It has been a while.

There has been too much sport on television recently and it has played havoc with my normal routine.  The Tour de France meant I was getting to bed at unseemly hours and that was then followed by the Cricket World Cup, followed by The Ashes so the usual day activities have come to a shuddering halt.

The Ashes are still happening as only two tests have been played and there are three still to play but I am trying to get some semblance of order into my day.  It hasn’t helped that the weather has been miserable here and tempts one to stay in bed rather than get up in the morning.

Back to posting what I have been doing recently, other than spending far too much time watching television.

I will start with some of my reading during July. I did manage to get quite a few books read as the weather was not suitable for gardening.

Career of Evil by Robert GalbraithThis was the third novel in the Strike series and it was just as exciting as the other books in the series.  It didn’t really matter that this one was read out of order as they read well as stand-alone novels. I have mentioned the other novels in a previous post.

Watching You by Lisa JewellThis was a psychological thriller and I have found a new author that I thoroughly enjoy.  You will see that I have read a second book of hers this month and will be on the lookout for more.

“. . . .a suspenseful page-turner about a shocking murder in a picturesque and well-to-do English town, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train

You’re back home after four years working abroad, new husband in tow. You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now, you’re crashing in your big brother’s spare room.

That’s when you meet the man next door. He’s the head teacher at the local school. Twice your age. Extraordinarily attractive.  You find yourself watching him. All the time. But you never dreamed that your innocent crush might become a deadly obsession.  Or that someone is watching you.

In Lisa Jewell’s latest bone-chilling suspense, no one is who they seem—and everyone has something to hide.”

Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKintyI came across the author as recommended by Ian Rankin, I think, but I am glad I took note as I enjoyed this book even though it is not one I would normally take from the shelf as it sounded as though it was about gang warfare in America.

This is a brutal story of gangland warfare, lust, betrayal and bloody retribution.   The engaging anti-hero has few redeeming qualities other than his native Irish wit and the will to survive.
This is “Gangs of New York” for the nineties.

“This Irish bad-boy thriller — set in the hardest streets of New York City — brims with violence, greed, and sexual betrayal.”I didn’t want to go to America, I didn’t want to work for Darkey White. I had my reasons. But I went.”

“So admits Michael Forsythe, an illegal immigrant escaping the Troubles in Belfast. But young Michael is strong and fearless and clever — just the fellow to be tapped by Darkey, a crime boss, to join a gang of Irish thugs struggling against the rising Dominican powers in Harlem and the Bronx. The time is pre-Giuliani New York, when crack rules the city, squatters live furtively in ruined buildings, and hundreds are murdered each month. Michael and his lads tumble through the streets, shaking down victims, drinking hard, and fighting for turf, block by bloody block.”

A gritty read.

 

Reposting of “Tomato relish instead of sauce” in light of the death of Margaret Fulton.

Originally posted in 2017.  Thank you Margaret Fulton.

Last year I made loads of tomato sauce and this year I have also made sauce but not quite as much.  Today for a bit of a change I made relish instead.

The recipe was from Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopaedia of Food and Cookery

Margaret Fulton's Encyclopaedia of Food and CookeryWe have had this book since 1983 and it still gets referred to occasionally.

Here is the recipe I used

recipe“until the mixture is thick.” had me in a bit of a quandary as there are various stages of thick!  I did it until I thought it was thick enough and it seems to have turned out ok.  This is the first time I have done a pickle, relish or sauce that has flour as a thickener.

It was delicious on cheese.

 

An Australian icon leaves us.

One of Australia’s icons, the beloved Margaret Fulton, food writer and cook, passed away yesterday at the age of 94.

I think I probably came across her recipes for the first time in either of the magazines, Womans Weekly or New Idea.  She was the first female Australian cook to introduce us to the flavours of other nations.

I used many of her recipes when our children were young as the recipes were simple and easy for a working mother to follow.  Both of our daughters cooked from the Margaret Fulton Encyclopaedia of Food and Cookery when they were still school students.  Vegetable pie, first cooked in 1992 by my elder daughter, and  cinnamon teacake by my younger daughter, were both family favourites.

Back in 2017 I read her memoir, I Sang for my Supper – memories of a food writer, and I felt I knew her after reading it.  If you get the opportunity borrow the book from your library to learn more about this amazing Australian treasure, who incidentally was born in Scotland.

I have also reposted a post I wrote a few years ago when I was using one of the recipes from the encyclopaedia.

 

 

More June reads

Much of my reading is crime fiction and Stuart MacBride is one of my favourite authors.  I tend to read quite a bit by Scottish authors.

A Song for the Dying is another novel in the Oldcastle series.

“He’s back …

Eight years ago, ‘The Inside Man’ murdered four women and left three more in critical condition – all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside.

And then the killer just … disappeared.

Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot can change in eight years. His family has been destroyed, his career is in tatters, and one of Oldcastle’s most vicious criminals is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison.

Now a nurse has turned up dead on a patch of waste ground, a plastic doll buried beneath her skin, and it looks as if Ash might finally get a shot at redemption. At earning his freedom.

At revenge.”

Bye Bye Baby by Fiona McIntosh is one that I borrowed from the library.I have read many Fiona McIntosh novels but none of those has been crime fiction, perhaps The Pearl Thief could be classified as such but none of the others.

“It all began in Brighton. Now there is a killer on the loose. Scotland Yard′s brightest talent is chosen to head up the high-profile taskforce, a DCI who must confront his own past as the body count rises.

There are few leads and Jack Hawksworth can only fall back on instinct and decades-old cold cases for any clue to the killer′s motive … and identity.

With his most loyal team member threatening to betray him, a Chief Inspector pushing for results, a hungry British media clamouring for information, and a restless public eager for a conviction, the high-pressure operation can only end in a final shocking confrontation …

A searing story of brutal revenge.”

I loved this book and devoured it in one sitting. I couldn’t wait to read the first book,

so went out and bought it.  It didn’t disappoint.  I loved it too.  Apparently these books were originally published under the pseudonym of Lauren Crow, in 2007. They have now been re released under her own name and as there are so many followers of Fiona McIntosh’s books I am sure these will do equally as well.

“A calculating killer, who ′trophies′ the faces of his victims, is targeting Londoners.

Under enormous pressure from politicians and the public, DCI Jack Hawksworth and his team begin their investigation, which takes them into the murky world of human organ trading.

But when the murderer strikes closer to home than Jack could ever have imagined possible, the case becomes a personal crusade – and a race against time. Can the killer be brought to justice before Jack is removed from the operation?

From London′s backstreets to the dangerous frontiers of medicine, BEAUTIFUL DEATH will keep you reading late into the night.”

This is a fast paced read, perhaps a bit bloodthirsty for some.

I didn’t know this.

I must have been living under a rock as I was unaware that J.K.Rowling was the author Robert Galbraith.

I had borrowed Lethal White from the library and had started to read it when a friend told me that she had the first three books in the series.  I had been reading thinking it was a stand alone book, which indeed it could be.  Nevertheless I stopped reading it and borrowed two of the first books from my friend and the books are The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm.

The Cuckoo’s Calling was perfect as it introduced the characters of the book I had started to read and it futher expanded on what I had read in Lethal White.  I quickly read both of these books and couldn’t wait to borrow the third but in the meantime I continued reading Lethal White.

Cuckoo’s Calling

“When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho.”

The Silkworm

“A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before…”

The books are now a TV series and you can view trailer for the series at the following link.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4276618/

 

What a bargain!

Those of you who have followed this blog over the years will know that my favourite illustrator is Robert Ingpen.  I have wirtten previous posts about him and this is another one.

I was lucky to find another hardback book in his series of illustrated classics.  I found this at the Op Shop at St John’s church in Bairnsdale.  What a treasure to find and the best part was it cost $4.

The end papers of the book are so fitting.I have so many happy memories related to this book.  I loved it as a child and I remember taking my elder daughter to see a stage production of this at the Canberra Theatre.  She was very young at the time and may not have the vivid memory that I have of that particular event.

It is a lovely story and I am happy to be able to add it to my collection of Ingpen illustrated classics.