Guest Review: My Polar Dream – Jade Hameister

My Polar Dream

My Polar Dream

Jade Hameister

Pan Macmillan AU

ISBN: 9781760554774

 

Description:

Fourteen-year-old Jade Hameister had a dream: to complete the Polar Hat Trick.

In 2016, she skied to the North Pole.

In 2017, she completed the Greenland Crossing.

In 2018, she arrived at the South Pole.

This is the story of an adventurer who never gave up – who set herself incredible challenges beyond her years and experience. An adventurer who endured extremes of cold and blizzards; tackled treacherous terrain where one wrong step could be fatal; struggled through sastrugi, ice rubble and emotional lows to achieve an extraordinary goal.

Along the way, she made a sandwich for online trolls, inspired young people, and made international headlines.

At sixteen, Jade Hameister became the youngest person in history to complete the Polar Hat Trick.

Jade is:

*The youngest person to ski from the coast of Antarctica to South Pole unsupported and unassisted

* The first Australian woman in history to ski coast to Pole unsupported and unassisted

* The first woman to set a new route to the South Pole

* The youngest to ski to both Poles

* The youngest to complete the Polar Hat Trick.

 

Brenda’s Review:

What an amazing, inspirational young woman Jade Hameister is! Over a period of three years she completed three goals so achieve the Polar Hat-Trick. In doing so, she became the first in many of her endeavours. Her final journey, in Antarctica to finish at the South Pole, was over late 2017 into 2018 and was the most grueling but not once did she contemplate giving up. The support of her Dad and the other people of the team with her helped her through the worst.

Each trek was unassisted and unsupported, which meant no outside help whatsoever once the journey started. The thrill of forging a new path through the snow and ice to the South Pole meant the hard work and extreme temperatures; the dangers of a hidden crevasse on the mind constantly; the storms and blizzards which meant losing time when the danger was too intense – were all worth it. Jade’s satellite calls to her Mum and brother back in Melbourne, Australia each night were a lifeline as well.

Now she’s trying to settle back into “normal” life with schooling as her main priority. She’s sixteen years of age and has done more in the last three years of her life than most people would ever do. I wonder what she will do next? Highly recommended. 5 stars!

With thanks to Pan Macmillan AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

#Meat Free Monday – Goats Cheese Salad: The Catalan Kitchen – Emma Warren

The Catalan Kitchen

From The Catalan Kitchen: From Mountains to City and Sea – Recipes from Spain’s Culinary Heart

by Emma Warren. Photography © Rochelle Eagle | Food styling © Lee Blaylock (Smith Street Books, October 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)

 

Goat's cheese salad

FORMATGE DE CABRA GRATINAT

PAN-FRIED GOAT’S CHEESE SALAD

Serves 4

2 tablespoons raisins

60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹∕³ cup) extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and chopped

½ teaspoon salt flakes

250 g (9 oz) goat’s cheese log with rind, cut into 1–2 cm (½–¾ in) thick slices

freshly cracked black pepper

½ radicchio, leaves separated

70 g (2½ oz) rocket (arugula) leaves

1 red apple, cored and thinly sliced

½ bunch chives, cut into 3 cm (1¼ in) lengths

 

Heat the raisins and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 4–5 minutes to rehydrate the raisins. Stir through the honey and remove from the heat. Allow to cool a little then pour in the olive oil and mix through the walnuts and salt flakes. Keep at room temperature.

 

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

 

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. When the pan is extremely hot, add the cheese and cook for 1–2 minutes each side. Transfer to the prepared tray and crack some black pepper over the top.

 

Arrange the salad leaves on serving plates and top with the apple and fried goat’s cheese.

 

Spoon over the dressing and rain over the chives.

 

Authors note:

This simple, go-to warm salad is a modern Barna favourite served in restaurants throughout the city. It’s also very popular at functions, where it’s often served as an entrée.

 

The fats in the goat’s cheese make it an ideal cheese to fry with as you can get a crusty seal without the milk oils separating. Rinded goat’s cheese is a French product and its soft, creamy and acidic flavour pairs perfectly here with the sweet vinaigrette and fresh bitter leaves.

Sunday Roast – Oven Roasted Lamb Shoulder: The Catalan Kitchen – Emma Warren

The Catalan Kitchen

 

From The Catalan Kitchen: From Mountains to City and Sea – Recipes from Spain’s Culinary Heart

by Emma Warren. Photography © Rochelle Eagle | Food styling © Lee Blaylock (Smith Street Books, October 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)

 

ESPATLLA DE XAI AL FORN

OVEN-ROASTED LAMB SHOULDER

Serves 4

 

Lamb shoulder

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) rock salt

2 sprigs rosemary

2 fresh bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick, halved

8 juniper berries

2–2.5 kg (4 lb 6 oz–5½ lb) lamb shoulder, bone in

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) sherry vinegar

125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) dry white wine

2 garlic bulbs, cut in half crossways

2 lemons, halved

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) chat (baby) potatoes

1 teaspoon salt flakes

mixed fresh herbs, such as mint, dill, parsley, basil and tarragon leaves, to serve

 

 

In a blender, blitz the salt, one rosemary sprig, one bay leaf, half the cinnamon and the juniper berries until evenly chopped.

 

Place the lamb in a large baking dish and rub with the salt mix to coat. Set aside in the fridge for 2 hours.

 

Preheat the oven to 230°C (445°F) fan-forced.

 

Rub the salt off the lamb and rinse well. Pat dry with paper towel and allow to air-dry on a wire rack at room temperature for 30 minutes.

 

Smear the lamb with the olive oil and sprinkle with the pepper. Place the lamb and the wire rack on top of a baking dish and pour the vinegar, wine and 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) water into the base of the dish. Throw in the garlic, two lemon halves and the remaining rosemary, bay leaf and cinnamon. Roast for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and turn the shoulder over. Reduce the temperature to 150°C (300°F) and return the lamb to the oven and roast for a further 30 minutes. Remove, turn the lamb over again and place the potatoes in the baking dish. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid and add a little more water if the baking dish is dry and the potatoes are starting to burn. Finally, increase the heat back to 230°C (445°F), turn the lamb shoulder one last time and roast for 15 minutes.

 

Transfer the lamb and potatoes to a large serving dish. Squeeze the remaining lemon halves over the potatoes and sprinkle with the salt.

Scatter the herbs over the lamb and serve.

 

Authors note:

Catalan families often eat this dish a couple of times during the Christmas period, kicking off on 8 December and carrying on through to Three Kings’ Day on 6 January. It’s sometimes served as a late night dinner on the ‘Nit de Nadal’ (good night) or Christmas Eve.

BRAÇ DE GITANO – Gypsy’s Arm: The Catalan Kitchen – Emma Warren

The Catalan Kitchen

From The Catalan Kitchen: From Mountains to City and Sea – Recipes from Spain’s Culinary Heart

by Emma Warren. Photography © Rochelle Eagle | Food styling © Lee Blaylock (Smith Street Books, October 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)

 

BRAÇ DE GITANO

GYPSY’S ARM

 Serves 10–12

butter, for greasing

200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹∕³ cup) espresso coffee

6 large eggs, separated

150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons cacao powder

1 tablespoon pure icing (confectioners’) sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tablespoon Pedro Ximénez or sweet sherry

185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) thickened (whipping) cream

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

 

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) fan-forced. Line a 29 x 24 x 3 cm (11½ x 9½ x 1¼ in) Swiss roll (jelly roll) tin with greased baking paper.

 

Place the chocolate and espresso in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

 

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or electric beaters, beat the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale. Fold through the melted chocolate and coffee mixture until well combined.

 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then gently fold through the chocolate and egg mixture.

 

Pour onto the prepared tray and bake for 12–15 minutes, until cooked through. Turn the oven off, leave the tray inside and keep the oven door slightly ajar to let the moisture escape. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 10–15 minutes.

 

Combine the cacao powder and icing sugar in a small bowl, then sprinkle onto a sheet of baking paper just larger than the cooked sponge. Turn the sponge out onto the prepared baking paper and peel off the top piece of paper. Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle over the alcohol.

 

Whip the cream and vanilla bean paste in a bowl until firm, then evenly spread it over the sponge. Roll up the sponge, using the edges of the baking paper as a guide. Wrap the gypsy’s arm in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1–2 hours before slicing and serving.

 

Authors note:

Known by many different names around the world, but commonly referred to as the Swiss roll, this cake is by no means indigenous to Catalunya, nor is it Swiss. The name ‘gypsy’s arm’ may have come from a travelling monk who brought the cake back to Spain from Egypt, naming it the ‘Egyptian’s arm’. As the Spanish word for gypsy (gitano) is derived from ‘egiptano’ (Egyptian) it makes sense that the name changed over time to gypsy’s arm. Another theory suggests that gypsies pedalling copper and metals through towns and villages were compensated for their work with this cake and would happily leave with their materials in one arm and the cake, comfortably resting along the elbow down to the wrist, in the other.

 

Whatever the origin, it still remains a huge Catalan favourite and this chocolate version can be found in pretty much every cake shop and bakery throughout the region.

 

Gypsy's arm

Crema Catlana: The Catalan Kitchen – Emma Warren

The Catalan Kitchen

From The Catalan Kitchen: From Mountains to City and Sea – Recipes from Spain’s Culinary Heart

by Emma Warren. Photography © Rochelle Eagle | Food styling © Lee Blaylock (Smith Street Books, October 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)

 

CREMA CATALANA

CATALAN CRÈME BRÛLÉE

 

Crema Catalana

Makes 4–6

1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) full-cream (whole) milk

1 cinnamon stick

peel of ½ lemon

peel of ½ orange

7 large egg yolks

200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

3 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)

 

Gently warm the milk, cinnamon and citrus peels in a medium saucepan over medium–low heat until just until simmering. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

 

Whisk the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl, then whisk in 150 g (5½ oz) of the sugar until creamy. Whisk in the cornflour until well combined.

 

Strain the warmed milk into a jug, then slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking to combine.

 

Pour the custard back into a clean saucepan and return to medium– low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula. Allow to gently simmer and bubble, moving the custard constantly to avoid scrambling on the bottom.

 

When thick and coating the back of the spoon, remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. This will pick up any scrambled egg from the base of the saucepan.

 

Evenly divide the custard among 4–6 ramekins, leaving a 5 mm (¼ in) gap at the top of each ramekin. Transfer to a tray and allow to cool slightly before refrigerating for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight.

 

To serve, sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top of the custards and caramelise to a hard crust using a blow torch or sugar iron.

 

You can also caramelise the set custards under the grill (broiler). Place the custards in a baking dish half filled with iced water, sprinkle the sugar over the ramekins and grill (broil) until well caramelised.

 

Authors note:

The French compete with Catalunya for the origin of this famous dish; however, there are some small differences. Quicker, easier and cheaper, the Catalans cook out the egg a little further on the stovetop and set their custards in the fridge with the help of cornflour (cornstarch), as historically many people didn’t have access to ovens. They also use milk, not cream – another peasant compromise.

Review: The Catalan Kitchen – Emma Warren

The Catalan Kitchen

The Catalan Kitchen

Emma Warren

Smith Street Books

ISBN: 9781925418842

RRP $ 55

 

Description:

The Catalan Kitchen is a celebration of one hundred authentic and traditional dishes from Spain’s culinary heart.

 

The Catalonia region is situated on the west coast of the Mediterranean and blessed with one of the richest food cultures in Europe. Although Catalonia is still geographically and politically connected to Spain, Catalans consider themselves independent with their own language, history, culture, and cuisine. Its food is considered unique in Spain, and it is home to one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.

 

Catalan cuisine does not centre around tapas, and although pintxos do feature heavily, they are not the mainstay of the region and most dishes are larger, stand-alone meals. Dishes are heavily influenced by pork and fresh seafood, with a focus on fresh, seasonal produce that varies from recipes as simple as crushed tomatoes smeared on bread to hearty, slow cooked stews. Famous dishes include calcots–large salad onions cooked on a coal barbecue and then dipped into nutty and addictive Romesco sauce, a unique paella made without saffron and the addition of vermicelli noodles, myriad types of Catalan sausage served with white beans, sauces such as aioli and picada, and multiple pastries and desserts including crème Catalan (a version of crème brulee). Beautifully packaged with stunning location and food photography, The Catalan Kitchen is the ultimate cookbook for lovers of Spanish and Mediterranean food.

 

 

My View:

 I live in the Margaret River region, an area that is often described as having a Mediterranean climate and perhaps this is why when I open a cook book that focusses on fresh, local ingredients from a Mediterranean region – such as Catalonia, I embrace the recipes and the ingredients; this book is no exception. Amongst the pages I find recipes for Quince paste with Manchego cheese (both the cheese and a home made paste are a favourite of mine), Pan Fried Goats Cheese Salad (this makes fabulous shared lunch or a spectacular entrée for a gathering if you are seeking to impress), Rabbit in Chocolate (perfect for Easter in our household), Ratatouille, Sautéed Chickpeas and Silver Beet (we have plenty of silver beet growing in  our garden at the moment and we are always looking to find ways to incorporate it in our meals, fresh is best), there is a recipe for serving wild olives – we have 5 olive trees that supply us with glorious fruit each year, the recipe (p.25) for serving wild olives is flavoursome and simple, the trick is warming the ingredients so the flavours infuse (now that is something I would not have thought of).  And that is just a start…

 

The Catalan Kitchen is a great resource for your home kitchen library.

 

 

Review: The Slipping Place – Joanna Baker

The Slipping Place

The Slipping Place

Joanna Baker

Ventura Press

ISBN: 9781925384581

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

A stunningly compulsive, darkly suspenseful Australian crime novel that asks how far we would go to protect someone we love.

 

Veronica Cruickshank’s youngest child Roland is her idealistic one – a fighter of lost causes, and the one that always needs protecting, particularly from himself.

 

So when she hears he is back in Hobart helping an old school friend, Treen McShane, Veronica tries to track him down – but all she finds are second hand reports, whispers of horrific abuse, stories of a small child being hurt.

 

Then Roland sends Veronica a text message, asking her to go to the Slipping Place, high on Mount Wellington, a picnic spot known only to their family. Here she discovers Treen’s frozen body.

 

Knowing Roland will be suspected of leaving Treen to die, Veronica resolves to find out what really happened. But as long-buried truths slowly surface, she uncovers a secret that brings the violence closer to home than she could have ever imagined…

 

 

My View:

An evocative read that conjures up the illusion of mania, psychosis and paranoia in a disturbing manner that will compel you to keep reading. I willingly followed Baker as she skilfully leads me away from the actual killer and entangles me in a web of deceit and half-truths.

 

The scene that describes the staircase incident is lyrical and gothic – images of floating fabric, the hysteria…no spoilers but this is a very visual scene.

 

A haunting read centering on the many facets, meanings of “family”.

 

PS – love the cover art.