed all the liquid and become gelatinous. This mixturewill keep for 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

To make the yogurt blend all the ingredients together in a highspeed blender until well combined.

To assemble, put a layer of strawberry slices around the edge of the base of the jars and add some yogurt. Spoon a layer of chia pudding on top of this. Finish with more strawberry slices, the bee pollen (if using), coconut chips and flaked almonds.

Review: Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook Plant Based Recipes for Conscious Living – Camilla Fayed

Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book by Camilla Fayed cover art

Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook

Camilla Fayed

Hachette Australia

Aster: Octopus Books

ISBN: 9781912023509

 

Description:

Want to eat well with nature’s best ingredients while being aware of where our food comes from?

 

Think taking better care of the land and people who grow these ingredients is important?

Welcome to the FARMACY KITCHEN, where you will find inspirational ideas for conscious living and delicious recipes for plant-based eating. The Farmacy ethos is about bringing attention back to nature, simplicity and balance. We love to follow the concept of ‘simple abundance’ in the food we create, using fresh, colourful and whole foods in inspired combinations for maximum taste, digestion and enjoyment.

 

We know how good food tastes when it’s made with love and intention. It’s a creative process that brings care into the kitchen to make great-tasting food to nourish the body and energise the soul. A process that you can now bring to your own kitchen with the help of this book.

 

 

My View:

This beautiful book pays homage to fresh, natural plant based ingredients in colourful and tantalising ways. I must admit I was instantly drawn to the breakfast breads and some of the desserts (especially the gluten free, vegan, raw Chocolate Wheels – which look a lot like a commercially made comfort food of my childhood).

 

This book has so much more than comfort foods to offer; I love that there is a comprehensive guide to preparing nuts, seeds, grains and beans.  Activating nuts and seeds by soaking makes digestion easier and their nutrients easier to absorb. And can improve taste.  Following on is a section on sprouting, and then another on cooking with beans and pulses. A great tip here (that I know but don’t follow often enough) is to soak and cook different types of beans separately as the cooking times varies depending on the variety.  I often make a bean casserole or need a mix of beans for a dip or burger – and sure enough if I try and short cut and soak and cook together some are over cooked (mushy) some are still hard…one I will learn J

 

There is a great section on “basics” which covers making sauces, nut and seed milk, nut butter, fruit chia jams etc. There are sections on breakfast, dip and appetizers, sides, soups and salads, mains and desserts. The final chapter adds a surprising element – a section on natural recipes for keeping your home and body healthy without the chemicals; think edible body butter, natural toothpaste and body wash.

 

This is a comprehensive guide to fresh and natural plant based cooking.