Favourite Songs….with Bagpipes

Can you beat these? I recently discovered a box of records that we have had in storage , among them a recording of this amazing song – Sky Pilot. And have an AC/DC album  int he box to check out.

 

 

 

And of course…..

 

 

 

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Post Script: The Child Finder – Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder

The Child Finder

Rene Denfeld

Hachette Australia

W & N

ISBN: 9781474605540

 

Description:

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own harrowing experience that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

 

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

 

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. Can she find the child – and also find out why this particular case is stirring the shadows of her own memories? Could her future be bound to this girl in a way she doesn’t understand?

 

 

My View:

A refreshing approach to this genre – where less is more, no gore, no sensationalism, just an intelligently written narrative with empathetic characters painted in many shades of black and white.

 

Denfeld successfully creates scenarios that are chilling and simultaneously heart breaking. The snow girl’s perspective is compelling reading, her voice innocent yet so world wise.

 

The writing is enchanting, haunting, lyrical, mesmerising, optimistic, I certainly will be reading more of this authors work in the future – and what an interesting life Rene Denfeld leads, a life that certainly colours the narratives she writes with empathy and thoughtfulness.

 

 

**  Rene Denfeld is a death penalty investigator and the author of the novel The Enchanted, as well as three non-fiction books, including the international bestseller, The New Victorians. She has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her three children, all adopted from foster care. In addition to working with death row, clients, Ms. Denfeld volunteers with at-risk youth and in foster adoption advocacy.”

http://renedenfeld.com/

 

https://www.hachette.com.au/rene-denfeld/the-child-finder

Post Script: The Museum of Words – Georgia Blain

The Museum of Words

The Museum of Words

Georgia Blain

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925322255

 

Description:

In late 2015, Georgia Blain was diagnosed with a tumour sitting right in the language centre of her brain. Prior to this, Georgia’s only warning had been a niggling sense that her speech was slightly awry. She ignored it, and on a bright spring day, as she was mowing the lawn, she collapsed on a bed of blossoms, blood frothing at her mouth.

 

Waking up to find herself in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital, she tries to answer questions, but is unable to speak. After the shock of a bleak prognosis and a long, gruelling treatment schedule, she immediately turns to writing to rebuild her language and herself.

 

At the same time, her mother, Anne Deveson, moves into a nursing home with Alzheimer’s; weeks earlier, her best friend and mentor had been diagnosed with the same brain tumour. All three of them are writers, with language at the core of their being.

 

The Museum of Words is a meditation on writing, reading, first words and last words, picking up thread after thread as it builds on each story to become a much larger narrative. This idiosyncratic and deeply personal memoir is a writer’s take on how language shapes us, and how often we take it for granted — until we are in danger of losing it.

 

 

My View:

The Museum of Words is gently and wisely written; it speaks of truths, of family history, of love and of course, of dying. It was deeply moving yet not depressing or self-indulgent.  Georgia Blain was a wordsmith extraordinaire, her love of words enriched the page. I wish there were more pages to turn, more books to read by this amazing writer.

 

A lyrical, moving read.

 

Apricot and Peach Fruit Wine: Ferment – Holly Davis

Ferment cover

Ferment

Holly Davis

Murdoch Books 

ISBN: 9781743368671

 

Images and recipes from Ferment by Holly Davis (Murdoch Books, RRP $45) Photography by Ben Dearnley.

 

apricot and peach fruit wine
first fermentation

Apricot and Peach Fruit Wine

“Here is a sweet, slightly alcoholic fruit wine ideal for those hot summer days. Choose seasonal, ripe and semi-ripe fruits with some acidity, which will improve the mix. ” p. 84

Makes 3 litres (105 fl oz/12 cups) Ready in 4–6 days

 

660 g (1 lb 7 oz/3 cups) raw sugar

1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) lightly brewed black tea

2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) ripe unblemished peaches, stones removed and quartered

2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) ripe unblemished apricots, stones removed and quartered

2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) filtered water

 

Combine the sugar and strained tea in a non-reactive bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. Take a wide, deep crock or bowl, which will hold the fruit leaving stirring space, and add the fresh peaches and apricots. Pour the sweet tea over the fruit and stir in the water.

capture Cover with a clean tea towel (dish towel) and leave in a cool spot for 4–5 days. As frequently as possible, during each day (5–6 times or more), stir the liquid using a wooden spoon to create a swirling vortex, then change direction and repeat. (Stirring this way helps to draw air into the liquid and encourages yeast activity.)

At day 3 or 4 the mix should be bubbling, and around day 6 or so it should seriously bubble and froth. Keep stirring and smelling for another couple of days, watching to see when the froth subsides, indicating that fermentation has slowed right down. Trust your nose; if it smells fruity and delectable don’t wait for it to improve, move to the next stage. Strain the mix through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, pressing as much of the liquid from the fruit as possible. Decant the strained fruit wine into swing-top bottles and chill in the fridge.

This is best consumed within 1–2 weeks. Open daily to avoid overly boisterous effervescence.

 

Pumpkin, Chestnut and Almond Brown Rice Balls: Ferment – Holly Davis

Ferment cover

 

Ferment

Holly Davis

Murdoch Books 

ISBN: 9781743368671

 

Images and recipes from Ferment by Holly Davis (Murdoch Books, RRP $45) Photography by Ben Dearnley.

 

pumpkin, chestnut and almond brown rice balls

 

“Rice balls are a favourite of mine, and this particular combination of textures and flavours is a match made in heaven. Perfect fare for autumn lunchboxes, these also make excellent canapés, to be dipped into the toasted sesame and miso dressing below. Serve with any of the Japanese-style pickles in chapter seven.” p. 52

pumpkin chesnut almond Rice Balls

Makes approximately 12 balls

Ready in 1½ hours

 

220 g (73⁄4 oz/1 cup) short-grain brown rice

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water

large pinch sea salt

120 g (41⁄4 oz/1⁄2 cup) pumpkin (winter squash) cut into 3 cm (11⁄4 in) dice

12 large freshly peeled chestnuts, cut into chunks (or use vacuum-packed peeled chestnuts)

80 g (23⁄4 oz/1⁄2 cup) dry-roasted almonds or crisp and crunchy almonds (see p.50), roughly chopped

 

Wash the rice very well in cold water and drain. Take a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid then add the rice, water, sea salt, pumpkin and chestnut. Put on the lid, place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil (don’t be tempted to take the lid off during the cooking and standing time).

Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 45 minutes. After that time, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Use a wooden rice paddle or large spatula to gently combine the rice, pumpkin and chestnuts then tip into a large, shallow bowl or tray and allow the rice to cool until you can easily handle it

Scatter the almonds on a plate. Using slightly damp hands, carefully divide the rice mixture into 12 and roll into balls. Roll each in the chopped almonds, coating well all over. Cool a little and eat as is, or serve at room temperature.

 

 

Marly’s Toasted Macadamia and Banana Pancakes: Ferment – Holly Davis

Ferment cover

Ferment

Holly Davis

Murdoch Books 

ISBN: 9781743368671

 

Images and recipes from Ferment by Holly Davis (Murdoch Books, RRP $45) Photography by Ben Dearnley.

 

marly’s toasted macadamia and banana pancakes 

 

“These pancakes are a variation on a recipe I cook for Marly, for whom I am a private chef. They are fabulous and not difficult to make, though as they contain no grain or dairy products to bind them, they require a slightly different cooking technique than regular pancakes. Try them with a spoonful of cultured apricot spread (p. 154) and a generous drizzle of cashew and citrus amazake cream (p. 44). The toasted nut butter has one ingredient and can be used in any way you might use any other nut butter.”  p54

 

marly's toasted macadamia and banana pancakes

Makes 10–12 pancakes 

Ready in approximately 1 hour 10 minutes 

 

Toasted macadamia nut butter

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) macadamia nuts

 

Macadamia and banana pancakes

4 eggs

120 g (41⁄4 oz/1⁄2 cup) toasted macadamia nut butter
(see above)

2 large or 3 small ripe bananas

125 ml (4 fl oz/1⁄2 cup) water

pinch sea salt

pinch ground cinnamon

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

ghee or macadamia oil, for frying

 

Deactivate by toasting Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F) and place the macadamia nuts on a baking tray. Place in the oven and toast for 20–30 minutes, or until they are an even golden brown. Cool to room temperature then add to a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Portion out the amount you’ll need for the pancakes and transfer the remaining nut butter to a spotlessly clean airtight glass jar. This will keep in the fridge for a month or more.

Combine all of the pancake ingredients in a blender or food processor, blitzing well until the mixture increases slightly in volume and becomes lighter.

Preheat the grill (broiler) to medium and set up a wire rack with a clean tea towel (dish towel) draped over it.

Heat a 14 cm (5½ in) round cast-iron frying pan over medium heat. (The pan will be transferred to the grill so use one with an ovenproof handle.) When the pan is hot wipe it with paper towel and a little ghee then lift it off the heat slightly and pour in enough of the pancake batter to cover the pan in an even 3 mm (1⁄8 in) layer, tilting the pan to spread the mixture out evenly. Cook over medium heat until it is golden brown underneath and you can see the edges of the pancake lifting slightly.

Transfer the pan to the grill and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the top is dried but not browned. Return the pan to the stove top and, using a palette knife, carefully flip the pancake over.

Cook for 2 minutes to brown, then transfer the pancake to the cooling rack and cover with another tea towel. Wipe the pan out with paper towel and add a little more ghee, and repeat until the mixture is finished.

Serve the pancakes warm or cold, with a selection of toppings if you like. Once cooked, these pancakes keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days and can be gently reheated in a hot pan.

 

Om….and the Art of Bread Making

Ommmmmm….there is nothing like bread making to ground you, to relax you, to develop your sense of patience. I am rediscovering the art of relaxation, deep breathing, yoga and…sour dough bread making.

Bread making and in particular using wild fermented yeast (sour dough) is an art that develops your patience and attunes you to the local environment – favourable weather conditions are a must – a too cold a house equals bread bricks 🙂   I am guilty of rushing…and sour dough will not be rushed!

Mother Nature has fooled me into thinking that it is a good time to start making bread – the skies have been blue, the roses are budding, the veggie patch is looking good.

spring garden

But I have been fooled- the sun may shine but it is not that warm (16 degrees maximums this week) and each time I have started the bread making process I have reached a particular stage and then the temperature has dropped and …the yeast has returned to dormancy.

Ferment cover

However I have had some success and have learnt alot this week, about  bread making and fermenting in general thanks to the assistance of Holly Davis’s new book Ferment.   This book provides recipes and lots of information relating to the various methods of fermenting ( Activate, Capture, Steep, Infuse, Incubate and Cure). One of the most useful things I learnt this week was the  “float test” to check if your leaven mix is active and ready to go. Getting this right makes such a difference to the success (or not) of your sough dough bread making.

The Float Test

Successful float test and I was ready for action..then the weather changed…it cooled down, rapidly…my sough dough sunflower and rye loaf became a a delicious sunflower and rye brick 🙂  The crumb is great. The flavour is awesome but it needed a few more degrees of warmth to have risen that bit more …I will not give up, I will just have to wait a few weeks for the temperature to increase a few degrees and all will be fine. I’ll let you know how I get on.

sunflower and rye bread

Back to the deep breathing exercises….Ommmmmm…..