Poppy and the Orchestra, Poppy and the Brass Band – Illustrated by Magali Le Huche

 

Poppy and the Orchestra

Poppy and the Orchestra

Waler Foster Jnr, Illustrated by Magali Le Huche

Allen & Unwin Australia

Quarto Group USA

ISBN: 9781633224018

 

Description:

Go on a musical adventure to the symphony with the adorable dog, Poppy, and see as she meets new friends who introduce her to the sounds of musical instruments.

 

With 16 buttons to push and hear, kids will love listening to the sounds of the different instruments as they follow along with the story. With colorful illustrations and a new sound to discover on each page, both kids and parents will be entertained and engaged for hours.

 

Poppy and the Orchestra offers an opportunity to teach kids about classical music and the instruments of the orchestra. Now that is truly unique!

 

 

Poppy and the Brass Band

Poppy and the Brass Band

Waler Foster Jnr, Illustrated by Magali Le Huche

Allen & Unwin Australia

Quarto Group USA

ISBN: 9781633224025

 

Description:

There really is no better way to introduce young children to the full-bodied sound of a brass band than with the story of an excited puppy and 16 sound effects. Poppy and the Brass Band has it all.

 

Go on a musical adventure to the circus with an adorable pup named Poppy. Poppy and the Brass Band takes kids on an adventure with Poppy she meets new friends who introduce her to the sounds of the musical instruments of a brass band. With 16 buttons to push and hear, children will be whisked to a different world while listening to the sounds of the different instruments and follow along with the story.

 

With colorful illustrations and a new sound to discover on each page, both kids and parents will be entertained and engaged from cover to cover. Poppy and the Brass Band offers an opportunity to teach kids about classical music and the instruments in a brass band.

 

My View:

These books have been a lifesaver! This week our grandson has been sick with a virus, he has not been his usual happy self and it has taken a lot of effort to keep him entertained – then these two books arrived in the mail! Allen & Unwin Australia you could not have known how perfectly timed their arrival was.  Our grandson is intrigued with these books; he sat quietly and focused on the sounds and the “pushing” to control the “sounds” himself, he listened, he giggled and jiggled to the music as he sat on our laps, or next to us as we read him the story and played the tunes.  He has enjoyed this book, over and over and overJ  These are unique musical books that entertain and educate.

 

Olive Oil Rosemary Apricot Cake: Poh Bakes 100 Greats – Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Images and recipes from Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99) Photography by Alan Benson.

 

Olive Oil Rosemary Apricot Cake

 

“For the non-sweet tooths out there, this one’s for you. This savoury combination of olive oil, rosemary and lemon in a cake is just sensational and so wonderfully Mediterranean.  If you are desperate to make this outside of apricot season, apricot halves tinned in syrup make a good substitute.

 

Olive Oil Rosemary Apricot Cake_pg185

Feeds 10–12

 

ingredients

5 eggs, separated

165 g (53/4 oz/ 3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar + extra 1 tablespoon, to sprinkle

1/4 teaspoon salt

185 ml (6 fl oz/ 3/4 cup) olive oil

Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

150 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

10 apricots, halved & stones removed, or tinned apricot halves, drained

 

To serve

1 quantity Vanilla Sour Cream or Vanilla Crème Fraîche (for both, see page 203) or Yoghurt Mascarpone Cream (see page 206)

 

method

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) fan-forced. Grease the ring of a 20–22 cm (8–81/2 inch) springform tin, then turn the base upside down, so it no longer has a lip. Place a piece of baking paper over it, then clamp the ring around it to secure.

 

To make the cake, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until just foamy. Add only 55 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) of the caster sugar in two batches, whisking well between each addition, until soft peaks form. Set aside.

 

Combine the egg yolks, remaining caster sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk with an electric mixer on high speed until pale and thick. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, whisking on high speed until all of it has been used. Add the lemon zest and juice, rosemary and flour, and stir with a whisk until just combined. Whisk in one-third of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then add the remainder and stir very gently with the whisk until combined.

 

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and arrange the apricot halves in concentric circles on top, working from the outside in. Sprinkle the extra 1 tablespoon caster sugar evenly over the surface, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes
out clean. Rest the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, before releasing
the ring and sliding the cake onto a wire rack to cool. Rest for about
30 minutes, before slicing and serving with your choice of dolloping cream – warm works for this cake!

 

 

 

Page 203:

 

Dolloping Creams

 

With all the different styles of dolloping cream, you should know you don’t actually need a recipe. All you want is to remember the ratio. Rule of thumb is icing sugar will always be 10% of the cream amount no matter what. For example, you would mix 30 g (1 oz) icing sugar with 300 ml (101/2 fl oz) of cream, then it’s generally 1–11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or to taste. With the cultured creams, you could probably add a smidgen more icing sugar to balance the sharpness but, as is, they will be especially perfect for those who prefer things not overly sweet.

 

Makes about 300 ml (101/2 fl oz)

 

Crème Chantilly

300 ml (101/2 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream

30 g (1 oz/ 1/4 cup) pure icing (confectioners’) sugar or icing (confectioners’) sugar mixture, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence

 

Vanilla Sour Cream or Vanilla crème Fraîche

Sour cream and crème fraîche are the next options. Both of these
are cultured creams, so have a desirable sharpness that is great for cutting through sweet things, but they differ in fat content.

Sour cream has a lower fat content, which means it does not whip. It’s structurally more similar to yoghurt, so you get a more runny finish that will separate if left for a while. Sour cream is also easier to find.

Crème fraîche, on the other hand, can be whipped because of its higher fat content, but it will only be to soft to medium peaks.

To make Vanilla Sour Cream, use the crème Chantilly recipe, but swap out the cream for sour cream, and stir with a spoon to combine.

To make Vanilla Crème Fraîche, use the crème Chantilly recipe, but swap out the cream for crème fraîche, and hand-whisk to soft or medium peaks. This will split if you overwhisk it, and the only remedy is to start again with fresh ingredients.

 

Page 206:

 

Yoghurt Mascarpone Cream

 

I love the look of surprise on people’s faces when I give them a spoonful of this. They expect ‘rich’ and they expect ‘cream’, but what’s wonderful is that, instead, they get this light, mildly sharp, vanilla-y, subtly sweet cultured flavour that, to be honest, trumps a conventional crème Chantilly in most cases. It doesn’t always hold well, depending on what brands of yoghurt and mascarpone you use, so it’s not good for engineering anything that needs to be structurally sound such as between layers of cake. It’s best for dolloping generously on things like pavlova or other meringue desserts, slices of tea cake or poached fruit.

 

Makes about 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups)

 

 

ingredients

250 g (9 oz/1 cup) mascarpone cheese

250 g (9 oz/1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt

50 g (13/4 oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar mixture

1–2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract

 

method

Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth. This will keep perfectly for up to 2 weeks, seeing as both the cheese and the yoghurt are cultured forms of dairy.

 

Post Script: Poh Bakes 100 Greats – Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Poh Bakes 100 Greats

Poh Ling Yeow

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743366264

 

Description:

‘I love baking so much I’ve been known to park myself in front of the oven to watch a cake cook, like television.’

 

Poh first fell in love with food by learning to bake as a nine year old – she remembers vividly her mum showing her the art of folding flour into her first sponge cake ‘just like so’ and the skill in lining a tin meticulously. Now, years after Poh’s meteoric rise to fame through MasterChef, and hosting her own television shows, Poh’s Kitchen and Poh & Co, she returns to her roots, with wooden spoon and mixing bowl in hand. Poh owns and runs Adelaide destination cafe and bakery Jamface, with her bestie, Sarah. She describes the Jamface baking philosophy as the love child between a Parisian patisserie and the Country Women’s Association. Here, she shares recipes for 100 of her favourite baked delights.

 

So take the afternoon off, fire up the oven, and join Poh in the meditative process of baking something truly great.

 

My View:
I think this has to be one of the best all round, accessible baking books of the year. It includes chapters on:

  • Savoury Starters
  • Bake Sale Beauties
  • French Fundamentals
  • Sweetie Pies & Tantalising Tarts
  • Oldies But Goodies
  • Thrills & Frills
  • Adventure Bakes
  • Trusty Tea Cakes
  • Must Knows.

 

Included in the 100 recipes are some of my favourite foods including:

*Hummingbird Cake

*Coconut Ice

*Pecan Cinnamon Scrolls

*Basic Nut Praline

*Bienenstich –Bee Sting Cake

*Turkish Delight

*Brioche Buns

*Baked Camembert with Thyme, Garlic & Red Wine

*Hero No Need Crusty Bread

*Smoked Salmon & Zucchini Slice….

 

And many many more. I am sure you will find your new favourite in this book J

 

PS and there is even a recipe for your favourite pet!

 

 

 

Post Script: I Am, I Am, I Am – Maggie O’Farrell

I Am I Am I Am

I Am, I Am, I Am

Seventeen Brushes With Death

Maggie O’Farrell

Hachette Australia

Tinder Press

ISBN: 9781472240750

 

Description:

A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

 

‘O’Farrell takes up a bow and arrow and aims at the human heart’ The Times

‘A life-enhancing two-fingers to death… mesmerising’ The Sunday Times

I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Intelligent, insightful, inspirational, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.

 

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell.

It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?

 

I AM, I AM, I AM will speak to readers who loved Cheryl Strayed’s WILD or Max Porter’s GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS.

 

 

My View:

I was tempted to request this book when I came upon fellow book blogger and reviewer (and book seller) Written By Sime’s review:  

https://writtenbysime.com/2017/09/13/i-am-i-am-i-am-seventeen-brushes-with-death-by-maggie-ofarrell/ and I was so glad he enjoyed the read and shared his view.

 

This is a remarkable read – what an incredible life Maggie O’Farrell has led (and not by choice) and yet…here she is, daughter, wife, mother and successful writer. Remarkable – I think that covers it all!  J

 

As the title informs there are seventeen chapters in this creative memoir, each chapter is heart wrenching and demonstrates the incredible resilience that is Maggie O’Farrell. For me I was profoundly affected by several chapters – the first, titled Neck 1990 – could be the stuff that a ripping work of crime fiction is made from- but it’s not.  If you have ever been the source of amusement to a bully, to a lunatic…or if you are female you will get chills down your spine, you will recognise the issue here, you too will know what lies ahead, you may have “the instinct for the onset of violence.” p. 12  I know I have it.

 

“Lungs” could have so easily been named #MeToo  – I am sure so many of you will identify with the 16 year old Maggie O’Farrell in this chapter.

 

And the chapter that talks about anaphylaxis…  so much that is personal to me, perhaps it will strike a chord with you too.

 

A wonderful read.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Broken Bones: DI Kim Stone #7 – Angela Marsons

Broken Bones

 

Broken Bones

D I Kim Stone Book 7

Angela Marsons

Bookouture

ISBN: 9781786813022

 

Description:

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

 

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

 

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

 

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

 

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

 

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

 

 

My View:

The short and the oh so sweet – if you are a fan of DI Kim Stone (and if you’re not you should be) this is without doubt the best in the series thus far.   At book six I thought there was nowhere left for this author to write her character that hadn’t already been explored or plot line already wrapped up – I was wrong! This book is brilliant and has a deserving place on my Best of 2017 reads.

 

 

 

 

Tell Me How You Pause…

It is Freebie Friday! To win a copy of the outstanding book Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia, in the comments tell me how you pause.

How to press pause

 

** This competition is open to Australian residents only and the winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday the 1st of November 2017. Thanks Hachette Australia for the opportunity to host this great giveaway.

 

 

****The winner is Brett. Thanks to all who entered.

Pause…Bee Meditation: Pause – How To Pause Before Life Does For You – Danielle Marchant


How to press pause

 

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia.

 

This book is probably the best A$19.99 you will  spend this year; so many useful, simple exercises for relaxation and meditation, for re centering and pauses – big and small.  If you do nothing else – concentrate on your breathing – deep breathing is so good for the whole body and you can practice this anywhere any time of the day.

 

“Bee Meditation

 

One of the ways we can begin to create harmony with our outer world is to create harmony within ourselves. There are different approaches to this. One is creating a natural rhythm

(with your food, sleep, work and so on); another is learning to manage your mind. A long time ago, I was taught, “You have a mind but you are not your mind.” In the same way as you have an arm but you don’t let your arm rule the show, why would you allow your mind to take over?

 

If your stress levels feel unmanageable and you find it hard to switch off and relax, it’s likely that your mind is busy. For some people this is particularly easy to spot at night, when

after an intense day they lie in bed exhausted, but unable to sleep. The more stress builds within us, the less easy it is for us to flow in our lives.

 

One tool that helps deal with everyday stress and allows you to begin to manage your mind to bring it back into harmony is meditation. I meet a lot of people in my coaching practice who tell me that they have tried mediation, but found it too difficult and have given up. The trouble is, when they sit down to meditate they can hear their busy minds racing, and they think they are meditating incorrectly. In truth, sitting down to meditate will make you conscious of what is already present, and if for you that’s a racing mind and anxiety, then that is what you will experience. This doesn’t mean you are not doing it right; it simply means that this is what your inner world feels like at this moment in time (and perhaps beyond this moment). The art of meditation is to sit with the experience you are having, whatever it is, without trying to change it, judge it or fix it. Your “job” in meditation is to stay seated and simply pay attention to your breathing, while your mind chatters and your feelings come to the surface. 

If that feels too difficult for you at this time, you might like to try this lovely Bee Meditation (see page 74), which I describe as a meditation for people who can’t meditate. I find it works well when you have a busy mind, because the sound you make is a distraction, and the mind loves a distraction! It works by blocking out the senses of sight and sound, and creating an internal vibration by humming. The hum makes a sound like a bee buzzing, hence the name.

Here is how the Bee Meditation works (read this through in full before you begin):

 

Prepare yourself by finding a place you can be alone for a few minutes. Sit in a comfortable position, with your back straight.

 

Scan your body and notice how you are feeling.

 

When you are ready, close your eyes, put your thumbs in your ears and gently cover your eyes with your forefingers (the idea is to block out the senses of sight and sound for a moment).

 

Inhale, and on the exhale make a humming sound.

 

Repeat the inhale and hum for ten breaths.

 

When you have completed your ten breaths, keep your eyes closed, rub your hands together to generate some heat and place your hands over your face.

 

Gently open your eyes and remove your hands.

 

Scan your body again and notice how you feel.” p.72

Pause: How To Press Pause Before Life Does It For You – Some Ideas to Help You Slow Down and Breathe Again

How to press pause

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia.

Summary (p220)

 

If you think you are heading toward an enforced pause, here are some ideas to help you to slow down and breathe again:

 

Technology – reduce the cortisol spikes in your body by:

  • Removing all alerts from your phone.
  • Deleting social media apps from your phone.
  • If you’re feeling bold, you can also turn email off on your phone – you will survive, I promise!

 

Nutrition – support your overall system by:

  • Eating less sugar, gluten and dairy.
  • Increasing your daily intake of water.
  • Cutting out caffeine (remember it’s hidden in some fizzy drinks and is also in chocolate).

 

Reflection – allow yourself to slow down and reflect on the signs life is giving you by:

  • Journaling daily, even if it’s just a paragraph.
  • Writing down the dreams you have at night can have a very powerful effect.
  • Working closely with a good coach, therapist or body worker.
  • Regularly spending time in Nature.

 

I’m ever grateful to have been taught how to read the signs of my life, to be able to enquire and get the message. I’m discovering I don’t always get it right, but my life has undoubtedly changed as a result. ” Danielle Marchant

Pause: How to Press Pause Before Life Does For You: Deep Breathing Exercise

How to press pause

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia.

 

I have found deep breathing to be  particularly useful practice whenever I am feeling tense or overwhelmed, or having my blood pressure measured, trying to fall asleep etc  I hope it assists you too.

 

Deep breathing exercise (p196)

 

This simple breathing exercise is very relaxing for the body and mind, so it is particularly helpful before you go to sleep – you can do it lying down in bed.

 

  • Let your arms relax on either side of your body and keep your legs about hip-width apart. Initially, just take a few gentle deep breaths, inhaling through your nose

and exhaling through your mouth, mindful of filling and emptying your lungs fully.

 

  • Now take a deep inhale through your nose for a count of four. You might create a soft sound as you do so that also helps to soothe and relax you. Hold the breath at the top of the inhale for a count of four, then exhale through your nose for a count of four.

 

  • On the next breath, inhale for a count of six, hold for a count of six and exhale for a count of six. And the breath after that, inhale, hold and exhale for counts of eight. If you can, try building up to counts of 10 and 12.

 

  • To complete the exercise, start reducing the count by two for each breath until you finish with a count of four.

 

  • Now just let go and breathe normally…

Post Script: The Child Finder – Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder

The Child Finder

Rene Denfeld

Hachette Australia

W & N

ISBN: 9781474605540

 

Description:

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own harrowing experience that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

 

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

 

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. Can she find the child – and also find out why this particular case is stirring the shadows of her own memories? Could her future be bound to this girl in a way she doesn’t understand?

 

 

My View:

A refreshing approach to this genre – where less is more, no gore, no sensationalism, just an intelligently written narrative with empathetic characters painted in many shades of black and white.

 

Denfeld successfully creates scenarios that are chilling and simultaneously heart breaking. The snow girl’s perspective is compelling reading, her voice innocent yet so world wise.

 

The writing is enchanting, haunting, lyrical, mesmerising, optimistic, I certainly will be reading more of this authors work in the future – and what an interesting life Rene Denfeld leads, a life that certainly colours the narratives she writes with empathy and thoughtfulness.

 

 

**  Rene Denfeld is a death penalty investigator and the author of the novel The Enchanted, as well as three non-fiction books, including the international bestseller, The New Victorians. She has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her three children, all adopted from foster care. In addition to working with death row, clients, Ms. Denfeld volunteers with at-risk youth and in foster adoption advocacy.”

http://renedenfeld.com/

 

https://www.hachette.com.au/rene-denfeld/the-child-finder