"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~ Charles W. Eliot
"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook - try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" ~ Julia Child
"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." ~ Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Saw Three Ships

I Saw Three Ships

Last year, I bought this book by Elizabeth Goudge. It is a beautiful hardback edition with wonderful drawings throughout. This is a tradition now for me that I reread this story over the Christmas holidays.

Little Polly Flowerdew lives with her two aunts at Holly Cottage. It is Christmas eve and Polly tells her aunts that she wants to leave the front door unlocked to allow the three wise men to come in if they pass by. The door remains locked but Polly sneaks downstairs and opens a window. The adventure of the visitors that arrive set in motion some true Christmas miracles.

If you collect Christmas books, this is definitely one I would recommend for your library!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Glad Tidings

This is my first meeting with the popular author Debbie Macomber. She is, in fact, one of my mother's very favorite authors. I enjoyed the lightness of these two holiday books in one...There's Something About Christmas and Here Comes Trouble but (and that is a big but) I did not find them wonderful. They are both predictable and yet you want to finish anyway...well at least I did. I have been informed that the Cove Series and Blossom Street Series are where this author comes into her own. So I am reserving judgement until I do read them.

There's Something About Christmas finds reporter Emma Collins getting her first good assignment interviewing three finalists in a nationwide fruitcake contest from her state of Washington. Problem is that Emma does not like Christmas or fruitcake or flying. Her boss arranges for her to be flown to each of the three finalist with small plane pilot Oliver and his sidekick dog Oscar. He is arrogant and irritating to Emma. 

Here Comes Trouble is a moment for Maryanne and Nolan to look back and tell their children the story of how they met and fell in love. Coming from totally different backgrounds started out as an obstacle but love can win over anything.

If you like very light romances, you will enjoy these and, if not, give them a miss.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Salad Pizza

A couple of years ago, I was watching a Rachel Allen show on the BBC. She was visiting the home of an Italian chef who had a wonderful pizza oven and cooking area in his back yard. It was the first time I ever saw a salad pizza. Since then, I think I prefer them to regular pizza toppings. I love making a rocket salad pizza but decided to make this one instead since I had the ingredients in my kitchen. My mother wondered what I was doing so I am sharing this recipe...

Tossed salad pizza
Pizza margherita (plain pizza with only tomato sauce and cheese)
Butter lettuce (you will want a soft lettuce leaf and not iceberg)
Red and black olives, sliced in half
Tomato, chopped in chunks
Spring onion, chopped finely
Red onion, sliced in half rings
Parmasan cheese, flaked

Bake your pizza until done. Mix your salad ingredients and add a tablespoon of olive oil, teaspoon of red balsamic vineager and some mixed Italian herbs.  Remove pizza from oven and simply top with your salad. It is a refreshing and healthy pizza.

Eet smakelijk!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Potato and spring onion salad

I tried this potato salad recipe from the British Country Living Magazine (May 2012). It is so good and will be one I make often. Here is my version of this salad...

Potato and spring onion salad
600 gr small potatoes (washed and cook with skins)
1 onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons créme fraíche
1/2 teaspoon mustard
pinch of sugar

Cook the potatoes and cut them up in large chunks. Sauté the onion in olive oil just until it starts to go translucent. All the spring onion just just a minute longer and then add the potatoes.

Mix the 3 tbsp olive oil with the vinegar, créme fraíche, mustard and sugar. Now season with freshly ground sea salt and pepper. Toss the potato/onion mixture into the sauce and mix thoroughly.

Eet smakelijk!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Plum Pudding Murder

Plum Pudding Murder (Book) ~ Joanne Fluke (Author) Cover Art

What better combination is there than a cozy community, cats, capers, Christmas and cookies in a mystery? I set aside my regular list of books to read for some Christmas themed books. I always enjoy visiting Hannah at The Cookie Jar to see what kind of scrapes she gets into now.

Hannah is supplying cookies to a Christmas themed park called The Crazy Elf Tree Lot. All seems well and her cookies are selling out so fast that she has to increase the deliveries in the midst of the rush of 10 days counting to Christmas. But when she delivers her latest creation, Minnesota Plum Pudding, to the owner Larry to taste test one evening, she and Norman discover his dead body instead. Hannah happens to discover that a friend is married to Larry although she had not seen him in 15 years. She decides she must do whatever she can to ensure Nancy will not be blamed for Larry's death.

And one aspect of the book that I really adore is Moishe...Hannah's beloved cat. Well, what can I say? I am a cat lover! Norman decides that Hannah needs a Christmas tree this year. The tree is bought and set up but for how long? Moishe has a whole Christmas adventure of his own.

A fun and light read for the month of December!

Happy reading!