Post Script: The Birdwatcher – William Shaw

the-birdwatcher

The Birdwatcher

William Shaw

Mulholland Books

ISBN: 9780316316248

 

Description:

Police Sergeant William South has a good reason to shy away from murder investigations: he is a murderer himself.

A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, South is an avid birdwatcher and trusted figure in his small town on the rugged Kentish coast. He also lives with the deeply buried secret that, as a child in Northern Ireland, he may have killed a man. When a fellow birdwatcher is found murdered in his remote home, South’s world flips.

 

The culprit seems to be a drifter from South’s childhood; the victim was the only person connecting South to his early crime; and a troubled, vivacious new female sergeant has been relocated from London and assigned to work with South. As our hero investigates, he must work ever-harder to keep his own connections to the victim, and his past, a secret.

The Birdwatcher is British crime fiction at its finest; a stirring portrait of flawed, vulnerable investigators; a meticulously constructed mystery; and a primal story of fear, loyalty and vengeance.

 

My View:

What a fantastic narrative. This already has a place in my top reads of 2017!  

Without spoilers – we start with a fantastic hook, a confession, that colours our expectation and perception of what we might read next in this intriguing and mesmerising narrative; South’s secret is mind blowing and the circumstances surrounding this event will fill your heart with sadness, such is the strength of the character development here that you will mourn the tragedies that are slowly revealed.

What can I add? Fantastic relatable characters – minor and main, life stories that will resonate and/ or move the reader, locations that shape the dual narratives, a brooding sense of foreboding and a poignancy that is bitter sweet. Despite the bloody crimes – in the past and the present spaces, there is an underlying optimism that permeates the narrative, tightly grasp hold of this emotion as you stagger bloodied, battered and emotionally drained towards the resolution of this narrative.

 

 

 

No-Bake Poached Pear Flan with Lime Cream: The Good Carbs Cookbook by Dr. Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall

Good Carbs Cookbook

Images and recipes from The Good Carbs Cookbook by Dr. Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall Murdoch Books RRP $$39.99 Photography by Alan Benson

 

No-bake Poached Pear Flan with Lime Cream

“Sometimes a traditional pastry crust just doesn’t do justice to a spectacular filling. This is one of those times. This no-need-to-cook food processor pastry is chock full of flavour, and is refrigerated so it can be prepared the day before. So too can the ‘creamy’ cheese filling. Each pear variety has its own personality in texture and flavour. Choose a mild and sweet variety with subtle, fragrant citrus notes – bartlett pear comes to mind.” p.224

 

No Bake Poached Pear Flan With Lime Cream

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes | COOKING TIME: 15 minutes | SERVES: 8

 

1 cup (65 g/2¼ oz) shredded coconut

100 g (3½ oz) hazelnuts or almonds

12 pitted soft dates, chopped

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger, plus
2 cm (¾ in) piece ginger, peeled

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 medium pears

½ cup (110 g/3¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

2 whole star anise

1 small lime, thinly sliced

2 cups (500 ml/17 fl oz) soda water (club soda)

 

Lime cream 

¾ cup (200 g/7 oz) ricotta

½ cup (100 g/3½ oz) reduced-fat cream cheese

½ cup (130 g/4½ oz) natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

2 tablespoons warmed honey

 

Line a 23 cm (9 in) flan (tart) pan with baking paper with overhanging sides to make it easy to lift the flan out. Put the coconut in a food processor and blitz until fine. Add the hazelnuts, dates, finely grated ginger and cinnamon and pulse to a fine-crumb texture. Don’t worry if it is a bit more coarse than fine.

Tip the mixture into a bowl and, using your hands, clump it together and press it evenly into the base and sides of the prepared tin.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.

Peel the pears, cut into thick wedges and remove the core (leave the stalk on for decoration if you like). Put the sugar, peeled ginger, star anise, lime and soda water in a large pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then reduce the heat to low and drop in the pears.

Cover the pan and gently simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the pears to cool in the liquor. Lift the pears out with a slotted spoon and drain well.

Whisk together the ricotta, cream cheese, yoghurt, lime zest and 1½ tablespoons of the honey until smooth and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the flan and arrange the pears on top. Brush the pears with the remaining honey.

 

 

Lemon Chicken with Golden Onions and Green Olives: The Good Carbs Cook Book -Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall

Good Carbs Cookbook

 

Images and recipes from The Good Carbs Cookbook by Dr. Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall Murdoch Books RRP $$39.99 Photography by Alan Benson

 

Lemon Chicken with Golden Onions and Green Olives

“With a nod to an unctuous Moroccan tagine, the spice mix is mild and the turmeric produces a gorgeous golden colour in the onions when the chicken is cooked. Ground ginger withstands higher cooking temperatures than fresh ginger, without changing its flavour.” p.56

 

Lemon Chicken Cooked In A Spice Paste With-Golden Onions And Green Olives

PREPARATION TIME: 25 minutes | COOKING TIME: 1 hour | SERVES: 6

3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground chilli
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 handful coriander (cilantro) leaves and stems, chopped, plus extra, finely chopped, to garnish
1 handful parsley, chopped
¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) lemon juice
½ cup (125 ml/4 fl oz) olive oil
4 skinless bone-in chicken thighs
4 skinless bone-in chicken drumsticks
5 medium onions, thinly sliced
sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml/9 fl oz) water
1 cup (180 g/6½ oz) pitted green olives

 

Combine the garlic, cumin, chilli, turmeric, pepper, coriander, parsley, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss until evenly coated in the spice paste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a large sturdy heatproof pan over medium–high heat. Working in batches, add the chicken pieces and fry for about 10 minutes, turning once until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Put the onions in the pan with the remaining oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften.

Return the chicken to the pan with the ginger, lemon and water. Bring to a lively simmer and then reduce the heat to medium–low and cook, covered, for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Test by piercing the meat near the bone with a fine skewer and if the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked.

Remove from the heat and scatter with the olives and extra coriander.

Lovely served with couscous or brown rice.

 

Post Script: The Good Carbs Cook Book – Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall

Good Carbs Cookbook

The Good Carbs Cook Book

Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie, Philippa Sandall

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743368169

 

Description:

100+ simple, delicious and satisfying recipes to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Good carbs are essential. They supply the feel-good, taste-good fuel to keep you strong, boost your energy and help you stay healthy.

 

The Good Carbs Cookbook helps you choose the best fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts and grains and explains how to use them in 100 refreshingly nourishing recipes to enjoy every day, for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert. The recipes have short ingredients lists, are easy to prepare, quick to cook, long in flavour and full of sustaining goodness, so you feel fuller for longer. There is a nutritional analysis for each recipe and there are tips and helpful hints for the novice, nervous, curious or time-starved cook.

 

 

My View:

This book celebrates the notion “Eat foods made from ingredients you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.”(p.9 Michael Pollan) and if you adopt this principle you cannot go wrong as Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie and Philippa Sandall demonstrate.

 

This book is full of useful advice, tips on cooking, storing, nutritional information on the featured ingredients and its “hero” recipes. In the introduction Barclay et al list 10 Things they “Love About Good Wholesome Carb Foods” – let me share that information with you:

  1. We love the way they power the brain.
  2. We love the way they fuel the body.
  3. We love the energy they give.
  4. We love the good stuff (vitamins and minerals) that comes with them.
  5. We love their keep-it-regular fibre habit.
  6. We love preparing meals for family and friends with them.
  7. We love traditional foods they put on a plate.
  8. We love the variety and pleasure they bring to the table.
  9. We love the way they feed the world.
  10. We love their lighter footprint on the planet.

 

 

I heartily agree with all of the points mentioned above. This book ticks all my home cooking needs and more (particularly points 6 and 8).  I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes here and to share some of the recipes with you. This book is a keeper.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Dognitive Therapy – Laura Vissaritis

Dognitive Therapy

Dognitive Therapy

 Laura Vissaritis

Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9780143783497

 

Description:

To change your dog’s behaviour, first you must change yours. A mindful approach to training your dog from Australia’s leading dog behaviourist.

 

Training your dog starts with you.

 

In this friendly and comprehensive guide, expert dog behaviourist Laura Vissaritis teaches you how to better understand your dog’s behaviour and, more importantly, how to change it.

 

Your bond with your dog is incredibly powerful and rewarding, but it is also an instructive relationship. Your dog’s behaviour is directly affected and influenced by your own. Based on successful principles of dog-training and psychology, Laura demonstrates how implementing small changes in behaviour can have a big impact on both you and your canine companion.

 

Packed full of real life case studies, exercises and practical advice, this book will inspire you to take a closer look at your own life to improve your relationship with your dog for good.

 

 

My View:

I had many “aha” moments when reading this book.  The advice, the case studies, the challenges…the rewards, all made so much sense. There are laugh out laugh out loud moments (did you know there is a scientific reason why sometimes your dog smells a bit like cheese nachos? You aren’t imagining things…it’s about sweat glands, see p215) 🙂  There were also times when I had a silent little weep and thought about rescuing another dog after reading the statistics Laura Vissaritis shares regarding animal cruelty, the battle animal rescues have in re homing dogs, especially older dogs and the case studies she shares about how dogs can add so much value to your life. Our Bob the Dog is a “rescued” English Staffordshire Terrier – he gives us so much love, we return that love willingly – in abundance.  We have a great relationship with Bob the Dog that has been enhanced by reading this book and being reminded to look at the world from your dog’s perspective and to remember that your dog will always be dependent on his human…always, forever.

 

Laura’s passion for her work is evident.  Laura’s love for her dogs shines like a beacon in the book.  To claim this book elicited an emotional response from me would be an understatement.  If you have a dog, love dogs, or have always wanted to share your home with a dog I urge you to read this book.

 

Bob the Dog relaxing

Bob the Dog relaxing with his favourite human ( not pictured)

 

 

 

Post Script- Get A Life – Vivienne Westwood

Get A Life

The Diaries of Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Allan & Unwin

Serpents Tail

ISBN: 9781781854981

 

Description:

Vivienne Westwood began Get A Life, her online diary, in 2010 with an impassioned post about Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Since then, she has written two or three entries each month, discussing her life in fashion and her involvement with art, politics and the environment.

 

Reading Vivienne’s thoughts, in her own words, is as fascinating and provocative as you would expect from Britain’s punk dame – a woman who always says exactly what she believes. And what a life! One week, you might find Vivienne up the Amazon, highlighting tribal communities’ struggles to maintain the rainforest; another might see her visiting Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy, or driving up to David Cameron’s house in the Cotswolds in a full-on tank. Then again, Vivienne might be hanging out with her friend Pamela Anderson, or in India for Naomi Campbell’s birthday party, or watching Black Sabbath in Hyde Park with Sharon Osbourne.

 

The beauty of Vivienne Westwood’s diary is that it is so fresh and unpredictable. In book form, generously illustrated with her own selection of images, it is irresistible.

 

 

My View:

Stunning production qualities alone make this book very collectable.  And then there are the personal colour photographs, fashion, celebrities, musings and reflections; the passion that is Vivienne Westwood.

 

Add it to your bookshelf.

 

 

Author, Amy Andrews, Talks About “Limbo”

I had the virtual pleasure of meeting author Amy Andrews when she released her genre bending novel Limbo back in 2015.

In the words of the author this book is “urban-noir/paranormal-lite/mystery/romance mash up” and I would add PI in the mix, and a great mix it is too. This is a great contemporary feel good romp that had me smiling and laughing out loud. The characters are quirky, flawed and very very real. I had visions of Tom Selleck’s Magnum PI as the male protagonist, the female lead – hmm, maybe a young tough version of Rachel Griffiths works for me I think. Fans of Kathryn Ledson’s Erica Jewell series will also love this read.

 

Limbo has been re branded, has a new cover that relates specifically to a character in the book  – you will love the new  look.

 

Click on the video to see what Amy has to share with us.

 

Buy Amy’s book here:

http://books2read.com/u/mvYA1e