Monday, 30 September 2013

Dexter's Final Cut: A Novel by Jeff Lindsay

Dexter's Final Cut
A Novel
by Jeff Lindsay

Hardcover, 368 pages

I love Dexter. I love the books, I love the show, I love the whole concept of this monster hero with the wry sense of humour. It satisfies my need for Dark.

This most recent book of the series is Dex at his best. Who else would he feel at home with than the seemingly soulless Hollywood machine?

Our poor dark hero is the model for a new TV show and finds himself being observed at his workplace by an overly interested actor. This makes it hard for Dexter to do his dark deeds, harder still to work on his cases while he has to babysit stars and duck paparazzi. Still, Dreamy Dex finds himself caught up in the machinations and romanticism of Hollywood life, even while the body count grows.

You can never get enough Dexter!


From the back flap: 
Hollywood gets more than it bargained for when television's hottest star arrives at the Miami Police Department and develops an intense, professional interest in a camera-shy blood spatter analyst named Dexter Morgan.
Mega-star Robert Chase is famous for losing himself in his characters. When he and a group of actors descend on the Miami Police Department for "research," Chase becomes fixated on Dexter Morgan, the blood spatter analyst with a sweet tooth for doughnuts and a seemingly average life. To perfect his role, Chase is obsessed with shadowing Dexter's every move and learning what really makes him tick. There is just one tiny problem . . . Dexter's favorite hobby involves hunting down the worst killers to escape legal justice, and introducing them to his special brand of playtime. It's a secret best kept out of the spotlight and away from the prying eyes of bloated Hollywood egos if Dexter wants to stay out of the electric chair. The last thing he needs is bright lights and the paparazzi. . . but even Dexter isn't immune to the call of fame.
Jeff Lindsay's razor sharp, devilish wit, and immaculate pacing prove that he is in a class of his own, and this new novel is his most masterful creation yet.


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Martha Stewart's Cakes!

Martha Stewart's Cakes
Our First-Ever Book of Bundts, Loaves, Layers, 
Coffee Cakes, and more
by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

Trade Paperback, 352 pages

Martha came out with a book on cakes during the month of my birthday. I like to think this was planned. I was certainly excited!

She has done pies, cookies, cupcakes and wedding cakes, but this is the first book on cakes in general. The book has a wonderful array of cake styles and varieties, including:

Loaves
Bundts & Tubes
Coffee Cakes
Single Layers
Cheesecakes
Icebox
Cakes with Fruit
Layer Cakes
plus
Frosting and filling recipes, easy garnishes, 
and other finishing touches

Martha Stewart's Cakes is well laid out, easy to follow and has a full colour photo of each and every recipe. 

Chocolate Bundt Cake

From the back flap:
A one-stop resource for cakes—birthday, chocolate, coffee, Bundt, upside-down, loaf, and more. From pound cake and angel food (with many variations) to genoise and streusel-topped, from comfort classics like red velvet, six-layer coconut, rich chocolate, lemon meringue, and cheesecake to sophisticated grown-up fare including chiffon cakes and tortes with luscious fruits, these 150 recipes and color photographs cover techniques, decorating, and gifting ideas for every taste and occasion, whether no-fuss or fancy.
Maple Cake

Baking trends come and go, but cakes are timeless. From the editors and photographers of Martha Stewart Living, Cakes includes classics (German Chocolate, New York-Style Cheesecake), crowd-pleasers (Baked Alaska, Hummingbird), and cakes with unique, sophisticated flavors and embellishments (Pecan Torte with Lemon Curd, Saffron-Scented Pear Upside-Down Cake). Whether you need a birthday cake (for any age!), have bake-sale duty, want a travel-friendly coffee cake, or seek to impress at a dinner party or with a handmade gift, Martha Stewart's Cakes has more than 150 cakes plus ideas for decorating, gifting, and storing. Beautiful color photography that shows you just what you're aiming for and dozens of make-ahead tips make baking low-stress.
Pumpkin Layer Cake
 With 150 recipes in all, you will always have the perfect cake recipe for your occasions! 


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child

Never Go Back
A Jack Reacher Novel
by Lee Child

Hardcover, 416 pages

This is the eighteenth book in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series and the most personal one to date. We get to know a little more about our favourite ex military man when he heads back to his old unit to ask the mysterious woman on the phone for dinner.

But, as they say, you can't go home again. Jack finds himself in a tangled mess as soon as he hits town and he needs all of his wits and even his heart to sort out just what the hell is going on.

Our giant of the roads gets a little sentimental in this book and I love it. He doesn't break character, of course, we just get to see a bit more of his soft and chewy core underneath the hardened shell.

Reacher fans will love this new installment in the series. New fans will love this look into Reacher's life. Some of us might even develop a wee crush on the man. Not saying who....


From the Back Flap:
Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had.
Reacher is there to meet—in person—the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone.
But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.
When threatened, you can run or fight.
Reacher fights, aiming to find Turner and clear his name, barely a step ahead of the army, and the FBI, and the D.C. Metro police, and four unidentified thugs. 
Combining an intricate puzzle of a plot and an exciting chase for truth and justice, Lee Child puts Reacher through his paces—and makes him question who he is, what he’s done, and the very future of his untethered life on the open road.


Photo credit: Sigrid Estrada

Lee Child

Lee Child is the author of seventeen previous Jack Reacher thrillers, including the New York Times bestsellers Persuader, The Enemy, One Shot, and The Hard Way, and the #1 bestsellers The Affair, Worth Dying For, 61 Hours, Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble, and Nothing to Lose, as well as the short stories “Second Son” and “Deep Down.” His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and Nero awards for Best Novel. Foreign rights in the Reacher series have sold in more than forty territories. All titles have been optioned for major motion pictures, the first of which - “Jack Reacher” - was released in December.
 A native of England and a former television director, Child lives in New York City.

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Bread Baking Babes make Crunchy Crackers!

Crackers. Easy to make. You just have to have faith in rolling them thin and baking them til crisp, which is more about using your own discretion than obeying the times on a recipe.

You can whip these up in an afternoon and have something special to pair with your wine and cheese when people stop by.

Bread Baking Babe Tanna challenged us to bake these fun crackers for a late summer hurrah, perfect for snacking on on deck or in the kitchen.

I made mine to the recipe, the lower amount of water and more whole wheat flour for rolling and shaping. My toppings are sesame seeds, flax seeds and Hawaiian rock salt for crunch. See below for the recipe and try your hand at homemade crackers.

Delicious!

Crunchy Crackers
Recipe By: KAF
Yield: 2 cookie sheets

Summary:

This recipe mimics an extra-crunchy, seed-topped whole-gain cracker you may find at your supermarket. These are great for spreads and dips of all kinds.

Ingredients:

198 to 227g lukewarm water
170 g King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
120 g King Arthur Whole Wheat/Spelt
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or sugar - I used malt syrup
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
30 g whole ground flax
14 g sesame seeds
*Substitute 28g golden flax seeds for the flax and sesame, if desired.

Topping
71 g sunflower seeds, midget preferred*
28 g sesame seeds*
28 g whole flax seeds,* golden preferred
sea salt or your favorite flavored salt, if desired
*Substitute 3/4 cup artisan bread topping + 1/4 cup whole flax seeds for the sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, if desired.

Directions:

1) To make the dough: Mix and knead together all of the cracker ingredients (except the seeds) to a smooth, fairly stiff dough. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water if the dough is dry.

2) Knead in the seeds.

3) Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's expanded a bit.

4) Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a rectangle approximately 14" x 9", a generous 1/8" thick. This will probably require you to roll the dough until it fights back; give it a 10-minute rest, then come back and roll some more. It may need two rest periods to allow you to roll it thin enough.

5) For easiest handling, turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Spritz the dough with water. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the topping seeds, lay a piece of parchment on top, and press the seeds in with a rolling pin. Turn the dough over, peel off the parchment, and repeat. Set the seeded crackers on a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

6) If you don't have parchment, roll on a rolling mat or on a very lightly floured or lightly greased work surface; and transfer the seeded crackers to a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each sheet of crackers with some sea salt or flavored salt, if desired. Crush the sea salt between your fingers or grind it in a salt mill if it's very coarse.

7) Prick the dough over with a fork, and cut it into rectangles, whatever size you like. Pull the crackers apart just a bit; you don't need to separate them completely. Let the crackers rise for 30 to 45 minutes. while you preheat your oven to 350°F; they'll get just a bit puffy.

8) Bake for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven. When they're completely cool, break apart, if necessary, and store airtight.

The Bread Baking Babes