22 October 2016

Weekend Cooking: Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

Review: Ziggy Marley and Family CookbookBeing a long-time Reggae fan, I couldn't resist the chance to review the Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook. This great collection of recipes emphasizes organic, GMO-free ingredients and recipes that are family friendly and easy to make.

The first things I noticed about the cookbook were the thick matte paper, beautiful photos, earthy colors, and clean font. These features are the immediate hooks, but Marley's passion for good nutritious fare clinches the deal.

As you can imagine, Marley's culinary style is based in Jamaican tradition, but it has also been influenced by Rasta culture. More recently, Marley has found inspiration from his wife's Israeli-Iranian roots, which bring an international flare to the family's everyday dinner table.

The recipes range from a simple frittata to trendy smoothies and juices; from comforting grain salads to squash and leek soup and Caribbean coconut-flavored fish. Several dishes have caught my attention, especially among the soups and salads. I also have my eye on the roasted yam tart (made with puff pastry), spicy grilled jerked chicken, and especially the stout-infused ginger bread. All the recipes are geared toward family meals, though I doubt any guests would find room to complain if they were served such flavorful and nutritious food.

The Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook has a lot going for it, but here are some things to note:
  • The Marley family runs a company called Ziggy Marley Organics and a few recipes call for one of their products. The good news is that substitutions are always noted in the ingredient list.
  • Some of the recipe directions seem a little light on the details. This doesn't bother me, but more inexperienced cooks may wish for better guidance when it comes to judging whether a dish has finished cooking.
  • Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free people will find a lot to love, including gluten-free pancakes.
  • If you're landlocked, like I am, some of the fish dishes will be (excuse the pun) off the table.
  • Finally, I'm sorry Marley didn't contribute more stories to go with the recipes he included in the book. The chapter introductions offer hints, but not quite enough for me.
Recommendation: The Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook will appeal to a wide range of cooks, especially confident cooks who have access to fresh seafood. If you are cutting down on meat, this book will give you fresh ideas. On the other hand, despite the word family in the title, I bet whole wild red snapper would be a hard sell for most parents. Bottom line: Look through the book at the store or borrow it from the library before buying, just to make sure the recipes will suit your family and your skill level.

Here's a quick and easy fall salad to grace your holiday table or to take to a tailgating party. (Note: scan and recipe are used in the context of this review. All rights remain with the original copyright holders: Tuff Gong Worldwide.)

Fall Quinoa Salad
Serves 2 to 4; vegetarian, vegan, gluten free
  • Review: Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, drained and cooled
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, minced
  • 1 large bunch of mint, minced
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Notes from Beth Fish Reads: For my table and my tastes, I'd start with only half the mint and would most likely add some olive oil.

Published by Akahic Books, 2016
ISBN-13: 97816717754838
Source: review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

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20 October 2016

Giveaway: Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan StroudAre you ready for Halloween and the spooky time of year? Do you and your family like a little supernatural fun and young heroes saving the day? If so (with thanks to Disney-Hyperion), have I got the books for you: the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud.

I've only just started this creepy series about the hoard of ghosts, specters, and other evil spirits that has descended on London. Of course, everyone wants the city to be free of the otherworldly beings, but it seems that humanity can be saved only by the young, who have the power to see their foes.

Among the many ghost-busting agencies that have sprung up around the London, is Lockwood & Co., a completely youth-run operation manned by Lucy, Anthony, and George. The trio takes up a variety of spooky cases that are part exorcism, part mystery, and always creepy. The kids have to outsmart the ghouls and rival agencies, while they learn from their mistakes and their relationships grow and change.

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion, you too can get to know the Lockwood gang through Jonathan Stroud's books. Here's a brief look at what they're all about:

  • In book 1, The Screaming Staircase (published in 2013), we meet our heroes as they are tapped to investigate a haunted house.
  • In book 2, The Whispering Skull (published in 2014), Lockwood & Co. comes into conflict with the rival Fittes agents while investigating a possible grave robbery.
  • In book 3, The Hollow Boy (published in 2015), the team gains a new member while they investigate a murder.
  • The newest book, which was just released, is The Creeping Shadow, which focuses on Lucy and her involvement with taming a legendary cannibal.
One thing I really love about Stroud is his sense of humor and how he uses it as a foil for the scary bits. To get a sense of both his style and the artwork that introduces each chapter, take a look at this scan of the first page of The Creeping Shadow (click the image to enlarge; to read the whole first chapter, click the link):

Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan Stroud

To learn more about Jonathan Stroud and the Lockwood books, visit the official Lockwood website, follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram, and follow hashtag #LockwoodandCo on all your social media.

Giveaway Details

Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan StroudThanks to Disney-Hyperion I can offer one of my readers with a USA mailing address the following awesome prize pack. Not only will the winner receive all four Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan Stroud but he or she will also get this really cool pumpkin carving kit, complete with carving tools and a design book.

All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win this fantastic prize pack is to fill out the following form with your USA mailing address. I'll pick a winner using a random number generator on October 27. After the winner has been confirmed and the address has been passed along to Disney, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!

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19 October 2016

Wordless Wednesday 416

Looking Up, 2016

Click image to enlarge. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

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18 October 2016

Today's Read: The Coffin Road by Peter May

What if you found yourself washed up on the beach of a northern island with no memory of how you got there? Now what would you think if you heard about a brutal murder and started wondering if you could be the killer? This is reality for a man who later calls himself Neal.

The first thing I am aware of is the taste of salt. It fills my mouth. Invasive. Pervasive. It dominates my being, smothering all other senses. Until the cold takes me. Sweeps me up and cradles me in its arms. Holding me so tightly I can't seem to move. Except for the shivering. A raging, uncontrollable shivering. And somewhere in my mind I know this is a good thing. My body trying to generate heat. If I wasn't shivering I would be dead.
Coffin Raod by Peter May (Quercus, 2016, p.1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Outer Hebrides and other areas of Scotland; contemporary times
  • Circumstances: Three converging story lines: (1) A man washes up on the beach with holes in his memory and is trying to figure out what happened, (2) a teenager doesn't believe her father's death was suicide and begins to investigate, (3) a homicide detective attempts to solve a murder on a remote island with a troubled past
  • Genre, audience, themes: adult, mystery / thriller, environmental issues
  • Characters: The man with the spotty memory and the people he meets on the Isle of Harris, including Sally, who claims to be his lover; Detective George Gunn and the people he meets in the Flannan Islands; Karen, a teenager in Edinburgh, her mother, and the people she encounters as she travels north
  • Thoughts: I've enjoyed other novels by Peter May and this one, with its seemingly unrelated story lines, remote setting, and hint at deeper issues really called to me. I love the way the island of Harris is as much a character as the people. I've barely begun the novel, but I'm already hooked.
  • Some things to know: Print sources and professional sites have already given Coffin Road starred reviews. This is a standalone novel, so you can start right here if you haven't yet read May. Be prepared to start planning your next vacation -- it will be a visit to the Outer Hebrides.

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17 October 2016

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: What to Read and Listen to Now

Except for that stupid dental crown that broke last week and the temporary crown that fell off over the weekend (millions of dentist office visits!), life is finally back to what I call normal. That means I'm still working hard, but my evenings and weekends are once again mine. Yay!

I'm hoping for lots of pleasure reading to finish out the year (yikes! only ten weeks or so until New Year's). In the meantime, I was able to find a few moments to read and to listen to audiobooks, so all was not lost, though I feel like I'm somehow falling behind.

What I read last week

  • What to Read in OctoberA Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham is a collection of fairy tale retellings that combine traditional elements with contemporary details. These are dark, adult tales that show the universal and eternal themes of these centuries-old stories. I also loved the awesome black-and-white illustrations. (now in paperback from Picador USA, 9781250097309)
  • Agnes by Peter Stamm is a translation of the author's short debut novel. Although the book has the feel of an early work, this look at life imitating art (or is it art imitating life?) is worth your time. A Swiss nonfiction author meets a Chicago graduate student who wants him to write her story. (Other Press, 9781590518113)
What I listened to last week
  • Audiobooks for OctoberThe Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper is the story of two sisters and one special-needs girl, who has unusual talents. There was way too much foreshadowing in this book to make it a winner with me, though others have loved the themes of sisters, family, and motherhood. Narrators Andi Ardnt and Cassandra Campbell do good work here. For more, see AudioFile magazine. (Highbridge Audio; 9 hr, 20 min)
  • The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin is an audiobook I don't think I totally understood. It's the story of a Chinese-born naturalized U.S. citizen who is stretching his wings to tell the truth through his journalism. Eduardo Ballerini is a pleasure to listen to, but I question the decision to forgo the use of a Chinese accent. For more, see AudioFile magazine. (Random House Audio; 6 hr, 37 min)
What I'm reading and listening to now
  • What to Read in OctoberThe Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz is a kind of take-off of Chaucer set in Medieval times and geared to a middle grade audience. It involves the French crown and the Church and their conflict with three children and a dog. I've just started this multicast audiobook from Listening Library, but I can already tell I'm going to be hooked. This is for pleasure reading, so a review will appear here soon.
  • The Guineveres by Sarah Doment is the story of four girls, all named Guinevere, who bond over shared names and their orphan status. We follow the girls as they juggle their Catholic upbringing with their more worldly desires. So far this is another huge winner from Amy Einhorn, who is now with Flatiron Books (9781250086617)
What are you reading or listening to? Anything I should add to my reading list?

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All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2016. All rights reserved.



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