Monthly Archives: February 2011
Thank you to Kim and Domestic Goddess Wannabe for following my blog. Happy Reading!
I was sad to hear that Brian Jacques died earlier this month. His Redwall series was one my son devoured and he will be missed in the literary world. By children and adults alike.
I saw this on Shelf Awareness:
Brian Jacques, whose Redwall series, set in the mythical Redwall Abbey, has sold more than 20 million copies, died last Saturday of a heart attack. He was 71.
The 22nd and final book in the Redwall series, The Rogue Crew, will be published in May by Philomel, a Penguin Young Readers Group imprint.
Philomel president and publisher Michael Green noted that Jacques “initially wrote Redwall to entertain the children at Liverpool’s Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, where he would read aloud, giving voice to the many accents, giving aroma and flavor to the famous Redwall Abbey feasts, and giving life to a world in which mice and hares were heroes to the end. The world has lost not only a talented author, but a truly gifted entertainer and champion of children.”
Jacques was born in Liverpool , England . Penguin said that his interest in adventure stories began in childhood, when he read the works of Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson and Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of his favorites was The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham.
BBC noted that Jacques showed literary talent at an early age (and we’re lucky he survived a teacher’s reaction): “He was caned by a teacher who could not believe that a 10-year-old could write so well when he penned a short story about a bird who cleaned a crocodile’s teeth.”
In honor of Brian Jacques
Sea Otter’s Savory Scone Spread
about half a block of cream cheese
chives chopped very thin
half a cup shredded crab meat
half a teaspoon of lemon juice
Scones (or crackers)
parsley for garnish (optional)
mix cream cheese well with chives, crab meat and lemon juice. shape into a block and garnish with parsley. serve chilled on scones or crackers.
Recipe: Credit where credit is due
Next review is Carol Drinkwater’s The Olive Farm.
This is the first book I have read by author Stephen Mansfield and I can report that I found it very interesting. It was Guinness that attracted me to the book cover and upon picking it up, found I had read several pages whilst leaning against the bookshelves at my local library. Why not bring it home?
This is story about the humble beginnings for Arthur Guinness’ career in brewing beer. While many people are under the impression that Arthur started up the family business after acquiring long lease on St James Gate, you will be quite engaged to read about the real beginnings of his brewing experience. Arthur had roughly 25 years of experience before he started up at St James Gate. As a matter of fact, he brought hops from his family home in Celbridge and began brewing in Dublin after years of experience with his father and on his own talent.
The company treated the employees very well. You’ve read or heard about the benefits provided by Google to their employees? The Guinness family were the precursors for that business model.
Each of the facts I listed below is written about in detail in this book, telling of the circumstances.
From the book
Some Guinness facts:
* More than ten million glasses of Guinness are consumed each day worldwide. That is nearly two billion pints a year.
* In 1759, Arthur Guinness founded the Guinness brewery in Dublin by signing a lease for famous property St James Gate – a lease that has given him rights to that property for nine thousand years!
* It is a myth that the water for brewing Guinness comes from the River Liffey. Most of the water comes from the streams of the Wicklow Mountains which lies just south of Dublin .
* A Guinness worker during the 1920s enjoyed full medical and dental care, massage services, reading rooms, subsidized meals, a company funded pension, subsidies fro funeral expenses, educational benefits, free concerts and lectures and a guaranteed two pints of Guinness beer a day.
* During World War I, Guinness guaranteed all of its employees who served in uniform that their jobs would be waiting for them when they returned home. Guinness also paid half salaries to the family of each man who served.
* A Guinness chief medical officer, Dr John Lumsden, personally visited thousands of Dublin homes in 1900 and used what he learned to help the company fight disease, squalor and ignorance. These efforts also led to the establishment of the Irish version of the Red Cross, for which Dr. Lumsden was knighted by King George V.
Guinness was known for its care of its employees, One Guinness family member who headed the brewery said, “You cannot make money from people unless you are willing for people to make money from you.”
There were so many, “Oh I didn’t know that, how interesting” moments that I would stop and call out to Doug, “Listen to this” and proceed to share parts of this book.
We had been fortunate to have a family vacation in Ireland that took us to Arthur Guinness’ hometown of Celbridge and we enjoyed a pint there, talking to the bar maid about the town history, sipping our pints in the old pub on a chilly afternoon. We also took a tour of the brewery in Dublin and have our photo at the famous St James Gate. The tour was great but I wish I had read this book prior to going to Ireland .
A good read – I recommend it!
On to the Beef and Guinness Pie.
I made this (and read the book) a bit before I am posting this review. What with medical issues for our beloved shiba inu, everything else took a back seat while we got a handle on the problems. Without further wait – please enjoy the following!
1/4 pound of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
2 lb of chuck roast chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 red onion, diced
2 carrots, medium chunks
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 red or green bell pepper (I used green, sliced in tiny pieces)
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 TB or chopped rosemary (my son brought home freshly cut rosemary!)
1 bottle or can of Guinness
1 cup of beef stock
1 box of puff pastry
2 cups of cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dredge the chunks of chuck roast in flour. Shake off excess.
Over medium heat cook the bacon, then remove and leave the grease in the pan. Add the chuck roast with some salt and pepper. Cook in batches if you need to so you do not crowd the pan.
Pour all but 1 TB of the fat out of the pan and add in the onion, carrot, celery, and green pepper. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook till softened (about 5 minutes) then add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add in the Guinness and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen stuck bits. Add the stock, rosemary, thyme, bacon and chuck roast back into the pan.
Put the pan in the oven uncovered and cook till the chuck roast is tender (about 1 1/2 hours). Add more stock or beer if needed to be sure your dutch oven does not dry up before the meat is done. Once the meat is done remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Stir in the 2 cups of cheese.
Butter a pie pan or a pan that is 8-10 inches by a couple inches deep. Roll out a piece of puff pastry big enough to cover the pan with a little overhang. Pour the Guinness beef mixture into this. Beat the egg and spread it over the edges of the pan.
Roll out another piece of puff pastry large enough to cover the pan.
Slice through, making light slashes through the top. Place this piece on top and push down on the edges to seal. Brush the top with the beaten egg. Place in the oven till the puff pastry is golden brown (about 30-40 minutes).
I am placing this review on Goodreads and Librarything.
Hope you enjoyed this as much I enjoyed writing and eating!
Thank you so much to Kate, Nicole and The Blue Faerie for becoming followers of my blog. Happy Reading!
Warning: The are spoilers.
This is a story of three siblings – Alice, Griffin and Dinah Stenen – and how their adults lives intersect. It is also a story of exceptional loss and inner sadness. Common theme that seems unremarkable? It might have been if they were not all haunted by their (mostly) unspoken thoughts regarding the deaths of their parents when they were very young.
The mother, whom you do not get to know in life fell off a stool in her kitchen, hit her head, and died when Alice was 7, Griffin was 4 and Dinah was a baby. The children, incidentally, are all named after characters from Alice in Wonderland.
The father, James, is a Classics professor. He takes care of the kids best he can and one day, when they are in Greece (where he is happily researching ancient vases and vessels) James drops dead from a heart attack. Dead. The kids are shuttled back to the States to take up life without either parent.
This sounds depressing, no? But all of that happens in the very first part of the book so you have an appreciation for the loss the children share. Not once in their young lives but twice – they are robbed of a parent.
In their own ways, each child thinks about the person they may have developed into had at least one of their parents lived to guide them through life. The loss haunts them constantly.
Alice is an actress in New York, a very popular one cast in many plays. She can not commit to a relationship until she meets her new neighbor Ian. But Ian has a son and while Alice is hands off at first, she falls in love with the four-year-old.
Griffin and his partner Theo are settled into the happiest relationship (at first….wait for it) and live in a world of seemingly domestic bliss. Problem with them – Theo wants to adopt a child and Griffin doesn’t want to be a father. A divide in the relationship is evident and deepens when Griffin meets a hot neighbor named Ray. Ray is the anti-Theo and Griffin is interested.
Dinah, the youngest, has an affair – very uncharacteristic of her I must say – and of course, she gets pregnant. The father is engaged to someone else and Dinah decides to keep her pregnancy from him.
A strange part of the book is the intrusion of the dead parents, looking in on their offspring from a sort of heaven. They float around and see others that have died, gaining entry into the limbo-ish place they inhabit. Huh.
Why would you read this book after reading my review – because the charachters come together. They are there for each other even though each one is lost with their own problems, some which are not shared with one another.
I received this book as an advance readers copy from Goodreads. It will be available in store March 2011. Personally, I would be willing to read another of this author’s books.
The loss of a parent is a horrible thing, particularly when you have had a good relationship. I miss both my parents very much and the very smell of a cologne or aroma of fresh bread is enough to mentally transport me to the kitchen of my childhood.
Whole Wheat Honey Bread
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 TB active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 or 5 cups all purpose flour
Disolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and stir well.
Mix in whole wheat flour, salt and vegetable oil.
Work AP flour in gradually.
Turn dough out onto floured surface, knead 10 minutes.
When dough is smooth and elastic, place in oiled bowl. Turn the dough so it’s oiled. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
Punch dough down, shape into two loaves. Place in well greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes.
Be prepared to be awed by the aroma of comfort if such a thing may be smelled.
One of my favorites – fresh bread with a good quality marmalade.