Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sweet Tea Revenge: A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs

Sweet Tea Revenge
A Tea Shop Mystery
by Laura Childs

Hardcover, 336 pages

Sweet Tea Revenge is the 14th book in Laura Childs' best-selling Tea Shop Mystery series. This cozy series is based in the polite society of Charleston, a slow and easy drawl of a community with a rich history.

Theodosia Browning owns the Indigo Tea Shop where she dispenses just the right brew to suit each customer, along with the perfect nibbles to complement the tea and the occasion. An idyllic refuge from her past busy business life, the tea shop is her pride and joy.

But Theo has a Nancy Drew-like ability to find herself amidst mystery and develop her own hunches along the way.

In Sweet Tea Revenge, Theodosia is dressed to act as bridesmaid for her good friend Delaine Dish. But before the nuptials are completed, Delaine's intended is found dead. Theo must now comfort her distraught friend while trying to figure out who all had motive, and opportunity, to kill the groom. 

This is a fun series of easy reading mysteries with a delicious tea shop theme. There are even tea tips, recipes and links to all things tea.

Pour yourself a cuppa and curl up on your favourite rocker on the porch and enjoy some Sweet Tea Revenge!  

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Cackleberry Club Mysteries, and the Scrapbooking Mysteries. She is a consummate tea drinker, scrapbooker, and dog lover, and travels frequently to China and Japan with Dr. Bob, her professor husband. In her past life she was a Clio Award–winning advertising writer and CEO of her own marketing firm.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Angelopolis: A Novel by Danielle Trussoni

A Novel
by Danielle Trussoni

Trade Paperback, 320 pages

Already picked up for the movies, Danielle Trussoni's best-selling world of angels and hunters rivals Dan Brown in complexity, history, science, geography, and biblical and mythological lore. 

Angelopolis is the second in her Angelology series and builds upon the fantastic world she has created and the creatures who live in it. Inspired by a passage in Genesis, she explores the myth of the angels who fell in love with the humans and bred a race of angel/human hybrids which the flood was to wash away. In the Angelology series, some survived and these hybrids are a dangerous and terrible set of castes who are a real threat to humankind. 

An intelligent and thrilling fantasy series that is a nice departure from vampires and werewolves and zombies and all the other threatening non-humans that we have become so familiar with in recent works. 

USA Today calls it The Da Vinci Code meets Raiders of the Lost Arc - but I would throw The Matrix and the works of Justin Cronin in the mix too.

Hunt or be hunted, prepare to join the realm of the angels! 

Book One in the Series.
Book Two in the Series

DANIELLE TRUSSONI divides her time between the United States and Bulgaria. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Telegraph Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine. Her first book, Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir, was chosen by The New York Times as one of the top ten books of 2006. Visit her at or

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

French Lessons: Recipes and techniques for a new generation of cooks

French Lessons
Recipes and techniques 

for a new generation of cooks
by Justin North

Hardcover, 374 pages

While some cookbooks are all about getting a quick, balanced meal on the table in a hurry - French Lessons slows you down and brings you back to the art of cooking from those who held it in the highest esteem - the French.

'French cooking forms the basis of most modern cuisines. Understanding the techniques will enable you to make all the French classics and inspire you to create simple and flavoursome modern dishes with flair and confidence.'

After the introduction and a list of the essentials (batterie de cuisine & conversion tables), the Lessons are a complete course in classic French cooking. Think of yourself as Julia, without having to live in France or even leave your kitchen, to become fluent in the art of French cooking.

The Lessons
Flavourings * Stocks * Soups * Savoury sauces * Salads * Eggs * Preserving * Confits * Steaming, poaching and sous-vide * Fricassées and ragouts * Braising and slow cooking * Grilling and frying * Roasting * Vegetables * Sweet sauces * Fruit * Sorbets, ices and ice creams * Gelatine * Meringues and soufflés * Chocolate * Pastry * Breads and yeast doughs * Cakes, biscuits and petits fours * The cheese course.

This is a gorgeous book and an adventure well worth taking. My goal is to learn French Lessons - how about you?

Justin North began his career in his native New Zealand before traveling to England where he worked with renowned chef Raymond Blanc. After three successful years honing his skills abroad, he returned to Australia where he cooked with Liam Tomlin at the much-missed Sydney restaurant Banc. In 2001, North opened his own restaurant, Bécasse, and it was met with instant critical and public acclaim. North is also the author of Bécasse.

Friday, 22 March 2013

The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement

The Stop
How the Fight for Good Food 
Transformed a Community 
and Inspired a Movement
by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis

Hardcover, 320 pages

 It began as a food bank. It turned into a movement.

Nobody really knows where life will take them. The best laid plans can go awry with illness, injury, divorce, death of a loved one, unemployment, or any other life-changing events. We all need a hand at one time or another and sometimes that includes food. But food banks are often the recipients of cast-off foods and seconds, unhealthy packed items and a generally dismal and often humiliating selection and process.

Nick Saul gradually turned a cramped and dreary last-refuge food bank into a movement in social and nutritional empowerment by getting the community involved. Over the years he has added gardens, kitchens, a greenhouse and farmers' markets with which people are encouraged to build skills, have fun, feel proud of their involvement and feed their families healthy foods.


The Stop strives to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community and challenges inequality.

The book is intimate and encouraging, at times heart-breaking but ultimately you will be cheering for The Stop. Not only that, but I bet you will be thinking of ways that you can get involved in your local community.

Chapters Include:
1. No One Wants a Handout
2. Gardens Won't Save the Planet, But They'll Make It a Whole Lot Nicer Place to Live
3. All Good Parties End Up in the Kitchen
4. Poverty is Ruthless
5. Change Happens Because People Fight for It
6. Build a Big Tent
7. Eat the Math
8. The Power of Food
9. The Revolution Must Be Funded
10. Food Is a Public Good

Photo credit: Karri North
NICK SAUL was executive director of The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto from 1998 to 2012 and is a recipient of the prestigious Jane Jacobs Prize and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. He is now president and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada, an organization that will bring the innovations of The Stop to communities across Canada.

ANDREA CURTIS is an award-winning writer and editor. Her family memoir, Into the Blue: Family Secrets and the Search for a Great Lakes Shipwreck, won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Curtis’s first children’s book is What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World.

SAUL and CURTIS live with their two boys in Toronto.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World

Sex and the Citadel
Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World
by Shereen El Feki

Hardcover, 368 pages

There is no life without sex and, as much as every generation thinks that they discovered sex, or at least made it fun, it has actually been going on for some time. It's one of the most important things we do. But sex is far more than just procreation, and just because people aren't talking about it - it doesn't mean they aren't doing it.

Shereen El Feki is an Egyptian-Canadian journalist with a background in medical science. In Sex and the Citadel she explores sexuality of all types in Arab-Egyptian culture - past and present. Of course sexuality reflects and is reflected by society and this is ever-shifting sand.

In Sex and the Citadel we go behind the veil and get an intelligent and intimate look into the changing mores of sexuality. From religious and governmental influences to married life, single and dating Arabs, homosexuality, porn, prostitution, FGM or "female circumcision", and everything in between.

Chapters Include
1. Shifting Positions
2. Desperate Housewives
3. Sex and the Single Arab
4. Facts of Life
5. Sex for Sale
6. Dare to be Different
7. Come to the Revolution

The book is very well researched and balances academic understanding with personal experience and even humour. Shereen spent much time in Egypt and her position as vice-chair of the UN's Global Commission on HIV and the Law gave her access to people and information that most journalists just don't have.

This book had me post-it noting section after section to read aloud to Charles when he got home. Incredible facts and information that I had no idea about. I was especially blown away at how customs and sexuality has changed over time for this part of the world and, of course, others as well.

A fascinating read.

Shereen El Feki

SHEREEN EL FEKI is a writer, broadcaster, and academic who started her professional life in medical science before going on to become an award-winning journalist for The Economist and a presenter at Al Jazeera English. She is former vice-chair of the U.N.’s Global Commission on HIV and Law, and a TED Global Fellow. She divides her time between London and Cairo.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Gâteau à la Crème

Good morning!

You can never have too much eggs and butter and this bread, or Gâteau à la Crème, is proof positive that more is better!

A delicious brioche bread crust holding a lemony custard - what could be better than that?

Bread Baking Babe Lien holds court as kitchen hostess this month and challenged us all to make this sweet breadie treat. Check out her post to see how you can participate!

My experience with the bread: I made the dough the night before in the food processor. I used a touch more flour as I was subbing AP for bread flour, then put the sticky dough into a bowl, let it stand on the counter for an hour (covered with plastic wrap) and then spend the night in the fridge. 
The next day I decided to hedge my bets and bake the breads in shallow tart pans (about 8 inches). 
For the creme fraiche, I used half yogurt and half cream cheese (room temp for easier blending). 
I glazed the rims with the leftover egg half from the dough and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. 
Most of the rise I got was in the oven, and I needed a little more time for the centres to set. These are breads that you have to keep an eye on, as every oven is different.

They are so totally delicious! My husband fell immediately in love with them. A slice of the gateau with a coffee makes the perfect breakfast. Yum! 

Gâteau à la crème
Serves 4-6 per small gateau
adapted from: Raymond Blanc "From Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets".
over 2 hours preparation time, 10 to 30 mins cooking time
(overnight retarding of the dough is optional)

For the brioche dough
250 g. untreated strong plain flour
3.5 g sea salt
2 TBsp caster sugar
1 TBsp fresh yeast or 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3.5 free-range eggs, preferable organic (the other half egg will be used for the glaze)
150 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (cool room temperature)

For the crème filling (for two small gateaux, if you want to make 1 small gateau and 1 plain loaf, half it)
6 free-range egg yolks, preferably organic
60 g caster sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
250 ml crème fraîche

For the glaze
1/2 egg, preferably organic
1/2 TBsp caster sugar
10 g (¾ oz) butter, cut into cubes (optional)
1/2 - 1 TBsp nibbed sugar, to decorate

Preparation method

1. For the brioche dough, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (keeping the yeast away from the salt as it will attack it and damage its ability to ferment), in an electric mixer bowl. Add the eggs and mix with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes on low power until the eggs are completely incorporated (alternatively, place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together for 5 minutes).

2. Increase the speed of the machine or your stirring and mix for another 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the edge of the bowl. Then add the cubes of butter and continue to mix for 2-3 minutes until completely incorporated.

3. Remove the bowl from the machine, if using, then cover with clingfilm and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to prove, then chill the dough for a further hour (it will be easier to work with).

4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/360ºF.

5. Lightly flour a work surface and your hands. Take half of the brioche dough and bring it together with the palms of your hands to form a ball, then place it on a baking tray and flatten it slightly. Starting from the middle of the dough, gently press the dough flat and spread it out to form a circle to approx 24 cm ( 9,5 in) in diameter, but leave a 2 cm (1 in) gap from the edge as this will create the rim of the tart. Be careful not to stretch the dough and try to keep the base even in thickness. Use the second half of the dough for another gateau or make a small loaf from it.

6. Cover with lightly greased plastic and a clean tea towel and place the dough in the warm area for 25 minutes.

7. For the crème filling, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice together in a large mixing bowl and gradually mix in the crème fraîche. Set aside.

8. For the glaze, brush the rim of the gateau with the egg yolk and sprinkle with the nibbed sugar and prick the base of the dough evenly with a fork to help the even cooking and rising of the dough. Pour 1/4 the crème mixture inside the rim of the dough of one gateau, sprinkle with the caster sugar and dot with the butter. Pour in the other 1/4 when the baking sheet is already in the oven, so you won't spill. (make the second one the same way)  and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the brioche has risen and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, then serve.

NB: For this recipe you will need a food processor with a dough hook attachment.

 The Bread Baking Babes

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Meet Harley Pasternak in Toronto

Renowned Fitness and Nutrition Expert Harley Pasternak will be in store at Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens on March 19th to chat with fans to launch his new book, The Body Reset Diet.

In The Body Reset Diet, Harley offers a program to help shed pounds without sacrificing health or convenience. The Harley Diet is a 3-phase program that focuses on the easiest, most effective way to slim down.  Whether readers are looking to lose significant weight or just those last 5 pounds, The Harley Diet offers a healthy, effective program to hit the reset button, slim down, and get healthy in just 15 days.

What:              Nutritional Q&A and a book signing with Harley Pasternak.

When:             Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
1:00 pm

Where:             Loblaws® store at Maple Leaf Gardens*
60 Carlton Street, Toronto
In the Canteen

About Harley Pasternak  
A renowned fitness and nutrition expert and best-selling author of titles like The Body Reset Diet,  Harley Pasternak’s Hollywood Workout and The 5-Factor Diet, Harley Pasternak is responsible for getting many of Hollywood’s most recognized celebrities into the best shape of their lives, from Lady Gaga to Halle Berry, Robert Pattinson to Robert Downey Jr., and many more! In 2012, Harley hosted The Revolution on ABC.
With a Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto, and an Honors Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario, Harley’s books have been published in international markets in twelve languages worldwide.

About the Loblaws® store at Maple Leaf Gardens*
Loblaws® store at Maple Leaf Gardens* brings an innovative and vibrant urban food shopping experience, to a landmark building with a façade restored to its original glory and a revitalized interior respecting the spirit of its hallowed halls.  Among the stores’ diverse offerings are an east meets west sushi bar, a pizza oven that serves made to order pizza, a complete ACE Bakery®, an open elevated kitchen with 14 in-house chefs, a patisserie featuring a stunning collection of treats and sweets, and a Tea Emporium® offering a supreme selection of the finest teas.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Andalucian Friend

The Andalucian Friend
by Alexander Söderberg

Hardcover, 464 pages

Are you ready for some high-octane adventure?

The Andalucian Friend is a complex high-speed chase of a book where the lines between bad guys and good guys is a blur.

Think dark Nordic crime fiction meets Quentin Tarantino.

A beautiful nurse, Sophie Brinkmann, is entranced by a mysterious patient. Hector Guzman sees something in her that she doesn't see in herself and wants to know her better.

At the same time, a shadowy section of the police department are watching Guzman and trying to build a case around him. The nurse starts looking like a way in.

Sophie Brinkmann is a widow with a teenage son who finds herself an unwitting pawn in a dangerous game.

Add in international drug smuggling, arms trading, Russians, Germans, Spanish and Swedish gangsters, cops and hired guns, and you have a heart-racing blockbuster of a novel.

Photo credit: Malin Lauterbach
ALEXANDER SÖDERBERG has worked as a screenwriter for Swedish television. His work includes the TV adaptations of Camilla Läckberg's and Åke Edwardsson's novels. He lives in the countryside in the south of Sweden with his wife and children. THE ANDALUCIAN FRIEND is his first novel.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Cooking Well: Healthy Chinese

Cooking Well: Healthy Chinese
Over 125 Easy & Delicious Recipes

by David Wang, Wang Renxiang, and Jo Brielyn

Trade Paperback, 240 pages

Chinese Food! Probably our favourite take-out treat, and Cooking Well: Healthy Chinese shows us how to make it at home simply and healthily!

Cooking Well: Healthy Chinese contains over 125 traditional and popularized recipes including Spicy Szechuan-Style Noodles, Pork and Shrimp Wontons, Chicken with Enoki Mushroom Soup, Stir-Fried Chicken with Sweet Flour Sauce, Sweet and Sour Chicken with Vegetables, Chicken with Goji Berries and Chinese Yam, Red Bean Cake, and many more!

Learn the Yin and Yang of Chinese cuisine and how certain foods can benefit your specific health concerns.

The recipes are uncomplicated and straightforward, with helpful tips and notes on ingredients and preparations.

Cooking Well: Healthy Chinese also includes:
• An overview of authentic Chinese ingredients—like tofu, winter melon, and bamboo shoots—and their nutritional benefits
• Healthy alternatives to traditional Chinese ingredients, as well as low-oil preparations and healthy stir-fries to suit any diet
• Step-by-step instructions and helpful tips on Chinese cooking techniques and ingredients for beginner chefs and those new to Chinese cooking
• A guide to authentic Chinese ingredients and where to find them

Contents Include:
Chapter 1:  
The History of Chinese Cuisine
Chapter 2: 
 The Staples of Chinese Cuisine and Their Health Benefits
Chapter 3
Cooking and Dining Tips
Chapter 4:  
The Recipes
Staple Foods (Rice & Noodles
Side Dishes
Meat & Poultry Entrées
Seafood Entrées
Tofu Entrées
Medicinal Foods

Who needs take-out? Now you can make your own healthy Chinese at home!

About the Authors

Wang Renxiang is an eminent archaeologist in China. One of his major research areas has been on the dietetic culture from the perspective of archaeology. He has published many books in Chinese on the subjects of gourmet food, cooking, and culture.

David W. Wang is a senior consultant of international business and crosscultural
communications based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of the recent worldwide best-selling book, Decoding the Dragon's Mindset.

Jo Brielyn is the co-author of Combat Fat for Kids: The Complete Plan for Family Fitness, Nutrition, and Health. She is also a contributing writer for Hatherleigh Press and has currently completed 14 other nonfiction books about health and wellness.

Monday, 4 March 2013

How the government got you to eat more cheese

How the government got you to eat more cheese - from Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

Friday, 1 March 2013

The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen

The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen
by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Hardcover, 240 pages

There's no doubt about it, Southern cuisine has seen a renaissance of popularity for their signature fresh ingredients and timeless classics that set them apart from the rest of the US, and the rest of the world. There is much pride in history in Southern cooking, but the flavours are fresh and hip in this love story of Charleston, South Carolina.

Matt Lee and Tedd Lee give you a guided tour for the senses in The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, providing rich history and beautiful photos depicting the best that Charleston has to offer. Along with 100 delicious recipes there are 75 full-colour photos and the sense of being invited to discover this lovely and unique corner of the world.

You'll find everything from drinks to desserts and a story to go with each! So let's get our Southern on, accents are optional but you know I'm going to sport one. ☺

MATT LEE and TED LEE, founders of The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order source for Southern pantry staples, grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. They are the authors of The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, which won the James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year in 2007, and The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, which won the IACP award for Best American Cookbook in 2011. They are contributing editors for Travel + Leisure and contributors on Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats.