Friday, July 12, 2019

Penny The Railway Pup (Family of Rescue Dogs Book 4)



Fish and Chips 

Ingredients

900 g potatoes
sunflower oil , for deep-frying
225 g white fish fillets , skin off, pin-boned, from sustainable sources
225 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
285 ml cold beer
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
MUSHY PEAS
a few sprigs of fresh mint
1 knob of unsalted butter
4 handfuls of podded peas
½ a lemonFACEBOOKTWITTEREMAILPINTEREST
TAP FOR INGREDIENTS
Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
Peel and slice the potatoes into chips.
To make the mushy peas, pick and finely chop the mint leaves. Place the butter in a pan over a medium-low heat, add the peas and mint, pop the lid on and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper – you can either mush the peas up in a food processor, or mash them by hand until stodgy, thick and perfect for dipping your fish into. Keep them warm until needed.
Pour the sunflower oil into a deep fat fryer or a large sturdy pan and heat it to 190°C/375°F.
Mix ½ a teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper together, then use it to season the fish fillets on both sides – this will help to remove any excess water, making the fish really meaty.
Whisk the flour, beer and baking powder together until nice and shiny – the texture should be like semi-whipped double cream (i.e. it should stick to whatever you're coating).
Dust each fish fillet in a little of the extra flour, then dip into the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Holding one end, gently lower the fish into the oil one by one, working carefully so you don't get splashed – it will depend on the size of your fryer or pan how many fish you can cook at once.
Cook for 4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the batter is golden and crisp, then remove to kitchen paper to drain.
Meanwhile, parboil the chips in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened but still retaining their shape, then drain and steam dry.
When the chips are nice and dry, fry in the oil that the fish were cooked in at 180°C/350°F until golden and crisp.
While the chips are frying, transfer the fish from the kitchen paper to a baking tray. Place in the oven for a few minutes to finish cooking – this way they will stay crisp while you finish off the chips.

When the chips are done, drain them on kitchen paper, season with salt, and serve with the fish and mushy peas. Other things to have on the table are some crunchy sweet pickled gherkins, some pickled onions (if your other half isn't around!) – and pickled chillies are good, too. Then you want to douse it all with some cheap malt vinegar and nothing other than Heinz tomato ketchup.


Penny The Railway Pup - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Until recently there was a gypsy encampment on the waste ground near the railway station.  There was a knock on my door and two little girls were standing there, maybe eight to ten years old, with the older of the two holding a puppy in her arms.  You could tell they were sisters just by looking at them.   They told me they'd been out playing and saw that the gypsies had gone so they went to take a look in the field near the station where they'd camped, in case they'd left anything behind.  From the scruffy state of their clothes, their white socks covered in mud and muck, and their dirty faces, I could tell they'd had a really good time exploring the old gypsy site.  They walked towards the railway station, and on the other side of the fence, they saw something moving a few yards along the tracks.  They soon realized it was a little dog.  They followed the fence and realized that the puppy had a rope round its neck and that the rope was caught up on the track.  They knew that if a train came along the poor little puppy would probably be hit and killed by the engine.  They climbed the fence and ran to the puppy.  It took a few minutes to free it from the track and the elder girl picked her up and reassured her."  This was the rescue of the little puppy that became Penny the Railway Pup.

"The whole meaning of the word 'pet' when applied to a dog, speaks to me of a member of the family, one who shares the home and the life of their owner, not a 'thing' to be kept outdoors in all weathers and left to suffer in a freezing kennel or worse during the rages of winter.  Even working dogs, kept as guard dogs for example, need warmth and comfort in the depths of winter, otherwise how can they be expected to fulfill their role of protecting their owner's property?" - Brian L. Porter

I have read all four of the Rescue Dog books and can't help but admire Author Brian L. Porter and his family.  The love, affection and care that they provide for those that probably wouldn't make it otherwise shows me how much we forget about what we call 'our animals.'  He is totally correct in reminding us that they aren't just pets, they are members of our own family and should be treated as so.  If you're a dog lover, this is a must read book.  If you aren't a dog lover, read it anyway and maybe you'll become one.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Silent Voices - Fran Lewis, Author


Chocolate Mousse Cup Graveyards

Each cup of chocolate mousse is decorated with some chocolate sprinkles, one of the candy zombie hands and a cookies and cream tombstone.
Items you’ll need to make the chocolate mousse graveyards:
water
sugar
egg yolks
heavy whipping cream
chocolate jimmies (sprinkles)
If you buy the zombie hands they come with the chocolate sprinkles.
12-20 Cookies and Cream Tombstones
OREO Cookie Crumbs
white chocolate or white confectionery coating



Silent Voices - Review by Martha A. Cheves

All my life I had to struggle and work hard for everything that I ever needed. So, why not take advantage of a situation?  My grandmother, Gertie, was frail and much older, needing constant care at home. Her mind was sharp, but her legs were weak. She could no longer shop for herself  and going to the bank to deposit her disability checks had become a real chore. Each one of us had a different father, and not one of us had all of the conveniences that life should have given us. So, we joined forces to get what we deserved from our grandmother. My sisters and I had decided to take on the responsibility of her daily care. Of course, I felt, as they did, that we deserved something for our efforts. Moving into her huge house was not a problem, as she had six bedrooms, three baths, and enough closet space for everyone. The house was amazing, and the kitchen was state of the art. Taking some of what she had was not a problem until she began to realize that something was wrong.

The four granddaughters pool their ideas and resources to take over what their grandmother has worked her whole life to have.  BUT… the situation takes a turn when Gertie turns the tables on them.

Each of the stories within this book are voices beneath the tombstones.  How they got there and why.  These voices make you wonder just how many other voices are out there, never to be heard and never to be avenged for their demise.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man - Philip Nork, Author



Bang-Bang Man's Famous Vegetarian Chili
(After Candy realized what Matt could and could not eat,
this became his favorite dinner.)

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 (15.5-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes
3 c. vegetable broth
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Shredded cheddar, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Cilantro, for serving
1.      In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil then add onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Sauté until soft about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
2.      Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables. Add tomatoes, beans, broth, and seasonings. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3.      Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, 30 minutes.

4.      Serve with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.

The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"It was about twenty-five years ago, a month after I sold my business and turned to gambling full-tine.  There were some good times and bad times associated with those animals... who knew that my life would become so controlled by them?"

Dr. Darla started to write things down.  As she did she asked even more questions about my past.  "So, are you saying that you gained all this weight you carry after that statement?"  


She was referring to the size I had become.  I weighed about six hundred pounds and that is why I had this damn heart attack in the first place.  The stress of my life had taken over my better judgement and I had ballooned up to my current weight.  Now the psychologist I am seeing wants me to think more about my past and try to find out why.  I was told that if I didn't lose some weight and get a better frame of mind I could not have the weight loss surgery I so desperately needed.  That was the only reason I began to let on more of my past to her.

Matthew Davis has found himself in a bit of a situation.  He loved to eat and gamble on the horses.  That was about all he loved anymore and it cost him dearly.  He lost his wife as well as his children due to his problem.  Now he is faced with a situation that his doctor feels all stems from his past.

This book reminded me of a woman I knew in the 80's.  She too was overweight.  She didn't weigh 600 lbs. but she was heavy.  When she was with you one on one she was nice and easy to get along with, but let there be someone even in hearing distance and she would crawl your rump for reasons only she seemed to have.  I never understood why she was so mean.  As I thought about other people in my life, then and now, I find myself remembering more and more who were the same as this woman from my past.  Even now there is a man who is very friendly when we speak one on one either on the phone or even through emails but when we are together around others he too is down right mean to me.  Reading The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man brought these people to mind but it also helped me to understand just why they are the way they are.  This book has actually helped me in the way I look at those people and how I handle myself around them.

So, read The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man and I have a feeling you too will have people come to mind.  I just hope you read into it as I did and it will help you cope with them.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Walk on the Haunted Side - Rose Pressey, Author


Devil’s Moon Pies
Makes approximately 12

COOKIE DOUGH
6 oz. unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup Steen's cane syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, ground fine
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. whole milk

MARSHMALLOW
4 tsp. powdered gelatin
1/2 cup water, ice cold, plus 1/4 cup at room temperature
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. honey (clover or wildflower)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large grade-A egg whites

CHOCOLATE COATING
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate (61%–70% cacao)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or canola oil

PREPARATION
For the cookie dough:

Cream butter, brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix with a fork. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low speed; slowly stream in milk. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. Press dough flat, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Turn out chilled dough onto a flour-dusted surface, then roll it until it is ¼ inch thick. Stamp out cookies using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, and while the cookies are cooling, start your marshmallow.

For the marshmallow:

Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup ice-cold water, and set aside.
Combine ¼ cup room-temperature water, corn syrup, honey, and sugar in a small pot, insert candy thermometer, and simmer until mixture reaches 240 degrees. When the thermometer reaches 200 degrees—but not before—place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip on high.
Once the sugar mixture hits 240, remove it from heat, and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Then, while egg whites are whipping, slowly drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the inside of the bowl to avoid spattering the hot syrup. Continue whipping for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture stiffens. The pan will still feel warm to the touch but no longer hot.
Flip over half of the cooled cookies. Lightly coat a spoon with nonstick cooking spray, and spoon approximately a quarter cup of marshmallow onto each flipped cookie. Use the remaining cookies as tops; gently push down until you can see the marshmallow come just to the edge. While making the chocolate coating (see below), allow cookies to chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

For the chocolate coating:

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has melted, then remove bowl from heat and let it cool slightly. Once the chocolate is no longer hot, but warm, slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream. Allow chocolate to cool at room temperature for about 5 minutes before proceeding with assembly.

Assembly:

Submerge chilled cookies in the chocolate, using 2 forks to gently lift the sandwiches out of the bowl. Let stand until shell hardens.



A Walk on the Haunted Side - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The old house stood on a small hill surrounded by oak, pine, and magnolia trees and overgrowth.  The Italianate-style structure had red brick with black shutters.  Of course most of the shutters were falling off or missing.  As far as I knew, no one had lived there since the 1970's.  I'd heard a lot of rumors about the place, but so far I didn't know fact from fiction.  There was something mysterious about the house.  Poking around by myself had seemed like a good idea earlier in the day.  Now that it was closing in or darkness, I was having second thoughts.  Even if there was a ghost, I was used to dealing with them.  I inched up the staircase, reminding myself to breath.  It was as if I was disturbing a presence that was in the house.  Not only that, but it felt like there were eyes on me with every step I took.  I stopped in my tracks.  A female ghost stood in front of me.  She was so close that I could almost tough her.  I'd seen ghosts before, but this one was by far the creepiest that I'd ever seen.  She had blood dripping from her head, claws for hands, and her eyes glowed green as she stared right at me.

Ripley Van Raden has returned to her hometown of Devil's Moon.  By day she works as the town's librarian.  By night she gives ghost tours.  Yes, she can see the ghosts when they want her to, but most of the time she gets an image of a dark figure or feels the 'chill' when a ghost is in her presence.  She even has one that has befriended her.  Her name is Annie and she was one of the original librarians in Devil's Moon.  She has passed on now but has learned to communicate with Ripley using text messages.  Local police officer Brannon Landon also has the ability to see ghosts, when they want him to see them.  This has given Ripley something in common with the officer.  But they soon find out that they have a bit more in common when Ripley finds a body at the cemetery one night while giving one of her ghost tours.

This is the second book in the Ghost Hunter Cozy Mysteries.  I read the 1st book titled These Haunts are Made for Walking and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Author Rose Pressey provides you with mystery, suspense, murder, humor and ghosts all in one book making the stories appealing to all.  And yes, it did have a surprising ending.  I'm now looking forward to reading book #3 Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Death on Tyneside ( Agnes Lockwood Mysteries Book 2) - Eileen Thornton, Author



Cottage Pie (4 persons)

1 lb minced beef
1 large onion (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon plain flour 
Beef stock cube dissolved in half-pint hot water
Frozen mixed vegetables medley (small cut) Enough to suit the cook!
Red wine 
Cooking Oil 
Potatoes boiled and mashed.
Grated cheese
Salt & pepper.

Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a large saucepan.
Add minced beef, making sure it breaks up well.
When mince has browned slightly, add the finely chopped onion and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour and mix to soak up the juices.
Top up the beef stock with enough red wine to make 1 pint and add to pan. Stir well.
Then tip in the frozen vegetables
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for about an hour stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
While mince is cooking, boil the potatoes and mash them thoroughly.
When mince is cooked, allow to cool, then tip into ovenproof dish
Cover with mashed potatoes and top with the grated cheese.
Place in the centre of a hot oven and cook until piping hot throughout. (About 30 minutes) Cheese will have melted and turned a golden colour.

This is an age-old recipe, but the wine makes all the difference. 
Adding the frozen veg to the mince, means you don’t have to cook anything extra - it’s all in one dish.
Can made early and frozen if using a freezer-safe dish.



Death on Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"You want to be involved in solving this murder case.  Hasn't it sunk in yet how close you came to being murdered yourself, the last time you poked your nose into a murder inquiry?"

"Alan, I know I very nearly got myself killed a few months ago."  Agnes took his arm and they restarted their walk down the corridor.  "But I got through that.  Look at me.  I'm still here - alive and well, and ready to be involved in this case.  If the body had been found by someone else, then I might have stayed out of it.  Might,"  she repeated, wagging her finger at him.  "But it wasn't.  It was found by me.  And now I want to see it through."  She stopped walking and swung around in front of him.  "Alan, please, I need to see this through."


Agnes Lockwood has returned to Tyneside after spending a few weeks visiting her sons in Australia.  This is where she was from and the ties were pulling her back.  Or was it Chief Inspector Alan Johnson who was connected to those ties?  The two had gone to school together and Alan had always had a crush on her.  Now, after marriages and many years, they met again and Alan finds his feelings are still there and stronger than ever.  

In her first visit, she and Alan had eaten dinner and were walking back to her hotel when they found a body laying on the sidewalk.  The investigation into this murder almost got Agnes killed.  Now she's back and finds herself in the middle of yet another murder.

I've read everything Eileen Thornton has written and must say that she grabs me from the beginning and all the way through to the end.  She fills her writings with twists and turns that keep you guessing and flipping the pages to see what happens next.  I love her work and can't wait for Book 3 of the Agnes Lockwood Mysteries.

Friday, April 12, 2019

My Life For Her - Robert J. Saniscalchi, Author


Colombian Avocado Salsa

1/3 cup Chili (aja dulce, fresh, seeded and chopped)
1 ½ tsp. Habaneros (fresh, finely chopped)
6 Tbsp. White vinegar (distilled)
2 hard-boiled eggs (large, coarsely chopped)
1 ½ cups Avacados (firm, ripe, coarsely mashed)
1 cup Tomatoes (ripe, chopped)
1 cup White Onion (sweet, chopped)
¾ cup Cilantro (fresh, chopped)

Purée chiles, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender. 
Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.

Chill until ready to use.

My Life for Her - Review by Martha A. Cheves

With so many commuters bustling about, it was difficult to catch sight of the supposed drug dealer, but Tex spotted him as he slipped onto the train at the last minute.  As Rob followed him to the seats closest to the front door, Tex lowered his voice to a whisper and said, "That dude's either a crooked cop or a member of the cartel.  Worse, I think he's onto us.  We've gotta get rid of him, before our cover's blown."

Rob looked toward the rear of the car.  "Yeah, the dude gives me a bad feeling too."

Tex was silent as the attendant came around to check their tickets, but then he whispered, "Listen, Doc, if he comes into this car, we'll get up and head to the one in front.  You go through the door first, and I'll wait for him behind it."

"Then what?" Rob asked.

"Then... Well, I think I can handle it from there," Tex said with a grin.

Rob Marrino, is a 31 year old Vietnam Vet who is now a Pikeville, NJ policeman.  Life has had its up and downs as he and his wife Beth Anne deal with wartime memories and paranoia.  They have settled down quite well with Beth Anne working at the hospital while their two children are in school.  Then the bottom falls out when Rob does a high speed chase with a car that not only contains 2 Colombian drug runners but more drugs than the Pikeville police have ever seen.  It gets even worse when one of the  dealers is shot and killed with the surviving one promising Rob that he will pay for his interference.  Those words come back to haunt him when his worse nightmare comes true and he, along with a fellow Vet, end up in Columbia.

This book is so intent!  It's filled with action and narrow escapes.  I would like to see this one made into a "Made for TV Movie."

Monday, March 18, 2019

These Haunts are Made for Walking - Rose Presley, Author



Potato Soup

3 lbs. new red potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
2 qts. water
4-6 strips of uncooked, lean bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
Salt & Pepper to taste

Remove as much fat from the bacon as possible and cut into small pieces.  Place potatoes, water and bacon in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mash the potatoes leaving a few small chunks here and there.  Mix milk and 1 Tbsp. flour until smooth and pour into potato mix.  Bring to a boil to thicken.  Add another 1/2 Tbsp. of flour if needed.  Stir in cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. 

Comment:  The whole secret to this dish is boiling the bacon with the potatoes.  It cooks the flavor throughout the potatoes giving the dish a delicious smoky taste.

These Haunts Are Made For Walking - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The next morning was my first day as head librarian in Devil's Moon.  I'd been back in town for a couple weeks before I'd had to start work at the library.  That had given me time to start the haunted tour.  As soon as I'd moved back to town I'd decided to fulfill a lifelong dream - start a haunted tour.  This town was crawling with ghosts.  Well, not literally crawling, but you know what I mean.  So by day I was the mind-mannered librarian and by night I was the queen of spooky.  At least that was what Tammy told everyone.  I was ok with that description.

Ripley Van Raden has moved back to her hometown after a breakup with her ex-husband-to-be.  She has always loved the feel she got when surrounded by books, so what better job than being head of the library.  She would also be working with her best friend Tammy and a woman named Leslie.  Tammy would be enjoyable but after meeting Leslie Ripley knew things just weren't going to be that great.  She isn't sure but thinks it may be because Leslie possibly wanted the job as head librarian herself.

All goes well until the evening of her first day on the job.  The "Bookworms" book club came for their monthly meeting to discuss the book they are reading.  The outcome of the meeting put a true damper the day that started out so smoothly.

Oh yeah, there is also a 'library' ghost that not only can Ripley see but one who also sends her text messages.  This combined with the ghost tour ghosts, give Ripley a very interesting life.

This is a fun book to read full spirits, murder and a touch of humor.  Now I'm ready for Book 2 - A Walk on the Haunted Side.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Haunted Heist (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries) - Angie Fox, Author



Sugarland Peach Cocktail Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 ripe peach
Pinch of salt

You only need one peach for this syrup so pick a good one. It should give a little to pressure, but not be soggy at all. Rinse it off slice it into big wedges.  Add the wedges to a medium pot with the water and sugar. Put this over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. No need to bring it to a boil or anything. By the time it’s hot, the sugar should be dissolved.  Once the mixture is hot, you should be able to just pick out the peach skins which you definitely don’t want in the syrup. They should come right off!  The key to making this syrup really nice is to pulse it well in a blender. This emulsifies the peaches and makes a really smooth syrup.  Be sure to let the syrup cool off a bit before blending it!  Once the mixture is blended and cool, you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. It might separate a bit in the fridge, but just give it a shake before pouring it and it’ll be great. 

Drink Options
You can use this easy peach cocktail syrup in SO many drinks.
For starters:
2-3 oz. bourbon + 1 oz. peach syrup + dash of orange bitters + club soda
2-3 oz. gin + 1 oz. peach syrup + tonic
2 oz. tequila + 1 oz. peach syrup + 1/2 lime + 2 oz. lemonade + salted rim
2 oz. peach syrup + 8 oz. club soda or sparkling water

You get the idea. It’s incredibly versatile!

The Haunted Heist - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Frankie had the power to show me the supernatural world.  With his help, I'd been able to see and interact with some of the ghosts here in town.  We'd saved my house; we'd solved a murder.  Two of them, actually.  We'd made some positive changes in Sugarland, not that he cared about helping anyone but himself.  And I had been trying to free him.  It was just that nothing had worked yet.

So who is this Frankie that has the power to take Verity Long into the supernatural?  Why is she trying to free him and from what?  These are just some of the fun questions that you can find the answers to by reading the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Series.  I will tell you that Frankie lives in a trash can and Verity lives in a house she inherited from her grandmother.  But the fun part was learning how Frankie ended up in the trash can and why Verity is living in a house with no furnishings.

From the very first two books in this series - Southern Spirits and The Skeleton in the Closet, I found myself caught up in the suspense of a murder with a touch of humor.  I've laughed at the very odd pet that lives with Verity and how Frankie tends to get her into trouble in a world that most would never dream of visiting.  I feel for her as she struggles to make ends meet after her almost mother-in-law took everything away from her.  I feel joy for her as her feelings for Ellis grow.  And I hold my breath as she risks her own life to bring justice to those who need it.  This is a series that I hope will never end and I'm really looking forward to reading Book 4 in the series - Deader Homes & Gardens.

 
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