Saturday, September 19, 2020

Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin - BOOK REVIEW

book cover of Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin

Adrian Martin is a young, popular Irish chef. His new cookbook, Create Beautiful Food at Home, takes reasonably easy to make at home recipes and makes them look very, very fancy. His breezy explanations and the lovely photographs have me convinced it is possible to make food at home that looks like it comes from a swanky restaurant.

Which is not to say I'm convinced I want to. I'm more of a bistro food home cook than a haute cuisine home chef. So I'm probably not the target audience for Martin's new book. But for home chefs looking to learn something different or polish up restaurant-worthy skills, this is a terrific, must-have book.

You will get an idea of whether this is the book for you from a partial list of Martin's suggested "Necessities for the Kitchen," which will "make your life much easier if you are making the recipes in this book":

  •  Squeezy bottles (for purées, dressings, etc.)
  • Tweezers (for picking herbs and micro salads, and for plating up)
  • Blowtorch
  • Mandoline
  • Fish slice
  • Different-sized melon ballers
  • Oyster knife
  • Ice-cream churner

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against ice cream. I am even willing to make ice cream. I own a mandoline. And I own a single melon baller in one size. But I do not know what a fish slice is. And I cannot imagine using tweezers to plate individual herbs or "micro salad" or a squeezy bottle to decorate a dish with puree. That's just not me.

But I know people who would LOVE this kind of thing, love it down to their toes. I can think of five or six friends who would be tickled to get this for Christmas. And if you are like them, you too will love this book.

Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin, picture of Chocolate and Hazelnut Tarts and second part of recipe

Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin, Chocolate and Hazelnut Tarts, first part of recipe

The recipes are all beautifully presented – that's the point. They range from simple, like a fresh pea risotto with asparagus and basil purée, to elaborate, like individual chocolate and hazelnut tarts with chocolate tuiles and chocolate hazelnut ice cream (above). Some use the simplest of ingredients, a few rely on extravagant ingredients like fresh oysters, lobster, or foie gras. None are overly difficult, but they require attention to detail and a focus on timing and presentation.

If you have always wanted to make food as pretty as on cooking shows or in posh restaurants, Create Beautiful Food at Home is the perfect book for you. Please invite me over for dinner!

NOTES

Create Beautiful Food at Home would make a perfect gift for the home chef who likes to replicate fancy restaurant meals -- the kind of home chef who already has a mini blowtorch for making the burnt sugar top on creme brulee. 

I'm happy to have a copy of Adrian Martin's book in my Cookbook Library and plan to challenge myself to make some of the simpler recipes for my next dinner party. When we can next have dinner parties. 


WEEKEND COOKING


Weekend Cooking is a weekly blog event hosted by Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid ReaderBeth Fish Reads started the event in 2009 and bloggers have been sharing book and food related posts ever since.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

Mordecai's Ashes (Larsson Investigations Book 1) by Arlena Crane - BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Another week, another Book Beginnings on Fridays! 

And here in Oregon, it looks like another disaster on the horizon as we brace for flash floods when the rain starts tonight. We've jumped from pandemic to riots to forest fires to flooding in a matter of weeks. Maybe locusts will come next!

I learned a new term recently -- doom scrolling. It's when you scroll through grim headlines on your phone. I confess I've been guilty of it lately and I need to stop. I plan to spend the weekend doing nothing but happy things. Starting with Book Beginnings!

Please share the first sentence (or so) of the book you want to highlight this week. Leave a link to your post below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

MY BOOK BEGINNING

My Book Beginning is from a new book in a mystery series set on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Mordecai's Ashes is the first book in Arlena Crane's new Larsson Investigations series.

It starts:

Karl's phone was buzzing somewhere in the bed, shaking him out of a deep sleep.

I suppose the story could go anywhere from there. And it sounds like it will go somewhere exciting.

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

Karl Larsson is an out of work roughneck, home from the oil fields of Alberta and back on the west coast for the first time in years. His wife has left him and his future looks bleak. Becoming a detective is the last thing on his mind, but when Karl learns that he has inherited his estranged grandfather’s agency he decides to take a chance. 

 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.



THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

They sat in the driveway across the road and a block away from Ogelvie's place, the truck partially screened by large azalea bushes only starting to bud but already leafy enough that no one was likely to spot the two of them sitting inside. They had watched the owner of the house drive away before selecting this driveway to park in, and Karl counted on being able to stay in the spot most of the day without disturbance.




Monday, September 14, 2020

New Fall Books from Indie Authors & Publishers on Mailbox Monday

 

Fall is the season for new books, pandemic or no pandemic. Book launches may be on Zoom and getting a signed copy might be tricky. But new books are coming!

A batch of new indie books came my way over the last few days.

What looks good?

Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan by Deborah Reed, will launch October 6 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Violet Swan is a famous abstract artist living on the Oregon coast. When, at age 93, an earthquake hits her oceanside community, it also shakes up family secrets and her hidden past. Sounds like Reed has a winner on her hands! 

Storm Beat: A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast by Lori Tobias, a new memoir out today from OSU Press. Tobias has worked as a newspaper reporter on the Oregon Coast for the last 20 years. Her memoir talks about journalism in the 21st Century as well as living on a rural coast and caring for distant older parents.

Never Leaving Laramie: Travels in a Restless World by John W. Heines, a new travel memoir, also out now from OSU Press. 

Mordecai’s Ashes: Larsson Investigations Book 1 by Arlena Crane, a new mystery set on Vancouver Island, BC. Karl Larsson lost his job in the oil fields and lost his wife, but he just inherited a detective agency. Looks like Nordic Noir, Canadian version! 

A Small Crowd of Strangers by Joanna Rose, new this month from the award winning Forest Avenue Press. This quirky new novel is also set on Vancouver Island. I think I have a new Storyline Serendipity post in the making. 

River Queens: Saucy Boat, Stout Mates, Spotted Dog, America by Alexander Watson. This one came out in 2018 but I just got my copy. It’s a fun memoir about two guys who refurbish a wooden yacht and take it from Oklahoma to Cincinnati.

If the light in this picture looks weird it’s because the light in Oregon is weird right now. The forest fires up and down the state, so close to Portland, have given us the worse air quality in the world, we are told. It’s comforting to carry on with normal activities, like enjoying these new books and congratulating the authors and indie publishers on launching in this crazy year.

The pretty fall flowers hair flowers are “handcrafted petal by petal” by Camellias and Curls, entrepreneurs in Round Rock, Texas. I saw the flowers on a friend’s Instagram story and wanted some for my own. I'll look so glamorous in my next Zoom meeting!

MAILBOX MONDAY 

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house last week. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf



Thursday, September 10, 2020

River Queens: Saucy Boat, Stout Mates, Spotted Dog, America by Alexander Watson - BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

book cover of River Queens: Saucy Boat, Stout Mates, Spotted Dog, America by Alexander Watson

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

It's hard to pay attention to anything other than the smoke in the air, news reports, and evacuation maps as forest fires here in Oregon spread up and down the state and creep right up to the Portland exurbs. My mom and sister, who live in a town just east of Portland, had to evacuate an hour ago, which is so scary to think about, even though the fire is (supposedly) heading in a different direction.

But doing normal things is soothing in stressful times. So Hubby is making dinner and I'm posting Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the first sentence (or so) of the book you want to highlight this week. Leave a link to your post below. If you share your post on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. 

button for blog event Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader

MY BOOK BEGINNING

My Book Beginning is from River Queens: Saucy Boat, Stout Mates, Spotted Dog, America by Alexander Watson. 

She arrived at her usual hour, shortly after six, in a blast of cold air and a flurry of peasant skirt, paisley shawl, bangles and beads and always that topaz ring which some man in South America had given her. 

River Queens is a memoir about Alexander Watson and his partner Dale Harris who refurbished a wooden yacht and took it from Oklahoma to Cincinnati, not really knowing what they were doing or who they would encounter in life on the river. 

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS


Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

button for weekly blog event The Friday 56 on Freda's Voice blog


THE FRIDAY 56 

Another weekly teaser event is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice, where you can find details and add a link to your post. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book you are featuring. You can also find a teaser from 56% of the way through your ebook or audiobook.

MY FRIDAY 56

Somehow the twenty or so men, ranging from white men in Stetsons to migrants in sombreros, sort themselves into an order according to their arrival with minimal disturbance in the conversation. Anything new in Sequoyah County is noteworthy. Our boat is new. 

OK, that's three sentences. 


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Beach House Dinners: Simple, Summer-Inspired Meals for Entertaining Year-Round by Lei Shishak - BOOK REVIEW

 

book cover of Beach House Dinners: Simple, Summer-Inspired Meals for Entertaining Year-Round  by Lei Shishak

Beach House Dinners: Simple, Summer-Inspired Meals for Entertaining Year-Round  by Lei Shishak (2020, Skyhorse Publishing)


Beach House Dinners: Simple, Summer-Inspired Meals for Entertaining Year-Round is a pretty cookbook offering 80 recipes for the kind of food everyone loves to eat, focusing on dishes made to share. Whether you are making dinner for family or a dinner party for friends, Lei Shishak's new book is an excellent cookbook for easy, tasty recipes.

Because the theme is dinner, the chapters are divided by type of entrée: Poultry, Seafood, Read Meat, Pork and Ground Meat, Vegetarian, Pasta, Soups and Sandwiches, and Salads. Each recipe for a main dish comes with suggestions and recipes for what to serve with it to make a whole dinner. For example, Lei's recipe for Lemon Garlic Chicken includes instructions to roast quartered red baby potatoes with the chicken thighs and a recipe for a Shredded Brussels Sprouts side dish. Other recipes are a complete meal in themselves, like the scrumptious looking Shrimp and Potato Fiesta.

recipe for Shrimp and Potato Fiesta from Beach House Dinners cookbook by Lei Shishak

Lei Shishak is a chef, baker, and cookbook author in Southern California. She is the founder of the Sugar Blossom Bake Shop in San Clemente, California. Beach House Dinners is her fourth cookbook. As with her two earlier "Beach House" cookbooks, Beach House Baking and BeachHouse Brunch, the theme is good food by the beach. The book is filled with beautiful, dreamy pictures of beach life – picnics, seashores, palm trees, sun drenched cottages, and sun-bleached decks. But the book doesn't require summer and a beach house so much as evoke that summer-at-the-beach vibe everyone can enjoy, and enjoy year round.

Because the recipes are mostly for yummy, comfort food that anyone can make at home, Beach House Dinners would make an excellent gift for a new couple or a young person setting up house. Extra features that make it a good pick for a new cook are a list for a well-stocked home pantry, a list of kitchen tools to make all the recipes, a section of helpful tips, and lined spaces for notes after many of the recipes.

I am happy to add Beach House Dinners to my CookbookLibrary.

NOTES

Beach House Dinners is a perfect book for Labor Day weekend, but really does have year-round recipes great for entertaining friends or just cooking for family. 


WEEKEND COOKING


Weekend Cooking is a weekly blog event hosted by Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid ReaderBeth Fish Reads started the event in 2009 and bloggers have been sharing book and food related posts ever since.


 




Thursday, September 3, 2020

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe on Book Beginnings

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Are you looking forward to the long Labor Day weekend? That is, if you are here in the US, where we celebrate this first weekend in September as the cusp between summer and fall. Here in Portland, we are having our best summer weather, even if school starts next week. So I am looking forward to a long holiday weekend even if it is a staycation weekend for me.

What are your weekend plans? Do they involve any good books?

Let's kick off the weekend with Book Beginnings on Fridays and share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are featuring this week. Please link to you post below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

MY BOOK BEGINNING

book cover of Penguin Classics edition of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull.

-- Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Robinson Crusoe was published in 1719 and is often said to be the first English novel. It's one of those books that has been adapted and reimagined so many times that I always thing I've read it, but I really haven't. 

I'm finally reading it now as one of the books on my Classics Club list. I always get in the mood to read classics in the fall. I don't know if it's a back to school vibe or just the whole cozy feeling that comes with the change of season. 

Do you read different books in the fall than you do in the summer? What are you looking forward to reading this fall?

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.



THE FRIDAY 56

Every Friday, Freda at Freda's Voice hosts a similar event where participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of their book. You can also share a teaser from 56% of the way through your ebook or audiobook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

Besides these things, I took all the men's clothes that I could find, and a spare fore-topsail, hammock, and some bedding; and with this unloaded my second raft, and brought them all safe on shore to my very great comfort.

I was under some apprehensions during my absence from the land, that at least my provisions might be devoured onshore; but when I came back I found no sign of any visitor, only there sat a creature like a wild cat upon one of the chests, which when I came towards it, ran away a little distance, and then so would still; she sat very composed and unconcerned, and looked full in my face, as if she had a mind to be acquainted with me.





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...