Post Script: I See You – Clare Mackintosh

This one goes straight onto the ‘Best Reads of 2017’ list


I See You

Clare Mackintosh


Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780751554120



You do the same thing every day.


You know exactly where you’re going.


You’re not alone.


When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.


Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .


I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.


My View:

This one goes straight onto the ‘Best Reads of 2017’ list!

An amazing, thrilling, keep you guessing, relevant and just so credible, add this one to your must read list!


I loved Clare Macintosh’s debut I Let You Go – a great psychological thriller (see my review here, I thought this was a  fantastic read and was not expecting the new release to  match the thrills and nervous anticipation I experienced here – I was wrong! Clare Macintosh has exceeded all my expectations with this read- be prepared – this is a read on one sitting, unreliable narrator, red herrings galore with a huge surprise  for you at the very end kind of book. Don’t just take my word for it – check this one out soon- you will thank me J


PS  Clare –what will you come up with next? I can’t wait!


Post Script: Pieces of a Lie – Rowena Holloway

Brenda starts the New Year with another great 5 star  read.


Pieces of a Lie

Rowena Holloway

Fractured Press

ISBN: 9780994168818



One dark secret. Two troubled souls. The lie that brings them together could tear them apart.

Mina Everton’s search for the criminal father who deserted her years ago draws her into the sinister underbelly of the Australian suburbs and a lie twelve years in the making. Detective Lincoln Drummond is investigating a series of robberies. Simple. Until he meets Mina, who gets to him in ways he’s never faced before, and it soon becomes clear the truth behind the robberies is far from simple. Despite Mina’s growing feelings for Drummond, she can’t bring herself to trust him. And the closer she gets to her father, the more she looks, and acts, like a suspect. To expose the truth she must choose – destroy herself … or the only man who believes in her.

Sometimes love isn’t enough…


Brenda’s Review:

Detective Lincoln Drummond was transferred from Sydney to Failie in South Australia after issues with a superior – he was told to clean up the ongoing robberies in the town before he could return to Sydney. But Linc had no idea that the small town of Failie and its seedy underbelly of crime would involve him so completely. Or in such a deadly way…

Mina Everton was deeply involved in antiques – her training by Gibson had been ongoing for the past five years, and she was now ready to step out on her own. Though she was mostly ostracised by the townsfolk, she had put what her father, Jacko, had done thirteen years prior behind her – she was looking forward to her future in the business. That was until the day she discovered something which threw her back into the years of her childhood with the parents she had loved; the father she had adored.

Mina’s immediate search for answers found her in the sights of evil – only she had no idea. The danger as Mina drew closer didn’t make itself known; her obsession could well be her downfall. And Linc was sure Mina was mixed up in what he was investigating. Or was she? It seemed like he couldn’t trust his own judgment anymore…

Pieces of a Lie by Aussie author Rowena Holloway was brilliant! Gripping, intense and oh-so-unputdownable! And so refreshing to have Aussie spelling and ‘isms in the book too! I thoroughly enjoyed the story; the plot was intriguing and well written. I have no hesitation in recommending this author’s debut novel to fans of a good crime/murder mystery. A well-deserved 5 stars from me!

The books I read in 2016

The books I read in 2016

Rachel at The Perth Project Shares the Books She Read in 2016

The Perth Project

In case you didn’t know, I am a certified #booknerd. I love to read and have for as long as I can remember; my bookshelves are overflowing, there are piles of books all around my house, I can find a quote from a favourite book for any occasion, and I just can’t stop buying books despite already having  SO MANY that need to be read.

In 2015 I set myself a challenge of reading a certain number of books and failed miserably. In 2016 I set myself a much more realistic goal of reading 25 books, and I’m happy to say I smashed that goal, finishing my 35th book just before New Year’s Eve.

And because I am always curious about what other people are reading, here are the books I read in 2016:

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Turkey, Feta, Stuffing and Cranberry Salad: Spice Heroes – Natasha MacAller

spice-health-heroes‘Images and recipes from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller (Murdoch Books). Photography by Manja Wachsmuth. RRP $49.99’



Turkey, Feta, Stuffing And Cranberry Salad


“What to do with all the winter-holiday, family-gathering leftovers? After a day or two of feasting on family favourites, this is an easy, fun and healthy way to make a little space in the fridge. Instead of making them from scratch (though they are very easy), you could add a hydrated stock cube and a little oil to a cup of leftover stuffing to make the thin croutons that top this light salad, which is finished with spoonfuls of Cranberry Compote and drizzled with a cranberry and coriander seed and (cilantro) leaf vinaigrette.” p.108




300g (10½oz.) rocket or cress and butter lettuce, torn

500g (1lb. 2oz.) cooked turkey, torn into shreds

100g (3½oz.) feta, cut into small cubes

200g (7oz.) Cranberry Compote (see below)


For the stuffing croutons:

40g (1½oz./2/3 cup) breadcrumbs

I tsp poultry seasoning

½ tsp each of garlic and onion powder

pinch each salt, sugar and cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

3 egg whites

½ chicken or vegetable stock cube, dissolved in ½ tsp hot water

4 tsp vegetable oil


For the vinaigrette (makes 300ml/1¼ cups):

120ml (½ cup) red wine vinegar

3 tbsp cranberry juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1½ tsp lemon juice

1½ tsp toasted ground coriander

1 tbsp minced coriander (cilantro) leaves, plus extra whole leaves to serve

1 tsp roughly chopped tarragon

1 tsp roughly chopped parsley

30g (1oz./¼ cup) dried cranberries

120ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil


To make the stuffing croutons, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Mix the breadcrumbs and seasonings together in a small bowl. In another small bowl, beat the egg whites and dissolved stock cube. Whisk in the oil then gently mix the breadcrumbs into the egg whites. Adjust seasonings. Using a small metal spatula, spread the stuffing batter into little circles or square shapes directly onto a silicone- or parchment-lined baking tray. Sprinkle with flake salt and bake for 10–12 minutes until crisp.


To make the vinaigrette, put all the ingredients except oil into a blender with a tight-fitting lid and blend well. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil so it will emulsify together. Season with salt to taste. To assemble, scatter the salad leaves on the plates and top with turkey, feta and teaspoonfuls of Cranberry Compote. Top with croutons. Drizzle the dressing over the top and scatter on a few coriander (cilantro) leaves to finish.


Cranberry Compote


350g (12oz./3½ cups) cranberries

1 cinnamon stick, charred

200g (7oz./1 cup) granulated sugar

2 allspice berries

1 tangerine, sliced into 4 horizontally

¼ tsp white pepper

large pinch salt


Put all the ingredients into a pan with 240ml (1 cup) of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 8 minutes then remove from the heat. Strain out the fruit and spices and set aside. Simmer the liquid until reduced by half. Return the fruit and spices to the pan and stir to combine. Cool, then cover and chill until needed.


Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Cornish Saffron PopOvers: Spice Heroes – Natasha MacAller


‘Images and recipes from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller (Murdoch Books). Photography by Manja Wachsmuth. RRP $49.99’

Cornish Saffron Popovers

with Sweet Saffron Butter


‘Inspired by the classic British Yorkshire pudding, ‘popovers’ are baked in a similar fashion and are often made with cheese. Using traditional Cornish saffron bread ingredients, here is a recipe for quick-as-you-can popovers that are great for afternoon tea or an after-dinner bit of something sweet and surprising using this most alluring and expensive spice.’ p.222



For the sweet saffron butter:

1/8 tsp saffron threads, lightly toasted

3 tbsp granulated sugar

100g (3óoz./scant ó cup) softened butter

½ tsp lime zest

½ tsp ground cardamom seeds

large pinch salt

2 tbsp currants plumped with 1 tbsp water or brandy

1/8 tsp saffron strands, lightly toasted

2 tbsp orange juice

zest of ½ orange

125g (4½ oz./1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 tsp sea salt

240ml (1 cup) full-fat (whole), milk warmed to 38°C (100°F)

4 large whole eggs, beaten

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

To make the sweet saffron butter, rub the toasted saffron threads into the sugar until combined. Put into a small bowl with all the remaining ingredients and whisk by hand or with a mixer until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill until needed.


To make the popovers, crumble the toasted saffron and dissolve in the orange juice. Set aside.


Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add the warm milk a little at a time. Whisk until smooth, then add 80ml (1/3 cup) of cold water and the saffron orange juice, whisking until bubbly. Incorporate the beaten eggs, transfer to a jug, cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to a day.


When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas mark 9). Brush mini- or standard-sized muffin cups with oil and put them on a baking tray. Place in the oven on the lower shelf until smoking hot.


Rewhisk the chilled batter, then carefully remove the trays from the oven, pour the batter into the hot tins to about three quarters full and return them to the oven. Do not the oven door while they are cooking or they will not rise.


Bake mini popovers for 8–10 minutes, standard-sized ones for about 20 miniutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6) and bake for a further 8–10 minutes until brown, crisp and risen.


Serve the popovers warm with the sweet saffron butter.


Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Tonga Chili Lime Chicken: Spice Health Heroes – Natasha MacAller



‘Images and recipes from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller (Murdoch Books). Photography by Manja Wachsmuth. RRP $49.99’




‘Created at a Tongan vanilla plantation using ingredients available on the plantation, including passion fruit, freshly juiced limes, fresh ginger and vanilla, which I made into a mustard, this dish easily adapts for parties by substituting the thighs and drumsticks with the same amount of chicken wings.’  p.158-159



750g (1lb. 10oz.) chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, bone in, skin on

1 small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, for garnishing


For the marinade:

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted

½ tsp cardamom seeds, toasted

240ml (1 cup) grapeseed or vegetable oil

60ml (¼ cup) lime juice

½ medium onion (100g/3½oz.), chopped

120ml (½ cup) passion fruit juice (or fresh pineapple juice), or 4 passion fruit, pulped and seeded

1 tbsp coconut or brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

120ml (½ cup) seasoned rice wine vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard, or Vanilla Honey Mustard (see page 164) large pinch nutmeg

30g (1oz./½ cup) fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped

2 fresh red chilies, thinly sliced


Cut any excess fat off the chicken pieces and discard, then transfer the chicken to a medium-sized bowl or casserole dish.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, ginger and coriander and cardamom seeds to make a paste. Transfer this paste to a food processor (or use a stick blender), add all the remaining marinade ingredients except the chilies, and whizz until smooth. Stir in the sliced chilies then pour the marinade over the chicken to coat. Cover the dish, or put everything into a zip-sealing bag, and chill for 2–8 hours.


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).


Drain the chicken from the marinade and set aside. Bake the chicken pieces for 25 minutes, or until juices run clear. Remove from the oven, transfer onto a serving plate, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, reduce the leftover marinade and drizzle it over the chicken, then scatter the coriander (cilantro) leaves, and the chilies from the reduced marinade over all and serve immediately.

Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth