Month: October 2015

Redefining Success

A good week. Blustery. Overcast with shouts of sun. I translated like a machine, albeit perhaps taking a little more joy from the process – for I love translating, truly do, stitching together words, assembling and rearranging sentences as if sewing together a patchwork quilt. Seeing where each one fits – like a cryptic crossword or a particularly thorny game of chess. I wonder if, years from now, reading back on my recollections from these months and the repeating ribbon of weeks – tube, translate, tube, a pocket of hours for dinner, sleep before it all begins anew the next morning – I will still recall the faces of those who populate my working days, still remember the cadence of their voices and the familiar rhythm of my editor’s footsteps, bounding into the office with enthusiasm to rival a puppy. I wonder if I’ll remember how much I loved my daily walk through Regent’s Park, how I worried sometimes, or sneaked out early when the work was finished, slinking down the stairs and straight out …

Ex Libris | Teeny Tiny Book Reviews

Ex Libris – teeny tiny book reviews from this paid-up, card-carrying bookworm. A HOMEMADE LIFE, Molly Wizenberg Where to find the best macarons in Paris, how to cook eggs like the best chefs in America, nostalgic recipes for Tuscan bean soup and fresh ginger cake – and Wizenberg’s charming, chatty tone first developed on her blog Orangette – make this memoir-cookbook mélange a joy to read. I gobbled the volume up in the space of a working week, mentally planning that night’s dinner as I sat with it in my lap on the tube – the evening’s menu usually inspired by Wizenberg’s homely comfort food. That same white bean stew and chewy chocolate-chip cookies have already graced our kitchen table and did not disappoint. Next up: Wizenberg’s take on chana masala and a mouth-watering recipe for French yoghurt cake with a lemon glaze. LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN, Colum McCann Teachers from the local high school in Newtown, Connecticut, the US town devastated by a school shooting in 2012, found McCann’s book so arresting that they chose it …

Been There | The Pacific Northwest

It’s a gloomy autumn day in London and I’m remembering the two previous summers in Seattle – car dancing down I-5, paddle-boarding in burning sun, snow in the Cascades (in June, no less) and the cool clean breeze waltzing over Lake Washington. It still baffles and entirely delights me that a chance encounter on Flickr as teens has granted me and my sister, and our family, so much joy – friends for life,  the world’s best brownie recipe, summers dipping into Lake Washington and more laughter than we ever could have hoped for. The full story.

autumn, leaves,

Poem For The Weekend #40

Bending above the spicy woods which blaze, Arch skies so blue they flash, and hold the sun Immeasurably far; the waters run Too slow, so freighted are the river-ways With gold of elms and birches from the maze Of forests. Chestnuts, clicking one by one, Escape from satin burs; her fringes done, The gentian spreads them out in sunny days, And, like late revelers at dawn, the chance Of one sweet, mad, last hour, all things assail, And conquering, flush and spin; while, to enhance The spell, by sunset door, wrapped in a veil Of red and purple mists, the summer, pale, Steals back alone for one more song and dance. Helen Hunt Jackson

Let’s-Pretend-It’s-Still-Summer Quiche

It’s still summer here, at least where our palates are concerned. (Aside: it’s definitely autumn, the sky is already blue as the midnight sea as I hurry home from work and the temperature’s dropped to single figures.) We baked this quiche together last week after I carted the shortcrust along two tube lines and down the road in the rain. It’s a pie full of cream and greens and cheese, perfectly summery and hardly as heavy as it sounds. If you’re counting your calories, feel free to substitute the cream for something a little less decadent or omit it altogether. (Though between you mean, pastry plus cream is the best over-the-counter equation for curing the first hint of winter blues – particularly in the form of a summery quiche.) We ate our slices warm, on plates balanced on our knees in front of the Great British Bake-Off Final and it did not disappoint (both the quiche and the bake-off’s last hurrah.) The only thing better than watching people making pastry is eating it yourself, right? To quiches …