April 9th, 2007



Over the holiday weekend I did a number of Georgian recipes, some for the first time, some that I had succeeded with before. I know a few of you are interested in cooking, and anyway posting them here is a good way of keeping the recipes to hand if I should ever find myself somewhere without the recipe book but with an internet connection (and adds to previous posts).

1) Chicken with herbs (Chakhokhbili) - total preparation time about an hour and a half; recipe claims it serves 6 to 8 but in fact I found it about right for five. The recipe stipulates that you must chop up the chicken by hand yourself into about ten pieces. Probably you could do this with just pre-packed legs or breasts, but it goes against the spirit of it.

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2) Green beans with egg (Mtsvane Lobios Chirbuli) - total cooking time about 45 mins; recipe claims it serves 4 but I think that is only as a side dish (in our case, with the chicken). I found I had used too much water and butter, and had to add a second egg to even things out, with much more stirring and cooking towards the end than perhaps should have been the case.

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3) Khinkali/ხინკალი. These are real Georgian delicacies, dumplings stuffed with meat (though you can use cheese as well) and poached. See the Wikipedia article for a picture of them. I really love them, and approached the cooking process with reverence and trepidation, not least because it is years since I last grappled with any cooking involving pastry; I couldn't actually remember the last time I used a rolling pin. I didn't use enough flour on the working surface, so found that the result was a bit sticky, and unfortunately the bottoms fell off the earlier ones I made. Still, they tasted delicious even if the presentation wasn't quite what I had hoped. This recipe claims to make 25 but my unpracticed technique delivered only about 18. It's enough food for four or five people though. Took me about two hours but that would be less with practice.

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To eat them, hold up by the topknot, and carefully bite off the bottom corner so that you can catch the stream of juice in your mouth. After eating the meaty part, you don't have to eat the topknot itself (traditionally thrown to any passing dogs). Yummy.
doctor who

Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Code

I liked it. If I want to know what really happened in 1599, I'll read James Shapiro; if I want to be entertained, I'll watch Doctor Who.

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Oddly enough I've been having a bit of a Tudor Who period in the last week; apart from this, I have been listening to the Sixth Doctor audio The Marian Conspiracy, which is set in the reign of Elizabeth's sister Mary (separate review coming up), and my own small contribution to fanfic, inspired by this exchange from The Sensorites. Collapse )

April Books 9) Glasshouse

9) Glasshouse, by Charles Stross

And so, continuing with this year's Hugo nominees... I think this is my favourite of Charlie's books so far. In his previous sf books I've tended to find myself overwhelmed by the ideas about far-future post-Singularity existence; those are all still here, but very nicely balanced by the experience of the narrator who has signed up for a social experiment attempting to simulate the "dark ages", ie human society from 1950 to 2040, a period from which most information has been lost because paper was being used less and the digital media used for storage all became obsolete. This gives us an excuse for many sideswipes at the nature of American/European society as it is today; but in the meantime the far-future background is being unfolded in more and more detail, and the narrator becomes conscious of his/her own unreliability - often I find the "unreliable narrator" a really annoying excuse for incomplete world-building or sloppy characterisation, but Glasshouse very much avoids that trap.

So far my favourite of the Hugo shortlisted novels; but I do have three more to go!

Top UnSuggestion for this book: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I think autopope will be amused (or bemused?) by some of the other books which figure on that list, such as C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia at #9.

The Fearmonger, The Marian Conspiracy, The Genocide Machine

Three more Doctor Who audio dramas from Big Finish to review.

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In summary: I'm generally enjoying these, and thought that The Genocide Machine was very good indeed - the first really gripping one I have heard. Though I think I may switch to one of the spinoff series for a while for variety's sake.