Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Shortbread - New Oven

At hideous expense and much procrastination, the new oven is installed. My bestest mate the Westinghouse died after 27 years of dedicated service and the odd burnt offering. Now a Westinghouse mark II has come along. Chosen because of its wide girth, and rapid heat settings the new oven has multi-functions and programmable timers. Useful, methinks, very useful!
 so ...
Have new oven - will cook treats! Today we tried out new timings in the oven for shortbread and cinnamon biscuits ( they are not called cookies in this house!) They require some adjustment.


115 g rice flour
225 g plain flour
115 g castor  sugar
225 g butter ( softened )
pinch  salt
Mix flours and dry ingredients
Rub in butter till mixture forms a dough
Roll into cyclinder and wrap in glad/cling wrap and place in fridge for 30 mins

Cut into 1 cm rounds crosswise and bake in slow oven 3/4 to 1 hour. On fanbake, 1 hour is necessary.

Swedish Cinnamon Biscuits

3/4 cup butter 
1 cup sugar ( I used castor but it does not matter)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
(1 tbsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp sugar extra)
Perlsukker ( Pearl sugar )

Soften butter and Cream it with the sugar, which you have gradually added. 
Beat in egg and vanilla
Sift flour with baking powder and 1 tsp cinnomon in bowl and stir in nuts. 
Add to egg mix and blend thoroughly.
Cover and chill for 30 mins to 1 hour.

Roll 1 inch balls in cinnamon/sugar (extra) mix 
and place 3 inches apart on tray.
Perlsukker on top if desired.

Into Oven at 190 degrees c  
Bake for 12- 15 mins.  


Verdict on timing in the new Westinghouse... cook shortbread for longer on fanbake setting, or hotter!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Headhunters by Jo Nesbø

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Wow... it seems incredible, but each book I have read recently becomes my latest Favourite author/novel. This is a little ridculous, but true. Why is that? 
Well I can make this claim because I have read this book from Jo Nesbø.

Nesbo has departed from the Harry Hole series in this superbly written first person story.Those averse to novels written in the first person will find it hard going, but if you can cope with that, it is an excellent book and if you haven't read Nesbø before, I can assure you that you will again. 

Offering an insight to the world of economics and business recruitment. (no doubt Nesbø drew upon his former profession as a source for this book), this is not the usual murder mystery but a little bit of a love story, or at least besotted love, part art history/theft story and mostly  psychological thriller, as the reader is manipulated into different directions by the twists and turns of this story. 

The characters, particularly the protaganist Roger Brown, were utterly believable, and his background and mindset, so carefully woven in to the story. However the crowning glory of this book was the fact that you could never anticipate the ending, no matter what.  

Roger Brown, albeit a man of short stature, (which is the bane of his existence), is the epitome of business success with a perfect track record of recruitment, but has a dark secret that even his stunningly beautiful wife, ( who appears to be equally besotted with him) is unaware. Does she have secrets too? Why  is her heart so sad? Enter another man who intervenes in their lives in a most unexpected but equally manipulative way with deadly consequences.

The police are not present in this story, and this is in contrast to Nesbø's other Harry Hole's stories. You are Roger Brown and experience all that he experiences, even the black humour and dire situation he finds himself in when trying to elude his pursuer. This scene, which I won't detail as it will spoil it, is so completely original and hilarious at the same time and cemented my admiration for this writer. Who else could inject black humour in to the totally serious psychological thriller, but Nesbø?

Becoming a motion picture I hope will only add interest to Nesbø's work, and this work in particular. Released in Oslo 2011.

The good:  Enthralling, riveting, edge of your chair thriller, which CANNOT be put down, and this, always a hackneyed phrase, is more than accurate, in this instance. I had to finish this book in one session. Final plot twist, and all those before it as well.

The bad:   One particular scene, where the protaganist eludes his pursuer in the most unlikely of places.Hilarious, yet bad..

The ugly:  Description of a liasion gone wrong, with a female women who was not Roger's wife.

This really has to be read...... only wish I could write like this....what a talent....