"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, May 29, 2013

Pasta with spinach and cream cheese sauce

We eat pasta often in our home. I love how I can test out new combinations or simply use up lots of delicious veggies in the fridge. Making tasty pasta dishes is not difficult or time consuming. This spinach and cream cheese sauce couldn't be easier to whip up when time is short.

Pasta with spinach and cream cheese sauce for two
Pasta of choice - I used fresh fungi tortellini this time but this is good with any pasta!
450 gr (one pound) fresh spinach - this slinks down to just enough for two
about 3 tablespoons fresh cream cheese with chives
2 tablespoons half and half
salt and pepper
handful of pine nuts
Parmesan cheese -flaked
Optional - slices of Parma ham

Cook the pasta according to instructions. Wilt the spinach in a large pan and drain. Add the cream cheese and half and half allowing the cream cheese to melt. Salt and pepper to taste. Toast the pine nuts. Serve your pasta on a plate pouring the spinach sauce on top. Sprinkle pine nuts and Parmesan flakes over the sauce. Top with slices of Parma ham that has been placed under a grill under crispy.

** Be careful to keep a close eye on the Parma ham under the grill as it does burn easily. **

Eet smakelijk!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Fisherman's Quilt

The Fisherman's Quilt

It is rare that I really lash out at a book but The Fisherman's Quilt by Margaret Doyle is awful! It is a shame that a tree was killed to print these pages. It might redeem itself by being thrown into our wood stove for a little warmth tonight.

I got as far as the third chapter and decided it was time to bury this book for good. For me, it is not often that I do not finish a book even if I am not enjoying it.

I am offended by the referrals of the publishers that this book will appeal to quilters. Even browsing through other chapters I had not yet read through, the quilting reference is very far sought. No quilters I know would enjoy only one reference to a thrown together quilt in the beginning and then moving on to a story of a whining and maladjusted drug using girl who makes a move to Alaska. Sorry but I know of no one among my quilting friends who would use or talk about casual buying, selling and using of cocaine as is done in these pages. On top of it all, I do not see the relevance to what the story seemed to want to develop into.

Happy reading!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Death in the Cotswolds

Death in the Cotswolds

The third book in the Cotswolds Mysteries by Rebecca Tope is Death in the Cotswolds. This book has a different twist as it is told by Ariadne who is DI Phil Hollis' Aunt Helen's neighbor.

Aunt Helen has passed away and Phil brings Thea to her cottage to sort through his  aunt's things while spending a week together along with their three dogs. In the little village of Cold Aston, life is quiet while a pagan group is planning Samhain (which are the origins of Halloween) celebrations. This group is frowned upon by the Freemasons who are very active and secretive.

Ariadne sells knitted items and is juggling this with her planning for the upcoming event. She discovers one is her knitters dead having been stabbed by a knitting needle while taking a walk on Notgrove Barrow which is the ancient place designated for the celebrations. Life is turned upside-down for Ariadne as she is interviewed by police as to her and her friends whereabouts during the crime.

In the middle of it all, she seems to be befriending Thea who is being left alone more often as Phil works on the case during his week's vacation time. Will she and Thea stumble into the killer among the villagers?

If you like cozy mysteries that have all the atmosphere on a small English village can bring, this is a series I can highly recommend. I am off to book four now...

Happy reading!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan was a book I kept debating about getting. When my blogging friend over at Cornish Cream recommended I read it, it went right into my Kindle in the form of the Audible version. Thank you so much Barbara for recommending I do get it as I enjoyed it so much that I will be listening to the following book very soon too.

Issy bakes! When she is made redundant from her job, she decides to just go for it and create a cupcake café. She has the perfect little shop in mind to house this new adventure. Her first hurdle is to get a rental agreement for the shop while another woman is also trying for it. She wins out and sets up an adorable little place. Her second hurdle is to get people through the door. In the course of time, she starts getting to know more and more people in the neighborhood. These are characters you will enjoy meeting as they come through her door. It almost makes you feel like you are sitting at a corner table enjoying people watching as you sip on a latte and nibble on one of the cupcakes.

This is a fun book that is full of endearing people. It is a book that makes you cheer in the end. It was a perfect companion to quilting or crocheting while I listened.

Happy reading!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Lantern

If you enjoy a good ghost story and a mystery with twists and turns while also enjoying sense of smell and atmosphere, then Deborah Lawrenson's The Lantern is a good for you. I had read a number of reviews online and was prepared to be disappointed with this book. I was not at all disappointed and was surprised now at the reviews.

This is Eve and Bénédicte's story...one set in the present while the other is set in the past. On the surface, it is a ghost story set in a beautiful old and rundown farmhouse set in the Provence. Eve lives today and senses not being alone in the farmhouse she buys with boyfriend Dom. But as she meets Sabine in the village, she begins to wonder if she really knows Dom at all. She knew he had a previous marriage but her suspicious about his ex-wife Rachel keep growing stronger.

In the meantime, we meet Bénédicte Lincel who is the younger daughter of the farmer who lived in the farmhouse. She is the sister of the blind and scent gifted Marthe who became a famous perfumer in Paris. But this family is tormented and that torment seems to have seeped into the very stones of the farmhouse.

The ending twists and I love this quote from the book:
" All of which goes to show how dangerous it is to assume connections where there are none, to link events that have no link, to want tidy story-telling when real life is not like that, to draw too much on the imagination when it is often misleading."

If you enjoy being caught up in the senses as well as intrigue, I would say give this book a try. I really enjoyed it and it kept my attention to the very end. It is a book that I feel could have been a true story. A great summer read that will take you to Provence, France without leaving the comfort of your chair.

Happy reading!