Thursday, 11 September 2008

Creepers & berries, fish pie and recent reading

Recent Reading
The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell. Well worth reading if you are interested in Colonial India. Vivid believable descriptions of the characters and situations, all told from a masculine British point of view. The Victorian ladies were mostly depicted as pretty silly and the sepoys were just the sepoys. Have to confess I skipped some of the philosophy - perhaps I was exhausted empathising with the besieged.

The Point of Rescue by Sophie Hannah. Excellent characterisation and scene setting in this pyschological crime novel. The lives of the yuppie mummies and their difficulties with child care were both convincing and, in cases, chilling. I haven’t read her earlier books so couldn’t quite latch on to the characters of the main policeman and woman. The complex plot was well handled and such a long book would see one nicely through a long plane journey. I didn’t much like any of the protagonists but the plot carried me along. Have looked briefly at Sophie’s impressive biography (click on her name above) and see that she is an extremely talented young woman.

If you haven't time to read the Booker shortlist, check out these mini-lite summaries.
I cooked a version of Delia's luxury fish pie last weekend, except that I fried fresh breadcrumbs in butter and oil as a topping and didn't include expensive scallops as I thought they'd be overcooked and unappreciated in a pie. Instead I substituted white fish, smoked haddock, plus sliced raw mushrooms. I also used a well diluted fish stock cube rather than ready-made stock and omitted the cheese, plus I added some parsley to the sauce. Otherwise just the same, really, and quite a success with the family. I cooked the two kinds of fish and the sauce in advance, adding the raw king prawns, finely sliced raw mushrooms and topping just before I heated it up. It's not often I have a domestic goddess moment these days so I thought I'd better post about it.


monix said...

Your creeper looks gorgeous. I have just returned from a short break expecting to see mine luxurious and brilliantly coloured but in fact it has been battered by the wind and it is a very sad sight. It seems that we are not going to have the consolation of a lovely autumn after the dismal summer.

The fish pie sounds comforting.

Nan said...

Have you ever read the M.M. Kaye three part autobiography? In it, you will get the woman's view, and it is a loving, warm, beautifully described view of life then. She had a gift of remembering which she talks about, so that she really brings alive all the facets of life. I've never read anything quite like it. She's a wonderful writer.

And a book that sounds like Hannah's territory but uplifting with nice characters is My Life on a Plate by India Knight. I read it a few years ago, and really liked it. She has a blog which I need to add to my 'bookish' blog list:

I feel badly that I haven't read any of your books. They are in my 'save' basket at book depository. Every once in a while I send off an order to them and when I do, I'll be the proud owner of a SV book!

Susie Vereker said...

Thanks for your kind comments. The fish pie was of the light variety -maybe because I left out the potato and just had a kind of crumble topping.

Thanks for your interesting suggestion re MM Kaye, Nan. I've read The Far Pavilions, but not her autobiog. Will add it to my list.

India Knight is good fun. I even followed her diet at one stage! But she's more of a comedy writer whereas Sophie Hannah does serious pyschological crime novels. Shall check out India's blog.

Karen said...

Good reading and good food: an excellent combination!

sablonneuse said...

The fish pie sounds delicious. My son is the expert on fish pie chez-nous. His topping is a mixture of breadcrumbs with herbs and garlic and the fish is cooked in white wine.

Susie Vereker said...

Sandy, I did use white wine in the sauce, but didn't think of garlic. Shall consider adding that next time, though was pleased by the flavour this time. Also the tiger prawns looked good.