The Fruits Of Our Labour

Some of you may recall that a few months ago we began the process of pickling/curing our olives. The olives have been sitting in a salt bath (a 10% salt solution) and the brine changed regularly over the past four weeks or so. Today we tasted a few olives from one of the buckets of fruit – the one that held the riper of the olives – and they were amazing – salty (as they should be at this stage) but tasty and no hint of bitter acid. The remaining buckets of fruit will need just a few more days of soaking then they too will be ready to finish processing.

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Once the bitterness has leached away the next step in the process is to rinse off the heavy salt water brine and prepare a new mix of water, salt and vinegar. The rinsed olives are loosely packed in a sterilised jar, the new salt/vinegar brine is poured over to cover the olives and a layer of olive oil seals the mix. The jars are then stored in a cupboard/pantry for about one month. At this point the flavours will have matured and the olives are ready to eat – just rinse off required amount (some say leave olives in plain water in the fridge for 24 hours to leach some of the salt away), then sprinkle with herbs/flavourings of your choice – chilli or red capsicum, garlic or lemon juice and  finish with a dash of olive oil and let marinade in fridge for a few hours before ready to eat. YUM!

 

The jars of olives in the vinegar/salt water brine will keep for about a year in the pantry. Hopefully they will last until next seasons fruit is harvested…but I am not sure about that, they are so delicious.

Post Script: Night Bird – Alice Hoffman

A delightful optimistic, wondrous magical little book!

Night Bird

Night Bird

Alice Hoffman

Simon & Schuster UK

ISBN: 9781471124228

 

Description:

Twig lives in a remote area of town with her mysterious brother and her mother, baker of irresistible apple pies. A new girl in town might just be Twig’s first true friend, and ally in vanquishing an ancient family curse. A spellbinding tale of modern folklore set in the Berkshires, where rumours of a winged beast draw in as much tourism as the town’s famed apple orchards.

 

My View:

This is a book that is written for the YA /middle grade readers but has a particularly charm, innocence and optimism that can feed the needs of readers of all ages. Filled with positive messages about living and let live, about celebrating who we are as individuals, about conservation and love… I think this is the prefect book for a classroom read along/read out loud – the words are light, they float in the air, an air that is filled with the smell of flowers and apples and spices. Delightful. Magical. The perfect classroom read or rainy day read – will uplift your spirits. And as an added bonus has a recipe for Pink Apple Pie at the very end of the book.

 

 

Post Script: Season Of Shadow and Light

Season of Shadow and Light

Season of Shadow and Light

Jenn J McLeod

Simon & Schuster Aust

A CBC Company

ISBN: 9781925030280

 

 

Description:

Sometime this season…

The secret keeper must tell.

The betrayed must trust.

The hurt must heal.

 

When it seems everything Paige trusts is beginning to betray her, she leaves her husband at home and sets off on a road trip with six year old Matilda, and Nana Alice in tow.

But stranded amid rising floodwaters, on a detour to the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully, Paige discovers the greatest betrayal of all happened there twenty years earlier.

Someone knows that truth can wash away the darkest shadows, but…

 

My View:

A beautiful Australian narrative full of larger than life characters, wild and glorious countryside, horses, romance, secrets, love, connections , family and a fantastic message about acceptance – there is a little something in this book for all to enjoy.

 

There is a beautiful passage in this book that sums up love and acceptance remarkably well, Alice is talking to Paige about Alice’s relationship with her mother Nancy, ‘No labels Paige, remember. It was your mother who hated them. She never referred to herself as anything other than a woman who feel in love. It so happened to be with another woman. It might have easily been with a man, she told me once, insisting, “Love is about connection.” ‘

What an important understanding.

 

Post Script: Bad Seed – Alan Carter

Local police drama at its best.

BAD SEED

Bad Seed

Alan Carter

Fremantle Press

ISBN: 9781925162257

 

Description:

When wealthy property developer Francis Tan and his family are found slain in their mansion, Cato Kwong is forced to recall a personal history that makes his investigation doubly painful. The killer is elusive and brutal, and the investigation takes Cato to Shanghai. In a world of spoiled rich kids and cyber dragons, Cato is about to discover a whole lot more about the Chinese acquisition of Australian land—about those who play the game and those who die trying.

 

 

My View:

A complex plot sited both in Perth Western Australia and Shanghai that is choc- o- block full of mystery, intrigue, politics and dark humour. Sins of the past play softly in the background, slowly gathering momentum and reaching a crescendo colliding with events of today. There are a few bloody deaths to investigate whilst light is shed on policing habits and idiosyncrasies that come under investigation in their own right (eg crime and corruption hearings) and plenty of local social commentary (eg Abuse in Government care) that will be very familiar to the local reader.

 

I particularly enjoyed Mr Carter’s method of naming his characters; for those who are unaware Mr Carter is well known in the Western Australia’s documentary scene, a very talented individual, and I found myself smiling and having a chuckle as I recognised some familar names ( though not their traits) in this book .  :)

 

This is the third book in the Cato Kwong series but can easily be read as a stand a lone.

This Movie Trailer Is Chilling.

I am a big Johnny Depp fan – are you? I have seen most of his films and loved the series that started his career – 21 Jump Street. Up until today my favourite film that he has starred in was Donnie Brasco but that favourite has just been usurped by  The movie “Black Mass” – and that is based only on viewing  the trailer – it is superb –  spine chilling. What do you think? Oscar contender here I think.

Post Script: The Sense Of An Elephant – Marco Missiroli

This is writing with heart and soul filled with quirky characters, secrets and brilliant observations of life.

The Sense of An Elephant

The Sense of an Elephant

Marco Missiroli

Picador

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781447241935

 

 

Description:

Pietro arrives in Milan with an old bicycle and a battered suitcase full of tokens of the past. He takes up a post as concierge in a small apartment building, where it soon becomes apparent he has a deep-seated reason to be there. Living in the palazzo is Luca, a doctor, whose wife Viola carries a secret that could destroy their marriage; the bereaved lawyer Poppi, kind and desperately lonely; and elderly Paola and her damaged son, both looking for impossible love. Right from the start Pietro has a special interest in Luca and his family, and soon he’s using the concierge spare keys to let himself into his apartment while the family is out. Pietro’s story is told in snatches and flashbacks, each prompted by one of the objects and notes he keeps in his suitcase, and gradually we find out what has brought him to be guardian of these lost souls, so late in his life . . .

 

My View:

A memorable narrative filled with what at first appears to be quirky individuals but as you read further you begin to know these characters as individuals with a past that has shaped their present in unique ways; as individuals that are flawed, that are real, lives where love or loneliness has shaped and determined their paths.

The biggest theme and the most moving is the evocative sense of an elephant… elephants ”… take care of the herd without regard to kinship.” (p.65 ) The protagonist Pietro, the keeper of secrets, is charged with taking care of those around him, his community, but he is also determined to protect his own kin; a difficult act to balance.

But this is more than a story about love, themes of death and assisted dying are also woven into this intricate plot; death of a child, death of a lover, a partner…death of aspirations and plans for the future. The sub story of the old man who cares for his son who needs the assistance of tubes and machines to live is heartbreaking. What a wonderful example of love this is.

There are so many memorable moments and observations in this novel but one that will stay with me is this, Luca says to Pietro (p.193) “When my mother was dying she told me she had one single passion in her life. “Papa,” I said to her. ”No,” she said….”It was someone I knew before I was married,” my mother said. “The only good secret in my life.”… ‘I asked my mother how she came to marry my father. She said, “Papa was the love for a lifetime.” So what was the other? “The other was the love of a lifetime.”

Great characters, brilliant observations of love and life and death and an ending that will bring a tear to your eye. Memorable reading.

Post Script: The Shut Eye – Belinda Bauer

The Shut Eye

The Shut Eye

Belinda Bauer

Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Bantam Press

ISBN: 9780593072875

 

Description:

 

Bauer’s great gift is her ability to surprise the reader’ Sunday Telegraph

 

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.

 

And now they are all his mother has left.

 

Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.

 

When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…

 

But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?

 

Or is he something far, far worse?

 

My View: 

Brilliant.   Amazing.  Incredible.  Delightful.  Haunting.  Evocative.  Engaging.  Surprising.

Have you got the hint? I loved this book! Superb writing, wonderful complex narrative, a hint of dark humour, exceptionally moving characters… psychics, love, death and a mania of blue and circles I could feel and see myself!! This must be one of the most outstanding reads I have come across. The last thing I will say about this read is don’t just take my word for it – read this yourself – YOU MUST IT.