Post Script: The Rooster Bar – John Grisham

The Rooster Bar

The Rooster Bar

John Grisham

Hachette Australia

Hodder and Stoughton

ISBN: 9781473616950

 

Description:

Worldwide bestseller John Grisham will keep you on the edge of your seat with his most suspenseful thriller yet.

‘The Best Thriller Writer Alive’ Ken Follett

John Grisham’s newest legal thriller takes you inside a law firm that shouldn’t exist.

Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . . .

Ingenious, immersive and page-turning, The Rooster Bar is a John Grisham legal thriller bar none.

 

My View:

A very impressive standalone from this master of legal mysteries. In this narrative the protagonists are a little like Robin Hood – exposing the exploitative sham businesses making so much money from unsuspecting, potential students – you really do feel for the victims of the scam – and I do wonder if the charade is based on real life happenings? It seems to me like it really could be.

 

The plot is intricate and yet so credible. You pin your hopes on the very likeable main characters, hoping that they can exact justice and get away with the biggest scam since The Sting!  Along the way you learn a little about the about the American Justice System, about refugees, about student loans, scams and about friendships…a very impressive and interesting read.

The Rooster Bar

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Poppy and the Orchestra, Poppy and the Brass Band – Illustrated by Magali Le Huche

 

Poppy and the Orchestra

Poppy and the Orchestra

Waler Foster Jnr, Illustrated by Magali Le Huche

Allen & Unwin Australia

Quarto Group USA

ISBN: 9781633224018

 

Description:

Go on a musical adventure to the symphony with the adorable dog, Poppy, and see as she meets new friends who introduce her to the sounds of musical instruments.

 

With 16 buttons to push and hear, kids will love listening to the sounds of the different instruments as they follow along with the story. With colorful illustrations and a new sound to discover on each page, both kids and parents will be entertained and engaged for hours.

 

Poppy and the Orchestra offers an opportunity to teach kids about classical music and the instruments of the orchestra. Now that is truly unique!

 

 

Poppy and the Brass Band

Poppy and the Brass Band

Waler Foster Jnr, Illustrated by Magali Le Huche

Allen & Unwin Australia

Quarto Group USA

ISBN: 9781633224025

 

Description:

There really is no better way to introduce young children to the full-bodied sound of a brass band than with the story of an excited puppy and 16 sound effects. Poppy and the Brass Band has it all.

 

Go on a musical adventure to the circus with an adorable pup named Poppy. Poppy and the Brass Band takes kids on an adventure with Poppy she meets new friends who introduce her to the sounds of the musical instruments of a brass band. With 16 buttons to push and hear, children will be whisked to a different world while listening to the sounds of the different instruments and follow along with the story.

 

With colorful illustrations and a new sound to discover on each page, both kids and parents will be entertained and engaged from cover to cover. Poppy and the Brass Band offers an opportunity to teach kids about classical music and the instruments in a brass band.

 

My View:

These books have been a lifesaver! This week our grandson has been sick with a virus, he has not been his usual happy self and it has taken a lot of effort to keep him entertained – then these two books arrived in the mail! Allen & Unwin Australia you could not have known how perfectly timed their arrival was.  Our grandson is intrigued with these books; he sat quietly and focused on the sounds and the “pushing” to control the “sounds” himself, he listened, he giggled and jiggled to the music as he sat on our laps, or next to us as we read him the story and played the tunes.  He has enjoyed this book, over and over and overJ  These are unique musical books that entertain and educate.

 

Olive Oil Rosemary Apricot Cake: Poh Bakes 100 Greats – Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Images and recipes from Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99) Photography by Alan Benson.

 

Olive Oil Rosemary Apricot Cake

 

“For the non-sweet tooths out there, this one’s for you. This savoury combination of olive oil, rosemary and lemon in a cake is just sensational and so wonderfully Mediterranean.  If you are desperate to make this outside of apricot season, apricot halves tinned in syrup make a good substitute.

 

Olive Oil Rosemary Apricot Cake_pg185

Feeds 10–12

 

ingredients

5 eggs, separated

165 g (53/4 oz/ 3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar + extra 1 tablespoon, to sprinkle

1/4 teaspoon salt

185 ml (6 fl oz/ 3/4 cup) olive oil

Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

150 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

10 apricots, halved & stones removed, or tinned apricot halves, drained

 

To serve

1 quantity Vanilla Sour Cream or Vanilla Crème Fraîche (for both, see page 203) or Yoghurt Mascarpone Cream (see page 206)

 

method

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) fan-forced. Grease the ring of a 20–22 cm (8–81/2 inch) springform tin, then turn the base upside down, so it no longer has a lip. Place a piece of baking paper over it, then clamp the ring around it to secure.

 

To make the cake, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until just foamy. Add only 55 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) of the caster sugar in two batches, whisking well between each addition, until soft peaks form. Set aside.

 

Combine the egg yolks, remaining caster sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk with an electric mixer on high speed until pale and thick. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, whisking on high speed until all of it has been used. Add the lemon zest and juice, rosemary and flour, and stir with a whisk until just combined. Whisk in one-third of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then add the remainder and stir very gently with the whisk until combined.

 

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and arrange the apricot halves in concentric circles on top, working from the outside in. Sprinkle the extra 1 tablespoon caster sugar evenly over the surface, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes
out clean. Rest the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, before releasing
the ring and sliding the cake onto a wire rack to cool. Rest for about
30 minutes, before slicing and serving with your choice of dolloping cream – warm works for this cake!

 

 

 

Page 203:

 

Dolloping Creams

 

With all the different styles of dolloping cream, you should know you don’t actually need a recipe. All you want is to remember the ratio. Rule of thumb is icing sugar will always be 10% of the cream amount no matter what. For example, you would mix 30 g (1 oz) icing sugar with 300 ml (101/2 fl oz) of cream, then it’s generally 1–11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or to taste. With the cultured creams, you could probably add a smidgen more icing sugar to balance the sharpness but, as is, they will be especially perfect for those who prefer things not overly sweet.

 

Makes about 300 ml (101/2 fl oz)

 

Crème Chantilly

300 ml (101/2 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream

30 g (1 oz/ 1/4 cup) pure icing (confectioners’) sugar or icing (confectioners’) sugar mixture, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence

 

Vanilla Sour Cream or Vanilla crème Fraîche

Sour cream and crème fraîche are the next options. Both of these
are cultured creams, so have a desirable sharpness that is great for cutting through sweet things, but they differ in fat content.

Sour cream has a lower fat content, which means it does not whip. It’s structurally more similar to yoghurt, so you get a more runny finish that will separate if left for a while. Sour cream is also easier to find.

Crème fraîche, on the other hand, can be whipped because of its higher fat content, but it will only be to soft to medium peaks.

To make Vanilla Sour Cream, use the crème Chantilly recipe, but swap out the cream for sour cream, and stir with a spoon to combine.

To make Vanilla Crème Fraîche, use the crème Chantilly recipe, but swap out the cream for crème fraîche, and hand-whisk to soft or medium peaks. This will split if you overwhisk it, and the only remedy is to start again with fresh ingredients.

 

Page 206:

 

Yoghurt Mascarpone Cream

 

I love the look of surprise on people’s faces when I give them a spoonful of this. They expect ‘rich’ and they expect ‘cream’, but what’s wonderful is that, instead, they get this light, mildly sharp, vanilla-y, subtly sweet cultured flavour that, to be honest, trumps a conventional crème Chantilly in most cases. It doesn’t always hold well, depending on what brands of yoghurt and mascarpone you use, so it’s not good for engineering anything that needs to be structurally sound such as between layers of cake. It’s best for dolloping generously on things like pavlova or other meringue desserts, slices of tea cake or poached fruit.

 

Makes about 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups)

 

 

ingredients

250 g (9 oz/1 cup) mascarpone cheese

250 g (9 oz/1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt

50 g (13/4 oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar mixture

1–2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract

 

method

Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth. This will keep perfectly for up to 2 weeks, seeing as both the cheese and the yoghurt are cultured forms of dairy.

 

Post Script: Two Weeks ‘Til Christmas – Laura Greaves

Two Weeks Til Christmas

Two Weeks ‘til Christmas

Laura Greaves

Penguin Random House

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143787709

 

Description:

Claire Thorne never expected to be heading home for Christmas in Bindallarah – the small country town she left behind thirteen years ago and spends every day trying to forget. But then again she never expected fate to bring Scotty, her oldest friend and first love back into her life. Or for Scotty to tell her that he’s about to get married – to a girl he barely knows.

 

With only two weeks until Scotty’s big day on Christmas Eve, Claire’s determined to make up for lost time and help plan his wedding. And while she’s at it, she can make sure he’s not making a life-changing mistake. After all, it’s what any good friend would do.

 

But is two weeks enough time for Claire to find the answers she needs? And will she be brave enough to question her own heart and the choices she’s made along the way?

 

My View:

The perfect read for the fan of Aussie chick lit.  

A fast moving, light, quick read with a wonderful Australian landscape – city and small town, rural. Perhaps this could also be classified as an “Australian coming of age narrative”, as the protagonist addresses many issues from her past that have influenced her expectations of life. A happy ever after that will leave a smile on your face.

As a bonus- if you love horses – this is a book you are bound to enjoy!

 

 

Rhino & Tim’s Chicken Liver Treats (Dog Biscuits): Poh Bakes 100 Greats- Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Images and recipes from Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99) Photography by Alan Benson.

 

Rhino & Tim’s Chicken Liver Treats

 

First, let’s be clear, these biscuits are for dogs, not humans! If you’re like me and get a bit stressy about the dodgy regulations that surround pet food, you can make your own. My guys, Rhino and Tim, are totally obsessed with these, and the best thing is that they’re incredibly easy to whip up.

 

MAKES ABOUT 1 KG (2 LB 4 OZ) DOG BISCUITS

 Dog Biscuits_pg53

INGREDIENTS

600 g (1 lb 5 oz/4 cups) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour + extra for sprinkling

165 g (53/4 oz/1 1/2 cups) powdered milk

75 g (21/2 oz/1 cup) wheat germ

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) chicken livers

3 eggs

30 g (1 oz/1 cup) roughly chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, including stalks

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 110°C (225°F) fan-forced.

 

Combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and pulse very briefly to mix. Add the livers, eggs and parsley, then pulse until the mixture gathers into a rough dough.

 

Turn out onto a floured work surface, sprinkle more wholemeal flour on top and roll until 6 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Slice roughly into 4 cm (11/2 inch) squares, and bake for 1–11/2 hours until dry and crunchy. If the bikkies seem a little rubbery when you take them out of the oven, don’t be concerned – they’ll turn super-crunchy on cooling.

 

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container, then use freely to manipulate your fur children into good behaviour! These keep well in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

 

NOTE

Just so you know, these dog biscuits are designed to be used as treats, not a kibble substitute.

 

Hero No Knead Crusty Loaf – Poh Bakes 100 Gretas – Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Images and recipes from Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99) Photography by Alan Benson

 

 

hero no-knead crusty loaf

 

‘Hero’ because it’s how you will feel when you haul this rustic beauty out of the oven. Every time I make this New York Times inspired recipe, I’m amazed at how technically undemanding this is. The main ingredient is time, but a cast-iron pot with a lid (a ceramic or glass ovenproof dish will also work) is also imperative. The resulting loaf feels somehow ancient and substantial. It has a serious crust, open crumb and a robust bite, with flavour that hints towards a sourdough. You will enjoy making and eating this over and over again.

 

No Knead Bread_pg15

Makes 1 LOAF

ingredients

450 g (1 lb/3 cups) plain  (all-purpose) flour + extra
for dusting

1/4 teaspoon instant dried yeast

11/4 teaspoons salt

380–400 ml (13–14 fl oz) water

Polenta (coarse cornmeal) or wheat bran, for dusting

 

method

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a medium–large mixing bowl. Mix together the ingredients quickly with your hands, then make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Using a circular motion, bring the ingredients together to form a sticky, wet dough.

 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest in a warm (if possible) and draught-free spot in the house for a minimum of 12 hours (but 18 is preferable), or until the surface of the dough is dotted with bubbles. (In winter, I’ve found this can be up to 20 hours.) If you tilt the bowl, the bubbles will give the dough a stringy appearance.

 

Flour your work surface well, scrape the dough onto it, sprinkle with a little more flour, then roughly flatten it with your hands. Give it an envelope fold: pull the front and back into the centre, then repeat with the sides. Sprinkle a generous amount of polenta (the size of a dinner plate) in the centre of a clean tea towel. Place the dough on it seam side up, and sprinkle more polenta on top, before loosely folding the sides of the tea towel to cover it completely. Allow the dough to rise for another 2–8 hours (depending on climate) until it doubles in size and does NOT spring back easily when prodded.

 

When you feel that the dough is close to being fully risen, preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F) fan-forced. Place a 25–28 cm (10–11 inch) cast-iron (or glass or ceramic) pot and its lid into the oven at the same time. When ready to bake, remove the pot from the oven—be very careful, as it will be ragingly hot. Uncover the dough, slide your hand under the tea towel and swiftly flip the dough into the pot.

 

Shimmy the dough a bit, so that it sits in the centre, then cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a further 30 minutes or until beautifully brown. It should look on the flat side and make
a crisp, hollow sound as opposed to a dull thud if tapped. Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before eating. When you cut into it, the crust should be super crunchy, the air bubbles large and the texture a little chewy.

Post Script: Poh Bakes 100 Greats – Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Poh Bakes 100 Greats

Poh Ling Yeow

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743366264

 

Description:

‘I love baking so much I’ve been known to park myself in front of the oven to watch a cake cook, like television.’

 

Poh first fell in love with food by learning to bake as a nine year old – she remembers vividly her mum showing her the art of folding flour into her first sponge cake ‘just like so’ and the skill in lining a tin meticulously. Now, years after Poh’s meteoric rise to fame through MasterChef, and hosting her own television shows, Poh’s Kitchen and Poh & Co, she returns to her roots, with wooden spoon and mixing bowl in hand. Poh owns and runs Adelaide destination cafe and bakery Jamface, with her bestie, Sarah. She describes the Jamface baking philosophy as the love child between a Parisian patisserie and the Country Women’s Association. Here, she shares recipes for 100 of her favourite baked delights.

 

So take the afternoon off, fire up the oven, and join Poh in the meditative process of baking something truly great.

 

My View:
I think this has to be one of the best all round, accessible baking books of the year. It includes chapters on:

  • Savoury Starters
  • Bake Sale Beauties
  • French Fundamentals
  • Sweetie Pies & Tantalising Tarts
  • Oldies But Goodies
  • Thrills & Frills
  • Adventure Bakes
  • Trusty Tea Cakes
  • Must Knows.

 

Included in the 100 recipes are some of my favourite foods including:

*Hummingbird Cake

*Coconut Ice

*Pecan Cinnamon Scrolls

*Basic Nut Praline

*Bienenstich –Bee Sting Cake

*Turkish Delight

*Brioche Buns

*Baked Camembert with Thyme, Garlic & Red Wine

*Hero No Need Crusty Bread

*Smoked Salmon & Zucchini Slice….

 

And many many more. I am sure you will find your new favourite in this book J

 

PS and there is even a recipe for your favourite pet!