Tuesday, 30 October 2012

An LGBT reading event: Maurice

While I bought Maurice by E.M. Forster some decades ago together with a Room with a View, I had not bothered until now to actually read it.  Being a teenager at the time, the romantic aspect of A Room immediately got my full attention, leaving Maurice in the dark...

So much so, that I didn't even know about its storyline or about it being published post-humously.  Not to worry, Adam provided the opportunity for me to dust the book, open it (finally!) and immese myself into puritan early 20th century England... Reader's delight was waiting around the corner!

Monday, 29 October 2012

A Gothic event: Wuthering Heights

(cover from among those proposed by Wallace)
How can one person, who is doomed to die shortly after her 30th birthday, who has lived practically in solitude, who has never really wanted to go outside and deal with the rest of world - how does someone like Emily Brontë manage to write such a masterpiece as Wuthering Heights?  

Her one and only adult work that shows human nature in all its wilderness and dark moments still haunts literature afficionados everywhere...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Recipe: vegetarian tortillas

Completing my month of Mexican/Tex-mex cuisine endeavours, it was high time I did something vegetarian.  While I'm not one myself, I like to explore meat-free alternatives on a regular basis and this type of cooking provides a tasty and healthy meal every time!  It's also a good base for experimenting with beans, chipotle peppers and olives (yum) - and produce a meal that's low cal, high protein, high fiber and  high calcium - what more can I ask... 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

In a Grove, by R. Akutagawa

Quality, not quantity:  this applies to so many aspects of our lives, just as it does here:  the quality of a work of literature is not necessarily found in its length.  There are several excellent samples of short stories that manage to capture my attention much more than some of their lengthy counterparts... Such is the case of In a Grove by R. Akutagawa, a seemingly straight-forward account of a murder that unfolds into a most complex story of what the real truth is...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

An LGBT Reading event: Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice)

I regard Thomas Mann as one of the more esteemed German writers of his era.  He has provided enough material to mark his place in German literature, and his works are almost always taught at university.  

Despite all this, I had never read any of his works, and Adam's The Literary Others event provided a very good excuse to read one of his more famous novelas, Death in Venice.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Recipe: Beef enchilada soup

I have been under the weather for a week now with a terrible cold, and have consequently changed my attitudes:  as I can't taste much, I just eat to take my medication, without paying much attention to my senses... But I still wanted to finish my adventures with the mexican/tex-mex cuisine - what to do?  I can usually muster the "heaviness" of the beautiful dishes, but not right now.  Solution:  try a soup, a staple that has got me through this week, with a twist:  use ingredients that would give me that essential kick, to remind me of how I used to eat...

Friday, 19 October 2012

under the weather...

Have been fighting a nasty cold this week, which turned out to be bacterial - lots of meds, plenty of TV:  past episodes of Matlock and Midsommer murders is all I can muster ...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Ada Lovelace Day: Alex and me, by Irene Pepperberg

Today marks the Ada Lovelace day, celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths around the world. Ada was Lord Byron's daughter, one of the first mathematicians and a scientist whose research notes inspired Alan Turning’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s.

One of the women scientists who have inspired me is Dr. Irene Pepperberg, who tiredlessly worked with Alex, perhaps the most famous African grey parrot, to discover intelligence in an animal whose brain does not surpass the size of a shelled walnut.  The discovery was proven to be comparable to human intelligence and from there on, it opened the door to all the concepts of animal cognition.  This incredible journey and its effects on so many levels but also the relationship between Irene and Alex is the subject of the book Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Recipe: Apple cheesecake bar

Most of the pins I keep in Pinterest are for my cooking recipes (Weekend cooking is a ritual for me...).  This is my way of keeping to-investigate recipes organised, so that if I'm not satisfied with the result, I can just delete the link.  If I love the result, it will be printed and included in my great book of cooking (...).  For the Pin it and Do it challenge hosted by Trish, I had a very good excuse to bring out all the long-forgotten material I have, and start making some wonderful things:

First things first:  an incredible dessert, that was munched within minutes... Just listen to this name:  Maple syrup streusel apple cheesecake bar (mmmm...).  And it is all that and more:  a few ingredients that get assembled within minutes (literally) and then baked.  Pure delight and decadence!!!

Maple syrup streusel apple cheesecake bar
adapted from Cookies and Cups



  • 230g shortcrust pastry
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

    Mascarpone Filling
  • 200g mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 20g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 small apples, peeled and finely diced

  • Steusel Topping
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 120g flour
  • 20g old fashioned oats
  • 70g butter, room temperature

  • 70ml maple syrup

Print recipe

Preheat oven at 180C.  Slightly roll out the pastry to make a rectangular and line a pie dish.  Sprinkle the crust with the brown sugar.  Mix all ingredients of the filling and spread on crust.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  In the meantime, prepare the streusel topping.  After  20 minutes, take dish out and cover with the steusel.  Place back in the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, until golden.  Take out and drizzle with maple surup (the quantity is indicative - you can pour as much or as little as you like).  Leave to cool (I actually put it back in the oven and left it to cool there).  Once cold, cut in 2*2cm squares.

This post is my entry into Weekend Cooking, a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

This is also my second pin in the Pin it and Do it:  A Pinteresting challenge, hosted by Trish. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

LGBT reading event: The House of the Vampire

With all the rain and the wind that has been filling my days lately, I was in that perfect situation where I could well imagine all the gothic parameters of a novel.  On a particularly stormy night, I read the House of the Vampire, by G.S. Viereck, a gothic/vampire novel that would prove to be innovative, in more ways than one...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Recipe: Beef enchiladas

I like discovering new food recipes and I like it even better when these recipes are a total success!  For now, I'm experimenting with the Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine, and I had a big blast with these enchiladas! For a moment, they took away all the rain and the wind and made me feel as if I were in a warmer location...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Classics Club: Why I read the Classics

For October, the Classics Club's question is so multi-faceted, I will have to restrain myself:  The meme is why do I read the Classics.  It might as well have been why do I breathe...
To me, it's not just simply the fact that I read the Classics, it's that I prefer the Classics to modern literature.

A few words on this preference, then:

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Home-maker

I wanted to read The Home-maker by Dorothy Canfield ever since I read a review by Claire.  I've often wondered how "lucky" women are nowadays to be able to do as we please (ok, most of the time - I'm sure there still exist sectors where women would be looked upon suspiciously). 

When I was in university, I wrote a thesis on the suffragettes, and my research actually came to the conclusion that despite the success this movement had at the time,  women, especially after the end of the world wars, preferred to return home and lead a "conventional" life... (and yet, I got a very good grade!).



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