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MissWatson cooks her ROOTs, the second course

This is a continuation of the topic MissWatson cooks her ROOTs.


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Edited: Apr 23, 4:01am Top

Hello, I'm Birgit and glad to be back. Last year I read many more ROOTs than planned, so this year I'm aiming for 75.

I have also taken a critical look at my cookbook shelves and decided that they need decluttering. Every month I'm going to take down at least one book and cook from it. If it yields less than 5 repeatable recipes, out it goes.

Other than that, there will be a few re-reads and a serious attempt to reduce the enormous TBR. Everything I owned before January 1st, 2018 qualifies as a ROOT.

Edited: Apr 23, 4:01am Top

Edited: Yesterday, 3:38am Top

Here's the list of books read in 2018.

1. Endstation für neun by Maj Sjöwall / Per Wahlöö
2. The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
3. By gaslight by Steven Price
4. Zofloya, or the Moor by Charlotte Dacre
5. Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
6. The Yellow Mask by Wilkie Collins
7. The Biter Bit and other stories by Wilkie Collins
8. Pay dirt by Rita Mae Brown
9. Murder, she meowed by Rita Mae Brown
10. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
11. Der Altmann ist tot by Frl. Krise & Frau Freitag
12. Paradies in schwerer Zeit by Thomas Blubacher
13. ...alle Bitternis der Welt by Vsevolod Garšin
14. Women & power by Mary Beard
15. Maigret s'amuse by Georges Simenon
16. Die Jugend des Königs Henri IV by Heinrich Mann
17. Das Marsprojekt : Das ferne Leuchten by Andreas Eschbach
18. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
19. A rising man by Abir Mukherjee
20. A closed and common orbit by Becky Chambers
21. L'homme truqué by Maurice Renard
22. The enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
23. Pietr le Letton by Georges Simenon
24. Chez les Flamands by Georges Simenon
25. Maigret en Auvergne by Georges Simenon
26. Washington Square by Henry James
27. The Europeans by Henry James
28. Chinaman's chance by Ross Thomas
29. Out on the rim by Ross Thomas
30. Tagebuch einer Verlorenen by Margarete Böhme
31. Hazard by Nataly von Eschstruth
32. Glennkill by Leonie Swann
33. Die Ballade vom Fetzer by Tilman Röhrig
34. L'énigme des Blancs-Manteaux by Jean-François Parot
35. Les mariages de Paris by Edmond About
36. A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
37. Exiles of ColSec by Douglas Hill
38. The caves of Klydor by Douglas Hill
39. Rechnung über meine Dukaten by Thomas Meyer
40. Der Herr Präsident by Adolf Streckfuß
41. Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie
42. Das Fest zu Kenelworth by Ludwig Tieck
43. Väter und Söhne by Ivan Turgenev
44. The Colosseum by Keith Hopkins and Mary Beard
45. Dichterleben by Ludwig Tieck

Edited: Apr 25, 5:10am Top

The thread was getting a little long, so I have decided to set up a new one.

Apr 23, 4:06am Top


Apr 23, 4:08am Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 23, 4:15am Top

Thanks, Jackie! LT appears to be a little sluggish today, so I'll need to check some of the touchstones later. But starting a new thread feels like spring, and I am so happy that spring is finally here!

Apr 23, 11:15am Top

Happy new thread, I look forward to seeing what's cooking next :)

Edited: Apr 23, 3:09pm Top

Hi Donna. I took down a book with asparagus recipes, Spargel & Rucola, and the first I tried was quite nice.

Apr 23, 6:55pm Top

>10 MissWatson: lovely seasonal vegetable - I must try to be more adventurous with it!

Apr 23, 7:50pm Top

Happy new thread, MissWatson

Apr 24, 1:33am Top

Happy new thread, Birgit!

Apr 24, 4:21am Top

Thanks, Donna, Robert and Connie!

>11 floremolla: My first recipe from the book was a chicken leg basted with a mixture of honey, balsamico, smoked red pepper and olive oil. Put into the oven together with small diced potatoes, season with salt and pepper and roast at 180°C for about 30 minutes. Add green asparagus blanched in boiling water for a few minutes, chopped cherry tomatoes and thyme, add a little stock if necessary and put in the oven again for another ten minutes. Next time around, I won't bother precooking the asparagus, in my experience 15 minutes in the oven is enough and the stalks come out still a little crunchy.

Apr 24, 5:28am Top

>14 MissWatson: thanks for sharing that recipe, Birgit, it sounds like something I would try. I agree with you about not needing to precook the asparagus. I sometimes bake a side of salmon in the oven for a buffet lunch, with just lemon juice and seasoning, and tuck the asparagus along the sides where it cooks beautifully while the dish is covered with foil. With lemon slices arranged along the salmon, it looks impressive for little effort. I'm all for easy recipes and minimum washing up!

Apr 24, 6:51am Top

>15 floremolla: Yay for minimum washing up!

Apr 25, 3:06am Top

Agree very much with minimum washing up. Both recipes sound very tasty.

Apr 27, 3:12am Top

After so many short mysteries I am now reading a real doorstopper Die Reise in den Westen with 1,300 pages. It is actually quite entertaining and the pages are flying by, but I won't finish this month.

Tuesday is a holiday and I'm taking Monday off to spend a long weekend with my sister. See you all next week. I hope you'll have lots of sunshine and outdoor activities!

Apr 29, 10:29am Top

Hi Birgit and happy new thread.

Wow, what an ambitious read at 1,300 pages. Enjoy your time with your sister.

Edited: Apr 30, 6:26am Top

Hope you're having a nice long weekend with your sister, Birgit!

An ambitious read indeed, look forward to hearing about it.

May 2, 4:17am Top

Hi Karen and Donna!

The weather was much better than the prognosis and we had a lovely time admiring flowers at a gardening exhibition. We didn't buy any, though. No reading, but on the train I started re-reading Bretonische Verhältnisse because I had no memory of it. After all those Maigret books I can now see where Bannalec got his inspiration for Dupin.
My chunkster is on hold for now. It is a Chinese classic (the journey into the west), but it is very episodic, and becomes repetitive if you read too many chapters in one go. "The group gets into trouble, the monkey king changes into something else and rescues them" pretty much sums up the plot, so far.

May 2, 5:36am Top

>21 MissWatson: It worked very well as a weekly TV series :-)

May 2, 6:11am Top

>22 Robertgreaves: I haven't gotten round to it yet, but I can well imagine it. I love the recurring phrase leading to the next chapter.

May 7, 4:58am Top

May is turning out to be a rather odd month. With all those public holidays to make up for, work is getting a bit busy.
The weather is sunny again, so I spent most of Sunday browsing the open air fleamarket, which is always fun. But I didn't buy a single book, which is very unusual.

May 11, 2:35am Top

>24 MissWatson: Not buying any books! Good for you.

Weather is good here too. I love it.

May 11, 7:11am Top

Hi Connie! We had heavy thunderstorms yesterday with enormous rainfall, including hail. Did you catch any of that? On the very same day my new oleander plant opened its first blooms. I'm so glad they survived. And we're back to clear skies, so I'm looking forward to a lazy weekend with a ROOT.

May 13, 4:01am Top

>26 MissWatson: No, we didn't! And I'm so glad about that. They predict some thunderstorms for this afternoon though.

May 13, 9:50am Top

Hi Connie! It feels like summer has come early, we're having so much sun. A perfect excuse for doing nothing but read, and I actually finished my first ROOT of May.

ROOT number 28 is Chinaman's chance by Ross Thomas

This is actually a re-read after almost thirty years, and I'm glad to find I enjoyed it as much as I did back then. The world has moved on a lot since then, but the murky waters in which Wu and Durant play their trade haven't cleared. Some time soon I should revisit Eric Ambler.

May 13, 4:04pm Top

>26 MissWatson: I hope the oleander survives! They're one of my favourite flowers, and always remind me of lovely Mediterranean holidays.

May 14, 9:11am Top

>29 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie, and thanks, so far it is still looking healthy. I bought it as white, but the flowers are more a vanilla-like pale creamy yellow, very lovely. All these sunny days have helped, I'm sure.

May 14, 9:12am Top

ROOT number 29 is Out on the rim by Ross Thomas

More shenanigans from Artie Wu und Quincy Durant, this time in the Philippines.

May 14, 9:15am Top


With all this summery heat my mind turns towards outdoor eating and I picked up Brotzeit, a small volume about classic Bavarian beergarden fare. The first recipe, a spread for bread with tinned sardines, was very good.

May 14, 11:36am Top

>32 MissWatson: Every part of that sounds nice! -- warm weather, an inspirational cookbook and a tasty snack.

May 14, 3:37pm Top

>33 detailmuse: Oh yes, it is nice, and the weather is set to continue for a few days. Too bad I have to go to work...

May 22, 5:53am Top

May is wreaking havoc with my ROOTing, so many holidays...Monday was a holiday, too, my best friend came to stay, and we spent a lot of time outside in this gorgeous weather. And now half my mind is already on our upcoming vacation! But I have finally picked up my next ROOT, which should be a fast read: Hazard Late 19th century chick lit!

Edited: May 25, 5:01am Top

ROOT number 30 is Tagebuch einer Verlorenen by Margarete Böhme

By some strange coincidence, I picked a book for my lunchtime reading at work which is set in the same time period: Tagebuch einer Verlorenen which shows the dark side of high society, the demi-monde of kept women and prostitutes. I downloaded this last year, so it counts as a ROOT. It contains quite a lot of slang, surprisingly, which was sometimes hard to get. A mine of information about daily life of the times.


May 25, 5:00am Top

ROOT number 31 is Hazard by Nataly von Eschstruth.

And the piece of fluff is also finished. Written in the late 1880ies, and set at the court of an unnamed German principality (Mecklenburg springs to mind), it paints a very different picture of the society that often overlaps with Thymian's world, that of male nobility. Looking at them now, I find them puerile, if not downright obnoxious with their pranks and boorishness. Hooray for the revolution that swept them away!
Which reminds me that I mean to go and visit the exhibit about the Sailors Uprising at the Maritime Museum...

May 27, 9:26am Top

Hi Birgit!

Holidays, good weather, and best friends are excellent reasons for decreased ROOT production! I'm sure you'll make up for it soon.

May 28, 4:59am Top

Hi Karen! Yes, summer has arrived early this year, I'm getting a tan already from all those outdoor activities!

May 28, 5:01am Top

ROOT number 32 is Glennkill by Leonie Swann.

But I did manage another ROOT, saving up for June, so to speak. This is a mystery where a herd of sheep try to figure out who killed their shepherd, looking at things entirely from an ovine perspective. This part was fun, and she manages to maintain it throughout the book, but the mystery remained a little mysterious. And one more book off the shelves!

May 29, 5:04am Top

ROOT number 33 is Die Ballade vom Fetzer by Tilman Röhrig

I picked this up because it is one of the few books in my TBR that would fit the True Crime theme (for the MysteryCAT over in the Category Challenge), but also because reading Les rouges du Midi recently has revived my interest in the French Revolution. The Fetzer (Ripper) of the title was a notorious bandit in the French-occupied Rhinelands. The time shortly after the invasion of the French was one of extreme lawlessness, as the old regimes broke down, but the French were occupied elsewhere.
The author wrote this in 1975 and I was surprised to find it had been turned into a TV series three years later, featuring the prosecutor who brought the bandit to trial and execution, and on whose book the author had to rely for much of the facts. He tells the story strictly chronologically, one robbery follows the next, which makes for a rather episodic style, not helped by those short, awkward sentences. But it shows a fascinating life.

May 30, 8:33am Top

Hi Birgit! Summer's come early here, too - our next seven days forecast is the same - ~29C (85F), very humid, thunderstorms and possibly heavy rain in the afternoons. Good for the outdoor activities and tan.

>40 MissWatson: What an interesting premise.

May 30, 10:12am Top

Hi Karen! In our neck of the woods it is very dry, the farmers are complaining already. It's been weird weather, the winter was far too wet, and now we're having higher temperatures than we manage in most summers.

There's a sequel to Glennkill, but I think I'll borrow it from my sister's library at some point. I'm really surprised it has been translated into so many languages.

May 31, 3:45am Top

How can it be the last day of May already?! I finished six ROOTs this month, and I need to pick up my pace soon. Not in June, probably, with the summer holiday coming up.

Jun 2, 3:05pm Top

Nice new thread, Birgit! (Ashamed I haven't seen it since you started it up.) It's amazing that it's already June. Can't quite get my brain around that. Of course I also wrote a check out this week and dated it 2015, so perhaps it's no surprise that I got confused on the month! ;)

You're doing such a great job on your ROOTs so far! Book 30 sounds especially interesting to me. Between LT and Litsy, I've found out about a couple of books about prostitution throughout history that I'd like to read. Just what I need, another subject to read about! Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Jun 2, 7:30pm Top

>45 LauraBrook: I'm glad I'm not the only one who does that sort of thing. I sometimes think my brain just picks a year at random.

Jun 3, 12:54pm Top

>45 LauraBrook: Hi! It was also made into a movie, a very famous one starring Louise Brooks.

>46 Robertgreaves: It has happened to me, too. Maybe it is a subconschious wish to turn back time.

Jun 3, 8:07pm Top

I think the weather everywhere has been a bit odd this year so far. Hopefully it is good for your vacation, Birgit.

Jun 4, 3:59am Top

>48 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. No rain would be good for visiting monuments. We've always been lucky, so far.

Jun 6, 4:11am Top

ROOT number 34 is L'énigme des Blancs-Manteaux

I bought this in Brittany five years ago and finally read it for a rather sad reason: the author died in May. It is the first in a series about a young Breton, illegitimate son of a nobleman, whose godfather finds him a place in the Parisian police, and in 1761 he investigates his first big case with a serious political affair in the background. There are many historical figures, including the chief of police and a young Sanson (the public executioner) and the conversations are very wordy and polite. I'm really looking forward to buying and reading the rest.

On the cooking front, it's still asparagus and strawberry season and far too hot for testing recipes.

Jun 6, 8:09am Top

>50 MissWatson: Hi Birgit! Asparagus season is my favorite, but artichoke season is a close second place :D Hopefully you get a break in the heat soon!

Jun 6, 8:46am Top

>51 Miss_Moneypenny: The forecast says it will last until the weekend, and maybe beyond. It shapes up to be a very strange year, but it means lots of asparagus, so I'm only half complaining. Artichokes, though, are something I like best when someone else prepares them.

Jun 7, 8:56am Top

ROOT number 35 is Les mariages de Paris by Edmond About

I downloaded this last year from Gallica and read it during lunch breaks. Six novellas about how to get married in 1850 Paris. The author has a nice, conversational style, a teeny bit sarcastic sometimes, and is full of praise for the provincial life.

Edited: Jun 8, 5:53am Top

ROOT number 36 is A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

Frankly, I couldn't summon up much liking for the main character, Ged, so don't feel the need to keep this or continue with the series.

Jun 8, 6:18am Top

>54 MissWatson: I've never read any Le Guin, but so many people I know rave about her that I feel I ought to.

Jun 8, 8:16am Top

>55 Jackie_K: This book was written 50 years ago and at the time it was probably outstanding. I find it often very difficult to read and properly appreciate genre fiction decades after the first publication, because what was groundbreaking or new at the time has become a trope through too much imitation or repetition.

Jun 8, 2:08pm Top

>55 Jackie_K: >56 MissWatson: Jackie, I feel the same way, but Birgit hit the nail on the head as to why I have a hard time getting into her writing. This is good food for thought!

Jun 10, 8:25am Top

ROOT number 37 is Exiles of ColSec, ROOT number 38 The caves of Klydor both by Douglas Hill.

Okay, I partly picked these because they are very short. This is YA science fiction, more than thirty years old, part one and two of a trilogy. Very competently written, but not original enough to go an a belated hunt for part three. These will leave the house (and only a small gap on the shelf, alas).

Jun 10, 8:29am Top

ROOT number 39 is Rechnung über meine Dukaten by Thomas Meyer.

This is a novel about King frederick William of Prussia and his mania for very tall soldiers. He goes to great lengths and enormous expense to acquire them, not always legally. Despite the grim topic, it was actually quite a funny book. And I really loved the author's use of the language of that time, the spelling, the verb forms, the vocabulary. Definitely a keeper.

And I am past the halfway point, yippee.

Jun 10, 8:30am Top

>57 Miss_Moneypenny: It may also be a question of experience (or age, if you will): with so many books read already it becomes harder and harder to find something entirely new and surprising.

Jun 10, 9:50am Top

Hi Birgit!

>50 MissWatson: Sounds like something I'd like. I've added it to my wish list.

Yum to asparagus and strawberries.

Jun 11, 6:23am Top

Hi Karen! One of the many chefs on TV (I think every channel has at least five cooking shows) presented a recipe for a strawberry dessert that I want to try soon. Although they're best eaten fresh from the basket...

Edited: Jun 11, 6:31am Top

ROOT number 40 is "Der Herr Präsident" (no touchstone).

This had been lurking on my Kobo for ages, and it's been a bit of a struggle to read this mystery published in 1900. Old spelling, old class prejudices, and more of a morality tale than a mystery. But I like to take a glimpse into the mindset of a bygone age occasionally.
I picked it because the author was born under the sign of Taurus, but I didn't finish it in time.


Jun 11, 6:28am Top

ROOT number 41 is Hercule Poirot's Christmas.

Another short and quick read, this time also a very enjoyable one. And I was pleasantly suprised to find I bought this last year and therefore it qualifies as a ROOT. I had thought it was acquired more recently.

Edited: Jun 12, 4:23am Top

ROOT number 42 is Das Fest zu Kenelworth by Ludwig Tieck.

My choice of Gemini-born author is Ludwig Tieck, a prolific writer of novellas and much interested in the literature of other nations. I read his book about the Portuguese national poet Luis de Camoes in 2016, and this little item is about William Shakespeare, who as a boy of nine years old sneaks away without his father's permission to the giant fête held by Leicester when Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to his castle Kenilworth. A subject also treated by Walter Scott, soon to be read. But first I'm going to read Tieck's novella about Shakespeare, Dichterleben. These novellas are short enough to be read at lunchtime.

Jun 14, 10:21am Top

Wow, a high ROOT goal and you're well past the halfway mark! We had our first local strawberries last weekend and, if I recall, the ones that will ripen over the next few weeks will taste even better.

Jun 14, 10:30am Top

Enjoy them! We've had a few very sunny weeks here, so ours had a much better choice to ripen naturally than usual.

Jun 14, 9:53pm Top

Strawberries and asperagus sound wonderful, but then so does warm weather. Enjoy it while you can.

Jun 15, 6:40am Top

ROOT number 43 is Väter und Söhne by Ivan Turgenev.

I've owned this since university days and it was strangely familiar. I can't decide if I've read this before or if it is the memors of the German TV movie, so there were no surprises. It is a wonderful book, with an afterword by Turgenev in which he comments on the negative reception it met with. Someday I need to make time someday to read up on this.

Jun 17, 10:01am Top

ROOT number 44 is The Colosseum by Keith Hopkins and Mary Beard

Keith Hopkins died before he could finish the book, so Mary Beard stepped in. A useful introduction to the history of the monument, plus some debunking of all those gladiator myths. If memory serves, she was asked to be an adviser to Ridley Scott for the movie and they paid so little attention to her that she asked for her name to be removed from the credits. There are times when this reads like an attempt to get across the points the film makers ignored.

Yesterday, 3:44am Top

ROOT number 45 is Dichterleben by Ludwig Tieck

This is another one from the ebook stash on my computer, downloaded some time ago. It's a two-part novella about William Shakespeare by the man who did much to popularise him in Germany and is written as pure hero worship. Still, stripped of the hyperbolic prose it contains some interesting early 19th century ideas about what it means and takes to be a writer. Especially in the first part, where the main character is Christopher Marlowe and Will's name is only unveiled at the end.
Ludwig Tieck was born under the sign of Gemini.

And this concludes my June ROOTing, I think. Tomorrow I'm leaving for my Normandy trip, the suitcase is almost packed.

Yesterday, 5:16am Top

Ooh, have a wonderful trip!

Yesterday, 6:35am Top

Safe travels and have a good time in Normandy!

Yesterday, 6:51am Top

>72 Jackie_K: >73 FAMeulstee: Thanks! I peeked at the weather forecast and it seems to be a little nippy...must pack an additional sweater.


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