Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Crow Girl. A novel. Dark, dark novel.

By Erik Axl Sund
Publisher: Random House Canada
Hardcover, 784 pages

I know, it's a huge book. I thought to myself: this had better be good or it is going to be a long haul. I read it quicker than most regular length books. You just can't put it down once you get started.

I have to warn you though- this is for hardcore fans of Nordic Noir. This book has to be the most noir of the bunch so far. It is dark and disturbing and immensely readable for fans of the genre.

Just how evil can humans get? You have no idea.


From the Back Flap:

A #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
The newest crime novel sensation: In this shocking and suspenseful psychological thriller, a police detective must confront a monstrous evil that forces her to question how much suffering one person can inflict upon another before creating a monster.

In a Stockholm city park, police discover the mutilated body of a young boy. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg heads the investigation, battling an apathetic prosecutor and a bureaucratic police force unwilling to devote resources to solving the murder of a nameless immigrant child. But with the discovery of two more children's corpses, it becomes clear that a serial killer is at large. Jeanette turns to therapist Sofia Zetterlund for her expertise in psychopathic perpetrators and their lives become increasingly intertwined, professionally and personally. As they draw closer to the truth about the killings--working together but, ultimately, each on her own--we come to understand that these murders are only the most obvious evidence of a hellishly insidious evil woven deep into Swedish society. As viscerally dramatic as it is psychologically intense, The Crow Girl is a tale of almost unfathomably heinous deeds, and of the profound damage--and the equally profound need for revenge--left in their wake.

About the Author
ERIK AXL SUND is the pen name of Swedish author duo Jerker Eriksson (b. 1974) and Håkan Axlander Sundquist (b. 1965). Håkan is a sound engineer, musician and artist. Jerker has been the producer of Håkan's electropunk band i love you baby! and currently works as a librarian in a prison. Translated by Neil Smith. The author lives in Sweden.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Julia Vanishes: A Novel by Catherine Egan

Julia Vanishes
A Novel by Catherine Egan
Hardcover, 384 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

This is one of those books that you have to read quickly because you have the perfect person to pass it on to. Or maybe you keep all your magical books close at hand. One thing for sure - you will be excited for the next one!

Julia Vanishes is the first in a new magical series. Egan does a brilliant job of creating an engrossing tale within a perfectly thought out environment.

Magic, good versus evil, strong female characters.... a great new series for young and not so young women.


From the Back Flap:

The stunning first book in an exciting new fantasy trilogy! Murder, thievery, witchcraft and betrayal--who could resist?

Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people's senses. It's a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it's a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned--crime pays.
     Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman who is clearly in hiding--though from what or whom? Worse, Julia suspects that there's a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city.
     The more she learns, the more she wants to be done with this unnatural job. To go back to the safety of her friends and fellow thieves. But Julia is entangled in a struggle between forces more powerful than she'd ever imagined. Escape will come at a terrible price.
     One that will she will be paying over this book and the two to follow.


CATHERINE EGAN grew up in Vancouver, Canada. Since then, she has lived in Tokyo, Kyoto and Beijing; on a volcanic island in Japan (which erupted while she was there and sent her hurtling straight into the arms of her now husband); on an oil rig in the middle of Bohai Bay; in New Jersey; and now in New Haven, Connecticut. She is currently occupied with writing books and fighting dragon armies with her warrior children. You can read more about her at www.catherineegan.com


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

150 Best Meals in a Jar

150 Best Meals in a Jar
Salads, Soups, Rice Bowls and More
by Tanya Linton

Paperback, 192 pages

What do you take for lunch? Leftovers and sandwiches are good - some of the time - and take out or restaurants are a treat for once in a while, but our bodies crave good, healthy, fresh foods to help us last the workday and into the evening.

Tanya Linton offers 150 simple, fun, pretty and delicious meals that you can take to work or college in good old canning jars! They come in all sizes and many can be prepared at once, saving you time, effort, and money.

There is a science behind the layering. You want your food as fresh and vibrant as possible to nourish your body and mind. And with 150 recipes, you will never get bored with lunch again!

Contents include:
  • Introduction
  • Mason Jar Basics
  • Breakfasts and Snacks
  • Soups
  • Fruit and Vegetable Salads
  • Pasta and Noodle Salads
  • Grain and Legume Salads
  • Surf and Turf Salads
  • Rice Bowls
  • Hearty Meals
  • Dressings
  • Desserts
From the Back Flap:

Canning jars are perfect for a healthy and delicious salad. The dressing goes on the bottom, with heavier or harder ingredients making up the next layer(s), perhaps topped off with some fresh leafy greens. Everything stays crisp and separate until it is time to toss the salad in a bowl ready to serve and enjoy.

When made ahead these 150 tempting and innovative recipes last for days in the fridge for almost a week's worth of lunches and/or dinners. These "grab and go" salads are ideal on those harried weekday mornings or busy weekends. Tanya Linton includes creative snacks and breakfasts as well as a chapter devoted to rice bowls and even desserts.

Lettuce-based salads like Italian Salad (chopped salami, spicy green beans, white beans and Pecorino), Green Goddess (sugar snap peas, proper peas and edamame with hoisin chicken) or Sweet and Salty Salad (arugula, figs, buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto) are great for the whole family.

For something more hearty, there are also noodle and grain/legume based salads like Pasta Carbonara Salad (pasta, cooked eggs, cooked pancetta, baby arugula), Chicken Soup Salad (noodles, carrots, celery, chopped kale and chicken) and Layered Tabbouleh Salad (couscous, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, onion).

For a dessert idea for an office celebration or a picnic, Pretty Pavlovas, Layed Cheater Chocolate Cheesecake and Banana Bread Parfait are favorites. 

Asian Vegetable and Tofu Soup
This soup is a fresh take on a traditional soup in a cup. Bring the jar to work and just add boiling water. I like using snap peas and bean sprouts, but any crunchy vegetables will do.

Tips
To “julienne” means to cut into matchstick-shaped pieces. For the carrots in this recipe, trim off the rounded ends of each piece, then cut into 1⁄8-inch (3 mm) thick strips. Cut the snap peas on the diagonal into 1⁄8‑inch (3 mm) thick strips.
It’s best to pack this soup tightly. If the jar isn’t fully stuffed, the vegetables will settle after a day or two in the refrigerator. With the back of a spoon, press the vegetables down to compact them, leaving just a little room at the top. The tofu should rest right at the top of the jar.

•    1-quart (1 L) mason jar

1 tbsp    powdered chicken bouillon    15 mL
1 tsp    hoisin sauce    5 mL
1⁄4 tsp    hot pepper sauce    1 mL
1⁄2 cup    julienned carrots (see Tips)    125 mL
  
11⁄2 cups chopped napa cabbage    375 mL
1 cup    bean sprouts    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    julienned snap peas    125 mL
1⁄4 cup    chopped green onions    60 mL
1 tbsp    sliced gingerroot    15 mL
1⁄3 cup    cubed firm tofu (1⁄2-inch/1 cm cubes)    75 mL
  
1⁄2 tsp     sesame oil    2 mL
11⁄2 cups boiling water    375 mL

1.    Add bouillon, hoisin and hot pepper sauce to the jar, coating the bottom. Layer carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, peas, green onions, ginger, tofu and sesame oil on top. Seal jar and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

2.    When ready to serve, stir in boiling water and let stand for 2 minutes before serving.

Makes 1 serving


Courtesy of 150 Best Meals in a Jar by Tanya Linton © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Breakfast Burrito in a Jar
This is my take on a breakfast burrito. It doesn’t have the wrap, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t bring one with you. Or just eat it without. By the time you get to work, it will be at room temperature and ready to eat.

•    Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
•    Baking sheet, lined with foil
•    1-pint (500 mL) wide-mouth mason jar

1    8-inch (20 cm) flour tortilla    1
2 tbsp    olive oil, divided    30 mL
1    large egg    1
1 tbsp    milk    15 mL
1⁄4 cup    salsa    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    chopped red bell pepper    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    chopped avocado (see Tip)    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    diced dry-cured chorizo    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    shredded Cheddar cheese    60 mL

1.    Roll flour tortilla into a cylinder and cut into thin strips. In a small bowl, toss tortilla strips with 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil until coated. Arrange strips in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely in pan.

2.    Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg and milk until blended.

3.    In a medium skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture, tilting the pan to cover the bottom with a thin layer of egg. Cook for about 3 minutes or until almost set. Turn egg over and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, roll egg into a cylinder and cut into thin strips.

4.    Add salsa to jar, wiping down any splashes from the side of the jar. Layer egg strips, bell pepper, avocado, chorizo, cheese and tortilla strips on top. Seal jar and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Enjoy straight out of the jar.

Tip
When chopping avocados to add to a mason jar, squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice over them to prevent them from browning. In place of the avocado, you could use guacamole with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Makes 1 serving


Courtesy of 150 Best Meals in a Jar by Tanya Linton © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.
 

Cute and Clever Key Lime Pie
My favorite thing to do in a Florida airport is look at all the alligator paraphernalia and citrus products. A few years back, I got hooked on Key lime juice, and now I always pick up a bottle on my way home. It’s a bit more tart than Persian lime juice, but it’s perfect for tarts, fruit salads and marinades.

•    8-oz (250 mL) mason jar

1⁄4 cup    graham cracker crumbs    60 mL
1 tsp    melted unsalted butter    5 mL
1 tbsp    granulated sugar    15 mL
1⁄4 cup    cream cheese, softened    60 mL
2 tbsp    sour cream    30 mL
1 tbsp    grated lime zest    15 mL
2 tbsp    Key lime juice    30 mL
1⁄4 cup    blueberries    60 mL

1.    In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.

2.    In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, lime zest and lime juice.

3.    Press graham cracker mixture firmly into bottom of jar. Layer cream cheese mixture and blueberries on top. Seal jar and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Tip

If you happen to have access to Key limes, by all means use grated Key lime zest and freshly squeezed juice. If you can’t find bottled Key lime juice, substitute Persian lime juice.

Makes 1 serving


Courtesy of 150 Best Meals in a Jar by Tanya Linton © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.
 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Sirocco: Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East


Sirocco
Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East
by Sabrina Ghayour
Photographed by Haarala Hamilton
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Hardcover, 240 pages

Sirocco
A hot, dry wind wind blowing from East to West, 
often carrying with it flavors of the Mediterranean. 

The cradle of civilization knows a thing or two about flavour. Sabrina Ghayour opens us up to the mouth-watering, zingy and fresh flavours of the Middle East and Mediterranean. And thank goodness. 

An Ottolenghi-worthy tribute to the best of the cuisine in an easy, contemporary fashion

Just in time for summer. Put out the colourful glasses and fantastic flavours and call all your closest friends.  

Contents include:
Introduction
My kitchen pantry
Brilliant breakfasts & brunches
Light bites & savory snacks
Spectacular salads & sides
Mouthwatering main dishes
Superb bakes & sweet treats

From the Back Flap:

Journey to the Middle East and Mediterranean with alluring recipes from Sabrina Ghayour, dubbed “the golden girl of Persian Cookery” by The Observer, in the highly anticipated follow-up to her bestselling debut cookbook, Persiana. Sirocco highlights the use of simple pantry staples and striking flavor combinations to transform everyday dishes. From eye-catching salads to indulgent sweets, each of Ghayour’s recipes is a vibrant addition to the modern home cook’s table.

SABRINA GHAYOUR is a self-taught cook, food writer, and host of the widely popular Sabrina’s Kitchen supper club in London. One of the most exciting voices in Middle Eastern cuisine today, she is also the bestselling and award-winning author of Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including The Times, The Evening Standard, The Guardian, BBC Good Food Magazine, and more.