Gas Station Charcuterie Plate: You Suck At Cooking – You Suck At Cooking

My View:This book is hilarious and useful 🙂  And possibly will solve your search for “what to get the person who has everything” for Christmas. Check out the authors  Youtube cooking show here:

 

Description:

Do you crave food all the time? Do you think you might want to eat again in the future? Do you suck at cooking? Inspired by the wildly popular YouTube channel, these 60+ recipes will help you suck slightly less

You already know the creator of the YouTube show You Suck at Cooking by his well-manicured hands and mysterious voice, and now you’ll know him for this equally well-manicured and mysterious tome. It contains more than sixty recipes for beginner cooks and noobs alike, in addition to hundreds of paragraphs and sentences, as well as photos and drawings.

You’ll learn to cook with unintimidating ingredients in dishes like Broccoli Cheddar Quiche Cupcake Muffin-Type Things, Eddie’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip (while also learning all about Eddie’s sad, sad life), Jalapeno Chicken, and also other stuff. In addition, there are cooking tips that can be applied not only to the very recipes in this book, but also to recipes outside of this book, and to all other areas of your life (with mixed results).

In the end, you just might suck slightly less at cooking.*

*Results not guaranteed

Extract from You Suck at Cooking, photography by Andrew Thomas Lee,
published by Ebury Australia on 19 November 2019, RRP $29.99

 

GAS STATION CHARCUTERIE PLATE p.88

SERVES HOWEVER MANY PEOPLE ARE COMING OVER
Washer fluid
Gasoline of your choice
Pepperoni sticks
Almonds
Beef jerky
Cheese
Roasted almonds
Salted pistachios
Honey-roasted peanuts
Barbecue peanuts
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Dark chocolate
Any other interesting snacks
you can find at a gas station
1  Pop the hood of your car and locate translucent white tank with a water symbol
cap and close the hood.

2  Fill your gas tank with gas.

3 Go inside the store with actual money like it’s the old fashioned days. Locate any interesting snacks and purchase
them, and don’t forget to pay for,go home and wash the gasoline off your hands.

4  Cut the pepperoni sticks into bite-sized pieces. Cut them on an angle if you’re feeling extra fancy.

5 Arrange all the snacks on a plate, platter, or serving board in a way that makes sense, such as grouping nuts and meats together, or putting nuts and meats as far away as possible from each other. Serve, and never tell your date where the snacks came from.

*The Gas Station Charcuterie Plate is possible because we live in the golden age of mobile snacking. It is also bound to be a hit because of the human tendency to equate variety with quality. Which is not to say the foods at gas stations are of low quality. It’s just easy to take for granted the fact that you can get food, on a whim, at any time of the day or night, at these lonely fossil fuel outposts. In the future, a mobile rest stop subscription service will pull up beside you while you’re driving, refuel your car, give you snacks, and let you use the restroom, all at 105
kilometres per hour. And the fuel will be laser beams.

 

#MeatFreeMonday :Spring Veggie Fritters with Cucumber Yoghurt – Family Food & Feeligns – Kate Berry

Family Food and Feelings

Kate Berry

Pan Macmillan

Plum

ISBN: 978176078-180-4

RRP 39.99

 

 Green Fritters 
“Fritters are a bit of a fave for us. I like them because I can cook a ton of them for dinner and then chuck the leftovers in the girls’ lunchboxes the next day. The girls like them because they’re fried and have a dipping sauce. I like them for that reason too, actually.”p202

220 g green beans, quartered
220 g fresh or frozen and thawed peas
220 g podded and peeled broad beans
4 spring onions, green andwhite parts, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 free-range egg
300 g (2 cups) plain flour
560 ml (2 ÂĽ cups) sparkling water
sunflower or vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
pinch of sumac
your choice of fresh herbs,

to serve (optional)
For the cucumber yoghurt:
½ Lebanese cucumber, coarsely grated
salt
500 g (2 cups) plain yoghurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

To make a start on the cucumber yoghurt, pop the grated cucumber in a colander over a bowl. Add a big pinch of salt and rub it into the cucumber, then leave for about an hour to get rid of the excess water.

While that’s happening, make the fritter mixture. Combine the green beans, peas, broad beans, spring onion, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg and flour, then slowly
whisk in the sparkling water. It should be the consistency of thick cream so take it slowly – you may not need all the water. Pour the batter into the bowl with the veggies and mix well.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. You just need it to keep
the fritters warm.

Heat a generous amount of sunflower or vegetable oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat.
It’s ready when you pop a piece of veg in there and it sizzles. Add heaped tablespoons of batter to the oil and be careful not to get spattered.

Fry the fritters for 2–3 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove with
a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining fritters.

To finish off the cucumber yoghurt, give the cucumber a squeeze to remove the last bits of water. Place in a mixing
bowl with the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and mint and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon the cucumber yoghurt onto plates and pop the fritters on top. Sprinkle with sumac and top with
some fresh herbs, if you like.

MAKES 16-18 FRITTERS

 

 

SPRING VEG FRITTERS-

‘Family, Food and Feelings by Kate Berry, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Kate Berry’

Review: Starting From Now – Fleur MacDonald

Starting From Now

Fleur McDonald

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760529284

 

Description:

A suspenseful novel of rural life and real country issues from our genuine Voice of the Outback, author of the bestselling Where the River Runs

 

When twenty-five-year-old journalist, Zara Ellison receives her mother’s ominous text message, Call me when you can, Zara knows it’s not good news.

 

Two weeks later, Zara has left her much-loved city life to relocate to Barker, the sleepy country town in which she grew up. For Zara, family comes first.

 

But she needs to work too, and the town’s police force is a rural journalist’s best source of information. Meeting Detective Dave Burrows and Dave’s second-in-charge, Senior Constable Jack Higgins, is a priority.

 

Amid her family’s troubles, and reporting on farming accidents and violently clashing activists, Zara is shocked to witness Jack Higgins in a role she’d never have believed. How could he possibly justify this? And what was she going to do about it?

 

Wrapped in the love of family, friendship, crime and mystery, Starting From Now is another compelling novel from the authentic voice of Fleur McDonald.

 

 

My View:

Fleur McDonald has an authentic country voice that she uses to share her experiences and knowledge of life in small country towns, farming and life in general. This narrative had a couple of standout plot threads – activism and social media – looking deeper, reflecting on “snapshots” on social media and media manipulation and the family in crisis.

 

I was particularly touched by the family scenes that dealt with family crisis (no spoilers here); the scenes were realistic, emotive and evocated memoires that transported me to a difficult period in our lives. This was unexpected but very well written. I felt part of this family, dealing with their issues.

 

 

This book packs a mighty punch, cleverly weaving many plot threads together to bring about an informative, insightful and satisfying read.

 

 

 

#MeatFreeMonday – Cauliflower Cheese Pastries – Family Food & Feelings – Kate Berry

Family Food and Feelings

Kate Berry

Pan Macmillan

Plum

ISBN: 978176078-180-4

RRP 39.99

 

Cauliflower Cheese Pastries 

 

‘Family, Food and Feelings by Kate Berry, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Kate Berry’ 

 

“Cauliflower cheese is a staple of the country pub bain marie, which is probably why I love it so much. Nothing makes me happier than counter meals in far-flung places, but I also like putting my own spin on them at home. So instead of serving this as a side for a huge chunk of roast meat, I wrap it in flaky pastry and make little hand pies.” 

Makes 12
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, sliced
4 thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
3 sheets ready-made puff pastry, thawed
1 free-range egg, beaten
50 g (½ cup) grated parmesan
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

For the cheese sauce:
60 g butter
3 heaped tablespoons plain flour
750 ml (3 cups) milk, heated
large handful of grated mature cheddar
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
(optional) salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 225°C (fan-forced).

Pop the cauliflower florets, onion, thyme, garlic and olive oil on a large baking tray, season with salt and pepper
and gently toss to combine. Roast, tossing occasionally, for 35–40€minutes or until almost tender. Remove and set aside but leave the oven on.

While the cauliflower is roasting, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, then whisk in the flour to create a smooth paste. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking constantly, then cook for 5–10 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. You want it to be slightly thicker than a normal bechamel.

Take the sauce of the heat, then add the cheese, mustard and cayenne pepper (if using), and season to taste. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the roasted cauliflower and gently stir through. Set aside.

Place the pastry sheets on a clean bench and cut each sheet into four squares (so you have 12 all up).

Line two baking trays with baking paper. Place a pastry square on one of the prepared trays and pop a heaped tablespoon of the cauliflower mixture in the middle. Bring the four corners together into the centre and pinch together.

Repeat with the remaining pastry squares and cauliflower cheese.

Brush the pastries with beaten egg and sprinkle with the parmesan. Pop them in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with thyme, then serve with your fave relish or sauce.

Guest Review: The Life She Deserves – Maggie Christensen

The Life She Deserves

Maggie Christensen

Cala Publishing

ISBN: 9780648522423

Description:

Two old friends. A new relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Growing up in the small Australian country town of Granite Springs, Jo and Col have been lifelong friends.

Following Jo’s divorce and the death of Col’s wife, the pair find comfort in their common grief. But as they tentatively explore their new relationship, they have little idea of the challenges that lie ahead.

What they haven’t bargained for is Jo’s interfering ex, along with their three children, all of whom have their own agendas.

Can Jo ride out the storm? Will she be granted the life she deserves?

 

Brenda’s Review:

When Alice died, her husband Col and best friend Jo were devastated. She had suffered a long time – she was now at peace. The three of them had been friends for a lifetime, now Col and Jo comforted each other with dinner out twice a week, always at ease in each other’s company. Gradually the respect and friendship they shared grew to more, and with it being a year since Alice had died and five years since Jo’s divorce, they were happy to explore their new relationship.

But Eve, Jo’s daughter and Danny, her son, were determined Jo should live her life the way they saw fit. It was only Rob, her youngest son, who was on Jo’s side, completely understanding her need for companionship and love. And it was Gordon, Jo’s ex, who was the biggest thorn in her side. What was she going to do? Would she go along with her children’s plans for her, letting them ride roughshod over her own needs and wants? Or would she rebel and have the life she deserved?

The Life She Deserves is the 1st in the Granite Springs series for Aussie author Maggie Christensen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author depicts older characters extremely well and with both Jo and Col turning 60 in this story, Jo with adult children and grandchildren, the complexities of family and relationships shines through. A wonderful story, The Life She Deserves is one I highly recommend and I’m looking forward to book two already. 5 stars.

With thanks to the author for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Great Divide – L J M Owen

The Great Divide

L M J Owen

Echo Publishing $29.99

ISBN: 9781760685829

 

Description:

In the rural Tasmanian town of Dunton, the body of a former headmistress of a children’s home is discovered, revealing a tortured life and death.

 

Detective Jake Hunter, newly-arrived, searches for her killer among past residents of the home. He unearths pain, secrets and broken adults. Pushing aside memories of his own treacherous past, Jake focuses all his energy on the investigation.

 

Why are some of the children untraceable? What caused such damage among the survivors?

 

The identity of the murderer seems hidden from Jake by Dunton’s fog of prejudice and lies, until he is forced to confront not only the town’s history but his own nature…

 

 

My View:

The start of an interesting series perhaps?

 

The beginning was a little slow for me, it took me a while to enter into this quiet secret filled landscape but then BOOM! L JM Owen does not hold back – there are deaths and mayhem and a twist that may surprise you.  The item in the office (no spoilers here) must be the most sinister, gruesome trophy I have come across in all my reading of crime fiction.

 

Detective Jake Hunter is an interesting character and I feel there is more to him than has so far been revealed.

 

When you have finished reading this pay attention to the final pages. For me the most powerful part of this narrative is in the acknowledgements (p295); “This work is, in many ways, an acknowledgment of the experiences of children deemed by their adults as unworthy – of respect, of nurturing, of protection.

To you, I say: I see you.  Hear you. You matter. And I am sorry; you deserved better.”

 

Thank you L J M Owen.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Night Fire – Michael Connelly

The Night Fire

A Ballard and Bosch Thriller

Renee Ballard #3

Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760876012

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch’s mentor, the man who trained him—new from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly

 

Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, J.J. Thompson, is dead, but after his funeral his widow hands Bosch a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before — the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.

 

Bosch brings the murder book to RenĂ©e Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.

 

The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigation team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?

 

 

My View:

Could this possibly be the best Bosch book yet? I think I am calling it.

 

This is a fantastic read, with several plot lines that intersect allowing the characters of Ballard and Bosch to shine as they go about solving crimes with their personal credo “everybody counts or nobody counts”.  You can’t beat a Michael Connelly novel for character driven plots, complex cases and mysteries that will always keep you guessing.

 

Can’t wait to read what next years book may reveal!