Working life and having kids changes some aspects in your life, including the amount of books your read and its topics. I was always an avid reader, and my favorite subject in university was comparative literature. I would have read from 18th century English classics to medieval Welsh (don’t ask) and also medieval Dutch and literature critics and essays. I got intrigued by life sciences while working for a life science publisher where I got to interview the most amazing international scientists who could devote their life to some miniscule insect, poisonous frog or how to save the planet from water disasters or how to genetically modify food or how to test on animals. Then later on in life I had to read business and law books. The latter was like comparative literature as I live in a case law country.
There was no place in my life anymore for novels, not even during maternity leave periods. Yes, I got to read loads of books but they were mostly about how not to be the worst parent in the world. Then later on I got to memorise books such as the Gruffalo, the biggest giant in town, the high-way rat or Little Lamb Finds his Friends.
So when our original baby massage and yoga group had to go separate ways as work was calling again, we decided to meet once a month in the form of a book club. The host and her house would alternate and lots of wine and nibbles on the menu. So I got to read again. To call it a book club is properly not fully appropriate as we rarely talk about the book as we are too busy drinking wine or baby stuff. Nevertheless, the book always gets recorded and scored in our Book Club book together with any major life events. Some really tough and tragic life events rocked our book club, throughout the years we have been though a lot such as burying a one week old baby, a husband and a young father of 2 and the general child hood illnesses and parenting/work life stresses.
Here the books that I personally found the best of the bunch:
- The Book Thief (2006) by Markus Zusak
- The Secret Scripture – Sebastian Barry
- The Twin – Gerbrand Bakker
- We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
- To kill a mocking bird – Harper Lee
- The Time Traveler’s Wife (2004), Audrey Niffenegger
- The runners – Fiachra Sheridan
- Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
- Piano Teacher – Janice YK Lee
- One Day (2009) – David Nicholls
No thanks, not again:
1. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert (I lost her after the Eat Part, can only take that much yoga and wrinkled old men)
2. The senator’s wife – Sue Miller (that old men breastfeeding eeww– no thanks)
3. What I talk about when I talk about running – Haruki Murikami
Traditional ‘oliebollen’ (literally, ‘oil balls’) or Dutch Donoughts. Not making them this year as I am too busy – working on assignments and a family wedding tomorrow. However, I will still be thinking about them! They are a Dutch tradition, made and enjoyed specifically to ring in the New Year with loads of icing sugar sprinkled over them. They are an early version of the American donut, the early Dutch settlers took their tradition with them and it evolved in a far sweeter and not as nice product that is consumed anytime-anywhere.
Units: US | Metric
1 kg all-purpose flour
1 liter luke warm milk
60 g dry yeast
50 g caster sugar
80 g soft butter
1 lemon, juice of
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
75 g currants
100 g raisins
100 g sultanas (or mixed peel)
200 g finely diced apples
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas) for 1 hour to plump up, then drain (soaking is optional).
Add diced apple to fruit and stir in lemon juice.
Dissolve yeast into 2 cups of the luke warm milk.
In a large bowl, add flour, making a dip in the middle.
Cream castor sugar and soft butter and add to flour.
Add lightly beaten eggs and yeast mixture.
Begin to combine ingredients stirring in one direction.
Slowly add remaining milk stirring until thick and smooth.
Add fruit mixture and stir ’til combined.
Add salt and stir again.
Pour into clean plastic bucket (I buy a new one each year) or very large bowl.
Cover with clean kitchen cloth and let rise in warm place (ideally 30F) for 1/2 hour.
When doubled in size, hit side of bucket or bowl to “drop” the batter.
Using two spoons which have been dipped into hot (180F) sunflower oil (repeat this step as required), scoop a spoonful of batter and form oilebollen (this is somewhat an art to get right to produce perfect round shape) then slide (drop) into oil from just above oil level.
Fry in small batches until rich golden brown (oliebollen should turn in the oil by themselves but turn with spoon if required).
Remove with slotted spoon.
Drain on kitchen paper.
Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar to serve.
Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/mothers-oliebollen-149980?oc=linkback