Bruadarach

Scottish Gaelic: Dreamer, Visionary

Category: Books (Page 2 of 2)

Cookbook Challenge 5 – Crèmes Brûlées

A cookbook full of crème brûlée recipes, straight out of Paris, that must be a winner. I was incredibly intrigued by the different flavours they suggested to put in. That being said, I’m usually rather conservative with my crème brûlée. I once had a lemongrass one, and it wasn’t my piece of cake. So I was going to make sure I’d make one that fits – at least in my head – better with the vanilla and caramel flavour of the original recipe.

The extra challenge was to change an ingredient – since I didn’t have vanilla extract at home, I just used vanilla sugar instead. I moved past the savoury crème brûlées – I wasn’t THAT adventurous – and settled on a coffee one.

 

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Crème Brûlée au Café

10 cl milk
30 cl liquid crème fraîche
1/2 tea spoon liquid vanilla (i used vanilla sugar, but fresh vanilla is possible too)
10 cl of strong, fresh coffe
3 eggs
3 egg whites
100 g of icing sugar
1 spoonful ground coffee
50 g castor sugar
80 g brown sugar

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Preheat the oven to 210C.

Heat up the milk, cream and vanilla sugar in a large pot and bring it to the boil. Then add the coffee and take it off the heat.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs with the icing sugar until it’s even and foamy.

Mix it into the pot with the milk.

Put the forms for the crème brûlée into a water bath and pour the mix in.

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The crème needs about 30-45 min in the oven, depending on the size. Turn down the heat after 10 minutes because the water from the water bath shouldn’t boil. With a toothpick you can test if the crème is ready – if you stick it in, there should be no soupy cream stuck to it anymore. The top usually ends up brown.

When it’s finished, take it out of the oven, let it cool down and then put it in the fridge for about two hours. It’s not an absolute necessity, but it helps the crème settle.

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For the crust, mix the castor sugar with the ground coffee and spread a layer on the crème brûlée. Afterwards, put a layer of brown sugar on top of it. Caramelise it under the grill for about 5 minutes or with a crème brûlée torch. The crust gets darker with the coffee grains in it, at first I thought it was a bit burnt.

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This is where my biggest criticism of the cookbook comes in – the time and temperature in the oven were completely off. According to the book, it would’ve been 45min at 110C. I lost track of time, and when I checked after 55min, it was still a caramel soup. Since I had put them in glass forms, it was clearly visible that there was still a lot of foam on top an it hadn’t settled at all. Then I went back to my La Bonne Grand Mère cookbook (one of my favourite ones, which I mentioned in the introduction), where it states actually 210C. So I turned the heat up and about 15min later they were finally ready. The quantities were spot-on, but the timings were off. Luckily, I had made crème brûlée already multiple times, I knew what to look for as far as consistency is concerned and how to check. I would use the cookbook again, but rely more on experience than their suggestions when it comes to the oven.

The crème brûlée itself was really nice with a subtle hint of coffee. The taste of coffee might get lost if you have it with a cup of coffee, so you might want to have it with something else. It can always taste more like coffee in my opinion, but that’s a thing of taste. Crème brûlée is one of my favourite desserts so I wouldn’t have gone too crazy with it. I certainly enjoyed it with the coffee flavour and would definitely make it again.

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Cookbook Challenge 4 – Austro Tapas

Next up is the Austro Tapas cookbook: basically classical Austrian dishes in small and handy versions. The added challenge, which Mick gave me, was to make it with breadcrumbs. Since they are very prominent in Austrian cuisine, I thought this was going to be easy. I could just pick some kind of Schnitzel, since it was going to be used for lunch, and do that in tiny. Boy, I was wrong.

For some weird reason there weren’t any Schnitzel dishes in it, and though some desserts had breadcrumbs on it – and battered mushrooms which isn’t much of a lunch in itself – there wasn’t much I could pick from. What I did find was a cheese cordon bleu, which I decided to use as inspiration. In general I felt that it was an Austrian (ish) cookbook where everything was just smaller. It feels a bit like the new cookbooks for the small pots – same thing but smaller. Not too inspiring. I think it works for desserts better though, where you can then prepare a range of smaller desserts. So I think I’ll have to come back to this cookbook for a dessert recipe, which then I shall follow a bit more…

But now onto what I ended up making:

 

Rustic Cordon Bleu

4 pork escalopes (you can use veal too which is the classical one, but pork is more flavourful)
2 eggs
Plain Flour
Salt
Breadcrumbs (made out of dry white bread or bought if you can get decent ones)
4 big slices of cheese (something with lots of flavour, I used smoked cheese)
Slices of Smoked Bacon (not what you’d get as ‘bacon’ in the US or the UK. I mean proper smoked bacon. I used smoked garlic bacon.)
Half a Lemon

Green Salad
Red Wine Vinegar
Pumpkin Seed Oil

 

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First up, tenderise the meat with a meat hammer. It needs to be properly beaten so the slices get a bit thinner. Then, depending on the size, you can use two Schnitzel or fold one up. Since I was making Tapas (ish) Cordon Bleu, I folded them. After hammering the meat was thin and larger, so it was still decent sized even in half.

Spread the bacon out on the meat, covering it up. Then the cheese in the middle. It shouldn’t be filled too thick, or it would just fall apart when you make the batter. A classical Cordon Bleu is made with ham and cheese, so you can vary the filling.

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Fold the Cordon Bleu and use toothpicks to hold them together. Then hammer once more to get them a bit flatter. For the batter put flour in one bowl, two eggs mixed with salt on the second, and the breadcrumbs in the third. Use deep bowls if possible, as the flour and breadcrumbs may end up everywhere. How much you’ll end up needing, largely depends on the size of the Cordon Bleu. The same is true for Schnitzel, which you can also make following this recipe. Just don’t stuff anything in it.

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First, the meat goes into the flour. Make sure it’s properly covered and shake the excess flour off. Next up is the egg-salt mix. Again, the whole Cordon Bleu should be covered. If you rub your hands in the flour before starting, you’ll avoid your fingers getting clogged up with eggy crumbs!

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The last step of the batter is the breadcrumbs. Cover the Cordon Bleu completely, and apply some pressure to make sure the breadcrumbs stick to it. Make sure to cook them straight away; if you leave them lying around too long, the batter will end up coming off the meat. Once you press the whole thing a bit, the toothpicks can come out again.

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Use a deep pan with about half a finger thick of oil. Wait until it’s sizzling hot – best checked with some loose breadcrumbs – and put the Cordon Bleus in. If the fat isn’t hot enough, it will just soak into the batter and leave it greasy. Bake it about 3 minutes on each side, until the batter is golden brown.

As a side dish I prepared a traditional green salad. The one I made is customary for the South of Austria. After washing the salad leaves, you put some salt, red wine vinegar and pumpkin seed oil on it. The latter is a speciality from my home region of Styria. It’s a very dark green thick oil, which can be used for many dishes but not as oil to fry food in.

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All in all, the cookbook was a good inspiration, and like I initially said, I will probably try one of their desserts next. The Rustic Cordon Bleu though was fantastic. I usually have it with a sprinkle of lemon over the top of it. I should’ve used more cheese though – maybe two slices each or even goat cheese if I had managed to cut it thinly enough to get it in. I did enjoy it a lot though, the garlic bacon went very nicely with… well, really everything. I cannot believe I had never made Cordon Bleu before – I always thought it was more complicated than this!

Cookbook Challenge 3 – Paul Bocuse Standard Cookbook

The second cookbook in my challenge is the “Paul Bocuse Standard Cookbook”. Paul Bocuse is one of the big names in French cuisine, and this cookbook has it all. Everything but pictures, which is a good thing for me in this case. It’s more a reference book than a fancy and pretty cookbook. You’ll find any French classic and any basic you can think of – sauces, doughs, everything. A good French cookbook has always been my go-to place for a decent meal. I have made many of the classics, from Coq au Vin to Bouillabaisse to different desserts. So going for something classic French, which I haven’t made before, was already a challenge in itself. On top of that, Mick gave me the extra challenge of adding an ingredient I’ve never used before.

Reading through the index of recipes, I was immediately drawn to the Chateaubriand. The big chunk of filet steak. Now, I have made steak before, so I had to use something I’ve never done as a side dish. The recipe talks about pommes frites, so I wondered if I couldn’t just make them out of sweet potato, since I’ve never made anything with it before. A bit of research later, I found it’s not uncommon. So that’s what I was going to do – Chateaubriand with sauce and sweet potato frites. It usually comes one of the classic French sauces, like a Bérnaise, but here the tastes can vary so I am going to make something a bit more simple and fresh…

This time, I felt more comfortable with the recipe than the ones before – after all, I love cooking meat. I’ve just never made a piece that big! As always, I’ll take photos alongside cooking and then write up what I did afterwards.

 

Chateaubriand

600g piece of filet of beef
Crème fraîche
3 Sweet Potatoes
Garlic
Chives
Paprika
Flavourful cheese

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First up, I put the filet in oil, salt, pepper and paprika, for some extra taste. I like my meat rather on the rare side, so the times I am going to quote here will not be enough if you prefer your filet of beef medium or well done. Then you’re going to need to add a few minutes on the frying side or later in the oven.

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Preheat the oven to 220C. Knowing the meat would probably be quicker, I decided to start with the sweet potato fries. Peel them and slice them in fries-sized pieces. Then coat them in oil and paprika and spread the sweet potato fries out on a baking tray on top of baking paper. Make sure they don’t lie on top of each other.

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While the oven is heating up, put the crème fraîche and a bit of milk in a small pot. Take a garlic press and squeeze the garlic into the mix, then grate a big handful of cheese into it. I used Tyrolean mountain cheese which has a strong taste. It’ll be balanced out by the crème and milk a bit. Add salt and pepper, then heat it up on the oven and stir until the cheese is melted. Once it’s a nice sauce, take it from the oven, pour into a saucière and put it in the fridge to cool down.

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The sweet potatoes need to go in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, so depending how long you want to fry the meat, you can start with it when the potatoes are in. Fry the filet in one piece in a large pan. For rare you only need a couple of minutes on each side, so it gets a nice brown colour. The piece I used was thicker on one end, so I knew the narrower bit was going to be rather medium rare. Like this you can cater to different tastes.

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With a 600g piece you can feed 2 hungry people, or 3 if you add more side dishes or a starter. After being fried, the meat needs 5-10 minutes in the oven, mainly so it’s warm throughout. Once the sweet potato fries are about 10 min before being finished, put them on the bottom of the oven and the meat in the middle. Pour some of the oil over the meat before you put it in to keep it from drying out.

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The fries are softer than regular potato fries, so once they are done, use some kitchen roll for the spare fat and put them in a bowl. For the meat, it’s best served on a big wooden board. Before serving it, slice it in about 2-3 cm thick pieces. Like that, everyone can take fries, meat and sauce to their liking.

The sweet potatoes with the paprika tasted super and the paprika also added a nice flavour to the meat. The light creamy sauce with the chive-garlic-cheese taste was a great addition to the dish – it made it light and summery. I am glad I didn’t go with a heavy classic sauce this time, it would’ve been too much on a Summer day.

 

Cookbook Challenge 2 – Haggis, Whisky & Co

As promised, there will be a second recipe inspired by (because I barely ever follow a recipe precisely) from my Scottish cookbook. For this challenge, Mick added the comment “leave out one single ingredient”. Since this recipe included 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, this was an easy one. I haven’t had nice experiences with it and wasn’t willing to get one for one teaspoon. So I left it out. Might have replaced some other things too, but that’s just how I cook. The fact that you don’t mince actual steak for a steak pie helped as well (that would’ve been just cruel I’m sure)!

I’ve never had Steak Pie when I was in the UK, always a bit suspicious of them. Especially because they often have intestines as well which I don’t eat. So I thought for my first one, I might as well do it myself. On top of that, I’ve never made any meat pie and seldom a pie like that at all! I hoped at least the filling would be tasty in case the whole thing fell apart. The recipe talks about smaller pies but without a muffin form – just moulded and then filled. Now that sounded as if it was going to fall apart, so I went with the variation that suggests just one big form. Obviously I was left with more dough than I needed for one big pan – so the recipe is made for smaller pies.

The Steak Pie is part of the “Bill o’Fare, The Burns Supper”, which is usually eaten on Burns Night. Needless to say I left out the part of the menu that had Haggis in it, though the Cock-a-Leekie soup tempted me (but not in this heat).

 

Steak Pie

500g Minced Meat
150g Mushrooms (I used porcini)
150ml Beef Stock
2 Shallots [Disclaimer: I ran out of shallots or onions, so in this version, I made do without and used more mushrooms instead]
25g Butter
150ml Gravy [I didn’t have any gravy, so I used a bit of water. It got very soupy, so handle gravy with caution!]
Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg

For the dough:
175g Butter
500g Flour
Water
Salt
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Milk

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Here it goes 🙂

Preheat oven at 150C. Mix flour and salt for the dough, making a dent in the middle. Melt butter with a bit of water in a small pot, then pour it in. Mix until you have a smooth dough. The original recipe didn’t have an egg but there was no way I was going to get a smooth dough, so I thew one in. It was still a bit on the crumbly side – hence the patching in the form – but much better than what it was without the egg. People with experience in doughs get a feeling what it might need. Like I said above, the amount is for smaller pies, if you put it in one or two big forms you’ll have some dough left over or it’s not a thick layer of meat in the middle.

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Roll out the dough and fit into the oven form of your choice. The recipe talks about how you can make it by hand without a form, but I was sceptical about it.

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For the filling, cut the shallots into small pieces and throw them into a steep pan. Then add the meat and fry it for a few minutes. In the end, add the mushrooms. Here, the recipe suggests to add gravy, but I just put in a bit of water and found it quite soupy in the end. That’s where I hope it wouldn’t make the whole thing fall apart later. Now add the spices. There was still feta cheese in the fridge, so I mixed that in. Once I had filled the form with the meat mix, I grated some mountain cheese over the top before I put the layer of dough over it. After I put a layer of dough on the top, I spread milk over it.

Now bake in oven at 15C for 45min.

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I wasn’t really sure if upon getting it out and cutting it, it was going to be a solid piece like a cake of if the filling will fall out. Either way I wasn’t sure which was the thing it was supposed to be… 🙂

Consequentially, I was very excited when I got it out of the oven. It stayed where it probably should’ve – inside the pastry. There was some liquid coming out but nothing fell apart. One larger bit in the middle was a bit tough to get out of the form for the lack of right instruments, but that was the only trouble there. All around, the dough was firm and quite sturdy.

Eating it, the filling was rather flavourful and I think the cheese fit very well. If you put it in a muffin form, I think it would make a great meal to take along or out for a picnic. Once you have the dough you can get creative with the filling. I am sure the dough itself will get smoother and prettier when I make it more often. All in all, I enjoyed making and eating it, would definitely make it again.

Cookbook Challenge 1 – Haggis, Whisky & Co

DSC_9645The first challenge was only for half a weekend, so it only included one cookbook, “Haggis, Whisky &  Co.” A Scottish cookbook (written in German and published in Austria) where each recipe goes along with a poem by Robert Burns.

I got the book for my birthday from Mick, so I figured that’s why he made me try it first. Maybe it was because he missed Haggis. Poor him, I wasn’t going to make that… 🙂 Since I had only one cookbook for this weekend, I decided to make a main course and a dessert, starting with the latter. To actually pick one was not that easy. First of all, there aren’t many recipes in this book to begin with – all of them being assembled in menus following a theme.

Venison and other autumn specialities are a bit hard to come by in the middle of the summer, and so are some of the fish specialities you can get in Scotland. Not as fresh at least. One of the first recipes had a caramelized apple cake in it – so that obviously caught my eye. On reading the recipe I realized it was much like the French Tarte Tartin, and I fell in love with that in Paris a few weeks ago. The only ingredient I was missing were eggs, so the choice was easy!

The cake was from the “Bill o’Fate, O my Luve’s like a red, red Rose” menu. A menu for lovers. 🙂

I didn’t follow the recipe by the letter, here’s what I actually ended up doing:

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Caramelised Apple Cake

4 Apples
Juice from half a lemon
3 Eggs
250g Sugar
175ml Oil (something which no to little taste)
175g Flour
1 Packet Baking Powder (approx. 8g)
A bit of Baking Soda
1 Packet Vanilla Sugar (approx. 8g)
50g Butter

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Preheat oven to 175C. Slice and de-seed apples and pour lemon juice over it, so they won’t turn brown. Whisk the eggs and 150g of the sugar until it’s foamy, then slowly add the oil. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla sugar and then add it to the egg-sugar mix. Stir thoroughly until it’s smooth.

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Heat butter and add the 100g of sugar. Mix thoroughly and caramelise it on low heat until it becomes a thick mass. If sugar doesn’t dissolve, add some of the lemon juice from the apple slices.

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Put baking paper in a spring form. Pour caramel in it and evenly cover the bottom. Put the apple slices on top of the caramel and then the dough over the top.

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Bake for 45 min at 175C. Let cool for 15 min, then overturn the cake. Goes well with vanilla ice cream and coffee 🙂

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I think I used a bit too much baking soda, so I changed the recipe accordingly. The dough was superbly light, fluffy and moist, whilst the apples started to get a bit of a crunch to it. Once the cake has cooled down properly, the caramel will get even crunchier. I think it tasted really super and I also like the slightly rustic taste to it.

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The Cookbook Challenge

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I love cookbooks. I would go so far as to say I collect them to a certain extent. The problem is, there are some I haven’t opened since I got them. Much like my husband Mick who collects musical instruments and sometimes doesn’t try them out. I called him out on it and last December, I gave him a challenge that would make him use all the instruments he hadn’t played before. 10 Weeks – 10 Sounds was very successful and led to really interesting music and a brand new instrumental album.

Now here I was, challenging him to play unused instruments when I still had cookbooks that sat unused on the shelf. There are three that I always use, you can find the reviews below. I can only warmly recommend to get them all. But this time, it’s about other books.

This time, the tables are turned. Now he is giving me a challenge to use the cookbooks that have – so far – only sat on my shelf. Here is the challenge:

You should create one dish from each of the following cookbooks, photograph the process and blog about each one. Let us know a bit about the book, why you chose the recipe, what (if anything) and why you had to change any ingredients or processes. What was difficult? What did you learn? How did the final result taste?

1. Haggis, Whisky & Co.    (leave out a single ingredient)
2. Paul Bocuse Standardkochbuch [The Paul Bocuse Standard Cookbook]    (use an ingredient you have never used) 
3. Austro Tapas    (use breadcrumbs)
4. Crèmes Brûlées    (change an ingredient)
5. Gordon Ramway’s Great British Pub Food    (pick a recipe that contains alcohol (it’s pub food, after all!))
6. Natürlich Jamie [Jamie at Home]    (add something red) 
7. Macarons    (something that goes well with coffee)
8. Vive la France    (add vanilla)
9. La Cuisine Grecque [The Greek Kitchen]    (served with a feta side dish) 
10. Plachutta – Meine Wiener Küche [My Viennese Kitchen]    (traditional, but different) 

 

Now my Favourite Cookbooks:

La Bonne Grand-Mère (The Good Grandmother) – for  French recipes.

No matter if it’s Coq au Vin, Crème caramel or Bouillabaisse, for everything French this is the go-to book. As much as I love full-colour cookbooks with photos, in my experience, the ones without are the ones I end up using most. Like this – there aren’t any photos, merely small sketches that really don’t do anything to help with the cooking. That might make you surprised at how some things actually look in the end, but that’s ok. The cookbook is just that good!

Die Gute Küche (The Good Kitchen) – for  Austrian and other basics.

One of the authors, Ewald Plachutta, is the beef king and Christoph Wagner knows his food too…! Whenever I need a recipe for a dough, a dumpling, any of the basic things that I grew up with and love – this is my go-to book. It’s not just Austrian recipes, also all-time favourites.

Süßes aus dem Sacher (Sweets from the Sacher) – for dessert and cake recipes.

Get it for the Sacher cake – and  then try out all the other recipes as well. If it’s poppyseed noodles or the fantastic lemon meringue pie, Austrian or international desserts… The dishes are really fantastic and one can spend many weeks cooking and eating their way through it all!

Review – Two Steps From Hell by Scott Roche

twostepshellDescription:

“Laurent, a faerie sorcerer, lived for centuries. When it ended, instead of drifting into oblivion he awoke in Hell. After countless years of indescribable torment, a half-faerie half-human conjurer summons him to 21st century New Orleans. Laurent now has twenty-four hours to discover who used him as an unwilling murderer and to avoid a return to damnation. The only person on his side is the summoner’s sister, a half faerie police detective, investigating the murder he committed.” (From Smashwords.com)

 

Review:

When I first heard about the new Novella “Two Steps from Hell” by Scott Roche, it was by way of him showing off its cover on Facebook. I mean “showing off” in the most justified way possible. Because there wasn’t else to go by, I first judged the book by its cover, which was done by the fantastically skilled Scott Pond. Nowadays many things get self published and most look it. I appreciate that it’s a question of finances if an author does their covers themselves – I have often done that too – and a lot of book cover designers with affordable rates still make book covers look “self-pub”. That in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it can turn away some people. This made Two Steps from Hell a refreshingly positive experience. No one would think it was self published by looking at the cover. It’s simply stunning. I gave in to the cover’s pull and bought the book on Smashwords. Inside, there were a few editing flaws which will probably be sorted by the author soon.

Now onto the story. I like myself a good prantagonist, one where even his bad reasons are understandable in some ways. This is not just the usual crime novel from the murderer’s point of view, though. It felt more like the most un-morning person being woken up at 5 AM to spend a coffee-less morning in a room full of cheerful people. People would empathise with him too, if he’d end up murdering someone. It is actually quite a sweet story, in a grumpy and twisted way. The interaction of the characters is very funny and I laughed out loud a few times. They fit together very well too and this novella is a great setup for a series. I thoroughly enjoyed the story – it set up an interesting range of beings and powers about which I’d like to find out more. Explanations like “this can be done because it’s magic” and nothing more are usually not enough for me. I hope there is more to all the magic and powers and an underlying plan and a system to them. Of course that can be done in a sequel.

Which leaves me with the end – it is quite open, which kept me on the edge. Usually I like things solved unless it’s a series. Now I only have to hunt Scott down and make him write the next one. I can warmly recommend this novella and I didn’t get anything for saying that! 🙂

 

Two Steps from Hell is available at:

Smashwords and Amazon

 

The one where I visit the View from Valhalla podcast…

TC-97266-MainIcon View from Valhalla has already been around a few years. It started off as a podiobook (podcast fiction) review blog, then a few book reviews were added, and later on it appeared as podcast as well. Odin1Eye, who reviews and runs the site, started off with having a few of the authors on his podcast and after a hiatus he decided to change things up a bit.

The relaunch of the podcast would feature his written reviews as well as a guest to discuss the books with him. This time it wouldn’t (just) be the author who got interviewed, but also other listeners who might have a different opinion from Odin. So this is where I come in. He asked me to be the guinea pig for his first episode of the new format.

Not long after that, I sat in front of Skype, discussing Sense Memory by Brion Humphrey with him. You can find the episode on iTunes and View from Valhalla.

I hope you enjoy our chat and the review and check out the book yourself! 🙂

UPDATE: Brion Humphrey recently wrote a blogpost about sequels and our feedback! Check it out!

The Coffee Legacy

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The first book in the Wiener Blut world – the Coffee Legacy – finally got its relaunch and a bit of a do-over. The chapters have now full colour pictures and there is a new cover and obviously title.

You can get the eBook on Amazon for only 4.99!

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.de

Smashwords

Book Review: Ginnie Dare by Scott Roche

I have known Scott Roche on Twitter and within the podcasting / writing community for quite a while now. This is why I am almost embarrassed to say that I haven’t read any of his fiction until he submitted his short story “Fetch” and later “Ma Coleman’s Faerie Giant” to our Every Photo Tells… podcast.

The story he is most well-known for though, is Ginnie Dare. It’s available in print and eBook and I am happy I got hold of a copy. I loaded it on my iPad and read it on the tramway on my way to work.

As far as I know, Ginnie Dare is classified as a Young Adult, Sci-Fi novel. For me, in short, it was a quick and enjoyable read. So quick and so enjoyable, I wished it was part of a series. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Ginnie is a self-taught genius. She loves puzzles and figuring stuff out. Preferably with the help of her dad’s ship’s artificial intelligence. Sounds weird? Not to me. I was that girl. I love her and I feel for her. The need to understand things to an extent that might not be exactly what her parents (in this case, Ginnie’s dad) had imagined, makes her loveable and easy to root for. For a teenager, or younger reader, she is a great role model. Boy or girl.

Her dad is a bit of a grump, trying to balance the captain, friend and dad role all at once and sometimes failing at multiple attempts at a time. The reader can’t always understand his motives, but then again, neither does Ginnie. And we don’t have to, to like him and to know he’s coming from a good place. The rest of the crew on the Dare ship are sometimes exceedingly disobedient but just as able in their jobs and in protecting each other. Then the second ship comes in, the official state-run ship with all the same bureaucrats you don’t even want to meet when you need a new passport – let alone in a crisis. There was a point where I started to mix the different members of the crew up; and even more so when the native planet population came in. I wonder if there aren’t too many people for a story that size. In a bigger novel or over the course of the series you will encounter many characters, but it feels a bit much for the first book.

All in all, I really enjoyed Ginnie Dare and am really curious what Ginnie will be up to next. So that means for you – buy it! And for me… torture Scott into writing more.

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