Category: Books

Anne’s Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches

One of the absolute delights of my childhood was discovering the Anne of Green Gables set of books by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  They were my favourite books for years!  And to be honest, although I haven’t read one in forever, I still have the entire series and it wouldn’t take much for me to be again drawn into the world of Matthew and Marilla, Diana Barry and Gilbert Blythe and the adorable red-haired, high-spirited feisty girl known as Anne of Green Gables.  And that’s Anne with an E and don’t you forget it!

Anne Books

These books taught me so much about the world – about love, about friendship and family, about how it’s okay to be different (and how to embrace that difference).  Oh, and how I wasn’t the only person in the world who constantly had to spell their name to people to ensure that they got it right!   

So I was overjoyed to find out that there is an Anne of Green Gables Cookbook.  And beside myself to be given a free ARC from NetGalley and Race Point Publishing to review!  Thank you so much!

First up, this book is gorgeous!  The illustrations and the photos are beautiful.  And all of the recipes are referenced to the exact place in the books where they occurred..which a pedant like me totally loves!

I choose to make Anne’s Poetical Egg Salad sandwiches.  And they were delicious. 

Anne's Poetical Egg Salad SandwichesOMG…these were so good!

I think sometimes it’s hard when blogging to present something as simple as these sandwiches because…..well…it’s egg salad right and everyone knows how to make that.  so why bother?  But this is also real food, the kind of food I want to make. Eat. Repeat. 

Recipe?  Here.

And you can also fancy these up.  The version you are looking at has some chives in the mix.  It’s great with lettuce in the sandwich.  To make it really fancy, a slice of smoked salmon is divine!

Poetical Egg Salad Sandwich5

I adored this book almost as much as the novels that inspired it!  

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And as we head into the new year, some rules for living from Miss Anne Shirley:






Anne effort


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And on that note sweet people, I’m going to bid you adieu for 2017. 

Thank you for reading, commenting, liking, sharing.  You’re the best and most wonderful kindred spirits ever!

And for all of you, all my very, very best for a joyful 2018!  May it bring it everything you wish for!

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Darling Don’t Refrain

In blogging, as in life, timing is everything.  And, as in life, mine usually sucks.  For instance, I’ll find a recipe for an April Flowers cake.  And I’ll look at the calendar and dammit, it’ll be the first of May!  But every once in a while the planets align.  As it is with this week’s post for a delicious cocktail called Darling Don’t Refrain. 

Now some of you will have immediately recognised why the timing of this is important.  Others will be pausing and thinking “Darling don’t refrain…doesn’t that…isn’t that…it’s from a song right?..Oh…that song….” And some of you, dare I say the younger readers, are staring blankly at the screen thinking “Shut your rambling and get on with  it”.

So to put the pausers and the starers out of their misery, “So, if you want to love me, then Darling don’t refrain” is a line from a Guns and Roses song called….. November Rain.  And hey, hey…it’s November.  And I’m posting the Darling Don’t Refrain!

Timing is everything….

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I found the Darling Don’t Refrain…and for those of you that know the song…you know you can’t just say those words, you have to sing them…in a book of St Germain Cocktails called How to Drink French Fluently by Drew Lazor and Camille Ralph Vidal.

This is a great book, full of session style cocktails –  so mostly low alcohol so you can drink them over a period of time without getting too sozzled!   They had me at drinking French.  Never mind the St Germain, the ability to knock back a couple of these over brunch, the cocktail hour or dinner, and that the recipes featured in the book are from some of America’s best bartenders!

I love St Germain so this book was a super find for me.  It offers a great range of St Germain cocktails from the Classic cocktail which is St Germain, dry sparkling wine and soda water to innovative drinks like the intriguing sounding Smoked Tomato containing Santa Rosa plums, anise hyssop leaves and smoked tomato infused St Germain!

It is broken into 5 parts – Brunch, Daytime, Aperitif, Dinner and Nightcap so there is an appropriate cocktail for any time of the day you are contemplating drinking!

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The photography in How To Drink French Fluently is gorgeous and the writing is as delicious as the cocktails:

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The Darling Don’t Refrain comes from the Dinner section of How to Drink French Fluently – the idea is that as the meal unfolds, the St Germain ice cubes melt, developing the flavours of the drink.  The lighter alcohol content also means you don’t have to refrain – you can enjoy a few of these with your meal!

I have changed the original recipe by Micah Melton very slightly.  That recipe called for Manzanilla sherry.  I had Fino so I used that.  I later found out that they are basically the same thing…

Also, the original recipe called for 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. 

I mean really. 

Life’s too short to be making simple syrup so you can use 1/4 ounce of it.  I added 1/2 tsp of sugar into the shaker.  

Darling Don't Refrain
A delicious refreshing cocktail designed to be drunk with food. However, if you want one or more on it's own, then darling, don't refrain!
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For the Drink
  1. 1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin ( I used Bombay Sapphire)
  2. 1/2 oz manzanilla or fino sherry
  3. 1/2 oz lemon juice
  4. 1/2 oz Orange Curacao (I used Cointreau, the original recipe recommended BroVo)
  5. 3 drops orange flower water
  6. 1/2 tsp caster sugar
For The St Germain Ice Cubes
  1. 2 oz St Germain
  2. 1 ½ oz water
  3. ¾ oz lemon juice
For the Garnish
  1. A sprig of lemon thyme
For the St Germain Ice Cubes
  1. Combine all ingredients in a spouted jug.
  2. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid.
  3. Makes 4 ice cubes
For The Drink
  1. Combine the gin, sherry, orange curacao, orange flower water and sugar into a shaker.
  2. Shake gently, then pour into a Collins glass filled with the St Germain ice cubes.
  3. Top with the soda water and garnish with the lemon thyme.
Adapted from very slightly from Micha Melton in How To Drink French Fluently
Adapted from very slightly from Micha Melton in How To Drink French Fluently
Retro Food For Modern Times

Darling Don't Refrain5Okay, now it’s time for some cocktail karaoke.  Because it’s not fair that it’s only me who has had this song stuck in their head for DAYS now….

Some of you will remember the bonkers video for November Rain.  If not, or probably more relevantly if you do, click here to read a very funny takedown of it by the peeps at Teamrock.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the team at Ten Speed Press for the ARC of How to Drink French Fluently.

Have a great week!
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Smore’s Brownies & Sweet Revenge Book Review

The old saying tells us that revenge is a dish best served cold.   A new baking book will also have you believing that revenge is a dish best served sweet.  Sweet Revenge: Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies by Heather Kim, due to be released in January 2018 is a super fun read and contains over 50 sweet treats to help you weather the storm when life gets tough. 

Because you know what?  Sometimes when a girl has had gee, I dunno, a week of totally mixed messages and is feeling hurt betrayed and just downright shitty, she just needs a little something something to get her through the day.   And by something something I mean a shit ton of booze cake. Or pudding. Or some  totally amazing S’mores brownies aka…

S'mores Brownies Those of you who are regular readers will know that I adore a pun so the names of the recipes in this book were pure gold for me.

In additions to the Everyday I Regret You S’more Brownies you can also find:

  • Shut Your Stupid Cake Hole – a coconut mochi cake with sesame coconut pecan icing
  • Stop Texting Me You Crepe – a crepe cake with Oreos
  • You’re A Piece of Sheet Cake – a cinco leches cake with malted milk whipped cream and salted dulce de leche drizzle (OMG…yes!!!!!)
  • Go Fudge Yourself – Macinac Island chocolate fudge with white chocolate candied ramen
  • I Ain’t Puddin’ Up With You – Butterscotch puddin’ pots with chocolate sauce

Smores Brownies8

I was beside myself with joy at some of these.  Truly. And not just for the names. I mean cinco leches cake with malted milk whipped cream and salted dulce de leche drizzle sounds like heaven.  Who even knew there were that many leches?  But now I want all cinco of them baked in a cake.  With a   dulce de leche drizzle…

As for the S’mores Brownies, let’s start with the base which a dark, glossy, fudgy brownie which was ridiculously easy to make. 

Smores Brownies2Kim provides the recipe for home-made marshmallows to top this.  Being lazy, and in a hurry, I chose to buy some marshmallows.  Which all went wonderfully until….2 pink marshmallows short!!!!!

If you put these on the Brownies whilst they are still warm, they melt a little and fill some of the gaps between…sadly, not all of them!

Never mind, because we are about to cover it all with a Graham Cracker Streusel. And sprinkles!  And then, you get to blowtorch the hell out of it all.  Which is another great way to get out some frustration!

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Sweet Revenge not only has some great recipes like the ones above but also handy tips, gorgeous photos and cute drawings.  The downside of Sweet Revenge was that some of the flavour combinations were a little too out there for me vis a vis:

But you know what?  There are always going to be recipes that I don’t  fancy in any book. And it might be better to be edgy than boring! And I know I am making a judgement on a sample size of one but this seems like a pretty solid book – the brownies were amazing!

Here’s the recipe.  This is straight from the book so you can get a feel for the style:

Smores Brownies9


Here are some wise words from Heather on why you should bake for your enemies and exes:

And more wise words on revenge from Old Blue Eyes himself…

Get out there and be successful!  And bake these brownies! 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Capstone / Switch Press for the ARC. 

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One of Us Is Lying & Spicy Hot Edamame

Let’s all imagine the typical American High School.  Five teenagers have been called into detention.  And they are:

  • A beauty queen
  • A star athlete
  • A straight-A brainiac
  • The local bad boy motorbike riding drug dealer and,

Okay I know by now most of you are SCREAMING….Yes, we all know the plot to The Breakfast Club.  Is there a point to this?  And can we get to it?  Maybe like today?

Spicy Hot Edamame (2)

Well hold your horsies because this is not The Breakfast Club.  Because the fifth member of this little team is not an introverted Ally Sheedy but Simon who is the creator of a malicious but hugely popular gossip app.

And wait for it, this is where it gets AWESOME….Because, by the end of the detention, Simon is dead. 


By peanut oil.

Peanut oilThe beauty  queen, the athlete, the brainiac and the bad boy are our main suspects. Because they all have something to hide. Something that somehow Simon has found out about.  Something that he is about to publish to the entire school via his vicious little app.

Did I hear someone say motive?

Welcome to “One of Us is Lying” by Karen McManus.

I loved this book. As much or maybe even slightly more than I love The Breakfast Club.  Which is immense because I adore that film.   I read this in one sitting, on route from Melbourne to London earlier this year and believe me, if anything could make that hideously long journey more enjoyable it was this.  . 

BC One of us is lyingAs soon as I began reading One of Us is Lying I knew I wanted to blog about it. And I wanted to blog about with a recipe that featured our killer ingredient peanut oil.  The Spicy Hot Edamame from the Itsu Cookbook  fit the bill perfectly.  It’s Edamame stir fried in peanut oil with garlic, ginger and a splash of soy sauce.  Quick, simple delicious!

Spicy Hot Edamame 3

One of Us is lying is an immensely enjoyable read.  There are so many reasons to love it – the Breakfast Club type plot, the murder  mystery element, the well drawn characters, the speedy pace, the foody murder weapon.  It is smart, funny and will keep you guessing.  And this is a debut novel!  I cannot wait to see what Karen McManus does next.  This is the best book I have read this year by a mile.

BFclub3You can find the recipe for Itsu’s Spicy Hot Edamame here.

It is a delicious snack or side whether or not you read the book.  But you should definitely read the book. And the edamame make a great reading snack!

Spicy Hot Edamame (2)Breakfast Club / One of Us Is LyihgLet’s end this in the only way possible – a John Bender fist pump and the strains of Simple Minds “Don’t you forget about me in the back ground. 

Have a wonderful week.

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The Dishiest Halloween Dish – Black and Blue Salsa

Wow!  It’s been sooooo very long since I have done one of these posts.  I think this is worth the wait though. Ever since I found the recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light & Easy, the Black and Blue Salsa, as I have come to call it, has been on high rotation in my kitchen! And it’s a perfect meal for a Halloween dinner, given it’s dark and spooky colour!

black-and-blue-salsa2You can see it top of the photo here as part of the salmon burrito bowl (except it was on a plate) that i had for dinner the other night. The main ingredients of the salsa are black beans and blueberries hence the black and blue name. 


If this combination appears strange to you, don’t worry it did to me as well. But trust me, it works!  It also looks quite lovely on a plate because the dark colours contrast nicely with against greens, chicken, fish etc.  Hugh describes it as “dark and devillishly well flavoured, ,this is hot sharp, sweet and smoky all at the same time”  He’s right, it is also totally delicious and highly addictive as well as being jam-packed with healthful ingredients!

black-and-blue-salsaI like this with some coriander added.  The original recipe does not have it. 

Black and Blue Salsa
A delicious and healthy salsa, perfect with chicken, fish or any grilled meat
Write a review
  1. For The Salsa
  2. 400g can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  3. 200g blueberries
  4. 1 small red onion, chopped
  5. 2 medium hot red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  6. Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
For The Dressing
  1. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  2. juice of 1 lime
  3. 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  4. 1 tsp sugar
  5. 2 tsp cider vinegar
  6. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  7. Salt and Pepper
For The Dressing
  1. Combine the garlic, lime juice, paprika, sugar, cider vinegar and oil in a jar. Shake well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for around half an hour to let the flavours develop.
For the Salsa
  1. Combine the blackbeans, blue berries, onion an chilli in a bowl
  2. Strain the dressing to remove the garlic and pour over.
  3. Mix well.
  4. If possible, let stand for half an hour before serving.
  5. Just before serving sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top.
  6. Enoy!
  1. You can also add diced avocado into this. I left it out this time because I already had avocado on my plate.
Adapted from slightly from River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Adapted from slightly from River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Retro Food For Modern Times
 Elsewhere in life….


I am mid way through S2 of Narcos and thoroughly enjoying it.  Ditto Stranger Things



My  current read is Truly, Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty.  I loved one of her previous books, Big Little Lies but I am struggling with this one. 

Tasty Reads

The October Choice was Preserving.  I chose The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton. I loved this book and it is likely to be my Tasty Reads book of the year.  I have made so many things from it and every one of them has been great! 

The only book likely to beat it from top position at the end of the year is the November / December choice  – Free Choice.  On the back of some very high review praise, I have chosen Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden.

Described as a “new modern classic” by none other than Jamie Oliver, I am looking forward to picking this up and getting stuck in!


Seeing as my favorites Tanis and The Black Tapes are both on between season hiatus, I have started listening to My Favorite Murder.  It’s a comedy true crime podcast and I love it.  I think the two hosts are brilliant and I am so glad I still have 30+ episodes to go before I am caught up!


OMG.  I have started running.  Well, I have started staggering around the back streets and local track in a facsimile of running.  But it’s a start.  I am doing the Couch to 5k program and am midway through week 4. 

My aim is to be able to do a full 5k by Christmas.  We’ll see.  It really starts to ramp up after this week, I am a little nervous. And the thing is,  I totally hate doing it when I am doing it.  My chest aches, my legs ache, I am slow and ungainly and huff and puff like a pack a day smoker.  But everytime I do it, I get a little bit better.  And that feels marvellous!

This week I am looking forward to cooking the Cherry Flapjack Granola from Stirring Slowly and a Tom Yum soup from another Tasty Reads favourite, Adam Liaw’s Big Pot

What are you reading / watching  / listening to?

What are you looking forward to cooking?

Have a Happy Hallloween, a fab week and to borrow a catch phrase from my new favorite podcast, “Stay sexy; don’t get murdered”

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